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It's 'a crowning achievement.' Kathy Valentine on the Go-Go's Rock Hall of Fame induction

The Go-Go's, from left, Kathy Valentine, Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock and Jane Wiedlin, are honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Aug. 11, 2011, in Los Angeles. The band is the subject of a documentary available on Showtime.

Fifteen years after they first became eligible, the Go-Go’s will join the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame this year. They will enter the Cleveland-based museum’s roster of honorees on Oct. 30 alongside a venerable class that includes Tina Turner, Jay-Z, Carole King and the Foo Fighters.  

“It's wonderful to have this honor of being inducted,” the band’s bassist, Kathy Valentine, said late Wednesday. Valentine was feeling elated but exhausted after a day spent responding to a barrage of messages and comments from well wishers. “It's kind of a crowning achievement to a career that started right here in Austin, in the clubs here.”

Before she chased her rock star dreams west to L.A., Valentine cut her teeth on Austin stages. While male leaders of the ‘70s music scene, people like Doug Sahm and the Vaughan brothers, offered wisdom and support, Valentine always dreamed of playing with other women.

“There was something about female power that I craved,” she told the Statesman in 2020.

She looked at her favorite bands, acts like Led Zeppelin and ZZ Top, and imagined creating a female version of an arena rock outfit. She realized the vision with the Go-Go’s.

Kathy Valentine said the men of Austin's music scene always supported her. Stevie Ray Vaughan caught up with her in L.A. after they both found success in the music industry.

More:Austin’s Kathy Valentine on the punk-pop history of the Go-Go’s

In 1981, “Beauty and the Beat,” the band’s boisterous debut, hit the top of the Billboard charts, where it would remain for six consecutive weeks. It was a historic achievement. The group represented the first all-female band who wrote all their own songs and played their own instruments to claim the top position. 

In 2020, a new documentary about the Go-Go’s and Valentine’s excellent memoir about her life in rock, “All I Ever Wanted,” highlighted the groundbreaking nature of the band's work. While the documentary in particular called attention to the ongoing Rock Hall snub, Valentine said Wednesday that a few members of the hall’s selection committee told her that reading the vivid stories in her book made a difference to them.  

A paperback edition of the book comes out this year and Valentine plans to use the new release as an opportunity to make up a series of appearances that were canceled last year as the pandemic shut the world down. Her book tour will include a stop at the Hall of Fame. 

The Go-Go's backstage during the video shoot for "Vacation." Kathy Valentine wrote the song to play with her first L.A. band, the Textones. It later became a hit single and the title track to the Go-Go's second album.

Unable to tour or perform last year, Valentine completed a 44-year educational undertaking, earning an undergraduate degree from St. Edward’s University. 

“I started school here in Austin in 1976 at Austin Community College, and then I moved to LA to kind of make it in the music business. And that worked out really well, but on and off over the years, I would take college classes,” Valentine said.

Coming off a rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, pursuing an education was “grounding, and it felt very orderly,” she said. 

“You know, the life of a musician can be chaotic,” she said. “There's not a lot of structure, it can be up and down. There can be years where I would tour or license songs or have a good year. And there'd be another year where I was, you know, kind of really watching my pennies. So it's very up and down.” 

With her education, she was gradually building toward a concrete goal.

When the pandemic began, she reached out to St. Edwards to review how many credits she had accrued over the years and find out what she needed to do to graduate. “We looked at everything I had done, and they said, ‘Gosh, you've got four classes, and you're done,’” she said. She took two classes in the fall and the two final classes she needed to graduate this spring. 

“I love learning,” she said. “I can't think of one class I took that didn't interest me.”

She also believes continuing her education made her a “more interesting person.”

“I'm a better writer. I'm a better lyricist, I'm more interesting. I know more things. I can reference more things,” she said. 

She posted a jubilant picture in a graduation cap and gown to Twitter in April, detailing her decades-long educational journey for her fans and followers.

“I'm 62. It's never too late to educate,” she wrote.