Category Archives: New album

Now the channel is open

Last week, I received my DD Blast from DDM. I’m not sure if everyone gets those, but basically – it’s a little newsletter sent out by DDM, and all you need to do to get it is get on the mailing list. In any case, out of the entire news blast – which I don’t mind saying was a regurgitation of things THIS blog had already covered during the past month – it was the first sentence that interested me most. It said that that the band was still in the studio and that we should be getting snippets of new music soon.

Amanda and I had mentioned the quiet last week in various ways – she even blogged about it – and we’d commented to one another that it would be great to finally hear something. A few notes. ANYTHING (!!!) from the studio. Yes, we’re impatient, but we’re also just downright curious. And nosey! For me, and I highly doubt I’m alone, it’s not just the excitement over getting something new, although don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely that too. It’s hearing that first burst of creativity and then wondering where it will go from there.  How will it end up? I still have snippets from the last album, in particular the one that Mark played on his radio show (I believe his words before playing it was that he was going to get in big trouble but that he was going to play it anyway. I saved it. Of course.). I haven’t listened to it in a long time – like since the album came out, but I can remember listening very intently.  I frowned, trying to focus on every single note. It ended nearly as soon as it began, and I played it over and over again, trying to make sense of it. Did it sound like Duran Duran? Did it sound anything at all like Red Carpet Massacre? What about Rio, did it sound like Rio? Is there really guitar in there??? All of those questions, and many more went through my head. I still remember exactly where I was when I first heard the snippets. I was sitting on my bathroom floor while my youngest was playing in the bathtub! (Yep, it’s nothing but glamour, glamour, glamour here at Casa Rivera.) I remember shaking my head when it ended, wrinkling up my nose and thinking “What in the hell was THAT!” There was one teensy snippet though, that when I heard it, I thought “Now that, is Duran Duran.”, and that was what became the very beginning of Runway Runaway. It was really cool to hear that on the album once it was finished. Kind of like my own “A-HA! Now I get it!!” moment.

On the other hand, any time we’d mention the snippets on either Facebook or even here on the blog, we’d be met with a barrage of “If it’s not coming directly from the band you don’t know if it’s real”, as well as “I refuse to listen to those. I want to wait until the final product.”  Fair enough. Let’s face it, we’ve had our plenty of “fake” snippets rise from various black holes, to be toted as being “the newest music leaks from the studio”, only to be debunked within hours. That’s why Daily Duranie has never, nor will we start posting snippets now, unless the band starts sending them and TELLS us to post them. We don’t do leaks out of respect for the band. That said, we very well might comment on what we’ve seen or heard, but we’re not going to be posting that sort of thing here unless TPTB (The Powers That Be) ask us to do so. No matter, I can understand why people are less than willing to believe the rumors and news unless it comes from the band. We are well aware that there are plenty of others who want to be the first to post the leaked material, and we’re just going to leave them to it. As for those of you masochists out there who will sit back and somehow restrain yourselves from clicking on the snippets, well…you’re better than me. I can’t do it. Just know up front that I’ll be clicking enough for all of you combined, and occasionally we’ll talk about what we’ve heard here on the blog. I will do my best not to spoil it for you!

Naturally though, I can’t let this subject go by without an offer for discussion. How do you feel about the snippets from the studio? Do they help to get you excited by an album? Do you wish they wouldn’t release a thing until it was done? In a past Katy Kafé, Simon mentioned how if they release too much, there is always the concern of listeners having preconceived notions before the album is finished. What do you think about that? I’m curious to know if I’m the only person out there that actually enjoys the whole experience of getting the snippets and talking about them. (Aside from Amanda of course. There IS a reason we started Daily Duranie, you know.) Let me know what you think!


We still got a little time

Happy Monday, and if you’re in the USA, a Happy Labor Day to you!

Today marks my very last day of Summer, because after this day, my son begins school – which means that *I* begin school (yay for ninth grade all over again), and then next week, my two girls start the school year. I’m starting to have serious anxiety about how all of it is going to work each day, and I’m nervous about sending my little one off to kindergarten. All in a days work as a mom, I suppose.

On the other hand, with school starting and September here, I find myself thinking back on my summer. We were busy when we were busy, but we spent plenty of time relaxing here at home too. Our daily lives weren’t jammed packed with mom-planned activities, we went to the beach a few times, and of course we took a really nice vacation too. I have completed nearly none of the projects I said I would do, or would like to do this summer, and I didn’t attend a single concert (that is an abomination!)…certainly not a Duran Duran show…but I *have* been working on a certain convention, I finished a manuscript, and on the bright side, now I’ve got plenty to occupy my time after October 18-20.

