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.

Jenna Cosgrove

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!

Be sure to check out the Pop Eighties blog and follow Jenna on Twitter @JennaIsWriting!

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.

Paige Thomas

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.

Paige Thomas’ debut novel, Starstruck, is out now. You can learn more about her at paigethomasauthor.com or follow her on Twitter @PThomasAuthor.

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.

Christopher Penman

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.

BMB_smallChristopher Penman is co-founder of seminal British 80s band, Banks Forest. You can see a glimpse of his life after the band in the novel Bring Me Back.