WASHINGTON – Kathy Valentine, former bassist and songwriter for the Go-Go’s, sued her former bandmates, claiming the band schemed to force her out of the group to deprive her of her 20 percent share of the band’s revenues.
On March 8, the Go-Go’s announced on its Facebook page that the band parted ways with Valentine, citing unspecified irreconcilable differences.
In a 33-page complaint, filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Valentine alleges Go-Go’s members Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey and Gina Schock created a new entity, GoGoCo Corp., to sidestep earlier business agreements which afforded Valentine a one-fifth share.
According to Valentine’s lawsuit, the band’s new arrangement would reduce her share to 2 percent.
Valentine wrote many Go-Go’s hits, including “Can’t Stop The World,” “Vacation,” “Head Over Heels,” and “The Whole World Lost Its Head,” during her more than 30 years with the band.
The lawsuit, which seeks damages of at least $1 million, says Valentine received an email from singer Belinda Carlisle on Jan. 17, 2013, saying Valentine was out of the band.
“Dear Kathy, We have decided, for a variety of reasons, including our musical differences with you and the disparaging comments you have made about the band in your Twitter memoir, that we no longer wish to work with you. Although we are parting ways, we would like to do so amicably. In that regard, we would appreciate it if you would refrain from disparaging the band in any interviews, books and social media, including twitter (sic) and Facebook, so that we do not have to pursue this legally with you. Thank you for your contributions to the band over the years, and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. Belinda, Charlotte, Gina and Jane.”
In 2009 Carlisle announced plans to write “Lips Unsealed: A Memoir,” which was published June 1, 2010.
According to her suit, in February 2010 Valentine began a “Twitter memoir,” which eventually included approximately 1,900 tweets.
“In all instances, the entries in her short-lived Twitter memoir involved a candid, truthful and honest account of Kathryn Valentine’s personal experiences and perspectives during the course of her career. (The tweets that referenced the Go-Go’s) in no way disparaged the band; nor did they include any falsehoods or otherwise defame any of the Defendants,” the suit claims.
Valentine’s Twitter posts apparently angered other members of the band.
She received an email, purporting to be from “Belinda, Gina and Jane,” expressing displeasure over some of the tweets.
“What you wrote about the 3 other members of the band and their drugs of choice, etc., while you and Charlotte were sober. It’s really not a good thing to do, especially before a big tour,” the email read, according to the suit.
“Please try to have a little empathy and a little respect for our feelings,” the email concludes.
Valentine’s lawyer says Valentine apologized individually and collectively, and offered to delete posts her bandmates found offensive. Eventually she took down the Twitter memoir account.
The Go-Go’s have publicly described their drug use in the VH1 “Behind The Music” special in 2000 and in Carlisle’s memoir.
Valentine’s lawsuit details years of internal squabbling — with band members periodically getting fed up with each other — and possible lineup changes.
According to included emails, Carlisle did not want to work with guitarists Wiedlin or Caffey at times. Eventually, matters were resolved and the band continued.
“At all times, however, Plaintiff Valentine has wished for the Go-Go’s to remain intact, together as a group, with all of its five principal members,” the civil suit says.
The Go-Go’s, with bassist Abby Travis replacing Valentine, are scheduled to play Wolf Trap June 13, with The Psychedelic Furs.
In an April interview about her new solo record, Carlisle declined to go into specifics about Valentine’s departure.
Prior to filing the lawsuit, Valentine has not disclosed the circumstances surrounding her ouster.