Category Archives: Duran Duran

Book Discussion—In the Pleasure Groove (Chapters 73-74)

Today marks the end of our discussion of the specific chapters in John Taylor’s autobiography, In the Pleasure Groove.  I, for one, am a little sad to be getting to the end of this book discussion as it has good to really read John’s book, think about it and discuss it.  Before the discussion really ends, we finish the book this week and discuss the book, overall, next week.  These chapters focus on the years 2003-2011.  During this time, Duran released three albums, including Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre and All You Need Is Now.  John, personally, experienced the declining health and death of his father.  On that somber note, please, grab a beverage, read up and join in on the discussion.

Chapter 73:  Learning to Survive
What was your reaction to John’s brief discussion of Andy and Dom?
A – Like everyone else, I wondered if John would discuss Andy and Dom.  Obviously, he acknowledged that things did not work out with Andy due to “differences” but he did not go further.  I am glad that he didn’t say more.  He did not use this book as an opportunity to bash Andy or criticize him.  He wasn’t harsh by acknowledging that there were differences.  Yet, at the same time, this makes it pretty clear that Andy isn’t coming back to the band, in my opinion.  As for Dom, he certainly was very positive, wasn’t he?  He said that Dom was a “player of great depth and versatility”.  John also mentioned how he appreciates their friendship.
R – I was curious what he would say, if anything.  I was pleased to see that he didn’t use the opportunity to say his peace.  To be honest, I’d have lost respect for him, and not because I am loyal to Andy, but because it’s none of our business.  His not saying anything only proves that he is still loyal to his relationships with his band members and friends, which I completely respect and admire given their long history. 


Did you have any connection to the story of John’s dad’s disappearance in 2007?
A – This event, in which John’s dad took a very, very long drive and ended up needing help, took place on November 2, 2007, the first Friday night of Duran’s run on Broadway.  John got the news that his dad was missing before the show.  I was actually at that show and I have to say that I couldn’t tell that anything was wrong.  As I’m sure you all are aware, I tend to focus on John during a show and I tend to be sensitive to heightened emotions.  Yet, I had no idea.  I give all the credit to John as he was such a professional that night even when I’m sure he was out of his mind with worry.
R – Nope. I was at home incubating (and very sick, I might add!).  Horrible story though. I can only imagine what that must have been like…and it’s a story that we all fear as our parents begin to really age.  
  

Were you surprised that John’s dad’s memory seemed stuck on his war experience?
A I wasn’t surprised by that.  In fact, I would expect that his memory would focus on those events as he got older and struggled more and more with memory.  It is so typical of long term memory to get stuck on those most traumatic moments.  I was glad to see that he talked enough for John to be able to get a glimpse of what he went through.  Obviously, he went through so much and saw so much horror during this death march that somehow he survived.  Based on the fact that this is the chapter is titled, “Learning to Survive”, clearly, that is the message John learned both from his parents and from his life.  He learned to survive.
R – I’m not at all surprised by this because it’s what the human mind does. It was a very sad chapter overall. 


Chapter 74:  Coachella, Indio, California, 17 April 2011
Do you agree with John that things were different with AYNIN versus RCM?
A – I absolutely agree that things were different.  He seems to focus on social networking and while I absolutely agree that social networking made a HUGE difference, I think there were other factors that made things different and seemed to keep the band separated from the fans.  For example, to many of us, the band didn’t follow their usual path by bringing in Timbaland.  That created a wall.  Then, Andy’s departure didn’t help.  Again, the distance between the band and the fans grew.  Lastly, the band didn’t know how or didn’t seem to reach out to the fans at all.  For a lot of us, we began to wonder if they even cared.  All of these things seem to feed that theory.
R – I can really only answer this as a fan and in my own experience – and yes, I think the two albums (and how they were made) were completely different. I’ve written more than a few articles on how removed I felt the band had always been from their fans.  One should remember that I grew up in the US. There were no fan letters from band members sent here – I think by the time they were on a majority of our minds in the 80’s they had “people” sending out responses for them, and we all know how crazy things were for the band back then.  For their own safety I really don’t think they could have reached out to fans. Then during the reunion, I recognized while they were standing there in front of us, it still felt very much as though they wanted to keep that mystique going, and by that time – I have to admit, I rolled my eyes at the idea a lot.  I think that for a while, there was a concerted attempt to create more of a demand by making them seem completely unavailable, untouchable, unreachable…even to fans.  That was a serious error in marketing, in my opinion. I think it took the band entirely too long to warm up to the idea that they should actually interact with fans once again, and in some ways I think they’re still paying the price for that.  A lot of fans simply walked away in favor of either supporting bands that actually seemed like they were not only thankful to their fans for being there (and not just saying the words at the end of every show) and wanting to get to know them and interact…or they just got busy with their everyday lives and kind of put concerts into that box labeled “childhood” or “adolescence”.  It happens. Then of course RCM came out, and in my opinion – if they weren’t already acting as if they didn’t want us around (longtime fans), that album certainly nailed that point home.  The album seemed to be created with the idea that they needed to take a huge departure and reach out to a younger fan base. I give them credit for taking that risk, even though I still feel that was a mistake.  I still stand by my assessments, that the album did absolutely nothing to help the band and did everything possible to turn long time fans away.  When they announced All You Need is Now, I was shocked they were really going to complete another album, and when it came out I cried silent tears of joy because they were finally beginning to accept who they are…and then at the same time they started embracing social media, and I give them credit for sticking with it.  I have enjoyed being a fan more in the last three or four years than ever, and I really doubt I’m alone. 

What is your reaction to the following quote?:  “At day’s end, my job is to be the catalyst for connectivity, to help bring people closer together.”
A – He’s absolutely right.  That is what anyone who has fans SHOULD do.  The focus should be about bringing people together.  The music may bring us to Duranland but it is the other fans and the friendships that develop that keep us here.  He knows this.  He gets this.  Clearly. 
R – Gosh, I’d swear I’ve read that somewhere before.

