Category Archives: birthdays

Today in Duran History – Nick’s Birthday!

On this date in 1962, Nick Rhodes was born.  It seems that the online world today is filled with pictures, messages, and well wishes to our favorite keyboard player.  Nick, of course, has sent a message to thank everyone for their well-wishes, which you can hear here.  So, how should I celebrate Nick and his birth?  Simple.  Let’s watch some videos!!  I picked some that represented the best of Nick and his work.

Is There Something I Should Know?  (I loved his look here!)

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xct4pn_duran-duran-is-there-something-i-sh_music

Nick’s Stolen Moments:

Girl Panic:

Arcadia:

The Devils:

TV Mania:

Simon introducing Nick!

What are your favorite videos with Nick?  What would you include in a celebration birthday post?

-A

April Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor!

It’s April Katy Kafé time…and that means Roger Taylor is in the Kafé!

As always, I dutifully listened to the Kafé, took copious notes, and am ready to once again summarize, translate, commentate, and flat out poke fun at Mr. Taylor, although I will go easy on him since of course it is his birthday month. (Happy Birthday Roger!!)  It is a very tough job, but I do it all for you.  For YOU.

I will reiterate my disclaimer: I am not rewriting the Kafé word for word (are you kidding me?), you are merely getting my point of view, and if you were to listen to the Kafé yourself (and I wholeheartedly recommend that you do), it is extremely likely that you might hear things differently.  This is my blog, I write it as I hear it. Done.  

Mr. Hudson:  While I was a little confused as to whether Mr. Hudson was writing with the band or producing (and I still kind of am), Roger said that Mr. Hudson approached management about working with the band. Wendy called the band, mentioned that he was interested in working with them, and the band agreed to have him join them in the studio for a meeting and go from there.  From what I could gather, it sounds as though he worked with them on two songs – this Kafé was done a week ago or so (I’ve lost track of time) when Mr. Hudson was currently in the studio with them.  One of the songs is slower but is still “groovy” and has an “amazing chorus”.  The other is more uptempo.  Roger says that Mr. Hudson brought some new energy in the studio and quoted John as saying he gave the band a “musical face lift”.  It wasn’t made clear as to whether he was continuing to work with the band or if he was just doing those two songs .  What WAS made clear is that the songs he was working on with the band were both brand new in addition to the breadth of material they already have written, and they do not know what will actually be on the album yet.  As Roger put it, all of the songs are kind of fighting for placement on the team at this point.  At the end of the process,  they will sit down and decide what 9-12 songs belong on the album.  They try to keep an open mind throughout the process…which by the way Roger says they are 3/4 of the way through at the moment.

DD14: Personally, I cannot wait until I can start typing the name of the album. I know that’s a long way off, but it’ll be nice.  I have a feeling though that DD14 has earned it’s way into being the “forevermore” loving-moniker for this album by the fans.  In any case, Roger feels pretty sure that fans will have new music to hear by the end of the year.  He said that it would be finished by summer. I had a difficult time trying to decide if he meant one song, the writing for the album, or otherwise, but given that he believes they are 3/4 of the way through the process, I would have to assume that he means the writing and recording, but if someone wants to clarify that for me – feel free. I am not very privy to the process of mixing, but I gather that can take a very long time, which must be why Roger said “Obviously the album will not be out this year”, but they are really trying for early 2015.  I have to believe him, and hope we’ll have much more to talk about in the latter part of this year into 2015. Katy mentioned (and I thank her for this) that it’s been stone silence from DD in the studio.  She’s right, it definitely has, and Roger was quick to explain that right now, they’re in the mode of keeping their heads down, keeping focused, and working.  Again, I believe that, and have no doubt that is how it has to be in order for them to ever get this album finished. But, we’re human and can’t help but mention that we miss them.  Right?!?

The Reflex: Katy mentioned that they were working on something really cool for the fans to commemorate the anniversary of this album. I can only imagine…and chances are it’s being posted somewhere as I type this, because that’s typically how it all goes down.  Things happen when I’m not looking.  She asked Roger how it felt to be celebrating this anniversary.  Roger said that he’s gotten “used” to these anniversaries.  (Me too – although 30 years still feels like a really long time!) He said that he feels The Reflex is one of the most important songs they’ve released.  The album version didn’t “jump out” at them until Nile got hold of it and “turned it on its head” As I mentioned in my earlier blog from today, a good many fans look to this song as the one that turned them into Duranies.  I’m still wondering what DDHQ has cooked up for fans…

Fan Q&A:  (I tried to get names. I am probably misspelling them, and I apologize!!)

Michelle wanted to know if Roger has any hearing damage from playing drums all of these years.  Roger said that he was tested four or five years ago and was told that he had the same hearing as someone who has been through a war.  Roger takes this in stride, saying that it’s to be expected when you’re a rock musician, but that his hearing really isn’t too bad.

Christine asked about whether or not Roger contributes to lyrics or song titles at all.  He said that on this particular album there has been a lot of discussion amongst the four of them regarding titles and lyrics, but that Simon has taken the helm with the bulk of the writing on this one.

