Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s has a new project simmering: a band with Italian songwriter Pietro Straccia called Elettrodomestico. They have a record coming out on October 20 called If You’re A Boy or A Girl, but, in the meantime, Wiedlin chatted with TIDAL about some records that changed her life.
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The Beatles, Meet the Beatles!
I was just a teeny kid when this came out, but, luckily, I had older siblings who brought this record into our home. This record made me fall in love with music — especially songwriting and harmonies. We had a record player at home, which, at the time, came as a piece of furniture — a wooden cabinet. I used to crawl into the back of the cabinet and lose myself in the songs. I learned every vocal part and memorized the lyrics. I even sent a letter to the Beatles asking if they needed a girl background vocalist!
David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
I don’t remember how I found David Bowie, but when I did, I was in junior high school and experiencing a long bout of rebellion. More than anything or anyone, Bowie changed my life. He was so brave, original and creative. After falling in love with this record, I started posting the lyrics on the family refrigerator and I told my parents that: ‘Bi is best.’ I started dressing differently, I started thinking differently. I embraced the idea that being DIFFERENT was a thing to be proud of, not to hide. And it made me want to pursue a life of creativity of some kind.
Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure
Once I found David Bowie, I became obsessed with the glam rock coming out of England. Discovering Roxy Music was kind of mind-blowing. They were wildly weird. They were insanely great musicians, and I’d never heard such crazy, chaotic music before. Bryan Ferry was dreamy as hell, and his imperfect, quavering voice was PERFECT. The song subjects were abstract, strange. They were uber glamorous and eccentric. Their album artwork was always absolutely incredible. Like with Bowie, I desperately wanted to be part of their world.
Finding the Ramones and the burgeoning punk scene was like coming home. Most of the newly punk kids I met in ’76 had started as glitter rock fanatics, just like me. I think we were all in search of the next big teenage rebellion, and boy, did punk rock fit the bill! The Ramones’ sound was 180 degrees different from the soft rock that was popular at the time. They were fast and furious. Joey’s monotone and nasal vocals were utterly new to my ears, as was Johnny’s guitar playing. His incessant down-strokes, played at a breakneck speed, totally enthralled me. The punk scene of the ‘70s gave me the courage to start my own band, the Go-Go’s.
Green Day, Dookie
I was kind of living in a bubble in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and had no idea what the trends were in music. When someone showed me Green Day, I was shocked to realize that punk had finally broke! Because the Go-Go’s, in the beginning, were a punk band that had pop elements and strove for good melodies, Green Day was a revelation to me. They reminded me of the band I most loved during the late ‘70s: the Buzzcocks. I abandoned the pure pop sound I’d been chasing for years, and happily went back to my teenage roots, striving to create new songs that were fast, hard and honest — but still super hooky.