Category Archives: Andy Taylor

Andy Taylor TV – Switch it ON!

I’ll admit it, it is rare when a website gets my attention these days.  I’m addicted to Facebook, I’ve got more than a passing interest with Twitter, and meanwhile I’m still only on page 327 of Steve Jobs’ biography!  So, a website has to be pretty darn special to make me want to click the mouse!  A couple of weeks back, I noticed that Andy’s website had been completely revamped, renamed and redirected! (Andy Taylor TV)  I’d been a member of whatever website he had going last (admittedly I’d lost track even though I was an avid reader of his blogs and updates when he’d post them), and thankfully he sent out an email alert of the change!

At first, I put the email aside, figuring I’d get back to it when I got a chance.  Then I realized two very important things:  1.  My friend Kitty was involved.   2. There was a blog that caught my deep interest. I’ve in turn written here at Daily Duranie about that blog – it was in reference to Justin Biebers followers – the “Beliebers”. (a word I still have trouble saying AND typing…)  If you need to catch up, you can read that blog here.

Upon doing some research for that blog, I wandered unattended onto Andy’s site, aptly named AndyTaylor.tv   After wandering, I realized that if I wanted further enlightenment, I would need to chat with Kitty, our good friend from Gimme a Wristband.  She was kind enough to broaden my field of vision a bit.

Andy’s website is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Essentially free from the suits that run the music industry, along with Sonic Vista (his state-of-the-art recording studio in Ibiza) “he’s become his own personal broadcaster”.  I suppose like anyone else, I have my own visions of what Andy must be like in good old reality.  He has always struck me as the type of person that is only going to put up with so much, and when he’s had enough, he has had enough.  I’ve always liked that about him, even if it sometimes seemed to be to his detriment.  I have a similar attitude in general, even though I know how to play the game – I typically choose not to play.  I want my own rules, dammit!   His website seems to be his answer to idiocy of the music industry.  Kitty continues, “…there’s nothing filtering Andy’s message to – or from – fans.  And why should there be?  Fans are to be treated with respect that they deserve, not like children being constantly spoon-fed with tasteless marketing drivel.”

I think we should all read that sentence again.  Slowly.  Let it flow through your body a bit and allow the brain synapses to fire.  Now go have it printed on a t-shirt.

It narrowly avoids inciting violence within me when I think about this industry that continually calls itself progressive and forward thinking, yet is stuck in the absolute mindset of making BRANDS rather than BANDS.  It is more important, more lucrative (by some accounts), and lets face it – easier – for the industry to find someone/something that looks good (or just make ’em look good) rather than find something that genuinely IS good.   Sadly, our world is such that we’ve gotten to the point where we’ll accept the former rather than insist on the latter.  Talent?  Who needs that with photoshop, autotune, smoke and a few well placed mirrors?  All I can say is good on Andy!   Take for instance his “about me” section…I prefer to think of it as a mission statement.  Here’s the link, I encourage you to read!  Call me crazy, but I think he’s got the plot.

What I love most about the site, and there are many, many things I adore, is that Andy encourages the broadcast to be a conversation between himself and viewers.  The site is not purely dependent upon his content.  It’s dependent upon everyone, whether you’re fan, friend, famous, or as Kitty put it, infamous!  Anyone who wishes to guest blog can drop them a note at  info@andytaylor.tv  The beauty here is that the stories take on a completely different life depending upon the storyteller.   Kitty explains, “look at the recent “BIG BOT” posts by Luke James, lead singer of the band Fashion. He was slogging it out onstage right there in Birmingham as Duran Duran was preparing to launch into the stratosphere, but tells the story from the perspective of a band in the same place at the same time going through the same motions with very different results.”  Any Duran fan has read many, many tales of their time at the Rum Runner, some lucky fans may have even been there during the time, but Luke James has a totally different view, and his perspective just opens the door a bit wider for discussion.


I specifically asked questions regarding the Ibiza section of the site because in my wanderings, it looked like a blank slate.  Kitty explains, “The ‘Ibiza’ section of the site recognizes that Andy is broadcasting from the perfect geographical location from which the new direction of the music industry is emanating. The electronic dance movement has essentially re-invented the experience for the punter —after all, it was Duran Duran kicking it all off back in the day with the Night Versions. It’s all coming full circle now with EDM. Andy’s sound, history and freedom are enabling some killer new artistic collaborations that are guaranteed to blow a few minds. In fact, he just finished co-producing and laying down some guitar tracks for The Ting Tings new album as they were recording at Sonic Vista. And there’s more — much, much more — with new remixes and a full new album, “Motherlode” coming out in the spring.”  (Note to fans, before you ask – I already did and yes, tour dates are in the works!)

