INTERVIEW | Belinda Carlisle
Heaven is a place on Earth especially when we had the the chance to speak with the delightful Belinda Carlisle about life in France, Putin’s hidden sexuality and how to deal with a gay son. Oh and if you miss her tour she’ll come and spank you!
You’re living between two places now France and India?
I was in India off and on for three years and in the past couple of years I’ve been between France and LA.
You must have a lot of air miles?
Oh my God I do. and I use them too!
What’s your most extravagant spend on air miles when did you go on them?
Well you can off course go first class, but my most extravagant flight without air miles was first class Emirates, which was the most amazing experience. They had a huge bathroom with a shower and I just had to go take a shower and wash my hair and blow dry it, so I could say that I’ve blow dried my hair on the flight. It was pretty luxurious and it just kicked butt on everybody.
Have you ever bagged a free upgrade?
No, I haven’t because I’m too embarrassed to do that. Sometimes because I’ve been a gold BA member for sometime they’ll recognise me and say ‘oh we have an extra seat up here come with us Miss Carlisle’, but I never really do because I feel kinda funny doing stuff like that.
Have you a message for Putin and the president of Uganda? (Yoweri Museveni)
I would say compassion, empathy. There’s so much hatred and fear in the world. Putin is f**king scary, they’re both f**king scary and obviously living on a different planet. I don’t know if Putin’s fearful or he’s just a complete megalomaniac. You know most people who have issues with gay people are fearful.
Fearful of what?
Fearful of their own sexuality. I don’t understand why it’s an issue. That’s my take on it, that they just can’t deal with their own feelings towards their own sexuality, so they have to act the complete opposite way which is with a complete lack of humanity.
Were you worried for your son when he told you he was gay?
Well we were driving and he said ‘I like boys’ and I had to pull over in order to stop because even though I always had a suspicion that he probably was gay, when you hear from your child’s mouth, no matter how gay friendly you are, it’s a shock. For me the first thing that came to mind was what kind of world was he gonna have to live in? It is getting better but there’s still long ways to go.
What’s the best way for a mother to deal or process that information?
After I thought about what kinda world he was gonna live in, I then thought what am I gonna tell my husband. Because, even though he’s gay friendly, for a lot of men their son is a reflection of their masculinity. There’s a few friends that I told and I needed to process it myself and it took me a while actually because I went through all of the cliché thoughts that I think probably a lot of parents who have gay children go through. I thought was it something I did was it something I said all that kind of stuff which it’s not and I knew it’s not but I had to process that and I actually went to my therapist just to put my mind at ease and also to figure out how to tell my husband.
Was James very good at giving you plenty of time to come to terms with his sexuality?
What he did, which I was really annoyed about, is that I said ‘Ok, well let’s keep this between you and I until I tell your Dad,’ because I didn’t want everybody knowing and not his Dad. Of course my son went to his school the next day and at the big student council meeting, they have in front of the whole school, he said ‘I AM GAY’. I heard about it and I was like oh my God can’t you just wait? I decided to tell my husband instead of having my son tell him in case there was any kind of bad reaction, I didn’t think there would be, but just in case, and then I just let them two deal with it. They would come to me as the go between and I was like na-ah I can’t do this anymore you two have to figure it out. Actually they went back and forth for about a year before my husband finally accepted it wasn’t just a phase. Now he or myself can’t imagine it any other way. My husband went to West Hollywood and bought him a rainbow bracelet and so he’s like right in there and is very, very proud of our son.
You must have had some outrageous moments especially in the 80s and 90s in your career, can you tell us a story?
Ah, not off the top of my head. It was was all one big outrageous moment blurred into another outrageous moment but I don’t have them any more so much. I mean I have them in different ways, but the Go-Go’s… we were in our early 20s, we were famous, we were rich, we had no responsibilities, we weren’t married, so we went wild, as we should, and we took advantage of the circumstances.
Are these exciting times to live in compared with the 80s?
I think probably it was better then because first of all we couldn’t get away with now what we could back then. There’s just no way, there’s too many cameras around. There’s still lots of drugs now I’m sure but back then it was a bit more innocent and I thought I was invincible and most youth probably think they’re invisible so I can’t imagine having as much fun now as we did back then. The world’s a lot more dangerous now then it was back then.
