It's really the 32nd-floor conference room of A&M records, but it has acquired the bubbly ambiance of a sorority on the housemother's night off. The Go-Gos flank a large round table, sharing Perrier and Diet Pepsi and radiating a baby-pudge healthiness, a perky sass only slightly louder than their clothes. Which is a fair enough description of their music. Like the knees and elbows of these five young women, their music is technically on the coltish side of grace, the notes rounded and unscarred, the lyrics cushioned in fleshy-pink optimism. Their hit single, "Our Lips Are Sealed," wafts coyly from hidden speakers. It's the same record that's nestled in the Top 40 for more than ten weeks, the record that got them an invitation to open for the Rolling Stones in Los Angeles (an event unblemished by the fact that they haven't been able to get tickets for the Stones' New York concerts). "We were freaked out," says drummer Gina Schock of their second billing with the Stones. "Me and Kathy ran around the office like we were nuts. It was pandemonium." "I was pretty nervous," admits lead guitarist Charlotte Caffey. "But as we walked onstage, we saw Mick Jagger and he said, like, 'Good Luck' and everything, and that made me feel real happy." "I always thought the record would do well," says bassist Kathy Valentine, "but to tell you the truth, the longer it stays on the charts, the more surprising it gets. I didn't expect it to have this kind of long -- longevity." Although some critics attribute the success of the Go-Gos' debut album to its similarities with the "girl music" of the Sixties, the group denies any special affinity with that sound. "Personally speaking, I think the Beatles were our biggest influence," says Caffey. "I listened to Sixties radio, but I never had a girl idol," says Valentine. "Except Joan of Arc," interjects Caffey. "It's a compliment that they draw that comparison," says guitarist/lyricist Jane Wiedlin, "but the only similarities, really, are harmonies. We write our own songs, we play our own instruments --" Schock drums the tabletop as "Our Lips" swells in the background. Lead singer Belinda Carlisle, meanwhile, remains engrossed in an L.A. tabloid's gossip item concerning the Go-Gos' love life. Amid giggles and intermittent face- making, they talk about plans: a coming tour of Japan and Australia, another album already in the works. "Sometimes it's a drag," says Wiedlin in reference to the group's travel. "We entertain ourselves wherever we are," says Carlisle, looking up from her magazine. "We have jokes we laugh at over and over again, and then we go thrift shopping a lot -- " "Personally, I think we have the attention span of three-year-olds," concludes Valentine. Giggles all around. "Uh-oh, I'm watching a sex scene over in that building," interrupts Schock. Six pairs of eyes look toward the windows across the way. "What is that guy doing, what is he doing? See 'im?" "Which floor, Gina!" The man under surveillance bends over a stack of papers in a red-lit office suite, oblivious to his voyeurs. "Kathy, d'you see what I'm talking about? He's saying, 'Bend over!'" "He is not." "He ka2is!" "Oh, for crying out loud, Gina," says Carlisle with a disappointed pout and a roll of blue-shadowed eyes. "We're gonna make filthy songs on our next album," jokes Valentine. "Porno rock. But really, it's gonna be a bit different, 'cause the first album's got songs written mainly by Charlotte and Jane, and we're gonna try different combinations of collaborators. Like Jane and Charlotte." More giggles. "Also, we're all gonna switch ourselves. It's not choreographed or anything. Tomorrow we're gonna be on Saturday Night Live, but it won't be anything like a real live show. Plus we'll be more nervous -- " "We made a list of producers that might be good for our next album," says Carlisle. "Yeah, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas -- " "But we don't know if they're available yet." "Gee, I'm sweatin' in here," says Schock, walking toward the open window. "Well, take your jacket off," suggests Carlisle. "Okay." Schock rips open her red corduroy jacket, revealing only a lace bra, to the delight of her fellow Go-Gos and possibly the fellow across the way. "There's a lot of fun in our act," says Wiedlin. "We're not trying to make any political statements or anything." "If the album hadn't worked out, we'd still be plugging away," agrees Valentine, "playing in a Holiday Inn somewhere. I'd still be having the hope that we were gonna make it. Even when we were a club band, we traveled a lot and built a following. We did 37 cities in seven weeks." The pajama-party atmosphere the Go-Gos project extends to their stage shows and their songs, which sport such titles as "Skidmarks on My Heart" and "You Can't Walk in Your Sleep (If You Can't Sleep)." Their humorous approach to rock has an innocent appeal, as if they'd studied carefully the success stories of the early Sixties. High, sweet harmonies, simple chord progressions, romance-laden lyrics and fun-loving antics suggest they've majored in Beatles, circa "Hard Days' Night." If this has led at least one critic to complain of headaches, it doesn't dampen their fun or their chart success. "We've already had one group of girls come up and say they were starting a band because of us," says Schock. "I think because of our success, all-girl groups will be popping up more. They're concentrating on their playing and their writing more," says Valentine. "We're just one of the first." "We have a nice, big female following," agrees Wiedlin. "Now that we're playing more than just the over-21 clubs, 13- and 14- year-old girls are coming to watch and you can tell they relate to us. We don't seem that exotic or foreign, that they couldn't see themselves up on stage with us." "I think Deborah Harry or Chrissie Hynde would be more difficult to relate to than us, because they're basically copying the way guys have been doing rock and roll all along," says Valentine. "Yeah, and we're more -- we're a lot shorter," laughs Schock. "We see eye to eye with our audience." "Sometimes the recognition gets weird," she adds, "and there are some people in the industry who aren't ready to accept us yet. But just the other night, we were at a Japanese restaurant and this Japanese girl came running up to me saying, 'Go-Go! Go-Go!' "That was really neat."
THE ALBUM -- The Go-Gos, "Beauty and the Beat," I.R.S. SP 70021.
THE SHOW -- Friday at 8 at the Ontario