Category Archives: Paper Gods

Paper Gods – Which Is Your Favorite?

As I continue to kind of sort out my final thoughts on all things Paper Gods, I’ve been thinking about the album itself.  This album took a while to grow on me.  Amanda and I spoke about it on the way home from San Francisco, and she surmised that this was a ‘thinking person’s’ album.

I think she’s right about that. In my case, it wasn’t an album that reached out and grabbed me, but instead it kind of sat bubbling in my head, percolating away. For what seemed like months, I’d listen to the album on repeat in the car, and then I’d put it away for a bit. Then I’d pull it back out, and listen to it again on repeat. I would think about the lyrics, the meaning, the possible story, and the music itself.

There were a few things about the album that just didn’t sit well with me. I struggled with the idea that Dom was barely on it, for instance. Yeah, I’m loyal. I know he’s not an “official band member”.  Whatever. He’s been with them for so long, it sure feels like he’s official. It bugged me. I wasn’t totally in love with the feel of the album at first, either. It felt very electronic in parts, and oddly un-Duran Duran like in others. I kept listening. I did not want a repeat of Red Carpet Massacre – an album that I never really enjoyed – so I kept at it, trying to bond.

Somewhere along the line, I must have done just that. The songs no longer sound foreign to me. They no longer feel too electronic, or not DD “enough”.  I don’t even think about who played or wrote what song. They feel just right. Even so, I have favorite songs on every single Duran Duran album. I think we all must have tunes we enjoy more than others, and this one is no different. I also think that looking back on this tour has kind of given new meaning to at least a few of the songs I once struggled with.

When I think of Paper Gods though, a few songs come to mind: Pressure Off, Last Night in the City, and What are the Chances. I am certain this is because the band played all of them on tour, and so they come to mind easily. I also think about The Universe Alone, Planet Roaring, and Cinderella Ride. It’s kind of hard to pick a favorite from that list, but in the end it is purely sentiment that drives me.

While I know he didn’t write it, there’s no arguing that Dom owns the guitar solo in What are the Chances when he plays it live. He took something that wasn’t really his and made it so, and the album version is every bit as beautiful, of course. I feel just a teensy bit guilty that I had to remind myself on the way home from San Francisco that John Frusciante actually wrote the guitar part – I’d gotten so used to Dom doing it that I’d forgotten.  I’m not normally a ballad person, but on this album it’s the two ballads (What are the Chances and Cinderella Ride) that I love hearing most when I’m at home.  The words for both ring very close to home for me in completely different ways – which is something I can say for 99% of the album. The lyrics really hit me.

There is a lot to like on this album, and since it’s release, I’ve fallen in love with much of it. It may not have been an album that knocked me over upon first listen, but it is definitely one that made me think, reconsider, and ultimately embrace. It’s been a great ride.

-R

On the other side of what we’ll never know

Today is my last post for the week. I’ll be back on Monday as usual, but in the meantime, I have a very important event to attend on Saturday. My son Gavin will be graduating from high school. Those are words I wasn’t quite sure I’d ever get to write.

It marks an ending, and a beginning. I remember when Heather, my oldest, graduated. It really was “A Big Thing.” I had no idea what to expect. Would we remain close?  How would she do in college? Was dance really the right path for her?  As I recently said to a friend whose first-born is graduating this year, it is hard to be sad, excited and scared all at once. I broke down many times, always in the shower, and tried very hard not to show my feelings. I figured she was having a hard enough time adjusting without the added pressure of mom’s emotions added to the mix.

Oddly, Heather’s graduation, and now Gavin’s graduation, mark the beginning and end of the Paper Gods album cycle. As the soundtrack of my life continues to be written, I think it’s kind of poetic that I will always equate Paper Gods with the graduations of my two oldest children. Even the album itself—lyrics and all—work well with this part of my life. I don’t know how Duran Duran does it, but they did it again. I’ll never think about this time of my life, with its endings and beginnings, without thinking about Paper Gods.

Gavin’s graduation, on the other hand, is weird for me. I thought I would be far more emotional than I am. I’m excited for Gavin to start college. He needs the challenge, and I have no doubt that Astrophysics will provide! I will miss him at home, but I am also ready to stop being his teacher. Honestly, I think he was ready for me to stop being his teacher about two years ago, but we survived! That said, when I think about just how far this kid has come since seventh grade when he looked me in the eye and told me, with all the seriousness that a twelve-year-old can muster, that he didn’t see the point of school because he was going to be a YouTube star, and by the way I’m failing out of school anyway….well, it’s been a long road with many crying sessions in the shower. I’m incredibly proud, and not just of Gavin. I’m proud of myself. Heather was my first baby and I learned how to be a mom with her. Gavin was my second, he was a challenge from day one, and he taught me how to advocate for my child. I’m so grateful.

