Category Archives: Guest Blogs

Fun on the High Seas Continues!

Ed note: My apologies for continuing to publish so late this week. There’s a lot going on, and unfortunately I’ve had to wait later and later to begin writing this week. Hopefully this will smooth out again in the coming days!! This particular post was written and submitted last week, but due to scheduling, I needed to wait and publish it today. Please enjoy the break from reality!! -R

Teenage Ambitions We Remember Well…

Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to go to concerts, or do most other “fun” teenager things. Which I think is one of the reasons I am so adamant about chasing these activities now. I’ve never forgotten those dreams from my early years. This cruise has been an amazing way to see several of those musical artist ambitions through in a short period of time.

Yesterday, Russ and I took a celebrity-led excursion with Mark Goodman (MTV VJ) and John Payne of Asia. Approximately 100 people were with us, lapping up the sun, and talking to the two celebrities like old friends. That’s the atmosphere on this trip. One of true extended family. If we do indeed come back next year, we have already revised our plans for getting things done: skip the island excursions to rest up more for the shows and hang out in the bars later in order to mix with the celebrities more. It was Russ’ idea, but let me assure you — the fan girl in me is all about it!

I’m Not Expecting To Grow Flowers in the Desert…

I think that Lori Majewski said it best when introducing Annabella from BowWowWow last night. She had tried to describe the experience to her husband in a phone call home, and remarked, “Where else can you do a concert in the afternoon, a concert in the evening, and a concert at night?” All without going out into the weather or traveling more than two floors from Point A to Point B! Unlike a festival, there’s no camping. No port-a-potties. No standing in lines for hours. There are cushioned seats. There’s climate control. There’s free alcohol, as much as you want/can tolerate. In other words, it’s more than you expect, and how very pleasant is that!

I Want Candy…

There’s plenty of “sweet stuff” on this cruise. There’s a prom night. A chance to renew your vows. The opportunity to spend time together in a way that you just don’t make time for when you’re at home. 

In terms of the musical dessert bar, well, I can barely get started. Yesterday alone, I caught an interview with Grandmaster Flash at 3:30. I cannot begin to tell you how impressed I was with him and what he had to say about his feelings about the origins of hip hop. At 4:30, I got to see Big Country play to an absolutely packed Studio B. The energy between the band and crowd was unreal! We skipped dinner in the formal dining room to go up to the Windjammer, where they offer more of a buffet, so that we could get back to Studio B at 7, for Annabella, the most adorable little ball of energy in the universe (BowWowWow would not have been the same band with Boy George fronting them, so thank God, fate intervened)!  Then we went to get in line when that was over, to see Berlin in the Palace Theater at 9 p.m., because we are red card holders (meaning that we are signed up for the second “main show” each night). Then came the Punk Rock Prom, which we skipped. Being newbies, we didn’t do any of the dress-up nights, decorate our doors, etc.  But we were also very tired and in dire need of deep rest. 

Swimming in Apologies…

In fact, I needed rest so much that I completely forgot that today is Friday. So my blog post is coming late, for which I apologize profusely. Today finds us on a private island in Haiti, Labadee. To say that it is gorgeous is such an understatement! I haven’t made it out to the water yet. That’s next on my agenda. Only a couple of musical events on tap for tonight. Since tomorrow is our final day, I guess that I will start packing up tonight. Were going to need an extra suitcase for all the swag we have gotten with the 80’s Cruise logo on it. Including a bottle of red, red wine left in our rooms last night! 

I’m interested to see how the entertainment company offers to make up for the stars who canceled (they are supposed to do so within the month that we get home), but I will say that I feel like they have really given it their best shot during the remainder of the cruise to make some amends. I guess that all of us have times when we find ourselves swimming in apologies. Extending a lifeline is a pretty humane thing to do. 

I hope to do another blog post or two next week, one on an interview on Saturday, called “Ladies of the 80’s,” and one that is a sort of synopsis/wrap-up of the cruise overall. I hope that these have been of interest to at least some of you, and maybe we will see some of you out here with us next year.  Lord willing, it looks like a bang-up lineup for 2021!

Chrissie Anderson Peters is an author who lives in Bristol, TN, with her husband Russ, and their five feline children. She fell in love with Duran Duran during the video to “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” She was 13, and came late to the party, but she’s staying until they kick her out.

Guest Blog: It’s Darkest Before the Dawn

By Nat Mingo

It’s Darkest before the Dawn

Paper Gods will turn five years old this September.  We, fans, are on the verge of five years without new music.  So, I’m unsurprised that it seems a little bleak in the Duran fandom now.  We should be experts at waiting between albums. Years long interludes have always been part of the band’s creative process. I’ve read articles about musicians (young & old) facing the pressures from their labels demanding new chart busting music every year.  This phenomenon is universal. Duran has the self-awareness to honor their creative endeavors with the gift of time. This tendency has been documented as the band has switched labels and sought new ways to release their music. 

My perspective changed when I compared my career with Duran Duran’s career.  Duran began releasing music in 1980. My career began in 1995. Although they started fifteen years before me, we are both veterans of our respective industries.  We both continue to work in our fields. There are certain traits that must be used to reach this longevity. Let’s examine some of these traits.  

Know Thyself

Social media allows the band’s marketing team to release studio photos and monthly interviews. I enjoy the moments when the band reveals their creative process. As a listener/reader of such material, it’s obvious that the band creates music collaboratively.  There was a time when Simon was the sole lyricist; now Nick will contribute as well. Roger and John openly speak about how they “groove” with each other and work to intertwine their efforts with Simon’s lyrics and Nick’s contributions. I’m in my twenty-fifth year working within my organization. I’ve attended meetings where someone else has made suggestions on how I should do my job.  Anger has sparked within me (sometimes) before I can calmly articulate my process. I am the only one who knows the budget, the time frames, the other individuals, and must perform knowing these restraints. So, I can respect that Duran Duran knows their best working conditions, as I do, and they work accordingly. They can be unbothered with fan opinions. 

