Category Archives: Duran Duran

Salt in the Rainbow

I’m having difficulty getting started today…and no, it’s not a hangover from fireworks, food and a few adult beverages over the course of our Fourth of July festivities yesterday.  In many ways, the holiday was really a rainbow of sorts, and today is the salt.  It feels very much like a Monday, which is a sick, cruel joke (Midweek holidays are just wrong.), and it’s also a sad six month anniversary for a friend of mine who lost her twelve year old daughter named Jessie to cancer (DIPG, you can google it) earlier this year.  I think of that family nearly every day, and whenever Jessie comes to mind, I give my kids an extra tight hug.  I’m a mom first and foremost, and I just can’t imagine what it must be like to lose a child – regardless of whether your child is four-legged and furry or human.  So to Stacey and Erik and your family, I hope you are all hugging one another tightly today.  This road seems impossible at times…but I know you’re navigating the best that you can. I hurt for all of you.

What I would like to do here though is put out a bit of an appeal with regard to our book and the chapter I am currently working on, which is conventions and meetups.  I myself have planned a convention for Duran Duran fans in 2004, but I would really like the insight of others to include in my research on the topic. Have you been to a convention (even if it was the one in New Orleans in 2004)?  Were you there as an attendee or a planner??  Have you ever attended other Duran fans meetups or other events?  What about Duranie sleepovers or parties?  If so – I want to hear from you!  I’d like to know about your experience, how you felt when you attended such events or planned them.  Did it help you participate more fully as a fan?  Did you learn to appreciate being part of a community?  Do you think you became a bigger or more loyal fan as a result?  Please note than when I ask if you became a bigger fan – I don’t mean in relation to others – I mean did you feel like you loved the band even more than you did prior?  If you have anything you’d like to share with regard to that topic, please email me (Rhonda) at dailyduranie@gmail.com.  Please put “Convention Chapter” in the subject line, thanks!

Have you bought your ticket to the Facebook Premiere of A Diamond in the Mind yet??  If so, I’ll see you on Sunday….look for me, I’ll in the front on Dom’s side!  

-R

We’re living our lives in a networker nation

Tour riders. I really know nothing about them other than they exist, and that for some bands and performers – they can get pretty wild with their expectations and demands. For Duranies, I’m fairly certain I can assume that we’ve ALL seen/heard the clip from SBS where dear old Spy Matthews (Tour Production Manager for the Sing Blue Silver tour in 1984) is on the phone, presumably with some lowly assistant venue type person, reading them the riot act over the band’s demands…aka…their tour rider. I didn’t know much about Stolichnaya vodka until that fateful video viewing…but of course after that, I had to try it when I got to college, and yes, I always remember Stoli because of Sing Blue Silver. (Note: I don’t hold the band responsible for my underage drinking in college, nor do I blame them for their bad taste in vodka.)  Cristal though? Not bad, actually. Good times.

I am way, way behind in my news reading, but something caught my eye today as I repeatedly pressed the “delete” key while going through my news…and the item comes from none other than Mr. Steve Aoki, DJ Extraordinaire. Apparently a few weeks back Steve’s tour rider became public information, and every news outlet from here to London and back decided it was news worthy of running. The rider contained seemingly wild things such as packs of underwear and t-shirts, organic fruits, champagne… (His rider notes that it must have a cork!  In the name of Duran Duran – what in the hell are people trying to pass as champagne these days???) and 1 1/8 ounces of local grass. Well then. There you have it, right? Not so fast…because not an entire day after this tour rider surfaced, Steve responded on his own blog, clearing up a few things. You can read his entertaining and yet educational response right here.

As I said, I really don’t know much about tour riders. In the past I did some work for a band who was really just starting out, and their tour rider was fairly non-existent. Those guys were just hoping some fans would pay for their dinner and get them some cigarettes, and you know – a cooler with some cold drinks would have been nice. They openly dreamed of the day they could have a rider like Duran Duran (They had opened for them for several shows while they toured the US in 2005), and during some moments of humor – they would talk to me about Nick’s rolling wine storage cabinet that accompanied the band while on tour. I don’t think those guys knew much about wine, but they were certainly impressed. Now that I think about it, they never mentioned much in the way of excess beyond the wine storage cabinet, but I can’t lie – reading Steve’s rider makes me wonder what Duran’s must look like, or did look like back in the day.

