Category Archives: fans

A Little Less Conversation

This blog is massively late today…not entirely unlike I was this morning, speeding down the I-5 towards San Diego!  It has been “one of those days”, to say the least. It is a welcome respite to sit down, write the blog, and think about something other than education.

On this date forty years ago, Elvis Presley died.  That made the year 1977, and I was not quite seven years old.  Oddly, I can vividly remember my parents talking about their shock at the dinner table. There were very few (remarkably few!) celebrities that made their way into our normal dinner time conversation when I was young, but Elvis was a favorite for both of my parents. They had all of his records, and Elvis was indeed on heavy rotation anytime my mom used the record player at home. I can remember many a night after dinner when my mom would play records while she did the dishes. My mom would sing along as she’d hand wash everything, and my dad did the drying and putting away. Sometimes, when things would really get out of hand, she and my dad would dance in the living room!  Elvis Presley was the one artist that she and my dad both loved, and I can’t help but think of my parents when I hear an Elvis Presley song.

That night at dinner though, sadness hung like a damp rag over our table. There was no dancing. No singing, and certainly no laughing. My parents spoke in hushed tones, and I can even remember my mom crying about it. I don’t know that I really had a deep understanding of what death meant at the time. I had already lost a grandfather but I don’t think I really recognized the finality involved. I just knew my parents were sad, and I was completely fascinated with every last detail.  Over the next few weeks, my mom and dad bought all of the “tribute to Elvis” magazines, and I read them all. (I was reading way before Kindergarten, which I know is bizarrely unusual, but it’s true)  I was totally preoccupied with how he died, and how his fans reacted. I guess the whole “fandom” bug had already bitten me even back then, I just didn’t know it!

As years went by, I heard Elvis in our house less and less often. I don’t know why that was. I suppose my parents got older, and maybe it wasn’t as much fun for them after he’d passed away. I really don’t know. It also could have been that not too terribly long after Elvis died, I took over the record player.

I’ll give you two guesses what band was most often played. 🙂

It’s hard for me to imagine that it really has been forty years since “The King” left this planet, and not all of that is due to the fact that I’m looking side-eyed at birthday #47 coming up.  Every now and then I run across another article saying “Elvis is Alive”, or something about his fans – many of which are in their seventies or eighties now.  They have done their due diligence in keeping his music and spirit alive for forty years now. While yes, many might characterize his fans as “obsessed” or “crazy”, or even “extreme”, I have to give them credit.  For forty years, they’ve had no concerts, no meet and greets. No chance meetings on the street, no Twitter, Facebook, or even the internet. Hell, when Elvis died, there were no home computers or cell phones!  His fans have had his music. That’s it. I suppose that the lesson here is that when something touches your heart as deeply as music, not even death can end that connection.

Something to think about.

-R

 

Think Yourself Lucky: Some thoughts on this tour

I’ve been thinking about the Paper Gods tour, or at least the shows that I attended. I have fantastic memories from the past few years, that is for sure. There really isn’t anything like seeing Duran Duran on stage, and being able to go to these shows with my best friend, knowing that however insane I seem – she usually gets it – makes it all the better.

I am pretty lucky that I was able to see Duran Duran play at the Hollywood Bowl, for example. Although I’m not a huge fan of the venue for rock concerts (the crowds are ridiculous and it takes a special sort of patience to handle the parking and traffic issues), seeing Duran Duran there was a dream. To begin with, it was the first show of the tour (for me), not counting Jimmy Kimmel the evening before.  Our seats were amazing – we splurged for second row center tickets, and I just remember how excited I was to be there. We had our friend from Canada with us, and the memories of giggling in the car after the show as I drove over the Grapevine will never leave me.  Amanda read me texts from another friend of ours who had gotten into to the after party with the band, and I was over the moon about the scene she described, wishing I had been there. I still can’t believe I drove all the way from my house, up to Berkeley, then back again, the very next day.

Amanda and I saw a lot of shows this time around. We’ve never done this many before, and I don’t regret a single one.  My bank account does, but that’s alright. You only live once, and I didn’t want to waste the opportunity. I did turn down a few shows—Amanda went without me to DC over New Years, for example—and while sure I wish I could have been there, I also wasn’t ready for the chaos and anger that would have caused here at home. It’s a tradeoff, and not an easy one at that.

When I start thinking about all of the miles and driving and travel—it begins to blow my mind just a little. I’ve gotten to see some parts of this country I’d never seen before, and I even got to go to Canada! I’ve also met a lot of new people, made new friends, and perhaps even made a new pal out of someone I’ve known for a very long time.

I toasted with Simon, saw Nick laugh at me more times than I care admit (I CAN’T HELP ROLLING MY EYES AT HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF – I AM SORRY BUT I TRY MY BEST TO BEHAVE!!), ducked from Simon-spit 16 times (we’re still winning that war, Simon!!), and exchanged smiles with other band members countless times. I can’t even count the amount of moments I would look at Amanda and we’d share a huge grin, because we were in exactly the kind of “heaven” we love most.  She and I made fun of this band at every single opportunity, laughed at ourselves so much our sides hurt, and fell more in “love” with each one of them every single day. Yeah, they’re band members. Celebrities. People. Just like us. We adore them even when we’re calling them dorks. Our readers don’t always understand that, and some really get on us about teasing them – but Amanda and I don’t feel as though we have to apologize to them for our antics. Something tells me that they not only get it, they really kind of like it! Rock on!

No, they probably don’t know me, but they made this tour worth every last mile I traveled, and a lot of the turmoil that went along with my absence from home. I don’t regret a single moment…well, maybe aside from the moments when we should have zigged instead of zagged. (If you don’t know what I mean by that, you’ll need to re-watch last Monday’s video blog)

Then there’s the way I ended this tour – with a show in San Francisco. It was GA, we were pretty far back, and yet I can honestly say I had a great time. I’d forgotten just how much better the sound can be when you’re back away from the stage, and the crowd energy was infectious. The thing is, of course we wanted to be up closer to the front. Yeah, I’m not afraid to say that I wanted to rock out with Dom one last time. But, we made the best of where we were, stayed present in the moment and danced like crazy. Some ridiculous part of me thinks that he still saw me out there, having a great time. And I did. The one thing I can tell you I thought about that night over and over again, was that I was so lucky to be there.

