Category Archives: All You Need Is Now

It’s been a year!

The other day I was trying to remember exactly when I first heard All You Need is Now.  I’m horrible about dates and things like that.  Amanda is much better – I don’t know how she does it, but she keeps track somehow.  My excuse – and this is the one I honestly use on a daily basis – is that my brain is full.  Every time I ask it to remember something new, it pitches other things into the garbage bin. Sometimes this could be useless information, such as the phone number I had while growing up in my parents house (don’t really need that anymore), and other times, its things like remembering I have to take my youngest to dance class on Wednesday afternoons. Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  Amanda though… she even has made a daily Duran Duran calendar for me that I use.  Each day of the year has it’s own Duran “event” that she has somehow made note of and keeps track over their history, and even though I’ve used the calendar for a couple years now, I still like seeing what each day has down as the event.  My guess (and yes, this is a HINT to my dear friend Amanda) is that it’s time to update the calendar since we’ve had a few things happen since she last printed it.  I’m so helpful, aren’t I?  😀   So, as I was wracking my brain trying to remember what month I heard the album (yes, my memory really IS that bad), I happened to come across a post or something somewhere that indicated the album had been released on iTunes last December (I thought so!).  That’s when I decided to Google the question.  (thank goodness for Google)  The song was released December 14th of last year, and the album came out on December 21st.  What a year it has been.

I don’t know about anyone else, but this year has felt like a complete whirlwind.  It really doesn’t feel like its been all that long since I reviewed the album, watched the band play at the Super Bowl pre-party thing on TV, kept track of them during SXSW in Austin, traveled to the UK the first time, sat here biting my nails all summer wondering if the band would ever be able to play again, saw a couple shows in the fall and then went back to the UK again….I’m tired just thinking about it all, and that’s just my “Duranie” life!!  It all just seems to have happened so fast, and what drives me crazy is that no matter how often I remind myself to enjoy the journey and stop looking ahead for more, its all over before I know it.  The UK tour is coming to a close, the holidays are upon us, and we’re staring into 2012…hoping for a better year.

I remember when I heard the album for the first time.  Hell, I remember hearing All You Need is Now for the first time.  I’m not an emotional person – I hate crying.  Yes, I really hate it and will do just about anything to stop the tears from coming.  Well, when I heard the song, I didn’t cry – but I did break into about the biggest grin I’ve had in years.  I remember saying to myself and even tweeting the band saying “My band is back”.  That’s really how I felt.  I’ll admit that I did find certain parts of the song a bit jarring at first – but what’s funny is that now after having seen them play it live several times, I love that song.  It’s perfect and contains just the right message for the right time.  I think *I* needed to hear that song as much as they needed to write it, and that’s the one thing about this band that I have always loved: they just seem to know what we need.   The day I heard the whole album though – that was truly epic.  Song after song, all I could think of was that they finally found themselves again.  The band had come nearly full circle and FINALLY realized that they needed to own up to whom they really were – and in my opinion, they did just that in spades.  That day, I did end up in tears.  Very big, very happy tears of joy and pride.  I love music.

The song that put me completely over the edge was Mediterranea, though.

I don’t know what exactly it is about that song that did it, but I can remember not even being able to get through the entire song the first time. More dang tears.  In hindsight I think it was the perfect blending of guitar and synth that did it.  After all of this time, they finally got it right.  They learned how to use their guitarist to their benefit and yet still allow the synths to give atmosphere in a way that only Nick Rhodes can really do. I still love that song and it completely annoys me that they don’t play it live more often although I know why they don’t – it slows the show in a way that SAP just never seems to do. (I just think they need to figure out where to put it in the setlist and how to work it to their advantage because the song is PERFECT and it showcases….well…certain members that may or may not have a 1966 Epiphone that is to die for.)  That said, I did get to hear it in Brighton and I think I soaked up as much as I could have from that performance.  However, if they wish to play it again….I’ll gladly swoon.  😀

Since I seem to be doing a bit of a retrospect here, when Amanda and I were on the train going from Birmingham to Edinburgh, I had a lot of time to just sit, listen to music and think.  I almost NEVER have that opportunity at home, so this time was welcome. I sat there looking out the window, thinking back to which song off of the album has changed for me the most in the past year.  I don’t know how to explain this very well – but basically what I mean is that when I first heard the album, I formed certain opinions rather quickly and then reviewed the songs.  Its been a year now and I think things change over time – especially when we’re talking about an album that I’ve grown to love even more now than I did when I first heard it.  So, which song has really changed the most??  I went back and re-read my reviews to see if anything has really changed.  I was actually surprised how well my reviews have stood the test of time, so I really can’t pick out any one song based on my reviews.  However, I have to say that based on pure feeling – the one song that has really changed for me is Before the Rain.  It’s still haunting, its still pure genius in my opinion, but I have an affinity for the song that I didn’t before.  Several fans have said that they don’t like this song as an opener for their live shows, and I can understand where they’re coming from, but I have to say – I LOVE IT.  I think of this song as the affirmation that all really is well in the world of Duran.  I love that it’s slightly dark and mysterious, and I do think it works for the opener.  I don’t think they have to always have this as the opening number, but for now – its beautiful.

Now, if you ask me what song in their entire catalog means something different to me now than it did a year ago…that would be a totally different answer.  If you’ve read my blogs lately, you might have a clue.  Silly guitar players….

-R

John Taylor is a big tease!

Sometimes, I just want to reach out and smack them.

Oh, come now – you know that sometimes, you’d do it too if you could!

This morning on Twitter, John sends out a tweet that says “Pondering a map of the US thinking, ‘Where can we play next year…’

Of course, that one tweet got the fans going, and I think they’re on a nonstop tweetathon to John (hee hee, a rhyme!) as to where the band should play next year.  Naturally, John immediately (and smartly so) tweeted a follow up saying that of course they had many other places throughout the world to go first.  I would agree.

The fact is, they’ve been here twice this year.  Do I count myself lucky?  Oh yeah.  Yes I do, because I was able to take advantage of both tours and see some shows.  I’m also painfully aware that they missed many a state here in the US, and fans in those areas were not nearly as lucky as I.  The truth is, they could spend 8 more weeks here and still not get everywhere that the fans feel they need to be.  Like my backyard, for instance.  And yours.   Meanwhile the rest of the world has had nearly nothing by way of tours for several years, and I’m sure the band recognizes that, and hopefully they will be willing to do something about that next year.  I know he mentioned Europe, South America, Australia and Asia…and of course Brazil here in the next couple weeks along with the UK in December.  But after that, they really want to come back to the US again?  They didn’t get enough of the raucous American fan base yet??

