This isn’t as easy as one might think, and not because I must use description words other than “hot” and “cute” (thankfully, the band is on vacation this month and is nowhere to be found….because this blog could get gushy, and I am really not a fan of them reading this kind of fluff from us anyway.) The fact is, while it’s true I may or may not have a soft spot for certain guitar players, I’ve written so much about that person that I’m not sure there’s much left to say. So this is going to be fun, and I need the writing practice anyway.
I am pretty sure it’s of no surprise to anyone who reads the blog that Dom is my current favorite…and he’s not even a founding member of the band. That alone probably seems like blasphemy to some out there who refuse to acknowledge his presence. (we know you’re out there) The fact is, Dom has earned his way – which is why I think I’m drawn to him. Sure, he got the gig as a result of Andy’s absence due to his father’s death, his illness and later, his parting from the band, but I don’t believe that is something that should be held against him. In fact, I find plenty of fault with the people out there that regularly point that out to me. How is Andy leaving Dom’s fault again? I remember back in 2005 when I saw the band in Chicago. It had already been announced that Andy was sick and that he would not be at the show. Sure, the band could have just canceled the show and risked thousands of Duranies coming for them. Instead, they did the professional thing and found a stand-in. I don’t know about other people, but I am thankful they did that. At that show I didn’t even notice Dom. He stood in the shadows and played the part as written. It was only much later, when it was announced that Andy would not be returning for more shows or albums with the band, that I noticed Dom literally coming out of the shadow and playing on the stage with the band. It was evident that he was still hesitant to share the stage – but as time wore on, he grew more confident. I believe that at least some of that confidence came from fans like myself doing what we could to encourage him and make him feel welcome. Besides, I like cheering for the underdog! In the case of this band, where their loyal fans and followers have been around for over thirty years and still long for the “original fab five” – he had quite a road ahead to prove himself, and he still does with a lot of people.
Dom is one of the most humble, if not THE most humble musician I’ve ever met. I know I’ve mentioned meeting him on an airplane from Chicago to New Orleans in 2006 for the Voodoo festival. He was very nice and seemingly surprised when I congratulated him on his performance the previous evening. Then he asked me where we were all going that night. I laughed as I answered that we were going to a fan get together thing at Club Ampersand in New Orleans – and then I told him he couldn’t go. (Yes, I really did tell him to stay away!) I warned him that DD fans are somewhat rabid, and that it might be pretty overwhelming for him to show. So what does Dom do? He shows up that night. Why? Because he’s still thinking he’s like the rest of us. Um, no my friend – you are not. You are up on stage with the band, and we’re down on the floor screaming for you. See the difference? Well, I think he did that night. He lasted all of about 20 minutes – the entire time being surrounded by a group of well-intentioned if not a little overenthusiastic fans, insisting that he take photos, give hugs and be social – before retreating, stopping to give me a wave and a thumbs up as he left. I watched him leave, kind of chuckling to myself and shaking my head. Silly man, you are no match for Duran fans. Humble yes…but crazy! I never thought I’d actually share that little story here on line, but it’s been so long now – I think it’s just a good example of the man Dom really is, and I truly hope he stays that way. As a fan, someone on the outside looking in – I don’t think it’s especially easy to stay in touch with regular, normal people when you’re a rock star. People always want things from you, and sometimes just as a way of self-preservation, I think they have to kind of retreat to a very small inner-circle – but I can hope that for Dom, it’ll be different.
There are plenty of reasons why I like Dom. I could say it’s his talent, or his looks, or the fact that he takes the time to smile and wink on stage – or even that he agreed to do an interview for Daily Duranie, but I guess I just really like the idea that he’s this guy who came out of nowhere to be in this band without assuming the place was made specifically for him or that he’s better than any other guitarist, meaning he’s got zero ego. I love that. Dom doesn’t even realize that there are Duran fans out there that look at him as though he’s nothing and that he’s just the hired gun and nothing more. He believes all of us are nice people, and that we’re all supportive. I wish that were the case, but I love his outlook. He doesn’t waste his time with bitterness, and I completely admire him for that. I hope others begin to see that he’s a lot more than just a hired hand – including the band themselves – because there are many of us out there that want band pictures including him. He’s EARNED that place, and his writing credit on All You Need is Now, as well as whatever credit he will be receiving on this one, is wholly indicative of that. It’s time to make room for him in those band shots, Duran Duran. I’d like to hear him be included in Katy Kafe’s and start being acknowledged. I’m not saying that I know what is best as far as contractual obligations between Dom and the band – that’s none of my business – I’m just expressing what I’d like to see as a fan of the entire operation. It’s time to include him beyond John Taylor saying “He’s a permanent member, but what he will never be is a founding member.” I think it’s time to stop with the distinctions as far as fans are concerned – those things are well-left behind closed doors – and start including him in the ways that most fans can see and hear. That privilege has been earned many times over by now.
