Category Archives: history

Memories of Spy Bar, 2013

A few years ago, I took a short trip to one of my favorite cities: Chicago. Duran Duran wasn’t even playing, but I did spend time with my best friend Amanda, who happens to live a couple of hours to the north. Amanda’s birthday is the 29th of April, same as my daughter’s (which is the strangest twist of fate!), so we celebrated her special day a bit early, AND…..we did happen to go see Roger Taylor do his DJ thing at SpyBar. Oh yeah, there was that, too.

Hard to believe that happened five years ago today!  Not only did we dance to Roger Taylor (I can truly say my inner thirteen year old was grinning from ear-to-ear that night!) but we also celebrated his birthday, once the clock announced it was past midnight, making it the 26th of April.

The night was crazy and fun. We had gone in with several others and gotten a VIP table with bottle service.

I think Amanda and I danced most of the night, and I’m not even going to lie when I say I don’t think either of us really knew what we were dancing to most of the time. It didn’t matter. We had a blast anyway.  Then we went out for much-needed pancakes afterward, because who doesn’t need carbs at 2 or 3am??

I miss times like that, particularly when life seems to continue to throw a series of blows – one right after the next. But, memories like SpyBar make me smile, and no – it isn’t because we “met” Roger. In fact, we didn’t!  There was a velvet rope surrounding the DJ platform that we didn’t dare cross, and even when Amanda attempted to toss him one of our Daily Duranie wristbands – he basically threw it aside.  Chances are, he didn’t even know what it was or who threw it. We stayed on our side of the rope and had fun anyway.

I’m not complaining that the band thinks they’re going to go into the studio this year but they don’t know when. Who really knows how long it might be before they tour again? I’m not mad that they’re taking time and doing their own thing this year, or doing corporate shows when they need. My life is so screwed up at the moment that I couldn’t necessarily get myself to a show even if it were in my own backyard. (Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but I think you get the point!)  That doesn’t mean I don’t miss all of the fun that comes along with the gigs and road trips and live music.  Sure, I could (and will) go see other bands this summer, but there’s something special about seeing Duran Duran with my friends.

Life is simpler on tour. Or at a DJ gig, as the case may be!

-R

 

 

From Wembley to Website – my family

Get out your Live from London DVD’s, everyone.

On this date in 2004, Duran Duran played at Wembley Arena in London. During their Reunion tour, they played Wembley five times in the month of April and first of May.

April 13, 14, 24, 30, May 1.

The shows were sold out (of course!) and, lucky for all of us whether we were there or weren’t smart enough to board a plane and get ourselves, there – we have the Live from London DVD to enjoy.

I wasn’t even there, and I still believe the shows were electric. The band was on fire, and these were moments to never forget. It is difficult to believe it has already been fourteen years since those Wembley Arena shows. Sometimes I feel like I just blinked and ended up in 2018. Other times, I think about all that has happened.

In 2004, I was a fan but I barely knew a soul. I hadn’t even really been  to more shows than I could count on one hand. I didn’t have fellow Duran fans as friends, and trust me – blogging wasn’t even on the radar. I knew nothing about fandom other than I felt really silly about admitting that at one point, I’d spend entire afternoons scouring magazines for pictures and information about Duran Duran, or that I mapped out my entire bedroom so that I could plan how I was going to rearrange my posters. In 2004, I regained my sanity by joining a message board, and making friends with people that had NO problem admitting that they too, loved Duran Duran.

I write about it all the time – and every single time I do, someone responds, thanking me for writing the words they couldn’t. Before I joined Duranduranfans.com – I was isolated. My world consisted of taking my two kids (who are now nearly 19 and 21…and have a younger sibling who is about to turn 10!) to and from school. My socializing consisted of the ten minutes before and after school where I would stand and chat with other parents outside of the classroom.  I didn’t have friends, I didn’t “do lunch” (I still really don’t do any of that OC “ladies who lunch” crap. My real friends don’t live here and I’m pretty proud of that, actually.) Even so, I can honestly say my life was pretty damn dismal at the time. I should have been very happy – I had two beautiful kids, I was going to school, which I enjoy – but I wasn’t. I didn’t feel satisfied.

(I still have work to do)

I was looking for something. Anything. I needed a hobby, an interest…(and probably a job but we’re not going to talk about that) I felt SO unsatisfied with my life. For crying out loud, I was the president of my local MOMS Club, and then became an Area Coordinator for them purely out of boredom. I needed something. It was by luck that I found DDF, and that I was even brave enough to begin posting there.

The first women who were there (and yes, it was all women for quite some time) – Robin, RovOstrov & JTDuran, they’re the first people I really “met” online. They made it OK for me to be a Duranie again. I will never, ever be able to thank them enough because what they really did was teach me that it was perfectly OK for me to be ME. In a lot of ways, they saved me, or at least they helped me to save myself.

