Category Archives: interviews

My interview with the Fab Five!

Gotta admit, sometimes this blogging thing completely rocks. I like that because I chose to start writing this monster blog of ours, I’ve had my eyes opened to some brand new experiences. I’ve traveled to different countries, hosted fan meet-ups, forced myself out of my comfort zone (i.e. I have actually left my perfectly good barstool at the bar to say hello to people), and I’ve even gotten to do a couple of super stellar interviews that I couldn’t have ever imagined possible. Most of it I would have even done anyway, without the blog, but having this as a sort of backbone gave me the extra push I needed. I mean, sure I wanted to go to the UK well-before I ever even gave this blog a thought. However, it was the idea of being able to write about it for the blog that really gave me the necessary motivation to bring the plan up to my ever-supportive, loving and understanding husband. Twice. *coughs* I really liked the idea of meeting up with fans before shows on the road. The thing is though – I don’t know that we would have gotten quite the traffic or interest if we hadn’t mentioned it here on Daily Duranie simply because more people read this blog. I’ve gotten to meet so many people, and a lot of that is because I knew that since I was hosting a lot of these parties, I had to actually get up off the barstool and say hello. Nerve wracking for me on nearly ANY level, but I did it. Interviewing Dom Brown? Are you kidding me?? I am not sure I would have worked up the nerve without knowing that it was “business”, as in The Blog. This blog was a great idea! And now, I’ve gotten to do my second interview. This time a very-special, live, in-person interview with not one, but five very-special men. My palms are beginning to sweat just thinking back on it. Before you get too excited, no, it wasn’t Duran Duran, exactly. Or was it??

It’s Saturday night and I’m sitting at a club. My husband and I are huddled into a small corner of a banquette, having some dinner as we wait for the place to fill and the scene to unfold. We’re here to see the fab five, of course…and we’re just waiting for time machine to deposit us in the correct decade so that the party can begin. I just finish my steak salad when out of nowhere, a face comes out of the darkness, followed by a body (…and yes, the body is attached to the face but just go with it, I’m trying my best to describe a scene here!) She beckons me to follow her. I put down my napkin, grab my phone and do as she says. Let’s face it, any time someone comes up to me and says the fab five is ready to meet me – I’ll follow. Call me crazy, but I’ll take my chances. So we head upstairs, into the “green room” (Why is it that these rooms are never really green??), and what awaits me is a gathering of, yes…five fabulous guys. Men, actually. They’re hanging out on some couches, surrounding a coffee table. I can already feel that I’m out of breath. (Funny thing about me, when I start to panic or get nervous, I immediately get out of breath. It’s a nice touch when you’re trying to act cool and yet you’re gasping for air like you just ran six miles.)  I take a few gulps of air, still trying to seem as though I’ve done this a million times, and I set down my phone, explaining that because I’m an idiot – I have to record the entire interview or else I’ll misquote them. I don’t even know if that’s what real journalists do, but then again, I’m just a fan. A Duranie. And these guys? Well, I didn’t even look at them too much yet out of pure fear (If I stare into their eyes will I forget my questions?? No…I brought a list of them with me that I only looked at twice during the entire thing…), but I can tell you all one thing: this is not Duran Duran, it’s not the 1980s, and I am definitely not in Birmingham. It’s 2013 and I am in Hermosa Beach, California.

Who are these guys then? They’re Rio, a Duran Duran tribute band that is playing at Saint Rocke. What you, as Duranies need to understand about Rio is that they’re genuinely good.(I’m assuming that if you’re reading this – you’re a fan of Duran Duran, given our catchy blog title and all. If not…well hey, I’ll sell you on that band another time.) These aren’t just a group of guys who came in off the street that think they look a little like Simon, John, Roger, Nick & Andy (actually they really don’t look all that much like them). They don’t just stand up there, pretend to play and lip sync their way through Girls on Film.  When they do a set, it’s a show…and that show lasts from “wig-on” to “wig-off”. Its not enough to just be a musician or to just act the part. This is the real deal. 

L-R: Gil “John” Barron, Danny “Roger” Alfaro, Jake “Simon” Jacobs, Chadwick “Andy” Steinmetz, Curt “Nick” Clendenin


The first time I saw them, several weeks prior at the same club, I had my husband follow Curt (Nick..or “Click” as he often is referred as a variation of his alter-ego.) around the club after the show. My evil-intention being of course, to find him out of character. My husband failed. Miserably. Curt elaborates, “I didn’t want to destroy the illusion whatsoever. I want people there to feel like they are watching a Duran Duran show. I want them to feel like they are in a time machine.” This show doesn’t stop when they leave the stage, it carries throughout the night. When “Nick Rhodes” comes up to introduce himself, there is a moment when your heart, well…my heart anyway…desperately wants to believe you’re in Birmingham, experiencing a moment at the Rum Runner. Who am I to argue with my heart?!? So yes, they got me: hook, line, sinker…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

So I’ve established that no, I really am not in Birmingham, but in Southern California at Saint Rocke, a cute little club that I am spending time in on this particular Saturday night…and  these guys are kind enough to be my guinea pigs for the next half hour. (So the real truth is that I have over an hour of footage from this interview, but after about the first 28 minutes – we really don’t talk much about the questions I’ve brought. I had forgotten to shut off my recorder, because I’m super cool that way. Amateur. Geesh. I have a lot to learn.) After I flub up my opening lines which consist of thanking them for taking time to talk to me, I start to feel as though I’d better ask some questions or else the crickets…that seem to be getting louder and louder in the room…are going to run me right out of there. So I begin with something easy: The Music.

I want to know how tough it really is to get Duran Duran right. Do they have nearly impossible songs to replicate in their set list? The answers surprised me. They ranged from Hold Back the Rain as Gil (John) explains “John plays with a pick on the record and I don’t play with a pick. It’s a real fast gallop and in addition to that I’m singing my ass off as back up….the whole ‘hold back the rain part’…so that song ages me every time.”, to Danny’s (Roger) answer of Come Undone. “Its just that beat. It’s obviously a loop, but I try to make it stick, make it sound like a loop. It doesn’t have a lot of swing to it though, so it’s kind of hard not to swing.” 

My own head begins swinging just as I begin to understand the monumental task it must be as they dare to replicate Duran Duran onstage. Then the guitarist for this entourage, Chadwick, breaks into my thoughts, “The hardest aspect of what I do in this band is making the guitar sounds. It’s not so much the technical proficiency of it, it’s dialing in the tones…it’s really a challenge and I’m not very close but I’m not very far either.”  I can’t imagine. In no way do I understand the amount of track layering and tinkering with the sound that happens in this band, but I know enough to realize that one person simply can’t replicate that onstage. You’d need someone constantly dialing in your guitars, and Rio doesn’t have that luxury. “I mean, there’s one song where you’ll need a whole lot of drive and a whole lot of grit and distortion, and then there’s another where you’ll need a funky ‘chanka-chanka-chanka’ kind of thing, and you’ll need a chorus…” Chadwick continues, “…and then there’s Come Undone and you’ve got a lot of super duper heavy effects and…there’s only so many things that you can have with you up on stage and so you’ve got to make your gear get as close to that as you can. You can’t go running back and forth to your amp and redesign the sound because those studio sounds…they’ll sit down with the producer and they’ll spend all day long dialing in the sound that they want for one sound, and then they’ll layer the guitar tracks. So there’s two or three guitar parts going on at the same time…We’re all playing the same sport, so yeah, it’s a challenge but the guitar parts are cool, well-written, they’ve got a real R&B kind of Motown kind of practicality to them, and that’s cool. It’s neat, it was a lot of fun learning all of them, but the actual tonality is much more challenging.” I don’t know that I’ll ever listen to a Duran song the same way again.


Like any good frontman, Jake (Simon) has his own answer, not be outdone by his bandmates. “The Reflex”, he says with certainty. “Yeah, it’s just out there….’Park’ and ‘dark’. There will be nights when it is effortless but it’s not an easy note…I’d just played (with) this (other) band ah, a week ago, and I’m looking at the set list and I’m ‘alright, so I know I’ve got to do Don’t Stop Believing (Journey) and I’ve got to do Sweet Child Of Mine (Guns N Roses).  Not a problem. Something about ‘park’ and ‘dark’..” The group breaks up into laughter, clearly aware of the challenge in a way that I am not, which speaks a little something for the professionalism of this group. I would have never known those notes were a challenge for Simon, er..I mean Jake.

