Category Archives: personal stories

Karaoke and Superfans…do we really need a tutorial?

This weekend I was out with my husband (I can’t even remember why we were actually out of the house without a child in tow…) and over lunch we had the oddest conversation. As we were eating lunch, completely out of nowhere, my husband asks me what I think would happen if one of the band members was in a karaoke bar (yeah, right there is when I should have tuned out…) and heard someone attempt to sing Rio, or Hungry Like the Wolf. Sigh. To begin with, I really need everyone to understand that Duran Duran really doesn’t occupy THAT many of my thoughts on a Saturday or Sunday. It’s my weekend. So once I snapped into reality and recognized that yes, he really wanted my answer to this question. I rolled my eyes as only a wife can do, and said I didn’t know. Sadly, this wasn’t enough for my dear husband. He continued on saying “Let’s say it was Simon.” (Oh yes, let’s!) “Does he go up and sing a DD song, or does he sing something else?”  Sigh. More eye rolling. I really don’t know what he’d do. Why would Simon go to a karaoke bar anyway? Isn’t that sort of like my husband hanging out at a trade show just for the fun of it??

Yes, these are the sorts of conversations we’ll have when my husband is left to his own devices. I still haven’t answered him.  Luckily, I found another topic to badger him about. Any guesses from the rest of you out there??

In a desperate attempt to catch up on the RSS feeds I chose to ignore last week, I was scrolling through some this morning and came across an article about superfans.  While reading, naturally I referred back to our own fan community here.  It talks about things such as naming your fans, giving approaching fans undivided attention, tagging fans (or allowing fans to tag themselves, actually) in panoramic concert photos (as in taken from the stage), sharing “dark secrets” on the blog, developing shared symbols, playing smaller venues, and a few others.  If you are interested in reading the original article that I’m commenting about before blasting me with love notes about how ridiculous it is to use the term “Superfan”….read it here.

I stopped to consider why on earth the article ever needed to be written, not really whether or not Duran Duran fans meet the criteria or whether the band employs these methods. (We’ve been fans for over 30 years in many cases. That should pretty much answer that, yes?)  I almost liken this to attempting to write a chart-topping ‘hit’. If you’ve got to TRY to create superfans rather than just allowing it all to happen organically out of loyalty to the band or to the music, is it really the same thing? In our case, much of the time we’ve had relatively little contact with the band directly. Sure, they’ve come on tour and we’ve gone to see them, but unless you happen to live in the UK to visit them at the studio, their homes, etc…most of us have never that chance on a regular basis, if ever. We’ve stuck by them from the beginning because we believed in the music, and many times, it wasn’t anything more than a transactional relationship that kept us there. It’s only been as of late that the model has really evolved to where we have more opportunity for interaction – whether that is through having the opportunity to travel, to see them locally, to get involved in social media, or other methods. I like the theoretical ideas of Fan Empowerment or Direct-To-Fan. However, when it gets to the point where manuals are created on the “How To” of cultivating superfans rather than letting the music chart the direction and fan loyalty create the ties that bind, we’re running dangerously close to having the same synthetic and formulaic feeling of many ‘hits’ that top the charts today. It feels like being stuck in a studio with Timbaland. (Yes, I dared to say that.) Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that Duran Duran hoped to create loyal fans and that their attempts to reach us on Twitter or by creating a fan club early on were all about cultivating that loyalty. Was it all really that mind-numbingly calculated?  I suppose the proof is in the pudding – somebody drop me a line in twenty or thirty years and let me know how it works out for some of these newer bands and their fans.

-R

Countdowns

I hope this blog post will be fairly coherent.  Normally, I’m pretty confident that I will make sense but today finds me beyond tired, beyond fatigued, beyond exhausted.  If someone with more brain cells than what I have can find a stronger word, please let me know.  I will need to be using it frequently, VERY frequently in the next few weeks.  I worked a full week at my paid job and have worked an additional 35 hours at my not-paying campaign leader job.  While there is a part of me that kind of enjoys the level of intensity as we move towards an election day, there is another part of me that just wants to curl up and sleep until 2016.  So, how can I sustain, basically, 2 full time jobs and this for the next few weeks?  Obviously, part of the answer is dedication, focus, perseverance mixed with insanity.  The other thing I find myself doing at times like these, or when I have something to look forward to, is to make a countdown.  For example, I can tell you have I have 16 days left of the school year or18 days until the election for governor.  I should also be making a countdown for our tour in August. 

Interestingly enough, yesterday’s question had to do with which was Duran’s best era.  The most frequently given response was now.  I did not hesitate to post the video for All You Need Is Now.  It seemed fitting, right?  Then, I started to think.  A big part of the message of song is to appreciate the now.  Am I doing that with my focus on when things are getting done or what is happening?  Am I forgetting to live in the moment by doing that?  Does Duran do that?  I wonder.  They often say in interviews that they are just focused on the “now”.  They don’t spend a lot of time looking back on the past and they don’t really think about what they are going to do next.  Now, obviously, it is possible that they say that in interviews and don’t really do that in reality.  After all, typically, they are doing interviews to sell a current product.  Thus, they don’t want to talk about old projects or what they might be doing in the future.  It doesn’t help their current bottom line.  Nonetheless, I don’t get a sense that they really do spend a lot of time looking back.  What about the future?  Could they have their own countdowns?

Just recently Duran finished up a quick tour of South America.  It sounds like it was an absolutely fabulous tour!  As much as I’m sure Duran loved that tour, and all the other tours, were they counting down until the end?  Were they anxious to finish up, spend time at home with their families?  Were they excited to sleep in their own homes, in their own beds?  Would they or could they make a countdown for an album release?  I think of an album, like AYNIN, that they must have been so proud of.  Were they checking off dates in the calendar for the rest of the world to hear the album? 

Is my habit of counting down until the end of some horribly busy, stressful time something Duran would do or are they truly more focused on the now?  If they are focused on the present, do you think they could teach me to like getting very little sleep and being worried about how things are going to go?  It is definitely one lesson I need to learn.

-A

Save a Prayer, Leave a Light On…and let us get through the stress!

Stress is not fun.  I don’t think many people would disagree, although I’m sure there’s somebody out there who likes a little stress.  Under normal circumstances, even I can handle a little stress.  Sometimes, I can even handle a lot of it, until that stress has something to do with one of my children.  Then, for some odd reason – I can’t.  Right now, I’m having one of those moments with my son.  I don’t want to get into details (Although if this keeps up for any length of time you never know…), but he’ll be thirteen in July and he’s decided he has everything all figured out.  No need for school, no need to strive for decent grades, no need to follow the rules.  When I’m awake at 2:30 having panic attacks about what trouble my son will create or find next, I realize that I’ve already been through this sort of thing with my oldest at approximately the same age.  We all survived, and I’m at least semi-hopeful that we’ll survive this with my son as well. Ah, to be a teenager and know absolutely everything again….

My writing partner Amanda has her own stress going on.  She is deep within the throws of a hotly contested campaign to recall the governor of her state, she is extremely passionate about the issues, and this is very important.  All the while, she is considering changes within her career and finishing up the school year for her students.  Truth be told, Duran Duran has taken a bit of a backseat for both of us in this moment.  That’s part of life though, the natural ebb and tide, the give and take.  It’s not always easy or simple to find a way to accommodate our interests as well as take care of business.  Don’t even ask us about book writing….

Rest assured, we will continue writing Daily Duranie.  We are hoping to share some rare interviews and other tidbits as well as the same type of blogging you’ve all grown to expect over the next few months while our lives are working themselves out.  We discussed taking a bit of a hiatus (we’ve been at this with no break for over a year and a half now), and while we may still take advantage of that, neither of us want to stop writing the blog completely. I promise to keep going however we can!