The only way I can even sort of describe how I felt that year was to ask you to imagine being thirsty and finding a natural spring somewhere. At first, you ask yourself whether or not you should even drink the water. I mean, you might get sick, right? But then, you convince yourself that since it’s a spring – chances are minimal and it’s probably healthier than the tap water you’re drinking at home. So you take a tentative sip. You sit back and let the coolness wash over you. I mean, you can feel that water hit your belly as you swallow and it feels great. So you drink more. Before you know it, you’re grinning from ear to ear, and filling up your water jug. You’re contemplating how you might be able to take more of it home with you because that water is so good you’re never going to be able to go back to just having tap water ever again.

Finding this community was just like that. No, it’s not perfect and yes, the people have changed a lot. Even so, it’s home for me. It isn’t purely about the band, or about the message boards, and it isn’t even about this blog so much as it is that this is my family.

Not that long ago, I tweeted to Dom that he had been around so long that he was a part of this crazy family whether he liked it or not.  It is true. We don’t all get along, and we haven’t all been fans for 40 years – but we’re a family. It takes all of us, from the band, the touring band, roadies, and management to fans, bloggers, website owners and everyone else in between – to make this fan community a family. Through good times, and really bad ones, it’s home.

-R

Roger leaves the band, 1986

Due to the nature of this about-to-be-written post, please put on the most melodramatic, schmaltzy, sad, music possible, and grab yourself some tissues.

On this date in 1986 – there was a statement released from Duran Duran. Roger Taylor, the white knight, prince of my dreams, my boyfriend-who-didn’t-get-the-memo (or meemo)…left the band.

gasp

And we wonder where and when my abandonment issues started. Hmm.

Ok, in all seriousness, it is true that on this date, a mere 32 years ago,  Duran Duran announced that Roger Taylor had quit the band. For those of us Roger-girls (and guys) out there, it was a dark day. Sometimes, I can hardly believe it happened, given where we are today.

Sometimes, as I read the continued debate over guitar players—who should return, who was the best….who wore blonde hair the best (Ok, maybe not that one)—I wonder why it is/was that I never see the same debate over the drummer.

Do we all agree that Roger is the best?  What about Sterling? What about Steve Ferrone? Joe Travers??

I’m not really trying to start an inferno, here. I am trying to make a point though. Why have we beaten the horse to death (and then some) over the guitarist and not the drummer? I’m sure some would say it doesn’t matter. Others might even say they’ve never thought about anyone else. I wouldn’t disagree with the latter – I can’t even picture another drummer in this band at this point. Maybe that’s just it, there’s no debate necessary here. Roger hasn’t left, and while we appreciate those who carried on in his absence, we know who belongs up on those risers, behind the drum set.

As much as I remember feeling lost and sad when I read about Roger leaving the band, I have a much better memory of the day I realized he had returned. I still smile and chuckle when I think about it, because DDHQ had a new splash page designed for DD.com with a digitalized image of each face of the five original band members. I didn’t immediately recognize Roger.

That’s teenage love for ya.

-R

Happy Anniversary, Mad World!

Four years ago, I spent my extra time reading a new book that I continue to avidly use as a reference. Mad World, a book written by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein, was released on April 15, 2014. It blows my mind that four years has gone by so quickly.

I know that today is April 16, but I don’t post on Sundays. A day late, but with no less enthusiasm, I wanted to celebrate the anniversary of Mad World.

I am a very avid reader, although lately I’ve found less and less time to dedicate to reading much beyond the current curriculum I’m using to teach my youngest. Over the years, I’ve read books about 1980’s music as quickly as they’ve been released. I tend to read them twice: once at my normal lightning speed, and the next, to savor and digest each word. Don’t ask how many times I’ve read and listened to John Taylor’s autobiography at this point. (Enough to have some sentences memorized. What can I say? I love audiobooks!) Mad World is without question one of the best books about the music that made me into the person, no…into the fan I am. It is by far, my most favorite book about New Wave music. I don’t write those words lightly, and I don’t post them just because I consider Lori a friend.

I didn’t know Lori Majewski before Mad World. She and I are easily as different as Amanda and I, on nearly every level imaginable. Lori is an avid vegan, I am, well…not. (Although I do sneak in a meatless meal to the family—don’t tell them—and even on my own, on occasion!) She has always had appreciation for Red Carpet Massacre, I’ve had to work on my feelings about that album over the years. She’s a John-girl, I’ve been a Roger fan since Planet Earth. Like Amanda, she is far more politically savvy, and definitely more active than I am. Lori is delightfully positive and centered, and me? Well, I’m more of an un-centered, slightly critical, realist. People tend to either like me, or they want me burned at the stake…or both, actually.