So, I invite you to have a little fun, get creative, and think outside the box a bit. What would you want on a rider if you were touring?

Happy 4th of July to our US readers today – enjoy those fireworks and be safe!!

-R

I Take the Dice…or a Diamond…or just a piece of cake!

I love it when good things come together.  Some of my favorites?  Peanut Butter and jelly, ice cream and hot fudge, cheese and crackers….

Duran Duran, Qello (pronounced “kwellow”…like yellow) & Facebook….all rolled up in one yummy premier.

After getting myself thoroughly confused yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to be contacted by Hagan Blount of Qello yesterday afternoon.  Hagan is the Director of Social Media for Qello, and he was kind enough to walk me through what Duran fans might hope to gain by grabbing a premiere ticket to see Diamond in the Mind on Sunday.

Ultimately, this premiere isn’t meant to draw from DVD or Blu-Ray sales, and that’s an  important point.  This show will be sort of like the frosting on a big cake, because while the show itself will be amazing – through the power of Qello, I’ll be able to squeal with delight over JoSi moments with Amanda, even though we live thousands of miles apart.  I’ll be able to chat with my dear friend Fabiana, who lives in the opposite hemisphere, about her painted face appearing above the band in Rio…and I hear that the band has even done an exclusive audio commentary for the premiere!  When the show is over, I might even have a chance to tell the band just how incredible it was to see them perform in their own country, since the band will be calling in from their tour stop in Istanbul to do a special Q&A session for the Facebook Premiere after the show.  It’s adding another dimension to our viewing experience, and while sure – it’s going to be great just to get the DVD or Blu-Ray, I think there’s something extra special in watching with other people who get Duran Duran just as much as I do.

It’s the sweetness of the extras that put me over the edge, and yeah…for less than $5.00 I’m willing to bet the cake is going to taste delectable. I can’t even get a large coffee at a local Starbucks with all the trimmings for that.  The number one comment I have read in the past 24 hours regarding the Facebook premiere is “Why should I pay for this when I’ve already paid to get the DVD?” While I would agree that on first glance it might seem to be the very same thing as watching the DVD once it’s delivered on the 10th of July, it’s really not for one simple reason: community.

One constant that Amanda and I come back to over and over during our research on fandom is the idea of community.  While the band and their music was/is the catalyst; it’s the community, the connections people have made with one another, that keep us returning through fantastic music, rough moments, and hopes for the future. I have to admit, I don’t even have the DVD or Blu-Ray on pre-order yet because watching it here alone doesn’t hold the same excitement that seeing a live show with friends would.  I’ll eventually order it (I promise!), but while I’m interested – I guess I wasn’t that excited.  Until today.

One of my biggest concerns with the premiere was my overall confusion as to where to get what and when.  The answer is embarrassingly easy.  One needs to buy the ticket through the Premier application on Facebook. (You can find this right here.)  I did have concerns about Facebook security, purely because like most of you – I’ve heard enough nightmares and had my own account hacked more than once.  I’ve been assured though, that since Facebook bought Zynga (who powers the Facebook “credit” application), those issues have been addressed.  While I can’t promise my readers the unthinkable will never happen, I can say that I did go back and buy the ticket and I refuse to live in fear.  Concern, maybe…fear?  Nevah!  Once I purchased the ticket, an email was delivered to me with instructions of how I can go over to Qello to experience my 30 day “All Access Pass”.  I took a quick peak, but I can promise – I’ll be going back over there during any spare time I can carve out of my day.  Did you know they have the Rio Classic Album video over there? They have videos from Culture Club, INXS and much, much more…and this is just in beta. On the day of the premiere, I understand that there will be a link that those of us who bought tickets will be able to access, and I’ll be there waiting for the show!  As I said yesterday, I really think Qello is worth checking out, and I can imagine that in the coming years, we’ll be buying tickets to experience more and more concerts “live” online.  Can you imagine the day when we never have to miss a single Duran show simply because we can’t travel to get there?  I can…and I think the day might have arrived.

