Category Archives: Duran Duran

Interpretations of the Reflex

I knew that as soon as I mentioned diving into the various songs and their meanings one song in particular would come up.  Of course, that song is the Reflex, Duran’s first number one in the US way back in 1984.  This song means a lot to me and not because of what it means or how I interpret it but because of where it fits into my Duranie history.  In the spring of 1984, I was pretty young.  I was very young.  My best friend and I were spending a lot of time watching MTV and singing Duran Duran songs.  Yet, I wasn’t a Duranie, officially, until the Reflex came out and began its non-stop playing on the radio and on every video show imaginable.  My best friend and I were pathetic about it.  Why?  We would actually call each other up whenever we saw the video even if that was during dinner time or if it was the 15th call of the day.  To say that we were addicted would be an understatement.  Perhaps, more importantly to my Duranie history, it was this video that made me a John Taylor fan.  One look into the camera and I was a goner.  A complete goner.  Before that, I might have even said that I liked Simon best (*gasp*).  After that, though, I was a John girl all the way and still am, twenty-eight, almost twenty-nine years, later.  Thus, this song is an important one to me and one that I have thought quite a bit about, both musically and lyrically.  Today’s blog, of course, focuses more on the lyrics.  Before we get into it, let’s take a look at the video and check out the lyrics.

Here are the lyrics:

You’ve gone too far this time
But I’m dancing on the valentine
I tell you somebody’s fooling around
With my chances on the dangerline
I’ll cross that bridge when I find it
Another day to make my stand
High time is no time for deciding
If I should find a helping hand

CHORUS
So why don’t you use it?
Try not to bruise it
Buy time don’t lose it
The reflex is an only child he’s waiting in the park
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover isn’t that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does
Leaves you answered with a question mark

I’m on a ride and I want to get off
But they won’t slow down the roundabout
I sold the Renoir and the TV set
Don’t want to be around when this gets out

CHORUS

Oh the reflex what a game he’s hiding all the cards
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover isn’t that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does
Leaves you answered with a question mark

Now, of course, because I’m a researcher, I was curious as to the interpretations that can found on the internet.  There are many.  I will list the ones I found that were either plausible and/or interesting.

*About an erection/sex/masturbation

*Gaining confidence

*Drugs-use and/or selling

*About Nick

*Following instincts

The majority of interpretations online seem to either be about the erection idea or the drug idea.  What, of course, is interesting, in and of itself, is that no one really knows and yet the discussion, even after this blog, will remain.  Let’s comb through the lyrics and see which of these theories make the most sense.

Do the lyrics support the idea of something sexual, maybe an erection, maybe masturbation?  Could “dancing on the valentine” refer to something sexual?  Valentine could refer to affairs of the heart and dancing could lead to sexual activity or could be a metaphor for sex.  “Make my stand” definitely could be a reference to an erection.   “High time” could also be a reference to an erection and “helping hand” could refer to masturbation, specifically.  What about the other verses?  Do those match with this idea?  “I’m on a ride and I want to get off” definitely could be a reference to sexual activity.  I’m not sure what the Renoir or the TV set would have to do with sex other than, maybe, people get sexually aroused by what they see in art or on TV.  Now, what about the chorus?  An erection is definitely something that is used and, certainly, stretching time during sexual activity is something appreciated.  The only child part could be more of a reference to masturbation again.  The treasure in the dark seems like it could be sexual.  I’m not sure why it would be left with a question mark but, in general, the song really could be about sexual activity, specifically masturbation.

The next theory as to the song’s meaning is about gaining confidence.  Making a stand could be about standing up with pride, with confidence.  Would help be something wanted to get confidence or when one has confidence?  Not sure.  That first verse doesn’t hold up as well.  The second verse doesn’t help much either.  Why wouldn’t you want to be around when “it” gets out if the “it” is confidence?  That doesn’t make much sense to me.  What about the chorus?  Would confidence leave you with questions?  I get that you would want to use it and wouldn’t want to bruise it but that still feels like a stretch. Likewise, the idea that it is about following instincts seem like a stretch, too.  I get how the word “reflex” means just reacting, which could be an instinct but I struggle with the rest of the lyrics beyond the chorus of using it and trying not to bruise it.  What about dancing on the valentine or high time?  That doesn’t seem to follow easily, either.

I’m not sure what to say about the idea that it is Nick.  There are some lines that fit.  He is an only child, for example.  We all know that Nick likes art and was collecting art in the 80s.  Likewise, he took many photographs for his book, Interference, from TV sets.  Is Nick in charge of finding treasure in the dark?  Musically, that might be the case.  Does Nick’s behavior leave us or the band with questions?  Maybe so.  What is the “it” in the chorus, though?  Nick’s talent?  Maybe.  I’m not sure how to evaluate the first verse.  Who has gone too far?  Nick?  Who is fooling around?  Was the band fooling around when Nick wanted to work?  Maybe.  From what I have read, the song was written on John’s birthday after enjoying some wine or champagne.  Thus, it is possible that some members weren’t very focused when they should have been.  Maybe they were a bit drunk and/or high and that wouldn’t be a good time to battle Nick.

Speaking of the partying, a lot of people on the internet seemed to think that it really could be about drugs.  Is that possible?  “Gone too far this time” could mean that someone enjoyed a little too much.  “Dancing on the valentine” could translate to being high.  Using alcohol or drugs could be dangerous, for sure.  Yes, decisions probably shouldn’t be made during “high time”.  The next verse could imply that the “high” went wrong and that the person isn’t enjoying the high anymore with the line, “I’m on a ride and I want to get off”.  Also, one could sell art and TVs in order to pay for the drugs.  What about the chorus?  The “it” could be drugs and using it is obvious then.  Why would time need to be bought?  What about the bruising part?  Is that a reference to using needles?  As for the reflex “waiting in the park” that could be the drug deal and the treasure could be the drug.  The use would leave many with questions.

