Category Archives: Paper Gods

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




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 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).

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.


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.


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…


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!


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.


Isn’t It Time for a Grammy?!?


I could pretty much just leave the blog right like this today and be dead on with the message…and the first (and largest) quote from Rolling Stone says it all.

If there were ever an album that truly DESERVED a Grammy this year, it’s Paper Gods. I write that with reasoning in two-fold.

For one, this is NOT a debut, upstart band. This is a band that has been working for the past thirty-seven years, and this album isn’t a throwback to everything else they’ve ever done. Not by a long shot.  Duran Duran has done what very few other bands have ever been able to do, and that is breathing new life into their career as they finish out their fourth decade in music. That alone should earn them a Grammy nod.

On the other hand, the “fandom” hand that I hold near to my heart that is full of emotion – isn’t it time this band receives some acknowledgment for their music?!? Yeah, they’ve gotten themselves a few “Lifetime achievement” awards for style or videos, and hey those are fantastic. WHAT ABOUT THE MUSIC?!? I know what Duran Duran would say here. They would graciously say that they don’t need that kind of validation, and every single time they see one of us – the fans – scream for them, or comment on how much this band has meant to us over the years, it validates them. Good. I’m glad that the band feels that way, and before I say what needs to be said on behalf of the fans out there – I want them to know that I appreciate that they TELL us how much we mean to them. The little things matter. And we fans do love them. Fans do not stick around for decades supporting a band they don’t like much, and they sure as hell don’t write blogs, plan conventions, and/or travel specifically to see them, either.

The fans say it’s OUR turn. WE want that validation for them. I know I’m not alone when I say that I want to see Duran Duran up on that damn stage, earning their Grammy for the talent, expertise, innovation and devotion they’ve given their music over the years. Paper Gods proves all of that.

I hope the band “hears” me when I type this: the awards matter to US – the fans – because it’s gone on too long now. I speak for all fans when I say that we’re sick and tired of this band being kicked under the table purely because they happened to be the band that young girls fell in love with once. Being female does not equate to not knowing anything about music, and just because at one point I (or any female fan for that matter) happened to be a teenage girl, shouldn’t mean that Duran Duran will forever pay the price. Sometimes I want to ask these people – whomever is really voting for this shit or comments in the negative about DD’s fan base – why it is that they think Duran fans are so intense, or so “rabid?”

I can answer that: it’s because we’ve spent the better part of our lives defending them. We’re supremely loyal because we’ve had to be – and it’s not just about defending their good graces – it’s been about defending our own.

I cannot tell any of you how many times I had kids laugh back in school when I’d triumphantly name Duran Duran as my favorite band. I’m sure most of you have similar tales to tell. I think to a certain degree it hardened me, because I’d glare in reply with a steely gaze, and then flatten them with some basic facts about the band and what they’d accomplished. Sadly, not much has changed over the years. To this day I have neighbors who look at me comically when they ask what I do – and yeah, it can sometimes be tough to choke down the whole “You write a fan blog??” comments. I hate it, actually. So yes, I want to see this band win. You can bet, should that day come – I will feel as victorious as I might if I was bringing home the award myself.  I have no doubt that every other fan out there feels similar.

Duran Duran deserves their moment. I know damn right well that they’re better than M.A.N.Y. of the other bands and performers out there that pick up Grammy’s every single year like it’s no big deal. They thank their managers and producers, most of the time forgetting about the fans that bought their album to begin with, and try to manage not looking like complete assholes (some of the time) as they grab their umpteenth trophy and walk off stage. Once again: IT. IS. TIME.

It’s time to recognize that Duran Duran has outlived much of the unfounded criticism that has relentlessly followed them throughout their career, much in part due to people like me. Fan Girls. Don’t get me wrong, I roll my eyes in complete disgust at that comment, particularly because it’s made by people who know precious little about music, much of the time. Huge, sweeping generalizations were made by critics out there because you know – if young girls happened to like the band, obviously that must have meant they weren’t very good.

Funny thing – those fan girls every music journalist and critic out there has laughed at? We’re still here, and many of those critics are LONG gone.  (A special thank you to Simon for mentioning that during a recent interview with Lyndsey Parker for Yahoo Music!)

Vote early, vote often!!  Paper Gods deserves your consideration.  (and  if you’re a fan who hasn’t bought the album yet – GO GET IT!)


