Category Archives: history

Electric Barbarella amongst the #MeToo movement

Day two from Santa Barbara. Last night we took a drive to see a couple of homes we like, and we were able to cross a couple of others off of our list of favorites. I think that if we threw caution to the wind, we’d have our answer….but I’m not quite ready to do that just yet, so today will bring more looking around. If nothing else, it’s lit a fire under me to get our current house on the market!

On to more important things, like Duran Duran. (Right?!?) Does anyone remember What Unfolds? What if I gave you the name, Steve Aoki? Terminal Five? How about champagne and cake?? Well, if you were there, tomorrow is in fact your sixth anniversary of making it out alive. I would have mentioned this tomorrow, but it is also someone’s birthday, and that needs to take precedence. So, happy early anniversary to those of you who survived the insanity at Terminal Five. (Sounds like a great book title, in my opinion!)

Today also has an anniversary of sorts. On this date in 1997, the filming for “Electric Barbarella” wrapped up, and Pop Trash was also released on this date in the UK.

I don’t know if I’m alone here, but I’ve always had misgivings about “Electric Barbarella”, in particular the video…but the song as well. Cheeky as though it may be, when I watch the video, I can’t help but cringe. An electric Barbie, bought off of a floor, to do anything and everything the men want. A problem arises only when the doll starts thinking on her own. Music video or not, it’s cringe-worthy even by 1997 standards, but certainly more so today, in the shadow of the #MeToo movement. It is hard for me to defend the merit of “Electric Barbarella”. I always felt the content was anti-female, and I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth a band who was loved by so many women would put out a song (not to mention a video) like that. Maybe I missed something somewhere.

I don’t know that the intention of music videos created back in 1997 were necessarily a call to arms to fight injustice or to make any kind of a social statement. Maybe some were, but I can’t think of them off-hand. I’m sure someone out there will have great examples.  I can’t help but think about Childish Gambino’s recent video for “This is America”. There’s nothing lighthearted or joyful going on there. It is a powerful, social statement, from song lyrics to one of the first images in the video where a man is savagely shot from behind while sitting in a chair. The scene is disturbing and stays with you, but even more so when you continue watching and notice that the point of the video is not necessarily the violence or injustice itself – it is that while all of that goes on, no one else pays any attention. As alarming and shocking as the video might seem, the portrayal of America is disgustingly accurate. I don’t know about anyone else, but it is a tough video for me to watch. Art can be like that, and yes – I do believe it is art. I had a long discussion with my oldest about the video when she insisted I watch it. Instead of being disturbed by the graphic nature, she was thrilled that in 2018, artists are being encouraged to really be so open and honest.

It is funny, and by funny I mean very strange and slightly discomforting, that back when I was her age, I felt the same way. I have to wonder what the future will bring.

In contrast to “This is America”, “Electric Barbarella” at least seems to be the epitome of the throwaway 1990s culture. Bright colors, animated graphics, shallow, plastic and pretty.  It is hard to see past the facade…and I admit that I just can’t seem to find what the real message is, if in fact there is anything going on there to be seen. My question to you is simple – what do you think the band was really trying to convey? Do you like the video or the message, and does it still have a place in 2018 amidst #MeToo?

-R

Duran Duran Playlist for Newbies!

Today, I’m writing from a Starbucks on State Street in Santa Barbara. I woke up at the unkind hour of 4am, and accompanied my husband Walt up here for the week. He’s working, and I’m…well…I’m not really sure. I’m looking around, trying to decide if I mind how compact and busy Santa Barbara is, or if I prefer to be farther north with more land and fewer people. (I am leaning towards the latter) For this morning though, I’ve made this Starbucks my mobile Daily Duranie office!

Last week, I participated in a fun survey, courtesy of GuyFansofDuran on Twitter (@BoysMakeNoise). The question was simple: If you had to create a comprehensive mix tape/playlist for someone who had never heard of Duran Duran, what songs would you pick?