Despite…or more likely because of all of those things, I respect Lori. Whereas I have sat and dreamed of what I want to do with my life, she’s done it, and then some. She is unafraid to try, and I am incredibly fearful of failing. Lori is a powerful, positive force to admire. She’s a great listener and advice-giver, too. I consider her a friend and mentor, and someone I obviously don’t mind gushing about on Daily Duranie.

Mad World is an excellent book. Jonathan and Lori devised the book in such a way that they chose a number of bands from the New Wave era, and out of those bands, they chose a song to focus on. They interviewed the artists and bands who wrote (or performed) the songs, and wove those interviews into a very substantial music history of the 80s. Even though I’ve read nearly everything that has been written about 1980’s music, I learned a lot from Mad World.  I continue to pull that book down from my shelf as a resource, noted by the binding that has given way over the years. My copy is well-loved.

Since Mad World, Lori has been working on her own Sirius XM morning radio show with Nik Carter. She’s been featured on more than one documentary about New Wave music, and she’s even broadcasted from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies. I realize this is more gushing than necessary, but I think it’s awesome that someone I know is actually on the radio, and not because he/she won a contest by calling in, but because they host the show!

Jonathan continues to write his Bridget Wilder book series (my nearly ten-year-old daughter gives them a big thumbs-up), along with a plethora of other books that every one should have already read or is reading currently. He is the also a co-writer for Unsane, a movie that I am, honestly, too frightened to even go see. (I don’t do scary movies. It’s a mom-thing and I’m not even kidding about that.)

What I really want though, is a follow-up to Mad World. What I don’t understand, is why publishers aren’t busting down their door(s) to get one. Someone, fix this. Immediately.  In the meantime, I’m going to go back to brainstorming about my own next attempt at a book proposal. As I’m sitting here writing about the fabulous careers of others, I realize that giving up is not an option.

Happy Anniversary, Mad World! I don’t know where the time went, but I’m awfully glad to have the book on my shelf, and great people continuing to inspire me!

-R

The curious history of Do You Believe in Shame

I learned something new today. I didn’t realize it, but back on this date in 1989, Duran Duran recalled the CD version of “Do You Believe in Shame”.

The single was initially released in the UK as a 7″ triple pack in 1989. Each disc had a picture sleeve of a band member, but it was discovered shortly after the release that the single included on each disc in the pack had a longer playing time that disqualified it from appearing in many of the sales charts. Typically, radio edits and/or singles need to be somewhere between 3 and 4 minutes in length.  At 4:23, DYBIS was significantly longer, and particularly in the UK, it was ruled out from many sales charts. So, the single was recalled and then reissued a few days later. Unfortunately, during that period, the single was unavailable in stores. I cannot imagine that helped sales, and only reached #30 in the UK, #72 in the US, and #14 in Italy (Ah, those ardent Italian fans!!)

If all of that weren’t enough, “Do You Believe in Shame” was successfully challenged in court over a close resemblance of the melody to that of Dale Hawkins’ classic song “Suzie Q”.  The band maintains that they did not intentionally copy music, saying that it only sounds similar due to a basic blues progression. However, ASCAP writing credits were changed accordingly.

Does anyone out there (!!) have this 7″ triple pack?

Interesting little bit of Duran history, in my opinion!

-R

 

 

Let’s Celebrate the First Gig!

On this date in 1978…I was seven years old.

I like saying that in some ways because while I was seven and didn’t have the foggiest idea who Duran Duran was, or what they’d come to mean to me in the decades ahead, the band members were already grown and playing music.

On the same token, I was seven years old when this roller coaster started. I’m “several decades” older now. Like four.

So I’ll begin again. On this date in 1978, Duran Duran played their first gig at Birmingham Polytechnic University. I don’t suppose there’s anyone reading this who was actually there?? Oh, how I would love to interview someone who had been in the audience that night. Can you imagine that story?!? I mean, you go to see some band because you’re tired of studying and you don’t have anything else to do…and several years later they’re the biggest act on the planet. Four decades later and, well, here we are.

I see constant, spirited exchanges between fans over what should be the observed anniversary date. When should we celebrate the fortieth anniversary?  My answer?  ALL OF THE TIME.  Every single day. Why not?  It has been one hell of a road, hasn’t it?  Each morning, I get up and check our Duran calendar, and rarely is there a box with nothing in it. There might be two days on the entire calendar where the band took time off or nothing happened – but for the most part, each day something happened and they’ve made it through all of it. Sure, people have joined and left over the years, but they’re still together. Still making music. We’re still fans. I think we should celebrate all of that.

