Category Archives: Duran Duran News

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

 

 

 

Running Like a Fox to Catch Up on Duran Duran News

It is amazing how much Duran Duran news one can miss in a week. I’ve been on vacation for the past week, which has both been wonderful and incredibly isolating all at once. Aside from brief glances at my phone to see that all is well, I spent my week concentrating on real life…and it was wonderful…and today I am catching up.

I did see that in my online absence, Duran Duran played New Moon on Monday (Yes I know it was just a portion. I don’t care, I’ll take it!!), Love Voodoo (Surprised by that choice, I must admit), and Only in Dreams (A favorite of mine from Paper Gods…envious of those who have seen that one!) By all accounts and reviews I’ve read as I try to catch up on Duran Duran news this morning, it would appear that the UK tour is going very well so far.  Even when Simon tweeted a picture of a very damp and dreary Cardiff this morning, all I could think about was that I wish I were there too.  I hope everyone who is attending the shows is having a fantastic time!  Seeing the band on tour,  watching them perform songs from Paper Gods as well as the older material somehow helps to validate the time we’ve spent as fans, and allows us all that time to celebrate.

Validation as a fan is important, and we all seek it in a variety of ways, whether that is through photos with the band, or a smirk or grin from a band member. Maybe its a pair of drumsticks, or a signed piece of memorabilia. Maybe its knowing everything there is to know about the band itself and being able to recite and correct such information at will. There is something to be said for feeling as though your time has been well-spent, and there really isn’t anything wrong with that, unless seeking that feeling of self-importance overrides good sense. I’ve seen fans argue tooth and nail over the finest of detail, from the covers of albums to the dates that members have exited the band. I’m all for spirited debate, despite what some may think – but at some point, it all becomes a little silly. What difference does it really make if a version of the band began in 1978 when their first album didn’t actually come out until the 80s? Are we going to start characterizing the band as being from the 70s…now….some thirty years later??? I don’t think so.  Sometimes the intense need to prove ones worth through trivial knowledge overrides good common sense.

My husband and I have had a similar argument over the years as I’ve been an active Duran-fan online. He’s noticed the amount of time and energy fans will spend correcting and one-upping each other with regard to band history and experiences, and he used to say it was our version of a pissing contest to prove our importance – as if there’s a trophy at the end. I would get so angry with him, saying that it wasn’t true and that fans were better than that. The trouble is, the longer I’ve engaged online, the more I see that he might have a point.

Is it really going to make a difference whether I’m right or wrong about a blog I’ve written? After all, as I’m frequently reminded…”it’s just an opinion“. Probably not. Roger Taylor isn’t going to show up on my doorstep, no matter how I feel about one issue or another. There are no trophies for “Best Fan” to be awarded at the end of this journey. I know what kind of fan I am, and my feelings aren’t going to be any more or less validated by what other fans say about what I’ve written. Those are hard words to accept and follow, but we move on.  I also know that no matter how much I think I know, someone else probably knows more, and that’s OK. I think we could all (including me) stand to have a little more patience, a lot more understanding, and treat one another with a little more respect and kindness. We’ve all earned that much.

-R

We Carry On

I know it’s been a few days since it was announced, but I had to comment on the GOOD that came out of the campaign to get the Eagles of Death Metal’s version of Save a Prayer to number one in the UK. The results were tweeted out on Friday afternoon, and while the song missed the mark in the UK – it went straight to number one in several other areas of the world, which was wonderful to see.

Save a Prayer to Number one

I know that I tweeted out the link several times, wrote a blog or two about it, and just enjoyed the feeling of goodness that washed over me while doing it. Focusing on something else other than the evil and anxiety that seems to dominate the news these days was a welcome relief. Rather than continuing to feel pretty damn helpless over what might happen next, I guess I centered my thinking on living. On music. On Save a Prayer. Felt appropriate given the people who were in the Bataclan that night, just LIVING.

I suppose one could look at the charts and think it was a colossal failure, at least in the UK where the actual campaign to get Save a Prayer on the charts took place. The US looks pretty dismal too, sitting at #220. I don’t really see it that way, though. Two bands came together over a single cause.  Save a Prayer – a song that is imprinted the souls of most of us who grew up being fans of Duran Duran has now come to mean something far bigger. All due to a single person deciding to make the music matter more than the evil that dared to destroy it. One Facebook page, one Twitter account, inspired countless people to put down whatever it was they were doing at the time and buy a song. I can’t call that a failure, no matter what the numbers say.

Every once in a while I get a glimpse of what magic can happen when people are pushed to the brink and realize that the only real way out is to work together.  JM – the person behind Eagles of Death Metal for No.1 on Facebook, inspired an incredible amount of people this past week. That’s the real “win”, and in my mind there are no failures or shame in what was accomplished. Well done.

