Category Archives: history

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

 

 

Duran Duran without a drummer?! Roger Taylor leaves the band in 1986.

Nearly every Duran Duran fan I know has a favorite. It is one of the first questions we asked one another when we met, as though it’s some sort of way to identify one another. “Oh, that’s Suzie—she’s a Simon-girl.”

Well, my favorite original band member is Roger. My friend Lori believes it’s like imprinting, once you pick a favorite – that is it, he’s your favorite for life and it isn’t as though you really have a choice. It just happens. I can’t really say for certain that is the case, but I can tell you that my “favorite” came about in exactly that way. I saw him in a picture or on a video, and that was that. I really liked that within my group of friends, I was the only Roger-girl, and I didn’t have to “share” him, even if that meant I was only having to share pinups or posters out of the magazines we’d look through during breaks and lunch at school!

It was a happy existence, right up to when the Sing Blue Silver tour finished and I stopped really hearing much about Duran Duran for a while. I stopped seeing as many articles about them in the teen magazines, and instead heard little blurbs about how there was Arcadia, and Power Station…and then I saw Live Aid, and then nothing. By then, rumors were really circulating that Duran Duran was done or that some of the members were quitting. I didn’t really know what to believe, but I knew I didn’t like what I was hearing.

The one thing most Duran Duran fans will tell you is that throughout our history with this band – fans find out the news first, and then the band will finally come out with a statement. It does seem to be a pattern, even if I have more understanding now of why it all happens that way.  I think most fans knew something wasn’t right with Duran Duran way before they ever announced Roger wasn’t coming back, but hearing the words – reading the words, made it real.

I can remember hearing about Roger leaving the band on the radio. I couldn’t tell you what station I was listening to, or even who said the words, but my heart sank that day in 1986. I don’t think it was really a surprise to me when I heard the news, it just felt real. I knew things wouldn’t be the same after that. I still followed Duran Duran for decades (obviously!), but from that day up until 2001, there was always a little hope that he’d return. I remember hearing rumors of a breakdown, and wondering what really happened.  I never collapsed into a fit of tears or anything quite that dramatic, but the magic of Duran Duran just didn’t feel the same after that.  Silly me – every time I’d see them in concert, I’d hope Roger would make a return. Hope springs eternal, right?

For me, the worst part was not Roger’s absence, but the questions of why he left—which have all been answered. Sometimes, I don’t think the band necessarily understands THAT piece of it – that for fans, it isn’t the fact of whether or not someone left, it’s the why.

I wouldn’t say (necessarily) that it’s because we want to intrude on their personal lives—although I can understand why some would assume that we’re just nosey, but the reasons are much more complicated.  In order to understand, I think you have to recognize that to a fan like me—I’ve “known” the band for many years now. (Seriously, I have known and loved Duran Duran longer than any other person in my life, other than my parents and sister. Think about it.) For example, Duran Duran have been in my life for so long now that I assume I know them. How can we not be family?? As family, we all feel like we have the right to know what’s going on….except to the BAND….they don’t know us at all. I mean, there’s only a handful of fans that they generally know. This goes back to general math: five of them, thousands of us, you get the idea. Even so, our relationship (as fans) with them, is really intense. It’s personal. We feel like they’ve saved us, or we’ve cried over life with them in the most intimate of moments. That isn’t crazy behavior, it’s just being a fan.  Many of us have been fans since we were very young. On some basic level, It is unconscionable to us that the band (or their representatives) wouldn’t explain full reasonings to us when things happen.

Sure, as an adult, I get it. I don’t NEED to know why Nick left the tour last year, for example. It’s none of my business. I understand privacy and I respect his. But back when Roger left the band, I would have given anything to have been told why – and not just a pat answer some PR genius wordsmiths together – but a real reason. Yeah, I wasn’t even quite 16 at the time. I still lived in fantasy land and loved it.

I quietly shut the book on fairy tales until some point in 2001, when I  read something about a reunion and nearly fell off of my chair. I can remember saying as much to Roger a few years later at a signing for the Astronaut album, as I told him he had always been my favorite and thanked him for coming back to the band. Thankfully, he didn’t make me feel like a complete imbecile that day, and instead said it was sweet of me to say. I swooned all the way home.

-R

Where does the time go? Come Undone peaks at #7 in 1993.

Well, my spring break has come and gone, and this week it is about getting back into the normal groove. I’m being shaken (with a vengeance) back into reality this week at work because I will be the only admin in the building, which means my downtime will be non-existent. Amanda will be proud, I haven’t even looked at my email yet!! From now until the end of May, which is when my job goes on hiatus (until Septemberish), work and life is jam-packed.  In between teaching lessons, I am taking a last few cleansing breaths before it all begins in the morning.

