It’s Roger Taylor’s birthday, everyone! I suspect that you all knew that. If you didn’t remember, Duran Duran’s social media reminded us both last night when it turned midnight in the UK and then again this morning with a message from Roger himself. If you want to hear it for yourself, you can not only check it out via the band’s social media but also on the band’s official website. Now, on top of that, Roger brought us all a gift. (I’m not sure if he understands how this birthday thing works. Usually, the person with the birthday gets the gift and not the other way around. That isn’t to say that we all don’t appreciate it! We all do!) Roger shared a party playlist. Like the message, this can be found on the band’s official website.
Anyway, in honor for Roger’s birthday, I would love to share some clips that I like featuring our favorite drummer.
Interview from 1982
Q&A from 2013
I just realized that most of this post is made up of gifts for us, the fans. After all, who doesn’t love to watch videos of Roger?! Then again, he started this trend himself since he shared a party playlist with all of us. I’m just following in his footsteps, right?
On a more serious note, Roger is celebrating a milestone birthday this year. (60! EEK!) He might not be able to have a huge birthday bash with thousands of people but I hope he is able to enjoy his day with his family and whomever that he is at home with. Happy Birthday, Roger!
My blogging to-do list includes my part of a review that I’m supposed to do for today. I’m being a rebel, though, and not doing it. I will do it for the weekend, though. No, instead I want to take some time to celebrate a certain blogger’s birthday. Yep, yesterday was Rhonda’s birthday. When I started to think about her birthday, I realized that I have been wishing her a happy birthday for 15 years now! 15! So, I figured that it might be fun to share a favorite memory of each of those years as a way to celebrate her and our friendship! (By the way, you should probably get a beverage or 10. It got a little long. I got carried away!)
2004-Howl at the Moon
Rhonda and I met in September of 2004 even though we had chatted online a few times before that. As we have talked about many times before, we came together in New Orleans for the Duran Duran Fan Convention. At the time, I really just wanted to meet as many people as possible, not really thinking about meeting my best friend or partner-in-crime. Then, I would go so far as to say that if I had, Rhonda might have been the last person I would suspect. After all, I knew that she was from Southern California and seemed to be from a far different world than my Midwestern, not-that-cool background. That said, by the time we found ourselves at Howl at the Moon on late Saturday/early Sunday, I felt a connection. I have a strong memory of us sitting in the audience, sipping our drinks while singing along with Hungry Like the Wolf. Yep, that song always seems to have been there.
2005-Partying in Vegas
Here’s a story that I don’t think we have ever shared on this blog before. In the fall of 2005, we met in Vegas for a girls weekend that happened to be the same one as the Andre Agassi charity show that featured a (way too short) set by Duran. After the show, we were ready to party as were the thousands of Duranies there that night. At one point, a friend of ours told Rhonda that she knew where Roger was going to be and that she had access to the VIP part of the club. Rhonda had a choice. She could have easily gone with the cool crowd into this VIP area, but she wouldn’t go without me. So, we found a way to both go. To this day, I’m not really sure why. Rhonda has always been the far cooler one between the two of us with many more people in the community seeking out her friendship and company. For some crazy reason that I’ll never get, she has always included me, probably killing a little of her social status by doing so.
In March of 2006, we attended a Duranie weekend gathering in Chicago. Originally, Rhonda had no plans to go but when an unused plane ticket came available, she jumped at the chance. The weekend was super fun from spending a lot of money on weak drinks at the Holiday Club to watching Live from London with a bunch of other fans. One of my favorite memories of that weekend was when we got separated for some reason and Rhonda had no idea where the heck I had gone to. So, she called and ended up leaving a voicemail. The message was a simple one–where the hell are you followed by…”ho-bag”. Did she just call me a ho-bag, I asked myself. She did. From then on, it is a term that we use more often than you might think we should!
In June of 2007, we met up in New York City for the show-that-shall-not-be-named. The best part of the weekend, though, was attending a pre-show party at the Pyramid Club. As we entered the bar, without speaking, we separated to join other groups. (Strangely enough, I wanted to meet up with fellow John fans and Rhonda moved towards the Roger fans.) What was cool about this was how we met new people, which isn’t easy for either of us, but then came back together at the end of the night to dance and laugh before eating a diner before bed.
2008-George Washington Bridge
The fall of 2008 found us on the East Coast, hitting shows in New Jersey and Connecticut. In the process of traveling from show to show, we had no choice but to hit New York City. Fun fact. I hate bridges and the George Washington Bridge has to be one of my least favorites, especially when stuck on it due to horrendous traffic. Did you know that you can feel the bridge move?! Not fun. Thankfully, Rhonda did not laugh at my anxiety too much. The heavy traffic turned out to be helpful, in some weird way, though. Since we had a lot of time to talk, the first ripples of our research began. I remember this weird feeling of being alive, which came from being with someone who is equally curious, who seeks out knowledge and understanding, who gets excited by revelations.
In 2009, we took Rhonda’s eldest daughter, to her first Duran show. While it was super fun to see her reaction, I enjoyed being a part of this mother/daughter moment. It reminds me of how lucky I have been in that she has shared her kids with me. Not only did I get to see Heather at this show, but I was able to share some advice for her son and her youngest followed my footsteps by being born on April 29th. Fun fact. My mom’s best friend has the same birthdate. It seems like a pattern now!
2010-The Beginning of the Blog
Uh…we started this blog in 2010, a million years ago. While we have talked plenty about the blog, I have to acknowledge that it has made us closer and has worked to always keep us connected. I’m forever thankful for this. We are truly the only two people who know exactly what it is like to be us, the owners of this site. I know that I’m constantly thankful that I am not alone in this public journey. Speaking for myself, I know that I would have folded a long time ago but knowing that I am not alone has definitely given me strength. On that note, I have to give another shout out to the birthday woman. Thank goodness that she deals with keeping the computer programming aspect of this going as I have neither the will, the time or the patience to tackle it.