I found it easy to laugh along with the guys on their trials, tribulations and missteps with the music. As nervous as I was, and believe me, I was shaking for quite a while as I asked the questions, the band kept me at ease. As a group, Rio is very easy going, and just as we fans see with their counterparts, it’s easy to see the love that flows between them. I mentioned as much to the band, trying not to swoon as I looked each of them in the eye (I am now convinced that there really IS something going on in the music that keeps us under a spell, not to mention that these guys? They’re good looking. I have no trouble admitting that when it comes to this band, I’m a Simon-girl all the way *gasps*…with a side of Nick *gasps again*….what IS it about Duran Duran that automatically has us choosing our favorites?? I digress.)

“We have so much fun,” Chadwick (Andy) explains as I ask about the group chemistry, “You

Rio’s manager Dina and I

guys just don’t realize. …for me at least, this isn’t about what’s happening onstage. For me it’s about the whole experience. These two (motioning to Danny and Jake) show up at my house and we throw my stuff in the back of the truck and we drive there. We’ll spend two hours clowning around and we get there, and we see the rest of the group and Dina. (their fearless, hardworking manager – I must give her mad props and respect because she is the only female in this entourage, and she keeps those guys on their toes. Go Dina!) There’s big hugs, laughing and poking fun at each other, its like the whole experience to the packing down afterwards and taking pictures. There’s a community that is much bigger to me in my mind than just what we’re doing on the stage.” Gil adds, rather aptly, “I was telling her (Dina, their very capable and kind manager) this on the way here that its not necessarily the destination, but the journey.” That is so important. I think every single fan who has read our blog with any kind of regularity would agree. There really isn’t a destination in mind when you’re a fan – I mean, sure, we all (well, most of us) wanted to marry a band member at one point or another. After fire has been properly set to that fairy tale though, where do you go?? Its the journey, it is exactly what being a fan is all about. And Rio…are they fans of the band they emulate?

I have to laugh because when I posed this question, those crickets I wrote of earlier seemed to get extremely loud for about five, very long seconds. Danny was the first to answer, “I’m a fan. I’m not a fanatic, I mean, I don’t know trivia and all that, but yeah obviously I love Duran Duran so…” I looked around and all of them nodded. Chadwick added his own prospective by saying, “I wasn’t a huge DD fan before this… Over the years..I mean I can sing all of their hits, but when you dig in and start doing your homework and you learn all of Andy’s parts from the guitar players perspective, you connect with the music in a different way certainly, and it means like I’m a much bigger fan now than I was in the beginning.” Fair enough. Maybe this was the wrong question to ask, and in hindsight, precious…precious hindsight, I can understand where I went wrong. To begin with, just because one plays a certain type of music as a paying gig doesn’t mean they are automatically a fan, and to be honest – I think sometimes being so close to it (by being a fan) can truly cloud the big picture vision. 

That doesn’t mean there aren’t true blue fans in Rio, though, as Jake clearly states, “I think there are two Duranies in the five of us, and then there’s all these guys who love Duran.” Danny explains, “I mean, to be in a proper tribute…you kind of have to study you know, so it comes off as legit. So I appreciate it (the band) much more.” I can see that. I’ve written about other tribute bands I’ve seen, and at least for myself, the “cheese factor” gets a little thick at times. No one wants to pay money (or not pay money for that matter) to see their favorite band get made into a shtick for comedic purposes. I count myself in that group: I wouldn’t tolerate that, and I certainly wouldn’t expect any other Duranie to stand by and laugh it off, either.

 I want to be completely clear: Rio is anti-shtick. Their act is as authentic, real, heartfelt and respectful as you’re going to get.  Yes, they have fun with the music when they’re up onstage, but that’s because Duran’s music IS fun. They enjoy what they do, and the audience sees and feels that. They are the real deal in every way. So I gently ask the guys how they feel about that, and how they get around the “schtick”. “It’s like you know, the dudes are in their mid-40’s with True Religion jeans and the Affliction t-shirts and they’re trying to look like Boston.” Jake rolls his eyes in disgust and continues, “It’s disheartening. I’ve been blown away by some tribute acts too. I think for me, and I can speak for the rest of us, it’s like…it took a little bit to get this, this line up. The reason I feel this line up has executed the band as well as it has is because previous band members just wouldn’t commit. You know, with all due love and respect, it’s like ‘look man, it’s a tribute act.’ There is a difference between a cover band and a tribute band, and we’ve all been in our cover bands and whatever it is….I think it’s safe to say I agree with you 100% on the cheese factor.”  Somehow, it’s comforting to hear the frontman say those words and know he means them. Jake continues, “Being a DD fan, there’s…if you do it wrong, it’s going to be…well, it’s Duran Duran. It’s unique. It’s DD, it’s a very different style of music, and a very different…in their own right amazing musicians and very unique musicians and so yeah, I understand exactly what you mean, and I wouldn’t do it any other way.” 

Rio definitely has its work cut out for them, because lets face it: we are very tough customers. Duranies can be snobby, so to speak. I’ve said that before here on this blog, much to the ire of others, but it is true and I mean it in the most respectful way possible – remember, I’m a Duranie too. Let me say that Duran Duran is coming to town, and everyone is ready and willing to spend hundreds on tickets, even if they’re grumbling in the process. Conversely, if I were to say that Rio is playing somewhere – far less are willing to spend even $10.00 on tickets, much less drive anywhere to see them. That’s a tough bridge to cross. A similar feeling holds true for fan conventions – people want to hold on to their money to see the band, not so that they can meet other fans, and you know, there’s nothing wrong with that even though it’s not my vision of what being a fan is like.  We are all here for our own reasons, and we all want our own experiences. 


When you’re ready to give this band a chance, you won’t be disappointed. We chatted about this problem, because it’s clearly a challenge that most tribute bands face. Gil, the original, founding member of Rio, had this to say on the subject, “You’re an example as well. You’re a huge Duran Duran fan, but you have the option of seeing the real band because they’re still active. People have the choice of seeing the tribute band which might be hokey and cheesy or the real deal. That’s the drawback for us, because especially when they’re on tour, we don’t work as much naturally. But the thing is, when you do finally come out, you are sometimes blown away, and it’s just a word of mouth thing, and that’s where it’s gotten us for now. We’ll take it, even if there’s one new person at each show, it’s OK and hopefully they’ll go on social media put the word out for us.”  Or they beg for an interview and attend several shows…

This band wins skeptics like myself over at nearly every show. Recently the band was in Arizona and played two sold out shows where yet another skeptic left the show as a fan. Curt describes, “…I saw this transformation take place, when we got up on stage in Arizona there was this older lady like right up front… and she just had this smirk on her face like she was just not having a very good time, then he (motions to Jake) starts singing to her and she starts smiling a little bit and then he’s out there and he’s dancing with her a little bit and before I know it she’s up on stage for Girls on Film and dancing.. hugging Chadwick and looking at his hands while he’s playing guitar and like it’s amazing to see this evolution take place in this old lady…” Jake agrees, “Those shows can be, they can be…they’re just so fun, because of the interaction with the crowd and the way we feed off the crowd and back and forth…it’s hysterical and people, you know like I said, going back to the whole Duranie thing, it’s like these people you know, you gotta give them what they deserve.” Its true, we deserve good shows, and this band delivers, each gig being like their own musical happening rather than just a 8 or 10 song set that any cover band could perform.  


The members of this band come from different walks of life. Gil seems to be the most serious musician in the group…he plays nearly every instrument known to man and was self-taught on all of them. (which I have to think comes in very handy when you’re trying to replicate Duran Duran…I should have asked which one handles the Ocarina amongst them…alas, another question for another interview..), whereas Jake and Curt both come from a musical theater background. Danny and Chadwick have both been in previous bands with Jake, although I have also heard a rumor that Chadwick attends med school… a topic I didn’t have a chance to ask about during my time with them. Rio is not their “day job”, although I suspect that if we gave them half a chance and a fraction as much loyalty, they might have a serious shot at making it that way if they so wished.  Gil explains, “We’ve made up a sort of unofficial agreement that we’re just going to have fun with it and not put a lot of pressure on ourselves. If people want to continue to book us, we’ll go.”  


