Category Archives: Duran Duran News

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

Duran Duran Awarded MTV EMA

Duran Duran was awarded an MTV EMA last night in Milan, Italy. The award was given in the new category of “Video Visionary”, and Duran Duran were the first recipients.

In a statement released by the band prior to the ceremony, Duran Duran embraced the award with pride, “It is no coincidence that our rise was paralleled by the growth and ultimate world domination of MTV. The birth of music videos as a way to simultaneously bring our music to a global audience revolutionized the business. We took this new short form of film making and tried to make it our own. We have had some incredible experiences over the years making our videos. We have worked with some of the most talented directors in the world – without whom we would not be honored here today. We are really proud to be the recipients of this new award. Thank you MTV.”

In August of 1981, as MTV was first broadcast, I wasn’t even quite yet a teenager. I’d already heard Duran Duran on my local KROQ radio station and first fell in love with them because of their music. I can’t remember the exact year MTV was actually broadcast in my small(ish) town of Covina, California (and it very well could have been that same year)- but I do know that when it began, Duran Duran were on heavy rotation, and I spent much of my time watching the channel, waiting for videos by Duran Duran and other bands I enjoyed to be shown. MTV continued to open a door to an entirely whole new world of escapism to me, Little Miss Sheltered Teenager. It wasn’t just about the music, it was the entire art – music and visual – brought to life, and I loved every minute.

Later, as tastes changed, and the MTV programming took a turn for the worse, and then coasted down into even much worse, I stopped watching. I prefer not to even give the network a passing glimpse now – an empty shell of what it once was. As much as I am immensely proud that Duran Duran was recognized last night, I am somewhat amused that MTV continues to have awards shows, given that they dropped the “Music” from the name years ago and the fact that they no longer even play music videos. How do they even have enough credibility to honor anyone?!?  Perhaps that’s actually the point. Even more frightening, many of the acts they awarded last night are completely unaware that the channel ever played an integral part in music history, unless they’ve bothered to pick up a music history book along the way.  That’s alarming.

I didn’t watch the highlights show that was on MTV here in the US last night. I DVR’ed it, figuring that if I heard the band made an appearance on the air – I’d watch. Sadly, even with a two-hour “highlights” show and the first award given out in a brand new category, MTV didn’t find Duran Duran to be relevant enough to be televised, at least not here. However, I did find that it had been televised in other countries, so I am including a clip here that I found on Facebook (thank you to the Duran Duran Argentina board)

 

 

I am so incredibly proud of Duran Duran, and not for just the obvious things. They continue to have a fantastic career and they keep pushing themselves to do more, even when I suppose they could just stop and rest on their laurels (please don’t!). I don’t think I’m unlike any other fan out there when I wish rather loudly that they were more respected by their peers.  I was one of those teenage fans who screamed for them and hung their posters lovingly on the walls of my bedroom. I also scoured their albums, knew each of their songs note-by-note, and still work to learn as much about their recording process and production as possible. Yes, I was a fangirl. To a large extent, I suppose I still am, among many other titles I also own with pride. To equate an entire fan base as well as a band with not really mattering simply because they had a large female following continues to be an insult that myself and many others like me will keep fighting, because it simply is not true.

Eventually, Duran Duran WILL be respected purely because they cannot be ignored. History will lean heavily on the side of the band. In time that is far too long for my taste, music books will be written about the mark this band left, and continues to leave, on rock and pop history. Until then, they have the outpouring of pride, love, and affection from all of us who have stood beside them for the past thirty-plus years. Well done on your MTV EMA, boys. Very well done.

-R

Thud(s) Heard Around the World

Mysterious thudding noises can be heard all over the world today as Duranies get their first full views of the official video for Duran Duran’s latest single, “Pressure Off”.

Let me be clear: if seeing John Taylor mouth a delightfully colorful two-word phrase to someone off-screen doesn’t rock you, and seeing Roger twirl his stick doesn’t send your blood pressure soaring a bit; or if eyeballing Nick in more eyeliner than most of us have ever worn in our entire lives doesn’t stop you dead in your tracks, and seeing Simon’s sultry, all-knowing smirks and grins don’t make you fall over…SURELY seeing John Taylor slowly unzip the arm to his jacket will do the trick!

