Meeting You

Since this pandemic/safer at home order began, I have found myself having lots of time to think about everything under the sun. In some ways, I feel like I’m beginning to understand myself better, including how I view connections, fandom, etc. Is it enough to just watch public performances? Is it enough to read and watch interviews? Is it enough to exchange messages online? What does it take to feel a real connection?

Initially, I started thinking about the idea of connection in relationship to politics and politicians. It is one thing to look at policies and positions and decide to vote for people based on that. It is another thing to feel motivated to campaign for them or to run someone’s campaign. When I look back at all the campaigns I have worked on, the ones that mattered most to me were not necessarily the ones with the highest position but the ones that I felt the greatest connection to. How did those connections happen? In the case of President Obama, I remember him telling a story about inner city students that felt like he had reached inside of me and brought words to my feelings. That said, my level of commitment grew when I met him. He acknowledged my work and spoke to me not as if he was the president or a presidential candidate but as my equal. It allowed me to feel instantly comfortable. In fact, I was probably too comfortable, which led me to literally whine like a middle schooler at him when he asked for more work out of me. Overall, though, getting to know political candidates as people has definitely increased not only my connection to them but my desire to help them succeed.

Does this kind of connection help with friendships and fandom? Friendship is an interesting case. As kids, people usually became friends with someone who goes to school with you or is involved in the same activities as you like sports or music. In some ways, adulthood is the same. I have met a lot of my current friends through work or my political activities. Sometimes, I have gotten to know neighbors at the various places I have lived. This would imply that face-to-face connection on top of having something in common really matters. Yet, interestingly enough, I think about Rhonda.

We first “met” online when we were nothing more than names on a message board or email. Would we have become friends through just those types of interactions? Maybe. It is hard to say. I won’t lie, though. As I started meeting more and more Duranies online, she did not stick out to me. There was nothing negative there but there did not feel like a connection, either. When I decided to go to the Duran Duran Fans Convention in New Orleans in 2004, I was looking forward to meeting, in person, so many people I had communicated with online but I cannot say that she was at the top of my list. No, it took to meeting in person, over vodka tonics, no less, that I started to think that a friendship could happen. Then, of course, the following year, we attended some shows together and the rest became history. Looking at our friendship, we are used to being far away from each other and rarely actually spending time in the same place. Yet, for me, at least, having some sort of face-to-face contact helps keep the connection.

So what about fandom? This is, obviously, a stranger situation to consider. Friendships are based on the personal. I have met many politicians through working for them or some other close connected campaign. Fandom is different, though. I am one of many. I cannot and do not expect actual connections. (I mean…my goodness…why would a celebrity want to meet me or any other fan? It just doesn’t work that way, which I’m more than okay with.) Yet, I have to admit that I like to see beyond the public persona, beyond the celebrity status. I’m not sure if that is because it makes my fandom stronger or not. It is just something I have noticed about myself. I think this is the reason that I seek out interviews. I want to see more than just their musicianship, in the case of Duran Duran. I don’t think I’m alone in this. Why else do people read magazines with celebrities or tune into talk shows? It also marks some sort of weird divide between being a casual fan and a more serious fan, for me. In the case of Duran Duran, I’ll watch any and all interviews. There are a number of interviews that I have watched a bunch. Yet, there are other bands that I would tune into an interview if it was convenient but would not go out of my way to see it. Depeche Mode comes to mind here.

As much as I watch and enjoy interviews with celebrities I am a fan of, I also know that there is still a persona that shields that person(s). I get it and do not blame them. They are, after all, aware that what they say and do could cause harm to their careers or their standing with their fans. I do the same thing standing up in front of my students. There is no way that I should step out of that role as teacher, not at that setting. Yet, I also get that my students like and enjoy when I am more myself and human with them as opposed to just educator. This is why I tell a lot of bad jokes and not-very-interesting stories. It does help to create connections. Hmm…so maybe the key is to allow some glimpses beyond a public persona to create or keep those connections.

Interestingly enough, I feel like this has been happening, naturally, in Duranland. I think we are getting some of those more human as opposed to rock star moments. Two examples come to mind. The first one is every time that John cannot get the social media platform he is using to work. His frustration is not only understandable but also relatable. It makes me think of the countless times in my classroom that I cannot get some piece of technology to work. In that moment, John Taylor is like me or I’m like him. We both have struggled in that department. Then, I think of the video that Roger recently did, which featured his kiddo. How many people have had children or pets venture into a video or conference call? Again, other people could relate. At those moments, they are no longer just celebrities on a pedestal but real people with lives, problems, moments of joy, etc. To me, those moments are even better than any interview. I get a glimpse of the real person and feel a connection. That will definitely keep me coming back for more.

