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.

Question of the Day: Friday, October 18, 2019

50% of our participants own Unstaged while 50% do not.

Which video is better? (First 11 Videos was exactly that, a video tape with the band’s first 11 videos. Video 45 had two video clips of Girls on Film and Hungry Like the Wolf.)

Coming Soon
Which Video Is Better?
First 11 Videos
Video 45

What Is Rock and Roll?

Happy Thursday! Today, I have a deceptively simple, single question for you to ponder.

R&B+C&W=R&R (I never loved algebra that much)

What is rock & roll? What does that term mean to you? Yes, the topic has a little to do with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, purely because it was that topic that sparked some thinking about it, additionally – I have heard so many people say that rock & roll is dead.

Let me give you a little to chew on and mull over. During the 1950’s, and certainly by 1955 when DJ Alan Freed claimed to have invented the term, “rock and roll”, the oversimplified “recipe” for the music was R&B+C&W=R&R (rhythm and blues plus country and western equals rock and roll).

This recipe overlooks so much, though. A myriad of styles influence both R&B and C&W. It is crazy to boil it down to two styles and a bunch of letters. I never loved algebra in school anyway. It is an awful lot to think about though, so I implore you to think it through. Does rock and roll come down to just the music? What about the social and cultural forces? I am one of those people who just doesn’t buy into an algebraic equation being the answer to my greatest historical interest….okay, obsession.

Rock around the clock

Let’s try to tear this apart a bit more, starting with the earliest “rock and roll” music. While many people believe that “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley was what started the phenomenon, there’s absolutely zero consensus with that assertion. Did you know that there are actually 50 milestone songs from the period of time prior to 1956 that have elements of rock and roll (that aforementioned equation) in them? There’s no way to determine just which one was the spark that set off the explosion.

I’m not entirely convinced that the general public could listen to the radio in 2019 and actually hear those roots. Maybe some people with some songs, but for the most part? Probably not. Is that the problem, or the point?

Testing, bending and breaking

As Jason said yesterday, rock and roll’s roots are steeped in Southern blues. That rhythm and blues music was indeed Black American music – and white people loved it. The early innovators of the rock music you and I love, were all Black and/or African American. White people did not corner the market on rock and roll. Ever. Did you know that of the first artists that could have been considered rock and roll musicians prior to 1955, there is only one white artist to note? That would be Bill Haley. The music began to bend a racial boundary in a way that nothing else did prior. I think that’s worth noting. (I’m looking at you, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination committee.)

During the 1950’s, the American youth had leisure time. A true “Youth Culture” evolved. The after school hours were spent socializing. Parents and the powers that be were worried about all of that spare time being spent on nefarious activities. People moved to the suburbs of cities, and “Main Street” America became a very prominent image. During this same period, Eisenhower was president, known for his very conservative, “squeaky clean” views. Soda shops, clean-cut boys and girls, letterman sweaters…all of those images are straight from 1950’s America, paired against the rebellious “rock and roll” image. Black leather jackets, smoking, motorcycles, fast cars, and oiled hair just to note a few of the stereotypical . The fear of kids listening to rock and roll, turning delinquent, and ruining their lives became a massive topic at home. As if listening to music was the complete opposite to work, rather than just a complementary aspect of it.

With a rebel yell

The kids still listened to rock and roll, of course. They rebelled. Do any of us really do as we’re told?? All any parent ever needs to do is say that something is trash, and kids will ruin their minds if they watch or listen, and that certain “something” will become the most sought after fad in America. That is precisely what happened as 1950 turned to 1960. The true rebels, these artists willing to put their work out there, were crucial to youth culture because they influenced kids, turning them onto blues, and politics and poetry. They served as a link for those who were culturally adventurous. Rock and roll was something far more than just background music to other activities during the 1960s. It inspired. It broke boundaries. It unified.

Gender roles, politics, social boundaries, race, sexism, AIDS, sexual practices, drugs, social and political activism….I could go on and on. The proof is in the history, and music is the magical link. Music continues to keep doing all of that. We talk, we argue, we unite, we make change, regardless of whether there’s a guitarists or ten keyboardists in the band we’re listening to. Think on that.

What is rock and roll

In wrapping this up, I don’t know that I agree about rock and roll being dead. They’ve been saying that since the days disco, and yet in hindsight it’s pretty obvious that the spirit survived the 1970s without too much of a problem. How can rock and roll be dead when it has inspired virtually every single piece of music that has been created since 1955? Yes, the sound of rock and roll has evolved since Halley’s “Rock Around the Clock” and Fats Domino’s “Blueberry Hill” or even Chuck Berry’s “The Twist”. Thank goodness. That’s called progress and should be applauded. There is no litmus, or purity test needed. Is the spirit dead, or can we just not see it right now?

