Category Archives: side projects

Classic Pop Special 40th Anniversary Edition: 7ATRT and All Excess

This marks the third blog that gives a little summary and my thoughts about the next set of articles in the Classic Pop Special Edition for Duran’s 40th Anniversary.  In the previous posts, I took a look at the articles, “Conquering Planet Earth,” “Rare Photos,” and “Rio”.  Today, I’ll cover “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” and “All Excess Areas”.  Mind you, this only takes me through the first 40 pages of the magazine that ends at page 129!

Seven and the Ragged Tiger:

First thing I notice about this article is how much shorter it is compared to the one on Rio.  Then again, the first album did not get this coverage at all.  There is not the focus on the songs and the videos like Rio had.  I guess that I can understand why.  Rio was/is far more popular and one could argue that Seven was not as important in the history of Duran.  Nonetheless, I’m anxious to see how this album is covered.

The article starts out with quite a bang.  The subheading reads, “…album saw them threatened with becoming victims of their success, in danger of being overexposed, they saved their reputations – and their money – by spending the year abroad.”  Victims of their own success?!  While I don’t necessarily disagree, I don’t think I have ever read it or heard it in that way.  I have often thought about how the band members might have felt then when fame was all encompassing from fans everywhere to an insane schedule in order to maintain the success.  The article gives a quote from Simon in which he explains about how the album was about “ambition”.

The first part of the article focuses on how the writing and recording was different than the previous albums.  There is a quote from Nick about how the songs “were built rather than written”.  This is literally the first time I heard that, which makes total sense to me.  I think you can hear that with all of the various layers on the songs on that album.  According to the article, EMI started getting nervous with Ian Little producing so they brought in Alex Sadkin who kindly decided to keep Ian on.  All of that was new to me, too.  It makes me want to know more, that’s for sure!   I wish that the articles included their references so that I could check out sources for myself.

 Excess All Areas:

The picture that accompanies this article tells me it is about the side projects of 1985 as the title did not give it away.  A classic Arcadia picture leads the reader in and the subheading leads me to think the focus is going to be how the two side projects show the two sides to Duran (arty and rock sides).  As the article begins, I finally understand the title about “excess” with the sentence, “…where every artistic whim in the studio was fully indulged.”  Ah.  I get it now.

Interestingly enough, the majority of the article focused more on Power Station rather than Arcadia which does not seem typical to me.  While I knew of the history listed in the article, the author added some ideas that were new to me, including bad blood with Robert Palmer.  The article claimed that he used Power Station to jump start his own career and that he believed that he created the Power Station sound.  Fascinating.  Again, I wish that I had a list of their sources.  I did appreciate that it mentioned the second Power Station album, which rarely gets talked about ever.

The section on Arcadia was generally predictable with the art influences and awesome guest stars.  I did think it was interesting that it mentioned about how it didn’t do as well, chart wise, as Power Station, especially considering that fans now generally prefer Arcadia.  The article does include a blurb on TV Mania but did not mention John’s solo work or Neurotic Outsiders.  Hmm…

I have to admit that this section of the magazine had a few eye-opening ideas.  As I mentioned a few times, I wish I knew their sources!  Anything surprise all of you?

-A

Syn Music and More

This morning, I noticed a tweet from Duran’s twitter showing a short little video clip of San Music World’s founders.  The founders, of course, are Simon and his wife, Yasmin, and their friend, Nick Wood.  The video made me smile as I thought about how cool it is that they are able to do something like this.

To catch you up, in case you are unfamiliar with San Music, the homepage of theirs describes Syn like this:  “Syn is the vision of three founders, partners and very good friends. Nick Wood, Simon Le Bon and Yasmin Le Bon fashioned an agency to produce creative commercial music for brands and media, and committed their first initials to its name.

Syn’s studios in Tokyo and Los Angeles, along with the new facility in Beijing, work both alone and in sync, passing the baton to meet the most pressing deadlines.

Our four creative departments are constantly creating new ideas and concepts that propel our clients’ visions to their full potential.

Welcome to Syn.”

Their website goes on to show various projects that Syn worked on, including many companies that most of us are familiar with like Toyota and Dove chocolates, in which they provided the music for.  The people section of the website includes a little Q&A of the founders and many staff members.  The Q&A asks for the person’s favorite hangouts in various cities, what they think about Syn, favorite album and favorite song.  I couldn’t help but to notice Simon’s response when it comes to Syn as he said, “Get to do things I cannot do with Duran Duran.”  Now, I’m sure that some fans might be disappointed with that, but I have the opposite reaction.