There I was, standing with my best friend, smiling so hard my cheeks hurt, watching the band we adore do their thing. About 30 seconds into the show, it stopped mattering where we were standing, or that there was a really rude, and very tall kid and his also-tall girlfriend standing directly in front of me, positioned so that there was no way I could see past them at all (he was rude for other reasons, not because he was in front of me).  I was just happy to be there one last night. I don’t know if I’ll always be able to be there, and if nothing else – the past couple of months has taught me that there really are NO guarantees in life. You get whatever you get. I would peek in between the sea of arms and camera phones to catch glimpses of Dom, Simon and John, and I just danced.  Pure bliss. And yeah, I’m pretty sure that by the end of the show, I got a wink or two from Dom. I can’t imagine he really saw me, but I smiled in return. We waved to Simon, Nick, John and Roger, and refused to acknowledge that for us, the tour had ended.

These are my favorite people, and I regret nothing. My two girls are performers. Heather is a dancer/choreographer, and my youngest is a singer and piano player, although she’s only nine so who knows what she’ll really do when she’s grown. I always tell each of them the same thing when they’re about to perform, and that’s to leave it ALL out on the stage. Don’t hold back. It’s the only advice I know to give. The only reason I know to give it is because I wouldn’t want them to live life the way I did for so long before I started doing all of this. I only half-lived, and it wasn’t enough. So this tour, I did the shows I wanted to do, and I LIVED. I left it all out there, no regrets, heart on the sleeve, and all of that. Nobody should wonder how I feel about this band, and particularly about the people within—whether or not they’re members, or supporting players.

Those memories are gonna have to last me until I-have-no-idea-when, so I’ll take them.  I am lucky.

-R

“New Found Appreciation”: Influencing New Fans

Last week, I received a thank you card from my student teacher.  In it, she expressed her appreciation with everything thing she had learned during the semester, including the importance of laughter.  Apparently, I make a lot of jokes in my classroom.  Who knew?!  One other thing she learned to appreciate was Duran Duran.  I know.  What does Duran Duran have to do with teaching?  Nothing.  Since I was her cooperating teacher, she had no choice but to learn about Duran.  I played the entire Rio album, for example, on its anniversary.  In order to test new equipment, I played some Duran videos.  The band provided the background to grading semester finals.

She told me that she knew some of their music but was not super familiar with them.  More to the point, what she learned about the band make her like the band more than she did.  Does that mean that  she is a fan now?  I don’t know if the new appreciation will translate to that, but it might.  I did my best or…could I have done something more?

At some point, I did a blog about which songs should be played to try to get new fans but now, after my student teacher and the book, “The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy,” I wonder if I went about it in the wrong way.

The book has an entire section entitled Resistance Is Futile:  Converting Your Friends to Fangirls.  Here are the suggestions the author listed and my thoughts about each one of them:

Ease into it.

The recommendation here is simple.  Don’t mention the history of a fandom, that’s too intense, too intimidating.  Instead, one should keep it fun by sending pictures or something light.  What do I think about it?  I’m not sure.  On one hand, I can see why the history might be a bit much or make it seem like there is no way that someone could jump into the fandom right now.  Yet, I think there is a way to acknowledge the awesome history but also showing that one can join.  For example, I might say, “It is pretty cool.  Duran formed in 1978, almost 40 years ago and have thousands of fans.  Yet, because they are still writing new albums and touring, new fans can jump in at any point.”  Then, I might send a fun live clip.

Play human recommendation engine.

The advice here is really easy.  Suggest something you know your friend would like.  In our case, if someone likes more ballads play that person “Save a Prayer”.  If they like more rock, I might choose “Careless Memories”.  It is important to know what the potential Duranie likes, music wise.

Discover something together.

The idea here is to find a fandom together.  Okay.  Cool.  Not an option for me with Duran.  Maybe another band?  Although, I can’t really see me liking another band to the same extent that I like Duran.  Goodness.

Make it a party.

The suggestion here is to have a party and invite a bunch of people.  I do have Duran parties but would I really invite non-Duranies to it?  I’m not sure.  Would they be bored?  Feel out of place?  Wouldn’t that be just like the first recommendation where everyone else has a lot of experience and knowledge that the newbie(s) don’t?!  Maybe I would do that if the person is now a fan but not quite to Duranie status to push them over to the dark…I mean Duran side.

Give the gift of fandom.

The author says that giving gifts about your fandom that you think the person will like can work.  Okay.  I have about 20 million copies of Paper Gods that I could give as gifts.

Don’t get defensive.

If someone doesn’t like your fandom, don’t get defensive.  You can calmly explain that sharing a fandom does give a ton of fabulous experiences and friendships that you wouldn’t have otherwise.  I think it is important to realize that no matter what you share with the non-Duranie, s/he might not ever become a Duranie.  That is okay, too.

Overall, I do believe that it is GREAT to have friends who are Duranies.  It definitely makes fandom WAY more fun and provides a great foundation to a friendship.  That said, it can also be tough when a friend who was once a Duranie is no more or when someone you thought was on her/his way to being a Duranie changes her/his mind.  Sometimes, that really affects friendships, even though no one wants it, too.  So, word to the wise.  Have fun with trying to create a new Duranie but don’t get disappointed when it doesn’t work or doesn’t last.

-A

 

You Won’t Miss Me When I’m Gone

Well, the spring run of shows is over, and the band has gone back to England.

I feel a little deflated, and yet my shows ended weeks ago. If that weren’t enough, I’ve seen a few people comment that they’ve never seen a tour happen this way – and so that must mean it’s farewell.

Oh come on now. Really?

First of all, I’ve seen a lot of tours like this. As in, most, if not all of them. The band always adds dates here and there, at least for as long as I’ve been actively paying attention. They do first, second…sometimes third and even fourth “legs”, and Duran Duran is FAR from the only band in the universe to do this. As John Taylor said recently in an interview, sometimes dates (like the South American shows) come up, and they have to get their whole group together, and so it just makes sense to add in a few more shows to make the trips worthwhile. I’m not going to find fault with that kind of sanity.

