Category Archives: Duran Duran News

Duran Duran will grace the sand in 2019 for KAABOO Cayman!

Anybody up for a trip to the Cayman Islands next February?

raises hand

Am I the only married fan who sent their husband or wife a text like this yesterday morning?

“Hey, want to book a trip to the Cayman Islands for next Valentines Day?  We need a vacation, and we’re DEFINITELY going to need one after this move!”

waits anxiously for response

still waiting

He’s very slow at texting. I don’t care that he’s at work. This is important!

“Why? Is Duran Duran playing???”

DAMMIT!

I didn’t even bother answering after that. He knows too much. The thing is, it isn’t as though I’d never suggest going to the Caribbean. We’ve been to Grand Cayman at least twice that I can remember, both times on cruises, and we’ve always said we should go back and stay. Why not while the band is playing the KAABOO Festival on Seven Mile Beach??

For those who have actually been focused on work or whatever it is you do all day lately – the lineup for KAABOO Fest in the Cayman Islands was announced yesterday morning. I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw that Duran Duran is headlining along with the Chainsmokers. Several other recognizable bands will grace the sand alongside our favorites, including Blondie and English Beat. I think it will be a blast for anyone lucky enough to be in attendance.

At this point, the chances of me getting there are slim, unless I sprout wings and fly. With a major move coming up, and still having a small(ish) child living at home, getting away is going to become quite a rare luxury, particularly once we’ve left So Cal. I’d love to call it a girls’ trip and run away for several days, but just as there was no way I was getting to Hawaii, I’m pretty sure the same holds true for the Cayman Islands, sadly.

For those who are feeling a little antsy for a local Duran date—no matter where you are in the world—seeing the news of KAABOO either gives you a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe they’ll announce something near you, or it reminds you that no, they still haven’t made it to your slice of the globe.

In the meantime, I’m going to go get myself a lottery ticket. Can’t win if you don’t play! Who knows, maybe I’ll make it to KAABOO!

-R

 

Is it Congratulations, Happy Birthday, or both?

Over the weekend, the A-list of who’s who amongst friends and family of Nefer Suvio (Nick’s significant other) gathered in Venice to celebrate her birthday, complete with what can only be characterized as the reuniting of Arcadia. (I’m not posting other people’s photos here because I don’t have permission to do so, but there is a photo of Simon, Nick & Roger floating around in full gothic glamour that is rather stunning.)

A very happy birthday to Nefer, by the way! She is someone I’ve never met but did stand next to in Berkeley as she took photos of the band on her iPad. I didn’t say a word to her, but offered a shy grin and went right back to my business of cheering and dancing.

The celebration was a dramatic, gothic-glamour-themed night, complete with a stunning black layer cake topped with a skull, cascading with blood-red roses down the side, and a giant white tapered candle (because dammit, goth-themed or not, it’s a birthday and you gotta have candles).

Like many fans, I’ve seen a good many photos of Nick and Nefer over the years. She’s a part of the Duran Duran family, and as such she’s no stranger to the cameras that typically follow. There seemed to be quite a bit of paparazzi surrounding her party this weekend, including some posed photos through Getty Images, and those photos have ended up on various news media (Evening Standard included as well as a few instagram accounts of their friends who were there) In most cases, Nick is referred to as her husband, and Nefer as his wife.

Normally, I wouldn’t really even respond. The rumor mill is quick, creative, and typically way off base. We haven’t had any sort of statement from the band, or from Nick & Nefer themselves for that matter.  It is just that this time, I’m seeing the words “husband and wife” in nearly every blurb about the party. Is it possible?  Sure, I suppose it is.  Why not?

Does it matter? Well, it matters in that I’m happy for them. I would expect as much from most, if not all fans. She and Nick have been together for quite a while. I never really thought about whether or not they’d marry – that’s their business, which is probably why if it IS true, they haven’t put out a statement, and I get it. But, I’m happy to see good things happen to good people. Will it change how I feel about Nick?  Absolutely not. He is still that crazy alien who never breaks a sweat, complete with that knowing grin, peering down from the top of his keyboard riser.  My friends and I have called him “The Controller” for as long as I can remember, and that will continue just as it always has, married or not!

I know that a certain percentage of fans tend to lose it when we hear rumors and aren’t told things. We all love to pretend we’re on the inside track when it comes to information, don’t we?  Like it or not, fans are on a need-to-know basis, and we may never “need-to-know”.

