Category Archives: Uncategorized

Headline In Tomorrow’s Papers

Happy Monday. Today marks the beginning of Spring Break for us. The youngest and I have this week off of school, and I can spend time thinking and doing something other than teaching. This has been a rough year. A move combined with changing schools twice, I can’t say that fifth grade has been great, but my girl is trying her best, and I think she likes her new school for the most part. Me? I welcome this week with open arms, and a to-do list that is longer than I’ve got hours to complete. I’m sure I’ll blink and it will already be Friday, but the good news is that we’ll only have about five weeks left in the school year. We can make it…probably.

Midnight, I think I’m gonna make it

After working on our various home projects during the day, we sat down to watch SNL on Saturday night. BTS – a K-pop group, was the musical guest.I have to admit that I was curious about them. My husband ran into them waiting for a flight in a Korean airport once – he’d never heard of them, but there were a crowd of girls waiting for other flights that had come running when they saw them. They draw a huge crowd, and the girls who camp out to see their shows or follow them look strangely familiar.

K-pop isn’t something I am deeply involved in. I know what it is (obviously), but I don’t follow much of it. My oldest went to a school of the arts during high school, and one of her closest friends was a girl who came to America to attend the school. Apparently in Vietnam, she was a huge star and part of the K-Pop community. That’s when I first took notice of its apparent popularity.

There’s a lot that can be said about K-pop. People call it “manufactured” and “throw away”. Others complain that it’s not real music. I can understand the criticism. After all, this is a boy band, and no – they don’t seem to perform by playing instruments. They’re good looking, the music is catchy, they do highly choreographed dance moves to every song they perform, they sell out places like the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA and Soldier Field in Chicago, and – the real kicker here – girls love them.

Show me your secret

Put together by a management group (Big Hit Entertainment) in 2013, the band has already had certified platinum albums in the US. The last time they played shows here, I can remember my local Los Angeles news covering the fans camping out for days in order to secure spots. Like it or not, this manufactured boy band has taken on the world by storm. In four years, they’ve managed to do more than some bands do in a lifetime. However, this is a boy band that actually co-writes and produces their own music. It is a lot less, “stand there, wear that, and sing these words” than some might want to believe.

I wasn’t disgusted when I saw them on Saturday. While I didn’t know their songs at all, I was still impressed. They can dance and they’ve definitely got stage presence. They’re not very much different than N*Sync, New Kids on the Block, the Backstreet Boys, or any other boy band, except that from what I saw on Saturday – it doesn’t seem to matter to fans if they’re singing in English, Korean or anything else. Sure, we can complain that they’re not a real band if they don’t play their own instruments. We can cry foul because they didn’t come about in the same organic sort of way as other bands we might know – but does any of that really matter?

I’m not the only one out there taking notice. Just this morning, Notorious Nik and our friend (and fellow Duranie) Lori Majewski talked about BTS and Kpop’s world takeover. It is perfectly OK not to like their music, and to say they’re not your thing – but give them due credit. Like it or not, they’re selling faster and far more than your favorite band.

Try to remember again and again

It wasn’t so long ago that our band was in the crosshairs of those who came before them, complaining of their lack of substance. How many times did we see Duran Duran reduced to sheer “Bubble gum pop”? How many times did I read of a critic casting Duran Duran aside for one reason or another? Did it really have anything to do with the music, or was it because the girls – girls like me – loved them? If a little tween-aged girl loved Duran Duran, surely that must mean the real men couldn’t. Damn if history doesn’t just continue repeating itself, over and over.

As Lori is fond of quoting, “Men don’t get it, but the little girls understand.” And we did. I’m just wondering if we still do.

I look at those fans – the ones who lined up, days ahead of time – camping out in hopes of being in the audience Saturday night. I think about friends of my daughter, who gleefully put posters of BTS and other K-pop and J-pop groups up on their wall. They’re not so different from me at their age. Hell, I didn’t even camp out for Duran Duran tickets back then. As much as I’d like to point fingers, and suggest that Duran Duran had far more musical merit, and thus was much more worthy of my attention, I can’t. I won’t. When it comes down to it, I don’t think this is about the music at all.

What it is that I recognize

Sure, it is easy to just sit back and say “Nope. It isn’t about any of that. They suck. They look glossy, fake, manufactured and synced to a backing track.” I get it. I felt that way about N*Sync, New Kids on the Block and countless other boy bands. I’d point at Duran Duran, with their obvious musical talent, and righteously mention that they didn’t need to rely on choreography to perform. They could actually play. Yet, ask any critic during the mid-80s and they’d tick off any number of crazy reasons why Duran Duran wouldn’t amount to a single thing. The thing is, to write BTS off is doing virtually the same thing that others did to us in 1980-something (and still do).

Sure, it is your right and mine to say it like we mean it – I’m just suggesting we take a second before taking to social media in an attempt to rid the world of their manufactured uncreative souls. (that’s tongue-in-cheek, people!)

Don’t be angry that a group of seven young men are taking the world by storm. I don’t think any of us need to mourn the idea of real creativity or music. No, BTS doesn’t have to be in our wheel house, and I’ll just forget that I’m not really in their target demographic, anyway. I’ll leave off by asking a simple question – food for thought, if you will. When was the last time Duran Duran was invited on SNL? Now, if you want to be mad about something – be mad at that. Be furious.

