All posts by Daily Duranie

Once upon a time, there were two Duran Duran fans. One named Amanda, the other named Rhonda. Over many vodka tonics, they would laugh about the idea of one day writing a book about their fan experiences. While that manuscript is still being composed...Rhonda thought they should write a blog. (What was she THINKING?!) Lo and behold: The Daily Duranie was born.

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

Surprising Fireworks and Sudden Silence

I’m a big fan of the deeper thinking questions that DDHQ occasionally throws out to fans for contemplation. Yesterday was no exception as they asked what was our fondest Duranlive memory.

Invariably when I see these questions, I end up stumped. Sometimes, the answer is as clear as day and I’ll post, but other times, like yesterday, I can’t think of a single memory that stands out above all others. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t because I don’t have great memories. Hardly. It’s because I have so many.

My time as a Duran Duran fan has been such a bright light in my life. I’m not talking about the time I’ve blogged, or even the time I’ve been a host at a party or a convention, though. I mean the times when I am simply a fan. I’m not half of Daily Duranie, not even L8BarMom. Just some…woman…standing in an audience, cheering for her favorite band. There’s no question, at least not in my head, that I’ve loved being a fan of this band. The music fuels my daydreams, motivates my words, and keeps me coming back for more. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Even so, I have no doubt that if it hadn’t been for my friendship with Amanda, I wouldn’t have gone to half as many shows as I have over the years. It is far too easy for me to say “I can’t”, and let it go at that. In fact, that’s what happened with the Vegas shows that were just cancelled. I didn’t even talk with her about them, I just said “I can’t”, and went about my day. While that might have made my life easier here at home at the time, it wouldn’t have made my heart quite as full.

Maybe not so surprisingly, I have thought quite a bit about the shows we’ve been to over the years, particularly lately. It’s so weird to me that so few of the memories seem any more “over the top” to me than others. One time that comes to mind – and I mean, it happened within a blink of an eye – was when I realized they were actually playing Secret Oktober in Brighton back in 2011. Context is important here, so let me describe it.

Amanda and I had already made one trip to the UK that year, and so we’d gotten ourselves to Brighton by sheer luck again in November of 2011. I say “luck” because we managed to get there despite a union walkout for public transportation, leaving my family, Amanda leaving her job, I don’t know how we made it work, but we did. I’d been begging for the band to play Secret Oktober at one of those shows…for months. Make no mistake, I knew the chances were about none, but I begged anyway. We’d gotten to Brighton in time, went to our crazy modern hotel, got ready and got ourselves to the show. There we stood in our spots, and all of the sudden this song starts and I’m not sure what it is until I KNEW what it was. If only to have a picture of my jaw hitting the ground that night at the precise moment I knew what they were playing…the rest of the song is an absolute blur to me, but that moment? Golden. Amanda and I hugged one another, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt that much pure love and joy in a single second.

There are a ton of precious memories like that, occupying space in my head. I’m lucky. The thing is, most of those memories are just of being in the audience. Sometimes I can’t even remember where I was standing at the time – front row, fourth row, tenth row or beyond – it doesn’t matter now. I couldn’t tell you what was on the set list at the time, or what I was wearing, or even where the concert was at the time. The only thing that seems to matter was that I was there, with Amanda, and we were having the time of our lives watching this band that we’ve grown up watching.

Sure, some small things stand out. Like the time Roger shook my hand, when Dom flicked a pick my way once, when he ran over to be sure and grab my hand, every single time we duck from Simon’s baptismal blast during during White Lines…and seeing Nick look down at us and laugh in response, and when John looks our way. Those moments, though, aren’t necessarily what my mind drifts towards first. Just being there, basking in the glory of still being a fan of this music. Marveling in my head that I can still go see my favorite band along with my best friend. How could I ever have gotten so lucky?

A lot of things have changed in the past couple of months. I’m really not sure when I’ll feel comfortable traveling again. Getting on a plane again does not excite me. Wearing a mask in order to go to a show isn’t going to happen for me. Donning one for an entire plane ride is my idea of hell. I’ll just drive, thanks. I’m so thankful I did all of the things I could in the years before this stupid pandemic, because who knows when I’ll do them again next?