Lately I’ve noticed cameras getting more and more of those natural, toothy-grins from Nefer. I must say, for someone who seems to love that deep, dark, gothic glamour, nothing brightens her whole look more than those big smiles. She is lovely and it is nice to see warmth and joy on her face.  Married or not – and for our purposes as fans I’m not really sure it matters – Nick and Nefer seem very happy, and it is wonderfully nice to be a very-extended witness to that.

Happy birthday, Nefer, much health and happiness to you!

-R

 

New release from Duran Duran!

Exciting news, Duran-fans! On this year’s Record Day (April 21) we will all be able to go hunting in our local record stores for the brand-spanking new, OFFICIAL vinyl from Duran Duran.

(Yes, I could insert lyrics from my favorite song, “Hungry Like the Wolf”, right here. I could do that, but I won’t.)

Just announced today on duranduran.com, 2018 will not go by without at least one new prezzie from the band to tide fans over. Their new release, Duran Duran Budokan, recorded at the Nippon Budokan on September 20, 2017, is a gift to fans who have been crying for a live album from the Paper Gods tour.  Commemorating the final show on their two-year long tour, Duran Duran Budokan is the perfect closing chapter for an amazing moment during the band’s career.

Anyone Out There (I succumbed to the pressure. I am sorry.) want to see the track listing?

Side A
1. Paper Gods
2. A View To A Kill
3. Pressure Off/Hold Back the Rain

Side B
4. I Don’t Want Your Love
5. (Reach Up For The) Sunrise/New Moon On Monday
6. The Universe Alone/ Save A Prayer

Want to see the cover? Those Duranies who want to see the band smiling on the cover…you won’t be disappointed.

That cover. Wow. I LOVE IT. It is the type of cover that I will spend hours scouring, trying to sort out what all of the symbolism means, both individually as well as all together. Is there a message? Is it just a collage? (never!)  April 21 needs to hurry up and get here.  Japanese graphic artist Tadanori Yokoo designed the cover – and if you look, the Japanese influences are very clear and commemorate the show. However, there are also additional flourishes added by John Warwicker, a name that should be familiar to Duranies. Bonus points to those who may be able to discern his artwork from Tadanori Yokoo.

I am excited to see that a live album has been officially announced, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. I can’t speak for everyone, but two years went by in the blink of an eye for me. I’ve seen the band a “few” times now, and many of the shows I saw on the Paper Gods tour had the band at their absolute best. I love that this album commemorates the final show on the official tour.  One of my favorite things about the Paper Gods tour— one thing (of many!) I hope to remember forever—was hearing (Reach Up for the) Sunrise mashed with New Moon on Monday. I am overjoyed that the band decided to include this special mix on this album, and now I will be able to hear it anytime the mood strikes. I won’t ever forget, now.

As always, there’s a challenge when it comes to anything Duran Duran….and in this case, the album is a limited pressing of just 2,700 copies. Fans would do themselves well by researching which stores in their area will have a copy in stock, because these are sure to go quickly.  No word on price, but you can guess that once in secondary markets (eBay, etc), this limited release live album will be far more expensive for collectors. Good luck!

-R

Losing Control: Where is it leading to?

If it hadn’t been for Amanda, I don’t think I would have remembered that Duran Duran,along with a fair amount of fans I recognize, are in Dubai this week.

Life has been a bit up in the air here lately. My husband has been interviewing by phone for a lot of companies all over the country, and for a while, every single day I’d get a text or two when I was at work suggesting the possibility of a new city to think about. “How do you feel about Philadelphia?”  Or “What about Chicago? Would you move back?” Today he has two more phone interviews. I have no idea how to plan, or what to plan for.  None of this is within my control right now. Should I start fixing up the house and thinking about packing away things I don’t need, or just start selling off personal items in order to keep paying bills. He’s been out of work since November, which in one sense has been a long time, but when you’re job hunting in his particular field with his particular job title, that’s not really so bad. My attention has been elsewhere, to say the least. Selfishly, I’m almost thankful we’re not talking tours right now.

Even with all that going on, and yes, it’s very stressful, I can’t help but notice a few photos from people I recognize and band members who don’t mind sharing their travels with us. Other than that, it’s hard to believe there’s #Duranlive happening anywhere right now. Dubai feels about as far away from California as the moon. (which I am well aware it is not!)