So, with that in mind, we want to open the door to our readers.  We are looking for guest bloggers for Daily Duranie.  Is there a subject we’ve missed that you feel a burning passion to write?  Did we miss the mark somewhere and you’ve been dying to revisit a topic?  Amanda and I would love to hear from you and give you space to write here on the blog!  Drop us a line at our gmail (dailyduranie@gmail.com) and let us know what you’ve got in mind!

-R

Trust the Process

This time of the year is always so crazy for me.  The end of the school year is rapidly approaching and, as a teacher, that represents exhaustion mixed with a lot of bittersweet moments and thoughts.  As tired as I am, as anxious for summer vacation as I am, I find myself, like always, feeling a little sad.  My job as a special education teacher is a little different in that I get to know “my” students very well as I’m with them for literally hours at work.  I see them at their best and I see them, definitely, at their worst.  I can’t help but to become attached to all of them, to some extent, even the ones who drive me the most crazy!  Over the years, I have also become quite attached to many of the adults I work with.  After all, every staff member has to deal with the intensity of dealing with adolescents, many of which face quite extreme challenges that are commonly found in urban schools of poverty.  This level of emotional attachment and intensity has begun to weigh me down.  After dealing with some not-so-great changes the last couple of years, I have begun considering, really considering, looking elsewhere despite the long history at my school and despite some great relationships there.  Part of this job search has included jobs outside of teaching but, lately, it has consisted of looking for jobs within my district (I’m in the second largest district in the state with many schools within it).  Due to seniority, I have been considered for the 3 I applied for.  This week, I finished the second interview.  Now, I prepare myself for the third interview and wait to see if these other schools want me.  It is a nerve-wracking process, with combined with the usual end-of-the-year emotions, a seriously tough political campaign, and trying to make some serious personal changes has pushed me to the edge.  Yet, I have been getting through it the same way I have for most of my life when things get a little tough.  I have been getting through it by seeking out inspiration, by seeking out motivation.  I have found that in John Taylor’s solo career. 

In thinking about leaving the school that I have called home for the past 12 years, I think I have experienced every emotion known to humanity.  Obviously, if I am looking for another job, it hasn’t been good.  It has never been an easy job, especially when I work in an urban middle school with students who often have many issues to deal with on top of having a disability.  It is a job that has pulled my heartstrings more often than I can count and I fully expect to be holding back tears on graduation night like I always do.  Yet, over the course of years, I find the job more and more difficult.  The kids haven’t really gotten any harder but my ability to bounce back from major and minor setbacks has been weakened.  Then, the last few years have seen additional struggles involving people that should be on my side.  It is a fight that I don’t know that I can do anymore.  It is a fight that I don’t want to do anymore.  While my job situation might be completely different than being a rock star, I’m willing to bet that John Taylor felt many of the same emotions when he was getting ready to leave Duran.

When I listen to interviews John has done about leaving Duran, I really find myself relating to much of what he has to say.  First, he often stated about how he wanted to get out for a long time.  I, too, have felt that way, long before I openly admitted it.  So, why didn’t he?  Why didn’t I?  As I stated before, long histories make it tough to walk away, to leave.  You know that when you leave, you are leaving behind people who you care about.  John had to leave his band mates, his good friends.  That can’t have been easy.  He knew that people wouldn’t necessarily understand why he was doing it, no matter how much he explained.  All people would see is that he left.  He left Simon, Nick and Warren.  He walked away.  That sense of loyalty can be very tough to break free from.  Second, he has talked about how it was something he had to do something for himself.  I, too, feel this way.  I, obviously, like kids and I like teaching.  I love the idea of me helping these kids who need so much, but, I need to do something for me for awhile.  Of course, the jobs that I’m looking at, right now, may still involve teaching, but they will be very different.  Two of the schools are less urban and serve a different population.  The other school would mean that I would be changing teaching roles to doing Social Studies.  Thus, I would keep involved in education but in a different way, a different environment.  John did the same thing by going solo.  He didn’t quit music.  He quit where he was.  He changed the scenery and, by doing that, he changed the expectations people had for him and the expectations he had for himself. 

 Then, of course, there are similarities beyond what John ever said in any interview.  John formed Duran Duran.  He had this vision of himself as a very successful rock star and one who could not only handle all that comes with that job but embracing the role.  I did the same thing, only with teaching.  I wanted to be the super successful teacher, the one who not only wasn’t afraid of those at-risk kids but the one who embraced them, who loved, who helped them.  Like John, I was successful.  I am successful at it.  Yet, there often comes time when walking away, when leaving is the only chance at coming back.  I suspect that if John didn’t leave when he did, he wouldn’t have made it.  Perhaps, then, he would have left Duran five years later and the band would have ended and Duran Duran music would have stopped in 2002.  Instead, we had a reunion of the Fab 5 around that time.  Maybe Roger and Andy would have never come back.  When John left, he didn’t just twiddle his thumbs.  He wrote and played his own music and dealt with issues that needed dealing with, issues that he couldn’t as a part of Duran.  I feel this way, too…not that my life is like John’s or vice versa.  I just feel like I need to take some time for myself, to evaluate my life and what I would like it to be from now on.  I know that I can’t do that if I continue in the same position.  I would be too drained to do that.  Perhaps, then, like John, I would be able to return to a job like the one I’m in now.  Nonetheless, it isn’t an easy process.  It is tough, especially when nothing is certain.  Heck, I may not even be offered a new job.  Yet, at this time, I choose to follow John Taylor’s words and deeds by taking it one day at a time and by trusting the process.

-A

Is it personal?

Good morning world! It has been a very long weekend for me and I feel as though I’m just coming out of the hangover haze. This is what happens after a weekend of celebrating the birthday of my youngest with family, friends and 25 (yes, TWENTY FIVE) four and five year olds. My youngest shares her special day with none other than my blogging partner Amanda.  I remember calling Amanda from the doctor’s office the day I went in for a normal appointment only to be told that day would be “The Big One”. Happy Birthday Amanda – guess who is going to be sharing their birthday forever more?? Even funnier? They share the same favorite Duran Duran song – Planet Earth. Coincidence??

I was mostly out of reach for the weekend, so I took some time this morning to read the blogs Amanda had written. One particular comment made me stop and think. So much so that it’s turned into my topic for the day.

For me, art of any type is incredibly personal. It reaches me on a soulful level – that is, if it really and truly speaks to my heart. Naturally, not every piece of art achieves that, and conversely what might touch my soul may very well not touch someone else’s. That feeling of connection holds true whether we’re talking about music, visual arts, dance, theater or even writing. That doesn’t mean to say that I can’t admire a drawing that my four year old does with crayon (typically I can’t see much beyond the possible stick figure and perhaps a sun with a smiley face in the background – and that’s on a good day!), nor does it mean that I can’t enjoy listening to a song like Bedroom Toys (For me that song is humorous and cheeky). It’s about the depth of where it all reaches my soul.

The argument of course is that not all music does that – and that doesn’t make the music which does NOT do that any less pertinent. I’m not sure I would agree, but that’s also the point in which I’m trying to make here. It’s personal. The way someone might feel when they hear Rio or using a non-Duran reference here: Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears is almost certainly not the way I might feel when I hear them.

Here’s a short story to elaborate: nearly four years ago now, my father was in a hospital ICU.  He was hooked up to a ventilator because his lungs had decidedly stopped working due to a disease called Pulmonary Fibrosis. On the day that my mother, sister and I finally agreed to shut off the machines and allow nature to take it’s course – my son was home sick with the stomach flu, AND I had a not-quite two week old newborn to handle. The only thing I could bring myself to do that day was the laundry (I don’t know why) and watch Greatest by Duran Duran. It was about 1:30pm that day when my mom called to tell me that they’d shut the machines down, and as I hung up the phone – knowing that it could be hours or even days before I’d get the final phone call – I sat down with my baby in my arms and watched Rio over and over again. I don’t even love that video or the song that much! I just couldn’t really do anything else and it was the only thing that took my mind off of what could possibly be happening in that hospital room. Thankfully, it was only about an hour and a half later that my mom called, telling me that my father had passed on peacefully, and I went back to folding laundry – bath towels, actually – as if nothing had happened.