I suppose my thought was that they would go to Brazil and the UK, then do Europe and where ever else they wished to go next year…never once thinking they’d come back to the US, and to be fair to John, just because he mentioned coming back doesn’t mean they actually will.  They have a lot of people to please, and there are a few other people in the band besides John that might have a differing opinion.  I suppose the new plan is to tour the hell out of this album until everyone in the world has seen them, bought a copy and knows the words to every song by heart – and I’d have to say, that’s not a bad plan.  The Killers toured Hot Fuss to death until everyone in the US really *did* know the songs by heart, and only then did radio begin to play them.  It’s not a bad plan, even for Duran Duran, because I really think – and I know at least as much as my next door neighbor about the music industry (my next door neighbor is an inspector for Fluor Daniels. Not in the music industry at all.  I don’t even think he listens to music.) – that the key to getting radio play is getting exposure.  The more people know the album, the more people will insist that their local radio station play it.   The only kind of promotion that counts these days is the kind the band does on their own, so it seems.

Like I said, I know at LEAST as much as my neighbor.  😀

Honestly though, what else is really working?  Many people postulate on the boards that the bands promotion is horrible, that their PR people should be fired.  My response is always “What PR people?!?”  Like I know or something…which I do not.  In all seriousness though, the band could do meet and greets for radio stations until the cows come home (and I hear that one lone cow showed up in Atlantic City ’round about encore time….) and that wouldn’t be enough to get radio play.  Leave a Light On isn’t going to be enough to stimulate sales, and I’m not even sure that’s the point.  The point is that the general public isn’t you or even me anymore – they are the ages of our kids (if you’ve got kids…and if not, I’ve got a couple you can borrow for the sake of argument), and for the most part, they don’t even know who Duran Duran is!  If we’re going to talk about people our age, then aside from diehard fans, those people don’t even realize that Duran Duran still plays together.  It’s alarming and I typically have to refrain from reaching out and smacking those people back into reality.  How many times have you mentioned going to see a DD show, or buying the new album only to have someone respond “Oh wow, I remember them!  They’re still together??”   I have had to start working very hard not to wince when people say that.  Or do that eye rolling thing that I hate seeing my kids do….

So while I still think John Taylor is a big ole tease and just likes to start trouble….perhaps continuing to tour this album is the right idea…and hey, if they need a backyard to play in….I’ve got one!

-R

My Response to Nick!

For the past two days, I had professional development, which means that I sit and listen to the latest and greatest idea in education.  I’m not very good at these type of things because, as a teacher, I’m used to doing.  I’m used to moving and talking constantly throughout the day.  I am not good at listening and NOT responding as I have many things to say about any/every idea presented.  Perhaps, this is part of the reason I chose to do this blog so that I could respond to what is going on in Duranland.  Tonight, the boys are playing their second to last show in Boston.  Yesterday, I became aware of an article/interview with Nick from The Boston Phoenix.  The article can be found here and my responses to the answers are here!  Obviously, some questions did not get my attention as much as others.

In the beginning of the interview, Nick is asked where he is to which he responds about how he is Chicago and says the following, “Actually in Chicago we’ve spent quite a bit of time.  I’m sure I’ll find some trouble to get into.”  As someone who was in Chicago, I have to ask.  What did Nick do?  I know that John and Dom went record shopping but what about Nick?  What about Roger or Simon?  Next time, I think the band should let Rhonda and I know their plans.  It would make our lives more interesting and fun!

Shortly, Nick gets asked about the new album. 

SD: So 2011 has been a pretty big year for you guys, although, not without ups and downs.NR: Yeah, it’s been one of the most exciting years in the Duran calendar in our three decades, I have to say. It all started with the release of All You Need is Now, which we worked on with producer Mark Ronson. I think when you have something that you feel very confident in musically and artistically, it gives you the energy to go forward and do other things and it helps to unfold the origami, because things start to happen when you have something other people are excited about too. We made the film with David Lynch. That’s certainly one of the highlights throughout our career so far. He’s been someone we’ve admired for many, many, many years, so when the opportunity came up to make a film together, that was a complete thrill. We started out playing in America at the SXSW festival. We talked about going there for years, because the spirit of Duran Duran has always been that of an independent band. Even when we’ve made records that have been enormously successful commercially and we’ve been on major record labels, we’ve never lost the spirit that we started out with.” 
My response:  I’m thrilled that they feel confident about AYNIN, musically and artistically, and that should be a highlight of the year.  Yet, the interviewer asked about the ups and downs.  Why not acknowledge everything that Simon went through?  Everything the band went through?  Everything the fans went through?  It could be easily acknowledged and done in a way in which tells how Duran is stronger, better because of it.

Later in the interview, after discussing how other bands had been “borrowing” from Duran, the interviewer asks about the fanbase, which as a student of fandom got my attention!  “SD: I think one of the reasons that you guys, and you know, this is me postulating, you can tell me what you think about it, one of the reasons you’ve maintained this fan base is because Duran Duran is kind of like it’s own little culture, it’s own little land. From the earliest interviews with you guys, you’re always talked about different art and culture, and I think in America, especially kids living in the middle of nowhere, to hear about Andy Warhol, to see Keith Haring on television, to hear about Cocteau and Patrick Nagel, and all these people. This was a big deal for a lot of people who didn’t have access to that kind of culture.NR: Well, I hope so, because I know what other artists from all spheres have given to me over my life. It’s food for me, for my imagination. Nothing makes me happier then sitting in a cinema or going to an art gallery. John, Simon and I all went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art the other day, because I’ve been there several times before and neither of them have actually visited there. I said, “Look, we have a day off, let’s go.” They were both completely up for it. We all left there just floating because seeing the collection that has been that well curated over so many years. I mean they have some of the greatest artworks ever made in there. They have the ultimate Marcel Duchamp collection, including The Bride Stripped Bare, the Nude Descending a Staircase, the Urinal, the Bicycle Wheel, each absolutely extraordinary. But then you sort of wander down the corridor and they’ve got one of the greatest Van Gogh Sunflowers. They’ve got a couple of the best Matisse’s that I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world. You know, if you can bring a little of that information to other people in, I don’t know, in the form of suggestions, or images, or just the notion of it. Then I think that’s great.”
My response:  First, I completely agree that Duranland is its own little culture, which I have addressed before.  I think that Duran has influenced many of us to check out musicians, artists, fashion, etc. that we would not have ever considered.  As much as I was destined to check out art because my mom is an artist, I doubt I would have cared as much if it wasn’t for them.  I also find it amusing that Rhonda and I are like them as well since we try to check out art museums when we can!

