Category Archives: band members

The Story of Two Little CD Inserts Part 1

Once upon a time, there were two little cd inserts.  These inserts were relatively happy.  After all, they had been marked by the “FOUR”, those rock stars that their owners loved so much.  Oh yes, these little inserts were lucky ones as they had been given to dedicated fans who truly appreciated and loved them.  They weren’t just thrown into the trash or hidden in some dark, lonely desk drawer.  No, they were allowed to be out and proud in well-used rooms in their owners’ homes.  At times, their owners would pick them up, sigh and give a really big smile.  Life was good.  Despite this, the little inserts knew that something was missing, something ESSENTIAL was missing.  What could it be?  The little inserts would soon found out.
 
About a month and a half ago, the inserts heard their owners talking to each other.  Something was definitely going on!  Something exciting!  It sounded like whatever was going had to do with those rock stars that had marked them years before!!  The inserts were extremely happy for their owners as they knew how much these owners of theirs loved the FOUR!  Even more exciting, it sounded like whatever was about to happen involved a trip!  Again, the little inserts were happy for their owners but didn’t think much of it as they didn’t travel anymore since arriving in their current resting place.  While the inserts didn’t mind going on trips, they understood that their owners didn’t want them to get lost or get damaged in some way.  Thus, they accepted their lack of traveling.  
 
Yet, this event seemed different!  The Wisconsin based insert noticed its owner packing one night in between exchanging messages with the California insert owner.  The little insert knew that packing meant that the house was going to be quiet and there will be no action taking place in the office in which it rested.  Suddenly, though, its owner burst into the office and grabbed the frame in which it rested!  “What was going on?!,” the little insert wondered.  “What was she doing?” it thought.  With that, the frame was opened and the insert was removed.  The insert became scared as its fate seemed unknown.  “Would she throw me away?  Would she move me to a dark drawer?  Would she sell me to some other fan?” the insert questioned.  This didn’t make any sense!  The owner loved the insert, it thought.  Then, with a huge sigh of relief, he heard her mutter, “Let’s see if we can’t get you completed!”  The insert then knew it was time to travel as its owner placed it in a blue folder along with plane ticket information, hotel information, show information and more!  The insert knew that it was in for something special!
 
Soon enough, the little insert and its owner were on their way.  This trip found them first driving in a car, then traveling up in the sky!  The insert had traveled by plane before but then it was in the mail, in a package.  This was different.  This time, the insert could hear its owner and other people near by talking.  While the insert wished to be out of the folder, it was still very excited by what was going to happen!  After the plane landed, the insert remained patient as its owner met up with that other insert owner.  The little insert knew enough to know that crazy things happened when those two humans were together!  The excitement increased!
 
The next day, the Wisconsin insert found itself traveling again in a car.  Anticipation was high as the insert owners were exhibiting enthusiasm about this trip, even though both humans tried to act so cool, so unconcerned.  Yet, the Wisconsin insert worried about where his matching insert was.  Why didn’t the California human bring her insert along?  The Wisconsin insert wished that he could be with the California insert as it felt certain that they, too, could have fun.  Wait…what’s happening?  The car is being turned around?!  What’s going on?  In fact, the car turned around a few times but the only time the Wisconsin insert cared was the last time.  Why?  It was reunited with its fellow insert!!!  The two little inserts were together!  Oh, yes, something was definitely going on!  Something big!  Important!  Exciting!  The inserts couldn’t wait!
 
After a brief drive, the inserts and their owners made it to their destination.  At this point, the Wisconsin human held on to both inserts.  The inserts wondered and wondered what she was going to do with them!  They hoped it would be something good!  More importantly, could this be the time in which the inserts would finally be made complete?!  They had spent years feeling like something was missing.  Could this trip be the one to end that feeling forever?!
 
At first, during this time that the inserts were together, it seemed quiet and uneventful.  While they still sensed some excess energy from their owners, they remained in the Wisconsin human’s purse where it was quiet and dark.  Soon enough, though, they heard music.  Good music.  Familiar music.  Very familiar music.  Could it be that the FOUR who had made their marks on them were near?!?  It would make sense and be the reason that the humans were buzzing.  Did the human have some plan for them?  Something that involved one or more of the FOUR?!  They could only hope!
 
The night wore on and the inserts got worried that there really was no plan for them.  They were just going to take up space in the purse.  That isn’t right!?!  Then, suddenly, they felt a human hand reaching for them and handing them over to another human.  A British human.  They heard their owners explain that this British human needed to add his mark, his signature to them!  At first, this new human didn’t seem to understand as he began to flip through the inserts, ignoring the front when the California human explained that this male human needed to add his mark on the front along side the FOUR.  Then, each insert felt the smooth motion of a pen across the front of each of them.  Then, there was nothing but a huge sigh.  RELIEF!!!  Finally, they were complete!  Whole!  They now featured the marks of all FIVE!!!!!  Yes!!!  This was the best night ever!!!!
-A
Stay tuned as part 2 will be posted this week then any and all questions will be answered!!!

Maybe you think you’re above it

Why on earth would a fan think it was a good idea to circumvent security, climb up on stage and rush the band?

