Category Archives: Duran Duran

Meetup Update

I apologize for the absolutely horrible lateness to today’s blog.  It has been a very long day on the campaign trail (13 hour day).  Anyway, I wanted to take a moment or two to think ahead to the summer (I know, I know…I blogged yesterday about living in the moment.  The fact is that planning still needs to take place.  Sometimes, in order to really in the moment, planning is necessary!).  Obviously, the summer features some Duran shows here in the States.  Some of those shows are ones that we plan to attend.  Thus, for some shows, we have meetups planned!!!  Here’s where you get to plan your summer, too, in order to live well in the moment!!!  😉

1.  Biloxi, Mississippi–Friday, August 17th at 8pm at the Hard Rock Hotel
We are meeting up for drinks on the night before the Duran show.  We haven’t locked down a specific location yet as we hear that many of the bars there fill up fast, especially on a weekend night in the summer.  Yes, obviously, we didn’t plan anything for before the show.  As those of you who are attending the show know, this show is basically general admission and many of us attending will be waiting in line.  Thus, we thought it would be more fun to meet the night before.  It will certainly get us in the mood as it will be our first show together since last December!  If you are interested in attending, we have an event page set-up on facebook, which you can find here!  Looking forward to this one!

2.  Atlanta, Georgia–TBD
We are hoping to do something for this show, but we are waiting on the presale.  After all, we all have to get tickets first, right?  It appears that this show has seats based on the venue and from what we have heard from other Duranies who have attended shows there.  Thus, I suspect we would try to set something up for before the show, since the most people seem to be around then.  If not, maybe, after the show as people won’t be traveling right away as there isn’t a show the next day.  Anyway, as soon as we hear about this show, I’m sure we will figure something out and let you all know!

3.  Durham, North Carolina–Tuesday, August 21st at 5 pm at the West End Wine Bar
This is before the show there.  It appears that we have a lot of people attending, which is fabulous!  In fact, we are getting close to capacity there!  If you are interested in it, let us know as the facebook page is by invite only due to being close to capacity.  We want to make sure that everyone who is invited is serious about coming!

4.  Chicago, Illinois–Wednesday, August 29th, time and location TBD
Unfortunately, this is a show that Rhonda won’t be attending with me.  It is tough to get away right in the middle of a week, especially when the school year will have started.  The date isn’t the best for me, either, since I have to report to work the next morning.  Thus, it will be a quick turn around!  That said, I still hope to get something together for before the show.  If you know of a cool place near Ravinia, let me know!

5.  Midwest Meetup???
At one point, I talked about planning a get together for fans in the Midwest.  Of course, at the time, we didn’t know anything about these other tour dates and I realize that people only have so much time and money.  So, I’m putting it out there.  Is anyone still interested?  If so, I could still be game!  I would probably look at planning something for July as I will be super busy until the end of June and the tour starts in August. 

I’m looking forward to each and every one of these!!  I do enjoy meeting other Duranies!  I like sharing stories and building each others excitement about the band or the show!

-A
 

Countdowns

I hope this blog post will be fairly coherent.  Normally, I’m pretty confident that I will make sense but today finds me beyond tired, beyond fatigued, beyond exhausted.  If someone with more brain cells than what I have can find a stronger word, please let me know.  I will need to be using it frequently, VERY frequently in the next few weeks.  I worked a full week at my paid job and have worked an additional 35 hours at my not-paying campaign leader job.  While there is a part of me that kind of enjoys the level of intensity as we move towards an election day, there is another part of me that just wants to curl up and sleep until 2016.  So, how can I sustain, basically, 2 full time jobs and this for the next few weeks?  Obviously, part of the answer is dedication, focus, perseverance mixed with insanity.  The other thing I find myself doing at times like these, or when I have something to look forward to, is to make a countdown.  For example, I can tell you have I have 16 days left of the school year or18 days until the election for governor.  I should also be making a countdown for our tour in August. 

Interestingly enough, yesterday’s question had to do with which was Duran’s best era.  The most frequently given response was now.  I did not hesitate to post the video for All You Need Is Now.  It seemed fitting, right?  Then, I started to think.  A big part of the message of song is to appreciate the now.  Am I doing that with my focus on when things are getting done or what is happening?  Am I forgetting to live in the moment by doing that?  Does Duran do that?  I wonder.  They often say in interviews that they are just focused on the “now”.  They don’t spend a lot of time looking back on the past and they don’t really think about what they are going to do next.  Now, obviously, it is possible that they say that in interviews and don’t really do that in reality.  After all, typically, they are doing interviews to sell a current product.  Thus, they don’t want to talk about old projects or what they might be doing in the future.  It doesn’t help their current bottom line.  Nonetheless, I don’t get a sense that they really do spend a lot of time looking back.  What about the future?  Could they have their own countdowns?

Just recently Duran finished up a quick tour of South America.  It sounds like it was an absolutely fabulous tour!  As much as I’m sure Duran loved that tour, and all the other tours, were they counting down until the end?  Were they anxious to finish up, spend time at home with their families?  Were they excited to sleep in their own homes, in their own beds?  Would they or could they make a countdown for an album release?  I think of an album, like AYNIN, that they must have been so proud of.  Were they checking off dates in the calendar for the rest of the world to hear the album? 

Is my habit of counting down until the end of some horribly busy, stressful time something Duran would do or are they truly more focused on the now?  If they are focused on the present, do you think they could teach me to like getting very little sleep and being worried about how things are going to go?  It is definitely one lesson I need to learn.