Is it really just about the music? I doubt it.

-R

Record Store Day 2019

How was everyone’s Record Store Day? Did you buy anything? Maybe a certain Duran Duran vinyl? My RSD was…well..interesting and different than previous ones.

The past few years I got up pretty early to get to the largest record store I know in Madison. This, of course, meant waiting in line in what is never a warm spring morning. Then, I would eventually get in to successfully buy whatever Duran Duran album was for sale. This year held some similarities and some major differences but it definitely didn’t go as planned.

My plan was to follow previous years with a couple of what I thought were slight adjustments. Instead of getting up super earlier, I figured it was safe to let myself sleep a little but that I would have no problem buying one for myself and even one for Rhonda. I needed to sleep because I had little sleep over the course of the week as grades were due and I had to drive to pick up my sister and niece from Chicago. So the plan was simple: sleep in a little, pick up the family and head over. We arrived at about noon with my eldest niece joining me as the rest went to a few stores. As normal, there was a line to get in. The wait allowed my niece and I to catch up as I enjoyed the free beer.

After waiting a half hour or so, we got in from the cold and immediately sought out the Record Store Day albums only to come up short. No Duran Duran. I checked a few other sections to make sure that I didn’t miss it. What the heck, I wondered. There were at least five copies of Devo but no Duran Duran. That didn’t make sense so I looked again and again. Finally, I had to give in as the rest of the family was waiting for us. That said, I still felt confident that I would be able to find it at one of the other stores participating in Madison.

The visit to the next store had to wait, though, as we had plans to go take a look at my mom’s latest art show. I tried to be patient as I fretted internally. Would I be able to find it? Why didn’t I ask at the store? Why didn’t I call first? Finally, we headed over to store number two. I silenced my inner voice of negativity and reminded myself that the hunt could be part of the fun. Again, we entered the store and made a beeline to the RSD section. This store had dividers for each artists. Awesome. This would make it easier to….not find it. No Duran Duran divider. No As the Lights Go Down. This time, I asked and received an uncertain response, “Uh…I think we had it.” Really?? Why no divider then? I start swearing to myself and vow to call the third store, which I do after complaining a bunch only to find out that the third store didn’t have it. Well…shit.

So, when I returned home from more errands with the family, I did what I had to do and ordered a copy from eBay, probably paying twice as much as I should. Yet, I would not be defeated. As I tried to move on from my frustration, I had to acknowledge that I made two wrong moves. First, I assumed that the stores would carry it. I’m not certain that they ever did. If I had called ahead of time, I would have known. Second, if the stores had copies, then I should have planned to get there super early. I could have gone back to sleep after. Lesson learned.

While I wished that I could listen to As the Lights Go Down today, I must be happy knowing that my copy will eventually come to me. The anticipation will just increase my enjoyment, right? On that note, how did everyone else do? If you were not successful, did you opt to get it elsewhere like me? If you were, how does it sound?

-A

Atlanta Roaring, anyone?

It’s the sound of celebration

I have friends who are meeting in Atlanta this weekend – Saturday to be exact. They’re going there for #Atlanta Roaring3 (three, already??) – which is really a fan-organized party for Duranies to gather, hang out, dance, etc. I wish I were able to go. Actually, I wish I had the funds so that I could fly whenever and however I wanted. Alas, someone has to be at home to manage the zoo. Or farm. (I couldn’t decide which term sounded better!)

Although Amanda and I didn’t really plan much for Vegas in terms of fan meet-ups, we normally love hosting and attending them. The band can’t always provide the purpose for the gathering – and we appreciate fans who decide on their own to set something up. It is these sorts of gatherings where connections are made and friendships are fostered. I love the idea because typically, these gatherings get past the general “noise” of social media and fandom. They’re a way to see one another for who we really are, versus the online persona.

There are a lot of fans out there that want to go to gatherings like #AtlantaRoaring3, but can’t afford the flight or can’t really get away. It doesn’t have to take major planning over the course of six months or a year to put something together. Amanda has had more than one Duranie party over the years. She’s even designed party games, like Taboo, with a Duran theme! I know other fans who have done sleepovers, or have gone to nearby clubs in their city for 80s-night. Need somewhere to publicize or put out the word? I happen to know a blog that would be willing to help….

Can you hear the planet roaring

A few of us were talking last night on Twitter about a club in San Francisco named The Cat Club. It was the club Amanda and I went to (along with our roomies) after the San Francisco and Oakland shows on the Paper Gods tour in 2017. Similar to the club that I spent many Friday and Saturday nights at in my early 20s, it was dark, edgy, and felt like home. We talked about setting something up after school gets out in June – so look for news about that as we get closer to June! It would be a lot of fun to meet up for a fun night out or even a weekend.

As much as I know everyone wants more – whether it is more music, more live shows, more Duran Duran – we are genuinely lucky. We’ve found a real family here in this community.

We are the song

After the first show at The Chelsea in The Cosmopolitan in Vegas, I was walking down the hall (well, it was towards a bar – but I never quite made it to the one I wanted!) and ran into Dom. He looked like he was headed somewhere, and so was I, so I didn’t want to hold him up but we stood and talked for a minute until other fans started noticing he was there and wandered over. As people tentatively walked up to see him, they exchanged hugs and hellos with me, too. This surprised Dom, and he commented to me that we really do have quite a community.

