Category Archives: history

Brothers and Sisters Let Me Hear It: Big Thing at 29

I was busy waxing nostalgic over past fan conventions yesterday, so I didn’t get to write about Big Thing. The album was released 29 years ago yesterday, which is impossible.

I’m pretty sure Big Thing was the first Duran Duran album I bought on cassette. I slightly cringe as I remember buying and storing it in the creaky, fabric-covered, plastic case I kept on the floor of the front seat in my Suzuki Samurai. I can still remember the sandy feeling the fabric of the suitcase had because I would drive with the top to the Samurai removed for most of the year. The nearly threadbare carpet on the floor of the car caught sand and whatever other grit was blowing through the air as I’d speed along the freeways of southern California. The case and tape, which I still have somewhere in this house, is pretty scratched up. I haven’t tried to play the tape in years, probably not since I traded in the Samurai.  For quite a while, I didn’t have Big Thing on any other playable media in the house, and it wasn’t until I bought the MP3 that I had the chance to listen to the album in its entirety. Not that long ago, I added the vinyl of the album to my collection, along with the remastered CD, so I can fully appreciate its place in history.

When I first listened to Big Thing back in 1988, the album sounded like it had multiple personality disorder. I loved the song “Big Thing” even though I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what it was about. I liked the difference of the heavy beat to begin the album, but also appreciated the stacked harmonies that made it sound like a Duran Duran song.  “I Don’t Want Your Love” was the song I would sing at the top of my lungs while driving back and forth from Cal State Fullerton during my freshman year. Let’s just say it healed many a wound during that time. It was a tumultuous time for me as I adjusted to college and dorm living.  I wanted and needed recognizable Duran Duran – something that I never felt like I got from Notorious – and at least the first two songs off of Big Thing felt like they were in the right direction.  But from there, the album changed direction, with the club-beat heavy “All She Wants Is”. At the time, the song felt out-of-place, even though it was (and remains) a hit in the ears of many Duranies. But then again, the album completely changes pace completely, with beautifully simple ballads like “Too Late Marlene”, “Do You Believe in Shame”, “Land” and “Palomino”. These are what a friend once characterized as Duran’s watershed moments. Never to be dull, a song like “Drug” was thrown in the mix to throw listeners completely off-kilter, the sudden change always unnerved me. Ending with “Edge of America”, flowing into “Lakeshore Driving”, Duran’s answer to jam-session recording carries out the uncomfortable pacing of the album as the tape abruptly ran out as I would begin to settle into a daydream.

I never could find fault with any one song on the album, although I certainly have my preferences, but as a whole, I never cared for the constant change in direction or personality. Did the band want to go for a club sound? Why was the back half mainly ballad? I can remember not loving the ballads back in the late 80s, as I was more of a guitar-driven hard-rock kind of gal, but they’ve grown on me in years since, as has the entire album.

Big Thing is one of those Duran albums that, for the longest time, I didn’t really count among my favorites. It has grown to be one that I consistently play. I know why Duran Duran looks to “Ordinary World” as the ballad to play live, but I believe that gems like “Palomino” and “Land” have been completely overlooked in the process. There is really no other song I would rather crank up to “10” in my car than “Edge of America”, and I can zone out to “Lakeshore Driving” pretty much anywhere. “Big Thing” is a great song to wake me up, and when I’m feeling melancholy, I tune in to “Do You Believe in Shame”.  What once felt like a personality disorder now feels a lot more like the emotional roller coaster of any week in my life.

Big Thing has not only aged well, the rough transitions have mellowed out, and it plays fantastic at the ripe age of 29. Once again, Duran Duran proves they write to withstand the course of time.  Happy Birthday, Big Thing!

-R

Union of the Snake released in 1983

On this date in 1983, Union of the Snake was released. That makes this record 34 years old.

I actually had to do the math there because it doesn’t sound right.

Then I check the release date again, even though I know 1983 is correct.

