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Take EODM Save a Prayer to Number One!

In my 45 years on this planet, I’ve become quite the cynic.  Though, I don’t think I’ve ever been characterized as an optimist, to be fair,  It is also true to say I tend to think the worst of situations (and people) as a knee jerk reaction a lot of the time. Seems silly to apologize for something that is as integral to who I am as my love for music, so I’ll just admit it’s something I continue to work on (and I often fail).  However, even cynical-old-me takes notice of what happens every single time we find ourselves climbing out of the darkness of whatever tragedy has hit most recently.  I’m writing of those tiny glimmers of good or the shining moments that tend to remind us that not everyone is bad, the world isn’t a horrible place, and yes, there might just be some hope left.

This week, I’ve taken notice of quite a few of these posts on Twitter and Facebook:

Buy EODM's Save a Prayer and get it to number one on UK charts!
click the picture to buy Save a Prayer on iTunes

The funny thing is that I remember seeing a tweet from Dom a couple of weeks ago as Duran Duran was about to perform on TFI Friday Live. He tweeted they were about to perform with Eagles of Death Metal and Josh Homme (Who, at least at one point in time not that long ago, was one of Dom’s favorite guitarists). Dom went on to say that EODM had done a “great cover of Save a Prayer recently.” I kept that in the back of my mind as I went about my day and later watched the performance, which I enjoyed. I made a mental note to download their album (EODM) later when I had a chance. I didn’t think much more of it until last Friday of course, and we all know how irony works…

Once again, even through all of this pain and anxiety many of us are feeling, music works to bring people together. That feeling is pure, and it feels good to buy a song that somehow has just a little bit more meaning today than it might have two weeks ago. I also kind of feel as though the two bands: Eagles of Death Metal and Duran Duran, have a bit of a kinship now.

Quite noticeably, Duran Duran very quickly began promoting the efforts to get the Eagles of Death Metal cover of Save a Prayer to number one on their own social media. I know there were many that pointed out, almost immediately, that Duran Duran stood to gain the most out of this campaign. Yes, I’ll admit the thought crossed my mind as well. I pushed the thought aside and chose to wait and see how Duran Duran might respond. It is sometimes easy for the cynic in me to assume that it’s all about the money. On this one occasion, I wanted to believe there was more than just a few bucks (or quid as the case may be) on the line. I’m glad I waited.

Even as I’d cast aside the niggling little thoughts in my head about who really stood to profit from this venture – I felt that even IF Duran Duran profited in the end, there was still a lot to be said for this campaign to get Save a Prayer to number one. I don’t know how to express succinctly it in words except to write that at least for me, it was about more than just the song. More than just Duran Duran, and more than just the Eagles of Death Metal. I guess that for me, it was about people from all over taking what was truly a horrible nightmare that I can’t even begin to imagine, working through pain, sorrow, loss and who knows what else – and using that energy to do something good.

Can any of us really imagine what it must have been like to be the band (EODM) that night, up on the stage at the Bataclan? I’ve thought about that a lot. There they were, experiencing so much joy in one moment, and complete horror in the next. The band even lost their merchandise manager that night. No, it wasn’t one of the band members (thank goodness), but Nick Alexander was someone’s child, someone’s boyfriend, and the friend of many. I can’t even begin to know how those people must feel. So their fans took Save a Prayer to heart. It has become a sort of “you can wound us but you will not destroy us” type of anthem for them. They’ve vigorously campaigned on social media for people all over the world to buy it to show support.  I don’t know, maybe I’m really living in Fantasyland, but for me, the positive energy speaks volumes. This coming from me, the cynic, no less.

It wasn’t long of course before Simon himself addressed the niggling concerns of profits from downloads of Eagles of Death Metal’s Save a Prayer, saying that the band would donate their profits to charity. As of this writing, Duran Duran hasn’t determined what that charity will be, only that they are considering those that are “peaceful, effective, and unifying.” As a fan, I can’t really ask for more than that. Maybe others disagree, but I still believe the good that the cause itself is doing (unifying music lovers from both bands at this point and getting our minds on something good coming out of the sadness and shock from last week that seems to grow worse with each passing day) is far greater than whatever concerns might be had about who really stands to gain.

For the record, I did buy the cover, as well as the album. I don’t live in the UK, and obviously the sale doesn’t count for the UK charts as result, but that really isn’t the point for me. For one, I think the Eagles of Death Metal did a great job on the song. Secondly, Dom did a good job of pointing it out because I wouldn’t have known about the cover otherwise. (and quite frankly the man has great taste in music which is why I bought their album and might even go back for more.) Thirdly, I wanted to make some show of support, somehow.

I don’t know how to explain it, but I feel so far away from my friends right now. Here I am, in sunny Southern California with a population of “ridiculous”, and yet I feel really alone, particularly when it comes to my fandom. I guess buying the song, at least for me, made me feel just a tiny bit closer to people I love and care about. The rest of the states, the UK, South America – there are a lot of people I wish I could hug right now. Silly? Maybe. I guess there IS still a bit of sap and kindness left in my hard heart. Dammit!!  No matter, I want to encourage everyone to buy it. I believe the song is only $1.29 here in the states, it definitely doesn’t suck, and you know – let’s just make something good come out of this disgusting, appalling, tragedy. So it might not hit the charts here in the states, that’s really beyond the point for me personally. I don’t know about anyone else, but every single morning it feels like the news just gets worse and worse, and it’s time to let a little light come out of the darkness, you know?

