meta-scriptLorna Doom, Bassist For Influential L.A. Punk Band The Germs, Dies At 60 |
Lorna Doom

Lorna Doom

Photo: John M. Heller/Getty Images


Lorna Doom, Bassist For Influential L.A. Punk Band The Germs, Dies At 60

Doom played bass with Darby Crash in the late '70s as the Germs helped shape punk on Los Angeles' club scene

GRAMMYs/Jan 18, 2019 - 01:41 am

Germs drummer Don Bolles disclosed on Facebook on Jan. 16 that the punk band's bass player Lorna Doom died that same day. Doom had joined the influential Los Angeles punk band in 1976. It was formed by Darby Crash and Pat Smear, who went on to win eight GRAMMY awards for his work with Foo Fighters and Nirvana. Although Germs disbanded in 1980 after the death of Crash by heroin overdose at age 22, their performances and style helped stoke punk rock's wild and free expressiveness. Doom was 60.

An official statement, released on Jan. 17, from Doom's friends and family reads:

"Teresa Ryan aka Lorna Doom was always a woman of mystery. So much so, that even in her final days as she fought a tough, year-long battle with cancer, very few people even knew she was ill. She kept a very close knit social circle, and those who knew her and loved her always respected her desire for privacy.

When she finally lost her struggle with cancer at 12:50 pm yesterday, Wednesday January 16th, it came as a shock to many, as she had chosen to not burden others with what she was going through."

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The band's club performances blended rock with performance art, noise art and theatrics all taken to extremes. Their only album was 1979's (GI), produced by Joan Jett and ranked by Rolling Stone as #28 of the 40 greatest punk albums of all time. A Germs biopic titled What We Do Is Secret was released in 2007 starring Shane West as Crash.

Germs tried out several drummers before Bolles. Dottie Danger, the drummer when Doom first joined Germs, went on to non-punk musical fame under her birth-name Belinda Carlisle as lead singer for the Go-Gos. Doom's birth-name was Teresa Ryan.

Following the release of the biopic, Bolles, Doom and Spear reunited to perform with the movie's star, Shane West, substituting for the one-of-a-kind Crash. "We were all consultants on the film and ended up having so much fun playing the wrap party we decided to continue," Doom said. "Shane isn't channeling Darby but he still gets it right by being himself."

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Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

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He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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Miley Cyrus performing in 2022
Miley Cyrus performs in Bogota, Colombia in 2022.

Photo: Ovidio Gonzalez/Getty Images for MC


Loving Olivia Rodrigo's "Vampire"? Check Out 15 Songs By Alanis Morissette, Miley Cyrus & More That Reclaim The Breakup Narrative

From the soft hums of Carole King's "It's Too Late" to GAYLE's fiery rage on "abcdefu," these 15 songs encapsulate the expansive emotions of women who put problematic exes in their place — far behind them.

GRAMMYs/Jul 27, 2023 - 03:06 pm

Since the 2021 release of SOUR, critics and listeners alike have touted Olivia Rodrigo for her knack to eloquently pen the relatable woes of adolescence and the pitfalls of falling in love too hard. Her latest single, "vampire," is no different.

Despite trading in her "drivers license" teenage loverboy for an older man, the perfectly executed expression of agony remains. As Rodrigo wails on the chorus, "You made me look so naïve/ The way you sold me for parts/ As you suck your teeth into me/ Bloodsucker, famef—er/ Bleeding me dry like a g——n vampire."

But before there was Rodrigo, there was Avril Lavigne, Taylor Swift, and Alanis Morissette — none of which would be where they were without pioneers of diaristic songwriting, Carole King and Carly Simon. Thanks to the immortalization of their music, we can relive the shift from poetic disclosures of hurt, which King exemplifies on "It's Too Late," to more unrepentant, straightforward jabs (like Kate Nash says on "Foundations," "Don't want to look at your face 'cause it's making me sick") and harrowing battle cries (as Miley Cyrus roars, "I came in like a wrecking ball"). 