In order to make it easy and give everyone a good starting point, he did one survey per album. All one needed to do was pick the song they felt best represented the album (or whatever song they wanted). At the very end, he did a survey to choose one B-side, and as a bonus track (there are ALWAYS bonus tracks!), we could write in an additional B-side.

The votes were counted, and after each survey ended, the results would be posted for discussion and fodder. More often than not, I wasn’t surprised by the result, but saddened that my choices never quite made it to the top. I didn’t start questioning my own choices and/or sanity until later in the week, beginning with the winner for The Wedding Album – “Femme Fatale”.

To be honest, I never even considered “Femme Fatale” as a possibility to win, particularly since it shares album space with “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone”. I narrowed my eyes a bit when I read the results, wondering if I’d either lost more of my vision that day, or that I’d woken up in an alternate universe. I even checked to make sure that Ordinary World and Come Undone were in fact included in the choices for the survey. I did not choose any of those songs, but I’ve been in the fan community long enough to know that many others would – and to think that neither of those songs won – well, that blew my mind. But hey, whatever, right? It’s all just for fun.

Similar things happened for Big Thing, and then again for Rio, to the point that @BoysMakeNoise decided to clear the results and try again. Apparently, either as an attempt at a joke…or to pad the ballot box, someone had figured out how to foil the system. My feeling is, if you’re going to make a joke – go full throttle! Don’t stop at “Femme Fatale”, go “Shotgun”!!  Make me crazy and pick “Can You Deal with It” off of Liberty. Then again, maybe you did.

Eventually, a mixtape did result from the redone surveys, and it was a fun experiment to see what the community came up with. The mixtape was put together on YouTube, and I have the link here. If you’re a Spotify fan though, here is YOUR link!  What do you think?  What would you choose??

-R

Leaving the Light On

Am I really back home?  Am I really on summer break?  I feel like someone is going to wake me up at any moment, telling me that I was dreaming.  Maybe I feel this way since I only returned home yesterday morning.  I only now finished unpacking and getting organized.  As much as it feels weird to be home with nothing that I have to do, the lack of due dates is already appreciated by me.  All that said, I feel out of it when it comes to Duranland.  My insane, end-of-the-school-year schedule and trip to Boston meant that I haven’t been able to do much when it comes to paying attention to any and all news, info, and tidbits surrounding the band I love so much.  Despite that, I do want to touch on a few items, including a purchase, memorable moments in Duran history and my summer plans.

Record Store Purchases

Whenever I visit my brother (or my sister), I usually spend a day visiting a record and/or book store.  My family all appreciates reading and listening to great music (even if we don’t all agree on what makes a “great” album or novel).  Therefore, we enjoy going to places where we can spend hours just browsing for hidden treasures.  This time, we stopped a record store in Gloucester, Massachusetts, a city right on the coast.  We didn’t spend as much time as we might have liked as we wanted to visit an art/history museum there, too, before my sister-in-law had to get back to go to work.  Despite our short time, my brother, eldest niece and I went hunting for good music.  I’m happy to report that I found quite a treasure!

I purchased some 12 inch singles (on vinyl, of course!)!  In fact, I bought 4 of them!  I found the following:  Wild Boys, I Don’t Want Your Love, Burning the Ground and Violence of Summer.  Obviously, I couldn’t be more thrilled.  For me, it made the trip worthwhile!  Of course, when I was making my purchase, the store employee had to make a comment about how I had just “gone for it” by buying all this Duran.  I snorted and made some sort of statement along the lines of, “You have no idea.”  Indeed.

Today in Duran History

I cannot allow this day to go by without acknowledging what this date means to Duran Duran and Duran history!  On this date, back in 1981, Duran’s very first album, debuted.  37 years ago, the Duran story began, at least for the general public.  While the band had been working hard, writing and recording, now everyday people all around the world could enjoy the band, too!