We really do! I recognize people from all over the world at this point. It’s mind-boggling, and very cool, all at once. It never gets old to see people that I’d only previously “met” online, and I hope I never forget how fortunate I am to have landed here as a Duran Duran fan. The music is wonderful, but my friends? You are all what makes being a fan so much fun. You’re the reason I love going to see shows. I mean, the gig only lasts a couple of hours – there are memories there, but it’s the before and after show time that I think of most often.

We carry on

Not so long ago, I wouldn’t admit to myself that I sometimes get sad or lonely. I’d play it off as though I didn’t really need people. Well, I live in the country now. Atascadero isn’t a super tiny town – there are about 30,000 people who live here, but the city limits are pretty big. It isn’t like my old neighborhood at all. I miss my two older kids – they can’t come home whenever they feel like, and that’s been a tough adjustment for me. Gavin hasn’t been home and I haven’t seen him since the beginning of January, for instance; and it’s been a month since Heather has been home. It was our choice to move, but I do miss my kids.

It turns out that even I can get lonely. I miss my friends, and yeah – I definitely miss that band. That’s why meet ups and parties like #AtlantaRoaring3 are so important. It’s like group therapy, but more fun!

If you’re in Atlanta this weekend or can get there – you should go to Atlanta Roaring (details below!). You never know what might happen. Lifelong friendships could come out of it, and maybe even a guest blog could be written! If anyone finds themselves there and the DJ happens to play “Anyone Out There”, “Sound of Thunder”, or even “Late Bar”…think of me! Have fun!!

My friend David (podcaster for #TheDSide, GuyFansofDuran/ @boysmakenoise on Twitter) is the host for #AtlantaRoaring3 – April 13, 2019. Contact him for more info or questions! The days events include: celebrating Record Store Day at @CriminalRecords, Duranie meet up at Atlanta’s @Dogwoodfestival with a possible visit to #TheDSide, and then partying until the wee hours at @AmsterdamAtl

Have a great weekend, everyone! Looking forward to seeing plenty of stories, tweets and pictures from #AtlantaRoaring3!

-R


Hold On To The Memory

Welcome to Wednesday! I don’t have a lot to chat about today, so I’m just going to cover a couple of quickies before closing shop to do some chores around the house. Not fun, but necessary!

Do You Believe In Shame is 30 years old! Stop the madness!!!

On this day in 1989, Do You Believe in Shame was released. This is a song that I never really thought I’d hear live, but it was played in 2009 at The Pearl (Palms Hotel) in Las Vegas. As Simon introduced the song, I remember he mentioned the passing of Michael Jackson.

The song was the third and final single off of Big Thing. The meanings behind the song are fairly universal – meaning just about anyone can understand the place it comes from. At the time Simon wrote it, however, he attributed the meaning to the loss of three friends: Alex Sadkin, Andy Warhol and David Miles. 30 years, really???

As the Lights Go Down on vinyl – get yours this Saturday!

Next up, Record Store Day! Don’t forget that is this Saturday! We Duran fans have a special “hunt” going on – and that is for the vinyl edition of As the Lights Go Down. I don’t think it will be difficult to spot with its pink and blue cover! (although there are only 5500 copies available. Worldwide!) This is a 3-sided pink and blue LP, which admittedly – I’m a sucker for the colored vinyl – the 4th side is etched. The recording is from way back on the Sing Blue Silver tour in 1984. Happy hunting!!

That’s it from me today!

-R

Repost: Paper Gods, The Book

Today, I’m taking a self-imposed break. I saw that DDHQ had asked fans for their favorite tour book, and remembered how much I loved the one for Paper Gods. As you can see below, it is far more than just your average picture book commemorating a tour!

Have a wonderful Monday and I’ll be back tomorrow!

-R

**************************************************************************

I needed a diversion from reality last night.

So, I cracked opened the Paper Gods book that my ever-fearless partner-in-crime-and-everything-Duran-Duran sent me for Christmas!

cover

When I opened this particular present, I was delighted because I’d heard it was well-worth the £20, and I hadn’t ordered it myself because I just wasn’t sure I needed it. I own a few of their tour books from the past, and while they’ve always been a sort of “Oh, that’s really nice to have”, I wasn’t positive about this one. All I could think of was that it was 120-pages of photos, and did I really need a book of photos in my collection? I wasn’t sure. I wanted to see more of it in person before making a decision and I didn’t know when or how that might happen. Sometimes, a book like this needs a little previewing, you know? (It’s too bad DDHQ doesn’t know a fan website that could do that kind of thing for them every once in a while…..) So when I opened the gift and marveled at how big the book really is…and then began thumbing through it, I realized just how much I needed a book like this in my collection!

And…it’s not really so much of a tour book, although there are certainly a plethora of pictures in there (even some of Dom, Anna, Jessie & Simon W!). I would describe this book as being sort of the Encyclopedia-of-Anything-You-Wanted-to-Know-About-Paper-Gods-But-Figured-You’d-Never-Be-Able-to-Ask.