 The most interesting observation came when I saw them do their set during the first show I attended. It is true, the band has work to do in winning the Duranie crowd over as a whole… it is tough to get people like me to come to shows, and when they do, they are skeptical. However, they definitely have their fans. That first night at Saint Rocke, I had the unique vantage point of watching the room fill for their set (which was admittedly short that night).  Not only do people show up, they stake our their spots early. They still want that front row spot right in front of the band member of their choice. They wait, and they swoon when the band arrives. The band seems to have a tradition of inviting the women in the audience to come up on stage with them during Girls On Film…something that would never happen with the real band, and even with Rio – I genuinely worried for their safety the first time I saw it.  I mentioned as much to them during our interview, explaining that from my point of view, the girls fall all over them, as if Jake were really Simon LeBon or if Curt (who does a fine job of drinking wine and taking photos from the stage while playing) were truly Nick Rhodes. Jake slyly grins and says “And so you’re asking why we do it…?”  

Not really so much when you say it that way, no. Point well-taken!


Posting one more time, because I can!

As I touched back down into reality and was escorted back downstairs from my interview, I realized I was no longer feeling as though I was going to suffocate. My nerves had finally settled, and most importantly – my phone really did record the entire interview. There were moments during the interview when I secretly wondered (and prayed to the Duran Gods) that my phone was actually recording. Yep, I’m as smooth and professional as they get, baby! I survived…the band survived, and while I might not have met the original fab five in some back room at the Rum Runner that night, I did meet some of the nicest, most talented men I’ve met since this whole dizzying experience first began. This blogging thing certainly has it’s perks..and maybe someday I’ll have the whole journalist thing nailed too. Well, distant goals are good, anyway.

If you are the least bit intrigued, I encourage you to come join me on Friday night at Romano’s in Riverside as the time machine drops us all of in 1985 for a night. Rio takes the stage for a full set, and I hear it’s going to be quite a show. Drop me a line and let me know you’re coming – I’ll meet you there!


I’ve already done my duty and begged for Secret Oktober…because I must…but I’ll settle for Is There Something I Should Know anytime. 
 

-R


My apologies for not including this yesterday – for more information on Rio, as well as their schedule and a ton of photos, videos and other treats:

Rio’s website: http://www.durandurantributeband.com
Rio on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DDTribute
Rio on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DDTribute


You Can Call Me

As a student of fandom, I find myself constantly thinking about fandom, fans, fan communities and everything that goes with.  Obviously, I feel like I know exactly what fandom is and how it is expressed.  I, especially, know how it is often expressed in our fan community.  Yet, I have realized that there are some parts of our fandom that I have ignored or left out, for the most part.  I don’t have much of an excuse for that other than there are some parts of our fan community that interest me more or that I have more of a connection to.  Now, though, I would like to take a deeper look at some expressions within our fandom.  What are these expressions I’m thinking of?  I am thinking first about the more creative expressions within our fandom.  The people I’m talking about are those fanfiction writers, the people who make new remixes from Duran songs, and the fan artists who create wallpapers/icons/other graphics.  I also wonder about those serious collectors out there along with those people who start or run webpages, message boards, and facebook groups.  So, how do I take the time to really look at these unexamined parts of our fandom?  Simple.  I would like to interview people.  These interviews won’t be long but enough so that I understand better their motivation to express their fandom in this way and then be able to share those motivations with others here on this blog.

On that note, then, I would to ask for volunteers.  I would send you some questions via email or some other format that would work well for you.  Then, you could answer the questions and send those answers back to me.  From there, I would showcase your answers as well as your creative works, if appropriate.  Again, I am looking for fans who define themselves in one of these ways:

*Fanfiction writer
*Remix maker from Duran or Duran related projects
*Fan artist
*Duran collector
*Duran webpage, message board, facebook group owner

Beyond our fandom, though, I want to see how the various elements of fandom that I have learned about functions in other fandoms.  Basically, I want to know what like is really like in other fandoms.  I know that there are elements that appear in every one.  For example, I know that all fandoms and  members of fandoms communicate with each other.  They reach out to talk to other fans.  Yet, I would love to know how and where these communications happen.  Back when I was involved in the fandom surrounding the old TV show, Roswell, our communications happened on message boards, specifically fan fiction message boards and a general fandom message board that had an area on it dedicated to the show.  Therefore, I would to interviews fans in other fandoms and it doesn’t matter if those fandoms are music fandoms or not.  In fact, I would like to interview fans in a variety of fandoms (music, TV, movies, sports, etc.).  Thus, if you are a member of another fandom and would like to do an interview with me, please contact me.  Like the non-focused on fans I referred to above, I would send you some questions and once you send me back your answers, I’ll post them.

If you are interested in helping me with either or both of my causes above, please go ahead and send me an email at dailyduranie@gmail.com.  I can also be found through our facebook or through our twitter.  I’m hoping to learn some things and share what I learn with all of you!

-A

Connections and Love: Michael Des Barres and Carnaby Street

By now, it should be evident that for Amanda and I, the notion of “connectivity” in fandom is rather important. In some ways, connectivity has become somewhat of a thesis statement – our Mode of Operation – our reason for existing. (Well, not OUR reason, but the reason for the blog!) 
Connections do not just occur between a band member and his/her fans, yet on the surface, the possibility or opportunity for those connections may very well be the attraction for participating in a specific fandom. For many, the music is what draws one in, but the relationship that ensues is why one stays. It is delightfully refreshing to see that other artists agree. The relationship between a musician and his/her fans does not NEED to be solely transactional…although very few musicians are genuinely comfortable allowing fans “in”…for very obvious and understandable reasons. 
Michael Des Barres, however, is one of those upper-echelon musicians. Most Duran Duran fans should recognize the name, he was the touring singer for one of the fantastic Duran side projects – Power Station – back in the 1980’s. In addition to being a fantastic front man onstage, Michael is a very accomplished actor, guest-starring in TV shows beginning in the 1960’s in the UK. He is one of the most recognizable and versatile actors on television today, having accumulated a full resume of US shows such as Rockford Files, WKRP in Cincinnati in the 1970’s, Miami Vice and MacGyver in the 1980’s to very recent appearances on NCIS, Bones, and The Finder.  Luckily for MDB fans, he is not a difficult man to find!  Fans are people that Michael seems to treasure, as has alluded as much on a fan-developed  and managed website www.desbarres.com:
“The message that I have to say to fans and friends, and I don’t think of them as fans, I think of them as friends – and they are friends. We should all be friends, and really my belief is in connection and engagement and letting people into your life… and I say it in the briefest possible way – LOVE EVERYONE NOW!”
Michael Des Barres & John Taylor 

Michael doesn’t just say the words, they are put into action. His interactions on Twitter are not just one-way, he genuinely responds to fans on a continual basis. He takes the time to not only read what they are saying, but to engage with them on a personal level. Michael took time to sit down for an interview with Kitty Amsbry to discuss his theories on social media, connecting with fans, and the direction he took with his new album, Carnaby Street.  Kitty Amsbry should be no stranger to any Duran fan out there.   She is recognized as the brilliance behind Gimme a Wristband (www.gimmeawristband.com) and the mastermind behind Michael’s new website, www.mdbimmedia.com, and now she has a brand new title: Chief Media Strategist of MDBimmedia.