I just wanted to say publicly how much I value Simon, and Duran Duran of course, choosing to address both the social media campaign and the concerns about who would really stand to gain. I love Duran Duran. I am incredibly proud to be a fan, and I didn’t really think I could possibly love them more than I did last week or last month. It turns out, I was wrong.

-R

Fear Today, Forgot Tomorrow

I think I’ve been watching the news non-stop since Friday afternoon.  I’m a news-junkie to begin with, but this weekend I haven’t been far from the TV or my phone, as I monitor news from Paris.

I am still wrestling with what happened on Friday and how. I remember half-listening to the TV as I worked on a display for a history festival at my kids’ school on Tuesday. (I am actually using my gemology degree to teach kids!) All of the sudden, the news broke in regarding Paris and I walked to the center of our living room so I could better hear what was going on. Of course, the very first thoughts that went through my mind were:

  1. Duran Duran just performed in Paris.
  2. I need to get in touch with Amanda.
  3. Please let it be that the band has already left Paris.

It seemed with every passing second, my stomach sunk lower and lower. Talk of a bomb at a football game, a hostage situation at a concert, gunfire at restaurants and bars. All in Paris, and nothing from DDHQ to indicate whether the band was still in the city. In between frantic texts with Amanda, I tried telling myself that of course the band was gone, that there’s no way they could be anywhere near all of this. I tweeted Dom and DDHQ – as if they were actually going to answer me. (because seriously, who in the hell cares? I’m just another fan…but I had to at least try.)

Of course, we all know how it ended. Dom did tweet, to which I responded telling him that I’d hug both him and Martha if I could. As relieved as I still am, I can’t get the idea of those people being gunned down in the Bataclan out of my head, no matter how hard I try. The attacks in Paris, Beirut, and the hundreds of places it has occurred over the years are all horrific and have left their mark on me as a human, but the Bataclan sticks out for me because going to a concert is something many if not all of us have done. Just another night out, just another gig. Except of course it wasn’t.

I highly doubt I’m alone in saying that I think a lot about those people in that theater. It’s not as though I was even there that night. I was thousands of miles away, here in my own home. I’ve never seen the Eagles of Death Metal live. I don’t really know their music that well, but I still identify with those concert goers. I love music. I live for live shows. I don’t care what kind of music it is – classical or rock, jazz or blues – something magical happens when you watch a musician play, and I live for that.

When I sit and think about how I feel when I’m at a show, the word that comes to mind is “free”. I’ve written that I feel most like myself at a Duran show. It’s the one place I can leave reality behind for two hours, and just enjoy myself. I treasure that time. I give up a lot in order to have that time. I’m sure the people in attendance on Friday night in Paris felt similar. I don’t think the choice to attack that theater was pure coincidence or random – the terrorists struck where people were just doing normal things. It’s hard to get that thought out of my head – that this could happen anytime, anywhere. No warning.

I live in earthquake country, and as a result, I’ve been through a few during my life. Everyone who is not from California likes to tell me that they could “never live here” because the quakes are random and come without warning. This is true. I used to be so afraid of them when I was little that I wouldn’t/couldn’t sleep at night, and my dad would patiently sit with me and give the same speech over and over, “We can’t live in fear of them, Rhonda. You have to just go about your day because you can’t fear for things you don’t know are ever going to come – you’ll waste your whole life worrying.” He was right, of course. I’m still a worrier, and things still do not roll off my back, but he was right and I still hear his voice in my head telling me that I’m going to worry my life away.

During the last few days, I’ve seen the reports of U2 having to cancel their show in Paris, and the Foo Fighters canceling their tour. I saw Madonna stop her entire concert one night to say a few words about the attacks in Paris and specifically about the Bataclan. It would be a mistake to assume that just because we may not be fans of Eagles of Death Metal or since we were not personally there that night that this attack didn’t affect each and every one of us. Of course it did. We’re music fans. We are people. John Taylor himself once said that concerts are like group therapy sessions (I am paraphrasing from a sound byte many years ago). Music heals, and yet on Friday night – that is exactly the opposite of what happened to those people in that venue. But we cannot let evil win. We cannot live in fear.

I’m still struggling. There’s a part of me that very much wishes I were going to the Duran Duran shows in the UK just so I could see the band in person, for myself, and feel good that they’re OK. Then there’s another part of me that wants to keep my children here at home with me and never leave the house again. Fear can be pretty powerful. Last night my husband and I made last-minute plans to go to Vegas next week for a few nights. It’s a long, crazy story (aren’t they all?), but we’re going. I’ve been wanting to see the Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil show for years now – but every time we’ve gone, I’ve either been denied due to timing or circumstance. So last night, I bought tickets. Just before I hit the “buy now” button, I paused. Did I want to risk being in a big crowd right now, and for that matter – is it safe going to Vegas at all? I heard my dad’s booming voice in my head telling me to knock it off, stop worrying, and go.

We can’t let them win.

-R

The smell of 2016 tour dates in the air…

My Duranie-senses are tingling. Yours??

As we grow ever closer to Thanksgiving break, and vacation time comes closer (for me)…I can feel something brewing. 2016 tour dates, maybe?!?

Granted, I’ve been wrong before, and let’s face it, the UK dates are right around the corner anyway….but I sense something delightfully wicked coming, and it’s not just my regular cooking-for-turkey-day anxiety (because that’s not even delightful!!). Even so, a Facebook page dedicated to Caribbean tourism posted that Duran Duran would be visiting the island of Puerto Rico in late spring for a concert on April 30th. The date has not yet been confirmed by DDHQ, and there really is no telling if this is pure rumor, speculation, hopes…dreams…or if someone should be getting their knuckles rapped for posting information too early. No matter, all it does is remind me that it will not be long before the world rejoices in harmony as 2016 tour dates are announced and pre-sales begin.