We can all say what we’d like about Andy Taylor and his departure from the band…or the bands departure from him (I was never quite clear on that, not that it really matters now), but he has a clear sense of what works, and what does not…in this century.  Let’s face it, Top 40 radio is a thing of the past.  Album sales?  Who buys full albums anymore?  YouTube is more than a way for a young girl to show off her Christmas prezzies.  It takes more than just having and occasionally using a Twitter account to effectively harness fan power.  One can’t just say they recognize the force on one hand and cast it aside with the other simply because they don’t “trust”.   Use the power you’re given.  Be creative with the technology and use it to your benefit.   That doesn’t mean, however, that we all need to relearn how to interact on Second Life, either.  (my apologies to Nick Rhodes…) Cast aside the dead weight on your line, cut your losses, pick yourselves up by the bootstraps and get on with it, or else the world is going to leave you behind, if they haven’t already. That’s where Andy stepped up and grabbed that tiger (yes, that tiger…the Ragged one) by the tail.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Andy does with the site.  I feel as though my eyes are finally opening after a very long nap. (or else I’ve just stayed in bed with the covers pulled up over my head waiting for it all to be over!)  I like what I’m seeing and hearing thus far and hope it continues to grow!

Hearing?  Have you checked out the Planet Earth ReU-nite version?  Open your ears and give it a listen!  here

The bottom line? Andy gets it.  I have a little hope for the world again, or at least for music.  I’ll save a seat for everyone on the bus to hell that this world is traveling…but at least I’ll be listening to some good tunes along the way.  I’ve been whining about radio, the music industry, and the lack of respect for fans well before I ever started using N*Sync or Britney Spears CD’s as drink coasters around my house.  (they work well)  It’s time for the pendulum to start swinging back in the direction of real music.  Real talent…and a new thought…communication and partnership between fans and artists.  I’m sick of the “fast food” that the music industry is trying to serve, and it’s breathtaking to see one of my heroes doing something about it.

Before I finish, I have to give huge huge huge kudos to my friend Kitty at AndyTaylor.tv for her help and patience with me.  Not only is she brilliant at everything she does, she’s a genuinely good person and a great friend.  Kitty runs the editorial/promotional/fan liaison side of things for AndyTaylor.tv, and I know we all look forward to seeing good things continue to come in the years ahead!

One final thought:

Andy’s biggest and brightest statement is the one in bold print at the bottom of the ‘About Me’ section of his site, and it’s the one that makes the most sense.

“….It’s never been about simply one issue.”

Amen.

Happy 25th Birthday Notorious!

I must apologize for the SUPER lateness of today’s blog.  Life has been BEYOND crazy for me lately.  On top of teaching full time, I have been volunteering in a political campaign.  This is really more than a volunteer job as it has become so time consuming that I have worked enough this week to make it a full time job!  Of course, I’m also trying to get ready for my trip to the UK, which is coming up quickly!  Cannot wait!!!  Despite my hectic schedule, I have seen a few people mentioned today’s anniversary/birthday.  25 years ago today the album, Notorious, was released. 

I can think back to going to the local “mall”‘s record store after the album was released.  How excited I was!!!!  A new Duran Duran album!  My 11 year old self could *squee* with the best of them at this point!  I so looked forward to this album as it was going to be my oasis in a desert of lameness that I was currently calling home as my family had moved from the Chicago suburbs to this small town in Illinois.  I was “desperate for something new.”  You see this town felt so incredibly backwards to me.  It did not have top 40 radio (where Duran and others were constantly played) and it did not have MTV.  I felt so completely lost there for such a long time.  I clung to Duran then.  Their music reminded me of “home” and the best friend that I had left behind who was also a Duranie.  I didn’t care that no one in this dumb town knew or cared who they were.  They were my favorite band and that’s all that mattered to this opinionated pre-teen! 

