Category Archives: Red Carpet Massacre

Happy Tenth Anniversary, Red Carpet Massacre!

I remember the first time I listened to a song from Red Carpet Massacre. It was Night Runner, and boy was I ever shocked. I think I was on the carpet, perched up on my knees in the very room I currently occupy. The evolution from den to nursery to office in ten years is a fairly good indicator of the changes my life has taken during that time, oddly enough.  On that day though, I sat up on my heels, listened to the opening notes, and then checked to make sure I was listening to the right band.

Night Runner was unlike anything I’d ever heard from Duran Duran before. Slow but deliberate, and wait, was that falsetto hovering about in the chorus?!? This was not the Duran Duran I thought I knew. Without even looking at the message boards to gauge how other fans felt, I took an immediate and visceral dislike to Night Runner. It was everything, including-but-not-limited-to-Justin-Timberlake, that I hated about music at the time. It was not one of my finest moments as a fan.  I cringed every single time I heard it.

Then Skin Divers came along. As I like to say, “they had me until the chorus”. It’s true. Musically, the song was brilliant. If only Timbaland had kept his “wicky-wicky” rapping out of it. Alas. I just did not know what this band was thinking, and with every interview or update where Nick or John would tell us the album was the greatest thing since sliced bread, my sense of dread grew into an ever-hardening pit in my stomach. What were they hearing that I just couldn’t?

When Red Carpet Massacre was released, I was almost relieved because the sense of impending doom was over. It took me time, but I did learn to enjoy “The Valley”, “Red Carpet Massacre”,  and even “Last Man Standing”, but I felt like I just couldn’t get on board with the album as a whole.  Thank goodness I wasn’t a blogger back then!

 

At the time, I was just so mad. Like a lot of fans I’ve spoken with in the years since, we felt like the band had completely ditched its original fan base in favor of a younger crowd.  I can remember seeing various people scoff at that comment, self-righteous and smug in their fired-off responses. The fact is – that’s kind of how fandom works. Some people really do take it all very personally, and while it can certainly be a double-edged sword, without those types of fans, bands (or just about anything else) don’t make it for long. Loyal fan bases are what carry bands, TV shows, sports teams, and pretty much anything else, through the tough times.

I still don’t really “get” a lot about the album, but I clearly see the direction in which they were headed. I have many reasons to appreciate the album’s place in Duran’s history. Hindsight can be a beautiful thing! I just don’t think they had the choice at the time to work with someone who not only saw where they were headed, but also appreciated where they had come from. They desperately needed someone with the ability to finesse the music and sound they wanted in a way that would actually suit the band.  But again – it’s only hindsight.

In many aspects, Red Carpet Massacre paved the way for Paper Gods.  They could have never written or effectively executed Paper Gods, had they not expanded their horizons with Red Carpet Massacre. I don’t know that the fan base would have been as ready to embrace Paper Gods, had we not had the experience we did with Red Carpet Massacre, either.

One difference between the two albums is that Paper Gods continues to embrace and celebrate who Duran Duran has always been, while looking ahead and challenging their fans. This is something that I’ve always loved about this band. They continually force me to expand the boundaries of how I (and every other fans) personally define who they are. Sometimes, I enjoy the process; other times, it makes me very uncomfortable until I get it. That’s art.

I find it hard to believe it has been ten years since Red Carpet Massacre was released. Like nearly every other album, in some ways it seems impossible to have been that long and in others, it feels like a lifetime. For my family – it has been. My youngest was born the April after the album was released, and on this very day in 2007, I was at home, incubating away! Now she’s nine-and-a-half, and reminds me every single day of why I fear the teen years that lay ahead!

Happy anniversary to Red Carpet Massacre! One thing that album, and even Paper Gods, to some extent, has taught me, is to never second guess what this band will do next!

-R

Recent Duran Duran Albums

I have history on the brain.  Yes, part of the reason, is because I am teaching history this year.  Part of the reason could be that we do a daily Duran Duran history blog post.  Yet, this week really made me think about history.  Why?  Obviously, there was this little rumor this week about Lindsay Lohan in connection to the next Duran album.  Any and all news and rumor should be making me think about the future, right?  This one didn’t.  It made me think of the past, specifically recent Duran Duran albums and their reactions from fans.

First, I thought about this time of year four years ago.  Think back.  What was going on three years ago in December?  I’m sure that many of you guessed it.  The Duranie universe was all excited!  We had a new single in All You Need Is Now along with the video that accompanied it.  The digital copy of the album was about to drop.  Each and every day was filled with some new piece of information, new interview or new video clip, etc..  Social media was hoppin’ and many, many Duranies were spending hours upon hours hanging out on Twitter and/or Facebook.  Life seemed really good and the future was definitely bright.  While I’m sure that there were some fans who weren’t all that excited or didn’t like what they had heard so far, those fans were few and far between.  In general, most fans were pretty thrilled with the state of Duranland, at least from what I could tell.