My blog is starting to remind me a little bit of the “What did you do this summer?” essays we were always asked to write and hand in during the first week of school. I suppose that’s appropriate, given my little task of getting my son through high school…but honestly I’m more interested with what is ahead rather than taking a lot of time looking back.

I think we have busy times ahead, my fellow Duran-fans. While the album does not appear to be finished, I hear it is on it’s way – which is good. We have a great time planned for Durandemonium, and this week I’m searching for inexpensive mirror (disco) balls online to use in our table centerpieces and other fun decoration ideas. Autumn, such as it is where I live, is always a busy time. We have birthdays, college info nights, high school football games, Daisy Girl Scouts, and then of course there are the holidays coming. It’s my favorite time of year, even though by the time Christmas comes I’m asking myself how on earth I get through it all each year. Then we have hope…at least I do…of hearing that new album next year, and more importantly (yes, it really IS more important) seeing the band onstage again at some point next year. I miss those guys.

With that in mind, I’m off to celebrate the last carefree day of summer with my family. One last day to enjoy the sunshine, do one final family project (we’re building a huge cat tree), not worry (too much) about getting dinner on the table right on time, and then the school year begins.


Waiting for a Look, The Invitation

There are times when Rhonda and I seem to be on the exact same page.  Lately, as the summer begins to move into fall, I feel like Rhonda and I are dealing with similar issues.  She has to deal with scheduling with school and home along with everything else that she is responsible for.  I have also been dealing with the “how in the world am I going to fit everything in” feeling.  You see I have returned to work, to school, to teaching.  Is this what I want?  No.  We all know that it isn’t.  I sent off applications over the summer and looked for something different with no luck.  I am still looking, sort of.  I just don’t know how to balance that, which does take considerable amount of time, with my regular job responsibilities, this blog, our book, and the upcoming convention.  I’m feeling exhausted all ready and the kids don’t show up until Tuesday.  I know that I will get into a rhythm, a pattern where I’m not so tired and where I can get things done after work but I will feel a little bit like I’m drowning until I get to that spot.  Interestingly enough, Rhonda and I have spent time talking about the craziness of schedules during the beginning of the school year but we find ourselves talking about how anxious we are for news from the band.  We want to know about the album.  We want to hear how it is going.  We want to know that they are working on it and that it is on schedule for a 2014 release with a TOUR.  Now, should we be taking the time to worry about this?  Absolutely not.  Do we already have plenty on our plates that we don’t have the time or the energy to do things like plan a tour?  Very much so.  Yet, we still find ourselves yearning for something, anything from the Duran camp.  This is when it hit me.  What is the only thing I’m not doing right now and didn’t do this summer that I have been doing?  Campaigning.  Yes, the summer of 2013 was the first summer that I didn’t campaign since 2009.  Welcome to Wisconsin where politics is an all year long ordeal from January 1st to December 31st with little to no breaks.  Maybe, though, I should use my not-being-used skills.  Perhaps, a new campaign will keep me fresh for those political positions that I should be searching for and applying for.  Hmm…what could that campaign be for?  President is done for awhile.  My state doesn’t have senate races until 2016.  Governor is far too painful.  What about focusing my campaign skills on what I’m missing the most?  That silly band we all know and love!  Yes, that’s it!  I could run a campaign focused on Duran Duran!

