Category Archives: Andy Taylor

Favorite Band Member

I need a break from all of the current happenings with the band.  Last week was filled with tour news and planning.  This upcoming week will feature Duran Duran at the Superbowl Fan Jam.  I’m looking forward to both the tour and the performance in Dallas, which I hope to see via TV.  Right now, though, I need something silly and unimportant, which led me to think about recent discussions I have had with other fans.  One of those discussions focused on one’s favorite band member.  It seems to me that some fans have their favorite and that favorite has remained a constant for decades.  For other fans, their preference has changed.  Maybe, some people don’t have favorites. 

How do/did people pick their favorite member?  When the band came out and became popular, I’m willing to bet that most people decided based on the band member’s looks.  They might have also considered their style, their musical role in the band, their “personality” via videos or interviews.  I can imagine that many Simon fans appreciated his voice and lyrics.  Perhaps, they like his outgoing personality both on stage and in interviews.  John fans, I’m sure, were attracted to his good looks.  Many Nick fans probably appreciated his colorful looks and sense of style and fashion.  Andy fans might have liked his rock persona and Roger fans admired his quietness.  Does one’s personal favorite reflect on his/her’s own personality?  What if the fan changed his/her favorite over the course of the years?  Does that reflect changes with the band or changes with that fan or both? 

I should admit that I do have a favorite.  I will also admit that I started out having a different favorite but that only lasted a short while.  When I was a kid and first heard and saw Duran Duran, I initially considered Simon my favorite.  Why?  I suppose a lot of it had to do with the fact that he was the “voice” of the band and seemed to be at the center of attention.  Let’s face it.  He also looked pretty good in 1984.  Then, I saw the Reflex video and John Taylor.  Well, I immediately switched my favorite to John, which remains the same to this day.  See, it was a short while!  So, what attracted me to John?  Obviously, I thought he was “cute”!  I liked his personal style and didn’t seem as out there as Nick to my very young self.  It also helped that my best friend, at the time, also liked John.  Thus, when a new video or magazine came out, we would look at it and scream over John Taylor together!  We encouraged each other.  Of course, I didn’t really know much about John or any of them at that time beyond what was published in Bop magazine.  I memorized it all and could recite facts quickly.  The things I learned about John seemed so cool and I wanted to think those things were cool, too.  How many John girls watched James Bond movies because of him?  I bet a lot.  I’m sure that Simon, Nick, Roger and Andy fans had similar experiences. 

Fast forward to the reunion.  My favorite remained the same.  Other fans’ favorites changed.  Why?  It seemed to me that when the reunion happened, most fans initially went back to the childhood favorite.  Most message boards seemed to encourage this.  For example, over on DDM, John fans got to know other John fans and Nick fans met other Nick fans through the section of the board designated for that particular band member.  Like my experiences as a child, these sections were filled with pictures of the band member of choice and there was much screaming following posted pictures!  It also seemed that we all started learning a little bit more about the guys.  Of course, even now, we don’t know them.  We might have some guesses about how they are from their interviews, from meeting them if so lucky, from listening to the music and lyrics for so long, but we don’t really know them..  Nonetheless, it does feel to me that I know different kinds of things about John than I did when I was a kid.  Obviously, I know that he supported Obama in the US Presidential Election of 2008 and didn’t have a clue what his political opinions were in the 1980s.  I know that Simon does not consider himself to be a Christian now and didn’t have a clue then.  For some people, the new knowledge makes us appreciate the band member of choice but, for others, it might turn them off.

Can new information about a band member change someone’s favorite?  I suppose it can.  I feel like some people’s favorite has changed due to their interactions or lack of interactions with fans.  For example, I absolutely felt Roger’s popularity increase once fans realized that he was out and about with the fans after shows.  Where did these fans come from?  I am willing to bet that many of them were John fans first.  If interacting with fans matters, then it would make sense that John might lose fans because he isn’t so social after shows (personally I think that is the right move for him).  What if someone had a bad meet and greet experience with a band member?  Could that cause a change in favorites?  I think so.  I have seen it.  I have seen people warm up to Nick, for example, because he is always so friendly with the fans and I have seen people turned off by Simon’s can-be-perceived-as-a-diva-like-attitude in public.  What if people change their favorite simply because of how the band member has aged?  I suppose it is possible, even if I don’t like it.  Obviously, I admit that looks had/has something to do with it but I wish it didn’t have EVERYTHING to do with it.  That feels too much like objectification, to me. 

It also seems to me that is possible not to have a favorite.  Maybe you like and appreciate them all equally.  Maybe you really are focused on the music.  I can admire that.  Will favorites always be a part of the Duran Duran fandom?  So far, as long as Duran Duran has existed, there have been favorites and I’m willing to bet that there always will be!

