This town is falling head over heels for The Go-Go’s all over again. The pop-punk quintet was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Oct. 30, and The Go-Go’s musical, Head Over Heels, starring Lea DeLaria and RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Alaska 5000, is running at the Pasadena Playhouse until Dec. 10.

“People assume that you’re put together by a Simon Cowell,” says lead singer Belinda Carlisle, 63. “But we put ourselves together. We had no idea how to play instruments, how to write songs, how to do anything. And going from that in 1978 to being probably the biggest band in America in 1981 — it’s an amazing feat.”

Carlisle and bandmates Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey, Kathy Valentine and Gina Schock are currently rehearsing for a handful of year-end dates culminating in a New Year’s Eve stint in Las Vegas.

But for a more intimate audience with the new wave goddesses, Carlisle is hosting a Dec. 16 fundraiser at WeHo’s The Abbey for Animal People Alliance, which saves homeless animals in India and Thailand.

Co-hosted by Drag Race alum Trixie Mattel, the event will feature “a mish-mash of songs,” says Carlisle, who has invited her fellow Go-Go’s to join in. Tickets for the event are available here.

Carlisle chatted with The Hollywood Reporter about the great Go-Go’s renaissance.

Hi Belinda. Where are you based these days?

I live in Thailand, but we left Thailand in June because it was getting crazy, so we’re just in Mexico City because we love it and probably going back to Thailand in a couple months, I would say. Bangkok. We’ve been there for about seven years. It’s an amazing city. Aesthetically, it’s not the most beautiful city — but the energy is great, never boring. I always like to say it’s a cross between Disneyland and the Wild West. The perfect combination.

That’s so cool. So, I guess you’ve had enough of L.A.

I haven’t lived in L.A. really since 1994 because I was in France for, God, over 20 years, and then we did try to come back to L.A. to live but it was too much of a culture shock, so we left and went to Thailand. I’m married to a fellow Gypsy, [producer Morgan Mason, son of James Mason]. We’ve been married for almost 38 years, and we’ve lived in seven countries. We can work from wherever we are, and with internet we can do anything. So, we’ve lived everywhere from France to Austria to India to Thailand to Morocco. It goes on and on. That’s what we love to do, and immerse ourselves in different cultures.

Tell me a bit about your animal charity.

I started an animal project in Kolkata, India, back in 2014 called Animal People Alliance, and it’s a two-fold mission. It’s creating care for Indian street animals but at the same time providing employment for either stateless people or people at risk of falling below the poverty line, or women who have been trafficked.

We’ve also expanded into Northern Thailand and work a lot with the hill tribes in Northern Thailand. And since 2014 we’ve treated over 16,000 animals, so it’s been a big success. So, I’m doing this fundraiser, a Christmas party, and 100 percent of the proceeds and admission goes to Animal People Alliance. It’s December 16th at The Abbey in West Hollywood and it starts at 7:00 p.m.

And you’re going to be singing solo and Go-Go stuff there?

I’m going to do a mishmash of songs, but yes I’m doing a short set singing. It’ll be good. It’ll be really, really good and perfect for the holidays.

Any chance of any of your former Go-Go bandmates showing up and getting onstage with you?

I’ve invited them and I know that we’re rehearsing, so possibly they might make an appearance. I don’t know.

What do you mean, “We’re rehearsing”? What’s going on?

We have the Go-Go’s shows at the end of the year, and the Microsoft Theater on the 29th of December, then we have San Francisco, San Diego, and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in Vegas, so that’s what we’re rehearsing for.

And what’s it like when you guys get back together? Your lives changed so much over the years, but you share this amazing, unique artistry and journey.

It’s like riding a bicycle. It’s like no time has passed and we just pick up where we left off, so same dynamic, same humor. It’s the same energy. Even though we’ve all gone on to have separate lives and doing different things, when we get together it’s a certain kind of energy that we can’t really replicate anywhere else.

You guys were entered into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year …

A couple weeks ago. Yeah, it was great. It was an amazing evening and I’m still pinching myself.

When I read that I was like, they weren’t already in? I consider you guys one of the most important bands of all time.

I think it was a personal issue. I know. And like I always said, you don’t have to like the music but you can’t really deny what we had achieved because we had no idea how to play instruments, how to write songs, how to do anything, and from going from that in 1978 to being probably the biggest the band in America in 1981 — it’s an amazing feat.

I think the documentary [2020’s The Go-Go’s, available on Showtime] actually made it possible. It was really a game-changer for the band as far as getting people’s attention and getting the Rock Hall’s attention, because most people don’t know the story. People assume that you’re put together by a Simon Cowell, but when people realize that we put ourselves together, we come from the punk scene in L.A. … a lot of people didn’t know that and they were really taken by surprise. I think telling that story and putting it out there really, really made it possible for us to get inducted this year.

You’re such a template for a kind of band I wish there were more of. I feel like Haim maybe is holding the torch for you guys, but I wish there were more DIY girl punk rock groups with attitude. It’s such a cool niche of the music world, but stands alongside all this stuff any of the guys were doing.

Yeah. It’s weird. I love Haim. I think for the most part there’s a lack of authenticity in music, you know? And I think people, when they find artists that do have something unique and special and that are obviously not packaged and put together, people respond to that. They really love that kind of thing. I’d love to think that it will come back into fashion being DIY, coming from an organic place. I think people really do crave that.

A version of this story first appeared in the Dec. 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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