Athena asks about places that Roger hasn’t been on tour that he’d like to go, and Roger said he’d like to go to India, China and Israel.

Maia wanted to know if he’s used new technology on this album.  Roger said that he’s been using the brand new Roland TD40 kit a lot for this album and he seems to really like it.

Sam asked when Roger knew he’d made it as musician (pop star) and how it felt. He answered saying that at one time early on he and John went record shopping right after the release of Planet Earth and their appearance on Top of the Pops. Girls recognized them and they ended up having to run down New Street in Birmingham.  It was about that time that he’d been asked for an autograph for the first time, and he said that’s kind of about the time you start realizing that you’re famous.

Marilyn wanted to know if Roger would marry her to which Roger said that he would NOT say it depended on what she looked like but that it depended upon how she is, and that he liked her name.  But then Katy reminded him (good save, Katy!!) that yes, Roger is in fact already married.  “Oh, that’s right!!  Rewind…rewind!!”

Roger is lucky he is not my husband today…because he’d be getting a phone call.  😀

Lastly, what does Roger want for his birthday if he could have anything?  (I didn’t catch who asked this and I’m sorry!)  Roger said that he would like a brand new Aston Martin in dark grey.  Yes…because wouldn’t we all???   But he’s also going to the Maldives for a vacation for his birthday, and the only way you can get to the island is by sea plane (note to fans who might be thinking they can go find him there – I hope you are good swimmers!), which worries him a bit since he is not a fan of small airplanes.

He thanked everyone in advance for their good wishes, and was back in the studio within a flash.  Nice, short and sweet Katy Kafé.  No spoilers. No song titles…but we did hear a little bit about what’s going on in there, which is something!

-R

 

 

 

 

Happy (Belated) Birthday Andy Taylor

When Daily Duranie first began, I thought the blog would be a great way to talk about the band and maybe tell my own story of being a fan.  I really felt (and sometimes still do) that there was a disconnect between the band and their fans.  I couldn’t begin to imagine how they would get any REAL idea how their music may or may not have “gone over” with the fan base – or how they could ever even get to know who we really are with some of the insanity that happens on tour. While I obviously can’t speak for everyone, I felt that this blog would be a good place to start, figuring that others would chime in eventually, as some have definitely done at times.  Keeping in mind that I figured there was also no way that any band member would care enough to sit down and actually keep up with this blog – all I had really hope for was that maybe SOME of the communication would somehow filter it’s way up to the band.  That was a pretty lofty goal, in my head – but I figured that the only way to go was to just try.  Even if that never happened, and who would really know if it has or hasn’t, I felt certain that the blog would at the very least be a good way to keep the community – the whole lot of us if possible – communicating.  I’d love to say we’re one of the central fan “hubs” out there, and while I don’t really know if we’ve quite met that goal, I just keep working hard and hoping we’re doing something of at least a little use to somebody out there. That is really all I’ve ever hoped, and continue to hope, to accomplish.

In some small way, I also wanted to use the blog as a way to honor the band.  Perhaps that is really just a natural by-product of the blog existing, but it is the spirit in which I try to write. In honoring them from time to time – one of the things I started doing was not only mentioning their birthdays, but dedicating entire blogs to each of them on their special day if it fell on one of my blogging days. It was fun for me, as it was the one day I really tended to gush on each of them each year (except of course for the days after having seen a show or something), and it’s always fun to fangirl out just a teensy bit!  Over time, those birthdays haven’t always been on my blogging days, and I feel like now I’ve gotten out of the habit a bit…so today I’m taking Andy’s birthday back, even though it was yesterday.

I know that Andy isn’t in the band any longer, and I realize that for many there are feelings of misgiving.  I can understand that, and I have to think Andy would understand as well. I have no way of knowing what happened or how raw the feelings still might be between himself and the band, and to be honest – I don’t care.  For all intents and purposes, Andy was the guitar player that *I* grew up with at the helm.  He was the one I would listen for on the albums (oh yes, I’ve always been a guitar girl at heart), and it is his style of playing that I find most recognizable as Duran Duran.  (Yes, I really did just say that, and somehow I am sure that other guitar players that have come along since Andy would completely understand what I mean here, and likely applaud my saying so as well.) So yes, I miss Andy.  Very much.

I always enjoyed and respected Andy’s “devil may care” attitude. I felt like he was truly the ying to Nick’s yang – and while many may disagree, I’ve felt the band needed that.  They need the hard edge.  I had the luck of chatting with Andy once during a marathon tweet session he had on Twitter – I still cannot believe he spent so much time with us that day (he was basically online to talk ALL DAY) – to this day it was the one and probably only time I ever felt like someone from the band actually cared enough about what we had to say and who we were as people to put aside time to just talk to us. I came away from that day with so much respect for Andy, I really did.  Talking with him was like talking to any other regular person.  I felt comfortable, and when I think back on that day – which oddly enough wasn’t very long after one of my “Happy Birthday Andy” blogs – I am glad I had the opportunity to interact with him.  It made a difference.