I will echo JM’s sentiments: to those who went out that night in Paris to have a good time and never came home. I will continue keep those people and their loved ones in my thoughts.

-R

Take EODM Save a Prayer to Number One!

In my 45 years on this planet, I’ve become quite the cynic.  Though, I don’t think I’ve ever been characterized as an optimist, to be fair,  It is also true to say I tend to think the worst of situations (and people) as a knee jerk reaction a lot of the time. Seems silly to apologize for something that is as integral to who I am as my love for music, so I’ll just admit it’s something I continue to work on (and I often fail).  However, even cynical-old-me takes notice of what happens every single time we find ourselves climbing out of the darkness of whatever tragedy has hit most recently.  I’m writing of those tiny glimmers of good or the shining moments that tend to remind us that not everyone is bad, the world isn’t a horrible place, and yes, there might just be some hope left.

This week, I’ve taken notice of quite a few of these posts on Twitter and Facebook:

Buy EODM's Save a Prayer and get it to number one on UK charts!
click the picture to buy Save a Prayer on iTunes

The funny thing is that I remember seeing a tweet from Dom a couple of weeks ago as Duran Duran was about to perform on TFI Friday Live. He tweeted they were about to perform with Eagles of Death Metal and Josh Homme (Who, at least at one point in time not that long ago, was one of Dom’s favorite guitarists). Dom went on to say that EODM had done a “great cover of Save a Prayer recently.” I kept that in the back of my mind as I went about my day and later watched the performance, which I enjoyed. I made a mental note to download their album (EODM) later when I had a chance. I didn’t think much more of it until last Friday of course, and we all know how irony works…

Once again, even through all of this pain and anxiety many of us are feeling, music works to bring people together. That feeling is pure, and it feels good to buy a song that somehow has just a little bit more meaning today than it might have two weeks ago. I also kind of feel as though the two bands: Eagles of Death Metal and Duran Duran, have a bit of a kinship now.

Quite noticeably, Duran Duran very quickly began promoting the efforts to get the Eagles of Death Metal cover of Save a Prayer to number one on their own social media. I know there were many that pointed out, almost immediately, that Duran Duran stood to gain the most out of this campaign. Yes, I’ll admit the thought crossed my mind as well. I pushed the thought aside and chose to wait and see how Duran Duran might respond. It is sometimes easy for the cynic in me to assume that it’s all about the money. On this one occasion, I wanted to believe there was more than just a few bucks (or quid as the case may be) on the line. I’m glad I waited.

Even as I’d cast aside the niggling little thoughts in my head about who really stood to profit from this venture – I felt that even IF Duran Duran profited in the end, there was still a lot to be said for this campaign to get Save a Prayer to number one. I don’t know how to express succinctly it in words except to write that at least for me, it was about more than just the song. More than just Duran Duran, and more than just the Eagles of Death Metal. I guess that for me, it was about people from all over taking what was truly a horrible nightmare that I can’t even begin to imagine, working through pain, sorrow, loss and who knows what else – and using that energy to do something good.

Can any of us really imagine what it must have been like to be the band (EODM) that night, up on the stage at the Bataclan? I’ve thought about that a lot. There they were, experiencing so much joy in one moment, and complete horror in the next. The band even lost their merchandise manager that night. No, it wasn’t one of the band members (thank goodness), but Nick Alexander was someone’s child, someone’s boyfriend, and the friend of many. I can’t even begin to know how those people must feel. So their fans took Save a Prayer to heart. It has become a sort of “you can wound us but you will not destroy us” type of anthem for them. They’ve vigorously campaigned on social media for people all over the world to buy it to show support.  I don’t know, maybe I’m really living in Fantasyland, but for me, the positive energy speaks volumes. This coming from me, the cynic, no less.

It wasn’t long of course before Simon himself addressed the niggling concerns of profits from downloads of Eagles of Death Metal’s Save a Prayer, saying that the band would donate their profits to charity. As of this writing, Duran Duran hasn’t determined what that charity will be, only that they are considering those that are “peaceful, effective, and unifying.” As a fan, I can’t really ask for more than that. Maybe others disagree, but I still believe the good that the cause itself is doing (unifying music lovers from both bands at this point and getting our minds on something good coming out of the sadness and shock from last week that seems to grow worse with each passing day) is far greater than whatever concerns might be had about who really stands to gain.

For the record, I did buy the cover, as well as the album. I don’t live in the UK, and obviously the sale doesn’t count for the UK charts as result, but that really isn’t the point for me. For one, I think the Eagles of Death Metal did a great job on the song. Secondly, Dom did a good job of pointing it out because I wouldn’t have known about the cover otherwise. (and quite frankly the man has great taste in music which is why I bought their album and might even go back for more.) Thirdly, I wanted to make some show of support, somehow.