Despite my focus on Duran, I couldn’t help but notice that there were changes surrounding the band and their fans.  I knew that Andy and Roger had left.  I was able to shake that off without too much of a problem as Andy never seemed interesting to me then and I had no opinion about Roger.  I was all about John then (I’m sure you couldn’t have figured that out!).  Thus, if John was still in the band, it was fine.  I suppose it was good to have Simon, too, since he had the voice.  Nick didn’t matter to me one way or another.  I was an optimist and was able to ignore all of those articles and interviews surrounding the return of Duran that openly wondered if Duran would still be able to cut it without Roger and Andy.  Didn’t they see that Duran was stronger than that?  Didn’t they know how much the band mattered to me and others?  Of course, they would survive!  They would not only survive but be better off!  I know that is what the guys said many times in interviews during that time period.  Yet, looking back, you can tell that they were trying to convince themselves as much as the rest of the world.  I was, too.  I ignored the little voice in the back of my mind that said that things were not as rosy as I wanted them to be.

I knew that there were changes and I was prepared to accept them.  What I wasn’t prepared for was watching people and friends walk away.  I saw them not believing what the band was saying about being better than before.  I saw how confused they all were by Power Station and Arcadia.  Heck, I remember distinctly having a conversation with my best friend at the time about how she was taking all her Duran posters down because they were no longer cool.  I remember being shocked by this.  I didn’t understand how she could so easily abandon them.  I also remember feeling sad that I would no longer be able to share Duran with her.  We wouldn’t have this interest between us.  It also meant that I now seemed to stand on the side of the road that was marked, “uncool”.  As much as this bothered me, I wouldn’t let go of my fandom.  I couldn’t.  They were helping me survive.

Obviously, a lot of time has gone by.  Duran has seen a lot more changes, including the return of Roger and Andy.  Andy has also left again.  Was Duran better in 1986 than in 1984 or in 1982?  I don’t think so, but they couldn’t be.  They had suffered serious losses of not only band members but also of their managers.  I remember hearing in an interview that they had lost their innocence then.  I think that is true.  They did.  I could relate, though.  I, too, had experienced losses.  I had to leave my best friend and my hometown.  I had left a culture I was familiar with and liked, one that was urban and diverse, to one that was rural and lacked diversity in all forms.  I was also growing up at the time and there is always much hardships then.  Did I really think that my life was better in 1986 than in 1984?  No way.  I did believe like Duran in that I was going to be better.  I thought that, too.  I just needed to survive the new town and I would be better, cooler. 

Duran survived, too.  They survived their losses and have been able to manage at least 25 more years in the music business.  While I don’t know that Notorious is the best Duran album, it is still important.  It marked the beginning of a new era for Duran, one in which they survived and showed that they were committed to keep going.  Thus, Notorious should be celebrated for what it was.  It told the world that they didn’t end and that they were going to keep going for a long time.  It showed that they had weathered this really horrible storm.  They might not be as perfect but they were still there and that is what mattered most.  I discovered the same thing by the time I left that new town of mine.  I wasn’t the same person but I did survive and that is always worth celebrating.   

-A

And on it goes….and on…and on…

I have to vent this morning.  I guess that’s one of the perks of having a blog.  🙂

I was on Facebook this morning, and narrowly missed another John Taylor Tweeting session.  I’m apparently VERY talented at missing those, but that’s alright.  He’s on UK time, and I’m pretty much on west coast of America time, and so that’s the way it goes.  I love that he has his accounts set up to where his twitter posts are copied to Facebook, by the way.  I still comment on them when I want, and John isn’t subjected to my thought patterns.  Probably for the greater good of everyone, no?  (Yes, I can and do laugh at myself often!)  Anyway, one of the comments to John…actually a couple of them really…were regarding Andy.  I’ll wait for you all to compose yourselves, as I know this must have been as shocking for you to read as it was for me.  (that’s some Thursday Sarcasm for you)

As I recall, one of the tweets was a question to John – the person wanted to know who he’d like to play with as a guest on this tour.  His answer?  Andy.  This of course just fueled the ever-present fire for Andy fans out there.  After that honest tweet, I could envision John’s Twitter account, full to the brim with all SORTS of Andy questions.  Where would you want him to play?  What songs would you want to do?  How many shows would you want to play with him for….and the list goes on and on.  Naturally, John doesn’t (and probably cannot!) answer every tweet, so I’ll never know for sure what was asked.  Another question a few minutes later was something to the extent of: On a scale of 1-10, what are the chances of Andy returning to the band.  I’ll wait for you all to gasp in shock as you know I must have at reading that question.  Again.   Rather than put us all out of our misery, John has to answer in a way that leaves the door just a little bit open.  He responds by saying permanently?  0  for a one off? 5.  