Second, if we’re talking about the fact that they haven’t gone many other places aside from the UK, Italy, the US and now South America – again I have to say it’s about money. Like it or not, the band has bills to pay, and they only go where they’re being paid to go. I know it’s hard to imagine, but the cost involved with doing a world tour – a real world tour – are staggering. They can’t just fly to Australia and do one show, and they can’t do more than that if promoters and bookers aren’t getting them shows. It’s that simple, whether we want to believe it or not. Sometimes, I think Duran fans look for conspiracies that just do not exist.

Lastly, even if this is their final farewell, does it really change anything? Does it change how YOU are touring? What shows YOU are attending? For me personally, I’m going to what I can. Even if I knew it was the final countdown, I couldn’t possibly do more shows right now, even if I wanted. I mean, what more could I really want though?

I’m not the type of person that is going to sit and wait for them outside of their hotel, or at an airport. I love them, but I also feel awkward doing that stuff. I know a lot of others do, and that’s great. It’s not my thing. There is only one time I’ve asked one of them to sign something for me, and in all honesty it was Dom, it wasn’t Simon, or Roger, or anyone like that. I’m just not that kind of fan, not that I think those people are wrong or weird or anything like that – it’s just that for me, I don’t want or need much signed. I’ve been to the UK. I’ve seen Birmingham – out of everything I’ve ever done in the name of “fandom”, that was the one thing I really wanted and it lived up to every last possible expectation and then some. Truth be told, I would really like to go back to the UK again. Very much so. I don’t know if I will have a chance to take that trip though, just because of timing and family expenses (again, college is NOT CHEAP).  I’ve taken long road trips with Amanda, I’ve had some wonderful experiences at shows, and I have made a lot of friends along the way. I just don’t know if there’s much else I could reasonably want, except more.

So while the idea of “farewell” bothers me, I can’t go on worrying about it looming overhead. A bit of advice my dad gave me before he died was that I needed to not worry so much about the dying. I’d call him at least a few times a week towards the end, and I’d always ask how he was feeling. It was natural, and I meant it in the most loving way possible – he was my dad and I was worried. Dad got tired of talking about how he was feeling though, because let’s face it – he already knew he was dying. It was no secret. He didn’t want to focus on the end, he just wanted to enjoy the living. So, he told me that the end was going to be just that, the end, and that none of us had much control over when that was going to be, or how that was going to transpire. What he and I could do though, was to enjoy the time we had. So I am, and I will. It was still a shock when the end arrived, and I still went through all of the same stages of grief as anyone might. But, I’m kind of glad my dad gave me that little pep talk though, because it’s come in handy more than once in the almost nine years he’s been gone. That’s my dad – watching out for me up until the very end!

Of course I’ll be wistful and sad when they stop touring. I have friends that I don’t know if I’ll see again when that time comes, even if I don’t think now is that time. I can’t imagine not seeing the band, or Dom, or even some of the roadies again. We fans have known them so long we can’t imagine not having them around and yet they really don’t know us at all. There’s really only one person in or around the band that truly knows me or my name, and I don’t even question whether or not he’ll know me in a crowd. It’s kind of like going to family reunions every time they tour or do a show, and I’ll miss those.

I think that’s really just it. Family. Somewhere along the line, this band and all of the fans that go along with them, have become a family, whether we like it or not! Some I might see as crazy uncles (there’s always one!), and others are probably related only by marriage and we don’t really know how they fit in, but they’re part of the group. I can’t imagine that feeling of family just ending, can you?

I don’t know what the band has coming next. I know that they’re coming back to California in July. I have heard rumblings of other possibilities, courtesy of the monthly Katy Kafes. I don’t think this band is quite done yet, but I’m not going to worry about that. I’m going to enjoy seeing pictures, chatting with friends, and planning for the shows I will see in July. I am going to work on a couple of projects I have going on here at home – including a high school graduation for my son, and I’m going to be reveling in the joy I have bubbling within for getting him to this point. I’m going to savor each moment as it comes, and live in gratitude for each day I’m given, and so should you.

-R

Just a number on the metal fence

2018 will mark the 40th anniversary of the band’s humble beginnings in Birmingham, UK.  When I stop and think about that, I’m convinced of two things: 1. There’s obviously been a miscount. 2. Time really does fly.

There is a group out there that is working to collect data from fans-at-large in order to put together some suggestions that the band may or may not consider if they should decide to put together a tour or collectors editions from their catalog, etc.  I think it’s great to try to gather some sort of collective voice from the fans—after all, it is something Amanda and I have been doing for the better part of nearly seven years now.

When we first began the blog, I really don’t know that we gave thought or credence to the idea that the band would actually HEAR us. We just knew that there was a lack of a central…place…for lack of better words, for fans to gather and really talk about Duran Duran fandom.  Message boards were pretty scattered, fanzines didn’t really allow for discussion. Facebook was Facebook, and even that has changed quite a bit over the period of time the blog has been around, and rest assured it has evolved, too. Over the past four years or so (give or take), Amanda has asked daily questions and polls.  While she’s tried to do a variety of topics, a lot of them have had to do with songs, set lists, etc.  What is your favorite album? What song do you wish they’d play live, and so on. She’s great at being able to take that information and see trends, and I love the way she breaks it down in her wrap-up blogs on the weekends.

So, when I stumbled upon word that a group that is working to compile similar information for the possibility of shows and other special releases in 2018, I was curious. Amanda has done survey after survey in seven years, and while we could always use more participation – we have a reasonably sized sampling of those who are active on social media, and I remember how clear some of the winning songs have been over the years.  I wondered if they would get different answers than we might have gotten over the years for similar questions. Would their sampling be all that much different?  How would that change the results? I was looking forward to reading more about it all.

Amanda and I never did our daily questions with the intention that the information found would make its way back to the band. Unless management reads the blog, it isn’t like we’re sending a dossier to the band each year.  Yeah, we joke a lot, much of it being tongue-in-cheek, but we don’t expect much. For a time we were overly hopeful with grandiose dreams of meeting the band and somehow getting dream careers out of this – but believe me when I say that our feet are firmly planted back on the ground. (I almost said Planet Earth….) The blog is our hobby and about the only thing we take seriously about it is our dedication to writing it each day.

