Category Archives: Duran Duran

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

Why does it matter?

This morning I watched a very short “something” unfold on Twitter. It was the first time I’d seen an exchange similar to this, and annoyingly (to me), I doubt it will be the last.

Someone had tweeted Simon. They didn’t get a response, and tweeted back asking why he never replies.  Simon posted (and this is NOT a direct quote) that it’s annoying when people ask that.

I wholeheartedly agree.

Tweeting is not a competition. Whomever thought it was? Let me expand a bit here. We have a profile on there for the blog aptly named @DailyDuranie. Amanda and I both use it – typically I’m the one on during the weekday and Amanda is on there at night sometimes and on the weekends. Sometimes, and this is when we’re really crazy – we’re on there at the same time. That’s joyous (For us, yes. You? Probably not!) and confusing for everyone, so we try (Well, I should say that Amanda tries. I typically just forget) to sign the tweets with an A or an R so that it’s clear whom is tweeting. We are currently following 486 people that include band members, other celebrities that we like, and friends. In addition, we’ve got 887 people following us. Amanda and I really do try to respond when someone tweets us, but as we’ve found – sometimes we just miss them. There’s too many of you and only two of us that do not sit on Twitter all day long. I pop in and out as I can, but I don’t stay for very long unless I get into a discussion with someone. I just can’t. Twitter is a timesuck and there’s just no time left for sucking! Conversely, Simon Le Bon has 71,500 followers as of this moment, and he is following 127 of you people out there. (Nope, he’s not following @DailyDuranie and I can’t honestly say I blame him!) Whenever he’s online – all 800 or so of our followers start tweeting him…so that leaves 70,700 followers (and then some) that are probably also tweeting him.  I daresay his timeline moves quickly. He sees what he sees, he replies to whatever he likes, interests him or catches his eye.

Sure, @DailyDuranie has gotten a couple reply tweets from John Taylor and even Andy Taylor before. So yes, perhaps that makes us amongst the few that have been lucky and that might somehow mean that I’m biased. Even so, I feel fairly confident that the rest of you can easily do the math here. One guy – many, many followers, tweets, requests for retweets. It’s just not possible to always respond. It’s not a competition, and Twitter should definitely not be the validating reason for remaining a fan.

At a time where there is much discussion about whether someone should start a drumstick collection or a picture collection from the band and whether or not that’s really “fair” to everyone else, I simply have to ask why any of that really matters? There are so many people out there that have never even seen the band live. There’s a ton of people that can’t even AFFORD to get to a show or pay for an album. I’d bet that most of those people would just be thrilled with a show and even without ever being to one they are still huge fans of the band, so why should I care that I’ve never gotten a reply from a band member?

Sure, having picks and sticks and pictures are great bookends to what might add up to be over 30 years of being a fan in many cases. There’s no question that they are desired items for a lot of people, myself included. Having John or Simon reply on Twitter can be exciting, of course. My only caution is to keep it all in context. At the end of the road – it really should be the music that is remembered and savored, shouldn’t it?

-R

Doesn’t Have to be Serious!

Some days, some weeks, it seems like it is hard to be a fan.  I think that it is even harder to be a Duranie, versus a lot of other fandoms.  This week, obviously, was especially tough with the Olympics announcement and all of the negative criticism from bloggers, media people, etc.  It is amazing to me how much Duranies have to defend their favorite band, their idols, their fandom.  What amazes me, sometimes, is how much we have defend ourselves with each other.  Rather than do what I typically do, which is analyze why this is the case, I would prefer today to embrace my fandom and how I express it.  No one will make me feel badly for being a fan, for being a Duranie and for being the type of fan that I am.  Thus, here is a list of the fun aspects of being a Duranie!  I’m sure that the list is no where near complete and I welcome all of you to add to it!!!

Fun Aspects/Expressions/Memories of Being a Fan:

*Hearing a Duran song or album for the first time, especially songs/albums that really resonate with you!  There have been more than one time that I have cried over a song or album and I have seen others do the same!

