Category Archives: birthdays

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!

Happy Birthday Simon!!!

*scratches head*  I keep thinking that today must be important for some reason but I can’t figure it out.  Hmm…I know that I’m distracted from working so much, getting such little sleep and being stressed but still, I usually remember something if it is important.  *scratches head more*  Oh yeah…I hear someone famous has a birthday today.  A famous singer, no less.  Stephen Duffy?  No, his birthday is in June.  Andy Wickett?  Robert Palmer?  Michael Des Barres?  *taps the keyboard impatiently*  I know!  It is Simon’s birthday!!!!  How could I forget that?!?

I think part of the reason it took me so long to remember that it was a band member’s birthday is because I never do the birthdays.  In the 2 years that we have been blogging, I think Rhonda has had every single one of them until now.  So, I’m not used to acknowledging a birthday much more beyond the Today in Duran history that I post.  Now, I could follow in my partner’s footsteps and write about said band member, but I won’t.  It isn’t that I don’t have anything to say.  Oh, I have plenty that I could say but…I want to acknowledge his day by showing what Simon does best, as far as the band goes.  It seems to me that Simon brings the following talents to Duran Duran:  First, his voice is unique and amazing.  Second, when he gets his lyrics right, they are nothing less than fabulous poetry.  Third, his ability to perform is second to none.  I have watched many people at different times go to their first Duran shows.  In almost all cases, when they go, they do not have a favorite but they do when they leave!  It is always Simon, too!  Of course, Simon is also good for creating some humor for himself, for the band and definitely for the fans!  Thus, after we watch some clips showcasing those talents, we will watch some clips of other memorable Simon birthdays as we wish him the most fabulous of birthdays.

When I think of Simon’s voice, I tend to think of those early albums when his voice is natural and so utterly unique.  I have heard/read many people say that Simon’s voice is such that as soon as the vocals start in a Duran song, everyone knows who the artist is because of Simon’s voice.  Here is a clip of early Simon singing Anyone Out There:

Of course, another factor beyond Simon’s voice that makes Duran’s music so special to so many of us is their lyrics.  Simon truly can be a poet and one that requires thinking and invites personal interpretation.  I enjoy that we can listen to a song and all think Simon is talking about different subjects.  His lyrics are such that we can all put our own spin on them, which makes such a strong connection between the listener and the performer.  Now, many people, when thinking of Simon’s lyrics might pick out songs like The Chauffeur, for its poetry factor, or a song like Union of the Snake, for our collective inability to really determine what it means, but I am not.  To me, one of the best songs Simon has ever written is Before the Rain.  It is complete poetry and really spoke to me when I was dealing with the loss of two loved ones at the same time.  On top of that, he sings it beautifully.

Then, there is Simon’s performances.  Simon has the ability to connect with an audience and to entertain them like no other.  Duran Duran, truly, would have been lost without a lead singer like Simon.  While I might focus my attention elsewhere, I know that Simon is able to get the audience’s attention and to keep their attention.  The shows wouldn’t work otherwise.  As a kid, I remember so many times watching the documentary, Sing Blue Silver, with my best friend at the time.  We saw how Simon got the crowd into participating during Girls on Film and knew, right then and there, that if we ever saw Duran live, we, too, would participate the WHOLE time.  LOL

Of course, there have been times when Simon has become particularly entertaining during a show.  That’s typically when he tries to dance.  I’m still amused by the strange dance we saw during Skin Trade in the summer of 2009 and the video of Friends of Mine from Hammersmith in 1982.

Based on all of the reasons I mentioned above and more, I hope that Simon has a memorable, fantastic birthday.  Maybe it will be just as wonderful as one of these:


Happy Birthday, Mr. LeBon!!!

-A

Celebrating the Birthday Man!

Today would have been my very first opportunity to discuss a band member’s birthday but my writing partner beat me to it yesterday! The nerve…just kidding! It is probably partly my fault since I was on the phone with her for over 2 hours when she could have and probably should have been writing the blog. So, obviously, I had a choice. I could do my own blog wishing Nick a happy birthday OR I could write a completely different blog about something else. I am choosing to celebrate Nick but in a different way. I’m going to post some videos of Nick throughout the years to acknowledge all that Nick has been since founding this favorite band of ours!

While this first clip isn’t Nick on his own, it is interesting to note that despite being the youngest member of the band, he clearly wasn’t intimidated by being interviewed or by the interviewer.  It seems obvious to me that Nick would be the member who is often interviewed, is the spokesperson and the general PR man.  Nick is a natural!

For many people, the look that Nick is sporting in this video is a favorite!  I like it myself!  Here’s a little confession to make!  I was Nick Rhodes for Halloween one year and, as a redhead, this look seemed to be the easiest to emulate.  As I went door-to-door asking for candy, I was annoyed that no one knew who the heck I was!  When I explained to people, they all kept commenting about how I was a girl, dressing as a boy who was wearing makeup like a girl!

While Nick has obviously shown his talent on Duran songs, he has made his mark producing other work, including Kajagoogoo in 1983.  I was always amused that their song, Too Shy, went number one before any Duran song!