A-

Guest Blog: A Deep Dive Into the Bass Odyssey


By Nat Mingo

I found myself smiling at the latest Stone Love Bass Odyssey announcement.  This small moment of joy surprised me so I pondered what I appreciate about John’s latest endeavor. Here is what I found.

Anticipation

The band’s official account and some related social media accounts are doing a great job of advance promoting John’s Stone Love Bass Odyssey episodes. The event becomes something to record in my planner. It reminds me of the days when I would patiently record band radio interviews on cassette or elbow my siblings aside to record the band on the family VHS. Friday Night Videos, anyone?

Title

Only in Durandom would Stone Love Bass Odyssey make perfect sense!  I don’t quite understand it but I understand that this title must resonate with JT in some fashion.  I would welcome more elaboration through a Katy Kafe or any fan question opportunity.  Maybe it isn’t meant to be understood or, like other art, each person interprets it differently. SLBO also reminds me of Simon’s lyrics.  I don’t have a “favorite” lyric; I appreciate the unique moments as they come in songs. 

Platforms

Stone Love Bass Odyssey (henceforth typed as SLBO for brevity) can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit & Instagram. Using multiple social media platforms allows more people to engage. Not everyone uses all these platforms so there’s something for everyone.  The multi-platform approach also helps me to become more tech savvy as I awkwardly navigate to each episode.  SLBO gives me a legitimate opportunity to connect to the tweens/teenagers in my life as I name drop platforms in our conversations. “That sounds cool. I’m on Instagram as well; my favorite musician posts there.” 

Setting

John records in his personal space.  John seems comfortable in his Studio- Man Cave- Office- Library.  My home office serves this purpose for me.  My space has Duran memorabilia, Funko Pops, books, my everyday music collection and professional items.  It’s pleasant to watch his PunkMaster garbed-self  speak passionately about Duran music in his own “safe” spot. Plus, I enjoy peeping at the random objects on his bookshelf. Is that a Grammy?

Moniker

JT frequently introduces himself as “The Bass Man”. I hadn’t heard this nickname before.  Of course, we know that Simon is also Charley.  I wonder if this name was bestowed upon him or if John selected it for himself.  While its origin is unknown, John certainly embraces it as he proudly uses it in each episode. Perhaps this is a natural outcome when you formed a band with two other Taylors. 

Instruction

I am an educator who can’t read music.  At the heart of teaching is the ability to make something understandable and relate able.  John demonstrates these traits superbly in each episode. He names specific chords and deconstructs his basslines.  Then he combines the elements while weaving them through the songs. I find myself learning something new in each episode.  I’m also isolating his bass notes in individual songs more. I wonder how his instruction is impacting the musician-fans. 

Post Interviews

John has a conversation with various guests after each episode. He has spoken to a diverse body of musicians. He started with a younger musician, Dave of Chromeo. He spoke with Suzanna Hoffs, a peer, who also made music with The Bangles during the 80’s. He spoke with Mark Ronson, who was a fan and produced Duran. John spoke with Nile this week. John has openly spoken of his admiration with Nile, a music veteran. The performance background of each guest colors the conversations nicely. John finds ways to connect with the audience and the guest simultaneously. 

Live Playing

John plays during his “lectures”.  The bass he plays has little impact on me. My limited musical ability means that I celebrate when I can see if he uses a pick or not. When John plays, it reminds me of how much I love live music. It also reminds me of the strong bass lines of the soul-funk-disco 70’s music of my youth. John often uses a drum machine that I have dubbed “Wall-E” to accompany him.  I wish Roger would ambush an episode to play together with John. In my opinion, John’s basslines are so much more robust live than on Duran’s albums. I’m always in the market for fan recorded shows and I’m open to discussing this topic over drinks with any interested fans at a future time. 

SLBO isn’t a substitution for a Duran Duran concert. But while we wait, I appreciate this deep dissection into their music. And…I have ammunition for any foolish mortal who tries to call Duran Duran a “boy band”. John’s musicianship is evident. 

Stay tuned!

