Category Archives: aging

Hard-Core Fans: Give it all that we got left

Something has been catching my attention since Paper Gods was released but I kept putting those words, and the feelings that went with them, on the back burner for later.

One thing I’ve noticed in my “adulthood”, particularly when it comes to Duran Duran and their press—specifically during interviews—is that they have talking points. I’m sure most everyone reading knows what I mean: they’re these discussion points that they want to get across.

One of those talking points I’ve heard quite frequently since Paper Gods was released is specifically about their audience at shows.  At first, I noticed John mention that they’re starting to see guys in their audience, but I didn’t think much of it. Then I started hearing some of the other members mention it as well, along with the vast age range that comes to see them.  Now, I hear both of those things in every single interview they do.  Clearly, this is something they want to drive home.

Let me share the interview posted yesterday. It was done with a San Antonio, Texas news station. If you listen, you’ll hear John working the audience into one of his comments.  Gotta give the band credit, they are pros at interviewing after having done it for nearly 40 years.  They’re old hat at this by now, but of course, they should be, shouldn’t they? Here’s the link:

http://news4sanantonio.com/sa-living/duran-duran-joins-us-for-a-live-interview

Duran Duran made a point of tweeting this interview out yesterday, which is why I watched it. Truth be told, in the past several weeks,  Amanda and I have caught precious little of the news.  It’s been hit or miss for us catching the media (mostly miss), and so had they not tweeted this, I probably wouldn’t have ever seen the interview.  Once I watched though, I tweeted back to Duran Duran. I’m not one to censor my feelings,  but I’ve gotten pretty good at thinly veiled sarcasm.  My tweet to them was no exception:

“They really do put a lot of value on their broadened audience of younger people and males in these interviews. Wow.”

To my surprise, @DuranDuran liked my tweet, because of course, that’s the point they’re trying to drive like a nail into wood.  The thing is, I know I’m not the only hard-core fan out there to notice the  value they place on this newly found younger and far more male audience of theirs. Rest assured, I’m not finding fault that they want a broad audience.  That’s the name of the game.

To Duran Duran, that audience of males and of younger people, is an untapped market.  Let’s start with the men though.  They obviously want men to feel like they can come see Duran Duran and that they won’t be alone.  That’s pretty obvious in their interviews by the way they keep commenting on how many men they see coming to see them. Funny thing, my husband came with me to see Duran Duran at the Belasco last month, and he took note that he was one of very few males in line for most of the day.  When we got in the theater, while he noticed there were plenty of men (with wives in most cases, a point that I think is pretty key going forward here) standing behind him, there were relatively none in front of him in the first and second rows.

Then there’s younger people. This point is a little stickier for me.  First of all, I WAS one of those young people once.  So were many of you reading this post.  I can remember sticking up for this band to my classmates. While they were all over U2, Prince and The Police, or all over The Cure, Depeche Mode and The Smiths, there I was, telling them how they were completely missing the point with Duran Duran. I can remember taking real heat about Nick’s makeup or their frilly shirts, or how they were “way too pretty” to be taken seriously.  As I grew up, those arguments morphed into, “Aren’t you too old to still have their posters up?” and “Duran Duran? Are they even still together?”  Or even better, “You go to so many shows. Are you a groupie?” or,  “You couldn’t possibly know anything about music. You’re a GIRL.  You’re just hoping you’ve got a chance with one of them after the show.”  Ouch.

Through it all, I stuck by them.  I still stick by them.  To this very day, I put up with an enormous amount of backlash from people who don’t even KNOW me because they think that the only reason I go to see Duran Duran is because I’m hoping that one of them will somehow notice me from the stage and invite me backstage and beyond for the night.  That judgment comes from others outside the fandom, and sadly, men within the fandom.  This post isn’t about blatant sexism though—that’s another blog for another day.  My point is simply that many of those “old soccer moms” in the audience, you know, the ones who have been married to Herman the accountant for twenty years, have stuck by the band since nearly day one, and that deserves some recognition, respect, and/or value.

That doesn’t mean a grand gesture. Nobody, least of all me, is saying the band should get down on their hands and knees and thank the fans for supporting them for all these years.  That’s not the point, so anyone who is planning to send me a love note can just stop.  But, it wouldn’t kill the band to follow-up those beautiful talking points about their broadening fan base with a simple sentence about how they really value their hard-core fan base and that it’s great to see that audience continuing to grow beyond these fans who have stuck by them all these years. That’s called “providing balance”, because right now—that original fan base is not really ever mentioned.    All it takes is a little bit, a well-placed comment or two here and there to keep people happy and believing that we’re still of some value.  As much as I’ve been holed up in my writing cave for the past couple of months, I’ve been out and about enough to know that the natives are growing unhappy.

I’m sure people will happily point out to me that the band isn’t trying to cast us aside, and that this is part of the business.  100% correct. Growing your audience is part of the business. This though, is something different.  This is about seeking balance so that one doesn’t lose the audience they already have.  The idea is to build upon the foundation, not demolish the entire community and start over.  While many might say that they don’t notice or that they don’t care, I gotta say—I see it, read it and hear it enough online, in person and otherwise to know it’s an issue.

Newsflash: some people are actually afraid to post their feelings online for fear that they’re publicly flogged for saying something negative.  They just hope WE do it for them.  Because you know, Amanda and I rather enjoy being ripped to shreds.  It’s been a while….

Remember Sing Blue Silver?  I remember the days when the audiences were made up nearly entirely of girls like me.  Yes, we were loud. We were enthusiastic, and we loved the band. Somehow, that spark stuck with US for the span of the band’s career thus far, and here we all are together.  Sometimes, I forget that one of those young girls watching Sing Blue Silver at home, nearly in tears because I felt the same thing these girls felt, was me.

(quick, before it’s removed! check out 15:40 or so and just remember what we were like once.)

http://http://my.mail.ru/inbox/boiko.valentin/video/2640/4404.html

-R

The Shortcomings of Being a Die-hard

It is time for another confessional, don’t you think?  As if you readers haven’t read enough of my shortcomings….I still have more to share!

Lately, I’ve been struggling with something, and I’m wondering if I’m the only die-hard fan out there feeling this way, so I’m putting it out there.