Self-Care

2020 marks the band’s fortieth anniversary. The band just released a new shirt/hoodie line bearing an old lyric; this release sparked joy for some fans. Many of us are hopeful for more commemorative events. Pop Smoke, Lexii Alijai & Juice Wrld were all upcoming, young artists that died within the last three months. I think it’s wonderful that the band is still making music and I don’t take it for granted.  Perhaps part of Duran’s longevity is because the band members know when to step back from creating music and touring. They are sons, husbands, fathers, father-in-laws and grandfathers. They have hobbies and friends. They vacation and spend time with loved ones. I have created boundaries with my job as well. I try not to check email over the weekends or when we have breaks. I communicate with my closest professional circle but I’m radio silent with others when it’s our downtime.  I’m a daughter, sister, and Auntie. I have hobbies and friends. I vacation and spend time with my family. As humans, these private interludes can create a peace that will sustain you in the workplace. It’s healthy to nurture personal self-outside of professional self. When I take a day off from my job, they find a replacement. When the band takes time away from making music, we fans, will find and listen to different musicians. Music doesn’t stop. 

Efficiency

Several fans have expressed how they enjoy interacting/viewing with the band post-concert.  It may be sharing a bar with Simon, seeing Nick stroll through a hotel lobby, watching John collect luggage in an airport or waving at Roger as he enters an awaiting vehicle. I appreciate when fans share these moments through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  These moments are precious because the band tours efficiently now. Many of us have Sing Blue Silver items that documented their tour life during that album cycle. Duran Duran now know when to fly in and out of a city, what types of interviews spark concert ticket sales, and what types of concerts generate the most income for themselves. I now know when I can stroll into work with a Starbucks coffee right before work commences. There are days when I’m at work long after hours. There are days when I leave soon after the closing bell.  So, we can trust that the band are doing the necessary work now and will when the touring cycle begins again. 

After examining the benefits of being a “veteran”, I’m more at relaxed with our (almost) five years wait.  The band members have expressed a desire to release more music this year. I can trust their instincts. In the meanwhile, I plan to keep enjoying the other parts of my life and hope for new Duran adventures this year.

Walking in Peace with my headphones on,

Nat

Guest Blog: Thanksgiving Thoughts

Editor’s note: I should have published this on Wednesday! So sorry it is late! -A

Thanksgiving Thoughts by Nat Mingo

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States. It’s a holiday that commemorates the Pilgrims survival in America by holding a feast to thank their Native American allies. Nowadays, Thanksgiving means spending time with your family and/or friends while eating delicious,
carbohydrate-laden foods. Black Friday follows Thanksgiving; major stores offer discounts to entice shoppers to begin their holiday spending. I’m honored to host a modest Thanksgiving this
year; I’ve begun my preparations. However, I’m distracted by the plethora of Duran Duran news that was released this week. And I’m extremely thankful to hear this information. So, here are some Duran-related things that I’m thankful for:

I’m grateful to DDHQ for their advocacy and transparency. Duran’s media team regularly post on multi-media outlets. I follow the band on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Their efforts engage fans while the band is on or off a tour cycle. It’s fascinating to read the diverse, global responses to open-ended questions. This week, DDHQ posted news about the Funko Pop figurines, the 2020 calendar release, the annual Webshop sale, and some upcoming items for
sale. The response has been hugely positive. I appreciate the “official” announcements. It allows me to plan appropriately and dare to hope. There is something magical about DDHQ’s
promotion in and around an album’s release or tour cycles. I suspect that 2020 will have some surprises in store for us.

I’m grateful for the DD webstore’s annual November sale. I’ve blogged earlier about my deep love for the yearly calendar. There will be a 2020 calendar available for purchase; Amanda kindly tweeted me with the news, as I was at work. This sale allows me to save a bit of money on items that I would like to purchase such as the calendar. In theory, I could spend the “savings” on my beloved niece’s gifts but in reality, I end up buying more band merchandise. It’s an enjoyable conundrum. DDHQ posted about a new poster with a timeline of the band’s logos and band members. I can’t wait to obtain one! I hope someone blogs about this special item; I won’t be able to write about its merits until it hangs in my office for a while.

I’m grateful for the band’s collaborators. I follow Anna Ross, Dom Brown, Nile Rodgers, Mr. Hudson and Erin Stevenson on various social media platforms. This week, I’m really grateful for Patty Palazzo’s band projects. Patty designed this year’s calendar. I liked the language inclusivity of days of the week, the number placements and some of the photo layouts in the 2019 edition. So, I’m eagerly anticipating some 2020 novelties. Patty also announced that her
company, Punk Masters, will be releasing some new items soon. I look forward to perusing her new wares. Punk Masters t-shirts are soft and chic. I plan to sport her Nefertiti shirt tomorrow at Thanksgiving. I selected the PM shirt for its comfortability, its perfect pairing with a newly acquired track jacket, and to see if my mom squints and says, “What’s on your chest now?”

I’m grateful to hear about Andy Taylor’s new endeavors. Andy recently joined several social media outlets to share his latest developments. I won’t call it a “comeback” because we know
that as a husband, father, guitarist, musician and producer, he stays busy. My thoughts about Andy are “complicated” but I’m thrilled to see/hear that he has an upcoming album and that he is doing more concerts. A fellow fan posted his enthusiasm about going to his London show tonight. Another fan has posted snippets from the show. It sounds like he is playing his solo work, Duran and Power Station songs. Andy is a gifted musician and I’m lucky to have heard
him at a few shows.

Lastly, I’m grateful to the Daily Duranie and the fan community at large. I’m a natural editor-not a creator. I can make existing things/situations better. Perhaps, this tendency is why I pursued a teaching career. It frustrates me, at times, that I don’t have the visionary spirit that most artists embody. Occasionally blogging for the Daily Duranie has allowed me to “create.” I’m deeply appreciative that Rhonda and Amanda allow me to muse on their platform. These ladies work diligently and I strive to write content that measures up to their standards. Some Daily Duranie readers have left kind comments on my posts. These positive reactions keep me writing so I thank you as well!

Thank YOU for reading this post. I have to get back to my hostess tasks- cleaning, food prepping, cooking, ironing, and obsessing over minute details. Enjoy your time with family and friends.

