I mean, the thing about Guns N' Roses was that it wasn't trying to attach itself to the '80s, or anything that had to do with the '80s. It's just who we were at that time. We were doing what we wanted to do. That had really nothing to do with anything around us, except for the simple fact that we were rebelling against that stuff.
Well, 'They Live' was a primal scream against Reaganism of the '80s. And the '80s never went away. They're still with us. That's what makes 'They Live' look so fresh - it's a document of greed and insanity. It's about life in the United States then and now. If anything, things have gotten worse.
I watched some serious '80s television. 'Alice,' 'Good Times,' 'The Jeffersons,' 'Family Ties,' 'Cheers'... every night it was eat dinner, watch 'Cheers.' I was actually on 'Jeopardy' with Rebecca Lobo and Dot Richardson, and we were laughing because I was just nailing every random '80s trivia question - sitcom, theme music, movie, you name it.
I guess the cool thing about the '80s is the kind of like adventure in terms of, you know, people were very willing to use sounds that were completely ridiculous or whatever. There was a lot of stuff happening in the '80s and it's all over the place. I guess that's probably the coolest thing for me and that's what I like about it. Just kind of that like, 'Oh, what's this sound? Oh that's wacky. Let's use it anyways.'
Yes, I know, shaming, isn't it? I always say you can take the girl out of the 80s, but you can't take the 80s out of the girl. Before I wrote my first novel, I was reading one of the self-help classics "" and it's as cheesy as you like, so feel free to laugh, Guardian readers "" called Awaken The Giant Within, by Tony Robbins, and it inspired me to try. I like motivational books, because I like the go-getting American spirit "" your destiny is in your own hands, life is what you make it, don't accept your limitations, jump before you're pushed, leap before you look.
My childhood was pretty colorful; I like to use the word turbulent. But it was a great time to grow up, the '70s and '80s in Brooklyn, East Flatbush. It was culturally diverse: You had Italian culture, American culture, the Caribbean West Indian culture, the Hasidic Jewish culture. Everything was kind of like right there in your face. A lot of violence, you know, especially toward the '80s the neighborhood got really violent, but it made me who I am, it made me strong.
Michael K. Williams