Tuesday, April 2, 2013

And then there was my teen years...

Soooooo...you guys know I love all of these toys and candy and colors and crazy things. Let me tell you why: I didn't get to finish being a kid. Boo hoo! I am bringing this up because I thought I would let y'all know that I wrote a book on my teenage years called The Sunset Strip Diaries (on Amazon and B & N.com) that explains my story! If you feel like escaping by reading a true crazy story of life on The Sunset Strip with the hair bands of Hollywood, you might be interested in my story. Here is an interview from Kickin It Old School: 80's Pop Culture Blog

"I also had the opportunity for an interview with Amy Asbury, the author of The Sunset Strip Diaries. After reading her first book, I had so many questions for her. Her memoir chronicles some of the awesomeness of the 80s, so I say that (among other reasons) makes her pretty awesome herself. Here are some selections from my interview with Amy Asbury...

Q: Why did you decide to write The Sunset Strip Diaries? How long did it take to get it published? What reaction have you received since it has been published?

Amy: I had journals from my teen years in a box- when I was writing them back 20 years ago, I knew they would be a book one day. But as I matured, I thought, "These stories are too personal- I could never put them out to the world."  Then I got breast cancer three and a half years ago (at age 35) and, as they say, sometimes it takes thinking you are going to die to start living. After going through strong chemo, losing my hair and all of that, suddenly I thought, "What am I waiting for?" Nothing really scared me after that- I was more brave. I took out the journals and typed up the rest of the story while going through chemo. I thought, I could die and these stories would never be told. Who cares what people think? It didn't take long to get it published- it took about a year. The reaction I have had has been great. A lot of people absolutely love it and appreciate the honesty- but there are some people who think I was a total jerk in the book and they can't believe I behaved the way I did. I tell them, "You're right! I was a total jerk." I am not disagreeing! *laughs*

Q: Was it a painful experience or was it therapeutic and/or cathartic? Were you ever hesitant about sharing so much and letting people in at such a personal level? Did you ever consider not sharing so much personal experience and focus more on what was going on around you?

Amy: It was both painful and cathartic at the same time. I considered not sharing so much, but when you're doing a memoir, you have to go big or go home; you have to be honest about your life. Well, that's how I feel anyway. It's funny, I have heard the opposite also: That I was only talking about what was going on around me and not enough about how I felt about it (once I got to Hollywood). I guess people see it in different ways.

Q: Who do you feel will enjoy reading this book and why?

Amy: I think anyone who had a tough time being a teenager will like it, or anyone who wants to be entertained reading about a life completely different from theirs. And there is a certain part of the population who like the 80s hair bands- I did a lot of name dropping, so that should be fun for them.

Q: Give us a quick description of Hollywood and the Sunset Strip area during the late-80s and early-90s which is when most of your book takes place. It sounds like it was not only a rockin' excessively good time, but was also quite chaotic and even dangerous. This line seems to capture it for me, "things like that were just normal in that town".

Amy: Yes- a lot of very bizarre things happened every time I was there. It was a huge street party underneath the backlit marquees of the Hollywood clubs. Violent, colorful, glittery, aggressive, over the top. Eight by ten pieces of neon paper were stapled to every phone pole and littered the ground like huge chunks of confetti in hot pink, acid green, lemon yellow and bright turquoise blue. Fights were breaking out, people were making out, rock stars would wander by... It was a freak show combined with a rock video combined with a beauty pageant. I had never laid eyes on so many creative, extraordinary people doing so many strange and crazy things.

Q: Who were some of the biggest bands that 80s fans will recognize that you saw live back then and partied with? Any that you saw before they hit it big? Any bands you saw that you are surprised that never did make it big time that should have or could have?

Amy: I saw a lot of 80s band members randomly partying around town: the guys from Guns n Roses, Motley Crue (There is a crazy story about Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson in the sequel, Confetti Covered Quicksand), the guys in Poison- either my friends were dating them or I ran into them at The Rainbow. I saw the guys from Sugar Ray all over the place back then (they were called the Shrinky Dinx) and I partied a lot with Buckcherry, who were called Slamhound back then. As far as who should have made it big time: Swingin' Thing and Glamour Punks- both of who just played a reunion show at The Roxy this June, with another great band called Blackboard Jungle. And they still had it- they sounded awesome.
Q: Sounds like Riki Rachtman (and his girlfriend) were crucial in your infusion to the Strip. I remember him as he became a MTV personality (around 1990 I think) on Headbangers Ball. What can you tell us about Rachtman? Also, what were your feelings about Headbangers Ball back in the day?

Amy: He was a scene maker initially- the person who dictated what was cool and what wasn't, the person who led the flock, the host of the party. He reminds me of Steve Rubell from Studio 54, he was kind of handpicking a scene and making it into something big. I liked that he was bringing the rock scene, my scene, to MTV. I wasn't really too into Headbangers Ball though because it was too heavy for me; I think I was more about the party, a little fickle maybe.

Q: What was your preferred brand of hair spray? Aqua Net? How high would you get your hair back then?

Amy: You know what? I actually didn't have big hair! I had long straight hair- I was before my time! *laughs* I stopped the hairspray around age 14- but when I did use hairspray it was Aqua Net all the way, baby.

Q: It sounds like you had at least one Motley Crue poster on your wall growing up. Am I right? What other posters were on your wall back in the 80s?

Amy: Of course! Well let's see, I had a Ratt poster too, and my sister had tons of Poison, Cinderella and Bon Jovi posters- she had dibs on them so I couldn't put up their pictures! She used to make out with her life-size Bon Jovi poster.

Q: You obviously loved the hair bands back then (after you got over Wham! breaking up). Do you still like that same music today or music from the 80s in general?

Amy: I am not into the rock stuff anymore really- but I still love my general 80s music! All of it! Duran Duran, the Go-Go's, Cyndi Lauper, Whitney Houston, New Edition, Bruce Springsteen- I love all of those old songs. I even love the one hit wonders.

Q: You did a sequel to The Sunset Strip Diaries called Confetti Covered Quicksand. What can we expect from the sequel? Do we find out how you pull off becoming normal?

Amy: YES! You find out how I pull off becoming normal, but before you do, you hear even wilder stories than in The Sunset Strip Diaries. You go with me to the VIP rooms of the 90s L.A. clubs, you go with me to Aspen, the coke capital of the universe, and you listen to me name drop about twenty more 80s/90s stars' names (I am so obnoxious). It is a completely wild book, all true. It is also out on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com now."