We have probably written about some aspect or another of our trips to the UK in 2011 countless times. This is a little different, though. When we went to the UK in May of 2011 for the shows that did not happen, we still ended up in Birmingham, mostly because it was too late to change plans. Even though many told us that there was no reason to really go there, I was glad to be there. I wanted to see where the band I know and loved came from. In fact, before we left, I had done some research about where Duran related places were located and wrote up a walking tour of sorts. After all, I figured that this was my one chance to really gain a new and/or deeper understanding of Duran. Well, by the time we got to the city, our traveling companions weren’t that excited, to say the least. In fact, they really wanted Rhonda to push me into forgetting about it. She didn’t do that. No, she supported me in my desire to really see the city. Much like the VIP club in 2005, she could have chosen to be with the cooler people and chose me instead. By the end of the day, I believe that she was glad to have joined me on this tour even if it separated her from the others. On top of that, again, we found ourselves having a unique experience that only worked to bring us closer together.
The summer tour of 2012 was a monumental one in that we finally found ourselves in the front row. Biloxi’s general admission setting provided us the chance to get up early and wait all day to get that coveted spot. For once, we just embraced the idea. We didn’t talk ourselves out of it or tell ourselves that the desire for the front was dumb. Then, as we have previously written about, we weren’t so awesome during the show once we met that goal. This reminded us that we are still learning and to just dive into enjoying shows, no matter what.
Umm…we organized and hosted a weekend long convention in Chicago during the fall of 2013. That alone would make for an awesome memory but there is one part that really made me smile. At the end of Saturday night/early Sunday morning, we arrived back to the hotel from the 80s club via the party bus along with a number of convention attendees. Something told Rhonda and myself that we shouldn’t follow the crowd in. Instead, we ran down the road before heading over to a diner for an early breakfast. The relief we felt after having it all go successfully required some down time.
Over the years, Rhonda and I have visited each other’s houses a number of times. Sometimes, those have been connected to shows or tours and some have not. Rhonda came out to visit in the summer of 2014 in order to finish one of our manuscripts, which we did. Beyond that, though, the time allowed us plenty of time to talk and just enjoy being together. Typically, when we are together, we are constantly on the move to get to shows or to get ready for some event or another. This visit, though, wasn’t about that. It gave us real time. I, for one, loved showing off my life to some extent. Visits like these help give insight that cannot really happen on tour. This is why, at some point, I would love to welcome Rhonda into my classroom so that she could see that aspect of my life or even on the campaign trail.
Desperation results in people flying out to Los Angeles to see one to three songs performed live. Yep. This was me in the spring of 2015. I needed a Duran fix so I did what must be done and flew out to LA to see the band perform at the David Lynch Tribute Show. The night of the show was so fun from getting pictures with some band members, enjoying many drinks, closing down the bar and more. Yeah, it might not have been the most logical move for me, but so fun. I’m forever thankful that Rhonda just went with my crazy plan (as usual). (Let me make it clear–when it comes to shows, I’m almost always the one to push for more shows and not less.)
This memory makes me shake my head. I know that you have all read the story of our interactions with Simon that night at the hotel bar after the show. While I love the heck out of that part, I’m almost more amused by two statements made by Rhonda that night. When we first arrived at the bar, we knew that the night was going to be something…um…interesting, so when the waiter asked if we wanted drinks, Rhonda let him know that he should just keep them coming. She explained that there was no reason for him to waste time by asking. No, he should just keep making them. The result? We were a little tipsy by the end of the night and that was a pricey bar bill. Then, if that was not enough, at the end of the night, Rhonda struggled to take off her earring. No clue why. I even tried to help. I think back to how ridiculous we must of looked, I laugh and laugh.
2017-Lime Green Shoes
Who would ever consider doing this and why?
2018-Post Election Day
I suspect that a lot of people don’t really understand my political activism. Rhonda might not either but I do appreciate that she tries to get it. More than that, she has celebrated my wins. I cannot begin to express how much that means to me. Likewise, she offers sympathy when I lose a battle. That kind of support means a lot and helps me to keep going for the next fight. A good example of what I’m talking about is the blog she wrote the day after Election Day 2018, after I had won a big one. She didn’t care about writing about Duran or fandom. No, she used the blog to congratulate me. I thank her for that. It means a lot.
Somehow, despite all, we are venturing onward with another project. It would be safe to say that we are both excited by this one. Every time we conference (like we will today) I am reminded about how lucky I am to have a best friend that is so smart and committed to doing a good job with researching and writing. How lucky am I that my best friend is not only the person I laugh with the most, have the most fun with but also can work with?
As I look back at these last 15 years, I realize how fortunate I have been to have Rhonda in my life. She has been around for so much, including some absolutely amazing times and moments and some really tough ones. On top of that, together, we have created an amazing blog that has such an overwhelming amount of posts. Our research has taught us a lot about the process, about ourselves and about each other. So, on the day after Rhonda’s birthday, I raise a glass for her, wish her a happy birthday and thank her for all of these memories and countless more! Happy Birthday, Ho-Bag!
This is a true statement, and I think it’s kind of funny! I know I fantasized for years about marrying Roger, and I even thought about Nick for a time or two, but never John. (We’re not even going to talk about my fellow scorpio – Simon.)
It is John Taylor’s birthday. For many, it may as well be an international holiday, judging from the looks of my social media this morning. I had no idea that so many have been less than arms length away from the man!!
In full disclosure, I am not one of those people. I would almost say I have no business writing a happy birthday post for John. Aside from loudly announcing “The album is beautiful, John!” across a very crowded table at a signing for Astronaut, I don’t think I’ve even spoken to him…or even yelled words his way. (unless you count “Play the Fucking Bass, John” at a concert. I’m not really sure I do.)
That isn’t to say I don’t greatly admire him. Of course I do. I just never thought I was going to marry him. (and it turns out, I was 100% correct!) Even Amanda has met and exchanged words (along with a Daily Duranie wristband!) with him before…and there was that picture as he was leaving the Ace hotel in Los Angeles. I was there for that!
Funny story – that night at the Ace hotel, I was right beside Amanda and a few others as John left the hotel with Gela (and I honestly can’t remember who else). I was standing there eating some of the worst crackers I’ve ever had, all because I’d missed dinner. I was starving though, so as lousy as those crackers might have been, I was eating them, Just as I’d shoved some in my mouth – of course – out pops John Taylor from the hotel. My mouth was completely dry at the time, and I was trying to eat these stupid crackers that seemed to make my mouth even drier with every chew. I couldn’t get them down fast enough.
