Today, a news article in Variety magazine was released with some updated news about the band and their upcoming tour. You can read the article here.
Once again, Durantime rears it’s head, complete with bed-head hair and the remnants of last night’s makeup underneath it’s eyes. Clearly, it’s been a wild-ride thus far. In reading the news, it’s impossible to overlook the fact that in December, the plan was to release early February, then mid-to late February, then March…and now late March. I’m sure that there are many reasons behind the release date that someone like me, someone who is just a fan, would not even begin to understand. That said, the point of our blog is to examine the news from the point of view of the fan. Sometimes, that’s a good thing. Like it or not, the fans are the lifeblood to the longevity of the band. If we’re excited about something, that certainly isn’t a bad thing. The converse also holds true, however. If the fans aren’t on board – it’s tough to make headway. I’m not trying to make the fans appear to be an unstoppable force (although one glimpse of us at a show and perhaps that would seem to be the case!), but I am saying that we’re a team with the band. It truly is teamwork that keeps the band going, and really – that keeps US going as fans. So, with that in mind, I forge ahead.
My first thought upon reading the news of the day is that it’s already been quite a while since the digital version was released, and as far as I can tell – our excitement has already began to simmer down. I think that’s natural, and in this day and age with electronic media – what at one point took an entire month to cycle (as in a magazine), now takes days. Information flows so quickly that we consume it and go on to the next thing in a blink of an eye. This gives anyone, any band, much more of a challenge to continue to remain new, fresh and relevant; momentum can be gained and lost overnight. I think that’s really the energy behind Twitter and even Facebook to some extent, and if bands and artists don’t learn how to use it, well – they lose it. This is where my concern lies with Duran Duran. The “public” has already heard the new single. They have a decent portion (appetizer or otherwise) of the new album. Sure, sales were good that first week – I’m not really sure how they’re doing now but I have to imagine they’ve weakened since then, and that’s OK. That said, now there’s a real wait on our hands until late March…and let’s be honest…it could easily be late April, as happens in Durantime. (imagine if they had decided to withhold everything until then? As my friend Jessica mentioned today – MUTINY!)
I have to ask – how is that going to help them? They had real momentum in December. It would have been very easy to continue to capitalize on that by doing a select number of shows, MANY more interviews, etc. Instead it would seem as though there was a slight hiccup or misstep in the planning process, and now we’ve got this huge gap of time. Make no mistake, 3 and a half or four months between the release of digital material and the actual physical CD is a LONG time. I’ve seen artists have their work released, distributed, and sent BACK to the distributor in that amount of time. (not kidding there) It’s a gamble, to be sure. I know they are putting new unheard material on the physical album, the packaging is supposed to be very cool, etc etc. It all makes me think back to (Reach up for the) Sunrise off of Astronaut. Here was the first single from the original 5 members in over 20 years. It was released as a single off of the Queer Eye soundtrack – a different version, yes. Then, in what I feel was a very risky move – it was released as the single off of the bands own album in yet another version. Did it gain attention? Nope. Not even from fans – we’d already heard it. Been there, done that, so to speak. I have some concerns that this album is going to garner the same sort of attention, or lack thereof. Of course, there were many other issues present with Astronaut, and I’m sure one can find a myriad of reasons why the album didn’t do as well as it should have commercially – MY point is simply that once the fans have heard it and consumed it – we move on quickly.
Then there is/are the sheer lack of dates. We’ve got what appears to be about 2 months and some before the album drops – I read tweets each day from the band saying that they’re working on bass, keys, vocals for the bonus material – and while that’s exciting, what would really fill the time between now and the album dropping are shows. That’s right, shows. You want to keep the fans attention? Play some shows. Yeah, it would require work. Yeah, it would be a pain in the butt to get it all together, but it would keep our interest, and the band might even get some new attention from new fans too. Of course, they could already be planning shows, I have no idea. There are rumors of some UK dates in February (seems to me that those should already have been announced or else they’re totally behind the 8-ball…), but otherwise, I’ve heard of nothing.
I suppose one could say that the wait increases demand. I would say in return that you’re playing an awfully risky game. Fans are fickle, and the last album should have proven that without a doubt. Sorry to those of you diehard RCM fans out there, but a lot of fans simply gave up on the band after that album was released. So now other bands are starting to announce tours for the spring/summer, and people who might have thought about going to Duran shows are starting to consider other bands – and trust me when I say that most people do not have the money to do it all. Recession…United States…banks failing all over the world…any of that ringing a bell with anyone? I just don’t feel that Duran Duran is in the position to play that game and win.
For all of the downer news, however – there is always some good. For instance, the CD/vinyl will have 14 tracks (if you’re counting, that means we haven’t heard at least 4 or 5 of them, depending upon whether Mediterranea is included), and according to their management, they are looking at doing specific packaging and extras for specific retailers, which means plenty of versions to buy. I suppose that could be deemed as bad news – but for me, I want it all and I’m not ashamed of that. We know that they’ll eventually announce tour dates, because they are planning a tour in April (hurry up April!), and in time – all of this waiting will be a distant memory. Heck, if they wait long enough – I’ll probably forget all about it! (memory isn’t what it used to be!)
I suppose that some will say I’m impatient (no, really?), and some will say I’m negative. (listen, even if the glass is half empty – there’s still vodka left in there, how is that not positive?!?) That’s OK. I’m positive most of the time, I try to see the good in the band, and there’s plenty of that to see. It’s just very hard not to notice the missteps at times, and ANY fan should be able to recognize that. I still love them all and really, the bottom line here is that if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t mention any of it. For that matter, I wouldn’t blog.