I don’t know how to explain it, but I feel so far away from my friends right now. Here I am, in sunny Southern California with a population of “ridiculous”, and yet I feel really alone, particularly when it comes to my fandom. I guess buying the song, at least for me, made me feel just a tiny bit closer to people I love and care about. The rest of the states, the UK, South America – there are a lot of people I wish I could hug right now. Silly? Maybe. I guess there IS still a bit of sap and kindness left in my hard heart. Dammit!!  No matter, I want to encourage everyone to buy it. I believe the song is only $1.29 here in the states, it definitely doesn’t suck, and you know – let’s just make something good come out of this disgusting, appalling, tragedy. So it might not hit the charts here in the states, that’s really beyond the point for me personally. I don’t know about anyone else, but every single morning it feels like the news just gets worse and worse, and it’s time to let a little light come out of the darkness, you know?

I just wanted to say publicly how much I value Simon, and Duran Duran of course, choosing to address both the social media campaign and the concerns about who would really stand to gain. I love Duran Duran. I am incredibly proud to be a fan, and I didn’t really think I could possibly love them more than I did last week or last month. It turns out, I was wrong.

-R

Planet Earth Is Worth 24 Hours of Reality

I think Duran Duran’s love for Planet Earth kind of goes back to the song at hand – which was the beginning of my journey with this band.   It didn’t come as a complete surprise to me to see the announcement that they would be performing for 24 Hours of Reality…which is also Live Earth. After all, we all live here on this planet, don’t we? Why wouldn’t we want Duran Duran, the band who first told us that there were 247,680 born everyday (surely there are more than that being born each day now in 2015) or that the oldest known song is the Shadduf Chant, to perform in a broadcast that – at the very least – will encourage every day folks like you and I, if not the powers in charge, to take our dwindling resources a little more seriously?

Well, like anything else I’ve written in regards to Duranland,  I underestimated how strongly fans feel on either side of this issue. While I really didn’t see much on Twitter, fans had absolutely no problem posting their disappointment with the band and their choice to perform, citing reasons from Al Gore to the fact that this band shouldn’t be political.

There’s no way I’m touching the political football on this one, because ultimately – I don’t think the planet deserves that kind of treatment. That said, I acknowledge that some governments, such as my own, have encouraged the game. While there is no doubt that Daily Duranie is as much written from opinion as it is from fact at times – this post isn’t going to take a side on climate change or try to prove that it exists or explain why it is OK for the band to rub shoulders with Al Gore even after his (now ex) wife managed to have them censored back. Nope. Not gonna go there. Even I know when it’s time to back away from the hornet’s nest.

So many of the comments I’ve read expressed dismay over the band making a “political statement” just by appearing. I have to wonder where those people have been over the past thirty years. I know there has been many an interview – especially lately – where Simon has said that they’ve tried not to get too openly political in the past. Perhaps that’s so, and perhaps they’ve also done it subtly enough to where most people haven’t found fault.  A few examples? The video for Planet Earth has scrolling text about doomsday, the population, and various other facts about our planet. Not overtly political, but the point was still there. The band played Live Aid – which I am sure no one has forgotten, although I think many have forgotten just what Live Aid stood for, in 1985. They followed that up by playing a show for Amnesty International in 1987. In 1990, Simon LeBon sang “Follow in my Footsteps” on the album Requiem for the Americas – an album curated by Jonathan Elias as a tribute to Native Americans. In 2007, Duran Duran performed at the London (Wembley Stadium)  Live Earth (also organized in part by Al Gore). John Taylor even openly stated his support for Barack Obama as President of the US by doing YouTube videos and wearing an Obama t-shirt, and that was even before he became a US citizen. These are just a few examples off the top of my head, and I haven’t even touched upon the social commentary topics they’ve included in songs and videos over the years.  This isn’t new and this certainly is not the first time, so I guess the idea that some fans feel like now is the time to insist that they not become “political” comes thirty-seven years too late, at least in my head.

I know how important it may be to keep Duran Duran on a pedestal, or in a box marked “escapism”. My goodness, we all sometimes need to just turn the music on, sit back, and let it take us away. For the most part, it is a very healthy way to deal with stress and life – at times. On the other hand, it is also important to live in reality. Even though you or I might use the band as our escape, it’s reasonable to assume they live in reality. Sometimes, reality is worth taking a stand and putting yourself out there…and sometimes, you get hammered for it. I have to admire the band for being willing, and for challenging their fans to see another side they may not have previously considered.

