A Chat with Belinda Carlisle

Sometimes an interview opportunity comes along that you simply can’t resist. This is one of those occasions.

Belinda Carlisle added a delightful infusion of cuteness to the early days of MTV as the frontwoman for the Go-Go’s, then succeeded in departing the ranks of the band a few years later and forging an impressive solo career. Alas, she’s spent more time on the road than in the studio in recent years, bouncing back and forth between Go-Go’s tours and solo shows, releasing records with decided infrequency. Indeed, she hasn’t released a new album since 2007′s Voila, and given that the record in question consists of covers of her favorite French songs, it’s not exactly what you’d call representative of her usual work.

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2013, however, marks the release of a new best-of set, Icon, and while it might not ordinarily be a major event, given that it’s the fourth such compilation of her solo work to be released since 1992, fans will be thrilled to know that it actually includes a new single, “Sun.”

It’s such a momentous event, in fact, that Carlisle opted to do a bit of press for the collection’s release, and when the opportunity to chat with her was pitched to Bullz-Eye…well, like we said, sometimes an interview opportunity comes along that you simply can’t resist.

Bullz-Eye: Icon isn’t your first best-of collection, but how much input did you have in selecting the contents of this one?

Belinda Carlisle: Oh, I did a lot, actually. The contents of the different collections have been predicated on the different countries who’ve had different singles, so when Icon was first presented to me… A lot of it had to do with catalog and a lot of the different “this music group signed with that music group” stuff, what was available and what wasn’t, so the track list went through a few different changes, because I wanted to include some of the stuff that maybe they didn’t include originally. So I had a big part, a big hand in it, actually.

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BE: You revisit your old material whenever you do a show, but how is the experience of going back through the records to consider which songs needed a bit more of a shot at the spotlight?

BC: Well, because I work all the time, and especially in Europe, with all of the solo stuff, it’s not, like, “Oh, wow, I remember this song,” because I probably just did the song a few months ago…or even a week ago! [Laughs.] It’s fun for me to go through the catalog, but there’s no real surprises or anything. But it was interesting doing different track listings for different countries, because…well, for instance, for Russia, the song “California,” which is totally obscure here, was a big hit there. So you kind of go through the territories and change things around a little bit.

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The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Antony Starr (“Banshee”)

In his homeland of New Zealand, it is virtually inarguable that Antony Starr is a somebody, given that he spent six seasons starring – as twins, no less – in “Outrageous Fortune,” one of the most successful NZ-produced series in the country’s history. Here in the United States, however, it is fair to say that he has yet to achieve any particular degree of recognizability, but there’s a very real chance that that could change with his starring role in Cinemax’s “Banshee,” produced by Alan Ball (“True Blood”). Bullz-Eye had a chance to chat with Starr at the winter Television Critics Association press tour, and he discussed how both men and women could fall in love with his new series, touched on past U.S.-released efforts that you might have caught him in, and praised some of his country’s finest musical exports.

Bullz-Eye: There are times when I watching “Banshee” where I found myself thinking, “This really couldn’t be much more of a ‘guy’ show.”

Antony Starr: Oh, really? Why?

BE: Well, you know, it’s action-packed, there’s sex, there’s violence…you can’t go wrong with those things in the “guy” demo.

AS: Yeah. I mean, look, it’s definitely and obviously going to appeal to a sort of masculine demographic. But interestingly, though, I’ve talked to a lot of women who’ve seen it, and the fact that the show is basically a love story…you know, it’s anchored on a love story. It’s the only reason this guy would get straight out of prison and make a bee-line for his lover. And a lot of women I’ve talked to have really responded to that and are prepared to go through the violence and some of the more masculine elements because of that. So I think it’s…well, we’ll wait and see, but I think it’s got a good appeal to women as well.

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