A GoPride Interview

Belinda Carlisle

Still Got the Beat: Belinda Carlisle on travel, yoga, music and Market Days

Mon. August 4, 2014  by Anthony Meade

And of course, I will always travel to sing.
Belinda Carlisle
After more than 30 years in the music industry, it's clear Carlisle's still got the beat. The

lead vocalist of the all-female group The Go-Go's is headed to Northalsted Market Days, bringing with her smash hits like "Our Lips Our Sealed, "We've Got the Beat," as well as songs from her solo career like, "Heaven is a Place on Earth."

A longtime friend of the community, Carlisle continues to make sure her voice is also heard on LGBT issues, even more so since her son James Duke Mason came out a few years ago.

ChicagoPride.com's Anthony Meade spoke with Carlisle as she prepares for her August 9 Market Days appearance.

AM: (Anthony Meade) You just finished a tour with The Go-Go's, The Motels, Patti Smyth, Cutting Crew and Naked Eyes as part of the Replay America tour. What was that experience like for you?

BC: (Belinda Carlisle) It was fun. A difficult schedule, but fun. We love Martha. We've known her since the late 70's when the Go-Go's share a rehearsal space with The Motels.

AM: You are playing Northalsted Market Days, Saturday, August 9th. You know we wanted you to perform at this for many years and the stars finally aligned for you to do so. We are excited to have you back here in Chicago, are you excited?

BC: I'm really excited. I've heard it's a great event and I'm proud to be a part of it this year. It's a great excuse to come back to Chicago, one of my favorite cities in America.

AM: What are some of your favorite things about Chicago? Do you have places that you like to shop and eat while you are visiting us?

BC: I love the energy and the architecture. I just love walking and getting lost. I'm a foodie and there are a ton of good restaurants.

AM: Your music anthology was released this year with remasters of all your albums, added bonus and videos. It must be "Heaven" to know that your body of work has stood the test of time and the songs are still fresh sounding and fans of all ages are still enjoying them. What was your favorite part about putting this anthology together?

BC: It was great finally working with a record company that is about the music and that loves music as opposed to working with corporations that don't give a toss about the art and just care about the money. There was a lot of great care put into this by Demon and by myself.

AM: Also on the Anthology, there are new songs added, such as "Sun", which your son James brought to you, and "Good Bye, Just Go", which Ellen Shipley, who co-wrote "Heaven Is A Place On Earth", brought. What was the process in choosing these new songs for this project?

BC: The process was simple. 'Sun' did need some lyrical changes. It was originally 'Run" and then I asked Jane Wiedlin to be involved in the lyric writing as she is a genius at that. It's a very Kundalini Yoga lyric - it's inspired by my practice. 'Good Bye, Just Go' didn't take much work, I just sang it. The demo was alot different than the single. It had an R&B feel, but underneath I heard a song that reminded me of Pop in the late 70's. It reminded me of The Three Degrees. In fact, if I had my way I would have had The Three Degrees style backing vocals that we recorded, but Ralph Schukett thought that it was corny. Maybe it was, but still I loved it. (Laughs)

AM: Speaking of new songs, you recently did a cover of country singer Lynn Anderson's "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden" on Jools Holland which sounded amazing! You really took that song and made it your own. You have also done Pasty Cline, too. Have you ever thought about doing a cover album of country songs

kinda in a way like you did with your French cd, Voila?

BC: Maybe I will, maybe I won't. I don't know. I have been approached to do a country album before, but said no. I will definitely do a Kundalini Chant album next year, after I graduate from teacher training. It is not just singing, it's really understanding the mantra. I don't want it to look like a vanity project. I've dedicated my life to this practice and I'm very serious about it.

AM: You have been practicing yoga for years now. You recently started training to teach it at the Kundalini School of Yoga in Los Angeles. What have you found about yourself in the yoga you practice?

BC: This yoga is about finding the divine in yourself and helping other find their own divinity and happiness. It helps you find your connection to something bigger than yourself.

AM: You live between LA, France and India. You have always seemed to love to travel and visit the "not so common" places. India, in which you started a business, Belindia, has been one of your favorite places in recent years. Any plans to move and explore a new place? You post amazing photos on Twitter of all your finds and treasures when you travel. What are some of your favorite things you have found?

BC: I'm off to live in the Far East - Thailand. I found that once the East gets into your psyche, nothing else will do. I have discovered that you really can't go home after living outside of America for over 20 years. And I don't want that kind of live anymore. I want adventure and I want to be of service. I'm working on establishing an animal hospital in Calcutta, India. That will take up most of my time now. And of course, I will always travel to sing.

AM: Your landmark hit, "Heaven Is A Place On Earth", was released over 27 years ago. To this day, it still sounds timeless. What are some of your favorite memories of recording at album and shooting that unforgettable video directed by Diane Keaton?

BC: There was an energy in the studio. We felt we had something special. And Diane was amazing to work with, she had definite vision and I loved her esthetic. Her humor and point of view was exactly like mine.

AM: There has been talk that The Go-Go's are working on new material and you are working on new solo material. Please tell us what you can.

BC: We'll see what happens with The Go-Go's. I don't foresee an album really, everyone has their own projects. There are so many different formats for releasing material. We are working with Linda Perry next month.

AM: Chicago is excited to have you perform at Market Days. What are your fans in store for when they see your performance this Saturday on the North Stage? Any surprises?

BC: Well, there will be a mixture of solo and Go-Go's of course. And some special back-up dancers! (Laughs)

Belinda Carlisle performs the North Stage at 8:45 p.m. on Saturday, August 9. Northalsted Market Days, which is organized by the Northalsted Business Alliance, runs Aug. 9-10 on Halsted Street for six blocks between Belmont and Addison in Boystown. A $10 donation is recommended.

Market Days Schedule: Saturday, August 9 | Sunday, August 10

Interviews: Belinda Carlisle | Karmin | Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees

Interviewed by Anthony Meade