Rock ‘n’ Roll High School 80: You Had Me at Violent Femmes

International superstar Audra North (that’s what I’m calling her…haven’t had a chance to run the nickname by her yet) has taken over RNRHS today, in celebration of her brand new release Composing Love, which is out now from Entangled Lovestruck. Be sure to check it out! Like all of my author pals, Audra has a fun spin on her high school memories and the ways they are linked to music. She brought up the Violent Femmes, a band that was a huge part of my high school existence. I remember very well the day my BFF Jane bought the Hallowed Ground vinyl. We took it home to her house and immediately slapped it onto the turntable. Her mother came in the room, innocently picked up the lyrics insert, and immediately broke out in tears. You know I wanted to say, “Aww, Jane’s Mom! It’s okay. We’re teenagers! We’re supposed to like weird, creepy stuff.” But I didn’t.

Audra North

Class of ’96!, Currently the author of contemporary romance and the occasional cyberpunk erotica

Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: Oh, gosh. There were so many songs that made my high school experience. But I’d have to say Jodeci’s “Lately”. There was so much angst over boys and friends and parents and pretty much everything in high school, and Lately captured those feelings. I listened to a lot of R&B, hip hop, and country music! I guess that was what my friends were into…plus, I grew up in Texas, so country is a requirement. I had the “Lately” single tape, which came in a green cardboard sleeve. The single tapes were a lot more popular back then. It was just before CDs really took over.

Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: I had the most awesome Violent Femmes T-shirt that I got at a B-52s concert. The Violent Femmes were opening for the B-52s that night, and it was the first time I’d heard them, but I loved “Blister in the Sun”, so I bought their T-shirt. I wore a black and white zipper-front dress with combat boots and rainbow-striped socks.

Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: My sister is three years older than I am, so her taste in music tended more to Morrissey and the Cocteau Twins. But I really couldn’t stand the Cocteau Twins’ music. We always fought over music in the car, but since she was usually the driver, she would win. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to drive.

Best show or concert you saw in high school: Definitely that B-52s concert. Fred Schneider danced under a strobe light and it was the first time I’d seen something like that. It looked so wild! Really fun, though. I never saw them in concert, but I also loved Depeche Mode. I would go clubbing on Sixth Street in Austin with friends and I’d use a fake ID—I hope twenty years is long enough that I won’t get in trouble for admitting that!—and the clubs loved to play Tainted Love.

Best high school make-out song: Anything by Aaliyah! I don’t know why, but she was often singing in the background when I was with my boyfriend.

Composing_Love_500-RGBAudra North’s latest contemporary romance, Composing Love, is out now. You can learn more about Audra at

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