And, if none of that particularly fascinates you, the design elements most assuredly will – and I promise we’ll talk about all of that. Tomorrow.

Haven’t seen it yet? Allow me to link you up!

As I mentioned earlier on Facebook, the first five to ten seconds of the video made the wait all worthwhile (for me, anyway).  Having done the majority of my growing up in the video-MTV-age, I can remember the anticipation I would have when a new video would be announced for one of my favorite bands.

“Coming up, the ‘World-Premier’ of Duran Duran’s video for Wild Boys!”

…I’d go CRAZY to hear those words! I’d sit through HOURS of videos (so it would seem) just to watch one-three or four-minute video. Back then, I didn’t necessarily have a VHS machine ready to tape (I was just as unprepared back then as I am now) and so as soon as the video would be over, I’d be both elated, and really pissed off at the same time, because I’d want to see the video again. And again. And AGAIN!

Sound familiar?

Last night, while the rest of you were likely watching TV, or doing whatever it is that you do in the evenings, I had tweeted DDHQ (more than once, but who is really counting??) “innocently suggesting” that since the video for Jools Holland wasn’t working in the US at the time, they could make it “right” by throwing the video for Pressure Off up on YouTube. I didn’t realize at the time that the video would be making its debut today, and let’s face it… I was also being a major pain in the ass. (I consider it one of my “many” gifts. You’re welcome, DDHQ!) Of course I knew they weren’t going to put it up online, but I also knew they’d been tweeting teasers for the video all day, so why not bug them about it? I am certain this admission will send waves of shock and awe throughout the fan base, but my tweets to DDHQ last night went unanswered. So sad. (cue sad violin here)

In the 80’s, videos were a small vehicle for a fan to actually SEE bands they liked. Not everyone went to concerts, but nearly everyone I knew would spend hours watching videos, whether those were on MTV or some local video show.  I’d run home from school, bust through the front door, throw my books down on the couch and turn on the TV in time to see MV3 (which later became VideoOne) with Richard Blade. After that was over, I’d watch Mundo Music – which was obviously in Spanish no less, but I didn’t care. (I’d like to believe it helped me learn Spanish. However, I suspect my high school Spanish teacher, Mr. Recio, would disagree. Vehemently.) Then I’d switch over to watch MTV, until my mom would come home and announce that I’d done “nothing” all afternoon. (Not true! I watched videos!!) Music videos, along with music in general, was my entire life outside of school. I knew the bands, I knew their music, and most of all – I knew their videos. To this day, when I hear a song from back then, I can often times picture the video before I can even remember the name of the band. I’m funny at parties when we play those 80’s music trivia games I guess…

Nowadays though, it’s different. The excitement has changed. Don’t get me wrong, when Duran Duran announces a new video I obviously take notice. Most fans do. But it’s different now. It’s not as though I’m watching on MTV, for one thing. It’s YouTube, it’s a little smaller of a screen, and I don’t have to sit through five videos I don’t necessarily care as much about in order to see the one video I’ve been waiting for. I can also play the videos over and over again without delay. (Do not think for one second I only watched Pressure Off once, for example!) In some ways, I wonder if that feeling of “It’ll always be there to watch however often I want” hasn’t hurt music in general. I mean, if it’s always gonna be there, the sense of urgency is sort of missing. The “special-ness” of being able to watch is really gone. I miss that.

Don’t get me wrong, tweeting about a Duran Duran video, seeing people’s comments on Facebook, and of course blogging here about it are all really fun. That part of it adds a dimension to fandom that didn’t exist in the same way for me back in the 80’s. The closest I’d get to chatting with a fellow fan over a video was when I’d call my friend Marsha while watching a Duran Duran video – and that would only happen if my mom wasn’t paying attention, because if she was, I’d hear, “Rhonda Lynn, why on earth are you sitting there talking on the phone when you’re watching TV? You can’t do both at the same time!” (cue loud, dejected teenage sigh) Nowadays, there’s a certain level of excitement that goes along with seeing GIFs tweeted or posted of JT unzipping his jacket arm, and those dizzying moments shouldn’t be denied!! It’s just different now. I think back in the day, there was an importance placed upon doing the best video, the most different video, even (especially) the sexiest video. But now? It’s kind of all been done, I suppose. So we’ve got a very stark, very bold video of the band playing Pressure Off, and yet fans are losing their minds and virtual thuds are happening all over the internet today. Can’t be all bad, right?!?