As I get older, I recognize that people are complex and have different aspects to their personalities and their passions.  Yesterday, at work, we had to answer the question, “What is your passion?”  My answer seemed simple with, “I want to make the world a better place.”  This affects my decision to be involved, politically, and to teach but it also relates to this, to fandom.  Fandom can be the greatest phenomenon developed my humanity in that it gives a tremendous amount of joy to the participants, but sometimes it fails to live up to that potential. I like to believe that by studying it, talking about it and planning events I am trying to help make fandom a little better.  Thus, everything I do fits into my passion.  Clearly, for Simon, his passion is about music.  In both Duran and in Syn, he gets to work with and for his passion.  I think having the ability to express one’s passion in a variety of ways helps keep the passion alive.  Plus, one avenue can influence the other.  I suspect that might be the case for Simon.

I for one am excited for Simon that he has something like Syn.  Then again, I feel that way about all of the various projects other band members are involved in.  I like that Nick, for example, continues to take photographs or that John and Nick have been working on a musical.  As much as I want more Duran in the forms of albums and tours, I want them to be happy and to be able to explore all aspects of their personality and passion, too, even if that means longer breaks in between album cycles.

-A

Too Much to Know?

Sometimes, life has a way of sending a bunch of little signs that all add up to one idea.  That is how my week has been leading to this little blog post.  It really started early in the week when Rhonda posted a couple of blogs about both Anna Ross’s new music (which if you haven’t heard by now, you NEED to get on that!) and a new song featuring Dom Brown.  Then, there was some discussions on Twitter about John Taylor’s solo work.  Lastly, there was a moment at Wednesday’s Killers show that really made me think.  While none of these things really seem to go together, they all got me thinking.  Do Duranies really want to embrace all of Duran or just some Duran?  If so, am I guilty of this, too?

I really started to think about this question after a moment in the Killers concert that I would never expect to see at a Duran show.  A few songs in, Brandon, the lead singer, asked the audience if they would prefer to hear an obscure, “b-side”, called “Under the Gun” or a classic hit of theirs, “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine.”  Shockingly enough, the entire audience wanted the more unknown song.  With any show, I wouldn’t expect the entire audience to be made up of die-hard fans.  I would expect a lot of die-hards but some who are just fans.  For example, I love the Killers but I cannot say that I’m as hardcore about them as I am about that other band.  Nonetheless, I stood in shock by the fans’ voting for the lesser known song.  I’m sure that there are plenty of Duranies reading this blog that thinks, I would definitely vote for the b-side.  Yes, I’m sure that most of the fans reading a fan blog like this would be die-hard.  Would people who are just casual Duran fans?  Would the vast majority of any Duran audience vote for it?

I’m thinking about my experience in San Francisco where I was half way back.  I’m pretty certain that the people around me were fans but not hardcore ones.  They had not seen any of the previous shows on the Paper Gods Tour.  Some of them, it sounded like, had never seen Duran before.  The songs they referenced were all the hits of the 80s.  Based on their reaction to the newer songs, they had not heard Paper Gods.  Those fans?  They would vote “A View to a Kill” over “Khanada,” for example.

Then, I started to think about how even the die-hard fans who read this blog reacted to the blog posts about Anna and Dom.  While those posts got positive reactions, I guess I was expecting more. This led me to think more broadly.  I know that there are Duranies who love, love, love the band but don’t own all their albums.  I know there are many, many fans who are HUGE John Taylor fans but are not super familiar with his solo catalog.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not criticizing.  Sometimes, it is takes awhile to get into new music.  I also won’t lie.  None of the songs or projects that I just mentioned sound exactly like Duran.  It could be that many of these fans have listened to some solo and side projects that just don’t like them enough to listen more.  Again, I’m not criticizing or blaming.  After all, I have tried to love all of the solo and side projects but I don’t put Andy Taylor’s solo work on very often or the second album from Power Station.  Does that mean that I don’t love Andy or I don’t love all of Duran?  Of course not.  It just means that his work is different than what I’m used to and that there are parts of Duran that I love more than others.