However, just in time to tide us over, Duran Duran announced yesterday that they are performing for Al Gore’s 24 Hours of Reality and Live Earth that is planned for November 13-14. Mr. Gore is broadcasting from the base of the Eiffel Tower, and Duran Duran will be performing from that Paris stage. There are a number of other performers signed on to act from locations throughout the globe. For more information, check out www.24HoursofReality.org, which is also the site that will be live-streaming the entire event.

In the meantime, I want to give another shout out to the boys of Rio – the Duran Duran Tribute band from Southern California. I was present for their most recent show at the Federal Bar in North Hollywood this past Saturday night. It had been quite some time since I’d last seen the band, and the first gig I’d seen with their new “Andy” (Daniel Coffeng). I don’t want to say that I was surprised by the tightness of the band, but they were great and continue to improve each time I see them. The new “Andy” (Rio apparently has carried on the tradition of that ever-revolving guitarist!!) did a fantastic job on guitar, and the band even broke out a few songs I’d yet to hear from them including My Own Way, White Lines, and my personal favorite – Late Bar – which made my entire night. I don’t mind mentioning that I’ve never been present to witness the REAL Duran Duran play that one live, so you can just imagine my excitement for that one!

I’ve been following Rio’s career now for a few years. Their demand as a working tribute band is growing quite rapidly. Instead of solely playing the occasional gig in So Cal as a hobby of sorts, they’re traveling for shows in Nevada, Arizona, and even Washington. I have said it before and will say it again – this band is very much worth the drive to go see, and I can promise you’ll find yourself up on the dance floor cheering and dancing away.  The band makes the show fun, yet they take their craft seriously.  Despite some incredibly difficult-to-recreate sounds and musical arrangements, Rio sounds very much like the Duran Duran we expect. Each time I see them they’ve improved and I see no end in sight for them.  There is much that sets them apart from other tribute acts out there, not least of which is the fact that the band are truly fans of Duran Duran. There is a lot of love and respect that flows through their performance. The band also loves their supporters, and they never hesitate to stop to chat or take a photo – no matter how exhausted they might be after their set. Take the opportunity to go see them!

Upcoming gigs for Rio:

Kool-A-Palooza (Salt River Fields), Scottsdale AZ  11/15

Totally 80s Bar and Grille, Fullerton CA 11/21

Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas NV 12/30

Fremont Street Experience Las Vegas NV 12/31

Point Casino, Kingston WA 1/30

 

That’s it from me for now – I’m back to waiting on pins and needles for 2016 tour dates to add to our calendar and dreaming of meet-ups to plan!

-R

The Best Duran Duran Shows!

The other day Rhonda and I looked back at a very important show for us, which was the Chicago show on October 26, 2006.  Why was this show so important?  For one thing, it was the first show after the band announced Andy’s departure.  It was also the show in which we welcomed Dom to the band.  He impressed us so much that night that we not only accepted him, but embraced him.  This is one of those shows that we will always remember, not only because of Dom, but because of the show itself.  We didn’t have the best seats but that didn’t matter to us that night.  We gave it our all that night and more.  We sang, we danced, we cheered.  We couldn’t get enough.  We gave so much, in fact, that someone turned around at the end of the show and told us that we were the most enthusiastic fans she had seen for a long, long time!  Rhonda and I, of course, took this as a big compliment!  Anyway, this year, like every year since 2006, we took note of this anniversary.  Then, we took it a step farther.  We had a little discussion about our favorite and least favorite shows.

While I could go through our favorites and least favorites, I much prefer to analyze why certain shows were our favorites and why some weren’t.  Many of you probably wouldn’t be surprised to know that Rhonda and I have similar ideas of favorite shows and least favorite shows.  For example, both of us put the Glasgow show of December 2011 on our favorites list and put the fan show of 2007 on the least favorite list.  So, what makes a show SO good that it might end up on the favorites list (By the way, in case you were wondering, picking out favorites is SUPER hard as there have been so many amazing shows over the years!!!).  Here are some elements I have found that help make a great show a favorite:

  • The band ‘s energy level and interactions.  It seems obvious that the band does a better job at some shows than others for various reasons.  Sometimes, it seems that the band isn’t JUST giving it their all but giving WAY MORE than their all.  They have a ton of energy, moving to and from each part of the stage.  During those shows, it is like they can’t stop moving, if they tried.  Beyond that energy, they also spend a lot of time interacting with each other and interacting with fans.  They are always so much better when they feed off each other and the audience.  I want to feel like there is a genuine connection between band members and one between the band and fans.  It creates greater emotion in me when I see any/all of them making eye contact, smiling, and more with others.
  • Performances must be based on what they are good at—playing music that they feel good about.  I remember seeing Flaming Lips in 2006 at the Voodoo Music Festival in New Orleans.  I cannot tell you one thing about the music but I can tell you that the lead singer crawled over the crowd in a giant hamster ball.  This kind of performance has no interest for me.  It feels like performance and entertainment rather than a live MUSIC show.  I want to see/hear Duran play live.  There is nothing purer than a live show.  The times when Duran has strayed to be more focused on dance moves, choreographed performances haven’t worked as well as when they just allow the music to speak for itself.  Yes, Duran uses visuals.  In general, those visuals enhance the song, the music.  If they become the ONLY focus, then, often, the show fails to live up to its potential.  Likewise, it seems very clear to me when is playing music that they really like and feel comfortable with!  For instance, it is without question that they are enjoying playing Pressure Off these days!
  • In thinking about my favorite shows, I noticed a personal pattern. They were all shows in which Rhonda and I were on the same page.  What does this mean?  Simple.  It means that we have to actually be at the show together and stand together.  It is not enough to be in the same venue.  I have seen some great shows without her and I’m sure she would say the same about me.  Yet, none of those great shows equal favorite.  Then, it also means that we are both in the same place with our fandom at the same time.  There have been shows that I have been more into than she has been and vice versa.  Those do not equal favorite to me either.  Why does this being on the same page matter?  I think being at a show with someone who shares your same level of fandom at the same time enhances the experience.  It is like the experience is multiplied by seeing it with a fan who is like you.  I suspect that the band also feels and has their enthusiasm multiplied as well!

