Category Archives: John Taylor


Apparently, John Taylor was one busy guy on twitter yesterday.  I came home after meeting colleagues for a few drinks to discover a TON of tweets from the Bass God himself.  After grumbling about how I’m never home when he is tweeting, I got a snack and sat down to read what he had to say.  Obviously, I wasn’t that excited by a lot of his tweets but I did notice some of them, for sure!

The first thing I always look for in John’s tweets is news about the band and he did not disappoint on this front.  He mentioned that he would be meeting up with the other guys next weekend.  (Did he mean this weekend, July 30th, or next weekend, August 6th?!)  He was also asked about US tour dates that we had all been hearing rumors of but have seen no evidence of.  His statement was that he had dinner with their agent and that they would be announced soon.  Okay.  So, there are tour dates.  Good to know.  Of course, there is a big part of me that wonders about Simon.  Will he be able to sing at shows?  Do we know that for sure?  Are they waiting to announce until they do know for sure?  How will they know for sure?  Then, of course, I wonder about when these dates will be.  People need sometime to plan and venues certainly need to book well in advance.  They really can’t wait too long if these dates are going to be in September/October. 

Beyond the current Duran news, I noticed a few questions about Andy and a few questions about music.  I have to admit that I was surprised by the questions about Andy.  People wanted to know if he missed Andy (said he did), what he thought about his parts (liked them) and whether or not there is discussion about Andy rejoining the band (none).  I can understand fans thinking about Andy and even missing Andy as many fans really think of Duran as the Fab Five.  Yet, I also wonder how many times John gets asked questions about him.  It seems like he gets more questions about Andy than he does about Warren, for example.  It also seems to me that nothing is going to change on that front.  Andy isn’t rejoining the band, but neither is Warren.  Duran is what it is now.  That said, I think it is natural for fans to want to know about Duran’s past, which is probably why someone asked about RCM.  The question there was about John disliking RCM.  His response was that he never said that he didn’t like that album.  Here’s the thing about that question:  John may or may not like that album or any other album Duran has done but he isn’t going to say that he doesn’t like it even if he does.  He still wants to sell copies of it and who would buy an album that the artist himself doesn’t like?  Interestingly enough, he later stated that he didn’t like music that was “soulless contrived bullshit”, which I thought was interesting since that is what RCM represented to a lot of people. 

Beyond the Duran or music related questions, I noticed some questions about religion/faith, addiction, swear words, and gay marriage.  I’m always fascinated by these types of questions.  I definitely understand wanting to get an insight into John’s thinking and opinions.  As a John fan, I want to know as much as I can about the guy.  That said, I’m always sort of uncomfortable by these questions.  They seem too personal or too far removed from his job, his role.  Plus, I always worry about fan reactions to his answers.  What if his opinion on gay marriage is the exact opposite of the person who asked the question?  What if his religious ideas are very different from yours?  Is he in danger of offending people?  Yeah, I think he is.  I always feel like he can’t win with these questions.  It makes me wonder how he decides which questions to answer.  Does he just look at the next question or does he pick out ones that he likes?  It also makes me wonder what kind of questions fans should ask.  Should we really ask personal questions?  Do we have a right to?  Yes, I realize that there is freedom of speech.  I’m not arguing that.  Of course, we can ask whatever we want.  He can answer whatever we want.  But should we ask whatever we want, even if it personal?  Should we put him in a position to feel like he has to answer something that is beyond his job?  I don’t have the answer to these questions.  It is just something I think about after this twitter sessions.  It is food for thought.


Challenge Update:  Day 14 (Favorite performance clip) Results
There were many great performance clips chosen!  The most popular ones were Wild Boys from Working for the Skin Trade, Come Up and See Me (Make Me Smile) from Hammersmith, Save a Prayer for Amnesty International in ’87, All She Wants Is from Hong Kong ’89 (JoSi!!!!), and Late Bar from Songbook.  If you haven’t seen these clips, I suggest that you check them out.  Good, good stuff!!!

John Taylor: Solo Artist

Before I dive into today’s blog topic, I did want to comment, briefly, on yesterday’s challenge question.  The question was:  Worst storyline in a song or video.  Interestingly enough, the answers were all over the board.  In fact, I wouldn’t say that there was one song/video that “won” the challenge.  Some of the answers that were given multiple times were:  Shotgun, New Moon on Monday, Is There Something I Should Know, Falling Down, Electric Barbarella, Someone Else Not Me, Violence of Summer, Skin Trade and All She Wants Is.  Interesting!

Today’s and tomorrow’s questions focus on John Taylor.  Today’s question is:  Best John song or video.  In answering this question, many people want to know if it must be a solo song/video or one with Duran.  Obviously, we have taken every answer.  That said, I would love to know people’s favorites of his solo career.  It was fairly clear in the responses that many people have not heard much, if any, of his solo stuff.  This, of course, could be the topic of the blog in itself as it seems to me that some fans dive in with much intensity and drive  in order to find everything related to their favorite whatever and others don’t.  Bet you all could guess which type of fan I am?!  😉