Thirty-four years?

I remember brushing my teeth in my childhood bathroom during this same period of time My younger sister burst through the door, as she often did because we shared the hall bathroom and she loved to annoy me (still does, as I am sure that I’ll get a text from her at some point about this very post). She triumphantly announced that she had heard Union of the Snake by Duran Duran. She sang a line as I challenged her assertion, and then she watched my reaction in the mirror. I tried to hide my irritation, because I didn’t want her to know that she’d accurately pushed my buttons. I kept my head down, rinsed my toothbrush, and nonchalantly walked out of the bathroom.

Incredulous that she’d actually heard Union of the Snake, I raced into my bedroom and scanned the radio, hoping to hear it for myself. I don’t know how long it was before I finally heard the song. I was pretty sure she had been faking it when she said she’d already heard it, but she wasn’t all that far off with the melody or the words! She swears to this day she was just guessing as she teased me, and I still remember how annoyed I was by the idea that she might have heard something about Duran Duran before I had.

That sort of thing still goes on to this day, although my sister isn’t the one trying to push my buttons most of the time. It’s my husband. He would love for nothing more than to learn of some juicy detail before  me and he never lets me forget for a single second that he was the one to come up with idea for Daily Duranie. He also dreams of the day I’ll let him guest blog…

Dreams are free,  as are memories. 🙂

-R

 

 

 

 

My thoughts on Medazzaland as it turns twenty

It is hard for me to imagine that Medazzaland has been a part of my life for twenty years. Coincidentally, twenty years ago last month, my husband and I moved back to California after living in Illinois for two and a half years.

We made the move not long after we were married in 1995, due to a job offer for my husband. When Walt’s company decided to sell his division, we moved back to California, now as a family of three.  We’d been back here and living out of boxes for a few weeks when Medazzaland was released, and I came out of my moving and motherhood fog just long enough to drive to Wherehouse Music to get a copy.  I remember unwrapping the CD and putting it in the car stereo. Walt wanted to scan through each song rather than hearing them play, which made the experience less-than-optimal for me, but I was so shocked after the first couple of songs, I didn’t know what to think.

I suppose I didn’t know what to expect going in. I knew it would be different, as they all are from one another, and I hadn’t been keeping up with the band in the same way I might now, so I was probably even more shocked. I probably was hoping for something that sounded closer to any one of the first three albums, which I admit severely undercuts the creativity of this band, but at the time, I didn’t think about any of that. I just knew what I expected to hear when I said “Duran Duran”.

I was looking for anything that made me feel like the old me. I was a new mom, dealing with a baby and postpartum depression, living with my in laws while we waited for our house to sell in Illinois so that we could buy one here. So just imagine someone trying to get a firm grip on some semblance or reminder of who they were – maybe hoping for a bit of Rio and instead – you’ve got Nick speaking the words to “Medazzaland”.

It was a bit of a shock, to say the least.

Sure, I took a deep breath when I heard “Big Bang Generation”. It’s still one of my favorites off of the album, and I won’t lie – those bright, stacked harmonies and melodious chords were exactly what I thought should be on the album. “Electric Barbarella” felt along the same lines. I started feeling better about the album, and then “Silva Halo” happened. The tempo alone made me uncomfortable. I didn’t declare it as genius, I’ll tell you that. I looked at Walt, he looked at me, and I was speechless. I felt completely left behind. I didn’t understand how the same band who wrote (yes) “Hungry Like the Wolf”, could write something like “Silva Halo” and believe it was good enough to put on an album. (How’s that for some Monday morning truth??)

That’s just the point though, isn’t it? This was not the same band. The band we have right now isn’t the same band who wrote Rio, either. It wasn’t as though they had Roger, Andy or even much of John in the studio writing and recording Medazzaland. This was a Duran Duran of (mainly) two original members, along with Warren – who may be a fabulously innovative guitar player in his own right, but he is also incredibly different from the original member. Of course they are going to create very different music, although I didn’t acknowledge that at the time. My problem was that I didn’t like a lot of it, which blew me away.