-A

Loose Women

I apologize for the lateness of the blog.  I have gotten far behind the Duran happenings due to losing my beloved kitty.  I admit that I haven’t been very focused and have had lots of interruptions with people contacting me to express their condolences, which I completely need and appreciate.  Nonetheless, I did have a chance to see the band on the UK’s Loose Women and enjoyed every minute of it.  I only watched it once and admit that I didn’t hear every statement made but I did have a few comments.  Go figure.

I think many Duranies were excited about this particular show because, I believe, it is the first one where we have seen Duran perform a new song, their current single, “All You Need Is Now.”  Now, I can only imagine that playing a song for the first time in front of an audience might be unnerving.  I know that I saw them perform “Night Runner” at the fan show in June of 2007, at what was probably their first performance of that song.  Based on that performance, I did not expect much as that early performance of “Night Runner” seemed to me to be awkward for the band.  They did not seem at all comfortable.  Simon, in particular, seemed to be having a hard time figuring out how or when to move.  To me, this indicated that the band wasn’t all that comfortable with the new album and the direction that they were taking.  Therefore, I thought that this performance might be equally as telling about how they are feeling with their new material.  Based on what I saw, they are COMPLETELY comfortable with it.  They feel good about it!  Simon seemed to know exactly what to do with himself during the song, physically.  John and Simon kept sneaking glances at each other in a “look at how cool this is” fashion.  The chorus was a particular high note with the vocals of Simon, John, Anna and Dom blending together nicely.  Overall, they seemed happy.  I can’t be more happy that they are happy with this new music.  This makes me truly looking forward to a tour and seeing this song, in particular, live.  Of course, there was a lot more to the show then just this performance.

The fun, having-a-good-time feel ran through the interviews, especially when all four of them were being interviewed at the same time.  I had a hard time following because so many people were talking and laughing at once!  I noticed that they were smiling the whole time.  I don’t think I have ever seen Nick smile so much at one time!  Of course, I had a good laugh, as well, when Simon struggled to come out after his introduction as it appears as if he might fall!  He handled it well but I know that I was entertained by the moment.  Besides the solid performance and the carefree spirit of the interviews, I did gleam a bit of information as well.

There were three comments that I took note of.  First, I noticed that the interviewers said that the official release in February was to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Planet Earth, their first single.  Fascinating.  This was a rumor a couple of months ago and now appears that it might really be true.  I even blogged about it at the time!  When I first blogged about it, I wasn’t too keen on the idea.  Now, I’m not sure.  I like the idea of having AYNIN have a separate release date to show its significance but I also like the idea of connecting the new with the old.  After all, isn’t this album about celebrating the classic spirit of Duran Duran?  Besides, AYNIN will have a separate date with the early downloadable release next Tuesday via iTunes.  It seems more like a win now.  Second, I noticed that when asked about Mark Ronson being a fan, John commented that it was a lot better than being with a non-fan.  Hmm…is that a comment about Timbaland, Timberlake, or even Nate Hills from RCM?!  I don’t know but it is keeping me thinking.  Lastly, there was a question about Andy.  The question came from a fan who had emailed in and basically asked them if they would take Andy back if he wanted to come back.  John didn’t answer that.  Instead, he said that Andy didn’t leave twice, technically, as the interviewer had said.  That really makes me think about what he means by that!!!

Overall, the show did what it was supposed to do.  I want to see more performances of the new material.  I want to see them enjoying themselves, each other and the music.  I also want more information in regards to those statements I mentioned above.  Dang that band for keeping my attention on them and what they are doing!  Luckily, more shows and interviews are supposed to follow!  I cannot wait!!!

-A

Behind the Music

I apologize for the late blog entry today.  I wanted to wait to respond to the airing of Behind the Music, which aired tonight in the U.S.  First, let me say that I always enjoy watching shows featuring Duran and I especially like documentary-type programs.  It is pretty funny that I do since I feel like I could tell the history as well or better than the typical documentary, especially since they are pretty predictable.  Most Duran documentaries feature the following:  Why Nick and John formed the band, getting Andy from a Melody Maker ad, Simon’s audition in the leopard skin pants, the use and success from videos, Nile Rodgers, Power Station and Arcadia, Roger and Andy leaving, Ordinary World, John’s drug use, John’s leaving and now the reunion.  This was the first one I have seen since Red Carpet Massacre, however.