What did you think of the ending?  
I loved how he described in detail what he feels as the show starts and how there is “a million tiny seductions all at once.”  Again, John has a way with words that truly shows exactly what happens.  Likewise, the very last line, “And the music never sounded better,” was perfect.  Perfect.  As a decades old Duranie, he is right.  The music has never been better.
I just have to add that I really hope that they continue in this spirit.  I hope they keep embracing the band they really are and that Mark is able to allow them to expand upon the journey they began with AYNIN rather than having them completely reinvent themselves for the next album.  There is something to be said for not needing to reinvent the wheel, but they can certainly be proud of who and what they are – as they should. The last line is the best line – the music has never been better.  He is right.


Final Thoughts:
John ended the book with probably the saddest moment with his father’s passing and with an incredibly high moment at Coachella.  I think that is very telling.  John made it a point in saying that he learned an important lesson from his dad and that is how to survive.  It seems to me that John learned to survive through it all–good and bad, up and down, sad and happy.

-A

We’ll Keep the Rhythm Going…

It amazes me how quickly Duranland can fade into the background of one’s thoughts.  This past week, I was away on a trip.  I didn’t do much when it came to the happenings in the Duran universe.  Nope.  I posted the history fact, added up the votes and asked the new question on facebook and twitter.  That was really it.  I didn’t have time for much more even if I had wanted to check in more.  After a day or two of being away, I was surprised that I didn’t miss it much.  I wasn’t lost, thinking about what Simon, John, Dom, Nick and Roger were up to.  The only thing I found myself missing was my friends, many of whom are Duranies.  Why is that?  Then, if MY fandom gets pushed to the side that easily, I imagine that it happens to many others, too.  What about those fans who aren’t as serious as I am about my fandom?  Does Duran fade away completely?  Then, I wonder if that is a problem…

Recently, Rhonda posted a blog about the different levels of fandom.  While a number of people commented on whether or not they fit into specific categories, they didn’t really question the idea that there are different types or levels of fans.  I think, then, it is safe to say that we are all in agreement that there are some “fans” who like one or two songs or albums.  Then, there are fans who would go see Duran live if they came to their home city and are free that night.  Still, others long to see them whenever and wherever.  Of course, there are also people who aren’t fans but could be.  It seems to me that there is a lot of attention on getting those could be but aren’t fans to be fans by all artists, not just Duran Duran.  I obviously understand why.  If one’s fanbase is 1 million people, then, an artist could hope that 1 million albums would be sold.  Heck, maybe you try to get a few more than a million by putting together different packages so that some within the fanbase buy more than one copy each.  Yet, of course, if an artist can get 20,000 new fans, then they might be able to sell 20,000 more copies.  Thus, it makes sense to try and increase one’s fanbase. Will those 20,000 new fans be at a level of fandom that they might buy even more than one copy like those of us who are hardcore would?  Probably not but they could be.  After all, we (hardcore fans) were once just like those new fans who liked a couple of songs enough to pay more attention and buy an album.

How does one’s fandom increase from a casual fan status to a more serious fan?  It seems to me that there are two big ways that one’s casual fan status becomes serious.  One way one’s fandom increases is to feel a greater connection with whomever/whatever one is a fan of.  For example, I have had a number of people in my world be those casual fans of Duran until they saw Duran live.  Then, they were hooked!  Thus, having that 2 hour experience with the band increased their fandom.  The problem here, though, is not everyone is going to have that experience with the band.  Maybe you live in places where the band doesn’t tour or your seats are so bad that you don’t get the same connection as someone in the first 10 rows.  Maybe it is during downtime when there aren’t concerts, albums, songs or interviews to pay attention to.  So how else could one’s fandom increase or be reinforced?  It seems to me that one big way is by establishing those connections with other fans. 

Whenever I’m around other fans, I feel most like a Duranie.  I can’t be the only one who has this experience.  When I am talking about Duran and sharing stories, I can’t think about anything else BUT Duran.  What happens typically after I have been around other fans is I either scream my lungs out at a show or I find myself shopping for all things Duran.  I find myself talking about Duran and sharing songs and videos on all social networking sites I can find.  This, of course, encourages others to be fans or fans at a deeper level.  It is a cascading effect.  I would also argue that the connections made between fans might also be longer lasting and could ensure that one’s fandom is never too far removed.  This is what happened to me just this week.  After I returned, some of the first messages I responded to were from Rhonda and guess what the focus was about many of them?  That’s right.  Duran Duran.  My hiatus from Duranland couldn’t last.  She made sure of it.  Other fans/friends did the same. 

This is why, I think any artist, any band should encourage fans to reach out and connect with other fans.  Fan meetups and fan conventions should be encouraged for they know and understand that the relationships between fans increase people’s fandom and works to keep people in the fandom.  This is the means to make those casual fans into more serious fans and as a means of keeping everyone as serious fans even during downtimes or breaks.  In this way, the fans would be doing just as much work as an advertisement or an interview by increasing people’s fandom and keeping them.  Sounds like a sure win to me.

-A

How Many Reasons Do They Need?

Psst…members of Duran Duran…I have something I think you should know, in case, you know…you ever decide to do meet and greets again.  

I have never been at a formal meet and greet for Duran Duran.  I know what you are probably thinking…”Thank goodness!  That one is a bit much!  My goodness, she is half of the Daily Duranie!  They blog EVERYDAY!  Every.  Single.  Day.  Sometimes, they have even blogged more than once a day!!!!  On top of that, they talk about what happened in Duran history and ask questions of other fans.  Worse yet…they have set up meetups with other fans and the rumor is that they are even planning a convention!  EEK!  Activities like that cause fans to come together and we can’t have that!  She is one of THOSE fans.”  Yeah, I’m sure you are thinking something like that.  I might be, if I was in your shoes, but I’m here, speaking quietly and gently, to let you know that I’m safe.  I can be trusted in the same room as you.

What proof do I have that I’m safe?  Well, I know that the opinionated blogging might make me seem scary but I’m really not.  I have proof.  You see I have had thorough background checks done with the most recent one for events that happened this past week.  Who did the background checks, you ask?  Well, these background checks were done by those security people surrounding the President of the United States.  No, I’m not kidding.  You see, I just got back home from the 57th Presidential Inauguration.  Pretty cool, huh?  You know what is cooler?  I got a tour of the White House AND I got to shake the President’s and First Lady’s hands!?!  I even got to see the First Dog, Bo, up close!  No, again, I’m not joking!  It really happened.  In fact, this moment was captured on a photo that was the White House’s Official Photo of the Day on Tuesday, January 22nd.  Go ahead.  Go check.  You know that you want to.  Here’s the link:  Official Photo.  Make sure you go to January 22nd or you won’t see it.  😉  Of course, if you look carefully at it, you will notice that we are shaking hands.  I even touched him!  Yet, I kept a respectful distance.  Even more importantly, we are both laughing.  Thus, it seemed that the President didn’t mind our interaction. 