So, what’s the conclusion?  Honestly, it could be about drugs, masturbation or Nick.  There are lines that could translate well to those theories.  Of course, the reality is that the song could be about none of those or it could be about all of those.  We won’t ever really know.  Yet, if pushed, I can’t imagine that they would make a song about drugs despite their use of drugs.  It just doesn’t feel like Simon’s style.  Could it be about sex or about masturbation?  That seems like a likely topic of Simon’s, especially in 1983.  I could also see Simon writing a song about Nick, especially one done in a cheeky fashion.  Which theory do you think makes the most sense or do you have a different idea?

-A

P.S. Which song should I tackle next week?

Khanada – The Daily Duranie Review

Wow!  It is our second review in less than a month!  I’m sure you are all just sitting there in complete shock!  We are continuing with the b-sides related to Duran Duran’s self-titled debut album.  This time we review the song, Khanada.

Rhonda

Musicality/Instrumentation:  I have to commend the band for starting this song (and continuing) on such a heavy bass line.  I really believe that Duran Duran were one of the only bands during the 80’s to allow the bass to shine through and groove.  All instruments are present and accounted for, but bass is allowed to be the highlight – and John does a tremendous job, especially considering that at this point, John was still a fairly new player.  Another consideration here is the tempo.  Rather than doing as most songs do – beginning slow and leading in, Khanada does the opposite.  It starts out with a quick tempo and during the verses, it slows down.  I don’t even know that it’s quite that obvious, but it’s just different, a bit more innovative for the time.  My only real issue with the song are during the last moments, probably the last thirty to forty-five seconds. The drums change rhythm and feeling along with some space-age type synthesizer with a sort of middle-eastern influence that comes straight from Bowie, and make the song sound as though it were two different pieces of music stitched together. I never felt the song flowed as well as it might have as a result.

Vocals: I truly tend to forget Simon’s fantastic vocal range these days.  A lot of it is because the music today is written so much higher – once again I find myself wishing they’d write some lower-end music for him just to show it off once in a while.  Khanada does this beautifully.  The only time I feel that Simon has trouble is in the very-uppermost notes he hits in a sort of falsetto at times during the song.  He does get whiny, but I think that at least in this case, it’s intended.  It adds to the mood.

Lyrics: This is one of those songs that I have listened to over the years and never quite understood what the words really meant. To be truthful, I’m not sure I’ve ever really listened that intently.  I do know that when I listen, I don’t really feel that sense of emotion that I normally get.  I can put this on and it fades to the background rather easily for me. I don’t even know what “Khanada” really is – and that is probably part of the problem.  In some ways I think the song might be about a person, but then when I read the words, it’s pretty clear I have no idea what the song really means.  I can appreciate that it’s not all clear, but for me personally – when I listen to a song, I want it to mean something to me personally, and in this case I feel like I come up with nothing.

Production:  Production on this song is as it is on the whole first album – very well-balanced. I appreciate the lack of “wall of sound”, and I love that I can pick out each instrument and hear their entire line of music.  There is something to be said for letting each musician tell their story – and what’s more – being able to step back and admire the group as a whole.  No egos, no fighting over who is going to be heard more than someone else.  It was a simpler time for the band.  Nothing flashy, just letting the music be heard.  There’s no fault in that!

Overall:  I can appreciate why this song was chosen as a B-side and not included on the album – it’s a great song in it’s own right and when I listen, it reminds me so much of the early 80’s era for Duran Duran.  I think that the one area where this song could be a let-down is the very end, purely because it is rather obscure in style – but as a B-side, that does make sense. I like so many things about the song, including the slight middle-eastern feel.  The slight falsetto on Simon’s voice can be a bit much at times, and I do think the end could have been worked out a bit better, although when I think back on other music to this time period, there are other pieces that end on atmospheric instrumentals similar to this.  Blondie did quite a bit of that, as did Bowie.  I just don’t know that it works that well on this particular song for them.

Cocktail Rating:  3 cocktails!

Amanda

Musicality/Instrumentation:  I love how this song starts.  It has everything I love about this era of Duran’s.  All instruments are present and accounted for.  I even love how it starts out with a faster tempo to grab one’s attention then slows down as the verses begin.  It is a nice touch.  Of course, it speeds up again when the chorus begins.  I actually prefer the slower, deeper verses over the faster paced chorus, which is the opposite of how I normally am.  In general, though, I like the ebb and flow of the majority of the song, musically.  Of course, the last 45 seconds of the track goes in a completely different direction.  Roger’s drums transition us to this weird ending with what sounds like a constant rocking sound with layers of addition sounds on top of that.  In some ways, those sounds don’t sound planned and don’t seem so coordinated.  For me, this takes away from the feeling of the rest of the song. 

Vocals:  Honestly, this is the one song of this era that Simon’s vocals don’t work as well as the rest of the songs.  I dislike like his attempts at reaching higher keys, at times.  The rest of the main vocals work well and sound a lot like the rest of this era.  I do like that there are obvious layers to the vocals.  I like the la-la-las that can be heard throughout the song.  I also like the echo of Simon’s vocals during the chorus.  In that sense, this song reminds me of a connection between the haunting echos of a song like Tel Aviv and what will be the classic, New Religion.  Without the higher notes, the vocals would be a definite plus for me on this song.

Lyrics:  I am honestly not sure what to think about these lyrics.  On one hand, I appreciate the meaning isn’t so clear.  On the other hand, they don’t seem too terribly clever.  Now, of course, there are Duran songs with even less clever lyrics.  I think what really frustrates me by these lyrics is that I don’t get a strong feeling from them.  They don’t stick.  They don’t affect me.  I feel no emotion and I should.  The music makes me believe that I should but I don’t.  I get that Simon wants us to sense his what…anger?  Defiance?  I don’t know.  I don’t sense anything, emotionally.

Production:  The majority of this song really fits into the rest of the first album with high quality production in which all instrumentation is featured and balanced.  I have to wonder about the ending of the song since it doesn’t seem to fit.  I wonder what it was like in the studio when this song was written and recorded.  What was the discussion like that day? It just feels like care wasn’t taken to this track as much as the rest or that it was unfinished or something.

Overall:  This song feels like classic B-side material to me.  There is definite potential there, especially in the musicality of the verses.  I love the layering of vocals.  Yet, I feel like something didn’t go right at the end of the song or it wasn’t finished or something.  Then, Simon’s lyrics aren’t inspiring to me.  They don’t make me feel anything, which is very different than the rest of the songs from this era.  Every other song made me feel something.  Heck, Tel Aviv made me feel.  The potential, to me, wasn’t followed through.