This question about the year leads to questions regarding Mark Ronson.  “SD: Back to the new album briefly, I have to ask, I think a number of people have asked, and I know you guys obviously don’t have any plan or anything. But as a big music fan, like you guys are, I’m sure you can think of any number of sequels or trilogies of records that bands have made with producers. I know a lot of people are wondering if you guys might work with Mark again. It’s been a while since you’ve done two in a row.NR: Of all the producers that we’ve ever worked with, I have to say, Mark is the one that I think suits Duran Duran best. We’ve worked with some amazing producers, we really have, we’ve been very lucky. Sadly, the first few albums produced by Colin Thurston, and then the third album by Alex Sadkin, who have both passed away, but they were extraordinary teachers.
SD: For me as well…
NR: Yeah, amazing, amazing, amazing people. But, of the people we’ve worked with in the last couple decades, Mark just suits us better. He has an understanding of so many genres of music. He has incredible style and great taste and he really, really gets what Duran Duran is about. So, I sincerely hope we work with him again. We stay in constant touch. We’re so fond of him on a very personal level, as well as musical level. He’s really something.”
My response:  I completely agree with Nick that Mark is the producer that suits Duran best.  I think he gets THEM and I think that he gets US (the fans).  Thus, I, too, hope that they work together again.  🙂

Of course, this leads to brief discussions about both Red Carpet Massacre and Reportage.  “SD: I like the last record, I like Red Carpet MassacreNR: Me too.
SD: …I actually think it’s great Simon record.
NR: Yeah, a few people have said that. John and Roger feel that their presence was diminished on the album, I understand that.
SD: I feel like maybe the fans kind of felt like that. It felt a little anti-climatic post-reunion?
NR: Maybe. It was very programmed. You see, the genesis of that record is quite interesting because we made an entire album with Andy Taylor. Which is called Reportage…”
My response:  I’m not surprised that John and Roger felt like their presence was diminished.  It felt that way to me, too.  Thus, it didn’t feel like Duran to me no matter the quality of the song.  It wasn’t what I think of when I think Duran.  I also agree that it was very programmed, which again makes it anti-Duran to me.  Of course, Duran can, has and should use technology but it should have something organic, something more musical. 

The interview continues to say:  “SD: Which is coming out when?NR: It may come out, it would need mixing, it would need finishing a few things, but then what happened was we were just literally going to do a couple tracks with Timbaland and we got in there and Andy didn’t turn up for those sessions, and so we ended up doing them without a guitarist, we obviously added guitar to the tracks later, but we recorded them without guitar, wrote them without guitar. That set the mold, really. Had Andy been there, I think those tracks would have probably started to sound a little different in the first place.
SD: They sound really cool, and if that record had come out in, like, ’99 no-one would’ve batted an eyelash, but I think when you have this sort of legendary rhythm section back together it felt like, you know, they are a little bit under utilized on that record, theres just little moments…
NR: Yeah, I understand. For me, that album was an experiment. For everyone in the band, that album was an experiment. It was how to merge the Timbaland beats with Duran Duran. And the expense of us doing that was the rhythm section became different. Obviously they both played on the album. They played synth bass on some of them. Some of the drums were programmed by Roger…
SD: There’s some of that on the new album too…
NR: Yeah.
SD: It’s not like it’s unlike Duran Duran to have some synthbass.
NR: Yeah, but on that one it was largely the makeup of the sound and I think we definitely sacrificed something but we work as a unit and whatever we feel is right for Duran Duran, and I mean honestly, if we decided we wanted to make an album that was just guitars and strings and we decided, no, we’re not gonna use any synths on this, we would do it. It’s a case of the time and we felt with Tim that he was one of the most interesting people out there making contemporary music at that time. We’ve always loved dance music and so…”
My response:  Obviously, I have no idea about the quality of the songs on Reportage, how much work it would be to finish or even if they can finish it and release it, legally, but I would still love to hear it.  It might also be a good way of releasing another album sooner rather than later, if there aren’t legal issues with it, as most of the writing and recording appears to be done.  Nonetheless, it says something to me that if Nick, who was RCM’s biggest supporter, is saying that “something sacrificed” when they made RCM. 

Nick goes on to make a really good point and one that I must remember: “And certainly, the other point about working with Timbaland is that had we not made that album, I don’t think it would have lead us to make this new album with Mark.”  If this is true that Duran needed to work with Timbaland and needed to make RCM as a step before working with Mark and making AYNIN, I am grateful it happened.  I do think that sometimes things need to be one way before things are able to go a different way.  Maybe RCM was the lesson they needed to learn.

Then, of course, the interviewer turns to the current tour and the current setlist.  Oh boy.  “SD: I have it on good faith that you guys are gonna be playing “Shadows On Your Side” in Boston. Can I put that in print?NR: (laughs) We haven’t played it on the American tour at all yet. The trouble is with set lists, and I’m sure you could talk to any artist, you must know this yourself, if you have have a lot of material, it’s hard enough to condense it into something that is a little less than two hours. But when you want to put in a song that is possibly a real fan favorite, but maybe not with the broader audience, it’s hard to find places in the set to put them in. For example, recently we have been playing a song “Tiger, Tiger” from the third album which is instrumental. And the reason we started playing it was to create a little three minute spot for people to Tweet live during the show onto the screen. And it has been a fascinating moment in the set.
SD: Gives Simon a rest.
NR: So we thought, perhaps we’ll replace it and we’ll do “Secret October” instead because it has a vocal on it and we said we would play this song. And of course, Simon said “I don’t want to do it and have Tweeting going on whilst I’m singing.” Whereas musically, we are just creating a soundtrack and I think that’s fine, visually. And so we took out the Tweets and we did the song, and the song went down really well. But then we realized that a lot of people were missing the Tweeting thing because a lot of it was interactive and thats part of modern shows. So you have all these things …all I’m really doing is making excuses for you. We probably won’t. We could play it instead of a number of things but I’m not sure what would give.”
My response:  Clearly, they don’t want to put in anymore “fan favorites” than they already have for these US dates.  Obviously, they feel that they need to appeal to the “broader audience”.  As Rhonda and I have both mentioned, I think this is lame.  If you play enough hits, that “broader audience” will be happy.  Duran should worry about keeping us dedicated fans happy and keeping us going to shows.  Then, to hear Nick talk about the discussion surrounding Tiger Tiger versus Secret Oktober, I got even more frustrated.  Yes, I can understand Simon’s point of view of not wanting people to tweet during him singing.  I tweeted during Tiger Tiger but that felt uncomfortable, too, as I’m ignoring the band playing.  If you want to have the tweet thing in do it when the band is not on stage.  Have people tweet while waiting for the encore to start but don’t let that get in the way of the fans hearing a song they desperately want to hear!  Ugh!