Homeschooling has been one adventure after another, and I will never regret a single day. Gavin went from working very hard to fail out of school, to wanting to become a research physicist. Despite being told by more than one of my in-laws that I wasn’t smart enough to teach him—I did it anyway. My kid is not only going to college, but a UC school. I am ridiculously proud of Gavin. He learned to use his Autism as a tool and turn it into a positive. Sometimes, defiance is a wonderful source of energy. I embrace it.

Duran Duran is similar in many respects. To begin with, this day marks a couple of notable anniversaries in their world. It’s the date that the first album was released in 1981. (thirty-six years ago, but who’s counting??) Critics called them a flash in the pan, a one-hit wonder, and just about anything else they could think of.  Duran Duran didn’t shrink into the night because the critics couldn’t pull their heads out – they defiantly continued. Do they still have something to prove? Not in my mind, but I get the motivation. I live it every single day. If that weren’t enough, just two years ago, Pressure-Off, the lead single off of Paper Gods, was also released on this date. The full album came out a few months later, and what did that album do?  It soared to the top ten. So much for being a flash in the pan, right?

I don’t really know what will come next for my family. I’ve always halfway joked and expected that when the right opportunity came up, that Gavin would move far away and we’d get the occasional postcard. This is not a child who is going to stick close to home out of affection or loyalty – it’s not who he is.  It is very hard to stand back and let your child fly from the nest without knowing what will happen, particularly when you’ve spent the majority of his life front-loading him for even the smallest changes in schedule. I am not living his life for him though, he’s got to live his own. I have to let him go, and I will. I would imagine Duran Duran feels the same way when they release an album. You put all of this time and energy into something, and when it’s done and needs released, it’s no longer yours. They tour with it, show it around, and then it’s done.

I feel the same with my kids. Things don’t stay the same after they graduate. Yes, we all get together sometimes – but not nearly as often as we did when they were little. Nowadays Heather is in her own apartment, and is home here occasionally for dinner. (Free food brings them home every time!) I treasure the nights when everyone is home and we play board games or cards and laugh a lot. I can’t really look back with sadness at the loss of their childhood, though, so I don’t. I adjust to what is new, and embrace what comes next.

In the meantime though, I might just spend a little more time listening to Paper Gods, and sneaking in an extra shower or two before Saturday.

-R

Happy Anniversary Paper Gods!

Today is the one year anniversary of Paper Gods.  It is hard to believe that the album was released a whole year ago.  In order to celebrate the anniversary, the band released the official video for Last Night in the City (at midnight Eastern time) and then a little video from Simon discussing the special occasion.

Last Night in the City:

Here’s the video of Simon:

Of course, Rhonda and I had lots to say about the video, Simon’s video and the anniversary itself.  In order to fit our thoughts into one blog, a video blog seemed most appropriate!

After listening to all of our thoughts, what you think about the video or about what Simon had to say?  We would love to know!

-A

Buy the Concert Tickets

March 25, 2016. For most readers of this blog, that day kicked off Duran Duran’s 2016 North American tour supporting Paper Gods. For me, it was an unforgettable day for a different reason.

I am fortunate enough to have great tickets to three of the July shows for the Paper Gods (see you in Toronto, Boston, and Camden). So when Duran announced the Niagara Falls shows — just 1 week after I spent all that money on the July shows, mind you — I had a tough choice to make. Niagara Falls is only 1.5 hours from home, the shortest travel time to any Duran shows for me to date. Not to mention, the shows were on a weekend and kicking off the 2016 tour. That never happens for me!

But as much as I wished I could go to the Niagara Falls shows on March 25-26, I knew the right thing to do (financially) was to pass on them. I already spent too much money on the July shows. My best Duranie friend was going to one of the shows, and I’ll admit it was tough to stay excited for her. But of course I wished her good ticket karma on the presale and hoped to hear some great stories.

Then, on Wednesday evening, March 23, I came across a post on Instagram from Prince announcing two shows in Toronto on Friday, March 25.  Concert tickets went on sale the next morning. Holy sh!t. I knew that he usually announced shows only a day or two before the performances, and that was part of the reason why I followed him on Instagram and Twitter. But I never expected one this close to home. And by “this close” I mean 3 hours away. When I saw the ticket prices, I nearly fainted. These tickets were more expensive than almost any ticket I’ve bought for a Duran show. But hey, odds were low that I’d even get a ticket, so if I got one I’ll figure out the rest. And if it didn’t work out, I could still try to get a last-minute to Duran’s show that same night or the next night in Niagara Falls.

I’ve had good ticket karma for the last 6 months so I hoped it would hold out for just one more show. When I got to work Thursday morning, I promptly blocked off my calendar for 10:00 so that nothing would interrupt this chance (c’mon, you’ve done it too). In my 9:30-10:00 meeting, I exhausted my telepathic power to make the meeting end early. When it finally broke up around 10:04, I busted out of the room and went right to my desk to log in and try for a ticket. And then I got it: 4th row, just off to the left. (By now Ticketmaster must know I prefer John’s side.) I think I blacked out a little after I clicked “Purchase”.

