Tag Archives: 80s Music

World in My Eyes by Richard Blade

I haven’t given a book recommendation in a long time, but I’m about to offer up a good one!  As most know, I grew up in Southern California, probably about an hour from where I live now. If you really want to look it up on a map, the name of the town is Glendora. I lived in the far-less-than-wealthy, southerly section of the town.

At some point during the summer between fifth and sixthgrades for me (1981), I discovered KROQ 106.7. I don’t really remember much about how that happened, except that it might have been my friend Kristy who kind of led the way.

I had an old clock radio in my bedroom starting in fifth grade.  When I got it, I had no idea about radio stations – so I just turned the dial until I found one that came in clearly playing music. Nearly every morning I’d be woken up hearing “My Sharona” by the Knack. I still twitch funny when that song comes on the radio! Even so, I left the radio untouched because I had so much trouble finding a station that came in, let alone one with music I recognized.

During that summer between fifth and sixth grades though, I started becoming more interested in music.  I asked my friends, and Kristy piped up with “Listen to K-West!”  I didn’t know what K-West was, but I figured she’d know, and so when I went home, I fiddled with my clock radio, adjusting it to the 106-area. It was so hard to fix the dial to get something to actually come in, back then. Move the knob a teensy bit too much and it would be static or you’d not get the button exactly on the right station. It would appear to be on 106, for example, but it would actually be 105 or even 107-something. Annoying.

On that day, something did come in, and it was music I really liked. I had no idea what it was, but I stuck with it. I carefully placed the radio back on my dresser and didn’t touch it, assuming I was on K-West, and that Kristy was right. I never listened for that long, just when I was waking up in the morning. At that point, I wasn’t spending a lot of time in my room listening to music yet. I must have had that clock radio set to that station for a good year before I realized what channel it was. Richard started working at KROQ in 1982, and it is just about that time when I remember hearing his voice on the air. My memory might be a bit faded and mixed up (I’ll admit having to come back and edit this post well after I first wrote it!), but I can remember Richard giving out the call sign for the station like it was yesterday!

From that time on, Richard Blade was a constant part of my life. I listened to him nearly every morning, and he had everything to do with helping me shape my musical tastes. If radio weren’t enough, I watched him on MV3 which became Video One, and later on, once I was 18, if he guest DJ’ed at clubs in Los Angeles, I went. (The Palace in Hollywood, and Fashions on the Redondo Beach Pier to name a couple!)

Most readers might also know that I hold Richard Blade responsible for me meeting my husband. Richard was a near-constant figure at Fashions for years. On his fifth anniversary, I went to the club and met Walt. Sometimes I want to thank Richard for that, and other times—well, being married has its challenges, doesn’t it?! Even so, I have a beautiful family, and my children might not be here had it not been for Richard Blade, which is wild when I think about it! I don’t know that I would have ever known Duran Duran beyond being an obscure band from the UK, and I definitely wouldn’t have had my eyes opened to alternative music. Who knew a DJ could subtly influence the direction of my life?

Since those days, I guess I’ve followed Richard.  If he’s DJ’ing somewhere, Walt and I try to go whenever we’re able. He plays the music my husband and I listen to, and the weirdest thing happens when we are dancing (and yes, he and I LOVE to dance. It is what brought us together to begin with). I forget about the tough stuff, and we both get transported back to those beginning days downstairs at Fashions. It is like we remember what is really important, and get back to the basics if only for a few hours. Those hours have somehow saved our relationship over the nearly twenty-six years we’ve been together! We’ve had the opportunity to meet Richard a few times, have had a photo or two with him, and now my friend Steven works with him quite often, which is really cool to see.

When Richard announced his autobiography, World In My Eyes, I was excited to get my hands on it. Richard markets the book by saying that we’ll read about the bands we all know – including Duran Duran – but the truth is, at least for me, I wanted to read his story. It’s not his knowing Duran Duran or Depeche Mode that makes the book interesting – although for many, I understand it’s a true selling point. I haven’t even downloaded his interviews with some of the bands I know, I’ve been too busy reading! I’m not even halfway through it yet and I can honestly say – the man has LIVED. It is no wonder why he’s so successful, or why he’s been a constant source of inspiration and learning to me personally. He has had a life well-lived.

The book is outstanding so far, and I have just barely gotten to the point where he moves to California. It is easy to fangirl Richard Blade, and I don’t want to seem too gushy. To many in my generation, he is (in a very vague sense) our Dick Clark. We can leave American Top 40 to Ryan Seacrest—we don’t need him. But Richard Blade? He taught me nearly everything I know about New Wave and 80’s music. He’s open, honest, and cares about people and living things. He has no problem arguing his feelings and concerns, and while I might not always agree, I fully respect him.

Richard is the real deal, and I want to congratulate him on such a wonderfully written representation of his life. I know the diligence required with writing a manuscript, much less an autobiography. It isn’t enough to just want to do it, you have to want to do it more than anything. Richard wrote every single word, no ghost-writers involved, which is rare!

