Sunday, August 3, 2008
The last time we saw Belinda Carlisle, the former Go-Go's singer was posing for Playboy. Now the 49-year-old solo star is making her return to the live stage as part of this summer's Regeneration Tour, which features several acts that were big in the '80s playing the hits that made them famous. In Carlisle's case, that means five Top-20 pop tunes, including "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" and "Mad About You." The Human League, ABC and A Flock of Seagulls also appear on the bill Aug. 11 at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga. We talked to Carlisle by phone from her home in the South of France.
Q: Why did you sign up for this thing?
A: I haven't toured in the States as a solo artist in about seven or eight years. I've done these shows before in Europe. They're easy and fun. For the audience, it's an evening of instant gratification. So there are a lot of different reasons. Also, my family gets to come out and see me.
Q: Do you get to sneak any Go-Go's songs into the set?
A: Yeah, but it's 90 percent my solo stuff.
Q: In the '80s you used to have drugs sent by FedEx to all your tour stops. Who knew you were so rock 'n' roll?
A: Oh, yeah. I could have done anything back then. I took advantage of being young and wealthy and having no responsibilities. I like to think I left no stone unturned.
Q: Are you worried this tour is going to bring back any bad habits? I heard the guys in A Flock of Seagulls are maniacs.
A: No, not at all. I think everybody on this tour has been through it. Most people are at a point in their lives where they have let their egos go, and they're doing it to have a good time. I like to do the best possible show. That requires a lot of rest and sleep. I should look like a million years old.
Q: At one point, you were simultaneously attending Overeaters Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. How did that work out for you?
A: I'm totally sober. Sobriety has given me a second lease on life. I'm also able to work a lot and make a lot of decisions I wouldn't have been able to make.
Q: Do you ever wake up and think, "How am I still alive?"
A: There's an element of luck and fate. I realize how lucky I am. That I can still work, that I can have artistic license. I still have a life and I still have a family.
Q: You've collaborated with Brian Wilson, Brian Eno and Bryan Adams. Would you ever consider working with a guy not named Brian?
A: George Harrison. Don't forget that. He was always my favorite Beatle. I had met him at a music festival, so I just asked. He liked my voice and he said yes. I've worked with all sorts of people.
Q: You're constantly getting back together and breaking up with the Go-Go's. Do you guys like each other?
A: We're one big, happy, dysfunctional family. We still laugh at the same stupid jokes. We're able to push the same buttons. But, yeah, we are kinder to each other now.
Q: You posed for Playboy in 2001. Would you do it again?
A: I don't know if I would do it now. It was fine for being that age. I have no problem with nudity or Playboy. I thought it was a blast. Not many people can say they were Miss August.
To hear Belinda Carlisle's music, go to www.myspace.com/belindacarlislevoiladeux.