Speaking of Twitter, the interviewer asked about the band’s involvement.  “SD: It is interesting. I think both Simon and John have been doing it since around the release of the record. It is interesting to kind of follow along…NR: I think John particularly loves it. I think its really something that he’s been able to focus some of his energy on. I know he’s always taking little photos and putting them up when we’ve arrived somewhere, or we see something interesting. He was tweeting from the Museum the other day. I’m all for that. I have a concept for tweeting which would be very much against the grain of what people like it for, so people may really not like the idea of what I might want to do with it, and I keep threatening to do it. For me, it would be a complete experiment so I would enjoy it, and I think there may be some people out there that would see what I was getting at, but it’s much more of a one way street. It would be that I was really just publishing certain things and not really getting involved in conversations about them. I’m not sure if that’s in the spirit of it, but I may do that.
SD: Well it’s difficult, I think, to have in-depth conversations. I think John tries to answer peoples’ little questions and things from time to time, but I don’t think you can get too in depth. The other side of it is, I think for some people, and I don’t know if you fall into this category or not, but some people see that artists being on Twitter constantly, kind of affects their mystique a little bit. Where it was so hard to get information about somebody ten years ago but now it’s like…
NR: Well I feel that way very generally anyways. We were talking about when were growing up as kids and the photos of artists we used to see, whether it was David Bowie or Iggy or the New York Dolls or Lou, they had a real mystery to them because there weren’t that many photos. You might see the occasional live photo from a concert or you’d see David Bowie and Iggy Pop in Moscow together or a picture of a couple people on a train having lunch and this was really as far as you got into their world and you had to then use your own imagination as to what else they might be doing or what it was like in the studio and what they were recording. Now I do feel with web cams everywhere and everyone with a mobile phone during the show, every second of everything is recorded from all these different angles and published everywhere, it’s an overwhelming amount of content. In a way, you definitely lose focus because people are watching dreadful live videos with dreadful sound quality and then saying, “Oh well that was that, wasn’t it.” As opposed to something that was being produced with beauty and care. And its not that I’m completely against it because this is a very modern world where this is what’s happening and that’s that, but as regards to what it has done to mystique, yeah, its shattered it into a million pieces.
SD: Yeah that’s true, it’s a strange game. I can’t think of a band, current day, that can maintain that exactly. You have to, obviously, evolve with the times somewhat, but it’s interesting with some groups, it might not be in their best interest to be too involved with that.
NR: I think you have to embrace new technologies and use them to the best of your ability, and use them artistically. With our online presence we’re always looking to do different things. We launched Second Life some months ago which was initially launched as a completely non-commercial project. It was literally an arts project. We built a universe for people go in as Avatars and communicate with each other, really. And so far I have to say I’m thrilled with the results because it seems to be a really good breeding ground for ideas and for artistic statements. The costumes that people are wearing in there are spectacular. It’s worth going in to look at that alone. When they have parties in there it really is pretty remarkable, it’s an utterly surreal world where anything goes and they’re having an amazing time. So, you try to do these different things with the website we’re going to relaunch that soon, so its version 2.2 or 3.3 or wherever we are now, and there have been some huge improvements there. The live stuff and the Tweeting. During the live shows I take pictures of the audience every night which has now become quite interesting because there’s a whole section on the site where you can see the audiences from my point of view from the different shows. We’re always looking to do things and find ways to make it a bit different. Everybody out there is putting everything up they can.”
My response:  I can definitely see Nick’s idea of tweeting being VERY different than what is normal, common, expected.  My guess is that Nick fans would eat it up!  Yet, ideally, fans would want some conversation and it doesn’t seem like Nick does, for whatever reason.  I also agree with Nick that technology should be used and embraced but that it does have its drawbacks and has taken some of the mystery out of life.  That said, I still don’t get Second Life.  I don’t understand why he is so thrilled by it.  He says that it is filled with artistic ideas.  Really?  Someone who is involved in it tell me how. 

The interview ended with a question about John’s book.  “SD: Have you seen any advanced writing in Johns book?NR: No, nothing. I think it’s probably best that I don’t and I’m sure John would feel the same. I guess eventually there will probably be a full set of books. I don’t know when I’ll be doing mine. I don’t know when Simon will be doing his but I imagine there will be a set, and that will give you all the different perspectives as to why Duran Duran is what it is.” 
My response:  I’m thrilled with the idea of one day having a set of autobiographies from the band members.  Maybe then, we would have a good idea of what went down and how it was!

So, readers, read the entire interview, and come back and tell me your responses!  Were there questions that I didn’t focus on that I should have?  Were my responses different than what you would have said?  I would love to know!

-A

Take a Moment to Appreciate

Yesterday’s question for the Daily Duranie 30 Day Duran Challenge was:  Best storyline in a video or song.  There were 19 different songs/videos chosen with Nightboat coming out as the winner.  Behind that was New Moon on Monday.  I wasn’t surprised by those choices.  After all, they featured the band talking in them, in some versions, anyway.  Seeing people talk about these videos made me smile as I thought about watching these videos as a kid with my best friend at the time, which is what I planned to talk about today.  Then, this morning, I checked online find out the latest news.  Like many people, I’m completely stunned and saddened at the tragic events in Norway.  While looking at the latest development there, I see breaking news.  Singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London home at the age of 27.  I haven’t seen anything about cause of death, but I suspect drugs had something to do with it as she had a long history of battling drug addiction and had checked herself out of treatment a month ago.  These events made me realize how lucky we are as Duranies, generally.

When I stop to think about the long history of Duran Duran, I almost always acknowledge the fact that all of the members, past and present are still with us.  We are so fortunate in this as there were a number of close calls that we know about as fans.  Obviously, in light of today’s news about Amy Winehouse, I can acknowledge that the band is lucky that no one died as a result of drug use, which very easily could have happened through overdoses or accidents.  Not only are we lucky that no member died from drugs, but we are also lucky that this concern is no longer present.  I, for one, am very proud of the steps John has taken, for example, to not only get clean but to stay that way.   

Of course, the band members have also survived other scary events.  I’m sure that many of us remember when Simon’s boat, Drum, capsized in 1985, which could have resulted in not only his death but many of his fellow crew members.  Simon has had other accidents in his life, including the one on the motorbike, that he has been lucky to have survived as well.  Of course, they and we have been fortunate that they haven’t suffered from other, deadly, more common ailments.  Yes, they have had their share of sickness, like we all have, but nothing that I know of that was serious.  To the best of my knowledge, there hasn’t been cancer or serious heart disease, for instance.  Goodness, when I think of many of their associates, I realize how fortunate they have been.  Look at Power Station, for example.  We have lost everyone involved besides John and Andy.  Somehow, someway, our guys keep going. 

These recent tragedies remind me that even though we have been lucky so far when it comes to the health and well-being of the band members, we won’t always be.  Simon’s vocal difficulties showed us that we can’t and shouldn’t assume that everything will be perfect forever.  It simply won’t be.  The band may end tomorrow or they may end twenty years from now.  Therefore, we should remember to appreciate the now and appreciate what we have.  Isn’t that really what the band was saying with AYNIN?  I think it was.  It is upsetting, though, that it sometimes takes canceled tours, horrific events and personal losses to remind us of that.  Perhaps, we should all take a moment each day to just be thankful for what we all have.

-A

The Daily Duranie Review – All You Need Is Now (Deluxe Version) Packaging

Continuing in our weekly review series, today A & R will be reviewing the packaging for the new album.  For most bands, perhaps that seems like an odd thing to review, but as fans of Duran Duran know, the band takes as much pride in how their end product is packaged as they do the content contained within.  We will be reviewing the Best Buy Deluxe Edition packaging for the U.S.

Rhonda’s notes:

It’s a relief to finally have something physical to actually hold!!  I’d been waiting months to be able to pour over the artwork, hoping that the photos would somehow become clearer to me than what I’d seen online.  Sadly, that isn’t really to be the case here, as you’ll read below.