In Gratitude,
Nat

Guest Blog: Talk About…POP, POP, POP Figures

By Nat Mingo


November has been eventful already. The Midwest has plunged into its January temperatures and I am wearing my winter jacket a lot. I’ve got several work related projects to complete. I was really looking forward to the annual DD calendar launch, which frequently occurs at the end of November as well. Therefore, I was elated to hear an “official” announcement that the Funko POP Company is releasing a Duran Duran set. It’s two of my favorite things being combined into an awesome, new creation like Ben & Jerry’s
cookie dough ice cream or Starbucks holiday egg nog latte. Who doesn’t love a good mashup?


Some of you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal with these Funko POP figurines?” Please let me explain. My brother-in-law (BIL) introduced me to these toys. He has been collecting the POP figures for years. He even gifted his groomsmen with them. Now when I visit my sister and BIL, I have the opportunity to spend time with his massive collection. Part of the appeal is that the Funko Company has now obtained the licensing rights for many POP culture entities. I highly recommend watching the first half of the documentary, “Making Fun-the Story of Funko” to view the company’s origins. There are sport Funko POPs, movie Funko POPs, music Funko POPs, television Funko POPs. I recently saw that they have a new historical American moments Funko POPs (oh, be still, my history- loving heart). Thanks to BIL, I regularly traverse the toy aisles to view the latest figures. I spent a year, amassing the full Marvel Avengers figurines and several Star Wars “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” figures. I had the Avenger POPs in my classroom for a spell which delighted my students. But alas, the kids and I were distracted by these items and I brought them home. I have since vowedto limit my POP purchases to special purchases. The upcoming Duran Duran figures certainly qualify.

I’m excited about the Duran POPs because they are well designed. The Funko POP figurines have a distinctive style. Unfortunately, some figures look a little generic. The face doesn’t closely resemble the person so the clothing has to compensate. The facial shape is part of the product’s allure; you know a Funko POP when you
see one. When you examine the Duran figures, I LOVE that each band member is distinct. The hairstyles are the best I’ve seen on a Funko figure. You can almost imagine running your fingers through the hair of the John, Nick and Simon figures. The clothing choices are impeccable because they are so detailed. In real life, most of the band members are dark haired and dark eyed so a poorly designed POP would make the figures identical. This didn’t happen. Also, the poses are substantial. I have bought some female POP characters which had very narrow feet. The figures don’t stand up well. The Duran POPs look like they will be “standable”.


As mentioned earlier, part of the Funko POP’s appeal is nostalgia. The Duran set captured the early days of the band. This was a wise choice. The era of the band’s history does include Andy; I appreciate being able to purchase his POP toy. Andy played an important role in the band’s early career. When I saw the Duran figures, I immediately starting thinking about my Duran Duran artifacts from that period. Hopefully, if this set sells well, there is the potential for future Duran sets. My BIL bought my sister several versions of Michael Jackson
and Prince POPs. I would purchase a “Reflex” or “Save A Prayer” set of figures, a “Notorious” or “All You Need Is Now” set of figures or set based on the Scavullo posters from the Sing Blue Silver period. The possibilities are numerous.

I hope I’ve explained the Funko POP phenomenon appropriately. I suspect the Duran set will make it onto several people’s holiday wish lists. The Funko POPs are limited editions; they make so many figures now that once they are sold, they are gone. EBay is full of inflated, “retired” POPs. So let’s RUN and purchase the Duran Duran figures. They are scheduled to be released on December 15th . I’m already plotting where I will place these valuable items and perhaps I will blog on this topic again…

Gratefully,
Nat

Nathalie is a daughter, sister, Auntie, educator, reader, dreamer, Christian, Midwestern, Sci-Fi & Superhero Nerdette  whose favorite band is Duran Duran. She owns multiple copies of most DD albums.  She collects band t-shirts and proudly wears them in her everyday life. 

New Duran Math

By Bart Van Bemmel


Math is the most universal language in the world.  It’s all around us.  It binds all living things together.  Even Duran Duran uses math….

On their recent Paper Gods Tour, Duran Duran went on record saying they use the mathematical formula of 3:1 for their set lists — for every three classics you get a new song.  But what if who ever runs Duran’s numbers didn’t take in account that their past two albums All You Need is Now and Paper Gods were going to be so magical that they created NEW CLASSICS?  Imagine that — a band that’s still around after almost forty years is still creating powerful and vibrant new music?  This modern material just can’t be locked away forever with no holdovers on future tours.  Not ONE song from All You Need is Now was held over on the Paper Gods Tour and I’m still not over it.  Fine, I’ll hold a grudge!  After all, it’s their fault they did this to me (and others).  And this is pretty much what inspired this blog post.  With a new album in the works and a prospective tour to follow, I’m here to show you why Duran’s set list “math” could be the way it is and why their common core needs to change.

Maybe I need to get all Stuart Smalley on Duran and give them my own daily affirmation: You’re good enough, you’re smart enoughand dog gone it — people like you.  But I understand why you are the way you are.  And I understand how you arrived at your 3:1 song ratio.  Some “Duranies” aren’t very forgiving when it comes to your band.  Often times they can be brutal — especially each time you to push yourselves, push boundaries, and be forwarding thinking with your music.  God forbid if your new album doesn’t sound just like Seven and the Ragged Tiger part two there will be hell to pay.  I often wonder if some in this fan base cripple your band with their own limitations.  It’s as if other artists and bands out there are allowed to grow up, but not you — NOT DURAN.  It’s as if some fans have fastened one of those retractable dog leash collars that they put on their kids in the mall around your neck.  You will NOT wander off, Simon!  Now add in the music media into the mix.  Are they any different?  When Bon Jovi re-invented themselves with the countrified sing-a-long, “Who Says You Can’t Come Home” and then soon after 2007’s Lost Highway album, it landed them their first ever release to debut on number one on Billboard.  But if DURAN were to ever be so bold to be something different (by all means I’m not saying country music here) — we will stand there — arms crossed, until you play one of your greatest hits.  

