Category Archives: history

Today in Duran History – The Philippines 1989

On today’s date in 1989, Duran Duran played at the Araneta Coliseum in Manila, Philippines.  They played there as part of their Big Thing tour, which had quite a few  dates in many Asian countries, including Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, The Philippines and Taiwan.  What I find really interesting about looking at the tour dates from that tour is that these Asian dates occurred in between dates in the States, meaning that they played in the States before going to Asia and after going to Asia.  I wonder why they chose to do this.  Does anyone know?

I was not lucky enough to see the band during this era.  I was too far away from Chicago, my closest big city, and didn’t have means to get there.  On top of that, I didn’t have anyone to go with me as my friends who were Duranies had moved on by then.  I, of course, have seen concert footage from this era and I have to admit that the shows seemed pretty interesting.  For those of you who did attend, what were the shows like?

On a less historical note, it seems that Duran has been busy thinking about charity and giving of themselves.  First, on dd.com, there is a press release that the band is part of an auction that includes meeting the band and enjoying time in the studio with them to support the David Lynch Foundation.  You can read the details here. Also, Simon and Dom performed at a fundraiser to benefit the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust in honor of Simon’s good friend and his daughter who had lost their lives in a boating accident.  To read about this, you should go to Duran Duran’s Facebook page.  Good deeds are a nice way to end the week!

-A

Today in Duran History – The Houston Rodeo

We used to play a game on my old DD message board called “Things Nick Rhodes would never say”.  As follow ups, we also had games like “Things Nick Rhodes would never wear”.   I can remember wickedly cackling out loud as I tried my hand at coming up with the most outlandish ideas.

Today’s item for this date in Duran history would have EASILY been one of those things I never thought I’d hear of the band doing.   On today’s date in 2001, Duran Duran played the Houston Rodeo.

I’ll just let that sink in for a second.  It’s still early my time and I’m not even done with my first cup of coffee.  That’s right – the band known for champagne, yachts and models actually played a rodeo, and lived to tell about it.   Maybe this was a particularly glitzy sort of rodeo.

Bonus Duranie points* will be awarded to the lucky fans who have photographic evidence of this show.  Send ’em in!

Ahh…makes me miss those days of one-upping each other with wild tales of what we thought Nick wouldn’t ever caught dead doing….

-R

 

 

*If you thought Duranie points were actually worth anything…well….no.  Yay!

Today in Duran History – Staples Center 2005

On today’s date in Los Angeles, 2005 – Duran fans were anxiously awaiting the evening’s festivities at the Staples Center.  This is a show that I missed, even though I live here.  You see, while the band was playing their heart out on stage – I was “very busy” on a cruise ship somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.   No, I wasn’t working, I was vacationing. It’s a tough job.

As much as I enjoyed that trip, there is a certain part of me that wonders what it was like to see the band at Staples Center that night.  Unlike a lot of fans, I actually do enjoy the arena shows from time to time – there’s an excitement in the air that is just very, very different from the shows at smaller venues.  I love turning around at the arena shows just to get an idea of what the band sees – I really liked doing this during Leopard on the last tour, for instance.

Oh, let’s face it: I like ALL the shows, as long as I’m near the front.  Don’t we all?

-R

 

Todays Date in Duran History – 1986 Grammy Awards

Hey, what were YOU doing on this date in 1986?

Nick Rhodes was presenting a Grammy Award to Sheena Easton for Song of the Year!

On this date in 1986 I was 15 years old and in the 10th grade, which meant that I was a sophomore in high school. I can remember seeing Nick give the award – I liked his hair. (An important note, right?) And that was the most exciting part of that entire evening for me….and probably a lot of you.  Little did we realize (Maybe some knew. I’ve thought about this and I don’t believe that at the time of the Grammy’s I really knew/understood that Andy & Roger weren’t coming back.)  that later that year Notorious would be released (November of 1986) and the Fab Five would really and truly be down to just three.

Now that I’ve brought you all down, you can go read Nick and Katy’s Oscar Picks to bring you back up!!

 

Today in Duran History – Perfect Day

On today’s date in 1995, the video for Perfect Day was filmed.  In case you’re wondering and aren’t exactly caught up on your Duran history – Perfect Day was a cover (Lou Reed) included on the Thank You album.

