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.
Yesterday we were treated to some tasty news bytes from Duran Duran HQ as they posted a solid update on the Diamond in the Mind DVD, due to be released in early summer (of 2012!).
I saw the update just as I was typing up the blog, and while part of me wanted to comment, another part of me just couldn’t find the words. I must give props to begin with – I’m happy to see the band (and the people doing the hard work for them!) updating as beautifully as they did on Facebook yesterday. It was great to see where they are in the process, and I know I speak for all fans when I say that it’s great to read solid news like that when they have it to share. Recently Daily Duranie had a bit of discussion about where fans get their news, and while it was clear that all of us have differing opinions on the subject, the important thing is that news is being shared. I think that has to be difficult to be working behind the scenes for Duran Duran because just as you and I are learning how to utilize social media, learning of all the new ways that people can connect, contact, and engage – so is the band and their people. While a few years ago it may have seem prudent to just throw the information up on their website, the fact is there are many more people on Facebook or Twitter now, and the information can be dispersed far more quickly. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t ever be posted on the website, of course not. It just means that they are having to learn what way works best for the fan community as a whole, and yes, sometimes things don’t work as smoothly as we’d like. Sometimes this BLOG doesn’t work as smoothly as we’d like. It’s a learning process for all, and as much as I want to bust chops when needed, I can also appreciate that the job is difficult. (And no…we’re not being paid by the band. Just wanted to make that clear. Again.)
While those words came remarkably easy, the next ones are not. I saw that the band is going to do a documentary on 2011. Not an easy year for any of us, really. Naturally we all know (and lately I’ve learned even more) about Simon’s vocal problems back in May of last year. We lived it, didn’t we? I think it’s fascinating, if not just a little scary for me, to hear that they are going to even include some of the rehearsal footage from that time. I know we’ve talked about this before on the blog – but Amanda and I were there. We were standing outside (I might mention here that I was shivering the entire time, both from cold AND a good case of nervous anxiety) the rehearsal studio while the band went in to rehearse to see if they could even do the show at the O2. By that day Amanda and I had already missed out on seeing 3 out of the 4 shows we’d originally planned. While I was excited and nervous to even be in the presence of the band (albeit somewhat remotely as I was outside of the fence surrounding the studio and the band was inside), I felt so sick to my stomach that day. There was just an overall gloom in the air even though the UK girls who were kind enough to share sidewalk space with us that day tried to stay as cheerful as possible. It wasn’t long before the band came back out, a few stopping to talk from inside their cars – John being one of them, and by far the most poignant. It was just a very, very tough day, and the idea of reliving it – well, I’m glad it’s being included on the DVD for those who weren’t there and didn’t quite believe what they were seeing and hearing online. I still say that I really didn’t believe Simon would ever come back from that. Thank goodness he did.
The next tidbit I’ve got is more along the lines of Direct to Fan. Anyone ever heard of Uberlife? It’s a new app that a lot of bands are trying out. There are plenty of places for “hanging out” online, but this app takes a band from the online world to the real world. Granted, I really can’t see how this would work for Duran Duran since I think they’re pretty much scared to death of their fans (we can talk about why this is the case if y’all want….but I think we all have a good idea why!)….but it IS something that could work beautifully for the fan community at large. Here’s a couple articles on the subject along with the website:
It’s an app…and I’m kind of thinking that this is something Daily Duranie could really use…watch this space!!
Go on, click on it. You know you wanna. I’ll wait.
For those of you out there who can’t possibly wait until “early summer 2012” for the DVD, I know you’re going to watch it again. And again…or is that just me? So what if a lot of it is in German and it’s interlaced with interview. How exactly is listening to John and Nick speak on a Monday morning a bad thing???
I can’t blame you. Don’t even begin to think I might have sat here stone-faced as I watched it…a few times. Are you kidding? Seeing them on stage? Those lights? That snakeskin patterned shirt of Simon’s? Yep. Brings back all the memories of seeing them in the UK last December, with none of the jet lag. The bonus? My bank account hasn’t taken a hit yet this morning either!