Nowadays, I suspect Andy is enjoying being a grandfather and probably has learned to look back on his time in Duran Duran with a sense of peace and fondness.  I highly doubt he’d ever really consider returning – seems to me that he’s finally been able to put the past in the past where it belongs and go forward on his own accord – and I completely respect that.

Not long after news broke that Andy and the band had split their partnership again, I spoke to a very dear friend on the phone.  Through our sadness, we mused over how lucky we each had been to see the original five together on stage, and how perfect those moments had really been. I know that for many fans who became fans in the 80s and knew Duran Duran to include Andy on guitar – having him return to the band (along with Roger and John of course) was a dream come true. It was something we couldn’t even dream about back then because it would have just seemed too far fetched. So, when the reunion news broke, after I picked my jaw up off of the floor and realized that the faces in front of me (on my computer screen) were in fact those of the five original band members (and believe me, I must have stared at the opening screen on dd.com for several minutes before I finally allowed my brain to believe what my eyes were seeing) I felt like it was my chance. My chance to finally put some closure to what I never saw for myself in the 80s.  So those few years that Duran Duran included John, Roger, Simon, Nick and Andy were nearly perfect.  It was like this shining, perfect moment that wasn’t ever meant to last, but something that you didn’t dare blink or you’d miss.

20110820andy-taylor-duran-duran-2I just wanted to take a few minutes on this Monday morning to wish Andy Taylor – even though I am very confident he isn’t reading The Daily Duranie these days – a very happy (belated) birthday.  I am positive he knows he’s missed and still loved by many, but it never hurts to see or even hear about the reminder.  Cheers, Andy!

-R

 

Happy Birthday Mr. LeBon!!

I can’t believe that it is already Simon’s birthday again!!  Wasn’t his last birthday just a month ago or so?!  Time definitely seems to be speeding up or maybe it is just that I have been so busy in the last year!  Anyway, today marks the day when the Duran universe stops, acknowledges and celebrates the lead singer, the frontman…Mr. Simon LeBon.  Obviously, we are no different as we will do the same.  This post will first acknowledge Simon’s official birthday message.  Then, it will show some fan acknowledgements followed by some Simon himself.

Typically, when a birthday rolls around, there is a message posted on dd.com, the band’s official website.  This year is a bit different as Simon’s message is a recorded one, an audio one.  The link is still found on the official website, which you can find here.  I’ll speak for myself to say that I think it is a nice touch to have Simon’s “voice” thanking everyone for his birthday wishes, gifts, notes, and well wishes.  He even ends the message with a “I love you all”, which is nice.  While the message wasn’t especially new or different from previous or other birthday messages, the audio made it different and a little bit more special.  People could also post comments right on the sound cloud page, which provides another avenue for fans to express their well wishes!

Of course, fans around the world have been tweeting or posting happy birthday messages.  There is no way that Duranies could forget this day as there are so many pictures that have been tweeted and posted along with the birthday greetings.  I have seen a lot of pictures people have taken of or with Simon.  Profile pictures and cover pictures have been changed to pictures of Simon.  It is pretty overwhelming when I checked into the online Duran world today and I only see a fraction of it.  I can’t imagine what Duran Duran’s twitter or facebook has been like today!  I’m sure that it has been beyond crazy!  Simon’s twitter, I’m sure, is completely overloaded!  Yet, beyond these individual responses, there has been some more official efforts to acknowledge Simon’s birthday.  First, Duranasty updated today.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Duranasty, it is an absolutely fabulous online entertainment website.  There is usually revealing information, links to other articles about Duran and beyond wonderful photographs of the band.  This one is particularly fabulous as it dives into the 50 years of Simon’s career with some phenomenal pictures and information about his work in show business as a child.  All Duran fans should check it out here.  I know that I’m simply in awe over it!!!!  Second, as many of you know, there has been a tremendous effort to compile birthday messages in one place.  The website showing all of these fabulous messages looks great and I definitely offer praise to the organizers!  You can see that page here!  Check it out, if you included a message or not.  Again, all of these fan efforts show me how much we all love and appreciate Simon!!!

Now, last year, I included lots of different Simon performances to celebrate him.  You can find that post here.  I didn’t want to include clips that I have already done (even though some of those are the best clips ever!!!).  Thus, I thought about what should be included.  Here is what I came up with…a Simon on his own!

Grey Lady of the Sea!  (Simon loves to sail after all and this features clips about his voyage on Drum in 1985!  Classic.)

Simon singing Ordinary World with Pavarotti.  (I remember hearing an interview in which Simon described how this was a “mega moment” for his mother.  I bet!)

Simon’s song, Dream Boy, featured on the soundtrack for the movie, Love Kills.

The making of the song, Nobody Knows, which is the theme song for an online animated show with his friend, Nick Wood.

I always enjoy celebrating a band member’s birthday by appreciating his talent and Simon is no different.  It is a reminder that his birth, like the rest of the guys, is truly a gift to us all.  Happy Birthday Simon!!!!!