Last night there was a Morrissey show in San Jose, California.  I had a couple friends at the show. They were excited because previous attempts to see Morrissey (for them) had been thwarted by the dates being cancelled at the last minute.  There was joking (well, on my part anyway) throughout the day about whether he’d actually do the show…because you just never know when it’s Morrissey. (not even going to look your way right now, Duran Duran…)  But by dinner time last night, it looked like yes, it was going to happen.  My friends were excited, and while I’m really not a Morrissey fan, I was excited for them to finally get their show.

Fast forward to this morning, when I see that one of them posted that their show was cut 2 or 3 songs short because of a few absolute MORONS who thought they had the right, above everyone else present, to get up on stage, rush Morrissey and get their hugs in.  The band stopped playing, and the show was over.  Thankfully, I hear that this was during the encore and at the very least – the audience was able to see most of the scheduled show.

I’ve been to two Duran Duran shows where someone thought they deserved an up-close and personal shot at a hug from Simon.  Somehow they managed to get up on stage, and the first time – Dave pretty much bear hugged the girl and took her offstage. The second, Simon sidestepped what he saw coming out of the corner of his eye and once again – trusty Dave grabbed the girl and took her off.

As I’ve sat and thought about people rushing the stage that way before…two main thoughts go through my head. The first being: why would someone really think that getting up on stage with the band would EVER go well?  At the very least it has the potential to ruin the show, appearance, etc. for everyone else, not to mention that it puts the band at risk.  Why wouldn’t that be enough to deter someone?? That’s when I start considering the other sorts of “bad fan behavior” I’ve seen over the years.  “Rules” such as no getting up on stage to grab the band, and not trying to talk your way backstage or into the studio, or any multitude of other “unwritten” rules…are simply that. Unwritten.  People (like me) just assume those kinds of things aren’t cool to do, and so they (I) don’t attempt them. I don’t follow the band home. I don’t try to sneak my way into places I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to be.  However, there are plenty of other people out there that just assume those “rules” (because dammit – they’re unwritten anyway, and why should we assume they’re really rules?!?) are for other people. They’re not going to let silly ideas such as the thought of being the cause of a show ending early because they got up on the stage ruin their fun.  So what if it seems weird to thousands of other people that they followed a band member home – all they’re asking for is five minutes, right? The trouble is, and this is key: that behavior is typically rewarded.  Maybe that fan who climbed up on stage gets to go backstage. That fan who followed someone home got to speak with the band member….and maybe even got a photo. The point being, while you and I are standing in line at a meet and greet…or just following whatever rules were put in place for whatever function we’re talking about, someone else didn’t bother with those rules.  They found them outside the venue and had five minutes of uninterrupted time and plenty of photos. (which probably weren’t allowed to be taken IN the venue, store, etc.)  They waited outside of the band’s hotel room even though other fans told them it wasn’t cool. They talked their way onto a tour bus, they made friendly with bouncers to get backstage…or any multitude of other things to get what they want. It always happens, and more often than not I’m either annoyed that fans get away with that sort of thing or I’m kicking myself for not doing them myself. Things that you and I might think are the “wrong way” to do things aren’t an issue for someone else, and typically the band (and by “The” Band, I really mean ANY band, but especially this one) rewards that behavior.

Why? Well, I have to assume that for the band – THIS band – any fan is a good fan. They’ve been around a long time now. There’s not so many of us still standing on our feet. Yet, they need and crave that attention we readily give. Yes, I’m saying the band is slightly narcissistic, and I’m sure they’d agree. There certainly is something to be said for being on stage and having people scream for you night after night. Thirty years later and it’s still happening? Oh, you betcha…and so when they go without, they crave that adoring attention, and their egos love the extra boost. So if fans are going to break the “rules” to get to them, the band can’t help but smile. They love it even if it pisses off those of us who have been politely waiting our turn. Our loss, right? You snooze, you lose.

And that’s why it keeps happening, even though typically – it ruins it for everyone else.  But who cares about that really?  I mean, it’s all about ourselves, right?

-R

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Today’s Date in Duran History – Denied!!

Ok, so if you’re paying attention and reading the blog, you’ll remember that yesterday I posted the daily point of interest being that on that day in 2001, reunion rumors for the original five broke out on the internet. I am beyond tickled that today’s tidbit, always in good turn, is that on this day, also in 2001, The Powers That Be (otherwise known in fandom as TPTB…it’s true, check it!) denied such rumors of a reunion on dd.com.

*gasps for overdramatical effect* How I wish this blog had audio sometimes….

The plot thickened…and I’m fairly certain, given what I know about DD fans, that this statement did nothing but continue to fan the flames of gossip, intrigue and rumor about such things. I can almost see the posts now…

“Well, you saw it – management said it wasn’t happening, and until they come out and say it really is happening – I don’t believe it.”

“Do you REALLY think the band is going to admit that they’re reuniting until they’re ready?  Don’t be stupid!  Management is never going to tell us first anyway. ”

Better yet…

“Since when does the band ever bother to really use this website anyway? Remember when a fan hacked into this site just to update it so that people would know what was going on?”

Well, we all know what ended up happening, don’t we? And…I’m pretty sure we can all guess as to why management needed to deny the rumors until the band was ready. Contractual issues between band members past and present (well…I guess that’s past and past now), a web page needed to be constructed and so on. Darn those gossip web sites!!