 Michael describes his initial tentative steps into social media, … I started to realize if somebody said “I like what you’re doing” I would respond to that. You know, I think that the mistake that people make is that they don’t interact, they put out – they postulate this theory – or this whatever it is, but they don’t respond to the response…”
This is key, and other bands could maybe take note here. As Kitty says herself, “There is no effort to grow”. Good point. There is only so much consumption that one person can do without any sort of response, recognition or interest from the other party. This is why so many Twitterfolk appreciate a RT every now and then – and why it’s become such a huge issue amongst fans.  To be clear, I’m not solely referring to Duran Duran fans. The consumptive culture of Twitter can be found pretty well-pronounced across the board. Rather than using the vehicle for an honest conversation, many times it has become a sort of carrot dangled: look at us, you can talk at us, but we will never, ever respond…unless you’re the most interesting or something spurs us to speak.  So what could have been a true movement towards a real connection between people is now a big dog and pony show in many cases – bring out your best, try to show up anyone else, and maybe then you’ll be the winner of a coveted response. Fine for a fourteen-year old, but a forty-year old? I guess I’m not convinced.
“Give and take. It wasn’t somebody preaching and just wanting his flock to do his bidding. It’s never been that way. Never, never, never…. ‘The Electric Church’ is for everybody…it’s the music really, essentially, and then you build on that, and you get to know each another, and then you build on that, and it’s exactly what happened to me, to have so many people interested, and why the records sold so fast! That’s exactly what I want to happen… is “connection”. I’m saying “Let’s get connected” and I was saying that before I was even realizing what I was saying, and how it could be done you know, I meant emotionally, and then suddenly I realized that that’s what the Internet is, it’s not babbling on with some wacky theory, it’s a place which you use, it doesn’t use you…”
It is difficult to argue with such logic. We’ve said many, many times here on the blog that the music has become the backdrop or the soundtrack to our lives. The fan community has become a very large, somewhat dysfunctional family – but a family all the same.  But how did Michael stumble across such an opportunity to connect with fans?
“From the very beginning when social networks came online came you know, into my life, which I imagine was a little over 3 years ago, I started to realize that I had a lot to say. I said it, and what has happened to me is I had gone through a dreadful accident, and my wrists were like smashed and I couldn’t play guitar, and I couldn’t, you know, physically work out or do anything like that. So I was forced to really go inside into what the fuck is happening, yeah, and I started to write status updates and various things, in various ways, and I started to get a really human, loving response to what I was saying.”
What becomes glaringly obvious is that people SEARCH to connect to other people, no matter whether that person is a celebrity, a rock star or a suburban mom. The beauty happens when synapses can be formed between those connections and the music – because then we’re not all just talking about how great a riff is, but how it completely caught us in the heart. It becomes about something much greater than the sound, and yet – to be certain – the sound and message is exactly what it’s all about.

Michael says something that is interesting to me when referring to the fan community family, “The vehicle for all that communication was Duran Duran, but you know, like for me its Carnaby Street.”  

It is nice to read that somebody out there gets it. As a blogger, it is affirmation that I’m not all alone in this universe, speaking on an empty street-corner with only the sound of leaves blowing past along the pavement to accompany my voice. There may not be many out there that really understand what music really means to diehard fans like myself – but I believe Michael not only understands, but lives the message each day.

Kitty asks Michael if having that connection with fans creates pressure. Pressure to put one’s self out there, pressure to perform, pressure to be someone that he really is not. 
“I can’t even spell the word “pressure”… I’m not interested… I’m not interested in pressure. Stress doesn’t interest me. What interests me is “love” and “Chuck Berry”. You know? I don’t give a fuck about any of that….I’ve been vilified and I’ve been glorified, and both of the routes are absurd. Absurd!! The only person that can give you a “thumbs up” is you. The only person who can really appreciate what you’re doing is you! And everybody else, you know, on a humanistic level you’re over there enjoying what you’re doing but it isn’t the ” be all, the end all”. You are in this to be loved. You’ve got to love yourself first. (If) you can open yourself to what is… and accept what is… your life will change immediately. It’s not as if you have to go through a course and become a Doctor in 12 years. You can say right here, right now, that I’m gonna to open to everything and I’m gonna accept… and I’m talking about the death of a child, I’m talking about, you know, a #1 record, whatever it is, acceptance is the key, there’s no question about it, and forgiveness, and that’s it… and you’ll be fine.”
Michael is way ahead of any of us at this point. Where we are all trying to catch up, learning to be open and accepting of what life may throw our way, Michael continues writing and sees the future albums making their way down the path. His latest effort, the album Carnaby Street, is a celebration of what life offers us.
Michael continues, explaining the consciousness of the album, “This album is a celebratory, and a redemptive album. It’s sticky and it’s hot. Yes it is that…. it’s only because… I mean it’s way too hot and sticky for me to actually live there but what it is… it’s just sensuality really… and I suppose the South, certain states represent that don’t they? I mean in an American sense of, you know, people mopping their brow and summer dresses… you know… swampy… it’s sticky. It’s sensual and it’s honest and they’re very authentic down there you know, there’s no pretense, the musicians in Austin and where I spent a lot of time creating this thing, you know, don’t wanna do a “reality show”… that is absolutely what I felt down there – I was just talking about this – about how Austin really, really changed me… in a way… it brought me back to what I loved in the very beginning of this rock and roll journey. When I was a teenager you know. But I used the thematics of London, and swinging London as kind of a template for the thing, hence the title, but mixed that with the music  from whence British Rock and Roll came, which was from America. And it’s still being playing authentically in places like Austin… Nashville… Atlanta.”
Carnaby Street is just that. It is a combination of all that is that good old Southern heat. It is sticky and sensual and it has a 70s blues swagger that is refreshing to hear after mind-numbing Top 40’s pop for so long. The album takes a good look back without stepping away from good old 2012 or 2013. Amanda and I will be reviewing the album tomorrow – so do yourself a favor, grab a copy and have a good listen so we can compare notes. Luckily for all of us, Michael has autographed copies of the CD available:
http://michaeldesbarres.bandcamp.com/album/carnaby-street-encore-edition-bonus-track

The album is also available via iTunes, Amazon and CDbaby, so do yourself a favor and grab a copy so we can compare notes!

Michael has a couple live dates coming up in the very near future: The Bowery Electric in New York City on March 7th https://www.facebook.com/events/571991999480643/?fref=ts and at SXSW on March 13th https://www.facebook.com/events/479407348773840/?fref=ts with more dates around the country in the works!

We appreciate Kitty and Michael for allowing Daily Duranie the opportunity to work with them on this project – a heartfelt thanks to both of you!!

-R

All quotes from Michael Des Barres taken from a phone interview in 2012, conducted and transcribed by Kitty Ambsry. 

Pixelated Lives

Just when I was pondering what to blog about today, an interview pops up!  This time, it is an interview with Nick featured on the Huffington Post and can be found here.  This is a rather lengthy article in which Nick talks about a variety of topics with many surrounding the upcoming release of TV Mania.  Overall, I enjoyed the article and loved all the different topics that were asked.  I was pleasantly surprised that the questions seemed more intellectual and thought provoking than what a member of Duran usually gets.  While I encourage all of you to read the article, I did want to comment on parts of the interview.

The article discusses how the TV Mania album really represents modern life even though it was recorded in the mid-90s.  The topics of prescription drug use and the internet are still very prevalent in today’s society and might even be more so than was the case almost 20 years ago.  This, of course, fascinates me.  After all, one of the questions many of us have had about the project is will it sound outdated.  This article says the opposite.  That certainly might be the case.  If so, I definitely give Nick and Warren credit for having a clue about which elements of culture would live on and even grew stronger.  That cannot be an easy thing to figure out.  For example, I’m sure that there might have been many songs written about MySpace when it was in its heyday as most people then did not think that any social networking site could overtake it.  Yet, a song about that would seem totally outdated now.  I think it is very dangerous to focus in on something so current.  The topics might seem to be the best thing to talk about do not always last and quickly get to be old news.  Perhaps, one way to not fall into this trap is to surround the current subject of interest around a larger, more universal concept.  It seemed to work with the discussion on New Romantics in Planet Earth, for example.  No one hears that song and thinks, “They talked about a very short-lived musical/fashion era.”  Anyway, Nick referred to the TV Mania album as a “bizarre time capsule”.  It sounds like that truly might be the best description I have heard yet.

Of course, Nick discussed how the project was originally designed to be a musical on Broadway with virtual reality sets.  (By the way, virtual reality is one fad that never seemed to catch on and would seem outdated today.)  This, obviously, didn’t happen but what a concept.  To me, this reminded me that Duran really wasn’t just a band in the usual play music sense.  They always were into the visuals right from the start, including when John had a slideshow of his geography field trip during an early gig.  They are a band that has been and continues to be influenced by art, photography, theater, film, fashion and more.  Part of me definitely wishes that the concept had come to life because it would have been a fascinating show, especially with the plot being scientists performing some sort of study on pharmaceuticals, reality TV and the internet.  Again, those topics remain completely relevant.  Technology has definitely changed our daily lives as this points out.  It has also changed songwriting and music.

One quote of Nick’s that really caught my attention was this one:  “I think the quality of songwriting is what we miss through the convenience of technology.”  This quote came in the same paragraph in which Nick discusses how quickly a song can be written, produced and ready for airplay these days.  His point is that these quickly made songs aren’t inventing anything new and don’t necessarily stand up to time.  While my gut says that Nick is right, I also recognize that I am biased.  I’m not a child of this era.  I grew up in a different time when popular music was written and recorded in a different fashion.  It is possible that I’m just assuming that what is different is bad.  I guess we will all know in 20 years time or so.  

