Now We’re Online: When DD.com Was Hacked

In 2017, websites are commonplace. Most of us are on the web and surf our way through hundreds of sites each day, even if we’re not thinking about it. It would be unthinkable to run a company and not have a web presence. Sites act as advertising, storefronts, social gathering spots, newspapers, informational brochures, and even corner speakers. Duran Duran has operated their website for years now.  Amanda and I have come to rely on it for a variety of purposes. We are typically able to find what we need, and it’s always up and running.

There was a period of time back in the late 90s when this wasn’t exactly the case. First, I’ll set the scene: it’s 1999. Medazzaland had been released in 1997, the band was touring and playing smaller clubs on the Let It Flow tour. Pop Trash wasn’t released until 2000.  Earlier in August, Duran Duran had signed a 3-album deal with Hollywood Records.  John Taylor was no longer with the band, instead playing dates in small clubs like the Viper Room in Hollywood, California with Terroristen. Sugartown was being released and John had been doing the typical press tour junket to promote the film. During the 90s, there were times when the band were even self-managed, as Wendy Laister and Magus Entertainment did not come aboard until 2001. Before anyone asks, yes – Katy Krassner was working with the band by this time. I don’t know if she was directly involved with their website in the same sense as she is now.  Very different days.

Months might go by without a single update made to the band’s site, even if there was a new album coming out, or upcoming tour dates—news items that would have definitely been of interest to fans, and might even help the band if they were announced. It became something of a side joke to long time fans, and not a “ha ha” funny joke, but one of those snide comments you might make to one another in jest. During this specific period, possibly while the band was self-managed, between labels (until August when they signed with Hollywood Records), it had been several months since the website had been touched at all. Security for the site was lax, to say the least. Picture the place as a ghost town with a message board of fans continually writing posts asking why the site wasn’t being updated, and you might have a fairly accurate scene. Despite the outcry from some fans even asking if they could help out and update the site themselves, there seemed to be some sort of gaping hole between the band and fans, until one fateful day in September of 1999 when one fan—Redsexy on dd.com—hacked the website herself and updated it.

Had it not been for her, I’m not sure how long it might have been before the website would have been updated. Self-managing isn’t an easy thing. Just imagine – on top of writing the music, you’re managing everything else. Promotion, image, contracts, touring, people who work for you, all of the large and small details. All of it.

Today’s websites aren’t so horrible. If you use something like WordPress (as I do), it’s fairly simple – but there is still a lot I don’t know how to do, and there’s not much time for me to learn.  Imagine Simon, Nick, or Warren trying to wrangle a  website back in the 90s, without the ease of WordPress or other site management companies, much less having the time to sit down and update the news or tour dates! Impossible.

So on this date in 1999, Redsexy took matters into her own hands, and we thank her for it. I’m not sure how the band felt, but I admired your spirit.

-R

 

Too Much is Never Enough

So last night, Duran Duran played Budokan in Tokyo. For a place that the band seems to really enjoy visiting, like so many other areas of the world, they do not seem to visit Japan very often. I think the last appearance there was in 2010 for a conference (I believe this may have been a private gig, but I’m not positive), and before then they played Tokyo in 2009. (Yes, I looked this up because there is absolutely no way I would ever remember this kind of thing. My brain is full.)  The band seems happy to be in Japan again, with Dom commenting last night that it was a dream of his to play Budokan.

During their time there, I’ve seen a few comments here and there from some of our Australian fellow fans. Suffice to say no one is happy that the band is not making the trek to Australia and/or New Zealand while in that area of the world. What boggles my mind though, is the anger towards America, and American fans as a result. In fact, I’ve seen other fans comment in response that the band must be tired ending the tour as a direct result of how much time they’ve spent in America.

That’s right. It’s America’s fault for continuing to line their pockets and fill whatever venues they need filled for shows. It is absolutely the fault of the U.S. for being just over 1 million square miles, or about 2.6 million square km larger than Australia, not to mention Japan and even Europe, with dozens of large cities that are not closely connected. It is also America’s fault that the worldwide media/entertainment industry is headquartered there, and the US dollar seems to still matter on a global level. Naturally, there are also comments about how DDHQ is located in New York, of all places. Surely that must be the reason for the obvious favoritism, on top of everything else. Those damn Americans!

Of course I’m being facetious, but I’m also frustrated. We hear about how terrible we are, and how unfair it is that the band  chooses to be here after every single tour is announced. It is to the point where I nearly wince when the band announces U.S. shows.

