Livin’ in the 80’s, by Rebecca Gonzalez Simpson

Livin’ in the 80’s, by Rebecca Gonzalez Simpson

I enjoy reading Lizy’s blog and have enjoyed reading the “Celebrity” writings. Everyone has an interesting story to tell and I love these small glimpses into people’s lives. I often reminisce and become nostalgic for the time in my life when I was her age.

Here’s a small piece of me. I love music. I love live music and I love going out to support live music. It’s in my blood. Here is the story of my introduction to live music and our life-long love affair.

In the 80’s, the L.A. club scene was exploding with all different types of music. On the Sunset Strip you had Gazzari’s, where the “hair” bands got their start. You had the Roxy, and, of course, the world famous Whiskey-a-go-go. A neighbor of mine was the manager at the Whiskey and had told my brother and I, if we ever wanted to attend a show, he’d put us on the guest list – meaning, we’d get in FREE. You only had to be 18, so we decided to give it a shot. A band called “Pearl Harbor and the Explosions” that we had heard on KROQ, and liked, was playing one weekend, so we took our neighbor up on his offer, and had him add us to the guest list.

We arrived to a very packed nightclub. The Whiskey is rather large with two floors. We worked our way up to the 2nd floor, and the opening band started playing. They were unbelievable! Exciting, energetic, talented and the music was like nothing we’d ever heard before. That was my “IT” moment. I was mesmerized and “hooked”. Who was this band? Oingo Boingo, that’s who.

After that night, I couldn’t get enough.. The Whiskey was great and guess what? The owner of the Whiskey also owned the Roxy so now I have two venues where I can get on the “guest list”. But, that didn’t really matter anymore – freebies. I just wanted to see what was out there. I saw and met many different musicians and bands, all types of music; punk rock, new wave, rock – they all had their own sound and I wanted to hear it all. My 18th birthday, at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go, Tommy Tutone (the one-hit-wonder, 867-5309 – my apologies if that song is stuck in your head now) is playing. Huey Lewis and the News is OPENING for them! Since I know the manager, I can get backstage, too. Turns out, it’s also their drummers birthday! Who knew? Best birthday ever. There were clubs all over the greater Los Angeles area. I lived in Redondo Beach so nothing was too far for me as far as I was concerned – even Devore, where the Us Festivals (look it up) were held, wasn’t too far. Yes, I went both years!

I would also attend concerts at the larger venues. A few times, my friends and I would spend the night at the concert locations, to be in line first thing the morning tickets went on sale. This is what you did before the internet to ensure buying a ticket! It was crazy, fun and now when I think back, probably extremely dangerous — but at the time, seeing Devo, U2, The Cars, The Who or the Rolling Stones live, was all that mattered. My first “official” concert was Rick Springfield (Jesse’s Girl) BUT I used to tell people it was Gary Numan (Cars) because he was cooler. Fact is, my friend invited me to see Rick Springfield so, officially, Gary Numan was the first concert tickets I bought myself.

Today, I am 50. I live with my husband of 23 years and two of our three children. After having lived in Utah from 1990-2001, we found ourselves back in Los Angeles. I love this city and state. I still go out and see live music. Not on the scale that “20 year old Rebecca” did, but on the scale that “50 year old Rebecca” can manage. A few of my favorite local 80’s artists will perform every now and again – I catch those shows when I can. It ignites that “spark” in me. My burning desire for live music is still there, but it’s more like a low simmer now and that is enough to satisfy me. That, and my wonderful memories from that time of my life. The moral of my tale is – live your life with no regrets. Follow and feed your passions! You’ll be a better person for it at age 50. The end.

Rebecca Gonzalez Simpson is a long time friend of mine who enjoys beer, tiki huts, peace signs, and volunteering for immigration programs.

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2 replies to “Livin’ in the 80’s, by Rebecca Gonzalez Simpson

  1. Mark

    How cool.

  2. Paulette

    Thanks for taking me back to the 80s Rebecca!!! I too have the best memories of bands and concert and ticket lines. 867-5309 🙂

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