My own selfish needs aside, it is difficult to imagine that this may well be the only date for a live show this year. At one point, I was being told rumors of dates happening in spring. Obviously, that information was either wrong, or has been changed over the past several months. Either way, on one hand I’m relieved because I hate missing out (and I absolutely would have), and on the other – of course I always hope for something to happen. In some strange way, it helps to take my mind off of waiting for whatever is going to happen here at home. Those of you who have been in my situation know how difficult it is.

The one thing I’ve come to accept since November is that in this case, I have very little control over what might happen. I’ve told my husband over and over that I’ll move where ever we need to move. I’ve been very open and willing to consider every single place he’s suggested, and now we’re at a point where interviews are happening, although they’re just phone interviews right now – and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m anxious. This isn’t the first time he’s had to look for work, and he’s at a point now where it’s not just menial “worker bee” type of positions – the interview process is LONG. Our bills, however, keep rolling in. It isn’t fun. It isn’t as though because Walt has had time off we’ve traveled or gone on vacation. I’d say it’s the opposite.

As I am sitting here writing, Walt comes downstairs to tell me that one of the interviews he had set for this morning ends up needing to be rescheduled. I just take a deep breath and try not to show my disappointment. This has happened more times than I can count this time around, and it doesn’t help. It will easily be another week before that company sets something up (because it always is), and I keep reminding myself that there’s nothing that can be done. I’m merely the sounding block, I have no control. I have to just sit back, try to remain calm and positive, and let it take its course. Chances are, it all happened for a reason.

I suppose in some weird way, I’ve learned that this is the way it is for the band, too. I don’t have any idea if they’ve even started with studio time, or if they’ve even got any plans for anything in the future. Right now, aside from this Dubai show, I don’t know their plans. What I do know, and 100% accept, is that they’re going to do whatever it is that they’re going to do. Or not do. And that’s fine. It is totally out of my control. I have zero expectations this time around, and I don’t even have time or energy to think about it past blogging each day. Every so often I’ll see a comment from a fellow fan about whether or not they’re working on plans for #DD40. Most fans who comment about it seem to post like it’s an absolute “MUST” for the band to acknowledge and celebrate the milestone.

Is it really?

I mean, what if they didn’t? Would the world end? Would their career go up in smoke? What if they waited until year 45 to even tour again? What if they didn’t do a single thing other than put out a Facebook post? You know what would happen then?

Nothing. There would still be a sunrise. And a sunset. “Rio” would still get radio play, as would “Hungry Like the Wolf”.  The world would still know Duran Duran as that “MTV” band. We’d all still be fans. Or not. None of us have any control over what the band does. We don’t OWN them. They make the music. We buy it. For 99.9% of us, that’s as far as the relationship goes, whether we’ve been fans for 40 years or became a fan yesterday. Yes, it is hard to admit we’ve got no bearing, no skin in the game other than our loyalty – but that’s really all it is. We are not in control.

(You know who IS in control right now…along with the rest of his buddies? That’s right. You know the answer. Say it! The Controller. Aptly named, right??? And people wonder why we started calling him that. Gee I don’t know…)

So, I’m going to just sit back, wait, and be positive, because I really can’t do much else.

-R

TMW when one of your idols becomes a grandparent

I saw something on Facebook yesterday that made my jaw drop.

If seeing Justin Timberlake as a grown father wasn’t enough to make you count your years, I know something else that will.

Simon Le Bon is going to be a grandfather.

Didn’t he just HAVE children?!?

I say that with all of the love, joy, laughter, and even conviction, as possible.  As someone who just celebrated her daughter’s own 21st birthday. Time really flies. I am absolutely thrilled for the Le Bon family. Saffron is going to be a mommy, and I wish her the best. I think the news is truly spectacular. May 2018 be a far more joyful year for the Le Bon’s.

Just as I joyfully celebrated my daughter’s birthday while lamenting how quickly 21 years went by, I find myself doing similar here. I can’t quite believe we’re already at the point where the idols, heart throbs, and rockstars of our preteen angst are having not only children, but now grandchildren. What?!?

Good lord. That means I am far older than I care think about… Are any of you with me on that?!?

Although, I turn around just as I finish typing that sentence to give some instruction to my youngest – we’re building a model of a California mission this week – and realize that yep, I’m EXACTLY old enough to be a bystander to Simon’s children having their own children.

Life is crazy. And joyful.

And, while I’m thinking about it, I have to say that the universe is incredibly timely. While Ann may not be physically on this planet to welcome her great-grandchild, I know from first hand experience that their memory will live on. My youngest was born just a couple of days after my dad went into the hospital for the last time. She has a birth mark on the inside of her knee, which mysteriously showed up on the same day my dad went into a coma that he never woke up from. I called it an “angel kiss” in order to make it sound a little less weird to her, and to this day, my youngest believes fervently that it’s a mark my dad left on her when he kissed her goodbye. I just know that the universe works in very bizarre ways.