So, after chatting with Hagan, he convinced me to run and buy my ticket, so I did.  I know many of you are yet to be convinced, and perhaps my blog does nothing to sway you. While I can understand that, I also have to say that it’s less than $5.00 to try this out.  Many of us spent over $60.00 to order the deluxe package sight unseen that we’ll watch in our own homes with no one around to be excited with (in most cases, anyway).  I paid less than five bucks to watch the presentation, hear an exclusive audio commentary, chat with friends during the show, and participate in an online Q&A after the show with the band.  Seems like a pretty fair deal.

Now to win one of those VIP tickets….(I have no idea what’s included with those, but I want one!)  See you on July 8th, make room for me in front of Dom!

-R

Want You More (Well, Duran Duran anyway!)

I’m still trying to figure out Qello…the Premier application on Facebook…VIP tickets…and all of the contests leading up to when the postman finally delivers my copy of Diamond in the Mind to my house. It’s Monday, and my head swims. Could be from a very long weekend, could be confusion, but could also very well be from the pitcher of sangria I made yesterday for the adult family members present at my sons thirteenth birthday party….

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been hesitant to sign up and pay my $4.90 to see Diamond in the Mind “live” next Sunday (July 8th). It’s not that I don’t want to part with my money, it’s that I really just don’t get it…and I don’t mind saying so. Surely I can’t be the only one out there that is a little befuddled. I had a fairly good run of keeping up with the technological advances until now. I knew and understood the varying sources of social media and entertainment. I was a whiz at Facebook, and while I still don’t love Twitter, I use it. More and more often now though, I’m hearing of new apps and things that I not only have never heard of, but embarrassingly enough, I have no idea what they are for, how to use them, or why I’d even feel like I need them. Should I just go grab my rocking chair and be done? Probably not. So, like the good Duranie I am, I did some reading this morning and I was rewarded not with answers, but with more questions. This is troubling.

I guess part of my trouble is that of course, the concert isn’t really live. Not that it should be, but it’s more of a case where I’m wondering if it’s really worth paying to see it online as opposed to popping the disc into my Blu-Ray and watching it when it finally gets to my home a few days later. I see that they are promoting the event as something that will be broadcast worldwide, so of course that means that while I’m watching here at home in California, theoretically Amanda will be watching in Wisconsin, my friend Michelle will be watching on the east coast, and my other friend Michelle will be watching in the UK…and so forth. I see there is also to be a live Q & A with the band as they call in from Istanbul immediately following the broadcast on Facebook…or is it Qello?? I took some time this morning and checked out the Qello website. It would seem that for a music fan that likes an abundance of concerts and things, Qello is the sweet spot. It reminds me of a cable TV station that solely runs concert video, along with some extra yummy tidbits on the side. If I were sans children…I’d consider an ongoing membership, but for me, getting TV time is difficult, and my computer time seems to be spent writing and blogging with very little actual video viewing. After thoroughly reading up on Qello (and no I still don’t feel as though I’m an expert), I checked out the Duran Duran Facebook page. Apparently this premiere is being done through streaming on Facebook (Again I must ask – wasn’t this originally going to be streamed using the Qello app?  I’m confused!), and in order to “attend” this premiere, you’ve got to buy tickets, which appear to only be available through Facebook unless you really want to spend $4.99 a month to have “all access” through Qello.

I have no trouble with the money to see the premier. I want to make that clear. I know many fans who have a real axe to grind regarding that, but that isn’t where I’m headed. Those of you who do have a problem, I get it – and if you want to write a blog about that, feel free. My trouble is that I don’t like the idea of giving my credit card info to Facebook due to their continued security issues, and yet it’s not clear what is the best way to use Qello…or if I should just view the show through Facebook…if that’s even going to work. (I’ve got visions of the whole thing crashing due to site traffic, but that’s just me overthinking it all, I’m sure because that sort of thing never happens, right??) I just don’t quite get it.

I don’t necessarily think that this is a case of mixed messages or lies of omission…or impropriety on the part of the band (Just trying to cover all arguments I’ve seen, some of which I feel are ridiculous.), I think it’s mainly a case that I’m completely misunderstanding, and I’m sticking my neck out to say that perhaps I’m not the only one. If I am, well…it wouldn’t be the first time. I really can’t tell from looking at my “friends” or even Daily Duranie’s Facebook “friends” just how well “attended” this premier will be. However, I do believe that with a little more explanation as to how this will work, those like myself who might be on the fence will be happy to jump on over.

Here’s hoping someone will read, notice and be willing to help some confuzzled fans!