Yesterday I stumbled across what is apparently the top 10 list from the survey that @DD40_2018 compiled from the request survey they devised.

  1. The Man Who Stole a Leopard
  1. Serious/Friends of Mine/Hold Back the Rain

  2. Election Day/New Religion

  3. The Chauffeur

  4. Secret Oktober

  5. Do You Believe in Shame

10 The Seventh Stranger

I was surprised that such a relatively new song like The Man Who Stole a Leopard would take away the entire survey, being the number one most requested song. When I looked back at some of the surveys we’d done in the past – specifically those that discussed set lists, The Man Who Stole a Leopard was always requested, but in the overall scheme of things, the song didn’t even make the cutoff for the 17-song setlist that Amanda compiled based on our survey results in October of 2016. (I’ve copied and pasted that list below).

Planet Earth
All You Need Is Now
New Religion
Wild Boys
The Chauffeur
New Moon on Monday
Save a Prayer
Pressure Off
Hold Back the Rain
Nice
Union of the Snake
Before the Rain
Come Undone
Rio
What Are the Chances
A View to a Kill
Paper Gods

Some of the rest of their top 10 list are the usual suspects, including Secret Oktober, Friends of Mine, Hold Back the Rain… and only one of those is included on the fan-requested set list we compiled. I see that What Are the Chances and Paper Gods are both included in our results and I have to wonder if those results would come out the same way if asked again tomorrow. I would bet not. Even so, the lists are very different.

Why is that? Well, to begin with it could be the survey itself.  As I recall, we had participants create their own set list back in October. So people sent in their own set lists, made from whatever songs they wanted – and I believe Amanda kept the framework to 17 songs. In contrast, the DD40_2018 survey had people choose the songs they wanted to hear most off of each album, but the songs were not ranked in terms of importance. So for example, if you wanted to hear five songs off of the first album – you clicked on those five songs and then moved on to the next album. There was no way to indicate which song(s) you might want to hear most. We’ve done similar in the past – and in every case, no matter how we’ve worked the survey, the song that wins by a landslide, is New Religion.  In their results, it landed at number five, behind a few songs that didn’t even make the final setlist in our case. Fascinating, right?

I also wonder if knowing that these suggestions will be presented to management for touring consideration made a difference to respondents.  In our case, the surveys have always been done for fun with no promise of the band paying any sort of attention. Does that make a difference in the way people answer? I don’t know, but it’s a possibility.

The sampling of participants for surveys counts as well.  As I’ve noted in the past, different people are drawn to different places on the web. Those that read here might not be on a message board, and those on Twitter might not be as active on Facebook, etc.  I also think the sample size matters as well – the more respondents a survey has, and the closer that sampling is to the actual demographic ratio of the fans, better the chance that the results will accurately represent our community. It isn’t always easy to get people to respond to a survey.

I’m not here to suggest that one method or one set of results outweighs another, that’s silly.  My interest is only to note the differences in the results. I might even make a broader claim, as it turns out, that perhaps no one survey is going to really provide an accurate assessment of what the fan community at large wants. What that may or may not mean with management actually taking such suggestions seriously, I don’t know.  Admittedly, Daily Duranie is not in such discussions with management or anyone else – we just write our blogs and do our surveys with the same basic goals in mind we always have: to provide a place for discussion and to make fandom just a little more fun.

-R

Bow to the Paper Gods: Their Final Encore?

Every once in a while, a fan will reach out with a profound idea that should be shared with the community-at-large. Amanda and I strive for Daily Duranie to be a safe place for fans to share their ideas. While not everyone may always agree with the message being shared, we think it is important for fans to have a peaceful space to say what they want to say. In that spirit, we have a guest blogger today that is ready to share some of his own thoughts and feelings. I hope his blog provokes thoughtful conversation.  -R

By, Jeff Bistline

I recently tweeted some thoughts on Twitter concerning my thoughts on the current state of Duran Duran.  I changed my mind several times, reached out to friends, changed my mind again.  I re-edited my writing (several times), and decided I still needed to communicate some of my thoughts, for my own sanity.  The following is my “edited version”, or “PG version” which is far less speculative, but still contains quite a few opinions.

I have not lost faith in the band, I think they are at a crossroads, and we all know it has to happen sooner or later.  So here it goes…

On Twitter, I recently “called my shot”, and proclaimed that I believe that Paper Gods is the last proper album and tour cycle for the band.  The reason for my tweets were not to cause drama, gain followers, or throw shade at the band or management. I care very passionately for this band and its music.  It has been a part of my life on a daily basis since 1984, and always will be.  Above all, and most importantly, I know that we will always have the music of Duran Duran.  In addition to following every note, lyric, and news item, I closely follow the music industry in great detail.  I have made many observations that have been building in my head for over a year now, and I feel the need to share those observations in great detail.

These observations are heavily based on my opinion.  I have no inside information directly from the band.  I honestly don’t want the band the stop recording and touring, but I think the band, management, close confidants (Ronson/Rodgers, and perhaps Mr. Hudson), and Warner mapped out an a long-term exit plan a few years ago and they are in the middle of that process.

First of all, I love the Paper Gods album.  I think “Pressure Off” was the best single since “Come Undone”. “Planet Roaring” is one of my favorite Duran tracks of all time.  I think the entire band put EVERYTHING into the making of this album.  They did their research, started writing, consulted Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson, and returned to the studio to complete the recording while bringing in Mr. Hudson to add some current and fresh perspective, which has been a long-standing trait of every Duran Duran record.  Fan reaction has been mixed.  The band has stated that everyone loves the album, new fans are coming on board etc., but I have a hard time believing these statements.  It is not their best work, but it is not their worst either. Overall, I think the Paper Gods album is a success, both on the charts and from an artistic viewpoint, given where the band is in this screwed up age in the music industry.  However, I don’t think the band wants to go through this cycle again without much to show for it in terms of physical units sold, or chart success (outside of the initial debut of the album on charts which basically lasted one week).  Simon stating that “Pressure Off” was their most successful single in two decades is pure management spin.  It didn’t make a dent on significant sales or radio airplay charts.  In contrast, even “Leave A Light On” charted on radio playlists in the U.S.

