Category Archives: Duran Duran

What Should Fans Expect from the Band

Yesterday, I brought up one of, what I consider to be, the taboo subjects in Duranland:  What should Duranie be expected to know.  Another taboo subject that seems to come up again and again in Duranland is what fans expect from Duran Duran.  Let’s face it.  We all expect many things from the band but they are definitely not the same and I may not understand why you want thing x from them and I might not understand what you want thing y from them.  So, let’s talk about what we, the fans, expect from Duran Duran.

First, this goes without saying, but, we all want good music from them.  Will we all agree as to what that is?  Nope.  Yet, how much of their material should be deemed good?  Should we expect every album or every song to be at a certain level of quality?  For example, not everything is going to be as good as Leopard but everything should be as good as All She Wants Is.  I don’t know.  Is it fair to expect, at least, every other album to be good?  Perhaps, we want every album to have a certain vibe to it?  I don’t know.  This seemed to be a particular issue during the Red Carpet Massacre days.  There seemed to be quite a bit of tension in the fan community.  Yes, some of it was between the fans who liked the album and those who didn’t but there was another kind of tension as well.  Some of that tension was between the fans who thought/felt we should always support Duran, no matter what, and others that thought we should be able to criticize the band and their music. 

Second, should we expect the band members to be on social networking sites?  If so, should they be on both facebook and twitter?  Should they participate regularly; and how do you define regularly?  What if they are only on social networking sites when they are going on tour or trying to sell an album?  Is that okay with us?  While this question might, again, seem like one with obvious answers, it isn’t.  Some fans feel like band members should be on social networking sites as this might be considered part of the job in 2012.  Others feel like it is a great thing that they are and that it enhances the connection between band and fans, but that it is not necessary.  Their only job should be to make music and try to sell it by going on tour, promoting songs/albums, etc.  So, I’m asking.  What should we expect of them?  Let’s have that debate about what is fair and reasonable.

Third, should we expect the band to want to meet fans?  In what capacity should this be done?  Should the band have meet and greets at every show?  Some shows?  Why or why not?  What about in public?  Should the band welcome fans when they are out at a bar or a club?  What about at their hotel?  Should they be approachable then too?  Then, when meeting fans, should they be willing to sign autographs and/or take pictures?  Should there be limits?  Again, on the surface, this question about the band meeting the fans doesn’t appear to be one that would create friction, but it does.  Some people feel strongly that the band should be left alone in public.  Others are passionate about the idea that part of their job is meeting fans and being willing to sign autographs and take pictures.  Then, likewise, those two sides may get annoyed or bothered by the fans on the opposite side.  So, let’s really talk about what we expect from the band.  It would certainly stop some potential bad feelings if we knew what people thought about the issue. 

Lastly, what should fans expect when it comes to the team surrounding Duran?  Should they be held accountable, even if they are far removed from organizations like Artist Arena, or should we understand that they don’t oversee every little aspect of Duran Duran?  Some fans obviously expect that Duran knows and does something about the people that are working for them.  Others think that they have a lot on their plate so they can’t pay attention to everything that is happening.  Perhaps, both sides get annoyed with each other then.  One side thinks that the fans who complain to Duran about their team are being negative and the other side thinks the positive fans are naive and being taken advantage of. 

So, readers, I ask you.  Where do you sit with the question of the day?  What should we expect from Duran?  What about those fans who don’t agree with you?  How can we get consensus about issues regarding the band?

-A

What Should Every Duran Fan Know?

About a couple weeks ago, I posted a blog about taboo subjects in our fandom.  In this blog, which you can read here, I argue that our fandom does not talk about some difficult subjects and this leads to problems, to misunderstandings, to drama.  If we truly wanted our fan community to be united and as drama-free as possible, we would welcome these discussions.  Of course, I did get quite a bit of feedback from this idea.  The question that came up is that what would the point of the discussion be.  My answer was simple:  To come to some sort of understanding and to make that understanding explicit and clear for everyone.  While not everyone would follow it, there would be some sort of established and known expectation.  Thus, if someone chose not to follow it, that person would expect that there would be some sort of reaction.  This, after all, is what happens in real life and in real communities.  Let me give you an example.  In the United States, it is expected that if people are outside of their homes, they should wear clothes.  The vast majority of the people agree with this, at least, as far as I can tell.  Does everyone?  Nope.  There are people who wish to be free of clothing, especially since nudity really isn’t hurting anyone.  Some of these people who disagree will do nothing but disagree, privately.  Others may try to find places where nudity is allowed like nude beaches.  Still others might just openly rebel and wear no clothing out in public.  Those people are aware of the expectation and what would happen if they choose to wear no clothing.  Yet, cultures also have subtle rules and expectations over behavior.  Many of these subtle rules are explicitly taught and some are learned by observation.  The same is true for Duranland.  There are explicit rules with the biggest and most obvious one being Duranies should think that Duran music is good.  Yet, there are areas within the fandom, within the fan community that a consensus hasn’t been reached.  People just decide on some position and get annoyed, bothered or angry at fans that do not follow the same position, philosophy or rule.  This is where misunderstanding comes in.  One area that is unclear is knowledge.  What should all Duranies know about the band, the band members, etc?