It seems to me that John’s work still gets a truly varied response.  Some people love it simply because it’s John and others hate it.  Perhaps, some of those people hate it because they don’t think he has a great voice or didn’t like the varied musical genres that came through.  That’s fair.  Still others might not like the fact that he went solo.  Speaking for myself and as a John fan, Duran didn’t feel like Duran at all without him.  It was upsetting to learn that he had left and definitely didn’t make me want to pay attention to the band much.  I will also admit that I didn’t really understand why he left the band, at first.  My initial impression was that he left because..well..the band wasn’t doing well, musically or commercially or both.  Then, of course, I discovered that there was much more to it.  It seems to me that John left to sort his life out, to get himself together, to deal with some serious emotional demons (addiction, divorce and more).  The band didn’t seem like the setting to do that.  From everything I understand about being a member of the band, all decisions and moves must be made to help the band.  It seems to me that John might have needed to put himself first and couldn’t do that in that setting.  Maybe he could have but I wonder what the consequences would have been if he had stayed.  Would he have made it?  Would he be like he is today?  Somehow, I doubt it.  As someone who likes where the band is now, really, why would I want to change the history at all?

Now, where does that leave John’s music?  As I got to know John’s stuff, I couldn’t help but to compare it to Duran.  Obviously, his music varies a great deal from Duran and takes on different styles that simply wouldn’t work for Duran but that isn’t what catches my attention.  I noticed a dramatic difference in lyrics.  It seems to me that Simon is rarely personal (although that is changing more and more as he gets older).  I could probably easily list the songs that are personal to Simon and some of the more personal songs are still hidden in a metaphor of sorts.  Most of Simon’s lyrics are either silly, sexual or strange.  I’m not criticizing him for this.  I like that but it hasn’t really allowed me to get much of an insight into who Simon is and what makes Simon tick.  John’s lyrics, on the other hand, are mostly personal and very personal, at that.  I’ll be honest here.  In many ways, they are so personal that I respond in a protective manner to them.  He just puts himself out there so much that I worry that people will use this to hurt him.  Then, of course, my other reaction is awe.  I think it is so completely brave of him to be so open, to let the world see the real him, to see his fears, his anxieties, his hopes, and his feelings about himself and his family.  This openness made me a different kind of John Taylor fan.  It was no longer about his looks for me.  It is way more about his courage to be so open, his courage to make tough decisions, and his courage to be himself.  These are qualities that are much more important than his looks or his fashion sense or even his bass playing, at least to me. 

I hope Duranies take the opportunity to find his music and get to see him in a different light.  I feel very lucky that I did.


P.S. If you are looking for song suggestions, I’ll be happy to help!  😉

Who is the “Paul” around here?

The more I think about Talking to Girls about Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut, the more I realize the book really IS about Duran Duran…or should I say the fandom surrounding Duran Duran.  The book is really excerpts about Rob Sheffield’s life, and he himself claims to be a huge Duran Duran fan, as are probably most, if not all of you who read this blog with any sort of regularity.  I find myself nodding my head in agreement after re-reading and re-hashing some of more intriguing parts of his book (to me, anyway).  One section in particular had me chuckling.  Rob writes a chapter about The Beatles, but more specifically Paul McCartney.  In all fairness here, I have to say that my all-time favorite band outside of Duran Duran is probably The Beatles.  They’re the one band I’ll never have the opportunity to see live, but I have seen Paul three times.  I don’t doubt that it’s not even remotely close to what I’d feel if I saw The Beatles themselves, but sometimes, you have to make due with what you’ve got.  And I do.

Mr. Sheffield makes some fairly outrageous claims that Paul is the only Beatle that people argue about.  I say the claims are outrageous mainly because I’ve never heard anyone argue about Paul…unless you count all of that “Paul is dead” stuff from the days of Abbey Road, Magical Mystery Tour and the White Album…but I don’t think that’s what he’s getting at here.  So yes, I think it all sounds outrageous.  Who knew?!?  According to Sheffield, nobody knows what to do with Paul.  (again, I scratch my head and keep reading.  Perhaps the answers will come to me if I read the section again!) He goes on to mention that Paul was the bitchiest Beatle, and that the other Beatles thought he was bossy.  This, I probably wouldn’t argue about.  He uses the example that in the 1990 Anthology documentaries, George Harrison “bristles” in his company.  (just for that one comment, I’m going to go and find the videos and watch them again, because now I’m fascinated.  Thanks a lot Rob.)  I do recognize though that Paul seemed to be the one to force the rest of them to get their shit together.  He was the one to tidy up, the one to finish the work and see it through.  I’m with him there, mainly because I can see the possibility.  Here is where the chapter gets funny, and yet remarkably recognizable…

“Paul is the bossy Irish sister in the Beatles.  Every Irish family has one of thse, and it’s always the oldest girl.  My cousin Graine in Dublin explained to me that this sister is called “the Alsatian,” which is the British Isles term for the breed of dog that Americans call a Doberman.”

“Any Irish brother can recognize what Paul was doing in the Beatles.  He was the Alsatian.  He kept coming up with more work for them to do, dreaming up big, daft ideas, sometimes brilliant (Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road), sometimes involving walrus costumes (Magical Mystery Tour).  He got mad if he didn’t think they were pushing hard enough.  It always cracks me up that some people describe “Getting Better” as a cheerful, optimistic song.  Nagging the other Beatles about how things could be better, a little better, all the fucking time – that sounds like Paul to me.”  (Sheffield page 154 – Kindle edition)

Hmm.  So naturally I’ve got to wonder, who on earth could be the bossy Irish, or Alsatian in our band??

