Category Archives: Behind the Music

The Impact of Duran Duran

As the Chicago show get nearer, I find myself in touch with some of my people (friends) who are also going to the show.  As part of those conversations, I have found myself talking about Duran, which isn’t surprising but, in this case, I have found myself talking about the impact of Duran Duran in the world and in my own personal life.

This is the reality.  Duran Duran has been one of the biggest bands in the world.  They have sold a ton of albums (I have heard 70 million to 100 million), played thousands of gigs, won awards including lifetime achievement awards and have become part of the public psyche.  Say the name Duran Duran to anyone of a certain age here in the States and that person would have heard of Duran.  In most cases, that person could also name a song or ten and might be able to name a band member or 5.  Duran was huge and still is often referenced in movies, TV shows and books because people know them and the reference makes sense.  For example, a couple of years ago the TV Show, House, mentioned Duran and their song, New Moon on Monday.  I read a book not too long ago by Tiffanie Debartolo in which the main character was told that her true love was going to die at an early age.  This character worried about John Taylor.  These references show how big Duran was and is.  They show how their presence was and still is felt in the world of popular culture.

As a fan, I have seen and felt this impact.  On one level, I have to admit to feeling like I have been a part of something huge, something important, something monumental.  The only other times I have felt a part of something this huge was during the Obama campaign in 2008 and during the Wisconsin protests that took place this past winter and spring.  As a fan, I helped to make Duran huge.  I bought their albums, went to their concerts, bought their merchandise and more.  Without people like me, they wouldn’t have become so huge, so important.  John Taylor, himself, has recognized this and acknowledged it.  I remember seeing a clip on Behind the Music in which he talks about how songs like the Reflex and Save a Prayer aren’t theirs anymore but belong to the public psyche.  He’s right.  He goes on to say that to be a part of that is a gift.  Well, I feel the same way.  I feel like I have been able (along with millions of others) to be a part of something much bigger than myself.  Thus, the fans have had a serious impact on the band members’ lives.  We helped them make an impact.  In turn, they impacted our lives as well.

I have been a Duranie for over 27 years.  I have been a Duranie for a lot longer than I haven’t been.  I have been a Duranie for so long that I can’t remember not being one or what it was like to not be one.  They have helped to form many of my opinions, my likes, my dislikes, my interests and more.  For example, I love contemporary art.  Yes, my mother is an artist but I doubt I would love it as much if I didn’t find myself exposed to art through the band.  Another example is that many Duranies, including myself, have found themselves being attracted to a certain type of males.  I may or may not be attracted to guys who have similar characteristics to John Taylor just like my partner-in-crime may or may find herself attracted to men who are similar to Roger.  Did the band might have had an influence there?  I suspect that they did.  They have opened my eyes to books, movies and music that I’m sure I would have never even heard of without them.  On top of all of that and most importantly, they have brought me some amazing experiences, some absolutely fabulous times and some meaningful friendships, ones that I can’t imagine not having now.  My world would have been a much smaller, much lonelier place. 

The simple fact is that I can’t imagine my life without them.  Obviously, now, my daily life is filled with checking in on what is happening with the band and their fans.  It is filled with writing or reading this blog.  When I’m lucky, my days are spent planning, preparing and going on tour.  Duran Duran is always present in my world, in some shape or form.  The truth is that us, fans, have impacted their lives and they have impacted ours.  Together, we have created and sustained something big and meaningful.  I, for one, am grateful that I have been and continue to be a part of it.

-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