Later on that same month, I stood up in front of close family and friends to deliver my father’s eulogy. Truth be told, I’d been preparing for that moment since we’d gotten his diagnosis three and a half years prior. My father, who was never devoid his sense of humor – insisted that I play the song Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears. It was the one song by the one band I liked that he would allow to be played in his beloved motor home as we would go on vacations when I was a teenager. He felt so strongly about this that he would openly and humorously threaten to haunt me if I didn’t play the song for him at his funeral. When I heard that song long after I’d grown up but before his diagnosis, I’d picture us lumbering down the road in that motor home, and there was a sense of comfort that came along with the song. Now, my dad wanted me to play the song to send him off in a completely different way. Tears for Fears is probably one of my most beloved bands after Duran Duran. Sadly, after that day of playing that song at his service, that song no longer holds the same memory, but rather is a painful reminder of all that I’ve lost, and trust me – my dad is a big loss. We were incredibly close. Those feelings are intensely personal.

Yes, art and specifically music are intensely personal. After years of wondering why it is that all of us act so crazily at times by the least little bit of news we might receive regarding the band, for instance news of who they might be working with to produce an album, or a specific musical direction they might be taking on a particular song right down to the setlist choices for a tour, I think I finally understand why. When you feel that deep-seated connection with something, there is a certain amount of feeling as though you own it. I don’t mean that in the literal sense, although I think sometimes we get confused by the definition of “own, it’s just that it’s so personal you can’t really draw a line between yourself and the creator(s) of such things. That’s how I feel about Duran Duran at times. They’ve been the soundtrack of my entire life. My highest moments, and the lowest of lows. Hell, they’ve been in the background even when it was the last thing I wanted to hear. (Hence that moment of coming back to consciousness after I’d flatlined when I had my youngest only to hear Hungry Like the Wolf in the background) It’s hard to think of my own history without feeling intertwined with theirs.  There are times when words fail me, and other times when I think I’ve gotten it as right as rain. Last week I wrote a blog for andytaylor.tv which you should read here. If you don’t feel like I’ve gotten it all – everything you would say to the band (or any band) if you could – I encourage you to add your own.

I suppose that is why, when a band or even when an artist change their direction, it enlists a response from their audience. There have been many, many times in history when a painter changed their artistic direction and it’s drawn anger and criticism well-beyond what I would have considered to be expected. Picasso is one example. People during that time preferred the days before his cubist style, and when he incorporated that style into his paintings of female figures – basically mutilating and destroying their form, crowds become enraged.  It was not only due to how he was painting, but rather because of the artistic journey he’d taken from what the public felt was his norm. The same could be said for Duran Duran over the years. The response that many fans had to Red Carpet Massacre was one of anger and even sadness. Many fans felt that this was a slap in the face to long time fans. Still others felt that the band had sold out in order to create a hit. Whether those things are in fact true or not is not the point. Fans felt enough of a connection over their previous style(s) of music that it went beyond just being “a song” or “an album”. To those people, it was a part of their lives. It’s like being a long term bus rider on a specific route, and then getting to that same bus stop one day just in time to see the bus shut it’s doors and pull away, leaving you behind. On one hand, I agree that when we start going around taking more ownership of something than we should it seems pretty silly. I also agree that artists should be allowed to expand their horizons and explore as many directions and avenues as they wish. On the other, to try and lessen the impact that art makes on people by saying “it’s just music” is almost demeaning the artist.  As with just about anything, there’s a fine line and while not all music touches each of us on a deep level – I think of the band Weezer and how their music is just fun, tongue-in-cheek music for me, yet for their hard core fans it’s much different. Recently their own fan community took up a donation in order to get the band to simply quit making music because the fans felt so strongly about the musical direction the band had recently taken – ALL art reaches someone deeply. Isn’t that why we participate?

-R

My Turn for True Confessions

About a week ago, my blogging/writing partner produced a little blog about her true confessions as a Duranie.  It seemed that people enjoyed them and there were some requests for me to share mine.  Oh boy…I figure that I should be game and maybe others will share theirs as well!

I am probably one of the youngest of the original Duranies (people who became fans in the early 80s) as I was born in 1975 and was only 10 when Power Station and Arcadia came into existence!

When I was a kid, I used to spend family gatherings trying to convince my one cousin about how awesome Duran was.  Now, I laugh that he married a Duranie who will go to shows with me!

I knew I was a Duranie when my friend and I decided to call MTV over and over and over again one day in order for Save a Prayer to win the top video of the day or something like that!  Duran won and we were thrilled.  My parents, on the other, were not thrilled once they saw the bill!  In fairness, I was pretty dang little at the time and I had to pay them back!

I celebrate April 16th as my Duranie anniversary!  I don’t think that people can really pinpoint the exact day when they became fans but I do know that it was the Reflex that did it for me.  It was released on that day!  Thus, I have been a Duranie for 28 years.  EEK!

I briefly liked Simon as a kid.  Very briefly.  I saw John Taylor in the Reflex video and haven’t changed since!

In the early 1990s, I decided it was time to move along, musically, from Duran and I gave away quite a bit of my posters and stuff, including my copy of Arena, the board game.  I gave my Duran stuff to a good friend, though, who I knew would treat things well.  Luckily, a few years ago, she returned the board game to me!!!

I didn’t buy a copy of much of Duran’s 1990s catalog when it was fresh.  Instead, I would often go through my friend’s copy and pick out the “good” songs and put them on tape!  Oh boy, modern technology was awesome back then!  I did the same with John Taylor’s first solo cd.

I saw Duran Duran for the first time in August of 1993 with a few friends of mine.  Our seats were pretty much in the back but we had a great time!  Nonetheless, I found myself saying afterwards, “They should really break up or end it.  Something just isn’t right.”  I don’t know if it was that it wasn’t the Fab 5 or that things with John weren’t great but I felt something wasn’t right. 

I knew John had gone solo but did not officially purchase any of his music until the reunion.  The late 90s/early 2000s were a crazy time for me, job wise and life wise.  That said, I’m proud that I own all of it now.  🙂

I didn’t see the Fab 5 live until Detroit in March of 2005.  I didn’t tell my friends that it was the first time because it seemed like everyone had seen them in 2003 during their reunion shows.  Let’s just say that I needed a few minutes to calm down during the beginning of that show.  The only thing that probably kept me from falling apart was my complete exhaustion as it was my 5th show in a week.  This week saw me drive 1,984 miles, too.  No joke. 

I have “met” the band, not including Andy or Dom.  I met the others at a CD signing in 2007.  Simon yelled at me that day.  I bought my third copy of RCM in order to get a wristband but was really hoping to get the Broadway Playbill from the Broadway run signed instead of the album as I had one a signed copy through DDM.  Best Buy, where the signing was, wouldn’t let me even ask.  Thus, I didn’t even have the cd case opened by the time I got to the front of the line.  It probably also didn’t help that I was on the phone with Rhonda up until the very last minute.  So, I stood in front of Simon trying to open it.  He yelled, “Just give it to me.”  My response, “No, I got it.”  He did sign his name and added a heart. 

I also “met” Roger, Nick and John at their hotel in St. Louis.  I walked up to John and asked for an autograph.  After I received it, I walked away only to see him again surrounded in the hotel lobby a little while later.  I decided then and there that I really needed to think how I should behave around them and with them.  Later in the evening, I was standing in the hallway with elevators talking to Rhonda on the phone.  Soon after I hung up, one Mr. Roger Taylor walked right up to me (I was alone) and said, “Have you seen any of my people?”  Stopping myself from laughing, I responded like a dork and said, “Yeah, Simon went that way, ” and pointed to the left.  Roger went to the right.