The Paper Gods tour has been a huge success to date.  The strategy that was implemented to tour Paper Gods had been brilliant up until July 2016.  The band, management, record label, and promoters put together a billing that was amazing considering that Duran Duran has not been a full size arena/stadium level touring band since perhaps the reunion and Astronaut era in 2003-2006.  Having Nile Rodgers and Chic on tour made sense, and the billing produced some fantastic shows and crowds.  Most shows I saw ranged between 7,000 to 15,000 people.  Extraordinary support for a legacy band, in my opinion.

A pivotal turning point came in July 2016 when it was announced that Nick Rhodes would be leaving the tour for a short period.  There has been nonstop speculation as to the reasons for Nick’s leave of absence, and nothing has been released or leaked relating to his situation.  First and foremost, I hope Nick (and/or his family) are physically and mentally well.  I prefer to focus on the collective unit/band Duran Duran, but Nick is truly the cornerstone and visionary of Duran Duran, and always has been.  Nick and Simon have been the two constants over the past 36 years.  I cannot imagine Duran Duran existing without either of these two individuals.  I don’t know if there is strife in the band.  I thought maybe there was when I was doing some research on this, but I listened to a few interviews, read some articles, and I honestly think things are fine between the band members.  However, Nick’s absence has certainly had a ripple effect in the fan community.  I don’t think Nick enjoys touring as much as Simon and John.  I think Roger still enjoys both recording and touring.

Here are some observations I have collected (in one place) that have bothered me over the past 14 months (and years in some instances).  These are things that just seem “out of place” compared to previous album and tour cycles.  I originally planned to speak on each one of these points at great length…Perhaps this community can discuss these points in greater detail.  Obviously some of these thoughts are not my own, but have come from threads posted on message boards, Twitter, Facebook, and other sources.

Paper Gods Album

Several fans wondered if the lyrics in the “The Universe Alone” was a goodbye statement.  “Planet Roaring” can also be viewed as an exit song, but more on the celebratory side.  There could also be some lyrical clues in “Pressure Off”, and perhaps the most debated song on the album “Last Night in the City”.

Paper Gods Artwork

The symbols are obviously self-referencing, but why on a new album of new, modern music?  I think the band said it was a conglomeration of images that have collectively “gotten us to this point of time”, but it could also certainly be seen as a final package.

Paper Gods Ancillary Releases

First of all, as a collector…WTF?  We were told we would get a deluxe package.  I’m still waiting.  I’ve exhausted this avenue several times online.  I have two additional comments to make.  DJ’s are celebrities these days, both in the clubs and on the charts.  They demand huge dollars these days.  The unreleased Night Version of “Pressure Off” was probably done in-house (Spike Stent, Josh Blair maybe?).  The “Last Night in the City” mixes were done by lessor known DJ’s.  I’m sure the band and management is unwilling to invest much into remixes and ultimately additional single releases at this point in their career as the return is probably pretty small these days since people are buying less and less physical releases.

Paper Gods Music Videos

There was such a delay in releasing both of these from when the initial single was released, etc.  The “Last Night in the City” video was filmed 6 months before it was finally released.  Director Nick Egan even commented on a fan’s Facebook page that he was not pleased with the process and the end result.

Record Store Day

The vinyl industry has had a huge resurgence in the past 2 years.  Why hasn’t Duran been participating in this event for 3-4 years now?  Again, this probably relates to production costs, ROI (Return On Investment), and effort.

Duran Duran Appreciation Day

We previously received some unreleased music for this day.  Now, we get a video performance of something that pretty much existed already.  Again, few resources are being spent to deliver a unique remix, live set, etc.

Paper Gods Tour

I live in the United States.  I’ve been very happy that I have seen the band on four legs of tours since the album released (counting the upcoming New Years Eve shows).  The band or management has decided to only tour the three largest Duran fan base territories:  U.S., U.K, and Italy.  Europe was told they would get a tour, but Nick’s situation may have delayed or shelved that tour.  There were rumors of a billing with Pet Shop Boys for Australia this fall.  There have been mumblings of a tour for South America for 2017. No dates have been released.  I listened to John’s Katy Kafe from July…I sincerely feel that he wants to further the Paper Gods tour into next year and different markets.  Nick’s situation, or management, may have delayed or shelved these plans as well, since tours are announced several months in advance.

New Year’s Eve Shows

Who wouldn’t want to spend New Year’s Eve with Duran Duran?  I’m going, but there is no denying it…these are two $$$Payday$$$ shows.  Big bucks at a fancy new casino resort.  I believe the fans deserve to know if Nick is playing or not.  In July, we were told his absence was going to be “short”.  This has caused a firestorm within the community.  Again, I have no idea what is going on, and I hope he is well, but I think fans deserve at least a heads up on his presence for these über-expensive shows.  The 1/1/2017 date doesn’t appear to be selling that well.  You can view available tickets on Ticketmaster.  There are also several seats available for 12/31/2016. I think both of these are sell outs if Nick’s presence is confirmed.  I think fans are very skeptical on these shows at the moment.

Fan Access

Access to the band has been very limited during this album cycle.  There are no longer meet and greets as part of the VIP packages.  John has left social media, and I don’t blame him based on the horrific berating his accounts received.  I wonder if this incident alone has reduced the opportunity for meet and greets, etc.  We rarely get Ask Katy questions on the website, and they don’t seem as interesting as they did during and between previous album cycles.The Move to Warner

I think Duran like the status of being on a big label.  They were on big labels during their heyday.  I have no idea how much Warner plays into the decisions of releases, touring, the band, and management.  I’m sure they wanted access to the back catalog more than anything.  At the time of the press release, John stated “We are also excited that this deal means we will be reunited with our catalogue after years apart – and in that sense it really feels a little like coming home.”

Concert Setlists

This has been debated to death.  I do think the band could put some more effort into this. The current stage production doesn’t allow for a lot of flexibility.  I believe this current setlist was developed with the casual fan in mind.  It was a high energy setlist, set to the backbone of their greatest hits.  I enjoyed every show that I went to, but would have preferred a few changes here and there.  I think the band has settled into this formula to keep the most people happy, again tailored towards the casual fan.

