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Sunday, February 8, 2015

20 Questions with 80sMusicGirl-Jamie "Tucker" Dougan

Well Hello All! I am back again with another great interview. This time we have a gentleman who decided he was going to become a writer and you will be surprised where he got his inspiration for his books! But there is always more than meets the eye as you shall soon find out.

So without further ado....:)

First of all thank you again Jamie Dougan for allowing me this opportunity to interview you for my blog! I'm looking forward to a great interview so with that, let's begin!

Thanks for having me Rosemarie, and please call me Tucker.

1.  Where are you from originally Tucker?

I've lived all my life in south-west Scotland, East Ayrshire to be more precise. I was born, like most babies at the time, in Irvine where the maternity hospital was. I spent my early years in a small village called Muirkirk before moving to nearby Cumnock. I lived there until my early teens before the family moved to New Cumnock, five miles down the road. I've been back living in Cumnock for almost the last 20 years now, having moved back here when me and my soon-to-be wife at the time bought our home here.

2.  Do you have any brothers or sisters?

I have a younger brother and sister here in Scotland and two step-sisters in Canada.

3.   What kind of student were you in school?

I guess I was a bit of a geek. Star Wars was all the rage during my primary school years and I was, and still am, a big Star Wars nut. At secondary school, I was just the quiet wee guy who got on with my work. I had a mischievous side though and was always up for a practical joke or two. 

It was at secondary school where one of my hobbies came to light. It was quickly established that I was good at cross-country running and went on to represent my school at regional and national level. That sporting ability became a hobby after leaving school when I took up running 10k and half-marathon road races.

4.  What were some of your other hobbies?

Football was my main hobby, watching and playing. I also liked running, as mentioned in the last question. And  something else I was quite good at in my school days became a hobby in later life, story writing. 

The last few years, that hobby led me to writing and publishing three short stories and two novels.

5.  What is your first memory of what you wanted to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a fire fighter when I was young, because my uncle was one. Then I wanted to be a footballer, like most boys. But I guess it was inevitable that I'd have a career in the motor trade because I loved cars. My toy cars went everywhere with me, even to bed. One early memory is having my most favourite toys cars under my pillow each night when I went to bed. 

6.   Scotland is an awesome back drop for many a great story, where else have you traveled in Scotland?

The great thing about living in Scotland and it not being a very big country is that we are never too far away from great beaches, countryside, architecture, history.  I've traveled as far north as Aberdeen. Spent many weekends in Fife as a youngster when I had family living there. Glasgow is only a 45 minute drive away, so I'm there often. I've spent many summers on the Solway coast since my mid-teens, beautiful part of the world. And here in Ayrshire, we have contrasting scenery from the beaches to the hills further inland. I love living here.

7.  How did you know you had an aptitude for writing?

I guess it was at school and getting good marks for essay and short story writing. One short story I'd written in 3rd year at secondary school was chosen to be displayed at a local art gallery as part of a writing competition. Having a vivid imagination and a need to escape reality led me to writing some short stories after leaving school. Nothing ever came of them though, real life and having a job took over. I didn't totally give up writing though because a few years ago, I was inspired and encouraged by an old friend to pick up the pen... well, keyboard, again.

8.  Do you know of anyone else in your family that writes as a hobby or professionally?

Not that I know of or that any of them has said.

9.   What types of stories do you write?

I write mainly adult romance, or soccer romance as i like to call it. The first story I published was the tale of a young footballer falling in love with a French girl while he was loaned out to a French football team. That kinda set the theme for the two novels I wrote. I'm an old romantic at heart and I love football. Seemed sense to somehow combine the two.

10.  Who was your favorite author growing up?

Well the thing is, I wasn't really a reader of books when growing up. I didn't really start reading books until my early 20's. My favourite author now is Tom Clancy. Quite a difference in what I like to read to what I like to write.

11.  I understand you are a blogger, can you tell us more about that?

I first started blogging on MySpace (remember that lol?) after reading and being inspired by someone I befriended on there. I didn't have a theme to my blog back then but did have a regular feature called "Top Gear Tucker" where I gave my opinion on whatever company car I had the pleasure or displeasure of driving at the time. 

I then moved from MySpace to Blogger and began blogging random stuff but it soon became that the theme of my blog was about becoming a dad for the second time and life with a new addition to our family. The last 18-24 months, the blog has mainly been plugging the two novels in my Shane Henderson Diary Series.