So, seriously, those secret service people allowed me to get close to the President twice (I met him in October)!  They wouldn’t do that, if they didn’t think I was safe, right?  Right.  Of course not.  My point here is simple.  If you were to do meet and greets during…say…the next tour and I were to go for one, it is okay to choose me.  It really is.  I’m not a security risk.  Obviously.  I’m sure you might be thinking about that partner of mine.  What about Rhonda?  How can we trust her?  Has she been checked over by the President’s security team?  Well, I’ll be honest here.  I don’t know that she has.  That said, I think you can trust her, too.  After all, if I’m okay to be near the President, would I choose to be around someone…uh…unsafe?  While, we all know that Rhonda might have strong opinions and she might even voice them a time or two, let me tell you.  She’s way more bark than bite.  Really.  I promise.  

On that note, I do hope that this evidence of mine counteracts any concern you might have about my fan status.  While I realize that I might appear a bit…serious about my fandom, I promise you that I know how to be respectful and calm during official meet and greets.  In fact, I can even bring joy and laughter to meet and greets.  I can.  Really.  I promise.  

Sincerely,

Your respectful fan,
Amanda

***********************************************************************************
In all seriousness, I was in Washington DC this past week for Inauguration events due to my efforts as a campaign organizer.  One of those events included a White House tour.  While the President and First Lady were not scheduled to be there, they surprised us!  Almost immediately after the meet and greet, I thought about how I have been lucky (VERY) to meet the President twice, but haven’t had an official meet and greet with the band!  How crazy is that?!

 

For Rumors in the Wake of Such a Lonely Crowd

I have been out of town, on a trip.  This particular trip was jam packed with activities and when there was a chance to breathe, it usually involved trying to get a cup of coffee to get warm or some meal.  Thus, Duranland was pushed to the side.  A break like this isn’t a bad thing as it can renew one’s energy and interest upon returning.  Heck, I was so out of the loop that I had to read my own blog to find out what has been talked about! 

It seems like things have gotten a little out of whack since I left.  First, we have tweets from TV Mania that no one can really figure out.  Then, today, a rumor starting going around about John Taylor leaving the band.  Relax, dear readers, this rumor has already been debunked by DDHQ, by calling it a “lie”.  Anyway, the point of the blog could be about how easy it for rumors to get started and spread, especially during downtime when we (fans) start to feel like we don’t know what is happening.  We begin to speculate as to what is going on and rumors, sometimes, provide answers to the unknown.  I could also blog about how posters who mentioned this rumor were treated.  Yet, most of these exchanges were taking place while I was at work.  Thus, I am sure that I missed some, if not most, of what took place.  Nope, this blog is going to be a simple one, which is my reaction to all of this.

I found myself extremely frustrated by this rumor.  Why?  I was frustrated for a variety of reasons.  First, of all things to be rumored, it has to be about John’s place in the band?!  Really?!  My favorite player?!  It just made my stomach tie in knots.  Then, I just found myself frustrated by our fandom.  Lastly, I was just plain frustrated that I couldn’t ease back into Duranland.  What I needed was some cool something, some exciting something to get me excited by the future…to get me thinking about all things fabulous connected to Duran.  What I got was the opposite.  I didn’t find myself wanting to get to twitter or facebook to see and read about what was happening.  I found myself wanting to avoid Duranland.  I wanted nothing to do with it.  Heck, even blogging today has been tough.  I have started three times and even now I wonder if the blog sounds terrible, uninterested, bored, uninspired. 

I realize that fandom isn’t always hearts and flowers and I don’t want it to be.  Yet, I don’t want to read about rumors, especially upsetting rumors like that even when they are proven untrue right away.  I also don’t want to read about people’s reactions to the rumors or to the debates that I’m sure it inspired.  I don’t want to see how badly, if at all, fans were treating other fans.  There are days and times I just want to bury my head in the sand and not see or hear any of the negative.  I don’t want any drama.  I admit it.  Tell me I’m not the only one!

Part of my desire to put blinders on is because I had a great trip and this trip had nothing to do with Duran.  Thus, as I move my brain back to reality, back to Duranland, I don’t want the crappy parts of being a Duranie.  I need the fun parts of being a Duranie.  Is that too much to ask??? 

-A

Just Get Me to the Track

 
By, C.K. Shortell
Rhonda and Amanda do a great job of very cleverly tying in the title to their blogs with a Duran song, so of course I followed suit. Any guesses on where today’s title came from?  Think remixes…specifically, The Power Mix of Violence of Summer (Love’s Takin Over).  (What, this isn’t the first Duran remix that comes to mind?)
Remixes are a central part of Duran’s legacy. I am not a musician and readily admit that my taste in music is narrow, but within those tastes (including REM, U2, Dave Matthews Band, The Police, Steve Winwood), I can’t think of any other band with such a history of tinkering with their music. (U2 has issued their share of remixes as b-sides but mostly for club play).  In fact, when I sat down to actually think about which Duran remixes I liked the best, or at least which were most memorable to me, it was a list that kept growing, and it spanned all eras and lineups. Where to begin? Well, why not at the beginning…of the day.
Reach Up For the Sunrise: I am still very much basking the glow of “ADITM” as well as the August 24 show (which as we know ended up being their last on the 2012 tour and one I was lucky enough to attend in my home state of Connecticut). One of the highlights of that show and what inspired me to write this blog is “Sunrise.” I believe that the current live version of Sunrise—based on the Jason Nevins remix—is my favorite remix in the entire catalogue. I love it because I believe I it, more than any other Duran remix, most improved the song from its original version.
 