Interestingly enough, Roger Taylor played on Perfect Day, and if you watch the video – you’ll see him back on the drums, which is of course, exactly where he belongs.  I didn’t know that Roger had played on the song or was even in the video until the days of the reunion.  Truthfully?  I didn’t even know there was a video for Perfect Day (I guess you could say that I was busy back in 1995 and video watching was not on top of the list), and even when I eventually did see the video, I didn’t recognize Roger!

*gasps*

And there’s your Day in Duran History for this Monday morning.

-R

Going Right Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Earlier this week, my writing partner dared to say, “Durantime sucks”.  She explained that she is impatient and gave reasons why she might be more impatient this time around than previous times.  Fair enough.  The blog post, which if you didn’t read, you can find here focused on how her fan experience and Durantime.  Yet, this post is going to focus not on how Durantime hurts me (and it does) but how it hurts Duran Duran.  It seems to me that fans just aren’t talking or thinking about Duran Duran much despite many efforts, including ours to keep the conversation going on a daily basis.  It feels to me that apathy is growing.  I’ll give you an example from my personal life.  Recently, Duran Duran posted a couple pictures of John in front of a computer screen with captions to increase our interest.  Now, I don’t think it is any secret that my Duran fandom is a big part of my life.  I’m half of a blog that writes EVERY SINGLE DAY.  We have written a book on fandom with Duran Duran as the case study.  We have planned a convention and meet ups and working on a future convention.  Yet, when those pictures were posted, I found myself (ME!!!!) saying, “Yeah, whatever.”  Honestly, it didn’t catch my attention or make me excited.  Then, what was the result?  That John did a video about his perfect album?  That’s fine–no criticism there, but it just didn’t excite me or interest me, when in the past, it would have.  This led me to start looking around at Duranland.  If I’m finding myself apathetic, what is the rest of the fan community like?

In general, it seems to me that people just aren’t that interested right now.  Conversations about Duran have dwindled.  Just look at our stats.  They have gone down and every time we bring up the question of why–we get the same response.  “There is no news right now.”  Twitter seems much, much quieter on the Duran front than it did a year ago.  Of course, two years ago during the height of All You Need Is Now, twitter was filled with constant activity.  I felt like I couldn’t keep up at all.  Now, I don’t even feel like I need to check in much to know what is happening.  What about Facebook?  Well, there are always groups posting pictures and things and some people participate but it seems like a small dedicated group rather than a vast population of fans.  Now, of course, you might be saying something like, “As soon as the album comes out, fans will be back.”  Will they?  Have they always?

Ask anyone who has been around Duranland for a long time about momentum.  Long time fans will point out that Duran often doesn’t capitalize on momentum.  The examples are many…from doing side projects in 1985 rather than continuing as a five piece, not touring after Liberty was released, doing an album of covers right after a comeback album, etc.  The time in between albums has always been a problem since the mid 1980s.  I am willing to bet that each and every time Duran has taken a long time between albums or chosen a path that doesn’t capitalize on success, they have lost fans or lost potential fans.

When I look around at the Duran fan community now, in 2014, I’m struck by the fact that the majority of us are adults with some significant responsibilities.  Many of us have families that we need to worry about.  Careers are screaming for our attention.  We have a lot of real life worries to focus on.  This makes it even easier for any or all of us to walk away.  We have other things that need our time and energy.

Now, of course, people are going to point out to me that they are still on Twitter and still talking about Duran.  Yes, I know that there are some.  I would point out that many of us who are still around have made CONNECTIONS with other fans.  Many of those connections have been made on tour or online, sure, but many of them have been made through attending meet ups and conventions.  Having time to meet face-to-face solidifies any connection made online.  I know that there are people I feel closer to after having met them in person.  For example, there are many people I now call friends after having met during the summer of 2012 during one of our meet ups and having the chance to get to know better at the convention last year.  These connections are keeping people in the community during this downtime.  I would go so far as to say that they might be keeping many of us…fans.  Certainly, we know that excitement is infectious.  Thus, if you are around other people who are thrilled about something, it is likely that you will become that way, too.  This means that those with significant connections will feed off each other once there is news and something to really be excited about.  Those without connections might not even care when news happens.  The band have completely slipped from those people’s minds.