Now, there are two kinds of campaigns.  There is electoral campaigning, which focuses on a candidate and getting that candidate to win a specific election.  That doesn’t fit here.  We don’t need Duran to win anything.  They won us over a long time ago.  No, we need the other kind of campaigning.  We need issue based campaigning.  Okay.  Then, we have to pick a goal.  Typically, most issue based campaigns focus on getting a law passed.  An example might be that there are organizations I am connected to that are fighting to get Congress to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform.  Their tactics then focus on the members of Congress.  Simple enough, or so it sounds.  It is a clear cut goal.  They want it to pass and they know that they need so many votes in the House of Representatives before it goes to the President to sign into law.  Thus, they work at convincing the members of Congress to vote for it.  Let’s think then.  What could we campaign for with the band?  We know that it takes time to finish an album.  We don’t want the album to suck so we can’t really push on that too much.  What should we campaign for?  I have got it!  We could campaign for news about the album, especially since we didn’t get any with Simon’s recent Katy Kafe.  Let’s be even more specific.  What kind of news?  How much news?  We know that there are 8 songs.  Should we demand to hear part of one?  Should we ask for their timeline and how they plan to meet it?  What is reasonable?  Since I believe strongly in democracy, I will ask all of you to help me determine the campaign goal.  I can definitely be campaign manager but I need to know our goals first.
Once our goal is determined, then, we get to choose what kind of tactics to use.  As I’m sure you all know from watching electoral politics, we could either be persuasive through positive means or by negative means.  A negative tactic could be something like a strike.  Obviously, this is a political action often used by labor unions who want their employers to meet some sort of demand like a wage increase or a change in a working condition.  The strike is often effective because it hurts the employer in their pocketbook.  They lose money and will change in order to avoid this loss.  The same is true with a boycott.  We all could decide to stop buying their products and stop talking about them.  What if the Daily Duranie blogged about something that had nothing to do with Duran or started blogging about other bands?  Well, that probably wouldn’t hurt the band at all…okay.  Heck, if they knew about us at all, maybe, stopping would make them cheer!?!  We don’t really want to do that.  Also, it is good to be aware that the tactics mentioned (strikes or boycotts) could cause us harm.  We would be removing something that we enjoy.  Yeah, those ideas might not work here.  
What are more positive tactics?  What about a petition?  If we get enough fans demanding news, a timeline or a snippet of a new song, would that work?  On one hand, if we showed that there tons of fans around the world wanting this, that could be pretty powerful.  That might be enough to convince them.  What if it isn’t then?  Petitions are often used with members of Congress and not always with success.  Then what?  In the world of issue campaigning, we try to use that petition to convince the people who have power over the member of Congress.  Those people could be the people who vote in his/her’s district, state or nation, but they could also be the contributors.  Who would it be with Duran?  Their management?  Their fans?  We could use the petition to show the fans who haven’t signed that the cause is worthy of their signature.  We could also convince management by sending it there, too, right?  We could, if think that will be effective.  Another option could be direct action…a little protest or three, some speeches, an occupation or two usually helped major social movements.  Hm…so many options!  So, team, what shall we choose?  What would persuade them to give us a taste, some info, a little fix to keep us going?  The desperation is increasing as I type!!
Of course, maybe, they would take pity on me, on all of us and give us something without having to go to all of this work.  Maybe, they would want to give us all something to keep us going, to keep us interested, to thank us for being obsessed….I mean, dedicated.  Of course, they would, right?  They want to make us all happy, yes?  I like that idea.  It feels so positive, so optimistic.  I guess if that doesn’t happen…well, we could always still could campaign!!!  ;D
You all get that I’m kidding, right?!  For the most part…

May Katy Kafe with John Taylor

People will often ask me why I’m still a paying member over at DuranDuranMusic, the official fan club.  The first thing I will mention, of course, is the presales.  I might then mention the swag that one gets with membership as I’m a sucker for Duran merch.  That said, I do LOVE the Katy Kafes.  I always feel like I learn a lot about the band and the band member in the Kafe by listening to them.  I gain an insight that I wouldn’t gain from a regular interview.  First, I gain some insight by how the band member in question reacts to the topic at hand.  Sometimes, the tone and whatnot tells me more than the actual words.  Second, the fact that this is done with Katy, someone who really knows them, allows for a different level of interaction than a straight up interview with a random stranger.  My point being that I learn a lot from listening to them and enjoy them, too.  This month’s was no different.

This month’s Kafe was posted to the website on May 20th and found John Taylor in New York City before the band’s appearance in Cannes.  The topics were what you would imagine them to be and included information on the work in the studio, John’s autobiography, and the appearance in Cannes.  There was a brief discussion on coffee and caffeine as well.  While I figured there would be quite a bit of discussion on the new album and the work in the studio, I admit that I was surprised that his book was a topic as that seemed to be talked about a lot last year.  I was also surprised that there was no discussion surrounding his lack of twitter appearances for 2013.  This could have been a perfect venue for it to be discussed and John, certainly, could have explained himself well in this setting.  Yet, the fact that it wasn’t even brought up led me to wonder if it was something agreed not to be discussed, which probably just gets me thinking about it even more.

John did spend a long time discussing the progress of the new album.  He mentioned that they are in what is possibly his favorite part of the process as it seems like every song has the potential to all be fabulous!  It is only as the songs get finished that some are clearly not as strong as others, which I can imagine.  I relate to this as I feel that way as a writer.  Every blog is going to be the best blog ever until I actually write it.  Some blogs really do turn out wonderful and I’m really proud of them and others I feel like I miss the mark somewhere or didn’t explain myself as well as I could have.  He also said that it was nice to be with everyone again.  Katy asked a good question about whether or not people came with ideas despite typically not writing on the road.  He said that people did but that there really wasn’t pressure to come with some.  The most important thing was to get ideas that become or are group ideas.  The album shouldn’t be like a Nick Rhodes solo album with Simon singing or a John Taylor solo album with Simon’s vocals.  It should a great Duran album.  Everyone needs to feel a part of it and he specifically pointed out that “integrating Dom” is key.    One word that he used to describe a great Duran album is balance.  I definitely agree with him.  This is what the first couple of albums had and what AYNIN had.  There was a balance with all members.  They were all present and accounted for.  If they know this now and use this now, I’m totally reassured that the album will turn out well.