I already hearing many of you responding to this.  We shouldn’t dictate how much fans should know!  Everyone is different!  People can’t be expected to know everything!  I’m not saying that anyone, especially ME, should decide anything.  I’m saying that we should talk about how much Duranies should know and what they should know.  Maybe we will never come to an agreement but, at least, we can find out how people feel about knowledge.  We can, at least, come to an understanding.  I am starting the conversation here.  I don’t have answers to these questions.  I just want to stop some of the disagreements and disappointments that seem to happen.  Let me give some examples to explain.  Fan number 1 asks John Taylor on Twitter about what his favorite wine is.  This fan is not aware that John no longer drinks.  Fan number 2 says either out loud to that person or other fans behind fan number one’s back something along the line of, “How does this person not know this!?”  Fan 1 simply didn’t know.  Fan 2 is bothered by this because s/he does not want John to be put into an uncomfortable position.  Is either fan wrong?  Is neither fan wrong?  How should fans handle a situation like that?  Here is another example:  Fan number 3 has never heard the Astronaut demos.  Fan number 4 is horrified by that since in his/her experience and knowledge they are available in countless locations online!  Again, did either fan do or say anything wrong?  I don’t know.  Here is what I do know.  Knowledge is deemed somewhat important in this community.  After all, we wouldn’t get upset with interviewers who ask questions like, “Are Roger and John brothers?”  Also, the situations I described above happen all the time.  In too many cases, the responses cause hurt feelings whether that was intentional or not.  Wouldn’t it be better to decide what is important to know and how we should handle it if people don’t know things? 

So, readers, I ask you.  What do you think Duranies should know about the music?  Should they have heard every official album?  What about side projects and solo work?  What should they know about the band members themselves?  Should they know, for example, that Nick doesn’t like sports or that Simon has three daughters?  What about new fans?  Should we have some sort of understanding towards them?  Maybe, it isn’t how much fans should know but what they know?  Then, based on our community agreement, could we also come up with a way to respond that is respectful and kind as this is part of the problem as well.  For those fans who do know more, they don’t always respond in ways that are constructive to the fans who know less.  Too often, the comments are destructive and hurtful.  Let’s face it.  The reactions are so intense because fandom brings out intense emotions.  Duran Duran, in our case, matters to us.  If they didn’t, we wouldn’t be doing anything with the band or their fans.  Yet, there has to be a way for us to focus our intense feelings on being excited about the band and not being bothered by other fans!

-A

Is there a drummer with a birthday around here???

I have had great difficulty writing this week. I don’t really know what it is, I just know the words simply aren’t coming the way they should. It’s frustrating really, because I have plenty of things I need to be writing and doing. It could be that this week has been busier than most, perhaps it’s that I feel as though I’m on the cusp of some personal growth and change…maybe it’s in the waiting for Dom Brown’s new CD to arrive in my mail. I’m just not sure, but that’s one more reason why I’m glad to have a birthday to write about today!

Not only is it a special birthday, but this also marks the 600th blog.  I’m stunned that Amanda and I have come up with 600 topics to write about, and what’s more – there are days when I have more topics than time to write.  It’s safe to say that we’ll be around for at least 600 more.  As long as the band keeps playing, we’ll keep writing.  We’re not done yet!

I don’t have a ton of Roger stories in my personal collection. That saddens me just a little because…and I don’t mean to play favorites…but he’s been my favorite since day one. Well, maybe not quite day one since on that day, I’d only heard Planet Earth. Perhaps since whatever day it was that I saw Hungry Like the Wolf, because I think that was the first video I saw of theirs.  Don’t quote me on that, as the memory is distinctly fuzzy. Yes, distinctly. Dark hair? Brooding looks? At least seemingly quiet and shy? SOLD. I loved the fact that there weren’t many other Roger girls around. Most tended to go for John or Simon, and while I didn’t deny their good looks, they were just too obvious of choices. So, I stuck with the drummer and was rather proud of the fact that I didn’t have to fight over him amongst my friends.

We all know that Roger left the band after Live Aid in 1985 even though his permanent departure wasn’t announced until 1986. (That’s according to the ever-accurate Wikipedia and NOT my memory.) The more important piece of the puzzle for me was that he returned. I can still feel a sense of joy when I think about the first time I realized that he was back in the band.  My husband says I glow when I talk about it, which is utter nonsense. I am not thirteen years old, and while I might spend a small fortune going to concerts and traveling…I don’t glow (without help from a set of horns, that is).  After the reunion, I found that suddenly there were more Roger girls than ever before. It was alarming, really! Alas, I’ve grown used to the idea that I must share. Sigh. He must know that he is very well loved, indeed.

As I said before, I really don’t have a lot of personal stories with Roger. One story I haven’t shared here yet happened in Milwaukee back in 2005. Back in those days, I had horns. No, it’s true – I had a set of light up horns that I would wear to the concerts. Yes, we were dorks, but it was fun. I was not the only one with these horns, and when worn en masse, we quite possibly stopped traffic, or at least made people question whether or not they should call the authorities. At the show in Milwaukee, I’m not sure what row we were in, but we must have been closer than I’d realized because during Chauffeur, Roger went offstage for a bit. It was then that I spied him looking out into the audience with Dave (their trusty bodyguard), and Dave was pointing out at something. I remember seeing him point, and then somehow, my hand made it’s way up to my hair, and that’s when I realized, oh my god, I’m wearing those damn horns, aren’t I?  They are pointing at me. At my horns. Weakly I brought my hand ever so slowly back down to my side and thought about what to do next.  Do I ignore them and keep swaying my way through Chauffeur? Do I smile triumphantly? Should I hold up my Roger sign?? So I did what anyone else with no sanity or self-preservation left would do – I waved and smiled like a mad-woman, attracting even more attention to myself.  (Hey. If you’re going to look like an ass, you might as well own it. I did.)  Roger smiled and waved back.  Naturally, I squealed like a pig at that point…and if you’re laughing at this story right now, you’re laughing because you know you’d have done it too. Unless of course you’re Roger Taylor, in which case, well…I just don’t know what to say. I’d apologize for being stupid, but it was my one moment of glory when it comes to you.

