A GoPride Interview

Jane Wiedlin

Jane Wiedlin interview with ChicagoPride.com

Wed. August 11, 2010  by Anthony Meade

Jane Wiedlin
Jane Wiedlin first made her mark as the rhythm guitarist of the history making 80's band the Go-Go's. Jane wrote the Go-Go's biggest hit "Our Lips are Sealed" from a love letter she'd received. She also co-wrote some of the GO-GO's biggest hits including "Vacation" and "Head Over Heels".

Jane left the Go-Go's in October of 1984 to persue a solo career. Her self-titled first solo album,was released in May of 1985.

In 1988, Jane released her second solo album "Fur" which spawned her top ten hit "Rush Hour" and the song "Tangled", was on the sound track for "Pretty Woman", one of the biggest selling soundtracks of all time.

Wiedlin has also acted in movies and provided the voice for several characters on TV and the big screen, including

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Her other roles included Joan of Arc in the comedy "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure", a singing telegram girl in the film "Clue" and the White Fairy in Golan-Globus's "Sleeping Beauty".

After a series of reunions during the 1990s with the Go-Go's, Jane put together bands such as Frosted and Jane Wiedlin and the Downtown Sensation. In April 2009, Jane connected with director Steve Balderson for Stuck! - an homage to film noir women in prison dramas. Co-starring Karen Black, Pleasant Gehman, Susan Traylor, and cult icon Mink Stole.

Jane continued to tour with the Go-Go's throughout 2000. In 2009, the Go-Go's announced their "Happily Ever After Farewell Tour" to be held in July, only to later cancel the tour due to ACL tears in both of Jane's knees. She suffered in a fall while on a hike near her San Francisco home. Jane's lastest endeavor, a comic book called "Lady Robotika" written with Bill Morrison, famous as being part of the Simpsons/Futurama team for the last 20 years, is the adventures of a woman, basically Jane herself, being abducted by aliens and turned into a superheroine off to fight the evils of the galaxy.

She is now writing issue number three and took some time out to chat with ChicagoPride.com about it!

AM: Congratulations on your Lady Robotika comic book! You are now writing issue three. Tell me a little about this project. How did it came about?

JW: I met Bill Morrison, my writing partner, at the SuperCon comic convention in San Jose 3 years ago. We became good friends almost instantly and wanted to collaborate on a project together. Bill is famous as being part of the Simpsons/Futurama team for the last 20 years so we decided to create a comic book about a superhero based on me!

AM: What do you like most about what you have accomplished so far? You've had great reviews about Lady Robotika. Are you happy with the way things are going so far?

JW: There have been a lot of exciting happy moments working on Lady Robotika. I was nervous at first because I'd never written a comic; In fact, I hadn't even read very many comics, but when I dove in and started writing, I found it felt very natural. It came from the same place in my brain/soul as writing songs. In fact, now it all makes sense to me, since songs are basically 3 minute short stories, and comics are illustrated short stories.

So, I find the act of creating absolutely thrilling. Besides that, holding the first issue in my hands for the first time made me cry, I was so happy! I find it very rewarding to think of an idea, work on that idea through fruition, then hold the finished product. I'm kinda simple that way!

AM: Where do the story lines come from?

JW: We created a story arc when we started 3 years ago that would explain how Lady R came to be. It starts out firmly rooted in my real life, then veers off wildly into my fantasy world!

AM: Any undertones of what's going on with Lady Robotika that's going on with Jane Wiedlin?

JW: It's more what is going on in my head. My whole life I've been obsessed with sci-fi, with robots, aliens, outer space, flying saucers, you name it! To be able to work in a medium where I get to write about these things is beyond fun!

AM: When you started this project, did you know all the time and energy and process that goes into making a complete comic issue?

JW: I had no idea. It is a herculean task making a comic book this beautifully done. I love the artwork so much, but of course I can take ZERO credit for that; it's all Bill and the artists that help him like Tone Rodriguez on Issue 1 and Jeff & Phil Moy on Issues 2 and 3. There are so many people involved in the process of comic book-making. Besides the pencillers (sketches), there are the inkers (finished drawings), the colorists, the letterers (who put in the dialogue bubbles and all else to do with printed words), the cover artist, PLUS the writers of the stories (that's me and Bill) and then the editors & publishers and all the business people after that! It is insanely expensive to make a product that retails for $3.00! Bill & I are just stubborn and in love with Lady Robotika, and hope to keep telling her story, while she basically bankrupts us!!