It’s just that sometimes, the “ease” of technology; maybe it’s really the “instant gratification” that technology fosters, seems to have done more damage than good when it comes to being a fan. Everything is always available: twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, there’s so much of “everything”…it’s pretty damn gluttonous. As exciting as it still is to see a video, it’s just different.

When I think about it, maybe that’s the real reason behind the band not being on Twitter or Facebook like they once were…too much really can end up being too much. Sometimes it’s good to want things, or people and be made to be patient. The art of anticipation, no?

-R

 

October 2015 Katy Kafe with Simon Le Bon

I don’t know about anyone else, but all at once it feels both like it has been  several months since the last Katy Kafe (seriously, just the other day I was thinking that I hadn’t written up one in a long time, although I know I did the one in September with Nick standing in front of the elevator banks at the Jimmy Fallon show)… and just a few minutes ago it seems like it was August. So, I was thrilled to see that the time had come for the October 2015 Katy Kafe.

This month, Simon joins Katy in the Kafe, drinking his “black coffee, no sugar” while in the UK. The birthday boy discusses everything from #musicrediscovered to his next Simon’s reader. As always, I admonish that these are just highlights that I’ve picked out to share, and if you want to hear the entire Kafe – get yourself a DDM membership.  I still feel as though $35.00 a year is a bargain, never mind the access you’ll receive to ticket pre-sales and the like!

#MusicRediscovered

Lately, Simon has been listening to music he once loved and had forgotten.  A prime example of this is Fela Kuti. Simon liked listening to a piece of music called “2000 Blacks Got To Be Free”  back in 1987 during the Strange Behavior tour (this was a tour where Simon liked to decorate his hotel room and feel at home with lots of scarves and incense).  He’d long since forgotten about it until one day while he was staying with John recently. John pulled out the vinyl and launched Simon right back in time. Since then, Simon has been tweeting with the hashtag #musicrediscovered. (which I personally LOVE. He’s already picked out several gems that have in turn taken ME right back – music has a great way of doing that – so be on the lookout for his tweets!)

Anyone remember cassette tapes? I sure do – until VERY recently – the only copy of Big Thing I owned was a CASSETTE! Simon apparently has stacks of them in his house. The few that I still have are in a box in my garage. I don’t listen to them because I’m afraid that they’ll be eaten by the stereo in my car – which is the only surviving tape player I’ve got left. Simon says he liked them back then because they were easy to take places. Easier than vinyl, yes!

A side note that I think is funny enough to highlight: Simon told a little tale to illustrate why he no longer burns incense in hotel rooms:  apparently he was staying in a Boston hotel and was having an in-room treatment where they were burning incense cones on his back (this might sound stranger than I think it was) as a stress-relief.  A knock comes to the door, Simon answers and it is hotel security along with the police who want to have a stern discussion with him about not smoking drugs in his room.  Point taken.

Anyone out there enjoying Apple Music? Simon mentions that he is enjoying Apple Music – prior to this he had not tried streaming on other apps like Pandora or Spotify, and he likes that he can get just about anything on Apple Music….except Medazzaland and Pop Trash, that is…

Paper Gods

Simon hasn’t been in the Kafe since the album was released, and  says he is still listening to the entire album. (Side note: Katy says the album is very linear and that she can’t skip songs. I am 100% ALL FOR buying the album in its entirety. This is not an album where you buy one song or another – this album is absolutely meant to listen from start to finish at least the first 100 times you listen. I’ve had it myself for over a month now and I’m still hearing it differently every single time. What do you mean you don’t have it yet? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GO GET IT!!)

