Can Duran Replace Band Members?

Some days are quiet in Duranland and others are busy, busy, busy.  Most days, lately, are in between.  Today was one of those days.  First, the band posted an updated tour poster for the UK dates.  Then, there was a radio interview with Roger Taylor that Duranasty was kind enough to put up for everyone to download.  Of course, seeing the new UK tour poster advertising the dates got us all excited, well, cautiously excited.  During Roger’s interview, he stated that Simon is about 80% back.  The reaction to that piece of information was mixed, as is the case with most things Duran.  On one hand, this is evidence that Simon is indeed improving, which is good considering that there are dates coming up in a few weeks and the postponed dates have been rescheduled.  On the other hand, it could remind us all that Simon isn’t perfect yet.  It has taken a very long time for him to get here.  This reminded me of something that has been bouncing around in my head since Simon’s vocal problems began.  Can anyone in the band be replaced?

In all of the discussions about Simon, I haven’t read many, if any, comments about how they should get someone to replace Simon for a few shows.  Most Duranies agree that Simon is the voice of Duran and it wouldn’t really be the same without him.  Then, the next comment is usually about Nick.  Many people say that they couldn’t do without Nick, either.  Some would say that they are the “heart” of Duran now.  Let me dissect this idea.  Why couldn’t we replace Nick?  Is it because he has so much of what is needed for a live show on his computer?  Is that why?  Okay.  That might make it difficult to have someone substitute for him for shows, but is it impossible?  I don’t honestly know.  I admit that I don’t really know what Nick does exactly on stage.  Yes, sometimes, I see him hit the keyboards but there are other times that I see that he has time to take pictures or whatever.  Would they be able to do shows without him?  Apparently they don’t think so as shows were canceled in 2008 due to his inability to travel for an ear infection.  As for replacing him in the band, I understand the idea that he couldn’t be replaced.  Yes, Nick has been there since the beginning.  Yes, he is often the one with many of their big ideas and the one to fixate over all of the details.  Is Duran his?  I have heard that he owns the name.  If this is true, then, I guess Duran is legally his.  Would the band be the same without him?  Obviously not.  Could it survive?  I don’t honestly know.  So, is Nick and Simon at the heart of the band?  I don’t know if I would say that either.  To me, that implies that John and Roger aren’t important.

I acknowledge that both John and Roger have left the band and have come back.  Obviously, the band can and has survived without them.  Would they postpone shows if they couldn’t play?  Well, in 2005, they canceled shows in Japan because Roger had broken his foot.  Clearly, they wouldn’t replace him anymore on stage either.  This leaves John.  Would they replace John now, even for a few shows?  I can’t imagine.  Why would he be any different than Simon, Nick or Roger?  Now, I know what you all must be thinking.  Then, what happened with Andy?  Good question.  I obviously have no inside track, no inside information.  For whatever reason, they felt like they could or should replace him for shows.  They decided this way back in late 2004 when Andy was replaced by Dom for the first time due to Andy being sick.  Then again, Dom came in during the spring of 2005 when Andy’s dad passed away.  What does this mean?  I don’t know exactly.  It could mean that it is easier to replace the guitarist for Duran than to replace a drummer.  It could mean that things with Andy were always different.  Maybe Andy wanted it this way.  Maybe he didn’t.  This leads me to wonder what they would do now in 2011 if Dom wasn’t able to play.  Would he be just as easily replaced as it appeared that Andy was? 

For me, personally, as much as I want shows to continue and did benefit from Dom filling in for Andy in 2005, I wouldn’t want any of them, including Dom, to be replaced for shows.  Does that mean that I disagree with the statement that Nick and Simon are the heart of Duran?  I guess in a way that I do.  I don’t like the idea of leaving out John and Roger.  Yes, I admit that they both left for awhile but they are in now.  I wouldn’t want them to have secondary status.  I would want the heart of Duran to be big enough for all four.  Heck, maybe someday, the heart will be big enough to squeeze Dom in, too.  To me, Duran is all of them.

-A

10 thoughts on “Can Duran Replace Band Members?”

  1. “Can Duran replace band members?” Is a fairly simple question in and of itself. CAN they? Yes. They've done it in the past many many times. During the whole of the Pop Trash 2000 tour they had Joe Travers on drums and Wes Wehmiller on bass. But this was out of necessity since the “band” didn't have an official drummer or bass guitar player anyway.

    On much of the Medazzaland and Pop Trash albums, the guitar and drums were either done electronically or by Warren himself (not counting what was left over of John's work on Medazzaland of course).

    Realistically, someone playing a musical instrument can be replaced when making an album because the listener can't know for certain who's fingers are plucking the strings or pushing the buttons (but that doesn't stop some audiophile fans from arguing about it ad nauseam). With that reasoning the only thing which cannot be replaced without people certainly noticing is Simon's voice itself.

    But these days the 4 band members are “official” and though I LOVE Dom Brown being in the band, he is techinally still a session musician and therefore 'technically' replacable. Official band members are not as easily replaced though. If we go there, that's a much tougher question. – But that does bring to mind why this question wasn't brought up much when Warren was unceremoniously kicked out in favor of Andy coming back. Despite what some fans wanted to believe, Warren was very much an official member for at least a solid 10 years.