Below, revisit 15 songs by empowered women, from 1971 all the way to 2021, who reclaimed the breakup narrative with their fervent sentences of damnation — because, as the age-old saying goes, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Carole King — "It's Too Late" (1971)

When Carole King released "It's Too Late" in 1971, it marked a new era of songwriting. Discussions about divorce were generally unheard of, but even more so when initiated by a woman. Yet, King carried on to unapologetically release "It's Too Late," which later won a GRAMMY for Record of the Year and is lauded by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

On this folky track, King and her husband's inevitable parting is on the horizon, but she isn't resentful per se. Instead, she's more troubled by the embarrassment of her husband's growing discontent, admitting, "I feel like a fool." And at this point, she's ready to move on and can be grateful for the times they've shared. 

Carly Simon — "You're So Vain" (1972)

In her '70s chart-topper, Carly Simon narrates the tale of an arrogant man who believes every woman is enchanted by his aura. But the folk songstress wants to make it very clear she's not impressed by his embellished stories or luxurious closet.

Usually, it's easy to guess the subject of a breakup song, but "You're So Vain" has led to decades of speculation. Many have assumed it could be about James Taylor, who Simon married in 1972 and divorced in 1983, or Mick Jagger, who provided vocals to the track (a theory that was later debunked). To this day, she has only revealed the track's inspiration to a select few, including Taylor Swift, who names Simon as one of her role models.

Joan Jett And The Blackhearts — "I Hate Myself For Loving You" (1986)

Joan Jett might not give a damn about her bad reputation, but she despises nothing more than her ex-lover making her look like a lovesick fool.

On "I Hate Myself for Loving You," the '80s chanteuse wraps herself around a classic glam rock beat, unveiling her contempt for a man who's neglected her. Stripped of her pride, Jett begins to resent herself for holding onto her feelings — as evidenced by the song's title. 

She tries to hide her dwelling desires ("I want to walk, but I run back to you") but ultimately fails to rid herself of the emotions, leaving her to fantasize about the sweet justice of one day roping him back in, just to leave him. 

Alanis Morissette — "You Oughta Know" (1995)

It's impossible to talk about scathing breakup songs without acknowledging Alanis Morissette's quintessential heartbreak anthem, "You Oughta Know." At the time of its release, the Jagged Little Pill single contained some of the most honest and vitriolic lyrics in existence.

Morissette begins with an illusive statement, "I want you to know that I'm happy for you," which, by the second verse, crumbles into a revelation, "I'm not quite as well, you should know." As she culminates into her most confessional, the instrumental rises into an addicting ruckus, with Morissette revealing the thoughts most of us would be too ashamed to admit: "It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced/ And are you thinkin' of me when you f— her?"

Shania Twain — "That Don't Impress Me Much" (1997)

Shania Twain has a particular superpower of delivering each of her lyrics with an air of lightheartedness and confidence. So, when you hear a track like "That Don't Impress Me Much," her disappointment and irritation becomes undetectable.

A quick examination of Twain's story proves — despite the song's bouncy melodies — she's jaded by her ex's preoccupation with his vehicle, appearance and intelligence. Sure, he might be perfect on paper, but he lacks the qualities of a forever lover, and his unmerited ego should be reserved for true big shots like Elvis Presley and Brad Pitt.

Michelle Branch — "Are You Happy Now?" (2003)

In the opening verse of "Are You Happy Now?," Michelle Branch pleads, "No, don't just walk away/ Pretending everything's okay, and you don't care about me." At first, she is in disbelief that her once admirer would swiftly brush her off, but as she reaches the chorus, she begins to question whether his actions were a lie all along.

Her mind racing, Branch teeters between shameless questions of "Do you really have everything you want?" and "Could you look me in the eye and tell me you're happy now?" But by the song's end, she gets the most satisfying payback of all — peace without him: "I'm not about to break/ 'Cause I'm happy now."

Avril Lavigne — "My Happy Ending" (2004)

"My Happy Ending" finds 2000s pop-punk maven Avril Lavigne grasping onto the shards of a broken relationship and trying to pinpoint where everything went wrong. She could have said the "wrong" thing, or her partner's misfit friends might have spoken negatively about her. But there is one thing she does know with certainty: there is no way to pick up the pieces.

Coming to terms with the truth, Lavigne repositions her anger toward the other person for stripping her of her fairytale ending, sarcastically acknowledging him for their time spent together over a somber piano: "It's nice to know you were there/ Thanks for acting like you care/ And making me feel like I was the only one."

Kelly Clarkson — "Gone" (2004)

Kelly Clarkson has traversed almost every emotion in love, from her epic breakup anthems like "Behind These Hazel Eyes" to her most recent LP chemistry. But "Gone" may just be her most unrelenting to date.