-A

Too Bad THEY’RE So Beautiful

I can always tell when I’m really stressed about something because the words for my blog(s) just do not come easily, and right now is one of those times. What I would not give for a few days of relative worry-free peace.  It would be nice to be worrying about what beach to visit next, rather than how I’m going to get my nearly thirteen year old son through middle school, but alas…

Recently, Amanda’s questions of the day have taken on the theme of asking about various band members and what our opinions of their “best era” have been.  To begin with, I have to have a little chuckle that they’ve been around long enough for discussing “eras” about them. I’m not just laughing at their expense, but also my own – because let’s be honest, I’ve been a fan the whole time, and I am definitely not getting any younger myself.  (I should just be thankful that the tables are not suddenly turned and it’s not the band being asked about when their favorite “era” for the fans has been!)

In thinking of my own answers for these questions, I’ve found that some come to mind rather easily, and some have been more difficult.  For instance, the other day I knew right away that I preferred Nick best when he had orange hair.  I also remembered the days of Arcadia when asked about Simon.  However, today the question was in regards to Roger, and I really stumbled.  Interestingly enough, Roger has always been my favorite band member and yet there’s not really one period of time that I liked best over the others that came immediately to mind. I like it all, at least at first glance! Curiously, I started thinking back on my previous answers and realized that I wasn’t really answering the question with what I felt was their “best” period of time, but rather what might have been my favorite, and that “favorite” time may or may not have had anything to do with the band musically.  When I thought about Nick and Simon’s best periods of time, I thought about how they looked, not necessarily how they sounded, and that makes me kind of wince now that I think about it!

I must admit that at this point in my life, I would have loved to believe that being a fan of the band went beyond just their looks, and of course it does – but it’s also very clear that in as much as I love their music, it is the magic combination of looks, personality and musicianship that has continued to encourage me to be a fan for so long.  I would imagine that holds true for many others out there.  I think it’s that fact: the fact that the guys are still loved by so many for being the entire package, that helps make them so easily dismissed by critics. I could go into a long term paper on how incredibly sexist male music critics (and the occasional male fan) might be, but I’ll refrain for now.  Suffice to say though that just because they are loved by women that makes their music shallow and not worthy.  Naturally we female fans don’t help matters when questions like this come up and we answer with what appeals to us on a purely superficial level – but I suppose I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Call me crazy, but I’m just not into Mick Jagger or even Steven Tyler.  I like Simon, John, Nick, Roger AND Dom (my blog, my rules on who is in this band!)….and their music isn’t half bad either.

-R

How much is too much?

Last week I was chatting with some friends who mentioned that the band was looking quite tired after (during) their tour in South America.  This conversation coincided with some additional dates being announced by the band for their summer tour of Europe and America.  The question ultimately became whether or not the band was doing too much.

Naturally, all of us want to see the band perform, and the idea of having more than one opportunity to do so is exciting.  On the same token, no one wants to see the band driven to exhaustion, and there are at least a few fans that feel they’re overdoing it.  No one wants to have another summer like the last, when Simon was unable to sing, and yet all of us want to be able to have one more chance to see them onstage before the band goes on hiatus for an undetermined length of time.  Where is the happy medium?

I suppose I take somewhat of a hard line on the subject because while yes, I think touring can certainly be grueling – I also firmly believe it’s part of their job.  It’s what makes money, and it’s what is required.  I’m not heartless, but I also think there are very, very few professions where one can truly decide to take a year off in order to write and record an album along with time for vacationing and relaxing. Most other careers pretty much insist on the idea of continuing to travel and sell one product while concurrently developing the next product and getting it ready for market.  There’s no such thing as a “hiatus” or “downtime”.  It would seem that touring goes along with the job, and nowadays it’s required more than ever in order to make a buck!

Who is to say how much is really too much?  Is it the band?  Is it management?  Is it ticket sales or demand?  There used to be a saying in the industry – “leave ’em wanting more!”  Curiously, it would appear at least to me that audiences are requiring more and more, and yet as a fan I can say that when the band does finally leave the stage for the last time on this tour and retreats back into their offstage lives and personas – I will absolutely miss seeing them, and of course I’ll still be wanting more.   So have they done too much?  Is it enough?

-R

This Band Is Perfect Just Don’t Scratch the Surface…

I live in the Midwest of the United States.  More specifically, I live in the upper Midwest, in Wisconsin.  We definitely experience every single season here.  Right now, it is spring.  It is sunny outside and a beautiful 66 degree F.  Obviously, there are many parts of the world that experience weather as wonderful as this most of the year.  Of course, here in Wisconsin, we also have a long and, sometimes, brutal winter with months of below freezing temperatures and snow.  Yet, I like it that way.  Why?  I like that the weather is changing and I like that there are many days in which the weather just downright sucks.  This is my preference because then I feel like I can really appreciate days like today.  In fact, one of my most favorite days of the year is the first day at the end of winter when the temperature gets above freezing, the sun comes out from behind the clouds and the ice and snow begins to melt.  It is a reminder that we survived the harsh days of winter and that better days are ahead. 

Duran Duran as a band seems to have their own seasons, in my opinion.  They are constantly changing.  Some of these changes are small (touring outfits or backgrounds at live shows) and others are huge (significant musical changes in between albums).  The band members themselves have had their own seasons as well, from the carefree times to harder, more challenging periods.  After all, they are all humans.  I know of no person who has not had good times and bad times.  It is simply a part of life.  For me, the more challenging times help me to appreciate the good, much like winter makes me love spring all the better.  I think this is true for Duran Duran as well.  I admire the fact that they are always trying to change, to make things better, to perfect their practice.  Obviously, in my opinion, sometimes, they are extremely successful and other times they fall flat on their faces. 