Nat

MTV ’82: A Live Chat

I’ve been burning time during this pandemic by watching old MTV recordings and I’ve been surprised by how much I don’t remember and in awe of how wonderfully under-produced the channel was during the golden years from 1981 to 1984. This week, I invited along a musician and writer who was too young to experience it in real time to see her impression. What follows is a live chat we had as it played. The entire segment can be viewed below but I also added a few of the videos discussed at the end. Ladies and gentlemen, rock-n-roll.

April 12, 1982

And we’re live from April 12th, 1982!

Jason: George Harrison “All Those Years Ago”. Don’t remember this. The Beatles seemed so old to us kids.

Aurora (italics throughout): I didn’t realize he made a music video.

It’s actually just a photo montage with music more than a video.

The Beatles solo stuff didn’t really work except for Paul and George when “Mind Set On You” took off. Otherwise, they seemed lame to me as a kind (who didn’t know Beatles music).

 I think aside from Ringo they all did some interesting solo stuff. But, I’m not sure if it would be as redeeming if they weren’t Beatles first. It’s weird that this is his solo video and its all Beatles footage.

This would have lost me as, let’s see, a 9 year-old at the time. And just turned nine a few days before this aired!

Squeeze – Tempted

Now this was cool then and even cooler now!

This is a good song. I’ve never seen the video.

Squeeze were around before MTV but handled the transition well. They had a sense of humour and that helped. 

I like the wiggly dancers.

Very English. I didn’t realize I was ingesting so much English culture at the time but it makes a lot of sense now.

 Were early videos mostly just performance footage?

A lot were. This was less than a year into MTV so bands were just beginning to see the possibility. A lot of these were already around before 1982 but I had no idea. I just assumed everything MTV was showing was new music. Which is why timelines for Genesis, Heart, ZZ Top, etc. confuse me. They were huge in the 70s?!

Did you ever enter any of those? Sweepstakes?

Definitely. I forget which ones I mailed stuff off. And I definitely called radio stations a lot but never won anything.

Commercials were so much better.

YES!!!!! And Martha Quinn still seems like the cool older sister.

(MTV News segment featuring B-52’s on Guiding Light)

The B-52’s on a soap opera!!!!

 So weird. They’re so cool though.

Pleasantly subversive to see them on Guiding Light. And this is how we used to get tour dates!

 Crazy. I think I kind of remember that though.

Pat Benatar – Precious Time

Benatar was all about narrative drive videos. A pioneer.

I like that. It feels more genuinely like a music video rather that concert footage.

Oh where is she? 

Clearly, Mars! 

Are there two of her? 

This is pretty impressive for 1982. She was always ahead of the curve with videos.

The video is interesting. This song is kind of awful though. Eh chorus is better.

It is awful. I don’t remember this one at all.  

I like the video though.

Neil Girardo dressed as the Iron Sheik for a guitar solo? What is happening?!

What is with that guitar? I hate it, but I also kind of want it. It’s a great guitar solo.

Not going to lie, I’ve lost the plot of the video. Unhappy marriage?

I think it’s pretty clear, Jason. Pat is a martian and she is observing the suburbs from her planet. And there are two of her. 

Ahh yes. Sort of like Bowie in the Man Who Fell to Earth!

I’m just realizing those were giant – whats the word? For those timers that have sand? That’s what she was surrounded by on Mars.

Hourglasses! 

Yes!

ELO – Wild West Hero

ELO seemed old by the time I first saw them on MTV. Definitely enjoy them now but this was so dull compared to the New Wave videos.

The facial hair and smoke machines are awesome. Oh man – There’s weird wild west animation now?

It didn’t take much to get on MTV in 1982. They were so desperate for content from anyone other than Rod Stewart. Is that a cello? This is terrible.

 Yes. I like it. 

Prog rock does not work on MTV.

I disagree. Sick harmonies. Some light orchestration. Random cartoons. It’s the best one we’ve seen so far.

This is not the MTV I remember. I want men dressed as humanoids. I need some Gary Numan, stat.

I think there can be a place for all of that. It doesn’t have to be that singular in its genre. 

 It did when I was nine. Actually digging this variety. Weird how my brain only remembers the New Wave stuff.

Is this a commercial? Planes crashing. Bombed out buildings on fire? This was entertainment!

I couldn’t tell if it was a commercial or what it could be. Just random footage thats slightly disturbing? I guess these days anyway. 

ASIA – Only Time Will Tell

Oh a gymnast! 

This video WAS HUGE!!!!! The use of televisions felt so futuristic….

I haven’t heard this song before. It’s so good.

This is peak 1983 MTV. 