-A

Go back to school!

It is Monday and I’m about to hand out homework to my lovely fellow Duran fans.  I think “homework” is probably a good theme to start out the week given that as of tomorrow, all three of my children will finally be back in school.

Yes, I did say “finally”. It has been a long summer…and I am looking forward to my house or even just parts therein staying clean for more than five minutes at a time. I am sure you can understand my point. Even more exciting, my youngest begins her educational journey in our fantastic public school system as she begins Kindergarten. (I am not going to say whether you should read that with sarcasm or not. I’ll let you decide on your own.) Today is going to be a day of getting supplies ready, doing a little bit of school clothes shopping, and for my kids – maybe just a little bit of mourning that the days of sleeping late and relaxing are over for a while. (Me? Oh, I’m doing some teaching, a bit of lesson planning and working on a special Daily Duranie project that I’ll mention later this week…along with just a TEENSY bit of celebrating the kids going back to school!) In any case, we’re about to embark on the time-honored traditions of sleeping past the alarm, running late for school, praying for the weekends and of course: homework.

As you must realize, a certain lead singer’s birthday is coming soon, and a Daily Duranie friend is in the midst of organizing a really nice tribute to Simon. She very kindly asked if we would be willing to spread the word – and of course we are.

Let’s make his 55th a memorable one, by celebrating one of the most important contributions he has made to the band, and indeed our lives: the words.

RULES:
This is what we need from each one of you:

  • Choose 1 poem/lyric Simon has written that has a special, personal meaning to you, and explain why – what was happening, how those words helped, or were a stepping stone, or a support in your life at that moment;
  • Be concise, keep it under 200 words;
  • Choose a photo of Simon from the period when that lyric was written/released;
  • Optionally include a photo of yourself;
  • Include your name, city, country, and optionally your age (dob);
  • Make sure your file is no larger than 18 x 26 cm (B5, landscape), 75 dpi, preferably with a white background;
  • Send your entry to simonsbirthdaybook2013@gmail.com arranged as per your taste on a collage or as separate items.


Content is paramount – prettiness secondary! If you don’t have computer ‘skills’ you can send the text and photos anyway and we will make a nice frame for it.

Your contributions will be compiled on a dedicated page in WordPress: happybirthdaysimon.wordpress.com/

DEADLINE: Submit your contribution until Sunday 13th October 2013 to simonsbirthdaybook2013@gmail.com.

On the 27th of October, the complete page will go live around the world – and hopefully Simon will see it! We hope we can count on you and the fansites, boards and groups in the Duran Duran world to help out spreading the word around. Just copy and paste this text!

NOTES:
We will be able to re-size your contribution if needed. All submissions will be used solely for this project.
Once you send in your contribution, you will be sent a confirmation e-mail back from us. If you do not receive a confirmation e-mail within 24 hours, we did not receive your entry. Please re-send it.

Most important: This is for Simon’s Birthday. Any entries that mention his personal life (family, children etc.) will be returned to you and you will be asked to either edit your contribution or not have it included. BE RESPECTFUL.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. No question is too dumb. Don’t wait until the last minute! Get your submissions in! The more contributions, the better the book! 



Read more: http://duranduranboard.proboards.com/thread/32119/simons-birthday-book-2013#ixzz2ePJVUzv5


This sounds like a really wonderful, heartfelt way to celebrate Simon’s birthday and give tribute to words that have been especially meaningful – we consistently run into people all of the time that have stories to tell us about Simon’s words and what they mean specifically, we really hope people take the time to get involved.

Keep in mind that it is not Amanda and I who are creating this project – we’re just helping spread the word, so if you have questions, please send them to simonsbirthdaybook@gmail.com – not Daily Duranie.  

So with that – go do your homework!

-R


Happy Birthday Mr. Taylor!

This is a first for me!  I am actually writing this year’s birthday post for our favorite bass player, John Taylor!  Of course, as Rhonda mentioned last week, we switched days in order for her to write Dom’s birthday post and for me to write John’s.  Frankly, I suspect that this blog will not live up to the high standards that John’s birthday post should meet.  I will do my best, though.  As I begin this post, I think about all that John is and has been.  It is clear that he is much more than a bass player.  He is more than a founding member of our favorite band.  Obviously, his musical talents have expanded far beyond Duran Duran as he has been involved in side projects (Power Station and Neurotic Outsiders) as well as his own solo work.  He has also been involved with other musical projects as a guest like his vocal performance on Koishii and Hush’s C’est Tout Est Noir.  John isn’t all music, either.  He has been an actor and, this past year, we saw him become a best-selling author as well.  In fact, it is truly difficult to hit on all aspects of John Taylor’s successful career.  I will attempt to the best I can here, though, because he deserves the effort!  Besides, his fans deserve to celebrate everything he has given us, too!