I was part of the sock giving Church of the Bass God group over on DDM that sent John like 40 pairs of socks for his birthday.  I have a picture of him holding the ones I sent.  They were James Bond socks! 

I had the chance in Atlantic City in 2008 to go in with the VIP group and did not.  It seemed like the cool thing to do was to not care about how close I was to the stage.  I regret that and will never again let other people influence my fan behavior.

I’m sure that there are plenty more that I have forgotten!  Nonetheless, if you haven’t already shared your confessions, now is the time!!!! 

-A

A few of my true confessions

In an effort to truly make myself transparent, vulnerable and look completely silly (because I don’t do that nearly enough on a daily basis), I decided to jot down a few of my own personal Duranie truths.  Please feel free to add your own, because let me be honest here: my misery loves and deserves company.

I didn’t own Thank You in any form up until about 2 years ago.  I did have a couple of songs off of it, but the actual CD didn’t grace my collection until very recently.  I’ll go one farther and say that I didn’t even know they’d done that CD until about the year 2004.

When I was younger, I thought they were horrible live.  No, I’m not kidding.  I had really bad taste back then, apparently.  Funny because now I think they’re far better live than on any of their albums!

I’ve said this before, but it bares repeating that when I bought Medazzaland, I literally went through the album, played the opening bit of each song once, and put the CD away.  I never got it out again until 2005.

Not only did I not know for sure when John Taylor went solo, I didn’t know he’d done any solo work outside of Duran Duran aside from “I Do What I Do” up until I started hanging out with Amanda.  (Sorry John. My loss!)

To this day, I have a difficult time remembering what drummers (aside from Steve Ferrone) took over for Roger in his absence, and I don’t even bother with the bass players after John.  I think it’s my brain blocking out what it doesn’t want to acknowledge.


As I’ve mentioned before, I do have a few autographed things.  I went to a signing in 2004 at the Virgin Megastore up in LA with my oldest.  She was about 8 at the time.  I had my Astronaut album signed by all 5, and my daughter had a CD cover signed.  After it was signed she put it in her bag and we went to sit down outside.  At some point, she sat the bag next to her, and the very next thing we knew – the CD cover was missing.  Clearly someone took it from her bag, and she was extremely upset (as was I!).  I promised that I would get her another CD cover.  I searched and searched and finally found someone selling one on eBay that was absolutely real.  We paid over $300 for that CD cover because someone bid me up and then basically dropped it on me at the last second.  Yes, it was by far one of the dumbest things I’ve spent money on, but I made a promise and now it sits in a drawer somewhere deep in my daughters bedroom.  Wow.  Money well spent.  My husband hasn’t forgotten that insanity.

We still have the backdrop that was behind the band’s signing table from that signing.  No, it’s not signed.  It’s up in my daughter’s closet.  I plan to steal it when she goes away to college.  I have no idea what I’ll do with it.

I have gone through crushes on nearly every band member except one.  John.  That’s right – I am admitting here on Daily Duranie that there was a very brief time when I even liked Warren a little.  *gasps heard ’round the world*   It’s true.  I can’t say that I had a real crush on him, but I suppose I did find him attractive until I heard some of the more creepier rumors that have gone around about him. Then the reunion was announced and I felt my soul be saved!  (We ALL have our dark secrets, people!)

John is the only original member I’ve never had a real crush on, and that is primarily because every other female on the planet has liked him – and I tend to like to be different.

I loved Nick with orange hair, and there’s this one picture with him in a greyish suit and he’s wearing purple eyeliner that I still adore to this day.

I never loved Roger with eyeliner, oddly enough.  I think he looks better without most of the time.

Simon is the only band member that I am a little nervous about ever meeting in person (should that ever happen).  He is the one I would never approach on my own, and especially not out in public! I’ve stood right in front of him before outside of the rehearsal studio and he was nothing but kind, but he makes me a little nervous. It might have something to do with the immense amount of teasing that I’ve done on his behalf and I figure I’m in for it with him eventually.

Back during the Astronaut tour, I had light up devil horns that I would wear to shows with a few of my friends.  Oh yes.  Yes I did.  I still cringe when I think of them, although at the time they were fun.  Those have since been retired.

Oh, here’s a good one – in 2005, we drove from Milwaukee back to Chicago in order to see if we could be “smart” enough to find them in the hotel they were staying at.  Well, we did find them.  We sat down in the lobby area well away from where they were chatting with other people, and then I thought Nick Rhodes was actually the bass player from Clear Static.  I didn’t approach them or anything and it was from across the room, but the fact is – I was sincerely that stupid. 😀  Amanda has sadly never forgotten my comment that “Hey, isn’t that the kid from Clear Static?!?” and I know that it will probably be engraved on my tombstone at some point.  I swore I’d never admit that publicly – but now I have.  Let the gods shoot me with lightning.  It was the hair, Nick!!

Another thing I’ll say about seeing them out and about in public or after a show – whenever I’ve gone to where ever I thought they were, I’ve always felt just a little bit (actually a lot) icky about it later. I am obviously not good at stalking and I’m OK with admitting that. I feel like I need a shower afterwards and I don’t enjoy the notion of just sitting around waiting for them.  It’s gross and weird.  I’m not going to judge others for doing it – just leave me in the hotel bar while you’re doing it and then come back and brag to me about the photos and hugs you’ve gotten.  I’ll smile, curse myself, and settle back into my vodka tonic.  

Along those same lines of gross and weird, there was a time that I went to see where one of them lived.  Let’s just say I traversed the hilly streets around where I believed one of them lived while in an F350 diesel truck with my family. When we got to what I believe was the correct address, my husband shuts off the engine and asks if I’m going to get out of the truck and go take a photo.  Every light was on in the house with every window wide open. I immediately yelled some obscenities and told him to start the truck and get out of there!  He was dumbfounded.  So he starts the truck and proceeds to make what feels like a 50-point turn to get out of the narrow street and we sped away.  I felt so sick, so gross…that was the last time I’ll ever do such a thing.  There is absolutely no future in stalking for me.  I can’t do it and feel good about myself.  As I type this, I still cringe and feel horrible.  I should probably take another shower.

One more thing I should mention about seeing them out and about – I am rarely ever correct in my “inside information”. To be honest, I never HAVE any “inside information”.  I’m just not cool enough to be on the short list that people would call to invite places. I have to laugh as I type that because it’s so true. I’m always amazed at how many people run into them in bars and things, because in my case I’m typically a day late and a dollar short.  There have been times when I’ve known exactly where they’re supposed to be, then I get to the place and can’t get in because every other Duranie in the world has already gotten there. Like I said – day late, dollar short!  That’s pretty indicative of my luck in general. Amanda is SO much better on her own than when she’s with me, I’ll say that much.  It must be my bad karma or something.  I typically start out the tour apologizing to her for the bad “band finding” luck she’s about to have, and for the JoSi moments I’m about to block her from viewing at shows.  *sigh*

I have to wonder why it is so important to all of us to be where the band is, and I count myself in that crowd. I think that in my case, I just don’t want to be the one left out. Trouble is, I typically am anyway.  As I said before, I’ve gotten places where I knew for sure they’d be and ended up waiting outside because I couldn’t get in due to a huge crowd.  As we were leaving to go to another bar, I received texts from “friends” inside saying that they saw us and were laughing because we we were stuck outside.  It was a reminder of how lovely fellow fans really can be at times, and that I should really just make my own plans and not try to do the “fan thing” after the shows.