I don’t wear the horns any longer. They served their time well, and they’ve since been retired.

I haven’t had quite the luck in personal interaction that my partner in crime has had.  I really shouldn’t steal her thunder, but the fact is I’ve listened through a particular story from a recent tour where not only was she sitting next to Dom Brown…but Roger Taylor as well.  Both of my favorites in one place. Amanda in between. How does that happen without me?!  My luck is seriously lacking, folks. The best I’ve gotten has been a disdainful glance as he approached a pub I was standing outside of while waiting for friends. I know, it’s my light hair and fair skin…and the word “Duranie” that is forever inscribed on my forehead.

Like anyone else, I’ve enjoyed seeing the posts from Roger over the past year or so on Facebook. I wish he’d participate more often, but I can’t help but grin when I see him interact, and as hard as I try – I can’t help but post responses. I have no idea if he ever really reads what is said (I doubt it), but if he does, then he knows just how much the fan community really does love and respect him, and how glad we are that he’s still the one behind the drum kit.

Happy Birthday Roger!!  We all hope you have a wonderful birthday and many many more ahead!

-R

By the way, I’m still hoping for that drumstick one day.  Biloxi? Durham??  See you on the road this summer!!

Attitude adjustment in progress

It’s a strange time in the Duranie World. I don’t know what is really going on out there, but April has been an odd month. Things feel out of order. I see more strife than is necessary, and more….craziness…than usual. It’s been a weird month, even for me. Sunday is my youngest’s birthday. She will be four, and we’re having a Minnie Mouse themed birthday party for her and her classmates from preschool. I don’t know what happened, but at some point in the past month my darling little princess has turned into a complete monster. Mouthy (gosh I wonder where that came from?!?) with an attitude to match, and I feel as though I’m in a bit of a twilight zone when it comes to parenting her. Up until now she’s always been extremely obedient and I think I grew pretty complacent about the whole deal. I just expect for her to obey, and now suddenly, she’s decided it’s time for some independent thinking. I keep waiting for her head to completely spin around and for her to begin shouting obscenities my way. Yes, it’s been that kind of month the entire way around.

One might think that I shouldn’t be surprised by less-than-positive responses regarding the support of the current guitarist for Duran Duran. Dom and his father have recorded a Blues album, aptly titled Blue to Brown, and I wanted to do our part to support their effort. So I’ve posted a few words of encouragement on both Facebook and Twitter to go his website (www.dombrown.com if you haven’t been reading!) and purchase the album. It works out to just over $16 USD right now with the exchange rate. Originally Dom was even offering free postage and handling – I’m not sure if that is still the case, but in my opinion it was a good deal and a great chance to hear some new music at the same time. Sadly, there are still those within the community that take issue with Dom’s involvement in the band…to the point where they simply refuse to buy the album.

Listen, I understand not being a big fan of blues. I get that because I’m not a big fan of rap, for instance. It’s just our individual tastes, and that’s OK. I can only take issue when we’re talking about not buying the album purely because Dom isn’t “a part of Duran Duran.” I suppose my first question would be “What do you consider ‘taking part’?” He’s been around now for what – nine years?  No, he’s not a member…but he sure does play on stage with them and has for the past nine years, and he even has writing credit on several songs on All You Need is Now. That sure seems like “being a part”, but ultimately – it’s really not up to little old me to insist that everyone support Dom, and it would be hypocritical, since I have been more-than-open about my preference for anybody-but-Warren. Unfair of me? Yes, probably so.

There is a bigger issue here though, and that’s living in reality. As I said on Facebook the other day, this isn’t just about whether you like Dom, or Warren. It’s not about whether *I* like either or both of them either. It’s about supporting each of them in the way that they supported OUR band, and took one hell of a lot of grief from us as fans for the past nine years. Like it or not, had neither of them come along, Duran Duran would not be the same as it is today…and Andy Taylor would STILL not be a part of this current band, purely because it is not where he chooses to be. We have to respect that fact. I recognize that’s a tough pill to swallow, but swallow we must. No, Warren wasn’t my favorite, but the fact is for much of the time he was in the band I had to learn to support his being there for the greater good of the band itself. There are a good many songs in the band’s catalog that simply would not have existed had it not been for Warren, and the same to a lesser extent can now be said for Dom. The history is just that, history. Andy, Warren and Dom all have their place in this band, and the sooner we all learn to accept and love exactly where we are, the sooner we can look backward and forward with clarity. Bring on TV Mania and I promise Daily Duranie will be just as supportive!

And now, I must prepare for the drummer’s birthday tomorrow…..alas, I have a birthday blog to write. 🙂

Sharing

One of the reasons I love blogging and writing in general is the whole aspect of “sharing”.  Sure, I tend to “share” my opinion a lot. I won’t dare argue that one. I put myself out there on the blog, and while at several points I’m wincing as I hit “publish” and sort of praying that I don’t end up at a public flogging ceremony somewhere, the whole point is to be brave and move forward.  Funny. It’s the exact opposite of how I am in person. I’m mostly shy and quiet unless I’m comfortable. Blogging and writing is how I share a little of myself.  I like seeing the reactions to the blog, even if they aren’t always favorable, because that’s also how I learn. I really enjoy the social aspect to the internet.  It’s incredibly easy to become closed off these days.  We can order virtually anything we wish via the internet and never need to leave our homes.  We have iPods or iPhones that can download music at the blink of an eye.  There’s never a need to leave the house, even for new music.