My logical brain was saying “You chose NOT to see the opening night of Duran Duran’s tour but you spent nearly three times that amount on concert tickets for Prince? What happened to saving money and spending wisely?” But my heart was saying, “Life is Too Short, Buy the Ticket!” As much as I love the boys, I knew I needed to take this opportunity and see Prince.

Buy the ticket

I’ve seen this photo making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, and it was my mantra when deciding to go to three Duran shows this summer. Trust me, I’m not well off financially. And I wish we all had enough money and the luxury of seeing every concert we want to see. But sometimes you need to realize what you want out of life and do what you need to in order to make it happen.

So as I drove along interstate 190 on my way to Toronto on March 25, I could see Fallsview Casino and Niagara Falls off to my left and I wished the boys a good show. It was a little heartbreaking to know they were this close and I wasn’t going to see them, but knew in my heart I had made the right choice. I reminded myself that on this day, I needed to keep heading north and see one the last artists on my concert bucket list. Little did I know that it would be the 2nd to last show he’d perform.

Today I mourn with the world at the loss of this gifted virtuoso. And I call myself fortunate to have been able to see him just a month before he passed away. You may think that my recollection is glowing only in hindsight; trust me, as soon as Prince walked out on stage, I knew I had no regrets in my decision to buy the concert tickets. It was an amazing, impressive, and entertaining performance that I’ll never forget.

-PamG

Falling for Paper Gods in (Where else?) Niagara Falls!

As always – we welcome and encourage show reviews of any kind from our readers! This review of the Niagara Falls shows was sent to us courtesy of one of our Canadian friends, enjoy!! 


Last weekend I attended both shows in Niagara Falls. Originally I was only going to see the second show on Saturday night. Since we would already be there on Friday,  I would see if I could get tickets for that show as well. I had been watching a couple of tickets through a private seller the week before the show. He lowered his ticket price, so I ended up getting some great seats – second row to the left – and we all know who owns that area of the stage!

Where to begin? It was quite an amazing whirlwind of a weekend! We stayed at the Fallsview Casino Hotel, which doubled as the show venue. Our room was on the 35th floor.  As we went up to our room, we noticed a gentlemen knocking on the door two rooms down from ours. Who opens the door? Simon!!  I was on the same floor as the band! I couldn’t believe my luck! I didn’t say anything to him, as we  went into our room.  Once the door was securely shut,  I began to dance around like a 13-year-old girl. My husband found me quite amusing!

We went downstairs around 8pm as the show started at 9. I met one of my Facebook friends who was there from Colorado and we hung around for a bit before the show. It was great to finally meet her in person! The show started shortly after 9pm, and the band opened with Paper Gods. That was the perfect opener for the show. The background effects and lighting were just wonderful. The guys looked great and Simon’s voice sounded wonderful.

They played the usual classics along with a few songs from Paper Gods. They added a special homage to David Bowie by playing Space Oddity  in with Planet Earth.  It was so beautiful and moving! They had a picture of David on the big screen. Most of us there were also Bowie fans so I saw a lot of teary eyed people.

The show was short, which was disappointing. Apparently there was a time limit so were not able to play as much material as usual.
“Save A Prayer” was done during the encore, and Simon took a few moments to talk about the Paris attacks and the Eagles of Death Metal, who had been playing onstage at the Bataclan at the time of the attacks. Rio was also a part of the encore. As they were ready to leave the stage everyone started chanting “Reflex Reflex Reflex” So they stayed and granted us our wish!  (The video for The Reflex was filmed at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, so Canadians obviously feel a special connection to the song. – R) I didn’t see any disappointed faces in the crowd. Everyone had a smile on their face as they were leaving.

My husband is not a DD fan and he even appreciated the show. This is his second time seeing them with me, and he seeing another DD show in Montreal with me on April 11th, so I think I am slowing turning him into a fan!

We waited awhile before we went upstairs to our room. When we finally went up guess who was going into his room? Simon! I didn’t say anything to him as he looked really tired, and I wanted to respect his space. A few minutes later, I decided I wanted to get something to drink so I went to the vending machine down the hall. When I came back who did I see? Nick! He was almost standing in front of our door with their manager Wendy. His room was in front of ours. I spoke to him for a minute and asked him if he would autograph my Paper Gods book and also got a picture with him. He was so nice!

