“Songs I Wrote in the ’80s” music video

This one takes my previous video, “Antidote,” to the next level: a logical progression from studio to stage. Enjoy!

Special thanks to Pat Redd and School of Rock Overland Park.


• The song itself was inspired by Jason Webley (troubadour accordionist extraordinaire). Late into one of his shows, when taking audience requests, someone shouted that he should play something really old and embarrassing. Jason replied that if we got him drunk enough, he’d play us some songs he wrote in the ’80s. These lyrics were born the next day, and this was the first track recorded for the Finding the Light album.

• I’ve said before that this would make an excellent drinking game, with all of its name-drop references to the decade of excess. The image pop-ups now allow our hearing-impaired friends to get in on the fun.

• It’s hard to tell with the jacket, but that’s a Cobra Kai t-shirt the singer’s wearing. Strike first, strike hard, no mercy! With the exception of the Royals World Series t-shirt, all the other shirts remain closet survivors from my ’80s tribute band Molly’s Crush way back in ’03.

• The reason the drummer employs an utter lack of trademark rock faces is because the only time I’ve ever played an actual kit was while goofing off at band practices long ago, so it required all my concentration just to execute a passable performance minus the showmanship that comes from experience. I’m just good at programming them on the computer.

• During the keyboard solo on the recording, I used an effect called an arpeggiator that splits chords you finger into individual notes played in time to the beat. But I thought that would look silly and confusing on video, so I learned a half-assed approximation of it.

• I started playing guitar in the summer of ’86, and Van Halen was my first hero.

• This is the first time in 20 years I’ve dusted off that magenta guitar.

• It broke my heart how overexposed the split-screen wide shot was, but that’s the risk you sometimes take with a GoPro.

• I actually wrote very few songs in the ’80s. Some instrumentals, sure, but those with lyrics probably weren’t until the early ’90s.

About Gordon

Gordon Highland is the author of the novels Flashover and Major Inversions, with short stories in such publications as Word Riot, Black Heart, Noir at the Bar Vol. 2, and Warmed and Bound, among others. He lives in the Kansas City area, where he makes videos by day and music by night.
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