My youngest never had the chance to meet my dad. He saw a photo of her during a point where he had briefly regained consciousness prior to going back into a coma, but that’s the closest he ever came to seeing her. Some may think that the birth mark story is cool, others might think it’s a stretch or that I just didn’t see it before. For me personally? I think for a while, I needed to believe it was a sign from my dad. I needed that in order to keep going. But now, I guess it’s taken on more of a “sweet story” feel. Even so, it makes me smile. I think that might be the purpose.

I don’t know how Simon might feel, but I personally don’t believe it’s a coincidence that Saffron is due in June. The first birthday and anniversary after my dad passed was incredibly hard. I think that the welcome of a new baby, particularly in June —a month marked by both “firsts” for Simon and his family—is another way that the universe reminds us to keep living.

Smartest damn thing my dad ever said to me was to remember it is all about the living, not the dying. I had no idea what he meant at the time, but little did I know I’d be reminded of those words again and again.

Babies do have a way of making us remember that life goes on, even when we’re not sure how.

Congratulations to Simon, Yasmin, Saffron & Benjamin, and the entire Le Bon family. What wonderful news!

-R

A Special Tribute to Ann Le Bon

Some blogs are difficult to compose. Not because I don’t know what to write, or because I can’t think of what to say. Instead, they’re hard because I don’t know how to properly put something into words without sounding too familiar, or on the other hand, too much like a journalist. I’m neither, so….I’m going to try my best.

At some point this morning, DDHQ sent out a note from Simon letting fans know that Ann Le Bon, Simon’s mom, passed away in the night of the 19th of June.  The full note reads (copied and pasted from Duran Duran’s Facebook) as follows:

“Ann Marie Le Bon died willingly & peacefully in the night of June the 19th. She’s the person I’ve known the longest in my life.  We are all very sad.  But she has left us with overwhelming love, which she planted as seed in all of our hearts.”  

I did not ever have the good fortune to meet Ann in person, at least not that I am aware of. I don’t believe Amanda had either. Many of our readers have met her, some even having tea with her at one point or many over the years, and still others found themselves a pen pal in Ann.

As for Amanda and myself, well, we found a reader. Ann read our blog, at least often enough to decide to follow our page on Facebook. Both of us were dumbfounded—truly, we were speechless—the day that we received notification that she’d followed us. I won’t lie, at first I think both Amanda and I felt it might be a fake account, but after really looking at it, we were convinced it really was Simon’s mom, and yes, we were really pleased she thought enough of the blog to follow. Sometimes, not often but a few times over the years, she would post an encouraging comment to the page as well. I am sure she never knew how much we appreciated those, but as I move forward from this point, I’ll never forget her kindness. I’m sure many will point out that our blog was not the only fan page she followed, and that is exactly my point. She cared about the fans.

Ann was unique in that aspect, as Amanda and I have come to find over the years. She wasn’t afraid to open her heart (and home) to fans. Often times, all I need do is make mention that I write a fan blog to someone I’ve just met, whether they work in the industry or not, and I will get the side-eyed looks and stares that tell me I’ve already been labeled a freak. Family members of those in the industry tend to shield themselves from fans, much of the time—and granted—some of that (if not much of that) is out of necessity, but Ann did not operate that way. She loved us, cared about us, and to my knowledge, never mentioned that we fans were strange or odd because our fandom followed us through adulthood. I think she sensed how much we all cared about her son, which in some respects was the common bridge we shared.

As someone who has lost a parent, this is not a club anyone looks forward to joining. I think we all are cognizant on some level that our parents will not be with us on this planet forever, but however long we have them never seems quite long enough. As I said before, I didn’t know Ann personally, but it wasn’t difficult to see how much Simon adores his mum.

Grief is a weird thing. At first (at least for me, and everyone is different), the memories were almost painful. The last thing I wanted was to feel that sting and emptiness that thinking of my dad left me. As time has gone on though, I appreciate the fond memories I have of my dad. They give me comfort when I need, and sometimes—particularly when I am doing something I know he would “bust me” for doing—I can hear his voice booming in my head with a resounding, “Rhonda Lynn!!”

It makes me smile.

I hope the same for Simon and his family. My heart goes out to his entire family.