 THIS IS SO COOL. I love that the gymnast is doing front flips on their tv bodies. This would be really cool even now.

The fact that it’s a prog-rock supergroup is so in your wheelhouse! Anything King Crimson appeals to you. LOL! 

Sorrrrrry that musical proficiency is appealing to me.

I can’t make fun of this one. The song was so good and I remember really enjoying it. Hell, I even bought a Yes album when the Owner of a Lonely Heart video hit MTV.

 OH! I’ve never seen that video. 

It’s really creepy and well done. Might be more 1984? We shall see if it pops up.

Greg Kihn Band

Hmmm this song sounds familiar. Greg Kihn made MTV work for him. The Jeopardy video was so brilliant before Weird Al turned it into a joke.

I vaguely remember this song. It’s good. 

I bet we never see more than two rows of the crowd. Looks very staged!

Most of these videos that are mostly performance shots look totally staged. 

Even Livin’ On A PRayer was but I didn’t know that as a kid. I just assumed Bon Jovi was selling out arenas even though they weren’t huge until after that song.

Are they wearing matching outfits? Cute.

Horizontal stripes were very cool. Not a good look for the husky boys of the age (i.e. me).

Michael Stanley – He Can’t Leave You

Do not remember this one AT ALL.

 Oh intense sax solo.

He is a janitor. Hard-working blue collar man probably singing about a woman he cannot win.

She’s a nurse apparently. 

OH MY GOD. Soloing through the ER.

This is a great video! Stupid but charming. Exactly what MTV should be.

I agree that it’s charming, but again, I don’t think MTV should be one thing.

This would make a great Meatloaf song.

No it wouldn’t.

Huey Lewis & the News – Do You Believe In Love

So good!!! 

Who are they singing at? Is she sleeping? Dead? 

Dreaming! And they are the sirens sweetly singing to her? Maybe.

That seems more like a nightmare.

OK, this is a little creepy. Six guys in her bed while she sleeps…

And by the looks of it, she isn’t waking up.

You forget how many excellent songs Huey did. Great songwriting. Great band.

The song isn’t bad. The video is strange. The poor girl is just trying to sleep and get ready and an entire band is singing at her.

MTV News Break

FRIPPPPPPPP

Martha Quinn talking about Fripp?! This could get interesting. For you!

I am so excited.

Frippertronics. LOL!!!!

So he basically invented the loop pedal.

Actually, that is basically this so maybe! 

I want to watch more Fripp.

REO Speedwagon

These guys were all over MTV. Bigger than Journey at first in terms of MTV.

 I can’t stop thinking about his wacky jumpsuit. Nothing else exists to me right now.

And now these guys are central to the last season of Ozark. Who would have known?

Spoiler alert? I’m not there yet.

Apologies! Switching gears. I saw Cigarettes After Sex open for Garbage and they did an ehtereal cover of Keep On Loving You by REO Speedwagon. Amazing. 

I love that version. It’s a great cover.

This is generic arena rock done well. Like a good bottle of mustard.

Generic is a great way to describe it. It’s kind of borning. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t doing anything interesting or memorable either.

This is pure content. The band had the videos already so it got shown.

Heart – Even It Up

Ohhhh, Heart before they entered their hair metal sex kitten phase!!!

It’s surprisingly bluesy and cheesy.

Is Nancy dressed as a sailor or the Pillsbury dough girl?

Definitely dough girl. It’s the exact same outfit. Wait – Is the Pillsbury dough boy a sailor? 

Mind. Blown. Maybe he baked on the submarine? I like this song!

I don’t love it. 

You can see why the record label was so hell-bent on an image makeover for them. Their styles are all disjointed.

Good call on the record label’s end.

Sadly, then it went too far. By the late 80s, Ann gained some weight so they started hiding her behind props in the videos. It was obvious even to me as a kid. Shitty.

Super shitty. She’s an amazing musician. 

Ten minutes left in this hour of MTV….hope it ends strong!!!

Kim Wilde – Kids In America

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yesss!!!! 

Her brother is in video. He wrote it. Their dad is a huge star in the UK. This is one of the first truly amazing MTV videos for my generation.

Why is her band behind a cage?

I think they assumed American boys were dangerous?

 I think that might be a reach. But I wasn’t even born yet, so what do I know? Oh! Now shes behind bars. 

Geographically. I would challenge the East California line. Not sure anything trendy was happening in Barstow….

Ha I would say that is true even now.

Years later, I read that they used it because it sounded cool.

