While the amazing 80s was limited to a single awesome decade, the Stuck in the ’80s podcast has now been celebrating those radical years for 15 full trips around the sun!
In honor of the 15th anniversary of the Stuck in the ‘80s podcast, The 80s Cruise thought it would be fun to turn the tables on our totally awesome friends, 80s experts and cruise partners. Steve Spears and Brad Williams have been diving deep into our 80s memory banks since July of 2005 … now it’s our turn to ask the questions and get to know the musical and cultural inspirations that set the stage for the Stuck in the ‘80s podcast.
We can’t wait to have Steve and Brad back on the ship asking you Big 80s Trivia questions. Until then, the spotlight is now on them:
THE 80s CRUISE: Wow, 15 years. Congratulations on that awesome accomplishment! Your podcast is now 5 years older than the entire decade… how does that feel?
Steve: Totally bizarre. There are days when I don’t know whether to feel proud or embarrassed! So many people have contributed to the show over the years, and I hope everyone feels a sense of accomplishment in hitting this milestone.
Brad: I tell Steve he should be proud. I haven’t been around for the whole run of the show so it’s not quite the same for me!
THE 80s CRUISE: What inspirations led you to launch the podcast?
Steve: It all started with my 20th high school reunion, when I built a website and blog for the occasion. It reconnected me to the memories of that decade, and I needed a new outlet once the reunion was over. Podcasts were JUST becoming a thing in 2005, and the newspaper I worked for wanted to try doing one. Of all the pitches for podcast ideas, mine was the one approved. I thought maybe it would last a month, two at the most.
THE 80s CRUISE: What memories and milestones stand out from your Stuck in the ‘80s podcast journey?
Steve: Early on — the first year or two — we got a chance to interview Rick Springfield and Loverboy in person live backstage before a concert. We were starstruck but we got through it. Other unexpected doors kept opening, too, like getting the chance to introduce bands such as Duran Duran and Night Ranger live on stage.
Brad: Getting asked to join as a co-host of the podcast in late 2012. Interviewing the VJs. Having somebody recognize me as “Brad in LA” on the first 80s Cruise.
Steve: I still smile whenever a stranger calls me Spearsy — a nickname totally conjured up during our podcasts.
THE 80s CRUISE: What has made the podcast so wildly popular and enduring?
Brad: I think one reason is that Steve and I really are friends, and that comes through in the banter — but more importantly, we try to be positive and respectful of our weekly topics and the decade we love.
THE 80s CRUISE: What have been your favorite interviews, topics and episodes?
Steve: Steve Perry will always be my favorite. It was 2011, and he hadn’t talked to anyone in ages. We were supposed to have just 20 minutes to chat and it ended up lasting an hour.
Brad: I love a good wonky topic, and we did a series a few years ago on the songs that started and ended “the ‘80s sound” — that’s a lot of fun. Also, while we tend to keep it light, I think the show we did on the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster is really strong.
THE 80s CRUISE: Your shows feature a lot of interaction with your fans — the mailbag segment, the quizzes. How did that start?
Steve: Honestly, people just started writing in and sharing their own ‘80s memories sparked by what we talk about on the show. They told us how the podcast has helped them during tough times and long commutes. Some of our listeners have been guests on the podcast and given us awesome show ideas, like our recent series of ‘80s hits that only made it to No. 2 on the charts. (Thanks, Chuck!) For a while, people would even mail us snacks to eat during the show! We still send out swag each week to people who enter the seggies.
Brad: To be fair, we award swag to a listener each week but it’s up to me to get to the post office and send it out. Now, who wants a postal-friendly bottle opener?
THE 80s CRUISE: We were proud to host the live recording of the podcast’s 500th episode on The 80s Cruise with the Original MTV VJs joining you guys. What stands out about that episode to you?
Brad: Out of body experience. Are you sure that really happened? Are there pictures? Can I get copies?
Steve: The moments before we took the stage, we were back in the green room with Alan Hunter, Mark Goodman and Nina Blackwood. It was the first time we’d met them in person, and I was thinking how surreal yet special this moment was. Even still, when the time came to introduce them on stage, I remember barely being able to get the words out. Brad was cool and effortless the entire time, and I felt like I was at my first job interview.
