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Belinda Carlisle Teaches Us How To Curse In French

The '80s icon answers the same 10 questions we always ask everyone!


Photo by Gustavo Caballero/ Getty

You just released a new best-of compilation, Belinda Carlisle - Icon, which features a new single called "Sun." What can you tell us about it?
I had no intention of doing any more English-speaking pop music - been there and done that. But my son was bugging me to do something, and actually, the song came through him. A friend of his, Gabe Lopez, wrote it, and I thought, “Oh, my God; this is really, really good.”  It needed some lyrical work so I called my [Go-Go’s] bandmate Jane Wiedlin to come in because she’s like a can-do-lyricist. They came up with a new title, "Sun," and it’s totally age appropriate, which is always a problem with lyrics now that I’m in my mid-50s. And I think it’s great.

How does it make you feel to be called an icon?
I don’t really consider myself an icon. I have been around for a while, and I did have some iconic songs. "Heaven is a Place on Earth" is very iconic. I know the Go-Go’s are iconic. So I’m flattered if people want to see me that way. I think I’m a singer who’s been around for a little while.

AND NOW: THE SAME 10 QUESTIONS WE ALWAYS ASK EVERYONE!

What was the last thing you had to apologize for?
Probably my temper and impatience with my son.

How long ago was that?
This morning - yes, he is definitely the last person I apologized to. You know, he’s a Taurus and he’s bullheaded. I’m letting him help me with this whole single thing, and because he’s passionate, probably in some ways more passionate than I am, he asked me to do some things that I actually will not do. You know, being in this for 35 years, now, I kind of know the game, so there are certain things I just won’t do, so we had a big row about that.



What’s your favorite curse word?
“Oh, for fuck’s sake.” I said that when I was being frisked at Heathrow the other day, and that didn’t go down too well. I really have a bad mouth on me - I say “fuck” a lot. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad word. I have said “Suce ma bite,” which in French is really, really bad. And it kind of throws people off, like when I’m in traffic (in France), I’ll say “Suce ma bite,” and people just kind of go, “Woah, what?” Because it means, “Suck my dick” in French. I think it’s hysterical myself, and that’s part of the reason I do it, especially in France. They would kind of get it and think it’s funny in America, but in France, I don’t think they think it’s funny at all.

When was the worst hangover you’ve ever had?
In New York, back in 1980. I was at Danceteria and I drank I don’t know how many White Russians. But I was topless on the dance floor, and then I had to be carried home and put to bed and I literally lay in bed for three days afterward. I must have had alcohol poisoning. Those were the days! Even the smell of Kahlua or anything sweet and milky…I mean, I haven’t had a drink in eight years, but even when I was drinking, the smell of Kahlua will make me wretch, honestly.

What was your first car?
It was a Plymouth Satellite and it was missing one side. It was a frame on one side and a car on the other. I bought it for $150. It was really embarrassing, actually, but it worked - it got me around.

Do you have a scar that tells a story?
On my arm I have a scar that I love that’s from my pug Pierre. I got it when we were playing. He scratched my arm, and I thought, “I’m going to have this way long after he’s gone. He died three years ago and it’s there, right on my arm, and it always makes me smile.


Do you have a party trick?
I can do lazy eye on cue. You know how people have a lazy eye – an eye that goes kind of funny? I can do it with my right eye. Gina Shock of the Go-Go’s, will go, “Babe, go do lazy eye.” And I’d do it, and she just dies. It’s pretty hideous, actually.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever put in your mouth?
Probably one of those big, Polish gherkins.

What’s the one thing to remember in a fist fight?
Go for the face. I used to get in fist fights all the time in grade school. And there was a guy named Terry Anderson that I must have gotten into three or four fist fights with after school, and I’d go for his face. That was just what I used to do - I think because I was heavy, and he used to make fun of me, and I used to be pretty tough. I would just challenge him, and we’d get into three or four fist fights after school. I can remember his face, and he was like a little asshole. I don’t remember how it ended, but I remember my having blows and his having blows. I was a tough little thing in school.



Who was the last person to see you naked?
Well, I was just thinking, I hope it’s not the neighbors. We live in the French countryside. At the end of our driveway, there’s this one house kind of set off a bit. It’s not really that obvious, but the bathroom window - I don’t know who thought of this - is huge and overlooks our driveway. Anyone can just like look in and see, so I would hope it’s not one of the neighbors, but it possibly could be.

Finish this sentence. If I ruled the world for a day, I would….
I would make everyone do an F-You litter thing and just pick up garbage. I know that sounds stupid, but that’s just off the top of my head. I can’t think of anything too profound, except that it really bothers me when people litter. 

Want more music interviews? Check out the same 10 questions with Branford Marsalis and DJ Jazzy Jeff