Obviously, most of us became fans of John Taylor through Duran Duran.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m thankful on pretty much a daily basis that John discovered music as a kid and had the desire to form a band.  Then, of course, he had determination and ambition to do what he needed to do in order to be a success.  These qualities can be seen from the very earliest days of Duran to Duran today.  To me, these qualities along with his absolutely outstanding bass playing make him such an important piece to the Duran enterprise.  Yes, I’m sure that there are people out there reading this who want to remind me and others that John left the band and the band continued.  While that’s true, it is clear that the band would not have survived much longer with that line-up.  Simon, in particular, was open about how much he missed John.  For John fans like myself, it was really hard to get excited about anything Duran without him there.  All of this said, this blog post is about celebrating John and what he brought and brings to Duran Duran and their fans.

Clip of John discussing playing Planet Earth from the early 1980s-

An acoustic performance of All You Need Is Now from 2011-

Of course, for many of us, when we think about what John does best, we often think about live performances.  As a kid, I will never forget seeing the live video of The Reflex.  There was just something about him that caught my attention.  Yeah, yeah, I’m sure those flattering camera angles didn’t hurt.  Nonetheless, as an adult, I have learned that he truly does a tremendous job during their live performances.  Of course, one thing that I truly love about John live is that he is always interacting with either Simon or Dom.  I am a big fan of both the JoSi and the DoJo–honestly, partly, because it seems to me that they sincerely love performing together!
The Reflex-

Careless Memories from A Diamond in the Mind:

Now, of course, John hasn’t just performed with Duran Duran.  He has been involved with two side projects.  The first one, Power Station, is probably one that most Duranies are familiar with.  Yet, I would also recommend Neurotic Outsiders.  I suspect that this project did John a lot of good.

Power Station’s Some Like It Hot-

Jerk by Neurotic Outsiders (live)-

I happen to think that John’s most important musical work outside of Duran Duran is his solo work.  If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend it.  John’s solo catalog reveals so much about his musical open-mindedness, skills and passion.  Perhaps, just as, or more, importantly, his solo work is so personal.  I often say that the majority of Simon’s lyrics are either pure poetry or a story about someone else.  The exact opposite is true of John’s.  Most of his songs are intensely personal.  It shows a lot about what kind of person he is to share so much of himself with the world.  Of course, his autobiography did that as well.  Someday, I’ll do a blog of must hear John songs.  In my personal opinion, all serious John fans should familiarize themselves with his solo stuff.

John’s song Fields of Eden-

Beyond music, John has been been both an actor and an author.  How many people out there can claim all of this (musician, actor and author)?!  His acting appearances were always entertaining to me from when he played an English rockstar in Sugartown (that sounds familiar…) to a badass rock star who enjoys trashing his hotel rooms in Strange Frequency to a hitman in Four Dogs Playing Poker.

John in Strange Frequency-

Of course, last year, we all had the pleasure of reading John’s autobiography.  I have read it multiple times and continue to be impressed by his writing skills as well as his ability to be so open.  If you haven’t read it, you totally should.  It provides such insight into John but also into Duran Duran, the Birmingham scene, fame and more.  
John reading the chapter on Coachella from his book-

I adore this final chapter of the book.  Why?  It feels to me that John really gets it.  He understands his role–to make music, to connect with us when they are on stage and we are in the audience.  Clearly, he understood the importance of connecting, including the band to us but also fans connecting to other fans.  In the end, that is what it is all about—making connections, long lasting, lifelong connections.  Thus, on this day, we celebrate John’s birthday but we also celebrate all that he has given us–his music, his voice, his talent, his words, his creativity, his soul and, through all of that, each other.  Truly, June 20th is one date to celebrate.
Happy Birthday John!!
-A

Happy Birthday Dom!

I feel a birthday in the air….

You might be wondering why I am blogging today. It’s Friday. That means it should be Amanda’s day, and I should be off enjoying the first full day of summer break for my kids. (I am, which is why I’m writing this on Thursday!) Well my friends, today is a special day. It is Friday, June 14…which is also a big holiday.  It’s Dom’s birthday! (face it Mr. Brown…it’s no longer a secret!) So, Amanda and I agreed we would trade days – she will blog on John’s birthday next week, and I will blog today.

Normally I gush on and on about how wonderful each guy is on his birthday. That would be fairly easy for me to do here…but instead, I’ve decided to pick a few of Dom’s songs and highlight them here….in addition to gushing endlessly, because well, it’s what I do.

Dom has been playing with Duran Duran since December of 2004 when Andy Taylor became ill while on tour. Dom stepped with just two days notice, which is ridiculously amazing. I’m still in awe that he was able to learn 20 songs in that span of time, but that should probably be evidence of Dom’s work ethic. There was a reason why it took us nearly three months to complete the interview we did with Dom last Fall – he is always working!  While on “hiatus” from Duran Duran (I use that term loosely!), Dom opened his own recording studio, and nearly every week I read that he was working with one artist or another, either writing, producing or both. This is not a man who rests!