I get the whole Fab Five world domination effect you had, but we’re still here… and you’re still affecting us — 100 million albums sold later (ah — more numbers for you).  And I’m NOT sorry to say, but it’s highly unlikely that most casual Duran fans have been shelling out the dollars to fly from all around the world just to see you on your latest mini run of back-to-back sold out shows in New Orleans, Vegas, and others, just to hear you play the Reflex.  We aren’t the casual fans.  We’re the die-hards.  WE sold out those shows.  And we love all that YOU are — especially your “new” stuff.  

With that said, you have created NEW CLASSICS!  NEW MASTERPIECES beyond the greatest hits!  You have even said in an interview that the song What are the Chances from Paper Gods is the best ballad you’ve written since 1993’s Ordinary World.  That’s a pretty bold statement.  But, we’re here to tell you that we agree with you.  But what now?  Does this song fade away into Duran obscurity?  We can’t let this happen. 

So here’s my list of (4) NEW DURAN CLASSICS that should be considered and intermixed for future tours:

1. All You Need is Now (AYNIN)

2. The Man Who Stole a Leopard (AYNIN)

3. Pressure Off (Paper Gods)

4. What are the Chances? (Paper Gods)

Maybe factoring in “new” classics into the live-set ratio would create some kind of New Duran Math that could potentially throw this universe alone into some tailspin (see what I did there?).  But if any band was going to invent a new formula for rock and roll, Duran Duran would be the band to do it.  

I’m curious to see what you — the fans, think some of Duran’s new classics are in your comments!  

Guest Blog: Warren vs. the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Debate

By Bart Van Bemmel

Let’s do a little experiment… 

Go get all your Duran records and sprawl  them out on the floor.  I know you’re ranking them  — it’s hard not to.  I do it too.  Maybe you’re one of those fans that doesn’t count anything that John Taylor didn’t play on, yet it was somehow okay if Roger and Andy didn’t.  Or, maybe that’s a whole other blog post.  But I can tell you’re already frustrated because your order may have changed since last week — mine does all the time.  Where to put All You Need is Now… This might take another glass of Malbec.  Okay, now I want you to grab Duran DuranRioSeven and the Ragged Tiger, and Astronaut.  Now, as for the rest — pretend they never existed.  POOF — gone!  Would you be okay with that?  This could very well mean that there goes the soundtrack of your life.  And there also goes Duran Duran’s career.  And with that folks, is my argument that WHEN Duran gets immortalized in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that Warren Cuccurullo goes in with them.  I’m not sure my argument can be defeated.  Come at me.  I know, I know.  Duran isn’t even on the ballot yet, but one day they will be.  And with Duran’s 40th Anniversary coming up — we’re all crossing fingers.  But this issue for some reason has been eating at me for a while.  Warren better get the call.

The second British invasion may have been led by the original members of Duran in all those Sri Lanka videos that dominated MTV, but there’s no denying Warren Cuccurullo’s crucial and powerful impact on Duran’s career.  Through the highest of times to the leaner years, Warren Cuccurullo helped steer this mighty ship.  From his work on seven studio albums, countless hits, tours, MTV Unplugged, TV appearances, and more — his tenure in the band was much longer than Andy Taylor’s.  The band also produced more hits and released more singles during Warren’s Era.  However, this isn’t about Andy vs. Warren, this is about what’s right.  Cuccurullo helped successfully navigate the band through the Grunge Era undertow that killed countless bands of the 80’s.  It was Warren’s songwriting and producing that help resurrect the band to land them their biggest selling album and tour to date with The Wedding Album.  There’s a reason on their past Paper Gods Tour that several Wedding Album songs made it into the set: Ordinary WorldCome UndoneToo Much Information, and Love Voodoo (OW and Come Undone are always mainstays).  And so, we have reached my second argument in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame vs. Warren Cuccurullo debate.  Would Duran be here today — with their most recent album landing in the top ten on Billboard, without the hit song Ordinary World?  The answer is NO.  According to the band’s Songbook performance, even their record label was gun shy about spending money on the band at this point in their career until they heard this song.  As for the music video — it’s known as one of their most iconic to date.  I should probably also mention Ordinary World also won the prestigious Ivor Novello songwriting award.  Duran of course went on to have even more hits after this with Warren — not to mention the first band to ever release a digital downloadable single with Electric Barbarella.

Now it’s time to see the potential Rock and Roll Hall of Fame side of things. 

Duran Duran was known as the second coming of the Beatles — the Fab Five.  That means Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor, John Taylor, and Andy Taylor.  All instant heart throbs, icons, and musical prodigies.  Sorry, but Warren Cuccurullo wasn’t in the band back then during that initial chaos and debauchery.  With one member you have to have the other.  Imagine if the Beatles replaced Ringo or George?  Wait — Duran are guilty as charged.  So let’s face it, people.  When we think of Duran — we think of them in those fancy suits on that sailboat singing Rio.  Or — that ginormous tidal wave crashing down over the audience in the Reflex video.  Plus, Warren was a glorified hired gun until he became an official member after the Big Thing Tour.  So, this means mega hits such as NotoriousSkin Trade, I Don’t Want Your Love, and All She Wants Is will not be credited to him.  You could say we can be naive to think he didn’t have a hand in the arrangements of these songs, but we’re checking the songwriting credits.  And not to stick the knife in deeper or anything, but even Funko is about to release toys of the original band.  Warren didn’t make the cut as a Pop figure.  So thank you Warren for your time, but this case is closed.  You’re not getting in to the Rock Hall.

If the Rock Hall doesn’t recognize Warren Cuccurullo’s tenure in Duran, then why did Vivian Campbell from Def Leppard also get inducted?  I mean no absolutely disrespect towards Viv or Lep (big fan over here), but his impact on that band was nowhere near what Warren’s was with Duran.  Leppard rarely even puts a Vivian Era song in their regular tours, whereas half of Duran’s set list is from the Warren Era.  Many haters disagreed with Viv getting in (for the record — I thought he more than deserved to be there).  And now throw in Pete Willis from Def Leppard.  He got in and only played on two and half of Leppard’s albums.  But the bottom line here is will the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognize Warren Cuccurullo as a member of Duran Duran if and when they get inducted?  Jon Bon Jovi wrote a letter to the powers that be at the Rock Hall about the importance of Hugh McDonald that replaced Alec John Such on bass throughout Jovi’s entire career.  McDonald got in.  Will Simon, John, and Nick have to write their own letters?  Will they even want to is something else entirely.  Or maybe the Rock Hall will already consider Warren a lock.   Warren’s personal views on life and his choices off the stage have nothing to do with the music.  If we were to do this then most of the rock stars who have been inducted already shouldn’t be there.