First off, the book is big. It’s not your basic 30-page tour book that’s mostly pictures (although yes, there are plenty and I mean that).  At 120 large format pages (13.25″H x 9.5″W), it’s a bit of a monster…and I mean that in a fantastic way!

bookwidth

There’s actual writing in this one, and not just a welcome note from the band or anything like that. There are interviews, thoughts, feelings…lists of words or phrases I can’t quite figure out yet (but trust me I am enjoying the process of trying!), and I’m not even halfway through it yet! Each of the band members gives a full-length interview about the book (and believe me, these are not short answers to questions), and they also interviewed Nile, Ben Hudson and Josh Blair. They even talked creative with Nick and Alex Israel, the artist who did the front cover of the album!!  I AM IN HEAVEN AND I’M NOT COMING BACK!!

I love that they took the process of recording this album and thought to have a book made for people like me.  People who basically dreamt of being a fly on the wall during the entire painstaking process: everything from those first jamming sessions at Dom’s studio down to seeing their reactions to the art for the cover.  The book is really something very special, indeed.

If the interviews and writing doesn’t grab you, the photos certainly will. This book is art…and if you needed to have large format photos of each of the band members, here they are for you to gander at will. I really love how each of the band members has a black and white full-page headshot, along with what I can only describe is a sort of silver “giclée” shadowing overlay printed on a heavier, plastic-like sheet. Way cool. And if you like stickers – they’re included too!

stickers

As I said, I haven’t even read through it all yet. I had to stop myself at 11:15 last night because I needed to get some sleep, and even after I put it down I kept thinking about what I’d read. In many ways that Amanda and I will get into later as we dissect this book from cover to cover on the blog (oh yes – it’s happening), I think the book makes me see the album with a completely different set of eyes, and I’m curious if my ears will pick up anything different too.

My only problem with this book is simply that they really should have marketed it differently. It’s such a great piece of Duran-memorabilia, you’d think they would have gone to more trouble to alert the fan base to it, you know? Seems like they could have used a resource…such as this very website, thankyouverymuch…to get some enthusiastic words out to the fan base and beyond. Amanda and I have a certain knack for grabbing the attention of the fan base when it comes to things like this, and let’s face it..the book is also a freaking steal at £20. (That is $28.91 USD as of this morning)

Let’s just talk about that price for a second before I settle back into my chair and read a bit more: for less than $30.00 US, you can have a large format, coffee table-sized book on Duran Duran (It is paperback). Everything from what some  might describe as “lickable” photos (I certainly wouldn’t say that..,coughs…but hey… I may have heard the term used before somewhere…) to in-depth discussions of the music and process. For the more abstract-minded amongst us, there are poems and lyrics and lists to read and ponder, as well as the aforementioned photos, both posed and from live shows (from the last year). I can’t really get over the value on this one – it’s the best bang for your buck I’ve seen in quite a while.

Like nearly everyone reading, I own a lot of Duran Duran books. I’ll go one further and say I own a lot of books period, but particularly within the realm of fandom and music history of this particular band  – I own a lot. This is a book that any fan of Duran Duran should have in their collection, and I’m thrilled (and shocked!) that they’re not charging the $50 or $60 that the book is really worth, even as a paperback.

Run out and grab a copy while you can! As I said, in coming weeks Amanda and I plan to do several blogs about the interviews and other writing within the book, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who is running off to order their own copy right now…so go get it!

Meanwhile, I’m going to settle back in my chair and read Nile’s thoughts on Paper Gods…

-R

Happy 24th Anniversary Thank You!

Happy Thursday, everyone! Today is a special day as Thank You celebrates its 24th birthday!

In honor of this occasion, I decided to do something I haven’t done in a long time – I played the entire Thank You album. I know, I know – what a shock, right? The things I do for this blog. It’s rough.

Thank You is still playing in the background as I write. I’m on “Thank You” right now, and I have to say, I don’t really understand the fuss. No, the songs aren’t original (although “Drive By” counts as original in my book), and maybe they’re not songs you and I would immediately have suggested they cover, but overall? The album isn’t bad. Musically, I think it’s actually very well done.

Track by Track

White Lines

A live crowd favorite, the album version is slightly less packed with energy, but still has plenty of punch. I still believe they do it best in front of a live audience, and I can appreciate that even Duran Duran can put a cover in their set list and have fans believe it is their own.

I Wanna Take You Higher

I love the drums on this one. I like that the band took liberties and pushed the tempo, amplifying the song up to a bit more of a rock sound. Say what you will, they made the song work for them – which is exactly what a cover should do. Take the song, spin it on it’s head and see how it shakes out. That’s what Duran Duran did here and it worked. I’d be amiss if I didn’t give a shout to Warren’s guitar solo. It is indeed excellent.

Perfect Day

I really don’t know what I can say about this particular song that hasn’t already been said. Like the title – I think it’s just about perfect. Lou Reed had a brilliant song here, and Duran Duran took it up a notch. Oh, and Roger came back to play drums on it. Can’t really complain about that!

Watching the Detectives

What I love most about this song is not the melody, the drums, or even the vocals… I love the tiny little things found underneath. Those little synthesizer chords, the seemingly infinitesimal arpeggio notes, the harmonica, and the small effects here and there are what make this song interesting for me. Oh, and another Roger Taylor appearance. I like it better than the Elvis Costello original.