Nick and Janice

The next morning we decided to go downstairs and shop in the mall part of the hotel. We were walking around and I see Simon and Wendy walking toward us. I went up to Simon, said hi, and told him that I have been a fan since ’83 and shook his hand. I asked if I could get a picture with him. He responds by asking, “Aren’t you the girl down the hall from me?” I was thrilled! He picked out a spot with good lighting and my hubby took a few pictures. He had just come in from seeing the falls and his hands were cold. He was rubbing my arm! It was such a thrill to meet him. I think I played it cool when I met him, but when we walked away I was overcome with emotion. I’m thankful my husband was there with me.

Simon and Janice

Saturday was such a wonderful day. It was great finally meeting some of my FB friends that are also DD fans, and I even made some brand new friends. We all had such a great time. At the Saturday night show I went solo and sat in left balcony. Once again it was excellent. If I were a millionaire I would go to every one of their shows in every city.

This was a very special weekend that I will always remember. I never thought in a million years that I would meet Simon and Nick or end up as hotel neighbours with them!

If you have never seen DD I suggest you see them. They do not disappoint. They are better than ever!


Janice has been a Duranie since 1983 and is from a small town north of Montreal in Canada where she lives with her wonderfully patient (and potential DD convert!) husband.  She is excited for the upcoming show in Montreal this weekend, and says she will always love Duran Duran!

New Paper Gods Tour Dates Announced!! Shamir to support!

This Monday morning brings gifts of the Duran Duran tour date variety, as a couple additional dates were added to the Paper Gods tour calendar this morning. See below:

January 25th, 2016

DURAN DURAN ANNOUNCE ADDITIONAL 2016 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES

CHIC FEAT. NILE RODGERS AS SPECIAL GUEST ON SELECT SHOWS; XL RECORDING ARTIST SHAMIR ANNOUNCED AS SUPPORT IN 7 CITIES

TICKETS ON SALE THIS FRIDAY

January 25th, 2016 – (Burbank, CA) – Multi-platinum superstars Duran Duran today announced that they have added additional shows to their eagerly anticipated upcoming North American Paper Gods Tour, which visits arenas and amphitheaters beginning in March. Tickets for the newly announced dates go on sale starting this Friday, January 29th.

The band have also announced that XL recording artist Shamir will appear as support on 8 of the dates. The Las Vegas native released his debut album, Ratchet last year, featuring the singles “On the Regular” and “Call It Off.” Recently, Shamir recorded an acoustic cover of Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like The Wolf” (click here to listen). Also on the bill for most of the shows are previously announced special guests CHIC, featuring Nile Rodgers. Rodgers served as a producer on Paper Gods and has enjoyed a long collaborative history with Duran Duran.

The Paper Gods Tour kicks off on March 25th in Niagara Falls and is divided into two legs. The first runs through April and the second begins in July and runs through early August. Please see below for all upcoming tour dates. Every ticket bought online for Duran Duran’s 2016 headline tour includes a standard physical copy of Paper Gods. After purchasing tickets, fans will receive an email within 24 to 48 hours containing album redemption instructions. Festival dates, Niagara Falls, and the Puerto Rican shows are not included. 

Duran Duran Fan Community members will have access to pre-sale tickets and VIP packages for the July 6th Nashville concert beginning Wednesday, January 27th at 10am local venue time. An allocation of excellent seats will be held and made available to Fan Community members for the Highland Park shows on July 8th and 9th on April 18th at 10am CST before the public onsale on April 26th. Please visit www.duranduranmusic.com for details. **

Paper Gods was released worldwide on September 11th and bowed at No. 10 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album chart, earning Duran Duran its highest-charting album in 22 years. The album returned to the Top 20 upon the band announcing the Paper Gods Tour in December.

Duran Duran’s 2016 Paper Gods Tour dates are as follows:

03/25 Niagara Falls, ON, Canada Niagara Fallsview Casino
03/26 Niagara Falls, ON, Canada Niagara Fallsview Casino
03/28 Durham, NC Durham Performing Arts Center+
03/30 Saint Augustine, FL Saint Augustine Amphitheater+
04/01 Miami, FL Miami Open Experience
04/02 Tampa, FL MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre*+
04/05 Bethlehem, PA Sands Bethlehem Event Center+
04/07 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena*+
04/08 Washington, DC Verizon Center*+
04/11 Montreal, QC Bell Centre*+
04/12 Brooklyn, NY Barclays Center (New York City area)*+
04/15 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena*
04/16 Charlotte, NC PNC Music Pavilion*
04/19 Dallas, TX American Airlines Arena*
04/22 Austin, TX Austin360 Amphitheater*
04/23 The Woodlands, TX The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion*
04/24 New Orleans, LA Smoothie King Center*
04/29 San Juan, Puerto Rico Coliseo de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot

07/06 Nashville, TN Ascend Amphitheater*
07/08 Highland Park, IL Ravinia Pavilion* (Chicago area)
07/09 Highland Park, IL Ravinia Pavilion* (Chicago area)
07/11 Clarkston, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre (Detroit area)*
07/13 Toronto, ON Molson Canadian Amphitheater*
07/17 Mansfield, MA Xfinity Center (Boston area)*
07/21 Camden, NJ BB&T Pavilion (Philadelphia area)*
07/23 St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center (Minneapolis area)*
07/24 Kansas City, MO Starlight Theatre*
07/29 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay Events Center*
07/30 Irvine, CA Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre (LA area)*
07/31 Chula Vista, CA Sleep Train Amphitheatre (San Diego area)*
08/03 Glendale, AZ Gila River Arena (Phoenix area)*

*denotes show with CHIC FEAT. NILE RODGERS as Special Guest
+denotes show with Shamir as support

** Duran Duran in Nashville, TN on July 6 at the Ascend Amphitheater with CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers: Public on sale begins at 10am local venue time on January 29th

Duran Duran in Highland Park, IL at the Ravinia Pavilion on July 8th and July 9th with CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers: Public on sale is April 26th (time/ticketing link TBA). 

www.duranduran.com

So it is that Duran Duran will be playing at the Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville on July 6th, and as many anticipated – the Ravinia Pavilion on July 8 & 9th.  Unfortunately, as is typical, the internet is abuzz with comments from many disappointed fans about the Ravinia dates due to the subscriber practice for that venue. Basically (as with many other outdoor amphitheaters around the country), it sells tickets in advance to its season ticket holders – leaving what is typically a much smaller pool of tickets available for fan community pre-sales and/or public on sales.

The fan community, however, does say that they have excellent seats available for members (pre-sale), the question truly is how many for each evening. Those seats, available through the VIP packages offered to members of DDM, are priced at $150.00 + ticket price. (so you pay for the regular cost of the ticket plus an extra $150 for the VIP fan community package, which includes the Paper Gods CD, a beach towel, a canvas bag and a laminate)  They guarantee a ticket in rows 1-15.  Again to be clear: for these shows, there is no breakdown in VIP category – they are offering one tier of ticket for $150.00 plus the cost of your concert ticket that can get you a seat anywhere from front row to the 15th row.

Grass seats, however, are usually plentiful. For those fans willing to sit in the back and hear the music without necessarily being close to the stage, these should be easily procured during the public on sale date.

Fans may remember that Ravinia dates were included in the previous All You Need is Now tour back in 2012 but were cancelled late in the tour due to illness. One can only wonder if perhaps these dates were a requirement by the venue based on those cancellations, or perhaps Duran Duran enjoys the venue. Either way, fans have two nights to choose from at Ravinia, and hopefully all will find seats!

Additionally, Shamir has been added to the bill as an opening support act for seven shows in April. Shamir is known for doing a cover of Hungry Like the Wolf that has been applauded for being a sort of “folk song” answer to the original.  Reaction from fans upon reading that Shamir was added has been very positive this morning. Personally, I am going to need to do some music appreciation homework….

Lastly, even as a US fan, I have to wonder if/when dates for Europe and the rest of the world will be added to the Paper Gods tour for 2016. It is no secret to me that Duran Duran will have toured here twice, and while I recognize many throughout the world like to say that the US is spoiled and that we think of no one but ourselves – that is simply not true. (by the way we don’t plan the tours, so any complaints need not be hurled in the direction of fans anyway) It is already nearly February, with no visible sign in sight for any other tour dates being added, although my fingers and toes remain crossed for all involved. It would seem that surely they’d have to tour the album in other places besides the UK and US, but I’m merely a blogger. I only know that I continue to see and read pleadings from fans in Europe and elsewhere, hoping for their own chance to see the band in 2016. I hope their wishes are answered.

-R

How Beautiful the Closing Down

This week is sucking, gotta say. I am already in a mad hurry today because I have to take Heather, my oldest, to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). Why? Today she FINALLY takes her drivers test. She will be 19 next week. I pray she passes. (and no, we were NOT insisting she wait this long to get her license. That, my friends, is a long story from which I have since learned the lesson. Gavin goes for his permit test TOMORROW!)

Anyway, I’m in a rush. Today is crazy. Dropped two younger kids off, ran home, and as I came in the door I said out loud to absolutely no one, “No one had better have died today because I need to write this blog quickly!”  Opened the laptop, jumped online and found that Alan Rickman – aka Severus Snape amongst many other characters over the years – has passed away. Also aged 69, also from cancer.

My fandoms are taking a severe beating this week. Unbeknownst to many, I’m a Harry Potter fan. I’ve read the books, own the movies in two different formats, been to Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida, read MuggleNet as often as possible…I just love that whole world. I share this fandom with my youngest. She was tiny when her big brother was given the movies as a gift, and it was she that insisted we play the movies over and over and over yet again. She is a huge fan and she’s yet to actually read the books (she’s only 7)! I am not looking forward to explaining this loss to her, whether now or at a later date.  So once again, it’s a sad day for many.

