Belinda Carlisle was the voice of the '80s -- from her cheerful Go-Go's megahit "We Got the Beat" opening the iconic "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" in 1982 to the truly inspiring solo hit "Mad About You" in 1986. Since then, Carlisle has left her party-girl days behind her, built a successful solo career spanning over two decades, and started a new family when she married Morgan Mason, son of late actor James Mason. (The two also had a son together, James, who's now 16.)
But if there's one '80s trait still intact, it's Carlisle's distinctive L.A. accent. She may have just turned 50, but she still sounds like an enthusiastic 20-year-old -- and frankly, it would be fascinating to overhear a conversation between her and "The Hills" star Lauren Conrad. (Conrad: "I totally love your shoes, Belinda." Carlisle: "Oh, my God, these shoes are like, my all-time favorites!")
Currently on the fabulous "Regeneration" tour with fellow '80s artists ABC, Human League and others, an exuberant Belinda chatted with me about Amy Winehouse, the Go-Go's, the Manson girls, Madonna, Lindsay Lohan -- well, we talked about a lot. Oh -- and she even played "Who Would You Rather Sleep With?" for the second time. We attempted "F-Marry-Kill" at first, but it didn't work out... Read the full interview after the jump.
Belinda, I have a ton of questions -- I'm going to let you choose which to answer. So which category do you want: totally random oddball questions, current affairs, or same-sex marriage?
I totally want the random oddball questions, to be honest.
OK, this is totally random. One of the Manson girls, Susan Denise Atkins, is dying in prison, and she wants to be let out of prison so she can spend her remaining time with her family. Do you have any lingering interest in what happens to the Manson girls?
Oh my God! I was obsessed with the Manson murders! I read the Herald Examiner account of the Manson girls every single day when I was growing up, and I had to wrap up the paper afterward and hide it, because my parents wouldn't let me read it. The Manson murders were a big, big part of my life. I was living in Burbank, and the murders happened within 10 miles of my house, so I was completely obsessed -- and absolutely terrified.
It's been over 40 years now. Do you think they should let her out?
If I were a family member of one of the victims, I would say absolutely not. Because those crimes were so heinous -- I probably would have to say no, don't let her out. If she wants her family around, then they should come see her. I just don't think there should be any sort of grace given. It's so weird. You look back, and those girls were 18 -- they were just kids. And now it's 40 years later, and it's such a tough call. I mean, I'm sad when anyone is dying, and I'm sure that at this point she has a lot of regret. Wait -- she was the one who showed the most regret, right?
No. She was the one who actually killed Sharon Tate and her baby, and she didn't show regret until much later.
Then forget it! Forget it! She shouldn't get out.
The one who really showed huge regret the soonest after the crimes was Leslie Van Houton.
That's right! Leslie Van Houton. But Susan Denise Atkins -- just, no way, forget it! I still get upset about those crimes! I mean, just forget it, Susan D. Atkins.
OK, next random question: If you had a five-hour window, where you could do any drug in the world with the assurance that nothing bad would happen and you'd be safe ... what drug would you do, and under what circumstances --
[Excited]. I can tell you exactly what it would be. I don't need to think about it! OK, it would be mushrooms, and it would be in the countryside in Ireland, which was one of the best days of my whole life when I did that! I went on a complete mushroom trip for an entire day, with a backpack filled with fruit, and it was so much fun.
Were you with anybody?
Oh, yeah! I was with an actual mushroom priest, and had a complete ceremony, and the whole thing -- and it was completely sacred, and it was AMAZING! I never would have guessed mushrooms. Yeah, definitely mushrooms. You probably would have guessed cocaine, but no -- no coke or anything speedy. Mushrooms, for sure. Totally.
Another random question: What was the worst fight you ever had with a Go-Go?