It’s almost a good thing the band seems quiet right now, I guess…although rest assured I’d much rather be thinking, talking, and planning Duran Duran things. I’m anxious for school to end and summer to begin on one hand, and on the other, I guess I’m coming to terms with the idea that my son Gavin will be graduating and I will no longer be teaching him. In some ways that feels liberating, and in others, I’m sad.

Things are definitely changing here at Casa Rivera. Over my spring break, I had a full list of things to do, many of which didn’t happen—but one thing I did actually finish was moving my youngest upstairs.  My oldest is in an apartment near her school, and so I attempted to clear out her bedroom completely (not an easy feat – my home is her storage unit, apparently!) and then move the little one up there. Up until this weekend, we’d converted our den into a tiny bedroom for her rather than force the girls to share. They are 11 years apart (yes, we plan wonderfully!) so sharing didn’t seem like the best option for anyone. Last night, as I finished sweeping out the downstairs room (which is soon to become my office, yay!), I commented that it’s weird, first we worked to fill the rooms, and now I’m working to empty them. Gavin’s room is next, I suppose, as he’ll be moving to his college in September. Where does the time go?

That sort of fits the theme going forward for the next few years. Where does the time really go?? I suspect the band is going to be a bit more nostalgic than maybe we’re used to, as they celebrate their 40th anniversary. In the podcast interview with Joss Paterson (I believe you can find it on iTunes) John mentioned that they plan to start celebrating that next year, and then kind of rolling it over for the next three years because the genesis (to use John’s words) of the band was in 1978, but it went through changes initially, and then Simon joined in 1980. I don’t really know what the band has planned as far as celebrating goes, but I am sure we’ll all enjoy a look back. As fans of this band, we have a collective history that each of us have had some small part in shaping to get where we are.

With that in mind, I’m here to remind you that on this date in 1993, Come Undone peaked at #7 in the US. Feels like yesterday!

-R

Thirty-eight and counting. Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday was kind of a big day to look back. I know the band isn’t nostalgic, but we can afford to take a minute to think back on the beginning in order to fully appreciate where we are right now.  This blog was supposed to have published yesterday, but due to owner error (mine), I blew it.

I’m still publishing this damn thing, regardless. Day late…don’t care.  You’re welcome.

On April 5th in 1979, Duran Duran played their very first gig at the Birmingham Polytechnic University. Duran Duran even commemorated the day by posting the flyer that John created and copied on the xerox machine. (did they even call them that way back then?? Kidding….)

While you’re contemplating whether or not xerox machines were in wide-use back then (come on, you know you at least thought about it), let me just make you aware that this is the 38th anniversary of that show. THIRTY-EIGHT.  

WHA???????

At least, that was my reaction when I thought about it, followed up by, “That’s impossible. I’m not even thirty!”  After which, I considered what age I posted the LAST time I said something like this. Truth is, I can’t remember.

Yes, I know that’s a sign of old age. MOVING ON…

Ultimately, it means that today we’re celebrating, or at least acknowledging, a time before Simon was even in the band. Now, if that doesn’t blow your mind, not much will. And, in a year from now, it will be the fortieth anniversary that Duran Duran has been in existence. Their 40th birthday.

Again, That’s impossible.

My, my, how things have changed. We’ve gained a singer. Lost a guitarist or two. Had a couple of drummers, lost a lot of good people along the way, and have also found some really wonderful friends and “family”.  Life has happened.

I can’t let a post like this go without expressing some of my own gratitude.  Every band has a first gig, and I suppose on some level, it can seem pretty insignificant. After all, it’s just the first of many.  In this case, thirty-eight years worth of “many”. Who knew?  I didn’t even pick up on Duran Duran until a few years later, and they’ve been one of the very few constants I’ve had in my life ever since. I know many other fans feel similar. I try not to take the blog or my own fandom TOO seriously these days, but my love for these guys—who don’t even know me, my face, or my name—is real. I’m forever grateful I didn’t change the dial when Rodney Bingenheimer played Planet Earth. To this day they remain a huge part of my life, through the love I have for them, and the friends I’ve made along the way. Yep, being a fan is weird, but I can’t imagine my life without it.

Happy Anniversary.

-R

Still Screaming “Like a Girl”, Thirty-two Years Later

Without knowing it at the time yesterday, my blog was timely!  In 2010, So Red the Rose was remastered and released, and on today’s date in 1985, Some Like it Hot peaked at #14 in the UK.  I wrote about both Arcadia and Power Station, describing how for me – I like both.

