Category Archives: history

Happy Birthday Ask Katy, Mark Ronson & Google!

Happy Monday!  So many birthdays in Duranland, beginning with Katy Krassner!  That’s right, Duran Duran’s own Ask Katy is celebrating her special day today, and considering all of the hard work she does for the band as well as keeping the fans feeling connected and up to date – we hope she has a wonderful and restful day! We appreciate everything she does for the band, and it helps to make this world a little friendlier and nicer.

Sharing this date with Katy is also Mark Ronson! (I did not know that!) Mark has done fantastic work with Duran Duran over the years, and I personally thank him for keeping the band true to themselves, but also giving them space to continue exploring new sounds.  It is a delicate balance, and I can certainly appreciate the time and tenacity involved all around. Happy birthday Mark!

Lastly, a little less “connected” to Duran Duran, but vital in every single way – Google turns 19 today. Do you remember life before Google??

It’s funny because just yesterday my husband Walt and I were talking about the web, circa 1995-ish. I can remember working for a company who had just started developing a web page, and the owner tried to explain to me what the web was all about and how it would work. Fast forward about two years, and we had America Online (AOL) at home as our ISP (Internet Service Provider). I can remember the cumbersome method of using the modem to dial in and then hoping I’d get a good connection and keep it!  I think the dial-up modem noise, along with the AOL “Welcome!” greeting, are almost Pavlov’s Bells to anyone from my generation, as a result. Anything I needed was found within the AOL platform though, and as Walt continued rebuilding and upgrading our computer (it seemed like he was constantly doing that!), everything grew faster and faster. Then, around 1998, things started moving from AOL platform to the internet itself. I couldn’t just get on AOL and find the message boards I wanted anymore. At that point, I was dialing into AOL, and then from there I clicked on internet explorer to be able to search for websites. And at that point – there was Google, ready to be used.  And not much later, no one needed AOL as the go-between, we could simply have our own internet connection directly from our computers – and no more dial up modem noise.

Google was just one search engine of many at that point. Yahoo, Alta Vista, WebCrawler, infoseek and Lycos are a few that I remember, along with of course, Google.  Over the years since, many of those first search engines are either gone or they’ve completely changed their business model. Google, on the other hand, expanded. They’ve bought (and sold) companies, and they continue to grow their business model to suit the ever-changing world.  Google is a permanent part of our vocabulary (“google it!”) in the same way that if you’re from the US, a bandage is a “Band-Aid”. It would seem they are here to stay, and it will not be long before most people don’t even realize there WAS an internet before Google, and that once upon a time, all Google did was search for terms!

Google is important to Duran Duran’s history because I’m betting that many of us used it right about the time the reunion of the original five members was announced. We searched the web, looking for information, looking for groups, message boards, websites, and anything we could find – at least I know I sure did! To this very moment, I don’t think a single day goes by when I don’t use Google to find one thing or another, and yeah—a lot of the time it has something to do with Duran Duran. The internet (and Google) has changed our world, both as Duranies and as people.

Makes me wonder what the next nineteen years will bring.

Happy Birthday, Katy Krassner, Mark Ronson and yes, Google!

-R

 

Power Station Closes Its Doors

A piece of history closed with a celebratory “good-bye” party on Monday, as the famed “Power Station”, more formally known as Avatar Studios, closed in advance of changing hands on September 1st to the Berklee College of Music. There has been no comment from Berklee as to what they plan to do with the studio space.

Fans know and recognize this studio as the namesake for The Power Station, the side project featuring John Taylor, Andy Taylor, Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson of Chic. The studio is also known for recording such musically important albums such as Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA and Peter Gabriel’s So.

I hadn’t thought about this in years, but I vaguely remember Amanda  having the address to The Power Station when we were in New York for the special fan show in 2007. I want to say that Amanda, our friend Sara, and myself wandered the streets for what seemed like hours in search of the studio – we didn’t want to bother anyone, we just wanted a photo. It’s weird how I forgot all about this until today, but I distinctly remember us stopping in front of one building or another, trying to see if that was in fact the right place! I seem to remember we did find it, but there were no signs out front or anything. (what, no neon signs saying “Power Station Recorded here!!!”?!? The horror!!)