-R

Who wants more shows?!? DD Announces Four More 2017 Dates! (US)

If  Duran Duran fans didn’t already have plans for 2017, the band is doing their part by announcing four more US dates to take place during March and April.

March 21, 2017: Dallas, TX Music Hall at Fair Park

March 22, 2017: Sugar Land (Houston, TX area) Smart Financial Center at Sugar Land

April 5, 2017 Hollywood, FL (Miami area) Seminole Hard Rock Casino

April 8, Atlanta, GA Chastain Park

Oh, to only be a fly on the wall at the band’s management office….

Why more US shows?  What made these cities stand out as places to visit? Why do the dates surround those in South America instead of say – beginning here, moving on to South America and then the rest of the world, which we are ALL aware they have sorely missed thus far?   Why didn’t they ever plan a European tour to support this album?  Where are those Australian dates and why is it taking so long to even announce them?

These are only a few of the questions that I’ve seen posted and directed at Duran Duran on every sort of social media. I don’t have answers. I can guess that touring in the US pays the bills, although I don’t know why that would be more so than other places – particularly when the band points out that audiences in South America are among their best in the world.  I can also imagine that logistically, touring here might be easier?  We are 50 contiguous states on a large continent with many large cities to visit and arenas to play.  Even with that in mind, it does seem like it has taken quite a long time for the band to even announce other dates in other countries.

In the most recent Katy Kafe, Nick mentioned that they are looking at the Septemberish time frame for Australia, and that they are hoping to get to other places (Japan, etc) in that area of the world. This is much of the same thing that has been said since Paper Gods was first released in 2015 and the band discussed places they’d like to tour. Each time the subject comes up during a Kafe, it seems as though the time frame continues to be set out farther and farther – the idea becoming more like a dream than an eventuality. One can only assume that the costs of touring are astronomical, and that the band must have to front much of that cost, so even the very best tours that would pack a huge bang for the buck must be planned with precision and care.

I have no doubt that many fans, throughout the world, are getting frustrated. I’ve seen the words, “since you’ve forgotten your fans in _______________” included in many a comment on any post the band has made lately.  I know a lot of people are angry about the additional US dates, and while sure I’m thrilled to hear they are visiting, it does make one wonder about the business of touring.

This time, at least for the dates they are doing in Rancho Mirage, the shows are in a much smaller venue than those I saw last year. Yes, arenas are great, but I am ready for some smaller, more intimate gatherings. It would seem that these newly announced shows are a reasonable balance. Although I have not seen them at all of the venues announced, I did see them at Chastain Park in Atlanta for the All You Need is Now Tour.  The amphitheater seats 6,900 and is nicely sized.  When the band is touring on their own, this size of venue feels comfortable and appropriately welcoming in most cases.  Sure, I’d love to have them play for me and a few hundred of my close friends in my backyard….but I’ll take the shows with a few thousand or so any day and be happy!

There is a lot coming up in the world of Duran. 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the formation of the band, John and Nick are working on a musical…there’s been talk about the band going back into the studio, although no time frame has been suggested.  It is hard to say how to this will fit into the journey, all we can do is buckle up for the ride ahead!

-R

Duran Loses Court Case

Duran Duran normally does not make headlines.  Yet, many online publications this week included articles about how Duran Duran lost their case over regaining copyrights of their first three albums.  The UK High Court of Justice ruled against Duran and for Sony/ATV.

In the U.S., artists can terminate copyrights they assigned to companies after 35 years so that artists can make money later in life over earlier works.  When Duran tried to do that in 2014, Sony Music/ATV (the band’s publisher) filed suit against them, arguing that the agreement between them is solely subject to British law, which is way different than U.S. law.  In the UK, the company would retain copyrights for the life of the artist plus 70 year.  The judge ruled in favor of Sony, saying that the band violated terms of their contract.  If you would like to read details about the case, you can read about it here or here.

The band did not remain silent about the decision.  In these news articles, Nick commented about how they signed these deals when they were kids and didn’t know any better.  On top of that, this decision overrides their rights in another country.  The band also released a statement on their official website:

For immediate release 

DURAN DURAN STATEMENT: HIGH COURT COPYRIGHT JUDGMENT

London, 2 December 2016: Members of the iconic band Duran Duran were deeply disappointed to learn of today’s judgment, concerned as they are for the implication for their songwriting peers around the world.