Yet, we’ll likely never hear Dom complain or say those words. That’s just not him. He does his job and keeps going. That’s why I like him. He’s real.
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!
Before I forget, we are doing another Birthday Promotion for Durandemonium 2013! We seem to have to have a few band member birthdays coming up during the month of June. So, from June 8th through June 20, you can buy your registration for $135, which will save you $20! We have a great group of people coming and we hope you can be with us for some Duran Duran fun and even a few surprises that weekend! For more information, please see the Durandemonium 2013 website!
I ran across an article today, thanks to my friend Lisa. It is on the top ten ways a rockstar can ruin a concert experience. You can read the article here.
There are things on the list like showing up ridiculously late, playing medleys or playing perverse arrangements of their songs…things that yes, I would agree have at least the potential to ruin the whole experience.
However, I think the list missed something. Remembering the lyrics to ones songs is usually kind of important. I’m not talking about flub-ups. That happens to everyone once in a while and I am very forgiving, because quite honestly – I like the idea that yes, these people are human. I have laughed right along with Simon when he’s made a mistake and he realizes that we, the audience, are singing the correct words. He’ll smile, he’ll try to get back on point and we move on. It happens. That said, there was one tour not that long ago where it seemed like this was happening a lot, and I started to wonder if it was because his mind wanders when he’s up there on stage. (confession…I think mine would!!) I even started wondering if he was just bored with us! I know people openly started discussing whether or not he needed a teleprompter, and there was a lot of good (and not-so-good) natured teasing that happened about that. Interestingly enough, this last tour – I saw almost NONE of that. Simon knew the damn words, and even if he had mistakes, most of the time they were small. There will be no teleprompter just yet, dammit. To be fair, Simon is by far not the only person on the planet to forget the words or lose his spot in the song. I know plenty of artists that really DO use a teleprompter, and some seem to have trouble even keeping up with that. I’ve been to more than one Psychedelic Furs concert, and Richard Butler never fails to mutilate at least one of his hits to pieces…and sometimes he has even fallen flat on his back on stage from tripping over things. It’s never good when that is the most entertaining thing to come out of a show.
Then there are the things I totally agree with.
For example, I agree that never varying the set list is a problem. I know you all are very shocked by that statement from me, and you should probably sit down before you faint. The article says it best, “Some artists have long catalogs of great songs, but their concerts tend to fall back on the same 15 songs they’ve been dragging out for decades. It’s like eating 10 chocolate bars for dinner; it’s not satisfying. Sure, the crowd wants to hear hits and you want to do anything you can to hold their attention, but you also need to challenge them a bit” Of course the argument then becomes how many hits to how many new/unheard/obscure songs…how can that be balanced best. Here is a hint: we have ALL heard certain songs quite enough. I don’t believe that anyone actually still comes to a Duran Duran concert SOLELY to hear Rio or Hungry Like the Wolf, and if they do, then perhaps they should buy tickets to a couple of different nights, that way you can play one of them one night, and the other the next. This way you have room to play a few more more unusual songs each night in your set and still have room to play SOME hits. Then the next night you play OTHER hits…and you might sell more tickets in the process than if it was the same show every single night – which is what I (mostly) found in the last few tours. Is that being unfair of me, to suggest that they split up the hits between two or several shows, basically saying that if you are insistent to hear every hit – that you should be prepared to pay? Probably. Ok, definitely. Especially when I bring up the next example…
Soaking the fans for every penny. To be completely honest, I think this is a problem industry-wide right now. Gigs are an absolute fortune to attend unless you’re lucky enough to be a big fan of someone who maybe plays gigs at venues like The Bedford with their blues band…who was ALSO willing to travel to do some shows for their poor, deprived fans in other parts of the world, like good old Southern California. Because while the gig is cheap, the flight to the UK from Los Angeles or anywhere else in the world is not. (Did you catch what I just did there???) Naturally, from the band’s point of view…if you’ve got the budget to have your band travel for gigs, it’s likely that you’re charging more than £20 or £30 a ticket! On the other hand, the article makes it pretty clear that if your band is charging $300 a show, those seats should probably be up on stage…which in the case of Duran Duran, could be dangerous for them. Those barricades are there for a reason. I’ve seen more than one fan decide that their time with Simon was in the middle of a set and they just went for it, only to have Mr. Dave Casillas kindly pick them up over his shoulder and head offstage. Good times. I myself have paid over $300 for a show, and I know I’m not the only fan out there to do so by a long shot, only to get the seat along with some hit or miss special VIP merchandise. No meet and greet, no stage side seating. These days, it is slightly more manageable price-wise, but I know plenty of fans who simply cannot afford those prices. Touring is incredibly important to a band’s bottom line these days, I think we all understand that. I just agree that there needs to be a better balance, and I’m not at all sure how that can be achieved. I don’t like the idea that the size of ones wallet or bank account should dictate fandom, but then I also believe in rainbows, unicorns and fairy tales, too. There are no easy answers to be found here.
