Category Archives: Duran Duran

Duran Duran saved my marriage!

So yesterday marked seven fateful years since Amanda and I, along with many of our friends, saw Duran Duran at the Allstate Arena in Chicago.  Today marks seven years since I actually had the nerve to lie to my husband and travel up to Milwaukee to see the band play at the Riverside Theatre.

What?!?  I lied to my husband?!?  Yes.  Yes I did.  Proudly!

Poor Walt.  I don’t think he really quite knew what he was doing back in 2001 when he bought tickets to see Duran Duran (Simon, Nick & Warren) play at the House of Blues in Anaheim. He opened a door to something I’d long since closed.  It wasn’t as though I was no longer a fan, it was that I’d moved on in life. I had a husband. I had kids.  MTV didn’t really play videos any longer…I didn’t have Roger Taylor occupying my walls….

Of course, after that initial show, I was desperate.  Then the reunion was announced, and I saw the Fab 5 live for the very first time. I made friends, went to a convention, and was virtually hooked.  Wishful thinking “plans” were being thrown around by my friends, and when the Astronaut tour was announced, I think we all had about 48 hours to decide on a game plan.  I knew I could not be at the LA show due to a family vacation, so I tried to figure out what show(s) I could possibly attend.

 At the time, I’d never traveled for a single show, and my husband is the epitome of “moderation”.  Walt is an engineer.  He’s very measured.  Very easy-going, yet very serious when he needs.  Walt doesn’t do “frenzied” or “fanatical” about anything.  He doesn’t have an obsessive personality about anything, and at the time – he certainly didn’t understand the need to travel to see a rock band.  He had a very difficult time understanding that I’d made friends online.  “Online? Rhonda…you don’t even know these people.  You need to wonder why they’d even want to be friends with you.  You have nothing in common with any of them.  You’re married.  You have children.  Yes, I know you went to a convention with them, but you told me then that it wouldn’t be an ongoing thing, that you were just trying to see the planning through.  Now you want to go to how many shows?  This isn’t even necessary!”  He had an even harder time understanding why I would want to go to more than one show on a tour.  “Aren’t they all the same? It’s the same songs night after night!”  So, there were plenty of “discussions” between the two of us.  It was understood that I would fly to Chicago, see the show the following day, and then fly back home on what I think must have been Sunday afternoon.  Never mind that the rest of my friends were going on to see the Milwaukee show the following night – Walt felt that there was no reason to see any more than one show. I had to book my flights so that I was able to take the kids to school before I flew out (he was not very helpful, and I think even he would agree that he did everything he could to make the trip as difficult as possible for me so that I wouldn’t try it again.), and I had to be back in time so that he wouldn’t miss any time from work.

All that was fine and good, except for the small detail of the Milwaukee show.  I really wanted to go!  I was already going to be in the area (it’s about an hour and a half from Chicago), and it seemed like such a small thing.  So, I told my friends to count me in on the ticket, and I’d deal with the consequences later.  Much later.

The truth is, the show was outstanding and I was not wrong in my decision to get the ticket.  Our seats were great, the band saw the signs we’d made for the show, and at one point we’d even gotten a wave from Roger Taylor as he stood off stage during The Chauffeur. (We were wearing light up horns and he saw them.  Yes, we really wore them, and at the time it was fun. Thank goodness that tradition has been left in the past!)  That night also marked the first time I’d ever waited outside of a theater for the band to leave…and the first time we ever attempted to follow them back to their hotel in Chicago!  It was the first time we’d ever gotten a hotel room for the pure purpose of storing luggage (a tradition that I am hoping we’ve kind of left in the past – I require a bit more sleep now than I did seven years ago!), and it was the first…and last time, I ever lied to my husband about a concert….except for that time in New York City for the fan show…. (another blog for another day!)

I don’t quite remember how long it was after that show that I finally came clean about the tickets, but I doubt it was long.  The thing about my husband is that he’s very smart.  He sees the anomaly very quickly when things are odd, and so I have little doubt he already suspected that I’d gotten a ticket before I’d even left.  Thankfully since that time my husband has figured out that this obsession isn’t really going to go away, and he also understands why I go to more than one show.  He also understands why I’ve traveled overseas to see them.  Twice.

Since that show, I’ve seen the band “a few times”.  I’ve traveled to see them more than I’ve seen them here in my state, actually.  While I’m the first to admit that my traveling has been expensive, I don’t think my husband really minds much beyond the cost.  When this whole obsession started for me in recent times, I think the one thing Walt was concerned about was that we’d somehow grow apart.  I’d have my fun times and experience things without him, and from there we’d have separate lives.  Oddly, exactly the opposite happened.  I had my own stories to share with him, and I always do.  I love that my conversations include far more than just what goes on here in the house on a daily basis.  It used to be that when I’d have the chance to get out of the house, travel to a show and see my friends, I felt like it was an escape from captivity.  It’s funny, now that I feel like I have the freedom to travel (within reason), I’m much more content here at home, too – and so is my husband.

