The Go-Go who co-wrote "Our Lips Are Sealed" and "Vacation" is joining forces with a Madison band. Jane Wiedlin, 49, has asked the Madison avant-garage band Whore du Jour to back her on an upcoming album. And she's agreed to produce their next CD.
Wiedlin arrived in Madison earlier this week to learn ProTools from Master Blaster studio engineer and Whore du Jour member Travis Kasperbauer. She'll appear with the band four times over the next 10 days at shows in Madison, Green Bay and two locations in Door County.
How did the famous L.A. musician connect with a local band that formed just over a year ago? Wiedlin met Kasperbauer and his bandmate Pete Ress at the third annual Steel Bridge SongFest in Sturgeon Bay two months ago.
The SongFest was founded by Pat MacDonald (of Timbuk 3 fame) in 2005 to help raise money for the preservation of a historic bridge in Sturgeon Bay, the Door County town where MacDonald lives. Each June, musicians from around the country gather in Sturgeon Bay motel rooms and cafes, meet new people and write songs with them.
MacDonald has recruited some of his longtime friends to participate. That list includes Jackson Browne (MacDonald and Browne own Sturgeon Bay's Holiday Motel together) and Wiedlin.
Kasperbauer, 36 was the recording engineer at this year's SongFest. He and Ress, who are bandmates in the Skintones as well, attended the festival together.
"We were staying at the Nautical, and Wiedlin was at the Holiday Motel," recalls Ress. "Travis had his studio set up in one of the rooms, and she came by to check it out."
Eventually, Ress and Kasperbauer played her their best Whore du Jour song, "Deep Sea Diver." "She was really excited about that song," says Ress.
The festival concludes each year with performances by the artists involved. This year, Wiedlin asked Ress if he would accompany her on guitar when she performed. He countered by asking her if she would sing with Whore du Jour at their festival appearance.
By the end of the three-day event, Wiedlin and the members of Whore du Jour had made plans for future collaboration.
"She's been sending us her songs, and we're working them up," says Kasperbauer. They're already brainstorming on a name for the Wiedlin-fronted version of Whore du Jour.
"Right now it's 'Jane and the Wiedelbots,'" says Kasperbauer.
Ress is still blown away by the fact that he's working with a member of the Go-Go's.
"I couldn't believe I played with her in front of 7,000 people at Sturgeon Bay," he says. "I used to roller skate to her songs when I was a kid. It was surreal."