Category Archives: John Taylor

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.   🙂

-R

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.

-A

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’. 

-A 

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!

-A

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.

-A

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…….  😉

-R

Loose Women

I apologize for the lateness of the blog.  I have gotten far behind the Duran happenings due to losing my beloved kitty.  I admit that I haven’t been very focused and have had lots of interruptions with people contacting me to express their condolences, which I completely need and appreciate.  Nonetheless, I did have a chance to see the band on the UK’s Loose Women and enjoyed every minute of it.  I only watched it once and admit that I didn’t hear every statement made but I did have a few comments.  Go figure.

I think many Duranies were excited about this particular show because, I believe, it is the first one where we have seen Duran perform a new song, their current single, “All You Need Is Now.”  Now, I can only imagine that playing a song for the first time in front of an audience might be unnerving.  I know that I saw them perform “Night Runner” at the fan show in June of 2007, at what was probably their first performance of that song.  Based on that performance, I did not expect much as that early performance of “Night Runner” seemed to me to be awkward for the band.  They did not seem at all comfortable.  Simon, in particular, seemed to be having a hard time figuring out how or when to move.  To me, this indicated that the band wasn’t all that comfortable with the new album and the direction that they were taking.  Therefore, I thought that this performance might be equally as telling about how they are feeling with their new material.  Based on what I saw, they are COMPLETELY comfortable with it.  They feel good about it!  Simon seemed to know exactly what to do with himself during the song, physically.  John and Simon kept sneaking glances at each other in a “look at how cool this is” fashion.  The chorus was a particular high note with the vocals of Simon, John, Anna and Dom blending together nicely.  Overall, they seemed happy.  I can’t be more happy that they are happy with this new music.  This makes me truly looking forward to a tour and seeing this song, in particular, live.  Of course, there was a lot more to the show then just this performance.

The fun, having-a-good-time feel ran through the interviews, especially when all four of them were being interviewed at the same time.  I had a hard time following because so many people were talking and laughing at once!  I noticed that they were smiling the whole time.  I don’t think I have ever seen Nick smile so much at one time!  Of course, I had a good laugh, as well, when Simon struggled to come out after his introduction as it appears as if he might fall!  He handled it well but I know that I was entertained by the moment.  Besides the solid performance and the carefree spirit of the interviews, I did gleam a bit of information as well.

There were three comments that I took note of.  First, I noticed that the interviewers said that the official release in February was to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Planet Earth, their first single.  Fascinating.  This was a rumor a couple of months ago and now appears that it might really be true.  I even blogged about it at the time!  When I first blogged about it, I wasn’t too keen on the idea.  Now, I’m not sure.  I like the idea of having AYNIN have a separate release date to show its significance but I also like the idea of connecting the new with the old.  After all, isn’t this album about celebrating the classic spirit of Duran Duran?  Besides, AYNIN will have a separate date with the early downloadable release next Tuesday via iTunes.  It seems more like a win now.  Second, I noticed that when asked about Mark Ronson being a fan, John commented that it was a lot better than being with a non-fan.  Hmm…is that a comment about Timbaland, Timberlake, or even Nate Hills from RCM?!  I don’t know but it is keeping me thinking.  Lastly, there was a question about Andy.  The question came from a fan who had emailed in and basically asked them if they would take Andy back if he wanted to come back.  John didn’t answer that.  Instead, he said that Andy didn’t leave twice, technically, as the interviewer had said.  That really makes me think about what he means by that!!!

Overall, the show did what it was supposed to do.  I want to see more performances of the new material.  I want to see them enjoying themselves, each other and the music.  I also want more information in regards to those statements I mentioned above.  Dang that band for keeping my attention on them and what they are doing!  Luckily, more shows and interviews are supposed to follow!  I cannot wait!!!

-A

Never say Never!