I think my point, though, goes beyond what’s in a collection or what would be cheered for at a concert.  It is more about what Duranies are actually interested in, generally.  There is a large part of the fan base that really does just love Duran of the early 1980s.  I have now spent years asking various questions or opinions about everything from songs to videos to live performances on this blog.  Way more often than not, Duranies will choose something off of Rio or the 1984 live performance.  Again, I’m not criticizing anyone here.  Heck, I just answered the question about favorite b-side with Secret Oktober like tons of other fans out there, but I do acknowledge that it is a standard answer.  My favorite album is the first one.  It isn’t Rio but Rio is one of my favorites.  I get why this is the case.  Most of us fell in love with a certain band with a certain sound and look.  It is hard to love changes in the same way.

Yet, I wonder if we as a fan base could really benefit from challenging ourselves.  Instead of just playing the Rio album, pop in Medazzaland.  Instead of listening to Arcadia, try a little Neurotic Outsiders.  When you feel like busting out some solo work, try Anna’s new material.  I know that I need to take my own advice with this.  I’m good with John’s solo stuff because he’s my favorite and I genuinely really like but I want to know more of Simon’s, for example.  That means I have to push myself to try something new or something I’m not as familiar with.  Somehow, I don’t think I’ll regret it.

-A

Ultimate Box Set: Side/Solo Project Final Vote

The Daily Duranie has been working to create an Ultimate Duran Duran Box Set.  While Rhonda and I have definite strong opinions about what should be included, we didn’t think that made sense to just have it be from us.  Therefore, we have taken time to ask all of the Duranies who read this blog to help us create it.  The Ultimate Box Set would have multiple categories including:  Singles, Album Tracks, B-Sides/Bonus Tracks, Live Tracks, Side/Solo Project Songs, and Remixes.  So far, readers have chosen 7 tracks from all of the categories except for Side/Solo Projects and Remixes.  The results so far are:

Singles:

  • Planet Earth
  • Save a Prayer
  • Ordinary World
  • Girls on Film
  • Pressure Off
  • Rio
  • New Moon on Monday

Album Tracks:

  • New Religion
  • The Chauffeur
  • Hold Back the Rain
  • Friends of Mine
  • The Man Who Stole a Leopard
  • The Seventh Stranger
  • Paper Gods

B-Sides/Bonus Tracks:

  • Secret Oktober
  • Late Bar
  • Beautiful Colours
  • I Believe/All I Need to Know
  • Salt in the Rainbow
  • Planet Roaring
  • Faster Than Light
  • (Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile

Live Tracks:

  • New Religion
  • Careless Memories
  • The Chauffeur
  • Rio
  • Wild Boys
  • White Lines
  • Planet Earth

Now, we are ready to finally choose the 7 songs that will represent the best of Duran’s Side and/or Solo Projects.  In case, you want to listen to the choices, I made some playlists on YouTube for all of you:

Arcadia:

Power Station:

John Taylor:

Simon Le Bon:

Dom Brown:

Now, I think we are all ready to pick SEVEN side and solo project songs that should be included on the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set!!!

-A

Ultimate Box Set: Side/Solo Projects Part 4

This week, we continue to tackle the side and solo project songs for the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set.  So far, we have picked out songs by Power Station, Neurotic Outsiders, Arcadia, The Devils, TV Mania, Dom Brown and Freebass.  We have two solo projects to go:  John and Simon.  This week as promised we will focus on John Taylor’s solo work.  Originally, I thought I would be able to list all of John’s songs and have people pick out the 7 that should be considered for the box set.  That won’t work, though, as John has a ton of songs.  He has too many for just one poll.  Therefore, this week we will look at half of his songs and next week we will do the other half.

Before I list the poll, I do want to do two other things.  First, I want to share the songs under consideration for this category.  Then, as many of John’s songs that I could find will be posted here.  You can listen before you vote!

Side/Solo Project Songs Under Consideration:

Power Station:

  • Some Like It Hot
  • Get It On/Bang a Gong
  • Communication
  • Murderess
  • Harvest for the World
  • Still in Your Heart
  • She Can Rock It

Neurotic Outsiders:

  • Feelings Are Good

Arcadia:

  • Election Day
  • The Promise
  • Goodbye Is Forever
  • The Flame
  • El Diablo
  • Lady Ice
  • Keep Me in the Dark

Dom Brown:

  • Amazing
  • Day Turned Black
  • Crocodile Tears
  • Changing
  • Chocolate Fever

Freebass:

  • Love Is Like Oxygen

Now, here’s a little playlist that I put together of some of John’s solo work.  It does not include every song on the poll but a lot of them.