Since Arcadia never toured, I didn’t have the opportunity to ever see them live. On the other hand, Power Station was my very first concert. I was fourteen and went with my cousins, who were much older.  We sat in loge seats on what would now be called “John’s side” at Irvine Meadows. (My first and last shows at Irvine Meadows —which has been torn down since Duran appeared just this past August—had John Taylor on stage, which I realize no one else cares about, but I think it’s cute – particularly since I didn’t even think about it at the time!) I sat in my chair (yes, sat. My cousins were too cool to stand I guess?) and wondered what it would be like in the front.

I wondered about the front for a long, long time…apparently!

Anyway, I’d love to tell tales about how fantastic the show was or how I was so bowled over. I don’t remember much. I do remember the band coming on stage and being annoyed that Robert Palmer wasn’t with them.  I also remember screaming at John Taylor until my oldest male cousin told us to stop “screaming like girls”…whatever that meant. We were girls. We screamed. And??

I also remember walking the ridiculously long way back to our car that night and seeing limos pull out away from the venue with girls chasing them.  I don’t even know if that was really the band in there. Back in that day, I think they were still using decoy limos at times. I can remember wondering about that as we walked. Again, that same older male cousin telling me that “…only groupies follow the band, Rhonda.”  I didn’t even know what that meant at the time, only that being called a ‘groupie’ must be a bad thing, and to my cousin, most girls were groupies.

Live and learn, I guess.

Regardless of my poor memory, 1985 does not seem so long ago…until I start really thinking about it, and then I realize I don’t remember a lot from that time. Only then do I recognize it was thirty-two years ago, and that seems painful.

Am I really that old?

Nope!!!  I just came back from seeing Duran Duran last week and screamed “like a girl” for my favorite.  Not only am I young, I’m pretty damn proud to say I’m still screaming, whether for Power Station or Duran Duran.

-R

 

 

So Red The Rose: Arcadia or Power Station?

I don’t think I’ve spent much time writing about Arcadia or Power Station. I suppose to begin with, this site is dedicated to being a Duran Duran fan, so there is that. On the other hand though, Arcadia, Power Station, et al, have all been stops along my way. On this date in 2010, So Red the Rose was remastered and released. So, it seems appropriate to write a little about Arcadia today.

On the purely frivolous side, I loved Simon’s look during this period. Nick’s hair, longer than mine has probably ever been, was beautiful too.  It was as though they took whatever they’d done in Duran Duran and turned it up a notch with just a tinge more darkness. I loved it.  Their style was part of their branding, and I loved the whole package. The videos? I still watch them whenever I get a chance.

For me, Power Station was all about the music. It’s not that I wasn’t a John-fan or an Andy-fan, but I don’t know that I would say style was as much the focus as the music.  Many people describe Arcadia as an art project. Well, Power Station was a rock band. I embraced that.

This is the point where the discussion gets trickier (for me). Arcadia checked all the same boxes for me as Duran Duran. I loved the feel of the music, it was unique and different and nothing like anything else I heard on the radio. It was recognizable and comfortable to me because of Simon’s voice, but I cannot lie – I dearly missed John and Andy.

On the same token, I enjoyed Power Station. In the same way that I dearly loved AC/DC…Led Zeppelin….and just about any hard rock band of that era, hearing Andy and John lay it all out on the line in a way that Duran’s music did not allow was fantastic. But I missed the keyboards.

It was as though Power Station and Arcadia were the results of a very involved surgery to separate conjoined twins. Each could survive without the other, but should they? They weren’t quite the same on their own. Both bands were great, don’t get me wrong. I loved them both for their individuality, but if I could have smooshed them together to create one band, I think it might have been perfect.

Oh wait.

I see the debate anytime the subject of one or another comes up.  It always starts out by asking, “Which was your favorite?” For me, it depended on my mood and it still does. Yes, Roger was my favorite, and so you’d think I would have given the edge to Arcadia. Some days, I did. On other days though, I longed for that seemingly reckless guitar and deep bass groove. I never really had a favorite between the two of them. Sure, I loved the video for Election Day (who doesn’t?!?), but I also really liked Some Like it Hot. That guitar solo? Yes, please!  Invariably the discussion dissolves into who “left” the band and why, as though those facts alone should determine allegiance. It is just music.

In a nutshell, the Arcadia/Power Station debate is a very good metaphor for my own musical tastes, even today. On one hand, there is nothing like a great Duran Duran concert.  On the other, I really just want to stand in front of Dom while he’s playing his own music. I love Duran Duran. I also like Metallica. It’s not necessarily this OR that, but both…and why not?

So let’s watch some videos!

 

 

Enjoy!