Cocktail Rating: 3 cocktails!

A top Duranie moment of the year

Happy “Day After” Christmas everyone!

After a full two days of excitement in my house, it is nice to wake up to relative calm. We have no presents to return or exchange and nothing to really do today except relax, which is nice. I can’t speak for everyone in my household, but I’m exhausted! I hope everyone who celebrated had a wonderful holiday, and for those who did not,  I hope you had a fantastic Tuesday.

I must confess that due to the fact my entire family, including my sister, is here – my blogs will be rather short until January 2nd. I had hoped that I’d have a few willing souls to write a guest blog. Alas, you have me instead!

So today I will give you one of my favorite “moments” in fandom for the year. This year, I have had many – and I count myself lucky. As I’m sure you know by now, last week we posted our interview with Dom Brown. We had a lot of people ask us how the interview came about, and how it was conducted. The simple truth is that we had an opportunity to ask, and so after some initial butterflies, we just asked.

I fully expected that he’d have no idea who I was or why we would want an interview, but we agreed to at least try. We talk about this idea of the band “knowing” us – not “us” as in Daily Duranie, but us as in “the fans”. It’s very difficult at times to pull ourselves out of our relative fantasyland of believing we’re really talking WITH band members on Twitter and Facebook. Amanda and I are not any different from anyone else in that regard. Of course we hope they see our tweets or posts. We are also well-aware that in sheer numbers, there are thousands of us and only five members of the band. The odds don’t really work in our favor. We also desperately want, and maybe even need to believe that when we’re at a show and they come over to the edge of the stage to jam that maybe, just maybe it was us that they were grinning at. “Did he really look at me???” I know that you all know what I’m talking about here. There’s always that moment where you want to believe that yep – out of the five thousand people in the audience, that it was definitely YOU that he winked at. I know this.  You know this. We like delusional daydreams on occasion, am I right? For me personally, it’s as though while I’m on a road trip or touring with Amanda – I can pretend anything I want.  Sure, I traded smiles with Nick. Yes, I shook Roger’s hand. Oh, I know that Dom recognized me and made sure to come over and coerce me into singing along. But once I get home, I forcibly snap myself back into reality. There is no way that band could possibly have any clue of who I am. I’m a mom and housewife and look like just about anybody else out there…meaning, I certainly do not stand out in a crowd. Yes, we write Daily Duranie. It’s a fan-blog. Why on earth would the band know or even care?? That’s pretty much how Amanda and I operate, and we are thankful that we can slap one another back down to Planet Earth if required.

So, when I asked Dom about the interview, I expected to either hear nothing or get a tersely worded email in exchange. I prepared for the worst, so to speak. It did not take long to get an answer, I must say. He very kindly wrote back, and said something that I was not at all prepared to read:  “I know exactly who you are!”

Huh??

So the moral of the story? While I still feel pretty sound in my theory that it is just impossible for them to know all of us, and we should never expect friendship out of fandom (unless it’s with other fans), sometimes, it’s OK to be pleasantly surprised.

And I still say that Dom is a really nice guy.  Not that I want to gush…. 😀

-R

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

I cannot believe that it is Christmas again!  Wasn’t it just Christmas like yesterday or a week ago or something?!  Time seems to be flying and we are here to wish you a Merry Christmas once again!  This year, I have the fortunate duty of doing this blog and providing some Duran and Christmas related gifts!  I hope that this blog post along with all of your family and friend functions provides you with joy!

At times, Duran Duran performed around the holidays.  Here are a couple of clips that I enjoy!

Top of the Pops in the UK from Christmas 1982:

 Top of the Pops in the UK from Christmas 1984:

 

The National Lottery Show in the UK from December 24, 2010:

It seems to me that Duran always does a fabulous job in wishing their fans a Merry Christmas.  Let’s take a look at some previous years.  Here’s a clip from what appears to be 1984 and in Spanish!

About about this Christmas greeting from Smash Hits in 1982?  Duran’s part is until 0:45 seconds!

Here are last year’s holiday greetings from the band:

This year’s holidays greetings are on audio and can be found here!  

Of course, no Christmas celebration would be complete without Band-Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas:

While we didn’t create this card, I couldn’t help but to share it!

On that note, we truly do wish each and everyone of you the very happiest of holidays!!!

-A

Book Discussion–In the Pleasure Groove (Chapters 52-55)

This week’s book club focuses on chapters 52-55 in John Taylor’s autobiography, In the Pleasure Groove.  These chapters basically focus on the year 1985.  To refresh everyone’s memory about what we know was going on with Duran and with John, in particular, in that year, I will provide the following list.  Duran wrote the James Bond theme song, A View to a Kill, and saw it reach number one in the States.  They also played at one of the biggest concerts of all time with the charity focused, Live Aid, in July of 1985.  As we now know, this was the last show that the Fab Five played together until the reunion of 2003.  Besides that, the band had split into two side projects:  Power Station and Arcadia.  John’s project, Power Station, saw an album and a tour.  On that note, let’s dive in to John’s telling of that year with a bit of discussion.

Chapter 52:  The Wheel World
Were you surprised by the reasons that John said that they chose not to involve the Berrows for the Power Station project?
I really wasn’t.  I definitely wasn’t surprised by John and Andy’s annoyance at the Berrows’ support and encouragement for Simon’s participation in the yacht race.  Clearly, that was a source of annoyance to everyone except Simon and the Berrows from what I have heard.  I also wasn’t shocked that there was some dissatisfaction about the Wild Boys and how much that entire project cost.  I’m sure that they spent a fortune on what really was one song and one video.