So my friends were yelling for Amanda and I to run up and stand with John for a picture. He was clearly in a hurry, and his wife was not amused by our fan antics one single bit. In all fairness, I am pretty much the same way when Walt and I are leaving one of his work parties. I don’t care that so-and-so wants to get one last word in about a product they’re working on. It’s actually NOT lovely that his boss wants us to meet gorgeous wife #6, or talk to my husband about the upcoming trade show. Do it at work! Do not get in my way, people – I’m going HOME now.
Say what you will about wives buying into the dream when they marry a rock star. When it all comes down to it, at the end of the day, all wives want to do is go home, get into comfy clothes, and have their guy take out the damn trash…and maybe grab them a bowl of ice cream while they’re in the kitchen. Gela doesn’t strike me as an ice cream person, but you get the idea. Maybe she wants a nice kale salad before bed, or something, who knows?!? All I really know for sure is that a husband, is a husband, is a husband, John Taylor or not! They’re all men, and we’re all women, when it comes to life at home, people!
Anyway, as I took a quick once-over at the entire situation there in front of the hotel. John stopped long enough to allow a picture, and I saw Gela standing in front of their car, ready to go…and I was still chewing. I realized there was no way I’m was doing it. Nope. Instead, I casually took about three giant steps backward, cheered Amanda on, and congratulated myself on once again, avoiding a super awkward situation with one of my idols.
I’m so good.
<you should in fact read sarcasm, and imagine an eye roll right here>
As I stood there, I was able to really see the insanity in all of it’s glory. I was thrilled for Amanda, no doubt about it – I mean, that was her favorite, right there beside her! No part of me was jealous because that’s dumb, and I’m the one who refused to take part. As I was finally getting the last of the mouthful of crackers down my gullet, narrowly avoiding choking on them, I heard my friend Katie loudly say, “Smile, John!” He snapped into full rock star mode, breaking into a toothy grin. I would have sworn the words were like Pavlov’s Bell.
I chuckled as I leaned against a pole. All I could think about was how well-trained John was to the whole picture-taking, fan-paparazzi thing. I decided in that one millisecond that it would drive me crazy if I were famous. I glanced over at the Escalades lined up in the street. Gela was crossing her arms at this point, and my friends had the nerve to ask John to smile on top of just having him stand there. God, I love Duranies. There were people milling all over the place, and I was starting to see (and hear) other Duranies crooning for his attention as he dashed off to the car. I can only imagine what Gela must have said to John as he got to her side and into their vehicle that night. I stood there and said nothing. It all happened so fast that I could have blinked…or chewed some crackers…and missed it. Instead, those few seconds seemed to drag on, probably so that I’d be able to commit them to memory forever.
Several years later—like just this past February—I had the opportunity to ask a mutual friend if it drove John crazy to be stopped every few feet, or if they think it’s crazy to have people want 50,000 photos, or to see people practically living in their hotel lobby. She said that it doesn’t bother him most of the time, and that he gets it.
(I’m still not entirely sure I’m buying that he’s on board with the lobby situation, but whatever floats your boat.)
Of course he gets being a fan, though. I’m equal parts not surprised, and genuinely shocked at the same time. I suppose a part of me always figured that human nature would dictate annoyance. I mean, who really freaking wants to be stopped every few feet? I don’t care if you are a living rock GOD, or if you’re John Taylor and owe your success to fans like me (which I find to be a pretty repugnant statement that entitled fans like to throw out whenever they please) – you also sometimes just want to go up to your room in peace. By the same token, John has spoken about his own idols and his own fandom enough to where I realize that out of everyone in this band – if anyone does get it – it’s him.
I think that’s probably what I admire most about John…at least from afar. He is pretty normal. I mean, for somebody who has been a rock star for most of his life, anyway. Upon first glance, you look at him and think he’s got to be just about perfect. Right?!? But then, you realize he’s worn glasses that were probably thicker than yours, and you see him dance on stage, and you’re like – Oh yeah. You ARE still human! Thank goodness!!
It’s true, I’ve never met the guy. I am friends with some of his closest friends (true story!!), but I’ve never met him. Yet. (who knows??) I just know the same things that the rest of you do about him. I like that he gives back. He continues daily work on a serious, life threatening illness – addiction – and used what he has learned from it to help other people. I just don’t believe people give back in that way unless they mean it. That matters to me. He also wears what I would call high-water track pants on stage, and has a sense of fashion that quite frankly, makes me laugh. I’m thinking of that sequined jacket of Gela’s he stole for a photo in Vegas, and of course – the neon pants he (and Simon – in different colors) wore to an interview in Toronto a few years back. Awesome. I love it. Then again, I live in denim jeans. So, there you go.
Once upon a time, John was pretty active on social media. One of the things I remember most was that he had followed a couple fans (not me, but others). I remember wrangling the idea in my head because on one hand – he should be able to follow, befriend, and converse, with whomever he wants. On the other hand – it meant certain disaster. Fans compete for that sort of thing, and I felt it might get ugly. Even so, I encouraged it because I really believed (and still do believe) that fan engagement matters. One day – not long before he quit social media altogether – he tweeted something about how people can get their feelings hurt once he followed and then unfollowed them. I’d not thought about that. I’ve been followed and unfollowed thousands of times now. I don’t even pay attention anymore because it doesn’t matter to me personally. It’s just Twitter. That said, I’m pretty sure I’d notice if someone important to me followed me, and then unfollowed me. I felt awful, because he was right. I think John understood being a fan better than I even did.
John is one of the most knowledgable music people I (don’t) know. I still thoroughly enjoy hearing about his music recommendations when he is a guest in the Katy Kafe. I appreciate that he wants to learn how to paint someday, maybe. I can’t even draw much, beyond doing a pretty good freehand copy of Pikachu. (It’s a Pokemon. I did learn a few things from being a mom, I guess.) Weirdly, I like that he’ll even mention what he might want to do when he retires from Duran Duran. I guess that does sound funny, and I’m sure many fans recoil in horror at the idea. I just like the idea that in some super small way, we can get past Duran Duran and just be people. Is that strange? Probably.
