Gina Schock has many reasons to celebrate these days.
The drummer will join the rest of his teammates Go-Go’s be introduced to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Saturday. The group will lead a class that also includes Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, Tina Turner, Carol King and Todd Rundgren.
As an all-female band playing their instruments, The Go-Go’s were a relative rarity in the early ’80s. Born from the Los Angeles punk rock scene, they had a string of melodic hits, including “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” and “Vacation.”
The 64-year-old also wrote a new one book, addressed “Made in Hollywood,” which is more a collection of her most valuable photographs and memorabilia acquired over the years behind the scenes. She called it a love letter for both the band and their fans.
Schock spoke to Fox News about how she was accepted this year, how she initially coped with the breakup of the band, and about one song that really shocked her along the way.
Fox News: Drew Barrymore will present The Go-Go’s at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. How does that feel?
Gina Schock: It’s so cool because Drew has been a fan of this band since she was little. I remember when she was probably 10 or 11 years old and she came to our shows. We would hang out with her in the backstage. It makes sense. I’m glad he’s introducing us.
Fox News: And how does it feel to have the group finally accepted?
Schock: It’s a little bittersweet. Every year we always thought we would be nominated. It was like that every year and time was running out. There finally came a point when we said to ourselves, “Damn, we don’t care, our accomplishments are enough.”
But when that happened, it seemed so cool and exciting. That’s what we’ve been waiting for. It feels like the icing on the cake. We will finally be recognized and given this respect. So we’re all excited that this has finally happened. Better late than never.
Fox News: You also have your new book. Fans will be surprised to find Paul Reubens ’telegram about all the people.
Schock: I remember when Paul was new to the scene. I always thought he was a brilliant comedian, even before Pee-Wee. We just loved him. On weekends in LA, we even put it out and opened for us
I remember the audience once saying, “What the hell is this?” Of course, Paul, being a brilliant boy, knew exactly how to handle things. We have been in touch over the years. He is a dear friend. So when I knew this book was going on, he was one of the few people I wanted to write a little essay or something like for us. He is part of our history. Paul cheered for us a long time ago. And we did the same for him.
Fox News: Looking back, when did you first find out that The Go-Go’s was a success?
Schock: When we first heard our music on the radio here in LA. There was a feeling “Oh my god, this is happening. It’s legal.” At the time, it really seemed real to us. It was happening.
Fox News: Go-Go’s opened for the Rolling Stones. How was that?
Schock: What a privilege, right? I remember we were on tour and we got the news that the Stones were interested in opening them up. And of course we immediately said yes. So we postponed some of our shows for that. I remember we had to perform at a venue that took 10,000 seats. For the Stones, it’s a little. But we came from performances for clubs. So it was a big deal for us.
I remember meeting them in person and they were all lovely gentlemen. Especially Charlie Watts. I adored him growing up – still. I have to be on Charlie’s drum. I immediately became friends with his drum technique. It was all so exciting. Even when I talk about it, it excites me. And Charlie, what an absolute gentleman. He was always nicely dressed and so calm. He was everything I thought he would be, and more. And when he played the drums, it was perfection.
Fox News: What about David Bowie? What was he like?
Schock: Another gentleman. I met him in 1980. We played at The Ritz in New York. This may have happened before we signed the first record deal. I remember John Lennon and Yoko Ono showing up. It was such a thrill. And it’s so awful because John was murdered just a few months later.
But yeah, I had to meet Bowie and his assistant that night. He was so kind and sweet – a really nice guy. Pete Townsend was a kind man, but he was no more at the time. He had his hands clasped around the girl on each side of himself. I was just surrounded by a rock royal family.
Fox News: When it comes to The Go-Go’s, which song did you initially think would fail, but it turned out to be a big hit?
Schock: “We’ve got a beat.” It wasn’t a big song. It was just a drum beat and nothing else. Who would have thought it would become the best-selling song from our entire catalog? * laughter *. But that tells you that drums are important. They make a difference and that drumming makes a song. Honestly, I didn’t think it would be that good. But I was obviously wrong.
Fox News: Where did the inspiration for “Holidays” come from?
Schock: It was a Kathy song [Valentine] wrote before joining The Go-Go’s. She wrote this song for another group that joined her. She held on. I remember getting ready for the second record, which was too fast because we had just finished touring for the first record and then went straight to the studio. We didn’t take a vacation. I remember we went to the studio and Kathy just pulled that song out. I think a small adjustment has been made. And that was it, this song became a single. And then a big hit.
Fox News: How did you convey all the fame and attention the band received?
Schock: There is no guide. You just fell into this world, you know? But we were all young and we were experiencing the same thing. But things were going so fast and furiously. We were so busy that we didn’t have time to sit down and just process what was going on. But looking back, it was just an amazing time. All the stars were aligned and we succeeded.
… But despite all the successes, my greatest achievement, my greatest stamp on this Earth, inspires other women to take up the instrument and become musicians. I want them to know you can do it. You will get a million no. But you just have to stay straight on that path, your dreams. Because anything is possible. I came from a working-class neighborhood with very blue collars. I had this dream and nothing will stop me. I was determined to leave Baltimore. I went to LA or New York and made it happen. I really believed in that. And crazy enough, it happened.
Fox News: How did you feel when the band initially disbanded? Did you know what you want to do next?
Schock: No no. I was knocked out. I didn’t know it was going to go that down. And when that happened, it knocked me off my feet. I just didn’t know this was going to happen, you know? When this happened, I was angry at Belinda [Carlisle] in Charlotte [Caffey] and the way they did it.
Kathy and I walked into our manager’s office and then we were told the group had broken up. Simple and easy. Charlotte had just come out of rehab, she was clean and sober. We were working on new material. We have this girl, Paulo Jean, we did the Rock and Rio festival – it all went well. Together we intended to release another record. And then out of the blue, it happened.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. But one thing I was sure of was that I wasn’t going to be a studio drummer because that didn’t appeal to me. I’m not that disciplined. I love being in a band. I like working with other people and hanging out with them.
So I decided to put together my own group and sign my own record deal. And it turned out really well. I found my way. And I think it gave me even more faith in myself to be able to do it. Life will always spin. But you have to push and push. And hard work means something. I knew I had the talent to keep doing what I loved.
I co-founded the House of Schock group called Vance DeGeneres. And it turns out that she has this younger sister from New Orleans, whom she visited often – Ellen. She came to the studio and hung out with us while we worked on the record. One day she told me, “If I ever make a lot of money, will you sell me your house?” Jesus Christ, I could buy more blocks now if I wanted to!
Fox News: How are you and the rest of The Go-Go now?
Schock: It’s great. We played together all these years. We’re probably going on tour six weeks a year. We don’t go on tour for months and months because everyone has a life. We have paid our obligations, so now we are doing what we feel comfortable with. But we still love to play together. At first we thought it would be just an occasional thing for fans. But the more we did it, the more it seemed right. It was a journey. And it still goes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.