Chapter 53:  The Model
What was your reaction to the meeting and first date between John and Renee?
I always sensed that this relationship of John’s was way more serious than any of the other ones I heard about as a kid and this chapter seems to confirm that.  I love the fact that John was in his words “rude” when Renee first approached him before he realized his mistake.  Then, he had to make up for it in a date that most of us would love to have that included a limo, roses, dinner and dancing.  *sigh*

Chapter 54:  Burnout
Did you agree with Andy’s quote in Smash Hits about how Power Station would help make better Duran albums?
I wondered about this a lot after I read this.  Initially, I thought that it must be true but we don’t really know, do we?  The next time the classic line-up worked together was in 2001-2004 with Astronaut.  By that point, everyone had worked with different artists.  Then, I thought about how a couple of chapters before John talked about how different it was to play with Tony over Roger and that he needed Bernard to keep it together.  I think about how our fan community, at least, much prefer anything Duran over any of the side and solo projects that were done.  Arcadia might be the only exception.  Still, logic would tell us that the more experiences, the better players each of them would become, which could lead to better music.  Again, though, I think about how I like the first album over Notorious or Astronaut.  I think instincts matter just as much as experience, sometimes.

How did you feel about how John described the filming of  A View to a Kill?
I felt extremely sad to read things like “enemy territory” and “painful”.  I am not surprised by this since we know that things were never the same again after that summer but still.  I don’t know that I’ll be able to watch that video in the same way again.  I also never really thought about the fact that there is no group shots at all during that video.  They are all shot as individuals.  How fitting since it does seem like that is how it was.


Chapter 55:  Is This the End, My Friend?
What did you think of John’s take on Live Aid?
I couldn’t help but to think of Andy’s take on Live Aid when reading about John’s.  Andy talked about Simon’s bad note.  What did John talk about?  He talked about how he remembered how fun it was to play with Duran, especially in comparison to Power Station.  I had no idea that John wasn’t all that excited by the Power Station tour.  It sounds like John realized that he needed the band to come back together.  Others weren’t there, though, unfortunately.  Roger, obviously, didn’t remember the fun and wasn’t ready to continue.  Andy clearly didn’t.  Thinking about all of this makes me want to watch the Live Aid performance again to see what the performance showed, in terms of who was feeling the band and who wasn’t.

Were you as amazed by how and when John found out about Drum capsizing?
John said it best when he said that it was messed up that he found out about Drum capsizing and Simon almost dying really by reading People magazine.  I can’t believe that no one called him or Andy to tell them about the accident.  I can’t believe that John and Simon weren’t really talking at this time.  I can’t really wrap my head around this.  How can you work so closely with other people and not be told if someone is in an accident?  I would like to believe that if I was in an accident that someone would tell Rhonda and vice versa.  This to me says more than the divide during the A View to a Kill video shoot.

Final Thoughts:
Last week’s book club covering 1984 showed more about how John was struggling with overwhelming fame.  This section, it seems to me, truly shows in many ways and in many examples about how the band was divided, how the gap was wide.  It even feels to me that within the camps of Power Station and Arcadia, there were some separation as well.  For example, John mentioned how Andy was really done with the Berrows after Drum.  This indicated to me that while John might have been upset, he wasn’t in the same spot, emotionally, as Andy.  He also mentioned that Nick was angry about Drum as well, which showed that all wasn’t perfect in the Arcadia camp either.  Based on this, I’m truly shocked that three of them were able to continue on in any fashion after this.  I’m grateful that they were, too.

Next week, we move on to the Notorious and Big Thing eras with Chapters 56-60.  Until then, we hope that everyone celebrating a holiday this week has a fabulous one!

-A

  

Media Representations of Fandom: Sugartown

I continue the series on media representation of fandom with the movie, Sugartown.  Have you seen it?  I should hope that some of you might have.  You know, it stars that guy…he seems kinda familiar…like someone we should know.  Oh yeah, it is John Taylor!  Now, we have discussed some of his acting roles before.  Most recently, we discussed the episode of Samantha Who in which he was the guest star.  This movie, on the other hand, was written with him in mind, from what I have read.  I also have to admit that it is one of my favorites of his, if not, the favorite.  The movie isn’t bad and he does a good job.  Plus, he doesn’t look so bad in it, either!  😉

The premise of the movie, for those who have not seen it, is the story of a group of people trying to make it in show business.  John’s character, Clive, is in a new band along with Michael DesBarres and Martin Kemp.  The three of them had been in really successful 80s bands.  Huh?  That sounds familiar.  Anyway, those three are shopping for a record deal.  John’s wife is an actress who is trying to deal with being offered mother roles.  John’s wife’s best friend is trying to find love while taking a break from being a production designer on movies and is convinced to hire Gwen as a housekeeper who has her own goals of superstardom.  In fact, Gwen is trying to buy songs from a drug addict songwriter who buys his drugs from Martin Kemp’s character.  There are other characters as well who connect to the characters I already mentioned that I won’t go into in order to stick with the storylines that relate most to fans and fandom.  Obviously, fans had to be included at some point because you can’t have stars without fans, right?

The first fans we see are three female fans on John’s doorstep when he goes out to get the paper in the morning.  Of course, these fans are all giddy and smiling as John greets them.  The first girl hands him a picture of some sort that she wants him to have.  The second one hands him a pair of panties, assuming they are hers, and tells him that he should wear them.  The last fan asks for an autograph.  As John goes back inside, the girls hold onto each other for support and start saying, “Oh my God,” a bunch of times.  *sigh*  Okay.  First of all, I seriously hope that there aren’t fans waiting on John’s doorstep.  Second of all, I know that there are fans who give John and the other band members things (heck, I was one of them when I gave him a wristband like the true dork that I am!) but do fans NOW give panties?!  I know that they did in the 1980s.  I admit that I still don’t really get it.  I am not naive.  I’m well aware that fans did that to imply that they would be available for some action but it just seems so…icky.  So much of a stereotype.  Thus, it feels too obvious to me to have the fan do that.  The picture and the autograph seem so much more realistic to me, especially since John’s character isn’t supposed to be at the top of the charts at the moment.