Of course my mind (and yours too, if you’ll admit it!) went right for Mr. Rhodes.  The Controller. The Alien Vampire himself.  Truth be told, I’ve never seen or heard of Nick being angry.  Perhaps he does get angry, but I wouldn’t really know.  When I think of the word Doberman though, Nick’s face really doesn’t come to mind.  I can’t really think of a dog breed that is synonymous with Nick Rhodes, actually.  (perhaps that’s a good thing??)  I know just from the things Nick has said, himself, in interviews and in certain Q&A’s in the tour book for the tour that has yet to take place that he continues to seek perfection.  Not a horrible quality, but I wonder if he drives the other members of the band crazy…

So in order to be thorough and fair, I must consider the others.  What about Simon?  Well, in MY mind, at least up until May – I considered Simon to be a loose cannon of sorts.  I never knew what he was going to be like or say next.   I don’t really think of Simon as being a perfectionist – anyone who wears an eagle belt buckle one moment and a blue plaid flannel the next can’t honestly be a perfectionist, can they?  Although, he IS a scorpio, and that alone does speak volumes.  How do I know?  I *am* one.  We can be sweet one moment, and vicious the next.  Catch me on a bad day, ask the wrong question and I’ll skin you alive without even thinking.  Catch me on a good day and I’ll probably agree with you that yes, the blog is crap and that I should probably be paying people to read it.  Then I’ll thank you profusely and we’ll be friends for life.  Admittedly, sometimes I should really take deep breathing more seriously.  I would imagine that Simon can sometimes be the same, given the stories I’ve heard over the years. The trouble is, lately my opinion of Simon has changed quite a bit.  I think he might actually be far more of a grown-up than I ever thought possible.  I don’t know if it’s circumstance or if it’s that he’s really changed…or if it’s more that I’ve just never seen him outside of the US and our crazy behavior before.  So, could he be that Doberman?  Maybe…but I’m not sure.   I just can’t imagine him as the bossy one though.

Roger.  Yeah, I’m just not seeing that one at all.  I love the guy, but I don’t think he’s ever been bossy in his entire life.  I know a few fans that have had less than stellar moments with him, but ultimately I just can’t see anything more out of him than perhaps annoyance at the others for not being able to get along.  I picture Roger as the trusty Golden Retriever of the group.  He’s with them until the end, or until he just can’t take it anymore and they’ve got to retire him.  I still think of Roger as the sensible one (although I happen to know he has a crazy moment or two every now and then!), which is probably why I like him so much.  My husband is the same way.  Nope, can’t be Roger.

That leaves John.  John is emotional, and I love him for it.  I think he wears his heart on his sleeve, and while I suspect John might be just a bit high maintenance, I can’t really see him as the bossy one.  He might be the one to argue his way through situations, and he might be willing to step up and offer a differing point of view, but I highly doubt he’s the one burning the midnight oil in order to finish an album, or insisting that the band take a different direction just to keep things fresh, experimental, and new.  I think John will try new things to a point – but he still wants the band to be Duran Duran.  He seems to know they’ve got a sound that’s worth fighting for, and worth owning up to.  I wholeheartedly agree.

So I’m still sort of mulling this one over.  I really do tend to lean toward Nick, but what about the rest of you?  I hope to read your comments when I return from vacation!  Happy 4th of July to the American’s reading – enjoy those fireworks safely!!  I’ll be viewing mine from Mission Bay in San Diego!


Works Cited
Sheffield, Rob, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest for True Love  and a Cooler Haircut, Copyright July 2010 Penguin Books Ltd, London.

The Layman’s guide to John Taylor

I don’t know how I came up with that title for this blog, but I suppose I wanted to convey just how very little I know about the man.  Perhaps it’s supposed to be that way, perhaps I’ve not paid enough attention over the years, and perhaps I know more than I realize. (doubt it!)  Regardless, this is the blog I should have written yesterday.  Thank you to Amanda for pointing out to me that I’d been remiss when I only said a hearty “Happy Birthday” to him in the blog rather than dissect him the way I have done the other band members. (those are her words, spoken to me yesterday on the phone – and as appropriate as they might be – I envision myself in a lab coat leaning over him on a table with a scalpel in hand – and biology was NOT my best subject in high school. Sorry John!!)

The fact is, I don’t know where to begin.  I don’t honestly know John Taylor.  (then again, that hasn’t really stopped me before….)  My closest encounter with him was at the Virgin Megastore signing for Astronaut on Sunset Blvd.  Nick handed him my Astronaut album, John didn’t even look up, signed it – and handed it on to Simon, who was already chatting up my daughter about the book she was reading and quizzing her on what songs she liked best off off of the album.  In desperation to have SOME sort of real interaction with him, I said “The album is beautiful, John”, to which he briefly glanced up at the girl directly in front of him and said “Thank you”.  That’s it, that is my John story!  (you can’t see me, but I’m taking a bow right here)

John is the one band member that I haven’t ever seen out in public after a show.  He doesn’t tend to mingle – although I know he has tried (I just haven’t been to a show where that’s happened).  I hear it’s nearly impossible for him, that fans still believe that they have the right to grab him, attempt to rip his clothes off and behave like wild animals.  Yep, because that is DEFINITELY going to make him see that fans are cool people and that we aren’t crazy.  I can’t say I blame him for not hanging out after a show, rather choosing to find refuge, quiet time and privacy.  The only people missing out are indeed the fans on this one, and it’s a shame.