I miss the days of going to the record store, and I do mean record store. Just this past weekend was Record Store Day.  Independent record stores all over the world celebrated the day, and there were several limited releases available.  I have to admit, I didn’t take advantage and go shopping. I suppose it’s a well-meant idea by having a day to highlight vinyl and encourage music lovers to check out their local record store(My closest record store is about 20 minutes from my home.), but I’m one of those people that also believes the idea is just a little bit absurd. It’s just a tad pathetic that we need to drive people out of their homes with the promise of special purchase limited editions and whatnot.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that for the life of me I can’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to go to a record store on any other day of the year.  There is something very special about record stores.  When you walk in, your senses are immediately put on high alert.  The colors.  The boxes, the smell of cardboard.  Used records are the best.  I love holding them in my hand and seeing the dogeared corners.  No, those aren’t good for the value of the cover art, but I look at those marks as signs of a well-loved album.  Those bent corners and worn edges whisper (and sometimes shout) their past. I used to enjoy going to Tower Records and spending hours going through the racks.  Occasionally I’d talk to someone who would turn me on to something new, and I’d undoubtedly come out of the store excited about my new purchases and run home to hear them.  With the iPod, it’s not quite the same.  There’s no real exchange between people and I do miss that social exchange that goes along with sharing music.


Even John Lydon agrees with me to a certain extent.  He believes that iPods definitely won’t unite us.  MP3’s can be a very individual thing, and when you add in the whole earbud aspect – it’s very individualizing.  You see them all the time – those people who walk around, virtually everywhere with the telltale earbud cords running from their ears into their jacket.  Sometimes I wonder if they’re really listening to anything at all or if they’ve just got the earbuds as a prop or sign that says “Please leave me alone.”  Is our society getting to the point where we just don’t wish to connect with anyone, or are we just in the middle of a cultural shift?


There are signs that I’m not the only one out there missing that social aspect. While it would be relatively easy to retreat from the world and hide behind a computer screen each day (That declaration sounds extraordinarily familiar…), it’s important to learn and remember that the world wide web is only a tool meant to be used in conjunction with our lives, not AS our life. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of discussion about curated playlists, and I’ve mentioned them here in the blog a few times.  I can’t tell you how excited I became this morning when I saw a tweet from none other than John Taylor suggesting that we check out the playlist he curated for @skaisttaylor on Spotify.  This is GOOD.  I applaud your efforts, John…and they did not go unnoticed.  I was especially overjoyed because he created the playlist on Spotify. I hope he finds the time to do this more often.  I actually found some new music to check out, and I love that!!


To anyone who is trying to find his playlist that is not on Facebook, allow me to share the link here.  If you’re not currently a member of Spotify – I’m honestly not sure what it will do, so if you can’t reach it and want to at least know his playlist, I’ll go ahead and add the details in a comment below.

On the other end of the spectrum entirely, but still in that “sharing” theme, I’ve been reading a lot about a new application being developed by the group Anonymous.  They aren’t a music group, they’re a group of “hackivists”, basically! I don’t want to get into a lot of detail about the group itself (primarily because my head swims whenever my son – who is nearly 13 – tries to explain their purpose to me.  I start hearing “Charlie Brown” adult-speak whenever he starts in about them, and the whole discussion goes downhill from there), but I have to admit some curiosity about their project in general.  They have developed an app that is still in beta-stage called Anontune.  Many, many bloggers out there are casting the app aside, but I think they should probably hold off on the judgement just yet.  In the most basic terms (for my benefit!), I’ll quote directly from Alan Cross and his blog from today on the subject,“….an app that scans your music library and then augments it by sourcing out more tunes from YouTube, SoundCloud and other online resources, AnonTune works much the same.”  You can read the rest of Alan’s blog here.


The good folks planning the DDUK Convention have scoured their cabinets and drawers and have come up with just a few extra tickets to the convention in November.  If you don’t already have tickets to this event and are able to make the trip to Birmingham, I highly encourage you to grab a ticket while you can (once these are sold they’re gone forever!).  Daily Duranie will be in attendance, and we’re even going to plan a get together at a nearby pub and go clubbing on Friday night! Only After Dark will also be taking place that weekend (A dance club in the same basic vein as Rum Runner)…and you don’t want to miss out!  Go to the convention site for tickets and info, we’ll see you there!!!


One last item to “share”…have you bought your copy of Blue to Brown yet??? These are still in pre-release, so hurry!! Go to Dom’s website and grab one while you can!  

Sharing is good.  

-R

Yo Bad Azizi…and other ponderings

My question for this Monday morning is simple:  Are we too tough on them?

“Don’t say you’re easy on me, ‘cuz you’re about as easy as a nuclear war.”

Let’s face it, we ask a lot out of the band, and dare they step out of line, we’re definitely the first (perhaps just after their wives and children) to call them on it. We want things done a specific way. We want our tour dates given often and early. We want the best seats and for a realistic price. We want information given timely, accurately and simultaneously across every line of communication imaginable. We insist that the band use their Twitter accounts (those that have them) and Facebook pages. We want new music. Yesterday. Oh, and the new music that does come out should adhere to the gold standard that we consider to be Duran Duran, which means perfect. Perfectly.

Of course, there is a certain amount of facetious tongue-in-cheek going on in my diatribe up there. However, before we begin to howl about how lucky we all are to still have the band at all, and that we should never expect so much out of them, let us take a second to remember that they have been in this business, rather successfully on many levels, for thirty-some years now. Even so, we are tough customers in our own right.