I am excited to see the band has shows scheduled, I really am. I’m also excited to hear that the band seems to feel so positive about their upcoming album – after all, we take our cues from them. I trust that they really do love the work they’ve done, and from the teeny tiny little bit of Pressure Off that I heard (that has now seemingly vanished from the internet…), I am anxious to hear it all myself. I’m excited to support the album. It’s been a long, long time, and I’m ready to have the band back out there. The shows they’ve scheduled thus far have all been festivals, and it sounds as though they would prefer to play festivals than dedicated “only Duran Duran” shows right now. I can’t really blame them, it is an excellent way to expose oceans of people who may not already count Duran Duran among their favorite bands to their music. They’re playing these festivals to gain possible new fans, not necessarily to retain the people who have been around for thirty-five years or more. I know all of this in my head, and believe me, I recite those words to myself often. I tend to write them here a lot too, as a reminder.

However, there is also this small(ish) part of me that niggles at me in the dark crevices of my mind. It puts little doubts in my head. I can hear it saying things like, “Do they even care about their long time fans?” or  “What about us? What about playing to the people who have supported them when no one else bothered?”or  “Aren’t we enough?”

Before I go much further, I should probably explain: I hate festivals. I recognize that “hate” is a strong word, and there is a part of me that feels badly about typing that, but I DO very much hate them. I don’t love standing in a punishing throng of people, waiting all day for a band that won’t perform until a good 12-15 hours later. I don’t enjoy fighting kids who are honestly now half my age or even less for spots near the barricades. It isn’t fun being pushed and shoved around just because I want to see Duran Duran. My knees are not what they used to be, and my tolerance for heat/sunshine, a lack of clean restrooms is FAR less now than it was even ten years ago. I don’t enjoy festivals in the same way I don’t enjoy tent camping. It’s like roughing it vs. staying a clean hotel.  I’m over the idea of sleeping on the ground, dealing with rocks in the back, bugs and dirt. It’s the kind of thing I did in my 20’s (and 30’s…) with vigor, and I’m leaving it behind.  The same can be said for festivals…hence the niggling worry in the back of my head.

Of course the answer to whether or not we, the diehards, are enough is no, not when it comes to sales. We’re not “enough”, sadly.  If you look at the numbers of their last album(s)…I think that point becomes abundantly clear, and this band certainly has the right to make an obscene money from their art. (hell, don’t you wish you could do the same?) I wish we were enough. Try as we might, even as some of us have upwards of five or six different versions of their last album – it’s still not enough. If they really want to expose the people to their music, they’ve got to look past all of us and get to the people who haven’t already committed much of their lives to being fans of the band. (That last sentence sounded so much better in my head…because on the screen it makes us all sound psycho.)

As for the other questions, of COURSE I know they care. Every single time I’ve worried that maybe they’ve decided “out with the old, in with the new”, one of them will say or do something to make me see that of course they care.  This is all just part of the business of being a band, and when I think about it analytically or logically with my head instead of my (slightly oversized when it comes to this band) heart,  I know that to feel otherwise is silly.  I mentioned the slight misgivings I had about some of these festivals yesterday with some other fans who, like me, have decided not to jump for tickets just yet.  Her response was that she knew where I was coming from. She just hopes the band loves (us) die-hards as much as we love them.

Isn’t that really the question we all, or most of us have?  I think it’s come up a LOT in our fandom. In fact, that’s very much a part of the reason we started the blog to begin with. It’s hard to know where we really fit in to their picture.  As much as Amanda and I wanted to begin a dialogue with fellow fans, we also hoped that somehow, someway, our message – the collective message from the fans – would reach the band and they’d hear us. A lofty, ridiculous goal from two “commoners” who don’t even live on the same continent as the band in question. We’re dreamers in our own way, I guess.  As much as we know that the band probably couldn’t care less about what a couple of fans have to say…we hope they do, enough to put ourselves out there, hoping for some sort of affirmation from fans and band alike. Validation is a very big issue in our community, and this fact is proven every single time a band member tweets or posts and we all run to be acknowledged; or when the band makes an appearance and photos are taken with fans, or when jealousy erupts because one fan gets (seemingly) more attention than another fan from a band member. That validation is what many fans vie for, and it is a precious commodity.  Does the band love (us) die-hards as much as we love them?? It’s a constant question hidden in every online and in-person exchange.

This blog is difficult to write, really. I know I’m opening myself up for ridicule and probably a few well-intentioned folks are going to tell me I’m being negative. I’m really not being negative as much as I’m admitting that I have shortcomings like anyone else. I don’t necessarily know how important long time fans are to the band at this point. I mean, I know we’re important because we’re a part of their history. That’s just it though – collectively we’re the ones who have helped bring them to this point. But from here? Do we really still matter so much, especially when they’re trying to market their music to a much younger generation?  I can’t speak for the rest of you, but it’s awfully hard to hear the band talk about how All You Need is Now was great, but that album was really just for fans, and now this new album is for OTHER people.  Why does it have to be that way? My head understands the point completely. They need the new album to have a much farther reach. My heart? It says “ouch”, because AYNIN meant the world to me as a fan. Is it really the fault of the album’s material that it didn’t do well, or is it really that the album wasn’t promoted due to a lack of power and money from a major label?

I’d like to think the diehards still matter. That’s why Amanda and I work so hard to keep the fan community talking about the band, keeping everyone up to date with what’s going on, planning events to cultivate friendships and community, and so forth. We have strength not only in numbers, but in passion. We think fans, even those of us who have been around a few decades, still matter…and that we’ve got some power left in us to keep this ball rolling. I’ve said this before: fans are ready to stand on the rooftops and shout, they just need a bit guidance in knowing what to say. They (we) need a little validating, and a little love. Is that really so ridiculous of an idea?  Balancing the plan of exposing music to potential new fans (that join the fold of diehards) with enriching relationships with existing fans is the way to go.

Do I really think the band is leaving diehard fans behind? No, of course not.  Festivals are likely not to make up their entire tour. I have great hope that the band will do shows that we can all attend and enjoy. This is only the beginning – touring is a marathon, not a sprint. Those thoughts, however, don’t always stop me from occasionally having low points where I have doubts…and today I’m wondering if there’s anybody else out there fighting those same worries.

-R

I am 42 years old and want to go to shows and listen to good music until I die. Who wants my money??

A much-discussed topic amongst fans has been sales. I would imagine that will continue to be the case long after the band stops caring. After all, we even continue to still talk about air play (radio), and according to John Taylor during the band’s latest roundtable with Katy (August 2012), they’ve stopped worrying about that. (psst…so have I!)