Today, I began a new series of questions for the daily question.  In today’s question, I asked people to choose Simon LeBon’s best era.  I assumed that some people might pick the era in which they thought he looked the best while others would choose the time he sang the best or wrote the best lyrics.  Still others might look outside of the box and pick something more personal.  I didn’t want to give too many parameters so that people would be able to pick whichever era for whatever reason.  Of course, already today, many people have answered the question in that way.  Yet, others said that they couldn’t choose because he is always fabulous.  Is he?  Is any of them?  Are any of us?  I would argue that no one is perfect and that each of us have tried things only to have them not go as planned.  Sometimes, life circumstances have been such that we can’t control the time in our lives.  Yes, some would argue that it is impossible to judge because times change, fashion changes, etc.  It isn’t fair to judge.  First, I don’t really view the question as judging.  Going back to my analogy of seasons.  I like winter.  I think snow can be pretty.  That said, is it my favorite?  No, my favorite season is actually fall because I adore the changing of the leaves on the trees.  It doesn’t mean I don’t like winter, just that it is not my favorite.  I’m also not asking people to pick the worst.  I wouldn’t do that.  Many could argue that the worst of Duran is still better than most bands out there and I agree.  That said, I like to stay positive.  What I’m trying to do with the question is to have people pick that moment that is equal to the first day of thawing in the spring or to pick their favorite season.  I want people to pick the moment, the time, when Simon really shined.  It doesn’t take away from the rest of the moments but is putting one moment, one time, one era in the spotlight. 

Of course, as you can guess, I will be asking about the rest of the band members as well.  This isn’t a pick on Simon thing.  Before anyone asks, yes, John is my favorite and, yes, I think I could pick an era that is his best.  Why can I do that?  First of all, I can do it because, like me, he is human.  He isn’t perfect.  Second, I think that there were some moments when he shined more than others.  Does that mean he sucked the rest of the time?  Nope.  It just means that some eras were better than others.  I have that in my life, too.  Don’t we all?  In my opinion, this doesn’t make me less of a fan.  I think it just makes me a fan.  A fan is someone who can and does appreciate when the band or a band member gets it right.  That’s all I’m asking people to acknowledge by these questions.  Is that too much to ask?

-A

Rio Anniversary

This week saw the 30th anniversary of the release of Duran Duran’s Rio album.  As part of the celebration, many people listened to the album, posted videos, talked about it and more.  We didn’t do much here or on our facebook or twitter.  I could do that here, but I won’t.  Instead, I want to analyze why/how Rio has come to represent the ultimate Duran Duran both musically and visually.  How come this album came to be the best?  Is it really the best or is it due to the context in which it is surrounded?

Before I analyze why/how Rio became a favorite, I think a little history lesson is due.  Duran Duran started the Rio album in January 1982, not even a full year after the release of their first single, Planet Earth.  The album was recorded in London and was produced by Colin Thurston, the same producer as their first album.  Of course, before the album was even released, the band traveled to the island of Sri Lanka to film a few videos:  Hungry Like the Wolf, Save a Prayer and Lonely in Your Nightmare.  From there, they began a tour of Australia and Japan in April.  Of course, the album was basically done by that point as Nick even stayed behind in London to finish the mix.  He would travel to Sri Lanka after the rest of the band.  By the time the album was released on May 10th, the band had an album cover that featured Patrick Nagel artwork and had already released My Own Way and Hungry Like the Wolf as singles.  The Rio album did well in many places, the UK and Australia, in particular, but did not do well in the US until after MTV began airing their videos.  The album was, in fact, re-released in November 1982.  Then, it peaked at number 6 on March 12, 1983.  Since the release, the album has reached double platinum status (2 million copies sold).

So, how come the album found so much success and managed to capture many of the fans’ place for the ultimate Duran Duran?  The first and most obvious answer is that the music is good.  Great.  Fabulous.  Many fans will say that they don’t hear a bad song or a filler on the album.  As we all know, it is an album mixed with ballads like Save a Prayer, more atmospheric pieces like the Chauffeur, and more rockin’ songs like Hungry Like the Wolf.  This album is what every other piece of Duran Duran music is compared to now.  I think back to right before All You Need is Now came out and the statement that Mark Ronson made that got quite a bit of attention about how AYNIN is the real follow-up to Rio.  Yet, I think there is way more to it than just the music.  After all, many of us got introduced to the Duran Duran not through the music but through their videos.

I, personally, don’t remember the first Duran Duran song I heard.  I don’t remember the first video I saw either but I can tell you that, as a kid, the videos were what got my attention.  I remember a time when I was really, really horribly sick as a kid.  My poor mother was staying up with me to take care of me.  Back in 1983/84, there wasn’t much TV on at 3 in the morning and we watched MTV.  I remember seeing the video for Save a Prayer over and over and over that night.  Not only did I think the song was beautiful, not only did I think the band members were cute, the images shown were such that they were hard to forget.  My goodness I think I still get goosebumps at the end of that video when they are all standing there looking up in front of the enormous statue with bare feet.  I wasn’t sure what it meant but it had to mean something, I figured.  Of course, I thought the same about Simon’s lyrics.  I wasn’t sure what the heck he was singing about but they always made me think, made me want to figure them out.  Anyway, the videos of this album really captured my attention and clearly captured others’ attentions as well since there was a very obvious connection between those places that had MTV and Duran Duran album sales.  If you had MTV, you bought the album.  If you didn’t have MTV, you didn’t buy the album.  It was as simple as that.  Yes, it helped that MTV didn’t have a ton of videos and that they aired Duran over and over and over again.  We were also a captive audience.  If we wanted to see videos, we had to see a lot of Duran videos.  Many of these videos or images from these videos are still used today.  It seems to me that 98% of interviews with Duran shows the image of the band on the boat during Rio or Simon running through the jungle in HLTW.  At this point, you can’t separate these images from the music.  Speaking of images, that album cover is still very popular and well-known.  Do all of these images add to the specialness of Rio?  I think they do.