I may not be normal, and I may not have ever said I was going to marry John…but I DO wish him a very happy birthday! As I said on social media: Thank you for continuing to inspire (and teach) me. See you in September!!
I have another Duran birthday to cover! Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to share a little of what I love about Nick Rhodes to celebrate him and wish him the happiest of birthdays. Now, I turn to the person behind the guitar. That’s right, it is Dom’s birthday!!! Like Nick’s birthday blog, I’m opting to share a little bit about what I love about Dom and why I’m super glad to have him in Duran.
The first time I saw Dom play live was in March of 2005 during the Astronaut Tour. While I had seen him make a couple of TV appearances in December of the previous year, I didn’t pay much attention. In 2005, I could not ignore him. I would go so far as to say that I appreciated the heck out of him. Like many, then, I was so upset when I discovered that Andy would not be touring with the band during that week as he had traveled back to the UK to be with his critically ill father. While I desperately wanted Andy as I was one of the last people to see the Fab Five live (or so it seemed), I understood and was grateful that Dom could step in. After all, I didn’t want the shows to be canceled. During that week, I saw Dom play in four cities: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Moline. My biggest take away then. This guy had no ego. He helped make the songs sound like Duran without drawing one ounce of attention to himself. In my mind, he did exactly what he should have.
Fast forward to October 2006 when the band had just announced the departure of Andy Taylor. Again, I found myself at a show in Chicago, wondering what the heck it was going to be like without Andy. At the time, I had no idea if Dom was just filling in before someone permanent came in or what. I assumed that he would play as he did in 2005. Yet, I saw something different that night. He still was respectful, professional, but he also was part of the show more. I distinctly remember noticing him sing back up during Sunrise as I turned to Rhonda and welcomed him to the band. While I was still heartbroken over Andy, Dom’s presence felt right, good. Even his introduction showed this:
The next tour provided me something new to pay attention to when live shows. That’s right. I started to notice the DoJo, those moments when Dom and John seemed to really jam. I went to see the band perform on Broadway in the fall of 2007 when they played the entire Red Carpet Massacre album. After the show, I told Rhonda about how awesome the song, Tricked Out, was live. She didn’t believe me. It sounded so different live. If that was not enough, the DoJo during the song was mind-blowing, to say the least.
The next album cycle found Dom more and more active with the band. I loved seeing him in the video for All You Need Is Now, for example. I’m glad that he participated as a writing partner on the album as well. Then, I saw him give some interviews or on video clips like this holiday greeting.
He managed to do something else pretty amazing, which is to help make Hungry Like the Wolf live more tolerable. Heck, part of me even began to look forward to it. Impressive.
If all of that was not enough, Dom also has a solid solo career that I recommend that Duranies check out (if you haven’t already).
All in all, I’m so glad that he is around and part of the Duran Duran team. He certainly has made my fandom better and I wish him the happiest of birthdays!!!
This blog is much later than I had hoped. I have not been feeling good all day so I’m going much slower than I expected. Today is a big day in all of Duranland as it is Nick Rhodes’s birthday! How best to celebrate the keyboard player, the controller, the alien?! I would like to highlight the moments/videos that make me really appreciate him and super glad that he decided to form Duran Duran with his buddy, John.
Let’s start with the video in which Nick first caught my attention. I thought he looked so cute in it and even thought that he might be my favorite after seeing it. More interestingly, after I saw this video, I decided to dress as Nick in this video for Halloween. This, of course, worked better in my brain than it did in my childhood neighborhood where people didn’t get it. I got a lot of, “Who are you supposed to be?”
Of course, I quickly found out how smart he is when I started to pay attention to interviews with him. I remember watching Sing Blue Silver as a kid and thinking about what an amazing vocabulary he has. Simon even commented there about the “agile brain of Nick Rhodes at work.” It impressed me and made me want to be equally as smart. (I’m not but I will always try!)
Then, as I got older and my fandom matured, I noticed different things about Nick. I had heard, for example, that his gum chewing (which the Nick girls love!) was to show his frustration with the decision to make Serious a single. I don’t know if it is true but the story amuses me. It also tells me that he is passionate about all things Duran and the decisions the band makes.
I also appreciate the artistic side of Nick. First, of course, there is the photography from Interference in the 1980s to more recent exhibits like Bel Incubi as seen here.
Then, there are other examples of his artistic side through projects like Unstaged when the band worked with David Lynch.
I also appreciate the heck out of Nick at live shows. My favorite live show moment with Nick definitely has to be in Brighton in 2011. After having traveled to the UK twice in a year to see the band play there, we were finally seeing them on stage. Rhonda and I were beyond excited. Then, when the first notes of Secret Oktober began, we couldn’t contain ourselves as we turned towards one and another to hug. As we focused back on the stage, we noticed Nick looking at us and laughing. Clearly, he thought our reaction was pretty ridiculous! Likewise, he always seems so entertained by people’s reactions of disgust to Simon’s water spitting during White Lines. Lastly, there is his addition to the Reflex live when he answers the question, “Why don’t you use it?” His responses are always so entertaining (when and if I can understand them!)
But I think the video that best captures how I always want to think of Nick Rhodes is the following one. As someone who got to walk through the same Brompton Cemetery, I feel very lucky because not only did I get an amazing place but I also felt closer to Nick for having done so.
On that note, I wish Nick a very happy birthday! I hope he has an amazing day and that it begins the very best year for him!
I love April 29th. If there is one thing I know each year – it is what will be written on this beautiful day. For me, this day has practically taken on “National Holiday” type significance. In a single day, I get to celebrate both the birth of my very best friend AND my youngest child. I can’t really think of a better reason to take off from work and school – although I would is at school, working as usual today.
Oh – yeah, my youngest is at home. In fact, she’s still upstairs sleeping. She’s also homeschooled on Mondays, so I don’t know that this really “counts” as taking the day off from school. (although we are – we’re going to the zoo instead, which is a learning experience cleverly disguised as a fun day out!)
