Category Archives: history

Duran Duran Fandom Museum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-A

Happy Anniversary to SATRT and Notorious!

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

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

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

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

Happy Duraniversary to Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Notorious!

-R

Happy 14th Anniversary, Dom!

Happy Monday everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’re family now, like it or not!

-R

Notorious Memories

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

Buying the Album:

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

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

Buying the Single:

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

How I Feel About the Album Now:

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

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

-A

Twenty-Nine Years later – Decade!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

Happy Duraniversary, Red Carpet Massacre!

As difficult as it may be to believe, today marks the 11th anniversary of the release of Red Carpet Massacre.

I can’t really think of another Duran Duran album that was met with the same amount of scrutiny or strife. I think though that as years have gone by, feelings have mellowed a bit, and people have given the album more of a chance.

In keeping with that sentiment, I thought about my favorite songs off of the album.  The first, is the title song off the album, “Red Carpet Massacre”.  I love the energy behind the song, and I really appreciate that the track was written in a completely different vein than the rest. The beat makes me dance, and the words lend themselves well to describing the cutthroat nature of our community-at-large.

I wasn’t at this show (Amanda might have been?), but I did eventually get to see Duran Duran perform Red Carpet Massacre live, and I loved it! It’s funny, I’d forgotten about the costuming for this tour….it was great!

My second favorite from the album has got to be “Tricked Out”.  From the slightly Danny Elfman-feel of the music right on to the guitar solo, I was sold. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen this performed live, (I didn’t go to any of the Broadway shows because I was fairly sick, along with incubating my youngest.) but I’ve seen a few clips of it.

Probably best I never saw it because I am fairly certain I would have come out of the venue on a stretcher. Oxygen!  I NEED OXYGEN!!!

Anyway….

I definitely would not be opposed to hearing either or both live again at some point…I mean, if they want to properly commemorate that particular period of their career and all, am I right?

Happy Anniversary to Red Carpet Massacre!

-R

 

On this day in Duran Duran History – Girl Panic released in 2011

Today is a rough one, I’m not going to pretend otherwise. Last night as I was drifting off to sleep with the TV on (a very bad but frequent habit of mine), our local news station began reporting on a shooting in Thousand Oaks, California. The venue was the Borderline bar and grill, and it was college night, which attracts a number of young people from the surrounding communities.

I have no personal connection to the shooting, other than having college-aged kids, living in Southern California, and being human. Even so, I watched the news with that now-familiar sense of dread. All I know for sure, is that I spent many nights during college in the local bars (sorry mom!!), and I never once worried about being shot or not coming home.

This incident is no different from any of the other shootings that have taken place here in the United States. I don’t pretend that this time is any different. It’s just a little closer to home, I suppose. It makes me think about things that no parent, no spouse, should ever really need to consider.

I don’t want to use this blog as a political soapbox. This site is my safe place. It’s the spot, so to speak, where I can escape the stresses of reality for a few minutes each day. I’m not ignoring the world, just taking a breather. So that’s what I’m going to do.

On this day in 2011, Duran Duran released the video for Girl Panic. I can’t really think of a better escape than watching a video that embraced the storied Duran Duran “excesses” of their career – tongue in cheek or otherwise.

Thank goodness for Duran Duran. They still manage to make me smile, even on days like this.

-R

Memories from Voodoo still linger, twelve years later!

I am late again, and I’m sorry for that. I’ll probably just barely squeak in this blog before the clock strikes Tuesday in the UK…but I’m trying.

I woke up this morning tired (that has nothing to do with the blog being late).. and sort of wistful. The kind that only comes from remembering a momentous date in Duran-history. I didn’t know what it was, but I had a feeling.

On this date in 2006, Duran Duran played the Voodoo Fest in New Orleans. I kind of think my legs are either still tired from the standing I did that day (weekend), or they’re just in pain from the memory of it all.

As you may have gathered, I was there. I still shudder at (some) of the memories, including the one where I realized I hadn’t eaten for about 20 hours. I know that some people do that all the time. ME? I don’t miss meals even when I’m sick!

I still chuckle. We thought we were so smart, buying what we believed to be ridiculously cheap passes. VIP for a festival? “Hell no!” We were going to buy the regular passes, get there when the gates opened and stake out our spots! We arrived and planted ourselves in a beautiful spot in the second row, just a flick to the right of center. We spread a blanket, sat down, and enjoyed the day.