First of all, I do like the striking contrast of the pink and charcoal front.  The print is done in an almost metallic like finish, which is very different from what other artists use these days, since all of that ‘extra’ adds to the final cost of the album!  The photo(s) on the front consist of a bed on one side (the “pink”) side, and on the charcoal side – what I think might be a chandelier.  Maybe.  Then of course there’s the infamous black “burn mark” with a giant pink D in the middle, along with the band’s name at the top, and the name of the album scrawled across the front.  An interesting point is that there appears to be some sort of an animal print (Leopard maybe?) rug thing on the floor by the bed.   I was really hoping that once I was able to see the artwork in person that it would somehow become clearer to me – and that just isn’t the case.  I still can’t tell exactly what I’m looking at – although perhaps that’s the point.  The only thing that is clear is what we’re examining at the time?

Clunie Reid is the artist that the band chose to work with to create the album artwork.  I’m fairly familiar with her body of works, but what strikes me most about the artwork is that Clunie worked from pictures that Nick Rhodes took – and then used her own artistry to manipulate the photos into the story she wished to tell.  My problem with the artwork is simply that it’s incredibly obvious.  Think of Duran Duran for a moment.  Tell me what images come to mind when you think of them (aside from each member of the band!).  Women, beds, body images, sex…oh and I suppose some yachts might be nice on the side! (that would be over the top obvious for this album, no?)  This album’s artwork has all of that…and perhaps even a leopard print rug.  Duran Duran is smarter than that, and quite honestly, so is Clunie Reid.    That aside though, the images aren’t necessarily beautiful.  I look at the bed coverings – they seem to be those really cheap satiny finish bedspreads that I remember my mom having back in the 70’s.  There’s a big black spot on the album cover that I still can’t quite figure out.  The images in the art booklet that is included inside the album are very grainy…distorted and have more of that metallic finish.  The artwork doesn’t detract from the packaging…but it doesn’t add that extra layer of interest that I believe Duran Duran have always excelled at including.  The artwork isn’t smart, it doesn’t make you think…and that is very disappointing for this fan.

The booklet, as I mentioned above, comes with the deluxe version of the album.  It’s printed in a reasonably good weight of art paper, probably so that the metallic effect that Clunie worked with would show itself off well.  It appears that the images in the book are variations of the same exposure.  The first pages are of a woman in what I think might be a jacuzzi or bath – she’s got a diamond pendant held up to her mouth.  The second pages (intermixed with lyrics) are of a topless woman with water being sprinkled over her.  There is great beauty in the female body – I’m pretty sure the band understands that rather well!   There’s just a certain amount of boredom (for me) that goes along with that. I’m no prude whatsoever, but it’s just so OVERDONE and EXPECTED.  I’m not surprised it’s there – I probably would have been more shocked had it not been, but it would just be nice to have it actually mean something for a change.  It’s Duran Duran though, and I do suppose there’s a certain frivolity that goes along with that.  As I said, it was expected!

One thing the booklet does not include are pictures of the band.  Conspicuously absent from the artwork are any photos of the band.  I know many fans don’t care, still others care very much.  My personal opinion is that it would have been nice to have had at least one.  I know it’s difficult to believe, but there are actual people out in the world that haven’t seen the band since the 1980’s.  I’m guessing those people, should they be compelled to pick up this album, would like to see what the band looks like these days.  Well, they won’t see that here.  They’d better get themselves to iTunes or Youtube and watch some videos!

I paid special attention to the liner notes on the back page of the booklet, as well as the credit page.  The list of thank you’s seems to be getting longer and longer!!  One thing that I really found distasteful was the very last few lines of credits.  The name of the band and it’s current members are in bold…and then a line is skipped and then Dom Brown is listed as guitar.  I think it’s fine to have bolded the band – but I think that they could have found a better place to credit Dom with guitar.  Perhaps he could have been included on the credits page (not in bold), and that way it wouldn’t have looked like such an afterthought on the back page of the book.  Yes, it’s nit-picky.  I agree.  I just think it looks kind of lame to put him there, to be honest.  I know the intention was probably to include his name prominently, but because of the fact the band is bolded, and Dom is not a 5th member of the band they couldn’t do that for him but felt he was worth more than just a mention on the credit page.   It just looks tacky in the end.

Ultimately for me the packaging on this album is generally ho-hum.  It doesn’t add, it doesn’t really detract…but it’s not the work of beauty that the album so richly deserves.  When I think back to what this album really stands for, and what adversity the band has come from in order to get to this point, I just feel they missed the yacht on this one.

Amanda’s notes:
Many of my comments will be similar to Rhonda’s and others not so much.  Like Rhonda, I was completely thrilled with being able to hold an actual album in my hands.  While I am okay with downloading much of my music, for some bands, for some artists, I must get a hardcopy.  Those artists are like Duran in that I have a large collection of their music AND they take their time to produce a quality product.  I can remember even being excited to hold Red Carpet Massacre in my hands on the day it was released.  I also remember being generally pleased with the packaging even if I wasn’t thrilled with the actual cover.  Therefore, I figured that AYNIN would, at least, be as good of quality. 

I purchased my copy at the local Best Buy (see Rhonda’s post on March 22nd for all of the details of her experience!).  As soon as I unwrapped it, I noticed there was a sleeve covering the actual album.  At the time, I thought that seemed strange to have an additional sleeve like that because it is cumbersome to take off and on, especially since it goes on from the top or bottom as opposed to the side.  On closer inspection, I realized that this additional sleeve was added to show the additional songs available on the exclusive Best Buy edition.  That made perfect sense to me until I realized the back cover of the actual album doesn’t match like the outside sleeve does.  On top of that, the booklet does not match either.  The booklet contains the lyrics to 13 of the songs with lyrics.  It does not contain the lyrics to ALL of the songs on the Best Buy edition.  Okay.  I can live with that.  Networker Nation’s lyrics are in the booklet with the track number being 15.  Uh.  On the Best Buy edition, it is number 17.  Why put song numbers at all if the booklets were to be used for all editions?  Why not just have song titles?  The way that they have it seems lazy.  If they wanted to keep both song titles and track numbers, then why not have a special booklet for this exclusive edition?  Then, it could have included all song lyrics.  This seems very un-Duran Duran like.  Where was the attention to detail here?

Now, as for the front cover itself, my opinion about it didn’t change much from when it was unveiled online months ago.  I appreciate the glossy quality of the pink D and think that it is a nice touch to have the “All You Need Is Now” part raised.  That seemed to be the Duran that I know and love.  Very detail focused.  That said, the artwork still seemed generally okay with me.  I was hoping that it would fit more with the music, but it didn’t.  The left side still seems dark and the right side or pink side seems brighter.  Yet, on the album, the songs don’t go in the same order.  Some of the darker songs are toward the end of the album.  Maybe that is the whole point.  Maybe the cover really doesn’t have anything to do with anything and that the joke is on those of us who are looking for a pattern, a reason, something.  As for the back cover, I liked that it was all in pink and still had a big D on it, which goes in the opposite direction.  Yet, it didn’t have the same glossy finish.  It isn’t bad but it isn’t anything special either.