It is in these moments, as I am writing the blog and have a question, when I know that Amanda is in the middle of teaching class in Wisconsin and there’s no way for me to talk with her, that I miss her most. I don’t think I have the pictures we took (we did take pictures, right?) that day, and yet she’s not at home so I can call her right now and ask.  It’s not even the moments when I really miss the simplicity of just being a fan on a road trip that I miss her most, or when I think back on the debauchery over the years. Nope, it’s when I have a real question.

Someday, I’m moving closer to her. It won’t fix the work problem, but just imagine her shock when I show up on her doorstep at night to ask if she’s got a picture I need!!!

Talk about rambling…I digress.

It is sad to hear about these historical places closing, but as in most things, the gift is the art created from within.

Even so, if those walls could speak….

-R

 

Time for Temptation

It is back to work for Amanda and I (and anyone else who works in education) for the school year, which is painful enough, but this year we’ve the added bonus of the band starting back on the road again for a few more dates.  I laugh a little ruefully because while I really do love my job, I love the band too – and Croatia looks lovely this time of year! Alas….

So this is the annual announcement that from now until June, half of my blogs will be written ahead of time, meaning that every now and then, I may miss a worthy news item due to timing. Please be patient. Also, if there is no news, there may be days where there is no blog. We do our best to make this a rarity, but it does happen.

Coming up in September, our little blog turns SEVEN.  Can you believe we’ve been doing this for seven years now? We are going to celebrate this moment by looking back at our blog a bit, but in the meantime, I’m just going to sit back and marvel a teensy bit. I can’t speak for Amanda, but aside from motherhood and marriage – I don’t think I’ve ever held one job for that long!  The good news is that we plan to keep going. Our mantra is that we’re not done yet, so the band had better keep going too!

I’ll leave you with one final thought.  On this date in 2003, Duran Duran received the MTV Lifetime Achievement Award. Instead of showing the clip of them getting the award (which I post every year), I found a clip of the backstage interview after it was presented by Justin Timberlake.

Can you believe this was fourteen years ago?? Time goes by so fast now. I hate to blink in case I miss something!

Makes me wonder what the next fourteen will bring.

-R

Hollywood Walk of Fame – Were you there?

On this date in 1993, Duran Duran earned their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This was during the height of their popularity resurgence after the Wedding Album. Simon will often speak about how much Ordinary World means to the band as he’s introducing the song in concert. I am paraphrasing, but he has explained the song as being what “saved the band” during the 90s, saying that had it not been for that song, he is unsure of where the band might be today. Often, I will think about that when this anniversary comes up on my date calendar each year.

I found a couple of clips from their ceremony on YouTube…

I wasn’t there, although as it turns out I was working in downtown Los Angeles at the time (I was such a bad fan – I don’t even think I knew this happened until I saw it on the news!).  Were you there?  Judging from the crowd, it would appear many of our readers probably were on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that day!

-R

 

 

San Diego State University 1993

Well friends, I’m sad (in some ways) to say it, but it is the end of summer for me. As you are reading this, I am sitting in my first of two staff meetings in San Diego this week. I was up and out the door before dawn this morning, which is certainly not my favorite way to begin the day.

As a result, this blog was written earlier than normal, and since it is August with little real band news to speak of, I’m taking a quick look back in history. On this date in 1993, Duran Duran played at San Diego State University in California as part of their No Ordinary Tour.

I don’t mind mentioning that this date was four days before they played in Irvine at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater.  I went to see Duran Duran in Irvine with my childhood and college friend Stacy-Ann, and my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) went with a friend of his – each of us had bought seats before we started dating. It was the one (and ONLY) time that he had better seats than I had to a Duran show. Good times, and he never lets me forget it! I was back on the lawn while he proudly sat a couple of sections closer to the stage!!

Another tidbit since I’m thinking about it – last summer Duran Duran  played at Irvine Meadows just before it was demolished in October.  Those of us who live in the Irvine area (I live about 7 miles from where it once stood) fought very hard to get the Irvine city council to consider putting in another amphitheater at the Great Park of Irvine. It’s the perfect place for such a venue, and quite frankly – we need something for adults in this area!  The council agreed, and we can see heavy-duty construction taking place, which is wonderful. Never know, maybe someday I’ll be seeing a Duran Duran show there!

Have a great week, everyone!

-R

 

Do you remember the Hyde Park Show?

Where were you on July 13, 2012?  I can tell you where a lot of my UK friends were!  They were in Hyde Park, London, watching Duran Duran perform for a special Olympics Opening Ceremony Concert (I really don’t know if that’s the official name but it’s what I’m going with today).