Each and every day, I’m still utterly shocked and surprised as to how many people read our blog. I know I’m just a fan like anyone else. I’ve never gotten close to the band, gotten into an afterparty, or been recognized by any one of them – in fact the few times I’ve seen one of them after a show they tend to glance my way with a look that varies between fear and disgust, which is only mildly insulting because I’ve never once rushed any one of them.  I guess you can’t hide the Duranie-ness.  *sigh*  I know I’m a complete geek compared to many fans out there, and my credibility is probably next to zero. I’m not one of the cool kids and never have been. When I see how many people read the blog or even recognize us when we’re in a different country, it’s shocking.  Hopefully what I write hits home with someone else out there.  I know my writing isn’t academically sound and that my college professors are likely to be in the process of trying to find me so that they can rescind my diploma.  I write very much as though I might be having a conversation right in front of you the reader. I do that on purpose – with all of the beautiful slang, pauses and other things I should be shot for utilizing.  I want you all to know I’m just like many of you, except I’m crazy enough to admit most of it in writing. I have fun doing it though, and while I could be paying for intense therapy – this is way cheaper.

Be brave enough to admit the crazy that lives within.  You’re in very good company.  (Hey, at least *I* think I’m good company!!)

-R

 

The Daily Duranie Q&A

We decided to throw the blog out to our readers for a change, and what resulted is the following Q&A!  None of the questions has been edited for content, and we hope that once everyone sees the questions, they can come up with a few more of their own!  Send them to our gmail address (dailyduranie@gmail.com), and once a month or as warranted we’ll happily answer them!  

How do you guys manage to get the fundage and the time off of work to do all the traveling you’ve been doing this past year? I need to know your secret! LOL! 

Rhonda – Well, my “work” is basically raising my 3 kids, finishing the book and writing blogs each day.  I do a lot of things and don’t really earn a monetary payment from any of it, so going to the shows and traveling is what I consider to be my payment!  It’s kind of a much-needed break for me, as my husband travels quite a bit and so much of my work is 24/7!  


Amanda-The “fundage” is much less stressful for me than work.  Basically, I am constantly saving for Duran trips/tours.  I am also willing and able to sacrifice other things in order to pay for trips.  It helps that I don’t have a family outside of my kitty to worry about.  That said, I live in a one bedroom apartment, have a crappy TV and don’t spend money doing things like going to the movies.  As far as work goes, as a teacher, it is challenging.  Luckily, I do have set breaks and am able to take a few personal days but it is NEVER easy and often takes weeks or months to arrange it.

If you ever meet DD,how do want it to happen?
Rhonda – I’ve already “met” the band at a signing in Los Angeles back in 2004.  I’m sure it was as memorable for them as it was for me. (Hardly!) The truth is though, of course I’d like to meet them again, and perhaps under circumstances where we can actually speak would be nice, too.  That said, I’m lucky to have ever had the chance to even get that close.  Many people out there haven’t even had the chance to go to a signing, and I’m well-aware of my good fortune.  


Amanda-Like Rhonda, I, too, have “met” them at a signing.  Of course, I never even know if that really counts as a meeting since I barely exchanged words with any of them except John.  Thus, if I were to meet them again, I would like it to a situation where they are relaxed, which probably means that there won’t be a TON of other fans around.  


Would you rather have them autograph a prized possession or have a photo taken with a fave member or the whole band?
Rhonda – One of my most prized possessions is a signed Astronaut album that is signed by all 5 original members.  I’ve given instruction to have that, along with my other prized Duran possessions to be buried with me in the event of my death.  Of course, that’s assuming that they’re still burying people by that time.  If not, my instructions are “DON’T BURN THE DURAN!!!”  Sorry…got sidetracked.  I would love a photo with the band, but I don’t dare hope for such things.  I’ve already been very fortunate with the places I’ve been and things I’ve done. (but yeah, it’d be nice for Daily Duranie actually have a photo with the band!)  


Amanda-Again, I follow Rhonda on this.  I have signed CDs.  Thus, I would LOVE a picture with any member and/or the band.  That said, once I get them, I would gladly step aside to allow others to get photos.  One photo is good enough for me!  

What song do think should have been released as a single that wasn’t?
Rhonda – This is a really difficult question for me.  After giving it some thought, I have to say that I think they should have gone with Nice off of Astronaut rather than Sunrise.  It’s not because I think Sunrise was a poor single, and it’s not that I think Nice was much better – it’s that Sunrise was already a single (granted a different version of it) when the Queer Eye soundtrack was released, so going with a different single off of Astronaut would have given the band yet one more way to showcase the album.  All of that said, I personally think the band has done a good job of picking singles.  No, not all of them have done well, but that has more to do with other factors than it does the quality of the song at hand.  


Amanda-My immediate thought here is Hold Back the Rain.  Of course, they didn’t need another single at that time.  For me, though, it is my second favorite song and I would have loved to have seen a video for it!


What random Duran earworms do you two get in the oddest circumstances? I’ve got a few at work: one of our books is called Planet Cake (that one’s obvious!) and I used to have a colleague called Mette Fentz, which frequently set off my Edge of America earworm (I’m just a number on a metal fence…anyone?)
Rhonda – My answer isn’t as much of an earworm as it is a case of seriously thinking that I was hearing things.  Amanda and I were in a mall just outside of Chicago killing time before my plane took off in 2005 and we both swore we could hear Sunrise playing in the background, but we could never find the source of the music OR if we were both really hearing it! 


Amanda-I get lyrics in my head at weird times!  For example, when walking around London with Rhonda, I had no choice but to start thinking the lyrics to Careless Memories.  I have also been known to quote the lyrics to other favorites like Red Carpet Massacre or Leopard.  Sometimes, we have even tried to have Lyric Day in order to speak in as many lyrics as we could!!!


What is the most outrageous story you’ve told in order to go to a DD concert?
Rhonda – Hmm.  Aside from telling a very small lie of omission in order to go to the Milwaukee show in 2005 and perhaps “forgetting” to mention that I was buying a VIP ticket (as opposed to a regular ticket) to attend the NYC fan show in 2007, I don’t think I’ve ever had to tell a story!  It’s gotten to the point where my husband doesn’t even bat an eye under most circumstances unless I’m missing Fathers Day or his birthday. (of which I’ve done both!)


Amanda-I haven’t really told a story to get to go to a DD show.  I have been pretty lucky in that I have been able to be pretty honest except for when I have had a bit of Duran sickness.  ;D


Have you indoctrinated your kids yet?  If so, do they like DD?  What songs?
Rhonda – Ah yes, my kids.  Well, my oldest has seen them live with Amanda and I once, and she also went with me to the signing in Los Angeles.  She and her brother were both big fans of Sunrise when they were younger.  My son isn’t a big fan, but he’s not really into music generally speaking.  I keep waiting for the “bug” to hit…  My youngest however LOVES the band.  Her favorite songs are Planet Earth, Careless Memories, Sunrise and All You Need is Now.  She requests them Every. Single. Day.  in the car and sings along loud and proud!  


Amanda-While I don’t have children of my own, I do have 13 students currently at work.  My students have been exposed to Duran to some extent.  My kids typically refer to Duran as “my band” and they are aware that I’m writing a book.  While they support ME, they aren’t really keen on the music.  They are urban kids of today, after all! 


What is your favorite movie where DD music has been used?
Rhonda – I haven’t the faintest idea.  I did go see A View To a Kill even though I was never into Bond movies though.  


Amanda-I would probably choose Donnie Darko.  First of all, I found the movie fascinating with the questioning of reality, mental health/mental illness, society’s standards of behavior and more.  Then, the use of Notorious was genius due to the particular nature of the scene.


I heard one of DD’s song in a commercial on TV very recently, and I can’t remember what it is. Do you know what product and the song used?
All You Need Is Now is being used in a Dior ad.  