Where is John Taylor in my personal line-up of Duran Duran favorites?  Here is the reality:  John Taylor is too handsome for me.  He’s completely and totally out of my league, and I know it.  I’ve never had a crush on John just like I never had a crush on the cutest football player in high school, or any of the Sigma Pi’s (arguably the most popular fraternity on my college campus at the time I went to college) at Cal State Fullerton.  They were out of my league.  Sure, I’d admire them from afar; but I never dared mention that they were the object of my admiration. Back in the 80’s, John was the most popular member of Duran Duran. (my apologies to Roger, Nick, Simon and Andy)  I knew it.  He probably knew it…and every other female fan out there knew it.  As a result, when I’d hang out with my friends from school and discuss Duran Duran (every single day at recess and lunch!), we’d talk about our favorites.  John was always the one that the girls would fight over.  I’d wait until they were finished, see how it all settled out, and then name my favorite: Roger.   I always wondered why everyone went for John and fought over him – sure, he was cute and all – but Roger had that dark hair, dark eyes and those brooding looks – (and oddly enough, my husband…as well as my boyfriends prior to my husband, have ALL had dark hair and dark eyes.) who needed blonde bangs and a baby face?   I suppose that while I knew John was the obviously handsome one, there was a certain amount of comfort knowing that most of the time, no one would fight me for Roger.  So I stuck with him.   John had a very secure place on my bedroom walls – right above my mirror, just to the left of Roger.  I knew where he stood with me, I know where he still stands, and I’m still way out of his league.

Once upon a time, I complained quite openly on this blog about the lack of connection between the band and the fans.  John was truly at the center of my complaint because not even a year prior (to the time I’d written the blog), he’d spoken at a conference for the 25th anniversary of the internet at UCLA.  His main assertion was that the internet, with the sheer amount of information, content, etc that is available – really ruins the romance and mystery that takes place when you’re a fan of a celebrity or band.  To his credit, I did and do understand his point.  The trouble was, this was no longer the 1970’s or the 1980’s.  The media is available.  Social networking is the norm – either celebrities and bands use it, or they are left behind.  The general public wants more than an album and a tour.  They want to feel that personal connection.  Even more to his credit, John apparently revisited his theory and actually tried Twitter.  The first day he posted, I nearly fell out of my chair.  Within what felt like days, he was obviously hooked, and so were the fans.  I can’t speak for John, but as a fan I have to say that I think it’s helped many of us feel that bonding on a completely different level than we ever have had before.  After 30 some years of following the band, it’s as though our “relationship” with the band is at a new level, and most of the time – it feels good.  I would venture to guess that it feels good for John as well.  When he says that it feels like good therapy – I believe him. He’s witty, not at all rude (even when I think he should be!), and extremely patient even in times where I think he should tell us all to take a long walk off of a short pier.   Some say he might wear his heart on his sleeve, and some may say he overshares – but I think he’s become much more to me than just a pinup on my wall or the bass player in the band.  He’s become a real person, and I treasure that even though he still has no idea who in the hell I am.  (probably for the best!)

John has commented that he’s a narcissist.  I say “show me a rock star that isn’t!”  I think that when you’re a celebrity, it’s very easy to fall into that trap.  Let’s face it – when you’re on stage every night, it IS all about you.  This isn’t a free pass for John, or anyone for that matter, but the reality is – John SEES it in himself.  How isn’t that admirable?  Let me tell you John, I worked with a “rock band” (the quotes are necessary here for a number of reasons…), and those kids were not only narcissistic without reason, but they didn’t even notice it in themselves.  That, my friend, is not admirable, it’s immaturity.  You sir, are just the opposite in about every single way imaginable.  Newsflash to John Taylor:  You are human.  You have faults.  We kind of like you anyway.   🙂


Happy Birthday John Taylor, and welcome back to insanity!!

I should never grow complacent.  That is the lesson here.  The moral of the story.  Not quite the silver lining, but the one thing that I should have learned by now that quite obviously, I haven’t.  I tend to believe that life is about learning lessons, and you keep having the same overall problem thrown at you until you finally GET the lesson.  Then life starts in teaching you something else.

My problem here is that I keep getting the same problem tossed my way, and instead on actually learning whatever it is I’m supposed to learn – I only see the details.  I forget the real lesson.  Funny how in hindsight I see it oh-so-clearly, yet in my daily life I miss it completely.  I fix the details, forget the lesson.

I figured today would be a normal Monday, except that I have my sons graduation from 6th grade today.  A moment I never really thought would arrive has somehow come into focus.  I’m still dealing with the anxiety that come September, not only will I be trying to go to some Duran Duran shows here in the US….but I’ll be driving my son to junior high school.

Has it gotten cold in here??  I’m starting to shake!