Oh, and there’s that guitar player too….gotta love Dom. Not bad for a Monday morning.
So while you’re all watching…I’m gonna go watch too. Again, this time with a coffee mug in hand.
(we’ll be back in the morning with more of those hard-hitting questions and debate worthy topics….but even Daily Duranie needs to take a fangirl break now and then!)
When I first heard, I was quick to dismiss the report. “Impossible”, I wrote on Facebook. I even said “No.” I just refused to believe such things. Then of course I went and searched and found entirely too many articles reporting the same news to ignore. I can’t really explain the sadness and horror that went through me at that point. One of the first things I remembered was sitting on my parents old couch in our living room in Glendora, California where I grew up. I was probably about 3 or 4, and every single day I would watch The Monkees with my mom at lunch time. I have a feeling she was a big “closet” fan! I’d eat my PB&J (That’s peanut butter and jelly) and watch the show. This was in 1973 or 1974, so the show had long run it’s course and was in reruns. (The show began in 1966 and ran for only 2 seasons) I didn’t know the difference. I loved the show, and it was squeaky clean. No wonder my mom didn’t mind watching the show with her preschooler! I had a crush on Davy Jones before I even knew what the word meant. The funny thing was that although it was obvious that Davy was the cute one, and I did love him – I actually loved Mike Nesmith every bit as much. (I always seem to go for the quiet underdog types!) Regardless, they were a childhood favorite, and I own all of their albums. I even went to see them in concert back in the 80’s when they reunited, and had planned to see Davy Jones when he came near me in concert later in the spring. So yesterday was a shock.
I posted the news on Facebook, figuring that I’d get a few “Oh, that’s sad”, and I’d be alone in my sadness, pouring my grief into my shamrock shake over lunch. (or is that pouring the shamrock shake into ME…??) Oddly, more and more of my friends commented on just how grief-stricken they were by the news. I had no idea so many of my friends, Duran Duran friends and otherwise, were as captivated by the show and music as I was! One of my friends even commented that she thought of The Monkees as her “gateway drug” to Duran Duran. That one thought brought a smile to my face, because that is exactly how it was. My goodness, I was only about three years old when I watched The Monkees! I learned about music from the show, I learned what it was like to be a teen idol, and more appropriately, how to be a fan, albeit a young fan at that! I suppose you could say I cut my teeth on The Monkees, and I was not the only one.
It was no different on Twitter. I was shocked by how many fellow DD fans were pouring out their condolences and grief. One of our Twitter friends (@ladouleur_xquis) made mention of exactly what I was noticing – that a LOT of Duran Duran fans were fans of The Monkees, and suggested that might be a good blog topic, and so here we are. What is the commonality?? I’m no expert, but I can suggest a few things:
1. A music fan is a music fan, no matter the age. A case in point is my youngest. She is a HUGE fan, and I’m only slightly unnerved that Big Time Rush may end up being her version of The Monkees. She loves music. She learns the words to songs incredibly fast – and not just Duran Duran songs either! She knows Crazy Train by Ozzy, Don’t Stop Believing by Journey, all of the Big Time Rush songs, and even I Wanna Be Sedated by The Ramones among many, many others. Part of this is due to me (yep, I’m taking credit) because I listen to JackFM – the only station that will play AC/DC next to Spandau Ballet. We don’t do Barney in my house. My older two never took to music the way that the youngest does though, and I fully expect to be driving her to whatever band becomes her obsession. (and I’m looking forward to it!)
2. Maybe we went for the videos even when we were young? I loved watching The Monkees on TV, and seeing Duran Duran on TV in videos was really no different – except that I knew what a crush was by then!
3. Duran Duran is a pop band, even if we gave them fancy names like “New Wave” over the years. Yes, it pains me to write that sometimes, but it’s the truth. The Monkees were pop as well – even if they were a bit more on the bubble gum side of things. I think that musical taste develops far earlier than we might really think, and really – The Monkees were probably more than appropriate for my little mind at the age of 3 or 4. I didn’t understand what Pleasant Valley Sunday meant, but I knew the words – and was allowed to actually sing them too!