-R

Doesn’t Have to be…Anonymous!

The Daily Duranie has been in existence for over a year and a half.  During that time, we have posted daily with the few exceptions of times without internet over in the UK.  Thus, we have had quite a few posts.  Likewise, we have a number of followers here as well as on twitter.  We also have a number of friends on facebook.  Since the beginning, we have had a number of comments here, on twitter and on facebook.  I hope it is completely clear that we welcome comments and discussion.  That said, as a student of fandom, it fascinates me why we have the most “friends” on facebook and the least number of followers on twitter.  On most posts, facebook is the location with the most discussion.  Here, discussion, sometimes, does not happen, which is okay as not every topic might be worthy of discussion or create a reaction, one way or another.  Yet, it is fascinating to me how so many of the comments here that disagree with us or with our readers are done under “anonymous”.  Why is that? 

As I stated in the first paragraph, we have the most “friends” on facebook, then on twitter and a few followers here.  Now, I’m willing to bet that there might be crossover between two of those groups or even three groups.  I’m also willing to bet that not everyone reads the blog daily or even weekly.  Nonetheless, we have way more readers on a daily basis than what our blog followers would indicate.  Fascinating.  Why is that?  Why would more people friend us on facebook?  Maybe, it is because it seems to be easy to friend someone on facebook or follow someone on twitter.  It seems to be much easier to do either of those things than it is to be a follower on this blog, since the formatting of blogger requires a different account to connect to.  Okay.  Thus, I can sort of understand why people wouldn’t indicate that they are followers here.  Why are there less followers on twitter than friends on facebook?  It seems to me that twitter is just as easy as facebook.  In fact, I would go a step further and say that twitter is even easier than facebook!  After all, there is no need for confirmation when following someone.  So, what’s the difference?  Are there simply more Duran fans on facebook?  Do you think that is true?  I won’t lie.  Rhonda and I would love for us to have more followers everywhere, but especially here.  We would love for the number of followers to closer match the number of readers we have on a daily basis.  I suspect that we would get more commenters then as well.

Speaking of comments, out of the three areas, facebook often has the most lively discussions.  (Of course, it seems clear that not every person commenting has actually read the blog, which is a little frustrating since we take the time and effort to write).  It seems like people aren’t afraid to disagree with our points of view or with other people’s points of view regarding some topic in Duranland.  This fascinates me as many people (not all) use their personal facebook pages when commenting on the daily blog topic.  Thus, people don’t seem to be afraid to put themselves and their opinions out there for others to read and respond to.  As for twitter, it seems harder to have discussions on there due to the character limit but it does seem and has been possible.  Twitter may or may not be as personal as facebook can be.  People can show who they really are and can hide who they really are.  Perhaps, that changes what or what does not get said.  I don’t know.  This place, on the other hand, seems to be filled with anonymous comments.  Obviously, there are lots of people who post comments openly as themselves but there are plenty of people who don’t.  Is this simply a situation of the pain-in-the-butt blogger getting in the way?  Maybe.  Perhaps, that is the case for some.  It seems interesting to me that many of the anonymous comments are one that either disagree with us or with other readers.  It is rare to find a comment that disagrees with us, strongly, for example, in which the person commenting is open about who they are.  Something to ponder.  If people aren’t afraid to criticize us or each other on facebook, why won’t they do it here?  What makes this place so different?

I don’t have the answer for that.  I can only keep encouraging people to comment here (again, I recommend following us here first).  After all, we are totally cool with people disagreeing with us here (or on facebook or twitter).  Heck, Rhonda and I don’t always agree.  I would like to think that we show people that it is okay to disagree as long as we do it respectfully.  Perhaps, that is part of the problem, though.  Not everyone comments back with respect.  Duranland can and has gotten ugly at times, for some people.  Could that be why people worry about commenting here?  Again, I use the example of facebook and say that there is a lot of comments on there.  Could it be that this seems more permanent?  Could it be that it seems more open to the outside world since as a blog, it can be read by anyone?  I don’t know the answer to any of these questions.  I would love to know what the rest of you think.  What’s the deal with both the number of followers and what’s the deal with the comments?

-A

Duran on Film!