Then, John’s wife has a conversation with her best friend in which she tries to convince her friend to give this girl, Gwen, a shot as housekeeper.  Apparently, John’s wife met her when she used to sleep on their porch as she was a big fan of John’s character, Clive.  Now, before the movie goes any further, I have to wonder.  Do fans like that really get to know their idols?  I know that there are cases where fans do meet their idols and a rapport of some sort is established.  What I am asking is does that happen with fans who go to that extreme?!  The conversation continues and we find out that Gwen, the fan, stole John’s wife diaphragm because it was something that Clive had gotten close to, if you catch my drift.  Oh boy.  Now, this fan has crossed over from just sleeping on the porch to stealing VERY personal items.  Wow.  The friend thinks this is gross but John’s wife explains this as normal fan behavior and that she might have done that for David Bowie.  Okay.  On one hand, I appreciate that the fan is deemed normal by the wife but that behavior doesn’t seem very normal to me!?!  I have met and talked to a lot of fans and I can’t imagine anyone doing that!?!  Again, I realize that the behavior might be described as so extreme in order to make the story more exciting but still.  Wow.

Gwen later does become the friend’s housekeeper but we quickly learn that she is only worried about herself.  She gives bad dating advice to the friend and tries to woo her date away who happens to be the producer for John’s character’s new band.  She also steals things from her as well.  She also gets a drug addict to write her songs that will be hits and when he does, she leaves him, literally dying on the floor.  Clearly, this character fits a lot of the stereotypes of the groupie in that there isn’t any real love for the idol(s).  It is more about using the idol(s) to get further with either social status or in one’s own career.

Meanwhile, back at Clive’s house, a woman stops by with a boy and claims that the child is Clive’s.  She claims it was from an encounter years ago at a show.  Again, this woman represents a fan who went to one of his concerts.  She also claims that they got matching tattoos.  Clive doesn’t buy it and says that his tattoo was featured in a Japanese fanzine.  His wife, on the other hand, believes that this could be his son as he was “still drinking” at the time.  Still, Clive denies it and says that during that tour, he was only having oral sex so it wasn’t possible.  Is this a stereotype about fans or a stereotype about rock stars or both?  It seems to me that it could be a stereotype about both.  The assumption here is that rock stars have sex with fans and that fans welcome that.  Is that an assumption, a stereotype based on some truth?  I’m sure.  So, how do Clive’s fans react to the news of his son?  They worship the boy.  Hm…would fans care about the children of their idols?  Our fandom would say that they would.

Obviously, there is a lot more that happens in the movie than the parts that I discussed.  I focused solely on the parts that connected to fans or fandom.  So, how does the movie represent fans?  This is never any easy call.  I think some of the fan like behaviors are based in truth.  There are fans who would stay on the porch of their idol.  John mentioned something similar in his book, for example.  I’m sure that there were fans who were/are quite willing to engage in sexual activities with their idols.  I also have no doubt that there are fans who are just using the idol to get ahead.  That said, I just wish that there was a bit of a balance.  While those fans all probably exist, much to my dismay, I know that there are a ton of fans who would never do any of those things.  Why couldn’t some of those be mentioned or shown?  Of course, there were a couple of normal people shown in a scene with Michael DesBarres in that they approached him and asked for his autograph.  Of course, the woman was asking for an autograph for her mother.  She wasn’t really a fan, herself.  I just think a little bit of balance would and could go a long way for most of us fans.  Instead, the non-knowing, not-understanding public thinks that all fans are like the ones shown in the movie.

-A

Year End Katy Kafes

What does a Duranie do when moving off the couch seems like a lot of work due to being ill?  This one listens to the year end Katy Kafes on DuranDuranMusic.com.  Katy Kafes are one of the true privileges of being a member of DDM, I suppose.  Although, highlights from each of them were posted on dd.com as each of the members wished Katy and the fan community a happy holiday season.  This blog will attempt to summarize the important or not-so-important points of each of them and give a brief review because that is what we do here, people! 

Simon:
I listened in order of how they were listed on the page.  I might assume that they were recorded in that same order, but I really have no idea.  In fact, the only one a definite date is known for is John’s, which was after his last book signing, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  In the beginning of the Kafe, Simon needed a refresher on what actually took place during 2012.  At first, I was critical of that until I realized that I had to think about what Duran did this year, too!  I could blame the bad head cold for my lack of memory, but it is probably just old age setting in.  Then, Simon discussed touring and some of the dates that were highlights for him.  Some of the shows he mentioned were the Switzerland date in January, Dubai, Latin America, Greece, Exit Festival in Serbia, Italy, France, the Olympics, and the US.  The part of that discussion that I really enjoyed hearing were the stories he told.  For example, he talked about skiing with Yasmin and Amber in Switzerland or how he hurt his knee in Latin America.  That is a lot more interesting to me than a list of fabulous dates.  When it came to the US dates, he talked about disappointing it was to Nick and the fans that the last of the dates had to be canceled.  He talked about he went ahead to Atlantic City and mingled with the fans.  Some of those fans were angry, which he felt was “inappropriate”.  I assume here that they were angry with Nick and/or the band rather than angry at the situation.  If that is true, I have to agree with him.  It wasn’t like Nick could control his health.  Sickness happens.  I know.  Outside of touring, he talked about Nick’s 50th birthday surprise with artwork from guests and other invited people.  He also discussed how he is enjoying his time off and being able to spend time sailing, being with the family, and being able to travel to India.  He also hopes a new Simon’s Reader will be coming soon.

Nick:
Like Simon’s Kafe, Nick began by discussing the tour and specific shows or places that were real highlights.  Some of Nick’s were South America, Exit Festival in Serbia, the Olympics, and the US.  He moved on to some of his traveling highlights, which included a few days in San Francisco where he enjoyed numerous art shows, including people like Cindy Sherman and Man Ray.  As someone who enjoys arts and art museums, I loved hearing about these shows.  I, too, would love to see the Cindy Sherman show, in particular.  Nick recommended looking online for some of these shows even if one is unable to travel to attend in person.  Good advice.  He also took the time to talk about Second Life and how those who are left have created and maintain a creative community.  I will have to take his word for it because it isn’t any place I go and spend time in.  He did say that he hoped to pop in before the end of the year, which is rapidly approaching.  Heads up, then, to all of you who do participate in Second Life!  A Kafe with Nick wouldn’t be normal if there was no discussion of movies.  He mentioned how he wants to see Lincoln (he totally should as I cannot recommend it enough) and Hitchcock but he did enjoy the latest Bond and the latest Tim Burton films.  Travel was part of his Kafe as well since he took a holiday to Bali, which doesn’t scream Nick Rhodes to me but cool.  He, apparently, wore shorts.  Other highlights for him for 2012 included visiting the Rio boat and his 50th Birthday Bash. 