Introduced by its Breakaway counterpart "Since U Been Gone," the mononymous "Gone" extends Clarkson's journey of healing — this time, with a more explicit and mature diatribe against her ex's character. Rather than using trivial attacks, Clarkson instead chooses to call out his assumption she'd run back into his arms, later declaring an end to her toleration: "There is nothing you can say/ Sorry doesn't cut it, babe/ Take the hit and walk away, 'cause I'm gone."

Lily Allen — "Smile" (2006)

With "Smile," Lily Allen gets her sweet revenge through the sight of her former flame's tears and misfortune. But the lyrics of Allen's breakthrough single doesn't exactly clarify the specifications of her antics, only an explanation for its origins.

After a cheating scandal ends her relationship, her mental health plummets — until he comes crawling back for her mercy. Upon hearing his pleas, she comes to a realization: "When I see you cry, it makes me smile." And as the conniving music video shows, anyone who cheats on her will get their karma — perhaps in the form of organized burglary, beatings, and a laxative slipped into their morning coffee.

Kate Nash — "Foundations" (2007)

Following in the footsteps of her mentor Lily Allen, Kate Nash vividly paints the tragedy of falling out of love, made prismatic by her plain-spoken lyrics ("Your face is pasty 'cause you've gone and got so wasted, what a surprise!") and her charming, thick London accent.

In this story, Nash has not quite removed herself from the shackles of her failing relationship. In fact, she'd like to salvage it, despite her boyfriend's tendency to humiliate her and her irresistible urge to sneer back with a sarcastic comment. By the end of the track, Nash, becoming more restless, packs on new ways to inconvenience him — but in the end, still wonders if there's any saving grace to preserve their once blazing spark out of a fear of loneliness.

P!nk — "So What" (2008)

The year P!nk wrote "So What," she already had a bevy of platinum singles under her belt. With a gleaming social status and peaking career, she was apathetic to the temporary separation from her now husband, Carey Hart. Feeling the highs of newfound singlehood, P!nk was ready to incite personal tyranny, whether that meant not paying Hart's rent, drinking her money, or starting a fight.

Ironically, Hart appears as the antagonist in the music video, which P!nk revealed via her official fan website was a testament of their growth: "Carey hadn't heard the song before he did the video. That's how much he trusts and loves me [...] He gets it. He gets me," she said.

Taylor Swift — "Picture To Burn" (2006)

Taylor Swift has long solidified herself as the reigning queen of love songs, from ballads honoring the most committed relationships to diss tracks of heartbreaking adolescent flings. The latter houses one of the earliest (and most twangy) hits in Swift's sweeping catalog: "Picture to Burn."

In this deceivingly upbeat tune, Swift vows to seek vengeance on a boyfriend after he leaves her to date one of her friends — from getting with his friends to having her father give him a piece of his mind. And along the way, she will gladly dish out a few insults: "You're a redneck heartbreak who's really bad at lying/ So watch me strike a match on all my wasted time/ As far as I'm concerned, you're just another picture to burn."

Miley Cyrus — "Wrecking Ball" (2013)

Closing the door on her Hannah Montana days, Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" saw the childhood pop star in her most grown-up and vulnerable state to date. Months before the release, Cyrus had called off her engagement to her longtime boyfriend, Liam Hemsworth, paving the way for her thunderous performance on the Bangerz single.

Just as affecting as Cyrus' belting vocals is the track's iconic music video. Cyrus climaxes with a deafening cry — "All you did was wreck me" — as she swings across the screen on an actual wrecking ball, breaking down all her physical and metaphorical walls. 

Halsey — "You should be sad" (2020)

By the mid-2010s, the industry had put angst on the back burner in exchange for feel-good EDM and trap beats. Well, that is, at least, until Halsey entered the picture.

After just two years in the limelight, Halsey had cultivated a vibrant assortment of sonic melodrama — from the dirt and grime of toxic, failed love on tracks "Bad at Love" and "Colors" to the Bonnie and Clyde-esque heated passion of "Him & I."

In 2020, Halsey rounded out her discography with the genre-bending, introspective Manic, where a track like "You should be sad" commands your attention with matter-of-fact, vindictive comments: "I'm so glad I never ever had a baby with you/ 'Cause you can't love nothing unless there's something in it for you."