Thinking about being in the audience of any Duranlive experience brings a smile to my face, and sometimes, even laughter. Today more than ever, I realize how lucky I’ve been. I don’t think I can say that enough these days.

-R

Deep Listening

How often do you completely unplug from the world, even for a single hour, put on an album and just listen?

Recently, I read an article sent to me by a friend (shout-out to David O) about deep listening to albums. In this case, the article posed a challenge to the reader. Turn off your phone, shut off the voices in your head, and give full attention to not one, but three albums of your choice.

I’m about to get real with y’all on this Monday morning. I struggle with giving anything my full attention these days. I mean, I really and truly grapple with it. The idea of trying to do this for three hours while listening to albums feels very much like challenging myself to run a marathon. My brain can’t do it, much less my body! When I’m sitting on the couch watching a movie, I’m playing with my phone. If I’m not playing some sort of game, I’m crocheting. If I’m outside listening to music, I’m also reading emails, or reading a book. While I’m attempting to sit and listen to music, even on Spotify, my mind is racing in the background, thinking about whatever I should be doing (instead of listening). And those situations are just the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately.

Some of this, I believe, is training. In today’s world, we don’t allow ourselves any sort of time to just be still, unless of course we’re sleeping. (Which, by the way – I often wake up in the middle of the night, immediately thinking of the things I need to do, forgot to do, or don’t want to do) During the day, it’s a constant series of multitasking. What can I take to the laundry room with me as I drop off the clothes into the washer? While coffee is being made, do I have time to clean the chicken coop or collect eggs and get back up to the garage before it is finished? If I sit and listen to an album from a new band for 45 minutes, maybe I can read from a book I’ve been working on at the same time. “Whoosh” on Duran Duran Radio? I’ll listen to that while I’m pulling weeds. Can I run to the grocery store and still make it to school in time for pickup? It was, and still is, a constant series of tasks and time management. Sitting down, doing nothing and listening to music, or watching a movie, for an hour or more? ARE YOU NUTS?

My brain has grown very used to never focusing on one single thing at a time, but at least a few, if not tens of things. In some ways, it’s great, and in others, it’s horrible. Not one single thing ever gets my complete focus…unless I’m at band rehearsal. Oddly, as I was sitting here writing, I realized the one thing that still gets my complete focus is playing music. More on that later.

One might think that in times of a pandemic, I’d learn how to settle down and recenter myself. Maybe I’d slow down and take my time. I’d argue it’s been the opposite. Funny, I thought having my entire family home would be of great relief to me, and I suppose it is in some ways, but in others – there’s never a spare moment until the time my head hits the pillow each night. Having adult children at home doesn’t mean more help. In fact, I’d argue it means having them revert back to being teenagers in a lot of ways – with animals in tow. (I know it could be their own babies, and for my kids and their current situations – I am thankful it is not. They’re not ready. *I* am not ready, for that matter.)

The article couldn’t really have come at a better time for me. I needed the reminder that life can wait, at least occasionally. As I mentioned last week, I’ve begun challenging myself with the prospect of finding new music. I am forcing myself out of the box, I bought the premium Spotify subscription, and the search has begun.

What I’m finding is that while some music belongs in the background, other music takes my full attention. Things I may have written off as pure pop last week or last month may actually have a deeper message. You’d think I would have learned that from our own Paper Gods, but no. No I didn’t. My education continues.

As I wrote a bit earlier, the one thing that I have no trouble giving my full-self to is playing music. I think that is why I found band practice to be such a joy. For two full hours, I thought of nothing but the music on the page. In hindsight, I can remember that blissful feeling I’d have during rehearsal. Never once did I reach for my phone while in that rehearsal space. My full attention would be on playing clarinet. I’d leave the band room feeling completely calm and satiated, almost dreading walking back in the door at home because I knew that all of the same tasks I left (dishes in the sink, cleaning up from dinner, making sure the youngest was on her way to bed) would still be there waiting. Band rehearsal, and of course, practicing when possible, was the one thing I gave myself, and allowed myself to get completely caught up in.

