Category Archives: Guest Blogs

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

Guest Blog: The Gift of the Duran Duran Calendar

I feel like Christmas has come a little early here at the Daily Duranie.  First, we find out that the band is back in the studio.  Then, we received another fabulous guest blogs by one of our favorite people, Nat!  She reminds us all of enjoying and appreciating the little things, even in fandom.  It is a good read.  Enjoy!  -A&R

The holiday season is upon us! I just celebrated Thanksgiving with my family and decorated my home for Christmas. My merry tree is decorated. I’m obsessing over the scent of pine and the taste of egg nog. The shopping frenzy of Black Thursday-Friday is over. While I am loving the twinkly lights and the hopefulness of this season, it can be a difficult time to navigate for me. Gift exchanges are popular now. Years ago, I read Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages” and realized that receiving gifts is important to me. So, how do I express love to others using a physical item? My toddler niece is too young to have a list of desired items yet. So, do I purchase needed items like leggings or something impractical like a Disney Princess something? What to get my mom who has everything she wants or needs? Fortunately, one gift I do not need to think about is my annual gift to myself-the Duran Duran calendar.

Every year, around mid-late November, I look forward to DDHQ’s announcement that a calendar will be issued. Yes, folks, there is a 2019 edition available now on the band’s website. As I bought mine, I pondered my annual tradition. Why is this item important to me? I know I value the calendar because I don’t entrust my family to buy it for me. Timeliness is not their forte and I want my calendar in my hands by January first. It’s just a calendar in a world of calendars so what makes the Duran Duran one special?

It’s a work of art. I bought my first Duran Duran calendar in 1984. It reflects that Seven and the Ragged Tiger vibe. Just gazing at its cover brings forth memories of random “Sing Blue Silver” lines. Every year, the calendar has distinct visual elements. Some years, the band elects to use concert photographs. Other times, the band members are carefully posed. One of my favorite calendar photos is of John in a light colored suit, walking down a street. It’s a stunning photograph that could hang on a gallery wall.

It’s a time capsule. Sometimes, the calendar’s visual style mirrors the most recent record that the band recorded. This makes the calendar feel like an extension of the record. As mentioned above, when concert photographs are used, the calendar serves as a tour memento. The monthly photo selection reflects the band member’s birthdays. Simon is always featured in October, just as April belongs to Roger. I look forward to seeing who won June? Is there a pattern? Say, does Nick gets June in 2004 so John gets June in 2005? Does the “loser” automatically get the month of July? Hmmmmm…

It’s a practical tool. Okay, I’ve just spent two paragraphs lavishing about a CALENDAR! At first, I would never write on my calendar. During an “It’s time to lose some weight, Nat” period, I would record my exercise minutes on the DD calendar. The calendar layouts change each year.

Some years are more conducive to recording important events. I’ve struggled with a few layouts because they were so impractical. Yet, even the impracticalness, made that year’s calendar unique. I look forward to the first day of each month to see what the next month will bring. I don’t peek-LOL. It’s amusing when I use the calendar when booking appointments. “Excuse me, Roger, I’m talking to my dentist. Yes, I’m available on 3rd at 5:00 p.m.” I love it when the band uses some European elements and/or words. They are being inclusive to the fan base. Plus, I get to dust off my high school French.

It’s become a tradition (for me). There have been a few years when the band didn’t produce an official calendar. In response, I did what fans do- I pouted for a few seconds! Some awesome graphic designers shared fan-created calendars with me. It’s not the same. It’s flimsy when compared to the heft of an official calendar. When purchasing the annual calendar, at times, I buy another DD item. Other times, just a calendar purchase is enough. Just like a child on Christmas morning, I look forward to this special piece of mail from the U.K. The annual Duran Duran calendar is a gift to me, from me. I will keep buying if they keep producing. Deal!

Enjoy your time with loved ones and don’t forget to treat yourself,

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. 