Roger:
Roger’s Kafe began with a discussion on weather, snow, and children’s first snowfall as both Katy and Roger have young children.  This made me giggle since we have had so much snow here.  I have to admit that I still feel like a kid with the first season’s snowfall and this year was no exception.  Roger did not talk about many specific shows on tour when he began discussing his highlights for the year.  He did mention the Olympics and how big it was, especially since his whole family was there, watching.  The other show he said was Rome.  Now that the tour is over, he is glad to be home and spending time with his family.  He does look forward to going back into the studio with Mark Ronson in March and figures that he might be itching to get out on the road by summer.  Hmm…Outside of Duran, he has been DJing some, including with his son, James, which is good because James brings a different kind of taste in music.  He hopes to get to South America to DJ in maybe January.  There was a visit to Peru to visit family as well as a trip to Miami for vacation.  The other highlight that Roger mentioned was John’s book, which I thought was very nice and thoughtful of him.  He said that he thought the book was lovely and that John was lovely.  He is pleased that it did so well and that he is very happy for him.  🙂

John:
John’s Kafe was a little different from the rest as he had not only the band stuff to talk about but the book stuff as well.  He said that he thought it was a good year for the band.  Some highlights were the Olympics and the Exit Festival.  It wasn’t always easy, though, as he did feel overworked with both touring and writing the book.  Once the book was written, though, it was fun to put it together, pick out pictures and get ready to promote it.  This surprised the publishers who really only wanted him to go to London and New York.  John said that the Duran team had to fight for every city.  As for expectations, he tried not to have any as he had no idea how it would sell or how the fans would react.  Obviously, the results have been very satisfying and the in-person readings and signings have been great.  He is excited that it is getting translated into other languages.  That said, he is ready for a break.  In fact, he would find himself grumbling that the rest of the band had been on a break and that he needed his, too.  I can completely relate to this as I often find myself diving from one project to another without any real break.  He plans to spend his holiday in England and has a trip coming up, but didn’t say where.  He looks forward to getting back in the studio with Mark Ronson and thinks that they can build on what they did with All You Need Is Now, which sounds wonderful to my ears!!!  He hopes it will be out in early 2014.  At the end, he stated how this felt like a very successful year as many connections were made, which I have to agree.

Overall:
I always enjoy listening to these.  I feel like you can always gain an insight into the band members by what they say and I often feel like they can give subtle hints about what is happening behind the scenes.  This time, though, I didn’t sense any of that, which is a bummer. I am also bummed that they don’t give Dom a chance to do a Katy Kafe about his year.  I am looking forward to March when they get back into the studio.  Will Roger be right that they will be ready to hit the road by summer?  Will John’s prediction of early 2014 be off by 6 months?  A year?  Three?  I kid.  I only tease because I love.  I would obviously love the album by then and I would love dates by summer.  Who wouldn’t?!  To summarize, 2012 was a year of touring for the band.  They also traveled both on tour and on their own.  They spent time with their families and paid attention to art shows, books, and movies.  That wouldn’t be a bad year for any of us!  Now, I’m looking forward to 2013 and it sounds like they are, too!

-A

Is Anyone Out There?

I stole Rhonda’s facebook status.  I admit it.  It is totally dorky and about the only thing I can handle today.  Obviously, today was the day in which the world was supposed to end, according to the Mayan calendar.  It appears that the world, including us, is still here.  We hope that you are, too.  After all, we need all the readers we can get!  LOL!  That said, I am starting to get a little stir crazy where I am.  You see that I live in Madison, Wisconsin, which experienced about 20 inches of snow over the last couple of days along with blizzard conditions.  I include a picture out my window from yesterday just so that you can get an idea of what it looks like.  Clearly, you can see that everything is very, very white out.  In fact, it was so bad that I didn’t have to go into work yesterday or today!  As a teacher, there is nothing better than snow days!!!!  This has, in fact, extended my winter break!  Woohoo!  This is probably super good for me as I have been battling a horrible cold.  In fact, I woke up this morning with a fever of 101.  Not good.  Not fun.  Suddenly, my snow days feel a lot more like sick days.  Alas, still happy to have the days off!

So, what happens when Amanda gets some time to extra time to think and to sleep?  She comes with some random ideas!  Sometimes, those ideas end up on the blog!  Lucky you!!!  One of those ideas relates to our recent give-away here!  As you all know, we did a raffle for everyone who follows the blog.  We put all of the names in a martini glass and picked one to receive a signed cd that we received as part of a VIP package.  Well, we identified the person and was able to send the cd to the lucky winner, Christine!  She has received her prize and sent us a picture of herself with it!  As you can see, she is pretty excited about it!  She wrote the following to us:  “Thank you, Daily Duranie, for making me a WINNER! I’m putting this under my Christmas tree, because it is an amazing gift. (like the shirt? a Duranie friend made it for a group of us for the show at the Pacific Amphithatre in Costa Mesa (OCFair, August 11, 2012). We’ve worn them since, to Duran cover band shows!)”  We thank Christine and everyone else for reading and following the blog!  We hope to do other raffles in the future.

Another thing we did recently was to send out wristbands to people who have ordered one through our paypal account.  Some people have started to receive theirs and the rest are on their way.  Much like Christine showing off her cd, we would love to have people send us pictures of themselves wearing the wristband that we can show.  After all, this blog is all about fans.  Why not show other fans besides ourselves?!  Thus, if you have a wristband from us, either from a meetup or from ordering one, could you send us a picture of yourself to showcase you???  You can send the picture to our email:  dailyduranie@gmail.com.  Thanks!!!

My last idea related to the blog came the other day when I was going through my Duran catalog to write all of the b-sides and other released tracks for the daily question.  As I was looking at all of the songs, I realized that there were many songs with clear meanings behind them.  For example, we might all know what a song like Anyone Out There is about being lonely, but has there really been a consensus around what a song like Union of the Snake is about?   Thus, wouldn’t it be fun to dive into some of those songs that the meaning isn’t obvious?  Maybe, this is just the dork in me but I think that sounds like fun!  Assuming that others might like this idea, I would ask people to list songs that we should tackle first.  What Duran songs have you always wondered about, in terms of their meaning?  If you all don’t tell me, I’ll make the list myself, which won’t be nearly as fun for me or for you. 

