Category Archives: history

Night Boat with Smashing Pumpkins – were you there?

Sometimes, I just like to throw videos up on the blog for people to watch!

On this date back in 1998, Simon joined Smashing Pumpkins on stage to perform Night Boat. This was shown on MTV, and I found it on YouTube to share.

Personally, I think it’s kind of cool to see Simon up there with Billy Corgan. Night Boat was a perfect song for Smashing Pumpkins to cover. Thoughts, anyone?  Were you there? Feel free to share in the comments!

-R

Newcastle show canceled, 2011. Do you remember??

On this date in 2011, some of the longest “waiting” of my life began. Duran Duran was to play the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle that evening, and was the first show to be canceled during the All You Need is Now tour.  Here’s the original announcement from DDHQ:

(from duranduran.com) Singer Simon Le Bon has today been diagnosed with a throat infection that is forcing the band to postpone their Newcastle Arena show that was scheduled for tomorrow, May 18. All fans should hold on to their tickets. Details of the rescheduled date will be forthcoming within the next couple of days.

I can remember hearing about this show being canceled. I can still feel the shock waves that reverberated through my body when my friend called to tell me the bad news that day. Every one of my hairs stood on end and I really didn’t know what to do.

Amanda and I, along with two of our friends, were to fly to the UK to see shows in Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and London.  We were leaving in less than 48 hours for what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime. I had an afternoon flight from LAX on the 20th and would arrive in London the 21st. I’d meet Amanda and the rest of our friends that day and we booked a car to drive us to Birmingham. We would stay at the Birmingham Malmaison in a very fancy suite that we’d spent a bundle to book, and continue on from there. It was going to be the second time I’d been to the UK, and the first time I’d ever flown outside the country without Walt. For me, the trip was huge.

I stood there by my stairs, listening to my friend rant on and on about what my choices were and whether or not she thought I should still “chance it” and make the trip. All I could do was stand there, bite my nails, and hope it was a one-time thing and that Simon would be fine for the next show, which was in Glasgow the following day.

Of course, it wasn’t. The next day, it was announced that Glasgow would be canceled. I was to leave the very next day, and this was about the time I began to panic.  I think I kind of knew our shows would be canceled, but I held out hope until the following day, literally minutes before I left my house. My bags were packed and I was waiting for my husband to arrive home to take me to LAX so I wouldn’t have to leave my car.  I believe I got a phone call from one of our friends, who alerted me to the latest announcement from Duran Duran, canceling the next three shows….all three of which I was supposed to attend.

I remember thinking about what my options were that day, but my husband quickly quelled any plans I had to stay home. “You’ve already got your plane ticket. You’re going.” I knew he was right. It was a lot to give up, and at the time, there was still that London show. It was possible he’d be able to do that, right? I gathered my things, made my flight and hoped for the best.

As we all know, the entire UK tour was canceled, so no – London didn’t happen. It was months before Simon was in the clear and able to perform again. The trip itself was good, but strange. In some bizarre way, I think going over there and experiencing the cancellation with people who understood how I felt was oddly comforting. Amanda and I tried our best to make the trip fun, and parts of it were. For me personally, the trip was cathartic. I can say that I came back home as a completely different person. A totally different fan.

I’m still annoyingly critical, sarcastic and judgmental. I still make plenty of rookie errors when dealing with the public. But, the love I have for Duran Duran is far, far different now. I think that trip made me see them as humans. Finally. Not every fan wants that. Some want to keep the band on their pedestal as perfect, mystical beings. That’s fine. It just wasn’t the path I wanted. I can’t say it’s helped with my writing or even the blog (I have still upset fans in the past and will likely do so again at some point), but I think maybe the trip gave me a little more perspective.

Later that year, Amanda and I went back, this time seeing shows and experiencing all that a Duran Duran tour in the UK had to offer. The memories from that trip are wonderfully happy and I’m glad I went back. However, the trip that taught me the most was the one that didn’t go as planned. Maybe there’s something to that.

-R

What’s Your Favorite Live Recording of a DD song?