And so, I will leave you with this.  I play in the touring Duran Duran tribute band — Wild Boys: The Duran Duran Experience.  I don’t play Andy or Warren, I portray Dom Brown on guitar.  We’re the only tribute that has the Dom role and we stand by it for countless reasons.  By presenting ourselves as the Duran of today means we can play their entire catalogue, as well as their continuing on-going legacy that they create (from Planet Earth to Pressure Off).  And I can tell you right now that if we didn’t include the countless Warren Era hits in our show then we would be fact checked and discredited as a Duran tribute in every shape and form.  To push this fact even further — our most requested song to play is Serious off Liberty.  So if we were to go back to our original experiment of throwing out the Warren Era records, I think I just proved my point again.

So where do you stand on this case?  Does Warren deserve to be in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Duran Duran?  I’m so looking forward to your thoughts in the comments!

For those who do not know Bart, here is his biography from the Wild Boys website!


Playing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on VH-1 is something an artist can only dream about. Well, that dream has already become a reality for former Dallas singer/songwriter Bart Van Bemmel. Bart’s song Something (Afterglow) took home first prize in the VH-1’s “Rock Across America” Songwriting Contestwhere he and his band got to share the stage with rock legend John Fogerty.  Soon Bart and his band would go on to work with Grammy nominated engineer/producer Chris Bell (Destiny’s Child, Fuel, Polyphonic Spree, Erykah Badu, Kenny Wayne Sheppard), Billboard Award-winner Redbeard (Nationally syndicated show In the Studio), and producer Alex Gerst (Ellie Goulding).  ​

But we have to go back to the beginning.  Once Bart saw Duran Duran’s video for PLANET EARTH on MTV – it would forever change his life. It was Duran’s New Romantic sound that made him want to start playing music. As he grew older – Bart meticulously studied Duran’s sonic rock and funk stylings as he did his best to nail their sounds. As luck would have it – just a few years ago, Duran Duran guitarist Dom Brown shared his guitar rig rundown with Bart to help assist him with his mission to conquer all things Duran. ​

By the time Van Bemmel was 15 years old he and his band were playing clubs, getting their demo on Texas Q102, and winning Z-Rock’s Battle of the Bands where they won a slot opening for Sony recording artists Dirty Looks. As he continued in high school – his band went on to open for several national recording artists from Sony, Atlantic, MCA, and more – eventually catching the eye of producer Tim Miner (Paula Abdul/Steve Perry from Journey) making demos for him and Eric Andersonfrom Sony Records.​

As the years passed some of Bart’s songs would ed up landing him invites to play several festivals in Texas and on the East Coast including SXSW, the Dallas Music Festival; Mainstream radio airplay in Texas/New York/Canada; Securing top spots in songwriting contests – including runner-up in the final round of the We are Listening Singer/Songwriter Awards where the songs were reviewed by judges including: KK (Producer-Dido/Nelly Furtado), Steve Williams (Producer-Sting/Seal/Eric Clapton), and Carly Vermes (Music Supervisor-Paramount pictures); Landing second place in the John Varvatos Free the Noise on SPIN Earth contest, and more.

Even though Van Bemmel is no longer chasing elusive record deals, he’s switched over to the film business where he has two feature films in development with named talent attaching. ​

But in the meantime – Van Bemmel will never forget his roots in music – which is why he joined Wild Boys. Because each time he and his bandmates play Duran Duran — he doesn’t know who has the better experience: himself or the fans.

Guest Blog: Lake Tahoe Review

By Shonda Talerico Dudlicek

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know the words?

It was the last night in the city and everyone came to party. And it was a full moon and Friday the 13th.

It was enough of a weird combination to prompt Nick to “grope” Simon at the end of the show, for Simon to forget the next line in “The Reflex” and say: “I don’t know the fucking words,” and for Simon to miss catching his tambourine, only to see it bounce out into the audience, never to return. 

Duran Duran played the final evening of the summer series at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys and they were clearly in the mood for fun. Sure, Simon declared we were the best audience on this tour. I’ve seen them enough times to know this is a common refrain. But this performance brought out the best of our band.

Songs strayed from recent lineups and well-rehearsed beats, with touches of remixes that reminded me of the old 12-inch singles.  

And why not add those riffs to songs that we’ve memorized? Duran Duran was notorious for releasing album after album of remixes after remixes. Let’s hear some of them! John gave us some funkier bass lines on “Planet Earth”, and Dom threw in some even-more-Andy-like guitar licks on “Sunrise.”

Which is to say that the last few times I’ve seen them on the never-ending “Paper Gods” tour – New Orleans 2019, Las Vegas 2017, Atlanta 2017 and Minneapolis 2016 – the shows seemed more rehearsed with precise timing. Who amongst us doesn’t yell out “Switch it on!” during “Planet Earth” or “1-2-3-4” or “Uno, dos, tres, quatro!” during “Rio?” We’ve got “Arena” and “Sing Blue Silver” etched into our brains, so our responses are Pavlovian.

But first, the negatives I must get out of the way that really have nothing to do with the band, and more with the venue. 

Harveys posted online a few days before the show about the bag policy. Only clear bags and clutch-sized bags would be permitted. My trusty crossbody concert purse – the one I use to tie my concert tees to the strap, in which I can easily slip my Hasselblad zoom lens attachment in a side pocket so I can clip it to my cell phone for those breathtaking close-ups – was banished to the car. I had to stuff my wallet, ticket and phone into pockets of my jeans that were now constantly pulled down by the extra weight. 

I was really ticked about leaving my camera attachment behind, especially when I rely on it for concerts and was depending on it for photos for this guest blog.

