MIFF 2020: The Go-Go’s (2020)

Director: Alison Ellwood

The Go-Go’s: Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine, Jane Wiedlin

Featuring: Elissa Bello, Paula Jean Brown, Ginger Canzoneri, Chris Connelly, Miles A. Copeland III, Stewart Copeland, Lynval Golding, Lee Thompson, Kathleen Hanna, Madness, The Specials, The Police

While the English punk scene is well known and maybe overdone by now, not as much has been heard about US punk bands especially out of the Los Angeles punk scene. Given there are now elderly punks they need to get onto it quick before too many more people pass away.

I do like going to see women musicians even more than some all-male bands even though I do get made fun of for it. If I didn’t like the music I would not keep going to see the artist.

I had heard of this band’s hits but did not know that much about the band apart from the lead singer’s solo career. It was great to see everyone from the band is still with us even though it looked to be touch and go for a couple of them due to health and drug abuse issues for a time.

The band was very young when they started which would have been rough in such an aggressive and male dominated scene such as punk. We do get to see some great archival photos including Belinda Carlisle in a garbage bag

I did not know the band had toured with the Specials and Madness in the UK and that tour looked pretty rough with the National Front turning up at the shows. Always good to hear from both those bands as SKA has a lot of crossover with punk including people playing in various bands together.

The band’s first hit was a result of this tour as none of the local labels wanted to touch them as they thought they would not do well.

It is a well told story of the band’s rise and three albums and then eventual fall due to inter personal conflict in the band, management issues and health problems. The members did not talk to each other for several years even though some eventually started working with Belinda Carlisle on her work and of course the band got back together due to the reason these things always happen, money.

The animosity between band members is mentioned but not the fact there was a lawsuit only a few years back. What happens with a lot of bands is that people end up having to work together even if they are not really friends by the end of it due to the money involved.

I would recommend this documentary if you are fan of girl bands and it would make a great movie to screen along with the No Time for Quiet documentary that came out last year about the Girls Rock! Camp.


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