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Never found in the '80s: Big Black

One of the loudest bands I’ve ever seen, Big Black was a dark, disturbed and angry band out of Chicago. Their sound was hard edged fueled by trashing guitars, thumping bass, and a powerful drum machine beat. They were big in the post punk scene of the 80s, but their songs were far too twisted to ever get a whiff of the pop charts.

The featured song is a live version of their song Kerosene from the 1986 release, Atomizer, and it kicks off with possibly the greatest sound ever produced by a guitar. That sound is metal! Not the stuff produced by those '80s boys with long hair, make-up, and leotards. This is what '80s heavy metal should have sounded like.

Twisted lyric? “Kerosene around, find something to do / Kerosene around, SET ME ON FIRE!”

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Star Trek polo shirts: It's logical

Star Trek polo shirts! It's amazing nobody thought of these before. Because what else would Kirk and Spock wear on the golf course between teaching seminars at Starfleet Academy?

They're for sale at the official Star Trek store for a mere $28 and are available in gold, blue and red. (Don't buy the red.) And in sizes up to XXXL. Hope they're stocked up on that particular size.

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Listen to our 5 favorite Stuck in the '80s podcast interviews

Martha Quinn. Brian Johnson. Maybe even Howard Jones. Stuck in the '80s fans have a lot of opinions on which was the best interview we've done in nearly eight years of Stuck in the '80s. With Easter upon us and half the country covered in snow, maybe the best way to celebrate the holiday is safely indoors with a pair of ear buds and a little podcasting history.

In no particular order, here are my favorite Stuck in the '80s podcast interviews.

BRIAN JOHNSON: The AC/DC frontman was doing a benefit concert in Clearwater, which gave us the rare chance to talk to a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. His story about how he wrote Hells Bells still gives me chills. Listen again.

MARTHA QUINN: It still amazes me that Martha and I e-mail back and forth in the wake of this amazing conversation. Martha was promoting an '80s trivia game, giving us the opening for an interview. She's every bit as lovable as she was when we first saw her on MTV. Listen again. …

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Friday lost and found: It's Immaterial 'Driving Away From Home'

While Easter is not the traveling holiday that Thanksgiving and Christmas has become, there still might be some of you on the highways this weekend. For those travelers, Lost and Found submits Driving Away From Home (Jim’s Tune) from England’s It’s Immaterial.

Unfair or not, It’s Immaterial has been dubbed a one-hit wonder in the UK by those who like making one-hit wonder lists. To be fair, 1986’s Driving Away From Home was their only song to crack the UK Top 40 even though they released many singles and recorded four sessions with the legendary broadcaster John Peel.

It’s Immaterial broke up in 1990 and keyboardist Henry Priestman went on the have UK success with the band The Christians.

- Kevin Wuench, guest blogger

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3 movies from the '80s that aren't as bad as you think

I'm under no illusion that the '80s were the golden age of film. For every Breakfast Club, there's a Gymkata. But Totalfilm.com has put out an interesting list that's worth examining: 30 films that aren't as bad as you thought. And of course, a few '80s gems made the list.

Here are the three '80s flicks that made Totalfilm's list, along with a quick quote from the website:

The Razor's Edge (1984): "Murray gives one of his most interesting performances for a film that’s as eccentric as the actor himself."

Ishtar (1987): "While it’s silly and often dim-witted, it’s got some great songs (courtesy Paul Williams) and the against-type casting is a masterstroke."

Superman III (1983): "If the comedy is often silly, though, the film’s ace card is the fake Kryptonite that turns Superman evil."

Don't even get them started on the worst sequels of the '80s.

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'Push Comes to Shove' for the Shoes

If you love power pop, there is no band truer to the genre than Shoes. Every song they’ve recorded is so sugary sweet that you should probably brush your teeth after a full listening.

Shoes has been adored by critics and all their songs are trademarked by their chorus hooks and background harmonies. They appeared on the early days of MTV with four videos from their 1979 album Present Tense, but curiously filmed no videos for their fine 1981 album Tongue Twister. However in 1984, Shoes finally submitted a video for the When Push Comes To Shove from their Silhouette album. The video shows the boys from Shoe walking around their hometown of Zion, Illinois. In 2012, Shoes released Ignition, their first album of new material since Silhouette.

- Kevin Wuench, guest blogger

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Wednesday lost and found: Jane Wiedlin and Sparks 'Cool Places'

When I first saw the video for Cool Places back in 1983, I admit I wasn’t a fan mainly caused I found brothers Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks a wee bit creepy and possibly there was jealousy involving Go-Go cutie pie Jan Wiedlin.As time past, I became the bigger man and now enjoy this irresistible slice of ‘80s new wave that features prestidigitation and the thin mustache of keyboardist Ron Mael.

Cool Places reached No. 49 on the Billboard charts and while this was the highest charting record for Sparks, they’ve had a long career with the March release of their 23rd album called Two Hands One Mouth, which is a collection of live recordings from their 2012 European tour. 

- Kevin Wuench, guest blogger

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Podcast time: Violent Femmes and other classic albums turn 30

You played them on the turntable even though your parents couldn't stand the lead singer's whiny voice. You danced to their tunes like an insane person on the loose at every fraternity party in college. And maybe you even tried to be clever and get your wedding DJ to play a song or two late during the reception.

But is it really possible that the debut album of the Violent Femmes is 30 years old? Dude, it's true. It's true. And this week's Stuck in the '80s podcast celebrates three golden albums from 1983, including this gem by the Femmes. It's part of a new series of shows marking three decades of amazing music.

Click here to download the show. Or find us on iTunes.