DDHQ asked for our favorite live recording of a Duran Duran song this morning. At first, I stumbled over the words. It’s Monday, I’m already tired (not really a great sign for the week ahead) and I can’t seem to make much sense out of anything yet. Live songs? Do they record anything? Seriously – it’s been that sort of morning so far.

But then, as I went about my normal tasks of feeding the animals and complaining about dishes being left in the sink, I remembered a show!  Costa Mesa, 2003. The entire show was recorded and I ordered the CD.  The Encore Series was the name.

Granted, I am pretty sure I’ve seen better shows since then. Or maybe it’s just that my seats have improved significantly in the years since, I don’t know. The fact remains that when I think about all of the shows I’ve seen over the years – that one is a definite standout, and not because it positively ticks off all of the boxes on Amanda’s Concert Rubric. Simply put, it was the very first time I’d ever seen Duran Duran – all FIVE original members of Duran Duran – on the same stage.

I don’t even remember a lot from that show, to be honest. I got there, winced at how far back our seats were from the stage (I went with my husband and I think we were about 23 rows back and off to John’s side), and once the band took the stage, I stood there pinching myself to make sure that what I was seeing really wasn’t just my overactive imagination working overtime. I remember watching as someone decided to jump up onto the stage and nearly tackle Simon as he sidestepped and allowed Dave, the band’s security, to grab her. (I won’t give away her name, but I’m pretty sure I’m friends with this woman to this day. I nearly died the day I found out she was the culprit!) I also remember Roger stepping away from his drums at the end of their set, tongue wagging as though he’d run a marathon or two. But mostly, I just remember standing there thinking about how lucky I was to be there, and how thankful I was to still be a fan so that I could finally see them all together on stage.

I am one of those people who cannot stand it when we ask a “This or That” question here on the blog and people vote by saying “both!” It’s freaking annoying (to me).  I usually grit my teeth and say “make a choice, dammit!” Probably not the nicest thing to cross my mind, but I’m being honest here.  Now it’s my turn to choose. This show, which is definitely my favorite live recording of them, wasn’t about what they played or how long they were on stage or even about how many songs they played. It was that they were there in front of me. They showed up. They were together, and I had this feeling I was at the beginning of a wild, new ride. Even so, for the sake of participation, my favorite from that set has to be Virus.  No, not a song from their back catalog, not New Religion (which is a very close second), but Virus, because I loved it.  The song had the hard edge I was looking for, I could hear all five members working together, and to this day I’m giddy when it comes up on my phone.

Thanks to DDHQ for that question today – it gave me a chance to think about that fantastic show!

-R

 

 

If yesterday wasn’t enough, let’s celebrate Simon’s audition in 1980!

From the looks of my Facebook and Twitter timelines, we’re all still deep in the throes of celebrating Rio. I must admit that as I tore the cellophane shrink-wrap, it never once occurred to me that someday, I might be celebrating the thirty-fifth anniversary of Rio’s existence….on a blog.

Who knew?

The same holds true for the item worthy of celebration today. On this date in 1980, some guy in pink leopard pants auditioned for Duran Duran. You might recognize his name – Simon Le Bon.

I used to say that I couldn’t imagine Duran Duran without him. I’m wrong about that of course, because I’ve heard some of the early (before it was ever Rio or Girls on Film) music without him.  It might have been Duran Duran…but it wasn’t DURAN DURAN.  Simon was definitely the missing piece (or the missing link!! ha!). I definitely can’t imagine their concerts without him. Yes, Amanda and I love to give him a hard time, but there is a lot of love, too.

So while the 40th anniversary might begin next year, it’s a good thing they plan to celebrate for a few years because it wasn’t really Duran Duran until Simon joined, and today – we’re going to celebrate that turn of fate.

Happy anniversary to Simon as we celebrate the day he began this crazy ride!

-R

 

35 Years and Counting: RIO!

Can you believe it? Thirty-five wild and crazy years ago today, Rio came into our world.

I bought Rio when it came out, and for a brief time thought it was Duran Duran’s first album. I was very confused, apparently. The thing is – I’d heard Planet Earth, and I had a K-Tel record with Girls on Film, but I hadn’t heard those songs on the radio much. But Rio? Please.