Guest Blog: Sears Center Show 2006

Look another guest blog!  This time it is our friend, Nat, who wanted to share about her experiences at the Chicago Sears Center Show in October of 2006.  If you something you want to write about in connection with Duran Duran or fandom, feel free to send it our way!  -A&R

By Nat Mingo

When you’re in a relationship, you celebrate moments. I’ve been listening to Duran Duran music since the needle dropped on the Seven & the Ragged Tiger album on my sister’s plastic Fisher-Price record player. So, yes, I’m in an active relationship with Duran Duran’s music. It’s SLB’s 60th birthday as I type this. Earlier this week, I was delighted to read an Instagram remembrance post about the band’s show at the Sears Center on October 26, 2006. I was also chagrined because I didn’t remember the exact date. Whoops! I should try to remember this date because it was my first …front row experience!

When Astronaut was released, I was teaching full-time and my funds were minimal. I went to the shows that I could afford. I was glad to be at the shows but felt unsatisfied with my view. I observed very happy fans sauntering to the first two rows. Afterwards, I promised myself that if the opportunity arose, I would try for a “VIP” seat. I was honoring that preteen who wore headphones while delving into the depths of the DD catalog and her hard work since then.

On the presale date, I remember sitting at my computer with sweaty palms while on the DDM site. Anxious thoughts were pervasive: “How does this work?”, “Will I get a get a good seat?”, “Am I a fool for trying this and going alone to a show?” Hours-no minutes- later, I scored a VIP ticket. Yaaasssss!!! I posted on the fan board that I was going alone and looking for meet up with other people. Two big hearted fans from Seattle and San Antonio said they would hang with me. I still appreciate their extended kindness and when fans embrace each other at shows.

I stayed at the hotel and got my ticket from the DDM staff. I opened the envelope and thought, “Hmm, this might be good.” A fan asked me where I would be sitting and when I told her, she walked away without speaking to me. Yikes! It was not a good way to start a show. Luckily, I met the two aforementioned fans and enjoyed spending time with others. We got to hear the band’s sound check and they rehearsed “The House of the Rising Sun” for the Voodoo festival which was a few days afterwards in New Orleans. I was thrilled for this unexpected and not repeated treat. I watched a fan get whisked away to meet the band before the show. When the fan returned, she was dazed but graciously accepted my congratulations.

I remembered walking toward my seat and asking an usher for assistance. She smiled and told me where to go. When I saw my seat and its proximity to the stage, my…heart…swelled. It was a palm to the chest moment. I don’t remember many specific moments about the show. They did play “Hold Back the Rain” which I miss in the set list now. I think we sang “Happy Birthday” to Simon. What matters is that I dared and enjoyed the experience.

I’ve purchased several “VIP” tickets since this show. “To VIP or not to VIP” will always be a question I will ask myself of the concerts I attend. I’ve learned that each show is unique. I’ve learned to have quasi-realistic expectations. No, John has never mouthed, “Hey, Boo” towards me from the stage. I’ve learned to look for the minute interactions between the bandmates and to appreciate a different perspective from each seat location. Most importantly, I’ve learned to be more GRATEFUL that I can attend a concert wherever my seat may be located.

So to the readers of this blog, if you see a woman lip-syncing while awkwardly dancing during “A View to A Kill”, it’s me. Please come say, “hello.”

Hoping to see you at a show,

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. 

9-Inch Singles

Every once in a while, we are thrilled to have someone write in and ask if we still accept guest blogs. Rest assured, WE DO. We love handing over the proverbial microphone to somebody new! If you feel particularly passionate about a specific Duran Duran topic, or you want to share your own point of view – don’t hesitate to write an article and send it to our gmail, we’d love to hear from you! 

Today, we are thrilled to present a brand new guest blogger – Mark Viens – who shares a new point of view about those all-important set lists.  Thanks Mark!  – A & R

By Mark Viens

I’m a lover of live music. I try to get out and see someone perform as often as possible, even if it’s just a local band in a bar. Having just come off a seven-day stretch where I found myself at three excellent concert tours, plus the touring production of Hamilton, I’m going through some music withdrawal. Usually, I have at least one in the queue, so this is a bit of an odd feeling.