Currently, publishers in the UK can benefit from the global success of some of their songwriters from the very beginning of their careers until 70 years after their death. Nowadays, for good reason, songwriters very rarely accept such agreements that give huge corporations rights in perpetuity, but in the 1970s/80s this was not unusual. In 1976, in America, lawmakers ruled to redress this balance in favour of those in the artistic community, allowing US rights to revert after 35 years. 

That Duran Duran is entitled to get its early copyrights back in America after 35 years under US law is not contested. Yet English contract law is now being used by SonyATV to overturn these US rights. This flies in the face of a US Federal statute which prevents a contract being used to avoid returning rights to the creators, which is why Duran Duran is particularly surprised and disappointed by this judgment. 

Founding member and keyboardist Nick Rhodes said: “We signed a Publishing Agreement as unsuspecting teenagers, over three decades ago, when just starting out and when we knew no better. Today, we are told that language in that Agreement allows our long-time publishers, SonyATV, to override our statutory rights under US law. This gives wealthy publishing companies carte blanche to take advantage of the songwriters who built their fortune over many years, and strips songwriters of their right to rebalance this reward. We are shocked that English contract law is being used to overturn artists’ rights in another territory. If left untested, this judgment sets a very bad precedent for all songwriters of our era and so we are deciding how properly to proceed.”

Simon Le Bon added: “What artist would ever want to sign to a company like SonyATV as this is how they treat songwriters with whom they have enjoyed tremendous success for many years. We issued termination notices for our copyrights in the US believing it simply a formality. After all, it’s the law in America. SonyATV has earned a tremendous amount of money from us over the years. Working to find a way to do us out of our rights feels like the ugly and old-fashioned face of imperialist, corporate greed. I thought the acceptability of this type of treatment of artists was long gone – but it seems I was wrong. SonyATV’s conduct has left a bitter taste with us for sure, and I know that other artists in similar positions will be as outraged and saddened as we are. We are hopeful this judgment will not be allowed to stand.”

ENDS

Clearly, the ramifications for this decision goes beyond Duran Duran.  It can include other artists, including peers who signed similar deals around the same time but also those who will sign or will not sign deals now and in the future because of this.

What fascinates me is the response of the fans.  While some expressed sadness that the band signed a deal like they did, many were angry at what they perceived as Sony’s corporate greed.  Some fans chose to start a petition demanding that Sony give Duran Duran back the rights to their songs.  If you want to sign, you can sign it here!  While my feelings screamed frustration, I smiled at the strong level of support that the band has from fans.  Duranies did not just sit back but are trying to openly advocate for them and their rights.  That makes me proud to be part of this fan base, for sure.

-A

 

2015 Grammy Awards: Ink Spot on A Plastic Spoon

As nice as it would have been to see, Paper Gods was not included in the list of 2015 Grammy awards nominees released this morning.

For many within the fan community, this does not come as a shock, nor does it threaten to take the wind out of the sails. It is par for the course this band was set on since their first album was released. Is it frustrating? Possibly to some. Is it disappointing? I suppose it could be if we let it. For the band? Chances are – they’ve not given it more than a thought or two (if any).  This isn’t a band that has hung their hats, so to speak, on awards, nominations or even lifetime achievements – although they have certainly had some of each. This isn’t a band that has openly given credence to critics, and I can certainly appreciate that.

As a fan, I’ll admit it would have been nice to see them nominated.  Yes, this is purely MY opinion. I certainly said as much in a previous blog I’d written on this very subject. Duran Duran’s absence on the list of Grammy nominees is noticeable, but not terribly surprising. When I look at the field – names like Mark Ronson (Not that I can complain much about that one), Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and Ed Sheeran fly off the page. As John himself mentioned in a recent Katy Kafe – the band has a difficult time competing on that level, with kids who are easily 25 years their junior (in some cases). I don’t know that any band truly worthy of Duran’s salt could really be in that same category (Pop) and expect to be successful in the sense of being nominated and winning awards or even being played on top 40, “pop” radio stations.

What does that really mean for Duran Duran? Do they just hang it up and quit, realizing that they’re being expected to compete in a category that is likely impossible for a band in their mid-50s? Absolutely not. I don’t know who decides how an album (or a band) should be categorized in sales for places such as iTunes – that’s probably a great question for Katy Krassner, but obviously at least John Taylor feels like Paper Gods wasn’t given it’s just due in that regard, and perhaps he’s right.  I really don’t know and don’t profess otherwise. Even so, and even if it was only for a short time – Paper Gods hit the top 10. This is their 14th studio album and instead of just phoning it in or releasing one “greatest hits” album after another, they decided to take it up a notch. Duran Duran has succeeded in not only challenging their fan base to expand the proverbial music “box” where the band resides in their hearts, they’ve also dared critics to accept that they’re not just aging pinups – that they have serious musical chops and deserve much overdo respect. Paper Gods is already a huge win.

