Category Archives: history

Part of a Celluloid Dream

So, anybody got that trip to Iceland booked yet???

Me neither. *big sigh*

If I rewind back to yesterday

Speaking of sadness, did you know that on this date in 1986, Duran Duran sent out a press release with the announcement that my favorite drummer (and hopefully yours), Roger Taylor, was leaving the band. Headed for greener pastures. “Gentleman farming”, as he later referred to it.

Bah. Whatever.

The good news, of course, is that he came back! Only took him what…17 years or so….before he played live shows with Duran Duran again?

Watching slo-mo going frame by frame

Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled he left, but I was overjoy upon the announcement of his return! While I don’t love “celebrating” this day each year, I like reminding myself that things change. “This too shall pass”.

I sure hope so.

It’s been a rough week for me personally, Duranies. Positive thoughts go out to those who need them and a reminder that help, love, and support is here and waiting, whenever and however needed. Cheers.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate, and a wonderful weekend to all.

-R

You Catch That Mirror Way Out West

Her name is Rio

True confession time: I love “Rio”.

Hold on, before you click the red “x” in the corner – I know this isn’t breaking news. No, it’s not earth shattering, or really even all that important in the grand scheme of things. Even so, it’s the one song that I don’t ever seem to get tired of.

“Hungry Like the Wolf”? 200% over it. I’m convinced it will outlive the human race. “A View to a Kill”? That’s my cue for Kodak moments – as in, I take pictures. “Come Undone”? It’s fine, but I wouldn’t miss seeing them play it live.

“Rio”? LOVE IT. Can’t imagine a show without it!

I’ve seen you on the beach, and I’ve seen you on TV

I don’t know exactly what it is about that one song. For me, it is pretty much the epitome of Duran Duran. Perhaps it is because Rio was the first Duran Duran album I purchased. Maybe it is because it is likely one of the first videos I ever saw. I have vivid recollection of my friend Marsha calling me on the phone after she saw it for the first time. (Of course she was first. She had her finger on the pulse of anything Duran-related the entire time we were in middle school!) I can remember her cracking up at the idea of Simon falling off of the dock. I remember her description of Nick. “Rhonda, if I didn’t know better, I’d think he was seasick.” Little did she know then that yes, he was! I also recall her explanation of the neon-colored drinks in the champagne glasses – for whatever reason, those always interested me. I couldn’t wait to see the video for myself. It did not disappoint. To this day, when I think of the song and/or video, I think of those drinks!

Growing up in California, we had plenty of beaches around us, but none looked this tropical (and the water definitely was not that clear!). I was captivated by the entire vibe of the song and video. It seemed about as far away from my life as I could get. At the point Rio was released, I don’t think I’d even been on an airplane before. I’d never traveled outside of the state! Antigua?? I thought to myself….what is that?? The imagery stuck with me though. I always felt that it was summer, encapsulated in song.

In the years since, I’ve caught on to the idea that the video isn’t all about glitz and glamour. In fact, the guys look like they trip all over themselves trying to be cool rock stars and get the girl, when in fact they mostly just look like nerds. I never quite picked up on that until adulthood though, and I tend to believe it is because I was so awkward and nerdy myself, that it all seemed normal! <big cheesy grin right here>

Like a birthday or a pretty view

When I was finally able to go to Antigua myself as an adult with three kids and a husband, I insisted that we go to Miller’s Beach – which is where some of the scenes were filmed. Absolutely stunning. You’d swear it wasn’t real, the water is so clear and perfect – and the weather is gorgeous. Naturally, my kids barely remember being there. Our youngest was only about three when we went – the only thing she remembers was having a fresh coconut to drink and deciding it was “awful”. For me though, it was extra special knowing what had been filmed there!

Our Day in Duran History spreadsheet tells me that on this day in 1983, the single “Rio” peaked at #14. I have several thoughts about that which include the following:

  • Only 14?? Really??
  • 1983? That was 36 years ago!!!
  • Where did those 36 years vanish off to?
  • How did Simon get so tan??
  • Why haven’t I ever tried playing the solo from Rio before? (Seriously! Here I am – clarinet player/sax player – and I’ve never ONCE tried it. What?!?)
  • What was in those glasses that Simon drank underwater anyway? Don’t just say food coloring. That’s boring.