Lay Lady Lay

I haven’t ever heard anyone comment about the guitar on this – but hello Come Undone part 2. I love the intro with Warren’s guitar, and you can quote me on that. The song is romantic, sultry, and everything I could have wanted. I appreciate the song choice because one might not have ever guessed that Duran Duran could pull off Bob Dylan, and they do it here beautifully.

911 Is a Joke

I know how the community feels about “911 Is a Joke”. Simon is not quite the rapper type, in my opinion. I mean, it was a valiant effort I am sure…but…it does miss the mark. Overall, by principle alone, I don’t love the song. To be fair, I didn’t love the original either. However, and this is a big however, what about the irony??

Seriously people, how ironic is it that Duran Duran, a group of reasonably wealthy (if not filthy rich) WHITE guys decided to cover a song like “911 Is a Joke”?? The band doesn’t take themselves nearly as seriously as we fans take them, that’s all I’m saying. In fact, when the band made their choices of which songs to cover, it was none other than John Taylor who chose this one. “in addition to being a great song, it made him laugh to think of how many people it would piss-off.” (quote from an official “Thank You” press release) If you can’t see the humor and irony – well, are you sure you’ve been following the same band I am?

I think we can sometimes get up in our own heads to the point where we take the band far more seriously than they intend. It is worth taking the time to get past the surface – don’t always assume everything should be taken at face value. This is a band that treasures the ironic. They love the dry humor. As do I.

Bottom line: 911 isn’t likely to make anybody into a Duran Duran fan, but I really don’t think it was ever meant to be taken so darn seriously, anyway. I know so many people who got so stuck on that one song that they gave up on the rest of the album, and news flash – “911 is a Joke” is only ONE song. There’s eleven other songs!

Success

I think that in order to fully appreciate “Success”, one has to know and understand Gary Glitter, and not necessarily the original version by Iggy Pop. A brash, flamboyant UK performer, Gary Glitter had a stunning career. 20 million records sold, 168 weeks spent on the UK music charts, 21 hit singles…. and Duran Duran chose to cover a song that he in turn covered. There’s irony there if you look deep enough., although I’m not sure it was intended. The song is as brash as Gary Glitter’s career…never mind his eventual and spectacular fall from grace and into a prison cell (well AFTER the release of Thank You).

Crystal Ship

If they really needed to cover The Doors, I’m glad they chose this one. While I’m no big fan of either The Doors or this song, I think that Simon did slip rather well into the existential role of Jim Morrison here. Again, the best parts of this song aren’t the vocals or the melody – they’re the tiny little effects underneath that we rarely take full notice. Nick and Warren did incredibly well adding those nuances.

Ball of Confusion

My, my…how far we’ve come from the days of The Temptations. Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong are the original composers of the song, and judging from the lyrics along with the video I found of it on YouTube…it has evolved substantially over the years and has been covered by a brilliant number of artists along the way. I myself am a Love and Rockets fan, and this song is one of my favorites by that group. I have to admit that despite my bias, I really like this version. It has all the rock edge when needed, but I can also hear the appropriate throwback to the roots of The Temptations with the background vocals.

Thank You

Must admit, I don’t think I ever saw Duran Duran covering Led Zeppelin coming, which perhaps is the most jarring thing about this album – the song choices themselves. This cover is beautiful in it’s own right, and while it might not be my favorite, I give silent thanks that it isn’t “Stairway to Heaven”.

Drive By

I really don’t understand the outrage over this one. How dare they rethink one of their own songs? Are you kidding? I applaud it. In my head, it was a genius and ballsy move to take one of their best loved but not necessarily most well-known songs from an era that had long since past and evolve it. Maybe that’s the real problem here though. They sacrificed the sacred cow. The fab five. You tell me.

My inspiration

After listening a few times, I have to think that song choice had everything to do with the lack of love for this album. Fans didn’t know the music well enough, and critics knew it all too well.

Duran Duran didn’t choose to cover Roxy Music, or even Chic. They went with far less obvious influences. In some ways, I think that may have helped them far more than hurting them. Fans didn’t have quite the same sort of affinity for Elvis Costello, for example, than they might have for Nile Rodgers. But, by the same token – they didn’t have a connection with the music either. I struggle with that because you would think that a fan, like myself for instance, would have taken time to listen and bond, just as I might have done with any of their original music. However, I didn’t.

It will be done

Then there are the critics. Self-professed “experts”, they know and often tout their own musical intelligence. I kind of feel as though many of them are too far up their own noses to have been willing to give the album a fair shot. This was Duran Duran, the band causing much ire in the 80s, daring to cover not only The Doors and Led Zeppelin but even Public Enemy? Oh hell no. I’m not saying that some of the reviews and comments weren’t valid, only that it wouldn’t have mattered what they heard – all they needed to know was that it was Duran Duran.

So I ask you fans – give the album a good listen in 2019. It might surprise you, at least a little. It did me.

-R

You Catch That Mirror Way Out West

Her name is Rio

True confession time: I love “Rio”.

Hold on, before you click the red “x” in the corner – I know this isn’t breaking news. No, it’s not earth shattering, or really even all that important in the grand scheme of things. Even so, it’s the one song that I don’t ever seem to get tired of.

“Hungry Like the Wolf”? 200% over it. I’m convinced it will outlive the human race. “A View to a Kill”? That’s my cue for Kodak moments – as in, I take pictures. “Come Undone”? It’s fine, but I wouldn’t miss seeing them play it live.