Ask Katy

She certainly has caused a divide within the fan base.  Specifically, some people did not care for her using the “askkaty” moniker on her personal twitter.  It finally got changed and it appears to be 100% personal now.  I believe this should have happened a lot sooner, and I don’t think Simon needed to interject, but again, there is a divide there.

Current Management/Magus Entertainment

I have no problem with the band wanting to bank some buck. Don’t we all?  However, the hard-core fan and collector is not being treated like we deserve, many of those points I highlighted already above.  The current management is on a mission to maximize earning potential, and give the casual fan a great night of entertainment.  The bundling of the Paper Gods CD with the tickets was an artificial attempt to bloat album sales numbers (it actually reentered the charts in the U.S.) and get the album into the hands of the casual fan.  I have an extra ten copies of the standard album, and I’m sure other fans can say the same thing.  This bundling practice also increases the concert tickets as I believe that some document has to be filed/exist for these units to count towards album sales and charts.

What is Nick doing?

Is he working on anything Duran related?  That’s the million dollar question at this point.  Are the other band members upset while they are still out on the road?  We all know Nick loves art, curating, cataloging, organizing, making lists.  Some friends have been wondering if he is working on some anthology type project, something that he probably couldn’t do from the road.  Hmmmm.  Seems very possible to me.  I’m sure he’s doing some work while on break.

SOOOOO, where does this leave us?

I think Paper Gods is the last album.  I think that touring Paper Gods will be completed with the Cancun, and New Year’s shows.  Heck, they may have already turned in the equipment, video screens, etc. to the lighting and video companies and plan on showing up to these shows with basic equipment from local companies.  2018 will mark the 40th anniversary of the start of the band.  I think we will see a large-scale, worldwide greatest hits/farewell tour, and a greatest hits package or anthology type project to commemorate their fabulous career.  After that, who knows?  Whatever, it seems like a great stopping point to me if I were in the band.

I’ll be supporting Duran Duran until I die, whatever happens, I’m in it until the end.  It’s time for me to go back to enjoying Duran Duran for the reason I started listening to them in the first place.  The music.

Cheers y’all, and Duran On!

Jeff and his dog

Jeff Bistline has been a dedicated Duranie since 1984. His passions in life are his Duran Duran collection, college basketball, and his boxer dog, Vivi. He is an accountant and lives in Nebraska.

I was in that crowd of “everybody” once

The very first time I traveled to see a Duran Duran show was in 2005. I met my friends in Chicago and saw them at the then-named All-State Arena close to O’Hare. Prior to that, the farthest I’d gone to see any band from my house in Orange County, California was probably San Diego, about 50 miles away.  So, it has only been for the past eleven years that I’ve traveled to see a band perform.

My two oldest children were eight and six the first time I left them to fly to Chicago. My absence threw the house into an uproar, as it did each time following that trip. I rearranged schedules and passed off parenting and household duties. I’d leave my role of Mom behind and sink back into the comfort of just being myself—a Duranie. In some ways it was a relief to have time to myself, and in others, I always felt like I was misbehaving or shirking my responsibilities. It was a near-constant state of emotional tug-o-war.

Despite the obstacles, I managed to see Duran Duran over thirty times in that eleven-year period. I don’t even know the exact count offhand, because for me—it doesn’t matter much.

As an aside,  I’m not great with details. I’m a big picture person. Amanda is the detail person. She takes pride in knowing those things, and I think she must like being able to give exact numbers. I’m not like that, and for a long time I’ve felt inferior to her as a result, for that and a number of other things that don’t matter right now. I’m realizing now that I’m really not inferior. I’m just me…but I digress.

My point is I’ve done a lot in a relatively short period of time. That “measure” comes from nothing but how I feel about myself. There are tons of Duranies who have gone to hundreds of shows and never miss a chance to see them. I’m not talking about those people. I’m talking about ME.

I’ve definitely missed shows and tours over the years. I don’t ever try to do them all. I pick and choose. I started out doing one or two shows for a tour. It was “reasonable”. Then I went for a couple more. Maybe a long weekend’s worth. Then I traveled to the UK twice in a year, and that’s when I’d say things got out of hand. It was at the same time this blog started to gain an audience, and while leaving my house was difficult, it wasn’t impossible. I took full advantage. It was fun, I got to meet a lot of people. I like seeing people who I recognize in nearly every city. I also knew that at some point, I’d have to stop.

Thinking about the present day, I didn’t have too much of a chance to catch up on social media until yesterday evening. I checked out Twitter and Facebook, seeing that a lot of people commented on their tickets for the National Harbor shows. As expensive as the tickets might be, fans still find a way to go. I know how this is—I’ve done it many times. As one friend said as she lamented on why she caved and bought front row seats, “Seems like everyone is going.”

I’m not. I was one of those “everyone’s” once, though.  I remember getting messages, so many times over the years, as Amanda and I would announce what shows we were attending. The verbiage was always similar: people would say they were happy for us, but that there was no way they could pay that much or be gone that long, etc.

In Duranland, there are two basic public responses to those types of messages or comments: one either shows some empathy by saying they’re sorry that so-and-so can’t go, or one shines it on with a full-blown explanation of how it comes down to prioritizing, and that for you it comes down to making the band a priority.

I’ve SAID those words myself and I wish I could go back and slap myself for being such a bitch, excuse my language. Duran Duran is NOT a priority. Food is a priority. Housing, rent, etc is a priority. Your children are priorities. Children with fur are priorities. The band? That is pure entertainment. It is fun, and that is all it is. I said the line,  “I work so hard and I deserve the reward” more than once.  We all deserve a lot of things, so I need to just shut up. Not everybody gets to reward themselves, am I right?

I work my ass off every single day with homeschooling, being a housewife and all the “glory” that provides, and then working at a school. But when the money isn’t there for rewards, it isn’t there. For example, right now I work that part-time job. You’d think I would be able to use that money as “fun” money. Well, I would like to think that anyway.  I was a stay at home mom for years and years, and we made ends meet just fine. This should be extra. Except it’s not. That money – and I mean every last cent of it, goes to pay for my daughter’s housing at school. There’s none left for “fun”. I highly, highly doubt I’m alone there. I should have been a LOT more empathetic with my own thoughts and comments over the years.