If we’re going to point fingers, look at the promoters in whatever country we’re talking about. Simon and John, for instance, do not sit down, spin a globe and decide where to go based on where it stops. There’s no grand scheme here to leave out entire continents. It comes down to dollars, timing, and the willingness of promoters to book them. I can’t answer why promoters aren’t knocking down their doors to book them in places like Australia, or most of Europe. I think the markets in those places of the world must be very different. Bottom line is that it is not 1985. The world has changed, the music industry has changed, and, like it or not—the band has changed too. While we still think they’re the biggest and best band in the world, it would seem that concert and tour promoters do not. Right or wrong, it is the way it is.

I’m sorry that Duran Duran didn’t tour everywhere.I am very empathetic to other Duranies, and yes, it IS unfair. While I’m frustrated at the moment, I also care about fans in general. On the other hand, I can’t help but be thankful that the band comes here so often because yes, I love them too.  In some ways, I feel as though I should apologize for their frequent visits here, which is ridiculous because I have no control over what they do. Sometimes I think people would appreciate it if Amanda and I came out and told the band that they shouldn’t visit the U.S and spend the time elsewhere.

First of all, the band isn’t going to listen to us because—and I’m thankful for this—I am not a tour promoter or a band manager. I’m a mom, blogger, and fan. Secondly, it isn’t because they toured  America more than once that they didn’t visit Europe, or Australia, or even why they didn’t do more dedicated shows in South America.  I know it is convenient to just blame those “damn Americans” but let’s get real for just a minute before everyone goes back to hating. The band is able to book a plethora of shows here and have them well attended enough to pay their bills AND make a profit.  They can play a variety of different places over an extended period of time, and since the U.S. is one large country, I suspect the logistics with paperwork and so forth is a bit easier, too. All of it adds up to money and turning a profit. Like it or not, the band makes their living that way, as do the hundreds of people who work for them in one way or another.

I get it. America is the scapegoat, and if fans really feel like they need to blame someone or somewhere, we’re an easy target. I just wish fans spent a little more time thinking about why Duran Duran might continue touring here, rather than just blaming America for all the places the band has missed.

-R

 

Do you remember gum-chewing? Of course you do!

It has been awhile since I’ve sat and watched a Duran Duran video.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but it seems like I rarely get a chance to sit down and relax, much less watch anything. So today, I treated myself. I watched “Serious”, because truly – if you’re going to watch a Duran Duran video, why NOT catch glimpses of a naughty Nick Rhodes chewing gum??

Did you know that on this date in 1990, Duran Duran filmed part of “Serious”?  It is true. If the story behind the gum proves accurate, Nick was not necessarily on board with the idea of “Serious” being a single from Liberty. In fact, he felt so strongly that when it came time to film the video, Nick decided to show his feelings, ever so-not-obviously, by chewing a piece of gum throughout the video. Because you know, Nick is a chronic gum-chewing keyboardist in real life, right?

I’m going to guess “No” on that.

I suppose his thought was that he looked silly, and that’s how he felt about the song being a single. It was his idea of a protest, which kind of makes me laugh…because LISTEN TO THE SONG.

Of course, that whole thing (if in fact true) backfired when Duranies, ever-dependable as we are, went NUTS over the gum chewing. Who knew that by attempting to ruin a video, he actually made the whole thing that much more appealing (leave it to Nick to turn gum-chewing into an artful statement). I only question the validity because it goes along with the theme of the song. It doesn’t have to be serious, right?

Here’s the video. Let’s watch it again!

Happy Tuesday!  -R

 

 

Makes Me Curious

Did you listen to the Katy Kafe this week featuring Roger Taylor?  I did and blogged about it on Friday.  Sometimes, a word, a sentence or a detail from those Kafes stick with me.  That is the case with this one, which is funny because it wasn’t very long or did not feature a ton of news on the Duran front.  Yet, it did give one juicy tidbit.  Duran Duran is planning on returning to the studio before the end of the year.

According to Roger, the band is planning to return to the studio for some “fun” (his word) but it might not be a new album.  I don’t know about the rest of you but I keep thinking about what exactly that might mean.

After the All You Need Is Now album cycle, I felt a sort of desperation for the band to keep active.  That album spoke to me and felt like Duran had embraced themselves and their fans.  Many fans seemed to be active on social media and expressed a lot of happiness about their fandom during that time.  While I say that, I recognize that it wasn’t a complete utopia and I knew that even then.  Nonetheless, things felt good to me and I really believed that Duran was on the “right track,” whatever that means.  Then, of course, the time between that album and Paper Gods rolled around.  2012 turned to 2013 then to 2014.  That tiny sliver of desperation I felt seemed to be growing.  I often blogged in response to this feeling.  Many took some of those blogs as complaining and not being understanding of the creative process.  I kept trying to explain that it had more to do with my concern over their success and the fear that if they took too long, the fans wouldn’t remain.  Those blogs always came from love, despite my flaws.