12.  Where can we read your blogs?

My blog now resides on it own domain at

13.  Are there any more novels in the works at the moment?

I'm actually sort of retired from story writing now. Being a dad, husband and having a full time job meant that most of my writing was done late at night. That took its toll. I also became very disillusioned of the whole process and quite frustrated at the amount of time spent trying to promote my writing and getting very little return on that and seeing other do less and get more. I guess you've either got it or you don't. It may sound like sour grapes from me but far from it. I'm applaud every single independent author out there and I'm very chuffed for those who've done or are doing well from it.

14.  How did your family feel about you being a writer?

My wife has been a big support. My mum was quite surprised. But being quite shy and quiet about it all, I didn't tell anyone beyond those closest to me that I'd published anything at all, not until my third short story was available. 

15.  Tell me what it takes to be a Master Lego Builder :)?

Ha ha, you read my Twitter bio... It takes having two young boys who love Lego as much as their dad does. 

16.  You spoke about your blog "Top Gear Tucker" I've watched the show Top Gear on BBC America with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May with my husband.  Were you shooting for the same effect when you wrote your blog?

I honestly don't know what effect I was trying to achieve at the time other than being a ordinary guy fortunate to have access to different cars through my job. I just thought it'd be good for an ordinary driver's opinion of the different cars I drove. 

17.  Having made such an investment with writing and publishing your own novels would you do it again?

At the moment I haven't the slightest inclination to even write a blog. I'm drained of inspiration and have have no desire to write even the shortest of stories. But, never say never. Keep watching...

18.  Would you encourage your children to become writers?

My oldest son has a good imagination and expresses it through drawing. But having seen his essays at school, he has imagination in writing too. So yes, I'd encourage him in writing, drawing or indeed anything he wants to do.

19.  You mentioned that you felt that the effort and rewards with writing and promoting your own work felt unbalanced, do you think social media is a cure or the disease in that aspect?

A bit of both. If you connect with the right people on social media then it can work great for you and whatever you want to promote. But you can also be seen as just a spammer trying to sell something all the time. It's hard to get the balance right. Some indie-authors I know have found the balance. They can talk about their everyday life and promote what they want to sell quite normally. Whereas I couldn't get the right balance because I don't put my everyday life online anymore. personal stuff stays personal unless I think it's worth sharing or there is a topic I feel I need to express my opinion on. 

20.  And finally, just because I can ask, what is your favorite 80s song :)

How can I pick a favourite 80's song from a decade of so many great songs and albums from so many great artists?

Picking my favourite album from that era is easy - Sea Of Love by The Adventures. I guess if I did have a favourite song, it would be my personal theme which is Talk Talk's It's My Life.

Thank you very much Tucker for a view into your fascinating world of cars, novels, family and Lego's!  I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.  

Thanks for having me Rosemarie. It's been a pleasure.

Monday, January 26, 2015

20 Questions with 80sMusicGirl-Robbie Grey of Modern English

Hello all and welcome to another edition of 20 Questions with 80sMusicGirl.  It is my honor and pleasure to bring an exclusive interview with none other than the man himself Robbie Grey, front man for that amazing band Modern English.

Let's begin shall we?

1.  Where are you from originally Robbie?

I am originally from Colchester in the county of Essex in England.  I lived in London for 30 years. Now I am living in Suffolk at the beach in a town called Aldeburgh.

2.  Do you have any brothers or sisters?

No.  I don't have any brothers and sisters.

3.   Have you always wanted to be a musician?

No.  I wanted to be a footballer, soccer to you Americans.  It was only when Bowie and Roxy Music came on the scene that I got interested in music.  Then when punk rock came along and the Sex Pistols,  I decided that music had all the things I was looking for.   The creative process and lyric writing is fantastic .

4.  Did your parents have a musical background?

Yes.  My great aunt studied at the Royal College of Music in London.  My father liked jazz music, but nobody actually played an instrument...... I used to sing in the mirror with a toothbrush if that counts.

5. How did you get your start in show business?

Punk rock came along and woke me and my friends up completely. From that moment on we formed a band and later on recorded a demo tape which got us our first record deal.   It was the start of a great adventure.

6. What did your parents think when you wanted to be a musician?

They thought I was crazy.  That I would never have a career in music and that I should get a real job.  When tickets to fly to New York  came to the house they couldn't believe it.  Funny looking back at it now!!!!!

7.  What was the name of the first band you recorded with?

The first band was The Lepers a punk band with some of the original members of Modern English.  We had some classic songs with titles like Coming for You and Typical English Worker.