She dances on the sand

I know that everyone has “that” song or “those songs” on the set list that they can’t imagine ever being removed. That’s the problem, because I think between all of us – there’s literally no chance of their set list ever changing if they were to take advice from fans. That said, Rio is mine. I can’t imagine not hearing it in a set. Many fans would probably love to see them can it for a while, but I would be sad. I wouldn’t vow to come after them with torches blazing, but I really can’t imagine it not being in their set at all. To me, it is a closer like no other. It ends the party with…what else but a party!

Since I’ve gushed about “Rio” so much, I’m going to watch the video again. It is warming up here in Atascadero. I’ve moved the chickens into their coop (Finally. OMG they are enormous and WAY past the time for being moved out of the house!!), and I heard a crazy rumor that our temperatures are supposed to start soaring next week. It’s time for a brief, visual vacation! Enjoy

– R

From Here to 2009 and Back Again

Think back to 2014, my friends. Do you know what happened on this day?

Simon sent out a short update on #DD14 (which we now know to be Paper Gods), saying they were in the refinement stages – but he didn’t give out names or confirm/deny any other rumors circulating at that time.

It was as though we were gathered outside a studio, waiting for any signs of life from within. There was a gasp, and perhaps a small shriek of victory from the crowd as a tiny window in the door suddenly creaked open. We ran up to the door, essentially climbing over one another, and straining our necks to see whatever there was to see (which wasn’t much). A voice beckoned from beyond, although it was too dark to see much. The voice told us all that yes, they were still in the studio, and no – we could not come in yet. Go home, the voice suggested. Wait for further instructions there, and leave them in peace. The window slammed shut, the crowd sighed in collective disappointment and perhaps a bit of relief, and more silence ensued.

Can you believe that was already FIVE years ago?? I can remember being so nervous about what the end result would be. So many rumors had circulated about what the band had been working on, and in the end – Paper Gods was exactly as it should be. This time around, I’m not nearly as anxious. I think having time and space to work without comments from the Peanut Gallery (that’d be me!) might be helpful. After all, the band didn’t get this far in their career without knowing a thing or two.

So here we are once again, waiting to see what may come. I say, grab a comfy spot on the sofa, because it might be awhile! While we wait, let’s take a look at an oldie but a goody: Songbook, which aired on Sky Arts also on this date in 2009! Truth be told, this is one of my very favorite televised programs from the band, so I don’t have to be coerced much to sit down and watch it again.

I can’t help it – I do love watching these videos. They help boost my mood a bit (I’m suffering from a little bit of missing my two oldest kids today), and who doesn’t need a pick me up every once in a while – right?

Looking forward to the day when I can post news about studio updates, should we be so lucky as to hear of some! Until then, I’m going to start looking for some good older videos to share from good old YouTube. If you’ve got any you’re hoping to find or want to share – let me know!

-R

Duran Duran History: Hammersmith Palais Show 2005

On this date in 2005, Duran Duran played at Hammersmith Palais in London. Ah, 2005 brings back lots of great memories. This, of course, was a few months after Astronaut was released and right before the big Astronaut Tour was to begin. If I had to describe the fandom at that point, I might use the word “electric.” I remember how I felt then as I was all abuzz with excitement every minute of every day.

January 2005 was not only a few months after Astronaut was released but also a few months after I attended the Duran Duran Fan Convention in New Orleans. I felt like I was walking on a cloud each and every day. I never thought I would hear another album from the Fab Five and I certainly did not think that I would meet so many fellow fans like I did in New Orleans in the previous fall. My evenings were spent online at various message boards, especially the much loved DuranDuranFans.com. Everyone (or so it seemed) loved Astronaut and I don’t remember hearing anyone criticize the album. Excitement was also in the air regarding the upcoming tour. While many fans had seen shows in 2004 either in the UK or as part of the few shows the band played at the end of year connected to Christmas or radio shows, people were itching to see the band perform these new songs and to put on a proper tour. Therefore, this particular show felt like the opening as the band was going to play there before heading over to Japan to officially start the tour. (Unfortunately, the Japan shows had to be canceled due to Roger’s broken foot, I believe.)

