Category Archives: retirement

Now This May Come as No Surprise

The other day, we had a guest blog that contemplated whether or not Paper Gods marked the beginning of a long-term exit strategy for the band. After all, they certainly can’t keep playing forever, can they? (All due respect to the Rolling Stones…and even Paul McCartney on that one…)

I have to admit that when I posted the blog, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had chatted back and forth with Jeff, telling him that I felt like his ideas would be in a safe place here, and I really believed that.  However, one cannot ever know for certain how something will be interpreted. Once you publish something and it’s out there, it really doesn’t belong to you any longer.

I was both pleasantly surprised…and perplexed…by the responses. While there were some that hoped “out loud” that he was wrong, there wasn’t a single “call to arms”.  No one called him names, questioned his fandom, or did much of anything besides encourage him. I was relieved.  I was also surprised.

In the past, Amanda and I have floated similar ideas past the fan community. They were shot down in a hail of proverbial bullets. Granted, timing and wording likely have everything to do with why that may have happened, but I would not be doing MY job as a blogger if I didn’t just throw it out as a conversation starter. Why is now so much different? Are we ready to accept the possibility as a community? Why is that?

As for me personally, I am not ready to say goodbye …but I don’t know if I would ever really be. In other words, I’m not ready for the band to quit, but if they do, I suppose I’m as satisfied as I’d ever be. I’ve been ready to at least entertain the notion though, for a while now. I don’t know why that is, but I suppose I’ve sensed the possibility lurking behind each new corner. I hate being surprised, and so my thinking has been that if I prepare myself…I’ll be ready. Just in case.

I agree with much of what Jeff said the other day.  I have felt like this entire album cycle has been, well…weird. Like my friend Michelle mentioned on Facebook, I don’t know why. I can’t put my finger on it. I keep thinking that maybe it’s just me. The shows have been fun, the album is good, but there’s something just different about it all – and maybe the difference is me.  The odd thing is that more than a few have mentioned the same thing to me in passing. Weird.

Yes, as I read through Jeff’s blog, much of it made me nod in agreement. I can’t ignore some of the more obvious things that make me think they’ve got an exit strategy. I don’t understand the way the band has decidedly pulled back from fans, whether its ducking in and out of a back door at a venue or hotel, or the way they’ve stopped engaging (for the most part) on social media. The setlist never freaking changes. They play their hits because it’s a cross-section that pleases everyone. I’ve wondered if the reason they never found a new guitar player is because they knew it would be a short-term thing. I don’t know. Maybe it’s all just a coincidence. Maybe it’s fans reading way more into it than they should. I really don’t know, but I appreciate the conversation more than any of our readers could ever know. Sometimes, it just feels better to get the words out and have an honest chat with people who share the same emotionality. It’s been especially nice not being flooded with nasty notes about his blog, too.

I share many of the same questions. I have none of the answers, unfortunately.  Whether it’s an exit strategy or not, all we can really do is continue to enjoy the music. The one thing I know for sure is that the music will continue to live long after the band plays their final chord as Duran Duran.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving, and I intend to keep right on enjoying!

-R

 

Duran Duran Summer Tour 2016: The Sequel!

I am currently glancing nervously around my house as I sit here composing this blog posting. Later tonight, Amanda arrives, and then we prepare ourselves for the next set of shows we are attending together on our Duran Duran Summer Tour 2016. The final four we’ll do on this leg of the Paper Gods tour. (I stopped just short of saying it’s the last four we’ll do for the entire tour because well, you never know. Maybe.)

At this moment, my house looks like we just moved here. Likely because my oldest just moved out this past weekend and took some of my old furniture with her. This only poses a problem because we now no longer have couches in our formal living area, nor do we have furniture in her old bedroom. I have no time, no money (thanks to Duran Duran! Ha ha!!), and really no plans to figure out what I’m going to do with her old room until I get back from my own vacation at the end of August. But hey, at least there’s more room around here!

If that weren’t enough (and it is really is), I’m also trying to find time to help my mom. As most know, she lost her partner last month to a heart attack. All of us are still adjusting, and the agonizing last few details, such as cleaning out his apartment, need finishing. I will no sooner drop Amanda back off at the airport, and I’ll be packing up our trailer for a huge camping trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. In many ways (as per the usual), I have no business leaving this house to see Duran Duran.

Never mind that for me, I’ve continued to put aside the idea that this might actually be the last bit of travel I do for this band, at least for the foreseeable future. To begin with, I continue to hear that they’re planning to tour other parts of the world next year. So that’s 2017, in a nutshell. After that, I’m not sure what they’ll do, if anything.