Summer Plans:

Last and probably even least, I have to comment about my summer plans.  Over the last couple of weeks, I have answered the question, “What are you doing this summer?” about twenty-five times.  Sometimes, the question came from colleagues.  Other times, friends or family members wondered how I plan to spend my time.  While the question entertains me in general, this year I found myself smirking almost each and every time.  Why is that?  The question changed a little this year…it isn’t just what my plans are for the summer.  This year, the question came out like this, “Why are your plans for the summer?  Following Duran Duran?”  As I resist the full-blown smile, I comment about how it is quiet in Duranland and that the band maybe is busy getting ready for the upcoming 40th anniversary.  I then list reasons why this is probably for the best.  I can spend time on reorganizing my house.  A big election is coming and I need to spend time campaigning.  I desperately need to save money for whatever the band does do next.

I admit that the question makes me smile.  I like that people I know, colleagues, and friends associate me with Duran Duran.  They don’t think it is a big deal that my life often revolves around Duran Duran and their plans.  It feels like acceptance to me, which is great.  Yet, there is a part of me that is a little sad about my answer.  I love that I have time to get things done that I cannot do during the school year.  I do need the time to save money.  But, I wish that there was something Duran on my schedule.  I know that makes me a bit pathetic but it is true.  I will miss seeing the band and I miss hanging out with my friends.  To get through it, I’ll look ahead to whatever might come next, look back on fond memories and enjoy every little nugget that gets released in a way that I cannot during the school year.  I’ll try to celebrate the little moments until I get to the next big one.

-A

Personal Jesus 2011 by M.A.N.

In my quest to find something worthy of blogging about today, I stumbled across something by chance that I’d forgotten about. Did you know that “Personal Jesus 2011” by Depeche Mode was released on YESTERDAYS date (in 2011, of course!) featuring production remix by none other than Nick Rhodes?

Forgive me, but I don’t even remember this happening. I’m sure I must have heard about it at some point, but now I’m driven to find a copy somewhere. I researched it online, just in case I was mistaken.  This is an EU 5-track pressing of the 2011 remix version of Personal Jesus. Nick, along with a certain Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt (they call themselves M.A.N.) produced one of the remixes of the track.

With that info in hand, I moved on to YouTube, and luckily – I was able to find it. (I’m convinced I can find just about anything on YouTube!!)

I’m not going to review it after only one or two listens (been there, done that….learned my lesson EXTREMELY well, thanks.), but I will say that I had absolutely no trouble recognizing the obvious influences, and I liked it. Very much. I loved the way they put their own stamp onto the song without changing the spirit of the music.

Ok, I can’t even follow my own rules. Never mind. Here’s the link. Check it out for yourself. I dare ya not to buy it if you don’t already have it, and shame on me for missing out the first time!

 

One more note: here is a very good reason why we do the day in history. We learn, and maybe…you learn a little sometimes too.

I’m off to work. It’s my very last day. I’m sad to say goodbye to the kids and my coworkers, but I’m also super excited to be done for now.  I’m hoping to focus on getting this house packed up, and spend some time up in the area we’re hoping to move. I’d also like to do some writing and reworking of this website during the fall and winter. Time is short, gotta run!

-R

Common People Festival 2016

Let’s take a little walk back today as we revisit the Common People Festival, which took place on this date in 2016!  I dug through posts to find this gem by Debbie Craggs, who kindly reviewed the festival as our special Duranie-on-the-scene! -R


By Debbie Craggs

For me, the Common People Festival Oxford show is the closest to home that Duran have performed. It’s only an hour by car so how could I not go?  Well, as a single Mum to three teenage girls, two of whom are in major exam mode at the moment the timing wasn’t great. However, I’d suggested to my close friend that having seen them in December at Bournemouth maybe we should consider another outing and the tickets were well within our price range.

My two eldest then decided that they would abandon exam mode that day as it was Comic Con in London.  Could Mum take them and two others to the train station at 8am? OK, if I was going to do Common People as well then it was looking like a VERY long day. Also there was my 15 year old—the youngest—to consider. Anyway I decided that maybe on this occasion I wouldn’t abandon her in pursuit of my own enjoyment, and I’d just wait for the comments on FB and Twitter. There then appeared a competition on DD.com to win a pair of tickets to either Oxford or Southampton, you chose which venue. All that was needed was an email to say yes please and there would be a lucky dip. As I NEVER win anything what was there to lose? Email sent and I got on with being a busy working Mum who is due to start a one-year degree course in September!