What do you think?  What makes a show a favorite?  What really enhances the show to go beyond just great?  What gets in the way of having a show be one of the best ever?

-A

 

The Present Will Never Last

I feel like the whole world is abuzz with Duran Duran.  Now, I know that this statement of mine is a bit of an overstatement.  Yet, that is how I feel right now.  It seems to me that every other second there is a new post about Duran released by music person/site, a new performance on some show or an exciting piece of news being sent out across the social media world.  Duranland is full of activity!  I am running to keep up, that’s for sure!!  Do not get me wrong.  This is NOT a complaint in any way, shape or form.  I much, much, much prefer this than what it was like a year ago or so.  In fact, I struggle to even remember what life was like then.

Looking back on the blog from a year ago, do you know what was posted?  Three posts were posted on October 24, 2014.  One, of course, was the question of the day focused on Andy Taylor pictures.  The next one focused on the day in Duran history about a John Taylor book signing.  The last one started out like this:  “The Duranie part of me has felt pretty weak lately.  I haven’t been feeling very Duranie like.”  I wrote those lines.  Just reading them makes me feel very, very sad.  That wasn’t an easy time.  The album, then unknown, seemed very, very far away and All You Need Is Now really did, too.  There were no shows on the horizon and no shows in recent memory to look back on.  We were trying desperately to hang on until the quiet ended, until action began in Duranland.

We survived Duran downtime.  We made it through Durantime.  In October of 2014, we couldn’t even imagine what Paper Gods would sound like.  We had no idea that Duran Duran would play at the Hollywood Bowl or would be winning awards like the one they will be receiving tomorrow, the Video Visionary Award, at the MTV EMAs.  Of course, none of this success would have been surprising to us.  We knew that Duran could play special shows and could/should win awards like tomorrow’s.  Yet, I bet none of us really imagined these events.  We couldn’t know.  Here is what we do know.  The present will never last.  (I heard that line somewhere before…Hmmm..)  As much as I want this level of activity in Duranland everyday for the rest of my life, I know that it won’t be like this forever.  It can’t be.  Therefore, I have two choices in how I respond.  I could be super sad about this and worried about the future or I can embrace each and every second!

Obviously, I’m going for the second choice.  So, how am I embracing every single second?  First, I’m trying to check in as much as humanly possible, which isn’t always easy for me with that frustrating teacher schedule of mine, but I am trying!  This might mean, of course, that I’m taking a few minutes out of my day to watch the latest TV appearance.  Speaking of, did you see the performance and interview from X-Factor Italy?

Or what about the performance at Jools Holland in the UK?

Both are well-worth the watch AND sharing!  Yes, please, share away.  Remind people to buy and share, in fact.  This reminds me of the old phrase about voting in Chicago, which is, “Vote early.  Vote often.”  To adapt that quote to now, “Buy early.  Buy often.”  Another thing to say could be, “Share early.  Share often.”  That is another good way, I think, to embrace this time and ensure that every one around you is, too!!!  Of course, having lots of lots of discussion everywhere and anywhere about Duran is important, too.  Heck, I know that my students and my colleagues are probably getting sick of me mentioning Duran and the new album.  (Do you think it would be wrong to include a Duran Duran question on the next quiz for extra credit?!)  I figure, though, that if they aren’t sick of it, then I’m not mentioning it enough!

Beyond all of those ways to live in the moment and embrace the present,  I think, most importantly, it is good just to focus on the now.  I don’t want to spend a lot of time looking back.  It wasn’t that those times weren’t amazing as many other album cycles really were.  I know, for instance, that Rhonda and I wish we were headed back to the UK after seeing a few shows over there for the All You Need Is Now tour.  Yet, as much as I loved that time and always, always will, I don’t want to focus my energy there.  No, I want to listen to the new album over and over again.  I want to watch current clips of TV appearances.  I want to squee with excitement over news like winning awards or new videos.  I don’t want to be concerned with how long this will last or what the next album will be like or will there be a next.  I just want to be right here, right now enjoying Duran Duran.