He comments that it’s a top ten album, which is true – it did hit the top ten on Billboard, and it’s been a very long time since a Duran Duran album has done that, and yes – Paper Gods absolutely SHOULD feel like vindication for the band in spending the time to get it right, even IF I gave the band nothing but grief for doing so. Sometimes, #Durantime makes sense.

One thing Simon mentioned was that it all still feels very fresh and new to him even though they’ve been on the promotion cycle for the past couple of months now. He says that the first single – “Pressure Off” – has already came and went in the UK. He says that the song didn’t do that well on the charts because of how it was released. Not living in the UK, I don’t know what that means. However, I continue to witness what is or is not going on in the US with regard to “Pressure Off” thus far.  The song JUST debuted on our America’s Top Ten (Hot Adult Contemporary charts) this past week at #39. I cannot even begin to imagine that this is the peak for the song, because I’m still not really hearing it on radio much at all. I’m not sure if that’s because it’s not getting played, or it’s because I’m not listening to the right stations or if it’s because I’m just missing the finer points of how a single is released to radio. I know that I do not just speak for myself when I say that I hope this isn’t where they’re leaving it with this song – I don’t know who is in charge of getting airplay or how, but it just seems like a lot has been left on the table with regard to this one. I’m crossing my fingers that more is yet to come, because the song is outstanding and EVERYONE should be hearing it all over the (radio) dial.

What’s Next?

The band just won the Q Icon award (announced today!!), and they are off to Milan in several days for the X Factor Milan show and a big show in the Piazza Duomo for the MTV EMA’s. Then they are back to the UK for another round of production rehearsals for the UK tour, which begins in November. Simon explained that the UK shows will be longer, with at least another song or two from the new album, and they’ll have more lights. I also heard him say something about the stage, but I didn’t catch it fast enough to write it down.  He was also very quick to point out that after the UK, they’ll be going to many other parts of the world in 2016, and back to the US for the summer – which is exciting!! (Could it really be that Amanda will not have to battle her school schedule as a teacher in order to go to shows?!? We will see….)

Katy asked an interesting question at this point, and it was asked in just the right sort of way so that Simon would answer! (well-done!!!)

“What song do you enjoying singing most off of the new album for the live shows?” Simon paused long enough to absorb that yes, she did ask what he enjoyed singing most as opposed to what song was his favorite – so he answered with “What are the Chances?” That song gives him plenty of highs and lows. The most difficult songs to sing live are “Last Night in the City” (definitely guessed that one!) and “Pressure Off” because the vowel “U” is high in that song, and it is the most difficult vowel to sing high.

Katy also asked about the beloved confetti cannon, to which Simon assured her would remain in the stage production. The confetti creates such a party atmosphere, and lingers into the next song as it quietly floats to the ground. It really is dazzling to experience during their show.

Yasmin and Amber Save the Elephants

Yasmin and Amber have the opportunity to ride a rickshaw in India as a fundraiser for Elephant Family, so check out this link to their fundraising site. If we all chip in a few dollars it will go a long way towards a big check (bank-note)  written for a very worthy cause.

Simon’s been reading!

Currently Simon has been reading H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald and says it’s been excellent. He plans to write a Simon’s Reader for that book as well as an audiobook he’s been enjoying called May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Holmes.  He says the book is very dark and very funny.  Look for those to be added to Simon’s Reader on duranduran.com very soon and check them out for yourself!

The October 2015 Katy Kafe ended with Katy sending good wishes from the community-at-large to Simon…did you know that Katy has been giving Simon socks as birthday presents for 19 years now? I wonder how that started?!? He apparently has a pair of Batman socks among the many he’s been given….who knew?!?

-R

 

 

Review: Duran Duran Performs on the TODAY Show

My fellow Duranie Stephanie and I entered the chance to win Fan Passes for the band’s Today Show performance on September 17 . We live in Western New York, so the travel time to New York City is at least 6 hours. Not to mention, we both have jobs with limited time off, so our attitude was if we get passes, we’ll just figure out how to go. We really didn’t expect to win them at all. But then Stephanie got the email a week before the show saying she won a Fan Pass (good for 2 people). Our conversation together went something like this:

“Holy cow!”