Connections matter.  They, especially matter, in a fandom in which the idols take a long time between projects and don’t always capitalize immediately on success.

-A

“You’re about as easy as a nuclear war”

A few months ago or so, I asked people for songs that people might a discussion around the lyrics, specifically to try and analyze the lyrics to figure out the meanings of them.  I got a list of songs that I have been slowly moving through.  (By the way, I would welcome other songs for this so if you have a song that you want me to blog about, just let me know!)  One of the songs mentioned was “Yo Bad Azizi”.  I just put it on the list and didn’t think too much about it until today when I checked that list.  This song was a strange one to mention in terms of lyrics, since there really aren’t lyrics in the same way as we would think of a normal song.  This then led me to think about the era in which this song was made (1989-1990).  Obviously, this era saw quite a few songs that were “experimental” in nature, including Burning the Ground and Decadance along with Yo Bad Azizi.  So, instead of having a blog in which lyrics are discussed, analyzed, and interpreted, I thought I would talk about these three songs and what is known about them and their histories.

Burning the Ground-
This was a “stand alone” single that was released in December 1989 to go along with Decade, the greatest hits album.  Strangely enough, Burning the Ground wasn’t featured on that album.  If you are unfamiliar with this song, when you hear it, you will recognize that it is just like a mix of Duran hits in the 1980s.  Some of the features include some very well-known lines from the hits like, “Can you hear me now” from Planet Earth and some of the sounds like “flex flex flex” from The Reflex.  The one thing that I remember sticking out to me when I first heard it were the samples from the movie, Barbarella, which, of course, every fan knows is the movie in which the band took their name from.  Those samples put a big smile on my face as they chose the ones I would have chosen, including, “Your mission.  Find Duran Duran.”  Every Duranie I know, responds with, “Okay!  I will find them!”  It made sense to include those samples in a song like this, too, since it really was about their history up to that point.  Barbarella was part of that history.  Despite the focus on the band’s history and hits, I don’t know that it has ever been a big fan favorite.  Maybe, it was in 1989.  I don’t remember.  They did use the song to open their shows in 2006.  When I heard that, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go over but once I heard it in person that way, I thought it worked to get the audience excited.  Here is the video, which is similar in that it uses mostly old footage along with some shots of the space shuttle, both as a tribute to Duran’s history and focus on recurring space theme along with the album cover for Decade.  What do you think of the song?

Decadance-
Before you know anything about this song, you can tell that is dance focused based on the name.  It isn’t Decadence.  Instead it is a play on that word, which means indulgence in pleasure or luxury.  No, this indulgence is about dance and about music.  Clever.  This song was the b-side to Burning the Ground and similar in nature.  It feels a bit more experimental, which is probably why it was chosen to be the b-side.  Nonetheless, it still is like a big mix of Duran material.  Here is a clip of the song.  What do you think of this one?

Yo Bad Azizi-
This song is a little bit different than the other two.  In this case, it was the b-side to Serious, a single off of Liberty.  The title is, obviously, a funny way of stating the line “You’re about as easy as a nuclear war” from the song, Is There Something I Should Know.  According to Duran’s wiki, which you can find here, this song was a response to a fan letter that Simon received in which the fan asked what “yo bad azizi” meant.  Clearly, this fan didn’t think that Simon was singing the real line very clearly.  Technically, I suppose that this song has lyrics of sorts, which you could read here.  Basically, they are the same lines about “yo bad azizi”, “yo bad azizi nuclear war” and “nuclear war”.  Clearly, they didn’t take time to write real lyrics for this one.  Thoughts on this one?  Here is the link to a mix of the song on youtube:  Yo Bad Azizi (Gets Made Mix).

Looking at these songs, a couple of ideas pop into my head.  First, it seems clear that this time was such that songs like these, remixes like songs, must have been popular then.  I wonder why.  Was technology such that they could remix songs better at that time?  Was this in connection to the rise of house and techno music?  Second, while part of me can appreciate them for what they are, another part of me can’t help but to think…they didn’t have to write new songs or lyrics for these, did they?  Was that helpful, especially for the ones surrounding Decade, which from what I heard the band wasn’t that excited about in the first place?  No matter what we think of these songs, they definitely make for an interesting little piece to Duran’s musical history.