*Going to buy a Duran album in the store.  Just last weekend I was reminded of buying Astronaut on the day it came out.  I went out to lunch with my mom and a friend.  I was such an excited dork that I put the cd insert on the table showing the picture of all five guys with guitars!

*Seeing a Duran performance or interview on TV.  In most cases, this means planning life around this appearance, making sure to be able to see it live.  Of course, I record the appearance even if I am watching it live!  Must keep it forever!  I still have interviews from the mid-80s on VCR tapes, after all!

*Hearing Duran Duran or Duran Duran references.  Who doesn’t get excited when someone, anyone on TV or on the radio mentions Duran or a member of Duran?  Who doesn’t get excited when you turn on the radio or are in a store and hear Duran?  I do every single time even if it isn’t one of my favorites.  🙂

*Seeing a new picture of a band member or group and *squeeing* over how good he/they look.  I know that there are a lot of fans who are horrified by this.  Here’s the thing.  I can LOVE their music.  I can even be critical about their music and think they look good.  I’m a heterosexual female, after all.  I’m human.  The fact that I think they look good doesn’t make me less of a serious fan.

*Getting through a presale and knowing that you got tickets!  This, of course, is even better if you got decent tickets! 

*Waiting for the concert to start, especially those couple of minutes after the lights go down but before the band comes out.  Those minutes feel like forever and the anticipation is a killer.  Yet, it is all forgotten once the music starts!

*Singing every line, every word of every song played at a concert.  Really, is there anything better than this?

*Laughing at Simon Le Bon’s dancing!  I often just shake my head and laugh at the silly dance moves he tries to do.  I admire his lack of self-consciousness, though.

*Quoting song lyrics to describe moments of life.  Who hasn’t done this with other Duranies?  I think Rhonda and I do it all the time on tour.  It is like having a secret language that only us fans understand!

*Buying  and collecting Duran related merchandise.  I won’t deny, for example, that I have many Duran items around my house.  I’m most proud of the album display in my bedroom as I proudly show off their various albums.

*Learning about Duran Duran.  There is so much to learn about Duran–from the music, to the members to topics and subjects related to them.  It really could be a subject for a class and I would be happy to teach it!!

*Traveling to different places to see Duran shows.  I love all of the places I have gotten to see because of Duran.  My world would definitely be a smaller place without them, literally. 

*Meeting and becoming friends with other Duranies.  The instant connection between fans is great!  It is like we understand each other without even having to say anything.  I think it is cool that I could go anywhere in the world and meet other Duranies!

*Spending time online talking to other fans, seeing pictures or clips and even finding out what the band has been up to! 

*Writing about being a fan both here on this blog and on the book that Rhonda and I are working on.  I love being able to learn about fandom and discussing it!

Obviously, this list is no where near complete!  I’m sure that there are a ton of aspects of being a fan that I’m forgetting about.  I think the best part is that there is more to come!  We have been lucky to have had our fandom around for more than 30 years and there is no end in sight! 

-A

Trust the Process

This time of the year is always so crazy for me.  The end of the school year is rapidly approaching and, as a teacher, that represents exhaustion mixed with a lot of bittersweet moments and thoughts.  As tired as I am, as anxious for summer vacation as I am, I find myself, like always, feeling a little sad.  My job as a special education teacher is a little different in that I get to know “my” students very well as I’m with them for literally hours at work.  I see them at their best and I see them, definitely, at their worst.  I can’t help but to become attached to all of them, to some extent, even the ones who drive me the most crazy!  Over the years, I have also become quite attached to many of the adults I work with.  After all, every staff member has to deal with the intensity of dealing with adolescents, many of which face quite extreme challenges that are commonly found in urban schools of poverty.  This level of emotional attachment and intensity has begun to weigh me down.  After dealing with some not-so-great changes the last couple of years, I have begun considering, really considering, looking elsewhere despite the long history at my school and despite some great relationships there.  Part of this job search has included jobs outside of teaching but, lately, it has consisted of looking for jobs within my district (I’m in the second largest district in the state with many schools within it).  Due to seniority, I have been considered for the 3 I applied for.  This week, I finished the second interview.  Now, I prepare myself for the third interview and wait to see if these other schools want me.  It is a nerve-wracking process, with combined with the usual end-of-the-year emotions, a seriously tough political campaign, and trying to make some serious personal changes has pushed me to the edge.  Yet, I have been getting through it the same way I have for most of my life when things get a little tough.  I have been getting through it by seeking out inspiration, by seeking out motivation.  I have found that in John Taylor’s solo career. 

