Today’s Rock ‘n’ Roll High School comes from totally rad blogger and writer Jenna Cosgrove. If you haven’t checked out the fresh and fun Pop Eighties blog, you need to get on the stick. Jenna is part crazy and part super generous, as she was willing to give me an entire week on Pop Eighties to spout off about the 80s one-hit-wonders that should have been more (The Plimsouls! Hello?), play guest VJ, and do a Q&A about Bring Me Back. A round of applause for Jenna! The other thing that makes her awesome is that her musical tastes are all over the map. Marilyn Manson and Take That! in one post, elated emails about Bruce Springsteen in my inbox. Jenna was even a user of posters as wallpaper in her youth. A woman after my own heart.
Aspley State High, Brisbane, Australia, Class of ’98, Currently: She Writes, Blogs, Plays on the Internet
Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: I can’t decide between two songs! The first is “Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson, because I have so many memories of listening to it with my friends at parties, or in my room when I was being a brooding teenager. The other is about as opposite as you can get – “Barbie Girl” by Aqua. Not because I loved it, but because that song was EVERYWHERE when it came out. Even if I hear just a snippet of it, it’s SO 90s that it just takes me right back to school!
Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: I had that real typical fan-girl bedroom covered in posters, from about age 8 until I moved out of home at 17. And by covered, I mean PLASTERED – all the walls and even a couple on the ceiling! I’m going to count that as one big piece of memorabilia, because my posters were my life. Well, maybe not my life, but they were a big part of my identity.
Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: I was such an alterno chick in high school, and I was a lot less eclectic in what I would listen to than I am now! For some reason I really disliked R&B music (I listen to a lot of rap and R&B these days), which is what a lot of my classmates loved. In particular, Boyz II Men. I used to diss people for liking them and Mariah Carey, and then they teamed up and did a song together!
Saying that, despite my youthful elitism, I developed this thing for Take That when I was 14. Yes, the British boy band that brought us Robbie Williams! How I could be a scorning rocker while flipping out over the band’s stylized dance moves and matching costumes is one of life’s great mysteries!
Best show or concert you saw in high school: Definitely the Big Day Out, an epic music festival we have here in Oz. They’ve had the most massive names in rock and alternative music up on that stage – think Nirvana, Hole, Iggy and the Stooges, the Ramones, Rammstein, Primal Scream, Metallica, the Foo Fighters – the list goes on!
My favorite year was 1997, which had Soundgarden, the Offspring, The Prodigy, Supergrass and Patti Smith, amongst others. I haven’t been to one in years, but back in the day it was a great alternative festival with a darned good mosh pit!
Best high school make-out song: I probably have a very different idea of what makes a good make-out song than a lot of people! Nothing cheesy or romantic, for sure. The best one I can think of is “Common People” by Pulp. I would still make out to that now!
If you know me at all, you know that I live for all things related to Duran Duran. For that reason, I was a wee bit excited when Rhonda and Amanda at Daily Duranie announced that they would be putting on a Duran fan convention this year. Now, don’t be shocked, but I’m already registered. Who am I kidding? I’m already picking out what I’m going to wear. If this is the first you’re learning of this, please check out the convention info so graciously shared with us by Rhonda. Then get on it! You don’t want to miss out on the fun!
What is Durandemonium?
Durandemonium is set up to be a fan convention – a celebration of sorts for fans of the band Duran Duran, to be held in the vibrant city of Chicago, October 18-20, 2013. The difference between Durandemonium and other conventions out there is that this one is put on by a group of fans, and it isn’t designed as a meet-and-greet for the band. The band, while very much invited, are not likely to be present, and in a lot of ways we are happy about that because the focus in turn becomes making connections between fans. The weekend event is designed to be a non-stop party. We are planning social events for mingling, and everything that we are working on for the weekend has to do with encouraging that social piece of the puzzle that can sometimes get lost during the mania that happens at concerts or even while online.
Why a fan convention?