[Exhales, thinks.] Oh. God, there have been like, so many. [Thinking.] OK, yes -- this is definitely it. It was with Gina, and it was a long time ago. She had, like, gotten this new watch, and we kept asking her what time it was, and that was really irritating her, and she freaked out -- and like, wanted to hit us. It almost turned into a slugfest. It was ... really, really bad. But -- that was a really long time ago, which is the good news. But, oh, my god, that was really, really bad.
Over a watch? I can see that with girls. But now I'm dying to know more about the watch ...
[Laughs.] Well, the good news is that it was a really long time ago. Yeah, but we were, like, relentless. It was really bad.
OK, another random: Amy Winehouse. Do you think anything can be done to save her? What would you do, if you could do anything?
That poor thing needs to be locked up! I mean, I think that's the only way. I don't think anything could help her, because frankly, I think she's on a death mission. I know from experience that you can't have help until you want it -- and I can't see that she wants any help. I mean, they are saying she has (pre)emphysema from smoking crack? That's like, pretty bad, especially since she's only in her early 20s.
So I think that if it were possible to lock her up and keep her from herself, and then try to just -- beat the program into her head or something, it might work. I mean, that poor thing, she just does so many drugs. It wouldn't surprise me if she died. I know that's a terrible thing to say, but she just seems to have a death wish.
You're doing the Regeneration tour solo right now. What is the process for determining if you do something solo or with the Go-Go's?
I would imagine making that decision would be tough, because it involves money for the girls? No, it's not tough at all. I have two totally separate careers, and in actuality, I work much more on my own for my solo career, especially in Europe. So the Go-Go's are one part of my career and the solo part is much bigger than the Go-Go's part. And since I hadn't toured as a solo artist in the States for years and years, it just made sense for me to do Regeneration solo. But I don't feel guilty about it at all, and I don't think I should, actually.
So the girls never give you a hard time? Like call you up and say "Geez, Belinda -- can't you do this as the Go-Gos, we're ready and willing to hit the road?"
No, not at all. I mean, they would love to tour as the Go-Go's, but see, I do that quite a bit -- and for me, I always choose things based on if it's something that's going to be kind of fun. Sometimes it's fun with the Go-Go's, and sometimes it's fun on my own.
So I saw the DVD of the Go-Go's in Central Park. In the special features, there's a scene where you're all on the van heading to the gig. Jane gets on the van, looks at your outfit and says, "You're wearing that?" You looked devastated -- and I also noticed you changed outfits for the concert.
That's so the Go-Go's dynamic -- that stuff goes on all the time, and you just get numb to it. But I know which outfit you're talking about, and I know that people were complaining for a while that I was wearing that muu-muu look -- you know, the Mandarin thing. So when Jane said that, it was probably at the tail end of my Mandarin phase -- even fans were starting to complain about what I was wearing.
So if Jane hurt my feelings, I'm sure it was brief. See, with the Go-Go's, it's total love-hate -- it's a big, dysfunctional family. Buttons are pushed because everyone knows exactly how to push each other's buttons -- and it's just like water off a duck's back, to be honest.
Do you feel 50? Or what age do you feel?
Oh, god, no -- I don't feel 50 at all. If I had to say an age, I feel I'd say I feel 35. I think the reason I look OK at 50 is because I have a little meat on my bones. Catherine Deneuve said that after 35, you have to make a choice between your face and your butt, and I agree with her. [Laughs.] And I've chosen my face!
Which other celebrities do you think look good for their age?
I think there are a lot of women out there who look great for their age. I think Kim Cattrall looks amazing -- I think she looks really good and natural. I think Julianne Moore looks beautiful, and Michelle Pfeiffer is still stunning. I think what's-her-face, Lynda Carter -- she looks awesome. I think that after a certain age, if you're too skinny, and too worked-out and too sinewy; I just think it looks desperate and old.
Madonna -- all power to her, and a lot of people think she looks great, but I'd like to see her gain about 20 pounds and be a little bit easier on herself, actually.
The last time we talked, we played "Who would you rather sleep with?" Instead of that, let's play "Fuck, marry or kill," OK?