I still smile when I think about the evening I went online and read the news about the reunion. I must have read the press release five or six times before it really started to sink in. My brain refused to believe what my eyes were reading, and I’m sure that I was not the only one feeling that way. There are many, many times when I really wonder why I got so involved in this community. Like anyone else, I’ve seen my share of cut throat behavior, both in-person and online , and it can really be disconcerting.  But then I think back to pivotal moments I’ve experienced as a fan, and I realize: I wouldn’t want it any other way. This is a perfect point to close this week (for me, since Amanda will be writing tomorrow through Sunday), so I bid you all adieu til Monday.

-R

Am I the Only One?!?

This is a blog that I have been thinking about writing for awhile now and keep pushing it away.  I have been doing that for a number of reasons, including that other things keep coming up AND because I’m not sure if I will be able to explain myself well enough.  Today, I’m going to try.  I am feeling brave.

Since the election ended, I have had more time on my hands.  Yes, that is the understatement of the year.  How does someone like me fill up about 20-40 extra hours a week?  I pay more attention to Duranland, including the Twitter-verse.  In many ways, I have enjoyed this because I like to talk to people or to see what others are thinking and talking about.  As part of my more frequent observations of twitter, I have noticed a bit of a pattern.  This pattern, which probably won’t shock any of you, is that people tweet to John and Simon.  I realize that isn’t new.  Of course, it isn’t.  What I noticed this time, though, that I somehow missed before is that people tweet to them ALL the time, even when they aren’t on and haven’t been on.  Sometimes, the tweets will be repeats from previous tweets that was sent.  Other times, they will be tweets that people think would be interesting to one or both of them.  None of that would be that terribly noticeable to me but I couldn’t help but to notice the sheer volume or number of tweets.  In many cases, these tweets would be from the same people, too.  My timeline would be filled with them so I cannot imagine what it must be like to go on to Twitter if you are John or Simon.  As I noticed this, I obviously realized that I didn’t do this and wondered what they said about me.

I don’t tweet very much to John, Simon, Dom or even Duran’s twitter.  Now, I won’t say that I never have because I have.  I do it in two certain circumstances, generally.  I either do it when they are on and I have a burning desire to respond to something one of them (usually John says) or when some event is happening.  For example, I’m sure that I tweeted to John when his book came out and I finished reading it.  I also tweeted before the signing/book talk in Chicago.  Basically, I tweet when and only when I really have something to say.  I don’t try to find a reason to say something.  If I have something to say, I say it and I say it only once.  Now, I’m not criticizing the people who do tweet to them all the time or say the same thing more than once.  I understand why they do it.  I even wonder if I should follow in their footsteps.  I don’t know.  That is what I’m trying to figure out by this blog post.

It seems to me that the people (fans) who tweet to the band members do it to get a connection with the band member or to get the band member’s attention.  (If I’m wrong, please, let me know.  I’m just guessing here.)  I can’t fault them for that.  After all, don’t we all want a connection or be noticed by a band member, especially a band member of choice?  I’m sure the idea here is that the more you tweet, the more likely the band member would see the tweet(s) and feel compelled to respond.  I get that.  Maybe they are on to something with this idea, too.  As I have already stated, I don’t tweet to them very much at all.  I also don’t ever get responses from them.  Heck, the couple of times that John responded to a tweet from the Daily Duranie, he responded to tweets that Rhonda had typed.  Would I love, love, love to get a tweet from John?  Are you kidding?  Of course, I would.  Who wouldn’t?  I do notice that many of these people who tweet to John or Simon do get responses.  I have no doubt that some of those fans are the ones John even referred to in his book.  So, why don’t I follow in their footsteps?

First of all, I won’t lie.  I’m not great with social interactions to begin with.  I can observe until the cows come home but actually going and being social isn’t very natural with me.  Could that be part of it?  I’m sure but I don’t think it is the only thing.  Second, sometimes, I think I’m not a very good fan.  Why?  I don’t feel very comfortable doing many fan like things.  For example, I wouldn’t approach any of them if/when I see them in public unless I totally knew it was okay.  Why?  Simple.  If I was them, I wouldn’t want to be approached by fans all the time.  I would want to be allowed to go into public without feeling like I was “working”.  For me, it is a respect thing.  I’m sure that many of you are saying that twitter isn’t the same.  That’s true.  It isn’t.  Yet, I do have to wonder what it is like to get so many tweets at you.  Is it flattering?  Annoying?  A bit of both?  I guess there is a part of me that would be worried that it would be annoying to them, which is part of the reason I don’t do it much.  I would hate for them to see my “name” and think “annoying”.  Of course, if I’m really being honest, maybe I don’t think my tweets would be interesting to them.  Maybe, they would think they are stupid.  Again, I wouldn’t want them to think badly of me.  I’m sure that some of you are thinking to yourself that this seems particularly stupid since I blog about what I think.  Yes, that’s true, but the band doesn’t know about it and wouldn’t read a FAN blog.  Lastly, and perhaps, most significant for me is that I’m not friends with John or Simon.  I don’t have a connection with them (as much as I would like to).  I’m a fan of theirs.  They have no idea who I am.  Heck, even if we were friends (yeah…dreams are free) or had some sort of association, I wouldn’t tweet to them all the time.  I don’t do that with my friends or associates now.  It feels unnatural for me to attempt to do that with them.  *shrugs*

So where does this leave me?  It leaves me tweetless, that’s where.  It leaves me continuing to have a battle with myself.  Am I approaching this the right way or should I try to be more like others?  What do I gain if I do?  What do I lose?  How do you approach twitter with the band members and why?  Do you think I’m approaching it the wrong way?