Truth be told, Rio was released a full year before I believe it really took off here in America. It’s first release here fell flat, not doing particularly well. Capitol Records hired David Kershenbaum to do a dance-remix of several songs off the album (released as Carnival).  Those remixes are a little more guitar-heavy, a little less synth, a little more bass in sound. Eventually, Capitol had Kershenbaum go back and remix most of the rest of the album and then re-released it in America, promoting it as a dance album. That’s when sales started to pick up steam and the band began to climb the charts.

Suddenly Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf were everywhere, and Is There Something I Should Know wasn’t far behind…which is why I thought it was the next album, rather than being the first.  But then again, my UK friends will remind me that it was NOT the first, because on their version of the first album – ITSISK is nowhere to be found, and they are correct.  It’s just on our altered US versions that there’s no To The Shore, with ITSISK instead. (my head is spinning even as I recall this from memory)

Honestly, if you want my most vivid memories from Rio, they would be my realizing that I had the order of their albums wrong….and that champagne stuff Simon drank while in the ocean.  To this very day, every single time I think of Rio, that vision comes to mind. Not the fake crab on Roger, not pallid-looking Nick in the galley, definitely not a daydreamy John Taylor on the sand or even Andy being thrown overboard…but Simon, drinking out of a champagne glass in the ocean.

I just don’t know.

Despite testing the waters with Planet Earth and even Girls on Film before the Rio album – it was truly this album that set my world on fire. I think that the band continues to be judged for Rio, without a lot of regard for anything else they’ve done (perhaps with a few exceptions), and many believe it to be the pinnacle of their career.

I love Rio. I also appreciate and love everything Duran Duran has done (yes, even RCM. Ok?!?), because at this point, nearly forty years into our journey – it really IS about the whole journey. It has been a crazy, wicked, wild, ride, and I’m ready for more.

I am writing this and I haven’t had any time yet this morning to actually listen to the oral history. I’m hoping to get a chance later today….but I might just have to let Amanda be the one to comment on it due to a lack of time on my part. Or else, I’ll comment later. I am really looking forward to hearing it though, because it’s not that often we get the opportunity to look back at something with the band and get their point of view.

It’s a special day in Duranland, and I’m thankful to be able to be here and experience it with everyone else. Happy 35th Birthday, Rio!

-R

Notorious & Wild Boys by Steve Malins

Do you like to read books about Duran Duran?  It is probably not shocking that I do and always have.  Looking back at my childhood, I remember reading and rereading and rereading paperbacks about Duran, such as Bop Magazine’s 700+ facts.  These days, the books and magazines surrounding the band are a little more sophisticated.  Obviously, fans who like to read have been lucky enough to enjoy both Andy and John’s autobiographies in recent years.  On top of that, in 2005, an unauthorized biography called Notorious by Steve Malins was published.

As I’m sure you are not surprised, I read that book as soon as I purchased it and have even read it more than once since then.  Rhonda and I have had a few conversations about the book.  In general, I think the book is stronger in the beginning, about the band members’ childhoods and the early days of the band.  As the book moved closer to current day, the sources were clearly all secondary sources, meaning that the information came from published articles, etc. as opposed to any real life individual.  This, of course, is common with unauthorized biographies.  The band did not share or get interviewed for the project.  I would say that in many cases the information in the book is common knowledge for many Duranies.

That said, when I saw that there was an updated version out, I had to pick it up.  The updated version, called Wild Boys, contains an additional chapter, surrounding both the Red Carpet Massacre era and the All You Need Is Now cycle.  What did I hope to learn from this additional chapter?  I won’t lie.  I hoped to gain some insight about Andy’s departure as well as behind the scenes for Red Carpet Massacre as I suspect that there is a lot more that went on that fans have been in the dark about.  What did I find out?

