Category Archives: history

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

Have you been to the British Music Experience?

On this date in 2009, the British Music Experience opened at the O2 in London.

Amanda and I have actually been to the British Music Experience! We visited the O2 when in London back in  May of 2011 and went into the exhibit. Somehow, I think we felt that if we at least went to the O2, we’d feel better about the shows being cancelled (I am speaking for the both of us: it did not), and at least we would see the British Music Experience (wish it had been Duran Duran instead, but the BME was interesting).

Ok, so after writing that last sentence, I need to admit that I remember very little of the BME (and I really hope these memories are from the BME or else this entire post is about to get embarrassing) with the exception that I saw the blue suit that Roger Taylor wore for Rio (because really, isn’t that the most important thing anyway??) of which I recall two things:

  1. It was TINY.  I mean seriously small. I couldn’t have fit one leg into those pants, much less the suit jacket. I consoled myself by saying that he was practically a child himself when he wore it.
  2. It was so SHINY.  I wondered just how comfortable that fabric (silk) was in the blazing sun all day. Hot and sweaty I’m sure…

moving on…

I also remember that there was some sort of wall outside that served as a timeline (and in this moment I’m really hoping that I’m remembering these things correctly or else I’ve recalled another part of our trip entirely, which would be embarrassing…but not really all that surprising for me.) *sigh*

Oh, I also remember there being some sort of map thing in the center of the exhibit. I want to say it included the cities in Great Britain along with the musicians that came from there.  And that concludes my working memories from there unless I go dig through my pictures. I know there had to be a lot in there on the Beatles, and many other bands too, but you know….Duran Duran was on the brain.  As usual.

-R

London Bass Guitar Show 2014

Remember way back when it seemed like every day was filled with something “Duran” to write about??

Ok, maybe that’s just me.

In 2014 though, John was still out and about on occasion to talk about his autobiography, In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran. If you haven’t picked it up yet – you really should, and since I’m giving him a plug, I’d go for the audiobook.  He reads it.  Who wouldn’t want John Taylor reading to them???

I digress.

On this date in 2014, John Taylor found himself at the London Bass Show. If I remember correctly, there were a few Duranies there, and I seem to recall that John explained to them that the new album (Paper Gods) wasn’t finished yet, and that it would be quite some time before they’d be back touring again.

Admittedly, that was not easy news to hear, and we (Daily Duranie) were less than enthused.  That said, we survived.

Barely.

In any case, do you remember the London Bass Show?  Share your memories in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter, and have a great weekend, because today is my “Friday”!

-R

Come Undone, 1993 – Do you remember?

It’s March 1st! Did you say “White rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits” upon waking this morning?  Apparently, there is some sort of tradition (England? Scotland? Australia??) that if you wake up in the morning of a new month and say white rabbits three times before saying anything else, you’ll have good luck for the entire month. I’d never heard of this until Richard Blade started reminding people to do it on Facebook.

No, I didn’t remember to do it either.  I never even thought of it until I was in the shower, the potential for the month running down the  drain as quickly as I mumbled “good morning” to my husband…and dog. That’s how most “first of the month mornings” go for me. I remind myself as my head hits the pillow the night before, and by the morning thereof, I’ve forgotten everything except for where I need to be rushing off to, and what time I need to leave.  I did remember one time last year, but the joke of it all is since I don’t know what kind of luck I might have had normally – I suppose anything can be considered “good luck”.  It is all in how you look at it!

Of course, this month is already going to be fantastic because I have people coming to visit! Well, maybe not just for me, but there are favorite people of mine coming to California, nonetheless. I have 15 days until Amanda arrives, and 16 until we go to Rancho Mirage. I’m excited to see our roommates, I’m anxious to see people I haven’t seen since last August, and yes – I’m really looking forward to seeing Duran Duran, too.

Speaking of Duran Duran, did you know that they filmed the video for “Come Undone” on this date in 1993?  Twenty-four years later and I still feel uncomfortable when I watch some of the scenes, which in my opinion – is intended, and I suppose it is also a sign of very good art. When I first saw the video, I can remember the wheels turning in my head due to the emotional depth. There was a lot of discomfort going on for me, and yeah, it made me think.

At the time, I  was still operating on the belief that videos should be made, derived, imagined…from the lyrics of the song. That didn’t mean that the video needed to recreate the lyrics word for word in picture form, but I felt that the video needed to give a new view for the song, I guess. I think if I’m being honest, I still prefer videos that do that – but I also like when the video completely re-imagines the song, too. The naivety of my youth (we’re talking back when in the days of Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf, here) led me to think the band drove the ideas for their videos. Naturally in the decades since, I’ve learned otherwise. In some ways, I suppose I gave the band a lot of credit. I very much believed they were completely in the driver’s seat and created all the images they wanted their adoring public to see and feel.  When I saw “Come Undone”, I was struck by the stories within. It bothered me to see the child hiding from the supposed abusive relationship of her parents, or to see the girl in shackles under water. Truthfully, to some extent, it still bothers me, enough to where the song took on different meaning (to me) than it did originally.  Perhaps it is because on some level, I identified with some of what I saw on-screen. That’s what art is supposed to do, even if it causes some discomfort along the way.

Oddly enough, I always liked the song. I know that it is not Amanda’s favorite song – and she says it’s boring live, but I really like it. I’ve learned to enjoy the torment and tension the song has curled up within, and in my opinion, the song has aged extremely well… or maybe it is just that the song has grown to mean much more to me now as a 40-something than it did when I was just beginning to experience life in my 20s.

-R