John was also asked about working with Mark again and the timeline of the album.  As far as Mark was concerned, he stated that they would be pleased for him to produce some of the album.  He specifically did not say the whole album.  I’m not sure what that means exactly.  Would they bring in other producers?  Produce themselves?  Yet, John did mention that they need a captain to the project and that Mark did that whereas having a band member be captain doesn’t always work, which made perfect sense to me.  The captain isn’t as tied emotionally to any of the ideas or to the band and band’s direction.  S/he could be more objective, at least that is what I thought.  As for the timeline, this part made me laugh.  John said that they were all interested in playing shows next summer but wanted the album out before that.  Hmm…did I just read somewhere about shows in the summer and how much easier it is for people like me?!  Great minds think alike, apparently.  Anyway, despite this desire, he said he is open-minded about the album’s timeline.

Beyond the discussion surrounding the band’s current activities, Katy did ask about the book.  At first, I really wished that she hadn’t simply because I didn’t know what more could be gained.  After a minute or two, I was so glad that she had as John discussed how he did give copies to family members and that they seemed shocked to find out about his struggle with addiction.  He made an incredibly important point, which is that no one really understands as the pain is not seen.  John also explained a little bit about grief towards his parents and how it is a strong force.  This resonated with me.  While I haven’t (thank goodness) lost my parents, I still think I have experienced grief surrounding my job, which might sound silly but that’s how I look at it.  In response to grief, John said that it must be processed in the right way or it can become destructive.  Again, I was led to wonder if I have dealt with my feelings regarding my career the way that I should.  This, of course, is where I really appreciate being able to listen to these.  Not only did I gain insight into John but it forced me to reflect on my own life and my own experiences.

Was the best, more interesting, Katy Kafe ever?  Probably not.  We didn’t get a lot of insider information regarding things like how many songs have lyrics or any other behind the scenes information.  We did get an insight into John and his ideas on how the band needs to function to produce great Duran songs.  We also learned about his ideas regarding grief and loss.  I, for one, am thankful that I had the opportunity to listen to the Kafe completely as my reaction, which isn’t even a summary, does not do it justice.  I recommend listening for yourself.


Get Angry at the Weekend and Go Back to School

Tuesday evening, I went to a meeting to discuss possible political work with the people who were my campaign volunteers.  I looked forward to the meeting as I miss many of the people now that it isn’t campaign season.  Yet, instead of enjoying myself, I found myself increasingly frustrated.  Why?  Well, our discussion included the results in the last election, which included results on three seats for our local school district’s board.  Now, as you all know, I’m a teacher and many of my team are current or former teachers as well.  (That probably says something about Wisconsin teachers!)  Anyway, the discussion moved away from the results to discussion on the new superintendent of the district.  During this never-ending discussion, everyone kept asking me what I thought about the new person, what her plans are, what she has done as far as outreach was concerned, etc.  Eventually, the discussion became just about education, in general, and different mandates within my district.  After an hour, I wanted to beat my head against the wall.  Do I have some opinions about the state of my district?  Of course.  Do I have thoughts about the school board results?  Sure.  Do I have a few ideas on the new superintendent?  Maybe.  Yet, we weren’t there to discuss all that.  We weren’t.  We were there to discuss possible upcoming political actions.  We weren’t there to debate actions on education, either.  What irritates me is that a number of these people ALWAYS ask me about teaching and the state of education and only about that!  I understand why they do.  They know that I’m a teacher.  It seems logical to them.  For me, though, I don’t have those meetings to talk about WORK.  I am there to talk about other things.  I talk about work plenty when I am at work.  I want a break from work.  Is that too much to ask for?

After the meeting, I arrived home to check on the online world, including facebook.  That night, like I frequently see, someone had posted an article by a teacher who talked about why he would not encourage anyone to go into teaching.  That didn’t surprise me.  Yet, I made the mistake of looking at the comments that followed.  A number of comments were offering support to teachers and how hard our job must be.  Unfortunately, a number of them were usual anti-teaching rants about how little we work since we only work until 3 and how we get so many days off and summers, etc.  Yeah…that isn’t the first time I have read/heard things like that.  It won’t be the last.  My only response to those comments is that I would gladly allow them to take over my job for a full calendar year so they can see how wrong that comment is.  As I tried to sleep that night, I pondered about how both the meeting and the comments were expressing the same thing.  They want me to be a teacher at all times and do nothing but think, breathe and talk teaching and education.  I shouldn’t want to talk about anything.  I shouldn’t want to have other thoughts or interests.  I shouldn’t want to take a break from it ever.  Teaching should be my only identity.  I shouldn’t be an organizer/campaigner/activist.  I shouldn’t be a fan/writer/blogger.  I am not sure where my friends and family should fit in.  Maybe they shouldn’t be that important either.  Nope, it should be all teaching, all the time.