This, of course, is not how I think of the Duran sphere when I think back three years before that.  2007 saw the release of Red Carpet Massacre.  Like the release of All You Need Is Now, there was plenty of news to share and discuss.  In contrast, though, from the AYNIN era, the discussion wasn’t overwhelmingly positive.  Instead, debate was the most common occurrence on message boards, then.  While some were excited by Red Carpet Massacre and the working relationship between Duran and Timbaland and Duran and Justin Timberlake, others weren’t.  The fans who liked RCM, I’m sure, probably felt like they were doing a whole lot of defending the band and the album whereas the critical fans kept trying to explain why and how this album was so bothersome to them.

As I return to the present, I try to place this rumor in the context of recent Duran history.  It seems clear to me that rumors like the one we had this week fit way more with the RCM era than the AYNIN era.  Clearly, if the rumor turns out to be true, there are some fans who would like Lohan to be on the album or would be okay with it for whatever reason.  There are many other fans who would not for the reasons brought up this week and more.  From what I saw, the discussions already started forming the same camps as fans did in 2007 over Timbaland.  Some fans instantly defend the band or try to find/point out the positives.  The less-than-excited fans try to articulate why this rumor bothers them so.  Not fun.

Is this the normal ebb and flow of Duran Duran and Duran Duran fans in that, for one album, the fans (in general–not everyone but most) love the album, but then question the moves made for the next one? If so, then, perhaps, one just needs to accept that as part of being a Duranie.  For me, personally, I hate the fact that unlike AYNIN, there seems to be little excitement.  There seems to be a lot of debate and some concern.  I so wish that wasn’t the case.  Now, in fairness, perhaps, this concern and debate will change once facts are known.  Maybe part of the problem is that the album has taken so long to be finished that people couldn’t sustain excitement but that it will return with the release of #DD14.

Until then, don’t blame me for being wanting to be stuck in the most recent Duran history with All You Need Is Now away from Lindsay Lohan and the cast of thousands that supposedly have worked on DD14.  Just send me  to the eagerness of a Mark Ronson produced, very Duran Duran sounding album.

-A

Today in Duran History – Atlanta 2008

On this date in 2008, Duran Duran played at Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta, Georgia.  This is the same venue that Rhonda and I saw them play at, in the summer of 2012.  What was our experience like there?  Well, it was difficult to get to without a car as it is in a residential area.  It was also extremely hot and muggy.  Humidity was very strong.  Perhaps, it would not be as bad in May as it was in August.

Was anyone at this particular show in 2008?  How was it?

I did find a number of videos from this show on YouTube, but chose to include the band intros video as they are always a favorite of mine!

-A

Today in Duran History – Las Vegas 2008

On this date in 2008, Duran Duran played at The Joint in Las Vegas, Nevada.  This is one of those shows that I so wished that I could have attended.  Many of you might be thinking that my desire to have been there has to do with Vegas and how Duran shows are typically crazy there.  While that might or might not be true, depending on how you look at it and who you talk to, the more significant reason is that Duran had a couple of guests appear on stage with them.  Typically, I am not super wild about that as Duran is all I really need at a Duran show.  Yet, this one I would have been down for!  Who was the surprise guests?  They were David Keuning and Brandon Flowers from The Killers!

People who have been reading this blog for awhile now know that both Rhonda and myself really, really like The Killers.  At times, we have even talked about going on tour for them!  Thus, this would have been an ideal special guest for us.  Lucky for us, I did find some video of them all doing Planet Earth!  How cool is that?!

Were any of you there?  What was it like in person?

-A

Today in Duran History – Los Angeles 2008

On today’s date in 2008, Duran Duran played at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.  This show was part of the Red Carpet Massacre Tour.  Were you there?  If so, how was it?

While I’m sure many of you are aware that the Red Carpet Massacre era was not the favorite Duran era for the authors of this blog, there were a couple of really that I really liked about this tour.  The first one was something Rhonda and I talked about just this past week.   I loved their clothing for this tour.  I loved the Jackson Pollack aspect of the paint splashes across the black or white clothes combined with block lettering of song titles or whatnot.  I always paid attention to who was wearing what words and wondered why they chose those words on that given night.  Yeah, yeah, I think too much. I enjoy that sort of thing, though!  The other thing I really loved was the Electro Set as I have talked about here before.  I did find this clip of Last Chance on the Stairway from this particular show, which I thought was cool.