While I wouldn’t recommend lying to your husband about getting tickets to see Duran Duran, I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone to go and see them.  I run into so many fellow moms who ask how my husband is with my traveling to see the band.  To begin with, I don’t go that often.  Twice a year at most – and typically my trips are for long weekends (4 or 5 days…5 is pushing it, my husband says!).   I don’t usually expect the impossible.  I can’t be gone for 6 weeks on a tour, and really – I would miss my family if I did.  (no really, I would!!)  Also, as turnabout IS fair play, I should share that my husband is gone at least once or twice a WEEK these days.  They are typically “day trips” that means he takes our oldest to school, gets on a plane, and is gone until about 11 o’clock at night.  He likes coming home to sleep, even if it’s just for a few hours.  Then there are the extended trips, which means he’s gone for about a week or so.  Those happen 5 or 6 times during the year, and we all hate those due to the time differences.  (His travel is typically to the Far East or the UK/Europe)  So, we’re used to the travel here in our house.  Of course, his is for work..and mine is for research, *coughs* and fun! I always tell fellow moms and fellow wives that it’s important to have your own interests.  Being married does not mean losing your own identity.  That’s a common thing that women seem to forget, especially when they marry young as I did.  I really can’t explain how liberating it feels to be able to share my own experiences and stories with my family.  I think it’s important for my kids, but especially my 15 year old daughter to see that even when you’re married and have a family that a woman really can and should have her own interests that don’t necessarily include the rest of the family.

Did Duran Duran save my marriage?  Interestingly enough, in some respects – they really kind of did!

-R

Starting to Remember…

Each day, the Daily Duranie acknowledges some event in Duran’s career in our “Today in Duran Duran” post/tweet/status update.  Today’s event was the Chicago show in 2005.  I always, always, always think of that show when this day rolls around.  It is one of those shows that bubble up to the surface of shows that I have been to.  It was a memorable night and a memorable weekend.  Last year, I also blogged about this date, which you can read here.  Obviously, in that blog post, I was comparing that spring 2005 tour to our upcoming tour in the UK.  I talked about going VIP and what the show was like, in terms of the band.  Yet, today, Rhonda reminded me that there was so much more to that show than the 2 hours the band was on stage and that it is important to remember moments, times, experiences that solidify one’s fandom.  She’s right. 

For me, this show was the first I had been to in a LONG time and was the beginning of a little run of shows for me.  I was way overdue.  On top of that, I was going to be hanging with people I had met only months ago at the Duran Duran Fans Convention.  Many of us out of that group were doing both Chicago and Milwaukee together that weekend.  Before that weekend, I was looking forward to it like you wouldn’t believe!  I had a countdown going since December when the presales had taken place.  I remember leaving work on Thursday, the day before the show, after basically having my colleagues push me out the door.  Apparently, I had been driving them nuts with my excitement!  It is funny now, looking back.  I didn’t even entertain the idea that the weekend would be anything less than fabulous!  I could never imagine a less than satisfying show and never even knew or thought that anything could go badly with the people I was going to be with.  Lucky for me, I was right!  Both the show and the other fans reinforced my fandom.  In fact, I think the experience was so good that I’m still looking for a repeat or something that would equal that weekend.  I, honestly, couldn’t have asked for more.

During that weekend, many/most of my expectations for touring were formed as were many of the traditions that Rhonda and I continue to this day.  Obviously, both the Chicago and the Milwaukee shows were amazing, despite having a very fresh Dom Brown there (Andy went home to be with his ailing father).  The crowds were great!  I now expect nothing less!  That weekend also saw very little sleep due to all of the fun we were having.  In fact, we got something like 7 hours of sleep in 3 nights.  We didn’t sleep at all that last night, which caused Rhonda and I to discover that when we are sleep deprived, we get the giggles.  That happens to this day as I think back to Rhonda laughing hysterically in the middle of the show in Bournemouth this past December!  How did we survive on such little sleep?  The answer to that is simple:  adrenaline, coffee and alcohol, which reminds me that we weren’t so good about eating that weekend either.  At one point, we had gone like 38 hours or something without eating!  Obviously, we were having WAY too much fun to worry about eating or sleeping!  We figured that we would do plenty of that in our normal lives!  The whole experience felt so amazing that I desperately wanted to do more!  The experience showed me that the band REALLY was fabulous live, that Rhonda and I were compatible touring partners, and that Duranies really could be fun!  So many of the people who were at either or both of those shows are people I still know and still feel lucky enough to call “friends”.

What is the point of sharing all of this with you?  It isn’t because I think that any of you would really care about our lack of sleep or eating over a wild weekend seeing Duran live.  It is to point out a few things.  First, in my experience, there is a lot more to a Duran concert than the two hours they are on stage.  A Duran show means great music, but it also means fabulous times filled with good friends and a ton of fun!  Second, this weekend 7 years ago today hooked me for life.  I had been a Duranie since 1984 and wasn’t really planning on not being a fan but after this particular weekend, it became something more, something deeper, something addicting.  I saw and learned about being a fan in a whole new way.  I will be forever grateful for this.  Third, when things seem ugly in the fandom, when it doesn’t feel fun to be a Duranie, when I’m frustrated by something to do with Duran Duran or their team, I remember this weekend.  I remember not only what fun I had, but I remember that weekends like the one I’m describing is really what fandom is all about.  It is about friendship.  It is about fun.  It is about amazing experiences, which, in this case, were made possible by Duran Duran and their music. 

-A 

Tour Dates Recap and Speculation

This week in Duranland more tour dates were announced.  The Chicago date was made official and 5 European dates were listed.  Those dates are as follows:  Prague (June 27), Budapest (June 28), Verona, Italy (July 16), Rome (July 18), and Lucca, Italy (July 21).  So where does that leave the world tour in 2012?  Will more dates be added?  Where?  When?  Obviously, I don’t have a clue but I can give a recap about what we do know and then I can ponder about what I think!