-A

 

 

Paper Gods, Caveman Edition

Editorial note: C.K. didn’t title this blog and submitted it, probably assuming I’d come up with some catchy title for it. Well, he made the mistake of characterizing his own descriptions of Duran Duran’s music as being “caveman level”. So did what must be done and ran with it. You’re welcome, C.K!!!  – R

 

I had a two-hour drive recently to visit friends in Boston, and it was the perfect opportunity to play Paper Gods! On drive up, I played it in its official running order, because it’s been a while since I’ve heard it that way. Then, I began to skip around, looking for specific songs. It’s about that time in Paper Gods’ five week existence that we start looking for certain songs, right? What I found interesting, though, is that most of the songs I’m gravitating toward now were not ones I liked much a few weeks ago. Specifically:

  1. Face for Today: Some songs grab you strictly with the music, while others may hook you with the lyrics. This one really merges the two for me. I love the idea of Duran giving advice to this generation of pop stars. And yet it also feels like it can apply to our lives too. The “hold on to your time” message is a nice continuation of the similarly themed “All You Need is Now”.   It’s also reminiscent of R.E.M.’s “All the Best,” from what would be their final album, 2011’s Collapse into Now. In each case, the band is clearly speaking from a place of accomplishment and looking back, fondly, to those who are following in their steps.   I loved this song upon first listen, and continue to love it today.
  1. Change the Skyline: Admittedly, I didn’t like this song at first, but it has grown on me. Lyrically, it talks about “moving on” and while that doesn’t necessarily resonate (I don’t want the band to “move on” and I certainly am focused on the “now” in my own life!), I do relate to the notion that you can change the skyline: with your actions, words, accomplishments, with your life…so for me, when I do get to the point where I am passing the torch to someone, I want to feel this way—that I have made a difference. Musically, I really love the percussion, even though it has that club sound (disclaimer: As you all know from my past guest blogs, I am not a musician, so my descriptions of Duran’s music are going to be at the caveman level. No “syncopated bass” references from me!). I also like the rhythm guitar and the keyboard line. And Jonas Bjerre is great, in my opinion. I am sure this puts me in the minority of the fans out there, as this song seems to take a beating on some message boards, and that is fine…I’m used to it (says the guy with the Medazzaland poster in the background).
  1. Sunset Garage: If you asked me in mid-September what my least favorite song was on Paper Gods, I would have easily pointed to “Sunset Garage.” It sounded too different for me, too 60’s/70’s faux Beach Boys-ish.   It also seemed like the descendant of “Taste the Summer” and “Meet El Presidente,” two songs from the catalogue that don’t rank as my favorites. And yet…it grew on me. It’s so damn upbeat and catchy. You can just picture yourself driving on a coastal highway into the sunset with the top down. “Whatever happens, we’re okay…hey we’re still alive!” is one of my favorite lines on this album.   This song has the trademark Duran optimism that drew us to this band in the first place.
  1. Only in Dreams: This one was a fan favorite from day one. It took a little time for me to get into it, but I certainly love it now. I love the orchestral beginning that gives way to the funk about a minute in (very similar to “The Universe Alone”).   Again, lyrically, it’s about celebrating the now (“don’t want to wake up”), but is a little more playful than some of the other similarly themed songs. The Nile Rodgers influence is all over this one. And, yes, the (wait for it…) syncopated bass is also a cool effect. (Well done, my friend. – R) 
  1. Valentine Stones: My favorite of the bonus tracks. When the band talks about this album being heavily influenced by both Notorious and the first album, I think of this song. It’s got the funky rhythm guitar and a haunting, early era Duran chorus that sounds straight out of 1981. Lyrically, the song seems to be about someone getting over a relationship and being leery of a suitor’s promises (as if the protagonist in “You Kill Me With Silence” finally was able to “let go” and move on, but was leery of the “rebound” relationship that awaited him…or her. Yes, I really overanalyze these lyrics!).   I think all of the bonus tracks are amazing, but this one really stands out to me.

You realize that I could have written 13 more paragraphs, right? I love every song on this album. Even Danceophobia. But these are the ones I found myself gravitating toward on my recent trip. I think it speaks to the depth of this new music that these songs were not among my favorites a month ago. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? Whatever happens, we’re okay, though…hey we’re still alive! With new Duran Duran music!

-C.K.

October 2015 Katy Kafe with Simon Le Bon

I don’t know about anyone else, but all at once it feels both like it has been  several months since the last Katy Kafe (seriously, just the other day I was thinking that I hadn’t written up one in a long time, although I know I did the one in September with Nick standing in front of the elevator banks at the Jimmy Fallon show)… and just a few minutes ago it seems like it was August. So, I was thrilled to see that the time had come for the October 2015 Katy Kafe.

This month, Simon joins Katy in the Kafe, drinking his “black coffee, no sugar” while in the UK. The birthday boy discusses everything from #musicrediscovered to his next Simon’s reader. As always, I admonish that these are just highlights that I’ve picked out to share, and if you want to hear the entire Kafe – get yourself a DDM membership.  I still feel as though $35.00 a year is a bargain, never mind the access you’ll receive to ticket pre-sales and the like!

#MusicRediscovered

Lately, Simon has been listening to music he once loved and had forgotten.  A prime example of this is Fela Kuti. Simon liked listening to a piece of music called “2000 Blacks Got To Be Free”  back in 1987 during the Strange Behavior tour (this was a tour where Simon liked to decorate his hotel room and feel at home with lots of scarves and incense).  He’d long since forgotten about it until one day while he was staying with John recently. John pulled out the vinyl and launched Simon right back in time. Since then, Simon has been tweeting with the hashtag #musicrediscovered. (which I personally LOVE. He’s already picked out several gems that have in turn taken ME right back – music has a great way of doing that – so be on the lookout for his tweets!)

Anyone remember cassette tapes? I sure do – until VERY recently – the only copy of Big Thing I owned was a CASSETTE! Simon apparently has stacks of them in his house. The few that I still have are in a box in my garage. I don’t listen to them because I’m afraid that they’ll be eaten by the stereo in my car – which is the only surviving tape player I’ve got left. Simon says he liked them back then because they were easy to take places. Easier than vinyl, yes!

