Category Archives: Power Station

Still Screaming “Like a Girl”, Thirty-two Years Later

Without knowing it at the time yesterday, my blog was timely!  In 2010, So Red the Rose was remastered and released, and on today’s date in 1985, Some Like it Hot peaked at #14 in the UK.  I wrote about both Arcadia and Power Station, describing how for me – I like both.

Since Arcadia never toured, I didn’t have the opportunity to ever see them live. On the other hand, Power Station was my very first concert. I was fourteen and went with my cousins, who were much older.  We sat in loge seats on what would now be called “John’s side” at Irvine Meadows. (My first and last shows at Irvine Meadows —which has been torn down since Duran appeared just this past August—had John Taylor on stage, which I realize no one else cares about, but I think it’s cute – particularly since I didn’t even think about it at the time!) I sat in my chair (yes, sat. My cousins were too cool to stand I guess?) and wondered what it would be like in the front.

I wondered about the front for a long, long time…apparently!

Anyway, I’d love to tell tales about how fantastic the show was or how I was so bowled over. I don’t remember much. I do remember the band coming on stage and being annoyed that Robert Palmer wasn’t with them.  I also remember screaming at John Taylor until my oldest male cousin told us to stop “screaming like girls”…whatever that meant. We were girls. We screamed. And??

I also remember walking the ridiculously long way back to our car that night and seeing limos pull out away from the venue with girls chasing them.  I don’t even know if that was really the band in there. Back in that day, I think they were still using decoy limos at times. I can remember wondering about that as we walked. Again, that same older male cousin telling me that “…only groupies follow the band, Rhonda.”  I didn’t even know what that meant at the time, only that being called a ‘groupie’ must be a bad thing, and to my cousin, most girls were groupies.

Live and learn, I guess.

Regardless of my poor memory, 1985 does not seem so long ago…until I start really thinking about it, and then I realize I don’t remember a lot from that time. Only then do I recognize it was thirty-two years ago, and that seems painful.

Am I really that old?

Nope!!!  I just came back from seeing Duran Duran last week and screamed “like a girl” for my favorite.  Not only am I young, I’m pretty damn proud to say I’m still screaming, whether for Power Station or Duran Duran.

-R

 

 

So Red The Rose: Arcadia or Power Station?

I don’t think I’ve spent much time writing about Arcadia or Power Station. I suppose to begin with, this site is dedicated to being a Duran Duran fan, so there is that. On the other hand though, Arcadia, Power Station, et al, have all been stops along my way. On this date in 2010, So Red the Rose was remastered and released. So, it seems appropriate to write a little about Arcadia today.

On the purely frivolous side, I loved Simon’s look during this period. Nick’s hair, longer than mine has probably ever been, was beautiful too.  It was as though they took whatever they’d done in Duran Duran and turned it up a notch with just a tinge more darkness. I loved it.  Their style was part of their branding, and I loved the whole package. The videos? I still watch them whenever I get a chance.

For me, Power Station was all about the music. It’s not that I wasn’t a John-fan or an Andy-fan, but I don’t know that I would say style was as much the focus as the music.  Many people describe Arcadia as an art project. Well, Power Station was a rock band. I embraced that.

This is the point where the discussion gets trickier (for me). Arcadia checked all the same boxes for me as Duran Duran. I loved the feel of the music, it was unique and different and nothing like anything else I heard on the radio. It was recognizable and comfortable to me because of Simon’s voice, but I cannot lie – I dearly missed John and Andy.

On the same token, I enjoyed Power Station. In the same way that I dearly loved AC/DC…Led Zeppelin….and just about any hard rock band of that era, hearing Andy and John lay it all out on the line in a way that Duran’s music did not allow was fantastic. But I missed the keyboards.

It was as though Power Station and Arcadia were the results of a very involved surgery to separate conjoined twins. Each could survive without the other, but should they? They weren’t quite the same on their own. Both bands were great, don’t get me wrong. I loved them both for their individuality, but if I could have smooshed them together to create one band, I think it might have been perfect.

Oh wait.