The original Behind the Music was one of my favorite Duran Duran documentaries as I felt like they had captured most of the important elements of their history, but, more importantly, they had captured the hysteria of the fandom and placed Duran in their rightful place, historically.  That said, I was dubious about how this new remastered one (interesting that they call it “remastered”, by the way) would be.  I enjoyed the program and was pleased to see that some of the more annoying elements of the original had been removed, including the bad rumor about Simon almost drowning during the making of the Wild Boys video.  I, of course, loved the new parts just because I’m dying for any and all footage of the band in their current state.  That said, I thought that the show’s editing and production could have been better.  They kept parts that I don’t understand.  For example, why keep Simon saying that he missed John?  That statement is out of date.  Why didn’t they ask Roger anything from their early history?  During the original, Roger did not appear but now his voice was noticeably missing.  Certainly they could have edited in some statements from him.  Overall, I just don’t feel like they blended the two parts together well.  They wanted to make it a smooth program but ignoring the fact that some interviews were done in 1998 and others in 2010 seems stupid.  Why not just have a part one and a part two?  Obviously, part one wouldn’t necessarily end the way the original ended but they could have ended part one right before the reunion and start part two at that moment.  It is a logical separation. 

The new part was mixed for me.  It started with the reunion and how the idea formed after John left.  Nick and Simon commented about how they had to tell Warren that he wasn’t a part of the future of Duran.  Simon, in particular, seems reflective about this.  Then, Rob Sheffield, the Rolling Stone writer, commented about how this was bittersweet for the fans as we had gratitude towards him.  Obviously, there were and are fans who love Warren and then there are others who were happy to see him go.  I’m not sure that Rob’s comment captures those feelings.  Then, the show moves forward to talk about their plan to tour and to show record companies that there was a demand for them.  This part did remind me of the excitement that the reunion, Astronaut and the tour, that followed, had.  From there, the show skimmed the surface of the controversial topics of the rejection of Reportage, Andy’s departure and RCM.  The narration did not dive into those issues and stuck to the least problematic versions.  While I understand that, in a way, I would have loved for the producers to go further, to go deeper like a real documentary.  Obviously, some interesting statements were made, but not enough to draw a serious conclusion.  First about Andy, Simon said that he was becoming very difficult to work with and that the whole band felt that.  Then, Roger said that it was a “ticking bomb” that they had all been feeling for over a year.  John ended the discussion by saying that they were moving in different directions.  Hmm…As for Reportage and RCM, the Sony executive said that they need an album with a “vibrant beat”.  Simon said that the record label didn’t “get” Reportage and the fans didn’t want RCM.  He isn’t wrong, at least when it comes to the two authors of this blog.  The show ended at the present day with Duran working with Mark Ronson on AYNIN.

I loved the ending of the show and admit to being terribly excited by what I have heard about and from this new album.  Ronson does seem to match Duran well and, clearly, he is an “ultimate Duran Duran fan”.  😀  Of course, the show leads the viewer to think that this is the time for the next wave of Duran success, whatever that might mean.  I obviously have no idea if this is true or not and won’t know for awhile.  What I’m hoping for is that this album is one that they like and are proud of.  This will help the fans to return as well.  One thing I noticed tonight was the number of fans watching and talking about it on message boards and social networking sites.  Clearly, the fans are starting to pay attention and are starting to get excited!

-A

Silver Lining

I usually title my blogs first, oddly enough.  I know Simon feels that you can’t really name something until you’ve seen it – but I do it backwards.  (that is so typical for me!)  In any case, this time – I can’t title it yet.  Hopefully something will hit me before I need to publish, otherwise this blog is going up without a title.

I have a calendar that Amanda, my writing partner for the blog, created.  It’s a daily Duran Duran calendar – each date has a specific event listed.  There’s no need for me to worry about whether the band is going to publish an “official” yearly calendar because I already have my own, and I love it.  Every night I change out the page for the next one (it’s in a small plastic frame in my room), and it gives me a brief moment to reflect on the memory of the event, or in some cases, I just say “huh” and go on to whatever task I have happening next.  Last night, when I finally got up to my room for the night, I turned the page only to reveal that on this day just 4 years ago, we got the “official” announcement that the Fab 5 partnership had once again been dissolved and we were now at 4.  Truth be told, I had already learned of Andy’s leaving a couple of weeks prior – but I was sworn to secrecy, and to this day I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone just how much earlier I’d known what was going on.  I don’t even really have “insider” knowledge – it was just odd luck, and it was something that at the time, I didn’t want to believe and I certainly didn’t want to share in hopes that it was false.  Regardless, as I turned the page and put it into the frame, I remembered how I felt that day when I got several phone calls from my closest friends.