The Present Will Never Last

I feel like the whole world is abuzz with Duran Duran.  Now, I know that this statement of mine is a bit of an overstatement.  Yet, that is how I feel right now.  It seems to me that every other second there is a new post about Duran released by music person/site, a new performance on some show or an exciting piece of news being sent out across the social media world.  Duranland is full of activity!  I am running to keep up, that’s for sure!!  Do not get me wrong.  This is NOT a complaint in any way, shape or form.  I much, much, much prefer this than what it was like a year ago or so.  In fact, I struggle to even remember what life was like then.

Looking back on the blog from a year ago, do you know what was posted?  Three posts were posted on October 24, 2014.  One, of course, was the question of the day focused on Andy Taylor pictures.  The next one focused on the day in Duran history about a John Taylor book signing.  The last one started out like this:  “The Duranie part of me has felt pretty weak lately.  I haven’t been feeling very Duranie like.”  I wrote those lines.  Just reading them makes me feel very, very sad.  That wasn’t an easy time.  The album, then unknown, seemed very, very far away and All You Need Is Now really did, too.  There were no shows on the horizon and no shows in recent memory to look back on.  We were trying desperately to hang on until the quiet ended, until action began in Duranland.

We survived Duran downtime.  We made it through Durantime.  In October of 2014, we couldn’t even imagine what Paper Gods would sound like.  We had no idea that Duran Duran would play at the Hollywood Bowl or would be winning awards like the one they will be receiving tomorrow, the Video Visionary Award, at the MTV EMAs.  Of course, none of this success would have been surprising to us.  We knew that Duran could play special shows and could/should win awards like tomorrow’s.  Yet, I bet none of us really imagined these events.  We couldn’t know.  Here is what we do know.  The present will never last.  (I heard that line somewhere before…Hmmm..)  As much as I want this level of activity in Duranland everyday for the rest of my life, I know that it won’t be like this forever.  It can’t be.  Therefore, I have two choices in how I respond.  I could be super sad about this and worried about the future or I can embrace each and every second!

Obviously, I’m going for the second choice.  So, how am I embracing every single second?  First, I’m trying to check in as much as humanly possible, which isn’t always easy for me with that frustrating teacher schedule of mine, but I am trying!  This might mean, of course, that I’m taking a few minutes out of my day to watch the latest TV appearance.  Speaking of, did you see the performance and interview from X-Factor Italy?

Or what about the performance at Jools Holland in the UK?

Both are well-worth the watch AND sharing!  Yes, please, share away.  Remind people to buy and share, in fact.  This reminds me of the old phrase about voting in Chicago, which is, “Vote early.  Vote often.”  To adapt that quote to now, “Buy early.  Buy often.”  Another thing to say could be, “Share early.  Share often.”  That is another good way, I think, to embrace this time and ensure that every one around you is, too!!!  Of course, having lots of lots of discussion everywhere and anywhere about Duran is important, too.  Heck, I know that my students and my colleagues are probably getting sick of me mentioning Duran and the new album.  (Do you think it would be wrong to include a Duran Duran question on the next quiz for extra credit?!)  I figure, though, that if they aren’t sick of it, then I’m not mentioning it enough!

Beyond all of those ways to live in the moment and embrace the present,  I think, most importantly, it is good just to focus on the now.  I don’t want to spend a lot of time looking back.  It wasn’t that those times weren’t amazing as many other album cycles really were.  I know, for instance, that Rhonda and I wish we were headed back to the UK after seeing a few shows over there for the All You Need Is Now tour.  Yet, as much as I loved that time and always, always will, I don’t want to focus my energy there.  No, I want to listen to the new album over and over again.  I want to watch current clips of TV appearances.  I want to squee with excitement over news like winning awards or new videos.  I don’t want to be concerned with how long this will last or what the next album will be like or will there be a next.  I just want to be right here, right now enjoying Duran Duran.