Most of us have been thoroughly convinced that All You Need is Now is a fantastic album.  There are still a few naysayers out there (not sure what they would need in order to admit that the band still puts out good albums), but by-and-large, we all loved it. For a brief moment back when it was released – what was that, 2010?? (that went by VERY fast!) – I blinked back thoughts that we’d returned to the 80’s. Number one? Are you kidding me?!? Of course, that brief shining moment didn’t stay long, but they never really do. I know the moment meant a lot to the band, because they still continue to make mention from time to time. Naturally, there is much more to a great album than whether it hits number one. One look at the Top 40 charts these days, especially those here in America, will tell you that.

My real question here isn’t about why the band isn’t on top of the charts though. It’s really about whether or not the music industry is being completely stupid by not cashing in on MY generation. I hate to break it to those guys in the suits – but we still want to attend shows, and our demographic has the money to spend. I hear you all saying “But what about the recession?” True. Times are tougher now than they were, but I’ll tell you what – even in my family where our income has taken a huge hit in recent years, I FIND the money to go when I want to go. So do the rest of you Duranies out there. I know you do, because I see you at the shows I attend. What we do NOT want is to go to shows and be beaten to shreds by kids who are half our age. (Well, at least not most of us. There’s a few of you out there that like that sort of thing. I don’t judge. I just move out of your way.) I can’t speak for everyone, but the fact is – I actually care about where a band plays. I LIKE going to the unique venues, such as the Chicago Theater, that is steeped in great history. I like the plush seats, I loved the architecture. I liked not having to stand in wait for the band to arrive onstage. I’m not old, but you know – I like being treated as an adult and not a 40-year old teenager. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a great arena show like some of the ones I attended in the UK just last year at this time. (Seriously, it really was this time last year that I was there rocking it out with the band. Secret Oktober in Brighton? Come on now. They had ME like putty in their hands at that point.  Following it up with Meditteranea?? I could have fallen on the floor. I chose to remain standing, but I could have easily…and not just due to jet lag!) The truth is though, the venue matters more when you’re an adult. I like being comfortable. I like space. I like not having the sweat of another man’s armpit slathered across my face in the second row of the GA pit. (I still get shivers when I think of that – and they aren’t GOOD shivers, either.) I might be standing there cheering, screaming, and singing my heart out for each and every member of Duran Duran, but dammit I am a lady! I just wish more bands, especially the bands I grew up listening to, but some of the newer bands out there, actually clued in to the fact that my generation still goes to gigs. We are just more choosy about where we go and whom we’ll bother to see, so the industry would be wise to put their money and marketing into bands who might appeal.

I’m not the only one out there who feels this way. Just this past week, Mike Doughty, who writes the blog Immutable/Inscrutable on Tumblr wrote a brilliant blog titled “Forget Piracy, the Music Industry’s Biggest Money Loser is an Inability to Connect with Older People That Used to Spend Money on Music and Don’t Anymore”. (Go here to find and read it for yourself) The key here is that older people (and he is focusing on the 30-50 year old age group – doesn’t he know that 60 is the new 40??) CAN buy music. WE want to make those purchases. WE don’t feel as though we should hang it all up just because we’ve hit 30, 40 or even 50. The trouble is, we don’t hear what’s potentially out there because no one bothers to market anything to our generation. I hate having to do the dirty work myself, but that’s what Spotify (and countless other music apps of that nature) is for, I suppose.

I’m not like my mom. I still revel in finding new music that I like. While sure, I listen to a lot of Duran Duran and other bands that I grew up with, I would love to fall for a new band…and not just Blue to Brown. That doesn’t count. (Sorry Dom) Who wouldn’t? I’m a wife and mom, I’m not dead!  Music was a huge part of my life while growing up, and I really don’t want that to end. Obviously. You read this blog. It’s pretty clear where I stand. I love being a fan. My mom gave up all of her fangirl dreams after she married my dad, had my sister and I and became a housewife. That’s when I really got started, so no – I’m not giving this up. I keep saying that I’m not done, and I’m not kidding. *shakes fist at sky*  I will not quit!

Doughty ends his blog by asking who might buy physical copies of albums. Gee, I really don’t know. I’ve only got a garage lined with shelving that contains nearly 4,000 albums. (We’re collecting them should the apocalypse occur, you see. No canned goods, but dammit we’ve got our music!!) He is right in saying that the people who grew up buying it probably would continue. I just wish the industry would grab a clue. Here all of us are, sending them not-very-well coded messages telling them exactly what they need to know, and yet very few listen. Who wants our money?!?

Duran has got it right. They know their audience well, and they know we’re sticking with them. Too bad the very industry they work within thinks the only people that really matter or care are those who weren’t even around when music mattered most.

-R

Be My Icon – Is the band purely our 80’s band?

If you follow the blog, our Facebook page or Twitter, you probably know that last week there was quite the discussion over why it is that the press tends to keep Duran Duran tucked into the nostalgia box.  I think it’s fair to say that by and large most fans have at least a certain amount of distain for the statement “That band you were all fond of in the 80’s – Duran Duran – is BACK.”

One comment that was infrequently made, but still very well read/heard amongst the calls for slaughter(ing the press), was that it’s not just the press who tends to keep Duran Duran in that memory box from 1984. Many fans believe that other fans are just as responsible for this characterization. My knee jerk reaction is of course to deny, but when I sit down and really consider the truth, perhaps fans including myself in that group are at least partially responsible. How can this be?!?

Let’s go back a bit before you all decide to call for my beheading. (Besides, as you read this – I am definitely sitting under an umbrella, reading a great book and enjoying the heat of the day while on a very peaceful vacation sans children. I don’t return home until later in the week, so calling for the guillotine is a bit premature. You’ve got time.) I’m sure most of you remember Duran from the mid-80’s. They were difficult to forget, am I right? Then Notorious came along, Big Thing, Liberty, Thank You….and none of these were blockbusters. We lost some Taylors, gained a Cuccurullo and a couple drummers…you know the drill. Then around about 2001 or so, we heard murmurs of a reunion of the “Fab Five”. How many of you did NOT immediately think back to the times of Planet Earth, Friends of Mine, Rio or even Hungry Like the Wolf (I won’t hold it against you)? My point of course is that at least initially as a gut reaction we tend to associate the original band members with a certain period of time. Then Astronaut was released, and while I can’t be sure of how many people absolutely hated the album – I know I heard more than a few comments that attempted to compare the music to what had come previously. On Rio. On the first album. That continued through the years after and including the release of Red Carpet Massacre. What comment did I hear (and make) most during that period of time? “It sounds nothing like the Duran Duran I know and love.” I stand by that statement, but I also recognize the idiocy behind feeling that way as well.

