If you go
What: Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo
When: 8 p.m. Sunday
Where: Clay Center
Cost: $43 to $78
Info: www.theclaycenter.org or 304-561-3570
When MTV launched during the early moments of Aug. 1, 1981, Pat Benatar's "You Better Run" was the second video to be aired on the fledgling cable channel.
While the American audience instantly fell in love with Benatar's brand of made-for-TV anthemic rock, her heart already belonged to one of the men backing her in the video.
Only a few short months after her MTV debut, Benatar married her guitarist, Neil Giraldo, forging
a romantic and professional partnership that has endured three decades.
Benatar and Giraldo perform together Sunday at the Clay Center.
Because they have worked together and been married for more than 30 years, fans might think that Benatar and Giraldo's musical output reflects their life as a couple. With the two of them living and working together - especially in the context of heavy touring - it's certainly not impossible to imagine songs like "Love is a Battlefield" and "Heartbreaker" as direct criticisms of each other.
Not necessarily so, Giraldo explained.
"It's not pointed. Usually, whenever we write, we really write out of observation. Only rarely do we keep it close to ourselves," he said, adding that certain songs like "Promises in the Dark" are indeed autobiographical.
"A lot of times we just like to observe other people's problems and write about them. It kind of keeps us safe, so to speak," he added with a laugh.
Even though Giraldo and Benatar tend to keep their lyrical subject matter apart from their own relationship, the guitarist and husband of the duo acknowledges that just like any normal couple, they can have some rocky moments while on the road together.
In the end, though, those problems end up taking care of themselves when they hit the stage, he said.
"If you're having a bad day, it doesn't go away. Still, there's nothing bad about that," said Giraldo. "Sure, there have been times when we'd go on stage and the wife and I would be having a rough day or whatever. But, the beauty of it is that once the endorphins kick in and you get up on stage and you do what you do, by the time the show is over, you're in a good mood again. It's hardly ever bad."
That attitude might be the key to couple's lasting longevity and relevance, as they push into their fourth decade together and shows no signs of slowing down.
"As long as we can stay healthy, we'll keep going as long as we can," Giraldo said.
Even though they are best known for helping to usher in the MTV era, Giraldo said the couple has plans to work on a variety of projects - some as individuals and some together - including novels, a live album, TV programs and even a Christmas album.
"There's a lot more left that we have to do. Because of our age and because of the history, there's no pressure and we can do whatever we really want to do. That's a really good feeling," he said.