Yep, I could pretend that I was one of those enlightened fans who just “got” everything they did. I could say that I loved the way the band reinvented itself, and how they embraced innovation and experimental music. I’d certainly sound cooler if I did. But I didn’t. I listened to Medazzaland in its entirety exactly ONE time before I packed it away, never to get it out again until the reunion

No, that didn’t make me a good fan. Just the opposite, really, and I have to own that. I assumed that because I didn’t like that album on the first listen, that I had somehow grown out of being a Duran Duran fan. That was a hard, sad lesson for me. I saw my fandom, although I didn’t have a name for it at the time, as the one lifeline I really had back to a time before my life became a whirlwind of baby clothes, bottles and diapers. Once that was gone, I wasn’t really sure what I had left. I’d love to say I had other stuff going on for me at the time, but I really didn’t. I had a baby, a husband, and a life I really didn’t recognize. It was a very weird time. While it really had nothing to do with Duran Duran, in some ways now looking back, I can see that my initial reaction to that album had everything to do with me and what I was going through on my own. It’s kind of amazing to consider just how much life experiences shape our listening.

I don’t think I gave that album a fair shot until recently. I can’t pinpoint the year, exactly – but it was after I started writing this blog. I finally pulled out the original CD and played it again. It wasn’t nearly as strange-sounding as I remembered. I suppose I hear it with very different ears now. There’s still a fair amount of discomfort with songs like “Silva Halo”, “Buried in the Sand”, and even “Undergoing Treatment”. I hear a lot of sadness and pain in Simon’s singing. I also hear the ingenuity and experimentation loved by Nick and Warren. As Simon said, it was a difficult time for the band. It is clear, as I listen to the album again, that while the three may have been in the same physical space while recording – the disconnection is evident.  Nathan Stack surmised that Medazzaland “…is about humans trying to understand and connect with one another — sometimes tenuously succeeding, other times failing.” (www.duranduran.com Medazzaland October 2017)  His words read prophetic, if not for being twenty years post release.

In hindsight, I can say that it oddly represents a very difficult time in my life, too. I felt so disconnected to the world, you’d think that this album would have been my lifeline, and yet it just wasn’t. Simon says the album is like “Marmite”, you either love it or hate it. I just don’t think I was ready to hear the stories that this album was trying to share at the time.

I think that might be the silver lining. The music doesn’t cease to exist after a couple of decades. The songs are still there, ready to sing their tale and share their messages whenever we are ready to hear them with fresh ears.

On another note, I’ve really been back in California twenty years now…and more importantly…my daughter is about to turn 21 in a few months??

-R

There’s nothing gonna ace this

My desk calendar tells me that on this date in 2004, Duran Duran played on Good Morning America. It feels like a million years ago. Andy was still with the band and all seemed well on the outside, even if it may not have been on the inside. I had no inkling of the struggles it took to get the album recorded. I didn’t realize that drama from the past had somehow crept its way back into the studio and beyond, and I sure as heck didn’t know that over the course of the next year or so, Andy would stop performing with the band altogether. I was so naive, I had the audacity to believe that the original five would keep going. It never occurred to me that the relationships were so fragile.  Then again, I didn’t really know much of what had gone on behind the scenes in the 80s, either. I basked in the glory of having the band back together again, and in some small way that is typically unlike me, I appreciate that I had no idea of what was to come.