In hindsight, a lot of it had to do with my own fear that the band wouldn’t come back or that when they did come back, too much would have changed to feel the same.  The fun wouldn’t follow.  In reality, this had a lot more to do with me.  Things were not always ideal in my world and I was putting a lot of my hope and joy onto fandom.  I needed to have something to look forward to, something to give me happiness and not much in my life was beyond fandom.  This combined with the fact that Rhonda and I took our fandom to a more serious level by not only blogging but organizing meet ups and a weekend long convention.  Fandom took on a greater role in my life.

Now, we are witnessing the last dates of the Paper Gods Tour and era.  This time, things seem to be different.  On a personal level, I’m aware of what happened last time and how I reacted and why.  I also understand creative process work in a different way now than I did in 2013.  I have vowed to give them as much time as they need for whatever exactly they are going to do next.  Yes, the plan is just to give as much support as I can.  Funny enough, though, the band seems different this time, too.  The fact that they are planning to go into the studio indicates this.  It doesn’t sound like it will be years between Paper Gods and whatever is next.  (While I type that sentence, I hear many of you pointing out Durantime.  That may be true but I, again, will be positive throughout it all.)  Of course, while the band is planning to return to recording, Roger says that it might not be a “new album”.  So, what could it be?

I have no idea what exactly the band is going to be doing in the studio.  In order to figure it out, I have thought the band’s career.  Is there anything that they have had in the past that could give us an idea?  Maybe.  At times, the band has released a single in between albums.  I’m thinking about songs Iike Is There Something I Should Know or Wild Boys.  Could they think about writing and recording a song to be included on a re-issue or on a live album?  What about a album of remixes or another greatest hits album?  While they have never done a real EP, or smaller album, they could do one now.  Maybe that would be good.

Of course, one factor that makes this time unique is that the 40th anniversary is coming up.  Could that be the factor that is pushing the band back into the studio?  Could they be doing something special for that?  What about the idea of going through some of those demos that we know were close to being ready and finishing them?  I can only imagine that the band has a lot of work out there that could be completed and sent out into the world.  If they did an album of those, that might not be considered a “new” album?  I’m not sure.  Roger sure left me with more questions by this piece of news.

While I’m prepared to be patient and supportive through this time between Paper Gods and whatever come next, I wouldn’t mind getting a little something to ease the anticipation.  I’m okay if it is a song or two or an EP or an album featuring previously unreleased demos.  Whatever and whenever it is going to be, I’m looking forward to it.

-A

September Katy Kafe with Roger!

We got a birthday present of sorts this week!  Yes, a new Katy Kafe was posted on DuranDuranMusic, the band’s official fan community website.  This month features our favorite drummer, Roger Taylor!  So, I was forced (yeah…sure) to sit down, take a listen and give a little report about it on here.  As always, I’m giving some of the highlights along with some of my thoughts about those highlights.  In no way, shape or form will this blog post include everything that was mentioned.  If you want to hear the whole thing (and I know you do), head over to DDM and treat yourself to a membership.

Little Mini-Tour

Katy started the conversation with a question about the current mini-tour that the band is on.  Roger went through each show and stated how great each of them were but then commented about how the band is on their way to Singapore this week.  He told a lovely story about talking with his mother and explaining that this is the end of the tour.  Her response is one echoed by a lot of fans with something like “you keep saying that!”  Indeed, they have!  Katy mentioned the Hawaii show and indicated that there might be a contest about which states they have not played in.  Do your research now, people!  They finished up this part of the conversation with some discussion about the Asian dates.  Apparently, the band could attend the Grand Prix, if they have want.  (That’s an image!)  Roger is looking forward to Japan as they haven’t been there for 9 years.  Katy pushed him to reminisce in the early trips to Japan where Roger described it as an “intense” type of “fandom”.

Anniversary of Paper Gods

When asked about Paper Gods, Roger mentioned that the process took a long time but it was a creative time period resulting in one of their best albums in a “long time”.  (I always want to ask what that means.  How long is he thinking?  What other albums is he comparing?)  He also said that he would gladly work with Mark Ronson, Nile Rodgers and Mr. Hudson again.  Mr. Hudson got credit to taking the album into a modern, contemporary, cooler direction, according to Roger.

Future Plans

The biggest piece of news is that Duran is planning to enter the studio before the end of the year!  Yet, it won’t necessarily be an album but entering for a little bit of “fun”!  (That caught my attention!  I wonder what the heck they are up to!  Guesses????)

Appreciation

Roger stated that the band appreciates that they are still going and that they have the fans that they do, which is a really nice way to end a Kafe!  We appreciate you right back, Roger!

Overall, there wasn’t a lot of meat to this Kafe, other than the big news at the end.  The band will be returning to the studio for something.  Roger did say something about new music, but then also said that it might not be a new album.  All of that intrigues me.  What do the rest of you think that could mean?!

-A

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!