GAYLE — "abcdefu" (2021)

Unlike most love songs, GAYLE refuses to point her fury on "abcdefu" solely toward her heartbreaker. The then-16-year-old singer, instead, rages against his mother, sister and pretty much anyone (and anything) he's associated with — other than his dog — across a searing melody with a bewitching bassline.

Earlier this year, GAYLE revealed to that she was "angry at him and was angry at the people who enabled him and his behavior." That animosity was palpable in "abcdefu," creating a magic as empowering as it is cathartic — and, like many songs that came before it, proving that there can be power in pain.

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Living Legends: Belinda Carlisle
Belinda Carlisle

Photo: Nick Spanos


Living Legends: Belinda Carlisle On L.A. Punk And Why People Need Pop Music Now More Than Ever

The Go-Go’s frontwoman is still living life on her own terms. In the midst of a national tour, Carlisle spoke to about coming up in SoCal's punk scene, working with Diane Warren, and developing confidence.

GRAMMYs/Jun 27, 2023 - 03:16 pm

Living Legends is a series that spotlights icons in music still going strong today. This week, spoke with Belinda Carlisle, singer of the groundbreaking rock group the Go-Go's and a solo act. Carlisle is currently on tour, supporting a new EP, Kismet.

Belinda Carlisle first fell in love with music when she was about 10 years old. Her family lived in the L.A area, and Carlisle would wile away the hours listening to records by the Beach Boys, the Animals, and Cat Stevens. Fast forward four years and Carlisle was a full-blown angsty adolescent, prone to skipping school and seeing what trouble she and her friends could get into. Though she managed to graduate high school, she bounced from job to job after, ultimately (and fortunately) leaving home around 19 to pursue music, thanks in part to a few nudges from Lorna Doom, bassist for foundational punk band the Germs, who she’d met in high school. 

Carlisle’s stint in the Germs was quick and dirty thanks to a bad case of mono, but she bounced back with aplomb, teaming up with a few friends, to form the group that would become the Go-Go’s. The group’s 1981 debut LP, Beauty And The Beat, hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts — the first record by an all-female rock ‘n’ roll band to do so. Two more hit records followed, with singles like "Our Lips Are Sealed," "We Got The Beat," and "Head Over Heels" helping The Go-Go’s cement their place in the pantheon of popular music. 

The Go-Go’s broke up in 1985 and Carlisle set out on a solo career. She snatched early success with singles like "Mad About You" and "In My Wildest Dreams,"but really hit it big with her second solo effort, 1987’s Heaven On Earth. That album's power pop production, boldly infectious title track and the Diane Warren-penned "I Get Weak" earned Carlisle a GRAMMY nomination. (The Go-Go’s also got one, for Best New Artist in 1982.)

Carlisle’s relationship with music has been on an interesting trajectory ever since. Her four pop records were tepidly received in the States and her two most recent solo full-lengths — 2007’s Voila and 2017’s Wilder Shoes — contained only French standards and Sikh chants, respectively. 

But on her new EP, Kismet, Carlisle is re-entering the pop space. A collaboration of sorts with Diane Warren, who penned all of the record’s tracks, Kismet is joyful and modern, with lead single "Big, Big Love" landing atop the charts for the UK’s Radio 2. It’s a welcome surprise for Carlisle, who’s currently out on the road doing live dates, including stops in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York. spoke to Carlisle about her new record, her thoughts on the future of the Go-Gos, and why she thinks people need pop music now more than ever.

It’s been reported that this record is called Kismet in part because it came out of a chance encounter your son had with Diane Warren at a coffee shop. What really made you want to get back into the studio and release this record?

The songs. It’s as simple as that. I wasn't really planning to go back into the studio before, because I didn't really think that it would happen. Great songs usually go to artists that are already in the charts or younger artists, you know? And when I got the call, I was "Do I really want to do this?" 

It's a big commitment. But I felt like I needed to give it a chance, at least, and when I heard the songs, that's really what got me excited to do another English-language pop project in the vein of my older albums.

And it’s doing well! You’ve got the No. 1 single on the Radio 2 charts! 

It's totally unexpected. It's so weird. 

I had no expectations but I knew it was a really good project, and really good solid pop songs. My attitude has always been, I had a blast doing it, I know it's good work, the fans will love it, and we'll see what happens. And I've been totally surprised that, in countries around the world including the U.S., it has debuted in the top five. 