Duran Duran has been one busy band lately!  At least, it feels that way to me as I think that I could spend all day, everyday just trying to keep up with the latest!  After all, the band is on tour (woohoo!!!) and has been doing much press, especially since they have a new DVD coming out (can’t wait!) and will be playing the Olympics in less than a month.  Thus, I think it might be good for all of us to spend part of our Saturday catching up with some of the latest video clips.  If I have missed some (and I probably did), please link them in a comment!  The more Duran clips, the better! 

Daybreak in the UK on June 28, 2012:

I’ll keep my comments brief so that you all just enjoy the clips but I do have to comment on a few things.  First, every time I see a clip of the DVD, I swear I get all excited all over again!  Those UK shows were something special and if the DVD can capture 10% of that, we are all in for a treat!  Second, hearing Simon tell the story of his vocal problem of last year just makes me appreciate that he did regain the use of his voice.  It amazes me how removing himself from the focus of getting better helped.  That is advice we should all remember when facing problems in our own lives.  Lastly, I got a kick of Roger’s worry that some thing horrible will happen before every show.  This sentiment sure shows how human he is.  🙂

CNN on June 29, 2012:

Here’s my advice to Simon:  No more tweeting after you have been drinking!  People pay attention to what you say and will ask you about it!  As for the interview, I liked how the interviewer used Girl Panic to ask Duran about whether they plan to keep making music!  Research is a good thing!

Fuse TV Part 1 on June 28, 2012:

I absolutely adore hearing stories like these!  Two of them I had not heard before!

Part 2:

My response to Roger in this one:  I sure hope I can sense the chemistry between band members when watching the DVD!  ;D  Also, I have to agree with Simon that their audience isn’t ready or old enough to be content with a mid or low tempo performance. 

Press Conference in Poland from June 25, 2012:

While there was a lot of discussion surrounding football (soccer for us Americans), I am sure that I’m not the only one who heard that Duran plans to work with Mark Ronson again!  According to Nick, the plan is to start writing in February and to bring Mark in during the early summer of next year.  Obviously, as a huge fan of AYNIN, I couldn’t be more thrilled with this information!  On a deeper level, I, sometimes, have to take a step back and realize how lucky we are that this band we love is continuing to tour, to make new music.  We are truly lucky.

I hope that I’m caught up with the latest news in Duranland and I hope I helped you as well!  Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

-A

Is Fandom an Adolescent Thing? A Girl Thing?

Yesterday, my writing partner discussed an article written in the Wall Street Journal in an attempt to explain Justin Bieber “fever”.  If you are interested in reading the article, you can go here.  If you would like to read Rhonda’s take on it, you can go here.  While I don’t disagree with the points Rhonda made on the blog or points made by other people on facebook, the article did not sit well with me.  After having a few days to really look at it, I can now (hopefully) explain why. 

The premise of the article from what I could see was to explain the screaming teen behavior that is currently found in Justin Bieber fans but had been found in Elvis fans, Beatles fans and even with a little band called Duran Duran and their fans.  They quoted experts including a neuroscientist, a sociologist, psychologists, a professor of communications, and a psychiatrist.  That’s all fine and good.  Cool.  No problem.  They also spoke with some young Bieber fans and their parents.  Again, fine.  As Rhonda pointed out that a large part to the article was this idea that when people hear familiar and favorite music, that neurotransmitters are released in the brain and these are the same ones involved in pleasure and addiction.  That seems logical to me.  The author also states that music one likes as a teen actually becomes wired into the brain, which is why adults like the music from when they were kids.  I can’t argue with that, either.  To me, that does explain a lot about how fandom begins.  What I can argue with is the emphasis on adolescence and on females.

The article is framed in a way to explain young girls infatuation with Justin Bieber.  The other examples of fandom also were of young girls.  Heck, Duran Duran could have been included in that.  Yet, not all fans of Justin, Elvis, the Beatles or Duran were young girls.  Many, many fans became fans later in life.  Many of our readers might be people who became fans later in life.  Yes, I’ll agree that those pleasure and addiction neurotransmitters can happen at any time of life.  Yes, they can happen enough to make for solid wiring within the brain.  Sure.  This could explain why and how fans become fans NO matter what AGE.  Yet, the author and the article didn’t say that.  Instead, we are left thinking that fandom is only about teenagers and mostly, female teenagers at that.  Thus, while trying to present fandom as normal, which the article does for the most part, it also locks fandom into a “stage in adolescent development” and to a gender.  How does that help older fans like myself?  How would that work for all of the male Duranies I know are out there?  