The inside part of the packaging had more Nick photos with Clunie Reid’s art.  Like Rhonda, I, too, don’t really need to see another woman.  Duran has done it to death.  I do appreciate that the artwork carried over to the actual CD and DVD even with a D featured on them.  I do appreciate that they got a theme and stuck with it.  I wish that the CD and DVD were easier to get out and in.  I worry that I will end up putting fingerprints all over them!  Perhaps, they would have been better off putting it in different kind of case?  I don’t know.  Obviously, it doesn’t matter for the booklet at all, though.

Speaking of the booklet, I had a very similar reaction to Rhonda.  In fact, on that day, while she was still in her quest to find a Best Buy with a copy, I had texted her to complain that there are NO pictures of the band.  While I love art and I do (my mom is an artist), I also love seeing pictures of the band.  I keep seeing these great photoshoots but where are the photos?  When and where will I see them?  It is like they are trying to tease me/us!  Now, I do appreciate that they included the lyrics (unlike RCM—what does that say about what they think about these lyrics vs. those lyrics of the last album?!  Hmm….)  I also appreciated that they included the date of the writing/recording as well as who was a writer on the song.  🙂

My general impression is like Rhonda’s.  The packaging isn’t bad but it isn’t really what I’m used to.  Of course, they have a chance to redeem themselves a bit when they come out with the vinyl packaging.  I was much more impressed with the packaging for RCM’s vinyl than I was for the regular or deluxe version of it.  Perhaps, the same thing will happen with this album. 

Life Moves Pretty Fast

This is an exciting time in Duranland.  A new album was released last week and we have TV performances and concerts to look forward to.  In fact, there isn’t a day that there isn’t something Duran related going on, in one way or another.  There may not be a concert or TV performance everyday but it seems that we get some piece of news or something.  Today, John and Simon were posting pictures of New York City where they traveled to and people are posting clips from their performance in Miami yesterday.  In the fan community, there are contests taking place and all that goes along with that.  Some of us are spending time getting ready for upcoming shows and concerts and others are on the ready for any show announcement that might work for them. It is kind of funny.  In Duranland, we have a term for how every project in Duran’s world seems to take longer than they should, which we lovingly or not-so-lovingly call “Durantime”.  What do we call times like this, though? What would the opposite of Durantime be?

I wish that I had a cool term to coin to describe times like this when the band is so busy and that there is so much going on with them, but I don’t.  I’m not very good with slogans.  (Anyone have a good idea?)  The point of this blog entry isn’t to name this time but to actually take some moments to appreciate it.  Where was the band a year ago?  I guess they were working on the new album.  Maybe they were getting ready to play a private gig or two, but most of us couldn’t appreciate either one of those things.  Yes, I realize that they need this “downtime” in order to make new music and to pay for these projects.  Nonetheless, I know that I appreciate times like this more as a fan.  Who doesn’t?  I know that I didn’t get a chance to see them live in 2010 but now have a number of chances to do so.  (I’m obviously feeling BEYOND lucky, too!)  I also realize that times like this don’t come around all that often so I better take a moment or two to appreciate it. 

I have a number of friends who follow different bands (shocking that all of my friends aren’t Duranies, isn’t it?).  These friends like bands who are smaller in scoop as they have had some success in their careers but nothing like Duran’s level of success.  On one hand, I’m jealous of them.  Their bands tend to tour much more frequently as this really is their main source of income.  (Yes, I realize that Duran makes a ton of money on touring but they aren’t living tour to tour the way a small band does.  Heck, Duran charters a private plane when they can on tour.)  Typically, their tours include smaller cities in the States, which allows fans to see a bunch of shows without traveling that far.  We don’t have that chance with Duran.  We have to be willing and able to travel to see, sometimes, even one show.  On the other hand, though, we get to watch Duran on the Tonight Show and on Ellen.  We get to read countless reviews. Duran gets a ton more press because of how big they truly have been over the course of their career. 

Today, I find myself just appreciating the time I’m living in, in terms of being a Duranie.  Is it a perfect time for all Duranies? No, personally, it isn’t, but as a FAN, it is pretty good right now.  I love the latest album as does most of the other fans.  There is not the division that existed during RCM times.  I get very excited by every TV performance and every piece of news from their concerts. I am SO looking forward to my shows.  However, I also want to be aware that these fabulous times won’t be around forever so I shouldn’t rush to see the next event take place but take the time to savor every event and every day. 

-A

Release Day Much?

Happy March 22nd everyone – or as I like to call it “Thank goodness the countdown is freaking OVER!”  I’m going to quickly apologize for what you’re about to read, because I am sick.  Not sick “in the head”, but truly sick.  You know that “man-flu” that Simon and John had last week?  Well, I have something similar, but of course in ways that only my own gender can manage – it’s a bitch!  You’d think I would be in bed today, but alas – I’m female.  We carry on.  Besides, I had two children to get off to school and a Deluxe Best Buy exclusive CD to go purchase for this very blog today.   I’m sick, just a bit grouchy….and quite honestly…shivering as I type.  Is this dedication or stupidity??   Don’t answer.  I don’t wanna know.

Our plan was simple.  Get the CD and review the packaging today.  I started panicking a little yesterday because the pre-order didn’t get here – normally when I pre-order from Amazon, I get the CD the day before it comes out.  I love that about Amazon.  Well, this time I didn’t order from Amazon.  I ordered from a company that is sending me a signed copy of the deluxe version (we all know who that is, but because I’m not happy with said company at the moment – I’m not advertising for them.), and although they claim to have sent it – it’s not in my mailbox as of yet.  So, my backup plan was to go to Best Buy and pick up another deluxe copy because it has songs on it that my other copy won’t have.  Whose brilliant idea was that, anyway?  Show yourself and prepare to be flogged!    I called Best Buy last night, knowing a contact at a local store that would set one aside and hook me up.  Well, that contact told me that his store, as well as the other local store I frequent – sent their copies back.  Their stores have very limited shelf space, and in his words “Duran Duran just doesn’t sell.”  I was surprised mainly because this is a Best Buy exclusive.  You’d think that the store would at least carry a couple of copies, if for no other reason than to say they tried!  This morning I got up, promptly noted that I was A. Feverish  B. Probably dying or at the very least dizzy from an inner ear issue, oh and C. Realized that it was release day and I had nothing to look at, listen to, hold or even use as a coaster if it sucked.  (I’m kidding about that last part.  For THIS album, anyway.)   I got up, prayed a shower would warm me up and make me feel human…and got on with my morning.

At this point, I checked Facebook, cursed at the hundreds of others that had their CD (Because for today at least, this is the way I am.  I’m weak, annoyed, and damn it – everyone should love me.)  and posted my Best Buy debacle.  I then got several text messages and a phone call from Amanda letting me know that her Best Buy must be in the Duran Duran PRIDELANDS because there are 18 freaking copies at her store.  Of course there are.  She’s kind enough to pick me up one, (which is fair play because I have her signed one coming to my house – then I’ll be forwarding it on to her) but both of us agree that I really should make the 25 minute drive to Best Buy, preferably one that I didn’t check stock with last night, and see if they’ve got anything.  So off I go.