Not that long ago, someone called me out here for the amount of shows I’ve done over the years. They said I’d thrown a lot of money into this. Yep, I have. I think the comment was in response to a suggestion I’d made to the band to do a residency, but the sentiment still applies. I have spent a boatload on the band. I don’t regret it. I had my fun, and I made memories that will last a lifetime. But I also recognize and appreciate that not everyone can or should spend that kind of cash. I recognize the need for Duranies to judge one another. It comes down to some sort of competition and it pisses people off to see that others can do more.

I’ll get “real” with you all about doing more. For a long time, I was convinced by the concept of “More”.  If I spent more money – if I went to more shows, if I traveled more often, if I got more front row, if I met more people, if I did more VIP parties, if I was more recognizable within the community, I’d somehow BE someone. Those things didn’t make me anything but cash-poor!I don’t know the band any better now than I did before. I’m the same person now that I was before. I’m still shy. I still have a terrible sense of self-worth. I still doubt myself on a daily basis, and I still self-sabotage.

That said, I know more people now. I’ve done a lot of writing, even though  neither of the manuscripts I’ve written have been published. I’ve seen things. I’ve experienced things. I think that as a whole, I’ve even learned things. I’ve spoken directly to Simon Le Bon and survived. The blog is recognized by many.  Doing more though, didn’t make me any more of a person. I didn’t go from being an unknown wallflower to one of the most popular and well-liked Duranies, for example. (in fact I’d say I’ve gained more than a few enemies as a direct result of this blog and my activities over the years. People don’t always love me and I know it.) Spending more on the band didn’t push me into the inner-circle of well-known fans (to the band).  I don’t have a great job, or a burgeoning career as a result of “all I’ve done“? It just made me a ton of memories…and according to my husband, slightly poorer. 🙂  (I laugh because I must – but he is right.)

So I’m not in the crowd of “everyone” anymore. I don’t think I will be for a long while. My exact words on Facebook last night were that I wouldn’t be traveling or attending a show anytime soon unless they are playing in my backyard for free or I’ve won the lottery, and that’s probably true. My two oldest are now nearly 20 and 17. One is in her second year of college and the other is in the middle of application season. I’m just hoping we can pay for school, applications and still be able to afford Christmas, to be honest. Yes, I will miss being at the shows. Yes, I will miss traveling. Yes, I will miss screaming for the band. But I’m learning that doing those things doesn’t make me a fan. They aren’t what makes anyone a fan, or what makes a good manuscript or a great blog. They’re just points along the way.

-R

 

 

If You Knew What She Was After

Hello Duranies!  It’s finally Thursday.

I saw that DDHQ posted a memory for today – a year ago they were on the Jimmy Fallon show.  Where does the time really go?!?

A year ago, Paper Gods was shiny and new.  We were all just getting comfortable with the new music, and I remember fans getting excited by the prospects of a tour.  The band also announced they would play the Jimmy Kimmel show here in LA, and I couldn’t believe my luck in being able to get a ticket and go.  After not seeing the band for so long, it was exciting to know that shows were coming, and now we’re once again back to waiting for whatever is next.

It’s hard to be a fan sometimes. We wait and wait and wait, and then we get a year or two of excitement, and then we’re back to waiting again. Sometimes we love the new music, sometimes we aren’t bowled over by it, and we go on.

The other day I was talking to someone and they asked me if I’ve loved everything Duran Duran has ever done. I think they were seriously expecting the answer to be yes and were prepared to roll their eyes. For me though, the answer is “No, not always.”  The person I was speaking with paused, and then asked how I could stay a fan if I didn’t love all of their music.  I smiled as I formulated my thoughts.

I used sports as the analogy.  Let’s say you’re a hockey fan.  Do you stop being a fan of your favorite team just because they traded a player? After all – the team is the team, right?  Do you love the team – the people on it – or do you love everything that the team stands for and does?  What if the team has a really bad season?  What if the coach makes choices you don’t like?  Do you stop being a fan then?  Very few sports fans that truly have a favorite team stop cheering for that team purely because of a bad season or because a player was traded. They adapt. They adjust.  They get excited for the new season, wait and wait and wait for games, and then when it ends….they wait some more.  They go on.

So do we.

I suppose at some point, depending upon how serious of a fan one really is, maybe interest fades. That happens whether we’re talking about music or we’re talking sports.  I just don’t know of a lot of people who change-up their favorite team, or their favorite band that often. For me, I’ve been around a long time now. Even with albums that I haven’t adored or played until the grooves wore out, there are still at least songs I love on them.  I haven’t lost interest, obviously.

I find myself cheering on the band as a whole. I want them to do well because I support them, not necessarily because I love Paper Gods or  Red Carpet Massacre, All You Need is Now or even Rio. I adore the band as a whole, whether that includes Dom on guitar, or MNDR on keyboards as Nick’s substitute for a tour.

I know there are plenty of Duranies that cheerily announce they love every single thing the band has ever done. They love everything so much that they can’t wait to tell Amanda or I that they can’t possibly make a choice for our daily (purely for FUN) polls. I’m not exactly like that. I do have favorites, whether we’re talking the music, the videos, or even people. But as a whole, I love this band.

I’m not a sports fan. I couldn’t even name the players on my local hockey team, The Anaheim Ducks – but I understand what it means to be a fan. Fans don’t give up on their teams, even in the face of near certain adversity. Fans stick around for losing seasons, for favorite players being traded, and they bask in the glory of championships, however far and few they might be in between.

The person I was talking with, a fellow soccer parent, was flabbergasted. They just couldn’t see the similarities. In his mind, there had to be other, much more obvious driving factors than “just music” to keep someone interested in a band for nearly 40 years.

I almost felt sorry for him.

-R

Just a Number: Vancouver

 

The Paper Gods tour has been fun so far, particularly since I was able  to attend shows. I’m looking forward to covering as much of it as we can along the way.  That said, I have found very little to really write about lately.

Today, however, my attention was drawn to the Sunday evening show in Vancouver.  Simon apparently addressed the crowd, saying hello to the city, but he didn’t stop there. He commented that the city is different from the US, because it ISN’T the US – and for that, the band is grateful.

What!??!

