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All I Ever Wanted

All I Ever Wanted
A Rock 'n' Roll Memoir

Go-Go’s bassist Kathy Valentine’s story is a roller coaster of sex, drugs, and of course, music; it’s also a story of what it takes to find success and find yourself, even when it all comes crashing down.

March 2020
304 pages | 5.5 x 8.5 | 11 color and 15 b&w photos, 1 b&w illus. |

Look Inside

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At twenty-one, Kathy Valentine was at the Whisky in Los Angeles when she met a guitarist from a fledgling band called the Go-Go’s—and the band needed a bassist. The Go-Go’s became the first multi-platinum-selling, all-female band to play instruments themselves, write their own songs, and have a number one album. Their debut, Beauty and the Beat, spent six weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 and featured the hit songs “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Are Sealed.” The record's success brought the pressures of a relentless workload and schedule culminating in a wild, hazy, substance-fueled tour that took the band from the club circuit to arenas, where fans, promoters, and crew were more than ready to keep the party going.

For Valentine, the band's success was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream—but it’s only part of her story. All I Ever Wanted traces the path that took her from her childhood in Texas—where she all but raised herself—to the height of rock n’ roll stardom, devastation after the collapse of the band that had come to define her, and the quest to regain her sense of self after its end. Valentine also speaks candidly about the lasting effects of parental betrayal, abortion, rape, and her struggles with drugs and alcohol—and the music that saved her every step of the way. Populated with vivid portraits of Valentine’s interactions during the 1980s with musicians and actors from the Police and Rod Stewart to John Belushi and Rob Lowe, All I Ever Wanted is a deeply personal reflection on a life spent in music.

  • 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

Kathy Valentine
Austin, Texas

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.


“[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.”

“Valentine recounts in candid detail her life's ups-and-downs, including some unsettling revelations.”
Page Six

“An open and often surprising read.”

“[A] frank and open autobiography.”
Houston Press

“Kathy Valentine takes us on an epic tour of honest storytelling. All I Ever Wanted is a raw look at the highs and lows of being high and low. Long live the Go-Go's!”
Amy Poehler

“This book is the equivalent of the best concert I ever attended, possibly better. I was utterly sucked in and immediately devoured it. Honestly, just read it. SO GOOD. You’re welcome.”
Jenny Lawson, New York Times best-selling author of Let’s Pretend This Never HappenedFuriously Happy, and You Are Here: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds

“Like a scorching guitar solo emerging from the prettiest pop song, Kathy Valentine’s All I Ever Wanted blows away every other music memoir out there. It’s the raw, real story of a Texas girl who raised herself and became a legend through sheer grit and talent, from raucous rocker to pop princess and back again. In prose that is powerful and relatable and unsentimental and funny and scary, Valentine takes readers from the depths of a dark childhood to the electric heights of superstardom. It’s a stunning journey, masterfully told.”
Augusten Burroughs, author of Running With Scissors and Toil & Trouble