Paper Gods, Caveman Edition

Editorial note: C.K. didn’t title this blog and submitted it, probably assuming I’d come up with some catchy title for it. Well, he made the mistake of characterizing his own descriptions of Duran Duran’s music as being “caveman level”. So did what must be done and ran with it. You’re welcome, C.K!!!  – R


I had a two-hour drive recently to visit friends in Boston, and it was the perfect opportunity to play Paper Gods! On drive up, I played it in its official running order, because it’s been a while since I’ve heard it that way. Then, I began to skip around, looking for specific songs. It’s about that time in Paper Gods’ five week existence that we start looking for certain songs, right? What I found interesting, though, is that most of the songs I’m gravitating toward now were not ones I liked much a few weeks ago. Specifically:

  1. Face for Today: Some songs grab you strictly with the music, while others may hook you with the lyrics. This one really merges the two for me. I love the idea of Duran giving advice to this generation of pop stars. And yet it also feels like it can apply to our lives too. The “hold on to your time” message is a nice continuation of the similarly themed “All You Need is Now”.   It’s also reminiscent of R.E.M.’s “All the Best,” from what would be their final album, 2011’s Collapse into Now. In each case, the band is clearly speaking from a place of accomplishment and looking back, fondly, to those who are following in their steps.   I loved this song upon first listen, and continue to love it today.
  1. Change the Skyline: Admittedly, I didn’t like this song at first, but it has grown on me. Lyrically, it talks about “moving on” and while that doesn’t necessarily resonate (I don’t want the band to “move on” and I certainly am focused on the “now” in my own life!), I do relate to the notion that you can change the skyline: with your actions, words, accomplishments, with your life…so for me, when I do get to the point where I am passing the torch to someone, I want to feel this way—that I have made a difference. Musically, I really love the percussion, even though it has that club sound (disclaimer: As you all know from my past guest blogs, I am not a musician, so my descriptions of Duran’s music are going to be at the caveman level. No “syncopated bass” references from me!). I also like the rhythm guitar and the keyboard line. And Jonas Bjerre is great, in my opinion. I am sure this puts me in the minority of the fans out there, as this song seems to take a beating on some message boards, and that is fine…I’m used to it (says the guy with the Medazzaland poster in the background).
  1. Sunset Garage: If you asked me in mid-September what my least favorite song was on Paper Gods, I would have easily pointed to “Sunset Garage.” It sounded too different for me, too 60’s/70’s faux Beach Boys-ish.   It also seemed like the descendant of “Taste the Summer” and “Meet El Presidente,” two songs from the catalogue that don’t rank as my favorites. And yet…it grew on me. It’s so damn upbeat and catchy. You can just picture yourself driving on a coastal highway into the sunset with the top down. “Whatever happens, we’re okay…hey we’re still alive!” is one of my favorite lines on this album.   This song has the trademark Duran optimism that drew us to this band in the first place.
  1. Only in Dreams: This one was a fan favorite from day one. It took a little time for me to get into it, but I certainly love it now. I love the orchestral beginning that gives way to the funk about a minute in (very similar to “The Universe Alone”).   Again, lyrically, it’s about celebrating the now (“don’t want to wake up”), but is a little more playful than some of the other similarly themed songs. The Nile Rodgers influence is all over this one. And, yes, the (wait for it…) syncopated bass is also a cool effect. (Well done, my friend. – R) 
  1. Valentine Stones: My favorite of the bonus tracks. When the band talks about this album being heavily influenced by both Notorious and the first album, I think of this song. It’s got the funky rhythm guitar and a haunting, early era Duran chorus that sounds straight out of 1981. Lyrically, the song seems to be about someone getting over a relationship and being leery of a suitor’s promises (as if the protagonist in “You Kill Me With Silence” finally was able to “let go” and move on, but was leery of the “rebound” relationship that awaited him…or her. Yes, I really overanalyze these lyrics!).   I think all of the bonus tracks are amazing, but this one really stands out to me.

You realize that I could have written 13 more paragraphs, right? I love every song on this album. Even Danceophobia. But these are the ones I found myself gravitating toward on my recent trip. I think it speaks to the depth of this new music that these songs were not among my favorites a month ago. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? Whatever happens, we’re okay, though…hey we’re still alive! With new Duran Duran music!


Something Is Happening to Me!

I have been back from tour for almost 2 weeks.  Since then, I have noticed something strange with myself, something different than before I left.  This something new isn’t bad and really hasn’t caused me much grief or pain.  Yet…I fear…that it might.  What is it?  I have this uncontrollable urge to listen to the album, Paper Gods, over and over and over.  It is bad.  I’m not going to lie.  I have attempted to switch to something else–anything else…a different Duran album, shuffle, Brandon Flowers, John Taylor solo and still I find myself with that itch.  You all know that itch.  It is when you find your fingers hover over the iPod or phone or stereo or whatever musical device you might have anytime it plays something NOT off Paper Gods.  At that moment, it takes all self-control not to change the song.  It is like having obsessive-compulsive disorder but a super duper specific one.  So, what is the deal?!  How did this started?  How do I stop it?  HELP!