I see the debate anytime the subject of one or another comes up.  It always starts out by asking, “Which was your favorite?” For me, it depended on my mood and it still does. Yes, Roger was my favorite, and so you’d think I would have given the edge to Arcadia. Some days, I did. On other days though, I longed for that seemingly reckless guitar and deep bass groove. I never really had a favorite between the two of them. Sure, I loved the video for Election Day (who doesn’t?!?), but I also really liked Some Like it Hot. That guitar solo? Yes, please!  Invariably the discussion dissolves into who “left” the band and why, as though those facts alone should determine allegiance. It is just music.

In a nutshell, the Arcadia/Power Station debate is a very good metaphor for my own musical tastes, even today. On one hand, there is nothing like a great Duran Duran concert.  On the other, I really just want to stand in front of Dom while he’s playing his own music. I love Duran Duran. I also like Metallica. It’s not necessarily this OR that, but both…and why not?

So let’s watch some videos!

 

 

Enjoy!

-R

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to you…So Red the Rose turns 30!

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the release of So Red The Rose, the lone album from Duran splinter group Arcadia. Several years ago, in one of my first guest blogs for Daily Duranie, I wrote about my love for this album (you can read that blog here). I don’t want to replicate that blog today, but offer some quick thoughts on Arcadia and this 30th birthday.

They’re still getting back together, right?

Do you remember what it was like to try to get news about the band in 1985?  I was 13 years old. There was no internet, no social media, no Ask Katy…there were magazines, newspapers, and MTV News. I do remember hearing on MTV News about Roger and Andy’s departure from the band and being devastated. I do not remember the exact timing–I want to say that would have been in 1986.  Regardless…put yourself back to 1985, when the Taylor “brothers” were jamming with Power Station and getting all sorts of airplay, and Arcadia dropped this album. I remember not being sure exactly what was going on, but hearing Simon’s voice, deciding I would just go with it, and buying the cassette on the strength of “Election Day.”  (I was so in the dark that I didn’t even fully realize what the project was about. I didn’t buy the “Tiger Beat” magazines or whatever they were called and while I watched MTV, I clearly missed something).   So it was in that context that I first encountered So Red The Rose, devoured the liner notes, realized what it was, and immediately fell in love with it. Can you imagine that scenario today? I would be absolutely going out of my mind trying to figure out what the heck was going on with Paper Gods…!

Don’t be scared of what they say:  

I love when Duran Duran doesn’t try to write hits, and just puts out material that they want (the song “Paper Gods” is a great example of this).   That’s why I love So Red the Rose.  Here is are three-fifths of the biggest band in the world recording “the most pretentious record of the decade” (Simon would later be quoted), and yet, they apparently didn’t care.  They wrote the music they wanted to, got the guest artists (what a lineup!), and created a masterpiece (in my opinion).

The John Problem:

I have only met the band once, and that was just Simon and Nick for about 30 seconds outside of a venue in New York city in 2001. But if I ever got the chance to sit down with them and actually talk, my first question to John would be about a comment he made in 1986 that Power Station “worked” and Arcadia didn’t, and that’s why the band went in a  funkier direction on the Notorious album. I know he’s the Bass God and all that, but…how dare he! I really like The Power Station album and some of those songs are great to blast if you’re working out or doing yard work. And I love Living in Fear, their obscure second album. That being said…come on, John! Everyone knows Arcadia is better than Power Station!!! (You can flame me in the comments below if you disagree.)

So..it’s been 30 freaking years?!?!?:

This anniversary really hits me. Obviously, since 2011, we’ve been cycling through the 30th birthdays of each Duran album.  But now I’m really processing how much time has passed. I think that’s because I was younger for the original albums; my experience with them was largely via radio listening. I didn’t own a cassette player until…1985! (I literally realized this as I was typing). So, this is really not just the 30th anniversary of So Red the Rose, but the 30th of my Duran fandom expanding beyond the singles! In the summer of ’85, I bought all the cassettes of the first four albums (including Arena). So Red the Rose marked the beginning of buying Duran albums as they were released. It marked the beginning of waiting for the new album, wondering what the single would be, what direction they would go. In essence…my concept of Durantime started 30 years ago this fall!