It wasn’t very long ago that the general consensus in the community from what we could see was that fans really wanted and needed some idea as to when the band was coming this summer. (I’m specifically speaking of the U.S.) I can’t speak for everyone…well, maybe I can on this one…but there wasn’t a single place I could go on the internet (Duran-wise) that someone didn’t complain about the lack of information. We blogged about the frustrating guesswork involved with trying to second guess the bands plans, and not long after, the band graciously gave out a reasonable amount of framework planning that had been done for the tour. I’m not going to lie here, I was overjoyed. That was a big step forward, and for Amanda and I along with countless other fans, it was a huge help. Not two days after posting links to their planning as well as posting the information here on the blog people were once again back to complaining over the lack of venue information. “Why can’t we have everything at once?”  Even *I* had to take a deep breath over that one.  You want to know why you can’t have everything?  It doesn’t all happen overnight, and it’s not easy to coordinate every last detail, yet each of us expect it all to work out seamlessly for ourselves, and object loudly when it does not. We were asking for dates, times and locations for a tour that wasn’t happening for another five months. In the past we have not received information or have pre-sales until approximately six to nine weeks before a gig, for the most part. It is never going to be perfect, and there is never going to be a time when every last person is going to be pleased, but I must argue that in this case, improvement has definitely been made. I had notice of a presale that I was considering a good week before it occurred. That is practically a miracle, and I’m not afraid to say thanks to the band for that. It helped.

On the other hand entirely, there are situations which seem as though the band should be able to handle, yet are probably completely out of their hand. For example, if you have paid any kind of attention to the band’s Facebook account lately, you might have noticed that the venue(s) for their gigs in Brazil have changed. The band made sure to indicate that the tickets for the previous venue (as well as their location) would be honored at the new venue, and you would think that all would end well. If only life were truly that simple. To begin with, the advertising for the shows in Brazil have the wrong date on them. These are giant highway-side ads that have the wrong date printed on them. Who lets something like that happen?? Yes, mistakes happen all of the time (read any of my blogs and you will find many!!!), but on printed advertising – especially HUGE printed advertising? In addition, those new venues? Well from what I can gather in speaking to my South American friends, the original venues had a considerable amount of GA standing tickets sold. Now? They’re entirely seated. All of the original tickets are being honored, and if you were lucky enough to have a regular or normal GA ticket before, you might possibly be seated next to someone who paid a considerable amount more for a VIP or “Premium” ticket.  As I type this blog, this is being looked into by the band’s management (whom I truly pity on days like today), so perhaps this mess will be sorted by concert time. On one hand, it’s clearly the fault of the promoter, but most normal fans won’t consider that – and those who somehow end up slighted by this venue change will hold the band accountable. They won’t recall the name of the promoter, they’ll remember it was Duran Duran. Ultimately it just makes the band look as though they don’t care about the fans who attend their shows – which is a complaint I read often throughout the community.  Will it stop someone from attending a gig the next time?  Who knows?

Of course, one could go on and on over the various mistakes that we all feel as though they’ve made in one way or another over the years, whether those are mistakes in which songs were released as singles, various album producers, album covers, art work, videos, management…the list goes on and on. The fact remains that all of us, myself included, expect perfection and have no trouble announcing when we feel they’ve missed the mark.

What do you think – are we too tough on them?  Are we just expecting what we deserve?

– R

My Turn for True Confessions

About a week ago, my blogging/writing partner produced a little blog about her true confessions as a Duranie.  It seemed that people enjoyed them and there were some requests for me to share mine.  Oh boy…I figure that I should be game and maybe others will share theirs as well!

I am probably one of the youngest of the original Duranies (people who became fans in the early 80s) as I was born in 1975 and was only 10 when Power Station and Arcadia came into existence!

When I was a kid, I used to spend family gatherings trying to convince my one cousin about how awesome Duran was.  Now, I laugh that he married a Duranie who will go to shows with me!

I knew I was a Duranie when my friend and I decided to call MTV over and over and over again one day in order for Save a Prayer to win the top video of the day or something like that!  Duran won and we were thrilled.  My parents, on the other, were not thrilled once they saw the bill!  In fairness, I was pretty dang little at the time and I had to pay them back!

I celebrate April 16th as my Duranie anniversary!  I don’t think that people can really pinpoint the exact day when they became fans but I do know that it was the Reflex that did it for me.  It was released on that day!  Thus, I have been a Duranie for 28 years.  EEK!

I briefly liked Simon as a kid.  Very briefly.  I saw John Taylor in the Reflex video and haven’t changed since!

In the early 1990s, I decided it was time to move along, musically, from Duran and I gave away quite a bit of my posters and stuff, including my copy of Arena, the board game.  I gave my Duran stuff to a good friend, though, who I knew would treat things well.  Luckily, a few years ago, she returned the board game to me!!!

I didn’t buy a copy of much of Duran’s 1990s catalog when it was fresh.  Instead, I would often go through my friend’s copy and pick out the “good” songs and put them on tape!  Oh boy, modern technology was awesome back then!  I did the same with John Taylor’s first solo cd.

I saw Duran Duran for the first time in August of 1993 with a few friends of mine.  Our seats were pretty much in the back but we had a great time!  Nonetheless, I found myself saying afterwards, “They should really break up or end it.  Something just isn’t right.”  I don’t know if it was that it wasn’t the Fab 5 or that things with John weren’t great but I felt something wasn’t right. 

I knew John had gone solo but did not officially purchase any of his music until the reunion.  The late 90s/early 2000s were a crazy time for me, job wise and life wise.  That said, I’m proud that I own all of it now.  🙂

I didn’t see the Fab 5 live until Detroit in March of 2005.  I didn’t tell my friends that it was the first time because it seemed like everyone had seen them in 2003 during their reunion shows.  Let’s just say that I needed a few minutes to calm down during the beginning of that show.  The only thing that probably kept me from falling apart was my complete exhaustion as it was my 5th show in a week.  This week saw me drive 1,984 miles, too.  No joke. 