Until then, I will just wait for my windfall so that I can fly to the UK and see a gig at The Bedford or Downstairs at Patrick’s Bar in between the years that DD tours…and if you’re still missing my sneaky point…you need to check out the brand new website for Blue To Brown. Like that plug, Dom Brown??
After a full two days of excitement in my house, it is nice to wake up to relative calm. We have no presents to return or exchange and nothing to really do today except relax, which is nice. I can’t speak for everyone in my household, but I’m exhausted! I hope everyone who celebrated had a wonderful holiday, and for those who did not, I hope you had a fantastic Tuesday.
I must confess that due to the fact my entire family, including my sister, is here – my blogs will be rather short until January 2nd. I had hoped that I’d have a few willing souls to write a guest blog. Alas, you have me instead!
So today I will give you one of my favorite “moments” in fandom for the year. This year, I have had many – and I count myself lucky. As I’m sure you know by now, last week we posted our interview with Dom Brown. We had a lot of people ask us how the interview came about, and how it was conducted. The simple truth is that we had an opportunity to ask, and so after some initial butterflies, we just asked.
I fully expected that he’d have no idea who I was or why we would want an interview, but we agreed to at least try. We talk about this idea of the band “knowing” us – not “us” as in Daily Duranie, but us as in “the fans”. It’s very difficult at times to pull ourselves out of our relative fantasyland of believing we’re really talking WITH band members on Twitter and Facebook. Amanda and I are not any different from anyone else in that regard. Of course we hope they see our tweets or posts. We are also well-aware that in sheer numbers, there are thousands of us and only five members of the band. The odds don’t really work in our favor. We also desperately want, and maybe even need to believe that when we’re at a show and they come over to the edge of the stage to jam that maybe, just maybe it was us that they were grinning at. “Did he really look at me???” I know that you all know what I’m talking about here. There’s always that moment where you want to believe that yep – out of the five thousand people in the audience, that it was definitely YOU that he winked at. I know this. You know this. We like delusional daydreams on occasion, am I right? For me personally, it’s as though while I’m on a road trip or touring with Amanda – I can pretend anything I want. Sure, I traded smiles with Nick. Yes, I shook Roger’s hand. Oh, I know that Dom recognized me and made sure to come over and coerce me into singing along. But once I get home, I forcibly snap myself back into reality. There is no way that band could possibly have any clue of who I am. I’m a mom and housewife and look like just about anybody else out there…meaning, I certainly do not stand out in a crowd. Yes, we write Daily Duranie. It’s a fan-blog. Why on earth would the band know or even care?? That’s pretty much how Amanda and I operate, and we are thankful that we can slap one another back down to Planet Earth if required.
So, when I asked Dom about the interview, I expected to either hear nothing or get a tersely worded email in exchange. I prepared for the worst, so to speak. It did not take long to get an answer, I must say. He very kindly wrote back, and said something that I was not at all prepared to read: “I know exactly who you are!”
So the moral of the story? While I still feel pretty sound in my theory that it is just impossible for them to know all of us, and we should never expect friendship out of fandom (unless it’s with other fans), sometimes, it’s OK to be pleasantly surprised.
