Charlotte Caffey

Greatly Appreciated

Charlotte Caffey  (born October 21, 1957, Santa Monica, California) is an American rock and roll guitarist and songwriter, best known for her work in the Go-Go’s in the 1980’s.  Caffey began her musical career as a bass guitar player in the early Los Angeles punk band The Eyes before joining the Go-Go’s in 1978 and switching to guitar.  From 1988 till 1992, she led her own band, The Graces, with Meredith Brooks and Gia Ciambotti, who released a 1989 album, Perfect View.  Caffey also co-wrote the theme song to the television series, Clueless, with Anna Waronker, and played piano on the album version of “Foolish Games”, by Jewel, as well as co-writing the No. 1 U.S. country hit “But for the Grace of God” with Keith Urban.  Caffey wrote the book, music, and lyrics for Lovelace: A Rock Musical with Anna Waronker.  (More from Wikipedia)
Chris Ashford then set out to record the other bands that were performing at the city’s first punk club, the Masque.  The Eyes were one of these bands, with a sound that was described on the liner notes of What? Stuff as “poppy but hard edged”.  “Don’t Talk to Me”, featuring vocals by Charlotte Caffey came out on the third What Records? release; the flip side actually had two songs:  “Victims” by the Skulls plus the wonderful “Neutron Bomb” by the Controllers (which was also released as the A side on What 04).  Another song by the Eyes with an equally compelling beat is also included on the compilation album, called “Kill Your Parents”.  (I want to say it was tongue in cheek, but honestly, I can’t tell for sure!).
Charlotte Caffey left the Eyes shortly afterward to become one of the founding members of the Go-Go’s (one of my all time favorites); she was bass player in the Eyes but became lead guitarist in her new band.  Despite their girl-next-door rep and cheerleader-good-looks, this most successful of the all-female rock bands was well rooted in LA’s punk rock scene:  The other two founding members, lead vocalist Belinda Carlisle and guitarist Jane Wiedlin were numbered among the back-up singers called the Blackettes that performed with Black Randy and the Metrosquad.
(July 2010)
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This is a first-wave punk rock band with an all-star line-up:  Bass player and vocalist Charlotte Caffey later was lead guitarist for the Go-Go’s, while DJ Bonebrake became the drummer for X.  My earlier article on the Eyes mentioned that members of the Go-Go’s had deep roots in the Los Angeles punk rock scene, but I didn’t know the half of it.  I recently picked up an LP called Germicide (oh, yes, they are still making new LP’s – I get them all the time) of the first live concert in June 1977 by the Germs (I also mentioned that band in the article); their first single on What Records?, “Forming” b/w “Sex Boy” is regarded as the very first punk rock record that was released in LA.  The woman introducing the band at the beginning of the concert was “Belinda”; and sure enough, I was able to pin that down as being Belinda Carlisle, the lead singer of the Go-Go’s
There are some original singles by the Eyes on YouTube, but the real treat for me was a 2007 reunion at the Masque with a live performance of “Don’t Talk to Me” (though the vocals are not very clear) by the band’s original line-up:  Charlotte Caffey, DJ Bonebrake and Joe Ramirez: .  Their best known song, “Disneyland” can be heard at . 

(July 2012)
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Here is a promotional photograph of the Eyes from back in the day (that’s future Go-Go’s lead guitarist Charlotte Caffey sitting up front): 




This photograph shows the reunited Eyes in performance at the 30th anniversary of the Masque




(July 2013)


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The band was formed in 1978 and was originally called the Misfits, with Belinda Carlisle (lead vocals), Jane Wiedlin (guitar, vocals), Charlotte Caffey (lead guitar, keyboards), Margot Olavarria (bass), and Elissa Bello (drums).  Gina Schock replaced Bello on drums in 1979; after Olavarria became ill and could no longer perform, Kathy Valentine took her position in the band.  Jane Wiedlin thought up the name “the Go-Go’s”.  The band was signed to I.R.S. Records in early 1981 and started a lucrative tour with the Police, before returning shortly thereafter with their own headlining tour. 


(November 2013)


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I have written already of several of the first-wave punk rock bands that were formed in the wake of the proto-punk bands that I wrote about in my last post:  the Stoogesthe Velvet UndergroundNew York Dollsthe Modern LoversMC5, and others.  In fact, one of my early UARB’s was the Eyes; they were one of the first punk bands in Los Angeles and included in their line-up future stars Charlotte Caffey of the Go-Go’s and DJ Bonebrake of X
(March 2017)
Last edited: March 22, 2021