It wasn’t my intention to begin AND end this week with a sad blog, of course. I had thought about what I’d write today – not coming up with much other than I’ve been listening to Paper Gods again.  I think that album is going to end up being one of my very treasured favorites. It took me so long to come to terms with it, and that bothered me.  Truth is, most of my very favorite art is that way. I have to sit with it a very long time and let whatever is bothering me about it sort of sink in. Percolate. Make sense of it.

That’s kind of how my journey with Paper Gods has been, and it’s not over yet. Reading the tour book has really helped. The one word that comes to mind over and over as I consider the book and the album is “committed.” This isn’t my first rodeo with Duran Duran, of course. I’ve been around a long time. There have been many albums at this point, some of which I’ve connected with better than others of course – and that’s natural. The difference between Paper Gods and many others is that word, “committed.”  I see it. I FEEL it when I’ve seen them live. This isn’t a band that put out an album and stood back tentatively, hiding their faces and wondering what would happen. This is a band that continues to be incredibly proud of their work, and have a genuine sense of drive to get it heard. I think that is what was missing from Red Carpet Massacre, to be honest. Even if the band was totally committed and ready to sell it to us – they certainly didn’t convey with the same sort of confidence and positivity.  I know for me, that is very much an influence.  I’ll take Danceophobia for an example: I don’t mind saying that I couldn’t stand the song when I first heard it. I really couldn’t, and sure, that had PLENTY to do with Lindsay. I can’t help it, I had real issues with her being on the album and for the most part – that hasn’t changed. However, I have also seen them do this song live. John Taylor OWNS it, so does Dom and Simon. I’m sure Nick and Roger do as well – but they don’t move around the stage so there’s that. There’s no standing around, no hiding in a corner, no looking like they’d like the floor to open and swallow them. They play, and they work damn hard to get the audience going. John is even behind the keyboard and STILL moves. I can’t help but love that. They’re completely committed to selling the song to the audience, to making us love it…and I daresay they’re committed to making me eat my words and say I love the song.  Kudos on that commitment. It works.

It’s been a tough week. The silver lining for me has been the music, of course. I’ve listened to quite a bit of Bowie, and a lot of Paper Gods this week. It’s helped. Even reading the tour book has brought a smile to my face and a longing for July to come. One thing is certain: I live for music. I have the score to Harry Potter upstairs – it’s the entire soundtrack, and I may just drag out my clarinet and play a little. It’s how I manage.  I hope you’ve all been able to find the necessary diversions and ways to escape this week.

RIP Alan Rickman. Thank you for bringing Professor Snape to life.

-R

Winter Marches On…

I hate this time of the year.  I always hate this time of the year.  The holidays are over and the next vacation feels eons away.  I find myself searching for something to look forward to.  Anything.  It doesn’t really matter what as long as it is something that breaks me out of the daily grind.  This week, it has dawned on me that this feeling of blah is worse this year than most.  Why is that?  I got away from home for Christmas in which I got to spend time with my family.  I had a vacation from work.  The weather hasn’t been awful.  So, what is my problem?  Duran Duran.

Well, Duran Duran isn’t the exactly the problem.  It is the fact that I got super spoiled this past fall.  Really, for Duranies, our holiday season started in the summer as songs were released, media coverage flowed freely, and countdowns for an album and concerts ensued.  Then, summer turned to fall and more and more of our days were filled with Duran Duran.  The album dropped and suddenly most of us couldn’t remember life before Paper Gods.  Most of us, officially, blocked out Durantime!  Soon enough, the fall US tour arrived and I spent a lot of time either getting ready or recovering from the shows I attended.  Before I could completely recover, Duran Duran began the UK tour and again my online world was filled with watching for set lists, seeing posts and tweets from my UK friends about the shows, checking out videos on YouTube and more.  Truly, the second half of 2015 was overwhelmingly filled with Duran Duran.  There was so much Duran Duran that I struggled to keep up and I write a daily blog!  I have to keep up!!!

Then, the UK tour ended, Duran posts and tweets quieted down, which was okay.  I needed time to prepare for the holidays.  My shopping list was long and my packing list felt even longer.  Once I arrived at my sister’s, there was little, if any, real time online.  I checked in, solely to make sure that everything was cool, nothing more.  I wasn’t social with friends because I wanted to focus my attention on my family, some of whom I don’t see very often.  I figured that the members of Duran Duran were doing the exact same thing.  Now, though, I am missing the Duran activity of the fall.  I know that there is plenty of activity to come with more shows in the US in the spring and summer.  I even know that eventually tickets for the Chicago show will go sale.