Think back to 2003 and those first concerts in Japan with the reunited original lineup. Sunrise was one of the four new songs featured. It was definitely catchy but felt unfinished in places (especially the beginning “la la la la” that seemed forced to me). Fast forward one year: The version that appeared on Astronaut was significantly improved, especially by taking more advantage of Nick’s synths and adding Roger’s GOF-esque drum solo during the bridge. Then came the Jason Nevins remix, which featured Andy’s guitar more prominently and began with Simon singing “The music between us…” which ended up also being the version that opened the Live from London DVD. During the RCM tour, they further improved it, adding in much more guitar to the beginning and a longer solo at the end (thank you, Dom!) Put it all together, and you have an amazing song that is light years better than its original incarnation on the 2003 tour. It has also become a crowd pleaser and quite possibly a staple in the live set for years to come. It’s gratifying to see everyone at a show—hard core and casual fans—all dancing and singing to a song the band wrote in the 2000s! (And if you caught Duran’s appearance on Good Morning America this past June, you’ll note that host George Stephanopoulos introduced “Sunrise” by saying it was “#1 on the charts a few years back.” And he is 100% correct—Sunrise did reach #1 on the Billboard dance chart in 2004.  So while it may not have garnered radio play, it certainly is “out there” and can at least be considered as much of a hit as some of the other releases in the catalogue like “All She Wants Is” or “Skin Trade” etc. )
 
The Reflex: We all know the story on this one. Nile Rodgers took a so-so song and turned it into the band’s first US #1.  I have a bootleg from the ’84 tour, when they were performing the album version live, and I think it stands up fairly well. Would the song have had such success had Rodgers not worked his magic? Who knows—it seemed that everything the band touched in their heyday turned to gold, but it’s also undeniable that Rodgers improved the song. As such, it is rightly considered one of the best remixes in the catalogue.
 
Out of My Mind (Perfecto versions): It’s one thing for a remix to vastly improve a song (Sunrise) or at least make it more palatable to mainstream radio (Reflex), but in this case, they took one of the strongest cuts off Medazzaland and created…another amazing version!   Simon’s vocals remain unchanged in the “Perfecto” remixes, but the song is darker and more rock-oriented and the guitar and bass seem more prominent than in the original version (again, disclaimer:  I am not a musician so please correct me on this if you disagree).  Some of the longer versions also include a brief sample from the “Save a Prayer” synth line which actually works well. During the 1999 Let it Flow tour, they played the Perfecto Version and it was unbelievable—one of the best Duran tracks I’ve ever heard live. If you are even a casual fan of the album version of “Out of my mind” but have not heard the perfecto remixes, you need to get them. Or reach me on Twitter (@poptrashed) and I will burn them for you. 
 
I Don’t Want Your Love (Shep Pettibone 7” mix): Remixes aside, I think this is one of Duran’s most underappreciated singles. I remember the first time I heard it, as a junior in high school in the fall of 1988. I was initially a little shocked—it sounded somewhat like the stuff off Notorious but had more energy, more of an edge…and then I finally bought Big Thing and heard the studio version. Similar to The Reflex, the remix of I Don’t Want Your Love improves what was already a decent song. I think the addition of the horns and the dance section in the bridge is a big improvement. My only quibble is that I love the guitar solo from the album version, and this gets shortened in the remix. (Although we do get more rhythm guitar throughout the remixed track so I guess it’s a wash). I remember this video being all over MTV in late 1988, and this song getting huge airplay. To me, it was evidence that Duran Duran was still relevant and could make music people wanted to hear even though they were already half a decade away from the huge success of Rio andSATRT
 
Girls on Film (Night Version): I think we all know the back story on the night versions:  that the band needed longer versions of the songs to play live and they actually re-recorded new, longer versions of the songs. Of course, you can find the Night Versions on any number of CDs, including the singles box sets, Night Versions CD released in 1998 or Strange Behavior remix CD released in 1999. I’m not a huge fan of many of these as I don’t think they add or improve upon the original. And for all the hoopla over the band actually recording a new track…it still feels like a lot of filler before getting to the lyrics and chorus.  (And I feel much the same way about the latest “night version” from the band for “Other People’s Lives.”  However…I am deeply conflicted about that track anyway—I’m usually quick to label it as one of my least favorite on AYNIN and yet often find the chorus in my head. Very disturbing and a topic for another day). The best of the lot is Girls on Film, parts of which the band has incorporated into the live version over the years, with Planet Earth a close second. 
 
Meet El Presidente (7” version): This is my least favorite song on “Notorious” and would not have been my choice for a single or remix. The band took a weak song, remixed it and slightly improved it (added more drums, added a synth line or something—the musicians out there can fill in the blanks here), but unlike The Reflex, still left us with a track that I think is the weakest on the album. I remember the scene from “Three to Get Ready” when the band were listening to the extended 12” version (basically the remixed version but more torturous just longer); the hope was that this would generate record sales via air play on urban radio. Around that same time they also did a lip synched live version on Soul Train that is also featured on the documentary. Why they didn’t choose any one of the better tracks as a single—Vertigo, So Misled, Proposition—is beyond me. 
 
Skin Trade (Parisian Remix): This showed up as a b-side on one of the CD singles for “Come Undone” in 1993. Like the night versions, it’s long but for some reason it works and is much more high energy than the “stretch mix” that was also released. I can listen to this without getting impatient as I often do when listening to the “Night Versions.” 
 
Too Much Information (Jellybean Mix): This shows up on disc 2 of Strange Behavior.  While it treads dangerously close to sounding like C&C Music Factory…it also does a nice job of blending piano with the guitar riff to form a dance version of what’s a rock song at its core. This is my favorite of the many Wedding Albumremixes out there—and there are a ton.
Violence of Summer (Love’s Takin’ Over) (Power Mix): Well, this remix inspired the title for this blog. This remix is a train wreck—I won’t even try to defend it or say it’s good.  Violence of Summer is arguably the band’s least popular/worst single (even Simon has criticized it) and the band did a ton of remixes for it that can be found on the Singles Box Set or on the vinyl single released in 1990 which I inexplicably own.  And for whatever reason, I simply…love this remix. Even though I know in my heart it’s just awful. Calling this a guilty pleasure would be insulting to guilty pleasures everywhere. But, it’s catchy and for some reason I enjoy it. And since we began with this, I figured we would end with it, too. 
This list just scratched the surface…we could have discussed everything from the David Kershenbaum Rio remixes to the recent Steve Aoki version of Hungry Like the Wolf. When you think of Duran’s remixes, which ones stand out for you (for better or worse)?
C.K. Shortell is a lifelong Duran Duran fan who lives in the northeast with his wife and two sons, both of whom love watching concert footage of the band.  When he’s not struggling to explain to a three year old why the guitarist always looks different or just what exactly Nick is doing, C.K. is constantly reminding co-workers and friends that the band never broke up.