So that brings us to All You Need is Now, naturally. I distinctly recall panning the band (and Mark Ronson) for making comments about how that album was intended to be the follow up to Rio. (How dare I say such things after being so critical of Red Carpet Massacre? I know.  My worry wasn’t that they were dating themselves, but rather that they’d never be able to live up to such a statement. I was wrong. You can read that blog here.) Of course now in retrospect I can see that it wasn’t necessarily about making the album sound like it was Rio’s child – it was the spirit with which it was recorded. Even so, if we continue to laud the band for attempting to spread their wings, evolve and grow their sound beyond what we knew the 80’s to be – how are we helping them to feel confident in their abilities to remain relevant?  I’m not sure.

On one hand, I really do believe that All You Need is Now is fresh, relevant and living in the moment. The very theme of the album speaks to the concept and I feel the album is extremely solid, even if it didn’t perform well on the charts. Some say it flopped. While I hate using that word, I don’t know how the band feels about it. I really hope they don’t look at the album on those terms. I love this album on a personal level as much if not more than Rio – I just can’t look at it as a failure because for me, it’s anything but. On the other hand, I can’t be the only one to recognize that the chords from Leopard or the tom-toms from Girl Panic sound vaguely familiar. It’s not that I don’t welcome the music (Hardly!), but I think we have to be honest with ourselves as well. Duran Duran has never been the band to “play it safe”, and I’d hate for them to stop taking chances at this point in their career simply because the fan base (including myself) through a monster sized tantrum over Red Carpet Massacre.  Was All You Need is Now purely an album to placate the fans? I really hope not. The album is worth so much more than that.

At least one fan out there mentioned that she felt the characterization of Duran Duran as an 80’s band was spot on. Her comments were that when she goes to the shows, they transport her back to her childhood, and she welcomes that. Duran Duran isn’t known for songs like Undergoing Treatment, Chains, Sunrise, Falling Down, Nite Runner or even All You Need is Now. They’re known for songs like Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf. She feels that the band tries much too hard (I would probably at times agree). While she still loves the band, her opinion is that they’re an 80’s band and should accept that rather than fight it. I’m not pointing out her difference in opinion as a way to flog her, but rather to prove that while many of us want to continue to insist on their relevance, many are happy to accept them for what they once meant. Neither way is wrong.

I fall back to the statements I meant last week. This album and this band has fostered a relationship between their fans and themselves that cannot be denied. We stand here in this moment, and we all want the music to last a little longer. For many, this band was iconic of the 80’s. For others, it was the quintessential band of the 90’s. Still plenty more see this band as the music of a lifetime…with more to come.

-R

Too Old for This???

Lately, age has been on my mind and not in a happy sort of way.  First, I have been watching my father deal with his getting older and not being able to do as much as he once could.  Second, while I think I am immune to the aging factor, clearly, I’m not.  Last night, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to go out with a couple of people I worked on the campaign with.  These campaign staffers are a lot younger than me.  A LOT younger.  While it was great fun to drink, tell stories, and remind each other of the fun aspects of working on a political campaign, it hasn’t been so fun today for me.  Let’s just say that when I was 20-something, the hangovers weren’t fun but tolerable and were short in duration.  Now, the hangovers are horrible!  I still feel like hell and I stopped drinking 18 hours ago!  What the hell was I thinking?!  Then, of course, age also seemed to come up in Duranland, especially in connection to Wednesday’s performance for Trident Gum with Steve Aoki.

From what I have been reading about Wednesday’s event, there was a mosh pit on the floor, which included a lot of pushing and shoving.  If that wasn’t bad enough, I heard things about cake being thrown and champagne being poured.  Oh boy.  In reading these stories, I saw a number of comments mentioning about how they were “too old” to deal with those kind of concert antics!  I have to admit that I had the same thoughts!  Heck, I felt like I was too old way back in 2006 at the Voodoo Festival where we had to deal with the crowd surfing, trying to keep our spot and more.  I knew then I was too old to stand for literally hours in the exact same spot without food, water or bathroom breaks in order to be up front at a festival.  This experience was so bad, for me, that I made a silent vow that I would and should seriously not go to any Duran event in which they were playing with someone else (unless that someone was Duran like).  I realize that if everyone followed my rule then Duran wouldn’t have any supporters at various events.  That is unfortunate, but I have to look out for my rapidly aging body!  Am I the only one who has this rule or wants to avoid any scene with crowd surfing, mosh pits and flying food?!

Of course, the band has to deal with aging issues as well.  Just the other day, I posted a picture of John on my personal facebook and got comments from non-Duranie friends about how he is “an old fart now”!  Wow.   Don’t think that is really necessary.  Of course, many other friends responded with how good he looks, though, and he does.  They all look good for their age.  Of course, the media can be just as unkind as my friend.  Just today, we were sent the link to an article in the Daily Mail about how Simon is way too old to wear what he wore on Wednesday.  If you feel like reading this horrendous article, it is here.  I am always irritated by this kind of thing.  First, as I mentioned before, they still look damn good.  We could only be so lucky.  Second, that’s the only kind of insult you can give, media person?  It is unintelligent and shows a true lack of effort to find a real criticism to make.  Here’s a new flash:  Duran Duran is a band.  They make and play MUSIC.  Why don’t you focus on that?  No, that would require work and an IQ above 70. 

As much as I acknowledge that I can’t and/or won’t do things like I did when I was younger, I am constantly motivated by the band.  Just when I think I can’t tour like I use to.  I remind myself that the band can still do it.  Thus, I should be able to as well!  Today was definitely a reminder about how I can and should approach our little tour in August.  I can still do shows and hopefully survive a GA show, too!  I can still travel through the 7 states that we will pass through.  Yet, I need to do this with more moderation than I would have when I was younger.  This won’t make the tour less fun, just more successful for us! 

-A

Living while you’re alive

I’ve got to say it – 2012 is turning out to be the year that I started noticing many idols beginning to leave us.