Do not get me wrong.  I’m not criticizing at all.  I hope that the band is relaxing and enjoying their break.  They deserve it.  They worked hard to get the message out about an album that they clearly spent a ton of time and effort on.  No, what I’m really saying here is that I miss the action.  I miss them filling up my days.  It is silly, really.  I have plenty to do.  I have many papers and tests to grade.   That said, I prefer Duran Duran over all of that!!  I would rather be focused on the band and their fans than on grading and lesson planning.  This reminds me.  Each year, I like to come up with a new super power that I should get (you know…for fun, people!  I’m well-aware that I have none!).  This year, I want to be able to bank things like sleep, fun and Duran Duran.  For example, if I get more than 8 hours of sleep, those extra hours should be banked to be able to use when…say…I’m on tour and I am not getting so much sleep.  I want the same thing for Duran Duran activity.  I’m sure that I missed much during the fall.  If I had banked Duran Duran activity, then, now I could read something or watch something that I didn’t get to then.  Wouldn’t that be cool!?!  Maybe, then, winter would not feel like it is going to be marching on like it does right now…

-A

I Am a Signal Somewhere in Your Bliss

I have a confession to make. It’s likely to get me into trouble in some circles (when am I not in trouble with someone out there??), but I’m going to share anyway.

I haven’t listened to Paper Gods since the beginning of November.

In my defense, I have a seven-year old. I know that doesn’t sound like much of an opening line – but wait!  When the album first came out, I listened to it day and night. Any time I was in the car it would be on, and when I was at home and could put in ear buds without fearing that the house would go up in smoke without my noticing, I’d be listening. I wrote blog after blog about the album. I wrote, changed my mind, and wrote again. And then my youngest started listening. She plays Minecraft in her spare time, and when she’s playing she listens to music. Admittedly I didn’t know this for a while (which is another blog for another day), but she found the album on YouTube and started playing it while she’d “craft”.  You can’t obviously see my dining room table right now, but I’m on one side of it and she sits at the very end of it, close enough so that I’m able to see what’s going on should I feel the need to intervene, or just remind her that “real life” is still going on around her. One day I was writing or working on something and all of a sudden I recognize that she’s humming and partially singing…and it is a song I know.  I stop and listen – she’s singing Last Night in the City (as apparently one does while they’re playing Minecraft).  My eyes got wider and wider as I listened. Not only does she know the words, she knows Kiesza’s part and isn’t afraid to belt it.

I should probably mention that my little one takes singing lessons, too. She’s in something similar to Glee (Yeah, I do question my own judgment sometimes…) so I get the joy of hearing them sing songs like “What Does the Fox Say” in their “Glee” sort of way each week. Nope, not kidding. (Again, the whole judgment thing…) So, as I take her to and from school twice a week and then when we go to singing, she has taken to requesting music be played as though I’m not only her chauffeur, but also her personal DJ.

So where was I? Oh yes, Paper Gods. It quickly grew from requesting one song to asking for many songs off the album – and not necessarily in the order presented. All day, every day, she would ask for “Last Night in the City” and “Pressure Off” to be played. Sometimes she’d request “What are the Chances”, and other times it would be “You Kill Me with Silence”. She’d groan at “Danceophobia” (Yes! She IS my child), and after about the 1,000,000th time I had to play “Pressure Off” for her, I decided I was finished. I needed a break. I needed to hear other music, for crying out loud – no offense to Duran Duran, but I was sick of it (and it takes a lot of nerve for me to admit that, but really – I needed a change of pace!) So, I told her no. (A collective gasp heard ’round the world falls over the crowd…) There would be no more mom playing DJ in the car. We were going to listen to other things. Period. She protested. I stood firm. She is obviously the better fan (but I have better tickets to the shows, so there!).  Only joking, people…and remember, she’s seven.

This continued for about a month. Until Monday night when she caught me at a low point. It had been a rough weekend, I was tired, and I just wanted to get home. She came bouncing out of Glee class as I dragged my mostly dead body to the car. She jumped in, buckled up (she never does anything quickly so this was unusual), I fell into my seat, threw my bag beside me, buckled the safety belt and started the car, sighing deeply as I considered what I was going to rush home to make for dinner. Just as I’d settled on the fact that I didn’t care, a small, ever-so-kind voice from the back of the car requested “Pressure Off”.

Part of me wanted to resist. But I was too tired. I gave in and put it on. After not hearing it for over a month, I’d forgotten how good it was. I still love the hook to pieces and I have it on good authority from my small passenger that Janelle Monáe is still “awesome”. (We live in California. Deal with it.)

Yesterday morning, we got into the car to head to school. We leave at traffic time, so we can count on the drive taking about an hour.  Gosh I love Southern California. My youngest knows the drive can be long, and quickly suggested every so casually that we listen to Paper Gods the entire way to school. “We can even listen to it YOUR way, Mommy.” (That means I start the CD – yes CD because my car is old and I hate screwing around with my phone and the audio jack and CDs sound better anyway – and we listen from start to finish. No repeats, no skipping around.)  Again, part of me resisted. I wanted to wait until after the first of the year and listen to it alone and see how I felt, but I gave in. (This kid has my number in the worst way. Tune in when she’s hit her teens and we’ll all see how this goes…)

A couple of observations:

  1. My little one has grown up with Duran Duran being constant in her life, even more so than my older two because I didn’t start blogging until just after the youngest was born.  She thinks she knows them even though her MOM doesn’t even know them. This is funny to me.