I dream of ostriches and chariots…

The mystery continues…

I cannot help but comment once again on @TVManiaMusic – and if you’re not following them on Twitter, you really should. As I mentioned yesterday, the tweets are mildly chilling at times, probably over the fence in freakyland, but amusing all the same. The fact is, they get you thinking, even if you’re not into seeing broccoli shaped as a purse, or an eyeball looking at you on someone else’s blog.  
I tend to be curious about the actual content of what is being tweeted – I want to know why I am looking at a lady riding an ostrich-pulled chariot, for instance; or what is significant about a voice-activated tape recorder (although one of those saved my behind in college, and I don’t mind dating myself to say that!!)  Though I suspect that it isn’t the tweets as a whole that should be considered, but rather that each tweet is independent of one another…kind of in the same respect as what would happen if you changed channels on your TV.  (TV Mania…get it?!?) These tweets are sort of like sound bytes.  If they had sound…. 
Others are obsessed with trying to discern who is tweeting.  Is it Nick?  Is it Warren?  Is it Katy?  (I said that if Nick was emailing all of this to Katy who then in turn tweeted – she wasn’t being paid enough. I stand by that assessment.)  My Twitterfeed was all abuzz last night with friends discussing the possibilities, as well as the freak-factor, and I too wondered just who could be responsible. Yesterday there seemed to be a preponderance of tweets with subtle messages regarding art, fashion and even pop culture…but there were also at least a couple with regard to every housewife’s favorite drug – Prozac. (Hey, I hear that’s the case. Personally I wouldn’t touch the stuff, but those are my own control issues at work and I make no judgements otherwise.) I’m still slightly obsessed with the idea of an ostrich pulling me around on a chariot though.  I think I’d prefer a male peacock.  More showy…  I still haven’t solved the puzzle of whom is tweeting, but I have come up with a question of my own.
Does it really matter?
As I mentioned to some friends last night, I don’t think the point of @TVManiaMusic is to chat with followers.  Maybe that will change (I’m doubtful), but I think the point is exactly what it is doing – it’s getting us talking about it, and thinking.  While I think it’s natural to be curious of who might be working behind the scenes, the goal of the twitter isn’t necessarily to communicate on that sort of level with fans. It is to get the fans talking to one another. It’s to market the cause. The more we talk, the more we mention the name, the more our own friends and followers get curious, follow and so on. It’s funny because while I do think the band has gotten closer to the fans as a result of Twitter, I am not so sure it’s an effective marketing tool in so far as sales. Think about that.  How many of us who are following them right now (@DuranDuran, @ThisistherealJT, @SimonJCLeBon, @DomBrownMusic) would NOT have bothered buying All You Need is Now if it hadn’t been for Twitter?  I would argue that number to be very, very few – if any.  However, @TVManiaMusic seems to be utilizing the media much differently, and while right now their follower number is low (if you are reading this right now and are already on Twitter – follow them – and if not, go grab yourself an account and get following!), those who are following are curious.  Curiosity might actually lead to sales.  
I still hope, as do the rest of you who are obsessed with broccoli purses, eyeballs and ostrich-driven chariots, that Nick or Warren will make themselves known…but until then, I look forward to being baffled yet again, and in case you were wondering, I’m very curious about that album now!
-R

Fingers in my brain

Are you on Twitter yet?  If not, there’s still time…

A few days back, I noticed, thanks to Duran Duran’s Facebook, that TV Mania has it’s own Twitter. I won’t lie, I was curious. First of all, who would be tweeting and would I be able to tell? Secondly, what would they say?? Thirdly, I really kind of wondered if they’d use the account of all. Let’s face it, there are plenty of celebs out there that have Twitter accounts and never use them. So, I did what any other curious fan might have done – I followed @TVManiaMusic and heard nothing. At some point over the weekend, I wrote it off – figuring that someone on the “Social Media” team from the band set up the account, but that neither Nick nor Warren would ever tweet. Then I promptly forgot about the whole thing.

Well, yesterday late afternoon my time, I was on Twitter and noticed a few tweets in my timeline from @TVMusicMania. Surprise!! Let me share them with you…and more than a few came with their own photos to illustrate.

Is it possible that she’s been dreaming all this time? Heaven forbid that she ever comes down, for her fall will be all too sudden.


Wide eyed and restless, Sassy was in no mood to settle down.
















I found this in your purse.













They promised to keep all information entirely confidential.





















He would’ve been 32 this year. 




Job 17:14 “I have said to corruption, You are my father: to the worm, You are my mother, and my sister”















And finally….with bravado…
DESPAIR ONLY FOR AN HOUR A WEEK.


First of all, I want to know how they got hold of that first photo, clearly from in the middle of the night when my youngest snuck into my room. Back when she was about two, she developed this habit of sneaking into our room in the middle of the night. I would stir and there’d she’d be – staring at me. Scary.

Truthfully though, some of the tweets are very much on the other side of creepy. The “dark side”!  …“I found this in your purse.” I actually had to fight the urge to run to check!  ….”He would have been 32 this year.” And then there’s a blurred photo. No, that’s not creepy at all.  

If I have nightmares, I’m blaming Nick and Warren. Anyone else?

So I have to ask, dear readers – what does it all mean? Nothing? Something? And I forgot to mention that somewhere in the midst of the sudden burst of tweets last night, a very cryptic-but-not-really-so-cryptic map was shared. Not a single word added…just a tweet of a link to a map. Of Queens…because that’s not going to get speculation going at all, right?

I must admit, it’s all a little intriguing. (and creepy. Have I mentioned that?)  What’s even worse is that I keep going back to check for more! I have to applaud them for two things: getting my attention; and making me think. I like that. It’s been a long time since I was able to sit and overanalyze something to death, and obviously, we like that sort of thing here on Daily Duranie.  

On the other hand, I never thought I’d actually tweet Warren.  