Here are the complete list of dates that we do know for 2012, courtesy of dd.com: 
March 19-Melbourne, Australia
March 20-Adelaide, Australia
March 24-Perth, Australia
March 27-Sydney, Australia
March 31-Hunter Valley, Australia
April 28-Brasilia, Brazil
April 30-Rio de Janiero, Brazil
May 2-Sao Paulo, Brazil
May 4-Buenos Aires, Brazil
May 8-Santiago, Chile
June 27-Prague, Czech Republic
June 28-Budapest, Hungary
July 16-Verona, Italy
July 18-Rome, Italy
July 21-Lucca, Italy
July 23-Carcassonne, France
August 29-Highland Park, Illinois, US (Chicago)

Okay.  Where are there gaps?  When is it likely that they will take a break?  Have they gone everywhere we expect them to go?  (The key word there is expect.  We know that there are MANY places that they probably won’t go to and should!)  The first question I have is whether or not all of the cancelled shows from last summer have been rescheduled.  As we know, this is not the case.  There are many places that were due to have shows that haven’t been rescheduled.  Some of those places are:  The Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Sweden, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, and Norway.  While there are shows scheduled in both France and Italy, those shows are in different locations than the ones scheduled last summer.  Obviously, there are a lot of places that are due to have shows!  When could they be added to their schedule?  Then, of course, we have all heard that they are due to come back to the States, which fits with that Chicago show.  (Again, I’m not saying if I think this is good or bad here, people.  Just acknowledging the fact.)

Right now, they will be in Australia until the end of March.  The next group of shows happen at the end of April.  This leads them about 4 weeks of break.  Of course, some of that time might not be a real break as they might have promotion to do, including interviews and whatnot.  The group of shows in South America ends May 8th.  The next group of shows is the end of June.  This would give them a “break” from shows of 7 weeks.  While I think 3-4 weeks seems common for Duran, 7 weeks seems like a long time.  Will they then add shows before Prague and Budapest?  Maybe.  They could schedule for some other places in Europe.  After those 2 shows, they have about 2 weeks before Italy.  Will they fill in other European dates there?  Again, that seems possible to me.  Then, there is a month between Italy and the first known US date.  Will more US dates be added before or after Chicago?  Maybe Chicago is in the middle of the US dates.  Will anything be added after the US?  None of us know as of yet but time will tell. 

I am sure that there are many, many fans who are anxious to see what else Duran has planned.  On top of that, I’m sure that there are many, many fans who really want this information sooner rather than later!  I know that I will be waiting, watching, speculating and then commenting about what they do or don’t do!!!

-A

Is There Something I Should Know – The Daily Duranie Review

Happy Friday everyone – today we’re continuing with our reviews, and this day brings us the opportunity to revisit and review Is There Something I Should Know.   For those who are unaware, the original 1981 release of this album did not contain ITSISK, but instead To the Shore (we’ll get to that review, I promise!). The initial 1981 release did not do well here in America and went largely unnoticed.  The New Romantic movement received very little attention from mainstream radio or media, and British bands just did not get airplay. It wasn’t until after Rio was released in 1982 and began to climb the charts in earnest that the band went into the studio in December of 1982 and recorded ITSISK (with Ian Little) initially as a stand-alone single.  The song was added to the 1983 re-release of Duran Duran’s first self-titled album, and ITSISK climbed to #4 on the US charts.  To many Americans – Rio was the first Duran Duran album, and it was only in time that a fan became aware that the initial pressing of the album was in 1981 and contained To the Shore.  In fact, the reason Amanda and I chose to do this review first (rather than To the Shore) is simply because for both of us, this is what we knew to be “the first album”.

Rhonda’s turn:

Musicality/Instrumentation: So here’s the real deal with this song:  it’s my very favorite Duran Duran song ever…and I mean EVER.  Other favorites come and go, but this one is forever. (if that’s not cornball – I just don’t know!) If you’re looking for an unbiased review, I am honestly going to say right here, right now, that you’re probably not going to find it from me. That said, please join me in my moment of happiness while I listen to this song over and over again this morning. One thing I will say about this song is that while it’s on their very first album (the US version – which is the version that both Amanda and I grew up with and knew to be “the first album, which is why we’re reviewing it today), it’s extremely evident that the songwriting had evolved.  I still think there’s balance – but the melodies aren’t quite as pure.  I can still pick out each individual instrument, but there’s something different about this song over the others on this album that I’m having difficulty naming.  If I push myself to characterize it, I’d say that it just sounds more complicated.  More layering? More tracks of individual instruments?? I think that for this first album, this is the one song that Nick’s synths do seem to “take over” in parts, specifically the chorus.  Signs of the times to come??  What is it about Andy’s guitar riff that makes me smile so widely, or the fact that John’s bass just works beautifully with Roger’s drums?  This band still knew how to work together to create a complete sensory experience.

Lyrics: Are you kidding me?  My entire adolescence was spent trying to figure this song out!
All I really know is that I am no easier than a nuclear war (this is probably true). I think there have always been a few lines of this song that amused the heck out of me “I know you’re watching me every minute of the day, yeah.”  (humble much there Simon?)  I’ve always felt that this song was saying everything that I felt about boys (back in the day) and men in general (now).  Granted I’m sure Simon was probably not speaking of men when he wrote the lyrics, but that’s how they always served as a sort of anthem for my life.  I think all of us run across people that we just don’t really get, and this song applies to all.  Sometimes I even think it applies to various friendships I’ve had over the years.