  2. My girl can sing, and it is nothing for her to hit and hold the high notes that Janelle and Kiesza hit.  Ah…youth.  🙂  She dearly loves Paper Gods though, and I appreciate that. You know that youth market DD was after?  Well…they overshot and got the seven year-old market hooked!  (I am joking. Mostly.)

  3. It had been quite a while since I’d heard the whole album and I was curious about how I’d feel after being away from it. Did I really love Paper Gods in the same way that I love Rio or the first album??  Paper Gods still presents a formidable challenge in that it really forces the listener to fully open up and push old perceptions of Duran Duran aside. It’s not like anything else they’ve done, collectively speaking, yet it’s still them. Does that make it well-loved, or does it make it an album that I will continue to appreciate and grow with over time, but maybe not one that I grab immediately when I think of Duran Duran?

I put the album aside again for a while, figuring that after the holidays, I’m going to sit down and give it a dedicated listen,  hopefully without my little back-up singer so that I can concentrate. (I don’t dare say that to her!) I’m curious to see how I feel about it after more time away, and I’m wondering if others have done similar – either with this album or others.  Chime in if you care to share!

-R

2015 Grammy Awards: Ink Spot on A Plastic Spoon

As nice as it would have been to see, Paper Gods was not included in the list of 2015 Grammy awards nominees released this morning.

For many within the fan community, this does not come as a shock, nor does it threaten to take the wind out of the sails. It is par for the course this band was set on since their first album was released. Is it frustrating? Possibly to some. Is it disappointing? I suppose it could be if we let it. For the band? Chances are – they’ve not given it more than a thought or two (if any).  This isn’t a band that has hung their hats, so to speak, on awards, nominations or even lifetime achievements – although they have certainly had some of each. This isn’t a band that has openly given credence to critics, and I can certainly appreciate that.

As a fan, I’ll admit it would have been nice to see them nominated.  Yes, this is purely MY opinion. I certainly said as much in a previous blog I’d written on this very subject. Duran Duran’s absence on the list of Grammy nominees is noticeable, but not terribly surprising. When I look at the field – names like Mark Ronson (Not that I can complain much about that one), Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and Ed Sheeran fly off the page. As John himself mentioned in a recent Katy Kafe – the band has a difficult time competing on that level, with kids who are easily 25 years their junior (in some cases). I don’t know that any band truly worthy of Duran’s salt could really be in that same category (Pop) and expect to be successful in the sense of being nominated and winning awards or even being played on top 40, “pop” radio stations.

What does that really mean for Duran Duran? Do they just hang it up and quit, realizing that they’re being expected to compete in a category that is likely impossible for a band in their mid-50s? Absolutely not. I don’t know who decides how an album (or a band) should be categorized in sales for places such as iTunes – that’s probably a great question for Katy Krassner, but obviously at least John Taylor feels like Paper Gods wasn’t given it’s just due in that regard, and perhaps he’s right.  I really don’t know and don’t profess otherwise. Even so, and even if it was only for a short time – Paper Gods hit the top 10. This is their 14th studio album and instead of just phoning it in or releasing one “greatest hits” album after another, they decided to take it up a notch. Duran Duran has succeeded in not only challenging their fan base to expand the proverbial music “box” where the band resides in their hearts, they’ve also dared critics to accept that they’re not just aging pinups – that they have serious musical chops and deserve much overdo respect. Paper Gods is already a huge win.

Seeing Duran Duran passed up time and time again for a Grammy can be frustrating to some fans, and I can understand that.  In some ways it’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, I laugh at award shows like the Grammy’s, the MTV awards, and the American Music Awards. The artists and bands who are typically celebrated on those shows aren’t even on my radar much of the time – how could I possibly even want Duran included among those masses?? On the other hand, I’m a fan. I like seeing the band I love getting their moment(s) in the sun. Sure. I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t admit that I’d hoped for the best. I’m not ashamed of my positivity, because if we don’t have that – what do we really have? What’s the point of being a fan if we can’t extol the band’s triumphs?

I know many are reading and shaking their heads, thinking to themselves my opinion doesn’t matter, the blog is pointless, or that the Grammy’s are a joke and I’ve wasted my time. Some are likely thinking, told you so. Again I ask – why even bother being a fan if we can’t celebrate success? I love Duran Duran. I’m proud of them, whether there are zero nominations or fifty. I am never going to apologize for my pride, even if I’m the only fan left standing.

-R