4. I can’t ignore the cute factor. I’d love to pretend that even as a preschooler I was super scholarly and knew it was about the music, but the truth is – The Monkees were cute! They even had their own resident pinup in just the same way that we did (x5 of course). I still went for the quiet, more serious one… hmm.
Any more to add??
Last night on Piers Morgan, he interviewed a very melancholy Micky Dolenz. I really felt for Micky because it was very clear he was completely shellshocked. He did his best to share some of his thoughts and memories, and I did my best not to burst into tears as I listened. One of the things Micky shared was that the initial vision for The Monkees was to do the American version of A Hard Days Night. This morning as I was watching Nickelodeon (remember, I’ve got a 3 year old in the house…the TV is not ever MINE…), I saw an ad for Big Time Rush’s new movie. The music in the background? A Hard Days Night.
It’ll be interesting to see how they’re viewed in 30 years. American icons? Forgotten disaster? I know plenty who jeered The Monkees over the years for being corporate pop and being the absolute worst that the Hollywood “suits” had to offer at the time. Keep in mind they were among the first, if not THE first “band” put together for the sake of a television show…and yet they found plenty of love in later years. Will history repeat?
For those of us going through show withdrawals, a LIVE DVD of a recent show in Manchester England is coming out very soon. The DVD, titled, A Diamond in the Mind, Duran Duran – A Performance – 2011, will be released in early summer of 2012! Hopefully it’ll tide us all over until we can get ourselves to another show, because as I am fond of saying – when the natives get restless, Duranies will eat one another for breakfast!!! In addition, I know that David Lynch DVD of Unstaged is coming soon. Nick…our fearless controller and keeper of DuranTime…has been mixing that in his “spare time”. I’m hoping we see that DVD before I retire, but if not…it will still prove useful for many a Duranie drinking game, I am sure. “When you see a hot dog superimposed on the screen, you must drink!” Cheers!!!
Girl Panic!! Did anyone happen to catch the interview John did for a Dubai website? One of the topics was the Girl Panic video. So far it has been viewed over 5 million times on YouTube. John mentions that despite so many views, he doesn’t believe it’s sold even one extra mp3, then follows up by saying “you can see how the model has changed.” I see it, the band sees it, but how does one work with it?! I’m the first to admit here, I have no ideas. I don’t understand how a video can be viewed so well and still not push sales. It’s a good thing I’m not a manager. Does anyone really know? Amanda and I traded emails about this very topic last night. I feel as though while no, the band does not need to sell as they did back in 1984 (although lets be honest here – that’d really be nice for them) – sales still matter. Live shows are great, and sure, they could become a purely live show band and stop writing, but somehow I suspect that wouldn’t be enough. What to do…what to do…
Warren fans take heed…TV Mania is coming!! Anyone who has been reading Salvo’s Duranasty website (and everyone should!) knows that the day has finally come where TV Mania will be released…sometime this year. I detected a slight annoyance in Warren’s tone when he described the release as “Yeah, ten years later.” That nasty Duran-time seems to bleed into everything, doesn’t it? There’s no real promotion set up for this release, as Nick mentioned that he’d be touring with Duran Duran, so it will be interesting to see how it all turns out. Watch this space, as I’m sure Daily Duranie will be reviewing this project!
Dom Brown was really singing the blues several days back (corny? absolutely!!) when his hard drive, containing the brand new blues album he has been working on with his father, decided it’s time was up. Poor Dom made mention of this last night on Twitter. “It wasn’t a good place to be for a day or so…. so reliant on technology it’s a little frightening!!” Luckily, it all ended on a good note, thanks to a marathon 16 hour mixing session to finish! Looking forward to hearing the fruits of all of that labor, as I’m sure Daily Duranie will be doing a review (we’re going to be really busy with reviews!) as soon as the album is available! I’ve also made a mental note to back up my computer today, thanks to Dom. Our entire manuscript is on this laptop, and while Amanda also has a copy on hers – I worry about losing the work I’m currently revising (that blasted social network chapter!) If my hard drive crashed right now, I’d be spending some quality time with my Grey Goose vodka and some olives, that is for sure.