Where was I?  Oh yes – it’s Monday.  I got on the computer, planning to blog about what it really means to be a stalker. Instead, I see that not only have the UK dates been rescheduled (headache begins), but a date has been added for the Mountain Winery in Napa (a migraine type feeling comes over me), AND it’s John Taylor’s birthday. (yes, I saw that one coming, but the headache is in full raging mode now)

Complacency is my enemy.  I suppose my first mistake was assuming that since it didn’t really seem as though Simon was improving that quickly (although I’ve read he is getting better), I still had time to play!  I figured I had months of “What does it really mean to be a stalker”, type of blogs left to write.  I thought that I’d be working steadily on my “Social Networking” chapter for the book for at least another couple of weeks. (actually, I really mean that I’d be STARTING that chapter….)  I figured that at the least, I’d have a few more weeks of buttering up my husband to do before I’d have to spring the new dates on him.  Mostly though, I just didn’t allow myself to even think about getting back on the “should I stay or should I go to the UK” roller coaster again.  I grew complacent and tried to put the band in the back of my mind.

Now I’m going to act out the next best thing to complacency.  It’s called procrastination.  As in, I’m procrastinating about dealing with these UK dates, any California dates…or dates at all.  I will bury my head in the sand, go to my sons graduation, and put the rest in the back of mind to occasionally nag me at about 2:30 in the morning.

So with that, I intend to wish the bass player a VERY happy anniversary of his 50th birthday.  We won’t even say what anniversary this is…because I am nothing if not supportive, and apparently a bit of an enabler in my own right!  I’m right on board with the idea of just skipping the birthdays from here on out, I only wish I’d thought of that back when I turned 25 as opposed to well, 40.  Oh well.  Live and learn.   Or not.

What’s the Goal?

I spend my time reading a lot of articles and interviews with and on Duran Duran during “Duranietime” (thanks to Rhonda for the term!) like this when they are doing a lot of publicity for a new album.  I always enjoy these interviews and articles as they often give me insight or what I think is insight about the band members, about the project and more.  For example, there were a number of articles during the Red Carpet Massacre phase that got me thinking that they weren’t 100% excited to be working with Timbaland (No, I don’t remember which ones.  I’m old.)  It seems to me that most of the current batch of articles have focused on how great it was to work with Mark Ronson and the return of the classic Duran feel.  It seemed to me that they were happy just to be making a quality album, making quality music.  Then I read this article yesterday:  Duran Duran: Still Hungry?  I didn’t have the same feeling after reading this one.

This article began as many of the current set of articles have with praise given to Ronson.  I appreciated that John talked about how every note and every word were considered when writing the album.  I like knowing that there was that level of intense attention to detail.  Then, the article took a turn as John explains how addictive having hits is and that the point of pop music is to sell.  In fact, he describes their goal as to “turn this baby around.”  I assume that the baby would be album sales and chart placement for their singles.  Now, normally, I agree with John’s thinking.  This time, not so much.

Why should the focus of pop music be to sell?  Why is it that pop music needs to be hits in order to be worthy?  I guess I don’t agree with that premise.  I can think of many pop songs that are high quality that aren’t hits and I can think of many pop songs which suck, which have charted.  In whose mind does this matter?  Does it matter to them?  Now, I can understand that they would want to have hits.  It is the most obvious means of showing how successful they are, but is that the only way?  Shouldn’t making higher quality music be more important?  Couldn’t hits be just an icing to the cake and the cake being having good songs? 

This debate is an interesting one to me as a teacher.  I’m constantly hearing other teachers, parents, the public and politicians talk about facts regarding how well students are doing.  Usually, when this is done, they are referring to test scores.  Yet, this measurement does not always work.  I’ll explain.  I am a special education teacher, which means that I work with students who have been found to have one or more disability(-ies).  Some of my students might score very well on standardized tests but then struggle behaviorally.  Do these tests show how well those kids are doing?  Then, I might have other students who will never score at grade level, due to their disability, but they might be making tremendous progress.  If I judged myself and them based solely on this one test, I would think that they are complete failures.  I would think the same of myself.  Yet, for the most part, I think my students are great.  They are not perfect but they come to school and they fight to improve.  Thus, I don’t think that they should be judged based on this one measurement.  Clearly, one size does not fit all.  So, why should Duran use this one measurement of sales or chart placement to determine their success?  Shouldn’t they realize that there is much more to it than that?  Besides, art isn’t always popular and they should remember that. 

To be fair to John, I don’t know the other questions that were asked or the other statements that were made.  I know enough about interviews to realize that quite a bit might be edited and that a certain angle might be focused on over others.  Nonetheless, I’m surprised that he even made comments like that.  I honestly thought that Duran might have moved past that focus.  I do get that having hits and being commercially successful is something that must feel so wonderful, but I don’t think it is good to always expect that.  Let’s face it.  The music industry is not always kind to artists as they age.  I don’t know that Duran is even being given a fair shot for this.  Are they then just leaving themselves open to major disappointment?  Instead, I would prefer them to feel good about what they have accomplished with AYNIN, no matter where they end up, chart wise, and no matter how many units get sold.  Perhaps, they should learn from my students, in this regard.


The Beauty of JoSi

I cannot believe that next week Duran Duran will be here in the States playing shows!  It always seems SO long in between shows and tours!  Yet, for some lucky fans, the wait to see the band live in concert is almost over!  Personally, I cannot wait to see the band in a month in Chicago.  Cannot wait!  There are so many things that I look forward to when it comes to Duran shows!  I always enjoy seeing my Duranie friends and meeting new ones!  I love singing along to some of those classic hits!  This time around I’m so excited to hear the new tracks live!  I suspect that my love for some of them might increase!  One thing that I am always so excited for is the JoSi.  Am I the only one with this fascination?  JoSi, for those not in the know, is the combination of John and Simon.  In concert, JoSi means those moments when they not only sing together, sharing one microphone but also the little looks or smiles exchanges as well as subtle and not-so-subtle touches.  I admit it.  I find all of those moments…to be… hot.  I know that I’m not the only one, right?!