Graham Parker – Local Girls

This was on, alot. Not sure why…..but now I know not to bother with a local girl.

Is this advocating mail order brides? 

Must have worked. I married a Brit!

Top of the hour means we are done!

Expect the Unexpected

Have you watched Roger’s Desert Island Discs yet? In their ongoing effort to teach us all to expect the unexpected, it’s Roger’s turn to shine.

In this first (I hope he does more!) episodes, Roger talks about The Beatles, Jackson 5, Generation X, David Bowie and of course, Duran Duran. (can’t really forget them, can we?) In just under 15 minutes, I think I learned more about Roger’s musical journey than I knew previously. I loved hearing about what made him into the person he is, and I hope he agrees to do more.

Isn’t that what has really been interesting about all of this? We have Simon doing his “radio” show with Katy, John deconstructing bass parts and having chats with other notables on Instagram, Nick gave a lengthy interview with Red Ronnie, and now Roger is talking about the music that changed his life. While the common thread is music, I have really enjoyed hearing from each band member in their own way, perhaps in formats that are most comfortable for them. It just isn’t all about Duran Duran, and it shouldn’t have to be. I think about that a lot while I’m listening.

I would go out on a limb to say that perhaps that is the one “thing” that has been missing previously when they’ve done sporadic Q&A’s on Twitter, or even in other interviews – there’s not been a way for them to really BE themselves when they’re facing a battering line of questions from fans, or even when they’re doing interviews for press. It would be like listening to someone talk about their job for 40 years. While sure, it’s interesting, isn’t there more to them than that? Of course!! I just don’t think they’ve ever had the right avenue, or maybe even the reason, to share much more, until now.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know that any of the band is ever going to sit and dish about their private life. Sharing a song, deconstructing a bass line, chatting with a fellow musician, though – those things have real merit in a multitude of ways. I’m finding that I spend more time listening to music, exploring new sounds, and enjoying the journey that seems to take place weekly with these guys. Who knew?

I shared some of my concerns with Amanda over a Zoom “happy hour” chat last week. When this pandemic first began to unfold and it became clear that there wasn’t going to be a tour or live dates for Duran Duran (or anyone else) in 2020, I was a little concerned. How would the band respond? Would they even try to engage fans? Did they need to? Reaching a fan base through online methods seemed like it might be a bit of a reach. Sure, other bands and artists have responded in their own way, but I wasn’t sure what Duran Duran would do, or might be willing to do. This isn’t a band that has anything left to prove. Their career stands on its own. Did they have anything left to say – some might say yes, given that they’re still writing. Musically, I’d agree. They’ve got some left in the tank. Beyond that though? Dealing with us – fans – is a very different animal. They could wait the pandemic out, do their own thing, and re-emerge in a safer time. We’d likely still be there, right? Would we? My concern was that maybe, just maybe, they’d decide to just stop. The words look strange to me, but in my head, I thought the idea of no music for a year or possibly more could give the band a lot of time to think. Would it be easier to quit? I didn’t know, but I wondered.

Thankfully, this isn’t a band we should ever try to second guess, or count out. Each time they come up with something new to keep us thinking is a way they engage with fans. If I’m anyone to judge by – consider it successful. I don’t clear my incredibly busy (ha ha ha) schedule to watch John talk about his bass lines in songs just because I fan girl. I’ve learned a lot about the evolution of the songs I love most during the past few weeks. Simon has made me laugh and think about music I’ve never heard before. It’s been fantastic. Today, I learned that Roger also listened to the Jackson 5 during his formative years – just like me. He’s also a Beatles fan. As if I didn’t already love him.

Okay, so there’s been a little fan girling along the way. Sue me.

Forty years on now, and I’m still glad this is my band.

-R

Let’s Meet Jason!

At some point over the last couple of weeks, I realized I’ve never properly interviewed our own intern! Here we are, several months into Jason’s stellar career as our very own intern, his star steadily rising into the stratosphere….and many of you (okay…I mean I) know next to nothing about him. I figured that I had better rectify the situation because before you know it, he’ll be way too busy to do little interviews with yours truly.

Luckily, Jason found himself with a little extra time while he’s furloughed from his day job, and was happy to indulge me with answering a few questions and having a chat. Be sure to check out our big announcement towards the end of the video, too!