A final thought:

If you had told me in 1985 that, 30 years later, we’d still be talking about and analyzing So Red the Rose in the larger context of Duran’s catalogue and legacy, I would not have been surprised. But consider this: We can’t have the 30th birthday party for Paper Gods until 2045!

Regardless…happy 30th , So Red the Rose!

-C.K.

 

Today in Duran History – New Orleans

On today’s date in 1997, Power Station performed at the House of Blues in New Orleans, LA.   This date was included on the Living in Fear tour, in support of their second album.  John Taylor was not working with Power Station at this point, so the band consisted of Robert Palmer, Andy Taylor and Tony Thompson.

-R

 

 

Today in Duran History – Power Station San Francisco

On this date in 1997, Power Station played at the Fillmore in San Francisco.  No, you did not read a typo.  Power Station did, indeed, tour in 1997.  Power Station reformed after their busy 1985, which saw the release of their 33 1/3 album with singles, Some Like It Hot, Get It On and Communication, and tour.  This Power Station version was a bit different, though.  While it started out with the original members of John, Andy, Tony Thompson and Robert Palmer, John, quickly, bowed out.  Bernard Edwards, producer of Power Station’s first album, and bassist for Chic, stepped in to play bass.  This version of Power Station did released an album, Living in Fear, in 1996.  Unfortunately, Bernard passed away before the tour started.  The tour continued with other bassists filling in.  Obviously, this version of Power Station did not have the same level of success as the 1985 one.

I wondered how this version was live.  Anyone there?  I would love to have people compare the two versions of Power Station.

No matter, let’s see a video of this version.

-A

Today in Duran History – Power Station Cincinnati

On this date in 1985, Power Station played at the Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.  This particular date was towards the end of the Power Station tour.  During this time, I would have loved to have been able to go to one of these Power Station shows.  Yet, now, as an adult, I wonder what this tour was really like.  Did the band have a smooth chemistry on stage?  Did it seem like they were all getting along and having fun?

If you were at one of these Power Station shows during the summer of 1985, do let me know what you observed!

-A

Today’s Date in Duran History – St. Louis

On today’s date in 1985, a little band named Power Station played the Fox Theater in St. Louis, Missouri.

Also on this date in 1993, a very wise blogger-to-be by the name of Amanda went to her very first Duran Duran show at the World Music Theater in Chicago, Illinois.  Fun fact: when Amanda saw the band at this show, she felt the spark was gone and that maybe it was time that the band just hang it up.  Let’s all take time to chuckle over that while we’re waiting for #DD14, shall we?!?

-R

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Mr. Taylor!

This is a first for me!  I am actually writing this year’s birthday post for our favorite bass player, John Taylor!  Of course, as Rhonda mentioned last week, we switched days in order for her to write Dom’s birthday post and for me to write John’s.  Frankly, I suspect that this blog will not live up to the high standards that John’s birthday post should meet.  I will do my best, though.  As I begin this post, I think about all that John is and has been.  It is clear that he is much more than a bass player.  He is more than a founding member of our favorite band.  Obviously, his musical talents have expanded far beyond Duran Duran as he has been involved in side projects (Power Station and Neurotic Outsiders) as well as his own solo work.  He has also been involved with other musical projects as a guest like his vocal performance on Koishii and Hush’s C’est Tout Est Noir.  John isn’t all music, either.  He has been an actor and, this past year, we saw him become a best-selling author as well.  In fact, it is truly difficult to hit on all aspects of John Taylor’s successful career.  I will attempt to the best I can here, though, because he deserves the effort!  Besides, his fans deserve to celebrate everything he has given us, too!