JoSi is an interesting element to Duran fandom.  It does not seem to be completely unique, though, as many other bands have moments when the lead singer sings with another member of the band.  Like Duran, those moments seem to get many of the female fans to start screaming.  Why is that?  What does that say about fandom?  What does that say about females?  Is this just a taste of guy-on-guy action?  Does this mean that we think or wish them to be gay and together?  I obviously can’t know why these moments get some people all…uh…er…excited, but I can acknowledge what I see in the Duran fan community.

First, every female fan that appreciates the JoSi knows that they are both married to women.  Do fans think that they are secretly gay and are in a relationship together?  Do fans want that?  Good questions.  I doubt that most fans think that they are gay.  Some might think that they are bisexual or have had experiences with members of the same sex, I don’t know.  It is possible that some fans want them to be in a relationship together.  I don’t know.  What would this mean, if that was the case?  Would it mean that they wouldn’t be into women at all?  Is that what female fans want?  I doubt that.  Many female fans want to keep a little bit of that fantasy that they could be into them.  Do they want them to be bisexual?  Maybe.  What does this mean to them?  Maybe that means that they would have stereotypically gay male characteristics while maintaining a possible interest in women.  I don’t know.  Could it just be that they think that two hot guys together are super duper hot?  I think this is definitely the case with a lot of them, including myself! 

Interestingly enough, I also see some fans like to see the JoSi but really hate the idea of them actually being together in that way.  I have to admit that I find this very strange.  Do they just like John and Simon together like this as a means of showing how good of friends they are?  Is it just because they are their two favorite band members?  I don’t know.  Maybe they don’t like the idea of them being together, romantically, because they are married and want to honor that marriage.  I can definitely respect that.  I hope that is all it is because, otherwise, I worry about homophobia.  I would hope that there would not be any disgust over the idea of any two men together as I truly do believe that everyone should be able to love and be with anyone they want.  Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that Duran Duran has had homophobia connected with them.  In fact, I would argue that part of the reason Duran hasn’t had the critical acclaim that other bands have had is because they were deemed to be too “girly”, “gay”, “non-manly” because of their fashion sense, their use of makeup and their female dominated fanbase.  So, I would hope that their fans aren’t contributing to that and can just appreciate the beauty of the JoSi instead!

Personally, I cannot wait to enjoy it myself!  I have to warn the people I’m going to the Chicago show with that they better not get in the way of me seeing any and all JoSi moments.  I’m sure that Rhonda can help with that as I have threatened her safety and well-being more than a few times after she has blocked my view!  I should probably also give them a heads up that I might *squee* a little at those little moments, which may or may not ruin people’s hearing.  Just sayin’. 


Favorite Band Member

I need a break from all of the current happenings with the band.  Last week was filled with tour news and planning.  This upcoming week will feature Duran Duran at the Superbowl Fan Jam.  I’m looking forward to both the tour and the performance in Dallas, which I hope to see via TV.  Right now, though, I need something silly and unimportant, which led me to think about recent discussions I have had with other fans.  One of those discussions focused on one’s favorite band member.  It seems to me that some fans have their favorite and that favorite has remained a constant for decades.  For other fans, their preference has changed.  Maybe, some people don’t have favorites. 

How do/did people pick their favorite member?  When the band came out and became popular, I’m willing to bet that most people decided based on the band member’s looks.  They might have also considered their style, their musical role in the band, their “personality” via videos or interviews.  I can imagine that many Simon fans appreciated his voice and lyrics.  Perhaps, they like his outgoing personality both on stage and in interviews.  John fans, I’m sure, were attracted to his good looks.  Many Nick fans probably appreciated his colorful looks and sense of style and fashion.  Andy fans might have liked his rock persona and Roger fans admired his quietness.  Does one’s personal favorite reflect on his/her’s own personality?  What if the fan changed his/her favorite over the course of the years?  Does that reflect changes with the band or changes with that fan or both? 

I should admit that I do have a favorite.  I will also admit that I started out having a different favorite but that only lasted a short while.  When I was a kid and first heard and saw Duran Duran, I initially considered Simon my favorite.  Why?  I suppose a lot of it had to do with the fact that he was the “voice” of the band and seemed to be at the center of attention.  Let’s face it.  He also looked pretty good in 1984.  Then, I saw the Reflex video and John Taylor.  Well, I immediately switched my favorite to John, which remains the same to this day.  See, it was a short while!  So, what attracted me to John?  Obviously, I thought he was “cute”!  I liked his personal style and didn’t seem as out there as Nick to my very young self.  It also helped that my best friend, at the time, also liked John.  Thus, when a new video or magazine came out, we would look at it and scream over John Taylor together!  We encouraged each other.  Of course, I didn’t really know much about John or any of them at that time beyond what was published in Bop magazine.  I memorized it all and could recite facts quickly.  The things I learned about John seemed so cool and I wanted to think those things were cool, too.  How many John girls watched James Bond movies because of him?  I bet a lot.  I’m sure that Simon, Nick, Roger and Andy fans had similar experiences. 