-A  

Year End Katy Kafes

What does a Duranie do when moving off the couch seems like a lot of work due to being ill?  This one listens to the year end Katy Kafes on DuranDuranMusic.com.  Katy Kafes are one of the true privileges of being a member of DDM, I suppose.  Although, highlights from each of them were posted on dd.com as each of the members wished Katy and the fan community a happy holiday season.  This blog will attempt to summarize the important or not-so-important points of each of them and give a brief review because that is what we do here, people! 

Simon:
I listened in order of how they were listed on the page.  I might assume that they were recorded in that same order, but I really have no idea.  In fact, the only one a definite date is known for is John’s, which was after his last book signing, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  In the beginning of the Kafe, Simon needed a refresher on what actually took place during 2012.  At first, I was critical of that until I realized that I had to think about what Duran did this year, too!  I could blame the bad head cold for my lack of memory, but it is probably just old age setting in.  Then, Simon discussed touring and some of the dates that were highlights for him.  Some of the shows he mentioned were the Switzerland date in January, Dubai, Latin America, Greece, Exit Festival in Serbia, Italy, France, the Olympics, and the US.  The part of that discussion that I really enjoyed hearing were the stories he told.  For example, he talked about skiing with Yasmin and Amber in Switzerland or how he hurt his knee in Latin America.  That is a lot more interesting to me than a list of fabulous dates.  When it came to the US dates, he talked about disappointing it was to Nick and the fans that the last of the dates had to be canceled.  He talked about he went ahead to Atlantic City and mingled with the fans.  Some of those fans were angry, which he felt was “inappropriate”.  I assume here that they were angry with Nick and/or the band rather than angry at the situation.  If that is true, I have to agree with him.  It wasn’t like Nick could control his health.  Sickness happens.  I know.  Outside of touring, he talked about Nick’s 50th birthday surprise with artwork from guests and other invited people.  He also discussed how he is enjoying his time off and being able to spend time sailing, being with the family, and being able to travel to India.  He also hopes a new Simon’s Reader will be coming soon.

Nick:
Like Simon’s Kafe, Nick began by discussing the tour and specific shows or places that were real highlights.  Some of Nick’s were South America, Exit Festival in Serbia, the Olympics, and the US.  He moved on to some of his traveling highlights, which included a few days in San Francisco where he enjoyed numerous art shows, including people like Cindy Sherman and Man Ray.  As someone who enjoys arts and art museums, I loved hearing about these shows.  I, too, would love to see the Cindy Sherman show, in particular.  Nick recommended looking online for some of these shows even if one is unable to travel to attend in person.  Good advice.  He also took the time to talk about Second Life and how those who are left have created and maintain a creative community.  I will have to take his word for it because it isn’t any place I go and spend time in.  He did say that he hoped to pop in before the end of the year, which is rapidly approaching.  Heads up, then, to all of you who do participate in Second Life!  A Kafe with Nick wouldn’t be normal if there was no discussion of movies.  He mentioned how he wants to see Lincoln (he totally should as I cannot recommend it enough) and Hitchcock but he did enjoy the latest Bond and the latest Tim Burton films.  Travel was part of his Kafe as well since he took a holiday to Bali, which doesn’t scream Nick Rhodes to me but cool.  He, apparently, wore shorts.  Other highlights for him for 2012 included visiting the Rio boat and his 50th Birthday Bash. 

Roger:
Roger’s Kafe began with a discussion on weather, snow, and children’s first snowfall as both Katy and Roger have young children.  This made me giggle since we have had so much snow here.  I have to admit that I still feel like a kid with the first season’s snowfall and this year was no exception.  Roger did not talk about many specific shows on tour when he began discussing his highlights for the year.  He did mention the Olympics and how big it was, especially since his whole family was there, watching.  The other show he said was Rome.  Now that the tour is over, he is glad to be home and spending time with his family.  He does look forward to going back into the studio with Mark Ronson in March and figures that he might be itching to get out on the road by summer.  Hmm…Outside of Duran, he has been DJing some, including with his son, James, which is good because James brings a different kind of taste in music.  He hopes to get to South America to DJ in maybe January.  There was a visit to Peru to visit family as well as a trip to Miami for vacation.  The other highlight that Roger mentioned was John’s book, which I thought was very nice and thoughtful of him.  He said that he thought the book was lovely and that John was lovely.  He is pleased that it did so well and that he is very happy for him.  🙂

John:
John’s Kafe was a little different from the rest as he had not only the band stuff to talk about but the book stuff as well.  He said that he thought it was a good year for the band.  Some highlights were the Olympics and the Exit Festival.  It wasn’t always easy, though, as he did feel overworked with both touring and writing the book.  Once the book was written, though, it was fun to put it together, pick out pictures and get ready to promote it.  This surprised the publishers who really only wanted him to go to London and New York.  John said that the Duran team had to fight for every city.  As for expectations, he tried not to have any as he had no idea how it would sell or how the fans would react.  Obviously, the results have been very satisfying and the in-person readings and signings have been great.  He is excited that it is getting translated into other languages.  That said, he is ready for a break.  In fact, he would find himself grumbling that the rest of the band had been on a break and that he needed his, too.  I can completely relate to this as I often find myself diving from one project to another without any real break.  He plans to spend his holiday in England and has a trip coming up, but didn’t say where.  He looks forward to getting back in the studio with Mark Ronson and thinks that they can build on what they did with All You Need Is Now, which sounds wonderful to my ears!!!  He hopes it will be out in early 2014.  At the end, he stated how this felt like a very successful year as many connections were made, which I have to agree.