“Can we do it?”

“Would we be able to take the time off with such short notice?”

“Can we afford to go?”

“It doesn’t matter – we are going!!”

So after an abnormally long train ride, we finally get to NYC around 11 pm. We decided to go to a bar near Penn Station and the sign outside says “Welcome Madonna fans!” Wait – what??? Madonna was at Madison Square Garden that night? That was just a block away! How cool would that have been if we could have seen that show too?!

Back to Duran-land: The Fan Pass instructions said they would start letting people in at 5:30 am and no one would be let in after 6 am. We decided to get there around 5:00 and figured we’d be early enough. We knew that we couldn’t get front-row spots because there’s a VIP section between the stage and the Fan Pass section. But we would be closer than the general admission audience, so we’ll just see what we can get. We saw on Facebook that some fans were there around midnight. We decided that if we were going to stay up all night, we’d prefer to spend the time having a few pints and some food. (I know, I never said we were the most hardcore fans! Just hardcore enough to skip work and travel to NYC for a free show.)

So we got to the Fan Pass line around 5 am. We waited. And waited. I met some (of course) nice people in line and we all commiserated about how early it was.

Today_PreDawn

Today_Waiting

Finally we received our passes which certified that yes, we are now official FANS!

Today_FanPass

(*Before judging our appearance in the photo, please remember that we stayed up all night before the show!)

It was after 6 am and we still hadn’t been let into the plaza. Now we were starting to get a little angry – and you don’t want to anger Duranies at this hour of the morning. But shortly after 6, a couple black vehicles pull up to the plaza entrance and we heard some fans squealing. Clearly the band had finally arrived. I debated whether the delay was due to Nick’s primping, John getting his hair to defy gravity, or Simon squeezing into his pants. Whatever the reason, we were all glad they finally arrived! Having been at the last-minute-cancellation in Atlantic City in 2012, I was starting to feel like this show might not happen either. But the boys were here – and we were all eager to see them.

Having watched the Today Show concerts on the plaza, I had an idea of what the venue would be like. However, once I was actually there, I realized (spoiler alert) it was a lot smaller than it appeared on TV. But frankly my reaction was, “Well then, I’ll be even closer to the stage than I thought I would be!” As you can see from the sound check photo, it was still pretty dark out when we were let into the plaza. It was rather strange to watch a show that started in the dark and ended when it was light. But as weird as it was for me, it has to be much weirder for the band.

Today_Soundcheck

We get into the Fan Pass area and the band is already doing their sound check and rehearsal. To me, this was the coolest part of the experience. Maybe some of you have been at shows where you’ve seen the band do sound check. This was such a treat and a unique experience. I loved that we saw them in their street clothes. We heard their songs multiple times, starting and stopping mid-song. I was thrilled to see that Kiesza was going to perform with them because “Last Night in the City” is my (current) favorite track off Paper Gods. And every time they played it, I loved it even more.

Today_Soundcheck_Kiesza

It was hard to tell if the band was in “sound check mode” or if they were grumpy for having to play so early in the morning. Of course the fans were all excited and we had our second wind and were ready for the show! Simon was a little playful with the crowd but I was hoping for a little more. They finished up sound check and left the stage, so we didn’t know how long it would be until they played again. I think a producer from the Today Show gave us the times the band would be on, but we didn’t listen too closely. I was secretly hoping the band would play an entire concert, but knew that was a little too much to hope for. However I was thankful for whatever we could get.

Here’s the setlist as it happened in real-time:

Ordinary World – This was played/filmed first but actually aired in the last hour of the show. I thought it was a downer to start with, and I worried that Simon wouldn’t hit the high notes, but he killed it. In fact the vocals and sound were amazing all around. I saw some chatter online about how the sound on TV wasn’t great. I thought it was awesome in person.

Notorious (snippet) – The show bumped to commercial with this one. If you watched the show and felt like you got cheated out of the song, don’t worry – we did too. What you saw is all we got.

Last Night in the City (with Kiesza) –  If you watch the video you see around 2:52 Kiesza misses the start of her solo verse. She kept missing it in rehearsal too. Methinks Le Bon got Le Pissed.

