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All I Ever Wanted


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Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Prologue: Hullabaloo
  • Chapter 1. The Stars Start Falling
  • Chapter 2. Magic Cloak
  • Chapter 3. Liquid Forget
  • Chapter 4. Vacation
  • Chapter 5. Teenage Babylon
  • Chapter 6. Just Do It
  • Chapter 7. Greenbriar
  • Chapter 8. Earthquake
  • Chapter 9. Carnations
  • Chapter 10. Clubland
  • Chapter 11. Throwing Shapes
  • Chapter 12. Virtuosity
  • Chapter 13. Red Head
  • Chapter 14. Nut Whites
  • Chapter 15. Tropicana
  • Chapter 16. Chino Jam
  • Chapter 17. Regular Format
  • Chapter 18. Good Mojo
  • Chapter 19. Wild Jokers
  • Chapter 20. Unforgiven
  • Chapter 21. Next to Merle
  • Chapter 22. Balance the Buzz
  • Chapter 23. Little Scissor
  • Chapter 24. Private Jet
  • Chapter 25. Don't Leave
  • Chapter 26. Tutus and Tiaras
  • Chapter 27. Bash and Crash
  • Chapter 28. Giant Baby
  • Chapter 29. Diversions
  • Chapter 30. Helicopter
  • Chapter 31. Convertibles
  • Chapter 32. Shrinking, Sinking
  • Chapter 33. Let's Have a Party
  • Chapter 34. Falsity
  • Chapter 35. Camouflage
  • Chapter 36. The Same Union
  • Chapter 37. Queen Bees
  • Chapter 38. The Right Way
  • Chapter 39. Gold and Platinum
  • Chapter 40. Cheerleader
  • Chapter 41. Fried and Raw
  • Chapter 42. Cookies
  • Chapter 43. Ultras
  • Chapter 44. Thingy in the Sky
  • Epilogue-a-Go-Go
  • Acknowledgments
  • A Note on Sources and Identifications
  • Index

About the Author

Kathy Valentine is a working musician and songwriter known for being part of the all-female band the Go-Go's. She wrote or cowrote many of the band's most renowned songs, including "Vacation" and "Head Over Heels." In addition to playing music and writing songs, Valentine has worked as an actor, public speaker and spokesperson, and producer. In 2017 she created "She Factory," an event series to raise money for women-centered nonprofits. She currently lives in her hometown of Austin with her daughter, where she plays in a band and is completing her first college degree.