THE 80s CRUISE: What is it about the 80s that makes it the fabric of who we are?
Brad: I turned 13 in 1980. Ten years later, as I watched the calendar turn over to 1990 (while listening to Killing Joke’s song “Eighties,” not even kidding), just out of college, it struck me that I had become an adult. And all the music, movies, friends, experiences, everything — are part of what made me that adult.
Steve: I can’t believe I ever wanted that decade to end. I must be crazy. Why were we all in such a hurry to be adults?
THE 80s CRUISE: How has your taste in 80s music, pop culture and styles evolved over the years?
Brad: When I was young I wrapped a lot of my identity into my musical choices — as I’ve gotten older my horizons have opened up a lot. There’s so much I missed the first time around!
Steve: I’m more inclusive now. Like Brad said, we’re no longer labeled by our choices. I can sit down and watch an old episode of the soap opera “Santa Barbara” and then sing a Tiffany song in karaoke on my PS3 and I don’t feel the least bit odd.
THE 80s CRUISE: What concert from the 80s do you wish you could relive?
Brad: One that I was actually at? I’d go back and see U2 at the LA Coliseum on the Joshua Tree tour again. It was a magical day and an amazing show.
Steve: John Parr had the best answer to this question during our Facebook Live chat and I’ll use his answer: I’d love to have seen Prince’s Purple Rain show at the Orange Bowl in Miami.
THE 80s CRUISE: Do you have a message for the legions of fans that follow the podcast?
Brad: Download twice, listen once.
Steve: Brad’s not wrong! But seriously we think of our listeners as part of a circle of friends. Many have become great friends. Some even have become co-hosts. Thank you for sharing your lives and memories with us.
Brad: Don’t make Steve cry!
THE 80s CRUISE: You’ve been there for every sailing of The 80s Cruise. Do you feel the 80s come alive every time you step aboard the ship?
Steve: Oh god, I remember being at the port before that first cruise and seeing the guys dressed as Devo. I knew right then this was going to be a special trip. And it is every year.
Brad: Those Devo guys. I loved that! (If I’m honest, a part of me hated that I hadn’t thought of it myself.)
Steve: You bring your Devo outfit every cruise now!
Brad: It’s not an outfit, Steve, it’s a lifestyle.
THE 80s CRUISE: What moments from the cruises stand out to you?
Steve: Meeting people in person whom we’ve emailed back and forth with for years — those are always incredible moments. Meeting my future wife on the 2019 cruise! And just seeing all the people show up for our trivia sessions — that always takes my breath away.
Brad: Aside from the special trivia guests and podcast interviews (hey did you know I SAT NEXT TO TERRI NUNN? She is SO COOL.), casual encounters with “The Talent” are always memorable. Being asked for directions to the spa by Belinda Carlisle. Playing walking soccer with Thomas Dolby. Giving Tom Bailey a hard time for forgetting his keyboard player’s name (it’s Charlotte, by the way). But another thing that we both enjoy is the chance to meet listeners and get to know them, hear their stories.
THE 80s CRUISE: What’s still on your bucket list for the podcast?
Steve: Talking to a few more actors like John Cusack or Michael Keaton. Going to brunch at Martha Quinn’s beachfront abode. Being invited to create our own channel on SiriusXM. You know … the usual kinda things.
Brad: I’d love to do a tour with Spearsy — six months on the road, city to city on a tour bus, me butchering songs (and their lyrics) on an acoustic guitar… Voila! The Stuck in the ’80s Roadshow! I have no idea what we’d talk about — or who would buy tickets — but it would be epic.
THE 80s CRUISE: Do you think the podcast will last another 15 years?
Steve: I’d be shocked if I’m still doing this at age 68. But if the listeners are still there, and we still love to do the shows, then you never know. (But no. Well, maybe. Ask again later.)
Brad: 15 years sounds like a long time — but then again, in my wildest dreams I never imagined I’d ever find myself onstage talking with the VJs — stick around and enjoy the journey with us!
You can listen to the Stuck in the ‘80s podcast on your favorite app or go to sit80s.com/how-to-listen/ to learn more.