I remember wishing desperately that I could be at this show. Part of it, I’m sure, was my desire to see which songs from the new album they would play. I also figured that it would provide a sense of what the tour would be like. After the show, I searched for the setlist as well as pictures and clips. Curious as to what they played? According to setlist.fm, here was the setlist that night:

  1. Finest Hour
  2. Hungry Like the Wolf
  3. Hold Back the Rain
  4. Want You More!
  5. Union of the Snake
  6. What Happens Tomorrow
  7. Chains
  8. Astronaut
  9. Ordinary World
  10. Save a Prayer
  11. Bedroom Toys
  12. Notorious (incl. We Are Family snippet)
  13. The Reflex
  14. Nice
  15. (Reach Up for the) Sunrise
  16. The Wild Boys
  17. Girls on Film (Encore)
  18. Rio (Encore)

So, what do you think of that setlist? They played a LOT of songs off of Astronaut. I would say that they played more new songs at this show than any other show I can think of outside of those Broadway shows for Red Carpet Massacre. I can imagine that the band wanted to use this show as practice and to see how the new songs are received. Still…it seems like a ton of new songs.

As I continued to ponder this show, I went to YouTube to see if there were any clips of this show. While I didn’t find video clips, I did find an audio copy of the show. Listen to the show here:

On that note, I’ve got some tunes to listen to while I work on grading revised essays.

-A

Bowie and Time

Am I sitting in a tin can

It’s hard to imagine, but we’ve already been surviving on this planet without David Bowie for three years. Some say that’s when it all really went to hell….

I’m not so sure I’d go as far to make that claim. However, I know a good many of my friends – including those in that band I tend to talk about here and there – that might! I don’t know where those three years went so fast, but they did.

And here we are.

Find yourself in the moment

Also on this date, but in 2011, Time Magazine published a short Q&A with Simon and Nick, on the heels of the release of All You Need is Now. Here, by the grace of the internet, is the link!

Time Magazine Q&A with Simon and Nick

I read through it as there’s only a few questions. I just have to take a second to marvel at how much my own prospective has changed between 2011 and now. The very first question is in regard to the vision of AYNIN as the “imaginary follow-up to Rio“.
Simon explains that Mark Ronson comes from a fan perspective. Mark guided them to create something that truly was the follow up to their second album. Apparently the third album (SATRT) disappointed Mark as a kid.

I remember hearing all about this over and over during the interviews/press junket for AYNIN. It was all about the “follow-up to Rio” back then. What I didn’t pick up on though, was how artfully the band would put that characterization in Mark’s corner. Rather than accept ownership and say that they wanted to make their own imaginary follow-up, they really hand that over to Mark. I’m not saying that wasn’t indeed the case, but in hindsight – I think the wording may have been very telling.

Like a diamond in the mind

In subsequent interviews since then, particularly during the release of Paper Gods, the band has always been careful to say that they already went “back” for AYNIN, and they wouldn’t want to do that again. I think they know that the album was a fan favorite, but I have often wondered if they felt that it was a bit TOO contrived in parts. I’m thinking of “The Man Who Stole a Leopard” or as I think of it – “The Chauffeur, with Different Lyrics”. I like the song, mind you, but it is VERY close, musically, to “The Chauffeur”. Then again, there are other songs on the album, like “Safe”, or even the title track, that definitely hold up on their own and don’t even need to be characterized as a follow-up to Rio.

I’m still tickled I was able to find the the Q&A online, because if nothing else, it gets me thinking about what they could possibly be cooking up for the next one. Obviously, it is incredibly early in the journey. I can’t imagine they’ve had too much time in the studio to do much – but I still enjoy the wide open feeling of possibilities ahead. It is a good way to begin my weekend, which starts NOW.

Until Monday for me…

-R


Duran Duran Fandom Museum

The other day I got an email about a future Comic Con museum.  Immediately, I was intrigued.  What would this museum entail, I wondered.  From a quick glance, I noticed that the plan is to include various items from all sorts of popular culture like the car from Back to the Future and original comics.  Fascinating.  This got me thinking. While this museum focuses on many different fandoms like TV, movies, comics and more, what would a museum based on Duran Duran fandom be like.