The Rio era also saw two really important things take place.  First, their popularity exploded during this time.  Duran Duran started becoming a real household name, a name that got real attention in places beyond the UK, Australia and Japan.  Duran got real worldwide success with this album.  Second, for many of the original Duranies, this is when people became fans.  It seems to me that whenever you become a fan, that time seems to be the best, most important time for that fan.  Thus, if someone became a fan in 1993, s/he is not probably going to say that Seven and the Ragged Tiger was his/her favorite era.  No, one’s favorite era is the time when that celebrity caught your attention and caught your attention in a way that was no longer easy to walk away from.  A special memory is created then.

So, what is it that makes the Rio album so special?  Honestly, I think it is the combination between the music, the videos, the images, the worldwide popularity and one’s own personal fandom.  No matter the reason, it is hard to argue that Rio hasn’t made its mark with Duran Duran, with their fans and with the public at large.  It is one of those must-know, must-own albums.

-A

Blue To Brown – The Daily Duranie Album Review

It’s another review for Friday, and this week we’re taking a side trip from our regular time machine journey back into Duran history in order to visit the blues with Dom Brown and his father for their album Blue to Brown, due for release on May 30th.  Dom made pre-release copies available before his tour with Duran Duran to South America, and we took full advantage. We might add that worldwide shipping is still free (We think touring with DD for so long has unfortunately taken Dom’s sanity…), and copies are available for 9.99 GBP (That amounts to about $16.10 USD with today’s exchange rate.)

We need to get the full-disclosure out of the way with some harsh realities. If you have purchased this album and are expecting to hear anything remotely similar to Duran Duran, you will be disappointed. This is not Rio. This is a blues album.The closest thing to the blues that Duran Duran has ever done would have to be the performance of House of the Rising Sun at the Voodoo festival in 2006, and without Dom on stage that night it is doubtful the performance of that song would have been the same.

Contrary to what you may have heard, Amanda and Rhonda are not trained music critics (That’s sarcasm, friends!), and what you read below is only our opinion.

Rhonda’s point of view:


I must admit that I had nervous trepidation upon receiving Blue to Brown because I knew we would be reviewing it for the blog and if I hated it – what would I say?!? The fact is, I’ve never really been into the blues. You might even say I don’t personally own a single blues album in my entire collection. As I mentioned on a previous blog, my experience with the blues has been mainly a struggle.

The album is clearly a labor of love for Dom and his father, Rob Brown – who performs lead vocals and does so extremely well.  His vocal quality is perfect for this music, and while yes – it’s indeed a departure from the likes of Simon LeBon – it’s supposed to be. There is a fabulous gravely quality to Rob’s deep voice, oozing emotion into all the right places.

There are plenty of great highlights on this album. I love the jazzy sax feel to Going Down but Not Slow. One of the brilliant things about the blues is that it tends to incorporate or even lend itself to several types of music. Old fifties rock and roll being one of them, jazz being another, still yet there’s gospel, and if you’re in the deep bayous of the US – zydeco is another. Anna Ross does a flat-out amazing job on the gospel-inspired Sweet Mercy. Kat Pearson duets with Rob on The Heat is Gone and she completes the visual I have in my head of the song being performed on stage. If that’s not enough to peak your interest, the extremely talented Martha Riley graces the album with her work on Please, Please. I love that this one album includes the gifts from so many. Much to my surprise, I don’t think you have to already love the blues to find something to enjoy on this album.

The shining star on the album is Dom’s guitar skill. I dare the naysayers out there to give a fair listen to this album and then come back here to argue his place on stage with Duran Duran. It is only on this album where you can really begin to fully ascertain the breadth of Dom’s musical versatility.  Yes, this is the same guy that can play Careless Memories by Duran Duran, Day Turned Black off of his own album, and then play a superb solo for Talking Blues. To say Dom is “just a studio guitarist”, doesn’t even scratch the surface. Duran Duran is lucky to have him and they know it, he’s been there for over six years now. They are lucky he doesn’t wander off to do his own thing because if this album is any indication of potential, the sky doesn’t even begin to set a limit.  (Personal note to Dom: no wandering off!)

My personal favorite on the album straddles two songs, Sweet Mercy and Please, Please.  The latter reminds me so much of my childhood as it’s exactly the type of song my parents would have spinning on our console record player back in the 1970’s. I wish my dad were still alive so that he could hear it, I would proudly share the CD with him, knowing he’d enjoy every minute. (Sadly, I never could convince him to be a Duran Duran fan!) All in all, Rob and Dom Brown have taught me to thoroughly enjoy their brand of the blues, and even more surprising, I find myself reaching for this CD for the sheer listening enjoyment – something I couldn’t have promised prior to getting it in the mail.