Davy Jones, Dick Clark, Adam Yauch, and today I must add Donna Summer to that list. (along with several more that I’m not mentioning I am certain)

I remember very clearly when this started happening for my parents. Invariably they’d make mention of the days events at the dinner table (we always ate as a family), and my mom would suddenly say “Oh hey, did you hear that ___________ passed away? I remember listening to __________ on the radio when I was a kid. So sad.” Then my dad would agree, they’d heave a sigh, and we’d likely change the subject. Unless of course, we’re talking about the day that Elvis died, in which case I think they spent the whole night trying to make sense of the fact that the King was dead. I wasn’t even quite seven years old at the time and yet it made enough of an impact on my parents that it made an impact on me. I always wondered what it would feel like when *my* idols started leaving this wide world, and whether I’d react differently from my parents.

So far, I’ve been primarily dumbfounded when it happens. I never really know how to react. I guess it’s shock? Sometimes I feel nothing – perhaps that’s because I expect it, or because that particular person didn’t make quite the impact that someone else did. Then other times, I feel as though a giant hole has been left behind. Mostly I’m surprised that I’m at the age where on what feels like a weekly basis, people I know or at least know of are passing.

Sometimes I wish I could just stop time right here and now. I’m enjoying exactly right where I’m at so much that I want to hold it right here. Of course, that’s not how the wheels and gears of time work, and by the time one finally realizes that they need to just give in and let time pass – years have already gone by. You simply miss things by fighting the inevitable, I suppose. The same can be said for trying to hurry up and pack as much into ones life as possible. You’ve got to stop and smell the roses once in a while. A couple of things worth remembering as I see those who have given so much to the musical history I love so much pass on. Just recently I read something that really hit home and sounded vaguely like something my dad tried in vain to teach me before he too passed on. “You’ve got to remember to live while you’re alive.”

-R

The care and feeding of a Duranie

There are moments when I feel like a teenager again (not quite like a 12 year old, but certainly like a teenager) and I have trouble believing that I’m really in my 40’s and have teenagers…and one small child…at home.  Never mind the husband.  😉  Then there are other moments when I do feel like I really am 41.

Today…actually lately in general…I’ve been feeling my age a bit.  My lower back cries in protest at times, I’m having trouble with one of my feet again. (I tend to battle neuromas – pinched nerves – in my feet as well as Plantars Fasciitis)  Then this morning I woke up with the telltale sign that I’m about to embark on a tour again:  I’ve developed an “old man” cough.  This really isn’t all that shocking to me as each one of my kids has taken their turn with this same illness and I knew it was only a matter of time before it reached me (again), but as I sit back and relax with a mug of Airborne in hopes of beating this thing to the punch…let’s just consider what it takes to keep ourselves going these days.  Humor me.

To begin with:  we need sleep.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but my body desperately requires a good 8 hours of shut-eye these days.  I’ve suddenly discovered that I am not the night owl I once was.  My regular evenings consist of dinner, cleaning up, giving the little one her bath and getting her off to bed with a book.  I typically will be “finished” with my mom duties at 9pm, and only then do I flounce down on the couch with a flourish that can only be characterized as “overworked mommy”.  From then until 9:07pm (the time when I’m typically called back into the little girls room with requests for a drink, an apple, a pear, an extra blankie or the infamous “I’m scared, there are MONSTERS in my room”…) it’s a struggle to decide whether the TV is worthy of my attention or if my bed is more deserving.  Once I’m finished tucking the smallest child back into her bed with the final comment that “Mommy is going to bed now and I’m not coming back in here tonight.” I realize that it’s 9:35, and I’m done for the day.  I’ll head upstairs to bed, only to be completely out of it by 10pm.  It’s sad.  On tour, however – it’s a completely different story.  There IS no sleep.  Amanda and I joke that our hotel rooms are used as storage sites for luggage, and we’re not even kidding.  I think that on any given “tour” night, we’re lucky to get 4 to 6 hours of sleep – and honestly, that’s a good night.  Normally, it is far, far less than that, and aside from feeling as though I’m hungover the entire time even if I’m not, it’s all good!  We’re out all night, we’re eating a late night breakfast as though it’s our Last Meal (sometimes, it really is!)…and we’re feeling good about it!

Do they even do that sort of thing in the UK?  *gasps* Late night eating??

Food.  I hear there are several food groups.  At home, we swear by them, and yes – my kids even eat their vegetables, as does their mom.  I cook 90% of the time (although if it were my choice I wouldn’t know how to work my oven…), and I really do try to eat healthfully.  Lately we’ve really taken to eating more turkey and chicken in place of red meat.  Turkey tacos are the best!  I’m not a vegetarian like my writing partner, but I really have cut way back on my red meat intake, and I do make a vegetarian meal every now and then.  I’m also pretty careful about sugar.  Both of my parents were diabetic (my father is now deceased from a completely different illness), and my mother is HOR-RI-BLE about her diet.  I’ve given up on her, figuring that she’s a grown up now and if she wants to kill herself, there is nothing that I can do.  That said, I do not drink ANY kind of soda/pop/coke/pepsi/etc, or do I drink juice very often – we’re talking maybe a very small glass once a month if that.  I don’t typically add sugar to anything unless I’m baking and need it, and I do watch out for it in food.  I try to eat lots of fiber and whole grain, although I still don’t like whole wheat spaghetti.  I’m Sicilian and we don’t go for that stuff.  Ick.   Then there’s food on tour.  First of all, I don’t know how many food groups there really are, but I do know that Amanda and I actively count coffee and alcohol among them.  Wait – do we even eat on tour?!?  Seriously.  There have been times when Amanda and I have gone for ridiculously long periods without eating, and suddenly one of us will say “Oh my god, when did we eat last?!?”  It’s wrong.  It’s disgusting.  It’s touring.  I should add that eating in the UK is a bit of a challenge for us.  To begin with, the food is quite a bit different than here in the US.  Even the most basic things are just done differently, and while I don’t mind the food…it’s not home.   I found that I ate a lot of pasta and Italian food when I was there in May. Pub food really isn’t an option for us since Amanda is a living and breathing vegetarian – and I don’t mind saying that vegetarian options at such places are ridiculous…as in they either don’t exist, or we didn’t know where to find them.  PS – duck eggs are not acceptable food for these Americans. 😀  Go ahead and laugh – we do!   I found that I truly missed good salads, fresh veggies…and developed a deep seeded dislike for canned peas and carrots.  Since this time we’ll be traveling from place to place, I dare to imagine how many hours we’ll go without eating.  Perhaps we should just count how many meals we’ll miss!