Wide-eyed innocence was sort of my theme for the entire Astronaut period. I was new to traveling to see the band, I was new to the fan community (although I’d been a fan for many years), new to message boards, and the group of friends I’d stumbled upon as a result were all brand new to me. At the point of this GMA appearance, I had just recently gotten home from the Friends of Mine convention in New Orleans. I can remember sitting in front of my TV with Gavin on my lap, marveling over some of the women in the front because I’d met them at the convention. Prior to Astronaut, I had never known anyone who had even gone to something like that, much less gotten up so close! When I think back to those Astronaut days, I’m amazed at how naive I was to the entire fandom phenomena. Everything seemed bright, colorful, new, and lovely. I didn’t see much of the insipid bickering, or the jealousy between fans. I hadn’t gone to enough shows or mingled with enough hard-core fans to know that while all is fine and good when the band isn’t around, once they enter the room, the struggle to be seen and acknowledge is so great that we often push one another out-of-the-way just for that tiny bit of validation. In my head, fandom was a utopian paradise, and I wanted to take up residence, permanently.

There are shorter clips of this, but I chose the long one – nearly a full hour – because there are so many short snippets of the crowd.  On this day, it is a breath of fresh air to look back at the memory of what it was like to simply be in love: reinvented, reimagined, reinvigorated, naive LOVE. I particular enjoy the vision of an audience sharing those same feelings.  There is nothing that can ace this.

Yeah, I know the band isn’t nostalgic. Sometimes though, it feels good to look back. It reminds me how I got here, and why I stay.

Take a look. Breathe deeply. Squee if you must…I did 🙂

-R

The Joy of CD Signings

I apologize for writing today’s blog post so late.  I decided to let myself ease into the day during the morning.  This afternoon has been focused on grading.  Writing the blog is my break.  Before I started to write, I took a glance at the latest Duran tweets.  Today, they posted about this date two years ago when the band met fans at the J&R Music Express in New York City.  Obviously, this meet and greet, of sorts, was to advertise, promote their Paper Gods album.  CD signings are nothing new in Duranland.  After all, I can think of ones that took place during Astronaut and even during Thank You, just to name a couple.

I was lucky to have attended one myself in 2007 as the band was promoting Red Carpet Massacre.  I have fond memories of that experience.  It took place in a Best Buy in Chicago in the evening.  Immediately, after work, my friend and I booked it down to Chicago to then wait in line for a couple of hours in the cold as it was December.  Looking back, I assume that we had to wait in line because there was some fear that we wouldn’t make it to the front before the event ended.  Nonetheless, the time went by relatively quickly as I spent a lot of time talking to other Duranies there.  Then, I remember talking to Rhonda on the phone once inside.  In fact, we were on the phone when I reached the front.  I was trying to be so chill that I wasn’t prepared.  Therefore, my cd wasn’t even open, possibly holding up the line.  EEK.  Katy said something to me about procrastinating as a kid with my homework, which caused me to laugh and confess my current profession as a teacher.

Finally, I was in front of the band.  Simon was first and clearly wanted to assist me in taking the plastic wrapper off the cd as he said, “Just give it to me.”  Shockingly enough, my stubborn self replied with, “That’s okay.  I’ve got it.”  Perhaps, my stubbornness was not appreciated.  Who knows?!  Then, I only exchanged pleasant greetings with Nick and Roger before finally getting to John.  I wanted to mention to him about my participation in a campaign of sorts that had taken place the previous summer by members of the Church of the Bass God (COTBG), a popular thread on John’s board on DuranDuranMusic.  The campaign involved sending silly socks to John after we noticed that he had been wearing bright socks in concert.  Looking back on this, I have to laugh.  Even then, I took note of his concert clothing.  Anyway, members of the COTBG sent socks for his birthday and I participated in sending James Bond ones.  John was kind enough to send pictures of himself and the socks back to the COTBG members.  For some reason, it really mattered to me that he know that I was the one with the Bond socks.  Ah, fandom.  Here is the picture of John with the socks I sent.

Obviously, I was not able to attend the cd signing in New York City two years ago, but I generally think they are a good idea.  They provide fans a chance to meet their favorite band, have a chance to exchange a few words and get a personalized autograph.  I like that they are in controlled settings.  It is not as insane as seeing the band after a show or in a public place.  No, fans there know that they will all have their opportunity and the band knows that the fans will be in a line asking for a autograph and that’s it.  Seems to be a win win situation for both fans and the band.  Personally, I hope they do more in the future.