But I was pleasantly surprised to see Duran Duran take the stage only 20 minutes late, an improvement from so many shows. No opening act, no booing from impatient fans, which especially wounds my soul.

The band jumped right in with “Hungry Like the Wolf,” a song traditionally farther down the lineup or even at times as an encore. It was a great burst of energy that other shows lacked that began with the choir opening and “New Religion” and the title track from “Paper Gods.” The first New Orleans show had a fan pass out after three hours of waiting, and those of us around her tried to get security’s attention at the Fillmore just as Simon took the stage. Kinda cast a somber note on that show.

In Lake Tahoe, we were treated to all the concert favorites you’d expect (see the set list). “A View to a Kill” and “Wild Boys” seem to strain Simon’s voice with each passing year. But after these songs, Simon’s voice always springs back to life. I’ve been at shows when he was fighting some malady and his voice wasn’t as strong or maybe be moved around less. But tonight, Simon was the host, and he was clearly out to show us a good time. 

There were a few odd moments: Simon brought up a fan who held up a YES sign in reply to “Is anybody hungry” at previous shows and had her sing part of “The Reflex,” Simon recited the poem “The Thread” with no explanation before launching into “Ordinary World” and ended another song with three simple words: “Little Red Corvette.” Why? It just ended there. Making a statement? They performed “Purple Rain” at a show in Minneapolis a few months after Prince’s death, which made sense, but this did not.  

“The Reflex” had playful banter with Simon striding back to Nick’s kingdom and when Simon asked “Why?” Nick replied, “Because it’s Friday the 13th!” The crowd went absolutely wild.   

Pensive John on the bass during “The Chauffeur.”

The last couple shows Duran Duran trotted out some deep cuts, gems like “The Seventh Stranger,” “Friends of Mine” (the last two I saw in New Orleans and the former brought me to tears) and “Anyone Out There.” Not tonight, which was a little disappointing, but we were treated to “The Chauffeur,” which had been shelved for my last few shows, and “Planet Earth,” both huge favorites of mine. They ditched the “Space Oddity” add-on and the NASA graphics post-July were absent. These both have run their course. But I would have liked a song or two from “All You Need is Now,” one of my favorite albums from start to finish and a memorable tour.

Simon has a spanking good time during encore “White Lines.”

Some veterans of the “Paper Gods” tour may tire of “Pressure Off” and “White Lines,” but honestly, the energy both tracks evoke from the band are throwbacks to when we were younger. The band just crackles with both performances. And the dreamy scenes with the stark B&W video of the band in “Pressure Off” is a highlight of every show for me. Yes, “White Lines” is a cover and yes, with only 17 songs Duran Duran could choose so many others. But the band genuinely has so much fun performing this one.

“Wild Boys” encore is always a crowd favorite.

The band took a brief break after “Girls on Film,” which made me worry we wouldn’t get a full encore. Don’t you always think that? “Oh no, what haven’t they played?” “What might they skip?” Instead we were treated to four songs instead of three: “The Universe Alone”/”Save a Prayer,” “Wild Boys” (with lots of extra guitar riffs from Dom) “White Lines” and “Rio.”

Speaking of “Save a Prayer,” Simon added a nice touch: “Is there anyone in the audience who doesn’t know the words to ‘Save a Prayer?’ Yeah, well, you’re standing next to someone who does. So we want you guys to sing the whole song with us.”

Having fun at the end of the show and the four-song encore.

And that we did, from the days of holding up lighters to waving cell phones. From old school to today, Duran Duran brings the joy, the party, the emotion. Impossibly so, they get even better with age. They never sounded stronger and the frequent grins from Nick show this was more than just another gig. We all felt and embraced it. 

Yes, that’s the usually reserved Mr. Rhodes “groping” Simon after “Rio.”

Set list for Lake Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada:

“Hungry Like the Wolf”
“I Don’t Want Your Love”
“A View to a Kill”
“Come Undone”
“The Reflex”
“Last Night in the City”
“The Chauffeur”
“Ordinary World”
“Notorious”
“Pressure Off”
“Planet Earth”
“Sunrise”/”New Moon on Monday”
“Girls on Film”
“The Universe Alone”/”Save a Prayer”
“Wild Boys”
“White Lines”
“Rio”

Shonda Talerico Dudlicek is a Duranie all the way from junior high in 1982 when she first heard “Hungry Like the Wolf” on B96 in Chicago. She even dyed her hair various shades of red to keep up with the ever-changing hues of her favorite keyboardist. She was reprimanded for covering her school uniform with homemade DD buttons. She’s never seen the original lineup live, but saw Power Station in 1985 and the Strange Behaviour tour in 1987 … then enjoyed her middle-aged renaissance with the “Astronaut” tour. Lake Tahoe marks her 16th Duran Duran concert – she thinks, because every time she counts, she remembers yet another show. A journalist/writing instructor by trade, she’s never met or interviewed the band and admits that it’s probably for the best because she would likely faint. 

Guest Blog: The Awesome NASA T-Shirts

We love when friends send us guest blogs out of the blue! While obviously we love having this place to share all of our Duranie thoughts and ideas, we also welcome other Duranies to do the same! Here’s one from our friend, Nat, about the cool merch connected to Tuesday’s special show! -A&R

I try to attend as many Duran concerts as possible. Like many others, I was unable to attend the NASA show this week. I’m grateful for social media because so many generous people shared their videos and images of this special event. In the “old days”, I would’ve parked myself in front of the television, waiting for MTV to air a blurb and pressing “record” on the family VCR. So while I was not physically present for this concert, I got to see many of its highlights. The
band obviously enjoyed the experience as their social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram) shared several “behind the scenes” photos. The band, their family members and friends widely grinned in these photos. I confess that one of my favorite social media posts was of the merchandise table. As a band t-shirt junkie, I was thrilled to see the NASA themed merchandise and I’m incredibly excited that we can purchase some items online through the band’s website.