Another part that caught my attention was when Nick commented about how their audiences don’t seem as engaged during their shows anymore due to being concerned about filming it.  Rhonda and I have talked about that very thing on this blog.  One of our favorite shows was one that we actually forgot the cameras in the car.  Was that because our only focus was the show?  Truly, that might be the case.  I know that I don’t take nearly as many pictures as I used to and that my general rule is to take them during specific songs that I don’t want/need to be as focused (coughComeUndonecough) or at moments that I know that I want to capture something specific (usually some crazed new dance move of LeBon’s).  It is interesting that the band, or at least Nick, has noticed a shift in the audience, though.  Does it affect their performance, I wonder?

The last part that caught my attention was the discussion about how anyone can really make an album and release it as opposed to how it was before in which bands/artists had to proof their worth to get an album made.  According to Nick, this makes it more difficult to truly tell the great ones.  I suppose that is true.  It also made me think about John’s comments on the Katy Kafe about how they would like to look for a label for their upcoming album.  Is this part of the mindset?  That it is a way to show that they are greater than the majority of artists out there?  I don’t know. 

While I have commented on quite a bit from this interview, there was a lot more to it.  There were questions about sports, MTV, Duran’s upcoming album and more that I didn’t even mention.  Truly, the interview definitely should be read as it is a solid interview with thought-provoking questions and answers.  I give the interviewer credit.  In general, the questions were well-thought out and not like the usual ones that Duran gets.  There was a maturity and a level of respect that I don’t often see.  I know that I appreciated it.

-A

She’s an Author, She’s a Duranie…She’s Karen Booth!

Anyone who understands the most basic reasons behind the existence of Daily Duranie should recognize that Amanda and I love being fans. Yes, we love being fans of the band. That should be obvious by now. More importantly…and no offense intended to the band…we have thoroughly enjoyed meeting fellow fans along the way, and in turn that has enhanced our fan experience. One personal goal of mine in the past several months has been to try to somehow spotlight fans in the community that have taken the enthusiasm and interest that they’ve had as fans and somehow transformed that into a career. One of the people I’ve met along the way also happens to be a published author, which for me, equates to being heroic! Not only is Karen Booth an author, but she is also a Duranie and…I’m proud to say she is my friend. Karen agreed to be my second guinea pig for an interview, and after doing some chatting…after all, we are friends…we got down to business. 
January 20th saw the release of a new book written by Karen. Bring Me Back is a novel about a single 40-something journalist named Claire who just happens to have a favorite band in her past. Claire has a daughter she has raised alone, she has a career, and now she’s facing the opportunity of a lifetime to interview the bass player of her dreams. Simply put, the book asks the question “What would happen if someone you idolized in your adolescence poked his/her head up out of the sand 20 years later into your own life? What would you do? How would that relationship look?”

As Karen puts it, “I do think there are a lot of different things that women in their 30s and 40s can relate to, whether it’s related to motherhood or career or love. I did like the idea that Christopher had lived in her head that whole time—even the years when she didn’t give him a thought, he was still there. So how does this person you were once obsessed with suddenly pop back into your head?”

I can probably speak for all of us with wide-eyed innocence, “Gosh, I have no idea!” The curious thing is that one might assume the reunion – Duran Duran’s reunion of the “Fab Five” that is – spurned the writing of this book.

“Totally accidental”, Karen replies. “In fact, I didn’t start revisiting the band until the first draft was done. It wasn’t like I was listening to Duran the whole time I was writing it, not at all.”

Karen finally gave into the urge to put the story on paper after overseeing her family’s home rebuilt after a fire in the summer of 2008.

“After we were back in our house, kids settled, everything was furnished, I was sort of like ‘Now what?’ So I decided that I would do something for myself and TRY to write this book. I didn’t tell anybody, I just sat down and started writing. I fully expected I would get stuck after a dozen pages or so, but the exact opposite happened. It was like discovering this whole new part of me that I didn’t even know existed. Awakening a sleeping giant, if you will.”

Yeah…I wouldn’t know anything about that at all, right?

Perhaps this sounds a lot like fan fiction. So many fans have written of similar fantasies – one of those “chance meetings” after many years. Bring Me Back isn’t fan fiction though, as Karen puts me straight, “it is it’s own story, far outside the band. The (Duran Duran) reunion was a happy surprise for me.”

I agree. While there might be elements of, say, certain band members we might all recognize, and perhaps tidbits that a fan may find familiar, Christopher Penman is his own man…although we can all certainly wish to see a bit of ourselves in Claire.

Karen expands on this, “I think it’s a case of being able to make it whatever you want it to be. I want the reader to feel the thrill that Claire gets from the experience, but it still belongs to Claire.  She is the one who Christopher falls for.” 

In many cases, fan fiction is different in that respect.  Often (but not always) it is written in such an way that any fan could find herself (or himself) in the role of female role (or male role, should that be the case).  Even as I read this book, although I might have chuckled in delight or smiled at the excitement that Claire felt, I never felt as though I was supposed to “be” Claire. The story belongs to Claire. Even so, I felt as though I needed to ask if Karen was a fan fiction aficionado.

 “I’ve read one or two Twilight fan fiction pieces, but they were written by people who are both fan and writer. Actually, my daughter has written fan fiction about some of the Japanese boy bands that she likes, I’ve read those.”

The bottom line is that while the premise of the book is loosely based on a similar thread as the fandom that many of us have experienced for Duran Duran, only the most detail-oriented of fans will catch some of the morsels of fandom that is sewn with love into fabric of the story. One of the things I enjoyed most in the book was recognizing those small little “Easter Eggs”.

On a personal note, I read the book in one sitting. I couldn’t put the book down, to be honest. Karen perks up whenever she hears that (and I happen to know she’s gotten a lot of very nice reviews and comments on Amazon!),

“That’s been so much fun this week, getting tweets and emails from people as they spot the little Duranie moments in the book. This is the first time I’ve had a book instantly resonate with readers. The fact that people bought it the day it came out and were reading it in a single sitting just blows me away. It makes me really happy, but I never expected that. The thing is, I wrote a book I wanted to read, and I think that’s part of the reason that it resonates with people, that people have a hard time putting it down. I wrote for myself, which makes me a part of my audience – it’s all very natural.” 

Let’s just be honest, shall we? Who would NOT want to be the female main character in this book? Most fans – of any kind (Look away, members of Duran Duran, look away!!) – have moments of fantasy like this at some point. 

Exactly!” Karen continues, “That was it – make this dream scenario, make it as real as possible, hopefully put the reader as close as possible to the woman who gets to live it.”  So how did the idea for the book come about?  Well, as some of the best books happen…it came in a dream. “The premise did come from a dream that I had about JT, a dream that I had as an adult and as a fan who was definitely removed from the band at that point. I had an 18-month old. I’d been out of music for a while.”

When Karen says she’d been “out of music for a while”…she speaks the truth. This is no ordinary Duranie. Oh no. This woman had a career in the music industry at one point. She knows what goes on backstage, and sadly from what I’ve been told, it’s not nearly as glamorous as I’d hoped! Alas…   Karen was gainfully employed after college at Twin/Tone Records in Minnesota as an intern. Eventually met her husband, who was also working in the industry, and moved on to Mammoth Records in North Carolina. 

Karen says, “I did everything there – marketing, website development, merchandising, but the job I held the longest was Film and Television licensing.” 

As a result, Karen has seen the underbelly of the industry, something that normal fans probably don’t have the opportunity to witness.  Motherhood brought a major career change for Karen, along with what most moms know to be an identity crisis.

“…none of our friends had kids and my girlfriends still had their jobs or careers and I was staying home with our daughter.” I can relate to this 100%. “No one tells you how boring it can be, and that sounds awful, but there are only so many hours a grown woman can play Barbies.”  

AMEN.

This was the first book Karen’s that she completed, although it is the fourth published. What continues to fascinate me about Karen is that she is also a writer of “Romantica”, a cross between Romance and Erotica – get it? Karen seems so normal, and yet there’s this whole side of her that has no trouble spending hours perfecting the description of a hand job or even a shower scene. I feel as though I should high-five her for such triumphs, but that might be creepy and/or weird, and I really like Karen…so I stick to the basics. I asked if she hopes to write more in this genre and less Romantica.

“I would prefer to write books like Bring Me Back because I like the idea of borrowing from different genres. I enjoy writing the steamier books as well, but writing sex scenes is incredibly taxing on the brain.”

Oh, I’ll just bet. I would imagine it’s akin to breaking each movement down into tiny processes. Takes the organic nature right out of it, and we just can’t have that, can we?

