From the Archives, 1982: It’s all Go-Go in the battle to the top

Sydney Morning Herald Archive, Sunday, June 27, 1982

Under their cute and bouncy look. . .
It’s all Go-Go in the battle to the top

Apart from an occasional wisp of audience cigarette smoke, there’s nothing even vaguely naughty about a Go-Go’s concert.

The fans are a bouncer’s dream. Short back and sides, neat jackets and jumpers, only an occasional modest twitch to the beat.

But there’s more to the Go-Gos than meets the eye.

The hottest, all-female rock group in the United States didn’t get where they are today simply through their much promoted cuteness, their giggling bounciness.

Underneath the frivolous veneer are five tough women dedicated to success at all costs. And they are older — aged 23 to 28 — than fans think.

Until now, there has never been a successful female rock band – women who not only sing, but write their own songs and play their instruments as well.

The Go-Gos began laughably, with no musical experience and no prospects of record company promotion.

They had no backing from their families and no recognition in the rock industry where women singers are called chick singers.

They had an inexperienced manager who pawned her jewellery to promote them because of a women’s intuition about their prospects.

How have they done it?

We work a good 16 to 20 hours a day, said blonde lead guitarist Charlotte Caffey, an ex-coffee house folksinger and hospital clerk.

We’re not so cute either. A lot of people don’t realise this until they talk to us. We’re actually tough and ambitious.

Cute is a media thing. The media tends to want us to be cute. But there is substance there. . .

Caffey, 28, is the only member to have had serious musical training.

The Go-Go’s add something to hard work – smartness.

They have succeeded where other all-female groups have failed because, both in their appearance and in their music, they are non-threatening.

The world is not yet ready for a female Cold Chisel, an aggressive, heavy metal approach, though the Go-Go’s could be nothing less than sensational if they made their act a bit raunchier.


Sitting under harsh TV lights at their packed press conference, or gyrating (cutely) on the stage of Sydney’s Capitol Theatre with the backlighting picking out their curly hair, glittering earrings, clown suits and ponytails, the Go-Go’s play right up to their cute and cuddly image. Why desert success?

There are a lot of boys in town who want to know if you’re single, asks a male reporter.

There are giggles and smiles and shrugs and finally the pronouncement – Yes, we’re all single, which isn’t quite true as some of them do have steady boyfriends. But that’s showbiz, that’s the image.

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