I usually buy a shirt at Duran concerts for a few reasons. I get my item faster at shows. In February, I made a rookie mistake in Vegas. I’ve been lusting after the white, lightweight hoodie with the tiger on the front for a while. I spied it at the 1st of the Vegas shows but was put off by the long merchandise line. “I will get it tomorrow” I thought. Unfortunately, the next night was the last concert of the touring leg and my shirt was sold out! I haven’t bought it yet
online. So, I regret this oversight still. After I buy Duran items from the official webstore, I begin my long wait for it to arrive to the States. I feel very much like Cookie Monster did in his Siri commercial waiting for his cookies to bake; Google this commercial for a serious belly laugh. I did buy two NASA shirts this week so my sojourn has begun again. I’m consoled by the fan community discount that was useful for this purchase.

Concert shirts are great commemorative items. I’ve purchased multiple VIP tickets for the same touring cycle. Nowadays, the VIP ticket includes some related merchandise. Some VIP items
have been handy. I use the steel, travel mug on days when I need a morning smile. I sport the new headphones on my social media avatars because they are fierce! Others VIP items have
stored away for posterity (yes-the laminates). But the t-shirts, I always use; I’m wearing the black, red & silver 2011 VIP shirt as I type this blog. I bought the Madison Square Garden shirt
after the concert in true New York fashion. I look forward to wearing these NASA shirts to remind me of this special event.

Duran Duran has always been concerned about the visual details. When you look at the NASA concert footage, the video monitor images, behind the band, are evidence of this tendency. Whomever is designing these background images deserves a pay raise. These visuals have become much stronger and enhance the band’s songs. The NASA shirts are well designed like these visuals. Of course, the hugely talented yet humble Patty Palazzo designed them. I feel like I will own “designer” shirts that I obtained at a reasonable price. The front of the shirts have some classic astronaut images and she placed the band’s name on the back of the shirt, using the
NASA font. This detail adds a “peek-a-boo” element that I like. From the front, it looks like a cool, regular shirt but when you turn around, the viewer realizes that this shirt is a limited edition. (If you haven’t seen the video talking about how the shirts are interactive, check it out here.) I’m already accessorizing these shirts in my head; I’m thinking joggers, kicks, baseball cap and big hoop earrings for a great summertime look.

I’m not desolate (anymore) about my non-attendance at this concert. More images and videos from this show are still being posted. Relevant interviews accompanied this show and it sounds
like new music and concerts are in our future. In the meantime, I will enjoy wearing my newNASA shirts…when they arrive…by mail…from the UK. Are they here yet?

-Nat

Nathalie is a daughter, sister, Auntie, educator, reader, dreamer, Christian, Midwestern, Sci-Fi & Superhero Nerdette  whose favorite band is Duran Duran. She owns multiple copies of most DD albums.  She collects band t-shirts and proudly wears them in her everyday life. 

Simon at the 2019 BCA Cultural Summit

(Obviously, Amanda and I cannot be everywhere, so in this case, we called out to the internet for help in covering such a wonderful event! Lucky for us, we had a couple of wonderful Duran fans willing to be our special “on the scene” correspondents! We are featuring Kathy’s today, and hopefully another later in the week. THANK YOU!!) -R

By Kathy Diaz

Thursday, May 23 was here! For me, this meant missing one day of work and driving two-and-a-half hours to Melbourne, Florida to see Simon give a talk at a luncheon for the Cultural Summit.  For some reason I wasn’t as excited for this as I was for the Duran Duran show in Miami.

 I mean, it was Simon! If you don’t know me, you must know that I’m completely obsessed with this man, so when I heard the news that he was coming to Florida I was ready to leave everything behind and go see him.

I woke up that day at 7AM and for me, this was too early. So, I took my time getting ready. Before I knew it, it was already 9AM and I was expecting to leave at 8:30AM. So, I got there a bit later than I’d planned. Thankfully, I had no problem finding the ballroom where the luncheon was taking place. I walked in and found a decent seat where I would see Simon clearly.

I was pleased to find out that the place was smaller than I thought, so even if you were all the way on the back, you were going to be able to see Simon. At 12:00PM, they started serving the lunch: for me it was chicken breast, mashed potatoes and vegetables…oh, and carrot cake, which was delicious.

Someone spoke before Simon, but he promised to be brief as he knew we were all there for Mr. Le Bon. He kept his promise and only talked for about 15 minutes. Just before 1PM, Simon made his entrance. That’s when the excitement hit me! Seeing Simon making his entrance to the same room where I sat felt surreal.

The man that I am used to seeing on the screen of my computer was there in the same room! He probably even looked at me! I’m going to sound like a naive teenage girl but, when Simon was talking, I felt he was looking directly at me. Please, let me live my dream.

The interview couldn’t have been better. Simon—as always—was very funny and humble. There was even a chance for the fans to ask him questions, which I didn’t expect. A lot of people kept raising their hands to ask questions, and I wanted to do it, but I couldn’t. I’m way too shy, and I would have to stand up and ask my question in front of him and other 400 people. Nope, I just couldn’t do it. Regardless, I am very happy for the brave ones who stood up and asked their questions.

Some of my favorites were the fan who told Simon she met him and Yasmin in 1987, and she still had the photos of that amazing experience. Simon even had her join him on stage and show the pictures to him.

There was a guy who also showed Simon his DD tattoos, which Simon thought was a rarity. 

Additionally, Greg Pallone, the reporter who was doing the interview, asked the audience who was the youngest fan. For a moment, I thought it could have been me (I’m 32) and the everyone around me seemed to be in their late 40’s or early 50’s. However, there was actually a 9-year-old girl in the audience named Rio. She was the luckiest fan that day. Not only did she have the chance to ask Simon a about his inspiration for the song, but she also got a picture with him, which is now all over the internet.

In total, the conversation lasted for about an hour. Simon talked about fashion, music, and even his family.  One of the things I learned is that Simon recently showed his daughters the documentary of Sing Blue Silver, and they thought he was annoying. 

Even though my excitement in the hours prior to Simon’s appearance wasn’t quite as intense as it might be before a gig, this was still an experience that I will never forget.  A live show is fun and exciting, but in these types of events, you can see more of the real person behind the artist. The conversation tends to be more intimate, and overall it is a great way for the artist to connect with fans on a personal level.