Then 2 weeks ago I checked my emails and there sitting in my inbox was a “congratulations you’ve won” message. At this point I was in disbelief, I rang my friend Tania and could barely speak down the ‘phone.  She was due to be working in PICU on that same day and would need to swap her shift.  However, this wasn’t possible and as things turned out she was actually ill on the day and so wouldn’t have been able to come anyway.

I suggested to my youngest that maybe we could go together and enjoy the festival. She was not keen on going to see DD.  However, Jamie Lawson also playing – that was enough to tempt her. So on Saturday morning with blue skies over head (for once the British weather was kind) we set off.

At this point can I say thank you to Common People and DD.com who were very efficient in sorting out emails for the tickets, and also for clear instructions on the Common People website about travel arrangements, etc. We drove as far as the park and ride, easy bus ride to centre of the city and found the shuttle bus back out to the festival. On arrival at the site it was laid out well at the bottom of a slope with the main stage clearly visible. We had a wander around the site, and then made our way to the front of the area by the stage. There were other Duranies already there set up by the barrier but we were happy enough to be just behind them and on John’s side of the stage. Six hours to go until they were on.

The other acts were enjoyed, and for Jamie Lawson I was abandoned by teenager as she went right to the front middle. Each act played for about 45 mins and then there was a DJ for about 30 mins whilst sets were changed. From where we were you could see the confetti cannons primed and ready for later. Soul II Soul are a band that I never really got into in the late 80’s / 90’s but they gave a really good performance, good enough that teenager made a note to check them out once home.

Finally at 20:30 the last act (Katy B) finished so time for stage to be set. It was at this point that we realised we were in for the full light show as the black curtains at the back of the stage that had been there all day were removed to show the video screen, the risers with the drums and keyboards were brought out and the video screens built around them as we watched.

By 21:15 the atmosphere had built. We were now 2nd row JTs side of the stage. The set list was almost identical to that which we had in Bournemouth in December with the exceptions of no Danceophobia, and the addition of the David Bowie tribute. Simon sounded a bit croaky at times but I couldn’t work out if that was just because of the coolness of the night air. The interactions with the crowd were there throughout the show which lasted a full 90 mins. The new backing singer Erin was obviously nervous but it was great to see the support and interactions from the rest of the band. There were some brilliant JoSi moments as well as Dom and John and Dom and Simon.

I had seen the effect of the paper confetti from the cannons at the show in Bournemouth but then we were front row of balcony so saw the overall effect, this time we were right in the middle of it and the effect of being outside and “down wind” so to speak meant it swirled and seemed to last for longer. During Rio (last song of the night) large beach balls were thrown into the crowd who then seemed to think that there should be a competition to get them back on stage and get the band involved, to the point where Simon commented that the idea was NOT to aim at the band and to pass them around!

And so a fantastic evening drew to a close, the weather had added to the enjoyment and having waited 35 years to see them live I have now managed two shows in six months and am keen to continue the experience! It was brilliant to see teenage daughter singing along to classics and the new songs and even she was buzzing and couldn’t stop talking all the way back home about the show.

 

Debbie CraggsDebbie Craggs is a single mum to three teenage girls in Northamptonshire UK where she works as a school nurse. She has been a Duranie since the 80s and in her spare time she plays clarinet at her local chapel.

Rolling Stones Continuous History of Rock & Roll

On this date in 1983, Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film” was featured on a radio album called “Rolling Stones Continuous History of Rock & Roll”. It was show #85, and it was released by ABC Rock Radio Network on this date.  It was meant to be aired on the various stations within the ABC network, and if you look hard enough for it online – you’ll find copies floating around.