OK: Amy Winehouse, Janis Ian or Exene Cervenka?
Ewwww! [Laughs]. Well, I could think of two of them that I'd like to kill. Then again, I wouldn't want to have sex with or marry either Exene or Amy Winehouse. Or Janis Ian, actually. I wouldn't want to kill them, but I wouldn't want to marry them -- I mean, ewwww! No way! [Laughs hard.] This is too complicated! I want to just play who would you rather sleep with, like we did before. Can we do that instead?
Yes -- but you'll have to give me a second to change these from threes to twos. I mean, we had the perfect threes, and they were in a certain order. OK, let me figure this out. [Thinks.] OK -- I'm ready: David Lee Roth or Vince Neil?
Ewwwww! [Laughs hard.] That's awful! Umm, probably David Lee Roth, because at least he has a sense of humor, and he seems like a really bright person.
John Taylor from Duran Duran, or Adam Ant?
John Taylor. Because he's cuter, and 'cause I was never an Adam Ant fan. I love Duran Duran.
Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston?
Oh, poor Jennifer Aniston...
[Apologetically] I know, I know -- and it's terrible. But come on ... please.
Carla Bruni or Hillary Clinton?
Um. Um. I think Carla Bruni. At first, I found her really irritating -- but now I don't. I mean, I find her semi-attractive. I don't think she's gorgeous, but I also like her last couple of albums. But hold on -- I like Hillary, too. But I guess if I had to choose between the two sexually, I would choose Carla Bruni.
What about Lindsay Lohan or Pink?
Pink! I think Pink is really, really cute. I think Lindsay Lohan is a little bit skanky, actually.
Linda Ronstadt or Olivia Newton-John?
Oh my God! I'd say Olivia Newton-John, because I have always, always thought she was just gorgeous. But wait! I would have totally done it with Linda Ronstadt when she was in her roller skates, 'cause she was really, really cute. She was irresistible then, actually, in those roller skates.
Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp? Johnny Depp.
Well wait -- I don't know. I think they're both really cute. Hold on -- that would be a pretty big toss-up for me. But I guess Brad Pitt, 'cause he's a strappin' lad.
Here's a hard one: Amy Winehouse or Dina Lohan?
Ewwww! You don't know where any of those have been. I can't choose!
No, but you have to! There's a gun to your head.
[Laughs.] Let me think. Um...OK. Probably Dina Lohan. I mean, have you seen the picture of Amy Winehouse these past few days? I mean, no way. I don't think so.
Did you see the one with the cocaine stone in her nostril?
No, I haven't, and I don't want to! It's just too gross and awful, and it just makes my skin crawl. Dina Lohan makes my skin crawl too, but not like Amy Winehouse. So I'd choose Dina Lohan.
Corey Haim or Corey Feldman?
Ewwww!!! Oh, God! [Laughs hard, then silence.] Hmmm. [Laughs harder.] Oh, God. OK, probably Corey Haim. [Laughing.]
But why Haim? You have to give a reason.
I don't know! I have no idea! [Laughing.] Well, because ... isn't Corey Feldman the one who moondanced? He was the one Corey that did the moonwalk, right? Anyone who does that? I mean, come on. No way.
Janice Dickinson or Donatella Versace?
Oh, God. [Exhales.] I'd probably go with Janice Dickinson.
Why her, and what caused that exhale?
Well, I knew Janice back in the '80s, and one thing is that I don't think she needed to mess with her face so much -- because she was SO gorgeous. Umm ... Donatella Vercase is really scary in person. I mean, I've seen her in person, and I just ... couldn't believe it. But Janice Dickinson didn't need to mess up her face up, either, because she was really beautiful to begin with. I mean, really, really beautiful.
Interview by Jenny Stewart, Editorial Director. Originally published on PlanetOut.com and Gay.com, 2009 Read our first interview with Belinda by clicking here