The Go-Go’s take on ’80s rock ‘Vacation’

Rock fans are going to get a chance to relive the 1980s this weekend when the Replay America tour comes to the area, headlined by all-girl pop pioneers The Go-Go’s. The show also features Scandal front woman Patty Smyth, Motels singer Martha Davis, Naked Eyes and Cutting Crew.

The Go-Go’s guitarist and songwriter Jane Wiedlin said the group thought that hitting the road this summer as part of an ’80s package would be a fun way to tour.

“It’s definitely the first revue-type show we’ve ever done,” she said. “The people that love The Go-Go’s also love Martha Davis’ music and Patty Smyth’s music, so I think the tour is ideal.”

Before The Go-Go’s burst onto the scene in the early 1980s, there were very few all-girl rock bands, aside from The Runaways, to be found. Wiedlin said the success of the group inspired many musicians, both female and male, to start rock bands.

“Kurt Cobain loved The Go-Go’s,” she said, “Veruca Salt said they loved The Go-Go’s. Green Day’s Billy Joe Armstrong loved The Go-Go’s. So we’ve had some amazing people that have paid us compliments and said they were influenced by us.” Wiedlin added that, while there are more women making careers for themselves in rock music these days, it is still a male-dominated industry and female artists are still held to standards that men aren’t.

“People talk about The Runaways doing it before The Go-Go’s but no one seems to remember that The Runaways weren’t successful at it,” Wiedlin said. “We were the first time that someone did [an all-girl rock group] that was successful. Unfortunately, there are still very few all-female bands that actually play their own instruments and write their own songs and are successful. If you are talking about solo female artists, unfortunately women are expected to be young and beautiful and perfect forever. I do think there is a lot of sexism in the world and people don’t really seem to talk about it. There’s a lot going on with women’s rights right now. There seems to be huge shitstorm out there right now where there are millions and millions of Americans who consider women to be a subspecies of man. There’s a lot happening in politics with the Supreme Court that show a lot of people don’t consider women equal to men. We are actually more than half of the world’s population. So it’s a very annoying point for me because I definitely consider myself a feminist and anyone who doesn’t think the way I do is stupid and wrong [laughs]. It’s kind of ridiculous. It’s not just the entertainment business. We are still living in incredibly sexist times.”

Oddly enough, Wiedlin said, these days, the group has more men in the audience than women.

“Back in the day when we were very popular, we had a huge following of young women,” she said. “We showed young women new possibilities that girls could rock too. That was great. Over the last 10 or 20 years — I’m not sure when it started — but now our biggest fans are gay men. Of course we love guys. From the time I was a kid, all my friends were gay men or gay boys. So it is a big honor to be loved by the gay community.”

The Go-Go’s haven’t released an album of new music since 2001’s “God Bless The Go-Go’s,” but Wiedlin said some new music might be on the horizon.

“When this tour is over, we are going to get together and do some writing,” she said. “[The Go-Go’s guitarist] Charlotte [Caffey] and I were collaborators for so many years and we wrote so many songs that I love. I’m very excited to work with her and the other girls again on some new songs.”

The Go-Go’s headline the Replay America tour 7:30 p.m. July 11 at The Plaza PPL Park, 1 Stadium Drive, Chester. For more information or tickets, call 610-859-3100 or visit

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