“Rio”? LOVE IT. Can’t imagine a show without it!

I’ve seen you on the beach, and I’ve seen you on TV

I don’t know exactly what it is about that one song. For me, it is pretty much the epitome of Duran Duran. Perhaps it is because Rio was the first Duran Duran album I purchased. Maybe it is because it is likely one of the first videos I ever saw. I have vivid recollection of my friend Marsha calling me on the phone after she saw it for the first time. (Of course she was first. She had her finger on the pulse of anything Duran-related the entire time we were in middle school!) I can remember her cracking up at the idea of Simon falling off of the dock. I remember her description of Nick. “Rhonda, if I didn’t know better, I’d think he was seasick.” Little did she know then that yes, he was! I also recall her explanation of the neon-colored drinks in the champagne glasses – for whatever reason, those always interested me. I couldn’t wait to see the video for myself. It did not disappoint. To this day, when I think of the song and/or video, I think of those drinks!

Growing up in California, we had plenty of beaches around us, but none looked this tropical (and the water definitely was not that clear!). I was captivated by the entire vibe of the song and video. It seemed about as far away from my life as I could get. At the point Rio was released, I don’t think I’d even been on an airplane before. I’d never traveled outside of the state! Antigua?? I thought to myself….what is that?? The imagery stuck with me though. I always felt that it was summer, encapsulated in song.

In the years since, I’ve caught on to the idea that the video isn’t all about glitz and glamour. In fact, the guys look like they trip all over themselves trying to be cool rock stars and get the girl, when in fact they mostly just look like nerds. I never quite picked up on that until adulthood though, and I tend to believe it is because I was so awkward and nerdy myself, that it all seemed normal! <big cheesy grin right here>

Like a birthday or a pretty view

When I was finally able to go to Antigua myself as an adult with three kids and a husband, I insisted that we go to Miller’s Beach – which is where some of the scenes were filmed. Absolutely stunning. You’d swear it wasn’t real, the water is so clear and perfect – and the weather is gorgeous. Naturally, my kids barely remember being there. Our youngest was only about three when we went – the only thing she remembers was having a fresh coconut to drink and deciding it was “awful”. For me though, it was extra special knowing what had been filmed there!

Our Day in Duran History spreadsheet tells me that on this day in 1983, the single “Rio” peaked at #14. I have several thoughts about that which include the following:

  • Only 14?? Really??
  • 1983? That was 36 years ago!!!
  • Where did those 36 years vanish off to?
  • How did Simon get so tan??
  • Why haven’t I ever tried playing the solo from Rio before? (Seriously! Here I am – clarinet player/sax player – and I’ve never ONCE tried it. What?!?)
  • What was in those glasses that Simon drank underwater anyway? Don’t just say food coloring. That’s boring.

She dances on the sand

I know that everyone has “that” song or “those songs” on the set list that they can’t imagine ever being removed. That’s the problem, because I think between all of us – there’s literally no chance of their set list ever changing if they were to take advice from fans. That said, Rio is mine. I can’t imagine not hearing it in a set. Many fans would probably love to see them can it for a while, but I would be sad. I wouldn’t vow to come after them with torches blazing, but I really can’t imagine it not being in their set at all. To me, it is a closer like no other. It ends the party with…what else but a party!

Since I’ve gushed about “Rio” so much, I’m going to watch the video again. It is warming up here in Atascadero. I’ve moved the chickens into their coop (Finally. OMG they are enormous and WAY past the time for being moved out of the house!!), and I heard a crazy rumor that our temperatures are supposed to start soaring next week. It’s time for a brief, visual vacation! Enjoy

– R

The Union of the Snake

Telegram force and ready

When I don’t have real news to report, admittedly I fall back to historical dates. They tend to either jar my memory, or get my creative juices flowing. Or, it remains as dry as the Sahara, and I struggle a lot to get something written. You just never know!

Today though, there’s a lot to get my brain going. I really don’t know what it is about March 27th, but this seems to be a day for label deals. Perhaps that is because many of their albums (or so it seems) have been released during autumn, so give or take six months prior brings us to March? I really don’t know. I’m not an expert, but I do know that in 2009, Simon blogged on duranduran.com that the band had left Sony Records.

There’s a fine line drawing my senses together

Much has been written about that time. The band had recorded and self-produced Reportage. Sony wasn’t sold on it, and had given the band a list of names to choose from to produce their album. We all know that during that time, Andy had also left the band for the second time, and of course – Timbaland entered the picture for Red Carpet Massacre. I still believe to this day that Sony felt that anything Timbaland touched would turn to gold (or platinum), and when that didn’t happen – they were convinced it was the band that was the problem.

I still smile nearly every year when I think back on it. It was probably the best move imaginable for the band – regardless of whether the band left Sony or if Sony left them. I cheered when I read the news that day, and when I posted the update on a message board (DDF), a mysterious visitor commented that they could not be happier. This was of course, AFTER handing me my backside on a platter for nearly crucifying the album. I still chuckle about that. I can honestly say it was the only time I’ve ever really laughed at myself after being publicly flogged. Perhaps I deserved it…but maybe the person doing the flogging needed to understand that it’s OK to still be proud of something that the general public didn’t fully embrace at the time, too.