AM: Tell me a little bit about your writing and developing Lady Robotika with Simpsons illustrator Bill Morrison. What is the process?

JW: First we created the arc of the first storyline (how Jane W becomes Lady R). Then there is the "constructional" work, of splitting the story into 6 separate issues, then splitting each issue into 22 pages of story, then each page into multiple panels (usually 1 to 8) of art. This is just the MECHANICAL part of the story telling. Then you have to have a great story that stands alone for each issue, and be able to tell it through pictures and a limited amount of words (mostly dialogue).

AM: You go to alot of the Comic-Con Conventions. I bet you have met alot of freaks, right?

JW: Not really. Mostly people who are geeks (like me!) are kind, thoughtful and respectful. I have met lots of people I admire, and made many good friends there.

AM: I know that you are a HUGE Sci-Fi fan. You've written songs about it, been in Star Trek, are an avid collector and now have a comic book about it. What is it about aliens and the far away gallaxies that excite you?

JW: The idea of other worlds and other life forms completely different to our own is very appealing to me. I am an explorer at heart.

AM: Would you ever "hook up" with an alien if you met one?

JW: HELL YES! And if any came to Earth and offered to take me away with them, I would definitely go!

AM: What are some of your favorite Sci- Fi series and or movies?

JW: Star Trek: especially The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, Star Wars: especially the original trilogy, Blade Runner, Firefly, Serenity, Battlestar Galactica (remake series), Dollhouse, Buffy, Defying Gravity, Galaxy Quest, True Blood, Total Recall, Terminator movies and TV show, etc etc etc. [laughs]

AM: If you could be any character past or present OR make one up of your own, in a STAR WARS film who would you be and why?

JW: Han Solo. He is a risk-taker and an adventurer, and he has is own spaceship and is super hot!

AM: Recently you were trying to save your Light Saber as you were falling down a 20 foot cliff... you DID save it didn't you?

JW: I DID save it! My knees, not so much!

AM: Being that Prop 8 was just overturned in California, I wanted to ask: Do you think that there are gay aliens?... and what would they think of the way that there are limits on what gay and lesbians can and can't do?

JW: There is documentation of homosexual behavior all over the natural world, of course it only makes sense that the natural world is more than just Earth. Any extraterrestrial species that had the brains to get to a planet as far away as we are would think it was ridonkulous to deny certain people basic civil rights based on who they love, in my opinion.

AM: The Go-Go's came from the LA punk scene in late 1978 when there were all the freaks, misfits, homos and all the other people that didnt fit in... was there a huge gay movement in Calfornia at that time?

JW: I know when I joined the punk scene of Hollywood in 1976 it was a group of ragtag misfits, including girls, homos, artists and rebels. Most of us fit in more than one category. Much like the hippy movement of the 1960's it was all about creative expression and being yourself. We just LOOKED a lot different than hippies!!

AM: What is your outlook on the entire Proposition 8 ordeal?

JW: There are so many people in this country with the most ARCHAIC attitudes about things, and the passing of Prop H8 is just one huge example of that. And now, even though the court overturned H8, the things I've read online indicate that there are millions of people out there who consider it their life's mission to make sure others don't get the liberties they so carelessly enjoy (and ABUSE). I think we have many battles ahead, still.

AM: Why did you decide to become a legally ordained minister? Are you avalible for weddings?

JW: When marriage became legal for everyone in California, I was very happy for my many GLBT friends and wanted to be able to legally marry them. Just when I became an ordained minister, Prop H8 passed and that right was once again denied my friends. I am happy that there are other states and countries that recognize same sex marriages, and yes, I am available to all orientations for non-religious weddings! If anyone would like me to officiate their marriage ceremony, they can go to my website, janewiedlin.com and click on "weddings." I just lowered my officiant fee to celebrate the good news about Prop H8 being overturned.

Related:View photos from Jane Jane Wiedlin's "LADY ROBOTIKA" by Anthony Meade

Interviewed by Anthony Meade