I have “met” the band, not including Andy or Dom.  I met the others at a CD signing in 2007.  Simon yelled at me that day.  I bought my third copy of RCM in order to get a wristband but was really hoping to get the Broadway Playbill from the Broadway run signed instead of the album as I had one a signed copy through DDM.  Best Buy, where the signing was, wouldn’t let me even ask.  Thus, I didn’t even have the cd case opened by the time I got to the front of the line.  It probably also didn’t help that I was on the phone with Rhonda up until the very last minute.  So, I stood in front of Simon trying to open it.  He yelled, “Just give it to me.”  My response, “No, I got it.”  He did sign his name and added a heart. 

I also “met” Roger, Nick and John at their hotel in St. Louis.  I walked up to John and asked for an autograph.  After I received it, I walked away only to see him again surrounded in the hotel lobby a little while later.  I decided then and there that I really needed to think how I should behave around them and with them.  Later in the evening, I was standing in the hallway with elevators talking to Rhonda on the phone.  Soon after I hung up, one Mr. Roger Taylor walked right up to me (I was alone) and said, “Have you seen any of my people?”  Stopping myself from laughing, I responded like a dork and said, “Yeah, Simon went that way, ” and pointed to the left.  Roger went to the right.

I was part of the sock giving Church of the Bass God group over on DDM that sent John like 40 pairs of socks for his birthday.  I have a picture of him holding the ones I sent.  They were James Bond socks! 

I had the chance in Atlantic City in 2008 to go in with the VIP group and did not.  It seemed like the cool thing to do was to not care about how close I was to the stage.  I regret that and will never again let other people influence my fan behavior.

I’m sure that there are plenty more that I have forgotten!  Nonetheless, if you haven’t already shared your confessions, now is the time!!!! 

-A

What’s New in Duranland

I figured it is time to summarize and comment on the latest news in the world of Duran Duran.  Their official website has been a pretty busy place lately with information regarding the upcoming DVD release, information about projects from Simon and John and tour information. 

First, more information was released regarding the upcoming DVD, A Diamond in the Mind.  This information included tracklisting, format information, list of extras, a synopsis and a tentative release date.  You can find the news release here.  Of course, I wouldn’t be me, if I didn’t have a couple of thoughts regarding what I read and comments I have seen from other fans.  I noticed that there will be a deluxe edition along with blu-ray and a cd.  What this includes I’m not really sure.  Do you get both the video and cd with the deluxe edition?  I’m sure that I will buy whatever format(s) in order to see and hear everything.  I also noted that the release date was in July.  This would be nice for a variety of reasons.  One, it would give Rhonda and I something new to review then.  Two, it would create excitement both for myself and for other fans with shows coming up.  Lastly, it will take me back to that wonderful UK tour that Rhonda and I had last year.  Now, of course, it wouldn’t be Duranland if I saw or heard no criticism.  It seems that some fans do not plan to buy it due to the setlist.  Honestly, here is where my eyes start to roll.  Why?  That makes no real sense to me.  Why wouldn’t a fan want to see a high quality performance from the band?  Plus, if that is the reason that someone did not go to a show, I would argue that they are judging a book by its cover.  In this case, it is judging a show based on the setlist.  If you didn’t go to a show then and you won’t watch/buy the DVD, you really can’t judge the quality of the performance or setlist.  Beyond all that, I do not understand why a fan wouldn’t want to see those 2011 interviews or behind the scenes footage.  I both look forward to those and dread those.  That time with the canceled shows and Simon’s vocal problems were extremely tough, emotionally, and I suspect that I will be emotional all over again by watching some of this footage.  Nonetheless, it is important to note what that time was like both for historical sake and for a reminder of why we should appreciate what we have now.  It is a lesson that should not be forgotten. 

Second, there were news releases regarding both Simon and John.  In Simon’s case, the news release was about a cause that Simon has decided to support and that is THE AIR AMBULANCE SERVICE (TAAS).  This service provides emergency medical service in England and one that he could back after receiving his own rescue in 1985 with the capsizing of Drum.  I think it is cool when the band decides to champion a cause, especially one that seems close to the band member’s heart.  The news release can be read here.  There are pictures of Simon’s visit on the official website as well.  As for John Taylor, he has been a busy man finishing his autobiography.  This week, he announced the title, “In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran” and where it is being published in some countries.  According to Amazon.com, it is due to be released October 16, 2012, here in the States.  On the day of the announcement, John spent part of it on twitter sharing the news.  Apparently, there will be an audio edition!  Obviously, this is one that I cannot wait for!  I am already planning my voicemail message, “Please do not disturb unless you have a Duranie alert.  I am reading John Taylor’s book.  I will return to the world of the living when I’m done!”  The Daily Duranie will be reviewing it as well!  Now, I have seen some people questioning the title.  I must give John credit as I know how hard it is to name a book.  Before you ask, yes, we have part of the title of our book ready.  We are still working on it and, no, we won’t share yet!  🙂  As for the quality of the title, I like it.  I feel like it fits John well, which is the key.  What do the rest of you think? DD.com has this news alert as well here and, like Simon’s, has pictures! 