In my opinion, Nick’s talent and vision really took the spotlight when he was working on Arcadia.  Interestingly enough, this look was only around during this era of 1985.  I wonder if Arcadia would do another project, would Nick’s look change back to this?!

Breath After Breath is an underrated song from the Wedding Album, in my opinion.  I absolutely adore this video and love the image of Nick typing on a typewriter!!!

While this era isn’t exactly my favorite, I still enjoy this clip.  It shows Nick’s personality and sense of humor as well as his obsession with cameras and pictures!

Of course, Nick’s influence is felt in everything Duran does, but nothing shows this more than Girl Panic.  He was directly involved in the lyrics and the video concept!  On top of that, I absolutely adore his interview of “himself”!

On that note, I wish Mr. Rhodes a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  I, for one, can’t wait to see what he will do next!!!

-A

A Late Blog and an Early Birthday!

I am so sorry for the tardiness of this blog today. There is no other way to say it, today has been one of those days. I’ve been the sole “active” parent this week, and trust me – I’ve been more than active. Some days feel like short sprints, and today felt like a marathon, and I’ve finished last. This morning was especially painful, and on the morning “crawl” to my daughter’s high school something hit the windshield of my car and now it’s sporting a huge crack.  Not the greatest way to begin the day, but not earth (or windshield) shattering.  Oddly though, I had the song(s) Fly on the Windscreen (Depeche Mode) and (I’m Looking for) Cracks in the Pavement (You Know Exactly Who) stuck in my head all day.  Bizarre.  From there it was a nearly endless array of phone calls to insurance people, overseas husbands (it was in the middle of the night his time when he got my phone call…oops!), school meetings, and driving. Oh, the driving, and the traffic. Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday, that’s all I’ve got to say.

Since today is blessedly Thursday and it’s my last blog of the week, an early Happy Birthday is in order to Mr. Nicholas. I hear that 50 is “The Big One”, although the 8.0+ earthquake that is way overdue to hit Southern California is also given that delightful moniker.  Coincidence?? I could say that age is but a number and countless other platitudes, but the honest truth is that when I think about what the age of 50 must look like, it is definitely not Nick Rhodes’ face that comes to mind. I have a very difficult time believing that any one of that band could possibly be 50 yet. It’s very similar to what comes to mind when my oldest comes to me and asks to borrow my shoes. I still see her as the precocious 3 year old in pigtails that wants to borrow a pair of my shoes and stumble around the house. Time goes by so fast, and while I know the band stays firmly in the present – I still think of them as the twenty-somethings I admired from afar, or at least the boys I admired on my bedroom walls.

I’ve always used the birthday blogs as a way to honor the birthday boy in question, write a bit of a love-note, and a way to weave my own personal experiences into the blog. The funny thing is, my personal experiences are somewhat at a low when it comes to Nick. What I can tell you though, is that I’ve never once heard a single fan ever have a bad experience meeting Nick. I know that he has caught the eyes of many a fan at a concert and smiled – and let me just gush and say that no band member has a smile like Nick. When he smiles (which in my opinion is not nearly enough!), his entire face lights up and you feel like the smile is truly meant just for you. Nick has a gift for words and making the tiniest of moments mean something special. He may not ever be the band member we find on Twitter or Facebook, but his genuine nature comes through loud and clear in his short video clips or notes on the band webpage. I have friends who have had the opportunity to meet Nick several times (Faby I am talking to you!), and I adore seeing those photos. There is a love that flows from Nick to the fans that is returned many million times over, and it really does come through with every photo I see.

I too, have believed that I caught Nick’s eye and a grin at a show or two when I was in the UK – and it’s those tiny little moments that make the shows come to mean more than just a concert.  It’s remembering how shocked I was to hear the opening notes of Secret Oktober in Brighton, only to look up after squealing in delight with Amanda to see Nick with an ear-to-ear grin. It’s thinking about how I finally made it to the rail at the very end of the show to hear them play Rio at the same show, and have Nick stand and take photos right in front of us. It was that last show in Glasgow when I could swear he smiled right at me and waved as he left the stage. I’ve decided to claim those seconds as being mine, even though they were probably meant for dozens, if not hundreds of other people as well. We can all claim them, and chances are, none of us are wrong.  

Nick Rhodes has been a part of my life for many years now. It’s a slightly dizzying thought when I count the years his music has been spinning on my record player, in my CD player…or just playing as an MP3 file on any one of several iProducts I’ve owned. He’s a welcome image in my head and heart and I wish him a very happy birthday…..even though I still can’t wrap my head around half of why he likes Second Life.

Happy Birthday Nick!!

-R

Presales, Birthdays, Showcases and Homeschooling oh my!