Look Around, Forget the Crowd

‘Round about 3pm, I noticed that the area was getting pretty full. Rather than space all around us, there were people. I could feel the crowd pushing and closing in behind.

My Chemical Romance.

Naiveté doesn’t even really explain my ignorance at what was about to take place. The closer it got to the time My Chemical Romance was about to take the stage, the more the ground vibrated from crowd energy. People crowd surfed. I was kicked in the face a couple of times. My cheek and arm were scratched by a surfer as she glided past, reaching her arms and hands out to leave her mark along the way.

That reminds me, if you’ve ever watched a concert film and seen someone surf the crowd – it almost looks effortless, doesn’t it? They just happily ride the wave of people. Yeah, it’s not quite like that in real life. People are freaking HEAVY. They come your way whether you want them or not. If you choose to not hold your hands up and take your turn lifting them, they’re going to crash into the back of your head and neck, quite possibly injuring you and others around you, in the process. It is a pain in the ass, and not at all enjoyable, particularly when you’re being clawed for your trouble.

I Know What It Is Coming Over Ya

As the band went on stage, I noticed the sea of people behind and beside me, pushing and shoving. They were creating a current ready and willing to topple me over if I didn’t stand my ground.  If I thought the sheer momentum coming from people crowd surfing was akin to being sent through the “washing machine” of an ocean wave, I was about to feel what it was like to be hit by a tsunami.

No Duran Duran concert prepares someone for that crap, I’ll tell you that much.

The crowd began shoving us, from one side, then another.  It was nearly impossible to hold our ground. This was the type of crowd where, if you fell, you were likely never to get back up again. I could feel the sweat pouring down my back. It was easily ninety degrees that afternoon, and we were working hard to not completely fall over. I am claustrophobic under even simple circumstances, like crowds waiting to get on the tube, or even standing in line at amusement parks for food. That afternoon, I was terrified.

I can distinctly remember the smug, slightly amused grin of the lead singer, Gerard Way, as he peered down from the stage at us. I can imagine how we all looked – a bunch of  (at that time) thirty-something females, crammed at the front of the crowd with the wide-eyed look of horror on our faces. I couldn’t wait for them to get off the stage, as if only then the crowd might let up.

It didn’t.

Nothing Can Stop Us

I’ll save you from the details – suffice to say that I was even less impressed with the Flaming Lips. They had employed a giant, larger-than-human-sized hamster ball that their lead singer, Wayne Coyne trapped himself in. Stagehands pushed the ball off of the stage and into the audience. I was mortified to see it roll over the crowd, openly praying that it wouldn’t come our way.

By the time Duran was due to climb onstage, not even a rousing rendition of “Late Bar” could have saved Voodoo for me. I was halfway between being thankful I was still alive, and wishing I had succumbed to the tidal wave of legs, arms, and bodies behind me.

There are other parts of that weekend at Voodoo that I hope to never forget, and still others that make me smile. Funny enough, I had the best time during my journey to get there, not the destination itself! Cliché or otherwise, it still holds true twelve years later!

-R

 

Classic Pop Special Edition: The Mark of Greatness and Swimming Against…

Today marks the second to last blog about the Classic Pop magazine special edition for Duran Duran’s 40th Anniversary.  In this blog, I’ll cover two articles:  The Mark of Greatness and Swimming Against the Tide.  The first one focuses on the 2010s including the band’s work with Mark Ronson while the second one is all about Stephen Duffy, the guy who could have been lead singer.

The Mark of Greatness:

Right away, this article made me think.  The author describes how All You Need Is Now made a lot of fans happy in 2011 bu that Paper Gods helped to “turn the heads of those youngsters.”  Interesting.  How do they know that?  What evidence will be shared, I wondered.  Of course, I love Paper Gods but…I am not sure that I see a lot of kids or younger adults into it.

The article describes the making of AYNIN with the band meeting with Mark ahead of time to discuss the vision for the project.  This got me wondering.  Is that not the case of the rest of the albums?  I have always heard/read about how the band goes into the studio and jams until something rises to the surface.  That system seems the opposite of having a vision.  Which is better?  I, for one, loved how AYNIN turned out so maybe planning is?

According to the article, that vision went so far with All You Need Is Now that Ronson had created rules that were stuck to the walls of the studio in order for the band to follow them.  I had never heard that before but I have to admit that the image makes me smile.  No matter how experienced, people need reminders.  Mark claimed that he was a “mouthpiece for 10 million Duran Duran fans.”  He definitely was for me, which I will always be grateful!