-A

How Many Shows of the Red Carpet Massacre Tour (Oct. 27, 2007 – Oct. 3, 2010) Did You See?

I am continuing my series of blogs/polls about which tour was the most popular.  Last week, I asked about the All You Need Is Now tour.  If you did not vote, you still can here.  These polls simply ask how many shows you saw.  One aspect of the question that I didn’t think about is the question about canceled shows.  Do those count, people wanted to know?  They had every intention of going but didn’t when those shows weren’t rescheduled.  To me, if you made up the shows at a later date, they shouldn’t count.  If you didn’t, though, they should count.  The Red Carpet Massacre Tour also had canceled shows.  This time, I included that as an option.  If that fits you, I would love for you to comment about how many shows of yours were canceled.

Also, be aware that I included the dates of the Red Carpet Massacre Tour.  According to dd.com, this tour did not start until right before the Broadway run.  Some people might think the fan show in June of 2007 would count since Night Runner was played, but the band’s official site says no.  It wasn’t.  That show was part of the Astronaut tour.  Likewise, the tour ended in 2010, just a couple months before the iTunes release of All You Need Is Now.  With all this being said, how many shows did you attend??

-A

Today in Duran History – Perth 2008

On this date in 2008, Duran Duran played at The Esplanade in Perth, Australia.  Did anyone attend that show?  How was it?

I wonder how many times they have played in Perth.  While I know that there have been many tours to Australia, I wonder how often Perth and that region of Australia has been lucky enough to be  on the band’s chosen agenda.  I know that there are a lot of places, nearby, that long for shows and just don’t get them.  I have to give those fans a lot of credit as they remain fans despite not having that huge reinforcement of concerts.  Truly, I wish that Duran could hit some of those never played or rarely played places on the next tour as I know how happy those fans would be.

On a completely different note, I did want to remind everyone about sending in those 5 favorite John Taylor pictures for our daily questions.  You can send them in via email (dailyduranie@gmail.com) by DM on Twitter or by message on Facebook.  We have gotten some but I know that there are plenty more John fans out there!  We will collect them until April 19th.  Thanks!!!

-A

Today in Duran History – Sydney 2008

On this date in 2008, Duran Duran played at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in Sydney, Australia.  This show was part of the Red Carpet Massacre Tour, which started in the fall of 2007.  While it was no secret that Red Carpet Massacre isn’t a favorite album of mine, this tour had one really cool feature, in my experience.  No, it wasn’t the appearance of the Timbaland vocals.  It was the electro set.  Before I saw it for myself, I remember hearing about the electro set and thinking that this had to be one of the worst ideas Duran had yet!  I thought it sounded cheesy at best.  Besides, I wondered, if we needed more of a reason to remember that instrumentation beyond keyboards weren’t really featured on this album.

Then, I went to see one of those shows on Broadway that Duran did in November 2007.  It was a spur-of-the-moment decision in many ways for me as I didn’t buy tickets originally.  It was a great decision, though!  While the performance didn’t make me love Red Carpet Massacre, it did make me think better about it and better about a number of songs.  It also made me completely rethink the electro set idea.  The electro set I saw that night looked a lot like the electro set in Sydney, in terms of songs.  They played Last Chance on the Stairway, All She Wants Is, Warm Leatherette (cover), I Don’t Want Your Love, Skin Trade and Tempted.  I was lucky enough to also see them cover Kraftwerk’s song, Showroom Dummies.  Within 30 seconds of Showroom Dummies, I was in awe.  I loved how in sync they were.  I loved how focused they seemed to be.  I loved the song choices.  I took back everything that I had thought.  Now, I would certainly welcome a return of that!

What did the rest of you who saw the electro set think?  I did a little searching on YouTube so we can all enjoy!

-A

 

Just a Number on the Metal Fence Which Marks the Great Divide

I’m sure, by now, many of you are aware that Simon is due to perform with Timbaland at the Sound of Change Concert in London today.  This is a concert to benefit an organization focused on the health, education and justice for women and girls worldwide.  Simon discussed the strong women in his life as the inspiration for him getting involved.  If you would like to read the full press release, you can go to dd.com here.  As soon as this was announced, I sat back and watched the reaction closely since Timbaland creates quite a few reactions among Duranies after his involvement and production of some songs on Duran’s 2007 Red Carpet Massacre album.  I didn’t have to wait long before I saw the strong reactions begin along with the speculation that this could lead to further work with Timbaland.  What was my reaction?  Simple.  I had the same sense of dread that I carried around with me for the years surrounding the Red Carpet Massacre project.  While my dread definitely had to do with the fact that I don’t think Timbaland produced quality DURAN songs, it, more importantly, had to do with our fan community.  This concern for the fan community is exactly why Duran should run far away from Timbaland.