Even when I had to force myself not to give into the urge to stay at home (those first few initial rehearsal sessions were brutal, and it was only the last rehearsal when I really hit my stride, naturally), once I got to the band room and dug in, it was total peace. When I think about it, even though practice was difficult – I felt completely centered, calm, and more “myself” than ever. I didn’t have to think about anything else other than playing the right keys, hitting the correct notes, my timing, counting the measures correctly, listening to the people around me, watching our director, and performing as part of an ensemble. Compared to the daily rigors of life, for me anyway, it was simple. I miss that.

I have yet to take up the full three-hour listening challenge as described in the LA Times article, but I might -just as soon as I find the three empty hours in my daily schedule. Maybe it is better to just take an hour. A single album, even! Could you do it? If you try it, let me know how it goes, and what you listened to!

-R

Katy Kafe with Nick – May 2020

I feel like it has been forever since I listened to a Katy Kafe and blogged about it. Did I miss some? Did Rhonda cover some that I completely missed? No clue. Anyway, I’m happy to take some time out of my weekend to listen to Nick and Katy and reflect on their discussion here. As always, this is not a full transcription but more about what caught my attention. If you want to hear the whole thing for yourself and you know you do, I would head over to duranduranmusic.com! (Interestingly enough, according to Katy, these have been done since like 2002. Who has been listening since then??)

Pandemic Life

Nick expresses well what so many of us are thinking and feeling in that it is hard to see/hear about the lives who have been devastated by the virus; yet, he remains hopeful that we will get through this. He also recommends that everyone be as careful as they can. On a positive note, he acknowledges that we all have more time on our hands at home. Apparently, he has been working on some projects that he has not been able to get to before due to lack of time, including organizing photographs, the musical and other Duran projects. Two thoughts here. One, what Duran projects? I would love to know! Two, good for him to get things done. I wish I could say the same. I’m lucky if I get my work done for school.

Learned Something About Himself

Has Nick learned something about himself during this time? He found out that he has the patience to organize and catalog his photos. Within that, he discovered what tends to be the subjects of his photos more than others. On a totally different note, apparently he has been sleeping better. (I so wish I could say the same. My dreams are out of control and many of them are not pleasant.)

Grace Jones

In what is news to me, Grace Jones was scheduled to appear with Duran at their Hyde Park show. The band thought it would have been interesting to do something with everyone on the bill but acknowledged that it might not be possible. They are looking at rescheduling everything for this year for next year, if that’s possible.

Nick’s Projects

He is working on the musical with John, a Japanese film documentary that he needs to edit, a book of his photography (completed and will be coming out later this year!). He also spends part of his day creating things and writing. The members have talked about to finish the album as they do have a few songs that are complete and ready to mix. (They should feel free to share those as soon as possible!) He recommends that everyone should do something for themselves! (I agree.)

One Final Picture

If Nick could take only one more picture, what would the subject be? If he was at home, it would be a portrait of who is there. It might also be a flower from his garden. The moon is possible subject. (Fun fact-he would love to go to the moon someday!)

Cameo Appearance in a Hitchcock Film

(Kudos to the clever questions!) Nick mentioned the shower scene in Psycho or ringing the church bells in Vertigo among others or carrying drinks in Rope. Of course, he acknowledges that he should choose Notorious. Ha! I was glad to hear him mention the Birds. My older brother made me watch that as a young kid and I think it scarred me for life!

Cats

Does Nick have a cat? He regrets not having a cat but finds it hard to leave cats home alone and he is often traveling. (I feel awful when I have to leave mine!) The next one will be another Russian Blue like the one he had before or a more unique breed.

Which Band Member?

Which band member would he go see first once the restrictions are lifted? Simon and Roger both live pretty close to each other so he would flip a coin between them.

Set List

Of course, a question about the set list came up. He mentioned about how they have to find a balance between fan favorites and the big hits because they cannot play a lot of songs that only the diehards know. That said, fan only shows might allow for something like one track off of each album. (This could be a fun question to ask the fan community.)

Fashion

Will there ever be a fashion show showing the history of Duran fashion? This would be a long process, Nick says, but they have been archiving material for about 9 or 10 years so far. Shocking to no one, Nick has the most clothes but John and Simon still have some of the more famous outfits. Obviously, he has no idea when a show like this would happen but there is a lot of interest out there, including from lots of galleries around the world. (I would definitely travel for this!)