I just want to know who does NOT mimic the video during the “Don’t say you’re easy on me, ‘cuz you’re about as easy as a nuclear war?” line?  I literally have to FORCE myself not to do  it – especially when I’m seeing them live. (but I’ve been known to do it at random in the car, or even in the grocery store if I hear it while I’m shopping – which embarrasses the kids! Bonus!!)  I just love this song.  So much so that Amanda had her mom make a postcard sized art quilt of her representation of this song.  I need to take a picture and post it – it’s among my most prized possessions.   Song lyrics=perfection for me on this one.

Vocals: Stacking harmonies.  I really feel that this was the first song where we really started hearing the stacked harmonies.  Yes, I know other songs on this album had similar effects, but when I listen to this song, the harmonies are much brighter, much stronger – it’s a totally different effect than on say, Anyone Out There.  The entire chorus is stacked higher than a two-story building, and it has that “smack you in the face” type feel to it.  Not a bad thing, just completely different than the rest of the album.  I would go a step farther and say that when the general public thinks of Duran Duran or even Simon LeBon specifically – it’s these types of vocals that comes to mind.  This is Simon’s signature style that has now come to signify what is Duran Duran.  Is it my favorite vocal style that he’s had over the years?  Oddly, no.  It’s true.  I do love this song, but I actually prefer Simon’s natural voice – the slightly darker tonality that we find on earlier recordings.

Production: This is the first Duran Duran song where I can honestly say that production started to out do itself.  I don’t think I’ve ever forced myself to sit down and really listen to the differences in production style – especially between songs on the same album.  When you listen to Planet Earth, Careless Memories or even Anyone Out There and then listen to this song – it’s is VERY apparent that this song was recorded later. The production is slick, fancy and lacquered to a super shiny finish.  I don’t know if I would say that the production was more sophisticated, but I would definitely say there are far more special effects. This song is lush where their other songs on this album are balanced and far more “pure”.  I have to say it gives me a much different opinion of the song overall. (don’t worry – I still love it, but I see it much differently now!)  It’s very clear this song was recorded with the United States listening audience and radio stations in mind – they were desperately trying to break this market, and this song was one good way in.  The way this song is produced reminds me far more of the production of Rio or Hungry Like the Wolf rather than Planet Earth, that is for sure.

Overall: It’s funny how you can view a song as perfection for so many years, but when you’re forced to sit down, listen and judge it against history – you’re still able to see it’s flaws. I embrace the flaws, but they are still there. I can’t apologize for loving the way the song was recorded even though I know the production is a bit overdone. (I might even suggest that this song is a perfect example of how Americans love excess ANYTHING.)  The truth is that I’ve heard the song this way for so many years I’m not sure how it would sound with anything but the lush production. For me, this song is quintessential Duran Duran.  It signifies complete joy for me, and it’s very difficult to separate that feeling from the technical merits of the song. That said, the answer for me lies simply in the fact that while yes – there are definite signs of overproduction making it’s nasty way into the studio, the song accomplishes everything it set out to do.  I don’t know that I can say the song doesn’t sound dated at all – I do think the recorded version is very easily heard as being from the 80’s (but the live version kicks ass), but I think for the time of its recording, it was very appropriately finished.  I still love it even if I can’t call it perfect.

Cocktail Rating: 4 cocktails!!

Amanda’s turn:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  This song is so vastly different from the last song we reviewed, which was Careless Memories.  They might be next to each other on an album due to the 1983 release of the debut album but they are far apart in how they sound.  Careless Memories went out of its way to showcase individual instruments while this song seems to push the blending of the instruments.  Now, of course, all of the instruments are present and accounted for but it takes a much more serious listen to separate them and appreciate them.  On top of that, this song feels so light in comparison to the darkness of CM, including the instrumentation.  Even during the brief interlude that features the harmonica, the song still feels hopeful and not so serious.  Perhaps, this is created due to the emphasis on the vocals.  In Careless Memories, the listener couldn’t hide from the the instruments and in this song, the listener can’t hide from the vocals.  The instrumentation works to provide the background to these vocals.

Lyrics:  This is the first song where the lyrics appear to be rather straight forward, even if they contain some silly lines about nuclear war.  Goodness, even that line can be easily explained.  Clearly, the song is about some person trying to figure out what s/he has to do to get this other person’s attention and that this other person isn’t making it easy.  Can’t we all relate to this?!  I know that I can at various times in my life!!  At the same time, the lyrics are extremely catchy and grab one’s attention right away as the song starts with that ever recognizable “please please tell me now”.  This is one of the first songs that I really began to sing along to.  Each word seemed extremely clear so I knew exactly what I was singing as a kid!  

Vocals:  To me, the focus of this song is definitely the vocals.  There is no musical introduction before the very first line.  Again, comparing it to the rest of the first album, Simon’s vocals are very different.  He no longer seems to be singing in a dark, low way that he did on songs like Anyone Out There.  On top of the vocal change, now there is the ever present harmonies.  These harmonies definitely create the feeling, the mood that this is one dude singing this song but many people, a group.  This works for this song because the topic is so universal that one can easily understand how many, many, many people would feel the same way as the singer.  Clearly, the era of simply having Simon sing was over. 