There is no question here – Amanda is, by far, the hardest worker I’ve ever known. I’ve never known anyone with the passion she has, whether it comes to teaching, or politics. She isn’t someone who just says how she feels – whether in person or on Twitter or other social media. She works for the change, and she works hard. Amanda takes causes to heart, and she’s the kind of person who feels these things with her whole heart, mind, and body. I love that about her, even though I am almost the opposite.
I’ve known Amanda for sixteen years now. The time has really flown by, and while we’ve done a lot together, she has done an amazing amount of things outside of Duran Duran. I can’t really be sure of how many campaigns she’s worked on now – I try to count, but I know there’s been more than “just” the few Presidential, at least two gubernatorial, and a local school board campaign – I just can’t quite keep track. She’s worked at three schools, and has personally touched the lives of probably thousands of children now.
Then there are the every day things. She still finds time to check in with her wayward writing partner every now and then. Recently I’ve had some serious worries going on outside of what I would normally blog about, and she’s made sure to let me know she’s there if I need her. I have no doubt whatsoever that she’s done the same for other family and friends, too. Amanda is quick to put herself and her own needs aside more often than not – purely because she really believes you do for others before you do for yourself.
I know that to many – particularly Duranies – Amanda is quiet (I’m gonna add “until you get to know her” right here, because it is true!). I’ve been told she’s hard to get to know, and I know Amanda is aware of that perception, although I would wholeheartedly argue that it’s really not true. No, she doesn’t really hang out online because in her view – there’s really no time for that, and the time she does have, she’d probably rather spend doing something more productive. I really didn’t get to know Amanda until I met her in person at a convention, even though we were both on the same message boards beforehand. I’m glad it happened the way it did. I mean, who else bonds over vodka tonics??
I would say, in the kindest sort of way possible, that she isn’t very quick to let people in. I appreciate that she’s guarded about who she trusts, too. However, once she does open up a bit, she is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people you’ll ever meet. Amanda isn’t afraid to fight for what she believes in, but she’s also not afraid to let you know that she’s right by your side. I’m very lucky to call her a friend, much less my closest one.
She and I have been through quite a bit together…much of which, I would prefer to keep out of print. We’ve spent many hours over the past sixteen years laughing. More than a few of those hours have been at the expense of this band, which makes me giggle even today! Lately though, we’ve done precious little of that. Life has this crazy way of changing in incremental ways over the course of a few years, and before you notice – you realize you haven’t spoken with your closest friend in many months. I am hoping to correct that this next year and get back to regular phone calls and video sessions.
There is no one else with whom I’ve written more than one manuscript, spent blocks of hours on Skype, planned a convention, huddled over a notebook making edits, reviewed concerts, taken train rides all over the UK, v-logged in hotel convention areas, stayed up all night laughing, or even spent an entire week using dueling computers in an office. We have done a lot, my friend!
For a while, I really thought we were done writing, though. Turns out that no, we did need a break, but we’re going to get that damn book published. Even if we have to do it ourselves.
So, we’re not quite finished with one another yet. I suspect we have at least one more UK trip left in the tank, and hopefully a few more shows. After all, we haven’t hit the century mark yet. Still think we need to do a cross country trip with a motor home and a group of concert buddies…. can you imagine that insanity??
So, to my dearest friend Amanda: enjoy your birthday. I hope you take pride in what you’ve accomplished this past year. Your tenacity, passion, and drive continually make me stop and marvel at what a single person can manage to influence! If I had one small piece of advice as an older (but not really wiser) human, it would be to stop and smell the roses just a little more often. It will not hurt anyone for you to take a moment and breathe deeply. Our souls need replenishing every once in a while so that we can keep fighting that good fight. Your soul and body will thank you. You always feel guilty for taking a break, and yet everybody needs one. The better care you take of yourself now, the longer that fight will stay in you.
I do not know if I have ever actually the blog post for Roger’s birthday before! I am feeling the pressure a little bit to do a quality job. Typically, when I do a blog post for one of the band member’s birthday, I usually either focus on personal stories or his accomplishments. I will try to do a little bit of both even though I have had limited interactions with Roger.
As a kid, I didn’t notice Roger a ton. I’m sure a big part of that is that he did not get a lot of attention in teen magazines, interviews, etc. That said, I don’t know any Duranie who missed Roger Taylor in this video:
That said, when I did see an interview with him as a kid, I always liked him. He seemed sincere and sweet. It wasn’t about being funny or charming or cool like I sometimes sensed with the others. (Not that I think any of that is bad!) Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.
Of course, we know that Roger walked away in 1986, which made everyone so sad. We knew that we would miss him and that the band wouldn’t be the same without him. Then, after almost 10 years, he appeared in this video giving us all hope of a real return:
We all had to wait for a few more years before he came back to the band during the reunion. One thing I immediately noticed with the reunion was the sheer relief that everyone I knew had about Roger’s return. I bet the band felt the same way. They no longer had to teach someone Roger’s parts!
Since the reunion, I have found myself appreciating him more than I ever did as a kid. I think some of that is simply his skills as a drummer, which can be seen in the this clip.
As an adult, I have been lucky enough to see Roger in person a few times outside of the concert venue. The first time was in the summer of 2005 when I saw the band at a hotel they were staying at. Admittedly Roger was not my first priority when the band arrived as I was determined to get John’s autograph, which I did. After meeting that goal, I sought the rest of the band. I found Roger chatting with a couple of friends of mine. The word I would use to describe him at that moment was friendly. He didn’t seem guarded or reserved but social. I approached him about getting an autograph and he said that he didn’t give out autographs at the hotel, that was his line in the sand. I told him I understood and moved on. I learned something valuable that day. It was the first time I really got that celebrities might have personal rules about how, when and how much to interact with fans. I appreciated that he had that line and respectfully told him that I understood as I walked away. Later, Roger approached me as stood by the elevators to ask if I had seen “any of his people.” I kid you not. That is how he asked me. The funny part is that I pointed in the direction I saw Simon go and he chose the opposite!