Clearly, I don’t think it is fair of people at my meeting or the random people posting comments to think that I should only talk about teaching.  I think we would all agree that people aren’t just their jobs.  People should be allowed to have other interests, no matter what your job is or how important it is.  I shouldn’t have to just think about teaching.  I should be allowed to have a life outside of work.  I bet everyone reading this would agree with this.  Yet, I wonder if we really think this for the members of Duran.  Do they have a right to think about something outside of their JOB?  Can they think or talk about something other than Duran or something else connected to Duran?  Do we as fans let them?    I wonder if we do.  This week, for example, Simon showed up on Twitter.  The first tweet I noticed was about Margaret Thatcher’s passing.  Soon after that, my timeline was filled with tweets to Simon.  Were they tweets about her death?  Were they tweets reacting to what Simon said?  From what I saw, they weren’t, for the most part.  Many of the tweets were about the band and the work in the studio.  Is this just like the people at my meeting who seemed to think I would want to talk about work when I’m not at work?  While I understand how we all want to know what is going on in the studio and how the album is going, should Simon and the others only get to talk about work?  After all, Duran is just their job.  Yes, it is a big part of their lives but it isn’t their whole lives.  They have ideas outside of the band.  They have other interests.  I know what some of you are saying…but they are celebrities.  Their job is different than yours and mine.  True.  They are.  Yes, their job is different than mine.  What part of being a celebrity means that they can or should only think about work?  Maybe, I’m missing something but I think they should be allowed to think and talk about other things.

Then, of course, I have also seen some criticism around Duran’s time in the studio.  Where/when did this criticism come from?  I saw some of it as soon as John’s book talk in Copenhagen was announced for April 17th.  Then, when Roger’s DJ Set in Chicago was announced for April 25th, the criticism increased.  “Shouldn’t they be in the studio?  Shouldn’t they be working more?  Why are they taking breaks?  This album will never get done.  Why isn’t the album their priority?”  I could keep going but those are some of the things I have been hearing.  Isn’t this like those people who criticize teachers like me for getting a break?  Some people are allowed breaks but others aren’t?  Is this fair?  I get it.  People want the album to be done as quickly as possible.  We all want the album today or, at the very latest, next week.  We love Duran music and we would love to hear new music from them.  That said, they aren’t machines.  They are people who do create and perform music for their careers.  I believe, though, that they, like everyone else, need breaks.  Breaks help people be productive.  Also, they are involved in the creative arts.  I don’t believe that people can just be creative every single day to the same level as the same as the day before and the same level as  the day after.  People can’t control creativity like this.  I know that my mom, who is an artist, can’t.  She has times when nothing hits her.  She may try to work on something and nothing shows well.  Then, at other times, she can’t stop her creativity.  On those days, I think my dad has to make her step away from her work just to eat.  I know that I feel this way with writing.  Some days, I don’t feel like I can even write a sentence and if I do, none of them make sense.  Other days, I wish that I could just write the whole day and all of it sounds fabulous.

I think my point here is that I’m not just my profession and should be allowed to have breaks and other interests.  Likewise, John, Simon, Dom, Roger and Nick are in a band for their careers.  They, too, should be allowed to have other interests and be allowed to have breaks.  Maybe, I’m crazy but I don’t think their fame took away this element of their humanity.


Breaking open doors I’ve sealed up before

When I am stressed out about something, my creativity completely tanks. I don’t really know if that’s a normal thing for most people – or something that only yours truly deals with, but today my friends, I am stressed. In hindsight, I should have seen this coming, but even so – when the words are just put out there to the universe, it makes it all real.

On Sunday night, my oldest came downstairs to talk to her dad and I. Both of us knew something was up just by the way she walked into the room. She sat down on a chair and told us that she’d been thinking it over, and has decided that she’d like to return to her “home” high school for her junior and senior years, rather than continue to attend her school of the arts. On one hand, I should be thrilled. I hate that drive every single day and anything to keep me off the freeways of Southern California should be applauded. On the other hand, I am very sad. I have tried extremely hard to remind myself that this is her life, not mine, and her dreams are just that – hers. There are a lot of parts to this story, a lot of subtle things that I really can’t get into here on the blog, so I will just say this: she is growing up and I think that she is changing her mind about a lot of things. It is extremely difficult to sit back as a parent and be supportive of choices that you’re unsure about, but I trust my daughter implicitly. She has a good head on her shoulders, and if she really feels that her current school is no longer the right place for her, I have to remember that she is the one who has to be happy with what she is doing, no matter how “great” the school looks on paper.