Andy’s Departure:

Interestingly enough, the book dedicated about two paragraphs to Andy’s departure.  Literally, it mentioned that the album, Reportage (the one Duran wrote and recorded after Astronaut but shelved), was stalled by “legal issues with Taylor”.  I’m not sure what the source of that was.  The author describes reports about the album that claim that the album was “edgy and contemporary”  (Malins 283).

Then, in the next paragraph, Andy’s departure was summarized by describing the official press release on the band’s website as well as how Andy described it in his book.  According to this book, the band claimed that there was ‘an unworkable gulf’ and Andy suggested that there was tension between him and management.  Clearly, I was hoping for a lot more as I knew both of those statements already.  I read the official announcement when it was posted in 2006 and read Andy’s book as quickly as it came out as well.  Now, I realize that an unauthorized biography will not have as much insight as an authorized one where the author is getting the scoop from the celebrity him/herself.  That said, I am surprised that there was not even any speculation on the author’s part on how this major personnel change would affect the band.  Instead, there was no analysis, just those statements.

Despite the lack of analysis on Andy, the author does mention Dom Brown a number of times.  The first time was right after talking about Andy’s departure.  Here the author says, “Duran Duran soldiered on by installing Dom Brown, who had toured with them before, as their new guitarist.  He has remained with them ever since, playing an increasingly valuable role”  (Malins 283).  Later in the chapter, Dom’s contribution is described during the writing and recording for All You Need Is Now, stating how he co-write most of the songs on that album.  What I found fascinating by this is that if I didn’t know better, I would read this chapter and assume that Dom is a permanent band member.  Yet, that is not the case.  He is in some weird limbo between a touring guitarist and a band member.  Malins does not explain that at all.  Likewise, there is no explanation of when and why Dom toured with the band before RCM.

Red Carpet Massacre:

As for the album created following Andy’s departure, Malins chose to focus on an article/interview from The Quietus that came out, not during the RCM cycle but afterwards during AYNIN.  According to that interview, Nick stated how they knew that RCM would be a risk with the fans.  Simon followed by stating that the fans left “no doubt” about how they felt about the album (Malins 293).  Again, though, outside of the quotes from the band, there is little explanation about why the fans might not like RCM.  On top of that, as someone in the fandom at the time, those brief statements don’t really explain what was really going on with the fans at that time.  It is and was far more complicated than that as many fans actually liked it, creating a wide division within the fan base.

All You Need Is Now:

The focus of the All You Need Is Now discussion surrounded Mark Ronson’s vision for the album and the Girl Panic video.  On one hand, I always appreciate reading and hearing about how Mark is a fan and pushed the band to really try to embrace their true selves and to occupy their rightful place in the music industry.  On the other hand, I am not really sure why there was so much focus on the Girl Panic video.  While I get that they used models who were pretending to be the band, I still found the discussion about it superficial.  Why did they use models?  I don’t know.  Why did they show fame in the way they did with luxury hotel living, fans surrounding them, bottles of champagne, etc?  I don’t know.

This, of course, is the argument I make about the entire project.  I want more of an in-depth, behind the scenes sort of analysis.  Perhaps, my frustration is unfounded.  I already know a lot about the band so I didn’t learn anything.  Others reading this book might learn a lot.  For them, maybe, the book serves the perfect function.  It does give a rough outline about the band’s history from formation through All You Need Is Now.

Has anyone else read this book?  What did you think about it?

-A

Malins, Steve.  Notorious.  London:  Andre Deutsch, 2005.

Malins, Steve.  Wild Boys.  London:  Andre Deutsch, 2013.

Happy 35th Anniversary, Hungry Like the Wolf!

May the Fourth be with you.

(I am so sorry. I just had to do it.)

Is anybody HUNGRY???

(I should be taken out back and beaten at this point. I blame Simon. He made me do it. All those shows…I’ve clearly been brainwashed.)

OK, let’s get serious here. On this date in 1982, “Hungry Like the Wolf” came bounding into our lives, and clawed its way into the depths of our hearts. It continues to be one of the small group of songs I hear on the radio anytime they play Duran Duran. (Girls on Film, Planet Earth, Rio, ITSISK, Save a Prayer, Come Undone, and Ordinary World make up the majority of the DD songs I hear on mainstream radio) It has been thirty-five years, and its notoriety is still going strong. The song will likely still be played on the radio well after I leave this earth, and will outlive all of us.

