Belinda Carlisle on the end of the Go-Gos, new music and her last gig: SiriusXM radio host
When Belinda Carlisle first saw Mick Rock’s iconic photograph of Iggy Pop, her eyeliner smudged eyes and crimson light black lips on the cover of Iggy and the Stooges’ third album, Gross power, her world opened up to television, the New York Dolls, Roxy Music, the Velvet Underground and the 1970s punk and art rock that marked her as an artist when she entered The Go -Gos.
On August 1, everything came full circle when Carlisle launched his new SiriusXM series Crazy about music with Belinda Carlisle on SiriusXM, and opened the show with his first song: Pop’s 1977 thirst for life press “The passenger”.
Exploring the music that shaped her, Carlisle’s show also incorporates earlier musical influences that have left their mark on her – everyone from Cat Stevens, The Beach Boys, The Animals and The Stylistics – all of which are part of her tracklist, with rediscoveries, behind-the-scenes stories and reminiscences of his solo career and his time with The Go-Gos interspersed with each show.
“It was kind of an accident because I never thought I wanted to do something like this,” Carlisle told American Songwriter. “I’ve recorded nine shows so far, and it seems like a lot of my picks are songs that have really influenced me since the late ’70s, like a lot of Roxy Music and early [David] Bowie. Music has been my life since I was 17, so it kind of tells a story, and I share part of mine.
When she was first approached to host her own radio show, Carlisle admits she had to think about it for a while. “I didn’t know what it entailed, and it made me nervous,” Carlisle shares. “Then I just said ‘go for it’ and I did, and it’s been really interesting and fun and empowering. Organizing songs is hard enough, and I only want to put songs that I like .
Part of curating playlists was rediscovering artists Carlisle hadn’t listened to in years, like Grace Jones, pre-Crowded House rockers Split Enz, and early glam influence Mott the Hoople.
“I forgot about them,” Carlisle said of the group led by Ian Hunter. “I always listened to a lot of Roxy Music, which influenced me and I loved them in the 70s, and of course Bowie, then I came across Mott the Hoople. I loved them, so it was fun to rediscover their albums. I also haven’t listened to Grace Jones in years, and I always thought of her as pre-punk, but she was always a punk rocker.
Exploring the covers category was more of an education for Carlisle, who discovered that Duran Duran had covered Bowie’s 1974 single “Diamond Dogs.”
“It was kind of a weird choice for a lot of artists I love,” Carlisle says, “but weird in a great way. I’m rediscovering things, and revisiting artists and albums that I may have. -be forgotten like the early Split Enz albums that I loved. I listen to a lot of things that I loved and just forgot.
The addition of early Bowie tracks like “The Bewlay Brothers” and “The Width of a Circle” are an example of deeper tracks she hopes to connect with listeners. “A lot of people, when they think of Bowie, maybe think of ‘Fame’ or ‘China Girl’,” she says, “so hopefully it will open listeners’ eyes or ears, and they’ll be inspired dig deep and also discover artists who are not forgotten, but can be forgotten.
After the documentary directed by Alison Ellwood The Go-Gos in 2020 and the band’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2021, followed by a tour in 2022, Carlisle says the chain of events over the past few years is a perfect closure for the band, if it’s is their end.
“If it wasn’t for this documentary, I’m not so sure we’d be in a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” Carlisle says. “People didn’t know where we were from. They just assume we’re from an “American Idol” type show. It really is an amazing story, so I think it created a whole new level of respect for the band. The Rock Hall was the second stop.
She adds, “The Go-Gos are definitely coming to an end, and I think that definitely cemented the band’s legacy. We all have our lives going on and different things, so I don’t know if we’ll ever really do anything again, but if it ended there, it’s amazing. There is something to be said for coming out on top.
Currently working on new music for release in early 2023 and a new solo album by the end of the year, Carlisle, who recently turned 64, is enjoying creative freedom at this point in his life. “I thought I’d be retired,” she laughs, “but I still feel like it, and I can choose fun and interesting things, so that’s good.”
An eclectic musical taste has already led to Carlisle’s exit from Soa collection of covers of French pop songs and standards in 2007, and its more Indian-inspired wilder shores, with a series of Sikh songs performed in Gurmukh. If the Sirius show goes beyond this initial run, Carlisle wants to explore the peripheries of his musical influences.
“I really want to go there because my tastes are very eclectic,” says Carlisle. “I’m really into Serge Gainsbourg and world music, and I like Bollywood music, and I would really like to go there. I don’t know if I’ll be able to, and they’ll let me, but my influences go far beyond punk and new wave.
Carlisle adds: “I listen to weird shit every day like Turkish music from the 70s, so hopefully if I go beyond this first series I can introduce listeners to some wild stuff that is really beautiful. and melodic and interesting.”
Crazy about music with Belinda Carlisle airs the first Monday of every month on SiriusXM 1st Wave (channel 33), at 8 p.m. ET.
Photos: Frazer Harrison for Getty and SiriusXM