What do the rest of you think?  Have you attended a cd signing?  How did it go?

-A

Limited Edition Double Vinyl of Astronaut released, 2004.

How many different versions of Astronaut do you own? I can’t even answer that myself – a lot of them are packed away, but I know I must have a few. I’ve got a couple of copies of the regular CD that I bought at midnight at Virgin Records in Hollywood.  I also remember buying this special CD – it was a dual sided CD if I remember right (did those ever really catch on??)—and it had 7.1 surround sound. I can’t remember what was on the other side, though. Was it a DVD?? I really need to go find it and look.  Anyway, I liked that CD because I could actually hear Andy’s guitar (which is another blog for another day), and because it was unlike anything I’d seen before.

But on this date back in 2004, Duran Duran released the limited edition double vinyl of Astronaut. I have a copy, and it is signed by all five members.  I’m particularly proud of it because it’s the one thing I have signed by the original five members of Duran Duran, and for a long time – it was the only thing I had signed, period. I can remember periodically sitting and staring at that vinyl from time to time. It was one of those moments where afterwards, you wonder if it really did happen. I can tell you that back when I was just a kid listening to Rio, never did it occur to me that one day I’d actually meet them. That just seemed like something out of a fairy tale, and admittedly it felt a little that way when it happened.

Seems like a great day to take out that double vinyl album and spend a little time thinking back on 2004. For me, Astronaut helped to mark the beginning of the community aspect of fandom.  I had just gone to my first convention, and everything felt bright and new.  Astronaut was a new beginning for Duran Duran, and I’m happy to spend a little time thinking back on that time today.

-R

Mark Ronson Adds Simon to his Record Collection!

September is winding to an end, and one thing I tend to remember about this month is that a few years back, I went to go see Mark Ronson & The Business Int’l at Club Nokia in LA. It was on this day in 2010 that the album Record Collection, which featured Simon LeBon (on the song of the same name), was released.

At the time, Duran Duran had not yet released All You Need is Now, and fans were chomping at the bit for any piece of new music they could get their hands on. They weren’t alone, as I listened to Record Collection over and over, and yes—even the song was on repeat.

Ronson’s show at Club Nokia was great. It was the first time I’d ever seen Mark live, and I also got to see MNDR that night as well. Who knew that several years later, I’d see her again when she stood in for Nick Rhodes and performed with Duran Duran?!

BTW – I completely screwed up yesterday’s blog, and I apologize for that. I have no excuse, other than I thought I was reading dates for September on my calendar, and instead, I was knee-deep in August and didn’t even notice. I’ll try to be more careful.

-R

You Catch That Mirror

This weekend marks the release of the latest album by the Killers.  As many of you know, both Rhonda and myself are fans of that band. They aren’t Duran to us, as no other band could ever be.  Yet, we like them and we do pay some attention to what they are up to when we can.  As both a fan of the Killers and a student of music fandom, I have spent a little time in between grading to see how the hardcore Killers fans are responding to the new album as well as changes within the band.  The more I looked at social media, the more I found myself smiling.  Why?  It all felt so familiar as looking at that fan base was like looking at a mirror of Duran’s.

So how are the Killers fans reacting to the new album?  Some absolutely love it.  I have read adjectives like “brilliant,” “genius,” and “amazing.”  Others are complaining.  Some claim that it is not the rock music they come to expect with the band and that the guitars are straight up “missing”.  Still other fans try to be a little less harsh with their disappointment by calling it a “letdown.”  Of course, much of the discussion focuses on the comparison between this new album and the previous ones.  It doesn’t sound like the “classics” say some while others believe that fans shouldn’t compare but evaluate the album by itself.