Production:  Like with every other element on this song, one can tell that the production on this song was very different from the rest of the album.  To me, it feels like this was the result of a couple of years of real learning about writing and recording songs and production.  They were no longer going on instinct alone.  Everyone involved put that knowledge together to create what on the surface seems like a very simple song but underneath that simpleness is a much more complicated process.  As soon as Simon added harmonies, it would have been more complicated than the previous songs.  In many ways, this newly learned knowledge was helpful, I’m sure.  I can’t help but to wonder if some of this knowledge didn’t hurt them in the long run.  Would the band overthink the writing and recording process?  Would they try to make songs more complicated than they needed to be?  Were they taking away both the flaws but also the beauty in the purity?  If you place this song in Duran context, the next material to be released after this was Seven and the Ragged Tiger, which only works to make my questions here more interesting.  

Overall:  In many ways, I view this song as the perfect pop song.  It is light with solid vocals and lyrics that make you want to sing.  It gave the listener the sense that this was a group of people who had some issues but they were happy people without much real concern.  It is feel good music, to me.  Every time I hear this song mentioned in Duran documentaries, I am reminded that the song debuted at number one in the UK, which was a feat that hadn’t been accomplished much except for people like the Beatles.  To me, this always felt fitting as it seemed pretty clear that the Beatles were a HUGE influence on this one.  This is a good thing, especially since the song really did make it fun to listen to.  That said, I do wonder if they took some steps here with either their writing, recording or production that changed Duran.  They could no longer be that raw, dark sound that they had with the rest of the first album. 

Cocktail Rating:  4 cocktails!!

John Taylor, this Wahwah is for YOU!

One of the things that John Taylor spent a bit of his time doing before he left for the Pacific Rim (and Dubai – is that really considered Pacific Rim??), was sharing some new music links via his Facebook page.  Out of all of the things John has done, aside from just chatting with fans on Twitter, I really appreciated the links the most.  Truth be told – I actually liked them even more than his somewhat unscheduled impromptu twitter chats because I caught a very small glimpse into what he might be listening when he’s not playing with the band.  I really like finding new music to listen to, and yet I’m going to be honest – I don’t make the time.  I really should, and as a result I feel very behind a lot of the time.  Where do I get most of my “new finds”?? Embarrassingly enough, I hear them on the radio.  The radio.  Out of that one sentence you’ve learned two things about me: 1. I’m WAY behind, musically – probably for the first time in my entire life, actually.  2. I still listen to radio. (it’s true.  I still keep hoping I’ll hear something good – and occasionally I do.  It’s rare, but sometimes I do.)  All of that nonsense aside, I really enjoyed a lot of what John shared (including the album art by Christian Marclay), which was why when I saw news of a brand new app called “WahWah”….I felt inclined to share!

All of the techno-mumbo-jumbo aside, Wahwah.fm is an app that turns your phone into an internet radio station.  It scans your phone for music and then you’re able to choose what you’d like to broadcast.  Click “play” and presto – you’re live for all to hear, Duranie or otherwise.  What a great way to share what you’re listening to, and quite honestly – it’s yet another excellent way to reach fans and connect.  Not that you’re horrible at that, but this is another way of talking without really “talking”.  Not a bad plan for a man on the go.  What fan wouldn’t want to hear what their favorite member of Duran Duran has playing?

Of course, it’s not just artists that can use wahwah.  Anybody can download the app and use it, and another thing that I really like – you can get off a plane, step out of a car, turn on the app and know relatively quickly what other users are around you (and listening to based on a real-time live feed), and amazingly – you get a snapshot of what the local music scene is like.  How cool is that?  It also appears that privacy settings can be used so that you are able to manipulate what can and cannot be seen (such as your location) by other area users.  I like that as well.

My opinion?  This app may end up being a huge step forward in the music industry.  While at one time we had to call radio stations and request songs – now we can broadcast them ourselves, and users around the world can see what we’re broadcasting and choose to listen.

The “small” downside is that at least for the moment, you need an iphone…so John, that Blackberry has got to go.  (yeah, yeah – I know all about how the Blackberry keyboard is better. I had to get over that too, and I still curse at my husband for the autocorrect.  No, he’s not responsible for that, but the touch chip??  Yep.)  However, my guess is that an Android app will likely be forthcoming – there’s just too large of an audience out there to ignore in favor of only using iPhone.

That nasty licensing stuff?  Royalties??  I don’t know.  I’d imagine the suits are going to be busy playing tug-o-war with this one for a while. In the meantime – I think I’m in the group that says promotion is promotion, and if “everyone” is getting music for free anyway – why not be the one who is broadcasting?

-R

Read more:

Hypebot
Gizmodo

Billboard embraces the digital revolution! Now, will it make a difference?

Go on any Duran Duran message board and I’ll bet you’ll find at least one thread talking about chart figures.  Duran fans cannot seem to get past the bands absence on the Top 20.  Or the Top 40.  Or even the Top 100 at times. Naturally this leads to discussions of all kinds, going from the somewhat obvious “Why aren’t they on the charts?” to the more obscure but still ever-popular “Why isn’t this band being promoted properly?!?“.

What I don’t necessarily see being discussed often is Billboard charts do not include figures for Spotify and Rhapsody, among a few others.  Granted, Spotify and Rhapsody are subscription based services – and users do not necessarily own the albums or songs they are hearing when using those services.    However, one could reasonable debate that point by saying that when we listen to radio – a FREE service unless you’re talking satellite radio – users do not own those albums or songs either, and yet radio figures have been used in Billboard charting for years.