In 2006, Dom joined the band as their guitarist on a permanent basis – although SOME of us are still waiting for his likeness to be sold on t-shirts and other Duran Duran merchandise.  My my count, Dom has been with the band as the “stand-in” as well as permanent guitarist for almost 9 years….seems like a t-shirt or poster wouldn’t hurt at this point. (I’m looking at you, DDHQ) I think that the arrangement has probably worked out well for both the band as well as Dom up until this point, but I have to admit that as a fan, I would love to see him be included in more group shots.

I liked Dom immediately when I watched him play, his talent shining through as he became more comfortable with the material to put a little more of himself and his own feeling into his playing. When I asked Dom about this, he said, “Over time I became more comfortable and could integrate and interpret with my own style and I hope that comes across. I am a strong believer in keeping to the original spirit of the song as much as possible.” As a fan, I appreciate that he strives to keep the integrity of the original work. None of us are really fans of having these songs we’ve grown to love so much completely changed due to an evolution in personnel, so hearing that Dom wants to keep the original spirit but add a bit of his own personality to the mix is reassuring. We are extremely lucky the band found him, and honestly I’m surprised to see he’s still with the band (although he’d better not leave!), because he has so much room to grow on his own. So I’m biased!

I have heard that Dom is not a big fan of streaming his gigs at The Bedford. I guess I’m punishing him by posting a few clips here…. but the fact is, the audio quality is not outstanding, and so if that is what bothers him, I guess I can begrudgingly understand. It does sound muffled a bit, but you can still hear him just fine, and I WISH he’d agree to have more of them streamed for his very loyal, outstanding fans elsewhere in the world who have been a pillar of support for him since the very beginning (am I laying it on thick enough here??)….*coughs*.

Changing – The Bedford
I don’t know what “Changing” is about, but I tend to think about how much of a change in direction it must have been for Dom to play in Duran Duran as a contract guitarist. It wasn’t his own band, and I think it must have (and probably still is) incredibly difficult of a position to be in. He isn’t even playing his own style of music in the band, although I do hear more and more how he brings his own personality to the writing process. He had to step (nearly literally) into Andy’s shoes and then face the ire of many a fan who still wishes that Andy were there instead. When I met Dom for the first (and only) time in person, that was the one sentence I said to him – that it could not have been very easy, and that I really appreciated his efforts.  
Day Turned Black -The Bedford
Day Turned Black is from Dom’s second solo album – Between the Lines. Again, I really don’t know what the song is about, but when I listen I think of the horror of 9/11 because it’s what hits closest to home for me. I suspect that this song was written following the tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004 after the massive Indian Ocean earthquake – which was the deadliest tsunami in history, but I’m not sure. (Maybe we’ll get lucky and Dom will fill us in!) Regardless, it’s a beautiful song.
Crocodile Tears – The Bedford
On a lighter note, Crocodile Tears was the first song that introduced me to Dom’s father, Rob.  (Who is really funny in this video!) The song itself reminds me a lot of someone who cries wolf a lot and basically gets rewarded for bad behavior. Let’s just say the theme rings very familiar.  I think having Dom’s dad do the spoken word in part of the song is genius too – he fits right in, which isn’t a surprise given that Rob is a voice-over artist in the UK! 
Tricked Out – Duran Duran – 10/29/07
A disclaimer:  I’m not going crazy just because I dared to post something off of Red Carpet Massacre. I really do not have a lot of regrets regarding the band – but this? Yes. I wish I’d been able to see them do this one song live, although I probably would have completely lost it had I been anywhere NEAR the front. Although….if they should ever think to play it again, I’ll try to keep it all together. If there is any question about Dom’s talent, or any question as to whether he belongs in this band or not – watch the clip and then tell me all about it.
White Lines – Chastain Park, Atlanta 2012
Hands down one of my favorites that they have done live, and I think Dom does a brilliant job – this is a great example of how he kept the original spirit and flavor of a song and yet has changed the solo to incorporate his own style.  I know there are those out there that love what the guitarists before Dom did, and I can appreciate that – but the man can play!
When I first asked Dom to do the interview with us last October, first of all – I was very apprehensive about asking because the last thing I wanted to hear was the word “No”, and I felt that was very possible. I kept telling myself that it didn’t really matter, and that I had to get used to just asking. So, I did. I explained who I was, knowing there was almost no chance he’d have any clue who I was, and hoped for best. Well…and I’m still trying to decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing….he knew exactly who I was. (from the shows I’d attended in the past) That broke the ice (for me) a little, and I felt much more at ease. Thankfully, he was very receptive to the idea and made the interview incredibly easy. My goal with interviewing Dom was to try and make him a little less of a mystery, and a little more accepted among the fan base. It’s hard to explain to someone that while he’s loved by many, there are still those who take issue with his even being on the stage. Dom was so kind, saying that the fans he has met have been very nice to him and welcoming – which is great. He was extremely generous giving his time to us, and we really appreciated his effort. (even though he said he enjoyed answering!)
A couple more because it’s my blog and I’m not done yet!
I Get Loaded – Blue to Brown – The Bedford 2009
I’ve yet to see one of Dom’s solo gigs, or a gig with Blue to Brown, and I’m hoping to manage that some day. Going to the UK is not just a simple hop across the pond with my schedule, so it’s something that I have to plan at just the right time…but eventually I will get there…or else we will work very hard to convince him to come to the US!  I think that is probably a tough sell for someone without a huge touring budget…but you know, dreams are free!
One last one…just because it’s one of my favorites:
Queen of Spades – Blue to Brown – The Bedford 2009
Funny thing – if you would have asked me ten years ago if I ever thought I’d have another favorite in that band (being the diehard Roger Taylor fan I was the entire time growing up), I would have laughed. Are you kidding me?? I also remember how I felt the day that I heard Andy wasn’t going to be at some of the shows in 2004 and 2005…and especially how I felt in 2006 when they announced they had parted ways. I felt like they should never have another guitar player. In my head, that place permanently belonged to Andy, no matter that he couldn’t get along with the band and vice-versa. I’d already lived through another guitarist, and quite honestly – I was not up for Round #2. Sure, they needed someone to just play – and that was fine, but I never wanted to see another permanent band member. Then I went to a few shows, and I ran into someone on a plane to New Orleans who insisted on coming out that night to hang out with fans (Silly, silly man. I warned that they’d try to eat you alive!), and he slowly changed my mind.  More and more I found myself watching Dom at the shows, and now – well, I can’t imagine the band being any other way than it is now, and to me – he really IS Duran Duran’s guitar player. I don’t care about the business end of things – it’s not my business.  Fans are my business though, and I hope he really feels like the band is his home. I also hope that we fans continue to  embrace him as a part of our crazy family, because after all this time – that’s really what we are.  A huge, messed up, slightly dysfunctional, crazy family. Welcome!!
Happy Birthday Dom! I hope you have a fantastic day with your family, and that you remember your poor, sad fans across the world and tweet once in a while even when you don’t have a gig to announce…or cancel (!!!)…just so we know you’re alive and don’t have to do a health and welfare check to make sure your studio didn’t eat you alive. 
-R

