A Go-Go's go-slow investments
people think of the Go-Go's, a certain image springs to mind. Clean,
perky, upbeat, fun ... did we mention perky?
So when the band began its comeback in what
has become the traditional way -- with a VH1 "Behind The Music"
special -- many old-time listeners were shocked at what they saw.
Turns out the Go-Go's -- vocalist Belinda Carlisle, guitarists Charlotte
Caffey and Jane Wiedlin, bassist Kathy Valentine, and drummer Gina
Schock -- were as far from clean-cut as could be, originating in
the L.A. punk scene of the '70s and accompanying their success with
a cocktail of sex and drugs that would make Motley Crue proud.
Detailed accounts (and videotaped evidence)
of lewd incidents with male groupies, as well as the recollection
of Caffey's heroin addiction gave an ironic poignancy to the old
Go-Go's hit "Our Lips Are Sealed." Of course they were -- nothing
they were doing was fit for public discussion.
So, as can be predicted when such a wild time
accompanies hit records, which the Go-Go's had on all three of their
'80s studio recordings, the band imploded under the weight of the
In the solo career aftermath, Carlisle had some
success, but the other band members remained primarily out of the
spotlight. Wiedlin continued writing songs, but also acted and did
voice-overs, appearing in the films "Clue," "Star
Trek IV: The Voyage Home," and in "Bill & Ted's Excellent
Adventure" as Joan of Arc, and lending her pillowy voice to
"King of the Hill," Nickelodeon's "Wild Thornberry's,"
and "Scooby Doo and the Witch's Ghost."
While the Go-Go's reunited every four or five
years to play some dates or support a Greatest Hits record, the
group recently released, "God Bless the Go-Go's," their
first full-length studio album since 1984.
Bankrate spoke with Wiedlin about life and profit
in the shadow of success.
hard-partying rock veterans seemed to cause themselves some financial
trouble along the way. Did you party your money away?
JANE WIEDLIN: We
didn't make huge bucks in the first place, but I personally didn't
squander my money. I've always been sort of sensible, and I've never
stopped working, so I've never gone broke or anything.
B: How had you
made your living away from the Go-Go's?
JW: I continued
releasing records. I've always been a songwriter. I've acted, I
do cartoon voice-overs. I've consistently taken care of myself since
I was 14, so now it's something I'm used to doing.
B: Now that the
Go-Go's are back, are you still doing those other things?
JW: No. I've had
to put everything aside for the band, and I'm OK with that because
I think what we're doing is important. I'm proud to be out here
B: When the Go-Go's
were down, which area of business provided the best income for you?
JW: My best income
has consistently been publishing money, which is songwriting money.
I always received songwriting royalties for the Go-Go's songs, plus
I continued to write for myself and other artists. So it was a constant
steady stream, for which I'm very thankful.
B: Speaking of
songwriting, didn't you have a No. 1 hit this year on the country
JW: We did. Charlotte
(Caffey) and I co-wrote a song for Keith Urban, a country artist,
called "But for the Grace of God," that went to No. 1. It was extremely
exciting to finally have a No. 1, and very strange that it was a
B: That was actually
your first No. 1?
JW: Yes. Weird,
B: Were the other
Go-Go's a little jealous?
JW: If they were,
they didn't tell us. (laughs)
B: So songwriting
wound up eclipsing the voice-over and acting work?
JW: It was the
most consistent thing over the years.
B: When tech stocks
went nuts, did you go that route?
JW: No. I never
even owned any stock. My business manager's really conservative,
and he thinks that a musician's income is so shaky, you don't know
from year to year how much money you're going to make or when the
income's going to stop, that it's not safe for a musician to own
stock. So I've always, in the past, done things like Treasury bills,
and I've got my IRA and my KEOGH and stuff like that, but it's really
B: So what kind
of returns were you getting -- 5 percent, 10 percent?
JW: I'm not getting
great returns, but I guess the stock market has never ever affected
me. But different people in the band have taken totally different
courses with it. I'm definitely the most conservative one in the
band with money. I know Gina has made huge money on stocks, and
has also lost huge money on stocks because she definitely plays
B: Seeing the ups
and downs, do you appreciate the route you took?
JW: Of course I
get jealous. Once in a while I hear someone I know who invested
in Starbucks 15 years ago, and I'm SO JEALOUS, and I think, why,
why can't I do that? Sometimes I think that one of these days I'm
going to hear about a little company, and I'm going to know in my
heart that they're going to do great, and then I'll buy stock in
that. But I don't think I would just leap into anything. I think
with me it would have to be something I really believed in that
I thought was really going to make it, and it would be doubly satisfying
if they did well.
-- Posted: Sept. 6, 2001