Well, discuss no more!  Today, Billboard announced the inclusion of Spotify & Rhapsody figures in their charting.  Here’s the blurb from Hypebot below:

Billboard Magazine‘s Hot 100 chart is finally joining the digital revolution with the addition of digital music services like Spotify and Rdio to the radio airplay and digital song sales that currently define it.  Editorial Director Bill Werde, told the Wall Street Journal that the magazine had waited to update its charts because music streaming services “have only recently hit a critical mass”.  A full list of the services added to the chart:
  • Spotify
  • Rhapsdy
  • Rdio
  • Slacker
  • Cricket’s Muve Music
  • MOG
Still missing is, at the very least, music on Youtube.

Personally I think that streaming services hit critical mass a while back and Billboard is just extremely slow to react to major industry changes.  I picture them, along with most everyone else in the industry – label and artist alike – being dragged kicking and screaming into the new reality.  That said, it’s a welcome change and a good beginning to an overhaul from the last century to the one we’ve been in for the past ten years.  
Until Billboard starts including YouTube music figures though, it would seem as though the chart definitions will continue to be lacking.  It seems to me as someone who is admittedly “Just a Fan”, that until Billboard and similar start giving proper credit to services such as YouTube, and stop relying so much on land based radio play lists for these charts (does anyone really listen???), we’re still not going to be getting the full picture.  Let’s be honest – radio playlists are based on whatever the programmers (who once again are hamsters kept in a very dark basement in New York City) decide.  Artists who want radio time know how to get it. (and if you want to talk payola with me and how it’s illegal….I’ve got a bridge to sell you in the California desert!)  Spotify, Rhapsody, the other services mentioned and even YouTube are slightly different animals because, oddly enough, the consumer – that would be you and I – decide what we LIKE and WANT to listen to.  According to what I’m reading, that is what will be tracked (in addition of those nasty NYC hamsters spinning their wheels!) What a concept!   
Will this change a single thing?  Time will tell.  
-R

Why hasn’t there been a Girl Panic?!

Let’s be honest: we are probably the easiest sales the band knows.  When they put out an album, they can guarantee – or at least seriously count on a certain amount of sales purely based on the hardcore fan base.  I really am not sure how big of a number that is at this point, but I know we exist out there somewhere!  It really makes no difference whether we love the album or hate it, most of us still buy at least one copy (and some of us will buy even more…) just to keep the collection pristine.  The band truly has to do very little to keep the core base going.  Sure, there have been times when the numbers have gone down or flattened out, but there still remains a base.  It’s somewhat counterintuitive to what many fans feel they deserve, because here I am admitting that the band has to do relatively little to keep our interest, and yet just a few weeks ago we were chatting about what we felt we deserved.  It’s a delicate balance between continuing a connection with long time fans, and striving for new.

Not long ago, I commented that Girl Panic (the video) really did not sell many additional songs or albums for the band.  This information is not made up on my part, it was straight from John Taylor’s mouth.  Currently the video is sitting at nearly 5.3 million views, a number the band themselves has characterized as “viral”.  Apparently that number has not translated well into additional sales, and it seemed – at least to me – that the band is at least somewhat confused as to why that is.  It’s the “new model”, some will say.

So the new model basically says that music is free to those who want to get it, and so if I’m understanding this all correctly – it’s really up to the band to convince everyone (except the hard core fan base, apparently) else WHY they should buy.  I dare say that most people don’t really care how EASY it is to purchase the song or album, and most people don’t really care about how many different places you can buy it, how many versions there are available, or how many different forms the album comes in. (mp3, iTunes mp4, vinyl, CD, etc.)  It seems to me that most people, other than me and perhaps the others reading this blog, want to know why they should part with their good money to own the album.  Why should they care?

Of course, this doesn’t just apply to Duran Duran.  It applies to every single band or artist out there – and some artists are hitting the mark, and some are not.  Some artists and bands are blessed with HUGE fan bases that buy everything they sell.  The work to keep those fans just might not be as tough – but to be fair – there are remarkably few of those bands out there. The overwhelming majority have to work very hard to show people why they are worthy.

How do they create that interest?  Well to begin with – it’s the music.  That’s not enough though, and that is just not where the story ends.  It’s merely the beginning.  One of my favorite quotes these days is from Ian Rogers, who is the CEO of TopSpin (a Direct-To-Fan Marketing company).  “This is not a world where you can simply record an excellent song and expect people will naturally discover and go crazy for it.  This is not a build-it-and-they-will-come world.”  I just don’t think there’s a better example of this out there than Duran Duran.  Some might say they aren’t consistent with their music.  Ok sure, some albums haven’t sold well (All You Need is Now is in that category, mind you!)  and might not be what *I* would prefer, but by and large – they’ve got a great catalog, historically speaking.  All You Need is Now is probably one of their best albums ever and is truly worthy of sales 10 or 15 times more than what they’ve seen thus far.  The problem though, is that for whatever reason, the band doesn’t reach people.  Yes, they have truly paved the way for a relationship with their existing fans.  The trouble is, we are really not the people they need to sell on their music.  We’re already sold!!

So, real goal is sharing the “why”.  It’s forging an interest from the people that don’t already know and love them, and it’s learning to balance that newly formed relationship with the ones that already exist.  Not an easy line to walk.  Long time fans aren’t necessarily excited by “new ways”.  Change is an awful thing when you’re in your forties I guess. I remember the uproar when they began the paid fan community – and I can’t really imagine what fans would do if they started a crowdfunding campaign for their next album or tour (see andytaylor.tv for a great blog on Crowdfunding by our friend and fellow fan, Bryony Evens!)