-R


Book Discussion–In the Pleasure Groove (Chapters 70-72)

It’s book discussion Monday!  We are getting to the end of our discussion on John Taylor’s autobiography.  This week, we discuss chapters 70-72.  These chapters cover the years 1998-2003.  During this time, John dealt with the death of his mother and his new marriage to Gela.  Professionally, the band reunited and despite challenges faced, the reunion was successful and John maintained sobriety.  For many of us, this reunion reawakened our inner Duranie and many of us found ourselves participating in Duranland in amounts and intensity not seen since the 1980s.  With that context, let’s dive in!  As always, feel free to respond to the discussion questions posed and/or add your own!

Chapter 70:  A Different Kind of Profound
What were your thoughts while you read of the passing of John’s mother?
A – This is one of those chapters that I definitely found myself in tears.  I am fortunate to have both of my parents still with me and absolutely dread when one of them goes, partly because of what John talked about with his dad.  As John pointed out, after his mother died, his dad was never the same and found himself in isolation.  I’m sure my father would be the exact same way.  Despite my utter sadness reading this, I found myself relieved for John and his parents that he was sober for this event.
R – I swear that this book, or at least parts of it, were almost therapy (for me). I found myself relating to much of it, and probably in completely different ways, or at least on different levels, than John probably ever considered. My point is simply that many people, fans, friends and probably family alike – can probably find something in this book that is relatable and speaks to them.  Like many of you, I have lost a parent.  My dad was sick for the last three years of his life, and he spent the last three weeks of his life on a ventilator in the hospital.  It’s so strange how you can think you’re over the sharpest pains of grieving and then just one sentence can send you right back, feeling the knife dig in just a little farther to remind you that it is something that will be carried forever.  That’s how reading this chapter was for me.  

Chapter 71:  The Reunion of the Snake
Were you surprised by Gela’s role in encouraging the reunion?
A – I admit that I was.  It isn’t that I don’t think she is supportive.  I know that she is as I remember the big billboard Juicy posted in Times Square when Astronaut came out.  I also knew about that Juicy promo show in which Simon did a guest appearance.  In fact, I’ll include that here.  I think it is important for Duranies to watch it and see if the vibe towards the reunion was there.

Anyway, I just didn’t realize that it was Gela who proposed that Simon participate in this show. I’m grateful that she did.
R – I was very surprised, to be honest. I didn’t know Gela on any level prior to John’s return to the band. I wasn’t there at the time and I have no idea what really happened – but sometimes all it really takes to build a bridge is someone innocently providing the pathway to begin, and I think that was Gela’s role.  

Based on what John mentioned with the reunion, what do you think was the most challenging aspect of it?
A – The possible choices here are obvious, including having Warren leave, repairing relationships, managing the band and financial decisions, musical differences or lack of interest from the fans and the general public.  It seems to me that having Warren leave wasn’t tough, at least that was the impression I have from reading this.  I was surprised that John didn’t focus more on the manager and financial debates as Andy seemed pretty fixated on these elements.  Is that because Andy was given such a different percentage of their earnings?  Maybe.  Is it because, for John, other issues were more difficult?  Possibly.  Whatever the reason, it seems like the toughest element of the reunion, even though John didn’t mention much in detail, was repairing those relationships.  I knew that Nick was upset that John left but I didn’t realize that their relationship suffered more than brief disappointment.  Yet, of course, it makes that sense that it would.  It seems clear to me that we are all lucky that they were able to overcome enough to see the reunion through as it seems like it was fragile.  Very fragile.
R – I never felt completely confident in the reunion.  I don’t know that I recognized that at the time, but looking back – I think that’s why I was so set on seeing them as often as I did that first summer out (2003).  I have mentioned before that when it was announced that Andy wasn’t returning that I was shocked at how much I was not shocked. I think I saw it coming.  I’ve said many times that the reunion of the original five was so perfect, it just wasn’t meant to last – it was meant to be a precise moment in time, and that it was. I don’t believe there was ONE aspect more challenging than any other, it was simply “A Challenge”.  Did they meet the challenge?  Yes, I think they did.  I think they did what they set out to do – and while it might not be the most popular opinion, I believe that their time as that particular five person band was simply finished.  (I’ve also learned never to say “never”.)  

Chapter 72:  Osaka Time
This chapter is a tough one to discuss since so much of it deals with religion, God and spirituality.  Do you think that John addressed this the best way he could?
A – First, let me say that I think most people, most John fans, most Duran fans reading this chapter are interpreting this description of John’s spirituality through their own personal lenses of religion and spirituality.  What I mean by this is that we have all very strong feelings when it comes to this topic.  Thus, we are all reading this chapter and interpreting how we want to interpret it.  This isn’t a criticism of any reader as I’m sure I’m guilty of it, too.  My point here really is to say that John was very careful to not alienate anyone.  He admitted that he has a new version of God but did not specify much to that, other than the idea of a higher power.  It seems to me that John wanted to be open and truthful about what he thinks and feels but understands and respects others enough to not say too much.
R – I think John relayed what he felt was important to relay. I don’t personally have issues with what ever his relationship with spirituality might be, only that I’m glad he found whatever he needed to find to get through that particular moment in time for him; and that would have included being absolutely supportive had he said he had NO spirituality in that “power above” sense.  I guess I just feel that we all find our way through life, and there’s so much to have opinions about – in this one particular area I have no answers, and my beliefs are no better or worse than anyone else’s.  

What role did fans have in Osaka, do you think?
A – John ends this chapter by saying that the band still had it and the fans still wanted it.  It made me feel that it was the fans that pushed the reunion to keep going.  The band could see and feel that the fans were still here and still loved them.  That was enough of a reason to keep going even when tensions were high.
R – Do you know what strikes me most about the reunion?  The fact that the band seemed surprised by our reaction to them. I must really be living in a bubble, because there seemed to be no other possible reaction to the original five members reuniting.  There is very precious little of which I am absolutely sure of in life – but when the band announced this reunion, I had no doubt whatsoever that fans would embrace them as before. I knew I couldn’t possibly be alone – it was a dream come true that (at the time) I was convinced would never happen.  I remember proclaiming all over the boards at DDF (duranduranfans.com) that we – the fans – never really left them; but the band left us. I felt that way again after Andy left during the time of Red Carpet Massacre. They’re back now though, and this time, I’m hopeful they stick around.  