A side note that I think is funny enough to highlight: Simon told a little tale to illustrate why he no longer burns incense in hotel rooms:  apparently he was staying in a Boston hotel and was having an in-room treatment where they were burning incense cones on his back (this might sound stranger than I think it was) as a stress-relief.  A knock comes to the door, Simon answers and it is hotel security along with the police who want to have a stern discussion with him about not smoking drugs in his room.  Point taken.

Anyone out there enjoying Apple Music? Simon mentions that he is enjoying Apple Music – prior to this he had not tried streaming on other apps like Pandora or Spotify, and he likes that he can get just about anything on Apple Music….except Medazzaland and Pop Trash, that is…

Paper Gods

Simon hasn’t been in the Kafe since the album was released, and  says he is still listening to the entire album. (Side note: Katy says the album is very linear and that she can’t skip songs. I am 100% ALL FOR buying the album in its entirety. This is not an album where you buy one song or another – this album is absolutely meant to listen from start to finish at least the first 100 times you listen. I’ve had it myself for over a month now and I’m still hearing it differently every single time. What do you mean you don’t have it yet? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GO GET IT!!)

He comments that it’s a top ten album, which is true – it did hit the top ten on Billboard, and it’s been a very long time since a Duran Duran album has done that, and yes – Paper Gods absolutely SHOULD feel like vindication for the band in spending the time to get it right, even IF I gave the band nothing but grief for doing so. Sometimes, #Durantime makes sense.

One thing Simon mentioned was that it all still feels very fresh and new to him even though they’ve been on the promotion cycle for the past couple of months now. He says that the first single – “Pressure Off” – has already came and went in the UK. He says that the song didn’t do that well on the charts because of how it was released. Not living in the UK, I don’t know what that means. However, I continue to witness what is or is not going on in the US with regard to “Pressure Off” thus far.  The song JUST debuted on our America’s Top Ten (Hot Adult Contemporary charts) this past week at #39. I cannot even begin to imagine that this is the peak for the song, because I’m still not really hearing it on radio much at all. I’m not sure if that’s because it’s not getting played, or it’s because I’m not listening to the right stations or if it’s because I’m just missing the finer points of how a single is released to radio. I know that I do not just speak for myself when I say that I hope this isn’t where they’re leaving it with this song – I don’t know who is in charge of getting airplay or how, but it just seems like a lot has been left on the table with regard to this one. I’m crossing my fingers that more is yet to come, because the song is outstanding and EVERYONE should be hearing it all over the (radio) dial.

What’s Next?

The band just won the Q Icon award (announced today!!), and they are off to Milan in several days for the X Factor Milan show and a big show in the Piazza Duomo for the MTV EMA’s. Then they are back to the UK for another round of production rehearsals for the UK tour, which begins in November. Simon explained that the UK shows will be longer, with at least another song or two from the new album, and they’ll have more lights. I also heard him say something about the stage, but I didn’t catch it fast enough to write it down.  He was also very quick to point out that after the UK, they’ll be going to many other parts of the world in 2016, and back to the US for the summer – which is exciting!! (Could it really be that Amanda will not have to battle her school schedule as a teacher in order to go to shows?!? We will see….)

Katy asked an interesting question at this point, and it was asked in just the right sort of way so that Simon would answer! (well-done!!!)

“What song do you enjoying singing most off of the new album for the live shows?” Simon paused long enough to absorb that yes, she did ask what he enjoyed singing most as opposed to what song was his favorite – so he answered with “What are the Chances?” That song gives him plenty of highs and lows. The most difficult songs to sing live are “Last Night in the City” (definitely guessed that one!) and “Pressure Off” because the vowel “U” is high in that song, and it is the most difficult vowel to sing high.

Katy also asked about the beloved confetti cannon, to which Simon assured her would remain in the stage production. The confetti creates such a party atmosphere, and lingers into the next song as it quietly floats to the ground. It really is dazzling to experience during their show.

Yasmin and Amber Save the Elephants

Yasmin and Amber have the opportunity to ride a rickshaw in India as a fundraiser for Elephant Family, so check out this link to their fundraising site. If we all chip in a few dollars it will go a long way towards a big check (bank-note)  written for a very worthy cause.

Simon’s been reading!

Currently Simon has been reading H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald and says it’s been excellent. He plans to write a Simon’s Reader for that book as well as an audiobook he’s been enjoying called May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Holmes.  He says the book is very dark and very funny.  Look for those to be added to Simon’s Reader on duranduran.com very soon and check them out for yourself!

The October 2015 Katy Kafe ended with Katy sending good wishes from the community-at-large to Simon…did you know that Katy has been giving Simon socks as birthday presents for 19 years now? I wonder how that started?!? He apparently has a pair of Batman socks among the many he’s been given….who knew?!?

-R

 

 

CA Paper Gods Tour by the Numbers!

Traditions.  It is a word that often makes people think of awkward or silly family habits surrounding holidays.  For some, the word might equal boring, stuck-in-the-mud, unafraid of change.  The word doesn’t always have fun connotations.  Yet, for us, traditions do because they are all about touring traditions!!  What are some of those tour traditions?  We bet you can guess some without even thinking too hard…Yes, one of them is about drinking all of the vodka in the city.  Another is reaching up for the sunrise!  Many of our traditions have been around for 10 years, since the spring 2005 Astronaut trip.  Others have been created VERY recently.  You all will get the good fortune of seeing one of the traditions here.  Although, we must warn you.  It will probably amuse no one but us.  Well, it might amuse our friend, Heather, who was stuck with us for this tour.  What is this probably-totally-lame tradition?  Summarizing the tour through numbers.  What are we hearing?!  groaning  Why add math to fandom?!  I thought this was supposed to be fun!  Oh…just wait…Duranies!  You are in for the really-not-that-exciting CA Paper Gods Tour by the numbers that we promise has NO math to it!