So, the past 24 hours have been crazy.  CRAZY.  Let me indulge you in a bit of the glamorous life of Rhonda… my husband (and if you’re reading this Walt, I’m ready for you to come home.  Now.  Thank you.) is in China.  Or Taiwan.  Or maybe somewhere else in Asia today.  I don’t even KNOW what the day is there.  Regardless, he’s not at home.  This is the week before my kids are out on holiday break, and as a result – every single teacher thinks it’s OK to pile on 40,000 projects that were all due this morning in the case of my son, and in the case of my daughter – she is a dancer at OCHSA (Orange County High School of the Arts) and this is performance week.  The school is about 20 miles from home and guess who is driving her back and forth to school, then to the theater which is another 20 miles in the other direction from home.  Today I was up at 6am, ready to begin driving at 6:45.  The youngest was not happy to be up an hour earlier than normal, but then, neither was mom.  😀  I figure I’ll finally be done with my own chauffeuring duties by about 10pm tonight, which means both mom and little one will be getting to bed way later than normal only to start over tomorrow bright and early at 6am again. We make due, right?  I rush the oldest, along with every bit of stage makeup and costuming she needs to school (I won’t see her again until after 9pm tonight), get back home by 8:10 to make sure the boy is up and gets off to school. That’s when I take a brief second to check facebook, only to see that my sister has sent me a note because she noticed that John Taylor, of all the people on the planet, is now my “friend”.   She has to give me a rough time about that because clearly my sister (5 years younger but who is really counting?), thinks it’s hilarious.  I think it’s a sign of the world coming to a swift end – because seriously who would have ever thought that John would have a facebook and actually chat up fans?!?  (kidding John. It’s your turn for some teasing here.)  So, as I’m typing a quick witted response back to my sister, my son pokes me and says “I hate to break into your little Duran interlude here Mom, since you’re clearly conquering the planet of Duranie now that you’re facebook buddies with John Taylor or whatever that bass player’s name is, but it’s time for me to go to school and you have to carry my adobe brick!”  With that, he thrusts a cookie sheet into my arms, upon which sits the most massive clay brick I’ve ever seen.  The damn thing must weigh 25 pounds.  (thanks for making that brick with him, Walt!)

What’s the moral here?  Just when you think the day is going well – you end up with a huge weight thrown at ya. Trust me, nothing brings you back down to Planet Earth (pun is TOTALLY intended.  This is the Daily Duranie blog – of course it’s intended!!) faster than your kid shoving a brick into your arms.  😀    He’d better get an A on that damn thing, that’s all I have to say!

So, have any of you friended John Taylor on facebook or started following him on Twitter yet??   Pretty crazy cool stuff going on there.  I don’t mind mentioning that just a year ago, give or take a month or two – I sat and listened to him at the internet conference at UCLA (actually I was at home, but I still listened!).   He spoke very eloquently about how much things have changed in the music industry since the internet began.  This is true, and I don’t think there’s a fan out there that hasn’t noticed obvious differences.  The sheer amount of information that can be gained just from a mouse click is overwhelming.  There is very little that a celebrity can do that isn’t broadcast widely online, and I have to admit that there’s a certain amount of mystery that has been lost due to all of this fantastic social networking.  It’s much harder to keep an idol on that proverbial pedestal.  I find that my oldest doesn’t tend to follow one person or one band like I did (er…do?), and this is partially because of the fact that so much information is out there, she finds out things that she doesn’t like about whomever it is that is the favorite this week – and unceremoniously moves on to whomever she loves next.   For my generation, it wasn’t like that.  Hell, I remember the first time I heard that the band loved cocaine…I was shocked!  (yeah, I was pretty naive as a kid.  Sue me.)  Nowadays I would imagine I would have found that out far earlier than I did as a teenager.   John also spoke of how there is a loss of anticipation and desire when everything is so readily available through the internet.  He used the example of going to see a band (I think he used The Clash as the example, but if I’m wrong don’t send hate mail!), and feeling that connection that we’re all used to feeling at a show – and the only way he could recreate that connection was by going out the next day and buying an album.  Today, we don’t necessarily have to do that…and with twitter and facebook, it’s probably not necessary at all.  Does that translate to lower album sales though?  Hmm..    The point being that while the internet has opened huge doors and made our world a lot smaller today than it ever was when I was growing up, it has also permanently changed the entertainment industry, and not necessarily for the better.

