We’re so pleased to have author Marie Sexton with us today to chat a bit about her new novel, Trailer Trash. I love this musical flashback! And there’s also a fantastic giveaway, so be sure to check out the details for that below. Good luck!
Hello, everybody. I’m Marie Sexton, and I’m here today to talk about my new release, Trailer Trash. Trailer Trash is a New Adult novel about two high school seniors in small-town Wyoming in the mid-1980s.
Now, since the book is set in the ’80s, and I grew up in the ’80s, I thought it’d be fun to do a post about ’80s music. Now, a disclaimer: I will NOT try to call this a list of the best music of the 80s. My musical world was fairly narrow. In fact, if you look at Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Best Albums of the 1980s, you’ll see they chose “London Calling” by The Clash as their number one album of the decade. I can honestly say, I’ve never heard a single song off that album. In fact, I don’t know if I can name a single song by The Clash. So, that being said, this will NOT be a list of the best albums of the 1980s. What it will be is a list of albums from the ’80s that had a profound impact on me, and on my (possibly questionable) musical development.
So, without further ado: My Top Albums of the ’80s (listed in chronological order)
#6: Men at Work, Business as Usual (1981): This was the first album I begged for, then listened to start-to-finish until the tape practically fell apart. It was new and edgy and hip and just cool as hell. Incidentally, I saw Colin Hay live a couple of years ago at Folks Fest. He’s a great performer. If you ever have a chance to see him, GO.
#5: Quiet Riot, Metal Health (1983): 1983 was the year that Men at Work’s second album, Cargo, came out. I immediately begged my parents for it. Only a few months later, some friends of the family gave me a second copy of Cargo for my birthday. My father took me to the record store to exchange it (since I already had one), and much to his dismay, I chose Metal Health as its replacement. Nothing was ever the same after that. This was definitely the point where my descent into the wonderful world of heavy metal began. Incidentally, I still have the title track from this album in my playlist. It earned me a speeding ticket just last summer.
#4: Van Halen, 1984 (1984): My cousin Jimmy introduced me to this album. He played it obsessively, and who could blame him? His younger sister Karen was my closest, best cousin, and when I spent the night at their house, we’d stay up late to watch Night Flight, hoping to see the Hot for Teacher video. “I don’t feel tardy!”
#3: The Footloose Soundtrack, Various Artists (1984): Where would soundtracks be without Kenny Loggins? I listened to the title track on this tape so many times my father nearly lost his mind. He told me he’d take the tape away if I didn’t start listening to the entire thing, and so I did. Musically speaking, it probably isn’t very good, but I loved it. I confess, I still have a couple of these songs in my regular playlist as well.
Tangent #1: Can we just stop for a minute to acknowledge what an amazing year 1984 was, musically speaking? In addition to the last two albums on my list, and the NEXT album on my list, this single year saw the release of so many groundbreaking records, including (but not limited to): Learning to Crawl (The Pretenders), Welcome to the Pleasuredome (Frankie Goes to Hollywood), Ride the Lightning (Metallica), Stop Making Sense (Talking Heads), Reckless (Bryan Adams), Private Dancer (Tina Turner), Born in the U.S.A. (Bruce Springsteen), Like a Virgin (Madonna), Make it Big (Wham), and Bon Jovi (Bon Jovi’s highly underrated debut album). That’s a lot of spectacular music! And, don’t forget this next one (number two on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Best Albums of the ’80s):
#2: Prince, Purple Rain (1984): Boy, my father hated this album. He hated it more than he hated Quiet Riot, and that’s saying a lot. Of course now, thirty years later, he says, “You know, that was a pretty good record!” But at the time? No. He hated it, which meant I loved it that much more.
Tangent #2: My Metallica lecture:
I don’t think enough people acknowledge what Metallica did for the music industry. Their first album, Kill ‘Em All, was released in 1983. The band members were only 20-21 years old at the time. Ride the Lightning was released in 1984, and Master of Puppets in 1986.
Here’s the thing: during those years, Metallica received ZERO radio play, and in a time when MTV was the backbone of the music industry, the band didn’t have a single music video. Of course now, in 2016, their songs are played on the “Classic Rock” stations. But at the time, 99% of the radio stations in America simply would not touch them. Yeah, maybe there was a metal station in L.A. that played them. But here in good old Middle America? Not just no, but HELL NO. If I stayed up late to listen to the metal radio show (from midnight to 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. on Sunday nights), they’d play Metallica’s tamest, mellowest song, “Fade to Black”, but nothing else, no matter how many people requested it.