In thinking about leaving the school that I have called home for the past 12 years, I think I have experienced every emotion known to humanity.  Obviously, if I am looking for another job, it hasn’t been good.  It has never been an easy job, especially when I work in an urban middle school with students who often have many issues to deal with on top of having a disability.  It is a job that has pulled my heartstrings more often than I can count and I fully expect to be holding back tears on graduation night like I always do.  Yet, over the course of years, I find the job more and more difficult.  The kids haven’t really gotten any harder but my ability to bounce back from major and minor setbacks has been weakened.  Then, the last few years have seen additional struggles involving people that should be on my side.  It is a fight that I don’t know that I can do anymore.  It is a fight that I don’t want to do anymore.  While my job situation might be completely different than being a rock star, I’m willing to bet that John Taylor felt many of the same emotions when he was getting ready to leave Duran.

When I listen to interviews John has done about leaving Duran, I really find myself relating to much of what he has to say.  First, he often stated about how he wanted to get out for a long time.  I, too, have felt that way, long before I openly admitted it.  So, why didn’t he?  Why didn’t I?  As I stated before, long histories make it tough to walk away, to leave.  You know that when you leave, you are leaving behind people who you care about.  John had to leave his band mates, his good friends.  That can’t have been easy.  He knew that people wouldn’t necessarily understand why he was doing it, no matter how much he explained.  All people would see is that he left.  He left Simon, Nick and Warren.  He walked away.  That sense of loyalty can be very tough to break free from.  Second, he has talked about how it was something he had to do something for himself.  I, too, feel this way.  I, obviously, like kids and I like teaching.  I love the idea of me helping these kids who need so much, but, I need to do something for me for awhile.  Of course, the jobs that I’m looking at, right now, may still involve teaching, but they will be very different.  Two of the schools are less urban and serve a different population.  The other school would mean that I would be changing teaching roles to doing Social Studies.  Thus, I would keep involved in education but in a different way, a different environment.  John did the same thing by going solo.  He didn’t quit music.  He quit where he was.  He changed the scenery and, by doing that, he changed the expectations people had for him and the expectations he had for himself. 

 Then, of course, there are similarities beyond what John ever said in any interview.  John formed Duran Duran.  He had this vision of himself as a very successful rock star and one who could not only handle all that comes with that job but embracing the role.  I did the same thing, only with teaching.  I wanted to be the super successful teacher, the one who not only wasn’t afraid of those at-risk kids but the one who embraced them, who loved, who helped them.  Like John, I was successful.  I am successful at it.  Yet, there often comes time when walking away, when leaving is the only chance at coming back.  I suspect that if John didn’t leave when he did, he wouldn’t have made it.  Perhaps, then, he would have left Duran five years later and the band would have ended and Duran Duran music would have stopped in 2002.  Instead, we had a reunion of the Fab 5 around that time.  Maybe Roger and Andy would have never come back.  When John left, he didn’t just twiddle his thumbs.  He wrote and played his own music and dealt with issues that needed dealing with, issues that he couldn’t as a part of Duran.  I feel this way, too…not that my life is like John’s or vice versa.  I just feel like I need to take some time for myself, to evaluate my life and what I would like it to be from now on.  I know that I can’t do that if I continue in the same position.  I would be too drained to do that.  Perhaps, then, like John, I would be able to return to a job like the one I’m in now.  Nonetheless, it isn’t an easy process.  It is tough, especially when nothing is certain.  Heck, I may not even be offered a new job.  Yet, at this time, I choose to follow John Taylor’s words and deeds by taking it one day at a time and by trusting the process.