In other fangirl news…I am seeing reports right now that Davy Jones, once of The Monkees, has passed away from a heart attack. He was 66 years old. Now, let me just share that while I’ve not mentioned this publicly, I was a HUGE FAN of THE MONKEES. Huge. I wasn’t even born when their show was on the air, but I watched reruns every. single. day. I can remember eating my PB&J’s, sitting on the couch, watching The Monkees each lunchtime. (my mom was pretty cool about letting me eat in the living room, apparently) They were truly my first “crush” I suppose…and I’ve even seen them in concert back when they reunited. Daydream believer? You bet…and at the age of 3 and 4 I probably thought I was going to marry Davy Jones. It didn’t quite occur to me that there was a significant age difference and that by the time I was watching that show, he was already 5 or 6 years older than what I was seeing. Never mind that. I was taking that Last Train to Clarksville and I was definitely meeting him at the station, just as soon as I could read a map! My heart is very, very heavy at the moment. I was planning to go see him when he came in concert near me later this spring.
I’m going to go play some of my Monkees albums, and be thankful that a few of my idols are still walking this planet with me…… And they’d better KEEP on walking!
I have some ideas of essential elements or objectives that need to be taught. One element is obviously video since video did play such an essential part to their commercial success and did grab so many fans’ attention. It is a part of Duran that has existed from the first single to current times. Another element that needs to talked about, I think, is their commitment to the complete package. Duran isn’t just music or video. They are a complete package from artwork to fashion. The images they created from their album covers to their merchandise are long lasting and captured our attention. I would, obviously, include all of those fabulous photographs of the band members, themselves. Then, of course, we have the proof of their success. This objective would include information about album sales, awards received, and media attention. While the fans could be a part of this object, I think we deserve an objective all by ourselves. While we had direct impact on their commercial success, especially “back in the day”, we are still an essential part of the story by continuing to follow them, buy their products, and more. I also think there needs to be an objective on Duran’s philosophy. While Duran has never clearly come out to state a “philosophy” or “mission”, I think that there is one. After all, this is the band that declared that they wanted to be playing when the bomb dropped in their first interview. It is also the band that states frequently at shows that they are the band “designed to make you party”. Clearly, the band isn’t about politics!
Now, that we have the goal of proving Duran is great and our objectives of their musical spectrum and quality, video, packaging, commercial success, fans, and philosophy, we have to decide how to present them. In education, this could be called the procedure. One way, we could present the material would be through the differing musical styles. Thus, we would pick songs that both represent a certain style of music and represents one of the remaining objectives. For example, Save a Prayer might be used to showcase their ability to write and play ballads while also showing the use of video. Another way, we could present the objectives could be through the band’s story. Their story now spans over thirty years and I’m willing to bet that each major piece to their history could be explained through their music. Thus, lesson one might be on forming the band. I could then explain how the different members came to join the band. I could play the song, Late Bar, to showcase this time in their history and also lead the students to questions regarding their philosophy through analyzing the lyrics. Hopefully, they would get that an all-night party means that they wanted for everyone to have a good time! A later lesson could be how the critics did not appreciate them despite or because of their commercial success, which would be accompanied by the song Notorious.
In case you are all wondering, I have put together a list of songs that best represent Duran’s history and those essential elements that make up who Duran is. I could share it, if people are interested. What I would like to know is how you would teach Duran Duran. Would you just focus on the music? If so, what songs would you include? Would you focus on those other elements that I referred to as objectives? Maybe you would talk about some of those elements but not all of them. Perhaps, I forgot something essential to understanding Duran. Would you then organize the lessons like I would, through Duran’s history and music? If not, how would you do it? Then, I would also love to know if anyone has tried to actually teach someone about Duran. How did you do it and how did it go?
It is the time of the year when many people take some time to look back at the year, analyze it and decide how best to move forward. The band did this, to some extent, with their year end lists. (Note to everyone: Rhonda and I will do our own year end lists tomorrow.) While I could take time to look over their lists and comment on what they wrote or didn’t write, I thought I would summarize the year that both Duran and their fans experienced!