A great article to further explain my point and introduce some others can be found here.

-R

Chicago Date Reactions!

Last night after being questioned about the Chicago date, Duran Duran’s facebook status was updated to say that the Chicago show was on the continuing All You Need is Now tour but that they still had some details to work out with the promoters for that show.  I, of course, found it interesting that they did come to confirm that this date and location were true and to give an explanation as to why the information was not provided by them.  What was more interesting than that, however, as a student of fandom was the reaction from other fans.  Obviously, the reaction varied from excitement to frustration to disbelief.
Many fans were excited by this news of a date in Chicago in August.  Of course, the fans that are close to Chicago were overjoyed as were other fans that might be able to travel to the show.  The other group of people who seemed thrilled with this news are other US fans who now know that they are, for sure, coming back to the States and when.  For those fans, they want to know the rest of the dates and they want to know them yesterday!  Obviously, this Chicago date wasn’t released by Duran and the only reason the information got out was because the venue itself shared it.  August is still a long way off, a full five months away, in fact.  I get why people want the dates, though.  People want to plan.  For some people, this planning might be as simple as I need to know to ask for this date off.  For others, it might be to avoid dates for a vacation.  Still, others want to know to figure out what dates they can and will attend.  What will be interesting now that we have one date are how quickly the other dates, no matter how many or how few there are, will be released in some fashion.  Will Duran headquarters feel it necessary to speed up the process in order to control what gets out, when?  I don’t know.  I guess for those of us who are waiting for the rest of the dates, we can only hope.
Other fans used the opportunity to talk about their neck of the woods.  People commented on the status update to request shows in their location.  Some of these locations included big cities and some included smaller places or places that Duran has never played at.  Some people even suggested specific venues or dates.  Of course, many European fans were thinking about their part of the world and wondered why they haven’t received any information regarding shows there, especially since they are supposed to be happening in the summer and many were rescheduled shows from last summer.  I can understand this feeling.  If I was in Europe, I, too, would want to know the dates.  After all, everyone has to plan!  That said, I hope that they realize that the release of this US date had nothing to do with the band or their team.  It got out because of the venue.  Now, if they want to complain about the lack of dates to Europe or how they seem to be taking a long time with that in general, I totally get that!  Complain away as I’m not sure what is taking so long with those dates! 
The European fans were not the only fans to voice negative reactions.  Obviously, there are many other parts of the world that don’t have any shows to look forward to, no matter when they are announced.  Many of the fans in that situation were gracious, though, and expressed happiness for American fans.  Yet, many American fans did not seem happy, including some located in or near Chicago.  Complaints about the venue were heard.  Now, for all of the venues I have been to in Chicago, believe it or not, but I have never been to the Ravinia.  Thus, I cannot speak about the venue.  It may be a bad choice or not.  I don’t know.  Some of the criticism I saw included that the people who attend shows there are “snobby”.  Others said there are many areas in the venue where you cannot actually see the stage.  Some did not like that it would be outside.  Suggestions about other venues were made.  I can appreciate making suggestions, but this appears to be definite since the venue and many news outlets have reported this.  Duran isn’t going to change it.  Nonetheless, while reading these reactions, I cannot help but to think of the other group of fans I mentioned earlier, the fans that get no shows.  None.  Zero.  I suspect that they wouldn’t complain about the venue or location if they got even one show that they could go to.  Likewise, I’m sure that the European fans would love to have some show to plan for, no matter where it was.  At the same time, I can understand those fans that are unhappy with the venue or date.  The date isn’t great for me, either, as I’m required to be at work the next day.  A week earlier or a weekend would have made a big difference for me.  However, I do understand and acknowledge that there are fans that do not have this opportunity so I should appreciate what I have.  I have to put myself in their shoes for awhile. 
The last kind of reaction I saw was disbelief.  People doubted it because it didn’t come from Duran headquarters.  Even when they confirmed the date and location, people still question it since there was a statement made about details to work out.  Could the date fall through?  Sure.  Anything is possible.  We have learned that.  Yet, this date and location seems locked in and I bet those details are ones that we won’t even see or hear about. 
The varied reaction among Duranies tells me a lot.  It tells me that we have been doing this for a long time.  It tells me that the Duran machine isn’t always good about sharing information.  It tells me that when a show is announced, we almost all struggle to look beyond ourselves and our own wants and situations. It tells me that really not all fans are going to be happy at the same time.  It tells me that as crazy as yesterday was in Duranland, it is still the same old Duranland!
-A

The Olympics…will they or won’t they??

We never do this.  We’re a one-blog-a-day-whether-we-need-it-or-not operation.  So, for Rhonda to be writing a second blog for the day…you need to know that this is very unofficial, yet certainly interesting breaking news.

The France show has been moved to July 23rd.  This isn’t breaking news, but still worth noting. No reason was given, and in the world of Duranie, that gives us plenty of reason to speculate…which we did.  We also know that Ronson is doing some of the music in the opening ceremony of the Olympics, set in London this summer. The date of the Opening Ceremony?  July 27th… the original date of the Carcassonne show. It isn’t difficult to see where I’m headed here…

If that weren’t enough, there have been several comments and postings all over the internet about fans receiving emails from band administration, and they were openly told that the band would be playing the Olympic Opening Ceremony. No word as to whether fans were told to keep this information quiet.  Think back to December when the fan community heard that the UK people might be in for a surprise or two, and the information seems even more solid.  Is it true?!  We will soon see.