-A

The best part of my week

I’ll bet you all were looking for a retort to a certain follow-up blog by a music journalist today, weren’t you?

I could postulate the differences between strongly disagreeing and threatening.  I could comment on what I really believe John meant by his CLEARLY rhetorical question he tweeted the other day.  I could mention that for as many thinly veiled threats of physical violence that have been tweeted or posted, there have been many, many more flat out rude comments made about all Duran Duran fans, not to mention the band themselves. I could also offhandedly say that for what appears to be every blog written as a derogatory slant against the band’s chosen appearance for the Olympic opening concert there was one written…by the same writer no less…practically gushing in wild fan-like abandon for their appearance at SXSW last year. But I won’t. There comes a moment when you realize no more can or should be said, and that moment for me is right now.

Instead, I will share with you what has been the highlight of my week in every way.  Yesterday I received Dom Brown’s Blue to Brown CD in my mailbox. I’ve been awaiting it’s arrival since I ordered it, and I have to tell you – I even smiled because I saw that no other than Martha Riley posted it to me. If that’s not a family operation going on in the Brown household, I don’t know what. I laugh because there are moments when even my husband has me running his secretarial errands when he’s overseas, so I get it. We do what must be done. I popped the CD into my car stereo as I went on my way to pick up my oldest from school.

I won’t do a full review here because I want Amanda to have the chance to listen to her copy before we both comment, but for those of you who haven’t bought a copy or haven’t heard yours yet, I’ll tell you something: you’re in for a treat.

Truth be told, I am no fan of the blues. I’m really not. I had to take two classes that covered the blues when I was in college – and both were rock music history classes. I tried hard to understand the blues, I listened with an open mind and tried to feel it all and I just never connected. I really wanted to support Dom and his dad on this project – even if just by purchasing a CD – because I think it’s very special. I am truly an emotional sap right now, but the fact is he is SO lucky to be able to work with his dad. Those are moments you just can’t get back after your parents are gone, and for that reason alone I was determined to give this CD a real shot and listen with not just my ears, but my heart.

Ok, so I’m apologizing right now for the continued sap. It’s a tough time for me right now and I promise that after May 13, I’ll be back to my normal sarcastic self.

As I said, I promise not to review the whole CD. The one thing (well, maybe a few things) I’ll say is that this is your opportunity to really hear what Dom can do with a guitar. There were moments when his playing nearly moved me to tears, and not just because he’s a nice guy.  He can really play and Duran Duran should be ashamed of themselves for not featuring him more often or making him sign a contact in blood that he will be a lifetime member. (blood too extreme maybe?!?)  Another thing I will say is that I sat with a smile on my face the entire time.  Maybe it was because I knew it was his dad singing and that made it special.  Maybe it was because Anna Ross also does back up – beautifully, I might add.  Or maybe it’s just because the CD is just so easy to listen to and not the least bit overdone.

One song in particular did “it” for me and that was Please, Please. This song is a gem and is as much that traditional American blues/50’s rock & roll as I’ve ever heard.  For me, it was a bit of a trip down memory lane because I could picture my mom and dad dancing in our living room as I was a kid. I can remember hearing an Elvis record or something similar be put on the console tv/stereo set up we had when I was really little, and I’d wander in there to see my parents slow dancing to the music. I can remember giggling at the sight of them and my parents would smile and invite me “in” to dance with them. I was probably no more than four at the time, and I always wondered why my dad loved that music so much. He never really got into music beyond the likes of Elvis and possibly the Beach Boys (I still have to thank he and my mom for the brilliance behind naming me after one of their songs…which is exactly why my children are not named Rio, Arcadia or JT.)  Interestingly enough now I get it: he was a fan of the blues.