Male fans of pop/rock stars were completely ignored in this article.  The article mentions how girls fall for pop stars as an early, but safe entry into romantic and/or sexual interest.  Okay.  Sure.  I can go with that.  That couldn’t happen to boys, too?  Young gay boys couldn’t have been interested in male pop stars for the same reason?  What about the fact that there are a lot of female pop stars now?  No boy has been interested in Madonna or Beyonce for the same reason I might have liked John Taylor?  Really?  No, they say that most boys were more interested in athletes because they could emulate them.  Couldn’t I have emulated Madonna?  Why would I have been interested in a romantic fantasy at age 10 and not looking to have a role model of the same gender?  Why boys be the only ones to do this?  How would this work for straight boys who started liking Duran at an early age?  Could some boy have become a fan in order to be like Simon?  Or Roger?  Nope, the author didn’t offer this as a possibility.  Instead, the focus was on how the pop star created a fantasy for the young girl.

At the end of the article, the author talked to this parent who commented about how her daughters lost interest with Bieber when he began dating.  In this parent’s opinion, it was all about the fantasy of having Justin as a boyfriend.  Once the fantasy was gone, so did the interest.  Does this contradict the earlier notion from the neuroscientist that said that once certain music was wired into the brain, it would release those pleasure neurotransmitters?  Perhaps, so.  Now, is it possible that for these two girls it was all about this boyfriend fantasy?  Sure.  Maybe, the music had nothing to do with it.  Yet, for a lot of fans it is and was about the MUSIC.  It was never really about the fantasy of having a Duran member as a boyfriend.  Not really.  If that was the case, wouldn’t I have lost interest a long time ago?  Again, I ask.  Why would a straight guy ever like them if it was all about this romantic fantasy? 

All in all, I like the idea that science can explain that there is something chemical related to fandom.  To me, it gives a reason that most people can’t argue against.  I just wish that the science included in this article wasn’t surrounded by stereotypes that all fandom is about teenage girls who fantasize about their idol(s).  This definitely feeds into the stigma that I and every other adult Duranie has to deal with.  People then assume that adult fans are simply people who refuse to grow up, who are stuck in some sort of perpetual immaturity.  It also completely ignores the male fans while presenting female fans as people who are only fans because the pop star is cute.  Yes, in my case, I thought and think that the members of Duran are attractive.  I’m alive, aren’t I?  Yet, it is much more about their music than it ever was about their looks.  To assume anything else is offensive.

-A

We really ARE wired this way!!

I’m sure most of you have read the Wall Street Journal article from Tuesday, “Inside the Brains of Bieber Fans”.  You can read the article here. While I recognize most, if not all of us are well-beyond Justin Bieber at this point, this article could have easily been written thirty years back on Duran fans and been every bit as applicable.  The article even points out that back in the days of Franz Liszt (classical musician from the times of Romanticism during the 1800’s), his fans would throw their garments at him and fight over locks of his hair.  Sound familiar???

We’ve commented many times over the “addiction” Duran Duran seems to have caused many of us over the years, and while my tongue might have been firmly planted in my cheek at the time, it appears I was more correct than I wish to believe.  Hearing those familiar chords of Rio or even Hungry Like the Wolf release dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter involved in pleasure and even addiction.  That rush you feel when Simon does his super-cool karate-style moves at the end of Notorious, or when there’s an especially good JoSi moment on stage, or even when Roger dares to twirl his stick or Nick gives you a good smile?  It’s as intense as the feeling a chocoholic gets when they grab a square of their most favorite treat, and yes, it really IS addictive.  
This is no surprise to the many fans who have stuck by Duran Duran over the years.  There’s no arguing that when we see them live, we leave wanting more…and we chase after that same “high” we’ve experienced prior.  There is a reason why many fans do as many shows as possible on a tour, and that there really is science behind it all.
Can this addiction be harmful?  Like anything in life, moderation is key.  Sadly, I’ve forgotten what moderation actually means.  In this particular article, being on a computer for five or six hours a night following Justin Bieber blogs is given as an example of too much.  If you could only see my blank stare at the moment…  If that weren’t enough, the example of a person mortgaging their home only to go to New York and sleep on a sidewalk in order to facilitate their child’s addiction is also cited as being over the line.  First of all, and in my defense, my house was already mortgaged, thanks.  I will owe Wells Fargo for many more years, thank you.  Secondly, who said this was for my kid???  
The last nail in the coffin comes near the end of the article, when of course there’s a dissenting opinion of what is truly normal.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I tend to be wary of folks who tell me what is normal, especially when they don’t appear to recognize good fun.  In this case, Robert Epstein, author of Teen 2.0: Saving our Children and Families from the Torment of Adolescence, holds the hammer firmly in his grip when he says “Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing even slightly developmentally normal or healthy about ‘Bieber Fever’ and similar teen extremisms.”  
Robert Epstein clearly needs to get a life and find some fun out there before he starts giving advice on how to kill the spirit of our adolescents.  
-R