Give me strength at least give me a light

On the same date in 2015, Duran Duran announced that Warner Bros. Records (Part of Warner Music Group) signed a global “recording contract” for Paper Gods. Many fans argue whether or not the band is still signed by Warner Bros. I cannot confirm one way or another, as I do not know. However, Duran Duran is not included on their current artist roster. I just checked the website again today, but I don’t know how up to date that really is. Then again, they signed with Warner Bros. in 2015. Seems like they might update that roster every once in a while?

The truth is, they could have had any one of a number of different deals with Warner. Production deals are common, although unlikely since the album was already written and recorded when Warner Bros. signed them. A distribution deal is also possible, even globally. That means the label would have been responsible for getting the product out into the world, and maybe even marketing. Standard deals are another option, which are what most people think of when they hear of a label “signing” a band. A deal like that usually includes development, recording, pressing, distribution and marketing. Lastly, there is the 360 deal, which is common these days. This means the label has their hands in everything from touring to brand development and everything in between, and the band would lose a lot of control and autonomy. Each type of deal has it’s benefits and detractions (like money, or lack thereof!).

Or, it could be some clever wording from DDHQ and PR people so that fans don’t really know what type of deal it is – because it’s really none of our business anyway.

There’s a chance you could be right

Many people have commented that since John said Warner Bros. suggested the record store day offering of As The Lights Go Down on vinyl, that must mean they’re still with Warner Bros. Again, I’m not an expert, but that’s possible. Another possibility is that the band is still on good terms with Warner Bros, and asked them to press and distribute the album. PR “spin” would be that Warner came to the band with this bright idea because it makes it sound as though the band is in demand. Which isn’t wrong. We fans are kind of demanding, aren’t we? That sort of spin happens frequently! According to John, the entire catalog is under “one umbrella” these days, so I can see this scenario as a possibility.

There’s no reason that I can find at this point, to assume anything more or less drastic. Paper Gods did well for Duran Duran – it was the first top ten for them since 1993, and it would not be a surprise if the band stayed with Warner Bros. for future albums. It also wouldn’t shock me if they didn’t – but by all means feel free to enlighten me otherwise!

In any case, March 27th seems to be the day of deals for this band. Makes you kind of wonder what the next year or two could bring!

-R


We Need You

I have been thinking a lot about the word, “need,” as opposed to want, wish, hope for, etc. I think about it in terms of my job. What do I really need as a teacher? What do I really need as a fan? What do I really need as a person? This sounds like an easy question but I have decided that it is far more complex than what it initially appears like.

Let’s take fandom. After all, everyone reading this can probably relate to that the most. As news snippets have come out about the writing and recording of the next Duran album, I find myself thinking back to the time in between All You Need Is Now and Paper Gods. I had such an amazing time with AYNIN that I felt a weird sense of desperation. I wrote about my anxiousness about what I thought the band should do in between albums. I probably wrote about playing more shows or releasing something, anything in between. Did I need the band to do that? I probably thought I did then but I’m not sure if that is really what I needed.

Did I suffer immensely between there was a big chunk of time in between All You Need Is Now and Paper Gods? Suffer? I don’t think so. Yes, I would have wanted something from the band to keep all of the awesome feelings continuing but I didn’t *need* it. My fandom remained as did many others’. I might have written about how I thought the band needed to do something to keep their fans loyal to the band, to keep fandom alive. Did some fans leave? Probably. Would some of them have left anyway? Maybe.

Interestingly enough, as I thought about how I thought I needed the band to do something to keep interest, I never once really considered what the band actually needed. Maybe they needed a break or time away from each other. Perhaps, they needed to spend time with friends and/or family. In thinking about this, I realize that my “needs” might be different from their “needs.” Could this happen in real life, too?

As I think about my job, I know that there are some aspects that I really do need to have in place. How do I know? Simple. I know that if I did not have these elements that I would be looking somewhere else. I’ll give an example. I need to be part of a team that I love. I have taught in buildings without being a part of a team. It was lonely and emotionally tough. Now, of course, some people out there might argue that this is still a want rather than a need. I guess it depends on how it is defined. Would I die without it? No. That said, I would leave without my teams. I need it for job satisfaction and my happiness on the job.

What about my needs in my life? I have been thinking hard to determine what I really need. Much like my job, I know that there are some parts of my life that I really require. What I need, though, in my life or my job might be just like the situation with Duran. What I need might be the opposite of what they need. How do I navigate this difference in need? I’m not sure. This I know. I cannot be mad or upset if other people or Duran (as the case might be) have different needs than I do. No one should be blamed for that. At the same token, I think it is totally fine if there are different needs. It doesn’t mean that they are wrong or that I’m wrong. So, if there is something I really need with my fandom or my job or my personal life, it is okay to seek out what I need while I need to be understanding that others might feel differently. It is a weird balance that I am trying to achieve. I know this much. It means cutting Duran and others in my life some slack and asking for others to cut me some slack. Maybe this is my weird attempt at a kinder, gentler version of myself. Perhaps, it is just showing that I’m trying to learn and to be more understanding while asking for the same from others.

-A

Thank You, You’re Welcome (Part Two)

Having “covered” who would do some amazing Duran Duran songs in Part 1, I’m ready to take a deep breath and assess Thank You. Was it the worst album of all-time as some snarky critics have said? Of course not. Something called nu-metal locked down the top spots years ago. However, it was a misguided album born from good intentions. Let’s try to figure out what went wrong.  