I know that for most of you, this is probably something small. Who cares, right? If you knew my daughter (and a few of you have known her since she was seven!), you would understand just how big of a deal this is. While most young kids in our neighborhood played outside with friends, had slumber parties and did fun things during elementary school, my daughter was at dance class – a decision she made all on her own. She was a competitive dancer from the time she was five years old, dancing a minimum of 10 hours a week, up to her maximum of about 20 hours a week when she was twelve – doing everything from ballet to hip hop. At that time, she was injured while training and had a hairline fracture on her L5 that sidelined her for about six months while she was in intensive PT to help heal the injury and combat the curvature of her spine that was taking place as a result of the fracture. This is all going back a bit – but she has had lingering back issues ever since, and she had to quit dancing competitively, it is just too hard on her back, and to think that at one point they thought she’d be in a brace for ten months with possible surgery, I think overall she’s done very well. She never once complained, choosing instead to start doing musical theater. She worked her butt off to be accepted to the school, even more so to change from Commercial Dance to Music & Theater, and now she’s ready to leave it all behind. Truthfully, the news didn’t surprise me. She has had a difficult time this past year – the very nature of the school is such that kids travel from all over Southern California to be there, and so your friends might live an hour or more away from you.There’s not much getting together on the weekends, and “after school” is nearly non-existant, so it’s a tough life with little chance to make long lasting friendships, in her case. Lately she has been spending more time with her friends here at what would have been her regular high school, and I have always told her that if she wanted to return back to her regular school, the choice was hers. I didn’t want her to have regrets, or to blame her dad and I for missing out on the high school experience (her school doesn’t have football, cheerleaders, spirit days…that’s just not what it’s about). Of course, I never really thought she’d take me up on the offer. Funny how that happens. Naturally, this isn’t the end of the world, and she can still act, sing, dance and do all of the same things she is doing now – just in a different place with a set of friends that is truly supportive. I just have that normal parental worry, and now, rather than having one child to register into school next year, I have three. (One in kindergarten, one in a homeschool program for high school, and one in regular high school.)

So, I’m stressed. When I’m stressed, I have a tough time writing (and making SENSE).  My inspiration seems to be completely drained, and I’ve only been writing for a short time.  It makes me wonder how the band does it. What could possible inspire them after 30 years??? In the past, I’ve never really thought much about how the band writes an entire album.  I think the blank space, the “empty air”, would drive me crazy. The thoughts of knowing that you’ve got to come up with a good 15 songs, out of thin air, would be a constant source of anxiety. There are some mornings when I come downstairs, sit down, and there’s absolutely nothing.  I wonder if that happens to the band? I can’t really live my “real world” behind – I have no studio to step into or a door to close, but even if I did – I wonder how they get themselves going each day. Does Simon have as much difficulty writing lyrics when he’s stressed as I do writing this blog?

Many times, readers have asked Amanda and I how we do this each day (write the blog).  They think we’re nuts for ever calling it Daily Duranie. They want to know if we worry about ever running out of things to say. The thing is, Amanda and I are just like anyone else. We both have lives outside of what happens with Duran Duran, or what goes on here online.  Part of the point behind the blog is just to talk about what it is like to be a fan, and for me that includes the rest of my life and family. That alone gives me a lot to say, although the challenge, especially at times like this – is finding how it possibly relates back to the band.  One thing that I can say (and if I could just remind myself of this every morning) is that it’s only when I stop to think about having to write every single day that I start really worrying about what to say, and about whether or not I’ll run out of things to say. It is sort of like this: I sit down each day and just think about that one blog, that one day. If I start considering about the entirety, it’s only then that I feel daunted by the challenge…and never fear, we’re probably not going to run out of things to say just yet, even if writers block occasionally hits me in the face!


Look Into the Future…Don’t Be Afraid

Duran Duran is back in the studio.  Those are, generally, music to my ears.  In fact, it might be my second favorite phrase after, “Duran Duran is on tour.”  🙂  This week, we have seen some evidence of that in the form of tweets.  Two days ago, Simon tweeted a picture of a computer screen with obvious music being made.  Then, a day ago Duran Duran tweeted again an excerpt from the Katy Kafe with Simon when he talked about returning to the studio.  In this clip, he mentioned about how things didn’t do quite how they were supposed to, as typical of first days.  Yet, there is hope as Roger is a fabulous drummer, John plays bass like a *****, Nick plays keyboards well, Dom plays a killer guitar and Simon can sing.  Also, Mark Ronson shared a picture of Roger Taylor behind his drum kit.  Dom didn’t stay out of the action either as he tweeted that it has been a productive couple of weeks in the studio for Duran and Mark.  Then, yesterday, another Duran tweet about how more pictures will be shown from the studio next week.