1200 miles

Beginning about 20 minutes south of Disneyland in California where Rhonda lives, up to Hollywood, on to Berkeley CA, back to Rancho Mirage and ending at LAX airport.  Good times!!

Yep, the Daily Duranie version of Thelma and Louise!! Photo courtesy of Heather Todd
Yep, the Daily Duranie version of Thelma and Louise!!     Photo courtesy of Heather Todd

50 People at the Hard Rock Cafe

We were really excited to have so many people join us at the Hard Rock for an official Daily Duranie Pre-Show Meet-up!

The staff at the Hard Rock Cafe had to keep adding tables to our already ridiculously long table!
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Even though it took quite a while for our food and drink orders to come through, Duranies had a great time chatting, talking and laughing!
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Fans brought memorabilia to look at, and stories to share which made the afternoon go by very quickly!

We were hunted down 50 times!!

We heard everyone’s favorite song, Hungry Like the Wolf, about 50 times between all the shows, every single time we turned the iPod on, and the two times Rhonda had to watch them perform it at Kimmel (Even weirder: we’re starting to look forward to hearing it!!)

This band drives us to drink!!  (18 times!)

Ok, so this number really isn’t so bad considering we were gone for 5 days. Of course, much of that time was spent driving up and down the center of California….but let’s just not talk about that.

Berry Press - Hard Rock

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We lived in 4 hotels (…and on the aforementioned cocktails…)

It’s always fun to pick hotels…and then find out that the hotel you thought was fine was actually a motel in disguise with a big bug in the bathroom…but you know, always an adventure!!

Kettleman City Best Western 1

Best Western Kettleman City 2

We spent an average of 4 hours a day commuting on the “bus”.

Oh my gosh!  Someone forgot to reserve our seats on Duran Duran One…can you believe it?!? The audacity!!!  So, we took Rhonda’s car instead. (thank goodness it proved as reliable as always!)

CA Driving 1

CA Driving3

3.5 hours of sleep!

Sleep?!? We can sleep when we’re dead!!  We treated ourselves to about 3.5 hours of sleep each night. Or morning if we’re being honest….

3 Meet-ups

In addition to the meet-up at Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, we had two smaller meet-ups: one at Gypsy’s in Berkeley for dinner, and another at Rendezvous at the Agua Caliente Hotel.

Berkeley Group Selfie
Berkeley Group Selfie
Rendezvous at Agua Caliente
Rendezvous at Agua Caliente

We “fixed” Duran Duran’s set list 3 times

And they ignored us…three times…and we can’t even imagine WHY!!

Suggested set list for Hollywood Bowl
Suggested set list for Hollywood Bowl
Suggested set list for Berkeley
Suggested set list for Berkeley
The special set list for Agua Caliente and, yes, Skin Drivers seemed more fitting that day!
The special set list for Agua Caliente and, yes, Skin Drivers seemed more fitting that day!

3 Shows!

That’s right, kids.  We did three shows on this tour:

Hollywood Bowl–

Photo courtesy of Heather Todd
Photo courtesy of Heather Todd

Greek Theater in Berkeley–

JoNiDo at Berkeley

Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage–

Photo courtesy of Heather Todd
Photo courtesy of Heather Todd

2 fantastic performances by Nile and Chic!!

Nile HBowl
You can see Craig Robinson from TV’s The Office in the background on this one taken at the Hollywood Bowl.
Nile Berkeley
Chic at The Greek Theatre – Berkeley CA
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Chic – Greek Theatre – Berkeley CA

We danced 2 times to Danceophobia!

We were obviously cured!!

2 Post Show Gatherings!

You didn’t think that we would be satisfied with just a drink or two before the shows, did you?!    No, we needed to celebrate fabulous shows with friends!

Berkeley
Berkeley

Berkeley

Agua Caliente
Agua Caliente

1.5 Meals Per Day!

Here’s the thing about touring and us.  We often forget to eat or don’t eat complete meals.  Are we too busy going from place-to-place?  Do we have too much nervous energy?  Do we drink our dinners?  Whatever the cause–it still equaled an average of 1.5 meals per day on this tour, which isn’t really that bad!!!

1 Familiar Looking Security Guard

Hmmm...
Hmmm….

Are we the only ones who think that this guy looks familiar?!?

One “Play the Fucking Bass, John!”

Clearly, we were not the only ones who found ourselves missing John’s little intro as people chanted, “Play the Fucking Bass, John!” in Agua Caliente both in the beginning of the show and at the intros. Sometimes, change is embraced and welcomed and other times, people long for those traditions!!!  Just sayin’!!

The Star!

When on tour, it is essential to do anything and everything Duran related.  Since we were in Hollywood…a trip to the star was a must (especially for our dear friend, Heather, who hasn’t had the chance before!).  This picture, of course, proves us to be the dorks that we really are!

At the star

1 Amazing, Awesome, Durantastic Trip!!!

While this wasn’t our first Duran tour and hopefully, not the last one,  it was one of the best!!!  We have had some amazing tours over the years and this one ranks right up there!  If we had ANY doubt that we still love this band, love our friends, and love touring, this trip pushed all of that right out the car window!  Oh, yes, our love was renewed and then some!  So, anybody know when we can go again!?!  We have had almost a week to recover so we are ready!!!