After that night in 2005, I have also seen Roger at a CD signing and a few nightclubs (some where he was DJing and one where he wasn’t). In almost all of those cases, I chose not to go to him for pictures or autographs. I am not really sure why. Maybe that initial meeting stayed with me more than I originally thought. It certainly wasn’t negative and I didn’t fear that he would be angry or annoyed with me for reaching out. No, it was more about respecting his desire to have space. I distinctly remember seeing him in a bar in 2011. As usual with Rhonda and myself, I stood to the corner with my friends and just watched people interact. Roger talked with lots of fans that night and smiled the entire time, from what I could tell. Yet, I continued to give him space even though I wanted to approach him like everyone else was. I, too, wanted my moment or my picture but I felt conflicted based on that previous interaction.
Now, I think I see Roger in a different light than I did as a kid. Back then, he almost didn’t seem real, like a character in a movie. Did I feel that way because he was so guarded? So shy? So often not in the spotlight? Now, he feels real, complex. Maybe it is from listening to so many Katy Kafes as he discusses his young son or his work with Road to Recovery as seen here:
As Roger celebrates another birthday, I know that I’m very glad about what he brings to the band, both musically and personally. As a fan, I feel like he brings a unique perspective and a balance that Duran Duran has always and will always need. Thus, on his 59th birthday, I wish him a fabulous birthday and the most amazing year of his life so far! Happy Birthday Roger!!!
This blog post is late, not in terms of time but date. I could use the excuse that I don’t blog on Wednesday, when it was Rhonda’s actual birthday, but that isn’t the complete story. I have been a little busy. (I would call working 70-80 hours a week more than busy but alas…) I could have probably done some sort of quick blog but I didn’t want to do that for Rhonda’s birthday. Nope. I wanted to make it something more meaningful or more fun or both. Therefore, I needed time and energy. Now that I’m starting to recover and feel more human, I can do a blog post worthy of a birthday blog for Rhonda!
In thinking about how I wanted to blog, I wanted it to be monumental because this week has felt pretty monumental. So, I figured a good way to wish her a happy birthday is to acknowledge, to remember, to celebrate the top 12 monumental moments (in no particular order) that we have shared together. Why 12?! Well, if you add up Rhonda’s age…you might get 12, which is a lot more than if you added up my age. Just pointing that out because I can. 😉
12. Surviving Voodoo
Rhonda just recently wrote about the Voodoo Music Festival in New Orleans in October 2006. The thing about that day is that I truly feel like we survived torture. After all, we stood for hours in the same space without any food or water. So, when Rhonda screamed at Simon that we had time for 50 more songs, the only thing I could do is laugh…at least until I had a few drinks (or ten). Of course, that night represented the first time that signs we brought were successful such as the one below:
11. Secret Oktober in Brighton
Sometimes, once in a blue moon, we are lucky. In this case, we were beyond fortunate to have seen the band perform Secret Oktober live. We saw the song in Brighton, England in November of 2011. This show was always questionable. We were not supposed to see the band there when we first bought tickets. Unfortunately, Simon lost his voice and the first set of tickets we had were no longer used. Thus, we decided to add the Brighton show after the Simon had recovered. Then, we worried that the public union strike in London would affect our ability to get to this show. Somehow, someway, it worked out. We got our cherry on top, though, once this song was played. I’ll never forget the moment when we realized what we were hearing and turned to each other to hug only to see Nick laughing at us behind his keyboards.
10. Walking through Birmingham
Speaking of the UK, we were lucky enough to go in 2011. The first trip did not turn out as we expected since the four shows we had gone for had to be canceled. At that news, we had some options. Do we sit around and complain? Do we ignore anything and everything Duran related or do we still experience our Duranie-ness. Rhonda and I opted for that last option as we walked around Birmingham, gaining a brand new insight into the band we thought we knew. It was not only eye-opening for us but certainly made Rhonda and I closer. Later in the year, we finally got to see Duran play in their hometown, which was a dream come true!
9. Singing Hungry Like the Wolf at Howl at the Moon in New Orleans
Do you ever look back at life and are able to pinpoint a pivotal moment? This moment might be such that it points you in a significantly different path than you might have been on otherwise. I strongly recall sitting at the Howl at the Moon in New Orleans with drinks in hand right by Rhonda at the 2004 Friends of Mine convention. I didn’t know her super well at that point but I remember singing along to HLTW with her and thinking we could be friends. I wasn’t wrong.
8. Laughing during Tempo Cafe in Chicago
If Howl at the Moon made me think that Rhonda and I could be friends, laughing hysterically with her at Tempo Cafe in Chicago at like 4 in the morning told me that I had found my touring buddy for life. This was for our first tour together, the spring Astronaut Tour in 2005. We realized that weekend that we could easily travel or go to shows together. The rest of the world, however, probably wish that we didn’t. I think the people with us probably wished that we didn’t get along so well when we couldn’t stop laughing, annoying them to death, I’m sure. I know that for me, this matters. I like being with people who make me laugh!
7. Running away during Durandemonium
In 2013, Rhonda and I decided to do something pretty crazy. We chose to organize a convention, Durandemonium. It took place in Chicago and by anyone’s standards it was successful. That said, it was a lot of work, a lot of stress so when we had an opportunity to relax a little, we did. After the Saturday night fun, dancing away at Late Bar, our favorite 80s club there, we sought quiet at a very late dinner or very early breakfast. I will never forget the pivot we took away from the doors of the hotel to walk at a brisk pace down the street.
6. Finishing two manuscripts
Some of our monumental moments are ones that no one was around for besides us. A good example of this is when we finished a manuscript or two. No matter what has happened with those drafts, I’m super proud to have written them. I still believe that we have something to say that would interest people. Someday, I hope we get back to writing like that. While it isn’t easy, I think it would be worth it. I feel very fortunate that we have a friendship that we can not only hang out and laugh together but can also work together, whether doing this blog, writing books or planning fan events.
5. Making fun of Simon in a bunch of ways (but always with love)
Oh, how we love to give Simon a hard time! It started as soon as the reunion took place as we enjoyed talking among our friends about some of Simon’s more interesting dance moves or his idea to crowd surf. Then, we saw new and better moves in 2009, which you can see below. By the time, Paper Gods rolled around, there was so many ways to tease, including trying to find bright colored but way too short pants or trying to paint shoes to match his lime green ones. I cannot wait to see what we can do next!!