Should DD explore more opportunities in using their music in commercials, as other artists have done? What about in being sampled by other artists? Have they been sampled by any artists that you know of? [i.e. an artist paying for use of some element of their music in their own music]
Rhonda – I think I’m glad I’m not their manager, because I can say that THIS IS NOT MY JOB. 🙂  I do know though that where at one point it was almost cheesy to have ones music connected to a particular brand – now it’s considered to be a lucrative, smart move, so I’m not surprised the band is exploring this avenue.  I think Duran Duran music, generally speaking, lends itself to being sampled.  I’m not a big fan of much that’s out there, though.  


Amanda-Notorious BIG and Puff Daddy sampled Notorious.  I have heard that Duran is pleased with the result.  As far as being used in commercials, I would understand if they chose this route.  Yet, I would hope that they choose the brand well.  For example, being connected to Dior makes sense to me since Duran has always been connected to the fashion world.


Can you say more about your book plans? I know you refer to it, but don’t know where to find other information about it. Love to hear about it!
Rhonda – Our book is basically a case study of fandom.  The Duran Duran fandom is the specific fandom we’re studying.  It’s meant to be both a celebration of our fandom, as well as an academic type glimpse inside what makes a fan community last and thrive.  We are nearing completion of the first full draft (although we’ve edited some along the way), and then we’ll go back and do the first hard edit as well as find a publisher.  We’d really like to find a publisher because we have other books in mind for the future.  


Amanda-I’ll just add that we hope that all fans, no matter their fandom, will be able to read it and relate.  We also hope that people who are not involved in fandom will read it and understand why people choose to be part of one!


 What bands have admitted that DD has been a major influence on their music?
According to wikipedia, some of the artists who claim Duran as an influence include Moby, Barenaked Ladies, Gwen Stefani, The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Goldfrapp and Dido, to name a few.


Have any of the very, very early songs a la Wickett & Duffy + JT and NR –been released or exist anywhere? I think these are some of the titles: [Big Store, So Cold in Eldorado, Hold Me Pose Me, Signals in Smoke, Dreaming of Your Cars, Reincarnation, Working the Steel, early “embryonic” version of Girls on Film, See Me Repeat Me -early version of Rio, Enigmatic Swimmer, Ami a Go Go] Have you heard any of them? If so, how do they sound and where might one find them?
Some of those songs that you mentioned are available on the Devils album.  Those songs were done with Duffy.  You can find information about that particular side project hereSome of the other songs you mentioned (See Me Repeat Me, Reincarnation, Girls on Film, and Working the Steel) were demos with Andy Wickett.  Those demos were floating around the fan community for awhile as a bootleg.  Then, there are some that we have never heard and would love to know more about them. 


Are any of the band members dual citizens (US + Great Britain)? JT must be as he married a US citizen, right?
Rhonda – To the best of my limited knowledge I don’t believe that any of the band members carry dual citizenship, and none of them are US Citizens.  As for whether John is a citizen purely because he married Gela – I happily pass on this website for citizenship requirements.


Amanda-I do remember reading/hearing that John does have a green card but, at least, as of 2008, he could not vote, which would indicate that he is not a citizen.

Was the band able to finally secure complete rights to their work from Gloucester (post-Berrows bros.)?

Amanda-I believe that in most, if not all, situations that the record labels maintain rights, especially those songs recorded with EMI.  Does anyone know more?


What’s the relationship like with Andy? I get the sense that he was gonna be on board for AYNIN but then backed out. What’s the story?
Rhonda – As far as I know there was a rumor that circulated about Andy during the writing/recording of AYNIN because Andy’s personal Facebook or website disappeared, and his location apparently “changed”…but again, that was pure rumor and hopeful speculation.  I am not aware of his relationship with the band, but I will say that it seems that all involved are very happy with their current situation, so more power to them!  


I read in Wild Boy: My Life in Duran Duran (AT) that during the Sing Blue Silver tour in US (c. 1984), that Charlie (Simon) knelt down to sing in tight leather pants, they split, revealing his “crown jewels” to all the audience as he wasn’t wearing underwear. To your knowledge, is this true?
Rhonda – Before I kick this one over to Amanda for proper answering, I would just like to say that if in fact I were ever present to see Simon’s “Crown Jewels”…after I tried bleaching my brain to erase the image ever from my mind, I would NEVER publicly admit to having seen such a thing or have knowledge of such a thing ever taking place.  No offense to Simon, but I just never ever need to see that.  It’s similar to my feelings about Santa.  I know he’s there and yet I don’t need to see him to make it so. Thank you.  


Amanda-I have heard people talking about Simon’s lack of underwear.  I do not know if this is true, nor do I have desire to find out.  I’m not sure about that specific story you reference but I do remember hearing of another time (more recent) in which Simon’s pants ripped.  He ran off stage and thought that a brilliant solution would be to staple the pants together.  Unfortunately, as Simon moved around, the staples popped open, resulting in open pants and Simon getting poked in the ass.  When I heard this story told in an interview, I remember John following up with the question about whether or not they were playing “Cracks in the Pavement”!  Hilarious!


I have yet to hear any lyrics with curse words, although some videos have been risque. Have you noticed curse words in their songs or absence of them? It is quite a feat to not use explicit lyrics these days.
Rhonda – I’ve been called Mother F*cker a few times by John at concerts (along with everyone else in the audience)…does that count??  


Amanda-That’s strange!  I, too, have been called a motherf*cker at shows!  I know that they use the word “damn” in Careless Memories and Hold Back the Rain.  I also know that Simon changed the damn in HBTR to f*ck often when performing the song live.  While I don’t think they record curse words much, John and Simon, at least, have both used curse words frequently.


I want to get a tattoo like JT got on his upper right arm after reuniting with the band. I don’t like the idea of pain, and it would not be nearly as large as his. Do either of you have any DD related tattoos or considered doing so? [I am 44 with college aged kids]
Rhonda – No.  No thank you. 


Amanda-Nope.  In my luck, I would probably be allergic to the ink and have a major problem!

How does JT maintain his sobriety? Does he have someone as a part of their entourage that helps him with this? I admire him for doing so.
Rhonda – I really have no idea, but I’m thankful that he’s doing so well.


Amanda-I echo Rhonda’s sentiments.  I have heard people complain that John doesn’t come out after shows much.  In my opinion, I would gladly sacrifice this if it means that John stays happy and healthy.


That being said, professional sports teams have docs, trainers, etc. on the field and road with them. Who is a part of DD’s team? [I’m willing to volunteer as their band psychologist 😉
Rhonda – Again, I have no idea.  This is definitely an Ask Katy type of question!


How does the band practice self-care on the road? This tour seems awfully demanding and I worry about them!
Rhonda – Another Ask Katy as I have not the slightest idea!


Amanda-I have heard that Simon and John like to get massages on the road.  🙂


Are they traveling the world in their regular plane? It seems so small in pictures I’ve seen. They can’t possibly travel on one plane for so long and maintain sanity and healthy relationships with each other! I hear Nick can be an a-hole and Roger has trouble with anxiety. After a day with my kids, I’m exhausted and can’t wait for them to leave. I love them, but just because they are adults, doesn’t mean they still don’t act like kids when they around each other.
Rhonda –  I’m still laughing about Nick being an….well, never mind.  I know that they have traveled by rented plane here in the US at times when it has made sense to do so.  I also have seen that the band – the 4 of them – will fly in the plane while other members of the onstage band and behind the scenes people will take other transportation, whether that is van, bus, other commercial flights or even trains at times.  It just depends. 


Do any of the members travel separately?
Rhonda – I think they travel separately when logistically it makes sense to do so.  John lives in the states, so obviously if he’s meeting them anywhere he’ll need to fly from here to get there, for instance.  
Other than sleep on the plane, when together, do they practice? write? play sudoku?  
Rhonda – Not a single clue.  I think they do what any other person does on a flight, you know?


Amanda-Maybe someone will ask John or Simon the next time they are on twitter!!