I figure that the first step is admitting that I have a problem.  I do.  I cannot stop listening to Paper Gods.  I think my cat is sick of it.  He gives a weird meow whenever it plays.  Heck, I think the drivers on my morning commute must recognize it by now simply from how loud I have been playing it.  (It is a good waker-upper!)  Even when I am not listening to the music, I start singing songs in my head, thinking about lyrics.  It is not good.  I am definitely distracted by this and somehow, I doubt my boss would be very excited by this.

The next step, I think, would be to figure out the cause, the origin of the problem.  Since I didn’t have it before the tour, I have to think that it happened WHILE on tour.  Now, I don’t really remember any weird conversations with Rhonda or Heather or Shelly or any of the other numerous friends who I talked with that could have led to this condition.  Yet, I did have a sense that something was happening (and maybe it’s happening to you, you, you!) in Berkeley, California. I noticed it then, but I assumed it was all of the driving, the lack of sleep, the minimal meals we had been consuming.  Maybe, it was the vodka.  No matter the cause, I brushed it off and said that whatever was happening to me was due to an extreme situation, as being on tour is pretty intense.

Now that I think about it, I do remember getting a sense that something was happening to me right away, as soon as the first song on the setlist in Berkeley began.  What was that song?  Paper Gods.  Hmm…what did I notice?  I remember the instant that John’s bass kicked in.  Huh. I hadn’t noticed that on the CD, at least not to that extent.  As the song continued, it was like changing something from black and white to color or from standard TV to HD.  Things got sharper, more noticeable.  See what I mean:

Then, later on, I noticed something else when they played the song, What Are the Chances.  This was a song that I had liked before the tour…but after seeing it performed live.  I love it.  It is one of those of songs that has been played over and over again since I returned.  I remember watching Dom and John on stage.  Dom played his heart out while John sang along to every word with a beautiful back drop behind them.  Magical.

If that wasn’t enough to tell me something was amiss, I found myself saying the following statement after the show at the Agua Caliente casino, “I hate to say it, but I’m starting to like Danceophobia.”  I hoped that people would assume that it was the vodka talking but I don’t think it was!  That isn’t right?!?  What I really think made me say this was that ridiculously dorky but oh-so-entertaining dance that John Taylor does during that song!  Seriously!  I think I could watch that for hours!  Unfortunately, despite my constant searching on YouTube, I haven’t found a clip that really shows it!  This is the best I found!  🙁  Anyone got a better clip that you can share with me?!?  I’ll be your best friend (Not really, Rhonda!  Don’t worry.  I’m just saying that!)

I think the problem is really quite simple when I break it down.  You see…I liked Paper Gods before tour.  Yet, seeing so many tracks played live really got the album under my skin.  Now, the question becomes:  What do I do about it?  I would like to say that I should plan more shows.  I am ready.  I know that I haven’t completely put away everything from this tour but I can do that when I die, right?  I would much rather be planning the next!  If not, I fear that winter really will march on this year.  sigh



John Taylor Insights: Bass Player Mag

I read a lot of Duran Duran interviews, reviews, articles, and whatnot.  Most of them feel and seem like the same old information repeated over and over again.  There is always the inevitable section on the band’s long history, a paragraph or two or three about which famous person did what on the album, and that’s about it.  Every once in awhile, you see a quote from one of the band members that resonates with you or catches your attention.  I continue to read articles solely for THAT.  I read for the one or two sentences that are interesting, meaningful or different.  After all, who wants to read what you already know about.  I mean…I’m all for repetition as a learning tool, but for band information and promotion, not so much.  That said, every once in awhile, you run across a magazine article that pulls you in, offers real insight and leaves you wanting more.  For me, that is the interview with John Taylor in Bass Player magazine. I was very tempted not to even look at the magazine simply because I’m not a bass player.  Will I understand it?  Do I know enough?  Will I learn anything beyond John’s instrumentation?  I decided to get it because…I knew that I had a long plane ride coming up and would need something to look at!  Plus, John Taylor was on the cover!  I was super glad that I had purchased it, too, as soon as I read it!!  (If you haven’t purchased it yourself, do so, while you can!  I’m obviously just talking highlights here.)

