Jane Wiedlin felt weird in Japan in this exclusive excerpt from Drew Fortune’s book “No Encore!”

By on July 22, 2019

Drew Fortune’s long-awaited No Encore!: Musicians Reveal Their Weirdest, Wildest, Most Embarrassing Gigs — which features never-before-told behind-the-scenes stories from over sixty iconic musicians — has just been published by Post Hill Press/Simon & Schuster (July 16, 2019).

We here at Night HQ are very happy to be able to share with our readers an exclusive excerpt from the book by Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s, arguably the most successful all-female band in rock ‘n’ roll history.

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This post was made possible thanks to our friend Drew, who this author met years ago when he lived here in Los Angeles (we have happily kept in touch).

Drew’s book — like many of our previously-published “Rock Stories,” detailing some of the wild and crazy adventures experienced by people working in the music biz, one way or another — is chock full of outrageous stories you haven’t read anywhere else, you can trust us on that.

Among the fifty-plus people Drew interviewed for the book were Devo‘s Mark Mothersbaugh, who tells readers about his double date with Michael Jackson and Andy Warhol at Studio 54 while high on PCP.

Then there’s Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction, who tells us how, during the height of his heroin addiction, he thought writing a love note for Fiona Apple in his own blood — extracted from a syringe he’d just used — and then leaving it behind in her dressing room at the 1997 KROQ acoustic Xmas show was a good idea.

It wasn’t — he didn’t even know Fiona at the time.

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Drew also got submissions from Alice Cooper, Sammy Hagar, Peter Frampton, Dee Snider (of Twisted Sister), Dan Aykroyd (of the Blues Brothers),Wayne Kramer (of MC5), Genesis P-Orridge (of Psychic TV), Jennifer Herrema (of Royal Trux), Robert Pollard (of Guided by Voices), Deen Ween, Al Jourgensen (of Ministry), King Khan, Joel Gion (of Brian Jonestown Massacre), Big Daddy Kane, Darryl McDaniels (of Run-D.M.C.), David Yow (of the Jesus Lizard), Debbie Gibson and there’s literally dozens more we could list here as well.

We asked Drew to tell us about which stories surprised him the most:

Night Flight: “Drew! The book is a riot! And, it’s the perfect book for anyone interested in behind-the-scenes stuff going on with their favorites bands and artists. Without giving too much away (we want everyone to go out and buy a copy!), were there any particular stories that really knocked you out and became favorites?”

Drew Fortune: “Thanks! I love Mark Mothersbaugh’s story about his double date with Andy Warhol and Michael Jackson at Studio 54, when he accidentally smoked PCP and freaked out. Alice Cooper’s snake having a violent, gastric malfunction on stage, resulting in Alice having to burn his stage clothes, still cracks me up. The best surprises were people that I had never interviewed, who came in hot and excited to share their tales.”

NF: “That Dave Navarro story has to be one of the more hellacious examples of bad boy rock star behavior. We’re kinda surprised that he was so honest about what happened backstage at that KROQ Christmas show. I’d love to hear Fiona Apple’s side of that story.”

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DF: “Dave was a guy that I hadn’t interviewed before, but he was so excited to share his story of heroin syringe blood art. He posted about it on his Twitter, and the story went viral, so I was really hoping Fiona would have popped out of hiding to say, ‘He wrote what on my dressing room mirror in 1997!!’.”

NF: Were there any stories that didn’t make the book, any last minute entries that we’ll maybe get the chance to read one day?”

DF: “I think there were about fifteen completed interviews that just didn’t end up fitting in with the theme of the book. No offense to the artists who generously donated their stories, but most were cut for length, etc. Mike Hampton from P-Funk had a great story about a woman that performed various unspeakable acts on stage in the ’70s, but I found out that story was told on the Cinemax series ‘Tales From the Tour Bus,’ so I tried to make all the stories I included unique to the book.”

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Jane Wiedlin & Belinda Carlisle performing in the early days of the Go-Go’s, circa 1978 (photo by Melanie Nissen for Slash)

Below, in an exclusive excerpt from No Encore, Jane Wieldlin describes what happened when the Go-Go’s played at Summer Sonic on August 7th, 2004, at Makuhari Messe, about twenty-five miles southeast of Toyko, Japan (we found a clip on Youtube of the band performing “We Got The Beat,” courtesy of MTV Japan Live).

Jane Wiedlin:

“In 2004, the Go-Go’s got invited to open for Green Day in Japan. They were playing stadiums and arenas, so it was super exciting. Japan is one of my favorite countries. Shopping is one of the Go-Go’s main activities, so once we got there, we immediately went to an underground mall in Tokyo. It was completely sealed in, and we shopped our guts out.”

“As we were walking back to the hotel, I suddenly started feeling like I was on acid. I asked the girls, ‘Do any of you feel like you’re on acid? Did we get drugged?’ Everyone, of course, said no. Back at the hotel, I was feeling weirder and weirder. I started vomiting uncontrollably about every thirty seconds. It was so bad that I didn’t have time to breathe, and I thought I was going to die because I couldn’t catch my breath. The room was spinning around like a merry-go-round.”

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“I was barely able to call Charlotte [Caffey], who is kind of like the mom in the band. She ran into my room, and we were just panicking. ‘What the fuck are we gonna do?’ The tour manager arranged for me to go to a hospital, and when we got there, nobody spoke English. Not one fucking word. Here I was, trying to explain these symptoms to a doctor who doesn’t speak English when I didn’t even know what the hell was going on with me.”

“They gave me something to try and combat the nausea, but I couldn’t keep anything down. We had a show the next day, which was a theater show we were headlining without Green Day. I couldn’t even walk, but the show must go on.”

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“The Japanese have really crazy fetishes, and one of them is called broken doll. It’s where really cute girls dress up with crazy, fake injuries, like broken arms and legs. I wanted to dress like a broken doll for the show. I put on this super cute, nurse’s uniform. It was white with the red cross and the cute little cap. We wrapped all these bandages around my knees and elbows and put fake blood all over them.”

“Because I couldn’t walk, we had to get a wheelchair. I got rolled out on stage, wearing this insane outfit, and played the whole set like that. I was playing guitar, singing, while in a wheelchair in a bloody nurse’s outfit, and completely nauseous.”

“One thing I’ll say about playing while you’re sick is that you’re so locked in. You’re concentrating so hard for that hour and a half, you forget that you’re sick. I made it through the show, but backstage afterwards, I immediately started barfing again.”

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“When we got back to the States, I found out I had Meniere’s Disease, which is named for the doctor who first diagnosed it. It’s this thing where you have an acute, allergic reaction to something, but instead of getting hives or a stuffy nose, it goes straight into the inner ear. It causes massive vertigo and nausea.”

“After getting it a few more times, we realized that when I’m in an enclosed space, like an underground mall or certain hotel rooms, there is a chemical used to freshen the air. I have a crazy allergy to those chemicals. When it hits, I feel completely lopsided. I can’t even walk down the aisle of a grocery store. If I swivel my head, I fall over.”

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“So, that’s the craziest. There was one time back in 1979 when the poet Jim Carroll gave me cocaine before a gig. He was hot at the time, and he came to see us. He offered me the coke, which I had never done before. I think it was actually pure speed, because we were all grinding our teeth on stage so hard that we must have looked like total freaks. We played the songs three times faster than normal. That was the first, and last, time I took drugs before going on stage. It’s never a good idea kids!”

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Our big thanks to Drew Fortune, Jane Wiedlin, and Devon Brown of Post Hill Press!

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.