Drinking.  That’s right: drinking.  At home, I probably will have a glass of wine a few times a week.  Typically it’s after dinner as a “wind me down” sort of thing.  My idea of a glass of wine, or rather – the way it works with me – is that the wine will be poured into the glass, I’ll take a sip, get called away by someone or something, and come back to it an hour or more later, realize it’s time for bed and end up dumping the glass down the drain, which drives my husband crazy.  So, I’ve taken to sipping out of his glass instead.  It’s amazing how much more I’ll drink of it that way!  😀  On the weekends, especially those when we’re out with friends, I may have more.  Last weekend for instance we spent Friday night with friends and I had a couple glasses of wine, and then two martinis (it was an especially late night).  No, I did not feel ill nor did I have a hangover the next day.  It takes more than a few drinks for me to tie one on!  Then there’s touring…when under the right set of circumstances drinking begins with lunch!  We’re out late, we’re having fun….you do the math!  What’s even better is when you wake up in the morning knowing that it’s time to blow out of town and your body says “Oh hell no.”  Yeah, gotta love that about the touring.  Good times were indeed had by all!

Coffee.  I am truly to the point at home where I’m considering just mainlining the stuff and being done with it.  It was not long ago when I began drinking coffee.  Prior to that, I hated the stuff.  Starbucks had absolutely no real use for me other than as a point of interest.  No, it wasn’t until about 2003 that I began my love affair with coffee…and if you’re keeping track you’ll already realize that there’s a correlation between the beginning of my coffee addiction and the time I got involved in this godforsaken fan community.  Coincidence?  Of course not!!! Back in 2005 when I was “involved” with Clear Static (another band for another time…) I was going to shows fairly regularly, getting home at the ridiculous hours of 3 and even sometimes 4 am, going to sleep only to get up at about 7:15 to get the two oldest children off to school.  Coffee was my lifeline, and I used it!  I really try to only drink one cup a day, but there are days that require far more than just that.  Guess when most of them are?  No, not on tour – here at home!  😀  Honestly though, I really do try to stick to the one cup a day habit simply because I have to add both half & half AND one spoonful of sugar to my coffee (hey, that’s down from two spoonfuls a couple years back!).  If only I could get used to black coffee…but I just can’t!   On tour though, and I should probably say on tour here in the US, I need one venti coffee of the day to get me going.  I add my own half & half and sugar (you should read this to say: I have half & half, sugar and some coffee to get through the day.)

Exercise.  Really???  Well at shows I’m dancing the whole time.  Does that count???  I think it should.  My doctor probably doesn’t agree.  Oh well.

So basically what I’m saying here is that I try to take care of myself at home (aside from that exercise thing), but on tour….well…I think the plan is to get through it with minimal damage.  It’s a good rule.  We tend to try and stick to it.  What I really think Amanda and I should do for this tour though is to take a “Before” and “After” picture.  That would be amusing, and it’d probably scar everyone for life, too.

In the meantime, I’m actually going to get out and walk today…after I drink this coffee.

-R

Longevity

One of the major themes for our book is longevity, both for the band AND for the fan community. Interestingly enough, you can’t really have one without the other to some extent.  Sure, The Beatles still have fans, and I would assume that somewhere out there there’s a fan community….but I don’t think it’s quite the same as a fan community for a band that is still very much in existence.  Perhaps you might disagree, and that’s OK. (leave a comment below as I’m sure this would be an interesting discussion comment!)  I don’t really know of many bands that have the longevity of Duran Duran, yet there’s no fan base.  If you can name one, let me know.  I’ll check it out!

The goal of our book is two fold: Why does a fan community exist, and how does it thrive for so long.  For a lot of us, we’ve been fans since we were in that wonderfully awkward adolescent period of our lives.  Yes, there are fans that may have been older, a lot that are younger – but the one thing that I feel makes our own fan community or fandom unique is that most of us literally grew up with the band in our lives.  Many of us are now entering that also delightfully awkward “middle” age period (you’re welcome for the reminder – I know of what I speak, every morning MY back and knees remind me too!), and yet we’re still huge fans of the band. At times, we even forget that we’re not still 12!   The point of our book is to answer why.  I’m not sure that Amanda and I will ever be able to say we have the definitive answer – I’m sure there are as many reasons as there are fans, but we really hope to encourage fans to embrace their fandom and celebrate what brought us all here, and why we stay.

Last week I blogged about a thread I’d read on a board about aging fans.  Naturally, this hit home with me because I am one of those fans.  I won’t lie, it hit a raw nerve – and perhaps I shouldn’t have let it bother me so much.  I’m human as it turns out, so it did – and I blogged about it.  Many agreed with me, but there were a few dissenting opinions as well.   Over the weekend, my husband and I had a date night, and in the discussion over what we should do and where we should go, my husband wanted to go bar hopping in an area that we used to go when we were younger.  Much younger, as in I think the last time we were over there – I had just one little one at home.  That “little one” is now 14, and she’s got a younger brother that is two years younger, and a little sister that is 11 years younger.  So yes, it’s been quite a while.  I can remember the days when I would jump at such an offer – but this time, I stopped, looked at my dear husband and laughed.  Admittedly, I was tired that night.  He’s been traveling quite a bit which means my days are very long, and with three kids – it’s tough.  The real truth is though, I had zero interest in going clubbing.  I remember when clubbing was fun, but nowadays, I go into those places and feel extremely over dressed (I have on far more clothes than anyone else), very old (self-explanatory here), and I’m typically shocked at the crap (aka really bad music) they’re playing.  If those aren’t signs of impending old age, I’d be surprised.  We ended up deciding to go to dinner (sushi, one of my favorites) and a movie (Adjustment Bureau – very interesting but nothing like what I thought it would be).  It was a fun night, and when I woke up the next morning, I didn’t feel like I was about to die, which is always a bonus!