-R

One Song Per Album

Last week, on the most recent Katy Kafe with Nick, the idea of making a setlist with a song from each album came up for discussion. As diehard Duranies know, the setlist is always a topic that gets people’s attention. Diehard fans, especially those who attend a number of shows, are thirsty to hear something beyond the hits of Hungry Like the Wolf and Come Undone (anyone who has been reading this blog for a long time should see what I did there!). So, this idea of playing one song from each album is one that I would think a lot of those fans would embrace. Heck, I don’t see why all Duranies wouldn’t embrace it. If I’m a fan who has not seen a lot of shows, I would still love to know that there would a variety of songs played, at least in terms of the band’s history. This idea got me thinking. What would I want to hear from each album if I could make that setlist? What criteria would I use? Here’s what I came up with!

1st Album

This one was actually super hard for me to decide on. Planet Earth is my absolute favorite so big part of me wants to choose this one. Then, I think about the last shows that I went to in which Anyone Out There was played. Holy crap, it sounded amazing and I would give a lot to see that again. That said, when it comes down to it, I might choose a song that I have had heard/see live before. For the first album, that could be Night Boat. Yet, I think my choice would be Tel Aviv. The only time I can really remember hearing about the band playing it is the Orlando show in 2005 when they played with an orchestra. That would be too magical to pass up!

Rio

I have been extremely fortunate in that I have seen every single song off of Rio performed live. I think that makes this decision tougher. What criteria do I use here if I don’t use “the pick a song I never saw before” idea? I could go with a favorite like Hold Back the Rain. Instead, though, I’m thinking about songs that I have heard even more rarely than that. I could go with Last Chance on the Stairway as I only heard it as part of the electro set during the Red Carpet Massacre Tour but I think I would go with Lonely in Your Nightmare as my choice. I only heard this one once and that was during the Fan Show in 2007. I would like a do over as things did not go as planned during that song.

Seven and the Ragged Tiger

This will not be an easy choice, either! There are definitely songs that I have not heard live at all and there are songs that I have rarely heard live that I would love to hear again. I also have some favorites. If I had to pick one, I would go with Secret Oktober. While it is not on the album, it was a b-side to Union of the Snake, a song that was on the album. In this case, it is not only a favorite but one that I have only seen one time. Another time would be just as amazing.

Notorious

Unlike the previous albums, I have not seen a ton of songs live from this album. I would probably pick something like Vertigo, which is a song I really enjoy and one that too often gets overlooked in favor of the singles.

Big Thing

Interestingly enough, I did not need much time to think about this choice. I would definitely go with The Edge of America. It is a big time favorite of mine and right now feels so very, very, very fitting.

Liberty

This album feels more like Notorious to me in that there are a ton of songs that I could choose here! I could go with something fun like Violence of Summer that I would imagine would be so fun to sing along with or I could pick something like what Nick mentioned in My Antarctica. He had stated on the Kafe that they tried this one live a few times and it just didn’t work. I’ll have to trust him on that. So I will go with Violence of Summer!

The Wedding Album

This is another album that I could choose a number of tracks. While I have seen a number of tracks, would I choose one that I have not? I’m not certain. I guess if I had to pick one, I might go with Too Much Information. While I saw this song most recently in 2015, it was different than what I was expecting. The first time I heard it I was not excited about it but it grew on me as I heard it more.

Medazzaland

This is an album that I have seen VERY few tracks from. This makes my decision wide open. I guess I would pick Out of my Mind as it is a track that I really like.

Pop Trash

Interestingly enough, I have heard/seen none of the songs off this album. That probably tells when I have seen Duran Duran live and when I have not. If I had to pick one song, then, I might go with Last Day on Earth. I know that they opened up the tour with that song and it sounded great from the live albums I have heard.

Astronaut

Now, I have seen quite a few songs off this album but not all of them. I have not heard One Of Those Days and Point Of No Return. Part of me wants to choose one of them and the other part of me wants to hear one that I did not see much. If I had to pick right now, though, I would go with Finest Hour. It is a favorite and one that I only saw it live once.

Red Carpet Massacre

Lucky for me, I was fortunate enough to see this entire album when I saw one of the Broadway shows in 2007 so the question is which song would I like to see performed again. Like Big Thing, I know my choice right away. I would love to see Tricked Out live one more time. I would especially like to see it with Rhonda even though I would be worried about her needing oxygen.

All You Need Is Now

This is another easy for one and one that I did not have to think about. I would go for Too Bad You’re So Beautiful as it is a big time favorite of mine.

Paper Gods

Like All You Need Is Now, this is another one that I would not need to ponder my pick. I would absolutely go with Planet Roaring. It just feels like it was meant to be played live.