Tell us about your relationship with Diane Warren. Do you think a song like "Big Big Love" would work for anyone, or do you two just really just get each other?

Diane and I clicked when we first met. Through the years, we’ve run into each other on occasion, but when this whole thing started happening and I went to the studio to start working with her, it was like… you know how with certain friends you can just pick up where you left off and there's no feeling uncomfortable, no weirdness, and no getting to know each other? It’s like that.

I have a really good sense of myself. She has a really good sense of my voice. Weirdly enough, I loved every song that she presented to me. I mean, I'm normally very fussy. I don't just want to sing anything for the sake of doing it.I have to absolutely love it both lyrically and melodically, so it's tough. 

How was that sense of self that you have changed over the years? Do you see yourself differently now than you did in ‘87? Or even in ‘97?

I was really insecure in the mid-‘80s when I embarked on my solo career. I was really lucky to work with [Producer] Rick Nowels on Heaven On Earth, because I was kind of like his muse and he took me under his wing. And it just so happened that I loved his songwriting and Ellen Shipley’s and Diane’s, so I was lucky in that way but I still was insecure about my voice and insecure in a lot of different ways. 

I think as I've gotten older and especially after I got sober like 18 years ago it’s gotten a bit better. I thought, Okay, this is really what I'm meant to be doing and obviously, I'm good at what I do. It may not be the best voice but it's distinctive. And I’ve been really working on my voice and not taking it for granted, too. 

I just think overall now I have confidence that I didn't have when I was younger, and even when I was younger and successful. 

I wanted to ask about the Go-Go’s being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago. You were quoted after the fact saying that you didn’t think the experience would be that amazing but that, in reality, it really was. Tell me what you meant, and why it meant so much to you all in that moment. 

Of course, it's great to get recognition. What we did was amazing. There's no doubt about that. I don't really care about awards, but it's the whole thing about how when you actually get an award, it's pretty cool. It feels really good. 

That night was a great way to cement the legacy of the band and the hard work that we put into it for 40-odd years. I don't think I've ever felt such an enormous wave of love for the band. It really kind of took me aback, actually. I knew that people liked us, but this was like this amazing, energetic sort of wave. And of course you’re performing in front of your peers and people like Paul McCartney, which was, in the end, even more amazing than I expected.

You've known Diane Warren for almost 40 years. You've known the women in the Go-Go's for longer than that? How have your relationships changed in that time? 

There are very complicated dynamics in a band full of five women that have been together for that long, for sure. But I think that when we all were sitting at the Sundance festival, when the documentary [about The Go-Go’s] was being premiered… Some people didn't look up to the band as ground breakers or whatever, but when we saw what we did on the big screen, it was like, wow, we did that.

When you see it kind of encapsulated in the story that was told really well and that captured the essence of the band, I think it made all of us have a new respect for each other. Maybe through the years, we might have taken each other for granted,  but that changed seeing that documentary. 

It's family. It's not even friends or colleagues. We know each other like the back of our hand. We might not see each other for years and years but whenever we get back into the rehearsal studio, it’s like riding a bike. We pick up where you left off. 

The same goes with Diane. You pick up where you left off, and not just work-wise but friendship wise. She's not a good friend, but she's still a friend and we just really gel. Even if she wasn't the greatest living songwriter at this moment, I would still probably have her as a friend because I like her a lot as a person.

**Let’s talk about your time coming up in the L.A. punk scene in the late ‘70s. It is sort of staggering to think all that was happening around the same time Laurel Canyon was still churning and Fleetwood Mac was releasing Rumours. Talk to me about what it was like to be with the Germs and in that scene at that time. Sometimes, the actual group of people who start something like that can be very small, but in the end it turns out to be so significant.**

In retrospect, everything around the world was different. London was angry and political and New York was sort of dark and junky. Detroit was hardcore working class. But in L.A. and in Southern California, there wasn't a whole lot to be angry about really in the late ‘70s. 

It was kind of a sparkle. I don't know how to put it into words, because it was an energy that was very much about art. That was a big part of the punk scene. It was kind of sparkly, somehow, and that was probably because of the magic that California had back then. 

I was one of the original punks. I met Darby [Crash] and Pat [Smear, of the Germs] trying to get Freddie Mercury's autograph at the Beverly Hilton back in 1977. That was at the very beginning of the punk scene and the Germs did the very first punk show or one of the very first punk shows in L.A. at a horrifying theater on Holloway Drive in West Hollywood. It's not there anymore but we knew that it was something special. 

