If the internet had been widely available 20 years ago, this site would be 20 years old. Seriously.

In the ancient 80s, when I was 15 years old, I had an epiphany. All the rock stars I loved were, in fact — get this — real people. They went to real people places and did real people things. They didn’t have their own elevators (usually) and actually had to walk from the car or bus into the hotel or venue or wherever they were going.

Well, no duh. Sure, it’s only logical because these people are human. But still, everyone expects celebrities to be pretty much untouchable. “They” are always on the other side of the screen and on the other side of the velvet rope. If you’re don’t know someone who can snag you a backstage pass, you’ll see them onstage during their tour, and that’s usually good enough.

Well, it wasn’t quite good enough for me. I had already read all about these people, loved their music and wanted to see them in concert. But then, for some reason I honestly can’t really remember, I decided I wanted to meet these people. I was a teenager, and didn’t have any connections or a shred of clout, but I was unphased. Why couldn’t it be done? I thought I’d at least try.

some old fanzine pagesSo some friends and I decided to meet UB40, and meet them we did. We were backstage before the show, saw the concert, and then took a photo with the whole band in the lobby of their hotel. (The picture didn’t turn out so you won’t see it here, but the memory is still there.)

So it began. I started creating my own music fanzines in the mid-80s. Sure, they weren’t widely read — only a few hundred subscribers. But writing for these ‘zines (and a couple others) quickly became my raison d’être. How cool was it that I could meet and interview my favorite bands — mainly British and Australian groups — all because of my little stapled, photocopied “magazine” thingy? Very… and way more fun than homework.

Don’t think that I make any claim to being a great photographer or writer — I was just doing what I loved to do, guerilla-style.

To this day, I can’t believe some of the opportunities I had — and all of the amazing things I got to experience. Everyone was so insanely nice to me and to my friends. So earnest and dedicated, I think they saw me as a cute little wannabe writer — not your average everyday groupie. Yeah, I’m sure they were humoring my journalistic ambitions to a large degree, but still, I’m reallly grateful to all of these wonderful people my friends and I got to meet.

Hopefully, all those guys would be happy with the return on their investment of time and energy, as my teenage career as a music journalist led to a grown-up career as a journalist. Two decades years on — albeit after a rather significant break — I’m still interviewing musicians. Some recent targets subjects include James Blunt, Jewel, Rob Thomas, Brandi Carlile, Howie Day, Lifehouse, Secret Machines, Missy Higgins, Jason Mraz and Snow Patrol. I’ve also been the editor-in-chief of two national print magazines, freelanced for several other major publications, and have worked on other projects both in print and online. (I also worked for a few years in the music business and was married to a British drummer — I met him on his first US tour — but those are stories for another time, children.)

So now I can proudly say there’s no longer any need to haunt hotel lobbies or show up at soundchecks to get my interviews — I actually talk to publicists and book things in advance. Most of the resultant music-related work appears on my dearest darling SheKnows.com site, which I co-founded with my best buddy back in 1999.

Here on andwhatsnext.com, I have compiled some of my photos, autographs, backstage passes and other assorted goodies — along with some of my recollections. It’s about time these memories came out of their boxes and into the world!

And what’s next? Well, there’s always something amazing and unexpected around the corner. Watch for it.

– Nancy

P.S. Have memories to share? Please post them in the comments section — there’s one for every article (including this one).

P.P.S. I am also looking for some friends of mine from them olden days: Jacqueline Colson (Jackie Colson) of Malden MA found!, Anji B of Flagstaff AZ and San Pedro CA found!, Angela Murray of La Quinta CA, Christy (mom to Brittany) of somewhere in Ohio I think, and Jackie Johnson of Los Angeles CA. And if anyone is looking for me from back then, some search terms: Nancy Robinson, Orinda, Miramonte 1987.


  1. Cool site…good taste in bands. I just started a music blog. You might dig it. I will eventually post many of the bands you have taken pictures of but I try to mix the genres a bit. You must have graduated high school in the 80’s.

    See ya!


  2. The link is correct on this comment…sorry.

  3. This site is amazing! Thanks for the great 80s flashbacks and videos!

  4. Love your site! I was at the Echo, New Order, Gene show at the Greek also!

  5. Hi there Nancy,

    I was passing and just wanted to say I love your site. Some really good memories there (wow – Sting’s hair!!)

    I love UB40, U2, Police et al and you brought some lovely memories back there. In fact, one of your photos of Ali Campbell from UB40 (the one where he stood on his own sticking his tongue out) is actually one I’ve seen before (tho can’t remember where but at least now I know where it came from :-) Shame your band photo in the foyer didn’t copme out very well, wouldd love to have seen that.

    Keep up the good work


  6. Doug /

    I’m in awe of the memories that you have shared in this site. I lived in Germany from 1980 through 1996, and thought that I was the only other soul on earth who had ever heard of many of these groups. And to think that you were able to get up close and personal. I have years of music videos, concerts (from Montreaux, too) that I have preserved on VHS, and spend hours watching with my grandson. Maybe he’ll be a fan of the 80’s, just like his Opa.
    Thank You.

  7. just a girl /

    Wow, I don’t believe it – my alter ego!!!

    I’m from Melbourne, Australia (originally Sydney, Australia) – and back in the day – I used to do EXACTLY what you did!! I have pics with INXS (all 6 of them lol!!), Spandau, Duran, Paul Young, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp…the list goes on.

    Really enjoyed visiting your site, brings back great memories!!

    Ah, to be young in the 80’s again…


  8. Love is the answer – but while you’re waiting for the answer sex raises some pretty good questions — Woody Allen

  9. Stephanie /

    I am so envious of you!
    I’m fifteen, and my favorite band is the cure, and i can tell you, some of these bands i would do some pretty crazy things to get to even see them in concert. haha. Many of them are rediculously explensive today and alot of bands from the eighties i like are disbanded now :[
    Still, I love your site, it’s great inspiration for an aspiring writer ( and music addict) like myself.

    Keep it up!

  10. penelope /

    Could you please email me – I have a question about an image you posted on wikipedia. Thanks, Penelope

  11. i love your site~!

  12. Hey Nancy,
    I happened upon your website searching for Peter Murphy links. I have a feeling we were at many of the same One Step Beyond shows in the late 80’s. Thanks for putting together such a cool site.


  13. gabrielle /

    I just wanted to thank you for this site. We must be the same age because we love(d) all of the same bands. I was not as adventurous or brave as you during my youth. But, getting to live through your site has brought quite the smile to my face. Thank you!!

  14. mona /

    i wonder if we were ever pen pals…? i lived in florida in the 80s and loved all the new wavey bands, esp. duran duran and crowded house.

  15. Hi, I’m commenting to let you know about a potential copyright infringement on one of your images. This page on asperger-symptoms.net is hosting your image without credit and with no link to the CC License you used.

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