I know I’ll be watching for them during Live Earth on Friday with the same sense of pride and affection as always…and chances are, I’ll steal a moment or two from my real life to “escape” as they perform on that Paris stage for Live Earth / 24 Hours of Reality!

-R

Thursday Wrap-up

I have a few topics to cover today, and I’m not quite sure how to mesh them…so let’s see how this turns out:

Next single from Paper Gods??

This article from philmarriott.net reports that the next single from Paper Gods will be What Are the Chances. I must admit my surprise upon reading the news – which has yet to be confirmed by the band. Not only was I not expecting another single – I hadn’t really given much thought to what they might choose. Releasing What Are the Chances may just make the right kind sense, given that the song features John Frusciante on guitar and has all the makings of a fantastic Duran Duran ballad. It will be very interesting to see if the article has any truth to it and if so, how What Are the Chances will do with streaming and radio. While I do not spend a ton of time listening to radio these days, I have yet to hear Pressure Off here in Los Angeles.

“I can’t imagine life without hearing new music”

I read a great (but abruptly short) article on redbulletin.com that features an interview with John and Nick. One of the most poignant parts of the Q&A is an answer that Nick gives regarding their choice to feature young talent such as Janelle Monáe and Kiesza in their music. Nick talks about how some people lose music when they start families. “When they have a lot of things going on, music is sadly one of the first things to fall off their charts.”  This was true for me. I’d followed Duran Duran the whole way through middle school, high school and even college….then I got married, moved across the country, had my first baby and didn’t hear that they’d released Medazzaland until about six months after it had been out. It’s like I came back up for air after having been in an underground bomb shelter for a few years. Same held true for Pop Trash (different child). Not everyone does that, obviously – I just know that I recognized myself in Nick’s statements. I can’t get back that time of course, but I appreciate that Duran Duran continues to challenge my musical tendencies and forces me not to be so lazy with my tastes.  The article is worth the read…I only wish it were longer and not so abrupt to end.

Fandom is Universal

I spent my morning catering to my son and his own fandom at BlizzCon 2015. The actual event begins tomorrow for him, but today we drove to Anaheim to pick up his event badge and the goody bag that Blizzard Entertainment gives to all attendees. My son is 16, this is his first BlizzCon, and he was practically vibrating like a tuning fork with excitement as we approached the convention center registration hall. We’d bought this ticket for BlizzCon back in April, after a RIDICULOUSLY stress-filled twenty minutes waiting in the “lobby” of the event ticketing site, wondering if he would get a ticket. (BlizzCon tickets typically sell out within seconds. One could be in the “lobby”, be granted a ticket, and have the tickets sell out before you click “buy now.” Thank goodness Duran Duran isn’t quite THAT bad, because I’d probably have already stroked out by now….and I mean that.) It never seemed like November would get here once the ticket was purchased. (Sound familiar, anyone?) My son is the typically the opposite of excited most of the time, and so while I tried not to openly notice or make comment of my observations  – I was secretly thrilled to see him openly smile and show just a little of the “Wow, I can’t even believe I’m HERE.” that I tend to have coursing through my veins before a Duran Duran show.  I dutifully waited in the dark shadows outside as he floated into the dark hall with the masses, waiting to be granted their registration badges and allowed the first opportunity to shop the BlizzCon merchandise store. I watched fans – because BlizzCon is truly FOR fans, it’s not a trade-show, but an event for fans of Blizzard Entertainment (think video games like World of Warcraft, Diablo, Hearthstone and my son’s personal favorite: Starcraft II) practically skip down the stairs with excitement – their sites on the registration hall as though they were being magnetically pulled into the vortex of lights and sound, and it was clear that this is as much of a fan community as anything else I’ve experienced. It wasn’t all that long before my son emerged from the black lit hall, smile gleaming as he clutched his new BlizzCon messenger bag, filled with goodies that he didn’t look at until we were home. (and he could safely geek-out in the privacy of his room, because you know – “cool people don’t pull all of their stuff out here in the courtyard in front of everyone, Mom. Geesh.”) As we walked out of the immediate area, I noticed groups of people gathering together, excitedly chatting over possible news being released during the show, exploring possible “celebrity” sightings within the gamer community (My son tells me, “Lots of podcast and e-game people come to BlizzCon, Mom. Seriously….don’t you know this stuff?”) and just being FANS, squeeing with glee over one thing or another. Oceans of nerds, gathering together, finding one another, looking forward to the weekend ahead. I couldn’t help but see the similarities, because at the bottom of it all – fans are fans; whether you’re 40-something and occasionally live and breathe Duran Duran for a weekend, or you’re a slightly sarcastic teenager who is way too cool to have to answer your mom’s questions about the gaming community.  Fans are fans.

-R