On that note, you should be ready to vote!  Which 7 John Taylor songs should be considered for the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set?  Please note that I Do What I Do is spelled wrong on the poll.  I apologize.

-A

Ultimate Box Set: Side/Solo Projects Part 3

This week, we continue on with our polls surrounding side/solo project songs that fans feel should be considered for the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set.  The goal is to pick 7 songs each week until the readers have gone through all of the various Duran related side and solo projects before having a final vote.  So far, songs have been picked from Power Station, Neurotic Outsiders, Arcadia, The Devils and TV Mania.  This week, we will tackle both Dom Brown and Freebass.

Before I attach the poll, I have to say something about these two projects.  Dom Brown, Duran’s current guitar player, has done work on his own.  In fact, he has released two solo albums, “Touch the Flames” and “Between the Lines”.  If that was not enough, he has a blues band, Blue to Brown, with his father that also resulted in an album.  If you haven’t heard these albums, I highly recommend them and can be purchased on Dom’s official site.   Normally, when I have done these polls, I have put up YouTube playlists to provide the opportunity to hear the songs before voting.  Unfortunately, there are only a handful available.  I will post the ones I found:

I can provide even less about Freebass.  According to the Duran Duran Wikia  page, Freebass was formed in 1997 by Roger Taylor and Marco Silver in Birmingham.  An album was recorded and the band’s only single is “Love Is Like Oxygen“, a cover of a song done by the British band group, Sweet, was released in January of 1998.  At the same time, the band broke up.  Marco Silver continued on and is now using the name, Free Bass Inc.  You can hear “Love Is Like Oxygen” by clicking the link above.  I will include the other songs on the album on the poll, but lack means of providing all of you a chance to hear them.  I apologize.  If someone knows where/how I could share, please let me know.

Before I get to voting, let’s take a look at what side/solo projects remain in consideration so far:

Power Station:

  • Some Like It Hot
  • Get It On/Bang a Gong
  • Communication
  • Murderess
  • Harvest for the World
  • Still in Your Heart
  • She Can Rock It

Neurotic Outsiders:

  • Feelings Are Good

Arcadia:

  • Election Day
  • The Promise
  • Goodbye Is Forever
  • The Flame
  • El Diablo
  • Lady Ic
  • Keep Me in the Dark

Now, it is time to vote on which Dom Brown and/or Freebass songs should be considered for the Ultimate Box Set.  Vote here:

-A

 

Ultimate Box Set: Side Projects Part 2

It is Saturday, which means that it is time for our weekly poll relating to the creation of the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set.  So far, the participants have chosen singles, album tracks, b-sides/demos, and live songs.  Now, we are working on which side/solo project songs should be considered.  Instead of tackling the enormous list all at once, we are breaking them into manageable chunks.  Last week, we started with Power Station and Neurotic Outsiders.  The songs most picked by the fans voting were:

Power Station:

  1. Some Like It Hot
  2. Get It On/Bang a Gong
  3. Communication
  4. Murderess
  5. Harvest for the World
  6. Still In Your Heart
  7. She Can Rock It

Neurotic Outsiders:

  1. Feelings Are Good

I allowed for 8 songs rather than the usual 7 because there was a tie between She Can Rock It and Still In Your Heart.

This week, we vote on the songs from the side projects that Nick Rhodes was involved in.  These include Arcadia, The Devils and TV Mania.

If you want to hear these projects again, here are some YouTube playlists:

Arcadia:

The Devils:

TV Mania:

Now that you have familiarized or re-familiarized yourself with these songs, it is time to vote!

Ultimate Box Set: Side/Solo Projects Part 1

The Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set finally reaches the last category.  Since winter, fans/readers of this blog have voted on singles, album tracks, b-sides/demos, and live tracks.  Now, we begin voting on the last type of Duran song to be included in our box set.  This category really isn’t Duran but songs written and recorded as part of a side project or by a member on his own.  Before I get into how I will split up this last category, let’s look at which live songs were chosen.

After starting with the 50 most often songs played live, we narrowed down the choices to 35 then 21 before picking 7.  Here are the winners:

  1. New Religion
  2. Careless Memories
  3. The Chauffeur
  4. Rio
  5. Wild Boys
  6. White Lines
  7. Planet Earth

If you notice, many of those songs are played at the majority of shows, including Rio, Wild Boys, White Lines and Planet Earth.  Although, that last song was notably absent at some spring shows!  Anyway, I’m sure that there will be some fans who read this blog and participate in these fun polls who will want to determine which version/arrangement of these live tracks should be included.  I agree.    Yet, I will do those polls as part of our daily questions.  I’ll have to determine how many different live versions exist for each one, but that voting should be fun.

