SiriusXM 1st Wave DJ Larry “The Duck” Dunn and Volume host Lori Majewski are the latest 80s heroes to join the celebrity and artist lineup of the 2020 voyage of The 80s Cruise.
Both names and voices should be very familiar to most cruise fans: Dunn was the longtime music director and on-air personality of famed Long Island radio station WLIR during our beloved decade. These days, he’s heard daily on the satellite radio station 1st Wave. Majewski, who co-hosts an all-music talk show on SiriusXM’s Volume channel and contributes frequent “Lust for Lists” shows to 1st Wave, also co-authored the book “Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s.” Published in 2014 and featuring interviews with dozens of artists from ABC to Duran Duran, it is the ultimate page-turning account of an unforgettable era in music.
In addition to his SiriusXM duties, Dunn is promoting a new documentary about his Long Island radio days. “New Wave: Dare to be Different” is currently streaming on Showtime on Demand and relives the critical role that WLIR played in the emergence domestically of new music in the 80s. (The movie is also available on DVD.)
In case you’re wondering, Dunn took on “Larry The Duck” as his moniker for two reasons. First, another “Larry Dunn” was already known to music fans as the keyboardist of Earth, Wind and Fire. But Larry says his nickname was intended more as a tribute to Donald “Duck” Dunn, the legendary bass player known for his contributions to Booker T. and the M.G.’s as well as his 80s sendup with the Blues Brothers.
Dunn, who just celebrated the 40th anniversary of his very first radio show, joined Stuck in the ’80s for a half-hour interview, which can be heard in full at www.sit80s.com. (Look for a Stuck in the ‘80s interview with Lori coming soon!) Here are some highlights from The Duck’s Deep Dive with Steve Spears from Stuck in the ’80s:
Steve: So what have you heard about The 80s Cruise?
Larry: It’s funny – I was in a theater in Long Island when the Cure documentary was shown worldwide, and I was talking to the crowd about what they were about to see … and this woman who was kind of half-drunk comes in and she goes, “Larry! Are you goin’ on The 80s Cruise?!?” And I go “yeah” … meanwhile we’re about to show the Cure film and she kept persisting – “Are you goin’ on The 80s Cruise? I go every single year!” I said (laughing), “Well, I guess I’m going to see you at the bar!” … I’ve heard wonderful things about it. I’m really looking forward to it. … I’ve spoken to Mark (Goodman) about it and he says it’s a total blast.
Steve: I’m sure you got to know a lot of these artists during your WLIR days. Whom in particular are you looking forward to hanging out with again?
Larry: I’ve always been friends with The B-52s – I love Fred, Kate and Cindy. They’re so down to earth. You know, I’ve never gotten to know Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet, and I did see them on tour – it was like their first tour of America in 33 years. His voice was so spot on. So I’m looking forward to actually connecting with those I haven’t really connected with. Getting to know the artists on the boat, I think, is a real joy to me.
Steve: In the documentary “New Wave: Dare to be Different” there’s a footnote at the end that says more than 700 bands made their U.S. debut on your radio station WLIR and that those bands collectively went on to sell 500 million records.
Larry: Yup, that’s true. I think that’s a conservative number. … We certainly thought we were groundbreakers. We were innovators. It was just a fun, fun time.
Steve: Which bands first turned your head back then?
Larry: I think everyone will point back to Kraftwerk. It’s interesting, U2 – on the Innocence and Experience Tour – if you remember there’s one scene where Bono shows his bedroom growing up in Dublin and he’s got a Kraftwerk poster on the wall. … You think of Kraftwerk, you think of U2, you think of Pet Shop Boys. First time I heard “West End Girls,” I went “Holy crap!”
Steve: Obviously The 80s Cruise celebrates the bands that made an impact on my generation. If there was a “Larry The Duck Cruise” and you could pick the bands that would perform on it – bands either still together or long gone – who would you pick?
Larry: Wow. Only five?
Steve: Pick as many as you want! The 80s Cruise has about 17 next year!
Larry: Well, look I’d love to have the Ramones, but God I miss Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and Tommy – still have Marky. If I had to pick five for the Larry The Duck Cruise, I’d pick U2, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, the Police and because they’re good friends, Fred, Cindy and Kate – The B-52s.
Steve: And that’s a great lineup. The approximate cost per cabin will be $2 million.
Larry: Hahaha … we can always wish!
(Steve Spears is the creator and co-host of the award-winning Stuck in the ‘80s podcast. He and co-host Brad Williams emcee Big 80s Trivia on The 80s Cruise each year. Listen to the full Larry the Duck interview and the rest of the Stuck in the ‘80s episodes at www.sit80s.com or on your favorite podcast app.)