When I first really got back involved with Duran Duran, and by that I mean joining the message boards and getting to know others in the fan community, going to shows and that sort of thing, I was about 33.  When I went to the convention in New Orleans, I had no trouble staying out very late (as in seeing the sunrise), having many beverages on Bourbon Street, and pretending I was in my 20’s.  In 2005 when the band toured for Astronaut, I was still feeling good.  I didn’t look like I was about to turn 35, and I pretty much ignored the threat of middle age.  Somewhere in 2006 though, life decided to toy with me.  I had major surgery in October of that year, and I swear to you – it aged me a good 5 years.  It was insulting, rude, and uncalled for, in my opinion.  Every time I went out with friends, rather than taking a few hours to undo the damage – it was taking days.  Then in 2008, I did the craziest thing ever – I had a baby at the age of 37.  If that didn’t almost kill me (and it really did), going through the grief after my father died two weeks later didn’t help matters.  It took me forever to really get back to myself after all of that, and it wasn’t until September of that year when I attempted to party it up like I was still in my 20’s again.  As it turns out, I’m not!  The hangover from that trip (it was to see what I thought I would never see – my good friend Jessica getting married!) lasted about two weeks, I swear.  The stitches I received from getting smart with the ceramic soap dish in the shower took a little longer to heal. *sigh*   Later that year, I went with Jessica, Amanda and our good friend Mac to see some DD shows on the east coast.  Between the time difference, the driving every day (I believe we did 800 miles in what – 4 days or so -because we’re clearly insane), and the shows – there was a moment as we were watching the band at the House of Blues in Atlantic City where I thought I was really going to hell, hard and fast.  I had to go and sit down – which has NEVER happened at a DD concert before, and I realized then that as much as I might try, I am not 18 or even 25 anymore.  I went to bed fairly early that night (2am really IS early when I’m with the girls on a weekend trip!), and prayed to any god who would listen to give me some energy to finish the trip.  I mentioned some of this to my friends, who naturally looked at me as though I’d grown three heads, and they seemed to laugh it off, telling me to grow a pair and get on with it.  I would have laughed with them, except that my body hurt too much!   I finished out the weekend, and have even been to a show or two since then, but I have to admit – I’m much more careful now.  I recognize the differences in my body between the ages of 35 and 40 – and for those of you who haven’t had the joy of looking into the mirror and wondering why you STILL have bags under your eyes even though you’ve had a full night’s sleep for the past 3 months, enjoy.  The bags come quickly and they don’t have the decency to leave!  Never mind the grey hair or the aches and pains.  Seriously, turning 35 sucked and 40 isn’t being much kinder!

All of this begs the question – when will I be done?  I’d love to say never, and that they’ll have to pry my cold dead hands off of my Duran Duran albums at some point, but I’m not so sure anymore.  Well, they’ll probably still have to pry my cold dead hands off of my DD albums, but as far as going to shows…I really am not sure.  Is it cool to keep going to concerts into my 50’s?  I’ve asked these questions on the boards before, and I’ve had fans remind me that the band is in their 50’s now and that I have to stop aging myself and the band.  I guess the thought is that if they can still do it, so can we.

Could someone just tell my BODY that?  😀

80’s fans

I was surfing the net today, looking for something other than my pre-sale stress to write about here, and it didn’t take very long before I found it.  Out of the boards that I regularly visit for Duran Duran, there is one that seems to have a much more, well, negative side to it these days.  It used to be that I could count on the board for a shot of realism, but it’s sadly gone down the way from realistic to downright dumping on the band, and their fans.  It’s confusing to be honest, because these people say they are fans – and I believe them – but I also think they are hoping to change things that have been in place for years and years and years at this point.  I ended up clicking the “big red X” in the left hand corner of the screen rather quickly after reading the first few thread updates, simply because what started off as a good anticipatory mood quickly became one of frustration, and disappointment.  Why bother??

The thread topic in question was a basic review of last night’s show – Shepherds Bush Empire.  I think that for most of us, this kind of marks the beginning of the shows ahead.  It was the first real all-encompassing chance the band had to play some new material, mix it with some older material, and get a feel for how the crowd would take it.  The setlist was pretty mixed in that there were quite a few “old standby” songs NOT on the list, but also plenty that were, and some new songs that were played, as well as many that were not.  As is typical, for every fan or two you find that loved the set, there are two others that hated it.  (for the record, I must again state that I would HATE to be the band.  They can’t win with us.  Ever.)   I don’t think there was anything truly surprising about the show or the setlist, or even the review…until they got to the part about the audience.

To be fair, I was not at the show, and I have never attended a show outside of the US.  I’m actually looking forward to going to the UK in May, in part because I really want to be able to see the differences between the audience and fans there vs. here.  Maybe there really aren’t any differences – maybe there are plenty, I don’t know – but I’m looking forward to finding out.  That said, the one comment I read that is the topic for this blog is that according to the reviewer, the band needs younger fans.  I believe the topic of the thread is “All The Band Needs….is a better Audience!”, and the board is www.duranduranboard.proboards.com (you must be a member of the board to read the thread)  In the thread, the reviewer says that most of the audience was “older” – in that they were in their 40’s.  After about 30 minutes, much of the audience stopped clapping and dancing.  Of course, a few other posters refuted that claim – but having not been there, I have no idea.   I did see video clips from others though, and I saw NOTHING of the sort.  It looked to me like the audience was dancing, screaming, singing right along with the band.  I don’t know what else they were looking for – a mosh pit??  I will say though that I’ve been to many shows here in the states, and there have been some shows where the audience seemed dead on their feet.  Still many others where I could feel the excitement reverberating in the floor, and see the effects all around me.  I also think it has everything to do with where you’re standing, whom you’re around, and your own attitude.   This particular reviewer feels that the fans from the 80’s are just too old to be of any real help to the band….and still a few others on the board apparently agree.  I’m just not sure I understand that logic. My take on this is that if it weren’t for long time fans….of ANY age…the band wouldn’t have a fanbase.  Period.  To try and purposefully turn people off is not the way to go. I would wholeheartedly agree that doing festivals and trying to show younger audiences what the band is doing nowadays is a great idea – and I hope it works for them.

I guess that my big problem with this line of thinking is that – weren’t we here before?  Like maybe during the last album?  I know I read many, many times on the boards that the “old” fans needed to just go away if we didn’t like the new material.  Many of us did leave, and many of us stuck around – figuring that we’d been fans for so long that we didn’t know who else we’d be without the band in our lives.  Still others loved Red Carpet Massacre, and yet it took each one of us to make this community what it was during Red Carpet Massacre, and what it IS right now.   Now the old fans need to go away if we can’t dance like we’re 15, and we’re apparently scaring the young kids away from being interested in Duran Duran.  I’m sorry, but if it weren’t for each and every single one of us – regardless of how old you are or when you became a fan (I don’t care if it was yesterday – welcome to the club, here’s your card, and good luck – you’re gonna need therapy.), the band NEEDS US, because without their fans – they wouldn’t have a damn job!