Fast forward to the reunion.  My favorite remained the same.  Other fans’ favorites changed.  Why?  It seemed to me that when the reunion happened, most fans initially went back to the childhood favorite.  Most message boards seemed to encourage this.  For example, over on DDM, John fans got to know other John fans and Nick fans met other Nick fans through the section of the board designated for that particular band member.  Like my experiences as a child, these sections were filled with pictures of the band member of choice and there was much screaming following posted pictures!  It also seemed that we all started learning a little bit more about the guys.  Of course, even now, we don’t know them.  We might have some guesses about how they are from their interviews, from meeting them if so lucky, from listening to the music and lyrics for so long, but we don’t really know them..  Nonetheless, it does feel to me that I know different kinds of things about John than I did when I was a kid.  Obviously, I know that he supported Obama in the US Presidential Election of 2008 and didn’t have a clue what his political opinions were in the 1980s.  I know that Simon does not consider himself to be a Christian now and didn’t have a clue then.  For some people, the new knowledge makes us appreciate the band member of choice but, for others, it might turn them off.

Can new information about a band member change someone’s favorite?  I suppose it can.  I feel like some people’s favorite has changed due to their interactions or lack of interactions with fans.  For example, I absolutely felt Roger’s popularity increase once fans realized that he was out and about with the fans after shows.  Where did these fans come from?  I am willing to bet that many of them were John fans first.  If interacting with fans matters, then it would make sense that John might lose fans because he isn’t so social after shows (personally I think that is the right move for him).  What if someone had a bad meet and greet experience with a band member?  Could that cause a change in favorites?  I think so.  I have seen it.  I have seen people warm up to Nick, for example, because he is always so friendly with the fans and I have seen people turned off by Simon’s can-be-perceived-as-a-diva-like-attitude in public.  What if people change their favorite simply because of how the band member has aged?  I suppose it is possible, even if I don’t like it.  Obviously, I admit that looks had/has something to do with it but I wish it didn’t have EVERYTHING to do with it.  That feels too much like objectification, to me. 

It also seems to me that is possible not to have a favorite.  Maybe you like and appreciate them all equally.  Maybe you really are focused on the music.  I can admire that.  Will favorites always be a part of the Duran Duran fandom?  So far, as long as Duran Duran has existed, there have been favorites and I’m willing to bet that there always will be!


Political Opinions

Twitter has been the center of a great deal of activity in the Duran Duran fandom lately and has been since both John and Simon have decided to grace us mere fans with their presence over there.  In most cases, the topics discussed or brought up are usually light-hearted.  Just tonight, for example, John was over on twitter answering questions from fans.  Some of these questions regarded what tv shows he likes, what book he is reading, his opinion on giving fans hugs, etc.  Yet, in the last week, we have all seen more serious discussions take place as well.

It all started last week, when John decided to retweet a statement from Jane Fonda regarding last weekend’s terrible shooting in Arizona.  While John didn’t add to the retweet, his opinion on a certain politician was clear by his choice in sharing this statement with his thousands of followers.  Well, that did not go over very well among some people from what I saw.  These people claimed that John shouldn’t have done that and that he should stay out of politics.  John attempted to have a discussion and the people who disagreed did give him reasons that he should keep his mouth closed when it comes to issues like this.  Then, John disappeared off of twitter for a couple of days until he returned with a related question regarding gun control.  This time, instead of retweeting a strong opinion, he asked for people’s opinions about this issue.  This time, at least, publicly, there seemed to be less people all upset.  Did his approach make all the difference?  I don’t know.  To me, it doesn’t matter.  He should have the right to say what he thinks about politics or whatever, really.

John Taylor, like any person, should have the right to voice his opinions.  While I can understand people’s desire to keep things like politics and music separate and I think that, too, sometimes, they have to understand that there is John, the bass player for Duran Duran, and John, the person.  He didn’t come out and say that “Duran Duran believes so and so is guilty of blah.”  He didn’t say that.  He gave HIS personal opinion.  Now, of course, there are many people who might disagree with his thoughts on the matter.  That’s everyone’s right, too.  They could have told him that, respectfully.  It seems to me based on his discussion on gun control that he is perfectly willing and even interested in having those types of discussions.  Yet, instead I heard about insults directed at John or written about him.  Horribly offensive insults.  Is that anyway to be respectful of someone you supposedly like and respect?  I don’t think so.

Now, some people might just think that this is easy for me to say since I completely agree with him on both his original retweet and on his opinion on gun control.  Yes, I admit that it feels good to know that someone I have admired for a long time thinks like me, at least on these issues, especially since I’m pretty involved, politically, outside of my job and this job—I mean this fandom!  Nonetheless, there are other things that I could have issues with.  I’ll give an example.  I’m a vegetarian and have been for almost 17 years.  Yet, to the best of my knowledge, most members of the band eat meat, wear leather, wear fur, etc.  Does this upset me?  Not really.  I wish that they wouldn’t but I feel strongly that I need to let others live how they want to unless it is hurting me or others.  Thus, there are a few things that they could do that would upset me so much that I wouldn’t be able to be a fan anymore, like if I found out that one of them beat his wife or girlfriend, for instance.  Beyond those few things, they should be allowed to do what they want, have their own thoughts and be able to voice them.  The answer for the people annoyed with John Taylor’s decision to say what he thinks is to stop following him.  Stop reading what he writes.  Stop paying attention.  After all, you can’t really control someone else but you can control yourself even as a fan.