Make no mistake, this is not Duran Duran. If you’re thinking you’re going to hear Rio or anything remotely close to Save a Prayer – you will be disappointed. Moreover, this isn’t Between the Lines. (Dom’s most recent solo album) This is not rock. It’s the blues. You have to listen with your heart as much as you do with your mind. That’s the real key here, and I think it probably took this album to make me see what I’d been missing in my previous attempts to appreciate the blues. I only listened with my ears and my head.

Truly the best part of my week was spent listening to that album!

-R

I light my torch and wave it…

There are days when it is really tough to be a fan.

Then there are more days when it is really tough to follow one’s own advice.

For me, yesterday was a little bit of both. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I got caught up in being on the defensive for Duran Duran when I probably should have shut the screen on my laptop and walked away. Yesterday could have been a productive cleaning day for me here in the house, but instead I felt as though I needed to clean up the mess left behind by more than one blogger, journalist and even an “anti-fan” or two.

I’ve blogged about how personal the music is. I’ve blogged about how the line between the band and fan gets somewhat blurred just because the music has played such a key role during various points in our lives. Their victories as a band feel very much like our victories as fans. Sometimes it’s incredibly difficult to separate the two, even when we know we must.  Yesterday was in fact one of those days for me, and I would imagine it was very much that way for many of our readers.

I kept waiting for the news to get better yesterday. I was waiting patiently for someone to blog about how fantastic it was that the band was involved with the Olympics, and that they were in fact deserving. Aside from a wayward Duran fan or two – I really didn’t see much along those lines. In fairness, inflammatory comments tend to “sell” blogs. It gets them read by many people. Those people tend to comment, and then post links for their friends to also read and comment. Next thing you know, you’ve got page views reaching 50,000 or more.  It happens. Let’s face it, after reading a wonderful review or two from a show, I don’t tend to keep reading. No need really. However, yesterday I made damn certain to read every last blog on the subject of the Olympics, becoming more and more incensed with each click of the mouse. I would see fellow fans posting links to these blogs and articles, trying to get the attention of other fans. It was the talk of the entire day on Twitter, and as much as I knew I should just get up and walk away – it was like the train wreck I could not move away from.  Nothing else got done, that is for sure, and at the end of the day I felt like I’d fought a war, and completely lost.

I’m really not sure why I was so surprised to see the backlash and outcry from the announcement that Duran Duran was playing the Olympics. I think it’s been this way, this sort of battle for the band since it’s inception. I suppose my own frustration and anger comes from just being sick of defending them. It’s as though the past thirty years has counted for absolutely nothing. No matter how much they’ve accomplished the playing field gets leveled to the Girls on Film video, Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf and the fact that they wore makeup and frilly tops. It’s disgusting. I can’t count how many times I saw the words “irrelevant” yesterday, or “has beens”.  Or my personal favorite, “Their fans still believe it’s still 1984”. It felt like a slap to MY face, and I’m not even in the damn band.  Makes me wonder how they weather this kind of thing on a daily basis. I have to admit, if it were like this every day I’d hide in a hole somewhere and never read a single paper!

It took until pretty late in the day for the news to start making it’s way into blogs and news items coming from the US, and so today I’m starting to see and read some opinion pieces on the subject.  So far, I have to say that I’m seeing more optimism than I did yesterday.  That alone is fascinating to me, given that from what I could see yesterday – their fellow English were harder on them than anyone else.  It’s an interesting world we live in.

Bottom line for me is that I’m very proud of the band. It’s not as though the Olympics are held every year, or that they are held in London each time. This may be the only time the Olympics are held in that city during my lifetime, and I am extremely proud that the band I’ve loved all of these years have been highlighted to be a part of a showcase they are bringing to the rest of the world.  The critics may have their say, and perhaps some “anti-fans” out there feel as though they are just a “token band”.   After it is all said and done, it’s going to be the band and their fans left behind with this memory carried like a torch in our hands, just the way it has always been, and that’s good enough for me.

-R

The Olympics!!!

