Blogging during Duran down time is not easy. There is little news to respond to and many of the fandom overview topics have been covered. I am beginning to feel like blogging is like teaching a student who really struggles to learn. For teachers, that student pushes our thinking to be more creative, to try something new, to figure out something new in order to reach that kid. On one hand, I appreciate that my job does that. It keeps me creative and a good problem solver. Now, I think the blog is kind of like that. I now have to push myself to be creative when I blog during downtime. I cannot assume that news will happen. It is up to me to find something to talk about.
Luckily, I feel like I have up with an idea. When I cannot think of anything to write, I will simply hit shuffle on whatever music device is closest to pick out a song. From there, I’ll pick out a lyric that hits me for some reason. I did that today and got the song, Shelter. From there, I checked out the lyrics and focused in on, “Girl You’re Looking Beat.” Yep. I resemble that remark.
Teachers are funny creatures. On one hand, the VERY last thing that we want to do is to talk school, work, the job. On the other hand, we are desperate to share, to vent, to get our emotions out of our system. After all, at work, we put on a game face with the students. We learn to suppress our thoughts and feelings for the benefit of others, the students. After awhile, this wears as does the work load both in and out of the classroom. I’m sure, right now, if anyone would see me, s/he/they would think that I am looking beat. They would not be wrong.
If work was not enough, the world has seemed very heavy lately. News like the massacre that happened in Vegas or the suffering as a result of hurricanes and their aftermaths adds to the exhaustion. Believe me when I say that the news gets to me. Believe me when I also say that knowing the horror makes me less anxious than not. If all that was not enough, I am busy planning an event for the political group that I lead and am making plans to pick up my niece from college for her fall break. Heck, even last night’s book club added to the exhaustion. Any and all activity feels like so much work right now. Despite my exhaustion, I continue to move forward.
What is interesting to me is how there seems to be a Duran lyric to describe any time and any feeling. It feels to me that this is the beauty of their lyrics. They are left open to interpretation and do put into words that which is intangible, those very complex emotions that we all carry with us. If you had to pick a lyric to describe you, right now, what is it and why? I would love to know!
Do you remember 2011? I can barely remember it myself. Actually, even yesterday feels like a struggle right now, much less 2011….but I’ll try.
On this date in 2011, Duran Duran was scheduled to play Wrightegaarden in Norway. (We know that there are more than a few fans out there that might remember this) Unfortunately, the band had to cancel, and yes, this was included in the set of dates canceled due to Simon’s vocal problems during the All You Need is Now tour.
Even sadder, the band has not made it back to Norway since. We can only hope that the band will in fact return there – maybe for the 4th anniversary celebration. Right about now, it seems easier to fantasize about what the band might do and where they might go to celebrate than thinking about real life. The sky is the limit, as they say. Reality comes later, but for now, we can hope.
So last night, Duran Duran played Budokan in Tokyo. For a place that the band seems to really enjoy visiting, like so many other areas of the world, they do not seem to visit Japan very often. I think the last appearance there was in 2010 for a conference (I believe this may have been a private gig, but I’m not positive), and before then they played Tokyo in 2009. (Yes, I looked this up because there is absolutely no way I would ever remember this kind of thing. My brain is full.) The band seems happy to be in Japan again, with Dom commenting last night that it was a dream of his to play Budokan.
During their time there, I’ve seen a few comments here and there from some of our Australian fellow fans. Suffice to say no one is happy that the band is not making the trek to Australia and/or New Zealand while in that area of the world. What boggles my mind though, is the anger towards America, and American fans as a result. In fact, I’ve seen other fans comment in response that the band must be tired ending the tour as a direct result of how much time they’ve spent in America.
That’s right. It’s America’s fault for continuing to line their pockets and fill whatever venues they need filled for shows. It is absolutely the fault of the U.S. for being just over 1 million square miles, or about 2.6 million square km larger than Australia, not to mention Japan and even Europe, with dozens of large cities that are not closely connected. It is also America’s fault that the worldwide media/entertainment industry is headquartered there, and the US dollar seems to still matter on a global level. Naturally, there are also comments about how DDHQ is located in New York, of all places. Surely that must be the reason for the obvious favoritism, on top of everything else. Those damn Americans!
Of course I’m being facetious, but I’m also frustrated. We hear about how terrible we are, and how unfair it is that the band chooses to be here after every single tour is announced. It is to the point where I nearly wince when the band announces U.S. shows.