Overall:
I always enjoy listening to these.  I feel like you can always gain an insight into the band members by what they say and I often feel like they can give subtle hints about what is happening behind the scenes.  This time, though, I didn’t sense any of that, which is a bummer. I am also bummed that they don’t give Dom a chance to do a Katy Kafe about his year.  I am looking forward to March when they get back into the studio.  Will Roger be right that they will be ready to hit the road by summer?  Will John’s prediction of early 2014 be off by 6 months?  A year?  Three?  I kid.  I only tease because I love.  I would obviously love the album by then and I would love dates by summer.  Who wouldn’t?!  To summarize, 2012 was a year of touring for the band.  They also traveled both on tour and on their own.  They spent time with their families and paid attention to art shows, books, and movies.  That wouldn’t be a bad year for any of us!  Now, I’m looking forward to 2013 and it sounds like they are, too!

-A

“I Know the Answer…but…I’m Asking You the Question”

For the last month or so, our “daily” questions have become weekly ones.  Specifically, we have been asking people what they would like to ask the various band members if they had a chance to do a serious interview.  I went with this theme for a couple of reasons.  First, we are always complaining about how lame most questions are in an actual interview.  Heck, I think a lot of thought that of the non-fan questions asked during the Diamond in the Mind premiere were boring.  Second, this would give people an opportunity to think, seriously, about what they would like to know.  Unfortunately, the band has not asked us to present these questions to them.  (Have no fear, though, I have saved them…in case, pigs fly, and they do ask!)  Thus, we are not able to get the actual answers but, like everything else, this theme has taught me about our fandom, which is always a good thing! 

Each week, I asked what 10 questions people would like to ask a band member and I named that band member.  When it got to this week, which was the guitarist spot, I played it safe by allowing questions for any of the guitarists (Andy, Warren or Dom) or a combination of two or all three.  What was fascinating to me was which member received the most questions (John) and which one received the least (Simon).  Why is that?  Of course, not every question I got was of a serious nature no matter how many times I emphasized that.  Thus, I did not count things like, “Can I have your baby?” or “Will you marry me?” or things like that.  I definitely understand the instinct to do that.  Trust me, I do.  Nonetheless, I didn’t include those as I would never ask that for real and doubt that most fans would.  So, why did John receive the most questions and Simon the least?  I don’t really know but I could make some conclusions based on the responses I did get and based on our fandom.  First, people have gotten pretty comfortable asking John questions since he joined Twitter.  In fact, in most cases, when John is on, he is responding to questions or comments directed at him.  Simon, on the other hand, doesn’t use Twitter in the same way.  While he might respond to people every once in awhile, he doesn’t do it consistently like John does.  Second, people either seem to believe that Simon wouldn’t be serious in an interview or that they would not be able to ask him a question due to nerves, excitement, etc.  I can definitely understand being nervous!  I would be ridiculously nervous as well if I ever had the chance to ask them one question…never mind 10!  Again, though, I find it fascinating that people would be more nervous with Simon over John, Roger, Nick, Andy/Warren/Dom.  Why is that?  As for Simon not taking the interview seriously, I actually disagree with this.  Yes, I have seen Simon be “silly” but, for the most part, Simon is very pleasant and personable in interviews, at least in the ones I have seen.  Maybe, someone can point out interviews in which he doesn’t take them or the interviewers seriously. 

Beyond who got the most and least questions, I was also fascinated about what topics each band member was asked about.  Roger’s questions focused a lot on his decisions to leave the band and rejoin the band as well as the time in between.  I get wanting to know about that.  Of course, there were other topics touched on, including his family, touring, fans, music in general, health and DJing.  Nick’s questions, on the other hand, focused a lot more about art, fashion, photography, and traveling.  Nick was asked about Andy but Roger wasn’t.  Why is that?  Of course, Nick was also asked some questions about TV Mania, occupations, keyboarding and more.  John’s questions focused a lot on his life experiences, touring and Duran’s music.  In fact, John got the most questions about Duran’s music.  That fascinates me.  After all, John wasn’t there for an album and a half and there are many fans out there that feel like Nick and Simon are at the heart of the band (I don’t agree with this, by the way.) but they weren’t asked about Duran’s music nearly as much.  In fact, John was asked 21 different questions relating to their music and career.  Nick was asked 5 and Simon was asked 4.  What does this mean?  Does it mean that John is more about their music whereas Nick is more about the art/fashion/image that goes with the music, or so people think?  I don’t know, but I do find it interesting. 