And I still say that Dom is a really nice guy. Not that I want to gush…. 😀
As most fans realize, every band member has a life beyond the stage. In today’s blog we spend a little time getting to know a little bit more about Dom – after the DoJo (as opposed to JoSi, you see…), after the screaming fans (like us) go home.
Daily Duranie: Aside from your family, what is the one thing you miss most from home while you are on tour?
Dom Brown: PG Tips tea bags…I never take enough with me on the road! Oh, and it’s hard to find a good curry!
Daily D: OK, so you’re at home after a long tour. What have you been up to since we last saw you?
Dom: Well, the first thing I did was spend a few, much longed for, days relaxing with the family at home. I have just moved into a new recoding studio that I am very excited about. That took a few weeks to set up and settle into and now I’m into writing and recording for various projects.
Daily D: If you weren’t a musician, what do you think you would have done for a career?
Dom: I would love to have been involved in making films.
Daily D: We’ve read that you got your first guitar at 13 – are you completely self-taught or did you take lessons?
Dom: Yes, I was 13 and I had about 5 lessons initially with a teacher called Ray Major. Other than that I am totally self-taught, though I did have some jazz lessons as part of my music diploma.
Daily D: So about that diploma… what kind of music did you study?
Dom: Yes, I studied popular music with recording and opted for the 2 year diploma.
Daily D: Do you have a “go-to” guitar? You know, the first one you grab whenever you’re sitting down and that sort of thing?
Dom: Yes, my 1963 Fender Strat is a beauty!
Daily D: How would you describe yourself musically? I know the blues were a big influence, but what else? How would you describe your playing style?
Dom: I consider myself to be versatile and eclectic. Rock was my first real live while at school, followed by an obsession with blues, funk and jazz at college. I tend to go through phases where I put a lot of heart and energy into a particular artist and do become quite obsessed with them for an intense period. Some examples are: initially Pink Floyd, Led Zep and AC/DC, followed by Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, James Brown, then Bowie Prince and the Beatles, then Jeff Buckley, who was probably the last artist that truly blew me away.
We’ve been bursting at the seams for literally months now, in anticipation of publishing this interview, and we hope that all of you enjoyed our little gift to you for 2012. We have huge hopes for 2013, beginning with a much more peaceful planet. We believe that we can all agree on that.
Oh, and we’ll catch you on the other side of this whole “End of the world on 12-21-12″….
Quoting from the biography on his website, www.dombrown.com…
“Dom Brown has made music his life. After college he set up a band, with his father, Rob Brown of Gets/z Loose, stepping in as lead vocalist. Dom’s dynamic stage persona developed alongside the extraordinary and bizarre performance style of the older Brown. Together they trawled the London funk and blues circuit, while Dom immersed himself in the raw intensity of the great blues and R&B artists.
Dom’s main love is songwriting, and he has never stopped. He fuses singer-songwriter intimacy with electrifying guitar intensity. Though his music still retains a blusey sensibility, Dom has moved on from the traditional blues/rock genre, becoming more experimental and developing a unique and original style.”
Upon first glance, Dom’s background would seem light years away from what fans have come to know as Duran’s style. It isn’t until one spends time and inclination to listen with a fine-tuned ear to Dom’s solo work that it becomes easy to distinguish what Dom brings to the Duran Duran turntable.
Daily D: How long did it take to write and record Touch the Flames and Between the Lines? The writing and producing are incredibly different on each album. Touch the Flames listens more like a love story…and Between the Lines seems just a touch more raw, maybe even a bit more mature actually.
We encourage our readers to get to know Dom – Blue to Brown is currently available, as are Dom’s solo albums, Touch the Flames and Between the Lines, from Dom’s website. We believe your ears will thank us!!
Stay with us, tomorrow we will bring our interview with Dom to a close…and hey, if the Mayans were right, we’re happy to end the blog on a great note! Our timing is pretty brilliant!
-A & R
The top photograph is copyright Daily Duranie(Rhonda Rivera). The curse still stands. Please don’t use our photos without permission. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
-A & R
All photography is copyright of Daily Duranie (Rhonda Rivera). Please do not use these photos without our permission. They’re cursed.
No really, they are.