David Bowie’s Pin Ups seems to be the logical impetus for this project given the song choices. Bowie’s decision to cover The Yardbirds, Pink Floyd, and The Who was unexpected and Bowie knew that. Coming off Aladdin Sane, Bowie was at the peak of his creative powers and Pin Ups remains one of the most challenging and rewarding covers albums of all-time. It isn’t a stretch to think a band which emerged from the New Romantic scene born, at least partially, from Bowie’s artistic vision would try to emulate the project. 

Duran Duran were riding high after “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone”, so they had some creative and commercial freedom when they undertook Thank You. History has shown that the band often does their least interesting work in such situations. From Seven & the Ragged Tiger (saved commercially by a remix of “The Reflex” that wasn’t on the album) to Paper Gods, the band’s follow-up to a truly special album has been uneven at best. Thank You falls into that category but imagine what could have been if they took a slightly different path. 

Thank You Redux

1. Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel – White Lines

Such a fun cover that it has to stay. The band’s roots in NYC club culture via Birmingham justify this crossover into hip-hop. They could have taken this somewhere special, though, if they had paid respect to Liquid Liquid’s “Cavern” at the same time since that is where Melle Mel “borrowed” the song from.

2. I Wanna Take You Higher David Bowie – Fashion

As much as “Ashes to Ashes” makes sense, “Fashion” would be a more fitting Duran Duran song. John Taylor’s bass guitar would suit this track and Warren’s guitar playing fits the solo like a glove. You HAVE to have at least one Bowie song on the album, right?

3. Lou Reed – Perfect Day

A surprisingly well conceived cover of Lou Reed that pays homage without trying to change who they are as a band. It has a beautiful polished sound and LeBon’s vocal works. There is a hint of despair in his voice and the production keeps every instrument in their lane. There is restraint in the playing that would have served the band on the rest of the album. 

4. Watching the Detectives Roxy Music – Both Ends Burning

Another field day for John Taylor on bass and an appropriate nod to one of the biggest influences on Duran Duran in Roxy Music. All these years later, Duran are inducting Roxy Music into the rock-n-roll hall of fame because the connection is so strong. If you listen to “Planet Earth”, you can hear some influence from this song on Siren. A lesser known Roxy song works well here because the most popular stuff would be difficult for Duran Duran to re-invent in a unique way.

5. Lay Lady Lay New York Dolls – Lonely Planet Boy

I never hated this cover but the guitar tone was “Come Undone” all over again. Dylan influenced everyone so there is no need to point it out. I’m leaving T. Rex out of the discussion since the band (i.e. Nick) would have never allowed them to cover it in the wake of The Power Station. This New York Dolls song is begging to be turned into a synth-pop dance song like Duran pulled off with Bowie’s “Boys Keep Swinging”. 

6. 911 Is A Joke Blondie – Fade Away and Radiate

Yeah, it is cool to namecheck Public Enemy to earn hipster points but no, just no. The band owes a huge debt to Blondie for bringing dance music into punk and for giving the band a support slot when Duran Duran were trying to crack America. This moody track from Parallel Lines has enough texture to satisfy Nick and Warren in equal measure. And why not bring in Clem Burke on drums for this cover? 

7. Iggy Pop – Success

It works. Only Duran Duran could turn an Iggy Pop song into a Gary Glitter stomp. Given the band’s commercial highs and lows, it could almost be the theme song for their career. Turn it up!

8. Crystal Ship The Normal – Warm Leatherette

The band already showed how good this sounded during a tour and this is the most seminal track in the history of synth-pop. The Doors cover sounded like a cloud of pot smoke which isn’t the Duran Duran way. Bonus connection: Grace Jones covered this once.

9. Ball of Confusion Japan – Gentlemen Take Polaroids

Let’s see. Nick Rhodes “borrowed” his look from Japan’s David Sylvan. The Japan albums were a direct precursor to Duran Duran’s sound with funky bass lines and sweeping synths.  And, best of all, this cover would be a cheeky nod to “Girls On Film” which, for all I know, was a concept lifted from this Japan song. Too close to home? Perhaps, but Duran Duran earned their success and a little nod to Japan is warranted.

10. Thank You Sister Sledge – Lost In Music

Don’t touch Zeppelin. Every instrument in Zeppelin comes from the opposite place of Duran Duran. There has to be a shout-out to Nile Rodgers somewhere on Thank You Redux and I think “Lost In Music” would keep the band in a safe place for a disco cover. This could be played loud with a hint of the “White Lines” sound they had at this time. Turn it into a real rocker without losing the dance vibe. It would be dangerously fun live. 

11. Drive By

It doesn’t fit into a covers album and I need to save space so this album will fit on vinyl. 

12. I Wanna Take You Higher Again ESG – My Love For You

Maybe a little obscure at the time but ESG’s influence has come full circle in music. They have been sampled (mostly illegally) by hundreds of rap producers and their funky dance sound influenced everything from post-punk to house music. Rather than Public Enemy, Duran Duran can point to ESG as an influential band on their modern mix of funk, rock, and dance music without sounding so desperate. Duran Duran could have a lot of fun with this track especially if Nick added some melodic synths over the melody