Amanda’s Thoughts:

My review starts a lot like Rhonda’s does.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I got this album.  I knew going in that it wouldn’t be Duran.  In fact, it wouldn’t even be in the same neighborhood as Duran Duran.  After all, it is a completely different style of music.  Now, I have always enjoyed the fact that Duran has pushed me to check out music that isn’t on my radar.  For example, I remember putting on my first Chic album (I borrowed it from the library when I was a kid!).  I couldn’t believe what I heard!  At first, I couldn’t understand why Duran would like it and put it away only to try it again years later!  Thankfully, I have matured quite a bit since then and understood that things that are different aren’t necessarily bad.  I have to be open-minded.  Of course, from there, I contemplated the idea of Duran’s guitarist making a Blues record.  Blues?  I couldn’t really wrap my head around it.  How would/why would musicians in England get attracted to the Blues?  While I don’t know much about the Blues, I do tend to think of African-Americans in the South.  In fact, I have a vision of players sitting outside on their porches, playing on a hot, muggy night.  It is interesting that the cover seems to fit this image of the Blues.  Anyway, I would love to know what/how Dom and his father got interested in the genre.

I started listening to the album in my car.  I figured that in order to really give the music a chance it deserved more of my undivided attention.  The car provides that as I can’t be doing anything but drive and listen to music.  The first time through I didn’t pay a lot of attention to specific songs or specific qualities.  I wanted to measure the album as a whole, to get the real mood of the album.  I found it was incredibly mellow and relaxing.  It actually made me calm in the midst of a stressful time.  Perfect!  While there is obviously instrumentation, that instrumentation isn’t so overwhelming that it drowns out the song.  For example, many songs feature solid guitar solos.  They aren’t such that all I hear and FEEL is guitar.  These solos aren’t done for attention, for a spotlight.  They are done for the good of the music, for the good of the song.  Perhaps, this shows what I generally feel about guitar solos.  I don’t like many of them, even if they are done by quality guitar players.  I find them too arrogant, too much about being the star of the show.  In this case, the solos feel natural, organic, pure unlike the majority I find in so-called rock music.  While I’m focused on the guitar, I’m just amazed by Dom’s talent here.  I couldn’t help but to think about all that he brings to the table with Duran Duran.  He clearly is multidimensional and understands music.  Of course, I thought about how he would bring different influences to a writing process as well, which could make for some exciting recording sessions!

Vocally and lyrically, the album is very Blues.  Honestly, I think Dom’s father’s voice is absolutely perfect for the music and for the genre.  The vocals are deep, slow and really work to draw the listener in.  I wanted to know what he was singing about.  Of course, the album also features vocals by Dom, a woman by the name of Kat Pearson and backing vocals by Anna Ross.  All of them work to enhance the quality of songs, in my opinion.  I really liked how, at times, those additional vocals were very much in the background and other times would come center stage.  Again, I couldn’t help but to think of a spontaneous jam session in someone’s yard in the early evening on a warm summer day.  The songs feel that natural.  Interestingly enough, after a few listens, I found myself wanting to sing along!  While the genre isn’t one to have catchy lyrics, I found myself wanting to join in and participate in the fun!

As far as individual tracks go, I really like the first two tracks, Blue Boy and Going Down but Not Slow, as well as the Heat Has Gone.  I enjoyed the female vocal in the Heat Has Gone as well as the storyline.  The first track, Blue Boy, really shows the genre off with the fabulous guitar solo, backing vocals and lyrics that pull you in.  Going Down but Not Slow has lyrics that I could relate to.  Again, the lyrics weren’t super complicated by I liked the message of putting up a fight.  All in all, I think the album is quality and I’m happy that it has opened my ears to a genre that I’m not as familiar with. 

Networker Nation

Recently I watched a video of an interview that John and Roger did while in South America.  During the piece, John mentioned that he feels that the band is closer to their fans than before – referring to prior to the release of All You Need is Now. I doubt that any fan who has been connected through social media would disagree, but it got me thinking about what might have been.

There have been many times when a few of us have gotten to chatting on Twitter and wondered “aloud” what it would have been like had this technology been available during the 1980’s. Most of us typically announce that it would have been complete chaos, and then of course we laugh off the idea and go about our tweeting way. What I wonder about today though, is what it all would have been like had social networking never taken hold.

I’ve not done any real interviews or polls regarding fan feelings towards the band just prior to Simon or John joining Twitter or Facebook, (What – be scientific and professional?  Never!) so that leaves me to only relate to my own experiences. If you’re really curious about how I might have felt, one only needs to go back to the inception of Daily Duranie and read through the archives to know. That’s the funniest part of this whole tale – social networking as we know it has really only been around a matter of a couple of years. Three years ago, we might have only gotten our information from a message board, possibly dd.com or maybe DDM.  The very thought of John, Simon, Nick,Roger or Dom gracing us with their virtual presence was just a dream – and a far fetched one at that.

At the risk of rehashing history, that’s where I begin in brutal honesty. Three years ago, I would have openly yelled from any rooftop that the band thought they were far too good, too much like royalty, to convene with the commoners. (That would be us, the fans.) Was that fair? Maybe. Maybe not. I really don’t know. It seemed to me that for years, the plan was to keep the band at arms length from the fans, dangling like a carrot we could never quite reach. I almost wonder if the band was shocked that when they went on tour for Astronaut and found that at least a handful of fans had no trouble staying at the same hotels and cavorting in the bars after shows. We really were not the same ten, twelve, thirteen year olds that they’d left behind in the 80’s. That alone must have been a surprise. Then we had the nerve to actually expect (and some might say demand) that they acknowledge our presence beyond the stage. At first, I was enamored by the whole scene.  Here I was, going to Duran Duran shows and frequenting the same places that the band might. As time wore on, it seemed obvious to me that while other bands were able to better embrace their fans, there seemed to be a general unwillingness from Duran Duran to even attempt to do so. Now, before anyone decides to send me a nastygram about how the band can’t possibly do such things because their fans would tear them to shreds – save it. I already know. The dilemma is that by not making the attempt to embrace when possible, and abstain when necessary is that fans (myself included) began to see the band has having a sort of continued and sustained sense of apathy towards the fans. This seemed to continue to grow, whether misinterpreted or rightfully implied the longer that the Astronaut tour went on, and continued through the making of Red Carpet Massacre. The longer I was involved on the message boards, the more I heard about how much the band, and specific members within who will remain unnamed here, would complain about the fans. Comments about certain types of fans who typically occupied the front section at shows. Complaints about fans from certain very large, very populated countries being loud, raucous and rude. Statements about  the types of fans that certain members would like to see at shows. After months of reading such things, there was a definite shift in the fan community. The attitude changed, and rather than seeing support, I saw plenty of discontent.