Yeah I wish! The bags under my eyes don’t lie. 🙂 On this date in 1970 the world was changed forever when I was born. At least, this is what I try to tell my children. My oldest just rolls her eyes, my son doesn’t even blink, and my youngest sits and listens intently to what Mommy is saying. I am positive she is committing all of it to memory, which may or may not be used against me later.
So, with that in mind, I have decided to put together a little collection of my favorites for your enjoyment.
Is There Something I Should Know – my all time favorite DD song. I still love this, and while the video makes my head hurt because I have no idea what any of it means, I still laugh at parts of it.
New Moon on Monday. I love this video even if the band does not.
On the documentary, Roger stated how the band was really a “tight unit” and John mentioned how this particular lineup has been playing together for 6 years now. For John, this produces conditioning and a lot of fun. As I listened to this, I was shocked that this group has been playing together for 6 years already! It seems like just yesterday when Dom was filling in for Andy when he had to be gone due to his father’s death or his own illness. It also seems like yesterday when Duran’s live saxophone player was fan favorite of Andy Hamilton. This, of course, makes me realize that how quickly times flies!! Of course, it also makes me think about if this is the best lineup, especially when it comes to that essential role of guitar.
Roger discussed Dom at some length. He pointed out that it was “tough” for Dom to come in and fill Andy’s shoes. Yet, again, according to Roger, he came in “egoless” and just focused on his playing. In Roger’s opinion, this focus rubbed off on the rest of the band. Dom also spoke about great it has been for him, especially the last few months. Obviously, I had quite a reaction to hearing this. First, I thought about what I think about their live performance. I have been seeing the band as often as I can since 2005. While it is hard to objectively discuss the shows that I have been to since events surrounding the shows might affect my opinion, I have generally enjoyed every tour I have attended. When I first saw Dom in the spring of 2005 when Andy was gone dealing with family issues, I didn’t notice him. He didn’t take anything from the performances but I didn’t notice much to add to it either. The summer of 2005 were the last shows I saw with Andy. While I loved those shows, I noticed that there seemed to be a great divide between Andy and John. There was no interaction and John and Andy seemed to stay just on their respective sides. Then, 2006 saw the first shows after Andy, officially, left. At this time, I did notice Dom and even welcomed him to the band (in my heart) after a fabulous performance in Chicago. From then now, I have seen Dom step up and begin to own more and more of the show and become an equal participant on stage. I, for one, love the DoJo (as I lovingly refer to it) or the interaction between Dom and John. Clearly, the two love to play together and feed off of each other during shows.
Another part of Roger’s statement about Dom is how he is “egoless”. Now, obviously, I don’t know Dom, personally, so I cannot speak to the truth of this statement on a personal level. As a player in Duran Duran, I think that the statement seems accurate. As I stated earlier, the first times I saw Dom when he was just a fill in and I didn’t notice him. I didn’t find myself saying that the guitar player was so awesome but I also didn’t say that the guitar player really sucked. He faded into the background, then, and I appreciated that. While I am glad that the sound was decent with him, I also found his performance respectful. He didn’t try to step right into Andy’s shoes. Instead, he understood the job and did just that, nothing more and nothing less. Then, after Andy left, he started to inject himself more and more into the live performance. This to me also felt right. He couldn’t hide in the shadows forever. I liked what he contributed then. Now, of course, he has also been a writing partner for All You Need is Now. Thus, to me, Dom has done what has been asked of him. He held back when it was appropriate and stepped up as appropriate. To me, it feels like he isn’t worried about himself as much as he worries about doing the job he was hired to do well. I couldn’t ask for more, which is part of the reason I am definitely a fan and respect him.
When I watched the documentary and saw the discussion regarding the live show and Dom’s participation, I couldn’t help but to notice that the only people interviewed on this documentary were Simon, John, Nick, Roger and Dom. Hmm…this, of course, kicks my overactive brain into gear. How come they didn’t include Anna? What about Saxy Simon? Are their roles really that much smaller? Could it be something else? Could the band and their people be preparing the fans? Could they be thinking about including Dom into the band as a permanent member? Honestly, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who reads this blog, but I would support this. We all know that Rhonda would support this. Personally, Dom has paid his dues and proved himself to be a valuable contributor. Now, of course, I know that there is a lot to this decision, including contracts, legal aspects, etc. One factor has to be fan reaction and I, for one, is a fan who would welcome this.