If I didn’t know that those comments were on a Killers thread, I could have assumed that it was a Duran related thread from any of their album release weekends.  Goodness knows that the most recent albums of Duran have been met with both praise and criticism from fans.  As I read, I understood the passion that those fans are feeling.  The music matters to them.  They all want to love the new album and some do and some don’t.  Maybe, in some cases, the fans who love it are not being critical enough.  In other cases, perhaps, the fans who don’t like it aren’t open-minded enough.  Part of me wanted to respond as someone who feels like I have been through this a bunch.  I wanted to remind everyone that they are all passionate for a reason–because they fell for the Killers at some point.  More than that, I had the urge to point out that this is just one album.  The band has been around for awhile now and things can change.  One disappointment is simply that–one.

Then, of course, the discussion surrounding the band itself comes up as some fans point out that both Mark, the band’s bassist, and Dave, the band’s guitarist, have walked away, at least as far as touring goes.  There is concern that the band won’t be the same without them, which is valid.  Other fans feel like they should support those guys’ decision to walk away, if that is what is best for them.  Again, I feel like Duran fans have been through this.  We know what it is like to have band members walk away as we have been through it a lot.  Does it change the feel of the band?  Sure.  Does it mean that the overall feel of the band changes?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I feel like in the case of Duran, the band is larger than the individual members.  The feel of Duran is stronger than any particular member, which is why the band and its fans were able to survive through the loss of all the Taylors as well as Warren and Andy for a second time.

If I could give any advice to these fans, I would remind them that times change, bands change.  What feels like a huge deal right now might not be a big deal later–it will simply be one chapter in a long history.  I would recommend holding on, even if they are not fans of what is going on with the personnel or the album itself.  I know a lot of Duran fans who walked away when Andy and Roger left in 1985 or left with albums like Big Thing or Liberty and regret it.  I know that I wish that I remained more of an active fan throughout the entire history of the band.  I am also glad that I stayed with the band through a rough Red Carpet Massacre period in which I wasn’t a huge fan of the album and even less of a fan of the division within the fan community.  Lastly, I would urge them to try to find something positive or something to be excited about.  It can make all the difference in both enjoying one’s fandom but also in getting through a rough patch.

I will be watching how things go both for the Killers and their fans from here on out.  Perhaps, watching them can provide a mirror to our fan community that I could learn from as well.

-A

Books Never Read Better

The title is my weird attempt to switch up one of John Taylor’s frequent phrases in his autobiography.  If you have read the book, you know that he wrote the phrase, “Music never sounded better,” a lot.  I twisted around for the title of this blog.  Needless to say, I’m not feeling particularly clever or witty right now.  No, I’m feeling pretty desperate for the weekend.  The third week of school is always busy, overwhelming, stressful, or whatever appropriate adjective could fit there.  The ten to twelve hour days are sucking the life out of me, which is why the lame title.

Instead of thinking about the upsetting world events (or American politics–same difference) or the mountain of grading I have, I want to think back to this time in 2012.  Five years ago this month, John Taylor’s autobiography was released and he was traveling around the UK and later the US to do various book talks and signings.  I have fond memories of that time period.  First, I was so super excited to read the book that I downloaded it from Amazon UK because I couldn’t wait for the US release.  I even ordered a British copy as well as buying for American copies as well.  Once downloaded, I cleared my schedule, laid on my couch and read until my battery ran out.  I think I read the book in like a day, which is not my style at all.  I’m usually too impatient to continue to read that much despite my love of reading.

Then, in October of 2012, I attended one of those book signings and talks in Chicago even though I had no business attending.  In October of 2012, I was working about 80 hours a week.  I was teaching full time and I was campaigning full time, too.  My level of exhaustion was so strong that I barely made it to election day without literally collapsing.  Yet, I couldn’t miss this chance to see John read his book in person or to have him sign my copy (and one for Rhonda!).  Thus, I drove down to Chicago, about 2.5 hours, attended the event and drove back, knowing that I had to be at work the next day.