I get to Best Buy, wait outside for 5 minutes because they open at 10am (keep in mind that time is ticking away here – my youngest is in preschool for the morning.  I have approximately 2 and a half hours of “me” – HA don’t I wish!!! – time before I go pick her up.), and promptly at 10, go in with the half dozen other crazy people that needed to be there when the store opens.  I briefly considered that perhaps I wasn’t the only Duran Duran fan wanting their newly minted copy of All You Need Is Now, then I realized that my cold drugs were kicking in so obviously I wasn’t thinking clearly.   I went into the store, and on the way back to the CD section I was asked three separate times if I needed help.  Looking back, I don’t know why I didn’t say yes – but I didn’t.  I figured it would be fairly easy to find a new release, especially of a band as auspicious as Duran Duran.  Of course I’d find it!  Amanda said there were like 18 copies at her store!  This is Orange County California – there should be at least that many!  Well, first I looked in the regular CD section.  They not only had nothing, they didn’t even have a nice little divider card with their name on it.  That’s when I started getting nervous.  Then I went to the New Release “showy” racks at the front of the department.  Let’s see – they had The Strokes, Kanye West, Taylor Swift (that damn album isn’t even NEW anymore!!!), and a whole bunch of others that I don’t care about.  No Duran Duran.  So then I start looking for someone to ask.  There isn’t a blue shirt to be found.  Where in the hell did they all go?!?  That’s when I started thinking it was a conspiracy.  Obviously.   So, I finally get pissed off and go up to Customer Service.  The woman behind the counter says “Oh yeah, I’ve seen it.  I remember looking at it and saying ‘Wow – I didn’t even know they were still together!'”  I take a deep breath, mainly so I don’t unleash on the poor girl.  She must sense my annoyance because she immediately goes on a hunt for it, stopping at three tables and then saying “Oh, you know what, it must still be in the back!”   She goes to the back, comes out and tells me they don’t have it.  I say “Yeah, see that’s fine except your little website says you do, so I wonder where it is?”  I even tell her all about how it’s a Best Buy exclusive,and that it’s got two songs on it that you can’t get anywhere else, and that I need to write a blog about it…TODAY.  Then she starts apologizing.  She finds two other guys to help her and at this point there are 3 blue shirts crawling around on the floor looking through every single shelving rack that was out, on the hunt for Duran Duran (I swear I could say a quote from Barbarella here….but I will refrain.)  Finally and triumphantly she shouts with glee “I found them!!”, and there in her hands are not one, but two copies of the album.  She then told me that they only got the Best Buy exclusive version, not the regular album – but the deluxe, and that I am going to be buying one of the two copies they will ever get in stock, because their store won’t re-order.  “Duran Duran just doesn’t sell.”, she tells me.

At this point, I’m leaning up against a shelf, trying to steady myself because I can tell my fever is back up and running again.  I go and buy the copy, being congratulated by the clerk for making them find the album, and I run out of the store – ready to listen to all of the songs to my hearts content.  FINALLY.

I’ve listened to most of the album at this point, and I’m looking over the packaging with a fine tooth comb.  Later as I am gripping a box of kleenex, my blankie (yes, I have a blankie – it’s an afghan that my grandma crocheted for me when I was about 4 and went into the hospital to have my tonsils out) and a pillow – I will watch the DVD.  Tomorrow, I will comment.

Until then, have fun finding the CD.  I do have plenty to say about this release and the various “exclusive deluxe copies that you can’t buy anywhere else!”, but I’ve decided that until I can think clearly – I’ll wait to comment.  I’m at least that kind….sometimes.

-R

Bonus Tracks

So in the last couple of days I’ve heard a few of the bonus tracks on the album – before someone reports me to the Duran police, I should probably clarify that I only heard short little snippets, not entire tracks.  When I’m listening, I have a really hard time trying not to form an immediate opinion – some people out there are fabulous about that, I’m still working on it.

I remember when I first heard snippets from the original 9-track album – I don’t think anything I heard completely blew me away.  Some things made me want more, other songs made me think “hmm…well, maybe the next one will be better!”   Of course, I didn’t post much of that, because I like living, and because I hadn’t heard the whole song.  It’s a good thing I didn’t post much of it – because oddly enough, the songs I thought I’d love ended up being ones that while I still like, aren’t necessarily my favorites; and vice-versa.

This time around, there is one song in particular that I am interested in listening to in it’s entirety. Not because I love it, but because I was shocked at how much I didn’t love it.  Naturally I’m not saying which one yet.  One other thing that I am really disappointed about are the interludes and the remixes of All You Need Is Now that are being included on the deluxe version.  It’s not that I don’t think the interludes are worthy of being recorded and included – it’s that in my opinion, they should have gone on their own separate EP.  (oh how I miss the days of the 12″ remix single…..)  I don’t think they quite belong on the CD, but that’s just my own quirky opinion.  I guess I should be thankful that Duran Duran is giving us everything on one album.

Oh wait.  They aren’t.  😀  I know they felt they were doing this release as intelligently as possible.  It’s been pointed out to me that they really are learning the way here – it’s a whole new world to release an album in 2011, and I get that.  Learning how to market effectively takes quite a curve.  My entire problem with this…process…so to speak, is that it seems utterly ridiculous to have SO many different versions of the album coming out.  Not only do the versions vary by where you reside in the world, but they also vary by retailer (at least here in the states, if not elsewhere).  I’ve complained about this previously, and Duran Duran so graciously has responded to the questions by trying to clarify – but the real problem is that there are just too many different versions to keep track of.  

That said, I have to wonder if this hasn’t really always been the case to some extent.  Back in the days of vinyl, I recall hunting high and low for the “Harvest” versions of some albums, or the Japanese release of others.  I can remember looking in numerous record stores for Duran Goes Dutch, or countless other things by Duran Duran that may not have even been official releases, but I still wanted them for my collection.  Half the fun in going to a vinyl store these days is when I find a copy of something that I’ve been looking for over the past 25 years.  There are even some Duran Duran albums out there that I didn’t even know existed until rather recently – the bliss of ignorance, I suppose.   Perhaps the only real difference between then and now is that nowadays, we have the tools available to us to know what other countries are actually getting, and what is included on their versions.  Back in the 80’s and even the 90’s, it was much harder to tell.  Ignorance is bliss once again.