I am sure many have seen the photos of Simon in his Union Jack coat, and pictures looking out from the barricade over a sea of fans (many recognizable faces to be found at the rail).  I don’t know about anyone else, but this doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago, but it was five short years ago today.

I couldn’t find the full concert, but I did find a couple of videos compiled into a playlist from that day. Take a look!

 

Not sure if anyone noticed, but I’ve been on vacation for the past two weeks! I was camping up in the Mount Shasta area of California, then up through Oregon to the Columbia River Gorge area with my family.  With any luck, I’ll be back online on Monday, ready to be in civilization once again!

-R

 

Do you remember the Dayton show in 2005?

I know Amanda must. I seem to recall her mentioning this show….

2005…the Astronaut tour. TONS of US dates. So I have to ask, who went to Dayton??

I did not. I was at home, in California. I had already met Amanda the September prior. We had met up again in March in the lovely city of Chicago for the show at the Chicago All-State Arena. I didn’t have the opportunity to do other shows later that summer, though.

It’s kind of funny when I look back on it all now though. I have met enough people over the years that when these dates come up, particularly the ones in the US, but even some from the UK and other places as well, I immediately associate someone with the show. I don’t have actual memories from that show, but often, I remember who was there. In the case of Amanda, we’ve talked and written back and forth about our memories so often – that sometimes I remember specific stories too.

Makes me kind of wonder what I’ll remember from the Paper Gods tour in ten years.

Then again, maybe it’s best not to think about that right now.

-R

 

On this date in DD History – The Joint in Vegas!

Do you remember 2003?  I sure do. It was the summer of Duran Duran shows, and not just “ordinary” Duran Duran shows…but reunion shows. John, Simon, Roger, Nick and Andy. On stage. Together. For the first time in 20-some years.

Complete insanity.

My summer began that year with a show in Costa Mesa at the Pacific Amphitheater. I can still remember completely losing my mind when all five of them walked on stage together. I pinched myself until I was bruised just to be sure I wasn’t imagining everything I was seeing. It was absolutely, positively, unreal.

I know I wasn’t the only one, and little did I know at the time that it wouldn’t be the ONLY show I’d see with them that year. From then on, I was a woman out of control, or so it felt. I bought tickets to see them at 4th and B in San Diego, and then again in September to see them at Inland Invasion (a festival). I hadn’t seen all five members together on stage EVER, and then suddenly I saw them three times in the same year.

That said, I didn’t try to get tickets to see them in places like, Las Vegas, which looking back, seems like a silly thing to overlook. At the time though, traveling to see the band in another city so “far” away (it’s what, four hours from my house if I drive?) seemed so ridiculous. So “out there”.  Who would do something so frivolous???

I can honestly say that in 2003, I didn’t really know anyone in the Duran Duran fan community. I know I had already started dabbling on the message boards, but it wasn’t until after the summer that I found the message board that eventually became my online home. So, I wasn’t aware that droves of fans from So Cal went out to Vegas to see them that summer. It never even occurred to me.  But on this very date in 2003, a gig happened in Las Vegas at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel. Many of you were probably there, and can tell me all about what I missed out on, and that’s OK.

So yeah, my fandom with Duran Duran – or at least the really active part of it – happened later in life. I’ve tried to make up for lost time since, though!

Does anyone remember the show at The Joint?

-R

Mi Vida Loca and John Taylor

Hi everyone! I love it when the day in history gives me something new to learn. Did you know that John wrote a score for a movie? (you probably did, I however…did not.)

On this date in 1994, Mi Vida Loca was released. The movie was directed by Allison Anders, and it is about a group of Mexican-American women in Los Angeles, describing their struggles with gangs, drugs and betrayal.  John wrote a portion of the soundtrack for the film, which was then performed by other artists. A list of the tracks he wrote are as follows:

1 “La Blue Eyes Theme”

  • Written by John Taylor and Jonathan Elias

2 “El Duran Theme”

  • Written by John Taylor
  • Performed by El Chican

3 “Echo Parque”

  • Written by John Taylor
  • Performed by El Chicano

4 “Giggles and Big Sleepy Get Busy”

  • Written by John Taylor
  • Performed by El Chicano

I’ve never checked out this movie, although I’m sure Amanda has. I’m on vacation this week, but I need to find time to see it!