-A


I Won’t Cry for Yesterday

Last week, we had a little theme about proudest moments.  We discussed what the band might be proud of and we discussed what we were proud of as fans.  Then, we had a couple of great guest bloggers talking about what they were proud of.  This time, we flip the coin; we examine the opposite feeling.  We will be looking at regrets.  Just like last week, we will start with the band.  Then, Rhonda will share hers and I’ll share mine.  We have a guest blogger to finish up the theme on Thursday.

We all know that Duran Duran has been a very successful band.  They have sold millions of copies of their albums, many of their singles and albums have had chart success and they have a very dedicated fan base, which has stayed with them for decades.  Sounds like a perfect career, right?  Yet, one topic that seems to come up in Duranland quite a bit is what Duran should have done differently.  Many of us fans feel like they should have done things differently in order to experience more success, greater success.  While the band has been successful any way you look at them, many fans feel like if they had done this or that instead of the moves they made, maybe they would have sold more albums or had more fans or more chart success.  Some of the more common changes include ones focusing on guitar players, momentum, different single choices, etc.  As I type this, I’m sure that there are many of you already ready with your thoughts about what the band should have done differently.  Anyway, what do you think the band would say?  Now, we know what they say in interviews.  They never seem to have regrets and just focus on the current project, but I can’t imagine that they haven’t or don’t second guess themselves.  Do you think they might have the same second guesses the fans do?  Are they concerned about guitar players, momentum and single choices?  Obviously, we will never know but it could be fun to speculate.  Let’s consider the ones I mentioned here.

Do you think the members of Duran regret that they have had three different guitar players?  For a lot of fans, this is a huge deal.  A lot of us are pretty passionate about this and have our favorites.  For many of us, the guitar player made a huge difference both in terms of how the music was and what level of commercial success they had.  Yet, do we really think that the band might have regrets on this? That is hard to say.  I’m willing to bet that they didn’t love all the music that Andy made or all the music Warren made or all the music Dom made.  As far as commercial success, it seems to me that you can’t really compare.  The different guitarists were around at very different times within the band’s history.  Of course, we also have no idea about the behind the scenes interactions and conflicts.  We have no idea what is/was like to work with any of them.  Maybe, it was the working environment more than the music or the level of success that mattered to the band.  It is hard to say, isn’t it?

What about that fabulous momentum that Duranies so frequently talk about?  Do the members of the band agree that they suffered from not capturing momentum at any given time?  For example, a lot of fans criticize the move to make an album of cover songs, Thank You, after the commercial success of the Wedding Album.  Maybe other people feel like they should have toured after releasing Liberty or gotten an album done a lot quicker after Astronaut.  Would the band agree?  Again, this is hard to say.  It seems to me that they have made comments about Thank You and about much longer it took to make than they would have liked.  Maybe, then, the key is how long it took or how it didn’t go so smoothly.  Again, though, we have no idea about what was taking place behind the scenes.  Maybe a tour right after Liberty would have fractured the band from the pressure of touring.  Maybe, another new album after the Wedding Album would have tanked if they had attempted it.  We will never know.

Does the band question their choice of singles?  One that many fans mention is not having Falling Down be the single during Red Carpet Massacre.  Another one is making sure that Nice was a single during Astronaut and I’m sure there are countless others.  Would they agree with those?  I have no idea.  I do know that they were not so thrilled with the choice of Careless Memories for the second single on the first album as it didn’t do as well as either Planet Earth or Girls on Film.  Would they have others, though?

I have no idea what, if anything, the band would regret about their career or the moves they had.  Maybe, in reality, they would acknowledge that things didn’t go as well as they had hoped or thought it would.  They might not go so far as to say they regret anything as, maybe, they learned from each move that was made.  Isn’t that the key really?  One should learn from decisions, choices, actions that didn’t go as well as planned.  Perhaps, that is exactly what the band has does.