Isn’t that idea strange? When I was a kid, I was blissfully unaware of anything really being final. I mean, it never occurred to me that they would someday stop recording. I suppose that’s also why when Roger and Andy left, I was so shocked. The thought just hadn’t occurred to me prior.  But then they reunited, and because I had already lived through band members leaving once, I knew it could happen again. Andy left a second time, and since then, I won’t lie—with the close of every album “cycle”, so to speak, I wonder if they’ll dare to try it all again. I want them to keep going, but I admittedly try to prepare myself that they will not.

Fans get furious when we—Amanda and I—even type those words here. No one wants the story to end, least of all us. I mean, think about it—what use is Daily Duranie if there’s no band?!? So before anyone accuses us of wanting them to quit, think before you type. On the same token, we’re not blind, and we recognize they could easily quit now and never look back. I wish I could will myself back to never thinking about it, but nowadays the question just seems to hang in the air, and I cannot tell you how many times I am personally asked the question—“Do you think they’ll record or tour again, Rhonda?“—at every single meet-up or event we attend.

I wish I had a crystal ball. I know that when I go to these last four shows of mine, each time I hear the little bit of “New Moon on Monday” that they’ve incorporated into their set, I’m going to try to live in that moment and not think about anything else. However, even as I type right now, I know there’s going to be a teeny piece of me (one that will probably try to grow bigger with each passing show) that is going to count down the amount of times I will still get to hear that song live. Four, then three, then two, and then one. And then what?

I am really not very good at endings. One of the most difficult things I had to do when writing the manuscript was finish the conclusion. The story shouldn’t end. I never want to write those words: “The end.” So I won’t. I am hoping for more shows, musicals, ballets, and/or work to come from people like Anna and Dom. I’ll be planning another convention for next August in Chicago, blogging each day, and writing more books. Yes, more books!!  And when the band says they’re recording again, I’ll smile.

Duran Duran Summer Tour 2016: here we come for part deux!!

-R

When good things just end

Today this blog is dedicated to a few heartbroken friends of mine out there. You know who you are.

There are two distinct emotions that occur when you’re a fan (along with a multitude more) – elation and heartbreak.  As Amanda is fond of saying, “The highest of highs and the lowest of lows.” If you haven’t had the lows, I am envious. If you haven’t felt the elation – stick around a bit. The band will tour, and those will be had. After all, that’s why we stay, isn’t it? We keep chasing that stick that is dangled ever so enticingly in front of us with a beautiful orange carrot on the end. Round the track we go, never shall we stop, and once in a while – we might even get a tidbit. We devour. Elation.

Heartbreak is a bit more complicated.There are so many reasons, so many twisted emotions that have the potential to become heartbreak. When I was a child, a mere teenager, just hearing that one of my idols had a girlfriend might have sent me into heartbreak. Maybe later on it was hearing that my favorite band member left the band. Still later, it could have been finding out another had taken his place. Perhaps it was a off-album. Maybe it was a set of shows that had been postponed or canceled. Maybe it was traveling to another country only to find out that the shows you’d traveled for were…you guessed it…canceled. Or, in a final act of ripping ones heart from ones chest in what feels completely and utterly permanent, the band simply decides to stop.

I can’t imagine that there’s a single fan of something out there that hasn’t had that happen. Whether it’s that your sports guy left the sport for retirement, or the celebrity to end all celebrities for you has unfortunately passed on, it happens. I know that as a Duran fan, I’ve wondered when that moment would come – and in some sort of morbid curiosity that only I would be silly enough to admit, I’ve thought long and hard about what my response might include. Would I cry? Would I play their music for hours on end? What about the blog?  Would I be openly angry, or reticent? Would I be in denial…and finally…would I still be a fan?

That final question is the most thought provoking for me. It’s not just simply whether or not I’d still listen to their music – I think at this point in my life, it’s pretty obvious (to me) that of course I would. It might take many months before I was able to listen without some feeling of pain or angst, but I have to believe that just as though I eventually came to tell stories about my dad without tears, I would also learn to remember the good feelings that came along with the music. I have so many good memories from Duran Duran, surely smiles would replace the pain – or at least accompany so that the pain was lessened. I guess the real question is whether or not listening to the music is enough. When you’re used to a very three dimensional fandom – listening to the music, hearing the news, going to gigs, maybe even meeting the band and having some laughs – what happens when it becomes solely about the music? In some ways, it’s like cutting the crap and getting back to basics, isn’t it? In other ways, when you know that is all it will ever be again – well, then I’m just not sure.