-R

 

 

 

Anaheim House Of Blues in 2001 – were you there?

Today marks a kind of special day for me in Duran history. I almost forgot it…but thanks to the spreadsheet that Amanda has painstakingly amassed, I was properly reminded.

On this date in 2001, Duran Duran played at the Anaheim House of Blues. Just a normal date, on a normal day, right? Yes, except that at  this show, my fandom was reawakened.

In 2001, I was a young mom of two very little kids. My son Gavin was barely two, and Heather was four. At the time, Duran Duran was about the furthest thing from my mind. My days were spent doing laundry, trying to make sure my kids didn’t kill one another (you think I’m joking, but I assure you I am not).

At the time, Walt and I had annual passes to Disneyland and California Adventure, and we spent many a weekend taking the kids to the parks. On one of those weekends, we were strolling through Downtown Disney, and Walt happened to notice that the marquee for the House of Blues announced an upcoming show for Duran Duran. He asked if I wanted to go and I laughed. That’s right, I laughed. I hadn’t really listened to Duran Duran in years. I still had all of their albums, and fond memories, but I was in the throes of Mommyhood. I didn’t love Medazzaland, and admittedly, I hadn’t even bought Pop Trash.  Walt looked at me pretty insistently, saying I needed a night out (which meant getting a sitter, and that seemed like so much work!), so I told him to go ahead and get them. I really wasn’t excited, but I figured I might as well go.

Yes, telling this story makes me laugh…and kind of embarrasses me at the same time. It was like I was a completely different person back then!

I really was.

The night of the show arrived, and we got to Downtown Disney early enough to grab dinner. That’s right, I didn’t insist on getting there at 5am to grab a good spot. We walked by the line of people waiting to get in — it wasn’t very long — and Walt asked if I wanted to go wait. I said “No way, I want to eat dinner! I don’t need to be up front!!”

Insanity, I tell you.

We got dinner, went in about twenty minutes before the show started, and I decided I didn’t want to stand on the floor. I ended up being by the stairs in the back. Plenty close enough for me, because I wasn’t a huge fan. I’d given that up years before, right? Before long the show started and Simon, Nick and Warren took the stage.  I remember thinking to myself how, after all these years, I was finally in what I could consider to be the same room with Simon and Nick. Not the same arena, but the same breathing space. I was only a matter of feet from them. Yeah, Warren was there too, but I convinced myself that if I just ignored that part of the stage, it wouldn’t matter. (Sorry Warren fans. I was reliving the Fab Five as a Fab Twosome) John and Roger’s absence were noted, and I wondered wistfully what it would have been like with them there, but I didn’t dwell on those thoughts. I just lived and breathed the music that night.

I don’t remember much after that. I screamed, nearly cried and lost my mind.  Something happened during that show. Something deep, meaningful and visceral.  I remembered who I was before children, before getting married, before becoming whatever I was right then. I was reintroduced to the girl I once knew, and I really liked her.

That show was pivotal for me in so many ways. I can’t really talk about some of the things I’ve felt since then, or how that single show really woke me back up. I’m just thankful and filled with gratitude that I went. My life went from being pretty grey to complete Technicolor after that night. My husband didn’t realize what he’d done by insisting that I go with him to that show until it was far too late. I would imagine if he could, he’d go back and change that plan, in a lot of ways. On the other hand, that show saved me. I can’t even explain how or why—even for me, some things are just too private to blog about—but that show saved me.

I have a long, long way to go. But, I’ve reclaimed much along the way. I suppose in some way, I’m trusting the process (and what a process it is!). I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am lucky. Yeah, I tease and joke about the band, and they drive me crazy at times—but I’m lucky I have this fandom.

I don’t know how many people think they grow out of something like this fandom, only to be reintroduced much later and jump back in with both feet. I did, and I’m not leaving. The Anaheim House of Blues on March 28, 2001 was a special night, I hope to never forget it.

-R

Duran Duran performed for One Night Only back in 2011 – do you remember?

I have this really cute desk calendar that Amanda created for me. She took the same dates in history that we use for the blog, found photos for them, and then put them together. Each day, I enjoy looking at what special event happened in Duran history, and often times it gives me something to write about, too!

Over the weekend, on March 12, my calendar told me that in 2011, Duran Duran performed for One Night Only in the ITV studios in London. (Incidentally, on that same date Duran Duran also performed at the Rum Runner in 1979!)  I was disappointed only because I really enjoyed One Night Only, and wanted to share the video.

So this morning arrives and I realize, “it’s my blog. I can do what I want.” So….I found the video, and here it is!

 

What can I say? It’s three days till #duranlive, and I am prepping myself!

-R