When you look at the tragic death of Whitney, does it make you angry?
The thing that makes me angry about drug deaths, like Philip Seymour Hoffman and Whitney, is that people make assumptions about addicts or alcoholics. There’s not a lot of understanding. The press sort of cheapens it in a way. We didn’t need to know there were 70 bags of heroin around Philip Seymour Hoffman’s body. We didn’t need to know about Whitney Houston drowning in the bath tub having a heart attack on coke. Unless you’ve really gone through an addiction with a family member or yourself, people don’t really have that much understanding about it. When I grew up we had to watch this stupid drug movies in school and all that made me want to do is go out and do drugs. We all know that they’re bad and they’re always going to be around. I think to legalise, regulate and tax them and put money into education and take away the stigma. I think the public needs to understand the nature of addiction more than addicts themselves as they’re living it.
Who would make up the ultimate Girl/woman band now? Cher, Dolly?
Oh god, those are both amazing choices. I love Cher. I love Dolly. Who else, Liza, and Ann Margret. I think that’s enough females. Believe me I know it’s hard working with too many females.
You’re now a Vegetarian and Buddhist?
I’m a vegetarian and I’m a practicing Nichiren buddhist. I chant every day.
Is this a recent thing?
No I’ve been chanting probably for about 12 years and vegetarian for years and years and then I fell off the wagon but then got back on the wagon about a year and a half ago. I just couldn’t support factory farming anymore it was just wrong, really wrong.
Do you have a non vegetarian food now you still go back to?
No. The one thing I was worried about missing, especially in France, was rotisserie chicken because it’s so f**king good and I don’t miss it at all. It took me a while because I was loving meat, living in France there are vegetarians but people are pretty much meat eaters and I was struggling with going back to vegetarianism, so I’d have vegetarian days and then I’d have meat days but after a while it was just too gross and I felt it was wrong for me to do it. Factory farming, it’s not good for the planet, it’s not good for your body it’s eating a living thing’s consciousness. none of it’s good at all.
You look incredible still… what’s the secret?
Well I haven’t had plastic surgery, I haven’t had Botox, but I’m not opposed to one day cutting. I have cheek bones from my father who’s an American Indian and I have really good skin from him too. But besides that I do a lot of breathing exercises everyday and I think it’s really getting a lot of oxygen. And I don’t drink or smoke, I do lots of cardio, hiking and yoga and that’s probably pretty much it. But my Mum looks great and she’s 75 and she hasn’t had any work done. I think there’s a good gene pool.
Complete these sentences:
I’m never happier than when I’m….
In yoga class.
If I see a girl with her knickers tucked in her skirt I…
Life’s most valuable lesson is…
Don’t do drugs.
Heaven On Earth is….
The Pacific Ocean
People should come see me on tour because if they don’t…
I’ll spank them.
Which has been your favourite Pride event to perform at and why?
Oh gosh, I love doing the LA Pride that was really a lot of fun -probably because it’s my home town but I used to love doing G-A-Y.
Can club remixes for “Sun” be released?
Oh I think that would be amazing if there was a club mix on Sun. It lends itself for that for sure.
You’re a bit of a twitterer, aren’t you…. Is there one person you were genuinely excited was following you?
William Dalrymple. He’s one of my favourite authors and he writes all these amazing books on India and Afghanistan and amazing non fiction. I followed him on twitter and said ‘what I would give to meet my favourite author at William Dalrymple’. He tweeted me back saying ‘Oh it’s mutual admiration I’ve been a fan since the Go-Go’s.’ He follows me and sometimes we tweet back and forth and I’m flattered because I think he’s an amazing, amazing writer. ∎
You say you felt invincible back in the 80s was this a factor of why you fell into drugs?
Oh yeah. Because I didn’t think I’d ever become an addict. I didn’t understand and most people didn’t really understand the nature of addiction, not like they do now, so I thought, ‘oh not me I can control everything’ and of course I found out otherwise.