“It’s so much harder than people realize and there are a lot of guidelines you have to follow. Interesting that sometimes people view writing more of a sexual nature to be a ‘lesser art form’, but it’s incredibly difficult.”

I’m still stuck on the whole “guidelines” comment – I mean, who knew that there were actually rules and guidelines to writing about sex, but I shake myself out of my own head in time to ask if that makes Romantica more difficult than the genre of Bring Me Back…which really doesn’t fit into any one specific genre. 

“Romantica stories are shorter, so in some ways that’s easier. I guess the thing that is rewarding for me about writing a book like Bring Me Back is adding the layers to the story, the small threads that run throughout the book. I always enjoy that when I’m reading, and that’s why I like to do it when I write.”

The most exciting part of this interview, well, for me anyway, was hearing that she’s writing a SEQUEL.

“I have outlined the sequel and contracted it. It will come out in February of 2014.”  

This is great news for me, as I’ve sat up during certain times in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping and thought, “Gosh, I wonder what Christopher Penman is up to? Will Banks Forest ever come out with another album? Has he married Claire?” Now you all know when I come up with some of my more stranger blog ideas…. I can’t wait to read the sequel, and part of me wonders (the really sick and twisted part) if Karen’s new book will come out before Duran Duran’s next album.  Hmm.

I think you all know where I’d bet my money.
-R

An Interview with Dom Brown, Part 3

We’re almost sad to begin this post. Interviewing Dom was a lot of fun, and once again we need to say thank you for his time, efforts and extreme patience with our questions!

As most fans realize, every band member has a life beyond the stage. In today’s blog we spend a little time getting to know a little bit more about Dom – after the DoJo (as opposed to JoSi, you see…), after the screaming fans (like us) go home.

Daily Duranie: Aside from your family, what is the one thing you miss most from home while you are on tour?

Dom Brown:  PG Tips tea bags…I never take enough with me on the road! Oh, and it’s hard to find a good curry!


Daily D: OK, so you’re at home after a long tour. What have you been up to since we last saw you?

Dom: Well, the first thing I did was spend a few, much longed for, days relaxing with the family at home. I have just moved into a new recoding studio that I am very excited about. That took a few weeks to set up and settle into and now I’m into writing and recording for various projects.


Daily D: If you weren’t a musician, what do you think you would have done for a career? 


Dom: I would love to have been involved in making films.


Daily D: We’ve read that you got your first guitar at 13 – are you completely self-taught or did you take lessons? 


Dom: Yes, I was 13 and I had about 5 lessons initially with a teacher called Ray Major. Other than that I am totally self-taught, though I did have some jazz lessons as part of my music diploma.


Daily D: So about that diploma… what kind of music did you study?  


Dom: Yes, I studied popular music with recording and opted for the 2 year diploma.


Daily D: Do you have a “go-to” guitar? You know, the first one you grab whenever you’re sitting down and that sort of thing? 


Dom: Yes, my 1963 Fender Strat is a beauty!


Daily D: How would you describe yourself musically?  I know the blues were a big influence, but what else?  How would you describe your playing style? 


Dom: I consider myself to be versatile and eclectic. Rock was my first real live while at school, followed by an obsession with blues, funk and jazz at college. I tend to go through phases where I put a lot of heart and energy into a particular artist and do become quite obsessed with them for an intense period. Some examples are: initially Pink Floyd, Led Zep and AC/DC, followed by Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, James Brown, then Bowie Prince and the Beatles, then Jeff Buckley, who was probably the last artist that truly blew me away.



Daily D: We heard you were living in the states for a while, how long ago and why?  

Dom: I did love my time living in LA in the mid 90’s as a young striving musician. I played most of the LA clubs but really loved the atmosphere at the Troubadour.  

Daily D: Do you think that you have a favorite band or musician in the same way that the Duran fans love the band? (For example, you would drop everything to go and see them play. Maybe even fly across an ocean…)

Dom: Not really now, but in the past most definitely.  Some of the artists I mentioned above.

Daily D: The Social Media question. Twitter and Facebook – do you love them or hate them?

Dom: I think they are great social medias, and I wish I could get more involved and spend more time but for some reason I just can’t make it a major habit.

Daily D: Most fans have probably noticed the tattoo of your daughter’s name on your arm.  Do you have others?  

Dom: I have Floyd, my son’s name, on my right shoulder…that’s all. 

Daily D: What do you like to do when you’re not working – which we see isn’t very often!  

Dom: Reading, watching box sets, movies and eating great food.  Also going for family walks and of course going on family holidays.

Daily D: One last question before we leave you in peace…what do you have planned for over the winter holidays?  

Dom: Not really much other than staying warm, eating and drinking to excess, trying to have as much fun as possible and spoiling the kids.

That sounds a lot like the holidays most fans probably have planned!! Thank you very, very much Dom and we hope you and your family have wonderful holidays – we look forward to hearing more from you in 2013!!

We also need to send out a special thank you to Katy Krassner, who helped coordinate the timing for this blog and was also very patient with our constant “Can we post the interview yet?”  love notes. It takes a lot of coordinating to make the news funnel from Duran Duran to the rest of the world – their fans and the various media outlets – work properly and smoothly, so we really do thank Katy for everything she does.

As we said, this was our first interview. Never once did either of us ever consider the possibility of actually interviewing someone in the band when we began this blog, and we won’t lie – it was very exciting to have this opportunity. We found that we really are not journalists, and we know we missed asking about a thousand things that other people might have asked. As I (Rhonda) read and edit this final interview segment, I find myself saying “Why didn’t I ask ______?  How stupid of me!!” So, if you’re saying that too, we’re sorry. Live, learn and apply the knowledge for the next one if we should ever be so lucky, right?  

We’ve been bursting at the seams for literally months now, in anticipation of publishing this interview, and we hope that all of you enjoyed our little gift to you for 2012. We have huge hopes for 2013, beginning with a much more peaceful planet. We believe that we can all agree on that.  

Oh, and we’ll catch you on the other side of this whole “End of the world on 12-21-12″….

-A & R

Once again, all photography is copyright Daily Duranie (Rhonda Rivera). That curse we mentioned?  Seriously.  

An Interview with Dom Brown, Part 2

Day two of our interview with Dom Brown brings a discussion of his career outside of Duran Duran. There’s much to learn from Dom.  He is a multi-faceted guitarist with a wide-breadth of musical experience. We would suggest that before anyone decides that Dom is only a session musician take a good listen to his solo work, available from his website.

Quoting from the biography on his website, www.dombrown.com

Dom Brown has made music his life. After college he set up a band, with his father, Rob Brown of Gets/z Loose, stepping in as lead vocalist. Dom’s dynamic stage persona developed alongside the extraordinary and bizarre performance style of the older Brown. Together they trawled the London funk and blues circuit, while Dom immersed himself in the raw intensity of the great blues and R&B artists. 

Singing was the obvious next step and soon became a passion. Fronting a new band, he toured round Britain and found great success in France, where he played several major festivals, concerts in Paris, and got regular radio airplay. Then he took his songs to the US, got some local musicians on board, and made a name for himself playing at top LA clubs (the Whiskey, Roxy, Troubadour etc). His songs, performance, and guitar style had a twist and an edge that always separated him from other artists in the blues/rock genre.


Back in London, Dom was very much in demand as a session player, and worked with several major label artists. 


Dom’s main love is songwriting, and he has never stopped. He fuses singer-songwriter intimacy with electrifying guitar intensity. Though his music still retains a blusey sensibility, Dom has moved on from the traditional blues/rock genre, becoming more experimental and developing a unique and original style.”  


Upon first glance, Dom’s background would seem light years away from what fans have come to know as Duran’s style. It isn’t until one spends time and inclination to listen with a fine-tuned ear to Dom’s solo work that it becomes easy to distinguish what Dom brings to the Duran Duran turntable. 

It is fair to say that most Duran Duran fans are not necessarily blues enthusiasts. Many may not understand a 12-bar blues progression; and still more may not recognize that rock and roll, and most certainly rhythm and blues (R&B) really draws from those blues beginnings.  (Hence the “BLUES” in R&B!) This is no reason to overlook or underestimate Dom’s talent.  Take his most recent album from his band Blue to Brown – you can hear the same signature slide guitar that is found at the beginning of Girl Panic, and it is easy to differentiate many of the stylistic guitar riffs that one might hear playing a modified tug-of-war with Nick’s synthesizers on the album. These styles and sounds should not be unfamiliar to Duran fans. 

