Martha Quinn doesn't let the 80s down
One of MTV's original veejays 26 years ago, today Quinn is back in the news, lending her name and chicness to a new computer trivia game called "The 80s Game with Martha Quinn." She also hosts a weekly show on the Sirius satellite radio network called "Martha Quinn Presents Gods of the Big 80s."
Now 47 years old, she has not surprisingly tapped into the Dick Clark Fountain of Youth, retaining her pixie, girl-next-door looks and friendly yet frisky voice. (Click here for her official website, with her own podcast.)
She recently chatted with Stuck in the 80s to promote her trivia game. While Times pop critic Sean Daly flattered her non-stop, I chatted her up about her love of Bon Jovi, one-hit wonders and today's celebrity gossip websites. Here are some highlights from the interview. (Click here to listen to the full interview with Martha Quinn. Or click here to subscribe to all our podcasts for free on iTunes.)
Stuck in the 80s: Martha, your voice is essentially ingrained in our DNA. You must have guys coming up to you all the time expressing their love to you.
Martha Quinn: "No, this is what happens, and it's always a double-edged sword to me because I know people are trying to be nice. . ... Someone will say 'Oh Martha, I used to have the biggest crush on you.' I'm like, 'Oh you used to? Who do you have a crush on now.' Typical female.
When MTV started 25 years ago, did anyone at the network envision you'd became the face of the music television revolution?
"You're the first person to ever ask that question. ... You know it's funny, every once in a while, I'll read an article and if they talking about the 80s, I've actually seem them to refer to those as the 'Martha Quinn Years.' And I'm like, 'Oh my god, that's incredible.' No, I'm quite sure that nobody had any idea because, you know, I was just some goofy kid off the street basically. It just worked out that way. I can't explain it. ... It worked out great and I'm honored.
Is it a burden to have that responsibility fall on you?
"Well, I try not to drive and drive so that I don't let the 80s down. You know how I feel about it? It's so great that I do the Sirius show right now. ... It's totally reconnecting me with this group of people who I really feel like we came to age together."
Why are so many people still infatuated with the decade?
"I'm not sure. People are passionate about the 80s. It's really wild. I look back on it -- there was Reaganomics and the Reagan years and there was a lot going on in the world. There was also a lot of real hard-core optimism. Everything from Garbage Pail Kids to the Smurfs to the Safety Dance. ...""
"People always love the period of time they grew up in before they took on adult responsibilities. You always love those years. But I do think that people who grew up in the 80s are more passionate about the 80s than any other decade. When the 50s came back, it was kind of a kitschy, cute revival."
The music was fun too. What did you listen to back then?
"I firmly believe there's an East Coast/West Coast divide on this. People who grew up on the East Coast are firm Bon Jovi [and] Aerosmith listeners. West Coast, Oingo Boingo [and] Depeche Mode."
"[For me, it was] Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Dexy's Midnight Runners."
Oh come on, you listened to just one Dexy's Midnight Runners song -- "Come On Eileen"!
"Yeah, but I listened to it over and over and over. That was back in the days when you could put a single on your turntable and switch the mode to repeat. ... My neighbors must have thought I was insane. I loved that song."
What interviews really stand out from your MTV days?
I interviewed Bob Dylan ... I was so frightened of this guy, and he was wonderful. I finally got to meet Paul McCartney, which was a total dream. ... I almost found that the bigger the celerity, the nicer they were. Frankie Goes To Hollywood came in -- Mark [Goodman] actually interviewed them -- and they were total d--ks. Totally! Mark actually at one point said, 'Listen, do you guys even want to do this interview?' "
"But that being said, tons of newcomers were awesome too, like the Go-Go's, whom I'm still friends with. The Stray Cats, the Red Hot Chili Peppers [too]. But you tend to be great when the camera is on."
What do you make of today's celebrity culture -- the tabloids, the gossip websites?
"I don't even go to the movies. I don't even watch TV. But I'm addicted to this stuff. It's crazy. I gotta see the latest on what's happening with Lindsay Lohan."
"I was just saying this to [former MTV veejay] Nina Blackwood: We missed the era of tabloids. If tabloids had been around back then, we would have been right there -- 'Nina Blackwood is dating who?!?' "