My Moment with Medazzaland

I had an epiphany today.  (Ok, so “today” for me is really last Wednesday for all of you…I wrote a few blogs to post while I’m gone!)

I needed to get some writing done, and as a way to block out the general background noise of my house (Ok, I was really blocking out my kids…but nobody needs to know that, right?) I decided to do something I haven’t done in several years.  I played the entire Medazzaland album.

Medazzaland was released in October of 1997, and it’s the only Duran Duran album that I did not buy immediately upon it’s release. In my defense, I’d had my first baby earlier that year and suffered greatly with Post Partum Depression.  A little something I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned:  I didn’t even know that John Taylor had left Duran Duran until AFTER I’d bought Medazzaland.  That’s just how out of touch with reality I was at the time.  It was all I could do to get through each day, and during the time I had PPD I didn’t listen to a single Duran Duran song.  Not one. That isn’t a period of time I like to talk about much, nor do I really remember much from the time, but it’s a part of how I’ve become the person I am now I suppose. I know it was several months into 1998 before I bought the album, and as I popped it into my car stereo, I couldn’t wait to get reacquainted with the band.  I felt like I was getting back in touch with an old friend.

As soon as the opening “chords” of Medazzaland had begun, I knew something had gone curiously awry.  This was definitely not the Duran Duran I’d last listened.  I skipped ahead, touching on each of the songs.  Aside from Big Bang Generation and possibly Electric Barbarella, there was nothing on that album that sounded remotely close to what I’d known.  I  remember looking at my husband through the veil of depression that was still clouding my vision and told him very ruefully that part of my life was apparently over just like the rest of who I once was, and ejected the CD.  I put it back in the case and didn’t open it again for nearly 8 years.

It was only after the Astronaut tour ended and we started getting murmurs about Red Carpet Massacre that I dared to open the jewel case for the CD again.  I’m far enough removed from the days of my depression to realize that my dislike for the CD came not only from the music itself, but from my own predicament at the time.  Even so, the CD is very different from anything else Duran has done, and I don’t know that I ever really wrapped my head around all that was taking place for them at the time.  When I sat down to write today, I was formatting a guest blog and there was mention of a few songs on Medazzaland, so I decided to give it a listen.  Amazingly, I actually appreciated much of what I heard. Sure, the album is very different.  Yes, it was written during a time when I think there was much personal tension for Nick and Simon, but there’s some genius there.  I’m still not a Warren fan – but his influence is absolutely present on the album and I didn’t hate what I heard.  There is something very organic (of all things) about the experimentation that took place, and the sense of peace I felt while listening to Michael You’ve Got a Lot to Answer For was remarkable. What felt really far removed from Duran Duran in 1998 when I first bought the album feels very much like a piece of their history in 2012.

Of course, all of this introspect with regard to Medazzaland leads me to wonder how I’ll feel about Red Carpet Massacre in another ten years or so. (It’s going to take me that long to work up the nerve to listen to that CD again, I’m sure.)  I haven’t forgotten Nick’s statement that while the album wasn’t well-loved by their fan base, it has some staying power.  Damn you Nick, we’ll see.  We will see.

-R

Be My Icon – Is the band purely our 80’s band?

If you follow the blog, our Facebook page or Twitter, you probably know that last week there was quite the discussion over why it is that the press tends to keep Duran Duran tucked into the nostalgia box.  I think it’s fair to say that by and large most fans have at least a certain amount of distain for the statement “That band you were all fond of in the 80’s – Duran Duran – is BACK.”