I think that for me at least, I don’t know that I ever expected Andy…or Roger for that matter, to stay for long. I guess it just all seemed way too perfect.  I know of many, MANY Warren fans out there, and good on all of you for being able to accept him so well, but for me he was never a part of MY Duran Duran.  At least not the one I fell in love with.  For me, that band has 5 members, and you know their names, including those 3 Taylors.  So, when the reunion was announced and I saw them live again, it WAS perfection.  It was my childhood, adolescence and adulthood all coming full circle – and it was a perfect, shining moment that I never thought would last.  Of course, it didn’t.  I saw Andy perform with the band 4 times, and I do treasure those times.  Regardless of what anyone says about his work ethic or his playing style, he provided something to that band that can’t be replicated, and I thank him for coming back at all because in doing so he allowed me to live out a dream – and that was to see all 5 of them together.

That day 4 years ago, as I spoke to friends on the phone, I had very mixed emotions.  I know I was really angry – many fans have been and still are to some extent.  However, I think that if anything, my anger was directed towards the rest of the band more so than Andy, particularly because from everything I’d learned about the upcoming album – it was going to be nothing like what I expected from Duran Duran (and it wasn’t).  I was (and still am) convinced that the direction of the new album was at least partially responsible for the dissolution of their partnership.  Many will argue with me, saying that I couldn’t possibly know what went on – but one thing I *do* know, is that if Andy were truly interested in being in the band and recording the album – he never would have allowed for a stupid travel visa (or lack thereof in this case) to be the reason he didn’t show up for recording.  Out of all of the lame reasons I’ve ever heard in my lifetime – and trust when I say that working in HR and staff management – I’ve heard more than my share – that is probably one of the worst.

I also knew that I was about to board a plane headed for Chicago, where I was going to see Duran Duran be the opening concert for the brand new Sears Center.   I’d already seen Dom Brown as their guitarist for a few shows – so I knew the band would obviously still play, but I wondered how they would be as they came onstage.  They would be facing a lot of fans with a lot of emotion behind them – and many of us were following them on to New Orleans (they would play the Voodoo festival later that weekend) from there.  It was important that they come out on stage that night and play the show of their lives to prove they could still do it without Andy – at least, that’s how *I* felt about the show.

I went to the show with a heavy heart, but also an inner yearning.  I wanted that band to come out there and blow my socks off.  I needed to hear that they were going to be fine, and I’ve always felt that I could tell how the band was doing by the way they were playing – they aren’t that great of actors, and I think it’s become fairly clear (to me, at least) when things aren’t great backstage.  They came on that night with a fire in their bellies, that is for sure.  They all sang and played with more fire and conviction that night than I’d seen since they played at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa in 2003.  John Taylor played his heart out that night, while Amanda and I sang right along with him.  😀  I looked over at Dom several times that night, wondering how he must have felt.  It’s one thing to take over for someone when they are ill – but it’s quite another when you know it’s just been announced that they aren’t coming back and for the near future, you’re the guy.   Dom stood off to the side, respectfully played the guitar and did a fine job.  He interacted with the band, but not overly so, and I found myself being more and more drawn to him.  Mostly, I wanted him to see that the fans wouldn’t eat him for dinner just because Andy wasn’t coming back.  I found myself wanting to give him the heroes welcome in a lot of ways, because truly – had it not been for Dom’s ability to step in and play a superb guitar, we would not have had a show that night.

Later that weekend, I ran into Dom on a plane bound for New Orleans.  He sat right across the aisle from me – and after I picked myself up off of the floor both from illness and from shock, but I took a second to thank him for playing, and I commended him on being able to step into some very big shoes.  We talked a little bit during the flight, Dom was very, very kind and he’s earned my loyalty as a fan, whether he’s playing for Duran Duran or playing his own shows. (someday, I will make it to the UK to see him, or he’ll come here – but I will see him one of these days!)  I know he’s not Andy Taylor, and of course he never will be – but he’s a gift to us in his own right.   That weekend, Amanda and I made Dom his own sign for the Voodoo festival (and we waited all day, were practically trampled by My Chemical Romance Fans and narrowly avoided being rolled on by the lead singer of Flaming Lips in a huge hamster ball in order to show it to him), to us – he’s part of Duran Duran and therefore part of the family.  The sign said “We Scream for Dom” – and I don’t know if he ever saw it, but Simon and John did – and they were trying to point it out to him.   It was just our way of saying thanks and welcome.  To this day when we see the band in concert and it’s a GA show, I try to position myself somewhere between Simon and Dom, that way I can see Dom, and I get a great view of Roger as well.   I have no idea if Dom remembers me – but he’s got a fan until I can no longer get myself to the shows, and even then – I can still keep listening.   For me, he is part of the silver lining.

Nile Rodgers once posted that the gift is always there, even in the worst of times – you just have to find it.  I think that our gift is that many of us finally got that opportunity to see and hear all five together again.  How many of us really thought that would ever happen??  Certainly not me.  It was a brief, shining moment – and one that I continue to treasure.

-R