On top of all these official tweets were the responses from the fans I saw.  All of the ones I saw were positive.  (Of course, there might have been less than positive ones that I just didn’t see.)  Some people were just excited to see the pictures.  I get this.  While, of course, many fans do like to look at the band members and I’m sure that’s part of it, I also think seeing the picture makes it so much more real.  After all, we all know that words on twitter do not prove anything.  Pictures do something else that words can’t always do.  They can really show body language and give a deeper sense as to how the person(s) is (are) doing and feeling.  That picture of Roger, for example, shows him with a slight smile on his face, which is great!  Judge yourself–go here to look.  Thus, am I thrilled that we might get more pictures next week?  Of course, I am! 

Other fans are just now finding out that Duran is working with Mark Ronson again.  For those fans, they couldn’t be more thrilled (assuming that they loved AYNIN).  For most fans, this news brings a certain level of excitement but also a certain level of comfort.  Let’s face it.  Duran has been so innovative that they truly have tried to never make the same album twice and each album definitely sounds different from the album before it and the album after it.  Sometimes, the change has been welcomed, especially when it feels like they hit the nail on the hit with an album after one that wasn’t as well-liked.  All You Need Is Now is the perfect example of that.  A lot of fans were disappointed or worse with Red Carpet Massacre.  AYNIN was very much a welcomed change.  I suppose it can be argued that some of Duran’s best albums have been created after a not-as-great album.  Some would say the Wedding Album was another example of that.  My point here is that Duran often tries to change, to be different from the previous album. Will that happen with Mark?  It is hard to say.  Will the new album sound like a continued version of AYNIN?  Will it sound different?  The one thing a lot of us fans would say is that Mark seemed to really get Duran. Thus, it doesn’t matter as much if it sounds like AYNIN part 2 or is something totally different.  We have confidence that it will still sound and feel like Duran.

The other interesting thing about the band working with Mark again is that they haven’t worked with same producer two times in a row for a whole album since their first two albums when they worked with Colin Thurston.  Yes, I realized that they worked with Nile Rodgers a few times, but those weren’t all for albums.  Likewise, Alex Sadkin produced Seven and then produced Arcadia.  That still isn’t the same.  Anyway, interestingly enough, the first two albums plus AYNIN are definitely my top 3 Duran albums.  I wonder how much this fact of having the same producer will make a difference.  In particular, I have to wonder about how long the album might take.  I’m sure all of you out there are talking about Durantime as you read and I won’t disagree, but I have to wonder if already having established working relationships might not speed up the process.  Perhaps, it won’t speed up the process as much as it might make it more enjoyable for all involved.  We may never know.

No matter the length of time to make the album, I have confidence that it will turn out well.  I also have to hope that there continues to be tweets and updates from the studio.  It will definitely keep my excitement up!!


Get It Up, Get It Out, Get It in Time

There are some days that I can’t wait to blog.  There are some days that I wished I could blog but it isn’t my day to do it.  Then, there are days like this.  I’m crabby.  I’m tired.  I have things I want to say but not sure if I should put them out there or fear that if I do, I won’t explain them well enough to be understood.  Is this a problem with my writing?  Certainly.  Is a personal thing?  Most definitely.  Is a fan community thing?  Absolutely.  I will say this much.  Sometimes, many times, I feel like the odd one, the one who doesn’t fit in, which is why it always blows my mind when someone comments on a blog post of mine with agreement.  What?!  Someone actually sees it like me?!  Really?!  Sometimes, of course, I stick with topics that I know most people are going to understand my point.  It is safer that way.  Today is going to be one of those days.

This week, the members of Duran returned to the studio.  The reactions I saw where as I expected them to be.  Generally, there was excitement with lots of “yay”s and smiling faces.  I got this as it was my reaction, too.  Who wasn’t excited about seeing Duran back in the studio?  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, despite all of the rumors about John leaving and Warren coming back, it appears as if things are as they were.  There are no lineup changes.  Heck, even, Mark Ronson is coming back.  Now, as the case for all things Duran, there are some people who might be disappointed that Warren isn’t back.  Heck, some might be sad that Andy isn’t either.  There is not universal excitement about Mark Ronson, either, as All You Need Is Now didn’t cut it for some fans.  That said, from what I could tell, most fans, a large majority of fans loved the album and are thrilled that Duran is continuing in the same path.  Truly, for most of us, we cannot wait to hear what they come up with and have confidence that it is going to be good!!!