And yet despite everything, Master of Puppets peaked at number 29 on the Billboard 200 and became the first thrash metal album to be certified platinum. (It has since been certified 6x platinum.)
It wasn’t until 1988 that Metallica produced their first music video. That was for One, off of …And Justice for All. The video debuted on MTV in January, 1989, and the song became the band’s first Top 40 hit. Even then, radio stations wouldn’t play them, but fans flocked to their concerts in droves. (And god damn, they were fantastic live! No album or video has ever fully captured the energy of a live Metallica performance.)
It wasn’t until Metallica’s fifth album (not counting the Garage Days EP), released in 1991 and known collectively as The Black Album, that radio stations finally jumped on board and started playing “Enter Sandman.” Some people say it’s because Metallica sold out, but I think it was the music industry that changed. I think after nearly ten years of Metallica thriving on their own, powered by nothing but rabid fans, the music industry finally realized they couldn’t keep ignoring this cultural metal phenomenon.
The Black Album debuted at number one in ten countries, selling 650,000 units in the U.S. during its first week. It’s been certified 16 times platinum in the U.S., which makes it the 25th best-selling album in the country, according to good-old Wikipedia. Their American tour in support of the album sold out with record-breaking speed. This was before online sales, when people had to camp out for days or even weeks in order to be the first in line, and Metallica would sell out three shows in the same city in under an hour. It was absolutely unprecedented for a band to have that kind of success with so little radio support and only two music videos to their name.
Now, have Metallica’s recent albums been as groundbreaking as their early ones? Maybe not. When they debuted in 1983, they were in their twenties (barely) and were flat broke. They were PISSED OFF. Now they’re in their 50s and filthy rich. Is it any wonder their worldview has changed? (And in all fairness, their core group of fans has also aged 30+ years. My worldview has changed significantly too!) But what hasn’t changed is what they accomplished. To people in their thirties or younger, it may seem like Metallica has always been around. It may seem like they were just another metal band, but Metallica grabbed “mainstream” by the throat and dragged it in whole new direction, and I will argue to my dying day that a great number of bands, from Nirvana to Linkin Park to Five Finger Death Punch, would never have been granted radio play if Metallica hadn’t paved the way for them thirty years ago.
So, now that you’ve endured my tangent, the last album on my list:
#1: Metallica, Master of Puppets (1986): This was the first Metallica record I ever bought (yes, it was on vinyl) (and it might have been more like ’87 by the time I did). I purchased the album blind, so to speak. As outlined in my rather lengthy tangent, there was simply no way to hear Metallica before buying the album. The radio stations wouldn’t play them, and at the very height of the MTV generation, the band didn’t have a single music video. But I grabbed this record, ran home, and dropped the needle with my heart pounding. And HOLY SHIT, y’all. “Battery” and the title track were damn good. Track three was okay. But when those opening riffs of track four, “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” started, I got goose bumps. I still get goose bumps. This album changed music history, and it earns the #1 spot on my list.
So, now it’s your turn. What were your favorite albums of the ’80s? Let me know in the comments. And for a bit more ’80s nostalgia, be sure to check out Trailer Trash, available now from Riptide.
About Trailer Trash: It’s 1986, and what should have been the greatest summer of Nate Bradford’s life goes sour when his parents suddenly divorce. Now, instead of spending his senior year in his hometown of Austin, Texas, he’s living with his father in Warren, Wyoming, population 2,833 (and Nate thinks that might be a generous estimate). There’s no swimming pool, no tennis team, no mall—not even any MTV. The entire school’s smaller than his graduating class back home, and in a town where the top teen pastimes are sex and drugs, Nate just doesn’t fit in.
Then Nate meets Cody Lawrence. Cody’s dirt-poor, from a broken family, and definitely lives on the wrong side of the tracks. Nate’s dad says Cody’s bad news. The other kids say he’s trash. But Nate knows Cody’s a good kid who’s been dealt a lousy hand. In fact, he’s beginning to think his feelings for Cody go beyond friendship.
Admitting he might be gay is hard enough, but between small-town prejudices and the growing AIDS epidemic dominating the headlines, a town like Warren, Wyoming, is no place for two young men to fall in love.
About the Author: Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along.
Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.
To celebrate, Marie is giving away a $50 gift card to either Amazon or All Romance Ebooks, winner’s choice. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 26, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
The Fine Print:
*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
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