If we’re going to point fingers, look at the promoters in whatever country we’re talking about. Simon and John, for instance, do not sit down, spin a globe and decide where to go based on where it stops. There’s no grand scheme here to leave out entire continents. It comes down to dollars, timing, and the willingness of promoters to book them. I can’t answer why promoters aren’t knocking down their doors to book them in places like Australia, or most of Europe. I think the markets in those places of the world must be very different. Bottom line is that it is not 1985. The world has changed, the music industry has changed, and, like it or not—the band has changed too. While we still think they’re the biggest and best band in the world, it would seem that concert and tour promoters do not. Right or wrong, it is the way it is.
I’m sorry that Duran Duran didn’t tour everywhere.I am very empathetic to other Duranies, and yes, it IS unfair. While I’m frustrated at the moment, I also care about fans in general. On the other hand, I can’t help but be thankful that the band comes here so often because yes, I love them too. In some ways, I feel as though I should apologize for their frequent visits here, which is ridiculous because I have no control over what they do. Sometimes I think people would appreciate it if Amanda and I came out and told the band that they shouldn’t visit the U.S and spend the time elsewhere.
First of all, the band isn’t going to listen to us because—and I’m thankful for this—I am not a tour promoter or a band manager. I’m a mom, blogger, and fan. Secondly, it isn’t because they toured America more than once that they didn’t visit Europe, or Australia, or even why they didn’t do more dedicated shows in South America. I know it is convenient to just blame those “damn Americans” but let’s get real for just a minute before everyone goes back to hating. The band is able to book a plethora of shows here and have them well attended enough to pay their bills AND make a profit. They can play a variety of different places over an extended period of time, and since the U.S. is one large country, I suspect the logistics with paperwork and so forth is a bit easier, too. All of it adds up to money and turning a profit. Like it or not, the band makes their living that way, as do the hundreds of people who work for them in one way or another.
I get it. America is the scapegoat, and if fans really feel like they need to blame someone or somewhere, we’re an easy target. I just wish fans spent a little more time thinking about why Duran Duran might continue touring here, rather than just blaming America for all the places the band has missed.
As we were deciding upon what to say in our little birthday video I posted yesterday, Amanda and I talked about what we wanted to do with the blog going forward. The thought occurred that we might be best served by directing the question to our readers.
What would YOU like to read about or have featured on the blog, particularly in the days ahead where the band is not actively touring?
We know that the two of us – Amanda and I – are at our best when we’re together. Probably because we make one another laugh. We also recognize that when the band is touring and we’re on the road – crazy things happen that make blogging very easy. The trouble is, blogging is not our day job, and touring doesn’t happen 24/7. So we’re forced to come up with other creative ideas!
Over the years, many have asked us to do video, or to do podcasts. Videos from us are sporadic, and while we like doing them every once in a while, we have found that doing them regularly doesn’t seem to thrill people. We’ve tried some ideas out, but to be fair – most of our videos are not well-watched. I am sure there are a plethora of reasons for that, but one of which is that it’s difficult to watch at work. Not many people can and will take time from their evenings, or from family, to sit and watch a video. I know this because it is the same way for me here. I have almost no “me” time at home in the evenings, and I think trying to squeeze in a video on top of that is really tough. I have a hard enough time sitting down to listen to the Katy Kafe’s!
On the same token, I’ve been told that podcasts are great because many of you have the luxury of putting in earbuds or listening while doing something else, whether at work or at home. Personally, I like the idea of doing a podcast in some respects, but the challenge for Amanda and I is in logistics. We both work, and finding the time to record on a regular basis is the issue. We also feel as though we need some guidance from you as to what topics you might want us to talk about, so please let us know.
Aside from those things though, what else might you want to see from us? Is there anything you really don’t like? What about things we used to do – once upon a time we had “game day” where we put up Duran-themed puzzles and things, for instance. October is rapidly approaching – is anyone ready for a second pumpkin carving contest?
What about the website itself? Are there features missing that you might like to see? I am pretty sure it’s about time for an update – it’s a task I’ve avoided simply because it’s easy to stick with the same thing, but I know it’s probably time to freshen up. You may have noticed the ads have been removed – we never found them to be very helpful as far as paying for the website (it is not free and we pay for it out-of-pocket).
This survey is very informal. We’re just hoping a few of you care enough to answer, whether by email (email@example.com ) or on Facebook, or even in our Facebook inbox or Twitter. We’re open to your ideas, however crazy or small they may seem!
This is my final blog pick to round out the seven years we’ve blogged. I could have picked something poignant, or something that maybe encompassed my thoughts….there were plenty to choose from.
Nope. I went with funny.