"Valentine recounts in vivid detail the gloriously debauched path of the Go-Gos through early rock success...[she] captures both the carefree bliss of being young, beautiful, rich and talented, and the darkness that such freedom can breed." * Los Angeles Times *
"[A] vibrant new autobiography." * Washington Post *
"[An] excellent recent memoir." * New York Times *
"[All I Ever Wanted] is wonderful. It's also an easy read, the prose as rhythmic and pulsating as [Valentine's] musicianship...All I Ever Wanted isn't a Rocky-like tale of victory, with a final act which sees The Go-Go's on top of the world conquering all comers. This is the story of a musician, a lifer, who simply refused to quit." * L.A. Weekly *
"In her candid new book, All I Ever Wanted...Valentine reflects on the highs of global stardom, the lows of substance abuse, and the aftermath of one of the '80s great pop bands." * Austin Monthly *
"A revealing new book...[All I Ever Wanted is] not a dirty tell-all of life in the Go-Go's, but rather a cathartic analysis of [Valentine's] own life. The struggles and successes that made her the strong, sober, self-sufficient, musician and mother that she is today." * Please Kill Me *
"For those who enjoy the name-dropping in a celebrity's book, Valentine has lots. From John Belushi to Rod Stewart, Lenny Kravitz to the Rolling Stones, she shares her adventures with some of the biggest names in music and movies. For those who love a good rags-to-riches story, there's poverty, loneliness, drugs, love, fame, heartbreak, happiness and finally contentment. And for those into music history, Valentine takes us through her songwriting and playing with the Textones, the Go-Go's and the Delphines, how she wrote her first song, "Can't Stop The World," and probably her most well-known tune, "Vacation," and how guitar has always been her first love." * Glide Magazine *
"Raw and engrossing...Far from judgmental or cloying, All I Ever Wanted is a candid and self-aware memoir that provides a street view of a remarkable time in both Austin and LA's musical histories as well as a thoughtful perspective on the pressures, successes and failures of the music business and what it means to be a bold and hungry young woman within it." * Ovrld *
"Valentine recounts in candid detail her life's ups-and-downs, including some unsettling revelations." * Page Six *
"An open and often surprising read." * Billboard *
"[A] frank and open autobiography." * Houston Press *
"All I Ever Wanted...reads like the audio book to the Go-Go's 1981 game changer, Beauty the Beat, which spent six full weeks at No. 1 and remains the only chart-topper entirely written and recorded by a group made up entirely of women. Documenting not only the decade leading up to the music's DIY revolution locally, the ripping read blooms into full technicolor once Valentine moves to L.A. and replaces the GG's departing bassist. Sex, drugs, and you-know-what ensues. She got the beat." * Austin Chronicle *
"[A] riveting new book." * PopMatters *
"[A] raw and moving autobiography." * Forbes *
"A story well-told with music always at the forefront." * Los Angeles Daily News *
"All I Ever Wanted...is as good as rock and roll memoirs get." * Under the Radar *
"[A] beautifully written memoir." * The Wrap *
"All I Ever Wanted is brutally honest, bold and unflinching...[Valentine] is not afraid to be raw and vulnerable as she opens up about the highest highs and lowest lows in her life in a witty and candid manner." * Digital Journal *
"[All I Ever Wanted] is different from every rock autobiography I've ever read...what really makes All I Ever Wanted interesting, is it's the viewpoint of a girl/woman, how she wanted to be in rock and roll, which was dominated by men, and found a way to succeed. We hear all about sexism in the business, but rarely through the eyes of those who made it." * The Lefsetz Letter *
"All I Ever Wanted, a shockingly candid, at times difficult to read, book is full of incredible stories and anecdotes...As tough as [All I Ever Wanted] can be at times, it is ultimately a story of triumph." * SPIN *
"With frank, jarringly unsentimental storytelling, Valentine reclaims not only the band's narrative, but more importantly, her own." * Texas Observer *
"It's a remarkable story, and Valentine's sharp wit makes All I Ever Wanted a welcome page-turner...Throughout, Valentine's strong voice carries an unforgettable story. When you finish All I Ever Wanted, you'll be even more impressed with the author and her badass bandmates." * The Current *
"Texas grit pervades [All I Ever Wanted]...as [Valentine] balances poignant personal anecdotes with canny observations about the benighted music industry." * Houston Chronicle *
"Revealing and moving...For lovers of the Go-Go's music, you'll find plenty to enjoy here. But All I Ever Wanted goes far beyond that into the details of Valentine's turbulent formative years, her triumphs and struggles within her iconic band, and how she pulled out of the darkest times in order to tell this tale, honestly and unflinchingly." * American Songwriter *
"In the archives of music history, there are many gaping holes still being filled in decades later-holes where the stories of non-white, women, and non-binary musicians have been glossed over. Valentine's book arrives as an essential piece of painting the true, complete picture of rock's history, demonstrating what it means to be a woman in a band when you're not the singer." * Vanyaland *
"The honesty and bravery that permeate All I Ever Wanted transcend genre conventions of normal rock bios. It's a hell of a debut, and a harbinger of greatness to come." * Razorcake *
"Whenever I read a celebrity memoir, I ask myself, 'Why does this story matter? What can readers learn from this?' There has to be more to a celebrity memoir than just tales of sex, drugs, name dropping, fame, and survival. What Valentine provides is not only a thorough accounting of her harrowing childhood, her hard-fought rise to stardom, subsequent collapse and redemption; she provides a window into an important part of rock history...This memoir is both a gripping and entertaining read and an important addition to the history of American music." * Brooklyn Rail *
"[Valentine's] frank, fast-paced memoir (family dysfunction, drugs, rock chauvinism) tells what it was really like to be in her band." * Financial Times *
"[All I Ever Wanted] is bursting with raucous girl-powered sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but is also heroically honest, with chapters detailing childhood trauma, sexual assault, and struggles with addiction." * BUST *
"[A] spirited yet poignant story...What's so powerful about [Valentine's] story is not just how she overcomes addiction and the legacy of a difficult childhood, but how The Go-Go's find their way back to each other, and how, in its own dysfunctional way, the rock 'n' roll family looks after its own." * Mojo *
"Valentine delivers an account that's both loving and lurid." * Oakland Press *
"[A] terrific recent memoir." * The Wrap *
"A feminist rock 'n' roll coming-of-age story for the decades...Whether you're a fan of the Go-Go's or a reader who wants to be enamored with a musician's wordcraft, this is the book for you...Kathy Valentine's writing style is out of this world. Her ability to craft buzzing metaphors and similes had me re-reading and gasping with delight...At its heart, the memoir is a powerful narrative about women who rock, resisting the standard tropes of the sexist music industry." * Louder Than War *
"[Valentine's] book is thoughtful, honest, full of information, and very musical." * Wolf Trap *
"An unsentimental, inspiring recollection of life in the Go-Go's...[an] intelligent and layered memoir...With the gift of time, therapy, and a lot of reflection, Valentine tells her story clearly and insightfully." * Washington Independent Review of Books *
"All I Ever Wanted is a raw and unflinching look at the origins of Valentine's desire to belong to a chosen family-a sisterhood." * Moms.com *
"One of the finest memoirs I have ever read." * Guitar Girl Magazine *
"[A] satisfying memoir...Throughout All I Ever Wanted, Valentine writes in a straightforward style about her struggles and triumphs. Her matter-of-fact, it-happened-to-me tone keeps her account of her eventual sobriety from wallowing in the sanctimony that can mar such accounts. On the page, she is compulsively readable, displaying the self-assured competence and grace of her playing, which makes the successes that close out the narrative especially satisfying." * The Arts Fuse *

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