-A & R

Duran Duran Pumpkin Carving Contest!

It’s time for a contest!!!

It has been a long time since we’ve run a contest here on the blog, so Amanda and I decided to try something crazy.  So today we are excitedly announcing:

  • 2013-10-Pumpkin-Wallpaper-Face-Background-High-Definition
  • Get yourself a pumpkin.
  • Carve it with your very best, and most creative Duran-inspired design. This design can be ANYTHING having to do with Duran Duran, including but not limited to Paper Gods!
  • Send us a picture, including your REAL NAME, to our GMAIL (dailyduranie(at)gmail(dot)com) by 11:59pm PDT on Friday, October 30.
  • Please do NOT submit photos on Facebook or Twitter – they cannot be accepted that way.
  • Pumpkins MUST be carved (painting is great but you have to carve too), and the pumpkins also have to be real. (no fake pumpkins, that way the same pumpkin cannot be used from year to year!!)
  • Subscribe to get Daily Duranie by mail here, on Facebook and on Twitter!!
  • HAVE FUN!!!

Photos will be posted and voted upon by all of YOU here on the blog on Halloween.  The pumpkin with the most votes wins, and will be announced on November 1st!  (In the unlikely event of a tie, Rhonda’s youngest child will choose the winner. She’s very picky and cannot be bribed. Good luck with that!)

What do you win?!? Not ONLY bragging rights of being the most creative pumpkin carver in all of Duranland…absolutely not!! This time, our friend Patty Palazzo is donating a PunkMasters T-shirt of the winner’s choosing (one t-shirt, design and sizing to be decided by the winner).  We think the prize is pretty cool and thank Patty for her generosity!

So get started! It’s never too early and we’re never too old to carve pumpkins!!!  Amanda and I are looking forward to seeing some amazing designs from the fanbase, and you never know, you might even see a pumpkin or two from us along the way as well!  😉

Questions? Ask away in the comments and/or send us an email.

-R

You Don’t Dance? Apparently We Do!

I started this blog while sitting at Rendezvous Bar at the Agua Caliente Casino with some of my favorite Duranies so it might not be the best written ever.  It was our last night in the city and I was and still am filled with lots of emotions.  I know that people are probably interested in a review of the Agua Caliente show but I want to reflect on some other aspects of the shows and touring instead.  I will say this, though.  Friday night’s show at Berkeley was probably technically better for all the reasons I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, including all of the interactions and energy.  That said, yesterday, it was our last show.  It was a longer show.  It was a show that included both White Lines (thanks for getting us once again, LeBon!) and Save a Prayer as well as Wild Boys.  There was also a very high hug between John and Simon after What Are the Chances.  More importantly for me and Rhonda, we had front row center at a venue that allows you to put your arms right on the stage.  That changes everything.  Everything.  It increases the intensity by about 10,000.

As long-time readers probably know, we first had front row in Biloxi in 2012 after waiting all day long in the general admission line.  I absolutely sucked at being front row that night.  I was too overwhelmed to interact or give real feedback to the band.  I desperately wanted a do over but that didn’t happen until this tour.  At Berkeley, we had front row right. This was a perfect taster for me.  The stage was high and I wasn’t really near my favorite (John).  I could get used to it and get comfortable.  Last night, though, we were front row center.  I was literally right by Simon.  I had to be ready and I was.  There was no standing there, being stunned.  No, I asked them to bring it so I had to bring it, too!

I sang, screamed and danced like I haven’t in years.  I’m surprised I still have a voice.  For once, I wasn’t hiding my love for the band.  No, I was showing it openly and wished for the band to see it and feel it.   There were moments that I felt like they knew that I was there, supporting, giving love and more whether it was a brief glance or a quick smile from one of the guys.  I am like everyone, though, in that it is never enough.  I wished to shake John’s hand or tell Simon how great he was or request a coveted item like a setlist or a guitar pick.  Yet, I did none of the above.  I’m not good with being assertive like that, especially when others near me are trying for the same things I am and, in some cases, are willing to step on others to do so.  For example, last night, I was hoping to stand there for a few minutes longer after the show to soak it all in, to process, but I soon found myself literally being smushed in a painful way between two people trying for the setlist that had been taped down on stage for Simon.  No, in those moments, I back down.  Nothing is that important to treat others around me disrespectfully.  That said, someday, I have to hope that karma will work to my advantage.

Now, as I sit here, preparing to leave, I find myself rather introspective.  Was this tour worth the work to get here?  Was it worth the hassle?  Did it provide me with the fun and the break that I so desperately needed?  I had to work really hard to get to do this tour and to be ready to go.  As this tour winds down, I have to say that it was worth it.  Did it live up to every hope?  Did every dream get made?  Absolutely not, but, many did.  I had the most amazing seats for all three shows, for example!   More importantly,  I had a kick ass time with a bunch of great Duranies and friends!  I saw three fabulous shows.  Heck, I even managed to find a way, I think, to tolerate, to appreciate Danceophobia!  How, you wonder?  Simple.  Watch John during it.  His enthusiasm and dancing  make it fun!

Will the return to reality hurt?  Extremely.  I might, once again, question my decision to go then.  Yet, I know that I could look back to this blog and even the blogs prior to today’s to remember that it was worth it.  The Berkeley show and  last night’s show made all of the driving worth it, for example.  Being front row made it all the more special.  These shows and this tour reminded me of the fun, the friendship and the pure escape that comes with the territory.  Isn’t that what it is all about?!  It is for me.

-A