Now, of course, I could pose an additional challenge in deciding the order but that sounds completely overwhelming. Maybe I’ll assign that to myself for next week. What would the rest of you pick?

-A

Question of the Week: Song That Represents the No Ordinary Tour

We are moving back in time to 1993, when Duran Duran played over 100 shows to support their latest album, the Wedding Album. Most of these 100 shows were part of a tour entitled “No Ordinary Tour,” to go along with their commercially successful single, Ordinary World. The question, then, rests with you, the fans, about which of the songs that they played best represents that tour, that album, that Duran era. We, of course, have already asked this question about the tours that followed in 1995, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2016. The results of those polls are as follows:

  • Paper Gods Tour: Pressure Off
  • All You Need Is Now Tour: All You Need Is Now
  • Red Carpet Massacre Tour: Night Runner
  • Astronaut Tour: Sunrise
  • Pop Trash Tour: Hallucinating Elvis
  • Ultra Chrome Latex and Steel Tour: Electric Barbarella
  • Thank You Promo Tour: White Lines

On that note, please vote for which song best represents the Wedding Album Era Tour.

Coming Soon
Which Song Best Represents the No Ordinary Tour?
Which Song Best Represents the No Ordinary Tour?
Which Song Best Represents the No Ordinary Tour?

Now the Channel Is Open

If you are anything like me, you have a list of things that you must get done even with stay at home orders and global pandemics. My list generally focuses on work tasks (lesson planning and posting along with grading, connecting with students, etc.) and household chores (grocery lists, cleaning, laundry and more). If and when I get through those, which is rare, then I try to find some time to work on campaign related organizing as well as relaxing. Yes, you read that correctly. I have been trying to find time to relax. Initially, it was not much of a choice as I needed to implement some strategies to minimize anxiety. As I have gotten the anxiety under control, I have found that I don’t really want to give up this me time. I don’t really have a pattern. Sometimes, I read or work on a puzzle that a friend gave me for Christmas. Other times, I color or journal. Some nights, it is just about having a glass of wine and watching something silly on TV.

This week, though, after doing some journaling, I let my mind wander. What did I really want to do? Somehow, this led me to watch some of the videos that I have recorded over the years while on tour. I watched, for example, a video that Rhonda and I did in the summer of 2017 in which we summarized some of our not-so-finer moments from the Paper Gods Tour. I laughed and laughed as I watched us get into hysterics over cows and backwards wording merchandise. Next, I checked out some clips we had recorded while driving in the summer of 2012 in the southeast. At some of those, I found myself cringing a bit at how critical we were. (That said, I don’t think I could ever really say fond things about that seventeen minute film that they started the shows off with. So sorry!) After that, I watched a couple of clips from the UK trips from 2011 and felt the rush of sadness over the cancelled shows to the sheer joy of meeting friends in a pub in Birmingham. One memory led to another and another and another.

Soon, I found myself watching live clips. Many of these were from shows that we had attended over the years. I found myself grinning and singing along just like I was there in the audience. As soon as I realized this, I wondered why I hadn’t done more of this during this quarantine experience. This connected with ideas that I had journaled about. Fandom has been a big part of my existence with the usual ebbs and flows. Outside of politics and teaching, it has been the cause of some of my most heartbreaking moments, some small, some not-so-small. In thinking about some of those, I recognized that I hadn’t really grieved some of them and wondered if acknowledging that could be beneficial. That said, in watching those videos, both my own collection as well as clips on YouTube, I knew that fandom has also provided me with some of the truly most joyous, most fun times that I have ever experienced. I am pretty certain that there are lots of people out there who have not had nearly as much fun as I have while on tour. As I sit in my living room on the couch that I live on nowadays, I know that I would give anything to be able to have a show, a tour to look forward to.

I know that life does not always work out like you want it to. Heck, if that was not the case, I would just will away this virus that is causing so much harm. Yet, as I think about the time I have taken this week to just think and feel, there is a part of me appreciates that it has created the time and space to do that. Too often, under normal times, I literally have no time to do any of that as 60-80 hour weeks are not unheard of in my world. I cannot watch videos. I cannot bask in the warm fuzzies of fabulous memories. No, I’m too busy working. While I desperately want things to return to normal, there are some things that I could do without and the lack of time is certainly one. No, instead, I want to be able to break open the memories and just feel, just remember, just be.

