If you’re a fan of 1980s new wave and pop rock music, you’re probably tuned in to The Go-Go’s, arguably the most successful all-female band ever.
However, you might not know that former Go-Go’s bassist Kathy Valentine is a Texan who made her way from Austin to Los Angeles at 19, co-founded the Textones and two years later joined the upstart Go-Go’s.
The rest, as they say, is history. Valentine and The Go-Go’s became the first – and only – multi-platinum-selling, all-female band to play instruments themselves, write their own songs, and have a number one album. They cranked out hits like “We’ve Got the Beat” and “Our Lips are Sealed.”
Valentine, who is now back in Austin, left The Go-Go’s in 2012 after a contentious legal battle with other members of the band, but she’s still got the beat and is still making music.
And with the recent release of her memoir, “All I Ever Wanted,” Valentine’s lips are unsealed.
Published by the University of Texas Press, “All I Ever Wanted” is a deeply personal and brutally honest recounting of her life. She reflects on the highs and lows of her childhood in Texas, her go-
go years in stardom, and her quest to reinvent herself after the collapse of the band that had come to define her.
It’s a book Valentine “had to write” to make peace with her turbulent past. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll...and family drama. It’s all there.
All Valentine ever wanted was “to be in a kickass band with a gang of like-minded girls and claim the life I wanted for myself.”
She has done both of those things quite well. And now she has written a memoir that rocks.
If you like listening to music while reading, you’ll want to download the “All I Ever Wanted” soundtrack that Valentine created to compliment the book. It adds a unique dimension to her storytelling. The 15 tracks use music, beats, sounds and lyrics ––both song and spoken word –– to convey the mood of certain chapters and scenes in the book.
Over the past 10 years, I’ve come to measure all rock memoirs against Patti Smith’s “Just Kids,” one of the most honest and vivid accounts of the life, evolution and struggles of an artist. Few memoirs come close to Smith’s award-winning book, but Kathy Valentine’s “All I Ever Wanted” does.
It deserves to be right next to “Just Kids” on any shelf of great rock ‘n roll memoirs.