Fast forward to yesterday when John finally caved and started a twitter account, or a week earlier (?) when he started his facebook page.  What changed?   Well, I can’t say – I’m not John Taylor, and I haven’t had the luck of sitting down for a chat over a cup of coffee with him, otherwise I’d ask. (I’m American.  Coffee is where it’s at!)  I do know from the experience I’ve had working with some other bands over the years – none having the stature or history of Duran Duran – that young fans insist on the connection that’s made through social networking.      Video doesn’t cut it anymore, and apparently neither does print and tv media.  I would venture to guess that in just the same way he realized that video was the way to connect to fans back in the mid-80’s, he’s realizing that spending a little (or a lot) of time on facebook and twitter is going to do the same today.  I don’t think it’s sticking my own neck out to say that facebook and twitter is only as intrusive as the account owner allows.  No one is forcing anyone else to tweet about every moment of their lives, or to put anything out there that they don’t want out.  I know this is difficult to imagine, but even little ole me – someone who is not a celebrity nor a “wanna be” celebrity keeps the private things private, so I would expect the same from John Taylor, Simon LeBon….or even Nick and Roger if we can ever get them tweeting.  😀

I’m happy to see the band getting involved with the fans after all of this time.  For the past few years, I have been openly suggesting that they are missing the boat with regard to social media.  I don’t know if the original intention of the band or their management, PR, etc. was to create a demand in the fans by making sure the band was always just out of reach – but the intimation was always present.  The one complaint I heard over and over during Astronaut and then especially after the epic fail of Red Carpet Massacre (sorry guys, I write it as I see it from the fans point of view as a whole),  was that the band still felt they were above all of us (the fans), even though clearly at that point – it’s not 1985 anymore and they aren’t on top of the world anymore, much less playing for stadium filled crowds of 50,000.  Of course I write that, then think back to stories I’d heard and witnessed during the tours of Astronaut…we might be a smaller fan base, but we still make the noise, don’t we? The bottom line here is that I think that by giving the indication that they aren’t too good to chat it up with the fans, they’re going to be doing themselves a world of good in the long run.  I don’t really know if the band realizes just how many fans they may have lost over the course of the last 10 years JUST because they gave the impression that they didn’t care about their fans, only their bank accounts.  That might not have been what they intended at all, but unfortunately – that’s what was communicated on many different levels, whether by the band themselves, or their management simply by NOT communicating.  Hello 2010.  

This is the dawn of a new beginning where I hope that by making the effort to reach out to the community, we can make the same effort towards the band by not acting like complete idiots when we see them.  ……  Before you rush John, Roger, Nick or Simon after the next show, take a deep breath, remember that we’re not 12 anymore and that if you act like an ass, THAT is what is going to be remembered.  Not the fact that you own 12 drumsticks or have pictures with every single band member.  Hell, I still don’t have pictures with ANY band member!  😀

Hey, dreams are free, right?  😉   And anytime one of those band members wants to sit down over a beer, glass of wine or a cup of coffee and chat….let me know, I’m here!

-R

Tell Us What You Know!

Just when I think the day is going to be quiet – a little subtle change appears on the horizon that brings on a small rain shower.

If anyone has been watching, the space under Label has remained fairly blank for while on the band’s myspace and facebook pages, then very quietly it was filled – I’m not sure if it happened this morning or last night, but it now has a name listed.  “Tapemodern”.  I’m going to be up front and honest, this blog isn’t really going to be about the label “announcement” – I’ll leave that to other perfectly capable folks to mull over.  What I am more curious about is the reaction AFTER noticing that space being filled with a name.