What is rock and roll?

-R

Question of the Day: Thursday, October 17, 2019

86% of our participants own A Diamond in the Mind while 14% do not.

What about Unstaged?

Coming Soon
Do You Own Unstaged?

Question of the Day: Wednesday, October 16, 2019

61% of our participants own Live at Hammersmith ’82 and 39% do not.

What about A Diamond in the Mind?

Coming Soon
Do You Own A Diamond in the Mind?

2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Alright. It is Tuesday, and I am fired up today, my friends. I have had two travel-mug sized cups of coffee, I’ve listened to the list of nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I am ready to comment. Get yourself a beverage and strap yourselves in, because it’s about to get rocky.

First of all, allow me to rip off the bandaid now. No, Duran Duran wasn’t nominated this year. Let’s all just take a collective, cleansing, breath. I need one, don’t you? While you’re deep breathing, here’s the list:

Pat Benatar

The Doobie Brothers

Motörhead

The Notorious B.I.G.

Soundgarden

T. Rex

Thin Lizzy

Whitney Houston

Depeche Mode

Judas Priest

Kraftwerk

MC5

Nine Inch Nails

Rufus feat. Chaka Khan

Todd Rundgren

Ready?

The fact is, not everyone can get nominated, and not everybody can get in. There are many noteworthy acts on this list, and about half are first time nominees. One of them – the Dave Matthews Band – is not only a first time nominee, but also a first time eligible.

On a purely personal note, I am thrilled that Depeche Mode was nominated, love seeing Kraftwerk on the ballot again, and I’m hoping that Pat Benatar gets in. I’ve already voted, and if you haven’t, DO IT. Just go to Google and type in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

It is very hard to look at this list and not notice the glaring omission. Yes, we ARE that biased. Of course we are. We all know Duran Duran should be on that list. I listened to Feedback this morning in hopes of getting a better understanding of why they’re not. It comes down to two glaring problems in neon lights for Duran Duran.

First of all, there is a nominating committee that gets together on a single day (in person, no call-ins!). This committee is made up of critics and musicians, and they each bring the name of a possible nominee that they feel is worth making the case to include on the ballot. This is also where it gets political. People posture for their chosen favorite, they consider genres, whether the bands/people they choose are enough to get fans interested, and that sort of thing. I’m not going to mince words here though – as long as there are critics deciding who is going to be included on the ballot, the bands who are truly the most “worthy” by the people who listen to them will never really be considered.

I think even our band knows this. Likely, this doesn’t make them nearly as angry and fired up as I am today. They’ve had 40 years to practice tempering themselves. I’ve had…well, nine. (I am a slow learner) While my UK friends will patiently remind me that this is only an “American” thing and that it probably doesn’t matter to Duran Duran – the fact is, the American music scene is the biggest in the world. This is the country that, historically speaking, bands have worked incredibly hard to break. Even The Cure says they’re excited to vote this year, according to Lori. However, none of that matters to me as much as what I’m about to say.

I am sick to death of the inherent sexist BS that pervades music, whether you’re an artist, or you’re a fan like me. Even as the nominees were discussed on Feedback today with Joel Peresman (CEO and president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation), and Alan Light (rock journalist, critic and host of Debatable on SiriusXM radio), the subject of Duran Duran came up. While they refused to comment one way or another if the band had even been mentioned during the behind-closed-door discussion of nominees, Alan Light commented that the band “really isn’t thought of” in the same way as the other bands on the lists. He inferred that the audience was somehow different, and they weren’t really seen as “rock”. Quite frankly – the overall discussion felt very dismissive at times, despite Lori Majewski’s valiant efforts to be heard.

I could…and did…write a lengthy essay on the obvious sexism, before I deleted it all and started over here. FM radio, pop from the 1960’s forward, even the Sgt. Pepper’s album by The Beatles….it all takes part. Suffice to say, we have work to do. Even Duran Duran sees it, that’s why they are so eager to share that they appeal to guys now, as if they never did before! I am one of those little girls who fell in love with Duran Duran. Chances are, if you’re female and reading – you are too. Collectively, we little girls are the band’s biggest supporters, and comprise the sharpest double-edged sword possible.

So that’s where we are, folks. Sure, the Rock Hall had some turn over this year. I won’t say I’m sorry that Jann Wenner has left his post, although he’s still on the Board, I believe. It just isn’t enough. I heard Lori continuing to ask if anything had changed on the Board this year or if the nominating group had changed – unfortunately the answer was no, not much. (one female added. Really? One??)