On one hand, we all can and should be thrilled if this rumor holds true.  The entire world will be watching the Olympics, and our band will be there properly representing.  I know I will be watching.

On the other hand, once again the fans are left to speculate and find information on their own.  By this time, we’ve all gotten quite good.  We’re not the amateurs we were at the age of eleven or twelve.  Once again today our news comes not from the people who should be providing such information but from one another, collectively working together for the greater good of the community at large. Perhaps the band was asked to keep the appearance secret.  Perhaps the Olympic Committee wishes to do their own promotion work and surprise the world with what they’ve got planned.  This is fairly commonplace – most countries want to keep plans for their shining opening ceremony moments quiet.  Fair enough.  I have it on reasonably good authority that the appearance is not just rumor, but until the band confirms – I have no choice but to characterize it as rumor.  (this would be a great time for the band to make the announcement, by the way!)

The problem comes down to the dissemination of information.  The entire issue and rumor mill could have been averted had someone thought to come up with a decent reason for moving the Carcassonne show.  Even an apology would have been acceptable.  However, none of that was done.  The information was first tweeted, then put on Facebook, and to this writing – there is still no information given on duranduran.com regarding the change to the Carcassonne show unless it is buried deep within the website.  It certainly is not in the News section.  A mere oversight?  Hard to say.

Several days ago, Amanda ran a blog on Where to find the news.  I linked it so if you haven’t read it yet, here’s the chance to catch up.  It’s bewildering to me as to why, after thirty some years in the business, the band and particularly their management still do not have any idea how to handle information.  Part of me believes that the band has never thought they needed to explain themselves, and perhaps that is true.  Back when we were ten, twelve and even fourteen – we were easy to appease. A smile, an interview, a pinup, and we were good.  No apologies necessary.  Back in those days, we probably didn’t even realize what was going on behind the scenes or what changes were taking place.  Well, this is 2012.  The same rules simply do not apply.  We’re far older, far more resourceful, and far more willing to ask the tough questions and expect a reasonable answer. Sure, one can argue that this is a transactional relationship – not a two way street.  I would simply reply that after thirty years, perhaps a little more humility is in order all the way around.

The real “news” here isn’t necessarily the unsubstantiated rumor of an appearance in the Opening Ceremony, although the idea is exciting and we’re hoping it’s true.  It’s the lack of news. The lack of notice. The lack of regularity.  Rumors like this are exactly what happens when the fans are left to their own devices. I know fans can be a gigantic pain in the side of management.  I know that rumors like this probably drive them crazy.  They drive me crazy too. That is something we can all agree on.

-R

You want US concert date rumors and info??

I had a great blog about mid-life crisis all written and ready to go this morning. Then I woke up and checked my phone.  I had no less than text messages (a rarity), and three of them had to do with Duran Duran.

In case you haven’t heard yet, and I’m doubtful that’s even possible given how quickly the news is spreading, Duran Duran is playing at Ravinia in Chicago on Wednesday August 29th. This is the first date we’ve heard, and yes – Daily Duranie has spies everywhere! (I’m totally lying about that, but we will gladly take any information that anyone wishes to share, anonymously or otherwise!!)
 Let me give just a bit of background info on dear old Ravinia to set the stage. Ravinia is an outdoor venue just outside of Chicago. It’s a beautiful setting with lots of trees, a lawn area and of course a seated section. Typically people take a picnic basket and enjoy a meal before the show starts. It’s a lot of fun and a unique way to go to a concert. It’s very similar to what happens at the Hollywood Bowl near where I live in California. Due to the fact that Ravinia is seasonal and holds a special place in the heart of Chicagoland, they sell what are called donor subscriptions to seats in the venue. That means that a person can buy several tickets to shows (if not all of the shows) throughout the season and have the same seats for each show, basically. This also means that it’s very possible many of the best seats in the house will have already been sold to “donors” for the Duran show…assuming of course that the ticket holders for this show will choose to attend. That said, this show goes on sale at the Ravinia box office on April 26th.  
Of course, as soon as I logged onto Facebook this morning, the complaints began filing in.  Once again, people are annoyed that we’re getting dates one at a time verses being announced all at once.  Others refuse to believe what is absolutely good information unless the band themselves announces. (It’s ON the Ravinia website.  That’s pretty solid info if you ask me.)  Still others are complaining that it’s a weeknight, and many many more are worried about presale dates.  
Pretty standard fare for Duranies overall, don’t you think?
Naturally this one date being leaked now begs questions such as:  when are the rest of them??  There are plenty of rumors flying around, including that there will be a very limited amount of US dates for this “tour”.  I have no idea what that means exactly, other than I should probably rethink my plan to take 6 weeks and follow the band around the US. 
(I’m totally lying about taking 6 weeks, too….but it sounded good, didn’t it?)    
One thing I will say:  I’m going on vacation from July 28 through August 11th.  The band should plan accordingly, and contrary to popular belief, that does NOT mean to have a show in California during that time, thanks!  
One more thing before I leave you all for the weekend, and that’s simply that Daily Duranie has hopes of doing meetups, pre and post show dinners and drinks, and maybe even a Duranie dorm or more for these shows.  We’re hoping to bridge the gap that DDM left behind in 2005 when they stopped organizing things. As more information becomes available to us, we’ll definitely share and start planning in earnest!  
-R