Seeing Duran Duran passed up time and time again for a Grammy can be frustrating to some fans, and I can understand that.  In some ways it’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, I laugh at award shows like the Grammy’s, the MTV awards, and the American Music Awards. The artists and bands who are typically celebrated on those shows aren’t even on my radar much of the time – how could I possibly even want Duran included among those masses?? On the other hand, I’m a fan. I like seeing the band I love getting their moment(s) in the sun. Sure. I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t admit that I’d hoped for the best. I’m not ashamed of my positivity, because if we don’t have that – what do we really have? What’s the point of being a fan if we can’t extol the band’s triumphs?

I know many are reading and shaking their heads, thinking to themselves my opinion doesn’t matter, the blog is pointless, or that the Grammy’s are a joke and I’ve wasted my time. Some are likely thinking, told you so. Again I ask – why even bother being a fan if we can’t celebrate success? I love Duran Duran. I’m proud of them, whether there are zero nominations or fifty. I am never going to apologize for my pride, even if I’m the only fan left standing.

-R

(Slightly late!) November 2015 Katy Kafe with John Taylor

Today is December 3rd. I don’t know what happened, but I missed the posting of the November 2015 Katy Kafe. I’m expecting a pink slip at any point from Amanda…but until then….enjoy the highlights!!

(Remember, this isn’t word for word. I’m lucky if I even got quotes right this time because I was lightning fast with my writing. If you want to hear the whole thing, cough up your $35.00 and join the paid fan community at DDM!!)

Paris

Keeping in mind that this Kafe is from November 18th, it is no surprise that Katy opened with the subject of Le Bataclan and Eagles of Death Metal in Paris. Katy describes the gig as sacred space – which is completely accurate, in my mind. That’s exactly how I (and many music fans) feel about the concert experience. Real life, politics, etc should stay on the outside of those walls. John talks about how it “broke a boundary.” I couldn’t agree more. He continues by saying, “We really love those guys. We wouldn’t wish this on anyone.” (I appreciated that John said he didn’t feel especially equipped to really say much about the events in question because, let’s face it, how many of us really DO feel equipped? I’m still trying to process Paris, along with the atrocity that my community is digesting from yesterday. I grew up near San Bernardino, and I currently live about 30 miles from there. To say it is unreal would be an understatement. John’s humanity is genuine, and I think most fans are drawn to that about this band in general.) The subject of “Save a Prayer” is brought up, as it was the last song that Jesse Hughes’ girlfriend put up on Periscope of the show – and John admits that being tied to the horror of what happened that night in such a way feels weird. He expands by saying that the idea of a song being reinvigorated by a newer band is something any band would want, but having it happen in this way, in this sense, is not what they were thinking. He feels it’s important for Eagles of Death Metal to continue and that this is an opportunity for them to be a force of positivity.  I think that’s something we can all agree on. I hope they can find the strength and courage to continue because this tragedy happened TO them in a way it didn’t happen to U2, or Duran Duran, or anyone else for that matter. Their voice is an important call to action for the rest of us who very much love music and feel, rightly so, that a sacred space (to use Katy’s words) was breached that night – and we’re not going to let it consume us. Instead, we are going to let that act give us energy and power to keep going (anytime the Eagles of Death Metal are ready to get started – I’m ready to applaud them right here on this blog).

UK Tour

At the time of the Kafe, the band hadn’t yet began their tour, but Seal had just been announced as one of the opening acts (The Bloom Twins being the other). John explains that they first played a gig with Seal at the KROQ Acoustic Christmas in 1992. He calls Seal “a class act”. He continues on by saying that they first caught on to the idea when Nile toured with him this past October in the US.  The idea that Nile had hit songs wasn’t lost on John, as he described the experience as being an “eye opener.” (Having been at a few of those shows, I have to chime in and say that while I really didn’t give much thought to the idea that Nile had hits – of course he does!! – the fact is, Nile Rodgers is a legend and to see Chic live was a dream come true for me and likely many others. Who didn’t come away from their sets on cloud nine and totally ready for Duran? In the sense that an opening act is supposed to warm up the crowd – I think Chic and Nile did that in spades.)