I can’t really imagine what it was like in that first audience. I don’t know how the band sounded. I’m not sure if I would recognize the music as Duran Duran, but it was the beginning. Here we are, forty years later, waiting for more. Let’s celebrate THAT.

-R

HMV Signing in Toronto 1995 – Were You There?

April 4th has been a busy day in Duran history. “White Lines” was released in the US and UK on this date in 1995, as was Thank You. VH1 aired Behind the Music in 1999. In 1987, they performed on Soul Train. On this date in Toronto, Duran Duran held a signing at HMV. Were you there?

I have been to Toronto exactly one time, and it wasn’t that long ago.  Amanda and I decided to take the road trip to end all road trips (not really, because if the band announced a tour tomorrow I’m sure we’d be planning another!) to see several dates on the Paper Gods tour. Toronto was one of the cities we visited along the way.

Crossing the American-Canadian border was a new experience. While I’ve actually been through customs with Amanda before, this time we were in a car. (Always something new, I say!) It was a long drive, but when we finally made it into Toronto, it was nothing like I’d imagined. I’d describe it as very busy, with tall buildings on a beautiful waterfront. I can remember it being hot and humid (as were all the shows that summer).

Were you at the HMV signing in Toronto?  Weather for April can be iffy…if you were there, did you have to wait outside?! (Written like a true Californian, right?)

-R

 

 

CSU Convocation Center, Cleveland 2005 – Who was there?

On this date in 2005 Duran Duran performed at the CSU Convocational Center in Cleveland. This was one date included on their Astronaut tour. Were you there?

Here’s the setlist from that night. Relive the moment and set up your own playlist while you’re dying Easter Eggs, doing some spring cleaning, or—if you’re lucky enough to be somewhere warm and beach-like—sitting outside!

  1. (Reach Up for the) Sunrise
  2. Hungry Like the Wolf
  3. Planet Earth
  4. Astronaut
  5. Hold Back the Rain
  6. Chains
  7. What Happens Tomorrow
  8. A View to a Kill
  9. Tiger Tiger
  10. The Chauffeur
  11. Ordinary World
  12. Save a Prayer
  13. Notorious
  14. Nice
  15. Is There Something I Should Know?
  16. Careless Memories
  17. The Wild Boys
  18. Girls on Film
  19. Rio

-R

Label comings and goings

I don’t know what it is about March 27th, but Duran Duran has announced a record deal ending, as well as one starting on this date in the past.

In 2009, Simon Le Bon wrote about their deal ending with Sony on duranduran.com.  It was also on this date in 2015 that Warner Bros. announced their deal with Duran Duran.  Two sides of the same coin, perhaps?

I can remember thinking that it was wonderful that Duran Duran was getting out from under Sony Records, particularly after Red Carpet Massacre. I don’t know what Sony had expected for the album, but I know that at the time, the album seemed to be underperforming. That isn’t a critique of the band, it is a critique of Sony, in my opinion. I felt that the label allowed the album to fall flat after its release. (Yes, I expected the label to move mountains rather than expect it to move under its own steam, I suppose.) Context is everything though, and during this time period, labels all over the country were redefining and consolidating themselves. It was, and still is, a very difficult time to be a musician.

On the same token, or the other side of the coin, there is Warner Bros.  Duran Duran released Paper Gods with Warner, and while yes, the album spent a small period of time in the top ten – did it really do well? I am really not sure. I don’t mean that I’m skeptical of its success…I mean I’m really not sure what DEFINES success these days. Is it sales? Is it tickets to live shows? What ever happened to videos? Do they matters? What about streaming – where does that fit into the equation? Does ANYONE, aside from the execs along with the Adeles, Justin Timberlakes, Taylor Swifts and Beyonces in this world, anyway, make money at this business in 2018?

I guess that really is the question, isn’t it?

-R

Spring Break and Songbook!

Happy Spring Break to anyone is lucky enough to have this week off, and that includes Amanda and I! I’ve decided to take some time for myself this week, in which case my posts are likely to be shorter than normal.

With that in mind, do you know what was aired on Sky Works on this date in 2009? Anyone?  Songbook!  I didn’t see this until well-after its airing…but since it has been seven years since it aired, so let’s watch again!

In full-disclosure, I did not have time to watch both of these clips before posting. They were uploaded by two different people but one seems to have more the interview and the other looks to be more of the performances. That said, I can’t be sure they don’t overlap. So, my apologies if they’re not perfect. I’m going to watch now, and you know – if I have to see Duran Duran perform with Dom twice, I suppose I’ll manage. Somehow.  😀

In any case, enjoy!!

-R