We have a long way to go before the discussion of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is about the music. Somebody should write a book.

-R

Question of the Day: Tuesday, October 15, 2019

57% of our participants own Classic Albums: Rio while 43% do not own it.

What about Live at Hammersmith ’82?

Coming Soon
Do You Own Live at Hammersmith 82?

Happy 22, Medazzaland!

Medazzaland is 22, today. For some reason, that number doesn’t bother me nearly as much as hearing, for instance, that Astronaut is 15…or that I’m about to turn 49 in a few weeks. Let’s just not talk about any of that, though.

They’ll say we’ll get over it

As I waxed nostalgic earlier to a friend, I can remember when Duran Duran appeared on the Rosie O’Donnell show in 1997. They were promoting Medazzaland, and I was folding laundry while my oldest was bouncing away in her little chair. I can remember hoping she’d stay quiet long enough for me to listen to the interview and see them perform!

I hadn’t bought Medazzaland yet. In fact, I don’t think I even knew they had an album coming out until I watched the show that day, which, when I think back on it – is pretty alarming. It also explains my headspace at the time. I was definitely in the full throes of postpartum depression. Motherhood was proving to be a far bigger challenge than just diapers, laundry and bottles.

Why do we still face the music?

Seeing Simon, Nick and Warren that day made me smile for what might have been the first time in months, but I also felt pretty wistful. Admittedly, they didn’t feel like the Duran Duran I’d known. It was kind of like running into people at your high school reunion. Everyone wears these name tags with their maiden names on them, along with senior pictures to remind everyone of what they once looked like – but you don’t really recognize them. You don’t KNOW them anymore. That’s kind of how I felt with Duran Duran back then. I mean, by the time Medazzaland was released in 1997, Rio had already been out for fifteen years. So yes, I guess I did struggle with that a little bit.

I’d never heard “Electric Barbarella” until that day on the show, and I can remember thinking that the tune was catchy, so I decided that I’d go get the CD when I had a chance. As different as they were, there were still hints of sounds I recognized. (No, it wasn’t all about Simon)

Not long after the Rosie appearance, I bought the CD. I can remember running into the music store and buying it while my husband and Heather happily waited in the car. It was a shock to hear Medazzaland for the first time, as my husband scanned through the songs – only hearing the first 30 seconds or so of each before moving on. I just didn’t know this band anymore, and I think that was a real shock to my system. I’m not writing this as a topic of argument, I’m just explaining how it felt to me at the time, in 1997. Things change.

Now and then you’ll get the strangest notion

There are a good many people out there who claim to love Medazzaland now, 22 years after it’s initial release, but I can remember talking to many of those same people online in the year 2002-2003 or so. There were not nearly as many well-wishers then. Music has a tendency to grow on your ears and your heart, I suppose. I’m still not sure that I love the album as much as I love others, but I recognize its importance in the overall catalog.

Medazzaland kind of allowed Nick, Simon and even Warren to spread their wings and experiment with their sound as a trio for the first time. John was gone. Andy and Roger had been gone for quite a while by then. This trio was the new Duran Duran (or Duranduran if you prefer), and they were making a-go of it. In a lot of ways, this was a brand-new band. I would imagine that it was on this album that Warren really grew more comfortable because he’d already had the success of Ordinary World and Come Undone, and John wasn’t around to side with Simon. So he and Nick grew closer, worked together far more extensively, and the music evolved as result.

Wild ambition can you really blame us

This is why they took the cover of Rio and “redesigned” it. It wasn’t just happenstance they chose that image to graffiti for the cover. They were making a statement that this was a new era. This was not the band who created Rio, this was new. They wanted to be known for who they were at that moment, not for the Fab Five, Rio, or Sing Blue Silver. There is no clearer proof than on the album closer, “Undergoing Treatment”. Read the lyrics. In fact, read them all. The story is right there, laid out in the words, and playing in the music. The problem, of course, is that you can try to outrun it….but you can’t hide from your past. It tends to follow.

Like it, love it, or something else entirely, Medazzaland was a tidal change for Duran Duran. Creatively, they pushed the envelope and broke out of boxes that critics and, yes, even fans, had insisted they stay in. Funny thing about time, too. It softens the hard edges, makes the black and white seem a bit less so. I listen to the album today, and much of it feels and sounds very much like the band I know. Call it wisdom, call it old age, even. Pop Trash, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre, All You Need is Now and Paper Gods all came later, and on each album there are the remnants and evolutions of sounds from Medazzaland. That’s success in my book.

Can you give a little more?