Then, of course, when I asked about the guitarist, people responded in a fairly predictable way.  People’s preferences for one guitarist came through loud and clear.  Many seemed annoyed at the band for not making Dom an official member.  Others seemed irritated that Andy left and still others pointed out Warren’s contributions to the band.  I was not trying to stir the pot or bringing up old wounds.  I just wanted the guitarist spot to be treated equally, no matter who was occupying that position.  Obviously, what I was reminded of is how strongly people in our fan community feel about their guitarist of choice.  We aren’t united on this issue at all.  While some would welcome Andy back in a heartbeat, others now prefer Dom.  Yet, Warren would make others happy, if he returned.  It is not surprising to me that we are all so passionate about the guitarist.  After all, they have their own unique styles and represent very important times in the band.  It is difficult to separate the player from the music he was involved with.  For example, Andy will always be part of the Fab 5 and those early albums that many of us fell in love with.  Warren, on the other hand, was part of the album that brought the band back into the spotlight and many can argue that saved the band’s career with the Wedding Album.  Some prefer where the band is now with their latest, All You Need is Now, and would never want to replace Dom because of it. 

This weekly question theme was not as popular as our daily questions, but I am glad that I asked them.  Some things I knew about our community was reinforced, like how people are divided over guitarists.  I learned other things that surprised me, including that people would focus on Duran’s music and history with John.  Starting on Monday, we will go back to daily questions.  In fact, we will be doing brackets for Duran songs as influenced by one of our guest bloggers and guest blog, which you can read here.  I doubt the responses will be as insightful as these have been but I’m hoping that they are fun for all involved!

-A

Revisiting the Past: Lead Singers

There were lead singers in Duran Duran before Simon LeBon.  I know it is shocking and horrifying!!!  Nonetheless, it is true.  The two that I’m aware of are Stephen Duffy and Andy Wickett.  This week saw a birthday for Stephen Duffy, which led to a brief discussion about which lead singer gave up his rights to some of the songs that he had been involved in writing.  It seems then that now would a good time to revisit who is who and who did what.

Andy Wickett was the lead singer after Stephen Duffy and joined the band in the summer of 1979.  He had previously been a member of the band, TV Eye.  During the time that Andy Wickett was the lead singer, the band recorded their first demos.  Here is one of those demos.  As you can tell, this one has a VERY familiar title!

Some of the other demos included Working the Steel, Reincarnation and See Me, Repeat Me, which was an extremely early version of Rio.

Andy Wickett wasn’t in the band long, though, as he left by late 1979.  By 1981, a legal agreement was made between the band and Andy.  As the band paid him some money for his rights of the song, Girls on Film.

Stephen Duffy, on the other hand, was the lead singer before Andy.  Unlike Andy, Stephen had more contact with the band after he left.  If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you might have read about his involvement in a little project known at the Devils, which you can read about here.

While neither lead singer lasted beyond 1979, both had some impact with the band.  Andy left the band with the skeleton elements of Girls on Film and Stephen impacted the early Duran sound.  I think it is good for us to know that other singers were around before Simon.  I can appreciate what they gave and then appreciate that Simon and the rest of the band found each other in 1980!

-A

*****Edited to add that there have been some Duranie alerts regarding US shows!  I wouldn’t be surprised if the other half of the Daily Duranie would cover some of this in tomorrow’s blog!*****************

This Band Is Perfect Just Don’t Scratch the Surface…

I live in the Midwest of the United States.  More specifically, I live in the upper Midwest, in Wisconsin.  We definitely experience every single season here.  Right now, it is spring.  It is sunny outside and a beautiful 66 degree F.  Obviously, there are many parts of the world that experience weather as wonderful as this most of the year.  Of course, here in Wisconsin, we also have a long and, sometimes, brutal winter with months of below freezing temperatures and snow.  Yet, I like it that way.  Why?  I like that the weather is changing and I like that there are many days in which the weather just downright sucks.  This is my preference because then I feel like I can really appreciate days like today.  In fact, one of my most favorite days of the year is the first day at the end of winter when the temperature gets above freezing, the sun comes out from behind the clouds and the ice and snow begins to melt.  It is a reminder that we survived the harsh days of winter and that better days are ahead. 

Duran Duran as a band seems to have their own seasons, in my opinion.  They are constantly changing.  Some of these changes are small (touring outfits or backgrounds at live shows) and others are huge (significant musical changes in between albums).  The band members themselves have had their own seasons as well, from the carefree times to harder, more challenging periods.  After all, they are all humans.  I know of no person who has not had good times and bad times.  It is simply a part of life.  For me, the more challenging times help me to appreciate the good, much like winter makes me love spring all the better.  I think this is true for Duran Duran as well.  I admire the fact that they are always trying to change, to make things better, to perfect their practice.  Obviously, in my opinion, sometimes, they are extremely successful and other times they fall flat on their faces. 