Lastly, Duran Duran Headquarters continues to update tour information.  In the case of South America, they announced that the venues for two shows have been changed.  You can read it about it here.  They do not provide a reason but acknowledge that the dates are the same and that the tickets for the other venues will be valid.  I don’t know how much of a big deal this is.  Are the new venues close to the old ones?  Are the seating charts the same or are all the venues GA?  South American fans, I would love to know the impact of this on you guys!  Of course, the US tour keeps getting updated as well.  Presales have taken place for the following locations:  Saratoga, Tucson, Memphis, Biloxi, Durham, Kettering and Chicago.  In most cases, public sales for those locations have happened as well with the exception of Chicago, which takes place on the 26th.  Future presales with known dates include:  Costa Mesa (4/25) and Oklahoma (6/27).  How have the presales gone for everyone?  In my experience, I have appreciated the notice that has been given for them.  Obviously, I wish that they had better seats for Chicago.  I’ll be curious as to what tickets are offered for the public sale for that one.  It might really have to do with the venue and their donor ticket deal.  Fans are still waiting on venue and presale information for Atlanta, Connecticut and Atlantic City.  Of course, people are still wondering if more dates will be added.  In looking at the tour schedule, I can see some possible dates to add show to:  August 13th or August 14th, August 22nd or August 23rd, or August 26th or August 27th.  Thus, in my calculations, at most, they could add 3 more dates.  I, for one, would love to see a date added on the 22nd in between Durham and Connecticut.  I would say that Virginia or DC or Baltimore or other nearby places would be a lovely spot for another show, especially since Rhonda and I would love to get one more in that area…Ah, we can dream, right? 

All in all, I love that there is so much going on in Duranland.  We have many things to look forward to!!!

-A

Sound of Thunder – The Daily Duranie Review

It’s a review for this lovely Friday!!  This week we bring you our thoughts and contemplations on Sound of Thunder!

Rhonda’s take:

Musicality:  I love this song from the opening notes. The bass line for this song has some serious groove – I’ve said it before and I mean it – John Taylor has got to be one of the most innovative bass players in pop/rock music. He doesn’t settle for a boring bass line, and it’s one of the more recognizable parts of Duran’s music. It’s part of what makes this Duran Duran. His groove is a standout on this one for certain. Juxtaposed to the bass on this song is Nick Rhodes and those gorgeous atmospheric synthesizer chords, and in between holding it all together is Roger on drums – solid drums at that, and Andy on guitar. Andy’s guitar part doesn’t have that immediate “Oh this is a guitar heavy song” sound to it at all – it’s more of the balance bar that holds it all up.  Not quite a rhythm guitar, definitely not quite a lead, it’s in the middle, and truly – it’s what Andy did best on much of this album.  He and Nick have quite a conversation going between the two of them, and it really reminds of what it was like when they were all at their best. Still there, still completely utilized and heard, but balanced and beautiful. I truly admire the way the band worked together on this album, no egos. Pure balance and artistry.

Vocals: This has got to be one of my favorite songs for Simon. I love his voice on this one. It just has a distinct timbre to it that I just love. (I’ve gotta say – I’d love to see them do this one live. It deserves to be played. Fans would go WILD.) If I ever dared to call Simon perfect, it’d be on this song. No strain, not so much harmonization so that it loses it’s effect, just Simon – pure and clean. I love it. OK so I dare: Simon is perfect on this song.

Lyrics: Truthfully, I used to sit on the floor of my bedroom for hours listening to this song over and over again when I was young. I don’t know what it was about this song that held my attention so raptly, but I’d sit and try to understand just what Simon was getting at. The song has grown to mean a little certain something to me as I’ve grown up – for me this song is about watching the world spin past you without any ability to grab on and join in. For so long I was just Rhonda, the stay at home mom without much identity beyond that, so I was just watching the rest of the world turn all around me. I felt like I had no control and I just reacted to everyone else’s choices and destiny. I hated that feeling. I did whatever I could to feel relevant, from taking music classes to finishing another degree in Gemology, getting a certificate in Appraisal Studies, and yet nothing seemed to click. Then I started writing and blogging. No longer am I just sitting back waiting for that Sound of Thunder before I react to whatever is about to happen to me next. I’m creating that thunder myself. Yes, this song means plenty to me. Funny how a song that I spent so much time listening to and admiring as a child ended up being a sort of anthem for me even as an adult. Yes Mr. LeBon – you’ve created poetry here. Well done. Very well done.

Production: I’m not going to waste words here: I don’t know how it could have been done differently or better and come out with a better end result. I love how clean and simple this song sounds. The music speaks for itself.

Overall: You might have guessed that we’re slightly biased purely because of the name of our blog.  Even so, there are a good many songs in the Duran Duran catalog that don’t reach the height of perfection this one and others on this album reach. I have to give credit where credit is due – and the band deserves huge kudos for this one. It’s as perfect as they get.  They should really try playing it live again.

Cocktail Rating:  5 BIG Dirty Martinis from Rhonda on this one!!

Amanda’s Turn:

Musicality:  This is one of those songs that I truly do believe represents pure Duran Duran.  It absolutely wants to make you move but the motivation to dance isn’t created from some techno beat, some over and over monotonous sound.  No, the thing that Duran does best is when the dark is fused with the atmospheric.  What makes this song for me, musically, is the pressure of John’s bass combined with Nick’s synths.  Nick isn’t just about making idle sound.  No, it is a sound that fills the entire space.  It is relating and makes you dig a little deeper.  Of course, in combination with the lyrics, it makes me think a little more about the big questions of life, the planet, the universe.  Roger and Andy are not slacking in this song either.  Roger, in particular, pops up and gets attention as the song moves through the changes.  Andy fills it all in.  Perfect.