Celebrating Nick Rhodes

Do you all know what today is?  Yes, it is a Saturday.  It is a Saturday in June.  For me, this means grading, grading and grading (for hopefully the last time in June ever!).  More specifically, though, it is June 8th.  Hmm…did something important happen on this date?  Oh, yeah, I remember now.  There was an earthquake in Peru in 1624.  Wait, that’s not it.  Cable car service began in Los Angeles in 1889.  *shakes head*  That doesn’t seem right.  Parking meters were invented in 1936.  Nope.  That annoying invention doesn’t have to do with this blog.  What does?!?  Oh, yeah, that keyboard guy was born, right?  Yeah, that’s it!  Nick Rhodes was born!  It’s Nick’s birthday!!!  So, how can I celebrate his birthday on this blog?

First, we all know that Nick is pretty dang instrumental (ha!) in creating the Duran sound that we all know and love.  How in the world can you comb through all of Duran’s songs to pick just one that always makes you think of Nick Rhodes?  It certainly isn’t easy, but today, the song that immediately came to mind for me was New Religion.  Obviously, as soon as the song begins, the attention is turned to Nick with those first few notes of his keyboard.  Then, when I think of New Religion, I think of how  Live from London really showed this.

Second, Duranies all know that Nick does more for Duran than just writing and playing a few notes of music.  No, he often has the great ideas that we all associate with Duran Duran.  Whether it is to include a 3D track on the Live from London DVD or taking the photos for the Red Carpet Massacre album cover, he makes more than a significant mark on the Duran label.  One of the more recent creations of Nick’s in the Duran universe was the concept behind the video for Girl Panic.

Third, Nick has also used his creative genius in a couple of side projects connected to Duran Duran.  The first side project was the Devils, which essentially took the very first Duran album and finished it with Stephen Duffy and released it with the title of Dark Circles.  Here is a clip from 2003.

Of course, Nick’s most recent side project, TV Mania, has been getting quite a bit of attention from Duranland as this one was a long time in the making.  This is a project that started in the 1990s with Warren and finally saw the light of day this year.  This side project includes an album like the Devils and it includes videos.  Here is the video for Beautiful Clothes, which is significant as it was directed by Nick himself!

Beyond the music and the video, Nick remains a force in the art and photography world.  I’m so proud to be an owner of his Interference book that has even influenced my mother in some of her fiber arts pieces.  The TV Mania project also saw Nick’s photographic talent as well with the Bei Incubi exhibit.

Clearly, there is so much to commemorate when celebrating the birth of Nick Rhodes.  Beyond what he has given us, creatively, he also appreciates what fans have given him as seen by his birthday message here.  I, for one, enjoyed the last bit in which he stated how he hoped next year’s birthday message would be from some place other than London.  Could he be referring to some summer shows?!  That would be a great birthday present to us!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Rhodes!!!

-A

Happy Birthday Amanda!!!!!

