Richard Blade Explains Why '80s Music Still Beats Most of the Crap You Listen to Today

Categories: interview

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There's no denying Richard Blade is the voice of '80s music, the torchbearer for a generation of loud synths and even louder clothes. So those who grew up watching him interview acts such as Morrissey on KCAL's Video One and MV3 or listening to him spin hours of Reagan-era classics as a DJ on KROQ aren't surprised to hear the man still lives and breathes the stuff. More than 20 years later, Blade keeps the sounds of Duran Duran and Kajagoogoo alive on the air via his satellite-radio station, Channel 33/First Wave, and club gigs throughout Southern California.

But he hasn't spent his life in a time capsule--although you may feel as if you're in one when you hang out with him as he hosts the Lost '80s Live show tomorrow in downtown Long Beach, touting live performances from early MTV darlings such as Wang Chung, Flock of Seagulls and Naked Eyes. We recently spoke with Blade about why '80s music will always be better than the aural garbage we're force-fed over the radio these days. We also reviewed some high points from back in the day, including a very high pair of shorts he used to wear on camera.

See also: Top 10 Glam Metal Bands of All Time

OC Weekly (Nate Jackson): What's your opinion of how '80s music has been absorbed into the "classic rock" genre for a lot of radio formats these days?
Richard Blade: It's sort of become like '60s music. The '60s were an amazing decade, with bands like the Doors, the Who, the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones. Even if you weren't born then, people are so aware of it. And that's what's happened to the '80s. The '70s -- apart from disco -- were nothing. The '90s were kind of a throwaway, depressing decade; apart from the Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam, there are no great bands that came out of it in the world of rock. And rock is in a terrible place right now. There are no new great rock bands.

The Killers came along for a bit, and then Franz Ferdinand for a second, and they're trying to come back with a new album. But there haven't been any great rock bands for the past 20 years. You ask someone what's a great rock band around at the moment, and the answer is Foo Fighters, U2 or the Rolling Stones. There's no one now, apart from maybe Cold Play, who can compete. The '80s surprisingly have become a decade that people just love--it was good music, it was fun music, and it had groups that you knew the name of every band member of. Just like you know John, Paul, George and Ringo, you know Andy, Simon, Nick, John and Roger.

There are plenty of bands that adopt a lot of '80s sounds and aesthetics these days, though. What about them?
Oh, absolutely, you could go all the way back to Interpol, who salute the '80s and have an '80s feel, but whether those bands will have any long term impact . . . In 10 years' time, will we really be talking about the Killers? Not putting them down -- I like them a lot -- but they're still not that big when you compare them with Foo Fighters or Duran Duran or the Who.

As someone who has been a DJ long before we started calling dance music "EDM," what's your take on the rise of rock star DJs such as David Guetta, Skrillex and Afrojack?
I actually like it; I'm a big fan of that stuff. I spent a lot of time this past April in the dance tent at Coachella; I saw Benny Benassi and Moby and really enjoyed it. If I were a kid coming up, that's the route I'd be taking. I'd be a DJ and producer. I think it's great that so many of them make their own music as well as spin it. I think they've gone from keeping their head down in their laptops to having these great live shows. So I'm full of respect for them. There's always been an audience for it. I came out of the clubs in Europe, and I still play at least three nights a week in the clubs, and I think it's great.

See also: The 25 Greatest OC Bands of All Time: The Complete List


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26 comments
BGChicagoEaglesElton
BGChicagoEaglesElton

So, Bee Gees, Chicago, Eagles, Elton John, Billy Joel...were *nothing* eh? 

F*** you.


John Dennis
John Dennis

I wish I was down there. When I lived in Orange County I saw Flock of Seagulls in a small club when the singer was very heavy then.

John Jp Iris
John Jp Iris

'The '70s, apart from disco, were nothing. The '90s were kind of a throw away...' Don't you remember Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, ACDC, Queen, Aerosmith, King Crimson in the 70s, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine in the 90s ! And so many others ! There's nothing to say about this kind of guy. Just ignore him !

Pam Bee
Pam Bee

I am referring to 80's music. The 70's were the best decade for rock!

Joe Provino
Joe Provino

Nightmares- A flock of seagulls. Killer song

Laura Gonzalez
Laura Gonzalez

For once I wish I was down south! Love me some 80s music.

IE_ChargersFan
IE_ChargersFan

As I recall "Video One" was on Channel 9 now known as KCAL.

Rick Hale
Rick Hale

"And rock is in a terrible place right now, there's no new great rock bands" That's because the American Idol type shows and iTunes have killed it.

Pam Bee
Pam Bee

Richard Blade is wrong!

Joe Pinney
Joe Pinney

Ever hear of that Mexican American 80s tribute band, El Gordo y La Flaca Seagulls?

Razorwyre
Razorwyre

"There haven't been any great rock bands in the last 20 years"? Fuck me running, grandpa. Hang your shit up.

WOW. "Kajagoogoo" and 'Wang Chung" really kept rock and roll alive, didn't they?

Put on a RUSH album and get educated, Methusela.


ladytron
ladytron

Didn't anyone proofread this? There are several grammatical and spelling errors. Richard deserves better!

BGChicagoEaglesElton
BGChicagoEaglesElton

...and Bruce Springsteen was the Major of the 70s, dude. Get a grip on yourself.

kbear09090
kbear09090

@Otis Denim He makes more money than you do.

Koreafornian
Koreafornian

@Razorwyre RUSH is a 70's band that also had their zenith in the 80's, your example actually proves Blade's point.

Arose
Arose

@Nate

*Coldplay


*10 years' time [fixed (as of today)]


*want to play (debatable)


*Morrissey


*your *A game [fixed]


*their star was rising [fixed]


*striped dolphin shorts [fixed]


*Richard Simmons [fixed]


*"What were you thinking?" [fixed]

(I'm sorry, but those errors detracted from the message for me...and _then_ I saw your "fixed" comment to Ladytron. This list is what remained after that first round. I still enjoyed the article. Cheers.)

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