One comment that was infrequently made, but still very well read/heard amongst the calls for slaughter(ing the press), was that it’s not just the press who tends to keep Duran Duran in that memory box from 1984. Many fans believe that other fans are just as responsible for this characterization. My knee jerk reaction is of course to deny, but when I sit down and really consider the truth, perhaps fans including myself in that group are at least partially responsible. How can this be?!?

Let’s go back a bit before you all decide to call for my beheading. (Besides, as you read this – I am definitely sitting under an umbrella, reading a great book and enjoying the heat of the day while on a very peaceful vacation sans children. I don’t return home until later in the week, so calling for the guillotine is a bit premature. You’ve got time.) I’m sure most of you remember Duran from the mid-80’s. They were difficult to forget, am I right? Then Notorious came along, Big Thing, Liberty, Thank You….and none of these were blockbusters. We lost some Taylors, gained a Cuccurullo and a couple drummers…you know the drill. Then around about 2001 or so, we heard murmurs of a reunion of the “Fab Five”. How many of you did NOT immediately think back to the times of Planet Earth, Friends of Mine, Rio or even Hungry Like the Wolf (I won’t hold it against you)? My point of course is that at least initially as a gut reaction we tend to associate the original band members with a certain period of time. Then Astronaut was released, and while I can’t be sure of how many people absolutely hated the album – I know I heard more than a few comments that attempted to compare the music to what had come previously. On Rio. On the first album. That continued through the years after and including the release of Red Carpet Massacre. What comment did I hear (and make) most during that period of time? “It sounds nothing like the Duran Duran I know and love.” I stand by that statement, but I also recognize the idiocy behind feeling that way as well.

So that brings us to All You Need is Now, naturally. I distinctly recall panning the band (and Mark Ronson) for making comments about how that album was intended to be the follow up to Rio. (How dare I say such things after being so critical of Red Carpet Massacre? I know.  My worry wasn’t that they were dating themselves, but rather that they’d never be able to live up to such a statement. I was wrong. You can read that blog here.) Of course now in retrospect I can see that it wasn’t necessarily about making the album sound like it was Rio’s child – it was the spirit with which it was recorded. Even so, if we continue to laud the band for attempting to spread their wings, evolve and grow their sound beyond what we knew the 80’s to be – how are we helping them to feel confident in their abilities to remain relevant?  I’m not sure.

On one hand, I really do believe that All You Need is Now is fresh, relevant and living in the moment. The very theme of the album speaks to the concept and I feel the album is extremely solid, even if it didn’t perform well on the charts. Some say it flopped. While I hate using that word, I don’t know how the band feels about it. I really hope they don’t look at the album on those terms. I love this album on a personal level as much if not more than Rio – I just can’t look at it as a failure because for me, it’s anything but. On the other hand, I can’t be the only one to recognize that the chords from Leopard or the tom-toms from Girl Panic sound vaguely familiar. It’s not that I don’t welcome the music (Hardly!), but I think we have to be honest with ourselves as well. Duran Duran has never been the band to “play it safe”, and I’d hate for them to stop taking chances at this point in their career simply because the fan base (including myself) through a monster sized tantrum over Red Carpet Massacre.  Was All You Need is Now purely an album to placate the fans? I really hope not. The album is worth so much more than that.

At least one fan out there mentioned that she felt the characterization of Duran Duran as an 80’s band was spot on. Her comments were that when she goes to the shows, they transport her back to her childhood, and she welcomes that. Duran Duran isn’t known for songs like Undergoing Treatment, Chains, Sunrise, Falling Down, Nite Runner or even All You Need is Now. They’re known for songs like Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf. She feels that the band tries much too hard (I would probably at times agree). While she still loves the band, her opinion is that they’re an 80’s band and should accept that rather than fight it. I’m not pointing out her difference in opinion as a way to flog her, but rather to prove that while many of us want to continue to insist on their relevance, many are happy to accept them for what they once meant. Neither way is wrong.

I fall back to the statements I meant last week. This album and this band has fostered a relationship between their fans and themselves that cannot be denied. We stand here in this moment, and we all want the music to last a little longer. For many, this band was iconic of the 80’s. For others, it was the quintessential band of the 90’s. Still plenty more see this band as the music of a lifetime…with more to come.

-R