It exploded really fast. It was 50 kids then all of a sudden it was 500 kids and then 5,000 kids. There were beach punks, Hollywood punks, Valley punks…  There was an energy in the air. Everything was so exciting. I lived in this punk rock crash pad called Disgraceland that’s kind of infamous — but I remember saying, "It's so lucky that we can realize this in the moment and know that we're part of something that is really special." Those kinds of movements don't come along very often and we were there at the very beginning. It was an incredible, incredible experience.

And to have the fortitude and foresight to say, "I don't play an instrument, but I'm going to figure it out and we're going to put something together." I mean, the Go-Go’s really happened pretty fast, from inception to No. 1. 

Well, we were kids and, of course, it was the American dream where anything is possible. We were prime examples of that. Everybody was in a band, really, because the scene was so small, but not everybody was that good. We didn't have to be good. 

That was part of the beauty of the punk scene is that we didn't really have to be musicians. We could learn as we went along, and that's what we did. We were lucky to have gotten a lot of guitar lessons and vocal lessons along the way from other bands, too. 

Are you still in touch with Pat Smear?

Yes, because Pat and I were in our first band together so when [Smear’s current band] the Foo Fighters got into inducted into the Rock Hall, the Go-Go’s were the same year, so we had a conversation on the phone, like, "Isn't it weird to go from the Germs to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?" It was very sweet and funny.

How do you define your musical style at this point? If you had to say put Belinda Carlisle in a subsection of music, what would it be? 

Sort of anthemic, melodic pop, I think. Maybe romantic pop songs with complicated melodies? There's a little bit of sadness in a lot of my songs and especially in my earlier catalog, but, really, I guess I would just say "good solid pop songs," which people may write off, but they're really important. 

I just did a big tour in the UK that was sold out every night. In the UK, 20 years ago, I was doing little clubs where maybe 20 people would show up because I really had some serious issues going on, but now I’m doing these big shows? And so when I was doing this tour that was packed with people, I just realized that people need pop music. It brings joy to people. People can escape, and especially in this world right now, that’s really, really important. 

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Franc Moody
Franc Moody

Photo: Rachel Kupfer 


A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea

James Brown changed the sound of popular music when he found the power of the one and unleashed the funk with "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Today, funk lives on in many forms, including these exciting bands from across the world.

GRAMMYs/Nov 25, 2022 - 04:23 pm

It's rare that a genre can be traced back to a single artist or group, but for funk, that was James Brown. The Godfather of Soul coined the phrase and style of playing known as "on the one," where the first downbeat is emphasized, instead of the typical second and fourth beats in pop, soul and other styles. As David Cheal eloquently explains, playing on the one "left space for phrases and riffs, often syncopated around the beat, creating an intricate, interlocking grid which could go on and on." You know a funky bassline when you hear it; its fat chords beg your body to get up and groove.

Brown's 1965 classic, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," became one of the first funk hits, and has been endlessly sampled and covered over the years, along with his other groovy tracks. Of course, many other funk acts followed in the '60s, and the genre thrived in the '70s and '80s as the disco craze came and went, and the originators of hip-hop and house music created new music from funk and disco's strong, flexible bones built for dancing.

Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins learned the power of the one from playing in Brown's band, and brought it to George Clinton, who created P-funk, an expansive, Afrofuturistic, psychedelic exploration of funk with his various bands and projects, including Parliament-Funkadelic. Both Collins and Clinton remain active and funkin', and have offered their timeless grooves to collabs with younger artists, including Kali Uchis, Silk Sonic, and Omar Apollo; and Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Thundercat, respectively.

In the 1980s, electro-funk was born when artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Egyptian Lover began making futuristic beats with the Roland TR-808 drum machine — often with robotic vocals distorted through a talk box. A key distinguishing factor of electro-funk is a de-emphasis on vocals, with more phrases than choruses and verses. The sound influenced contemporaneous hip-hop, funk and electronica, along with acts around the globe, while current acts like Chromeo, DJ Stingray, and even Egyptian Lover himself keep electro-funk alive and well.