I wanted to meet Simon after the event and even waited for him outside, but I didn’t get lucky this time. However, being there in that room listening to him talk to us was more than enough for me. It was well-worth the money, lost wages, and long drive. I really hope they keep doing events like this!

Kathy Diaz is a fairly new Duranie, just discovering her obsession last year! She recently moved to Miami from Puerto Rico. She is also fan of Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and basically everything and anything that is British. You can follow her on Twitter: @KathyDi86. We invite you to check out her own Duran Duran blog at theretroarena.blogspot.com.

Thank You, You’re Welcome (Part Two)

Having “covered” who would do some amazing Duran Duran songs in Part 1, I’m ready to take a deep breath and assess Thank You. Was it the worst album of all-time as some snarky critics have said? Of course not. Something called nu-metal locked down the top spots years ago. However, it was a misguided album born from good intentions. Let’s try to figure out what went wrong.  

David Bowie’s Pin Ups seems to be the logical impetus for this project given the song choices. Bowie’s decision to cover The Yardbirds, Pink Floyd, and The Who was unexpected and Bowie knew that. Coming off Aladdin Sane, Bowie was at the peak of his creative powers and Pin Ups remains one of the most challenging and rewarding covers albums of all-time. It isn’t a stretch to think a band which emerged from the New Romantic scene born, at least partially, from Bowie’s artistic vision would try to emulate the project. 

Duran Duran were riding high after “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone”, so they had some creative and commercial freedom when they undertook Thank You. History has shown that the band often does their least interesting work in such situations. From Seven & the Ragged Tiger (saved commercially by a remix of “The Reflex” that wasn’t on the album) to Paper Gods, the band’s follow-up to a truly special album has been uneven at best. Thank You falls into that category but imagine what could have been if they took a slightly different path. 

Thank You Redux

1. Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel – White Lines

Such a fun cover that it has to stay. The band’s roots in NYC club culture via Birmingham justify this crossover into hip-hop. They could have taken this somewhere special, though, if they had paid respect to Liquid Liquid’s “Cavern” at the same time since that is where Melle Mel “borrowed” the song from.

2. I Wanna Take You Higher David Bowie – Fashion

As much as “Ashes to Ashes” makes sense, “Fashion” would be a more fitting Duran Duran song. John Taylor’s bass guitar would suit this track and Warren’s guitar playing fits the solo like a glove. You HAVE to have at least one Bowie song on the album, right?

3. Lou Reed – Perfect Day

A surprisingly well conceived cover of Lou Reed that pays homage without trying to change who they are as a band. It has a beautiful polished sound and LeBon’s vocal works. There is a hint of despair in his voice and the production keeps every instrument in their lane. There is restraint in the playing that would have served the band on the rest of the album. 

4. Watching the Detectives Roxy Music – Both Ends Burning

Another field day for John Taylor on bass and an appropriate nod to one of the biggest influences on Duran Duran in Roxy Music. All these years later, Duran are inducting Roxy Music into the rock-n-roll hall of fame because the connection is so strong. If you listen to “Planet Earth”, you can hear some influence from this song on Siren. A lesser known Roxy song works well here because the most popular stuff would be difficult for Duran Duran to re-invent in a unique way.

5. Lay Lady Lay New York Dolls – Lonely Planet Boy

I never hated this cover but the guitar tone was “Come Undone” all over again. Dylan influenced everyone so there is no need to point it out. I’m leaving T. Rex out of the discussion since the band (i.e. Nick) would have never allowed them to cover it in the wake of The Power Station. This New York Dolls song is begging to be turned into a synth-pop dance song like Duran pulled off with Bowie’s “Boys Keep Swinging”. 

6. 911 Is A Joke Blondie – Fade Away and Radiate

Yeah, it is cool to namecheck Public Enemy to earn hipster points but no, just no. The band owes a huge debt to Blondie for bringing dance music into punk and for giving the band a support slot when Duran Duran were trying to crack America. This moody track from Parallel Lines has enough texture to satisfy Nick and Warren in equal measure. And why not bring in Clem Burke on drums for this cover? 

7. Iggy Pop – Success

It works. Only Duran Duran could turn an Iggy Pop song into a Gary Glitter stomp. Given the band’s commercial highs and lows, it could almost be the theme song for their career. Turn it up!

8. Crystal Ship The Normal – Warm Leatherette

The band already showed how good this sounded during a tour and this is the most seminal track in the history of synth-pop. The Doors cover sounded like a cloud of pot smoke which isn’t the Duran Duran way. Bonus connection: Grace Jones covered this once.

9. Ball of Confusion Japan – Gentlemen Take Polaroids

Let’s see. Nick Rhodes “borrowed” his look from Japan’s David Sylvan. The Japan albums were a direct precursor to Duran Duran’s sound with funky bass lines and sweeping synths.  And, best of all, this cover would be a cheeky nod to “Girls On Film” which, for all I know, was a concept lifted from this Japan song. Too close to home? Perhaps, but Duran Duran earned their success and a little nod to Japan is warranted.

10. Thank You Sister Sledge – Lost In Music

Don’t touch Zeppelin. Every instrument in Zeppelin comes from the opposite place of Duran Duran. There has to be a shout-out to Nile Rodgers somewhere on Thank You Redux and I think “Lost In Music” would keep the band in a safe place for a disco cover. This could be played loud with a hint of the “White Lines” sound they had at this time. Turn it into a real rocker without losing the dance vibe. It would be dangerously fun live. 

11. Drive By

It doesn’t fit into a covers album and I need to save space so this album will fit on vinyl. 

12. I Wanna Take You Higher Again ESG – My Love For You

Maybe a little obscure at the time but ESG’s influence has come full circle in music. They have been sampled (mostly illegally) by hundreds of rap producers and their funky dance sound influenced everything from post-punk to house music. Rather than Public Enemy, Duran Duran can point to ESG as an influential band on their modern mix of funk, rock, and dance music without sounding so desperate. Duran Duran could have a lot of fun with this track especially if Nick added some melodic synths over the melody