US Tour (October)

In a word, John called them “AMAZING”. He said that they were among their best shows ever with some of the best crowds. He admits that it had been a few years (Entirely too long, I might add!!!) and they weren’t sure what kind of reception they’d get. (I am always surprised when they say this because what did they really think? Did they really think that only 20 of us would show and throw things at them?? Never!) He talks about the “love in the room” – of which yes, there was a lot of that. John also says that he felt a change from the last tour, that it felt different – but it was “all great”, adding that Nile seemed to set the tone and that each show left them satisfied. (The fans though? We’re never satisfied for long, are we??) 

2016

What will 2016 bring? Well, John was quick to make my entire week by saying that they are working on an American tour that looks (keep in mind this was recorded on November 18 and things may have changed in the past two weeks!!) like it will happen in two parts: an indoor section that will be happening in the spring (define spring for me, John.) and an outdoor section in August. (I am sweating just thinking about where they might play….) He continues to make me bounce in my chair by saying the words, “we are keen to get these on sale, so an announcement should come shortly!”  I know that there are many of you out there groaning at the very thought that the band would return to America – so let me assure you he also mentioned Europe and naturally Italy for the summer, they want to go back to Japan, and of course Australia and South America, too. Katy asks specifically about India as it was somewhere Nick had mentioned, but John seemed iffy at best as to whether playing there was a possibility. So, Santa might be bringing all of us a list of tour dates….and pre-sales…this holiday season. Ho ho ho….

Goals for Paper Gods

Katy brings up an interview that John did for press in Liverpool where he mentioned that their first goal with the album was to hit the bullseye with fans. She mentions that it would seem that it’s spreading beyond that bullseye now.  John says that they “set a high bar” with the album, noting that bands don’t spend two years recording to “put something out and just see what happens.”

JT doesn’t want to say what his goals are for the album, but that they all have “big dreams for it.” Round one was to get the fans to really love it. He recalls getting a text from Katy on the day that they released What Are the Chances (I want to clarify that while it wasn’t completely clear in the Kafe – I believe he’s meaning the day that we first heard WATC, prior to the release of the album, and NOT when they announced it would be the next single.). She apparently had told JT that fans were going nuts for the song and that it “hit fans right between the eyes.”  John says that he sat back and just said a triumphant “YES!”

The goal now is to broaden that appeal, which takes time and getting exposure in ways they might not think.  He and the other members of Duran Duran very much want to get this album heard by the people.  “The Pressure Off experiment has run its course, and we’re happy with how it’s done but Round two is seeing where What Are the Chances takes us.” (I wish someone would ask the band about radio. I have NEVER heard Pressure Off or What Are the Chances” on regular old land-based radio…and I struggle with understanding how important, or not important, getting it heard on the radio really is. Things have obviously changed since I was a kid! Should I worry that I never hear it? Fans like myself whisper about this from time to time in emails and I see it brought up on Twitter, but I really never know what to say.  Does it matter, and if it doesn’t – how else does a band go about getting exposure these days? Print and TV media can’t seriously be the end all, can it??) 

John then launches into a story that I think is worth including because, to be fair – is exactly how I felt when I first saw Paper Gods on iTunes. He explains that when the album came out, he was shocked to see it classified as pop, saying that he hadn’t felt like he’d been a pop musician in the past 25 years or so. He took a look at the other artists in that category – none of them were much over the age of 25 or so – and he wondered how they’d ever be able to compete with those kids.  John uses the word “fucked”, which is more than appropriate and I concur!! He specifically mentions Ariana Grande, for instance, saying that he felt they’d made a very progressive record he very much hopes to get heard by the masses – but probably NOT by listeners of Ariana Grande. (It is in this particular moment when I feel both complete dismay AND vindication to some extent. It wasn’t just me who was completely confused by Paper Gods being classified as Pop, and I wasn’t the only one thinking that there was no way they could ever compete with the likes of Justin Bieber…and honestly, would they even WANT to??? I love Duran Duran, obviously…but be honest here…no kid who listens to Justin or Ariana is likely to give Duran Duran a chance, primarily because it is THEIR PARENTS who grew up with the band.) So the question becomes – how will it all pan out?  Katy assures him that it has gotten fantastic reviews and that it’s particularly gratifying to her to see the great reception, and that it’s genuine. He and Katy are both right about one thing: fans love this album. We’ll fight to the death for it. We soldier on. The album, and most certainly this band, is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears (and there have been plenty!) we can muster.

-R