The show itself was entitled “The British Rockers”, which seems appropriate, and was an hour-long program. It featured songs from the 1960’s up to 1982.  The album was used for license broadcast in the USA on this date, and was even issued with cue cards for presenters. So, if you listened to the broadcast in Los Angeles, for example, your local radio host would be presenting the broadcast in the same format with the same script as the host in New York.

“Girls on Film” was included on this album, and as fans will remember, it did not chart during its initial release. Rolling Stones Continuous History of Rock & Roll: 85, having been released in 1983, took place just as the song, and the band itself, became wildly popular here in the states.

Track Listing:

 

  • Girls on Film” – Duran Duran
  • “I Saw Her Standing There” – The Beatles
  • “Come Dancin” – The Kinks
  • “Get Off My Cloud” – The Rolling Stones
  • “The Shape You’re In” – Eric Clapton
  • “Eminence Front” – The Who
  • “All Right Now” – Free
  • “Spirits In The Material World” – The Police
  • “Red Skies At Night” – The Fixx

 

Z100 press conference to announce Power Station dates

For today’s post I want you to sit and think back to May of 1985.

What comes to mind?

If you’re like me, you’re going through the possibilities in your head. Was Duran Duran especially active then? No…they’d already finished the Sing Blue Silver tour, and it was before they played at Live Aid. It was quiet as far that goes. Power Station though, wasn’t this right during that time??

Yes, yes it was. For me personally, Power Station was kind of like the band that kept me going. After all, John and Andy were both in it, and I will admit that I appreciated the heavier sound. It wasn’t until later this same year that Arcadia answered the Power Station record with one of their own, So Red the Rose. I don’t think I even knew Arcadia was about to be “a thing” in May of 1985. So, Power Station was “it”.

On this date in 1985, Power Station held a press conference on Z100 radio in New York to announce dates for their upcoming tour.

I don’t remember if this was simulcast to any stations across the country, but I do remember hearing the upcoming dates on at least one of my local radio stations. I begged and pleaded with the parental units. In 1985, I was 14. Surely I was old enough to finally go to a concert?!?

My parents weren’t quite so sure. Yes, they were pretty protective and strict. People think I’m joking, but I gleefully tell a story about my mom and how for the first ten or so years of my life, I wasn’t allowed to cross the street…in our neighborhood…without her standing outside to watch me, if not holding my hand tightly while I crossed. I’m really not exaggerating. Hearing the tales of friends taking the tube to hang outside of the studio where the band was recording or standing outside one of their homes seems very wild to me. I wasn’t even allowed to walk down my street without having a conversation with my mom first! (and no, I didn’t walk myself to school either. Are you kidding? gasp I had to cross several completely quiet, very safe, streets to get there!)

So, the jury was out as to whether I’d be allowed to go, and it definitely didn’t cross my parents minds that if they were so concerned, they could just go with me. Yet, fate had plans for me. I am the second youngest grandchild on both sides of the family. The title of youngest goes to my sister, Robin. Most of our cousins are ten years older than we are, and I even have one cousin that is only four years younger than my mom. In any case, I do have one cousin that is only a couple of years older than I am, and her older brother agreed to take us to see Power Station. So later that summer, I finally saw not only my first concert, but two Taylors on stage…and THAT is my memory of the Power Station tour!

Anyone remember listening to that Z100 press conference?

-R

Looking Back to 1983

The other day DDHQ tweeted this:

I saw it when it was tweeted but had no idea what it was about.  Sadly, I didn’t have much of a chance to look closer at it.  I had a sense that the quote about the band lacking a private life was something said in the 80s but I didn’t even notice that People was listed in the tweet.  Now, because it is the weekend, I have had a chance to actual click on the link.  If you haven’t done it, I recommend it.  You can go here:  “Duran Duran Was ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ for Stardom-And Then Came Along MTV.”  