Hungry Like the Wolf – Overplayed or not, the guys still sold it. And I think this was the one that the crowd was most enthusiastic about.

Pressure Off –  When introducing the band, Savannah Guthrie was a little flustered and called the new album “Paper Goods”. She was standing so close to JT I would have been flustered too.

Today_Savannah

Save a Prayer – This one they played just for us in the plaza. I’m not sure how others felt, but I was kind of bummed that this was the last song. I’m so used to them ending on an upbeat song that it felt pretty weird for that to be the final song.

I was convinced that they’d play Sunrise given that, well, we were all there together for the sunrise that day. And it’s definitely one that the crowd gets into. Next time guys, OK?

Watching the show back on my DVR, I really enjoyed seeing the little bits when the anchors talked to the audience and showed us arriving pre-dawn. Speaking of the anchors, (a) Carson Daly has piercing blue eyes! I wasn’t standing too close to him but man, those are some sparkly blue eyes! And (b) we saw Dylan Dreyer after the show and man, she is tiny!

I had a great time chatting with fans around us. One woman said it was her first time seeing the band ever. I told her it’s never too late! And to be able to see them that close for free, what a way to see your first show!

Having been to a handful of Duran shows now, I really try to not be stuck behind my camera or phone and fret about getting a great photo or the best video. I really wanted to soak in this unique opportunity and have no regrets. My only regret is that we didn’t show more enthusiasm because then we would have been picked to go down in front of the stage and dance. That would have been incredible, however I was a little camera-shy because I was sort of playing hooky from work, so I wasn’t anxious to be all over the TV screen. Next time Steph, OK?

Thanks to my friend and partner in crime for inviting me to be her +1. I had a wonderful adventure and can’t wait to see them on tour in 2016. If you ever have a chance to start your day with a Duran Duran show, I highly recommend it!

Story & videos from the Today Show

-PamG

PAPER GODS DEBUTS AT #10!

I never blog at night. However, some rules are meant to be broken at certain times, and tonight is that night.

I don’t know what made me decide to check Twitter as I prepared for the week ahead, but something told me to click, and am I ever thankful I did!

I’m happy to share that tonight, DDHQ posted some wonderful, astonishing, fantastic, and AMAZING news. I had been hearing murmurings that it was possible that Paper Gods might make the top ten on the charts this week, but there was something in me that just had doubts. Well…there’s no doubting now:

top ten announcement

Duran Duran has just accomplished something that doesn’t happen often to that many bands. Paper Gods made it’s DEBUT at #10 on Billboard’s Top 200. The last time any of their albums did this well was 22 years ago. Twenty-two years.

I can’t describe how proud I am of this band, and I know that pride is shared with many, many thousands of fans around the world. Let’s not allow this momentum to subside. I challenge everyone who reads this post to tweet the news along with a link to iTunes or Amazon to buy the album. Tell your friends – this band has a top ten bona fide HIT on their hands, and it’s worth giving it a shot, even if they want to just listen on Spotify!

iTunes Deluxe version

Paper Gods on iTunes (regular)

Paper Gods on Amazon

Paper Gods on Spotify
During a week where I would see tweet after tweet about Paper Gods charting in countries all over the world, I have to admit that I was concerned about the US. I didn’t know how the album would do, and I hoped that this would be the album to finally break the ceiling of the top 10. It just isn’t easy for the band to chart here – we’re a huge country, and what does well in the rest of the world doesn’t necessarily do well here. After all, this IS the country that spurred the Kershenbaum remixes of songs off of Rio, once upon a time. It’s an uphill battle to have a hit in America.

What fantastic news for a Sunday night!! I’d love to be at Red Rocks as the band gets the news, and let’s all work to see this album continue to  move up those charts! Our work is not done, in fact – it’s just beginning.  Until we can turn on the radio and hear Pressure Off anywhere we go, we’ve got to keep getting this album heard, and that is not an easy task. We all must do our part. Tell a friend!

What are you waiting for?? Go Tweet or post on Facebook!!

-R