I chose this blog because, when it comes right down to it – Amanda and I do two things: 1. We study fandom. 2. WE HAVE FUN. This post is about having fun, in all it’s glory. For the most part, we started this blog in order to have more fun. Amanda and I laugh a lot when we’re together. Through all of the hard times, the stress, the anxiety, and the rejections – the one thing we’ve worked tirelessly to remind ourselves is that this is supposed to be FUN. If it stops being fun, it’s time to stop.
I’m happy to report that it hasn’t stopped being fun. No, we don’t leave ourselves quite as vulnerable as we once did, and yeah – there have certainly been moments when we’ve needed (and given) ourselves a time-out, but I think the number one thing we’ve learned is how to blog on our own terms. When it comes to our love and willingness to give this band a rough time, we don’t mind putting it out there, and the blog below is a great example.
I still chuckle when I read it, and therefore, it’s worthy of a repost.
I’ll just close by saying that a couple of things haven’t changed in the seven years we’ve blogged: we are still fans, and somehow – Amanda and I have always managed to put our friendship first. That is how we’ve gotten through it all. We still have a blast when we are together, and we still love our own brand of antics. We’re delighted that none of that has turned our readers off yet. I don’t think either of us ever considered that we’d still be blogging seven years later, and keeping with that attitude – I have no idea what the future will bring. Two things I do know for certain: 1. We will still be fans in seven years. and 2. Amanda and I will still be friends and putting that friendship first. Anything else is a bonus. -R
Originally posted March 22, 2017
Sorry I’m so late with today’s post. Our morning was wild here, and the afternoon is not faring much easier, as far as time goes!
I think I’m still coming to terms with my weekend, which was amazing. Anytime I can spend the day out by the pool and see my favorite band at night is great, but there were some additional “happenings” that make this particular weekend even better than normal. Those are the things that make me smile when my day might be going rougher than I’d hoped, and help me sleep at night. Or not sleep, I guess. I’m just gonna leave that thought right there.
In any case, one of the funnier themes of the weekend was that Amanda had no interest in following rules. I probably need to be more clear about that. For example, I would never dream of, say, telling the band what to play.
Ok, that’s a flat-out lie. The one thing we didn’t do this weekend was tweet out our own super-special set lists! Normally I’m all about telling the band what I think and what to play. This weekend though, I really didn’t care. They could have gotten up there and played just about anything. I believe my expectations for the weekend were summed up like this, “All they have to do is show up, Amanda.”
So when they broke into Only in Dreams on the first night, it took me WAY longer than I care to admit for my brain to sort out what it was I was hearing. Then they followed up with Is There Something I Should Know.
OH MY GOD.
That is my favorite. My all-time favorite song. Ever. I nearly had kittens. It’s not as though I have never heard it before, but to have them play it without expecting it was even better. But then I knew something was missing. I kept waiting, and no, Planet Earth never showed. I can remember standing there beside Amanda thinking “Holy shit. She really IS going to have kittens!! And she blogs tomorrow, too!!”
So, she was really disappointed. No, the band can’t play their entire catalog, but Planet Earth has been a staple. I can’t remember the last time they didn’t play it, actually. I know she loves it, but I also recognize that sometimes, they have to do something to mix it up. Even so, I didn’t know what Amanda would do.
Fast forward to the following evening. We had a friend at the front and were talking to her during the show when Amanda saw a list taped down at Simon’s spot. Appropriately titled, “Palm Springs Agua Caliente”, she could read the set list from where she was standing, and I could see she wasn’t happy about what it said. On the other hand, I won’t look at the set lists before the show. I like being surprised, and I don’t want to know when it’s going to be over.
I liken this to Christmas presents. My sister used to go on a full-on hunt for the gifts when we were little. She would find everything and either be satisfied, or annoyed and disappointment at what “Santa” was going to bring. One Christmas, I succumbed to her urging. Using a swivel desk-chair to reach the door to our attic, I tried to find a set of skis I had almost NO chance of getting (and didn’t!) only to fall and sprain my arm because A. I am klutzy and B. I was using a stupid SWIVEL CHAIR. Not my smartest or proudest moment. Robin STILL teases me about that Christmas present hunt to this day. (I love younger siblings.) I learned my lesson. I prefer to be surprised.
Amanda looks up at me and says “It hasn’t changed.” I wasn’t surprised. This band (sorry guys), hasn’t necessarily been the greatest about changing up the set list from night-to-night lately. I didn’t know what to say, but Amanda was already digging through her purse, mumbling something about leaving a note.
WHAT? “Noooooo Amanda, you can’t!” I exclaim, half laughing. “What if they see it?!?”