The link is to an article that appeared in People magazine on December 5, 1983.  Well, I read it.  On one hand, it was exactly what I was expecting and on the other, it wasn’t.  Frankly, I know that Duran faced a boatload of criticism during the 80s and assumed that this article would be filled with insulting language.  While it wasn’t perfect, it could have been worse.  Interestingly enough, the most negative statements came from quotes from critics not involved in this particular article.  A perfect example of this was this paragraph:  “How important was MTV in the rise of Duran Duran? All-important, some critics contend. As David Handler put it: “After all, the clips are a heckuva lot more striking than the music, which is little more than pasteurized, synthesized pop-rock with video launching pads for lyrics.”  What always fascinated me then and still does now, why is having MTV important to Duran’s success a bad thing?  I know that the critics would say something along the lines of how their music should speak for itself but isn’t MTV just a means of getting their music out there?  Is it really that different than appearances on shows like Top of the Pops or American Bandstand?  After all, fans can see what they look like on those shows.

I appreciated the fact that the article featured what I saw as generally accurate history of the band’s formation.  Beyond that, People magazine reported on the recording of Seven and the Ragged Tiger and how their fame had really become overwhelming.  The best line, though, of the whole article, in my opinion, was not the one that DDHQ quoted but the last line.  “We don’t want to be has-beens by the time we’re 25,” said Roger. “It would be the worst thing in the world to go around saying to people, ‘Do you know who I used to be?’ ”  Oh, Roger, if only I could have told him in 1983 that they definitely wouldn’t be has-beens by the time that they were 25 or 35 or 45 or even 55.  People still know who they are.

-A

Memories of The Belasco Theatre 2016, or “GA lines aren’t that bad”

A couple of years ago on this very day, my husband kindly drove my friends and I up to LA for a show at the Belasco Theatre. It was a very warm day for it only being May, but we found a shady spot to spread out, and wait the day away in the GA line.

By contrast, today it is raining, and cool – at least by “Los Angeles-in-May” standards. Oh, and Duran Duran is NOT playing today. Yes, there is that, too.

I remember the day outside The Belasco well. Despite my plans to sit down and relax, I found myself up and walking around, talking to everyone I knew. The hours seemed to fly by as I chatted away with fellow fans from all over. I am one of the first people to say that I don’t like GA shows (I really don’t), but I have to say that standing (sitting) in line with everyone all day is not all that terrible. In a lot of very bizarre ways, it’s like a giant pre-show party.  You see people you haven’t seen in a long time, you gab about the band (of course), music, other shows you’ve attended, and maybe someone goes on a food run.

While sure, the waiting can be monotonous, and sure, I suppose it can be a bit cutthroat when you have people around you who are more concerned with being at the rail and loudly asserting that no one dare get in front of them than they are with making (and keeping) friends. I find that many times, those people are the minority, and in the end, don’t need to make a difference in my evening unless I allow it. For the majority of people who are there to have a good time, even if they end up in second, third row or beyond, I can think of far worse ways to spend a day.

The weird thing is that I did know a lot of people in that line at the Belasco!  It was a stark contrast to even a few years prior, when I went to a show at the Mayan Theatre. That show was also GA and required many hours of waiting in a line, yet I really didn’t know that many people then. I kept mostly to myself, talking with my husband and a couple who stood behind us, although I did say hi to the few people I recognized.

Everyone I know who isn’t a huge fan of a specific band the way I am always asks me how I can keep going to shows. They don’t mean financially – although my husband has certainly asked me that very question over the years! Ha ha! They just can’t understand why someone would want to see the same band fifty or sixty times, or more than once during a tour. The thought of going to fifteen shows during a single tour blows their minds. Yet, as we all know, my experience is tame compared to some who have gone to twice or even three times as many shows.