I hated the time surrounding Red Carpet Massacre.  Hated it.  It wasn’t a fun time to be a fan.  As soon there was an announcement that the band was working with Timbaland for RCM, fans immediately began taking sides.  On one side was the camp who was excited by the possibility that Timbaland could help bring a more “urban” sound into the Duran catalog and bring possible commercial success with a hit song.  On the other side was the group of fans who felt strongly that Timbaland didn’t understand Duran or how a band worked.  While songs might be created, they wouldn’t have the heart and soul of Duran.  It seemed to me that there were not many fans who fell in between these two sides.  Everyone had an opinion and that opinion was strong and firm.  No matter how much discussion, I rarely, if ever, saw people move from one camp to another.  Instead, the discussions quickly took on the feel of “beating a dead horse”as the conversations were never ending and the same points were being made over and over and over again.  These conversations were tough and people quickly became emotional.  Duran’s music means that much to people, to fans, to Duranies.  The pro-Timbaland side argued that the other side was closed-minded and accused the other side of wanting to trap Duran into the early 1980s with their sound.  The anti-Timbaland crowd, in turn, accused the pro side of not understanding who Duran is and what their music is really like as, clearly, Timbaland wouldn’t fit with who they are, musically.  These accusations, whether stated or not, whether subtle or not, were harsh and often cut people’s Duranie core.  As the debate raged, people dug in their heels.  This was the exact opposite of fun.  It was hard on the fans who had picked sides and it was hard for those few individuals who truly didn’t take a side.  No one was having any fun.  In fact, this lack of fun combined with increased tension in the community and a change in direction, musically, resulted in a lot of people walking away.  It led many fans to drop out, to leave, to no longer care about Duran, including buying albums or going to shows.  I’m sure that there are some of you who think I’m blowing this out of proportion but I saw it.  I saw many fans leave.  I saw many friends of mine leave.  Fandom is supposed to be fun.  If it isn’t, people will go.

Some of these fans who left during the RCM era will never return.  Duran Duran lost fans then.  Some did come back during the last era, however.  All You Need Is Now is the perfect contrast to RCM.  While musically there is much that could be said about their contrast, I, again, choose to focus on the fan community.  There were no sides taken during AYNIN.  For the most part, the VAST majority of fans LOVED AYNIN.  There was no reason to debate or argue in the same way that there was during RCM.  Most, if not almost all, fans agreed that AYNIN was a fabulous album.  This allowed some of those fans who left during the RCM battle to come back.  They saw that the fans could agree and just be happy over a new album.  They were reminded that fandom could be fun again.  It doesn’t always have to be combative or negative, which is what it certainly felt like during RCM.

Is Duran planning to work with Timbaland again?  I have no idea.  None.  No clue.  Simon’s appearance could be just that…an appearance and nothing more.  I hope that is all it is.  I, personally, don’t want to go back to the days of nonstop debate.  I can’t imagine that ANY fan would want a return to that even if s/he did like RCM and Timbaland.  I think those fans who did like RCM and Timbaland have to acknowledge that it was ugly and less fun then so I can’t imagine a desire to return to it.  My fear is simple.  Fans walked away during RCM due to the disagreement over the music but also over the constant debate in the fan community.  They would walk away again.  More fans would leave.  I also suspect that they would leave a heck of a lot faster this time.  Why would anyone want that?  Why would anyone want the band to make a move that would result in a fractured fan community, at best, or a smaller fan community, at worse?  Let’s hope that my sense of dread was for nothing.  Let’s hope this appearance is all there is to it and that we can all go back to looking forward to DD 14.

-A

Duran Duran Roundtable Part 1: The Music

I had planned to discuss all of Duran Duran’s Roundtable, which was posted yesterday, which you can find here but I have simply run out of time.  Besides, there is plenty of material with which to work from with just the first part when the band answered questions related to music.  To catch people up, Duran had fans submit questions then Katy read them and compiled some to ask the entire band at one time.  In this case, the roundtable took place at the end of the tour and Nick was not present, which one might assume was due to his illness.  I noted that this took place at the end of a very long tour, which may have an impact on what was said and how they sounded.

In the music section, they were asked 9 questions regarding the following topics:  All You Need is Now, box set of all material, redoing songs, releasing singles, Reportage, fans, critical acclaim and the next album.  I won’t transcribe the questions and their answers as you can listen for yourself, but I will comment about what I found interesting or what struck me.  Rhonda also sent me comments as well so I will include those, too. 