Today, I began a new series of questions for the daily question.  In today’s question, I asked people to choose Simon LeBon’s best era.  I assumed that some people might pick the era in which they thought he looked the best while others would choose the time he sang the best or wrote the best lyrics.  Still others might look outside of the box and pick something more personal.  I didn’t want to give too many parameters so that people would be able to pick whichever era for whatever reason.  Of course, already today, many people have answered the question in that way.  Yet, others said that they couldn’t choose because he is always fabulous.  Is he?  Is any of them?  Are any of us?  I would argue that no one is perfect and that each of us have tried things only to have them not go as planned.  Sometimes, life circumstances have been such that we can’t control the time in our lives.  Yes, some would argue that it is impossible to judge because times change, fashion changes, etc.  It isn’t fair to judge.  First, I don’t really view the question as judging.  Going back to my analogy of seasons.  I like winter.  I think snow can be pretty.  That said, is it my favorite?  No, my favorite season is actually fall because I adore the changing of the leaves on the trees.  It doesn’t mean I don’t like winter, just that it is not my favorite.  I’m also not asking people to pick the worst.  I wouldn’t do that.  Many could argue that the worst of Duran is still better than most bands out there and I agree.  That said, I like to stay positive.  What I’m trying to do with the question is to have people pick that moment that is equal to the first day of thawing in the spring or to pick their favorite season.  I want people to pick the moment, the time, when Simon really shined.  It doesn’t take away from the rest of the moments but is putting one moment, one time, one era in the spotlight. 

Of course, as you can guess, I will be asking about the rest of the band members as well.  This isn’t a pick on Simon thing.  Before anyone asks, yes, John is my favorite and, yes, I think I could pick an era that is his best.  Why can I do that?  First of all, I can do it because, like me, he is human.  He isn’t perfect.  Second, I think that there were some moments when he shined more than others.  Does that mean he sucked the rest of the time?  Nope.  It just means that some eras were better than others.  I have that in my life, too.  Don’t we all?  In my opinion, this doesn’t make me less of a fan.  I think it just makes me a fan.  A fan is someone who can and does appreciate when the band or a band member gets it right.  That’s all I’m asking people to acknowledge by these questions.  Is that too much to ask?

-A

Taboo Subjects and Other Observations

A large part of fandom is talking about one’s idols, one’s interest.  In Duranland, the conversations should surround Duran Duran’s music, their videos, their DVDs, their live performances, their interviews, their merchandise, and other things directly related to the band and what projects they are involved in.  Of course, in a fandom as long-lasting as ours, sometimes, our discussions have moved beyond things directly connected to the band is doing.  Some of the discussions that I put into that not-so-directly related category include those surrounding the fan club, presales, band members’ politics, promotion, commercial success, band members’ personal lives, awards and other forms of recognition, and more.  Of course, we also talk about our fan community as well.  Over the years, I have come to discover that there are certain trends to these discussions.  I wanted to acknowledge what I have observed and also wanted to ask why some trends exist because it seems to me that there are subjects that we, as a fandom, don’t really tackle or don’t tackle head on.

The discussions surrounding topics directly related to what the band produces tend to get some discussion but not as much as one would think.  For example, here on the blog, our reviews of different songs or videos gets some views and some comments but they are not the most popular, not even when we were discussing the latest album.  On message boards, the discussions related to direct production of the band seem to involve more men than other topics and seem to include more people with a musical background or more musical knowledge.  I can understand why people with more musical knowledge would contribute more to discussions than those people without that same background.  Obviously, people will contribute more to discussions when they feel comfortable and confident with the topic.  Why does there seem to be more men who discuss Duran’s music?  Plus, these types of discussions seem to occur more often on message boards rather than on twitter.  Is this just the nature of the format?  Do these discussions happen less on twitter due to the 140 character limit?  Or does it have more to do with the fans who frequent message boards over twitter and vice versa? 

As far as discussions connected to the band, from my observations, the amount of discussion and the people participating really does seem to vary based on topic.  Topics like recognition and commercial success tend to be ones that people who discuss the music a lot are interested in.  Yet, discussions relating to the fan club and presales tend to include more women and more people on twitter and facebook.  When I go to message boards outside of the DDM one, it seems like presales aren’t happening at all or that people aren’t even going to shows.  It seems like there are completely different worlds between the message boards and the social networking sites.  Why?  I do understand that many people were on message boards and have left.  When asked, most will say that they didn’t like the drama.  What was that drama like?  What was it focused on?  Was it focused on disagreements about the music or disagreements about commercial success?  Was it simply that the two groups of people focused on different discussions and got sick of seeing the other group focus on the topics that they were uninterested in.  Let me give you an example.  It seems to me that there are posters (people who post) on message boards who constantly ask about album sales.  That is very important to them.  If you don’t care about that, I suppose it could be annoying.  Of course, the person focused on commercial success might get sick of threads about the fan club. 

Beyond the topics directly related the band and the ones indirectly to the band are the topics about us, about the fandom itself.  In this blog, we have brought up subjects that we assume would get a lot of people talking and they don’t or the responses are ones that appear to agree with us.  Why?  Again, I provide an example.  The other day, Rhonda posted a blog in reference to a blog from Nick Rhodes’s ex-wife.  In Julie Anne’s blog, she talked about how fans demanded constant attention from Nick that directly impacted time that they had as a family and pondered why people needed so many autographs and photos with/from the band.  The responses that we got on our blog all agreed with Rhonda’s points as well as Julie Anne’s.  Yet, I know that there are fans who think that it would be okay to approach a band member out in public when he isn’t working.  I also know that there are fans who have a ton of pictures and autographs.  Why didn’t those people defend their views and/or actions in our blog?  Why don’t they explain why they think that the band should be approachable at all times or why they do need so many pictures or autographs?  I’m asking without judgement, by the way.  I’m truly curious.

