Rock ‘n’ Roll High School 75: Mad World-o-rama
It’s always awesome to have authors do a Rock ‘n’ Roll High School post on release day, but this one is doubly perfect since my guest is Lori Majewski and her book, Mad World, which was co-authored by Jonathan Bernstein, is a veritable smorgasbord of 80s music yumminess. Featuring a foreword penned by Nick Rhodes and an afterword by Moby, Mad World is an oral history that celebrates new wave through all-new interviews with 35 of the most notable artists of the period, alongside a parade of vintage photographs. Mixtape suggestions and fashion sidebars help fill out the fun. Participants include: Duran Duran, New Order, Tears for Fears, Adam and the Ants, Depeche Mode, INXS, Simple Minds, Soft Cell, Yaz, A-ha, Berlin, Psychedelic Furs, Joy Division, ABC, Echo and the Bunnymen, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, The Waitresses, and more!
Plus, in Mad World, you’ll learn about the near-death experience that inspired Gary Numan’s “Cars”, the classic novel and pop-star crush behind Spandau Ballet’s “True”, Morrissey’s belief that the other Smiths were embarrassed by his lyrics for “How Soon is Now?”…and much more! I can’t wait to read it!
Lori Majewski, co-author of Mad World: An Oral History of the New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s
Weehawken High School, Weehawken, NJ, Class of ’89, Currently: Author/Journalist/Media Consultant
Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds. It’s partly because of The Breakfast Club, obviously, but it’s also because the words are so melancholy.”Will you recognize me? Call my name or walk on by?” You spend four years in tight quarters with the same people and then you all head off in different directions. Graduation was difficult for me — I’d gone to school with many of the same kids since Kindergarten. But there were a few I’d certainly outgrown as well. Oh, teenage angst!
Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: A piece of Simon Le Bon’s t-shirt. At the end of one of Duran Duran’s Madison Square Garden concerts — June 23, 1987! — he tossed it into the crowd and a pack of wolves — I mean, a bunch of us teenagers — ripped it to shreds so we could each take home a momento. I kept it in a plastic baggie to preserve his sweat.
Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Bon Jovi. It was New Jersey, and they were MEGA. I knew a few Duranies who were suddenly all about Bon Jovi, and I was like, “Gross!” And if you look at their mid-80s photos now, they WERE gross. Whereas, you look at the Durans’ 80s photos now and they were BEAUTIFUL. But if we’re talking about music, Bon Jovi were okay. I just would never have admitted it back then.
Best show or concert you saw in high school: Duran Duran at the Beacon Theater, NYC, on Aug. 31, 1987, and Depeche Mode at the Meadowlands, then called the Brendan Byrne Arena, June 1, 1988. At Duran, I was fifth row, JT’s side; Lou Reed and Nile Rodgers joined them onstage for the encore; and, earlier in the day, I talked to Nick Rhodes and Simon LeBon for the first time. At Depeche, I had front row, it was Alan Wilder’s birthday, and it was close to a religious experience.
Best high school make-out song: “If You Leave” by OMD. I’d like to say that I’d made out to it, like Andie and Blaine did, but I can’t say for sure!
A veteran magazine editor and writer, Lori Majewski was a cofounder and editor in chief of Teen People, and an executive editor of Entertainment Weekly and Us Weekly. She is co-author of Mad World: An Oral History of the New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s. It’s out TODAY! Buy it now!