To begin with, I had participated in the planning of a convention back in 2004 (we had it in New Orleans). For me personally, the convention was a huge catharsis. Not only did I discover a ton of people who had the same basic love for a band that I had, but I found an interest that was simply my own – nothing that I really had to share with my family. I am a stay-at-home mom, and while I am thankful to be able to be at home with my kids, that experience can be incredibly stifling and solitary. I missed having something that was my own and I really enjoyed the convention. Meeting the people I did completely changed and enhanced my concert experience – I wanted to be able to travel to other places to see the band with friends, and I suppose you could say it opened my entire world. Once I met Amanda and we began blogging (we are the “creative idiots” behind dailyduranie.com – a blog about being a Duran Duran fan), we decided to have pre-show “meet-ups” for fans in as many places as we could. At nearly every meet-up, people would ask if we would consider doing a convention. At first, my swift answer was a resounding “NO”. It is an incredible amount of work with a multitude of moving parts, I just didn’t think it was something Amanda and I could feasibly tackle, but then last summer, I began to soften to the idea. Now we’re seven months out from Durandemonium 2013!
The reason Amanda and I agreed that this was the year to have a convention is simple: the band is in the studio. They aren’t planning to tour, and that gives us all a bit more playtime that isn’t already budgeted to the band. Additionally, since the band is going to be in the studio, chances are – they will be touring in the following year or whenever they finish the album that they are currently recording. The goal of having a convention now is to bring fans together, to give fans a vehicle for making new friends, so that way when the band does begin to tour again, there could very well be more people willing and ready to travel to meet up with other fans and go to shows. One of the very best things I ever did for my own fandom was go to that convention in 2004. Prior to that, it would have never entered my head to go out of state to see a concert – and now I almost expect to miss the shows in California in favor of seeing concerts in other parts of the country with a group of my friends. Hands down, it is much more fun to see the band with my Duranie friends than it ever is to see them alone at home. I would like to think that even the band themselves (or their management) can see the potential behind conventions such as the one we’re planning because while the band is technically in a sort of “down time” with regard to fans – we’re keeping the excitement burning here, and even adding fuel to that fire by creating more excitement over the next tour. Overall it’s a great thing for everyone.
How does the convention play into what you do with the blog?
Daily Duranie is a blog that we literally write each day (Typically I write Mon-Thurs and Amanda writes Fri-Sun), and it is about being a fan and all that goes along with that. We talk about everything from what it is really like waiting for snippets of news to come out of the studio to what we think about what one of the band members blogs, and so forth. We really try to not only cover the news, but also to cover it from OUR prospective, even when we know that others may not agree. Additionally, Amanda and I strive to open ourselves up personally as people – we want our readers to know that we are fans, just like anyone else, and that we love meeting other fans – that it is the personal connections between one another that we really hold most dear. Those relationships that we have made with other fans along the way are what keep us in the fan community over the long haul. Yes, the band is important, but the fact is we could still be fans, listen to the band at home or in our cars, and never have our fandom go any farther than that – and many people out there do just that, which is fine. That’s not really what we strive to show people in Daily Duranie though. We want fans to recognize that it is our relationships between one another that have created this community, and those relationships are what is going to keep that going long after the band ceases to make records or tour. So for us, setting up functions for fans to mingle and just BE fans without ridicule from people who don’t quite get it all is key. A convention is just one of those activities, albeit behemoth in size!
Today’s RNRHS is from fellow Ellora’s Cave author Paige Thomas. Paige calls me Kaz, which is an Aussie version of Karen. Nobody here calls me Kaz, so I won’t think of it as a default nickname in some corners of the world and rather as simply awesome because I’m a real George Costanza when it comes to nicknames. Paige and I hit it off right away on Twitter and not just because she calls me Kaz. Seems we both have a fondness for men of the rock star persuasion. Mr. Jon Bon Jovi is at the top of her all-time list and you are about to learn that he likes to rock your ass off.
Moorebank High School, Sydney, NSW Australia, Class of ’87 (I left school at age fifteen), Currently: Full-time writer, wife, mother and Twitterholic.
Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: This question is a double-edged sword for me. The first to spring to mind is War of the Worlds…the entire LP. Yes, I said LP. For the kiddies, that’s those old, big, black round discs we oldies call records. Why would I choose a very old radio script? I studied music as an elective subject for four years in high school, and my music teacher would always play this very long track whenever we kids played up, or he just needed a break. It happened often.
