Category Archives: John Taylor

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

More Like John Taylor than I thought!

Good Thursday morning!  I spent a few minutes listening to the interview that John Taylor did for a South African radio station, and I need to send a shout out to Gimme A Wristband for posting it so quickly.  If you haven’t already checked out her blog – you should.  It’s honestly to the point where I check that site BEFORE I go to either DD.com or DDM .  We’re a family in this community, and I want to give credit where credit is absolutely due.

In any case, it was a thrill to hear a decent interview from John – it’s been a while since they’ve really done press, so it was great to hear him.  It’s funny, I’ve been a fan now for a long time, and I suppose in that time I feel as though I have at least some small amount of knowledge with regards to who each of the band members really is.  I don’t mean musically, and I don’t mean the surface crap (What’s your favorite color John…and that sort of thing).  I mean who they really ARE.  That said, I only know what I read, what I’ve witnessed personally, and what I’ve heard them say.  In any case, I suppose I always felt that while John seems like a nice enough guy – I didn’t think we really had too much in common.  That’s not a bad thing, and it never made me like him less, I just didn’t think I’d have much to say to him (that sounded good anyway), if and when I ever had the chance to talk to him.  (keep dreaming, Rhonda…)  So, when I listened to the interview, I was surprised when I found myself nodding and laughing in agreement.

I’m sure most Duranies (all Duranies??) know John has a daughter named Atlanta.  Now, this blog is about the band, not their children – but because of the fact I too have a daughter (who believes she’s 18, but to the best of my knowledge is really 13), I listened to what he had to say about her music.  I fully expected that because of the fact John’s a rockstar, he’d have far more tolerance for her music than I do for my own daughters’.  HA!   As it turns out, he doesn’t enjoy it anymore than I do!  I suppose though that if I tried to show that to my 13 year old as some sort of proof that she needs to buck up on her musical taste, she’d scoff and say something like “Well, it’s because you both are too old to appreciate good music!”  (my apologies to John for the “old” comment.  I suspect he’d understand though.)  My response to that would be – “I’m old enough to appreciate REAL music.”  So is John.  He has the same complaint as I, in that he prefers to hear real instruments.  I could make a sideways comment here about a certain bands last album….but I’ll refrain.  For now.

My husband and I have a real affection for vinyl.  Currently, our vinyl collection is about 5,000 albums strong, and while I love vinyl – in particular 80’s vinyl (I’m sure you’re all shocked); my husband’s collection is taking over our garage and is threatening to invade the living room soon.  So, I’ve developed kind of a love/hate relationship for our collection.  Kind of the way I feel about wine at times. (especially after a long night out!)  We collect that as well, and it’s funny how I don’t seem to mind that invading our living room…but I digress.  The thing is, John commented that listening to vinyl is a lot like savoring a vintage wine.  It’s not something you want to do everyday, but on occasion, it’s great.  I totally and completely agree.  I would assert here that there is NOTHING better than listening to Rio on vinyl.  Nothing.  There is a warmth that no CD can ever bring – I don’t care what anyone says about the sound quality, when you have a record on the turntable that is in very good condition and a great needle on the player – you can’t beat the sound.  Vinyl and wine – two of my favorite things.

Interestingly enough, while I would choose to listen to Rio on vinyl over CD any day of the week – I cannot say the same for other DD albums, such as  Red Carpet Massacre.  That album was never meant for vinyl.  Too electronic, too synthetic, in my mind.  John revealed something that I have been saying since the very day I first heard Night Runner, and judging from other fans’ reaction to the album in general – I know I’m not the only one.

     Everybody sounds great on it and that’s the difference between this album and the last album, which we made with Timbaland…He didn’t really know what he was doing with a band.  He didn’t know what he was doing with a bassist or a guitarist or with a keyboardist…The fans were like we can’t hear you, John.  We can’t really hear Roger.  This album really features the musical character of all the band members.”


My biggest pet peeve – admittedly there are many – with Red Carpet Massacre is that you cannot HEAR the instruments.  It could have been Simon singing with just anyone and the sound would be the same, and while I’m all about having the band try different things (hey, I have even learned to love Medazzaland), I want to actually HEAR. THE. BAND.  So, I was very happy to hear John make some sort of comment about that.  That said, the album is MUCH better played live, and I still think the song Red Carpet Massacre rocks.  I’ll clap along with you any time, John.


That brings us to the new album, doesn’t it?  Apparently Ronson’s fantasy was to remake Rio, and of course John mentions that was a fairly unrealistic goal.  I haven’t heard the album yet, but I know to try and beat what many believe to be the pinnacle of Duran Duran is a huge, huge goal.  That said, I hope they do it.  I hope they prove everyone, including yours truly, wrong. I know the band has it in them, and I’m thrilled to hear John say that Mark Ronson continued to crack the whip on them to get the album right.  Good for you, Mark!  A real fan, which I honestly believe Mark is just that, knows that the band can do it.  They just needed to bring it and have someone producing them that wouldn’t settle for less.  Once again, I was just a little dumbfounded to find myself nodding in agreement with John.  


John also talked about Ronson’s new album.  Now, this is a Duran Duran blog, so I haven’t said too much about Ronson’s album, Record Collection.  I have to say though, I bought it last week – and I love it.  It’s modern, but it absolutely has that 80’s feel to it as well.  There are a lot of gems on the album – and it’s very electric in it’s own way, but what it isn’t is fake.  I don’t know how else to describe it really.  It’s pop and electronic without sounding manufactured and fake like so much of the music heard on radio today.  John calls it intelligent, and I would wholeheartedly agree.  It’s worth the money to get it, and not just because Simon and Nick are also on the album. (the song “Record Collection” gets a huge thumbs up from me – and I wish Mark would SING MORE.  He’s got his own style and it’s fantastic!)


A favorite quote of mine from his interview that I believe sums up the bands entire career if not this next album…and it really should be a quote that all of us live by:


           “You need to feel good about the music you’re making right this minute.”   


That, Mr. Taylor – is music to MY ears.  It is exactly what I’ve been begging for the band to feel since the night of the dreaded fan show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC (June 17, 2007).  Be proud of what you’ve done, love the music you’re making –  the rest of it comes naturally.  I really do believe that, and it works in my own life.





Yep, I’m just a little more in awe of John Taylor today.  
  




Have a good weekend, everyone!


-R