Meanwhile, we move on to the side/solo projects.  Clearly, this category is a large one with many bands (Power Station, Arcadia, Neurotic Outsiders, The Devils, TV Mania, Freebass, etc.) as well as solo songs by Simon, John, and Dom.  Here’s the deal.  I considered including Andy and Warren’s projects but opted not to for two reasons.  First, I needed to limit the category somehow and, second, I decided to stick to current members only.

Like other massive categories, I didn’t want to include all songs by all side/solo projects all at once.  Talk about overwhelming!  Therefore, I had to break them up, somehow.  My plan is to stick to similar projects while attempting to balance the number of songs.  Thus, this week we will start with Power Station and Neurotic Outsiders.  Both projects featured John Taylor and had more of a rock style.  In case, you aren’t familiar with these projects, I will help on that front.  I have put together YouTube playlists to help.

Here’s Power Station:

Here’s Neurotic Outsiders:

Now, hopefully, you are all ready to pick the 7 songs out of the list that should be considered for the side/solo project songs on the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set!  Let’s vote:

-A

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

 

 

 

The Survey Says…

Last weekend, I did a little blog in which case I questioned the depth of fans’ Duran Duran collections, which you can read here.  In that blog, I asked fans to participate in 4 surveys, including the Duran albums they own, albums they heard completely, side/solo projects they own and side/solo projects they have heard completely.  As people participate, one factor became obvious.  I should have probably listed the extent of the side and solo projects.  For example, Power Station had two albums during their existence.  Thus, the results might not be as accurate as they could be. That said, this was all in fun so not a big deal.

Duran Duran Albums Owned:

For this survey, the question was asked:  Which Duran Duran albums do you own?  The results surprised but also did not surprise me.  The most commonly owned album?  Rio.  I would expect everyone who identifies as a Duranie to own that one.  Here are the results by most owned to least owned:

Rio
Seven and the Ragged Tiger
The Wedding Album
Self-titled/Arena/Paper Gods
Astronaut/All You Need Is Now
Notorious/Red Carpet Massacre
Greatest
Big Thing/Decade
Thank You
Liberty
Medazzaland
Pop Trash
Live from London
A Diamond in the Mind

I will describe my reaction to this list tomorrow, including when/where the big drops in ownership were.

Duran Duran Albums Heard Completely:

Ownership is different than having heard albums.  For example, some fans might have heard various albums but never bought or no longer own certain albums for whatever reason.  Unlike albums owned, there are not huge gaps between albums heard and albums heard a lot less.  Again, here is the list of which albums people have from the most to the least:

Rio/Seven and the Ragged Tiger
Astronaut/Paper Gods
Notorious/The Wedding Album/All You Need Is Now
Self-titled/Red Carpet Massacre
Big Thing
Medazzaland
Liberty/Thank You/Pop Trash

Like the first survey, the results surprised me and did not surprise me.  More reactions from me to follow on tomorrow’s blog.

Side/Solo Project Owned Completely:

Like the previous two surveys, the results both matched and did not match my expectations.  When I made the list, I left out Warren’s solo work simply because I forget about him (and I’m not really a fan).  Perhaps, if he had been included, the results might have been different.  Here are the most owned to the least owned by fans:

Arcadia
Power Station
John Taylor
Neurotic Outsiders
Devils/Simon Le Bon
Andy Taylor
TV Mania
Dom Brown
Freebass

Side/Solo Project Heard:

For this question, I asked fans which side/solo projects they have heard completely, have heard some of, and have heard none of.  Let’s start with the ones fans have heard completely from most to least heard:

Arcadia
Power Station
The Devils
Neurotic Outsiders
John Taylor
Simon Le Bon
TV Mania
Andy Taylor
Dom Brown
Freebass

Have heard some of from most to least:

Simon 
Andy
John
Power Station
TV Mania
Dom Brown
Neurotic Outsiders
The Devils
Arcadia
Freebass

Have heard none of from most to least:
Freebase
Dom Brown
Neurotic Outsiders/The Devils/TV Mania
Andy Taylor
Simon Le Bon
John Taylor
Power Station/Arcadia

All in all, I found the results fascinating.  I will dive into the results and give my reaction in tomorrow’s blog.  Before I do, what do you think of the results?

-A