BC: Jane and I lived in a punk rock apartment building in Hollywood called the Canterbury. It was like the Chelsea hotel in New York, that kind of thing. I loved all the different clubs in L.A.: you’d go to the Whisky, drive down to the Starwood, see a band there, go downtown to Chinatown to Madame Wong’s, see someone there, go to an afterparty in Hollywood, play music there — it was a really lively, creative time in Los Angeles.
AB: I was at their first show at the Masque. They played with my drummer, Terry Graham. Everybody was really impressed. Even though they were just starting to play, you could tell they had songwriting ability: They had a song about living at the Canterbury, and fighting off the roaches, and they had “Robert Hilburn,” [an unflattering portrait of the L.A. Times pop critic]. People remembered their clever lyrics, that they had cool melodies. They had something special even at that first show.
How The Go-Go’s Perfected Pop-Punk
STEWART COPELAND: In those days, the band had to look the part. Your haircuts and sartorial choices were very much a part of the product. And, led by Sting, we were good at it. We would tease Stingo that he couldn’t walk past a mirror without primping. And he would say, “Fuck off, it’s my job. And yours, too, by the way.”
MARTIN FRY: The record companies weren’t pressuring anyone to look a certain way. That came later. For “The Look of Love” we wanted to cross the visual style of Benny Hill, a really crude slapstick comedian, with An American in Paris. I don’t think Kurt Cobain would have ever put on a striped blazer and sung to a wooden crocodile. There’s a parrot on my shoulder at one point. We were pushing it to the limit, seeing how embarrassed we could get. Art is what you get away with.
JOE ELLIOTT: Rock of Ages was a laugh. I wield this giant prop sword through fiery hallways and then the sword magically turns into a guitar. It’s very Spinal Tap. When I sang ‘All-right,” which sounded a bit like “Owl-right,” Mallet put an owl in the video at that moment.
BRIAN SETZER: My hair was my speciality. If you don’t have cool hair, don’t make a video.