Of course, I wouldn’t be me, though, if I didn’t put a little reality back into Duranland.  The band got back into the studio this week.  When do we think, in all seriousness, that we will hear a finished product?  I’m not saying this to focus on Durantime, something we are all familiar with, but to point out that this truly does take time.  Duran albums almost always have.  The only albums I can think of that truly went fast were the first two and that is definitely partly due to the fact that many of the songs were already written and arranged.  That isn’t the case in 2013.  I don’t hear of the band writing full songs while on tour.  Instead, I hear about their current writing process, about how they get into a room and play until someone comes up with something to focus on .  Then, the rest gets built around that.  This process sounds like it could go so quickly for some songs and take a very long time for others.  Would I like the band to go quickly with their albums?  Sure.  What fan doesn’t?!  That said, I would prefer to wait a little bit longer if it means that there is more quality to the songs and to get the best songs possible.  Yes, I know that there are some out there right now complaining about how the time in between albums kills Duran’s chances at momentum to increase commercial success and all that.  While I get that, I also recognize that making music is an art form, which sometimes truly can’t be rushed. 

This, of course, leads me to think about touring.  In fact, I had a dream last night in which I was in my childhood home trying to convince Rhonda to go to a show in Nova Scotia.  Seriously.  The reality is that DDHQ on Twitter has said that there will be no touring in 2013.  I have no reason to doubt this.  The band will be working on the album.  Will they take breaks?  Sure.  Will those breaks be to do shows?  Doubt it.  A break is a break.  Personally, my fandom doesn’t do well when the band isn’t releasing an album, preparing for a tour or touring.  I don’t like the fact that I will have a long time before I see them perform live again.  (Yes, I know that there are people out there who will call me spoiled since I have been able to see them so much.)  That said, I am so thankful that I have the convention to look forward to.  I love that I will be able to be around Duranies for a weekend and talk about Duran the entire time.  Maybe, then, my patience will be ever better while I wait for the album and tour, whatever year that they may be.


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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



Life Moves Pretty Fast

This is an exciting time in Duranland.  A new album was released last week and we have TV performances and concerts to look forward to.  In fact, there isn’t a day that there isn’t something Duran related going on, in one way or another.  There may not be a concert or TV performance everyday but it seems that we get some piece of news or something.  Today, John and Simon were posting pictures of New York City where they traveled to and people are posting clips from their performance in Miami yesterday.  In the fan community, there are contests taking place and all that goes along with that.  Some of us are spending time getting ready for upcoming shows and concerts and others are on the ready for any show announcement that might work for them. It is kind of funny.  In Duranland, we have a term for how every project in Duran’s world seems to take longer than they should, which we lovingly or not-so-lovingly call “Durantime”.  What do we call times like this, though? What would the opposite of Durantime be?

I wish that I had a cool term to coin to describe times like this when the band is so busy and that there is so much going on with them, but I don’t.  I’m not very good with slogans.  (Anyone have a good idea?)  The point of this blog entry isn’t to name this time but to actually take some moments to appreciate it.  Where was the band a year ago?  I guess they were working on the new album.  Maybe they were getting ready to play a private gig or two, but most of us couldn’t appreciate either one of those things.  Yes, I realize that they need this “downtime” in order to make new music and to pay for these projects.  Nonetheless, I know that I appreciate times like this more as a fan.  Who doesn’t?  I know that I didn’t get a chance to see them live in 2010 but now have a number of chances to do so.  (I’m obviously feeling BEYOND lucky, too!)  I also realize that times like this don’t come around all that often so I better take a moment or two to appreciate it. 

I have a number of friends who follow different bands (shocking that all of my friends aren’t Duranies, isn’t it?).  These friends like bands who are smaller in scoop as they have had some success in their careers but nothing like Duran’s level of success.  On one hand, I’m jealous of them.  Their bands tend to tour much more frequently as this really is their main source of income.  (Yes, I realize that Duran makes a ton of money on touring but they aren’t living tour to tour the way a small band does.  Heck, Duran charters a private plane when they can on tour.)  Typically, their tours include smaller cities in the States, which allows fans to see a bunch of shows without traveling that far.  We don’t have that chance with Duran.  We have to be willing and able to travel to see, sometimes, even one show.  On the other hand, though, we get to watch Duran on the Tonight Show and on Ellen.  We get to read countless reviews. Duran gets a ton more press because of how big they truly have been over the course of their career. 

Today, I find myself just appreciating the time I’m living in, in terms of being a Duranie.  Is it a perfect time for all Duranies? No, personally, it isn’t, but as a FAN, it is pretty good right now.  I love the latest album as does most of the other fans.  There is not the division that existed during RCM times.  I get very excited by every TV performance and every piece of news from their concerts. I am SO looking forward to my shows.  However, I also want to be aware that these fabulous times won’t be around forever so I shouldn’t rush to see the next event take place but take the time to savor every event and every day.