One of the reasons we jumped at the opportunity to present this interview to fellow fans was because we knew that much could be shared and learned about Dom Brown. It is true, he is not an original member of the band. We cannot rewrite history, and we wouldn’t even want to try. It is also true, he follows some extremely talented and well-loved guitar players and had ginormous shoes to fill. However, after eight years, it is time to get to know Dom for who he really is, rather than judging him on who he is not. He is not Andy Taylor. He is not Warren Cuccurullo. Get to know Dom Brown. Embrace him. (Well, maybe not literally!)

Dom Brown on his Career:

Daily Duranie: What is your most favorite song to play live? Not a Duran Duran song, but from your own work.  

Dom Brown: Possibly ‘Queen of Spades’ – that is originally a Robert Johnson song, but in my band Blue to Brown we have done a unique version. I start playing the intro to Red House, by Hendrix, and then my dad comes in with the lyric to QOS… it’s a blues progression but we always take it somewhere vastly different every night.

Daily D: We see that you are planning to re-release Blue To Brown in Februrary of 2013, with the plan being to capitalize on more PR now that you have some more time to devote to promotion. What are the plans between now and March when you go back into the studio with Duran Duran? 

Dom: Unfortunately Dec 8th has been cancelled (A Blue to Brown gig) but we will have shows early in the new year… just waiting (for) confirmation.

Daily D: How did you become a session musician, and was that something that you envisioned yourself doing forever? There must be positives and negatives to session work as opposed to being in a band.

Dom: I originally wanted to be part of an amazing and very well known, popular band but having come close to that with several projects and not getting the lucky break, I really kind of fell into session work. It originally began as a way of earning a living and a means of survival. I did accept this and began enjoying it for what it is.

Daily D: When you are songwriting – what is your approach? Do you go into the studio and jam until you find something that sticks or do you only write when you have an inspiration? Do you know how to write/read music? 

Dom: It depends on whether I am writing alone or collaborating. For example with Duran, we begin by jamming until we find something that gels and sounds fresh and exciting, then the song is developed from there. I have written songs with the lyric first or sometimes just a rough melody. Most often though it begins with a riff or motif or a set of chords that I have found interesting to play around with. I do read music very slowly as it’s something I never need to do. I studied a bit whilst at college but I learnt to play the guitar before learning to read music. 

Daily D: The lyrics on Touch the Flames seem to be incredibly personal. Do you tend to draw your lyrical inspiration from your personal life and events that have happened along the way?  

Dom: Yes, that particular album does reflect what I was going through personally around that time. That was also around the Buckley phase and I must have been influenced by his style of writing that is very personal.




Daily D: How long did it take to write and record Touch the Flames and Between the Lines?  The writing and producing are incredibly different on each album. Touch the Flames listens more like a love story…and Between the Lines seems just a touch more raw, maybe even a bit more mature actually. 

Dom: Well TTF took probably over a year to write and record as it was the first time that I’d engineered and produced my own record, so there was a learning curve there. I guess there is a theme of love and relationships in there… well spotted! BTL was recorded much faster as I’d learnt and developed a lot of the techniques by then and I think it comes across more raw sounding due to that reason and that a lot of the songs were recorded with everyone playing together at the same time.

Daily D: What is your new studio like? 

Dom: The studio is fantastic and I’m mainly using (it) to record material that I am co-writing for my publishers, Perfect Songs. I am also getting a few paid bookings where I’m hired to record and produce. I am juggling so many different projects down there at the moment and have a lot of unfinished tracks that I’m looking forward to finishing. I feel very lucky as I have found a really great space with two separate rooms all to myself… everyone who has visited so far has said how much they love the relaxed atmosphere and environment there.

Daily D: If you could collaborate on any of your own work with any musician, who would you choose and why? 

Dom: This changes a lot but right now David Bowie, Prince or Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age.

Daily D: Do you prefer playing live or writing/recording? 

Dom: They are totally different experiences with very different rewards. I love the feeling of playing live when everything is gelling and the band and audience are as one. It’s also amazing when a new song or idea that I feel is special comes to fruition.

Daily D: I’ve read that you got your first guitar at 13 – are you completely self-taught or did you take lessons? 

Dom: Yes I was 13 and I had about 5 lessons initially with a teacher named Ray Major. Other than that I am totally self taught, though I did have some jazz lessons as part of my music diploma.

We encourage our readers to get to know Dom – Blue to Brown is currently available, as are Dom’s solo albums, Touch the Flames and Between the Lines, from Dom’s website.  We believe your ears will thank us!!

Stay with us, tomorrow we will bring our interview with Dom to a close…and hey, if the Mayans were right, we’re happy to end the blog on a great note!  Our timing is pretty brilliant!

-A & R

The top photograph is copyright Daily Duranie(Rhonda Rivera). The curse still stands. Please don’t use our photos without permission. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Interview with Dom Brown, Part 1

For quite some time now, we have been keeping quite a secret from the rest of you. (Trust us, it was not easy!) We have been working on a super-special/super-secret interview with Dom Brown, done over a few weeks this fall. This is Daily Duranie’s first interview, ever…and we’re very proud to be able to share this as our holiday gift to all of you. Dom was extremely kind and patient to grant us this kind of time, and we send him huge thanks, we really cannot thank him enough for trusting us with such a task.  Yes, we write a blog, but we’re fans like all of you.  
Before we jump into the interview, let’s talk a little bit about Mr. Dominic Brown. He first began playing guitar for Duran Duran during the Astronaut tour in December of 2004, by our math, he’s been with the band for eight years now. Time flies! Prior to Duran Duran, Dom was a session musician, working with artists such as Liam Gallagher, Lionel Ritchie, Go West, Take That, Andrea Bocelli and Reba McEntire among many others.  Even with such an illustrious resume, when Dom first took to the stage with Duran Duran, it is doubtful that many fans knew who he was, only that he was (at the time) standing in for an ailing Andy. We would venture to guess that for at least the beginning of his Duran Duran tenure, most fans didn’t notice he was there – only that Andy was not. 
For ourselves (Amanda and Rhonda), it was a moment at the Sears Center show in 2006 that made us realize Dom was the right guitarist for this band. Just days prior, it was announced by the band that Andy would not be returning. After having mini-breakdowns at home, by the time we arrived at the show that evening, we were curious as to how the show would go. Would there be mention of his absence? Probably not. Would Dom take on a larger role – would he simply assume the part of guitarist was his? We didn’t know for sure, but felt certain this show would speak volumes. (Our over-thinking began WAY before this blog ever came along!) That night, we watched the movements of the band, waiting for some sort of sign of what was to come. The sign wasn’t one of an overconfident guitar player ready to step into someone else’s shoes with vigor, but rather someone who knew and understood the finer intricacies of the situation at hand. He had a job to do, but he also must have realized he had to sell himself very slowly to the fan base. He tread very lightly, staying in the shadows when appropriate, and stepping into the spotlight only when coaxed by other band members. It was as though Dom recognized just how difficult the night was for not only the band, but the fans as well.
Later that same weekend, we had a surprise for Dom as he stepped out on stage in New Orleans for the Voodoo Festival. Along with signs for the rest of the band, we had made one especially for him. Given the fact that we’d nearly been crushed to death several times during the sets for other bands, it’s a miracle any of the signs we’d created actually made it! We tried to wave the sign several times during the show, but to no avail – Dom was so used to standing in the background, playing his part and exiting the stage that he didn’t see the sign. It was John and Simon that saw our sign at the end of the night and excitedly tried to get Dom’s attention. We still scream for Dom!  (Perhaps one of us slightly more than the other…)

Dom has been egoless when it comes to his role in the band, taking care to remain out of the spotlight before Andy’s departure was made official, and allowing his presence to grow naturally on the fan base. His efforts did not go unnoticed. Fans have been able to watch his gradual transformation from a stand-in guitarist to band member, and during the latest tour we heard many a squealing fan (besides ourselves) during the numerous “DoJo” moments on stage.

Yes, yes we really did give those moments a name, and we know we weren’t the only ones screaming when they happened. Admit it!  So with no further adieu, we give you our interview with Dom Brown. Today we’ll begin by talking about his tenure with the band, followed by some discussion tomorrow of his career outside of the band, and finally, a little bit of a peek into his personal life. Enjoy!!