The trouble is, I know when Amanda is determined, and she was. My protests weren’t going to stop the inevitable. She was going to leave that note, and there wasn’t a thing I was going to be able to do about it except laugh along with her. She found an envelope (our ticket envelope, no less) and wrote out “PLANET EARTH!!!” in big letters with a Sharpie. Great, but where to leave it? I figured she’d throw it up there, and within two seconds of the band getting on stage we’d never see the likes of it again. Easy.
Oh, Amanda had that figured out already. She was going to tuck it in with the existing set list. Amanda kind of climbed up and halfway laid on the stage so that she was able to work the note in and secure it. She hopped down, and shared a laugh with us(mine was somewhat more of a nervous laugh), we knew we were on our way. To hell, I’m sure.
I felt the blood drain from my face, and went to my seat. Surely they wouldn’t know, because (thank goodness) they don’t know our handwriting!!
Of course, now that I’ve typed this, it’s not secret.
(GOOD THING THEY DON’T READ THE BLOG, RIGHT?!?)
The band comes out for the show. I’m not really sure if Simon ever saw the addition to the set list, but I won’t lie – I giggled at the thought. No, they didn’t play Planet Earth, but I could swear I saw him look down at the note, and then look down at the two of us (three if you count our friend Suzie!) and narrow his eyes more than once. I immediately mouthed “I didn’t do it!” and pointed at Amanda.
Hey, if you can’t throw your best friend under her own damn bus….
and then White Lines began. Now – I love this song and by then, I felt strongly that we were going to experience “The Spit Zone” more than ever before. I was going to enjoy that guitar solo no matter what (and I did, thanks to Dom), but I was worried. I knew we were in front, and from the amount of smack we’ve given that band and particularly Simon over the years, he could let us have it. Again. Simon went back for his long drink of water, and came back with a mouthful – the kind of mouthful that was going to drench someone, really. I saw Nick smirking out of the corner of my eye and thought to myself, “Here we go!” I just looked down and felt the fire-hose worth of water spray onto the back of my head and arm. GAH. I looked up and just laughed because at that point, what else could I do?
I have a feeling we had that coming.
Turnabout is fair play. Until next time, anyway. -R
Today is easily one of my favorite dates to celebrate. On August 29th of the year 2000, Simon and Nick visited John at his house in Los Angeles.
What could they possibly have talked about?
Getting the band back together!! The reunion they said would never happen….
That’s right. It all began with a chat around the pool. (well, that’s how I picture it in my head, anyway) And if it weren’t for that day, and the reunion that followed, seventeen years ago now, none of this – the albums, the touring, the message boards, DDM, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre, All You Need is Now, Paper Gods…and this blog….probably would not have happened.
I just don’t know if I would have kept going to shows. Maybe I would have for a while, but life gets in the way. I know how I am with other bands. If it’s not “easy”, I don’t bother. Would that have become the way with Duran Duran? Probably. After all, I hadn’t gone to very many shows before the reunion, although it was one of their gigs at the House of Blues in Anaheim that really got me back into the band, and that was before the reunion was announced. Even so, I’m not sure that I would have been inspired to keep reading message boards or meet people had the reunion not been announced. I don’t know that I would have gotten involved with planning a convention, or that I’d have ever met Amanda as a result.
It’s wild to consider that just one conversation at someone’s house changed everything. But it did. And while the reunion may have been one fleeting moment in my life, I’m grateful. And happier. I found a part of myself I’d been missing. That “something” wasn’t really Duran Duran. They were just the catalyst to get me looking for it, and I’m thankful. I really am.
This silly band. They don’t know me much beyond the words I write here and my face in their audience. Yet, in some odd way, I will always feel as though my life is weirdly entwined with their professional one. One day in August of 2000 set me on a path, and while yes I’m nearly quoting “What are the Chances”….it is incredibly fitting.
So while I head off to work today – I’ll be thinking about that band a little. It’s a good day.
My weekend adventures included a concert in Palm Springs on Saturday night. Held at the now-familiar Agua Caliente Resort and Casino, the Lost80s concert was a lot of fun and featured artists such as TransX, Pretty Poison, The Flirts, Cutting Crew, Naked Eyes, Wang Chung, Berlin and Tony Hadley (Formerly of Spandau Ballet). It was a lot of fun, and I’m going to take a look at the entire show tomorrow. Today though, I am going to focus on Tony Hadley, and if you are wondering why I would spend an entire Daily Duranie blog on someone other than Duran Duran, keep reading.
In full disclosure, I am a Spandau fan. Like thousands of others, when Spandau Ballet toured here in 2015, I rejoiced and my dream of seeing them finally came true. The shows were packed with energy and the kinds of moments between band members and audience that seemed to indicate they’d be back again, and soon. My hopes were dashed earlier this summer when Tony Hadley announced that he would not be returning to the band. There were more than enough insinuations and bad energy passed between band members to indicate the decision to announce such news did not come easily. Hurt feelings seemed to be shared all around, and many fans chose sides. For my part, I just wanted to see what Tony would be like without Spandau Ballet.