Then, of course, there are all of the discussions surrounding how we, fans, treat other fans.  The reaction, usually, to any discussion about fan drama or social status is to declare that people are immature, or jealous.  Then, they suggest that the fans grow up.  The questions that tend to pop up are, “Why does this exist in this fandom?  Does it happen in all fandoms?”  Everyone is quick to blame and no one seems willing to take ownership of his/her behavior.  Why is that?  It seems to me that the “drama” that seems to happen in fandom takes at least 2 people.  I will openly admit that I have had people in the fandom who I, at one point, called a “friend” and no longer do.  I’m not innocent here either.  In the situations I have been involved in, for me, most of them were directly related to some of the topics I mentioned here in this blog.  The truth is that we all have a philosophy of sorts when it comes to fandom whether we know it or not.  We all have opinions about meeting the band.  We all have opinions about how many shows people should or should not go to.  We all have opinions about what people should know the band and we have thoughts about what people should own or not own.  Yet, instead of having very difficult discussion about what we think a fan should be like, we keep it to ourselves and then judge other fans when they don’t do what you would do.  So, why don’t we have that discussion?  Why is so hard to talk about this?  I’m sure that we don’t because we are worried about being judged.  Maybe, for some, there is concern that they can’t really defend their positions or philosophy.  I fear, though, that until these topics become less taboo, drama and hurt feelings will continue and our fan community will not be as united as it could be.

-A

Which Member is Most Popular?

Recently, I have begun to think about people’s favorite member of the band.  I’m sure that part of the reason I have been thinking about it is because I’m missing tweets from my favorite.  No, it isn’t Simon!  Perhaps, I have been thinking about this because I have seen a tentative release date for John’s book.  (According to Amazon UK, it is supposed to be out on September 20th and has the title, “A Million Little Seductions.”  What do you all think about that?!)  Maybe, it is because Rhonda’s favorite really has changed or because the topic of favorite band member came up the other day with our question regarding best friend or stylist.  Anyways, it seems to me that people still have favorites but that the favorites in Duranland has changed.  That’s my theory, anyway!

 Back in the 1980s, I’m willing to bet that John Taylor was the big favorite.  He was featured on quite a few magazine covers.  I’m not saying that others weren’t but he seemed to get the most.  I don’t have any statistics to back this up but I do remember hearing somewhere that the Smash Hits with John on the cover in a swimming pool from 1982 was the biggest selling issue.  I also remember him winning a lot of best looking contests or polls.  After that, I would have definitely said that Simon was the close second.  A lot of the fandom seemed to be split between these two.  Just to be clear here.  These are my observations.  I don’t have facts to back up my statements, just my memories!  From there, fans either liked Nick or Roger.  Nick girls seemed to be more artistic, possibly more Goth.  Roger girls seemed to be more traditional who liked the quiet guy.  Andy came last, at least with the people I talked to about this back in the 1980s. 

Now, I’m not sure if this observed hierarchy has remained the same.  It seems to me that Roger’s popularity has increased dramatically since the reunion.  I wonder why.  Some of the guesses I have for this are that people appreciate Roger a lot more since he was gone, people think he aged super well, people’s tastes have changed since they have grown up, or people appreciate the fact that Roger seems to be a lot more approachable than he was.  For example, I know that I have seen Roger out and about after a show.  I have also heard a lot of others say the same thing.  On the same token, I would say that John has lost fans or isn’t as many people’s favorite anymore.  Again, I could make guesses as to why.  Maybe people don’t think he has aged well.  He doesn’t seem that approachable with fans in person.  He tweets but isn’t going to show up at a bar after the show.  Maybe fans want their favorites to be reachable.  As kids, we never expected this but now we might.  Since we are now able to show up at their hotels or at bars or clubs that they hang out, we expect or request their presence. 

That said, there still does seem to be a definite John side and a definite Dom side on stage.  People still openly request to be on John’s side, for example.  I know that when we were selling our tickets for the UK, the tickets on John’s side seemed to go faster.  Does that mean that he is still the most popular?  I don’t know.  How can we tell?  We can check follow numbers on twitter.  As of now, here are the twitter stats:  Simon has 56, 412 followers.  John has 32, 517.  Roger and Nick aren’t on twitter.  Roger does have 20, 830 fans on facebook.  Okay.  What about on DuranDuranMusic?  There, John leads with the most posts in his area of the message board followed by Simon, Roger and Nick.  How should these statistics be interpreted?  Maybe Simon has more followers because he is the most well-known and non-fans follow him?  I don’t know.  Maybe John fans are more obsessive on DDM or maybe more of them are members there.  Again, I don’t know.  Then again, there are a lot of groups on facebook dedicated to Nick.  Maybe this is where all the Nick fans go.  Maybe that is done because he isn’t on social networking sites. 

Maybe the hierarchy of favorites hasn’t changed over the years.  Maybe John still is the favorite.  Maybe he did lose some fans or maybe Roger has increased his fanbase.  I just don’t know.  So, I’ll leave it to you to answer.  Who do you think it the favorite band member for most of the fans?  How can you tell?

-A