The platinum-selling pop star, who ruled the airwaves in the early 1980s as the lead singer of all-female rock band The Go-Go’s before embarking on a successful solo career, has always enjoyed a strong following in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
She’s a tireless supporter of gay rights. And her son, politician James Duke Mason, is openly gay.
“I’ve been blessed from the very beginning with the large gay audience and I’m flattered,” Carlisle told The Advocate in 2013. “They always have the best taste anyways and are at the forefront of fashion, music, and style. .... It’s a good following to have because it means you’re doing something right.”
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On Friday, Tommi Rose and The Playgirls will bring their fierce, fabulous drag revue to SLO Brewing Co. in downtown San Luis Obispo. The 21-and-over show, which takes place at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., features drag queens who have appeared on the LogoTV reality competition “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
Sunday’s Pride in the Plaza event offers an afternoon of entertainment, including performances by local favorites The Betrothed, Jill Knight and Próxima Parada. Drag queen Tommi Rose will return as mistress of ceremonies.
Carlislie plans to play “the hits” during Sunday’s concert. Those could include “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed” and other songs she popularized with Go-Go’s bandmates Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey and Gina Schock, as well as solo smashes such as “Heaven Is a Place on Earth,” “I Get Weak” and “Mad About You.”
Also planned for Central Coast Pride are a 21-and-over Pride Dance Party, 9 p.m. Saturday at Pappy McGregor’s Irish Pub in San Luis Obispo, and a SLO Pride After-Party, Sunday night at Novo Restaurant and Lounge in San Luis Obispo.
In a brief email interview, Carlisle expressed her excitement about being part of Pride in the Plaza.
When asked what the word “pride” means to her, she replied, “Being true to yourself and out and proud.”
Here are a few other thoughts she shared via email.
Let’s start by talking about your musical roots. Who were some of the artists who inspired you, and why?
I would say the Beach Boys had a great influence on me, as I grew up in Southern California. They are part of me on a cellular level, I would say – their harmonies and melodies, their style.
Also, when I was in high school I discovered Roxy Music, Iggy Pop and, of course, Blondie had a big influence. I loved and still love Debbie Harry.
How did you decide you wanted to be a professional musician?
I just winged it as I went along. If it wasn’t for the punk rock era of the early ‘70s, I’m not so sure I might have had a career. That movement made it possible for kids with dreams.
The Go-Go’s were the first all-female rock band to write their own songs and play their own instruments to have a No. 1 album, 1981’s ‘Beauty and the Beat.’ Were you aware at the time how significant that was?
I think we were more concerned with having a good time. In retrospect, we realize what an amazing accomplishment it was.
What do you see as some of your proudest achievements as a member of The Go-Gos? And as a solo artist?
I think having a global No. 1 album and single as a solo artist with “Heaven” (is a big accomplishment), as far as The Go-Gos (go), getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – and, of course, “Beauty and the Beat” going to the top of the charts in the United States.
You came to fame at an early age, and you've been open about the struggles you faced as a result. What are your thoughts on that time, looking back?
Everything was perfect as it was, including myself. Challenges are what life is all about.
You've been sober since 2005. How does it feel?
Every day is a miracle.
Pride in the Plaza
Noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday
Mission Plaza, San Luis Obispo
541-4254 or www.slopride.com