If you followed the rock scene in Boston back in the 1980s and '90s, the chances of you seeing rock critic and author Clea Simon out and about in the clubs and venues was high. Simon’s latest novels are "World Enough," which came out in 2017, and the newly released, "Hold Me Down," set in the dark and seedy clubs of the day. The new novel takes a deep dive into drug and alcohol abuse, rape and the trauma that follows, sobriety and even murder. Author Clea Simon joined GBH radio’s Henry Santoro to discuss her latest novel. The following interview was slightly edited for clarity.

Henry Santoro: The novel opens with a fundraising reunion show, and Gal, the protagonist of the book, is a hard driving rock and roll bass player who returns to play a tribute to her former bandmate who died from cancer. And what Gal finds out is that not long after the show, one of her former roadies who was at the show is found dead behind the venue. How did you arrive at that as the jumping off point?

Clea Simon: Well, I loved the idea of a memory slip, and for people who are not musicians, a memory slip is when a musician, your mind goes blank. It is like we've heard a lot about gymnasts [and] the twisties. A memory slip is the musical version of that in which a song you know incredibly well — and in fact, in this case, it's a song that Gal wrote — just suddenly your mind goes blank and you lose it.

And I love the idea that her mind would just go blank. And her mind goes blank when she sees this face in the crowd whom she recognizes and it's her former roadie. And that touches on the whole idea of memory. And then it allows us to begin to almost start to uncover why those memories would affect her so and how they play into her music.

Santoro: While the characters are purely fictional, readers like me are going to try to figure out who they're based on. You and I had a back and forth and I knew that I could figure out who these people were. But anyway, you also leave intact some of the clubs that we used to hang around in.

Simon: I fictionalized everything because nobody wants to, even in retrospect, think there was a murder in this club. But yes, I used clubs like the Rat and the Channel as sort of a setting, as memories of what it felt like to be there on a hot August night with insufficient air conditioning and the crowd of people and the smells.

Santoro: "Hold Me Down" is not just the title of the book, it's also the song that put Gal and the band on the national and even international map. It's amazing how a song can mean one thing to the listener. But when it comes to the person who wrote it, It's a whole different meaning. It's a whole different point of view. And yet she must relive that song every time she performs it.

Simon: She does. But I will tell you, that's one of the things I loved about writing about a musician. Writing about a musician is the same, I think, as writing about any artist in that you not only have the characters and how they interact, but you have these works that they did. In this case it was many years ago for Gal. And so we get to have not only Gal’s interactions with her bandmates, and with the tour support and with the fans, and with the radio station people, but also her own reactions to her songs.

Santoro: And we should note that that you wrote for the Boston Phenix, you wrote for the Boston Globe Rolling Stone and Sweet Potato. And you had a regular music column for the Boston Herald.

Simon: Thank you so much, Henry. This is a blast.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the name of Simon's book "World Enough."