First of all, we would need rooms dedicated to Duran Duran.  I think it would be cool to have separate rooms or galleries per era.  For example, the All You Need Is Now room might look like the video for AYNIN with the tinfoil like walls,  It might have splashes of pink like the album cover.  Inside the gallery, you can listen to all the songs featured on the album.  There would also be video space to watch the videos for AYNIN and Girl Panic.  Perhaps, a mini-concert venue would be created to match the stage setup with A Diamond in the Mind playing on a continuous loop.  Maybe you could also watch interviews from that era along with the behind the scenes footages included in the special edition DVD.  Of course, touring outfits might be displayed along with merchandise examples from that era.  As soon as you stepped into the gallery, it would bring you right back to 2010 or 2011.

What else would need to be a part of the Duran Duran Fandom museum?  As much as I love the idea of celebrating the band, I would also want spaces focused on the fans.  Then what?  One idea I had is to have a mock bedroom from 1984 with the walls covered in posters, the Reflex playing, t-shirts from the Sing Blue Silver tour hanging in the closet with teen magazines spread all around.  The museum could also make it interactive so you could get a copy of a magazine to take home with you or a spot in a mock living room to watch the premiere of a video on MTV.

What elements of modern day fandom would need to be included?  What about something with social media?  I think about how the band had Twitter flashing on the screen before the shows in 2011 and during Tiger Tiger.  Could a room allow that, too?  What about having different screens capture the various kinds of social media or allow fans to be the person behind Duran’s social media for one post or tweet?  Maybe there could be prizes for a museum related Tweetstake?

I have to say that it is super fun just thinking about ideas.  I know that I loved the Only After Dark night in Birmingham which is a night to recreate the Rum Runner with the atmosphere of it as well as the soundtrack to it.  It would be cool to have that as a permanent gallery or event connected to the museum.  There definitely should a be place for fans to go clubbing with music and drinks.  That is a big part of my fandom.

What about the idea of having life size pictures of the band so people can take selfies who might never get a chance in real life?  How about allowing fans to buy or rent touring outfits and then getting your picture taken on a stage like a member of the band?

Should there be an introductory video with a history of the band and what they have accomplished?  What about a gallery about their influences as well as who they have had an impact on?  There must be a gift shop to be able to buy merchandise not only about the museum itself but also cool, unique Duran items.

I truly think that the ideas are pretty limitless.  As someone with a history degree and some experience working at museums (I worked in two different ones in college) and in my college archives, I think I would be up for the challenge.  I could also seek additional school, if necessary, to get another master’s in museum studies as well as seek advice from my sister who was the director of a museum for a while and my sister-in-law who was a historian at an historic site.  Seriously, how cool would that be?!  Heck, it would be super cool just to visit it!  Maybe we should start thinking about taking a collection to get this started!  Meanwhile, do share what you would love to see in a museum about Duran fandom!

-A

Happy Anniversary to SATRT and Notorious!

I love this time of year. It has finally cooled off in So Cal (hey, it’s under 80 degrees now!), the winds have died down for at least the moment, and December is right around the corner. All of that aside, the real reason I love this time of year is because for me – late November reminds me of one thing: DURAN DURAN.

I think anyone who has been an ardent fan of theirs over the years is aware that the band seems to have a special relationship with Autumn…one that seems to embrace releasing new music! I automatically associate albums like Seven and the Ragged Tiger with  the falling leaves, and even the color scheme of the album reminds me of November.  Just the other day I was listening to KROQ HD2 “Roq of the 80s” when “Union of the Snake” started. The beginning chords reminding me of sharing the small bathroom mirror in my childhood home with my younger sister, or sitting in the back of my mom’s green Mercury as we drove up north to my uncle’s house for Thanksgiving.

The Notorious album beckons similar memories for me. I remember hearing the “No, No…Notorious!” over the radio as my parents, sister and I took our annual apple-picking trip one year. As much as the music still feels current, I can’t deny the sense of nostalgia.

