Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

For Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, it’s always been family first.

The couple, who will bring their We Live For Love Tour to Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, West Virginia, on Friday, have been recording together since 1979 and have been married since 1982.

“This is the only way we know how to be a couple. It’s kind of like breathing … We’re each other’s best friends,” Benatar said in a phone interview, comparing the experience to having a Siamese twin.

Benatar and Giraldo have 19 Top 40 singles under their belts, such as “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Love is a Battlefield” and “We Belong.”

They toured with their children until about five years ago when their youngest daughter turned 18. The couple would plan their calendar around the children’s school schedule, Benatar said, so they wouldn’t miss class.

“We never toured without them when they were little,” she said.

They made time for quiet family life, helping their daughters with homework, going to soccer games and theater performances in addition to being a four-time Grammy winning rock act.

Now that their two daughters have grown and no longer come on tour, the road experience has come “full circle,” Benatar added, with she and Giraldo on their own.

“This is a very delicate dance that we’re very adept at doing after all of these years.”

In light of her longevity, Benatar is rightly considered a pioneer for women in rock music. She was one of the first female artists to appear on MTV with the video for 1980’s “You Better Run.” For her own part, however, she sees herself as one piece of a larger women’s rights movement already in progress when her career took off.

“I was the perfect age for all of that to take root,” she said.

While Benatar said she respected women rockers who came before her like Janis Joplin and singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, she primarily set out to emulate the artists she enjoyed listening to who happened to be men.

“I didn’t want to be the girl singer in the band. I wanted to be the band,” she said. “I wanted to sing the songs that the guys would sing. … What I was looking for was to be Mick Jagger or Robert Plant.”

When asked how she’s kept playing music fresh throughout her decades-long career, she said that although traveling can get a little tiresome, the performance aspect of touring simply never gets old.

“Every day is a different set of people, so it’s not that difficult to keep it going all the time,” she said.

She and Giraldo have a set of hits dubbed the “Holy 14” they play at just about every show, so to shake it up, she said they have considered doing a set of relatively “deep cuts” like “Too Long a Soldier,” “Little Paradise” and “Heat of the Night.”

Benatar and Giraldo have sold more than 26 million albums, according to publicist Emily Noto, including the multi-platinum “Crimes of Passion.”

Follow Kelsi Loos on Twitter: @KelsiLoos.

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