The first question regarded All You Need is Now.  The band, in response, discussed both Mark Ronson and Red Carpet Massacre, their previous album.  John talked about how RCM was the “farthest” out from the Duran sound they had gone.  This, of course, is reassuring to those of us who felt like the album didn’t feel like Duran.  Clearly, there was a reason, which as John pointed out, included that there was few live bass, drums and guitar.  He’s right about that not being typical and many of us missed that.  John also said that they were happy with the results.  I wished there could have been a follow-up to that since those ideas don’t seem to go together.  What about the results made them happy?  Did he think they were quality songs?  Did the songwriting work?  As for AYNIN, they acknowledged that they don’t look back at their own history but were ready to after RCM.  For that, I will be grateful that RCM happened as it sounds like they wouldn’t have been ready to recapture their sound without that experience.

The next question that caught my attention was the one about whether or not they would redo any of their songs.  Roger said that he wouldn’t, which is the standard answer for them.  Simon, on the other hand, would want to rerecord Someone Else Not Me as he felt it would be too slow.  John said that he would be up for it.  Fascinating.  They also mentioned a song called, “Don’t Look Back” that was done around the time of Wild Boys.  I’m sure that all Duranies would love to hear that one along with the Reportage album that they hope will be released one day, according to this roundtable!!!!  Then, John also mentioned adding a choir and strings to Finest Hour, which thrills both Rhonda and I.  Of course, I doubt any of those will see the light of day but dreams are free.  It was interesting to me that Simon and John did say they would redo songs as I have always heard them with their philosophy of no regrets and how they love all their songs equally.  I wonder what changed, especially since later in the roundtable John says that he wouldn’t have done anything differently as he likes where they are at now so little decisions don’t matter that much. 

Then, of course, they talked about singles.  To John, they truly don’t seem relevant anymore.  Hmm…he did say that radio play doesn’t matter as they can still have good shows and get the music out there.  I wonder if he would think differently if they were an upcoming band trying to make it.  Yet, they did say that they chose AYNIN as the “focus” track as it had many of the album’s ideas in it.  I have to agree with this.  I know that there was much discussion when it first came out, especially with that jarring beginning.  Yet, that song does, at least, for me, capture the spirit of the album.  As for wishing some songs made it as singles, Roger mentioned Beautiful Colours that didn’t even make it on the album and John mentioned using a Timbaland track for RCM.  My thoughts on those songs are this.  Beautiful Colours should have, at least, been on the album.  They had many quality tracks from that era that wasn’t used and should have been, including Salt in the Rainbow and Virus.  As for Timbaland, I may remind him that they had Night Runner up on some site before the album for people to listen to and it was not well-received.  Maybe that had something to do with the decision to release Falling Down instead.  For me, it would have been tough to take a Timbaland song as the single since I really pretty much hated them.  I, at least, liked Falling Down. I wonder what the fan community would have been like if they had released Night Runner as the single.  That said, I suppose one of those tracks would have better represented the album, which could be important, if that is the main purpose of “singles” now. 

The last two questions that caused me to react were the ones about critical acclaim and AYNIN influencing the next album.  As far as critical acclaim goes, they acknowledge that it did hurt to have some particular magazines that they read and believed as kids be critical.  Yet, they knew that what they were doing was right and that outweighed any of the negative statements.  They wondered if the critics didn’t like them because they weren’t needed for their success unlike other artists.  My response to this is simple.  There are many reasons why the critics slammed them from what I have been reading, which I have been writing about in the chapter I’m working on for the book. 

As far as AYNIN influencing the next album, Simon’s response, especially caught my attention as well as Rhonda’s.  Simon said that the main objective to AYNIN was to connect to the fans and that he doesn’t think they would have made another album if that didn’t happen.  We think he is absolutely right both about having another album and about having their focus be on connecting with fans.  We were around during the RCM days.  The fan community was dejected and divided.  It seemed like all the positive feelings that came with the reunion and Astronaut were gone, even for the fans that liked RCM.  It wasn’t that fun to be a Duranie then and many (most?) of us felt that the wall between the band and the fans was so tall that there would never be a connection made.  I think a lot of us were wondering if the end was near.  Thus, like John, I, too, think it is good that they are working with Mark Ronson again.  I’m sure it makes things easier for them and it helps all of us, fans, look forward to what is next.  We have hope that the connection will remain moving forward.

Tomorrow, I will discuss the rest of the roundtable!  Until then, let us know what you thought of their answers.  What caught your attention and why?

-A