    But SHOULD DD replace band members? Well, no, at least not if it's a temporary thing like time off for being ill, having a broken bone, or grieving over a death in the family. Most fans would or should understand a show being canceled or postponed for that kind of reason. But if it's something more long-term like a band member seeking an excuse to actually seperate from the band altogether (which is what I kind of suspect Andy was doing) than a replacement might be needed in order to continue on at all.

    They also have to consider what the fans are there to see. If they think they can still get an audience without so-and-so being on stage, then they probably will. At this point I guess they figure people will still come to see 4 out of 5 original members, and for the most part they are right. Heck, Dom Brown has his own fanbase as well at these shows (either from his solo work, or as an extension of the DD fanbase). So for the moment it works, despite Andy not being there. The dynamic of the band seems right, and disturbing it at this point would be pretty rough on us fans, I think.

    …. Buuuut, if Dom would ever be made official I sure as hell would NOT complain!

  2. I know plenty who would welcome Dom into the band, but also plenty who would not. I think the Andy fans in particular would have a problem with it since it would appear to close the door to Andy ever coming back again.

    Dunno if I should get into that though, to be honest I was never an Andy fan to begin with.

  3. Always feel free to get into any topic here! All ideas are welcome! I suppose you are right that there are many Andy fans who wouldn't welcome it. Perhaps, there are Warren fans who wouldn't either.

    -A

  4. Hi, this is a very interesting topic. Simon is imossible to remplace I believe. Of course some band have done this by necessity like Queen (and God knows those shoes were big to fill) but this wasn't Queen like we use to love. The voice of a band is maybe the most distinctive element. Nick? Well imossible to replace to compose he is very much the heart of the band with Simon. On stage? well apparently he is not laying that much live… a friend of mine, musician is sure about that. So who knows… Roger and John were remplaced in the past.And Sterling Campbell or Wes were great on stage but for composition I do believe that John and Roger are very important they were there creating the most famous songs and records. Dom? Well for me Warren was the best and Andy did great compositions too. When Andy left again I was dreaming of seeing Warren come back but this didn't happen. Too bad.AYNIN is an outstanding album but the guitar is not very there and that,s a shame and I don't talk about RCM there were no guitar and even John had problem to place is bass into the process. I would love to see Simon, Nick, John and Roger with Warren I really think this would be the perfect Duran Duran. A dream is a dream so who knows… But even if some of the band members can be replace anf had been replace in the past it's not the same. So I hope Simon will be 100% in shape and all this will become soon a bad memory.

    Pat

  5. I, too, hope that Simon is 100% better!! As for your vision of a perfect Duran, I can't agree but that is the beauty of fandom! I personally like the chemistry that they have right now!

    -A

  6. Duran Duran needs a guitarist with more personality. I liked both Warren and Andy. Warren for his compositions, influence on the band and playing, Andy for his raw playing which is needed in this band to balance the synth element. I have stopped listening to them since Dom came in. It sounds like elevator music. They are coming to my town in Oct. I tried again to get used to Dom by listen ing to them live on youtube. i just can't.

  7. Well, of course I don't agree with you Anon, but you know – everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I loved Andy, I personally found Warrens ego to be oversized in comparison to his guitar talent, and I absolutely adore Dom. That's probably why I still listen and go to shows, but I understand that not everyone is going to agree, and that's OK. I can't fault you for trying – and thanks for commenting! -R

  8. R-I am completely baffled how Warren's ego is an issue for you but not Andy's. I love them both but I think nostalgia for the original lineup is skewing your view a bit. Andy and his ego left them high and dry during the Notorious recordings, and the band ended up kicking him out the second time.
    Regarding who can or can't be replaced, John is interesting. I definitely think his presence in the band brings a lot of fans to the fold–I know many who drifted off when he left in '96 (and who had stayed despite Roger and Andy leaving previously). Musically, again, I'm torn. If you trust Andy's book and other accounts, John has been AWOL for much of the recording (I personally loved Andy's WTF reaction to John's approach during the Astronaut sessions, contrasting it with the old days). And yet…I have all of John's solo CDs and I have to say, musically, they're damn good (lyrically…well…no comment). Ultimately, I have to say that John is irreplaceable given his impact on the fan base (to say nothing of Simon's attachment to him–Simon was miserable without him). –Chris

  9. Hi Chris, As far as Andy goes – I think it's pretty clear the guy has a decently sized ego. (meaning that I agree with you!) I think there's a part of Andy that wasn't really sure that the band really COULD go on without him, and to be fair – I would expect that of most guitar players out there, not just Andy or Warren. But to answer your question no – I think Warrens is far, far FAR larger. By a landslide, actually. Any guy that goes to the extent that he did when hearing from Andy while he was working with Missing Persons that he wasn't going back to the band – and then using that information to turn around and send them his work and then trash Andy's work on previous albums…repeatedly…only to bolster his own ego…well, that just speaks for itself. Sure, he's a good guitar player, but no, he wasn't my favorite. Some humility and respect would have been good for everyone the whole way around.

    I think you have some very good comments with regard to John, and I appreciate that you're going back, reading the blog and calling me out when you don't agree. I like that! -R

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