OUR DEAR GIRL GINA FROM BALTIMORE:
Gina Schock of the Go-Go’s BY MEL ODY BER G ER PHOTO : A R NOL D NEIMA NIS
Badass drummer Gina Schock has delightfully retained her Baltimore accent, despite living in California for over 30 years. With her feisty attitude and forthright charm, it’s easy to see how she was a galvanizing force behind the success of girl super group The Go-Go’s. To date they are the only all women rock band to play their own instruments, write their own songs and have their debut album skyrocket to number one on the Billboard charts. Due to hard living and rock n roll drama, the band called it quits just a few years after making the big time. (only to reunite several years later) During the hiatus, Schock concentrated on songwriting because she found the idea of being a session drummer less than appealing. She had a solo record, House of Schock, on Capitol Records and has been an in demand song-writer for loads of people ever since, notably, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez. We had quite the rollicking conversation- Gina is super hilarious and full of rock star wisdom.
TOM TOM MAGAZINE: HOW DID YOU START PLAYING DRUMS?
The drumsticks felt right in my hands and moving all four limbs at once just seemed simple and easy.
Gina Schock: When I was 11 my brother had to babysit me so he took me to a concert. So, the first concert I ever went to in my life was in 1969 and it was Led Zeppelin opening for the Who. I had this epiphany. I hadn’t decided on what instrument I would play, but I knew I wanted to be up on that stage. Music moved me in a way that nothing else did, spoke to me in a language that I understood and made perfect sense to me. I think I got a bass first and took some lessons. And it was just too slow, because at that age you want to be way ahead of yourself anyway. Then I got a guitar and took lessons for several months, and that was just too slow. So I thought, ‘well, I’ll save up my money and try drums.’ And I bought a set of these Japanese drums called Lido Supremes that were blue sparkle, I’ll never forget them.
SINCE YOU WERE ORIGINALLY INSPIRED BY A LED ZEPPELIN CONCERT I ASSUME JOHN BONHAM IS AN INFLUENCE?
I would come home from school every day and play with my favorite records, which is sort of how I would start with guitar or bass, I’d play by ear and then take lessons, of course. With the drums I put the headphones on and I knew I would never have to take a single lesson because it felt very natural and comfortable. It wasn’t like I had to think about anything—it was just an easy flow. I knew that was what I was supposed to be playing.
THAT’S FUNNY, BEING A DRUMMER I WOULD EXPECT YOU TO BE LIKE, ‘MORE DRUM SOLOS!!’
TO M TO M M A G A Z I N E
Oh, yeah, John Bonham and Charlie Watts, for obvious reasons. They’re completely different, and that’s what I love about them. They’re the guys I looked up to when I was learning how to play drums. I’m also knocked out by Dave Grohl, he knocks my brain right out of my head. And I just watched Black Sabbath at the Hollywood Bowl. That dude Tommy (Clufetos) is so badass, my jaw was on the ground. Usually when a drummer takes a solo, is when I go to the bathroom or get a drink or something, but this guy is incredible.
Nah. I’m the kind of drummer, I just play whatever the song requires. I’ve never thought about drums in that way. Drums are just part of the overall sound of a song to me.
Published on Jul 15, 2014
Issue 18: The Rebel Issue featuring Gina Schock of The Go Gos, Fay Milton of The Savages, Habibi, The Suzan, Skip the Needle, Planning to Ro...