-A

Anger Here Is All You Possess

The title is a lyric from the song, The Edge of America.  I adore this song.  Simply adore it.  I have for a long time but did not love it when I first heard the album, Big Thing.  I believe that I started to love it when I made an emotional connection to it.  This emotional connection was a simple one.  I felt like the song spoke of my students.  Let me give you some background here.  As you all probably know, I have been a teacher for the past 16 years.  16.  Like many teachers out there, I went into the profession to make a difference.  Sounds simple, but it was anything but.  I planned to be a Social Studies teacher (History/Political Science/Sociology) but that didn’t happen.  Instead, I found myself being a special education teacher through a long term substitute teaching job.  I discovered that special education was not quite what I thought it was.  It was broader than the images I had in my mind and much more intense.  Yet, at the time, it made perfect sense, especially for the school I worked at.  You see, my students, for the most part, struggled, behaviorally and emotionally.  Academics were the very last focus for many of them as the majority of them struggled with the harsh realities of life.  Many of these realities were ones that I was lucky to have never had to deal with.  My students dealt with every social issue, imaginable, from poverty to racism to abuse to mental illness to drug addiction and more.  Yet, they were just kids, trying to make their way in a world in that seemed harsh and unjust.  Many of these students of mine seemed to fit many of the lyrics to this song.  They lived in the city (“concrete beach”).    They didn’t have anything to lose (“there’s nothing left to lose”).  Anger certainly was often the most prominent emotion (“Learn to love your anger now, anger here is all you possess.”)  It wasn’t easy to teach these kiddos, but, for a long time, I felt supported in my work.  I felt rewarded for my work from the kids themselves, from their families, from my school, and from the public.  I felt successful.  Unfortunately, this feeling of support has not been there for awhile.  
Where did the support go?  This is a complex answer and one that isn’t part of the scope of this blog.  Let’s just say–all areas of support have decreased.  Some areas have been not just unsupportive but harmful.  Last year, I interviewed at other schools with the hope that switching to a new building with a fresh set of staff and administration as well as a different population of students would re-ignite my desire to teach, my desire to make a difference in this way.  Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that I now know that the song at the center of this blog isn’t necessarily about my students (current or former) but instead is more about me and where I’m at.  I’m at the edge of America.  I’m part of an educational system that is undergoing dramatic changes.  Even worse, I’m part of an educational system that exists in a state in which teachers and teaching have been undermined at best and openly attacked at worse by the people in power, at least from my perspective.  
“This is where it ends.  There’s nothing left to lose.  Nothing to protest.”  This is exactly where I’m at with my profession, my career.  There is plenty that I should be protesting but I can’t.  This is the end of the road for me as an educator, as a teacher.  I decided I was going to be a teacher at 16 and now, at 38, I’m ready to walk away.  I gave it my all for a very long time.  I fought.  I protested.  “Paradise is lost.  Recognition never realized.  Salvation lost among the crowd.”  Like Duran asks, I do wonder, “Where is your nation now?”  While I ask that question, I am walking over the edge to whatever comes next, whatever my next career will be.  As I ponder the unknown of my future and listen to this song, I can’t help but to think about how John Taylor must have felt in 1997 when he walked from Duran.  Did he feel like I feel?  I have many mixed emotions.  While I’m ready to go and really have been for a few years, part of me is filled with sorrow.  This big part of who I have been will no more.  Did he feel that way, even when he thought he was making the best choice for himself?  Another part of me is just scared.  I don’t know what the future will bring.  
I know that I will need to be focused on getting a new job.  While I don’t want to decrease everything that Rhonda and I do, I have to be realistic, too.  This blog isn’t making us any money.  Our book could but that isn’t out yet.  The convention is just an event put on by fans for fans.  I may have to pull away from this–I don’t want to.  (Unless, someone, somewhere wants to pay us!  I would gladly accept that job!!)  Yet, my main goal must be finding a job and, eventually, my next career.  For now, I’m looking at political/non-profit organizations.  Wish me luck.  I’m going to need it.  Maybe then, with a new career, a new me, I can walk away from the edge.  
-A

From Past to Present to Future…

This past week, I have seen an incredible numbers of posts, tweets, comments and more regarding the 20th anniversary of the release of the Wedding Album.  Today, the posts and tweets increased as 20 years ago today the album was released.  There have been articles written and a blog written and posted on dd.com as the members of the band and those working with the band reflect on the album and its significance.  All of this made me think about what the album meant for me and what anniversaries mean for the band and its fans.