After a really great weekend with friends, I am back at home today…trying to settle back into the insanity, I guess.  More importantly, I am home in time to spend a very special day with my favorite now-five year old, as my youngest turns five today.  Additionally, and equally as important, my best friend and writing partner ALSO has a birthday today!

So today I want to write just a little bit about Amanda.  Yes Amanda, you can begin cringing uncomfortably now.  Consider this your yearly roasting or something.

I think most know that Amanda and I met in 2004 at the Friends of Mine convention in New Orleans. I think I sensed her dry humor and sarcasm immediately.  She didn’t have trouble laughing at the band (Listen, we can find the “funny” in nearly anything…), and she certainly had no trouble partying it up.  I had met many people that weekend, but somehow I found myself most comfortable talking to Amanda.  Then of course we kept in touch via the message boards and email throughout the 2005 tour, and our friendship has continued to grow.  On one hand, it is hard for me to believe that I’ve known her now for nearly nine years and on the other, I can’t imagine being a fan, going to shows and participating in the community without her.

Let me tell you some things about Amanda that you might not know.  First off, Amanda is probably the most loyal person I’ve ever known.  I am not really sure that I can even properly describe that in terms any of you would understand. The thing about Amanda is that her loyalty doesn’t come easily. I don’t think it’s wrong to say that she does not trust quite as quickly as I might.  She is very thoughtful about things, and thinks before she jumps. But, once that trust is given, it’s given implicitly. I can honestly and truly say that out of all of my friends, Amanda is the one person I never, EVER have to worry about my words going elsewhere.  What she and I discuss privately simply never goes any further. She knows my deepest secrets, and never once have I ever had to be concerned that she would somehow use that knowledge against me.  I am lucky to have her as a friend and confidant.

Amanda isn’t someone that is easy to get to know beyond the surface. She’s private and she doesn’t let anyone and everyone in. Her trust doesn’t come immediately, and I admire her for that. Friendship matters to Amanda. It is not something that is just handed out to anyone and everyone and then yanked away the minute something goes awry.  She is friendLY with many, but her true friends know exactly where they stand.  I don’t know many people like that.

Amanda has real conviction – if she says she believes something, she doesn’t just use the words, she “walks the walk” every single day.  For her, it isn’t enough to say that you don’t like something or that you wish something would change – she gets out there and tries to make it happen.  That’s probably why it is so natural for her to commit to campaigning or getting involved in the political process.  I simply say I’m a “voter”.  Amanda is a “do-er”.

Not long ago, I had a tiny nagging worry in the back of mind that maybe my friendship with Amanda was changing.  There had been some things that had happened over the summer and into the fall that made me wonder if we were growing apart. I felt as though I couldn’t share some of things I really needed and get the response I was most desiring. Yet I had no idea how to really address the situation.  Sometimes this happens amongst friends, and it can really be the beginning of the end.  I didn’t want that. Never mind the blog and the book, this is my very best friend.  The one person on the planet that I can count on to just be there. This past weekend, I had the chance to gingerly bring it up, which for me was greatly uncomfortable.  I needed to know she had my back, no matter what. I need the encouragement to do what is right for myself, even if right now, I don’t know what is actually right.  Amazingly, Amanda knows. She is just the kind of person that already knows what is right, but she also knows that sometimes, for whatever reason – we can’t always act.  She’s a good friend and I’m sorry I doubted that I could even come to her.

Never mind all of the crazy things – and there are LOT of crazy things – that we do, most of which we openly discuss here on the blog, Amanda is a genuine friend.  A good person.  She isn’t the type of person who thinks of herself first.  She is the type of person that always wants to know how she can help. In fact, whenever I go to her about something, that is literally the first thing she asks as soon as I’m done unloading.  “How can I help?”  What she doesn’t know is that she already IS helping, just by listening.

Amanda, I wish you the very happiest of birthdays.  You deserve nothing but happiness and great things to come your way. I am so grateful that this silly band brought us together and that we can work together, talk on the phone and even curse at the band whenever necessary.  If for no other reason (and we both know there are plenty), I am SO thankful for Duran Duran existing because indirectly, they brought you into my life.  Fandom has been great that way for me, and I really hope that happens for others out there.

Now, if THAT isn’t a good reason to go to the convention, I don’t know….

One of us is celebrating far more than the other!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMANDA!!!

-R

  

Happy Birthday Andy!

Could it be true?!  Am I really doing another birthday post?  In today’s case, I get to wish Andy Taylor a wonderfully happy birthday!  Now, of course, a simple happy birthday isn’t good enough.  Nope, an occasion such as this deserves a little celebration!  How can I celebrate Andy’s birthday?  That’s easy.  I need to commemorate Andy’s birth by enjoying some of my favorite clips/moments/songs of his. 

From Early Duran:

From Recent Duran:

How about a little Power Station?

Solo!!!

It may be Andy’s birthday but watching all of these videos has reminded me about what gifts Andy has brought to all of us over the years.  Happy Birthday Andy!  I hope it is the best one ever!