The article starts off common enough with a very brief history and mention of the new album along with all of the collaborations on it.  Yet, by the end of the first paragraph, you know that the article is going to dive deep and ask the questions that many, many fans want, and maybe need, to know.  The article acknowledges that the “signature JT bass” can be found in tracks like “Pressure Off”, “Only in Dreams” and “Paper Gods”.  There is also an acknowledgement that John is also behind a synth part of the time.  This, of course, is what worries fans.  Where’s the bass? is a common question amongst Duranies these days.  They don’t seem to hear the same bass in the album, Paper Gods, compared to the previous album, All You Need Is Now.  These fans don’t want John on synth.  They want him on bass.  Why make it so electronic, fans want to know?  Perhaps, there is a little fear in there that if John’s bass playing isn’t needed, that maybe HE isn’t needed anymore either.  Thankfully, this article addressed this issue immediately and spends literally the first five questions on some element related to electronic bass or synth.

John’s answers to these five questions brought a real insight to what he was thinking both in making the album and the results.  As someone who does tend to appreciate the traditional JT bass sound, I completely appreciated how open he was with his responses.  For example, when asked about keyboard bass, he stated, “My mentality is to keep my ‘enemies’ close.”  He goes on to say, though, “…we all might have to go from being bass players to bass experts” by using the keyboard bass.  Therefore, John is admitting that the times are changing when it comes to bass in popular songs.  His choice is either to get left behind or adapt.  I can definitely appreciate that.  He goes on further to talk about how his choices regarding bass really depended on the songs themselves.  He gave two examples.  In “Last Night in the City,” he gave up his bass guitar parts but in “Paper Gods” he took his bass line lower.  John made it very clear, though, that he wasn’t going to allow his signature bass to be gone entirely.  Two things struck me as I read these answers.  First, it was clear that he had thought a lot about where he fits, how he should sound on the album, etc.  Second, I respect that he really thought about the SONG and what was needed for each individual track rather than letting ego or close-mindedness get in the way.  He found the balance between his signature sound and what the song needed.

From there, the interview turns to process, including how he chooses the best sound for each song, favorite lines on the album, transferring to the live show, etc.  Again, I continue to be fascinated! The interview isn’t about Lindsay Lohan or other collaborations.  It isn’t about the band splitting into two groups in 1985.  No, this is a real interview about subjects that aren’t covered and matters to a lot of fans.  Out of those questions, the answer that peaked my interest the most was about the favorite lines from the album.  Can you guess?  Any clue?  “Pressure Off” was one of the two mentioned.  For that song, he talked about working with Nile in the studio and how Nile got him working really hard.  He also mentioned “Paper Gods.”  Why?  According to John, “It’s a good mix of electronic and electric bass.”  Hmm…

The interview finishes with a discussion about his style and training.  Here’s the one situation in which I don’t mind the history lesson (ironic since I’m a history teacher, right?  I think so!)  He talks about how busy the bass was in the beginning of their careers because he wanted so desperately to get noticed but then the rest of the guys would do the same thing creating very “busy” songs.  When asked about changing his style, John admits that he tried to back away, almost to where he was “almost invisible.”  Could this be one of the reasons that I’m not a big fan of Come Undone?!  I wonder…What is more interesting to me is a follow-up line to that one, “I need to be able to do what I was doing in 1981, but I also need to be open to other things.  The tendency is that when you get older, you get a little lazy and look for shortcuts, so I make sure I keep exploring.”  I think these sentences capture it well.  This is what John was doing on the new album.  He was exploring.  He was willing to mix traditional with contemporary.  He kept his signature sound but allowed the songs to just be what they were going to be.  He didn’t force them to fit into some formula.

This interview was an eye-opening one for me.  I knew that I liked the album before.  I did and have said so many times and in many places, but I also felt a little guilty for doing so.  Why?  The answer is simple.  I’m a John Taylor fan.  I have been since I was 8 years old.  I could hear that his bass was different on many tracks and even pretty much nonexistent on others.  How could I, a big John Taylor fan, be OKAY with that?!  Wouldn’t that be like betraying him or saying that I don’t think he is all that important?!  Yet, I was sort of betraying him by not trusting him.  I should have known.  I should have figured that he would have thought about all these issues already and carefully considered what he should do and why.  Based on this interview, I can feel 100% confident that John Taylor knows that he is right with how he approached his role and his playing on this album.  If John can love it and love what he has done on the album, then, so can I!!!