Matters were not helped at all when it was announced that Andy was leaving the band on a permanent basis. They continued not to be helped as time wore on without an album release in sight, and the more that Nick Rhodes took to video to tell us all about the “groooveworld” state the band was in with this new album and how wonderful Timbaland was, the more agitated the community seemed. Naturally, this doesn’t describe everyone – but it seemed to be the overall feeling. Then of course the fan show happened in 2007, and if the band had any kind of an inkling that things were unwell and fractured in their fan community – they certainly should have after this show. I know that at that point, I’d spoken to many a fan that night that announced they’d just been to their last Duran Duran gig. The key here though is that it was never just about the music. It was the feeling between band and fan base that played just as large a part – there was simply no connection.  It was purely a transactional relationship: they make albums and play gigs – we purchase their product and scream for them. End of story.

In 2008 and 2009, things did not seem to get better. I did not attend many shows during the Red Carpet Massacre tour, but I did go to the final three shows when the band came back to the US for a final time before taking a hiatus. I have never felt more disconnected to that band than I did for those shows. The shows were good, but there was definitely a spark missing. The connection between the band and the fans just didn’t seem to quite mesh.  Then of course we all know they went home, and at some point back into the studio to record what we now know to be All You Need is Now.

It seemed like a fairly sad state of affairs at the time. I can remember discussing the possibility that we’d never see another album out of the band many, many times during their hiatus. We’d hear snippets from the studio and while I could never make heads or tails out of what I was hearing – I couldn’t quite decide if we really got a real “leak” or if it was something that crawled out of the archives. Truth be told, it wasn’t until Simon and then John got onto Twitter and actually started using it in earnest that I thought there might be the smallest glimmer of hope for them. I felt tepid towards them for a long time, although I was still very excited to see that they were genuinely making an effort to get past their own celebrity crap and get to know the fans as people. (Yes, I really felt like it was as though they had to get over themselves – because as fans, we’ve always just kind of been exactly whom we are, you know?) The more genuine that John – and I say John only because I felt like he really did make the best effort at getting to understand who in the hell we really were to begin with – became, the more comfortable *I* felt again.  That’s not to say Simon didn’t do his part, but I’ve never quite understood him – and yes, he still scares the hell out of me.  Probably intended, and I’m happy to steer clear and let the Simon girls out there have their way.  Although on a side note, I still miss my good friend “Moocher” from my days on DuranDuranFans.com (now defunct)…a Simon “fan” to the very end who liked to let me have it, and I gave it right back.  Good times.

Since then of course, All You Need is Now came out and knocked my socks off. I can’t say that wouldn’t have happened if John or Simon had never tried Twitter or Facebook.  I listened to Duran Duran for twenty some years before I ever traded a single message with any of them, so it’s not like I would not have embraced the new album. The difference for me, and I would imagine many of you out there, is that this time – I feel personally vested. There’s an emotionality that goes way beyond the superficial. You might say I trust the band, and I have to thank John and Simon for that. The two of them – along with Roger on Facebook to a lesser degree – held an olive branch out to the fans via social networking. I don’t know if social networking saved the band, but it definitely has helped to make me feel closer to them, and I am sure I’m not alone.

So what would it all have been like without social networking?  Would the fan community have embraced the new album as well? Would the gigs still have that same spark? More importantly, would the band really want to keep going?  What about the fans?  Where would we be right now?

I don’t know for sure – but I’m enjoying this moment.

-R

It goes on and on and on…

I have John Taylor to thank for today’s topic.  He knew exactly what he was starting yesterday when he tweeted the following:

“It has been pointed out that Dom Brown has now been playing with Duran longer than Andy T. #justsaying”


I have two words for Mr. John Taylor today:  POT STIRRER.


I winced as I read the tweet, because of course I knew this would begin the latest in a series of continuing debate threads on the very subject. I also knew that from this we would drift into the whirlpool of contemptuous comments about Andy, Warren and of course Dom. It’s 2012 now. Dom has been playing with the band since 2005 and steadily without fail since 2006.  That’s six years and counting. Warren hasn’t played with the band since what, 2001? It would seem as though this discussion would have an ending at this point, but of course – this is Duran Duran. Things don’t merely “end”, they just get swept into a pile and hidden under the carpet until the next cleansing.  


Surprisingly, most of the comments about this tweet have been fairly positive in nature.  Aside from some pointing out the “error” in math (yes, yes we ALL know that Andy played in the band twice, and that if you add up those years in total it comes to more than the six that Dom has currently played.), and for others to point out that the fab five will never be anything other than the LeBon, Rhodes, Taylor, Taylor, Taylor lineup, a lot of fans who cared to comment seem to have become rather fond of Mr. Brown.  


