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Buy one of the following Germs CDs from amazon.com:

'Germicide: Live at the Whiskey, 1977' (1982)

'Media Blitz' (1993)

'M.I.A.' (1993)

Buy one of the following Go-Go's CDs and DVDs:

'Beauty and the Beat' (1981 album)

'Vacation' (1982 album)

'Talk Show' (1984 album)

'Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's' (1994 Japanese collection of B-sides and live tracks)

'VH1 Behind the Music: Go-Go's Collection' (2000 greatest hits CD)

'God Bless the Go-Go's' (2001 album)

'The Go-Go's--Live in Central Park' (2001 DVD)

Buy one of the following Belinda Carlisle CDs and DVDs:

'Belinda' (1986 album)

'Heaven on Earth' (1988 album)

'Runaway Horses' (1989 album)

'Belinda Carlisle: Runaway Live' (1990 video release)

'Live Your Life Be Free' (1991 album)

'Belinda Carlisle--Her Greatest Hits' (1992 greatest hits compilation)

'Real' (1993 album)

'A Woman and a Man' (1996 album)

'Place on Earth: Greatest Hits' (1999 greatest hits compilation)


Mad About Her: Belinda Carlisle was a Germ who morphed into a Go-Go.

Beauty and the Beat

Former Go-Go Belinda Carlisle answers the burning question: What's punk got to do with it?

By Allie Gottlieb

IT SEEMS weird that Belinda Carlisle was both a Germ and a Go-Go. The Germs were a bloody, messy, outwardly drugged-up L.A. band sparked by late-'70s backlash British punk. The Go-Go's were a secretly drugged-up, bubblegum New Wave pop band that helped say howdy to the shiny happy '80s. But the apparent split personality seems less complicated after talking with Carlisle, who clearly picks one over the other.

Carlisle is touring in the United States as a solo artist for the first time since 1987. From her hotel suite in New York City, the "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" adult-contemporary songbird plays down her participation in the punk scene. "I was 17. I used to buy English music magazines, and I was really into the Sex Pistols."

It's widely reported that she helped find, drum for and manage the Germs. And she's made it into plenty of punk retrospectives, like Make the Music Go Bang! The Early L.A. Punk Scene. Actually, she only played drums with the Germs for one hour at one show after a spur-of-the-moment request by Germs frontman and pal Darby Crash. After that, she came down with mono and retreated to her folks' house for a rest.

Once she recovered, she ended up briefly as prop girl for the band, handing Crash salad dressing and other ingredients to aid his slimy performances. Apparently, that minibrush with semifame wasn't a huge deal for the energetic scenester. Playing with the Go-Go's at the Hollywood Bowl during the Vacation tour, on the other hand, and playing with the Rolling Stones--now those were some good times, she reminisces.

Carlisle currently lives in Provence, France, with her husband of 18 years, Hollywood type Morgan Mason; 11-year-old son James Duke Mason, who prefers classic films to music; and a pug and a Labrador. She's member of extremist animal-rights group PETA, which she pronounces pay-ta, and she opposes fur but eats fish and chicken. She speaks French and listens to French music (for some inexplicable reason, she also likes U2). Her friends are mostly regular nonfamous people, and she doesn't have an entourage, she says.

"My profile is obviously not what it was," Carlisle concedes. "I would rather be what I am now."

In fact, she hated her early fame, especially the plastering of her face on magazines after the Go-Go's hit, she says. Of course, she likes some of where that fame led. After all, she got to meet TV's old-time star husband Jackie Gleason, and once she spent a fabulous afternoon on a yacht with Sammy Davis Jr., who melted her heart with his perception that she was "a vision of nowness."

She also talks up the significance of the Go-Go's. "We were groundbreaking for women. We just didn't compromise," says Carlisle, who happens to be the Playboy Playmate for August 2001. "It was a girls' club. We did it for fun, but we were also strong women." Still, her discomfort with mainstream recognition shows up in encounters with fans, to whom she may appear "a little shy," she says. Or, she continues, "I may come off as being a little cold or whatever."

Carlisle doesn't sound thrilled to spend a day with the press, either, giving one interview on top of another. She lies kimono-clad in bed under cover of a check-in pseudonym answering questions over the phone to publicize her Fox Theatre show. The tour roughly coincides with an approximately six-month-old greatest-hits release, but really it's about the fact that Carlisle missed touring in the States.

Carlisle says she looks forward to expanding her involvement in writing and producing future releases. She enjoyed co-producing 1993's album Real. Also, Carlisle is once again poised to re-embody her girl-group pop-star self. While fuzzy on the details, she reports that the Go-Go's are thinking about re-reuniting possibly as soon as August. Until then, she's on the road performing solo hits and a few tasty Go-Go's classics. Maybe heaven really is a place on earth.

Belinda Carlisle performs March 15 at the Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City. Tickets are $35-$55 and available by calling Ticketmaster (408.998.TIXS).

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From the March 13-19, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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