The Great and Powerful Oz

I’m really not one to live in the past, although my memories are priceless.  I was reading facebook today, and something that one of my friends posted caught my eye.  Apparently John Taylor (who is quite obviously addicted to facebook and twitter like the rest of us….which amuses the HELL out of me because not long ago he was pretty anti-all-of-it) was holding some sort of twitter Q&A chat. (through tweetdeck, which is something I really need to check into, and I know I’m late to that party – I like that it can update both twitter and facebook at the same time!)  Naturally, yours truly missed it by mere moments – I was doing my motherly duty and picking up my little preschooler and playing with her at the park.  In any case, one of the responders to his posts commented that she wondered what it would have been like for her in 1984 had she/we been able to actually communicate and interact with the band like we’re able to now.

My first thought?  Complete and utter chaos.  😀  The technological gods knew EXACTLY what they were doing by not allowing that sort of knowledge out there back then.  They were saving us from ourselves!

After giving that a good chuckle, I thought about it a little further.  Barring the fact that at this time in 1984, I was 13 years old and my parents were so strict with me that I didn’t even have a phone in my room much less access to any another kind of communicative device – and barring the fact that at 13, I probably wouldn’t have had anything other than “I LOVE YOU ROGERJOHNNICKSIMONANDANDY” to say – let’s just think about what it might have really been like for all of us.  What would the community have been like?

I think that kids today, generally speaking, are a lot smarter than we were back then.  I’m a mom myself, and I can honestly say my 13 and 11 year olds are worlds ahead of where I was at 13.  They know what’s going on in the world – I think I barely understood who my President really was, much less paid attention to political decisions other than “Is Russia going to bomb us?”  My kids know things that I don’t WANT them to know, as well as everything I think they should know. (but in a whole lot more detail than I’d planned, of course)  They have far more information at the tips of their fingers than we did at 13, and with that knowledge comes a lot more cynicism, a lot more maturity – whether they are emotionally ready for it or not, and a lot less innocence.  Truly, when I was 13, I didn’t even consider whether the band was partying it up with a powder keg of cocaine or otherwise.  They were just the band, and yeah – I believed they were perfect.  (ignorance can really be bliss)  I think it would have been earth shattering to my 13 year old psyche to discover through interacting with them that they were actually human and had problems and moods like the rest of us.  My own daughter at 13 doesn’t have that blissful ignorance at all.  In fact, she’s downright disgusted when I tell her about how high the pedestals were that I had the band placed on.  I get a whole lot of “Oh Mom!” and the head shaking…wow.  I kind of think that it would have been a real shock to see them as humans back then, don’t you?

Then there’s the other fans.  I don’t know that I really quite understood just HOW popular Duran Duran was with other people until I went to a signing that John Taylor did during the Power Station days.  I know that’s tough to believe, but it was just really impossible to have a real handle on just how big the band was from my living room.  Sure, I had friends at school that liked them too, but even so – my world was so tiny compared with the REAL world…. (hey, I didn’t even go to my first concert until that same summer – Power Station at the then called Irvine Meadows Amphitheater)  It was at a store in Van Nuys and I went with my cousin.  I think we’d gone to the Power Station concert the night before or so – or it could have been the day before the show, I really don’t remember.  We figured the line would be long, but I guess we figured it wouldn’t be THAT long.  Ha.  It was about a hundred million degrees outside, and we stood in the longest line I’ve ever been in.  Ever.  I don’t even think we got there that early (I’m sure people probably camped out to be in that line, which never even occurred to the two of us!), but when we arrived, we just went to the back of the line and stood.  The line didn’t even seem to really move much, and even after we’d been there for what felt like hours – someone came out and told us all that John had already left.  I especially loved the girls who came out clutching their signed records, looking at us and laughing.  Some took the time to come over and tell us just how fabulous John was, and how we totally missed out.  Nice.   I was crushed, as was my cousin.  I learned very quickly that day that Duranies are a fairly rabid bunch.  They are dog-eat-dog, and I don’t think that has changed much in our years.  We certainly haven’t mellowed out that much, even if our numbers aren’t quite as “vibrant”.  So back in 1984, when there were god-only-knows how many of us, I can’t even imagine what we’d have done to one another with the computer as a way of communicating.  I would think it would have been impossible for John to have even tried to do a chat.  He’d have had trouble getting words in edgewise!

There would have been good things to have come from this form of instant communication, though.  We would have known when albums were coming out, we would have known of tour dates sooner, (even if we’d still have had to go and camp out at Ticketmaster outlets in order to get them!)  and I think we would have learned far more about the band.  Err…that probably goes back to point #1.

The fact is, as much as I would have devoured every bit of interaction and communication available from the band back then, there was something to be said for not knowing EVERYTHING.  I think there still is.  It leaves just a little bit to be anticipated, wondered about, and desired.  I really don’t want to see the Great and Powerful Oz working behind that green curtain.  Sometimes the mystery really IS the magic.

I’m off for the weekend, and I’m leaving you in Amanda’s capable hands.  This would be the cue and reminder for the band to go ahead and release tour dates in about 24 hours.  I’ll be behind the wheel of my car, destined for Vegas.  There’s no way I’ll be able to communicate with anyone…….  😉