I’m not here to comment on the worthiness of Dom as Duran Duran’s guitar player. He really doesn’t need my help to convince anybody at this point. Go to a show. Watch him interact with the band. Watch him interact with the crowd. Not only does he play his part well, he acts as though he’s part of the band without acting as though he owns the band, or that the band somehow owes him for being there. I’m also not going to level Andy’s playing to just simply being “the past”, because quite honestly if it weren’t for Andy Taylor, Duran Duran would have never existed in the way, shape, or form that you and I know and love. The same can and should be said for Warren.  


Respect is a good topic for the day. Respecting the past. Respecting the present.  Respecting the future. It’s pretty sad that the discussion comes down to whether their guitar player has enough “star power” to cut the mustard, or whether or not that since he hasn’t been around since the beginning he doesn’t count. To that I must ask: what about Ordinary World?  What about Come Undone? Hell…what about Notorious?? Those songs, and plenty more, were recorded well after Andy’s exit. It is easily as unfair to discount Warren’s tenure with the band as it is to discount Andy’s.  


What fans continue to forget and ignore is that it has taken the entire journey to get to the point where we’re all standing. Sure, it’s about the “now”, but it’s also about the past, and it’s even about the future – because next year when we look back – we’ll be seeing today and all of the days between now and next year in our rearview mirror.  


-R

Tour update and other tidbits!

Duran Duran is still busy touring their album All You Need is Now, and the latest word from DDHQ is of several newly added dates to their summer touring schedule, which you can find asterisked below:  (Presale information indicates a DDM presale, NOT the public onsale date!)

May 08 Santiago, Chile at Teatro Caupolican
Tickets on sale!

June 25 Wroclaw Strefa Kibica, Poland at MUSICART in cooperation with Music Pool Tickets on sale !

June 27 Prague, Czech Republic at O2 Arena
Tickets on sale!

June 28 Budapest, Hungary at the Papp László Budapest Sport Arena
Tickets on sale!

July 06 Thessaloniki, Greece at Earth Open Air
Tickets on sale !

*July 07 Skopje, Macedonia, Skopsko Kale
Pre Sale Details Coming Soon!

*July 09 Istanbul, Kucuk Ciftlik Park
Pre Sale Details Coming Soon!

July 12 Novi Sad, Serbia as part of the Exit Festival
Regular tickets on sale, there was no pre-sale for this show

July 14 Ljubljana, Slovenia at Gospodarsko Razstavišče
Tickets on Sale!

July 16 Verona, Italy at the Verona Arena
Tickets on sale!

July 18 Rome, Italy at the Foro Italica
Tickets on sale!

July 20 Cattolica, Italy at the Arena Della Regina
Tickets on sale!

July 21 Lucca, Italy at the Piazza Napoleone
Tickets on sale!

July 23 Carcassonne, France at the Festival de Carcassonne
Regular tickets on sale, there was no pre-sale for this show

July 25 Monte Carlo, Monaco at The Sporting Club
Regular tickets on sale, there was no pre-sale for this show

*July 27 London, England Hyde Park, 2012 Summer Olympics/BT London Live Opening Ceremony Celebration Concert. No member pre-sale. Tickets on sale May 4th, 9am local time through http://www.btlondonlive.com/

August 08 Saratoga, CA at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA
Tickets on Sale!

August 09 Saratoga, CA at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA
Tickets on Sale!

August 11 Costa Mesa, CA at the Pacific Amphitheatre/OC Fair
Tickets on Sale!

August 12 Tuscon, AZ at AVA Amphitheatre/Casino Del Sol
Tickets on Sale!

August 15 Catoosa, OK at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Tickets on Sale!

August 17 Memphis, TN at the Memphis Botanical Gardens
Tickets on Sale!

August 18 Biloxi, MS at Hard Rock Casino and Resort
Tickets on Sale!

*August 19 Atlanta, GA at Chastain Park
Pre Sale Details Coming Soon!

August 21 Durham, NC at the Durham Performing Arts Center
Tickets on Sale!

*August 24 Mashantucket, CT at the MGM Grand Theatre at Foxwoods
Pre Sale Details Coming Soon!

*August 25 Atlantic City, NJ at Revel Ovation Hall
Pre Sale Details Coming Soon!

August 28 Kettering, OH at Fraze Pavilion
Tickets on sale!

August 29 Highland Park, IL at the Ravinia Festival
Tickets on Sale!

*August 31 Orilla, ONT Casino Rama Entertainment Centre
Pre Sale Details Coming Soon!



If that news doesn’t excite your Duranie-senses, then perhaps the press release of Diamond in the Mind directly from dd.com will do the trick!