Final Thoughts:
In a recent book club, the section of chapters we read and discussed seemed to all fit into the idea of lessons learned.  These chapters seem to be the application of the lessons.  John worked hard to learn how to cope with difficult situations without the use of drugs and alcohol.  These chapters saw tests of his effort.  First, he had to deal with his mother’s death then he had to struggle through the difficulty of the reunion.  The band’s trip to Japan could have been a disaster for John and the band.  Instead, John found a way through and he and the band got stronger because of it.

On that note, we will finish the book next week by discussing the last remaining chapters of 73 and 74.  After that, Rhonda and I will present our thoughts of the book overall in the following week.

-A

 

Step Into My Flame: Reflecting On Arcadia

By C.K. Shortell
 
I could walk into a room full of Duran fans and incite a riot with any number of comments. I could pick on Andy or Warren, as each has a dedicated following; I could shout out that Red Carpet Massacre is actually one of their best albums (don’t worry—I don’t think that—but confess to loving half of it); I could say they were better off with Sterling Campbell than Roger…(well maybe that’s just bordering on the absurd…)….I could say that if Dom were the guitarist from the get-go, Duran would have more hits and more stability and would be rightfully enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and routinely performing the halftime show at the Super Bowl (okay, now I’m just blatantly kissing up to the management of this blog)…anyway, I think we DD fans are an easy group to get riled up, on any number of topics. 
 
However, I’m not here to do that today. I don’t think I will, anyway—we shall see. Rather, I’m curious about what the readers of Daily Duranie feel about one of the band’s most famous and successful side projects: Arcadia. My general sense of the fan community’s attitude to the album is that, in context, it was a relief to know that Simon/Nick and (sort of) Roger were “doing something” while Andy and John were off with Robert Palmer and The Power Station.  Thus it was nice, in 1985, to hear Simon’s voice on a song on the radio while “Some Like It Hot” and “Bang a Gong” were being played nonstop, and John and Andy were jamming out in front of toilets and scantily clad women on MTV.   
 
I also think there is a segment of the fan base that treated So Red the Rose as Duran’s fourth studio album—listened to it over and over again, poured over the artwork and lyrics that accompanied the vinyl and/or cassette release, watched for the videos on MTV like a hawk.  I count myself among this group—I absolutely love the album.  But is loving Arcadia akin to, say, also loving Medazzaland or Pop Trash (count me guilty there too)? For the most part, I think the current Duran fan base dismisses those albums, which his fine—to each his or her own. Or is my affection (obsession?) with So Red the Rose more widespread and shared among the fans?
 
I am not a musician so, at least consciously, I can’t claim to know or be attached to Andy’s guitar style or John’s style as a bass player, etc. For me, Duran Duran begins and ends with two elements: Simon’s voice and Nick’s synths. So I guess it’s logical, given that perspective, that I gravitated toward Arcadia.
 
I scanned the past blogs and comments on Daily Duranie to see what people said about the project. Amanda’s blog on October 12 of last year addressed the question of why some of the later side projects were not as popular among the fans as Arcadia and Power Station.  Two replies to that blog cited the fact that other projects like The Devils and JT’s solo albums weren’t their style of music, while Arcadia was “amazing” (wrote Joel) and “a great vehicle” (Jetrell69) for Nick/Simon and “Roger’s drum machine.” (LOL-and I don’t use that term loosely!).
 
But not everyone loved So Red the Rose. In response to another blog that month (on October 23, the anniversary of the release of Notorious), Heather Todd wrote that, “Arcadia went down a road I wasn’t interested in taking. I wanted more Wild Boys!” I can relate to that point of view. Let’s face it—Arcadia was weird. Even I, as a devotee of the album, can say that.  It had odd artwork, all those numbers, the guys with their black hair, the Grace Jones spoken word portion that is the only thing I don’t like about “Election Day,” and all those six and seven minute songs on the second side…it certainly was a far cry from tight, pop-oriented “Seven and the Ragged Tiger.” It was Nick unleashed, unbridled. 
 
At the time, and for many years later, I viewed Arcadia as Duran’s second best album.  I know that statement is fraught with controversy on multiple levels…but it simply reflected how I felt. I even grouped the Arcadia cassette with the Duran Duran ones, always slipping it in between Arena and Notorious, in its proper chronological place. Why did I like it so much?  I thought it was extremely catchy. I loved the diversity—if you wanted guitar, you listened to The Flame; if you wanted a pop song, you listened to Election Day; if you wanted to be absolutely depressed and sad, you listened to Missing; if you wanted powerful songs with a message, you listened to Goodbye is Forever and The Promise.
 
So Red the Rose had the “meat” and depth to it that Seven and the Ragged Tiger (SATRT) lacked. It was like a bizarro, alternate universe counterpart to Rio—darkly mirroring it in everything from the artwork to the running order. (Yes, Lady Ice is Simon’s first of many pseudo-Chauffeur songs and probably my favorite.) And it did represent a return to that “darkness” that harkened back to the first album. I remember listening to the second side of Duran Duran and creating all of these dark videos in my head, and the second side of So Red the Rose evoked a similar response. (Rio does that too, although I think that’s as much about the videos as it is the songs themselves, e.g. I’m not sure I would associate Save a Prayer with running on the beach if I had never seen the video).
 
It was weird, dark, moody and gray…but it was also cool. How great was it to hear Sting and Simon sing on a song that wasn’t “Do they know it’s Christmas?”?  Or David Gilmour’s killer guitar on The Flame? 
 
I listened to So Red the Rose over and over again in 1985 and 1986. The only thing that tore me away was getting Notorious for Christmas in 1986 (I was 14—too young to drive and get it on release day!). But in 1987, I purchased the Playing for Keeps soundtrack because it included “Say the Word,” the lone b-side from Arcadia (remixes notwithstanding). I loved “Say the Word” but was glad it wasn’t on So Red the Rose—in much the same way that I love Secret Oktober but was glad it wasn’t on SATRT—it just functioned better outside the album. 
 
So, over a quarter century after its release, where do I rank So Red the Rose? I would say it’s in the upper tier of Duran albums. Off the top of my head, I probably like it better than anything after 1990 with the exception of Medazzaland and AYNIN; I’d say it’s on my Mt. Rushmore of Duran albums: Rio, the first album, AYNIN, Notorious, and Medazzaland.  (My Mt. Rushmore has six faces!).
 