Vocals:  Once again, like other tracks on this first album, Simon’s vocals are deep and pure.  They have yet to be tarnished or pushed past any limit.  They are just natural and feel like it.  It is sort of funny that as I listen to this song today, I can’t help but to think of the recent Ask Katy question regarding Simon’s book of lyrics.  In that answer, Simon mentions how their managers had been talking about singing lessons for Simon back then.  I shudder to think about that when I hear the first album and this song in particular.  This is how many of us like Simon, prefer Simon.  Why would they have wanted to change it?

Lyrics:  I admit that I adore when Duran’s lyrics take on a seemingly worldly topic or theme.  In this case, it sounds like they are literally talking about thunder and maybe they are.  They could be talking simply about the weather or they obviously could be using it as a metaphor.  Like what Rhonda mentioned earlier, it does feel like someone waiting for something to happen, something big, something that will shake that person out of the ordinary, boring life that s/he is living.  Yet, at the same time, while listening, you can still envision this person literally lying on the grass, looking at the threatening clouds and wondering when will it rain, when will the weather change, when would life change.

Production:  This is one of those songs that I think about when I hear or read interviews from the band in which they talk about starting out and being a club band.  They wanted people to dance but they weren’t playing in some bright, cheery party.  It was more adult and darker.  I have to give production credit here to be able to combine this dark edge with a danceable atmospheric sound.  No instrument is lost and no instrument drowns out the others.  Perfect.

Overall:  I remember reading an Ask Katy question years ago about which Duran song best represented John Taylor’s idea to combine Pretty Vacant by the Sex Pistols with Good Times by Chic.  This song was their answer and I have to admit that I completely agree.  It is a punky dance track.  It makes me want to move at the same time that I ponder the universe, my place in it and my life, in general.  It is more of a thinking person’s dance track and it doesn’t get much better than this!

Cocktail Rating:  5 Cocktails from me, too!!

Thursday News Roundup!

Since I couldn’t quite decide on one topic…we’ve got a few to cover today.

I’m sure everyone, at least those here in America have heard that Dick Clark died yesterday at the age of 82 from a heart attack.  Dick Clark was many things, but for me personally he was the host of my favorite Saturday morning TV show – American Bandstand.  I can still sing the theme song from the show. (Not well, and no, you will not find a video of me singing it on YouTube or any where else, thankyouverymuch)  I find that I tend to romanticize the images I have of people from my childhood, and Dick Clark is certainly no different.  Much to my mom’s chagrin, I would stop everything I was doing in order to stand and watch the show before she would come down the hall or out of the kitchen to shoo me away from the TV in order to do my chores.  I can remember watching videos or hearing music from Duran Duran, Madonna, Romeo Void, Janet Jackson…and many, many others on the show were interviewed and performed.  To me at that age, Dick Clark was a bit of a hero simply because he was able to meet so many of the people I was so interested in.  I paid zero attention to his life away from American Bandstand, although I knew he had created the AMA’s and had his own production company.  I simply didn’t care because he was “Dick Clark of American Bandstand”, and later as I grew up he became “Dick Clark of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.”  I was much sadder when he had his stroke than I was yesterday because for me, his era ended back when he gave up the helm of Rockin’ Eve to Ryan Seacrest.  It pains me to think that for my kids – Ryan Seacrest is liable to be their Dick Clark, but I suppose that’s how it is all meant to work.

Anybody ever heard of Greg Ham?  Greg was the flautist for a group called Men At Work.  He was found dead today in his home at the age of 58.  The saddest thing about Greg was that he feared that he would only be remembered for the law suit involving the flute melody from “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree”.  Reality?  I only remember him for being one of a mere handful of woodwind musicians that made it in a rock band, which makes him a hero to me. Yes, he played a beautiful flute melody for a song that I dearly loved as a kid.  I’ve never cared about that lawsuit, although sure – many did. I’ve seen many an interview with Mr. Ham over the years, and he never struck me as intentionally copying the melody, even though I can’t deny how similar it really sounds.

From a file marked, “No kidding?”…Album sales have now hit a 12 year low, according to the bean counters who are responsible for keeping track of this sort of thing. It does not seem to be the sort of announcement that should shock anyone, especially given that even Madonna can’t seem to sell her albums these days.  All this news does is continue to convince the world that album sales should not be end-all as a determining factor for success in this business, and if your band is still thinking that sales is where it’s at – you’d better think again.  On the other hand, the sales of singles (single tracks off of an album) is up nearly 12% from this time last year.  So the moral of the story is that people are still buying music (even if in amounts that are a fraction of what they once were), but they refuse to buy entire albums.  Should we be thanking or slapping Apple??  
Lastly, I am revisiting Glee.  No, I’m not rewatching the smooshed version of Rio and HLTW, but I did take notice that they are treating the likes of Beyonce, New Radicals, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Queen, Alice Cooper, The Bravery, and Green Day among others to the Glee treatment for their season finale on May 22nd.  It’s the “graduation” episode, and I have to admit, I’m morbidly curious as to what they’ll do to/with the songs by this group of artists.  Hey, I sat through the disco episode on Tuesday night and lived to tell about it, so how much worse can it get?
Don’t answer that.
Happy weekend everyone, and for those of you in England, I hope it stops raining soon. I still don’t know what a hosepipe is or why it’s been banned…and I’ll ponder that as I’m sitting on the beach or at the pool here in Orange County California this weekend!  No yachting for me, our boat is drydocked at the moment.  
And in Very Late Breaking News (as in, this blog went to press just as I received word)…Dom Brown announced that Pre-release copies of his new album, Blue to Brown are now available to be ordered beginning today!  If that doesn’t excite you enough to go to his website dombrown.com and order, Dom sweetens the deal by saying that the first 100 copies are signed AND if you order now, packing and posting are FREE worldwide!!  I’m looking forward to getting my hands on this one!    
-R