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Pac-Man Fever all over again: '80s arcade game arrives for Android

Pac-Man fans, you needn't fear joystick fatigue with this news: The original '80s version of Pac-Man is now available on Android.

CNet.com reports that the gameplay of Pac-Man + Tournaments is "a faithful rendition of the classic '80s arcade game and includes all 256 levels." In addition, tournament mode includes new mazes. So there goes your social life ... again.

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KISS has a kid-friendly comic book?!?

KISS is set to debut a children-friendly comic book series dubbed KISS Kids. Okay, let me take a moment to wrap my mind around this. The same band that had my 12-year-old self singing Love Gun -- "You pulled the trigger on my ... Love Gun!" -- is now deliberately trying to cater to tots? Hmmm.

According to Comicsalliance.com, "KISS Kids re-imagines bassist Gene Simmons' stage persona 'The Demon' as 'Li'l Demon'; guitarist Ace Frehley's 'Spaceman' as 'Spacey'; drummer Peter Criss' 'Catman' as 'Catkid'; and singer Paul Stanley's 'Starchild' as, well, 'Starchild,' since that works just fine." (Presumably without the open shirt and mats of chest hair.)

"KISS is used to rocking and rolling all night and partying every day, but back when they were little'uns, those things only happened around nap time," said Chris Ryall, co-writer of KISS Kids with Tom Waltz.

Oh yeah. He really said that. Great gods of thunder!

KISS Kids issue No. 1 goes on sale this fall in stores and from ComiXology.

 

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Will Smith turned down Django? Say it ain't so, Fresh Prince!

Parents just don't understand? I hear ya, Fresh Prince. Turns out maybe you don't understand either. When Quentin Tarantino wants to cast you in a major role in one of his movies, you say YES. Alas, Will Smith went the other direction and reportedly turned down Django Unchained because the part wasn't big enough for him.

"Django wasn't the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!" Smith told Entertainment Weekly. Instead, Jamie Foxx got the part.

Smith would have gladly taken the role that Christoph Waltz won an Oscar for, but says he has no hard feelings.

"I thought it was brilliant," he told EW. "Just not for me."

Another iconic role Smith turned down over the years was Neo in The Matrix. He was also considered, but ultimately passed over for roles in Dream Girls (missing out to Foxx again), Rush Hour and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

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That 'other' song by The Romantics

The Romantics are known best for two ‘80s songs. Talking In Your Sleep reached No. 3 on the charts in 1983 and What I Like About You, one of the most overplayed songs on radio, movies and commercials, but strangely only peaked at No. 49 in 1980.

Here at Lost and Found, we love One In A Million, which reached No. 37 on the charts in early 1984 as the third single off the excellent In Heat album. One In A Million has all the classic ‘80s video components: beautiful babes, big hair and ice cream scoopers.

The title One in a Million always reminds me of the '80's Steven Wright joke, “China has a population of a billion people. That means even if you're a one-in-a-million kind of guy, there are still thousand others just like you."

The Detroit band is still together after all these years, although they just play selected venues on a limited basis.

- Kevin Wuench, guest blogger

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Lost and found: Phantom, Rocker & Slick's 'Men without Shame'

With the baseball season starting next week, it is always interesting to hear the choices of “walk-up” music a batter selects as their theme music for the year. If I was in “the show” I would instruct the PA announcer to blast 1985’s Men Without Shame by Phantom, Rocker & Slick for my first at-bat.

With a dirty guitar crunch, nasty bass and crashing cymbals, Men Without Shame is also great on your headphones for less glamorous activities like taking a walk or other sissy things that don’t involve a wooden bat.

The trio was formed when the Stray Cats broke up for the first time and drummer Slim Jim Phantom and bassist Lee Rocker joined forces with Earl Slick. The trio went on to put out two albums in the ‘80s before the Stray Cats reformed. Slick is one of David Bowie’s favorite guitarists having played on several of his albums and tours. Slick is reported to be a featured guitar player on Bowie’s new album The Next Day.

- Kevin Wuench, guest blogger

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Friday lost and found: The Del Fuegos 'Do Run Wild'

In 2007, when I was still forced to watch the Disney Channel on a regular basis, a singer named Dan Zane performed songs in between shows on an endless loop. Curiosity got the better of me and I was shocked to learn that Zane was the leader of ‘80s garage rock band The Del Fuegos.

In 1986, the Boston band released the toe-tapping Do Run Wild, which along with I Still Want You, received solid mainstream rock play on the radio. The Del Fuegos were also criticized for being one of the first bands to have a corporate tour sponsor and appear in commercials for Miller Genuine Draft Beer.

The Del Fuegos have been name-dropped in several songs. In 1987, the Young Fresh Fellows mocked The Del Fuegos in Beer Money and were recounted with more fondness in the 1993 Juliana Hatfield song My Sister.

The Del Fuegos broke up at the end of the ‘80s mostly due to yet another brother vs. brother band dispute between Dan and Warren Zane. With the Disney machine behind him, Dan Zane would eventually win the 2007 Grammy for Best Kids Album. Another victory for cooperate America!

- Kevin Wuench, guest blogger

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Matthew Broderick turns 51: Ranking his work top to bottom (Spoiler: Ferris isn't No. 1!)

Matthew Broderick CAN'T be 51 years old. Just last week he was missing his ninth day of school this year, right? To celebrate, I found a list of Matthew Broderick's movie and TV roles dating back to the very start of his career. And even better, IMDB.com allows us to see the list as ranked by fan votes. The top spot is going to surprise you.

Keep in mind this isn't my personal ranking, which would have been far more weighted toward '80s flicks.

MATTHEW BRODERICK's BEST MOVIES: No. 1 to No. 59, according to IMDB fan votes: …

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