It really isn’t every day that I wake up to hearing that Duran Duran will be playing the Summer Olympic games Opening Ceremony Concert.  This is fantastic news for Duran fans, and well deserved for the band.  Of course, we fans know this – it’s one of the many reasons we have supported the band for over thirty years now.  We understand that their music goes well beyond Rio and Girls on Film.  We know the band is about far more than champagne and yachts (although both things are good!).  We recognize just how far reaching their talent is as a band, and we know that they have proven themselves to be consistently capable.  They are innovative, willing to take artistic risk, and definitely not nearly as “stuck in the 80’s” as perhaps many of their fans might be. Admit it. Embrace it. I was proud to hear that the announcement had been made regarding the concert, and thrilled to see that the band was finally getting some good press.

Naturally, my joy was rather short lived when I began to read the Tweets (big mistake) and some of the news articles that have come out of the announcement. So far, none have been worse than what I read in The Telegraph by Lucy Jones. I simply refuse to post the link because any more traffic to her pathetic blathering is too much. I would actually dare her to name more than maybe 5 Duran Duran songs she’s ever really heard, because from reading her drivel, it’s pretty clear she knows next to nothing about any of the bands mentioned in the lineup. She seems to pride herself on being able to name a few of the more recent hipster bands, and well, if that’s what she needs to hang her hat on, then good on her. What Ms. Jones fails to acknowledge is that while yes, Duran Duran did have the majority of their hits in the 1980’s – they were and still are the biggest and brightest musical act to come out of the entire UK since The Beatles. It’s not necessary to be a big fan of the band to at least acknowledge what they’ve accomplished over the years, and that’s really all anyone – including myself – is asking.

My original intention with the blog was to refute every last one of the negative statements out there, and the reality is – I probably could write several thesis’ denying every single one of the claims that other bloggers and self-proclaimed journalists have made, but what good would that really do? Probably none. People like what they like, and while it might anger us, their opinion is just that – opinion. The fact is, while the volume of the negativity might feel especially loud today – it’s never stopped the band before, nor should it stop us, the fans.  We have every right to be proud of what the band has accomplished.  We should take a moment to send the band a congratulatory tweet, post an encouraging comment on their Facebook page, and even post the news to our friends on our own pages. Be proud, be supportive – it’s what we do best!

However, if you feel the need to prove to the world that the band really is an INTERNATIONAL treasure – I welcome that. Here’s a link to take you to a news article in The Telegraph, along with a poll about the band performing at the Olympics.  I encourage you to take the poll. Vote early, vote often.

-R

Is it personal?

Good morning world! It has been a very long weekend for me and I feel as though I’m just coming out of the hangover haze. This is what happens after a weekend of celebrating the birthday of my youngest with family, friends and 25 (yes, TWENTY FIVE) four and five year olds. My youngest shares her special day with none other than my blogging partner Amanda.  I remember calling Amanda from the doctor’s office the day I went in for a normal appointment only to be told that day would be “The Big One”. Happy Birthday Amanda – guess who is going to be sharing their birthday forever more?? Even funnier? They share the same favorite Duran Duran song – Planet Earth. Coincidence??

I was mostly out of reach for the weekend, so I took some time this morning to read the blogs Amanda had written. One particular comment made me stop and think. So much so that it’s turned into my topic for the day.

For me, art of any type is incredibly personal. It reaches me on a soulful level – that is, if it really and truly speaks to my heart. Naturally, not every piece of art achieves that, and conversely what might touch my soul may very well not touch someone else’s. That feeling of connection holds true whether we’re talking about music, visual arts, dance, theater or even writing. That doesn’t mean to say that I can’t admire a drawing that my four year old does with crayon (typically I can’t see much beyond the possible stick figure and perhaps a sun with a smiley face in the background – and that’s on a good day!), nor does it mean that I can’t enjoy listening to a song like Bedroom Toys (For me that song is humorous and cheeky). It’s about the depth of where it all reaches my soul.

The argument of course is that not all music does that – and that doesn’t make the music which does NOT do that any less pertinent. I’m not sure I would agree, but that’s also the point in which I’m trying to make here. It’s personal. The way someone might feel when they hear Rio or using a non-Duran reference here: Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears is almost certainly not the way I might feel when I hear them.