Obviously, most of us became fans of John Taylor through Duran Duran.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m thankful on pretty much a daily basis that John discovered music as a kid and had the desire to form a band.  Then, of course, he had determination and ambition to do what he needed to do in order to be a success.  These qualities can be seen from the very earliest days of Duran to Duran today.  To me, these qualities along with his absolutely outstanding bass playing make him such an important piece to the Duran enterprise.  Yes, I’m sure that there are people out there reading this who want to remind me and others that John left the band and the band continued.  While that’s true, it is clear that the band would not have survived much longer with that line-up.  Simon, in particular, was open about how much he missed John.  For John fans like myself, it was really hard to get excited about anything Duran without him there.  All of this said, this blog post is about celebrating John and what he brought and brings to Duran Duran and their fans.

Clip of John discussing playing Planet Earth from the early 1980s-

An acoustic performance of All You Need Is Now from 2011-

Of course, for many of us, when we think about what John does best, we often think about live performances.  As a kid, I will never forget seeing the live video of The Reflex.  There was just something about him that caught my attention.  Yeah, yeah, I’m sure those flattering camera angles didn’t hurt.  Nonetheless, as an adult, I have learned that he truly does a tremendous job during their live performances.  Of course, one thing that I truly love about John live is that he is always interacting with either Simon or Dom.  I am a big fan of both the JoSi and the DoJo–honestly, partly, because it seems to me that they sincerely love performing together!
The Reflex-

Careless Memories from A Diamond in the Mind:

Now, of course, John hasn’t just performed with Duran Duran.  He has been involved with two side projects.  The first one, Power Station, is probably one that most Duranies are familiar with.  Yet, I would also recommend Neurotic Outsiders.  I suspect that this project did John a lot of good.

Power Station’s Some Like It Hot-

Jerk by Neurotic Outsiders (live)-

I happen to think that John’s most important musical work outside of Duran Duran is his solo work.  If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend it.  John’s solo catalog reveals so much about his musical open-mindedness, skills and passion.  Perhaps, just as, or more, importantly, his solo work is so personal.  I often say that the majority of Simon’s lyrics are either pure poetry or a story about someone else.  The exact opposite is true of John’s.  Most of his songs are intensely personal.  It shows a lot about what kind of person he is to share so much of himself with the world.  Of course, his autobiography did that as well.  Someday, I’ll do a blog of must hear John songs.  In my personal opinion, all serious John fans should familiarize themselves with his solo stuff.

John’s song Fields of Eden-

Beyond music, John has been been both an actor and an author.  How many people out there can claim all of this (musician, actor and author)?!  His acting appearances were always entertaining to me from when he played an English rockstar in Sugartown (that sounds familiar…) to a badass rock star who enjoys trashing his hotel rooms in Strange Frequency to a hitman in Four Dogs Playing Poker.

John in Strange Frequency-

Of course, last year, we all had the pleasure of reading John’s autobiography.  I have read it multiple times and continue to be impressed by his writing skills as well as his ability to be so open.  If you haven’t read it, you totally should.  It provides such insight into John but also into Duran Duran, the Birmingham scene, fame and more.  
John reading the chapter on Coachella from his book-

I adore this final chapter of the book.  Why?  It feels to me that John really gets it.  He understands his role–to make music, to connect with us when they are on stage and we are in the audience.  Clearly, he understood the importance of connecting, including the band to us but also fans connecting to other fans.  In the end, that is what it is all about—making connections, long lasting, lifelong connections.  Thus, on this day, we celebrate John’s birthday but we also celebrate all that he has given us–his music, his voice, his talent, his words, his creativity, his soul and, through all of that, each other.  Truly, June 20th is one date to celebrate.
Happy Birthday John!!
-A

Happy Birthday Andy!

Could it be true?!  Am I really doing another birthday post?  In today’s case, I get to wish Andy Taylor a wonderfully happy birthday!  Now, of course, a simple happy birthday isn’t good enough.  Nope, an occasion such as this deserves a little celebration!  How can I celebrate Andy’s birthday?  That’s easy.  I need to commemorate Andy’s birth by enjoying some of my favorite clips/moments/songs of his. 

From Early Duran:

From Recent Duran:

How about a little Power Station?

Solo!!!

It may be Andy’s birthday but watching all of these videos has reminded me about what gifts Andy has brought to all of us over the years.  Happy Birthday Andy!  I hope it is the best one ever!