But, more importantly, Bon Jovi was THE 80’s band of all time for me. I was, and still am, obsessed. I love and appreciate such a vast variety of music—bands, singers, musicians—but there is just something about JBJ. He’s the perfect package for me. To this day I’d kiss his feet! Then want him to write and sing me a song.
Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: I’m not sure I can just pick one as a favorite. I have many, including media articles and posters of my own father. Hmm. Okay, here’s three which are at the top of my list.
1. A rare copy of Julian Lennon’s first album I got from a friend in the business.
2. A limited edition life-sized promo poster of Bon Jovi my dad was fortunate enough to get for me. It filled half of an entire wall in my bedroom for many a year. It’s one of my most treasured possessions, even to this day. Though it’s in storage now.
3. The other is also BJ related, but for a different reason. I never liked conforming to the norm when I was growing up. I wasn’t an outspoken rebel, but I let my thoughts be heard in more subtle ways. Take our high school’s uniform, for example. I didn’t believe we shouldn’t be given a choice when it came to what we wore, so I wore Bon Jovi t-shirts to school for a whole six months or more. My favorite was the first I ever bought. It was black and had an air-brushed painting of a skull with a top hat, smoking a cigar. On the back, it read, “BON JOVI ROCKS YOUR ASS OFF”. Like I said, I was more of a quiet rebel—always did well with my grades, but never really kicked up a fuss. Maybe that’s why it took the school principal so long to realize I was in fact making a statement with my chosen attire. It’s funny…it was my music teacher who ended up sending me to the office for reprimanding in the end. I was forced to turn my shirt inside out and wear it that way for the remainder of the day. I also had to promise not to wear it again. But hey, small price to pay. I was cheered as I left school that day.
Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Another difficult one to answer. I was into anything from theatre, classical, to The Beatles and ‘Top of the Charts’ stuff. There were many bands I didn’t fancy that my friends screamed for. I wasn’t a boy-band fan, or anything rap-related. Besides Bon Jovi, I was listening to Queen, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, U2, Charlie Sexton, Meatloaf, Cyndi Lauper, Adam Ant, Joe Satriani, Whitesnake, Dragon, Cold Chisel, just to name a few.
Best show or concert you saw in high school: Oh! Without a doubt, it was the first BJ concert I ever saw…the Slippery When Wet tour!
Best high school make-out song: You got me again. I don’t have just one song. There are just too many to choose from. But, if forced to choose, Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” holds many fond memories for me.
Oh goodness I don’t even know where to BEGIN with today’s Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. I’d say there are no words, but the truth is that there are too many. My guest is Christopher Penman, guitarist and co-founder of seminal, fictional, 80s British band Banks Forest. Christopher also stars in my latest book, my first full-length novel, Bring Me Back. I was anxious to give readers a better look at Christopher’s adolescence and particularly his musical roots, since that’s something that I was able to only touch upon in the book. Plus, every minute I get to spend with Christopher is memorable. I love reading the details of the first time he saw a live band and, of course, it’s amazing to read about his musical influences. I didn’t mind learning about his favorite make out song either.
Swiftfields Secondary School, Stourbridge, England, Class of ’80, Currently: Founding member of Banks Forest, musician
Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: David Bowie. Graham from Banks Forest and I fancied ourselves intellectuals, even if our marks in school never reflected it. There was something effortlessly cool and artistic and most of all, cerebral, about Bowie. I loved that his music was a mix of direct 70s rock and spacey experimentalism. He’d been around for years by the time we were in secondary school, so I think part of the appeal was that we thought we were being true music connoisseurs. I have fond memories of listening to Ziggy Stardust on my dad’s wobbly old turntable (side one, especially) through massive headphones so my mum would have no idea how loud I was playing it.
Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: A t-shirt of the cover of the first album by The Clash. You know, the black and white image of the band with “The Clash” in red across the bottom and military green on the sides. It was quite a cheap shirt and I wore it until it was in tatters, holes at the armpits, a complete disaster. My mum begged me to throw it out and even enlisted one of my older sisters, Kate, to nick it from my bedroom. I was onto them though. I’d stuffed it under my bed.
Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Bloody Cliff Richard. It was really the girls that liked him, something about that helmet of hair and satiny shirts. We couldn’t talk about how much we hated him because the girls would get angry and I, especially, couldn’t afford to have the ladies on my bad side. To this day, I can’t hear “We Don’t Talk Anymore” without wanting to strangle someone. I’m all for camp, but that song is bollocks.
Best show or concert you saw in high school: The Jam, right after their first album was released. Graham and I went, even though we were a bit young. I think we were thirteen or fourteen. I’d never seen a band before and it wouldn’t be until I’d seen a few more shows that I truly realized how special The Jam was live. They had such raw intensity on stage. Frenetic. Hyperactive. They wore black suits and ties with proper dress shirts and they played as if their lives depended on it. Brilliant. The crowd went crackers, especially when they played “In The City”. It was mayhem. I went home that night thinking I’d better start doing more than mucking about with dad’s old guitar.
Best high school make-out song: I know I’m going to get a lot of guff for this, but I’ll say “If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago. It’s the only song I’ve ever heard that has an acoustic guitar solo, quite the ballsy move if you ask me. It was quintessential 70s American soft rock and the girls loved it. They were putty in my eagerly roving hands as a result. When you’re a sixteen year-old with overactive hormones, that’s all you really care about.
Hillary Duff on a stick, how in the hell will I ever escape NKOTB? Just when we have a few NKOTB-free posts, they rear their pretty heads (and rears) again. Perhaps I only bristle at the Blockheads because I fear that if I’d had been of that generation, I would’ve fallen prey to the NKOTB charms. Thank goodness I grew up in the Duran era. The amazing fabulous-o Cari Quinn is here today, lamenting her own NKOTB-ness, and sharing some other fun with us. Cari and I share an editor, a love of music and steamy books, but we bonded over college basketball. She’s an Orange-woman, I’m a Tarheel. Our teams will be in the same league starting next season, which means y’all–yes, Y’ALL– best clear the decks. There may be some trash-talking on Twitter, followed quickly by tweeting of hot guy pics, to mend fences. We will not be tweeting photos of NKOTB.
Corcoran High School, Central NY, Class of ’94, Currently: Full-time writer and quarter-time smart ass
Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: Sadly, New Kids On The Block. Which song? Any of them. “Hangin’ Tough” probably the most. I will admit to doing a little reminiscing when I hear it (which, luckily, isn’t often.)
Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: Probably my dog-eared copies of Billboard magazine. Oh yeah, I used to buy that sucker as often as I could to pore over the music charts. I always wanted to be a DJ. Casey Kasem had a great job – does anyone even still remember him?
Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Since NKOTB had their share of haters, I’d say The Cure. I totally didn’t get that one. Similar to my confusion about the popularity of Godsmack now. I like a wide variety of music and listen to all genres from rap to classical, but sometimes I’m finicky (and curiously enough, a cat lover as well.)
Best show or concert you saw in high school: Not a one. I didn’t go to my first concert until college. Sacrilege, I know.
Best high school make-out song: My favorite song freshman year was Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Do Me”. I suppose it wasn’t a big stretch to imagine I’d end up as an erotic romance author, huh?
Thanks so much to the amazing Karen for having me here today! I love this girl, even if her team will try to massacre mine when SU finally gets to the ACC.
Cari Quinn is a USA Today Bestselling Author of contemporary and erotic romance. Her latest release is Melt. Visit Cari at cariquinn.com.
To Justin Norton, an impending blizzard is the perfect time to push the limits. The last thing he expects to encounter on the trail is a dazed woman next to her overturned snowmobile–especially since that woman is his former lover Kylie Fisher, the bartender he’s been slowly rebuilding a friendship with over a shared love of basketball and lager. He’s had some pretty kinky fantasies about her and now that they’re alone, he’s having a hard time keeping his hands off. But she’s weak and hurting…isn’t she? Walking in on her long-term boyfriend with three naked women isn’t the way Kylie intended to celebrate the holidays. Flying on fury, she recklessly hits the trail on her brand new snowmobile. Luckily Justin, her seemingly easygoing knight in flannel and denim, saves her from herself, but does he have the moves to back up the sexy looks he’s flung her way for months? Because if he can’t make her melt, she’s damn sure going to find a man who can. But is she really ready for everything that comes with Justin Norton?