Curiosity getting the better of me, I started poking around. Taking a second look at what bands are headed to the Boston area in the coming months. Acts that may slipped under my radar. That’s when I noticed Nine Inch Nails are coming in soon. They are booked for two shows at the Wang Center. The Jesus and Mary Chain are their opener. I’ve never seen either of them live, but was a casual fan of NIN in the 90’s. I still have Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral on CD around here someplace. Being one to do a little research, I popped over to Setlist.fm to see if some of my favorites were in their rotation. You never know which bands suddenly decide to stop playing their earlier work. I was near stunned by what I found.

Before I dive into what surprised me, let’s back up a bit. I’ll preface by saying I know this complaint comes up often among the Duran Duran fan base. The band we all love tends to play the same songs night after night once a tour is underway. Maybe changing one or two songs out, and modifying the order slightly. Some fans complain that they skew too much toward their newer music. Others will say they are bored with the chart toppers, and lack of deep tracks. People will go to three or more shows, then be hugely jealous of others who went to a show where a track like Hold Back the Rain made the cut.

I’ve defended this in the past saying Duran Duran are playing to the 98% of people that don’t go to multiple shows during a tour. Adding that their songs require a bit of extra prep and practice. That they need to be well-rehearsed to play along with a sequencer track of atmospheric sounds. That they are artists first and foremost, and are always going to want to present their latest works to the public. That they need to cater to the casual fans as much as their ‘regular’ fans since they will always outnumber them at a show. Wait, which band am I talking about? It could certainly be either!

What was I stunned about with Nine Inch Nails? As of this writing, in 33 shows performed so far in 2018 they have played 63 different songs.

(1) Rewind to the last years that Duran Duran had a considerable number of shows on tour. In 2016 they had 60 shows playing only 22 unique tracks.

(2) In 2017 they played 27 shows with exactly 27 songs.

(3) Keep in mind, both bands only play in the neighborhood of 20 songs a night.

 

Attached is a setlist of four recent Nine Inch Nails shows. Two cities, two shows each, on back to back nights. One pair of performances in DC, and another the month earlier at Red Rocks Amphitheater. They seem to have no issues with mixing things up on back to back nights. They leave out huge songs from their repertoire (Closer, Perfect Drug, etc.) one night, and go ahead and play them the next. The only thing constant among these four shows is finishing the main set with Head Like a Hole and finishing the encore with ‘Hurt’.

 

Playing multiple nights back to back at a particular venue is something Duran Duran do from time to time. However, it’s been six years since John Taylor said “More performances in fewer places”,(4) but the band hasn’t really acted on that idea in a meaningful way.

The boys from Birmingham could learn something here as they are (hopefully) planning for a tour to coincide with ‘DD40′. They don’t always need to play wall-to-wall hits to appease the masses. It really is okay to leave fans, die-hard or casual, wanting more.

Could they reach the point of making it clear ahead of time what the shows will be like? Maybe announce a series of two-night stands playing the complete first album plus another 10 or 12 songs one night, then the next night the Rio album with an even slightly different assortment of songs? I’d be at both, you can count on that. Maybe the band will even entice a few of those casual fans to snag a ticket for a second night before they pack up the gear and leave town.

 

Mark is a Graphic Artist and a long-time fan of Duran Duran. His first concert was on their 1984 Sing Blue Silver tour, and he has seen the band live on nearly every New England appearance since then. Mark currently lives in New Hampshire, and isn’t afraid to travel to see a show.

Common People Festival 2016

Let’s take a little walk back today as we revisit the Common People Festival, which took place on this date in 2016!  I dug through posts to find this gem by Debbie Craggs, who kindly reviewed the festival as our special Duranie-on-the-scene! -R


By Debbie Craggs

For me, the Common People Festival Oxford show is the closest to home that Duran have performed. It’s only an hour by car so how could I not go?  Well, as a single Mum to three teenage girls, two of whom are in major exam mode at the moment the timing wasn’t great. However, I’d suggested to my close friend that having seen them in December at Bournemouth maybe we should consider another outing and the tickets were well within our price range.