A DIAMOND IN THE MIND” DURAN DURAN LIVE IN CONCERT 2011

May 8th, 2012

“A Diamond In The Mind” DURAN DURAN LIVE IN CONCERT 2011
Recorded At Manchester’s MEN Arena
Stand-alone DVD, Blu-ray and CD
Deluxe Edition with all three formats and bonus features
Set for Release 02-07-12
Eagle Records & Eagle Vision
Following the phenomenal success of their recent “All You Need Is Now” UK arena tour, and the announcement that they will be representing England as one of the headliners at the BT London Live Opening Ceremony Concert in Hyde Park, to celebrate the London 2012 games, iconic British rock band, DURAN DURAN, are shortly set to release “A DIAMOND IN THE MIND” – a stunning recording of one of the band’s live concert performances on DVD, Blu-ray and CD.
Slated to hit stores on Monday 2nd July 2012, through Eagle Vision and Eagle Records, “A Diamond In The Mind” was filmed and recorded at Manchester’s MEN Arena in December of last year, where the band garnered some of the finest reviews of their career.
Shot in high definition by long-time Duran collaborator, director Gavin Elder, the recording of the show will be simultaneously released on multiple formats: standard DVD (Cat. No. EREDV941), Blu-ray (Cat. No. ERBRD5156), CD (EAGCD487), and the triple-pack Deluxe Edition, containing all three formats (Blu-ray, DVD & CD – Cat. No. ERBRD5158) in an 8 panel digipack with bonus features, and an expanded 20 page booklet, all inside a foil blocked slip-case.
The band’s first live release in almost a decade, “A Diamond In The Mind” bristles with classic hits alongside new tracks taken from their critically acclaimed album “ALL YOU NEED IS NOW”, which was produced by Grammy award winner Mark Ronson and hit the #1 spot on Download Charts in 15 countries (including the UK).
Known for their epic productions, amazing visuals, ground-breaking stage sets and iconic style, this is only the second time in ten years that the band have recorded one of their concerts in glorious high definition sound and vision, giving fans a rare and unique opportunity to relive the experience.
In addition to the songs themselves, both the DVD, Blu-Ray and Deluxe Edition releases also feature interviews with the band, alongside behind-the-scenes footage of the 2011 tour, together and bonus tracks ”Come Undone” and “Is There Something I Should Know.”
Talking from Brazil, where the band are currently on the South American leg of their world tour, keyboardist, NICK RHODES said “We wanted to create a dynamic, interactive show, combining new technology with edgy design. The brief for our lighting designer was ‘Pixel Punk’. This manifested itself in the convergence of hi-tech screens with a powerful, asymmetrical lighting rig. The primary aim was to re-invent our songs visually and introduce material from the new album as a unique sensory experience. With this in mind, the screens were populated by science fiction, supermodels, anime, psychedelic patterns and graphic design. Four massive mechanical arms were programmed to swoop down over the stage, firing beams of light, like the aliens in War of the Worlds. And the audience was integrated with the show, as live cameras were turned on them, projecting their images behind the band. Hanging high above the stage, four giant heads presented another dimension to the production, as they came alive as band members, skulls, robots and a girl transforming into a leopard.
The show is a journey. It was already our movie, but the challenge loomed to translate this into a film that tells the same story for those who were not there on the night. In this case we used many cameras, to ensure no detail escaped. We deployed both slow motion, animation and various stylized film grades, which give the performance a dreamlike quality in places; but most of all, I think A Diamond in the Mind truly captures the widescreen energy and vibrancy of what really transpired that night, when Duran Duran played live in Manchester.”
Adding to this, lead singer SIMON LE BON said; “The 2011 UK tour was particularly significant for all of us on a number of levels. In the early part of the year, I lost my voice and we were forced to cancel several months of touring, including all of our British dates. It was a really difficult time for us as a band as we had a new album out that we were just breaking in and loving playing live. When I blew my voice out in Cannes, at the film festival in mid-May, we weren’t sure when we would be able to resume and the summer wait was long and full of anxiety – especially for me. The UK shows which were finally rescheduled for December, proved to be some of the best we’ve ever done – so the year that had been rather a roller-coaster, ended on a really high note.”
Track listing for the DVD, Blu-ray & Deluxe Edition includes:
Return To Now 2) Before The Rain 3) Planet Earth 4) View To A Kill 5) All You Need Is Now 6) Blame The Machines 7) Safe (In The Heat Of The Moment) 8) The Reflex 9) Man Who Stole A Leopard 10) Girl Panic! 11) White Lines 12) Careless Memories 13) Ordinary World 14) Notorious 15) Hungry Like The Wolf 16) (Reach Up For The) Sunrise 17) Wild Boys/Relax 18) Rio 19) A Diamond In The Mind
Bonus tracks are: Come Undone and Is There Something I Should Know?
Track listing for the Live CD includes;
1) Before The Rain 2) Planet Earth 3) View To A Kill 4) All You Need Is Now 5) Come Undone 6) Blame The Machines 7) The Reflex 8)Girl Panic! 9) Ordinary World 10) Notorious 11) Hungry Like The Wolf 12) (Reach Up For The) Sunrise 13) Wild Boys 14) Rio
DURAN DURAN have become one of the most iconic British bands of the last three decades. Widely recognized as THE band that defined the MTV Video generation, Duran Duran single-handedly transformed music videos from a gimmicky marketing tool into one of the music industry’s most valued assets. Fusing pop music with art, fashion and technology, exotic locations, beautiful girls and stunning special effects, they took the visual imperatives of the New Romantic movement to another level.
Today with over 80 million records sold, 30 UK Top 30 hits and 18 American hit singles, they are an unstoppable force, with no fewer than six prestigious ‘Lifetime Achievement Awards’ under their belt in the last few years from MTV VMA’s, the BRITS’s, the IVOR NOVELLOS, Q Magazine, the Spanish Ondas, and GQ Magazine.
“A DIAMOND IN THE MIND”
Released 2nd July on Eagle Vision and Eagle Records
www.duranduran.com & www.eagle-rock.com
I’m most amused by Nick’s explanation of the giant mechanical “arms” – lighting booms – that swoop down over the stage like aliens from Worlds at War.  I’ve seen their show several times this year, and never once did I think of THAT angle. The lighting arms reminded me more of being on a TV set – and with the screens in the background showing  various pictures of fans and other storytelling imagery – it tended to lend itself to feeling as though we were ALL taking part in a giant video each night. In any case, Diamond in the Mind sounds like it’s going to be amazing.  I only wish we were watching this in a theater again like Live From London!  
-R