If you can’t tell, I’ve definitely got my ire up today.   – R

The Biggest & Best Party Band in the World

Those words have a familiar ring about them, don’t they?  I have to suppress a laugh when I read them, because back when they were correctly used to describe a certain band I know a little bit about – I had absolutely NO IDEA what they meant!  At that time, my idea of a good party was hanging out with my friends (from my high school marching band, no less) and listening to 80’s music, trying to decide whether to head over to Round Table, or go and toilet paper (don’t ask) a fellow band members house. (who dared not to show at the aforementioned “party”)  Yes, I really lived it up well in the 80’s, didn’t I?

I suppose that scenario would hold true with many of the fanbase, seeing as a good portion of us were either just barely getting out of elementary school, or just entering high school during the infamous 80’s time period when the band held their reign over the land.  Even if you knew what it meant to really party – I can’t imagine that many of us really did, and definitely not to the extent that the band may have meant at the time.

All of that said, do the words still hold true today?  Recently I’ve heard Simon proclaim it to be so in a few interviews.  He seems to find a good point to put in a jovial and enthusiastic “We’re still the best party band in the world!” just as he’s finishing describing the bands new album All You Need Is Now. (available on CD March 21 in the UK and rest of the world, March 22 in the US!)  When I first heard him mention it – I grinned.  I mean, the idea of still feeling youthful enough to say that is great, isn’t it?  There are days when I WISH I felt that way, and then there are days (not really all that coincidental that it’s when I’m “on tour” with my friends….) when I truly feel like I’ve still got the world by it’s tail.  As much as I’m sure that collectively the band wishes I would forget (along with everyone else) – we’re talking about guys who are either now 50…or darn close to it.  Yes, age is but a number, but energy that goes along with youth is something entirely different.

Last week, I sat with my oldest and youngest daughters to watch Duran Duran perform at the Fan Jam for the Super Bowl.  As Amanda already mentioned in her blog, it was great to see the band again.  It’s been quite a while, and just watching them onstage together made me very excited in anticipation for my own upcoming trip to the UK.  That said, I didn’t feel that the performance was their best.  Meaning – I’m sure the band  felt good about what they’d done, but in my “vast” (yes, that’s sarcasm) experience, there’s more than one part to the full equation of what makes a great show.  There’s the band and all that goes along both behind the scenes and on stage, and then there’s the little matter of the audience.  Naturally the band can only be responsible for so much, and they can really only do so much to get the audience going.  In regard to the Fan Jam, the audience seemed rather flat, and in return, that made it difficult for the band to look energized.  A show like that is a tough sell by any means, simply because you’ve got people in that audience that range from loving the band – to only being there because someone else they love is going to perform next, and they can’t stand Duran Duran.  The age range looked pretty wide to me, and judging purely from a social science standpoint – it was pretty obvious that the show was designed to touch on three very different musical genres.  The promoters or organizers of the show cast a pretty wide net with the acts they’d chosen, and I would venture to guess that the overlap of fans between the three acts (Jason Derulo, Duran Duran & Kid Rock) was nil to none.  The overall appeal of the show had to reach a huge demographic, to say the least, and each act seemed to have a pretty tough hill to climb, regardless of whom was your favorite.   When the band was onstage, as much as I’d like to say they looked youthful and vibrant, they did seem tired to me.  This wasn’t so much as a fault of the band as it was the setting they were in.  How do you stand up to acts that are likely at least 20 to maybe even 30 years younger and not seem out of place?  Sure, the band and their music is timeless.  To ME….but in the words of my oldest, who knows how much I love Duran Duran “Mom, they are really starting to look old.”  OUCH.   (yes, she’s still alive.)    I’m sure that’s part of the reason Duran Duran was put on the bill that night – to appeal to the “older” demographic in the viewing audience, both there in person and in their homes….but that brings me back to the original sentence.  Is this band still the biggest and best party band in the world?

That’s a very tough sentence to really sell, and as much as a part of me is screaming yes – there’s a very big part of me that is screaming no.  What’s more – why SHOULD they be?  Haven’t they really already proven their staying power?  One of my least favorite “industry” words these days is “relevant”.  Duran Duran aren’t going to prove themselves “relevant” just by saying that they can still party it up with the best of them…..and on the other side of that coin, do they really need to PROVE that they are relevant?  Isn’t that what All You Need Is Now is really about?  They already own that space.  There’s nothing left for them to prove to anybody.  There’s no need for them to continue to proclaim themselves as worthy, and I would argue that every time they come out with a statement like that, it’s comes off as though they doubt it, which they should not.

About 6 months ago, I went to a concert with my husband up at the Gibson Amphitheater (Universal Studios) in LA.  As we were coming out of the show – I happened to notice a familiar face sitting in the back of the section we were sitting in.  I’m omitting the name of this person because I would think it’d be rude to do otherwise with what I’m about to share, but I will say it’s someone who has worked with certain members in the band in past years.  In any case, this person was sitting with a few MUCH younger people – and in general, he looked very desperate to prove himself “still young”.  He was wearing more leather than I’ve seen on cows, and a bandana wrapped around his very cropped and gray hair.  His face was tanned and wrinkled, almost beyond recognition (clearly it worked because only a few people recognized him) – but the young kids who were milling around him were obviously there to make an impression both on him AND on everyone else that passed.  He seemed to go from looking bored (when he noticed people recognizing him) to looking desperate for attention.  Both my husband and I commented that overall – he looked sad, lonely (funny how you can look completely lonely even when you’ve got people sitting on all sides of you) and the epitome of a aged rock star who didn’t want to admit he was all but washed up.  Honestly, it was pathetic and made me think more than twice about Duran Duran.  Even if you think you know whom I’m talking about, please do not post it here – this blog isn’t about naming names that way.  I certainly wouldn’t want someone outing me the day(s) I look like death warmed over in my bathrobe and slippers, and regardless of how public the person might be – I think I can afford him some dignity.

I don’t want the band to end up that way.  I want to see the band embrace their age with vigor, respect, and dignity.  That doesn’t mean I want them all using botox and hair dye until they’re 90 – it means that I know they’re not 20 anymore, and I’m perfectly OK with that.  I love them for who they are.  Am I the only one??   On the same token, I think that at a certain point, it’s going to become almost laughable to hold on to the same “branding” they had back in the 80’s.   Maybe it’s time we start taking them seriously as the treasure they really are, rather than reverting back to the less-than-serious notion of just being a band known for their partying skill.  I guess I’d rather see them in their dark Armani suits looking dignified and handsome rather than pretending they are still going to be relevant to kids the same age as my daughter, because truly – (tongue firmly planted in cheek) what do those youngsters know at 14 anyway??

-R