Over the years, Rhonda and I have spent a lot of time traveling, both together and apart. Yet, my favorite way to travel with her is road tripping. On top of being able to just sit and talk, it also allows us to come up with new ideas or to create some of the best setlists the band has never played!
Like transportation, we have stayed in a number of different hotels over the years. Sometimes, those hotels become more than just a place to stay. We have found ourselves kicked out of hotel bars as “there are sleeping rooms” nearby. If that wasn’t enough, we have also answered the phone to hotel security. Most significantly, hotels have also been the scene of moments with the members of Duran. Maybe, it was taking pictures with John, Simon and Dom in Los Angeles in 2015, getting someone to wear one of our wristbands or toasting with Simon in Toronto. Good times, indeed!
2. Press conferences
Then, there are our videos that we lovingly refer to as press conferences in which we attempt (often badly) to capture a show or a tour. They speak for themselves!
1. The best is yet to come!
Over the years, we have learned a lot from Duran Duran. One big concept is to look forwards and not backwards. What does this mean? It means that the best is yet to come! I suspect that we will have some monumental moments in February! So on this birthday, I celebrate our friendship and some of our best moments! On that note, I wish my partner-in-crime an absolutely fabulous birthday!!!
I woke up this morning feeling like I was supposed to do something or that today is important for some reason. What the heck could it be? What could be so important on October 27th? Should that date mean something to me???? I don’t think it has anything to do with Duran, right? If it did, I would, for sure, remember, wouldn’t I? Of course, I would, right?
So, anyone doing anything fun this weekend? I bet those guys in Duran aren’t doing anything special…oh wait. Crap. Today does mean something! It is not only a Duran member’s birthday but it is a big one. A monumental one. On this date sixty years ago, our favorite lead singer and yours was born!! This is definitely one birthday that I’m happy to acknowledge and celebrate.
As a kid, I have to admit that I first took notice of Simon out of all the guys. He is the lead singer, after all! While I’m not sure which song or video I first heard or saw, I am willing to bet that it was Hungry Like the Wolf. Clearly, that video is designed for Simon to be the hero, the adventurer, the James Bond character of sorts. I remember just thinking about how cool and brave he was! I would never cross the bridge that he did or hang out in that water. Nope. No way. I am one big ‘ole scaredy-cat.
This, of course, was followed up with lots of other videos and live clips that were equally as amazing. By the time Seven and the Ragged Tiger came out, I would have declared myself a Simon fan, a Simon girl. Shocking, I know. While I admit that this did not last, thanks to John Taylor and the video for the Reflex, it wasn’t like I no longer liked him. I probably would have even said he was my number two then. Goodness, we have all seen Simon in New Moon on Monday and the Reflex, right? I especially liked him being the leader of the resistance in NMOM.
Of course, his coolness factor continued through the 1980s and 1990s and even until the 2000s. In fact, even he was still so cool to me that when the reunion rolled around and I began to think that it might be possible to actually meet the band after hearing so many stories that I assumed that he would always be off limits. He just seemed so dang rock star to me, then!
During the Astronaut days, I had the chance of seeing Simon out and about. I never even attempted to approach him. In fairness, part of it was the fear that I would be rejected or worse. I couldn’t handle that so I claimed that I didn’t want to ever meet him or suggested that my fandom was better than that. It is funny how we say and do things to protect ourselves. Fast forward to the Red Carpet Massacre era and to a little cd signing event in Chicago in 2007. I figured that this would be my best chance to “meet him” without fear of rejection. After all, this was an official event. I wouldn’t be bothering him outside of a venue or at a hotel. During this signing, I would face Simon first. I avoided thinking about that by being on the phone with Rhonda up until the last minute. In fact, I was so focused on the conversation that I didn’t bother to undo the plastic wrapping of the cd in order to get out the insert for them to sign. As I stood in front of Simon trying desperately to open up the cd as quickly as humanly possible, I couldn’t believe how ill-prepared I was. Not good. Finally, he says in an impatient voice, “Just give it to me.” Initially I thought he was being mean but after looking at his signature along with a heart, I think he was trying to put me out of my misery. The experience made me wonder. Did I have this guy all wrong???
Then, 2011 happened. As I’m sure you all remember, 2011 was the year of All You Need Is Now. It was also the year that Simon lost his voice. Suddenly, I felt concern. I felt sympathy in a way that I had never when it came to Simon. Being Mr. Cool Rockstar meant that he didn’t need concern, at least in the back of my mind. With his vocal loss, I found myself viewing him in a much more human way, in a much more complex way. This feeling was only reinforced by a million once Rhonda and I flew over to the UK only to have all of our shows canceled. Instead of being angry, I felt protective, which only grew when I saw the man stand in front of me and other Duranies explaining that he didn’t think he would be able to sing. I saw his humanity in a way that I hadn’t ever before.
This new understanding of Simon combined with my love for the song, Before the Rain, which I think really captures Simon’s true genius. The lyrics are such that they can be interpreted in a variety of ways. For me, it spoke to a time in which I lost my grandma and beloved cat right before my profession came under attack. Lines like “I hear the silence waiting to fall” and “a stormy summer” really spoke to me during this time. The song provided comfort when I needed it. Not to mention the fact that I loved this as a show opener.
Then, there’s the most recent era surrounding Paper Gods. This is when things really got fun. If you read Rhonda’s blog from Thursday, you know what I’m talking about. Basically, we enjoy the heck out of giving Simon a hard time. Of course, that has taken a variety of forms. Maybe it means that we hide or turn our backs when he is about to spit during White Lines. Perhaps, it is shown when we decide to paint our shoes green to match his.
Yes, clearly, we enjoy giving him a hard time but we think he likes to give it right back to us. For instance, there was the time in Paso Robles when he came to the edge of the stage with his mouth beyond full with water during White Lines. He watched us as our eyes widened before we started searching for some sort of cover before he then swallowed the water and laughed. Yep. We laughed right back. Truly, some of my best moments of being a fan has been when we are either giving him a hard time or vice versa. It doesn’t have to be serious, after all, does it?