It isn’t exactly a shock that the two albums share a common anniversary date, which just happens to be today (although Google tells me that Notorious was released on the 18th. I give up trying to keep it all straight at this point!) I think the jolt of surprise for me comes from reading that Seven and the Ragged Tiger is celebrating #35, and #32 for Notorious.  How can that be possible?

Happy Duraniversary to Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Notorious!

-R

Happy 14th Anniversary, Dom!

Happy Monday everyone!

Today is already proving to be a good day, I think. I was up early, baking pumpkin bread and getting ready to show my house again. I might actually have news to share in that department soon, I hope. My husband is home for the week, my youngest is off from school, and my two older kids will be arriving in the next couple of days to celebrate what I think is going to be our last Thanksgiving in this house. This year, it will be taking on a bit of a “carpet picnic” theme. Our massive dining table is in storage, as are most of my platters, china, and serving dishes, but we’ll make it work!

I didn’t immediately have something come to mind as a blogging topic, so I checked the Duran calendar we keep updated. Today is a HUGE day in Duran history. On this date in 2004, Dom Brown first performed with Duran Duran.

Each year, this date arrives and I’m a little nervous to tweet about it because the Duran Duran timeline says he started working with the band in October and didn’t play his first real large gig until December. However, if you look at the little note he wrote on his 10th anniversary with the band in 2014 – you’ll see that he recalls the date as November 19. Chances are, it was a private gig or something other than one of the massive arena dates they were playing in support of the Astronaut album. He took the stage due to Andy being ill. Little did he know that he’d still be playing with them fourteen years later!

I have to chuckle at his memories from that first performance. He hadn’t even had a chance to rehearse with Simon or Nick until soundcheck! Nick had to sing him some of the guitar intros that night (apparently he wasn’t quite the Duran Duran fan that many of us are). I can only imagine how that all must have went, but I’m still thankful he was brave enough to step in. As I’ve said to him many times, he had awfully big shoes to fill, and he’s done so with grace and humility.

Readers may have an inkling that perhaps I have a soft spot for Dom.  He has earned a lot of respect from me over the years. Not only is he a talented musician, he’s an incredibly kind person. I love watching the way he connects with the rest of the band onstage, as though he’s always been there.  I also thoroughly enjoy seeing and hearing fans react to him at shows. He’s not the brooding guitarist, and he’s not overly egotistical, either. I love that even after 14 years, he still manages to seem utterly shocked that fans scream for him.

I’m looking forward to doing more of that in February! Happy Anniversary Dom. Glad you’re still with the band, and that we haven’t driven you away just yet!

You’re family now, like it or not!

-R

Notorious Memories

If I remember correctly (and if my home-created Duran calendar is correct), the anniversary for the release of Notorious (the album) must be near.  Again, if my math is correct, this means that the band’s fourth studio album is turning 32.  Ouch.  I have colleagues younger than that (who like to remind me of that fact a lot!).  It is an album that marked some significant changes within the band’s history.  As we know, it was first album of the three (John, Nick and Simon) after Andy and Roger left.  It is also the first album recorded in which the band was managing themselves.  For many of us fans, it ushered in a new phase of our fandom.  No more was Duran Duran the “biggest band” in the world but one fighting to maintain its popularity despite these changes.  In thinking about this album, I have some memories that capture a lot about my life and my fandom.

Buying the Album:

In late 1985, my family moved from the south side of Chicago to a small town in Illinois.  My old place had Top 40 radio and MTV along with a best friend who loved Duran Duran as much as I did.  The new place didn’t have any of those.  I remember meeting a neighbor girl the first week I was there.  I asked her about what she thought of the song, A View to a Kill.  She had no clue about what I was talking about which signaled to me that I was in trouble.  By the time 1986 rolled around, I desperately wanted any sign of home.  The new Duran album was just the thing!  I remember going with my mom to the town’s mini-mall which had a Disc Jockey record store to buy the album.  As Mom drove home, I quickly opened up the vinyl, anxious to just hold the album in my hands.  I loved the cover but was sad to see that there were no lyrics included.  Still, I couldn’t wait to go home and listen!

