As maybe three people in this world know, I’m working on a screenplay. Ryan Bailey is encouraging me to write it as a novel first, but as I’m a man of few words, that’s proving to be a task. This is beside the point. I’m writing a story set in 1988. And as I’ve been a mixer of mixtapes since the post-tape days of ripping and burning CDs, the film’s soundtrack was finished a long time ago.

One of the first tracks is Belinda Carlise’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth”, a fond memory from the radio when I was five. One of the final tracks to be added was Jane Wiedlin’s “Rush Hour”, a recent discovery I wrote about in my previous post. Five seconds on Wikipedia revealed that these ladies are two founding members of The Go-Go’s, the most successful all-female rock band in history. Having grown up post-New Wave, I was ignorant of this.

I recently caught on TV Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which features Jane Wiedlin as Joan of Arc. That sent me to her blog, which announced The Go-Go’s would be soon embarking on their farewell tour. Knowing this might be my only chance to see two of my soundtrack contributors on one stage, I bought two tickets.

So Maggie and I went to Dayton to see The Go-Go’s.

“You two look too young to be here!” said the sweet lady who helped us take a picture. Indeed we were. But how could I explain my weird compulsion to be in the same space as some rock legends who appear on the soundtrack to a movie that’s still being written and not likely to get made in the near future?

We sat through an enjoyable opener Kaya Stewart and then Best Coast, who were not the best. Kaya’s band (fluent in the nuances of good old rock ‘n’ roll) seemed to be having a blast up there. Best Coast seemed to be having a beer after this. It was a good opportunity to visit the men’s room before the ladies took the stage.

Gina Schock appeared first, then Charlotte Caffey, Belinda, and Jane and tour bassist Abby Travis. They blew us away for 90 minutes. Hits, album tracks, covers, and encore. And it was Belinda’s birthday, so there was cake. I guess that’s why they played “Mad About You”. It was a thrill.

GoGos

It’s always good and important to go see legends while you can. We’re running out of legends. My generation cannot produce them. I can’t imagine what my kids will be listening to, but it won’t be what other kids are listening to, and still those kids aren’t listening to what the next kids are going to be listening to. Interests are specialized, information filtered, content tailored. Maybe Taylor Swift. I don’t know. But I do know my generation and the next generation will never all gather ’round the television at once to see The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.

That’s why my screenplay is set in 1988. We still shared music back then. There were big hits that everyone knew by heart. We sang along with Belinda and Jane and The Beach Boys and George Michael and INXS and Huey Lewis & the News and yes I see the contradiction in talking woefully about the next generation and wistfully about music from before my time.

Nevermind. (Nirvana, 1991)

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Written by Ryan Staples

Writer | DP | Editor | Filmmaker