Belinda Carlisle on celebrating 30 years since the release of Runaway Horses

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Belinda Carlisle on celebrating 30 years since the release of Runaway Horses

As a former Valley girl, turned punk rocker, turned solo superstar, Belinda Carlisle has touched a lot of hearts in her forty years in the spotlight. Known to some as ‘The thinking man’s Madonna’ and as the voice behind hits like ‘Summer Rain’ and ‘Heaven Is a Place’ Carlisle is one of the most successful and respected recording artists in the world – but who knew the former runaway’s life would change while waiting for an autograph.
“Lorna Doom and I met Darby Crash and Pat Smear – who is now in the Foo Fighters – when we were in high school. We were all waiting in the lobby of a hotel for Queen who were playing there,” she says. We were waiting to get Freddy Mercury’s autograph and they liked me and asked me to join their band the Germs.
“Unfortunately I never got to play with them live because I came down with mononucleoses and had to go back home and live with my parents!” she laughs. “But that was a time you could be in a band and be horrible, that was the Hollywood punk scene and that’s where everything started for me actually.”
Soon after leaving the Germs, Carlisle went on to form The Go-Go’s and with singles like ‘We Got the Beat’ and ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’ they made history as the first all-girl group to top the US album charts. “I still perform with them occasionally. We recently played the Hollywood Bowl with the New York Philharmonics,” she smiles.
From the mid-1980’s onwards Carlisle would go on to make a name for herself as a solo artist, and in 1989 she release Runaway Horses, an album that would go double platinum in Australia. So to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of her landmark release she will be back on our friendly shores in February and March of 2019. “I’m so excited! And I’ve set myself the challenge of performing the album in its entirety.”
Carlisle says while she feels humble to have achieved such a career milestone, she is more proud of something she’s been working on behind the scenes. “A lot of people don’t know that I will be doing Meet & Greets while I’m here because it’s something I don’t normally do but I wanted to do them especially in Australia to get the word out about the Animal People Alliance that I co-founded after a trip to Kolkata, India in 2014.
“I travel to India quite a lot and there’s not many animal welfare services especially in the city. The alliance provides people who have experienced difficulty getting a job, be it the caste system or they have a disability or women who have been trafficked. We are training them to become dog handlers or veterinarian assistants, and to service various NGOs in the city,” she explains.
“We also now have our own shelter and it’s doing really well. It’s a cause I’m working on daily, and it’s really near and dear to my heart. So with the Meet & Greets one hundred per cent of the proceeds go to the Animal People Alliance – but it’s very limited, there are only ten M&G tickets per show.”
Carlisle is an activist, a pop icon and punk at heart with a lot to say, but there’s one question left to ask I had to ask. Did she meet Freddy Mercury that fateful night?
“No!” she laughs. “But I was thinking about how funny it is because after doing this for forty years and having to go to hotels sometimes under a fake name, that we found out his room number and we actually found the balls to knock on his door. Of course he didn’t answer but I probably wouldn’t have answered ever!”
When & Where: Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo – March 1 & The Palais Theatre, Melbourne – March 2
Tickets via
Written by Natalie Rogers