Jetrell69 had also commented that, “I had hoped we’d see another Arcadia release.”  I recall The Devils album being billed as such in 2002, which of course led me to be very disappointed in it. The closest we’ve come to an Arcadia follow-up is likely Medazzaland.  Musically, maybe I’m way off with that comparison, but it seems to be the most similar in style and tone to So Red the Rose
 
You’ll notice that I did not get into an Arcadia vs. Power Station analysis. I avoided this for several reasons. For starters, I never even bought The Power Station album until 1990. I simply had no interest in it before then. Admittedly, I loved it, and that I think the ’96 follow-up, Living in Fear, is excellent and I still listen to that on occasion. 
 
However, to me, Arcadia is unique among all Duran side projects because of Simon’s voice.  I would no more compare Arcadia to The Power Station then I would Arcadia to any other band—it’s apples and oranges. Maybe that’s a topic for another blog or poll question…but not today.
 
I’m curious what you think. Am I overrating Arcadia? Is it truly “the most pretentious album of the decade” as Simon called it? Or do you view it as I do, as the dark companion to those early, classic Duran albums, and the bridge from the “original lineup era” to what followed?  Don’t keep us in the dark…comment below!!!
 
 
 
 
C.K. Shortell is a lifelong Duran Duran fan who lives in the northeast with his wife and two sons, both of whom love watching concert footage of the band.  When he’s not struggling to explain to a three year old why the guitarist always looks different or just what exactly Nick is doing, C.K. is constantly reminding co-workers and friends that the band never broke up.    


Interpretations of New Moon on Monday

Today is my last blog of the weekend as I’m going out of town for the Inauguration.  Do not fret, dear readers, there will be a blog tomorrow.  It is a gem of a guest blog so make sure to check it out.  Likewise, there will still be updates to Today in Duran’s History and the question of the day.  Yet, I hope to be leaving you with a blog that both bring a smile to your face and make you think a bit.  This blog will continue the new series of interpretations of various Duran songs.  This week, I tackle another song off of Seven and the Ragged Tiger, which is New Moon on Monday.  This song is one that many fans seem to like and one that I often hear requested to be paid live, despite the difficult notes that Simon would have to sing.  Personally, I like the song and, like many of you, I adore this video.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is my all-time favorite video.  The video has become so connected to the song for me that I can’t separate the two, really.  In fact, if asked what the song means, I would probably pop out with an underground movement pushing for a revolution against a tyrannical government.  Do the lyrics support that idea?  Let’s take a look and see but before we do that, let’s watch that fun video first!

So, what about those lyrics?

Shake up the picture the lizard mixture
With your dance on the eventide
You got me coming up with answers
All of which I deny
I said it again
Could I please rephrase it
Maybe I can catch a ride
I couldn’t really put it much plainer
But I’ll wait till you decide
Send me your warning siren
As if I could ever hide
Last time La Luna

[CHORUS]

I light my torch and wave it for the
New moon on Monday
And a firedance through the night
I stayed the cold day with a lonely satellite

Breaking away with the best of both worlds
A smile that you can’t disguise
Every minute I keep finding
Clues that you leave behind
Save me from these reminders
As if I’d forget tonight
This time La Luna

[CHORUS]

Now, what are the online theories about what this song means?  There are a few main theories about what the song could mean.  These theories are as follows:

*About an ex-girlfiriend who the guy is interested in getting back together

*Trying to date a shy or indecisive girl

*Revolutions or attempted revolutions

*Guy Fawkes conspiracy

It seems to me that these theories fall into two main categories:  relationships or revolutions.  Could the song be about trying to get back together with an ex-girlfriend or trying to get together with a shy or indecisive girl?  Well, the line about waiting for you to decide in the first verse could indicate these theories.  Heck, the line about coming up with answers that are denied could imply that the guy could have gotten an answer and is ignoring it or denying it.  The second verse could be about how the guy is looking for clues that says that the female really is interested.  Perhaps, he is remembering time spent together when they were together, which the line about “save me from these reminders” could be about.  What about the chorus?  Could the chorus be about the decision being told on Monday, which starts a whole “new” life?  After all, the guy has survived being “cold” or alone and “lonely”.  This theory seems possible.

What about the other major theory that the song really is about a revolution?  After all, the video showed that.  Did they come to that storyline because that actually matched the meaning?  Let’s see if the lyrics fit.  Shaking up the picture definitely could be a reference to changing something.  I’m not sure about the lizard part as the lizard symbolizes really different things in different cultures.  In Western cultures, it has been used like a snake to indicate evil.  The next couple of lines could be about how the government gives answers or statements to the people in order to get the people to think something.  Yet, this person denies the truth to these statements.  Perhaps, this person sheds light on to the propaganda or the lies.  Of course, there are warning sirens as a result.  The chorus definitely could indicate a change, which is what a new moon implies.  This change could be celebrated with a dance.  Then, what about the second verse?  It begins with the idea of “breaking away”.  Again, this could indicate a change.  This breaking away is also keeping the best of both worlds–maybe some elements of the old government would stay when combined with the new government.  I’m not sure about the clues part.

Then, there is the possibility that it has to do with Guy Fawkes.  Who was that, many of you might be wondering.  Well, from what I understand, Guy Fawkes was one of 13 men who plotted to blow up the House of Parliament in 1605 because they felt the King was mistreating Catholics.  The plan was simple.  They would store gunpowder in the cellar.  Yet, some of these men had second thoughts and sent out warnings.  This resulted in their arrest and execution.  That night, bonfires were set to celebrate the safety of the king.  Typically, these bonfires were accompanied with a fireworks display.  This story is fascinating to me since there seems to be a lot in common with the video.  Hmm…

Which theory do I like best?  I don’t know.  As a historian who has focused on social movements and political revolutions, I love the idea that it is indeed about a revolution or an underground movement.  Plus, I admit that I have a hard time separating the video from the song.  Thus, I immediately go there.  That said, I could definitely see it being about the attempt to getting with or back with a girl.  Could it be about something else?  Of course.  What do you the rest of you think?

-A   

P.S.  Suggestions for the next song?