8.  How did you become involved with Modern English?

Modern English just grew out of The Lepers really.   Steve Walker added the keyboards to Gary McDowell's guitar, Mick Conroy's bass and my vocals.   We had learnt to play a lot more and were experimenting with sound so we changed the name to Modern English

9.  Have you recorded any solo albums?

No i haven't.  I have written for other people and produced other artists.  I hope to do some of my own recording in the next 2 years.

10.  Do you find it difficult to adjust to the touring lifestyle?

Touring,  now  that we are a bit older, is more difficult.  When we were younger, we were drunk or stoned most of the time on long tours.  Now its shorter touring and less concerts, so it helps  I travel a lot anyway so its not unusual to be away from home.

11.  You talked about being stoned or drunk while touring. Was it just something that everyone did or was it a coping mechanism to deal with the pressures of being rock stars? 

It was something we all did.  We were working class men used to drinking and the rest.  It also helped us cope with long tours and the fantasy world we were in.  One tour of the states was 80 concerts in 100 days.  They worked us like dogs.

12.  Tell me about the band's first album. 

The first album Mesh and Lace is my personal favourite.  We were learning our instruments and using a lot of sounds rather than chords on the guitars and keyboards.  We pretty much did it ourselves with the help of a producer and the record company boss who was our friend.  His name is Ivo Watts-Russell. It's quite a dark sounding album and the lyrics are pretty intense. Great album.

13.  Have you ever participated in any of the 80s Festivals that are popular in Europe now?

No we haven't.  But we will be doing an 80s cruise  February 2016 which will go from Florida to the Bahamas etc,  Should be fun.  We are on board for 10 days and only do 2 concerts.  That's what i call a schedule.

14.  Just because I can ask, what is your favorite 80s tune ;)

There's a few, but Atmosphere by Joy Division is up there.

15.  Who were your musical influences growing up?

David Bowie and Roxy Music.

16.  Is it my imagination or is the band working on a new album?

No you are correct, we are working on a new album. The producer and long time friend is Martin Young from Colourbox/MARRS (who did Pump up the Volume). We have been working on it all last summer.  It's sounding good.  Some quite edgy stuff and also a couple of classic Modern English dreamy pop songs.

17.  Spandau Ballet once said their biggest rivals in music in the 80s was Duran Duran, who do you think were rivals of Modern English?

We were never thinking about that stuff.  But in the early 80s U2 and us were neck and neck for a while.

18.  Do you think you would have the same success now in the music industry if you were just starting out?

No.  Back in the day you could walk into a record company with a demo and chat about a 5 year plan.  Now it is instant success and image controlled.  We wouldn't even get a look in. I think X-factor and blah blah idol are the death of real music.

19.  Do you think its harder to get British bands airplay on American radio stations?

No, I don't .  America has always looked to the UK for its music.  The Beatles and The Stones. The 80s, (too many to mention) and then there's Coldplay, Radiohead, and on and on.

20. What is your advice for young musicians that are just starting out?

Be Yourself.

My thanks to Robbie Grey for this fantastic interview.  Learning more about 80s Music and its awesome history is truly what it's all about.  All my best to you Robbie and the guys with the success of your upcoming album and your cruise in February of next year.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


I wanted to be able to post this video on my blog page, but I couldn't figure it out so I'm posting it as a blog.  So I present to you, a video photo montage courtesy of The BBC World Service featuring Chris Stein and his never before seen photos of Blondie. 
Thank you @Nigello for providing this link

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Trick or Treat!

Well everyone, its that time of the year again.  Time to dust off the old leather apron and dig that hockey mask out of the attic.  Yep, you guessed it, its Halloween! And what better way to celebrate that most phenomenal of holidays than with music!

I wanted to do something different this year, but alas, time has eluded me and well, I guess I'm going to have to do a bit research to find out what is the best Halloween music is...

And you know how I roll on the holidays, I manage to segue just a little bit of every decade in just because I can and well, it makes it more fun gosh darn it, don't you think so? 

So here is a small list of the some of the best Halloweenie tunes from decades past to present, for you to either revisit or visit for the first time.

This is Halloween from Nightmare Before Christmas

Highway to Hell by AC/DC

Don't Fear The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult

Creep by Radiohead

Superstition by Stevie Wonder

Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon

Deal with the Devil by Pop Evil

Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr.

Monster Mash by Bobby Boris Pickett

Thriller by Michael Jackson

Well there you have it, just to name a few, I would like to thank Billboard magazine for their expertise in this area and give them credit for their list. Now I want to make a list of my own.