My answer is always the same: it isn’t purely about the band. In some ways, my life might be a lot easier if it were ONLY about Duran Duran! For me, seeing my friends is everything. I don’t live near them. Sometimes, weeks go by without even a single text…and those are just my close friends. There are many people that I just don’t keep in that close of touch with, yet I do consider friends. I see them when I go to shows. I look forward to seeing and hugging those people as much as I do seeing the band. After all, Duran Duran is only on stage for about 90 minutes these days (give or take). What in the hell do I do with the rest of the time while I’m away from home?  I talk to my friends. We get together. We go to lunch or dinner.  We do video blogs. (this is true…and we’ll do them just about anywhere, right Amanda?)  We have vodka tonics or sodas in to-go cups with lids that don’t fit! We try to squeeze in as much time together as we possibly can during the time we’re gathered.

 

 

I don’t know how I missed out on all of that for so long. The Belasco show was in 2016. The Mayan show was in 2011. Before the reunion, I’d only gone to a few Duran Duran shows, and I definitely didn’t know anyone from the fan community. In a lot of ways, I think I’m making up for lost time, now. When I think to my friends in the UK or even a few on the east coast – I can’t help but be a little envious. They grew up together. They spent their teenage years going to shows, waiting in the GA line (and yes, even waiting for band members outside of studios). I spent mine doing anything but all of that. I didn’t meet my touring buddies and best friend until after I’d already grown up, gotten married and had children. So now, I don’t miss an opportunity to go and be with them. It is a truth that is sometimes difficult for my family, but it is something that I don’t want to give up.

Yesterday, I had a student and parent at my desk at school. I was looking something up for them on my computer and they noticed my mousepad. It is one of my prized possessions these days – Amanda had it made for me. It is filled with pictures she and I had taken at various Duran Duran shows. I always smile when I look at it, even during the toughest days at work, and lately – there have been quite a few. Anyway, they wanted to know who those people were (the student, who is in middle school and is now one of my very favorites thought that one of the men must be my husband. HA). I explained that they were Duran Duran which of course led to a full discussion of how many shows I’d been to, who was my favorite band member, and of course – this blog – which I honestly try NOT to publicize at work. The question asked by the parent was simple “how long do you think you can really keep going to these shows and not feel silly?”

My answer? “How long can Simon and the band keep going?  They’re older than I am…and I’m not going to give up before they do.”

Note to the band: YOU’RE NOT DONE YET!

-R

 

To be a Fly on the Wall

Imagine yourself, invisible to those around you, sitting in a studio. Or a hotel room. Or someone’s home. You can see and hear everything around you, but they can’t see you.

Now, imagine that scenario on this date in 1986,  as John Taylor and got together in London to discuss “the next Duran Duran album”.  Keep in mind, this is after Roger and Andy had left the band. Simon, Nick, and John were left to figure out the next step for what was arguably (at the time) the biggest band in the world. Where to go from there?

I don’t think I would have envied their positioning. After all, the higher you climb, the farther the potential fall. At this point in 1986, I was 15 years old. The idea of Duran Duran ceasing to exist, or the idea of “new” people ever being in that band were unfathomable to me as a fan. I am quite certain I wasn’t alone. What to do when two of the original members (as the fans knew) left?  Bring in new people? Continue as a threesome? How would Duran Duran look and sound?  Would the fans still respond?

Important questions, to be sure, and I’m not as certain that the answers were all that clear. Can you imagine what it must have felt like to consider moving forward? Sure, there was probably quite a bit of ego and bravado at the time, given their previous success. I’m also certain that at least in part, they wanted to prove to Andy and Roger that they really could go on without them – and that is likely what motivated and drove them to keep going. Even so, I have to wonder what that first meeting to discuss the next album was like.

We could likely debate all day about the outcome. Notorious, the band’s fourth FULL album (Arena was released in 1984 but was not a full-length studio album), and was their answer to how they would move forward. I can remember hearing the album for first time, just after I turned 16, and saying that they didn’t sound the same. It was just different without Andy and Roger, and to be honest – at the time I wasn’t sure I liked it. Their sound had matured more than my musical tastes at the time, I think. Like many of their albums since, it took me a long time to come to terms and have an appreciation. That’s not a critique of the album, but rather my more-ridiculous musical interests of the time.

Even so, I have often wondered what it would have been like during that initial planning, and certainly not just for Notorious!

-R