Lead singer and founding member of the legendary all female band The Go-Go’s, Belinda Carlisle, is teaming with drag superstar Trixie Mattel to host a night of fun, music and holiday cheer for animal rights at The Abbey Food & Bar this Thursday, December 16, 2021. The event is a fundraiser in support of Animal People Alliance, an organization she founded with her friend Paul Suit that focuses on providing high quality and compassionate care to neglected street animals in India and Thailand.
In an interview with WEHO TIMES, Belinda Carlisle discusses the early years of The Go-Go’s, the band’s recent induction to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of fame, her history with the City of West Hollywood, and why you don’t want to miss her upcoming holiday party at the Abbey in the heart of WeHo’s LGBT Rainbow District.
Before we begin, congratulations on your band’s recent induction into the Rock-N-Roll Hall of fame.
Thank you. It was completely thrilling. We had been eligible for over 15 years, I think. It was one of those things we didn’t really think about. Then we got on the ballot. My son called me when I was in Thailand. He was very excited. I didn’t think it would ever happen. There has been a lot of change in the Rock Hall in the past year.
Why do you think it took so long?
With the old committee, I think there were some personal gripes about the band. It didn’t really make any sense. Maybe one of us got drunk and assaulted somebody, you never know [laughs]. Then we got the call, and it was surreal. The ceremony itself was one of the most amazing nights of my life. It was a wonderful way to sort of cement the band’s legacy. People don’t have to like our music, but what we achieved is something that really can’t be denied.
When you first started out, did you ever think Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame?
No. We made jokes about being rock stars, but we just wanted cute boyfriends and to be cool in the scene because everybody we knew was in a band. We didn’t think it would ever happen because we didn’t know what we were doing in the beginning. We literally went from zero to 100 in three years. We formed the band in 1978, and in 1981, we had the number one album. We asked Charlotte [Caffey] to join the band because nobody knew how to play their instruments. It’s an amazing story in that we wrote our own songs, played our own instruments and we never compromised our image. We were lucky in that our record label really gave us artistic license. We could do anything we wanted. They trusted us. We knew who we were and what we were representing.
Do you think your induction will pave the way for other female groups?
Absolutely. As I mentioned earlier, there were a lot of internal changes in the Rock Hall. It was pretty misogynistic.
Who else do you think deserves to be recognized?
I’m going to root for people like Cher. She should be in there. The B-52s should be in there. Suzi Quatro should be in there. And the Bangles, of course, they also wrote their own songs. We’re going to advocate for women to be in the Rock Hall. There are a lot who need to be recognized.
Drew Barrymore called herself a West Hollywood kid when she introduced you at the Rock Hall ceremony. She acknowledged your roots in the LA punk scene. What are your roots in WeHo City?
I lived in WeHo fresh out of high school. My first apartment was on Holloway. I was on Santa Monica Boulevard quite a bit in the late 70s and 80s. I was always around. I got thrown out of Trunks. That’s my claim to fame [laughs]. I’ve seen so many changes on the Boulevard. I remember the first AIDS case. They didn’t have a name for it. I have a long history with West Hollywood and had many friends who lived in the city. I’ve done pride a couple of times and marched on the parade. I also have history at The Whiskey and The Rainbow Room. I was always around.
What can you say about The GoGo’s at the Whiskey a Go Go this week?
The concert is for contest winners from SiriusXM radio. I’m really excited to play at the Whiskey. We were a house band there in the early 80s.
Tell us about Animal People Alliance.
I’ve spent a lot of time in India, and I pretty much have been a lifelong animal rights advocate for different organizations like PETA. One of my friends approached me about getting involved in 2014 and that’s when my friend Paul Suit and I established Animal People Alliance. It’s a two-fold mission. Animals live on the street in India. We provide services for street animals, but we also create employment for people who are at risk of falling below the poverty line, women who have been trafficked, and we deal a lot with stateless people who can’t get identification, can’t get a job or travel. We recently expanded to Northern Thailand where we have a lot of spaying and neutering. It has expanded and it has been really successful.
What was the genesis of the holiday party fundraiser coming up at The Abbey?
I’ve done a lot of fundraising for APL pre-COVID. This will be my first fundraiser in the U.S. I approached David Cooley at the Abbey and he said, yes. This event will be co-hosted by Trixie Mattel. It’ll be an evening of craziness and music. There will be an auction, and it will be a lot of fun. We hope to expose people to the work that we’re doing like how we hope to expand to Mexico to do a donkey sanctuary. People who don’t travel to other countries don’t realize that the consciousness towards other animals is different than in the West. It’s changing. A lot of what we do is educate people that animals have feelings, and they need to be treated kindly.
So why Trixie Mattel as co-host at your party?
I think Trixie is amazing, and talented, and funny. I’m obsessed. She’s actually a friend of my son’s, so I thought that would be great. She said yes. She’s a vegetarian and said she’d love to help out, so I’m really thrilled she wants to be a part of this.
Can you conclude this with a shoutout to our readers on why your holiday party at The Abbey is not be missed?
Sure! Everybody come by the Abbey on December 16th. It’s $75 general admission, but we are a U.S. registered charity, so it’s tax deductible. It’s going to be full of holiday cheer. Trixie will be doing her thing. I’m going to be singing at the end of the evening, and we’re doing Christmas karaoke with a lucky winner, so I’ll be doing a duet with a fan. It’s going to be great. Come and have some fun and let’s make up for lost time these last couple of years.
To purchase tickets for the holiday party and a chance to sing with Belinda Carlisle at The Abbey, and to learn more about Animal People Alliance, visit: https://www.animalpeoplealliance.net