Let’s get something straight: I don’t hate the song. Hate is a strong word. It’s unfair to assume that just because I hang my head in defeat at a show every single time the opening drum beat sounds, that I must hate it. I do not. I sing the “doo doo do-do, doo do-do, doo do-do, doo do-do, do-do” with the band every time I’m in front of them at a show. I try not to roll my eyes or laugh at Nick as he peers down over his keyboards at us (I swear he’s just daring me). I behave, and I am a good sport. Mostly.

After all, “Hungry Like the Wolf” is at least part of what got us here, isn’t it?  I mean, many of us knew of the band before that song came along, but many others of us did not. That song helped break America, so I can’t hate it, and I don’t. I still love the video, for instance. I mean, who does NOT love the video??? John Taylor, running through a street looking for Simon – who OF COURSE – is nowhere to be found because he’s in hot pursuit of a woman. Always a troublemaker, that Simon. <insert wink here> The video certainly didn’t make me swear off the band, that is for sure.

So yes, even I look back fondly at this day, thirty-five years ago. While I’ve grown cough, cough….tired….of this song taking up valuable real estate in the set list, I get it.

I play along, and yes, I ENJOY IT.  Happy Anniversary, “Hungry Like the Wolf”!

Let’s just watch the video again. Maybe I missed something the first 15,834,734 times I watched it!

Remember when Roger used to DJ?

On this date in 2013, I was in Chicago…and so was Roger Taylor! I was there visiting Amanda, and we had the good fortune to be able to see Roger DJ at SpyBar in the city. He called his set “Do It In Heels”.  I purposefully ignored that directive, because let’s face it – I am really bad at following directions anyway.  However, we did call ahead to get a table!

Amanda loves this picture…as do I.  I look positively angelic compared to Miss Grey Goose next to me!  I’m not even sure if you can see Roger in this photo…but I don’t think so. Clearly we didn’t care at the time. WOW.  Good thing we don’t still behave like that, right Amanda?

Right???

Moving on…

I will openly admit that had Roger not been the DJ that night, there is about a 0% probability that I would have gone to that club. While I spent a fair amount of my time at clubs in college, I had kind of given up on them. I’m not really down with most of the club music, although some of it is fine (particularly when being played by Roger. I’ll just own up and say that here).  In hindsight, it was a fun night. I hung out with friends, I danced, and yes – we drank. Surprise!

The one memory that stands out from that night is that we tried to hand Roger a wristband. Ah yes, one of our infamous Daily Duranie wristbands. The platform/table that he was at was quite a bit higher than the ground, so we had to kind of toss it up there. Amanda couldn’t quite get Roger’s attention, and so she asked the guard who was standing there to tell him it was for him. Roger saw it and kind of  tossed it aside. Not the best reception we’ve ever gotten for one of our wristbands (hey, we’ve even given one to Nile Rodgers and he wore it!), but in fairness to Roger – he probably had no idea who we were or what we were doing. Maybe next time!

I haven’t heard too much about Roger doing many DJ gigs in the years since. I suppose it might be one of those things that is difficult to concentrate on or do when you’re touring the world and recording albums.  It is also a very different kind of lifestyle, and I suspect that Roger has changed some since then.  Overall, it was a fun night, and I’m glad I took the opportunity to see him do something different.

Were you at SpyBar Chicago that night?

-R

Careless Memories – at thirty-six, this song is still no oldie!

 

On this date in 1981, Careless Memories was released in the UK.  If my math is right, that was 36 years ago.

Thirty six YEARS?  Well, then. Age is but a number, right?  I don’t know about the rest of you reading, but with every passing year, it is getting harder and harder to believe how long this catalog has been around…and particularly difficult to believe I’ve been a fan for this long.