Female Singers

So far, there is no plan to work with a female singer on this upcoming album even though there is interest on the band’s part. (Interesting.)

Don’t Look Back

Nick wishes the song, Don’t Look Back, would have been finished and released. According to him, this was a song done with Nile around the time of the Wild Boys. (Well, that sure caught my attention!) Reportage is mentioned and how Nick would like it out there one day once it is totally done, which would take about 3-4 weeks to clean it up. (So do all of us!)

Song to Redo

Nick doesn’t really think he would redo any song but would like to overhaul the Liberty album and do a “director’s cut” of it, especially since there are lots of extra tracks from that album. (That is an interesting idea and one that I think many people would welcome.)

Overall, this Kafe was great! I give a lot of props to the fans who sent in such awesome questions and there were many. I did not cover all of them by far! On top of that, I appreciate how forthcoming Nick was with his answers. This is definitely one that should be listened to.

-A

Is Fandom Genetic?

Is fandom genetic? I ask that question not really looking for an answer as many will want to tell me “no.” I also not talking about raising one’s kids to be Duran Duran fans because they have grown up listening and loving them. That situation, I think, would be an argument that the environment plays a big role in developing tastes, hobbies, etc. Goodness knows, I am a White Sox fan because I grew up in a house that watched a lot of White Sox baseball. I spent many hours attending baseball games in old Comiskey Park in the 70s and 80s. My entire family cheers for the team, even my nieces who grow up far away from the South Side of Chicago. No, the White Sox fandom is a situation in which nurturing created fans. To me, the question is more about having a gene that makes it likely for you to join a fandom. Is there something within my genetic makeup that draws me to fandom, for instance?

Let me be clear here. I think everyone can be a fan and probably is a fan of something. Not everyone seeks out others who are fans, which is more of what I mean about fandom. Relatively few people want to commit serious chunks of time doing something related to what they are a fan of. Even my dad who is a big White Sox fan only spends so much time and energy on it per week. Yet, some of us dive into a fandom, wanting to eat, live and breath it. Obviously, I fit into that category. As much as other things take my time, I still make sure that my week allows me to focus on Duran and being a Duranie at some point. I write this blog, at least three times a week, and spend quite a bit of time thinking about the band, especially when they are around in some capacity or when I see/hear/read something online about them. I would go see as many shows as I could and happy that I have collected as much as I have. So how come I wasn’t just content with buying their albums when they came out, going to see a concert or two? Why did/do I need to do more? Why did I need to connect with other fans?

As I start to think about this question, what pops in my head is passion. I don’t just like Duran Duran. No, my feelings are much more intense than that. When they do something awesome, I feel like I’m on top of the world. When something happens like a band member leaves, my level of concern is overwhelming. I feel deeply. That’s the question when it comes to the fandom gene. Why do I feel deeply about Duran Duran and my sister, for example, doesn’t feel deeply about anything she is a fan of? How is that since we grew up in the same house and had shared experiences?

I have pondered this question over the past week after having a long conversation with my youngest niece. My niece and I have been watching a show “together” for months now. While we live far away, we pick out a TV show to watch, agree on how many episodes to watch per week and then plan a time to discuss. At times, when we are both busy, the discussion might take place via email. Now, we are calling each other more and more to talk about the shows since we are both stuck at home. This last time led us to talk about fandom. My niece gets very passionate when she is into a show and feels deeply with various plot points. We talked about how we both loved some of the shows we watched, which led us to discuss conventions with the actors or creators attending. I told her that I had been to a couple of those conventions and enjoyed myself. As soon as I said it, I realized that I would love to go with her to one! She enthusiastically agreed! I explained that I attended those conventions alone in the past and would love company. I wanted to be with someone who got it, who understood fandom. She immediately understood and went on to share about how weird it is for her, at home, because no one at her house gets it. Her sister, her dad and her mom just like shows, movies and music but they don’t love them. No, my youngest niece and I are more kindred spirits in that way.