Feed My Frankenstein by Alice Cooper

Silent Lucidity by Queensryche

Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson

Cry Little Sister by Gerald McMann

Killing Moon by Echo and The Bunnymen

Spellbound by Siouxsie and The Banshees

Dead Man's Party by Oingo Boingo

War Pigs by Black Sabbath

Lucretia (My Reflection) by Sisters of Mercy

Halloween by Kirsty MacColl

So there you have my list for Halloween.  Enjoy and feel free to add some favorites of your own in the comment section.  Now if you will excuse me I have some rusty chains to attend to...

Happy Haunting...............................................

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Please Don't Read This Blog!

HA! Caught you! You know you wanted to read this blog.  But isn't that always the way it is? It is an inert desire in us to do the opposite of what is either suggested, advised or popular.  Hence this blog.

Now I know you have a favorite 80s song and YOU know you have a favorite 80s song.  I honestly believe that you sincerely want to tell me or someone or everyone,  I don't think it's a totally unreasonable request.  You have favorites and you know it! Tell Me!!!!

Okay now that I am calmer ;) I actually have a reason why I want to know. As some of you may know I am working on my very first album.  Its a long time coming and perhaps I may be past my prime as far as being a rock star, but I'm not aiming for rock star status. I am aiming for "I want to make an album" status.  I think I'm headed in the right direction.

With the love of the 80s as my guide I really feel sincerely that I should do an album of nothing but 80s covers. Ten songs that personified the 80s for everyone.  I want it felt the world over, and I want the input of all of my followers everywhere, young and old, black or white, rich or not so rich, butcher, baker, candlestick maker.  I will leave no stone un-turned.  I will go out into the REAL world if I have to.  And that's scary enough, so have mercy people!

So here is my pitch: You tell me what your favorite 80s song is and why.  I will go through the hundreds of responses (here that? hundreds!) and pick my favorites and when it comes time to do the acknowledgements on my album I will include the names of those that contributed, but showcase the ones that I picked.  Sound fair?

Oh did I mention that I was actually going to sing these songs? Yeah! that's the fun part about making an album that you and your friends like, they pick the songs and you sing them, kind of like playing Russian roulette karaoke. (I'm not the only one that's ever played that am I?)

So let's get out that vinyl, those cassettes and dust off those CD's and submit your answers today! I would like to get started working on this by the beginning of next year! Leave a comment, shoot me a DM but hurry, time's a wasting.

If you have any questions at all, please review the above statement. I will be posting songs that I have worked on in the past on YouTube here within the next few weeks so that you can hear what I sound like.  Hurry and get your answers in and you might get a free album!  How's that for a carrot!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

An Interview with Winston Marche

Well everyone, here is the interview I promised you all.  Winston Marche of none other than The Selecter.  I really enjoyed this interview and Winston submitted some great pics, so without further ado..Here is:

20 Questions with 80sMusicGirl: Winston Marche

1.  Where are you from originally Winston?

Even though I was born in London, my parents are from Jamaica. However, my surname suggests there may be more to this story :-).

2.  Do you have any brothers or sisters?

I have three brothers and two sisters.. I am the youngest of the boys.

3.   Have you always wanted to be a musician?

Even though I was very good at sport(soccer/tennis), music always had the edge for me.

4.  Did your parents have a musical background?

Mum said she used to sing a little in a choir, but other than that the answers a no.

5. How did you get your start in show business?

At the age of 5 yrs I started doing TV commercials and some clothes modelling too. By then I had already started to play instruments and eventually started playing them in the church we attended.  It was this situation that made my start in the music business quite easy, as I was approached on a regular basis to play for various projects.

6. So were your brothers and sisters musical as well?

I think most of my brothers and sisters tried an instrument in one way or other(I remember my eldest brother having a real good go at the saxophone), but there was never any intention of them taking it too seriously. However, they all did their time in various choirs.

7.  What was the name of the first band you recorded with?

Trying to remember the first band I recorded with is proving to be a little tricky, because as soon as I could play well enough there were lots of projects that need playing on… I think it may have been someone that lived just down the road from me. However, the name escapes me right now. I do remember that I’d alway think it sounded better listening back to a recording, than when I originally played it.

8.  Have you recorded any solo albums?

I have recorded enough material for a few solo albums(chuckle),
but have never got round to releasing them due to other commitments.