Dom Brown on DURAN DURAN  

Daily Duranie: How long did it take you to learn Duran Duran’s music and be comfortable enough so that if they decided to play Secret Oktober, New Religion or something else one night it was not a problem? How long did it take you to feel comfortable enough playing that you felt like you could make the songs your own instead of just playing them exactly as written? 

Dom Brown: Initially I had to learn 20 songs in 2 days for my first ever Duran show. That’s not a lot of time, so I pretty much had to learn as closely to the originals as possible. Over time I became more comfortable and could integrate and interpret with my own style and I hope that comes across. I am a strong believer in keeping to the original spirit of the song as much as possible. The guys will often drop in a new song or something that’s not been played for awhile without much notice… keeps me on my toes!

Daily D: Do you have any particular way you prepare to go on stage? Practice or warm-up beforehand? We have heard that you, John and Roger have jam sessions – is that before every show? Do you find time to practice at home when you’re not touring?

Dom: When touring, I try and find time in the day to run over new songs, but I also write when I can in my hotel room. John, Roger and I jam before every show and it’s a great way to get in the mood.  We have been recording those jams and hopefully some of the ideas will make it to the new album. Home is the same though I tend to spend more time writing and learning about recording techniques these days.

Daily D: Now that you’ve toured quite a bit, do you have a favorite type of venue that you like to play, and why?

Dom: That’s a tough one to answer…and I think the answer is no, as there are pros and cons to playing all different types. I love performing at large open-air events like the Hyde Park show we played at this summer to 80,000 people, for the sheer magnitude. I love the O2 Arena type venues. Then smaller venues like for example Chicago Theatre, that is a beautiful, old, ornate room steeped in so much history.  I do also love playing in intimate venues that only hold a couple of hundred people…but there are so many factors that make up a perfect night on stage.


Daily D: What do you think has surprised you the most out of touring with Duran Duran?

Dom: I am surprised that considering the amount of time we all spend together, I have never really seen any obvious tension between the guys and this makes the whole process so much easier. We all travel on the same private jets and pretty much stay at the same hotels.

Daily D: What do you like most about being on the road?

Dom: Visiting totally new places and tasting the different cultures. With Duran we do get to visit some exotic and beautiful places. 


Daily D: One question we have always wanted to ask the band is about being a fan. Do you think that now you’ve been on the other side of fandom – being the object of fandom rather than a fan yourself – that you could go back to being just a fan?  Can you still be start struck in the presence of one of your influences or idols, or do you think that whole thing changes once you’ve been famous yourself?

Dom: No, I still get a bit jittery around certain stars.

Daily D: We have to ask since we’re currently reading his book as part of our book club discussion – do you own a copy of John’s book, and have you read it yet?

Dom: I have a signed copy yes, and I have literally just finished reading it.  I was proud and touched to have such kind words spoken about me!  It’s a very interesting book and I did learn a few new things about John. 

Be sure to check in tomorrow for the second part to our interview with Dom as we talk a little about his career outside of Duran Duran!

-A & R

All photography is copyright of Daily Duranie (Rhonda Rivera).  Please do not use these photos without our permission. They’re cursed.

No really, they are. 

John on Film!

If any of you are like me, you probably have been struggling to keep up with all of the media surrounding John Taylor’s book release.  Thus, I thought rather than dive into a deep subject today, it would be better to compile some of those media appearances.  Of course, I’m a chatty one so I might offer a comment or two after each clip.  I’m hoping, though, that you will want to add your own comments as well!  For the purpose of this blog, I will be focusing solely on the video clips one can find online.  If you know where to find the radio clips, I would be happy to put those up as well.  If you would like a full list of media and I know you do, you can find it on dd.com

1.  All About John Taylor’s In the Pleasure Groove:

I absolutely ADORE this.  I love seeing John look through Duran artifacts from the past as well as his diary.  As someone with a history degree and experience in museums and archives, what I wouldn’t do to be able to run a museum or archive just related to Duran Duran.  Think about the various exhibits I could include!  The possibilities are endless!  *sigh*

2.  CNN:

The biggest thing that stood out for me on this interview clip was the comments surrounding teenage fans.  He mentioned how the attention he got was attention he was “uncomfortable with”.  I can’t even begin to imagine how much of a “curse” some of this attention was and still can be.  As he stated, he loved teenaged fans in the concert hall but not right outside his house.  I would assume the same would be true of his middle-aged fans.  On a different note, I smirked when he talked about how all guys fancy themselves a little like James Bond.  This always reminds me of when I sent him James Bond socks during the 2006 Church of the Bass God birthday socks package.  🙂

3.  The Today Show:  Click Here

I noticed two things during this clip.  First, the interviewer mentioned that the book was not a tell-all.  I will wait to comment on this statement for the Book Club discussions on Mondays.  It is something I hope we discuss, though.  Second, both John and the interviewer stressed loneliness.  It is hard to imagine being surrounded by people and being lonely but…as someone who battles with loneliness from time to time, I know how devastating of an emotion it can be.

4.  The Couch:  Click Here

First, I love that John talks about his experience being a fan in the book.  Obviously, this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart.  Then, while watching this clip and hearing John talk about his dad’s experience as a Prisoner-in-War, I couldn’t help but to think about what my sister does for a living.  She is an Oral Historian and documents people’s lives through them telling their stories.  John’s dad would have been a perfect candidate for this.

5.  Big Morning Buzz on VH1:  Click Here

This clip was hard for me as the interviewer just rubbed me the wrong way.  She was everything that bothers me about female interviewers with Duran as she was giggly, asked silly questions and talked about how she was such a fan.  Anyway…I wish that she didn’t go over JUST the “juiciest” parts of the book.  There is so much more to John and his story than just getting the legal age while touring or having fans want to exchange bodily fluids with him.  Ugh.

6.  Associated Press: 

John makes a really good point here.  This is HIS perspective and his experience.  As he points out, Nick’s perspective would be very different as would Simon’s.  The other thing I liked in this clip is that they showed modern footage as well as the classic clips.

Bonus clips:  Siruis XM

I enjoyed these clips very much.  I thought most of the fan questions were well-done and John gave interesting and thoughtful responses because of that.  I can only hope that the reading I’m going to will be just as worthy of praise.

-A

Winter Marches On (Ok, so it’s barely Autumn….)

Is it just me or does summer feel like it was a long time ago…and next summer seems like a mirage out in the distance?

Stay with me here, I’m not talking about the weather, of course. Today in SoCal is pretty much the very first “rainy” day we’ve had in, well…many months.  I’m actually in long sleeves AND enclosed shoes!!! (I am an admitted flip-flop wearer. Style be damned. I’m casual and I like it!) Thank goodness for my grey Chuck Taylors.  I’m talking about the band, of course.

Today I read a great little interview on John Taylor in Guitar World magazine. Haven’t read it yet?  Let me do you the favor of passing it on right here. (Guitar World)  John explains why he wrote the book, why he chose to do it now, and what’s coming up next for the band…which has the rest of the Duraniverse, myself included, on the edge of our seats.  We know they’re headed back into the studio to work with Mark Ronson again in March of 2013, and that is great news. Mark seems to know how to give the band the confidence they need in order to own their own place, and that in turn is the recipe for the band creating their best work.  Synergy can be powerful once placed in the right hands.

March.

I’m not going to lie.  I’m a fan just like the rest of you.  I want to hear news from working on the album tomorrow because that’s what keeps me going.  I want our book done tomorrow, too. That just isn’t possible…on all counts…and we know that.  They finished the tour just what – six weeks ago or so? I suppose it does seem a bit like a slave driver to start cracking the whip just yet, so I will refrain. No really, I promise!

It’s really no better where I sit. My schedule is crazy, Amanda’s schedule is even worse. We’re talking about meeting somewhere and shutting ourselves in a hotel room until our book is done. (Ok, really just for a weekend – but I like the idea of not coming out until it’s done.  My husband though?  Not so much!)  So on that note, I can understand how this works.  I also completely understand the excitement of being a fan, missing the band, wanting new music, and continuing the journey – because that’s what this is really all about, isn’t it?

However, there was another sentence in that interview that continues to give me a small ray of hope.  A little something about touring in the summer…

I tweeted a little note to Duran Duran HQ this morning.  Let’s begin the chant, shall we?  Repeat after me: Summer. Shows.  I love those words, do the rest of you?  Let’s make them work for us.  Let’s keep that little ray of sunshine going through what might very well be a long winter.

-R