Here’s the thing: I love Duran Duran. But sometimes, they are truly knuckleheads. I’m not afraid to say that, which is probably one reason why I’m not employed by the band.  I’m sure that Simon was just being Simon, and that the words came out of his mouth before he realized what he was saying, but that didn’t stop the groans from the audience.

For the geographically challenged amongst us (and I count myself in that group as I needed to Google it): Rogers Arena in Vancouver isn’t far from the US border – only just under 31 miles.  I’m sure there were a fair number of Americans in the audience that night.

When statements come out like that, here is what many, including myself, might hear: We don’t mind America. We like taking their money, actually.  That said, we’re not really fond of it, even though once we made it there, we were on top of the world. 

I’m the first one to stand and say I’ve been caught chewing on my foot more times than I can count. Sometimes I just trip over my words on the way out, realizing that I’ve likely said something offensive and yet I just keep going, because if I’m going to fuck it up, I’m going to do it royally.  And you know, I could give Simon a pass on this too.  Like I said, I’ve done similar. Many, many times.

After a while though, one starts to wonder how the band really feels.

It’s a sticky topic.  On one hand, I tend to take what Simon says at a show with a grain of salt. He was just trying to welcome the crowd and say something funny.  On the other, I know for sure that there were Americans in that audience that didn’t find it amusing. Some were offended, because they’ve openly tweeted as such.  How would I have felt if I had been there?

How many legs of this tour have been spent here in America?  Just how many shows have they done here this time, and how much time has been spent elsewhere thus far?  Yet, he went ahead and put down the country that has shown up in amazing numbers to see them play. It’s just bad even if it was a joke, and unfortunate if the wording just didn’t come out right (which is my guess).

Look, I know America isn’t perfect, and I’d have to be living in a hole not to recognize that to the rest of the world, our politics seem irrational at best right now. (I LIVE here and it IS irrational, just saying) I can also make fun of the place I was born and raised because it is my home.  We all see the cracks in the pavement, don’t we?

I think that at least for me, it is the idea that the band I have adored since childhood doesn’t seem to love where I live much when things are said that way. It stings a bit.  As an American fan, I hope they at least like being here. I also hope they like us as people, especially given the sheer length of time we’ve supported the band. It matters, and yet I know in my head that Simon could not have meant it the way it came out.  I have to hope not. It’s never a good feeling when one starts considering that perhaps it all just comes down to money. Yes, it is a business for them. For fans though, it is so much deeper.

-R

 

None of the Above: Fan Categories

Manuela is one of our most ardent Daily Duranie supporters and is from Italy. For her guest blog, she is expanding upon an idea Amanda originally presented here on Daily Duranie regarding different categories of fans. (this idea originally comes from Amanda’s brother, Matthew Pustz, who is a college professor and expert on comic book fandom!) 

Manuela’s views here are slightly different from the ones we’ve previously presented.  That’s OK – we like different, and we all have our own points of view, which we certainly welcome here.  Enjoy!  -R

Thanks for blogging, Manuela!

 

-by Manuela Salvade

I am a long-time music fan. I have encountered, and I had the chance to become friend with many others so far. For fun or as a game,  I am going to narrow down a list of the fan categories and describe the people I’ve met along the way. In the end, I will also tell you where I believe I fit in.

The hard-die fans

They are usually longtime fans and they are what the music stars call the “fan base”. They are particularly loyal and supportive. Sometimes, their support and points of view are so strong that it’s hard to have a dialogue with them on any different view of the topics you are speaking of.  These fans have a strong “ego”, which sometimes makes them seem as sort of “Guardians of the Flame” of everyone’s passion and which is sometimes not necessary! You can be sure that if any other music fan tries to bother you, these fans immediately come to your help and defend you from those “bullies”. The hard-die fans are usually awesome administrators of Pages, Groups, Fans Communities, so on… on the social sites. They are usually a type of conduit between the music stars and the fans, even if they themselves do not know the band personally or work for the management.

The loyal fans

They are also hard-die fans, but the difference with the above category of fans is that they can come at any point during their music heroes’ career. They are lovely, mostly open-minded people. They love whatever their fave music star releases. The beauty of being with them is that you can chat with them, unless you hurt them or you are rude. The key term of their fandom is “freedom”: they want to be free to love, free to say their opinions, they want to be free to pick up the friends they need and they want to feel free to even criticize fans and heroes when necessary!

The “regulars”

The fans who participate in this group seem to be relatively young  because you can see them mostly on the internet. These fans have like a regular schedule they follow, in order to post on message boards, FB, Twitter accounts, so on, only on certain days during the week, or only during a certain time during the days… You can have a chat, you can be their friend, but your conversation can happen only during the regulars’ schedule. They are not rude people, as they don’t want to avoid being with the rest of the fandom: it’s just not possible to them to always be on the computer all day. Their schedule is given by family reasons, by their job reasons, by technical reasons,… They can belong to any of the other fans’ groups I mentioned here and they do love their music star. The celebrities appreciate their posts, and they are grateful for their presence. Other parts of the fandom might get irritated to see them posting, and a few fans might even see them as “stalkers”.

The one-album fans

They are amazing fans, but you can meet them on few occasions: it depends on the quality of the new release. Nothing can guarantee you that they become hard-die fans, because basically they love only one thing at that moment. Nothing can guarantee you that you can have together a conversation on many topics regarding your fave stars, as they are one-time music lovers.

Who do I think I am? I think I am a (lovely) loyal and regular fan. I am a regular for family and job reasons: I can “appear” only because my private schedule allows me to. I am aware it is a bit frustrating for others who care to interact with me online, but for now, it is the best I can do. I was blocked by fans on Twitter, I guess because I expressed too much love and that is bad. I was followed for some tim  by more than one idols of mine and that was very kind of them.

Do you have other “social” categories” you’d love to add to my list?

 

Manuela picManuela is a long time Duran fan and of pop rock music from the 70s right thru today. She is a public employee at the Milan Town Hall, for a Bureau that provides with a service of help, advice, moderation and support, but no PR, to all organizers of small and big events in her town: EXPO 2015, she is behind the scenes of Fashion Weeks, of MTV and other live concerts, big sport events like Champions League, NBA. She is also a loyal, kind and loving friend and partner.