I think to John Lennon and Beatles fans. I count myself among them, although to be fair, it is a completely different type of fandom than the one I experience with Duran Duran. While I recognize that I’m “old” (so my kids say), I was actually born after The Beatles broke up. I never experienced the insanity of going to see The Beatles live, so it isn’t as though I know what I’m missing. (although if there were ever a band I wished I’d seen – they would be it!) I think about John Lennon, and I clearly remember the day he was murdered. I still have all of John’s solo work on vinyl – it is something I’m proud of taking the time to collect over the years – and I am very reverent of his work. I am a fan, although I never once saw him perform in person or met him. Again, the fandom is entirely different, but it does still exist.

So, I believe I will still be a fan, although the fandom will likely be far different. I don’t want to even consider what the blog would be – could we even continue? Probably not in the same respect to which we’re accustomed. Our books would be written past tense. Our stories would begin with “Remember when?” instead of “I can’t wait to do it again!” It all seems so depressing.

It came with great shock to me on Sunday night when I read that INXS had announced they would no longer tour. I continue to ask, “Who said they could quit?!? Who signed off on that?!?” Their last shows were in Australia just this past weekend – about as far from the US as one can imagine, and yet it was the right place for INXS to finish a successful thirty-five year career. The shows came without much fanfare, in fact I don’t believe anyone really saw it coming, unless of course you are one of the scores of “one time” INXS fans that took the time to tweet to me that you liked the band until Michael died, and then they died for you as well. That said, in hindsight – precious, precious hindsight, I think the signs were there had I chose to actually pay attention. News almost never came from the band these days. Rumors were never addressed or put to rest (and what is important about that is not the rumor – but the fact that no news came from the band AT ALL), old merchandise touted as being “anniversary” was marketed and sold, and old touring equipment turned up on eBay and announced as such by the band. Not one of these things would have or did make me turn my head – but in hindsight? It starts to make sense.

For me, INXS was a second or third “favorite” after Duran Duran. I really got into them during the 1990’s. I won’t exaggerate – I am not such a big fan that I dropped everything to see them (there simply isn’t enough time and money for me to do that for everyone!!), although I have seen them a few times over the years. When Michael passed away, I was truly surprised that they continued on, but the fact is – the music lived on and it thrived. INXS did not die in that hotel room, and I will continue to scream that as loudly as possible for the rest of my life. Yes – it was extremely difficult for me initially when they agreed to find a new singer on Rockstar:INXS, thanks to my friends Jessica and Machelle – I hesitantly watched, and fell in love almost immediately. I was and am very proud that the band had the tenacity to keep going. I am well-aware of just how difficult it really was, and that perhaps they never quite found the magic combination of what they needed. As he hit his first notes on the first night I watched the show, I was a JD fan. I went to two INXS shows to see him, and I have to say – if anyone could have fronted that band, it was him. I know this isn’t a popular position for many other INXS fans out there, but I stand by my assessment. I was sorry to see him go, although I certainly understand the choices the band made. I do regret never having the chance to attend a show with Jessica and Mac, purely because it would have been nice to expand our friendship beyond the reigns of Duran Duran. I am friends with the two of them because they are good people, not because they were ever Duran fans, although this band is what brought us together initially. No, my INXS fandom was something I tended to enjoy with my husband, it was one band we both loved to listen to here at home, and I don’t imagine that will stop.

I’ve spent some time reflecting on how it all might happen with Duran Duran. It’s impossible for me not to think that way – this year alone I’ve had two bands simply “quit”. It’s the age, I presume, and I hate it. I’m not like John, who seems to be able to spin the good out of the bad – this really does suck. I love going to shows, concerts, gigs – whatever you want to call them. I love music. I love being a fan. It is incredibly difficult and even a bit maddening when the choices start to dwindle because your bands start thinking about retirement. I guess I feel as though every band out there should be like The Rolling Stones – and yet I full-well know that’s impossible. I’m a fan. We think in impossible terms.  🙂

It really isn’t very easy seeing something I enjoyed; and even more importantly, seeing something that my close friends enjoy, end. Good things sometimes really do just end. It really doesn’t matter what the reasons might be, how it all could have been handled differently, or how angry and hurt we all might feel. All we can do is sit back, absorb the moment, reflect on the memory, and keep listening. Music never dies, and it doesn’t just quit.

Thanks for some of the most incredible music I have ever known, INXS.

-R