Not long before this nonsense, I read somewhere in my news feed that someone else read on Andy’s twitter (This is all meant to sound EXACTLY as insane and as much like a old fashioned game of Operator as you’re reading!) that he said he would have played with Duran Duran in Ibiza had the tour not been cancelled.

Right about now, I’m wishing this blog had sound effects.  I’d have something like “Duh Duh DUH” play in the background.

I have to say that Andy Taylor has done more for the nostalgia factor for this band than Rio.  What I mean by that statement is that by Andy leaving the band back in the 80’s, many of us (this blogger included) waited, crossed our fingers and hoped for the day that he would come back to the band.  Call it the hope of youth, call it immaturity, call it whatever you’d like – there were a lot of fans that wanted the original five together forever.  That Rio would once again be played as the Fab 5.  That angels would get their wings, and that cats and dogs would live together in harmony.  World peace would finally arrive and we’d all live happily ever after once again.  Then, by an amazing bit of luck, our dreams came true.  Well…everything except the world peace part, and those angels – I’m really not sure about those.  A reunion took place, and Astronaut was our moment in the sun.   Then Andy left again.  Once again many people are thinking about sacrificing small animals, sending smoke signals and begging whatever band member that will give them the time of day to get Andy back.  Once again Rio, the first album AND Astronaut are seen as the end-all, and for that faction of fans who insist on living in hope that the world will once again come full circle and be perfect once again, and maybe this time world peace really will come right along with a full reunion of the Fab 5.  It’s the nostalgia of the idea that back when we believed the band was perfect, there were 5, and our guitar player of choice was Andy Taylor.

I really thought by now the fervor would have died down.  I guess I figured that the saying, “Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, shame on you” would have been taken to heart – and really, it was by a lot of people.  Many fans out there wouldn’t want Andy back.  I’m not quite in that camp myself, but there are many that are, and I really can’t blame them.  They’ve moved on, they deal with change well and probably even run with scissors occasionally.  (Something I’m afraid to do because the last time I tried – I literally punctured a hole in my foot. Not a joke.  I still remember screaming bloody murder when it happened – I was about 10 then!  Did I mention I’m a bit of a klutz?)  The funny thing is, there are a group of fans who are insistent – Duran Duran is only really Duran Duran with Andy.   That of course, isn’t up to me to decide.  I only report what I see and hear.

My only reason for blogging about this topic today is that I’m simply amazed that what – 5 years after the man left, we’re STILL asking about his return.  I suppose for some of us, we’ll never stop wanting.  I love Andy.  Always have.  I also feel strongly that if for whatever reason, he doesn’t want or can’t commit to being in the band the same way that the other four have done; or if he can’t or won’t work with the other four – that it’s for the best he’s not in the band.  I don’t concern myself these days with why he really left, because what’s done is done.  I guess for my own sanity, I’ve moved on.  I’m glad he came back and did the reunion because it was something very, very special that I’ll never forget, and yes – there is absolutely a part of me that misses him being on stage – but only when he was FULLY with the band.  I hate(d) watching the shows where he truly looks detached from the rest of them and seems to be going through the motions of playing his own show.  I can’t imagine that was easy for him, or for the others.  I don’t really know – but it’s very clear they weren’t all a cohesive unit, and for me, that’s not enough.

What’s even funnier is that I don’t ever hear or see people begging for Warren’s return in this same way.  Perhaps it’s because there are many, many fans who would call for the public flogging of those people.  Maybe it’s because Warren was the #2 guitarist – not the original.  I’m not sure.  I read the reminders from his fans that he was in the band longer than Andy, and that somehow entitles him to be able to trash Andy….which still ticks me off to this day, but yet it’s very clear to me that Warren doesn’t have the same outcry for a return that Andy does.  It’s fascinating.

I posted a comment in response to one of John’s tweets today on Facebook.  I think it was where he said that there was a 0 chance of Andy returning permanently but 5 (out of 10) for a one-off.  My comment?

“Let the Andy Taylor thing GO.”