A little while after the album came out, I called my best friend.  At this point, not only had I moved away from the south side but so had she.  We vowed to keep in touch and I was determined to do just that.  So, I called her, hoping not only to reconnect but to hear what she thought about the album.  My hopeful mood was quickly swashed when she told me that she hated it and decided to take down all of her posters because they just weren’t that “in” anymore.  While she insisted that it wasn’t just the album that caused her to make this drastic decision, I couldn’t help but think that she had lost faith.  I felt even more isolated and fears about losing her grew.  Where she chose to move on to the next thing, I opted instead to hold on for dear life.

Buying the Single:

Of course, before the album even came out, I wanted to purchase the single for Notorious.  One day, I saw it with its completely dark cover except for the title sitting on the shelf in the town’s newly opened Wal-Mart.  I believe that it cost a dollar and some change.  As soon as I saw it, I begged my grandma who was the one with me to buy it for me.  She refused.  Completely crushed.  How could my grandma not understand?  How could she be so cheap?  Why couldn’t my mom be with me?  All of these questions flashed in my mind and more.  Eventually, I was able to get the single.  Funny story. I shared this little story at my grandma’s funeral.  I’m not even sure why.  I guess the simple answer is that it is a very strong memory of mine.  I’m sure that says more about me than her!

How I Feel About the Album Now:

I cannot help but see Notorious as a marker for transition.  It was for the band and it was for me.  It is funny to think about how my life sort of paralleled the band’s.

Throughout its 32 year history, my thoughts and feelings about it have gone up and down.  Sometimes, I loved it like when it first came out.  Then, I grew frustrated with it, probably partly because of what it represented.  Now, I think I can see it with a more objective lens.  There are songs that I love and some that I tend to skip over, much like how I view a lot of their albums.  That said, I’m very thankful that they created it.  Why?  It helped them get over the hump of significant changes.  If they didn’t make the album, I wonder if they would have been able to really continue.  I think it also helped me get over my personal hump of moving to a new place and finding a new normal.

-A

Twenty-Nine Years later – Decade!

Today is the 29th anniversary of Decade. TWENTY-NINE YEARS.  As my friend Durandy aptly wrote this morning, “I’m trying to let that sink in.  What a legacy.”

Indeed. You’d think by now, I’d be over this band. You might think I’d have heard “Rio”, “Girls on Film” or “Planet Earth” one too many times. Yet I’m not. I’m willing and ready to do it all again. I’m betting that many of you are just as ready.

It’s November, the month of being thankful. Well, I count Duran Duran among my many blessings. I am so thankful I can still go see their concerts, even if it means traveling by plane to get there. They are still performing. They’re still writing, even when many of their peers are not. We are lucky fans.

Just last night I had a crazy dream about them, which in and of itself is bizarre because I almost never dream these days, and definitely not about the band!  In this dream, I found myself quitting my job at a what I believe was an antique furniture store with coworkers I used to work with last year, and Amanda was waiting for me. We laughed about how I was now unemployed and had no money, but as is typical – we also talked about all the touring we were going to do, and found ourselves wandering about San Francisco (no idea why).

We were looking for John Taylor (as one does), and for some reason I knew someone – a past coworker – who knew where he was, but I couldn’t find the guy. So, we ended up at a bar. I know that’s a HUGE surprise. It shocked me too. The bar had an outdoor patio, and by the time we got there, I was tired and wanted to sit down. Amanda led us to a couple of stools along the perimeter of the bar area and I immediately sat, not really paying attention. Next thing I know Amanda is nudging me rather insistently and I look up. She nods her head to the side and I let my eyes follow only to see that it is Dom sitting in the table directly across from us.

Only something is different about him. His usually short, straight hair has been replaced by slightly wavy, not quite shoulder length locks. Almost as though he’d been growing it out. In my dream, I kept looking at him (not even trying to sneak them!) and thinking “Why?!?”

Equally, I am lucky that the band can still be my muse, and that I’m able to write about being a fan each day. Even so, it is a little difficult to believe we’re in the fourth decade here. Twenty-nine years after the release of Decade. Yet so much of it feels like it only happened a short time earlier.

This single band has had an indelible influence across so many mediums. Music, video, fashion, graphics, style and an entire generation of people like me…to name a few.  What a legacy, indeed.

-R