So how did my niece get the passion for various TV shows that she did when she did not grow up in a house with fandom? I could say that she learned it from me or her uncle (who loves comic books) but we all live far away and when we would get together, fandom was rarely a part. This is why I wonder that maybe there is a fandom gene?! What do the rest of you think? Do other members of your family also participate in fandom? If so, why? Was it learned or just part of their nature?

-A

Continuing to Trust the Process

Two things today:

First off, if you’re not already watching John’s bass tutorials on Wednesday, you should. They’re fairly short – this last one clocking in at a teensy bit over seven minutes – and they are highly entertaining, particularly if, like me, you’ve always wanted a birds eye view of what the song evolutionary process is really like!

Yesterday, John went into a little depth about Girls on Film, diving in and explaining everything from the beginning groove to finished bass line product. Dissecting the song to this level, down to the beginning thoughts of using octave intervals as the bass line, made my ears happy. I loved hearing the differences over the course of the process, and yes – one can see how you really do have to “Trust the Process” when it comes to songwriting. I can hardly wait for more!

Along those same lines, I tuned back in to listen to John welcome Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles) to a Q&A session. I must admit that while I’ve enjoyed a few of their (The Bangles) songs over the years, I’ve never been a die hard fan. Listening to Susanna talk about her career was fresh and new to me. She seems delightful and kind, not at all “Hollywood Fake-y”, which I appreciated. Somewhere deep and hidden within the cobwebbed caverns of my brain, I vaguely recalled hearing that Prince had written “Manic Monday” for them. Listening to Susanna explain how she drove herself down to Prince’s studio to get it, and then what it felt like to hear it for the first time, gave new life to a fun and easy song I never minded hearing on the radio. Good old pop music, right?

The best part of John’s Q&A sessions is that so far, they’ve encouraged me to seek new music. Last week, after he chatted with Dave from Chromeo, I spent some quality time with Spotify and their catalog, enjoying a lot of what I heard. Later today, it’s time for some of Susanna’s music. She’s even writing a novel, which I’m looking forward to reading when it comes out. My point of course is that it’s never too late to find new music that makes your ears and heart happy.

Which brings me to item number two: what have you been doing to occupy your time during this pandemic? Have you been seeking creative outlets? Arguing politics? Relentless social media posts? Cleaning? Cooking? Eating?? Finding new music, perhaps??

That last one has taken up residency on my to-do list as of late. I’ve been spending increasing amounts of time on Spotify, scrolling through my curated playlists that Spotify throws together, based on my listening habits. (good luck with THAT, Spotify!) I’m discovering new bands I’ve never heard of, older bands I’ve still never heard of, and music I somehow completely missed along the way. I’ve also downloaded the app “Readly”, and have been spending an ungodly amount of time reading music magazines, when I should be cleaning this house. Shhhhhh

The fact is, I’ve gotten supremely lazy with my listening. Instead of working to find something new, I stick with what I know. Books I’m currently reading and articles I’ve read this week tell me that at my age (which is far from old, but also kind of far from young), this is normal behavior. It takes work to find new music. It’s EASY to stick to things we know, and if you don’t want to spend a lot of time searching – what do you do? You find that old playlist that has gotten WAY too much of your tine lately, hit “play”, and move on…am I right? You know what you like!

Well, I do that too. I know what I like. I also know that for several years now, I’ve stopped listening. I play new DD albums when one comes out. Pop the CD into my car stereo, and leave it there for months. (Okay, years) Listen to it over, and over again. I get so sick of it (yes, I really do), that I eventually stop listening to all of their music, and switch to First Wave on SiriusXM. That’s all fine and good, except that on First Wave, I usually hear nothing new. I’m digging my own grave here. So, I decided enough was enough, and have forced myself out of the box. Or coffin.

After nearly 50 years of listening to everything from “Patty Cake” to “Don’t Start Now” (Dua Lipa), at the very least, I know what has pleased my ears in the past. That’s something to start from! Team that with being a musician myself, and I’ve got zero excuses. So now it’s just a matter of training myself to try so that it feels normal to me, rather than some strange, foreign exercise. I’m not quite there yet.

With that, I am wickedly tardy and must be on my way….this house isn’t going to clean itself!

-R