When I read the blog that was posted on dd.com, which you can find here, I couldn’t help but to realize that most of the reflections were very personal.  John talked about how his daughter was born during the making of the album.  Nick Egan talked about his thinking through the video shoot for Ordinary World.  Comments from Simon included how he listened to the album as a whole for the first time.  Of course, at the same time, everyone agreed that it was a special album that meant a lot to the band and their career.  I don’t think there is any Duranie out there who could argue against that.  We all know that Duran had lost a lot of the spotlight they had in the early 80s.  Albums like Big Thing and Liberty didn’t get them attention, strong album sales or hit songs.  The Wedding Album, on the other hand, did get them all three.  For the first time in years, the band was back on the charts and back in the spotlight.  It renewed their confidence and belief in their ability to write great, meaningful music.  One could wonder what would have happened to Duran had they not had this.  Would they have called it quits?  We will never know.  Nonetheless, we all can appreciate what the album did do for the band.  Of course, it also affected the fans.

Based on a lot of the posts I have seen from fans, they are much like the band and their colleagues in the blog post on dd.com in that they are all related the album to themselves and their fandom.  For many fans, this album was the one that brought them into the fandom.  For those fans, there is no album that means more.  I get that.  I look back at Seven and the Ragged Tiger in fondest for the same reason.  For other fans, they liked the band before but this one really made them a Duranie for life.  Again, this album means a ton to them.  Some fans just love the songs so much.  Whatever the story is, the anniversary makes them think about what the songs and album means to them.  I’m no different.  In hearing that it was the album’s anniversary, I immediately thought about what it meant for me.  My story is simple.  It was the first time I saw the band play live.  That said, my friend had to ask me to go.  Duran wasn’t as much a central part as it is nowadays.  I was more focused on graduating high school and getting ready to go to college.  I went to the concert with 3 friends and had a good time.  That said, as I am sure you all know by now, I didn’t leave the show having my inner Duranie awakened in a big way.  Nope.  I told my friend, “That was a good show but something seemed wrong.  Not sure what it was but it didn’t feel right.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the band isn’t around much longer.  Maybe it’s time.”  I  know, I know.  Blasphemy.  Maybe I shouldn’t mention that in this blog post but it is true.  That is what I said.  Now, that didn’t stop me from listening to the album.  None of the songs really grabbed me then.  Later, I saw the beauty that Ordinary World was once I was able to relate to the meaning of the song.  Now, as we all know, the songs that are most often played from this album (Ordinary World and Come Undone) are not my favorites and that is an understatement, of course, when it comes to Come Undone.  I much prefer Too Much Information and Breath After Breath, which I think are too often overlooked.  No, this album isn’t my favorite but it is important in my history as a Duranie and important in the history of the band.  I can’t and shouldn’t ignore that.

Despite my experiences, I can appreciate the album and definitely celebrate the anniversary.  I think it is important to look back at events and their significance.  Maybe, this is the historian in me.  Perhaps, it is that all of my history and social science classes have taught me that what happens in the past can and really does matter for the present.  Does this album matter for Duran and their fans?  Absolutely.  Duran and its fanbase are where they are because of it.  It was a big part of their story and their success as a band.  If one is to appreciate the present state of Duran, one must acknowledge anniversaries like this.  Thus, I’m thrilled to see everyone’s posts and tweets about it.  I love hearing about what the album meant to different people.  Likewise, I love that the band and their colleagues took the time to look back, to reflect, to celebrate this huge chapter in their careers.  This reflection, this remembrance will, I’m sure, weigh in their minds as they begin to think about the next chapter.

It is interesting to me that on this anniversary I have noticed a few tweets from certain people like Simon, Dom, and Simon W (sax player).  These tweets have made reference to being in Zurich.  Now, of course, they could all be in different parts of Zurich.  Maybe they aren’t with each other.  That’s very possible, right?  Sure.  It has also been pointed out to me that TV Mania has gone quiet.  Huh.  Of course, this has led people to wonder if there is something going on and what it could mean.  Now while I do appreciate the focus on the past, I won’t lie.  The thought that the band or some of the band might be together excites me more.  What I appreciate the most about the past is that it has led the band to NOW, the present.  What excites me, what brings a smile to my face, what increases the bounce in my step is the FUTURE.  I cannot wait to see what the band in its current form can come up with.  Then, maybe in 21 or 22 years from now, we can rejoice in this upcoming album’s anniversary.

-A