Sorry that today’s blog is a bit late – as I’ve mentioned, we’re dealing with some kid issues at home.  Today I spent part of the morning getting my son transferred from his current school over to homeschooling for the next school year, beginning in late August.  This is a huge change for all of us, and after much nail biting, worrying and even a few tears, I think this is the best answer for right now.  Wish us luck, send me wine, and words of wisdom from time to time might help.  Right now my son is cautiously optimistic (which tells me he’s really thinking about what it all might be like), and my husband is supportive.  It’s all I can really ask for.  I just hope I’m doing the right thing.  I have no idea what my schedule will be like, but I would imagine that it will most definitely need to change with regards to the blog – I’m still committed to writing each day, it’s just a matter of figuring out when to write.  I promise to keep you updated!  As for the book, I’ve given myself a firm deadline, and that’s that my portion(s) must be completed by late July.  That’s going to be a stretch, but it is what must be done.

Have you sent your birthday greeting yet??  Duran Duran put out a request for short birthday wishes to be sent to duranduran@magusentertainment.com in honor of Nick’s BIG birthday….I sent mine in, and you should get yours in as well.  Deadline is this Saturday, June 2nd. It happens to the best of us, Nick.  Well, not me (yet), but you know…I think you had a bit of a head start!

So that Atlanta date….  I was really starting to wonder if this show was going to happen, mainly because it had been so long since I’d heard anything. Secretly I thought maybe I’d missed the news somewhere, and as I mentioned to Amanda yesterday, I figured that if I’d missed it, I was just going to figure it out later because I was busy having a life outside of my extracurricular activities!  It happens, right?  So the word is that the venue is beginning their “Series” on-sale as of Sunday, June 3rd.  That means that this show is being sold to their subscribers in a sort of package along with several other shows, kind of like season tickets.  Then after that, the DDM presale will begin on June 13th.  While once again I have serious scheduling issues with the presale date – it’s my youngest’s last day of school and that means I am at her school that day (not something I can or even want to get out of), I have no doubt that Amanda and I will figure this out.  Of course, she’s going to be on her way to a little vacation with her parents – but you know, it’s not really a fun or a tour unless we’ve got some crazy drama going on, right?  It’s the challenge that makes it worth our time!  If you are not a DDM member, then the public on-sale date (non-series, single show tickets) is on Saturday, June 16th.  Let us know if you’re going to the show because we’d like to do a get-together and possibly look into group rates at a hotel if there’s enough interest!  Assuming Atlanta works out, that means Amanda and I will be touring the cities and highways beginning in Biloxi, onward to Atlanta, and then ending up in North Carolina.  Have you sent your birthday greeting yet??  Duran Duran put out a request for short birthday wishes to be sent to duranduran@magusentertainment.com in honor of Nick’s BIG birthday….I sent mine in, and you should get yours in as well.  Deadline is this Saturday, June 2nd. It happens to the best of us, Nick.  Well, not me (yet), but you know…I think you had a bit of a head start!

Last but not least, today is Blue to Brown’s big day with their release party at the Cookoo Club in London.  It’s fairly obvious that Amanda and I could not be there, but we send our very best wishes to Dom and his dad for a great showcase.  Have you bought your copy of Blue to Brown yet??  Get out there and get one, then buy one for a friend!  Also, if you want to keep up with the latest Blue to Brown news, “like” their new facebook page!

-R

Pure Enjoyment

Last night, it was my family’s turn to celebrate and harass me for my birthday.  In our family, it’s tradition to open gifts together, and so my husband and children gave me their cards and gifts to open in front of my mom while we had cake (the best part, in my opinion!).  In the small gift my husband handed me was a box to a lightbulb, which really confused me.  I opened the box, and inside was the barrel to a clarinet (once upon a time, I was a clarinet player).   At this point, I realized that my husband and children had bought me a new clarinet for my birthday.  I was thrilled because my son started playing in the band at school this year, and his instrument of choice was the clarinet.  I had given him my old one to play, leaving me without a clarinet to pick up from time to time.  At this point, my husband got up to get me the case for the rest of the instrument – and when I saw the case, I realized that not only did my husband buy me a new clarinet, he had bought me a Buffet R-13 clarinet.  This is a very, very special clarinet – most professionals ASPIRE to play on one.  It’s the clarinet equivalent of playing on a Stradivarius violin. I had to hold back tears as I opened the case, because at  one point in my life, it was my dream to own one and play in an orchestra.  I’m still very shocked that my husband went to the trouble to find one for me, and I have to say that out of all of the gifts he’s given me in our 16 years of marriage, this one took the most thought.  The reality is, I will almost assuredly never play in a professional orchestra, for that was the dream of a teenager from long ago, but this clarinet will definitely be played here at home, for my own enjoyment.  It’s one thing that is truly just for me.

In listening to “Being Followed” and considering where the band might be in their own careers, I have to wonder if the band isn’t at the same place.  Maybe they are playing for themselves at this point, for their own enjoyment.  Perhaps chart success isn’t the carrot they are chasing after – and maybe now is where the real fun is going to start for them.  There is something to be said for being able to stand up and say that you’re doing whatever it is that you do for the simple enjoyment of doing it.  In my mind at this moment, that will bring FAR more success than any chart-topper ever will.

-R