Any mention of writing for a new album?
Rhonda – While I appreciate the vote of confidence here, I have to say that the band never really takes the time to inform Daily Duranie of what’s going on.  This might have something to do with the fact that if we found out, we’d mention it on the blog, and what fun is there in that?!?  


Amanda-Rhonda is right.  I have also heard that they don’t write on the road.  Thus, they probably haven’t even thought about it yet!


I hadn’t noticed, but a review of one of the concerts said that Dom wrote half of the lyrics for AYNIN. I haven’t looked at the writing credits, and I love it that Dom is a great addition. But as I understand it,history suggests that DD songs come together when working together, including lyrics coming out of the notes and all throwing ideas in. Thoughts?
Rhonda – As I look over my liner notes, I see that Dom had writing credit on several of the songs, but I took that to mean writing credit for music, not lyrics. I believe that back when they were writing and recording, Dom was an active participant in the studio as well.  


How did you first become a Duranie?
Rhonda – That’s a long story.  Are you sure you’ve had enough to eat and drink today, because this could take some time!  Ok, the really short version is that back in 1981 I was in 6th grade, and there was a DJ on one of our local radio stations (KROQ) named Rodney on the Roq.  Rodney was known for playing unknown bands and artists, and one night he played Planet Earth by Duran Duran.  I remember him saying that they weren’t getting airplay but to keep watching for them because he knew they were going to make it big.  Next thing I knew, Richard Blade (another DJ for the same station) started playing them and along came the videos.  One look and I was a Roger fan for life.  The other guys weren’t bad either.  


Amanda-I’ll keep my story short since we did blogs about how we became fans, which I will reference after my story.  I got into Duran from listening to Top 40 radio and watching MTV.  I got the songs stuck in my head and thought that bass player guy was kinda cute!  It also helped that my best friend fell for them at the same time!  Here are the blogs:  Part 1 and Part 2!


Many hardcore duranies share likes/dislikes (for example everyone I know wants to hear SO or LB live and most would rather skip HLTW) what is one like/dislike you have that isn’t one that’s commonly shared?
Rhonda – I have a few that I don’t talk about much, believe it or not.  For instance, I could probably live a very long and meaningful life even if I never heard Save a Prayer, Ordinary World OR Come Undone ever again.  A less common one though?  How about I Don’t Want Your Love…definitely not one of my favorites. 


Amanda-I have 3 songs that I could definitely live without that are popular:  A View to a Kill, Come Undone and Ordinary World.  I think that I might be excited about Ordinary World again at some point if I don’t hear it for like 10 years.


Power Station or Arcadia?
Rhonda – this is a toughie for me as I really like both bands pretty equally overall.  That said though, if I were forced to pick I’d have to choose Arcadia Simon.  Um…I mean Arcadia.  Oops.  


Amanda-As a kid, I was much more into Power Station.  I was a John girl, after all!  I was also a miserable kid in 1985 as I had just moved to a small town from a Chicago suburb.  Thus, Power Station was my choice!  Plus, I couldn’t get into the arty quality of Arcadia.  As an adult, I think I prefer Arcadia’s music.  


What was the most stressful travel experience you’ve had as duranies?
Rhonda – Are you kidding me?  Go back and read our blogs from last May, and then again from last November, and then dare to come back here and ask that again.  😀  


Amanda-Rhonda’s right.  Both trips to the UK were filled with STRESS!  For the first trip, the travel was fine.  The rest of the trip wasn’t.  For the last trip, we had no idea if we were going to get there due to a public workers strike.  Luckily, that did not stop us and turned out to be the trip of a lifetime!


Any duran experiences that were completely unplanned and just happened in the best way possible (i.e. serendipity)?
Rhonda – Oh boy.  Well, I haven’t had that many chance meetings…but there was ONE time that was completely unplanned, but definitely not one of my best moments.  It was on a plane going from Chicago to New Orleans in 2006 for the Voodoo Festival.  I found out that very day just how allergic I am to milk products of ANY kind, and I was just praying to stay alive through the plane ride, I was that ill.  As I was feeling more and more green, who should come walking down the aisle towards the direction of my seat but none other than Dom Brown, followed by Simon Willescroft.  I think I might have groaned audibly, and if I could have somehow melted into the floor, I would have.  Then to my complete and utter horror, they sat directly across from me, and if that weren’t enough – my stupid VIP bag was on the floor AND visible, so there was no pretending that I didn’t know who they were.  I felt horrific, but Dom was very nice and only asked me for my Sudoku puzzle if I wasn’t going to play it!  


Amanda-I can’t say that I have a cool story like Rhonda’s.  During that same trip, I was on a different plane that included the roadies, merch people, etc.  I thought I was super cool until I called Rhonda and found out that she had the back-up players!  Clearly, I wasn’t that cool!  LOL


Proudest duranie moment?
Rhonda – After really thinking this over for the past couple of days, I would have to say that I am hoping our moment hasn’t really arrived yet.  This isn’t just in hope of continued longevity for the band, but also because I really believe my proudest moment will be when our book is finished, printed, and in my hand.  I have to wonder though if my pride will come from really being a Duranie, or from the blood, sweat and even tears of the last few years.  Regardless, I am really looking forward to that moment!


Amanda-I definitely agree with Rhonda on this one.  Our published book will be the proudest moment!!!  It will be the result of a heck of a lot of work, dedication, and persistence.  There were many, many times when we could have just quit but we haven’t so far and don’t plan to until the job is done!  As far as moments that have already happened, I’m proud that we went back to the UK to see the band play there.  We could have let the disappointment of May destroy, at the very least, our fandom, but we didn’t.  We stayed the course, fought through our tears, had patience and became stronger, better fans and friends because of it.

To be a fly on the wall…

I have to admit that there are times when I really do wish I were a fly on the wall.

My Daily Duranie partner-in-crime posed a question today on Facebook and Twitter about what moment in the band’s career did fans think was the most challenging. There were many different answers given, from when Roger & Andy left the first time up until Simon losing his voice last year. Some felt that the worst time was when they wrote Red Carpet Massacre, others felt it was during and after the Pop Trash album and just prior to the reunion. Still others felt it was when Andy left the second time before the Sears Center Show in Chicago, 2006.

The beauty of this question is that none of us really know the answer, and I think that at least in part, if we asked the band this question, the answer would most certainly change depending on whom and when we ask.

The ambiguity is at least partially derived from the point of view of the person answering. For example, what I feel might have been the band’s most challenging moments may not be the same answer for what the band itself might feel was the most challenging moment. Our perception as fans is likely to be far, far different from what really took place. A fantastic example of this is when Andy Taylor left the band after the reunion in 2006. So many fans took the news as almost certain death to the band, and yet whenever I read interviews from the band about that period of time, I never get the feeling that it was quite as pivotal of a moment. They just continued on. Naturally, I don’t know what happened behind the scenes, and I know as well as anyone else that the band is going to always put their best foot forward during an interview, so we might never know the truth of the situation, we only know what our perception allows.

That’s why sometimes, I really wish I were a fly on the wall. I don’t have the faintest idea what the band would consider to be their most challenging moment, but I’d love to find out!

People have commented that we don’t typically answer our own questions. This is true, although I do give my own answer through my personal Facebook account from time to time. After giving the topic some thought, I feel as though the most challenging period for the band might have been during the Pop Trash album, up until just prior to the reunion. I say that because as I recall, Simon had a lot of trouble with the writing on Pop Trash. Based on some articles I’ve read and interviews I’ve seen, the band seemed pretty fragmented, and I dare say that they were hanging on by threads. I really feel as though if the reunion had not happened, that might have been the end for Duran Duran. Good thing that didn’t happen!