9.  How did you become involved with The Selecter?

Many years ago…about 1991…. I went into a studio to record with a band. When I finished the recordings. The producer, who was also a bass player, asked me if I was available to do some other sessions. I said yes, and was invited down to another studio to play on some music for TV commercials. Whilst being there, the producer of that session asked me if I’d be available to play on an album he was planning to do with a reformed band called The Selecter. The album never happened at the time, but I did the live shows… And the rest, they say, is history!!

10.  Did you find it difficult to adjust to touring lifestyle?

Whilst on tour you become like a big family because you really are living together. Also you have to be aware and respect each others space. So I’d say growing up in a big family has suitably prepared me for all of this.

11.  You used the term "reformed" when speaking of The Selecter. I noticed that also in Wikipedia. Explain that please.

The original band probably wasn't together much longer than a year and a half…dating back from the late seventies.
In the early nineties, Pauline Black and Neol Davis were invited to do some songs on stage with Bad Manners. It went so well it led them, plus a couple of the members from Bad Manners(Nick Welsh and Martin Stewart), to reform the Selecter. After a while Neol left to pursue other avenues, as Pauline continued to do the shows. After a few years Gaps Hendrickson rejoined the band for a period of time.

12.  When The English Beat split and reformed, there was a version with Dave Wakeling  that played in the US and a  version with Ranking Roger, that played in the UK, is that what happened with The Selecter?

As far as I know, Neol went on to pursue an instrumental version of the Selecter for a while. So I suppose there was plenty of space for both outfits to operate in the same territory.

13.  Have you ever participated in any of the 80s Festivals that are popular in Europe now?

I've probably done most festivals one way or another… Glastonbury being one of the most recognised

14.  Just because I can ask, what is your favorite 80s tune ;)

Whenever I’m asked about my favourite song, the answer’s usually met with surprise. I’m a musician and I like dancing, so I like lots of music for different reasons. However, I always point out "Forget Me Nots” by Patrice Rushen as a standout song for me. I think it had to do with the time and where I was in my ability to play. The simplicity and just where listening to it seemed to take me. Of course it must have had an affect on others too…as it went on to be used by George Michael and on the soundtrack for Men In Black…amongst others.

15.  Who were your musical influences growing up?

Drums wasn't the first instrument I picked up, I actually started playing organ. So as well as listening to the organist in the church I attended as a child, I like listening to people like Billy Preston, Richard Tee. I was a Steve Gadd and Billy Cobham fan from a very young age. I liked listening to people like Jaco Pastorious, Louis Johnson and Marcus Miller too. I thought Chaka Khan had an absolutely amazing voice along with Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson. When I eventually got on to drums, I felt I found ways of incorporating elements of these artists that had influenced me from a young age.

16.  There have been many speculations, but where exactly did Ska music originate?My parents are from Jamaica, and for a lifetime my belief was ska was a precursor to  reggae and rock steady.
Born in Jamaica in about the 1950’s, ska had elements of rhythm and blues, calypso and jazz.

17.  With a specific genre like Ska, there are so many revivals that have culminated in the past decades. Do you feel that this evolution has deluded the purity of Ska as a whole?

I think it would be a little unfair of me to generalise about what the more recent bands have and are bringing to the table. I think ska will always have its place set in stone. There are those bands that will stay true to the original. I also think there are some that have adjusted for modern times, which will bring in a whole new audience, but also have the ability to educate them where this music has come from… And dare I say it.. I think in all genres you’ll have a few bands that don’t quite understand the roots of the music they are trying to produce

18.  Do you think that it is more difficult to break into the music industry now than when you first did?

The whole thing about the music industry depends on what you’d like to get out of it.  For example… If your goal is to make great music, there is nothing stopping you other than maybe limitations with your ability to produce what you feel inside.  However, if your goals are to be rich and famous, I’d say yes, it is a bit more difficult now, as there are probably far more people that have an attempt at doing it. Also I think its harder now to maintain a position if you do get there.

19.  Do you think Television has been saturated with shows such as American Idol and The Voice?

I've never been a fan of those singer/music competition TV shows. I have never thought of music as a competition… I really believe everyone can bring something to the table…just a matter of finding what it is.   I think if there was only one of those shows it’d still be too many for me.

20. What is your advice for young musicians that are just starting out?

I’m not sure I qualify for giving out advice to musicians just starting out, as I’m sure many of us want different things. However, I would say its important to do it because you have a real passion for it, first and foremost. There could be lots of ups and downs, especially when you start out, and its being armed with the love for music that can pull you through

Well that's it everyone, what a great interview! Tune in next time, Ciao for Now!