Here’s a short story to elaborate: nearly four years ago now, my father was in a hospital ICU.  He was hooked up to a ventilator because his lungs had decidedly stopped working due to a disease called Pulmonary Fibrosis. On the day that my mother, sister and I finally agreed to shut off the machines and allow nature to take it’s course – my son was home sick with the stomach flu, AND I had a not-quite two week old newborn to handle. The only thing I could bring myself to do that day was the laundry (I don’t know why) and watch Greatest by Duran Duran. It was about 1:30pm that day when my mom called to tell me that they’d shut the machines down, and as I hung up the phone – knowing that it could be hours or even days before I’d get the final phone call – I sat down with my baby in my arms and watched Rio over and over again. I don’t even love that video or the song that much! I just couldn’t really do anything else and it was the only thing that took my mind off of what could possibly be happening in that hospital room. Thankfully, it was only about an hour and a half later that my mom called, telling me that my father had passed on peacefully, and I went back to folding laundry – bath towels, actually – as if nothing had happened.

Later on that same month, I stood up in front of close family and friends to deliver my father’s eulogy. Truth be told, I’d been preparing for that moment since we’d gotten his diagnosis three and a half years prior. My father, who was never devoid his sense of humor – insisted that I play the song Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears. It was the one song by the one band I liked that he would allow to be played in his beloved motor home as we would go on vacations when I was a teenager. He felt so strongly about this that he would openly and humorously threaten to haunt me if I didn’t play the song for him at his funeral. When I heard that song long after I’d grown up but before his diagnosis, I’d picture us lumbering down the road in that motor home, and there was a sense of comfort that came along with the song. Now, my dad wanted me to play the song to send him off in a completely different way. Tears for Fears is probably one of my most beloved bands after Duran Duran. Sadly, after that day of playing that song at his service, that song no longer holds the same memory, but rather is a painful reminder of all that I’ve lost, and trust me – my dad is a big loss. We were incredibly close. Those feelings are intensely personal.

Yes, art and specifically music are intensely personal. After years of wondering why it is that all of us act so crazily at times by the least little bit of news we might receive regarding the band, for instance news of who they might be working with to produce an album, or a specific musical direction they might be taking on a particular song right down to the setlist choices for a tour, I think I finally understand why. When you feel that deep-seated connection with something, there is a certain amount of feeling as though you own it. I don’t mean that in the literal sense, although I think sometimes we get confused by the definition of “own, it’s just that it’s so personal you can’t really draw a line between yourself and the creator(s) of such things. That’s how I feel about Duran Duran at times. They’ve been the soundtrack of my entire life. My highest moments, and the lowest of lows. Hell, they’ve been in the background even when it was the last thing I wanted to hear. (Hence that moment of coming back to consciousness after I’d flatlined when I had my youngest only to hear Hungry Like the Wolf in the background) It’s hard to think of my own history without feeling intertwined with theirs.  There are times when words fail me, and other times when I think I’ve gotten it as right as rain. Last week I wrote a blog for andytaylor.tv which you should read here. If you don’t feel like I’ve gotten it all – everything you would say to the band (or any band) if you could – I encourage you to add your own.