My two eldest then decided that they would abandon exam mode that day as it was Comic Con in London.  Could Mum take them and two others to the train station at 8am? OK, if I was going to do Common People as well then it was looking like a VERY long day. Also there was my 15 year old—the youngest—to consider. Anyway I decided that maybe on this occasion I wouldn’t abandon her in pursuit of my own enjoyment, and I’d just wait for the comments on FB and Twitter. There then appeared a competition on DD.com to win a pair of tickets to either Oxford or Southampton, you chose which venue. All that was needed was an email to say yes please and there would be a lucky dip. As I NEVER win anything what was there to lose? Email sent and I got on with being a busy working Mum who is due to start a one-year degree course in September!

Then 2 weeks ago I checked my emails and there sitting in my inbox was a “congratulations you’ve won” message. At this point I was in disbelief, I rang my friend Tania and could barely speak down the ‘phone.  She was due to be working in PICU on that same day and would need to swap her shift.  However, this wasn’t possible and as things turned out she was actually ill on the day and so wouldn’t have been able to come anyway.

I suggested to my youngest that maybe we could go together and enjoy the festival. She was not keen on going to see DD.  However, Jamie Lawson also playing – that was enough to tempt her. So on Saturday morning with blue skies over head (for once the British weather was kind) we set off.

At this point can I say thank you to Common People and DD.com who were very efficient in sorting out emails for the tickets, and also for clear instructions on the Common People website about travel arrangements, etc. We drove as far as the park and ride, easy bus ride to centre of the city and found the shuttle bus back out to the festival. On arrival at the site it was laid out well at the bottom of a slope with the main stage clearly visible. We had a wander around the site, and then made our way to the front of the area by the stage. There were other Duranies already there set up by the barrier but we were happy enough to be just behind them and on John’s side of the stage. Six hours to go until they were on.

The other acts were enjoyed, and for Jamie Lawson I was abandoned by teenager as she went right to the front middle. Each act played for about 45 mins and then there was a DJ for about 30 mins whilst sets were changed. From where we were you could see the confetti cannons primed and ready for later. Soul II Soul are a band that I never really got into in the late 80’s / 90’s but they gave a really good performance, good enough that teenager made a note to check them out once home.

Finally at 20:30 the last act (Katy B) finished so time for stage to be set. It was at this point that we realised we were in for the full light show as the black curtains at the back of the stage that had been there all day were removed to show the video screen, the risers with the drums and keyboards were brought out and the video screens built around them as we watched.

By 21:15 the atmosphere had built. We were now 2nd row JTs side of the stage. The set list was almost identical to that which we had in Bournemouth in December with the exceptions of no Danceophobia, and the addition of the David Bowie tribute. Simon sounded a bit croaky at times but I couldn’t work out if that was just because of the coolness of the night air. The interactions with the crowd were there throughout the show which lasted a full 90 mins. The new backing singer Erin was obviously nervous but it was great to see the support and interactions from the rest of the band. There were some brilliant JoSi moments as well as Dom and John and Dom and Simon.

I had seen the effect of the paper confetti from the cannons at the show in Bournemouth but then we were front row of balcony so saw the overall effect, this time we were right in the middle of it and the effect of being outside and “down wind” so to speak meant it swirled and seemed to last for longer. During Rio (last song of the night) large beach balls were thrown into the crowd who then seemed to think that there should be a competition to get them back on stage and get the band involved, to the point where Simon commented that the idea was NOT to aim at the band and to pass them around!

And so a fantastic evening drew to a close, the weather had added to the enjoyment and having waited 35 years to see them live I have now managed two shows in six months and am keen to continue the experience! It was brilliant to see teenage daughter singing along to classics and the new songs and even she was buzzing and couldn’t stop talking all the way back home about the show.

 

Debbie CraggsDebbie Craggs is a single mum to three teenage girls in Northamptonshire UK where she works as a school nurse. She has been a Duranie since the 80s and in her spare time she plays clarinet at her local chapel.