It really was quite a year!!! Obviously, it wasn’t exactly what any of us expected. Yet, looking back, I have to conclude that it was a positive year and one in which we all learned a lesson. This lesson was a very important one and one that the band was trying to teach us but couldn’t do it until the late spring and summer.
The year started out on a such a high for all of us!!! Duran had released the short, digital form of All You Need is Now in December of 2010. Many (most?) fans celebrated this release as a return to the Duran that we know and love. We had the chance to be excited about the 9 songs that we had and look forward to the full release in March. TV appearances, radio interviews and shows were also on the horizon. Everything was going super well! By the end of January, the first tour dates were released, which included 11 dates in the UK. For the two of us, this meant presales and initial plans to travel to the UK to see the band. It was an exciting time!!
February and March continued in this same path as we witnessed first interviews and TV appearances like the one for the Superbowl Fan Jam as well as the full album release! Tour dates were also released for small venues for the US. For many fans, tickets, travel plans and more were arranged to attend a show or two. Duran celebrated a significant event with the Unstaged Performance at the Mayan Theatre in LA. This performance was streamed online and directed by David Lynch. On a personal level, Rhonda enjoyed this show in person as well as another show in her area. I had the good fortune of planning a couple shows in the Midwest. It seemed like everything was going well on the Duran front. Of course, on a personal level, I was fighting for approval to take some time off of work to go to the UK. I was determined that it would all work out. Oh boy…
Spring continued to be kind to Duran as more dates were played and more dates were announced in Europe and elsewhere. It seemed like 2011 would be a solid Duran year, much like other years like 2005 or 1993. My work approval, finally, came through and we began to prepare for our trip in a serious fashion. Duran continued to play some smaller, private type gigs in Europe, including a show in Rome and a show in Cannes. We now all know what happened there. Simon sang and proceeded to lose the higher range of his singing voice. This led to initial shows being canceled for the UK, then more shows in the UK to all shows in the UK. We expressed this utter disappointment while actually being in the UK. Soon enough, all the shows in the summer were canceled and Duran’s future seemed more than uncertain. For all of us, fans, this was a very difficult time. Many of us tried to remain positive while preparing for the worst.
Then, as fall moved closer, hope began to develop. Then, Duran played some rehearsal gigs in the UK! These shows not only gave us hope about Duran’s future, they gave us hope that Duran would be willing to expand their touring setlist. Soon enough, more shows were announced in the US. Fans planned and hoped. Then, those shows happened and Simon was able to sustain his voice through full shows. We were lucky to enjoy a show or two, ourselves, as we prepared to go back to the UK for the shows we missed. By the end of the year, the band enjoyed a successful UK tour and a new video that managed to get quite a buzz in Girl Panic! More shows are planned for 2012 and the promise of even more to be announced! It is like the year had gone full circle for the band and the fans as we had experienced serious highs and serious lows.
I think that this year was a positive one for the band and the fans. The title and message of the band’s current album is to remind us all to live in the moment and to enjoy that moment. In the early part of the year, we all claimed to be doing that and maybe some of us were. By the summer, though, we learned that our fandom could suffer the greatest of losses by the end of the band as Simon’s future as a singer was in question. Luckily for all of us, Simon healed and the band came back, better than ever! Speaking for myself, this lesson of living in the moment and appreciating what I have truly was learned by this experience with Simon’s voice. Maybe all or most of the fans experienced this same lesson. While I think that this lesson was impossible to ignore for Rhonda and I due to traveling to the UK, I suspect that it was very obvious to all fans.
Now, we can look forward to 2012. While I hope that this is an exciting and wonderful year for Duran, I hope that we don’t lose the meaning we found in 2011. We need to appreciate each and every moment. We need to appreciate everything positive and wonderful that happens with the band. I’m not saying that we can’t criticize them, if needed, but we need to remember that this band won’t continue forever and that everything can change in an instant. We need to remember that all we need is now.