Of course, the rest of the album discussion surrounding AYNIN included a song by song description with all of the various contributions from Kelis to Nina Hossain and more.  I will tell you this much.  Reading about All You Need Is Now definitely made me want to put that album on and listen to it.  I remembered how amazing an album it really is (at least in my opinion!).

The article does touch on promotional activities including the band’s appearance for One Night Only in the UK to Unstaged, a concert film produced by David Lynch.  It does mention about how the tour stopped in the summer of 2011 due to Simon’s vocal loss but then matter-of-factly states that the tour resumed in November (I think actually was October) like it was no big deal.  Maybe, in hindsight, it seems like no big deal but it was huge to those of us who lived through that time.  I know that I was not the only one worried that Simon had lost his voice for good and that Duran would be done.

From there, the article goes into the making of Paper Gods.  That said, the vast majority of this piece surrounded AYNIN.  Is Paper Gods too soon?  Historians might say so but music journalists?  Not sure on that one.  Likewise, I’m not sure that the article proved that millennials really bought into Paper Gods.  Some did, for sure.  Many?  I don’t know.

Swimming Against the Tide…:

This article did what I expected it to do.  It gave a little background about Stephen Duffy then dived into information about the Devils before describing some of his various projects over the years.  I, for one, haven’t listened to a lot of his work.  How about the rest of you? Have you listened to his stuff?  What do you think of it?

In the article, he makes reference to the 40th anniversary.  I wonder if he and other former members would be included.  Now, Stephen Duffy is not very controversial but what about the ones that are?  Then, I wonder about how they would be included or should be.  It will be interesting to watch.

-A

Was It Worth It?

Last weekend, I blogged about the article in Classic Pop magazine about Duran Duran’s videos.  In this piece, the author mentioned about how the band or some band members were less than excited about the Girls on Film video.  First of all, I’m not sure I ever really read that before or if I did, it didn’t stick to me.  Then, this led me to ask the question.  Do they regret this decision?  Are there other decisions that they wish weren’t made?  Even if they regret decisions, do they think that they were still worth it?

Again, I turn to Girls on Film.  From everything I know about the video, they did it for two reasons.  One, they had learned that there were clubs in the U.S. that showed videos.  A long form video like GOF would get them a spot in those clubs with frequent airplay.  Two, they wanted something controversial in order to get people talking.  The more people talk, the more interested people get and the more likely to sell records.  In fact, on the easter egg on the Greatest DVD, one version of GOF shows the band holding a sign that read, “Some people would do anything to sell their records,” (or something like that).  That statement tells me that they weren’t so excited to do a video like this but they were willing to do it for the end goal of selling records, getting famous, etc.

Is it okay to do some less than awesome things in order to achieve one’s end goal?  Do you think it never is okay?  Sometimes is?  Never is?  In the scheme of things, this probably isn’t so bad.  It isn’t like they killed anyone or something that hurt people directly.  Still, I have to wonder if they think it was worth it now.  Then, of course, I’m sure that there are lots of other decisions that they might not have been excited about but sucked it up for the purpose of the end goal.

One aspect of their career that I would put in this category is the work ethic they demonstrated.  When I read about early Duran, I’m always so amazed how much they worked.  They put out three albums in less than 4 years with touring and promo appearances throughout.  While I’m sure that they had a ton of fun within this work, it still meant that they gave up almost every other aspect of their lives.  Yes, some managed to get and keep relationships, but it seems to me that most didn’t.  I am willing to bet that they missed a lot of family functions, for example.  Did they miss out on reading a lot of books then?  Watching movies?  Taking up hobbies?  Lost friendships due to lack of time?

I know it is probably weird to think about all that.  Yet, I find myself asking the same types of questions of myself.  I have a time consuming job but I am also busy doing political work.  Like Duran in the early 1980s, I have my eyes on a prize.  My schedule between now and Election Day is insane, to say the least.  Is it worth it, though?  I hope it will be.  Will I think so if things go my way?  Probably.  What if they don’t?  Will I second guess myself and this decision?  Possibly.   Would Duran have regretted Girl on Film and their insane schedule if they were not successful?  No clue.  If only I had hours and hours to converse with them.  Nonetheless, I appreciate the food for thought.

-A