Really.  Don’t you think it’s time?  Why or why not?  -R

Andy, Andy, Andy

For me, the fab five consists of Simon, John, Nick, Roger & Andy.  I became a fan when Duran Duran had five members, and I suppose that a good portion of my heart still lies with that original band line-up.  I’m pretty certain I’m not alone when I say that, but on the same token – I realize there are many of you out there that do not agree.  Your “fab five” might have Warren included…or perhaps not.  Collectively, we’re all fans of Duran Duran, and that’s our common ground.

Over the years, we are continually teased (or tortured if that’s where you reside) by the idea of the original band getting back together.  Naturally we had our opportunity to witness that back when they reunited for Astronaut, and then we all had the pleasure of once again being tortured (or perhaps that’s we had the pleasure of seeing Andy leave again, if that’s what you’re feeling) when Andy left the band.  The reasons and all of that nonsense don’t really matter at this point, although I’m once again certain that there are many of you that are still wishing the band and Andy came completely clean and told us everything.  You keep wishing for that….. in the meantime….

Since Red Carpet Massacre, there has been a rather persistent and driving rumor that Andy is going to return to the band.  There will be a flurry of posts and threads about it, then the rumor dies down again….then it returns.  It’s like a bad penny at this point, it keeps coming up!  This time, the source of the “rumor” is pretty obvious – Simon and Roger did an interview on Sirius radio last week before the Super Bowl, and they were asked the question of the day “What about Andy returning?”

I am almost positive they groan before they have to talk about this, and at this point – I can’t really blame them.  I’m an Andy fan.  I’m a DURAN DURAN fan – I even lived through Warren being in the band.  I am almost as sick of that question as I am of the one where they ask (why people still ask this, I just do not know) “Are the Taylors brothers?”   *deep, deep sigh*   Regardless, Simon answered the question extremely eloquently, and as I listened, it made perfect sense to me, and as far as I could tell – it really didn’t leave much room for interpretation.  I’ve provided the link so that you can listen for yourself:  Simon & Roger on Sirius

Of course, I severely underestimate the fan community when I say that.  We’re a very talented bunch, and we can find loopholes in just about anything.  No wonder the band is afraid to talk to us at times.  🙂  Even after Simon’s explanation, and even after Roger agreeing….there are folks who wonder if the door is open for Andy to return.  I don’t suppose Roger helped matters any by saying that while right now they feel good about where they are, and they feel complete with Dom on guitar, who knows about the future.  A fair statement – but one that always leads hopeful Duranies to wonder if he’ll ever come back, or if there are truly plans for him to return.  

In all fairness, I think that door really IS open, but as Simon says – it would require some changing on Andy’s part at this point.   That isn’t an assumption on MY part, it’s exactly what Simon said on the radio that day.  I’m actually shocked that there’s even a door at this point – because I suppose in my head, it was a brick wall.  Yeah, they might be able to tear it down, but it would take some real work to do.  I guess time heals all wounds.   I’m not going to even begin to guess what Simon means by Andy needing to change – I only know what I myself saw going on with the band during shows and things, but I’m sure that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  All that in mind, I do know that I’ve heard some real softening in words and attitudes on all sides within the last, well…few months.

Does that mean that Andy would decide to return?  I really doubt it.  My head says probably not.  In the writing that Andy has done as of late seems to indicate that he’s very happy where he is, and honestly – he should be.  I also think that there’s some indication that he has sincere fondness of his history with the band, and he might even be wistful of that time – but that doesn’t mean he wants to do it again.  I get that.  I feel the same way about my college days.  Occasionally.  In the last few months I’ve read some things from John that would indicate much of the same.  It wasn’t long ago that I read something John had said during an interview- and I am paraphrasing his words….I still love Andy and I know he still loves me. Of course then John follows that sentence up with saying that he hadn’t spoken to Andy in years, to which I know many fans scoffed at – and even chalked the entire comment up to grandstanding in order to sell more tickets to their show in Newcastle this year.  That may be so, but it might also have been the fact that since the interview was done for media in Newcastle, which is where Andy comes from – Andy was the topic of conversation.  In other interviews, Andy might not necessarily be as much of a topic.  Ultimately, fans are going to believe what they want to believe.

The item of real interest here is that even after the years without Andy in the band, and even after a shortlived reunion, and consequential departure, the idea of Andy returning to the band once again is STILL a hot button topic.  Rumors persist, and hopes (both for and against) continue.  Is the Fab Five still the ultimate goal after all this time?

-R

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