So I leave you with another question – what was your OWN most challenging moment as a fan? This one is a toughie for me personally. I could pick moments like when I simply stopped paying attention, like during and after college. I could easily say it was when Red Carpet Massacre was released. I felt personally affronted by the complete lack of heart and soul the album had.  I felt as though the band was giving their fans the big “F” you – they didn’t want their long time fans at all, they were after younger ones and we just didn’t matter anymore. I swear I could have gone to therapy after that album came out…but no, even that wasn’t as difficult as last May for me.

I wish I could be more noble and say it was also during Pop Trash. It sounds so much smarter, academic and way less fangirl-like to say that I could hear the fragmentation in the music and it pained me to see the band unraveling like that. Troubling as it may seem, I didn’t even notice. I just knew it wasn’t quite their best work and it felt very forced overall.  The truth is, out of all of my years as a Duran fan – it was last May through until I saw the band in Valley Center that proved to be my most challenging time as a fan. Going to the UK last year and being completely denied shows was the biggest slap in the fact I’ve ever had as a fan. I still think back on that time and I’m shocked it all happened. I mean, how do you plan something like that for months on end and come out the other side with nothing? The best part of course was that even though Amanda and I were completely devastated on the inside, we didn’t dare lash out on the blog, as much as we might have liked to do so at least at first. We had to keep the brave face and dig deep to find empathy. Then we were outside the rehearsal studio the day that Simon had to come to terms with the rest of the band as to just how severe this voice-loss really was, I have never seen the band look so ashen-faced in my life. That was truly gut-wrenching. I felt like I was watching the funeral of the band at that point, which was why you never once saw a cross word from us on the blog. I still have friends that feel like they have post-tramautic stress from that trip. My own therapy came when I saw them play live in Valley Center, and I’ll never ever forget the first 90 seconds of the show when I couldn’t even look at Simon. I really couldn’t. I don’t do the whole crying thing, and I’m so stubborn that there was NO way I was going to lose it in front of the band.  No way. When I finally did get the nerve to look up, it was Dom that winked at me – and I’m  sure he had no idea what was going on with me, but in that second, I finally felt like we might all survive fairly unscathed. How’s that for some fangirl moments?!?

An early Good Friday and Happy Easter to those who celebrate, and to everyone else, I hope you have a fantastic spring weekend. On a very personal note, my 17th wedding anniversary is on Sunday – yes, the timing is kind of funny this year. I don’t really know what to say about that except that with each year, I’m more and more shocked. I can’t decide if it’s because I’m surprised we’ve lasted so long, or that we’re really old enough to have been married that long. Then I look at the three kids we have and realize that we really are that old. Smacked in the face by reality once again! *gasp* Speaking of children, I’m very excited to welcome home my oldest tomorrow morning. She went to go visit my sister in Chicago for the week. She visited a couple universities that she’s interested in applying (I’m really hoping she ends up going to college out there so that it’s another tally in the column of “reasons we should move back to the midwest”), and spent the week checking out where she spent the first 8 months of her life. It was her first flight without us and a big trip alone. I can’t wait to have her home. It’s amazing how quiet our house has become…

-R

Should we or shouldn’t we?

A very wise man once said that we should never meet our idols because they will never live up to our expectations.

Now, I don’t doubt what this man said, for he too was (and is!) an idol for many. We’ve all heard comments about the band being put on a pedestal by fans, a mighty narrow one at that. It’s pretty incredible to consider just how high of standards some fans have them living up to, and one has to wonder if it’s at possible for a human being to really be that perfect.

Of course not.

It’s only natural for fans, especially those who became fans at a very young age, to put a band or celebrity up on a pedestal. I suspect that it has much to do with that Prince Charming syndrome – where we want our prince to come and save us. It’s a beautiful idea at the age of ten, eleven or twelve. The trouble is, most of us are a few decades beyond now. Reality should have set in at some point. We know the band isn’t perfect, don’t we? We know that each of them cannot possibly be happy to see us each and every time we catch sight of them in public. Sometimes, people really do just want to be left alone.

Like everything else in life, nothing is quite that simple. I know many fans that say “The band are celebrities and everything that goes along with that, the being kind at all times, the ‘perfection’ (or at least carrying on the idea that it is so), all of that goes along with the fame and fortune they found.” I’m pretty happy and well-adjusted enough to know that’s crazy talk.  People are people. Sure, when they’re on the town, working the “Duran Duran” machine, that’s WORK. I would say that yes, they probably do need to try and remember to at least give a smile and be friendly, just like I’m supposed to do so when I’m at “work”. At least…that’s what I hear. That does NOT mean though that every day when they’re on tour, whether there is a show, a press function, etc. that day or not, that they are required to put up with eager fans. You take your chance on those occasions, and I have to say that I’m amazed at how decidedly unaware fans are as to when it’s a “good time” or a “bad time”.  For those folks, I wish them luck. They’re the ones who are unfortunately going to find members of the band at the worst possible moment, have one bad experience, and then blab away about it on a public board, expecting all to agree and lament their bad experience. It’s unfair to assume that since they are indeed celebrities, they are somehow public property at all times, is it not?

For me personally, I think I left my idolization for the band, and truly for all celebrities alike – back in childhood. What replaced that idolization is respect, for the most part. I respect the band. Sure I still love them to pieces, but I don’t think you can call what I feel for them idolization. It’s different. I see them as the faulty humans they truly are. That doesn’t mean they’re somehow horrible because of that; it’s just that while yes they might have larger homes, drive nicer cars and take more luxurious vacations than I do, they’re still just human.  I respect the fact that they have put out over a dozen albums, toured the world many times over, are a good ten years older than I am and yet they still get out there on that stage and rock it better than I think they ever have before. I respect that they’re not quite finished yet, and that they continue to try new things, even when sometimes those new things have completely thrown me. I respect the fact that they’re people, and that sometimes people have really crappy days and the very last thing they want is somebody like me in their face.

Here is the double edged sword though – I want that same respect in return.  No, the band doesn’t know me. I don’t expect for them to look at me in a crowd and recognize me, know my name, or lastly – even have read the blog and be able to put two and two together. Hardly.  By respect I mean treat me as a human rather than a dollar sign with legs. Don’t wince as I’m walking down the hall because let me be clear – chances are – I will walk right past without even daring to do much more than smile unless they stop me first.  (Again, hardly think that’ll happen in my lifetime.) Naturally, I recognize that for the most part, fans would never just walk right by, and I know the negative connotations that go along with being a fan.  It sucks to be on this side at times. That said, we kind of ask for it, don’t we? Generally speaking, it’s a two way street, isn’t it? Treat others as you wish to be treated?? Anyone recognize that saying??

Let me be clear, I’ve never met the band outside of a signing, a chance “meeting” with one member of the band at a club in Vegas – and no, I did not speak to him (I smiled and left him alone to enjoy his night as I was enjoying my own), and another chance encounter with a fellow plane passenger/guitarist on a flight to New Orleans. I am not the type of person that will go running up to any of the band members expecting hugs, photos or who-knows-what-else. That sort of thing completely freaks me out, as I’m pretty sure it must them at times.  I try to remember that as often as I can when I’m “on tour” or at a function where they are in attendance. I’d much prefer to have a casual discussion over coffee or drinks and leave the whole “Oh my god I’ve been a fan for my entire life, can I hug you, can I get a picture, can I can I can I?!?” at the door. Again, that whole scene freaks me out just a little when I think about it.  

Granted, this is probably why I’ll never have photos with the band, and I get that. On the same token, and I mean this seriously – I write a blog about being a fan. Many people read this blog every day, as well as some others that I write on occasion for other places. My fandom, as it is, has taken on a completely different role in my life at this point. I have deep respect for the people within my fandom, whether those are friends, fellow fans, readers, or the band themselves.

Recently I commented to the wise man I mentioned earlier that when idolization gives way to true respect that goes beyond the music and the person on the cover of a magazine, you realize we’re all just human, and respect comes freely – flaws and all. I really believe this.  What about you?

-R