-A

In the News: DD Signs Global Publishing Deal with Warner Chappell

Straight from the Breaking News Department, Google sent an alert this morning letting me know that Duran Duran has inked a global publishing deal with Warner Chappell, a division of Warner Music.

Some of you might wonder if this is the same thing as a record deal and the answer is no, no it is not. At it’s most BASIC, a record deal is for the distribution of the music. Depending upon the details, those deals may include promotion, touring, etc. A publishing deal, is for what is written – the music and/or the lyrics. Music publishers work with the songwriters in the same way a publisher works with an author.

So, in this case, Duran Duran signed a deal with Warner Chappell that encompasses the majority of their catalog, from 1986 to present, including the album that will be released next year. The next question of course, is what that means.

Publishers are responsible for a number of things, but I would say that the four main “headings” they manage are the following: song registration, licensing, royalty collection, and creative matters.

Song registration is, well, kind of boring to explain. It’s nit-picky, legalese-type stuff, but there are performing rights societies (BMI, ASCAP and PRS). Those societies collect, maintain and pay out the royalties to songwriters and publishers. Each society is slightly different as to what categories or types of songwriters or publishers they handle or why certain artists or bands choose one over the other, but they all serve the same basic function. BMI and ASCAP are American societies, and the PRS is the UK equivalent. Bands and artists can only choose to affiliate with one in the US (Publishers help decide which is best for the band in question), and in the UK – they have no choice.

To give an easy example of how BMI, ASCAP and PRS work – radio stations pay for an annual blanket license (which is millions of dollars a year) to BMI, ASCAP and PRS, which allow that station to broadcast what they want, however many times they wish. Then the performing rights society pays the publisher and songwriter based on the number of radio stations that broadcasted the number of their songs. Then the publisher in turn, pays the songwriter if they are owed more.

Then there are other royalties that can be earned. Royalties can be earned for commercially released albums in a retail setting, or for songs that are made available for legal download. That’s when licensing comes into play. This is different depending upon whether you’re in the UK or the US. I only am familiar with US methods – and they can be confusing. So, the publisher has to license a song to a record label to begin with. So, in Duran Duran’s case – they’re writing the new music for the upcoming album. That music will have to be licensed from Warner Chappell to Warner Music Group first before royalties can be paid. Then that music can be put on an album, and then royalties are paid based on how many copies of that album are sold. Those are called “mechanical royalties”, and the publisher reviews those licenses.

Then there are the royalty collections, which of course is some of what was described above, but also includes synchronization royalties. Those are when you take Duran Duran’s music and synchronize it to a moving picture. Those royalties get collected too!

There are plenty of other intricacies involved with royalties that I’m not getting into, so just know that these are only the very minimal basics. DVD’s need another licensing, there’s other agencies that can deal directly with mechanical licensing…it goes on and on, and that’s why bands like Duran Duran sign global publishing deals, because someone else needs to handle it!

So there you have it, a little Duran Duran news, and a teensy bit of learning today. Have a wonderful weekend. I need a nap!

-R

Nothin’ But A Good Time

One of the upsides of being furloughed is a lot more time to sit and enjoy radio. I joined Sirius/XM a few weeks ago and I try to tune into Feedback with Lori Majewski and Nik Carter each day. Yesterday, they spent the morning talking to the always-positive Bret Michaels of Poison. I still consider Poison one of my favorite bands and during the show, I started to think that they are the Duran Duran of the hair metal era.

Hear me out. Both bands faced a huge critical backlash when they hit the scene. Both were dismissed as pure image over talent by “serious” critics who have never trusted the taste of young women. Both bands achieved massive success only to fall apart at the seams due to high-octane lifestyles. They even both have somewhat questionable covers albums lurking in their closets. But most importantly, they are still selling out shows. And it’s fun!!!

At the end of the day, it is the songs, not an image, that weave themselves into the fabric of popular culture and Poison, like Duran Duran, have the songs that still hold-up. In fact, I’d put Poison and and Cinderella over Motley Crue when it comes to quality songs that still sound great. The Crue have a few timeless songs but they also have a lot of album filler. I can listen to any 80s Poison album front to back and not get bored. Same goes for every Duran Duran album in the 80s.

It seems like both bands have outlasted the critics and there is a begrudging respect for both these days. Does that prove we were right all along? Probably not. The flashy images in the videos certainly helped sell both bands but there is no denying that their songs have withstood the test of time. So don’t be surprised if you see me at a Poison show when this pandemic blows over. Here are a few shots from the last time I saw them!

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!