-R

Live Aid – The Music Between Us

Do you know where you were on this date in 1985?  If you were like me, and likely millions of other teenagers around the world, you were sitting in front of your television watching Live Aid.

While this date will ring forever bittersweet to me (and probably any other Duranie out there), I can also remember the feeling that we could conquer anything. Sure, to many adults out there, Live Aid was just a festival with two locations that day: one at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia and the other in London at Wembley, but to me and others in my generation, it become something far greater.

For me, Live Aid marked the beginning of a new era. It wasn’t solely about being the last time that all five original members of Duran Duran would convene onstage until 2003.  In many ways, it marked the end of my childhood infatuation, and taught me that there is indeed a whole world out there to take care of.  Growing up in America at the time certainly had its advantages. Comparatively speaking, I wanted for nothing.  Being poor here in the states in the 1980’s was rough – any kid who actually grew up poor will tell you as much ( I was not. While my parents seriously struggled at times, we always had food on the table, a roof over our heads and some semblance of safety and stability. Many others did not.), but it wasn’t quite the same as living in a third world country with no resources, world attention, or funding. Remarkably, I don’t necessarily remember ever really hearing about the plight of others around the world, except in hindsight—like in a history class. Our nightly news would use the Ethiopian Famine as more of a “In other news” than a headline, and I believe that Live Aid marked the beginning of that changing. Live Aid brought awareness, and once that door was cracked open, there was really no turning back.

Some will argue that the US still does very little to help with the rest of the world. I’m not really here to get into that discussion or to prove our self-worth. I can just share my own experience. Prior to Live Aid (and also Band Aid), I really don’t remember having much of an awareness of what went on outside of the United States. Perhaps that was me and my family, or maybe it was my age, but I know from even looking at old newspapers from back in that day, the front page rarely discussed world issues. That was hidden back on page three or four of the first section.  I think that speaks volumes about America at the time, and while I will always be proud of where I was born and raised, I recognize our shortcomings – and let’s face it – there are many.

When I think back on Live Aid, I try not to focus on Duran Duran. Enough has been said about all of that, and as I said before—for Duranies, it was a bittersweet day for a multitude of reasons.  I think about how for just that 24-hour period, it didn’t seem to matter where we lived or how we grew up. It felt like the world uniting for a common cause, and for this then-fourteen year old, it felt empowering. I think that was probably the first time in my short life that I really felt that way, too.

For me personally, Live Aid took place on an incredibly hot day in July 1985.  We didn’t have air conditioning, and in Glendora, California, I’m pretty sure the thermometer hit 100 degrees F or more that day.  I can remember hearing the very loud fan on our swamp cooler (if you don’t know what that is – it’s a cooling system that runs cool water past a fan – this theoretically cools off the air that is then blown into the house. Not as good as an A/C, but it was all I knew as a kid.) My parents saw me in one of two places that day: sitting on our brown, thread bare living room carpet, eyes glued to the TV, or sitting outside on our patio on a lounge chair, with the television volume (from the living room) turned way up so I could hear. Their attempts to tear me away in order to do chores were futile—I always managed to sneak back in to see how much longer it would be before Duran Duran would take the stage. At the time, I didn’t think I paid much attention to the cause for the event. I was interested in the music, and the rest of it didn’t matter. Except somehow over the course of that day, the more I watched, the more I began to understand the immensity of what was happening, and why.

Nowadays, having an understanding of what is going on in the world is commonplace. It’s difficult to believe or remember a time when it wasn’t. We’ve got Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ (among others!) to inform, confuse, and confound. Cable news is 24/7, and if that isn’t enough, within a few clicks of the keys, the internet awaits. It wasn’t always that way, and certainly not here. I know American’s boast about the freedom of the press, but that “freedom” was also the choice to cover whatever they wanted. Back then, news from the rest of the world didn’t always make the headlines in the same way it might now.

Live Aid inspired a number of other concerts around the world on that same day. Everywhere from Canada to the Soviet Union took part in their own way, and the world came together—if only for a short while—the music between us.  In the decades since, there have been any number of music festivals done in the same vein (albeit not with the same exuberance). Just recently, there was a festival done in Manchester for the victims of the bombing at Ariana Grande’s concert. A variety of different online and print sources claimed it was this generation’s Live Aid.

Only history will decide, but I think we all know how and where Live Aid stands. Thirty-two years later, and we’re still talking about it.

-R