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Show 'n' Tell: Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go's 

From the growl of Catfight! and Candela to the lasting memories of Boobytrap, Hummer, Doll Squad and even Captain Denuve, a host of Atlanta bands owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Go-Go's. The surf-influenced five-piece was born in the L.A. punk scene of the late '70s, wrote and played their own material and released an impressive body of work during the kinetic new-wave phase of the '80s. Though never officially disbanded, Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, Kathy Valentine, Charlotte Caffey and Gina Schock have been especially active recently. Touring to support the band's first new album in 17 years, bassist Kathy Valentine recently spoke to CL.

CL: When you played with the B-52's at Lakewood last summer, you debuted some new songs from the then-forthcoming album. Now that God Bless the Go-Go's is out, how are the crowds reacting to the new songs?

Kathy Valentine: The new material fits very comfortably with the older stuff. Obviously, the hit singles get the biggest reaction -- that's when you can see people really getting excited. But the new stuff sounds like the Go-Go's, so the crowd isn't getting up and going to the bathroom every time we play a new song.

Is the new record doing well, sales wise?

We didn't make this album saying, 'Let's have a No. 1 record' or anything. We have new songs to play and we made a really good record, so that's the main thing.

It's great to see you guys active again. It seems like the band had been on hiatus for a while.

We only get together when there's a good reason. Like, last summer, we didn't really intend to go out, but we thought the B-52's tour was a good opportunity. But if they'd said, 'Do you want to go play with Haircut 100?' we probably would have stayed home.

How do you feel in retrospect about the VH1 "Behind the Music" episode on the Go-Go's?

We knew going into it what kind of show it was. They interviewed each member for about five hours, so a lot was left out, obviously.

Those shows tend to play up tragedy.

Exactly. For every bad aspect that they showed, there were nine or 10 good things to balance it out. But that's not what that show is all about, showing what a good time everyone's having.

What did the rest of the band think of Belinda's cover story and layout in the current Playboy?

Oh, we think she looks great in it and it's good timing, too, with the record being out and everything. It really wasn't planned that way, but we are glad it's out while the Go-Go's are actually doing something.

You have an interesting side project going these days and you get to play lead guitar again.

Yeah, it's called the Delphines. I can go from the Go-Go's to that band and experience two very different levels of playing. It's pretty heavy rock-oriented music with melodies and harmonies with a shredding, bluesy guitar over it.

Do you remember the first time you played Atlanta, at the 688 club? That was an early matinee show at 5 p.m. as I recall.

Oh yeah, that's right. That was some tour: all of us in a van with the lighting and sound guy driving. But it was fun because we were just excited to be out on the road.

It seemed like you were having a great time that night.

We always have a good time playing, and I'm glad it shows. And, you know, all this time later, we still have fun. That's why we keep doing it.

The Go-Go's play the Tabernacle Wed., July 25. Show time is 8 p.m. Tickets are $31. Call 404-659-9022 for information.

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