On that note, I am thinking about another nap.  Maybe then, I will have other brainstorms come to me!!

-A

An Interview with Dom Brown, Part 3

We’re almost sad to begin this post. Interviewing Dom was a lot of fun, and once again we need to say thank you for his time, efforts and extreme patience with our questions!

As most fans realize, every band member has a life beyond the stage. In today’s blog we spend a little time getting to know a little bit more about Dom – after the DoJo (as opposed to JoSi, you see…), after the screaming fans (like us) go home.

Daily Duranie: Aside from your family, what is the one thing you miss most from home while you are on tour?

Dom Brown:  PG Tips tea bags…I never take enough with me on the road! Oh, and it’s hard to find a good curry!


Daily D: OK, so you’re at home after a long tour. What have you been up to since we last saw you?

Dom: Well, the first thing I did was spend a few, much longed for, days relaxing with the family at home. I have just moved into a new recoding studio that I am very excited about. That took a few weeks to set up and settle into and now I’m into writing and recording for various projects.


Daily D: If you weren’t a musician, what do you think you would have done for a career? 


Dom: I would love to have been involved in making films.


Daily D: We’ve read that you got your first guitar at 13 – are you completely self-taught or did you take lessons? 


Dom: Yes, I was 13 and I had about 5 lessons initially with a teacher called Ray Major. Other than that I am totally self-taught, though I did have some jazz lessons as part of my music diploma.


Daily D: So about that diploma… what kind of music did you study?  


Dom: Yes, I studied popular music with recording and opted for the 2 year diploma.


Daily D: Do you have a “go-to” guitar? You know, the first one you grab whenever you’re sitting down and that sort of thing? 


Dom: Yes, my 1963 Fender Strat is a beauty!


Daily D: How would you describe yourself musically?  I know the blues were a big influence, but what else?  How would you describe your playing style? 


Dom: I consider myself to be versatile and eclectic. Rock was my first real live while at school, followed by an obsession with blues, funk and jazz at college. I tend to go through phases where I put a lot of heart and energy into a particular artist and do become quite obsessed with them for an intense period. Some examples are: initially Pink Floyd, Led Zep and AC/DC, followed by Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, James Brown, then Bowie Prince and the Beatles, then Jeff Buckley, who was probably the last artist that truly blew me away.



Daily D: We heard you were living in the states for a while, how long ago and why?  

Dom: I did love my time living in LA in the mid 90’s as a young striving musician. I played most of the LA clubs but really loved the atmosphere at the Troubadour.  

Daily D: Do you think that you have a favorite band or musician in the same way that the Duran fans love the band? (For example, you would drop everything to go and see them play. Maybe even fly across an ocean…)

Dom: Not really now, but in the past most definitely.  Some of the artists I mentioned above.

Daily D: The Social Media question. Twitter and Facebook – do you love them or hate them?

Dom: I think they are great social medias, and I wish I could get more involved and spend more time but for some reason I just can’t make it a major habit.

Daily D: Most fans have probably noticed the tattoo of your daughter’s name on your arm.  Do you have others?  

Dom: I have Floyd, my son’s name, on my right shoulder…that’s all. 

Daily D: What do you like to do when you’re not working – which we see isn’t very often!  

Dom: Reading, watching box sets, movies and eating great food.  Also going for family walks and of course going on family holidays.

Daily D: One last question before we leave you in peace…what do you have planned for over the winter holidays?  

Dom: Not really much other than staying warm, eating and drinking to excess, trying to have as much fun as possible and spoiling the kids.

That sounds a lot like the holidays most fans probably have planned!! Thank you very, very much Dom and we hope you and your family have wonderful holidays – we look forward to hearing more from you in 2013!!

We also need to send out a special thank you to Katy Krassner, who helped coordinate the timing for this blog and was also very patient with our constant “Can we post the interview yet?”  love notes. It takes a lot of coordinating to make the news funnel from Duran Duran to the rest of the world – their fans and the various media outlets – work properly and smoothly, so we really do thank Katy for everything she does.

As we said, this was our first interview. Never once did either of us ever consider the possibility of actually interviewing someone in the band when we began this blog, and we won’t lie – it was very exciting to have this opportunity. We found that we really are not journalists, and we know we missed asking about a thousand things that other people might have asked. As I (Rhonda) read and edit this final interview segment, I find myself saying “Why didn’t I ask ______?  How stupid of me!!” So, if you’re saying that too, we’re sorry. Live, learn and apply the knowledge for the next one if we should ever be so lucky, right?  

We’ve been bursting at the seams for literally months now, in anticipation of publishing this interview, and we hope that all of you enjoyed our little gift to you for 2012. We have huge hopes for 2013, beginning with a much more peaceful planet. We believe that we can all agree on that.  

Oh, and we’ll catch you on the other side of this whole “End of the world on 12-21-12″….

-A & R

Once again, all photography is copyright Daily Duranie (Rhonda Rivera). That curse we mentioned?  Seriously.  

An Interview with Dom Brown, Part 2

Day two of our interview with Dom Brown brings a discussion of his career outside of Duran Duran. There’s much to learn from Dom.  He is a multi-faceted guitarist with a wide-breadth of musical experience. We would suggest that before anyone decides that Dom is only a session musician take a good listen to his solo work, available from his website.

Quoting from the biography on his website, www.dombrown.com

Dom Brown has made music his life. After college he set up a band, with his father, Rob Brown of Gets/z Loose, stepping in as lead vocalist. Dom’s dynamic stage persona developed alongside the extraordinary and bizarre performance style of the older Brown. Together they trawled the London funk and blues circuit, while Dom immersed himself in the raw intensity of the great blues and R&B artists. 

Singing was the obvious next step and soon became a passion. Fronting a new band, he toured round Britain and found great success in France, where he played several major festivals, concerts in Paris, and got regular radio airplay. Then he took his songs to the US, got some local musicians on board, and made a name for himself playing at top LA clubs (the Whiskey, Roxy, Troubadour etc). His songs, performance, and guitar style had a twist and an edge that always separated him from other artists in the blues/rock genre.