I suppose that is why, when a band or even when an artist change their direction, it enlists a response from their audience. There have been many, many times in history when a painter changed their artistic direction and it’s drawn anger and criticism well-beyond what I would have considered to be expected. Picasso is one example. People during that time preferred the days before his cubist style, and when he incorporated that style into his paintings of female figures – basically mutilating and destroying their form, crowds become enraged.  It was not only due to how he was painting, but rather because of the artistic journey he’d taken from what the public felt was his norm. The same could be said for Duran Duran over the years. The response that many fans had to Red Carpet Massacre was one of anger and even sadness. Many fans felt that this was a slap in the face to long time fans. Still others felt that the band had sold out in order to create a hit. Whether those things are in fact true or not is not the point. Fans felt enough of a connection over their previous style(s) of music that it went beyond just being “a song” or “an album”. To those people, it was a part of their lives. It’s like being a long term bus rider on a specific route, and then getting to that same bus stop one day just in time to see the bus shut it’s doors and pull away, leaving you behind. On one hand, I agree that when we start going around taking more ownership of something than we should it seems pretty silly. I also agree that artists should be allowed to expand their horizons and explore as many directions and avenues as they wish. On the other, to try and lessen the impact that art makes on people by saying “it’s just music” is almost demeaning the artist.  As with just about anything, there’s a fine line and while not all music touches each of us on a deep level – I think of the band Weezer and how their music is just fun, tongue-in-cheek music for me, yet for their hard core fans it’s much different. Recently their own fan community took up a donation in order to get the band to simply quit making music because the fans felt so strongly about the musical direction the band had recently taken – ALL art reaches someone deeply. Isn’t that why we participate?

-R

Reminders!

This weekend, my blog posts have had a theme of sorts involving taboo subjects in an attempt to make Duranland a happier, more peaceful place.  I had every intention to continue that theme to ask some tough questions about us, about the fans and about our behavior.  I have decided to put that off for another day.  I was reminded about what is good, what is great about being a fan last night and thought it might suit me better today to focus on that. 

Today is my birthday and last night I had a few Duranie friends over.  We had a great time!  Food and beverages were consumed.  Duran footage was watched and much discussion took place surrounding our experiences as fans as well as plans for the upcoming show in Chicago in August.  This is really just what I needed for a variety of reasons.  First, my life has been ridiculously busy as of late.  I’m sure that if you have been reading the blog regularly, you probably would have seen that written by me a number of times.  While I was telling the truth in those previous blogs, this time has some added stress to the busy life I’m leading.  I won’t go into details as that is not the focus of this post.  The point being that I was happy to have a reason to stop focusing on everything else and just have some fun.  Last night was a complete escape from the reality I’m living in.  I needed that, emotionally and mentally.  Of course, some of you might point out that I spend time on Duran everyday.  While that’s true, last night wasn’t about my commitment or responsibility to this blog, to our book or to the fan community as a whole.  Last night was just about fun with friends.  Duran happened to be the connection.  Our discussions about Duran made everything else flowing through my head stop.  When we watched various clips from different eras, we could laugh at Simon’s dancing or at the silly fashion choices.  Even when slightly serious discussions surrounding Duran came up, we quickly moved on as something else would catch our attention.  Perfect.  Duran became the escape once again.

Second, I was reminded about how much I like Duran.  I know that sounds silly, especially from someone who blogs, posts daily questions about the band, and posts today in Duran history.  Yet, even through those activities, I forget.  I focus on the details, on what I need to do and not necessarily on the reason for these activities.  Anyway, over the course of the night, watching clips with other fans, listening and exchanging stories increased my excitement for the band.  While not all of the clips we watched were fabulous or showed Duran at their best, many did.  The clips reminded me why I think their music is great, why I became a fan in the first place and why I stay a fan.  I was reminded that while they don’t always hit the mark, a lot of the times they do and when they do, they are simply the best around.  I think I needed to take a step back to see that again, to be reminded of that again.

Lastly, I was reminded that one of the best parts about being a Duranie is other Duranies.  As great as the band is, it wouldn’t really be any fun without other fans!  My love for the band increases every time I’m around other fans as I get to see their love for the band.  We encourage each other to be fans and to stay being fans.  This is how fan communities come into existence and stay.  We are united in that love.  We share that love.  In many cases, this love starts the beginning of great friendships.  It obviously did years ago with Rhonda and myself.  It did with some of the other fans I have met throughout the years and I hope it will with the fans I have yet to meet. 

Thus, last night, I was reminded about what fandom really is, about what Duranland really is.  It is about a fantastic band who have provided us fans with fabulous music, with an escape from reality, and with a connection with other people that can and often leads to real friendship.  Today, I’m thankful for the band and thankful that I’m a Duranie.  Glad that I was reminded of this last night!

-A