I was listening to Duran Duran yesterday in the car (I know, it’s difficult to believe, but true!) with my youngest. I heard her humming along – I can’t even remember what that song was at the time, unfortunately – but she was humming and I was wondering to myself if that music sounded “old” to her. What I mean by that is, when I was a kid and my parents would put on Elvis Presley or whatever it was they would listen to, I would think of the music as “old”. It was their music, not really mine. I can remember my mom reaching up to the top of our refrigerator at home and switching on the radio. My mom loved listening to the radio as she would clean the house or whatever. I don’t know what station she listened to, but I can remember the DJ saying it was “The best of the oldies” or something like that.  In my car, I listen to a few different stations, but thankfully – none of them use the word “oldies”.  I can stomach a lot of things, but that is not one of them. Yet.  I didn’t ask her about my music as we drove – I just enjoyed listening to her hum along.

Later on, after I’d dropped her off for dance, an ad came on the radio for an 80s festival that is taking place on a beach near me in a couple of weeks.  At first, I thought about the festival itself and briefly contemplated whether or not I should go.  The music would be fun. The crowds and sun, on the other hand, aren’t necessarily a selling point. My thoughts drifted back to the whole “oldies” thing again because I was thinking about how cool it is that we have these festivals focusing on music I enjoy. I don’t only listen to 80s music, but Men Without Hats is playing at the festival and it’s a band I’ve never seen live. As I thought about that, I wondered how a festival like that must sound to my 20-year old. When I was her age, had my mom talked about a festival that played 50s or 60s music, for example – I would have called that an oldies festival. That makes my stomach churn a little.  Yet, it’s kind of interesting that I don’t remember there ever being festivals like that. In fact, I don’t remember my mom and dad ever talking much about concerts at all back then. My parents never really went to concerts the way I do, so for all I know – they just didn’t go. I think my generation is a little more outgoing when it comes to things like concerts and even buying music. We don’t let our age stop us, and we shouldn’t. We’re not dead yet, and we shouldn’t stop living just because of a silly number.

So, instead of thinking about how “old” Careless Memories might be today, I’m going to celebrate how ALIVE that song still makes me feel. And it does….so I’m hoping to hear it again live.  Soon!  Until then, I’ll watch this video from Houston of this year!

-R

Do You Remember Blue to Brown?

I love writing this blog.

No really, some days, I love it. And then there are other days when I REALLY LOVE IT.  Those are the days when I get to gush on and on about something I’ve enjoyed or am particularly fond of.

On this day, it is both, because my trusty desk calendar reminded me that on this day in 2012, Blue To Brown was released for pre-order.

Ok, now I realize that it is likely a good portion of you are sitting there, squinty-eyed, wracking your brains trying to remember what Blue To Brown might be. Others may have probably already rolled their eyes once, perhaps even twice. I know this is an uphill battle, but one I don’t mind taking on.

First of all, yeah – I’m seriously expecting you all to champion a blog post where I am celebrating not even a CD release, but a pre-order.  I’m getting a bit ahead of myself though, so let’s start at the beginning.

Blue To Brown is the album recorded by Dom and his father. It is a blues album (I think it might be the only one I own, not counting the vinyl collection that Walt has amassed!), and it is very, very different from Duran Duran. When it was announced that Dom would be taking pre-orders for this album, the deal was sweetened a bit by saying for the first 100 orders, Rob and Dom would sign the CD inserts.

I was in!

I mean, I was “in” as soon as they announced I could order an album, but having one signed by both Dom and his dad definitely didn’t hurt. While I knew I’d probably be able to ask Dom to sign something eventually, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see his dad. (and I haven’t, actually!)  So I ordered away. Did you know that our lovely Anna Ross performs on the album?  She does fantastic work for Blue To Brown.  

It is true, I adore Dom. Any time I can interject his name here in a positive manner, I’m happy to do so. He’s a good guy, a hard worker, and he was the first person I’ve ever interviewed….EVER…for this blog or otherwise, so yep, I’m in his corner. Blue To Brown is a solid blues album with some fantastic guitar, so if you don’t have it yet, get it on his website.

It’s hard to believe that I pre-ordered that album five years ago today. Without knowing the date, I would have thought it was just a year or two ago…three at most!

-R