One of The Daily Duranie’s fellow bloggers took to her blog this morning, announcing the small change.  You can read it here .  Even more fascinating than the label itself (which really isn’t huge news if you’ve been paying any kind of attention for the last year or so) are the comments AFTER the blog.  Immediately folks jumped on Nathan Stack, who is the handler of the bands myspace and facebook pages.  They wanted to know where he got his information, and Nathan – ever so carefully, I might add, sidestepped the real question. (clearly he’s been learning – good on him!) That’s when another person commented, as anonymous as the first, that Nathan was being coy and evasive and that he should just tell us where he got his information – or if he was just following the bosses orders and wasn’t told why.

Upon reading the comments – I had this clear vision:  Nathan tied to a chair in a small dark room with a single light bulb hanging down from the ceiling.  Someone from the Gestapo standing in front of him, whip in hand, demanding answers.  “Tell us vat you know!”

Really people?  This is our fandom???  One tiny bit of news that isn’t really THAT huge and we’re going to be like the Gestapo to get answers?  One person even commented that if Nathan really changed the label name – that he should know the answers and at least be able to verify whether it’s true or not.  It almost infers that  #1 – Nathan might not have been the one to change the label name, and #2 – that if he did change it and doesn’t know why, than maybe it’s just rumor.   I suppose it’s possible that someone else went onto the accounts – whether that was because they had authority to do so or because the account was hacked as a joke and changed the label – but I kind of doubt that.  Why bother??  So I’ll go out on a limb and say that if it’s on their myspace and facebook, it’s highly likely that it’s their label.   That said, I don’t believe Nathan or anyone else on Duran’s staff is responsible or required to explain themselves to the fan community.  I just can’t quite get over that we’ve gotten to the point where we’re going to question EVERYTHING – even their own facebook and myspace pages – simply because we all know that a fellow fan runs those pages, as if that makes them fair game for bullying.  It doesn’t.

Even more fascinating is the “why”.  Why do we as fans feel it’s our “right” to know everything, and I do mean everything, as soon as it happens?  I’m just like the rest of you, I sit in very anxious anticipation for the next album.  I can’t wait to see them on tour.  I have posters hanging in my closet.  (wait….I probably didn’t need to mention that…. ;D)  Yet I don’t know when it became my right to know exactly what they are doing and why.  I think that at the end of the day, I have to trust that the band has a pretty good idea of what they’re doing and how the business works, even if I don’t always agree with their choices.  They probably wouldn’t agree with many of mine…so we’re good on that one.  In all due time, we’ll find out what made them decide to go with Tapemodern (*coughs* Nick *coughs*), and why there are still listings of UMG distributing a single for them on December 14th.

This whole morning/afternoon has reminded me of the UCLA Internet Symposium that John spoke at this same time last year.  During his speech, he spoke of how Twitter, Facebook and other social mediums have brought the fans so much closer – there’s not nearly the same sort of separation as there was when he was young.  This is true.  He talked about the anticipation he would have over getting specific albums after seeing his favorite bands live, because that was the only way at the time that you could continue to feel that connection after leaving a show.  Nowadays, the line between privacy and public life is so blurred that a lot of that anticipation is lost – which is one reason (out of many I am certain) that John chooses not to participate in those social mediums.  I would venture to guess that “back in the day”, the band could have (and did) switch labels without noticing so much as a ripple of commotion in the fandom.  In present time, we often find out about such things well before the band even intends to announce them, and yet ALL of us (this blogger included) continue to question why the band openly chooses – so it seems – to put up such a brick wall between themselves and their fans, whether that brick wall is perceived, misunderstood, or otherwise.

I think that much of the answer to that question can be found in this blog, on the bands facebook and myspace pages, and on our message boards.

-R