Today, funk lives in many places, with its heavy bass and syncopated grooves finding way into many nooks and crannies of music. There's nu-disco and boogie funk, nodding back to disco bands with soaring vocals and dance floor-designed instrumentation. G-funk continues to influence Los Angeles hip-hop, with innovative artists like Dam-Funk and Channel Tres bringing the funk and G-funk, into electro territory. Funk and disco-centered '70s revival is definitely having a moment, with acts like Ghost Funk Orchestra and Parcels, while its sparkly sprinklings can be heard in pop from Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and, in full "Soul Train" character, Silk Sonic. There are also acts making dreamy, atmospheric music with a solid dose of funk, such as Khruangbin’s global sonic collage.

There are many bands that play heavily with funk, creating lush grooves designed to get you moving. Read on for a taste of five current modern funk and nu-disco artists making band-led uptempo funk built for the dance floor. Be sure to press play on the Spotify playlist above, and check out's playlist on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.

Say She She

Aptly self-described as "discodelic soul," Brooklyn-based seven-piece Say She She make dreamy, operatic funk, led by singer-songwriters Nya Gazelle Brown, Piya Malik and Sabrina Mileo Cunningham. Their '70s girl group-inspired vocal harmonies echo, sooth and enchant as they cover poignant topics with feminist flair.

While they’ve been active in the New York scene for a few years, they’ve gained wider acclaim for the irresistible music they began releasing this year, including their debut album, Prism. Their 2022 debut single "Forget Me Not" is an ode to ground-breaking New York art collective Guerilla Girls, and "Norma" is their protest anthem in response to the news that Roe vs. Wade could be (and was) overturned. The band name is a nod to funk legend Nile Rodgers, from the "Le freak, c'est chi" exclamation in Chic's legendary tune "Le Freak."


Moniquea's unique voice oozes confidence, yet invites you in to dance with her to the super funky boogie rhythms. The Pasadena, California artist was raised on funk music; her mom was in a cover band that would play classics like Aretha Franklin’s "Get It Right" and Gladys Knight’s "Love Overboard." Moniquea released her first boogie funk track at 20 and, in 2011, met local producer XL Middelton — a bonafide purveyor of funk. She's been a star artist on his MoFunk Records ever since, and they've collabed on countless tracks, channeling West Coast energy with a heavy dose of G-funk, sunny lyrics and upbeat, roller disco-ready rhythms.

Her latest release is an upbeat nod to classic West Coast funk, produced by Middleton, and follows her February 2022 groovy, collab-filled album, On Repeat.

Shiro Schwarz

Shiro Schwarz is a Mexico City-based duo, consisting of Pammela Rojas and Rafael Marfil, who helped establish a modern funk scene in the richly creative Mexican metropolis. On "Electrify" — originally released in 2016 on Fat Beats Records and reissued in 2021 by MoFunk — Shiro Schwarz's vocals playfully contrast each other, floating over an insistent, upbeat bassline and an '80s throwback electro-funk rhythm with synth flourishes.

Their music manages to be both nostalgic and futuristic — and impossible to sit still to. 2021 single "Be Kind" is sweet, mellow and groovy, perfect chic lounge funk. Shiro Schwarz’s latest track, the joyfully nostalgic "Hey DJ," is a collab with funkstress Saucy Lady and U-Key.


L'Impératrice (the empress in French) are a six-piece Parisian group serving an infectiously joyful blend of French pop, nu-disco, funk and psychedelia. Flore Benguigui's vocals are light and dreamy, yet commanding of your attention, while lyrics have a feminist touch.

During their energetic live sets, L'Impératrice members Charles de Boisseguin and Hagni Gwon (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), and Tom Daveau (drums) deliver extended instrumental jam sessions to expand and connect their music. Gaugué emphasizes the thick funky bass, and Benguigui jumps around the stage while sounding like an angel. L’Impératrice’s latest album, 2021’s Tako Tsubo, is a sunny, playful French disco journey.

Franc Moody

Franc Moody's bio fittingly describes their music as "a soul funk and cosmic disco sound." The London outfit was birthed by friends Ned Franc and Jon Moody in the early 2010s, when they were living together and throwing parties in North London's warehouse scene. In 2017, the group grew to six members, including singer and multi-instrumentalist Amber-Simone.

Their music feels at home with other electro-pop bands like fellow Londoners Jungle and Aussie act Parcels. While much of it is upbeat and euphoric, Franc Moody also dips into the more chilled, dreamy realm, such as the vibey, sultry title track from their recently released Into the Ether.

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