The defiance the band found in Medazzaland is still present in their music today. It gives their sound this fiery edge that I’ll hear every once in a while, which I appreciate. The difference, at least one that I hear, is along with that defiance, there is also pride. Shouldn’t they be, though? After all, they’ve been in this business for forty years. They’ve undergone enough personnel changes to have created four or even five different bands. They’ve come full circle, and then some.

Happy anniversary, Medazzaland!

-R

Question of the Day: Monday, October 14, 2019

77% of our participants own Live from London and 23% do not.

What about Classic Album: Rio (the 2008 documentary about the making of the Rio album)?

Coming Soon
Do You Own Classic Albums Rio?

Astronaut Anniversary and Turning Points

This past week, Duranland celebrated the 15th anniversary of the release of Astronaut. As we all know, this album was the first album after the Fab Five reunited and certainly represents a time in which Duranies flocked back to the fold, excitement was at an all-time high and the future seemed nothing but bright. I, for one, always appreciate acknowledging the big dates for my fandom but this one make me think on a more personal level.

Feel the New Day

Duran’s reunion in the early 2000s came at the perfect time for me, personally. I had spent much of the late 1990s and early 2000s settling into my adult life in a new city. I remember how laser focused I was at that time to get started in my career and to do what needed to be done just stand on my own two feet. I only thought about how to get a full time teaching job and how I would pay the bills. There was little time and money for much else. Then, I found a way in to the district with a teaching job, but outside of my original license. I still had much to learn. In this quest, I found myself back at school. This time I was adding a master’s degree and additional teaching certifications. Finally, after a few intense years of teaching full time and going to grad school, I graduated.

At that moment, I literally felt like my world opened up simply because I would no longer struggle as much, financially, and had more free time. I was ready to turn my focus, my energy into some other aspect of my life even if I didn’t know what that was. Enter Duran Duran. Now, I had been a fan since I was a kid but I was no where near the fan community at the end of 2003. I knew that there was a reunion and shows but that’s it. I avoided looking too carefully, too closely to not lose my focus on grad school and my career. But once I was settled into my career, I was ready. At the same time, someone I knew mentioned that she, too, was a big Duran fan. After a quick search, resulting in me hearing Sunrise for the first time, that’s all it took. I became obsessed.

I sought out everything. Internet searches helped me to fill-in any gaps that I had, including the band’s history, albums, videos, solo and side projects and more. Everyday felt magical and like my birthday because there was so much to find, to watch, to listen, to buy that I couldn’t get enough. This, of course, combines with all of the new news that came out. In 2004, for example, it seemed like there was something new each and every day from hints about the album, to appearances, to video clips from the band and more. In the process, I found my new focus. I had to find others who felt so much for this band, too. Message boards called out to me and I tried out many before I found the right one. This led to much time spent on those boards, chatting with other fans, and making plans to attend a fan convention and begging for a tour.

Looking back, that time was so fun as it felt like all Duran, all the time in my mind, in my free time. Everything felt so positive and I ignored anything that potentially would put a damper on my fandom.

Is it out of choice that you’re here next to me, or just the aftermath of moments as they pass?

15 years have gone by. My love for Duran Duran has not waivered. Looking back, I recognize that in many ways, my love has been weaved into my life. It isn’t this special, must spend 24/7 on it to express it, to reinforce it, to find others with the same feelings. No, it is now way more secure. It isn’t like a flame burning bright while being under threat to burn out. Let’s be real here. A lot of Duranies during the Astronaut era went all in and did not come out the other side. It is like they checked off some boxes on their fandom bucket list. Once that was done, they were out, ready to move on. I chose the other route. I chose to normalize my fandom, to just make a part of my existence in order to keep it going.

Here is where I think the fandom analogy of romance works. In 2004, it felt like I had just started a new romance in which the subject of that romance could do nothing wrong. It was definitely the honeymoon period. Many fans want to live in that honeymoon and are not willing to hang out passed that. They don’t want to deal with the negatives or the less-than-exciting times and others of us accept all of it. Again, in a early romance, you might spend most of your waking hours with the subject of that romance. I did that in 2004 with Duran Duran. Now, I don’t. It is like my parents who have been married for 52 years. They don’t need to constantly talk about each other or be with each other all the time to know that they love each other. The same is true with me and Duran Duran. I can and do have many things in my life that get my focus, including teaching, politics, my family, writing and researching and Duran Duran. For me, I need all of those in my life to be happy. So, at times, I miss the intensity of those Astronaut days but I recognize that where my fandom is now is more securely fastened in my heart and in my life.

-A

Question of the Day: Sunday, October 12, 2019

74% of our participants own Greatest while 11% do not. 14% used to own it.

What about Live from London?

Coming Soon
Do You Own Live from London?