Back in London, Dom was very much in demand as a session player, and worked with several major label artists. 


Dom’s main love is songwriting, and he has never stopped. He fuses singer-songwriter intimacy with electrifying guitar intensity. Though his music still retains a blusey sensibility, Dom has moved on from the traditional blues/rock genre, becoming more experimental and developing a unique and original style.”  


Upon first glance, Dom’s background would seem light years away from what fans have come to know as Duran’s style. It isn’t until one spends time and inclination to listen with a fine-tuned ear to Dom’s solo work that it becomes easy to distinguish what Dom brings to the Duran Duran turntable. 

It is fair to say that most Duran Duran fans are not necessarily blues enthusiasts. Many may not understand a 12-bar blues progression; and still more may not recognize that rock and roll, and most certainly rhythm and blues (R&B) really draws from those blues beginnings.  (Hence the “BLUES” in R&B!) This is no reason to overlook or underestimate Dom’s talent.  Take his most recent album from his band Blue to Brown – you can hear the same signature slide guitar that is found at the beginning of Girl Panic, and it is easy to differentiate many of the stylistic guitar riffs that one might hear playing a modified tug-of-war with Nick’s synthesizers on the album. These styles and sounds should not be unfamiliar to Duran fans. 

One of the reasons we jumped at the opportunity to present this interview to fellow fans was because we knew that much could be shared and learned about Dom Brown. It is true, he is not an original member of the band. We cannot rewrite history, and we wouldn’t even want to try. It is also true, he follows some extremely talented and well-loved guitar players and had ginormous shoes to fill. However, after eight years, it is time to get to know Dom for who he really is, rather than judging him on who he is not. He is not Andy Taylor. He is not Warren Cuccurullo. Get to know Dom Brown. Embrace him. (Well, maybe not literally!)

Dom Brown on his Career:

Daily Duranie: What is your most favorite song to play live? Not a Duran Duran song, but from your own work.  

Dom Brown: Possibly ‘Queen of Spades’ – that is originally a Robert Johnson song, but in my band Blue to Brown we have done a unique version. I start playing the intro to Red House, by Hendrix, and then my dad comes in with the lyric to QOS… it’s a blues progression but we always take it somewhere vastly different every night.

Daily D: We see that you are planning to re-release Blue To Brown in Februrary of 2013, with the plan being to capitalize on more PR now that you have some more time to devote to promotion. What are the plans between now and March when you go back into the studio with Duran Duran? 

Dom: Unfortunately Dec 8th has been cancelled (A Blue to Brown gig) but we will have shows early in the new year… just waiting (for) confirmation.

Daily D: How did you become a session musician, and was that something that you envisioned yourself doing forever? There must be positives and negatives to session work as opposed to being in a band.

Dom: I originally wanted to be part of an amazing and very well known, popular band but having come close to that with several projects and not getting the lucky break, I really kind of fell into session work. It originally began as a way of earning a living and a means of survival. I did accept this and began enjoying it for what it is.

Daily D: When you are songwriting – what is your approach? Do you go into the studio and jam until you find something that sticks or do you only write when you have an inspiration? Do you know how to write/read music? 

Dom: It depends on whether I am writing alone or collaborating. For example with Duran, we begin by jamming until we find something that gels and sounds fresh and exciting, then the song is developed from there. I have written songs with the lyric first or sometimes just a rough melody. Most often though it begins with a riff or motif or a set of chords that I have found interesting to play around with. I do read music very slowly as it’s something I never need to do. I studied a bit whilst at college but I learnt to play the guitar before learning to read music. 

Daily D: The lyrics on Touch the Flames seem to be incredibly personal. Do you tend to draw your lyrical inspiration from your personal life and events that have happened along the way?  

Dom: Yes, that particular album does reflect what I was going through personally around that time. That was also around the Buckley phase and I must have been influenced by his style of writing that is very personal.




Daily D: How long did it take to write and record Touch the Flames and Between the Lines?  The writing and producing are incredibly different on each album. Touch the Flames listens more like a love story…and Between the Lines seems just a touch more raw, maybe even a bit more mature actually. 

Dom: Well TTF took probably over a year to write and record as it was the first time that I’d engineered and produced my own record, so there was a learning curve there. I guess there is a theme of love and relationships in there… well spotted! BTL was recorded much faster as I’d learnt and developed a lot of the techniques by then and I think it comes across more raw sounding due to that reason and that a lot of the songs were recorded with everyone playing together at the same time.

Daily D: What is your new studio like? 

Dom: The studio is fantastic and I’m mainly using (it) to record material that I am co-writing for my publishers, Perfect Songs. I am also getting a few paid bookings where I’m hired to record and produce. I am juggling so many different projects down there at the moment and have a lot of unfinished tracks that I’m looking forward to finishing. I feel very lucky as I have found a really great space with two separate rooms all to myself… everyone who has visited so far has said how much they love the relaxed atmosphere and environment there.

Daily D: If you could collaborate on any of your own work with any musician, who would you choose and why? 

Dom: This changes a lot but right now David Bowie, Prince or Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age.

Daily D: Do you prefer playing live or writing/recording? 

Dom: They are totally different experiences with very different rewards. I love the feeling of playing live when everything is gelling and the band and audience are as one. It’s also amazing when a new song or idea that I feel is special comes to fruition.

Daily D: I’ve read that you got your first guitar at 13 – are you completely self-taught or did you take lessons? 

Dom: Yes I was 13 and I had about 5 lessons initially with a teacher named Ray Major. Other than that I am totally self taught, though I did have some jazz lessons as part of my music diploma.

We encourage our readers to get to know Dom – Blue to Brown is currently available, as are Dom’s solo albums, Touch the Flames and Between the Lines, from Dom’s website.  We believe your ears will thank us!!

Stay with us, tomorrow we will bring our interview with Dom to a close…and hey, if the Mayans were right, we’re happy to end the blog on a great note!  Our timing is pretty brilliant!

-A & R

The top photograph is copyright Daily Duranie(Rhonda Rivera). The curse still stands. Please don’t use our photos without permission. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!