The Go-Gos Sex Tape

Who? American all-female new wave pop group.

Real? The tape is real, but it’s not really a “sex tape”.

In 1982, the Go-Go’s were rock & roll gods. Their album Beauty and the Beat topped the Billboard charts for six straight weeks. They were touring with The Police and playing 15,000-seat auditoriums. And they were living the rock & roll gods lifestyle: booze, drugs, self-indulgence with no regard for consequences, anything for new kicks.

Backstage at a concert in November 1982, some band members, roadies and hangers-on shot a notorious video, which circulated underground for decades. This text appears at the beginning of the circulating tape:

In moments, you will be taken behind the scenes into a world seldom seen by the hordes of adoring fans. This tape was never intended for public consumption. In fact, many times you’ll hear the girls say, “No one will ever see this tape. Do whatever you want.” It is believed that this tape was privately shot by a roadie for the Go-Go’s circa November 1982 — long before state-of-the-art video camera equipment. The image is black and white and of lesser quality than today’s “home videos.” But it remains a fascinating look at the dark side of rock and roll.

A writer at Everything2 has compiled an insanely detailed blow-by-blow description of the tape. Highlights include drug-addled Belinda Carlisle and Kathy Valentine talking about sex, masturbation, promiscuity and double standards, while a roadie named David furiously tries to get an erection despite having swallowed several quaaludes. The cameraman tries to talk a friend of the band into showing her tits, and her refusal leads to a tense standoff. There’s no actual sex on the video, just a lot of druggy rambling and casual cruelty.

Guitarist Jane Wiedlin, who was apparently around during filming but didn’t appear onscreen, talked about the notorious video years later:

It was just one of those stupid nights when everyone was drunk and high and we had a video camera and we had this brilliant idea that we were going to make an art film, like an Andy Warhol movie, and we were trying to get some girl to have sex with one of our crew, and it was just a big stupid drug disaster mess, and I feel sorry for that guy because it is pretty humiliating or whatever, but it was just an example of, you know. . . . typical excess!

I can’t find it online. However, you can rent it from Netflix on Midnight Blue: Vol. 3: Celebrities Edition.

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