I have no problem highly recommending World in My Eyes. As I said, I haven’t even gotten halfway through it, and I would easily put this on the same shelf with Mad World. We are so lucky to have books about our music and the people who influenced us. I hope everyone grabs a copy. With the holidays coming, I think it would make a great present for anyone who loves music, Duran Duran and New Wave/80s alternative, or knows of Richard Blade! At over 500 pages, it’s the best $20 I’ve spent in a long time.

(And no, I wasn’t asked to write about his book, and I’m certainly not being paid to do so – this is all straight from me)

I can’t wait to get back to reading – so I’ve got to wrap this up for now.

-R

*edited because as I could have predicted this morning when I first wrote it – I got the dates all wrong. 🙂

80s Mix Tape…Romance Novella Collection!

Hey you 80s fans out there (and I know you’re reading…), I have some new reading recommendations for you, featuring a couple of fellow Duranies turned authors!!

If you loved Bring Me Back and Back Forever, you should pay special attention because Karen Booth is back with another novella to add to her Banks Forest series!  You might even recognize the title…

I’m also really excited to share that Bobbi Ruggiero, another wonderful Duranie-turned-author, celebrates her writing debut with her own entry into this 80s Mix Tape collection with her own novella. Rather than my mindless drivel, how about a taster of each “tune”?

Seven New Adult stories of love in the ’80s, inspired by songs of the decade… 

Save a Prayer by Karen Booth 
Angie Dawson never wanted to see Graham Whiting or his cheating face again, but her dream job at Music Maker magazine has her photographing his band. Angie had prepared to be a grown-up about working closely with him, but there’s one scenario she hadn’t anticipated. Graham wants her back. She wants him to be the guy he says he can be, but the band has massive tours planned and the groupies will always be there. How does a reunion with her ex end up being anything more than a one-night stand? 

Need You Tonight by Gwen Hayes 
Jacob Stone is on the run for a crime he didn’t commit, but when he’s stranded by chance with the only woman he’s ever loved, he can’t deny the need to possess her one last time. Mind, body, and soul. Typical good girl Becky McDonald has loved bad boy Jacob since they were kids, but even as she gives in to the passion only he can ignite in her, she hides the truth. One night of passion. One night of need. That’s all they can have, but it will never be enough. 

Kickstart My Heart by Autumn Jones Lake 
Russell “Chaser” Adams knows he’s destined to take over his father’s outlaw motorcycle club one day, but for now his father encourages him to pursue his music. Raised in a strict family with old-world traditions and their own secrets, Mallory Delov longs for glitter and glamor instead of blood and deceit. Chaser is unlike any man she’s ever known, she can’t help being drawn to him. On the surface they seem like complete opposites. Little do either of them know how much they have in common. 

The Fixer by Jenny Holiday 
Jenny Fields is a crusader. The editor of her college newspaper, she never met a cause she couldn’t get behind. So when the administration announces it’s tearing down the historic art building, she’s on the case. All she needs to do is get Matthew Townsend, the art department’s most talented student, on board. If she could just get the moody genius to answer his phone… 

Drummer Girl by AJ Pine 
Sam Walsh is done—done with college, done with guys, done with the whole scene. But her roommate coaxes her out for an epic last night to see an up-and-coming band. Ben McCarthy is the sexy drummer, the would-have-been valedictorian who dropped out three years ago to follow his dream. Tomorrow he and the band leave for London, but for one unforgettable night, it’s just Sam, the music, and him. Can a girl with her feet planted firmly on the ground fall for the boy who reaches for the stars when the only result is a broken heart? 

Young Teacher by Bobbi Ruggiero 
Control freak Julia Powers hates surprises. With the skills of a ninja, she keeps her ad business and personal life in perfect order. Matthew Gordon wants nothing more than for his band Joyride to go national. While he waits for his big break, he spends his days working in a sandwich shop—a job he loathes—and teaching guitar on the side—a job he loves. His days get a bit more interesting when a mysterious woman comes in for lunch. Imagine his surprise when she shows up at his door for guitar lessons. Unfortunately, Julia can’t play guitar to save her life, and her frustration threatens to ruin any chance of her finding happiness. Will he ever be able to teach her that she’s perfect just as she is? 

Just Like Heaven by Rachel Cowell
As a premed student, college junior Sarah Lattimore’s life is a carefully calibrated system of studying, studying, MCAT prep courses, and more studying. But when she walks into the first day of anatomy lab and sees her gorgeous TA, Sarah’s brilliant mind is suddenly racing in new directions. Grad student Josh has future aspirations toward cancer research. But the unbelievably cute, nerdy Sarah is in his section, and she’s…distracting. When admiring from afar turns to up close and personal, both their academic lives begin to fall apart. Will Sarah realize in time that being with Josh was the smartest choice she’d ever made?

80s Mix Tape

Available at the following online retailers:
The best part? You can grab your own copy…available for a very limited time…at just 99 cents!! Cheaper than a trip to iTunes, and a lot less work than putting together an 80s mix tape, besides!  Support a couple of fellow Duranies (hey, they’ve got a habit to support, too!) and get a great collection of 80s themed love stories at the same time.
-R