I suppose that fans could argue that now, it’s even more difficult to keep track because some retailers want their own exclusive versions of the album – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why.  They have to have some way of competing with Amazon and iTunes, and this is the way to do it.  If Best Buy has a different version of the album than everyone else – even if it only includes one or two different songs on it, there’s a reasonable assurance that fans are going to want to buy that version, therefore guaranteeing sales.  In this day and age, where physical CD shelf space is shrinking by the day in stores – Duran Duran is going to do whatever it takes to get their product into that store.  I can’t blame them.  I still think though that fans owe it to themselves to really think back to the day when we didn’t know ANYTHING.  We had no access to information telling us where certain versions were going to be until way after the fact and someone told someone else.  The bottom line is that it’s still up to each and every one of us to make our own choice as to what to buy.  The band is not holding a gun to our heads, much as we might like to characterize them as “forcing us” to love them, and once again – there is NO PRIZE for who has the most at the end.  John Taylor still isn’t going to marry any of us.  😉

 Oh, neither are Roger, Nick or Simon.   😀

-R

Worried about the Future

Duranies fret about the future, or at least, they have for as long as I can remember.  It seems that there are always fans who are concerned that Duran’s career will be coming to an end soon.  Part of me completely understands this anxiety and the other part of me finds it ironic right now.  So, why the concern now?  From what I have seen, the worry comes from the following: their age, their popularity, their album sales and their concert ticket sales.  Yes, the truth is that the members of Duran Duran are getting older.  We all are, but that doesn’t mean that their lives are about to end.  Roger’s about to be a dad again, for goodness sakes.  I believe that he plans to be around for that little one.  What exactly is the concern with their age then?  Is it because we don’t believe that they can cut it as rock stars for that much longer?  Why?  What does it mean to be a rock star?  Does being a rock star mean that they won’t play as long of shows or that their tours won’t be as long?  Does it mean that they wouldn’t stay up late and party?  What is really important here?  Personally, I don’t care if they go out and party anymore.  Yes, I want them to play really long shows and I want long tours so that I can see and enjoy them!  What fan doesn’t?  If they want to slow down because of their age, though, I have to respect that. 

As far as their popularity goes, I feel like this topic has been discussed to death.  Yes, it is a fact that they are not as popular as they once were.  It is obvious when you look at the album sales and even concert ticket sales.  That said, they have sold out most of the small shows around the States during the next couple of months, but I do admit that they are small venues.  Of course, we have mentioned the possible for reasons for this lack of popularity in many other blog posts that I won’t go into.  Yet, I’m not sure why this fact automatically equals that they are about to end.  Do we all assume that popularity is the only thing that matters to the band?  I guess I don’t believe that.  Yes, people will say that they need to sell albums and tours to make money to keep going.  News flash here.  Many of them have money.  Maybe they don’t have as much money as they did but still.  Now, I do think that they like to be loved and I’m sure that their egos are alive and well.  But, if they only wanted to be popular, why didn’t they quit decades ago when they fell from popularity?  Is it just that they keep chasing popularity?  Maybe.  I still doubt it.  If they were, wouldn’t they always try to work with the most popular people?  Wouldn’t all of their albums be done like Red Carpet Massacre was?  Wouldn’t they try to change their style completely to fit in with whatever trend is popular?  Is it possible then that they would like to be popular and recognized for their work but also want to be themselves, musically and artistically, for the most part? 

Do fans of other bands who have been around as long as Duran has worry about the future?  Do U2 fans, for example?  I don’t know but I doubt it.  Does this happen in Duranworld because Duran has been so inconsistent with their popularity?  Maybe.  Is it because we all love them so much that this is something that we are always anxious about?  Possibly.  I do find this to be rather ironic.  I wonder if the fans who are worried realize that the name of their current album is All You Need Is Now.  Duran has always said that they are about embracing the present and this song, in particular, shows that.  Can’t we just be glad that they have a new album?  Be happy about whatever shows and promo appearances that they are doing?  As someone who is facing a very uncertain future, I can understand the concern.  I get it because I know that I really want Duran to be around for a long time.  I couldn’t face losing them.  However, I also think that we should enjoy what we do have rather than worry about what we might not have soon.  I wish that I had done that more in the last decade of my life, but I’m trying to do that now, both personally and with Duran.

-A

Unfinished Projects

Yesterday’s blog about the upcoming release of the regular and deluxe versions of the album reminded me of an all too frequent occurrence in Duranland, which is unfinished projects.  Rhonda mentioned this interview with Duran Duran’s manager yesterday, in regards to the upcoming album.  Like Rhonda, I believed that there would be many different versions released, depending on location, type of store, etc.  Right now, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  While each location for pre-order seems to have something slightly different, there isn’t enough of a difference to say that the band followed this idea.  I suspect that these differences between track listing has more to do with the ever-changing list of finished, extra tracks rather than releasing a bunch of different versions.  I’m willing to bet that by March 21/22, the track listings all match based on the country.  This leads me to wonder if this idea about many different versions is another one of Duran’s ideas that faded from reality.  I would have liked to have seen as many versions as possible, not because I need or want to spend a ton of money (goodness knows I don’t have it and may soon have a lot less) but I want as many new Duran songs as possible.  Therefore, this was one idea I hoped to actually see happen.

Another project that I long to see completed is the Drama Americana documentary of the spring 2005 U.S. Astronaut tour.  Like many of you, I’m sure, I have seen the trailer on youtube.  This brief clip just makes me want to see it even more.  That spring was such a great time for so many of us.  For some people, it was the first opportunity to see the Fab Five all together.  For others, it was the first chance to really tour or to get to know other Duranies or get to know them better.  For me, it was both.  I was able to see five shows in a week during that tour and was lucky enough to experience those shows with tremendously great and fun people.  Beyond my personal experience, it seemed to me that everyone was SO excited by Duran and by the reunion.  It was like no one could get enough of the band, of shows, of each other.  Plus, we were all celebrating Astronaut, an album that most of the fans embraced, from what I saw.  I loved the idea of a documentary about this time.  I was hoping it would be like an updated version of Sing Blue Silver!  It seems to be about done, too, if there is a trailer.  Yet, for some crazy reason, it hasn’t seen the light of day.  Why?  What happened?  They don’t have to release it through some big distribution.  They could release it just on their website.  I’m sure that many of us would still buy it!!!

On the opposite end of the unfinished projects is Second Life.  For those people who can’t remember, this was the idea that they would appear in this virtual world and eventually play a virtual concert there.  At that announcement, Duranies flocked to the website and signed on.  It seems like many people got into it, too.  Apparently, real life money is exchanged for or through the website.  I don’t really understand.  Yet, we haven’t heard anything about it in a long time.  Obviously, Duran was still thinking about it during the recording of RCM since Zoom In makes direct references to it.  Again, I have no clue about what happened to the idea or why.  Unlike the Drama Americana documentary, I don’t know that this one would have much interest, if it was resurrected.  Second Life was too hard, for me, to get into.  I’m not one to play video games and didn’t even like setting up my avatar in it.  Then, I didn’t understand why I should talk to people or how.  It seemed like way too much work for me and very time consuming.  Plus, while I love Duran shows, I don’t think a virtual one would be nearly as exciting as a real one. 

I’m sure that there are a bunch more unfinished projects just sitting somewhere.  Maybe they are sitting in the Duran archives.  Possibly Nick is storing everything in his non-human like brain.  I don’t know.  Some of them I would love to see come to fruition and others not so much.  What projects would you still like to see them do and why?

-A