Like reading the book, I have distinct memories of that event.  For example, I remember being in line, chatting with friends and fielding constant campaign calls.  I wanted to just focus on John Taylor that night but couldn’t.  Honestly, I feel like that is the story of my life.  When I’m at work, I sometimes want to focus on fandom and what’s the latest tweet or post from the band.  Sometimes, I’m able to squeeze in a glance or two.  Likewise, when I’m at home or campaigning, other aspects of my life demand my attention.  It is rare that I just focus on one role I have in life.  I feel like I have to multi-task all the time.  I not really a fan of that.

What is interesting, though, is that when I think about reading John’s book, I don’t remember being districted or interrupting (other than the battery drain).  No, I was able to be laser focused and I liked that.  Of course, the book had a fascinating focus that led to a little book club on here as I reread and led discussion on it.

Anyway, I wouldn’t mind another book by John Taylor or about John Taylor to totally distract me from real life.  I think I could use it and it would give me an excuse to just say, “to hell with,” my grading or my household tasks or whatever else I need to do.

-A

Now We’re Online: When DD.com Was Hacked

In 2017, websites are commonplace. Most of us are on the web and surf our way through hundreds of sites each day, even if we’re not thinking about it. It would be unthinkable to run a company and not have a web presence. Sites act as advertising, storefronts, social gathering spots, newspapers, informational brochures, and even corner speakers. Duran Duran has operated their website for years now.  Amanda and I have come to rely on it for a variety of purposes. We are typically able to find what we need, and it’s always up and running.

There was a period of time back in the late 90s when this wasn’t exactly the case. First, I’ll set the scene: it’s 1999. Medazzaland had been released in 1997, the band was touring and playing smaller clubs on the Let It Flow tour. Pop Trash wasn’t released until 2000.  Earlier in August, Duran Duran had signed a 3-album deal with Hollywood Records.  John Taylor was no longer with the band, instead playing dates in small clubs like the Viper Room in Hollywood, California with Terroristen. Sugartown was being released and John had been doing the typical press tour junket to promote the film. During the 90s, there were times when the band were even self-managed, as Wendy Laister and Magus Entertainment did not come aboard until 2001. Before anyone asks, yes – Katy Krassner was working with the band by this time. I don’t know if she was directly involved with their website in the same sense as she is now.  Very different days.

Months might go by without a single update made to the band’s site, even if there was a new album coming out, or upcoming tour dates—news items that would have definitely been of interest to fans, and might even help the band if they were announced. It became something of a side joke to long time fans, and not a “ha ha” funny joke, but one of those snide comments you might make to one another in jest. During this specific period, possibly while the band was self-managed, between labels (until August when they signed with Hollywood Records), it had been several months since the website had been touched at all. Security for the site was lax, to say the least. Picture the place as a ghost town with a message board of fans continually writing posts asking why the site wasn’t being updated, and you might have a fairly accurate scene. Despite the outcry from some fans even asking if they could help out and update the site themselves, there seemed to be some sort of gaping hole between the band and fans, until one fateful day in September of 1999 when one fan—Redsexy on dd.com—hacked the website herself and updated it.

Had it not been for her, I’m not sure how long it might have been before the website would have been updated. Self-managing isn’t an easy thing. Just imagine – on top of writing the music, you’re managing everything else. Promotion, image, contracts, touring, people who work for you, all of the large and small details. All of it.

Today’s websites aren’t so horrible. If you use something like WordPress (as I do), it’s fairly simple – but there is still a lot I don’t know how to do, and there’s not much time for me to learn.  Imagine Simon, Nick, or Warren trying to wrangle a  website back in the 90s, without the ease of WordPress or other site management companies, much less having the time to sit down and update the news or tour dates! Impossible.

So on this date in 1999, Redsexy took matters into her own hands, and we thank her for it. I’m not sure how the band felt, but I admired your spirit.

-R