On a more serious note, while I’m thankful for all the wonderful words and songs that Simon helped to create, I’m more thankful for the little things that he has taught me about myself and how to approach life. I learned to have fun even with people you look up to. I learned not to be so fearful of rejection. I also learned about the power of being openly vulnerable as I watched Simon openly grieve his mother’s passing at shows in the summer of 2017.
On that note, I want to celebrate this big birthday by watching one of my favorite Duran clips ever which is Simon’s 50th birthday gift. Then, I asked that people share their favorite Simon performance or lyric. It would be cool if we could get at least 60 favorites!
Happy 60th Simon!!!! Hope it is filled with lots of happiness and love!
This blog is wickedly late today, and I’ll just say that this is what happens when my youngest gains an unexpected “vacation” during the normal school year. Her learning center closed down, and our schedule hasn’t been the same since!
Speaking of schedules and calendars, it would appear that someone’s 60th birthday falls on a day when I would not normally be blogging. This is unacceptable. So…I’m gonna write a blog anyway. Today. You’re welcome.
The other day, I listened to a Katy Kafe. I found myself smiling. I didn’t know what was wrong with me! I’m still not quite sure. No eye-rolling. No long sighs. Not even a single comment of “What in the hell are you talking about, Simon?” I’ve gotten soft.
It wasn’t that long ago when I would openly roast Simon on this blog. I would listen to his frenetic and somewhat scrambled ramblings when he’d join Katy in the Kafe and feel like my head was spinning. I’d tweet afterwards, declaring that I needed a drink. I was convinced that half of Katy’s job was akin to herding cats. (Well, I still kind of wonder about that….) Yesterday though, I was smiling. Actually grinning while listening to Simon talk about the disagreement over “You Kill Me With Silence” and the set list!
It used to be that we would laugh about how we’d never actually go up and ask Simon to take a picture with Simon. Oh gosh no. I mean, we weren’t supermodels, and he’d never give us the time of day, right?? That continued until one night, well past midnight in Los Angeles. (Didn’t somebody say nothing good happens past midnight?!?) Not only did he agree to the picture, but he jumped up off of the bench he’d been sitting on with a great big “Hellooooooo!! and when our friend asked if he’d be willing to take a picture, he said “Let’s do this!” So we did!
I think that was the first night I’d ever been up close to any member of Duran Duran. He remains the only original member of Duran Duran that Amanda and I have a picture with together. Maybe this Simon-guy wasn’t so bad after all??
Once upon a time, I could be in any Duran Duran audience and never even notice Simon glance in our general direction. I knew for sure that I wasn’t exotic or glamorous enough to be picked out of a crowd. I grew fond of saying the band didn’t know my name, and that I’d be worried when/if they did!
People (read: other fans) probably think we’re nuts, but when we’ve been up close to the stage, we’ve seen band members laugh at our antics, and more often than not, that person is Simon.
Pretty sure Simon still doesn’t know my name, and likely not my face… but I have a feeling he recognizes Amanda at this point.
Obviously, I haven’t quite decided what can or should be done about that. Witness protection? Change in hair color? Stop going to Duran shows? Hmm….that last one seems rather excessive…given the whole “Daily Duranie” blog and all…
Mostly, I remain amused… as I contemplate what we should do next!
I miss the days of complaining about high water sweat pants on John at shows, only to see Simon and John both show up to an interview wearing some of the brightest sweat pants possible. Coincidence?
So we retaliated. Truth be told, I am still not satisfied with our lackluster reply. We were at the mercy of the Target store nearest the highway we were driving to get back to Chicago in time for my flight the following day. Even so, I’m still a bit disappointed we didn’t find any neon.
We’ve even given Simon a rough time about the set list. For example, there was that one time when we realized they left Planet Earth off of their set list. Amanda, being the helpful, kind soul that she is – fixed it! (Yes, we KNOW they didn’t intend to play it that night…that’s the point!)
The best part of that little tale was that when the band inevitably took the stage and Simon glanced down at his set list – just whom do you think he shot a narrowed side-eyed glance, assuming she had perpetrated the whole scheme? ME.
I immediately pointed at Amanda, of course.
I guess the simple truth is that since 2011, Simon has become more and more of a real person to me, and not just an image from a video, an album cover, a poster, or a band. He makes the shows, and even the experience of writing this blog while we’re traveling to shows, far more fun. I love that in some small way, he’s able to see that we’re teasing him, and he’s not afraid to give it right back. As he should!
I know writing this kind of thing, where I swear we’ve had some sort of exchange with him, is risky. People either think we’re nuts (probably true), or that we’re exaggerating. No one actually believes that we’ve seen him look our way at shows, or that he’s tried to fake spitting at the wrong time during “White Lines”, just to see what we’d do. I think Amanda and I have done a decent job of even telling ourselves that we’ve imagined most of it, but we’ve gotten to the point where we can’t ignore the obvious. We have fun despite the risk of being thrown in the loony bin, I suppose….that’s pretty much the premise of this entire website!
So yes, he does make me smile, in the same way I do when I hear from some of the guy friends I had in high school. When I watch videos for “Rio” or even “Hungry Like the Wolf”…I see THAT Simon and weirdly, it is very tough for me to reconcile that it’s the very same guy who made sure Amanda saw him wave to her while going into a hotel in San Francisco. It isn’t the same as being “starstruck”, it is that my brain has chosen to compartmentalize it all…and that’s bizarre.
Now, in no way should he think that he’s gotten off easy. Come February in Vegas, when Amanda and I are in our seventh row seats for Friday and fourth row for Saturday (straight out in front of you, Simon – right smack in the middle!), we will be ready and prepared for whatever may come our way. We will be blogging, and probably doing video blogs, as normal. Let the games begin.
Happy Birthday Simon! When I was 12 and watching “New Moon on Monday”, I don’t think I ever let the thought cross my mind that I’d still be a fan of this band so many years later. Youth was so “in the moment”, everything being new, fresh, and instant. I thought we had forever to live, so I never really thought about the future. Here we are, years later – and I appreciate the band, and your hard work, more than ever before. I hope you have a wonderful birthday.
While you’re at it, better work on going for distance during “White Lines”….. if you know what I mean.
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!