With that in mind, I went into Saturday night’s show without a lot of expectation. I didn’t know what it would be like, but like many – Tony’s voice is what I associate with Spandau Ballet. How different could the performance really be? I see the same sorts of discussion take place with Duran Duran. So many people say that the band could continue on, replacing any member, with the exception of Simon. I’m not quite sure I’ve ever bought into that line of thinking myself, but I kept an open mind.
Tony Hadley was the headliner, and took the stage in much the same way he might when performing with Spandau. His backing band were excellent musicians, and Tony launched into “Only When You Leave”. The audience was about the same age range as a Spandau audience, and many didn’t stand right away. I was one of the few in my section standing (off to the far left in section 104, but my seats were still fantastic). The main difference I noticed right away was that the music was subdued rather than punchy, spirited and powerful the way it is with Spandau. The arrangement was such that Tony’s vocals took complete center stage. The music we are all familiar with was still there, but it wasn’t quite the same. Nowhere was this more obvious in his set than when the session guitarist – a hired “gun” in the same vein as Dom Brown for Duran Duran – played the sax solo in Gold. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t quite right. It all felt muted, and while Tony still has absolutely incredibly smooth vocals, the performance just fell a little, ever-so-slightly, flat.
He had a group of admirers off to the right side of the stage that were completely enthused, but to be honest, for being the headliner – most people stayed seated. The people in back of me were hardcore Spandau fans, and they commented on how flat his performance was. Yes, he is the voice, and he was singing the same songs and words, but the spark that made a Spandau performance unique just wasn’t there. Sometimes, it really is the sum of ALL the parts that is what makes something special. I still stood for him, because I could see he was struggling to make a connection with the audience, and because I still enjoy him, Spandau Ballet or not.
I loved seeing Tony sing. He is a powerful singer with the same sort of charisma as Sinatra or any of the greats. I wouldn’t dare take that away from him. That said, somehow, he’s even a little more sparkling and powerful when he’s up on stage with the band who wrote the songs he is singing. There’s something special there that happens, and no matter the excellence of the musicians in his band (and nobody is denying their talent or expertise), they can’t recreate Spandau Ballet. But, maybe that really the point.
For whatever the reason, Tony Hadley wants to go out on his own. He didn’t want to continue being 1/5 of a band, he wanted to be solo with a backing band. It would be unreasonable to go to a show and expect the music to be exactly the same. It may sound similar, in the same way that Duran Duran’s music might sound familiar without Simon singing. Not the same. Not even close. Our expectations as listeners, and as fans, must change. His show was still fantastic, Tony Hadley is still incredibly talented, and he has the right to go it alone. I need to change my expectations.
I am 100% sure that the debate and discussion over what element(s) of Duran Duran are irreplaceable will continue. People love to point out that the guitarist and even the bassist (and drummer, I might add) have been replaced more than once, while Simon and Nick (oops…never mind…) have never been, thus that somehow equates to his voice been the irreplaceable element that makes Duran Duran.
Well, in my opinion, none of them are replaceable. It isn’t just about the music. You can put a piece of sheet music in front of any professional musician and they can play it. But can they put heart and soul into it? That’s a very different problem. The emotion does not always come easily, and it isn’t always natural. What about the onstage chemistry and camaraderie? Does any of that matter? If you’ve seen Duran Duran live, you know that it does. The relationships on stage are easily as important as the music itself, and while I’ve seen several different lineups over the years, some just seem far more family-like and important than others. We all have our favorites, and while mine may not match yours, they all matter. It is difficult to recreate that atmosphere and love with just anyone. And that’s why I couldn’t ever choose what person, what element, is most important. They all are.
Five years ago today, Duran Duran played in Biloxi, Mississippi as part of the final leg of the All You Need Is Now tour. This show was pretty monumental for Rhonda and myself as it was the first time we ever had front row. We had traveled to the city the night before so that we could hang out with Duranies and have a chance to line up early on the day of the show. We arrived around 7 and were, indeed, able to secure a spot in front. Anyone who read the blogs from then saw that our first front row did not go as planned. No, we kinda stood there, shell-shocked, unable to really respond. I remember attempting to process the show afterwards over drinks. I had a lot of reasons that night for why I was so lame during the show but I suspect that I left out the real reason.
The summer of 2012 was a tough one for me. I had spent months busting my ass to try and get my state’s governor to lose a special, recall election. I’m sure that some of you stopped reading at that line. After all, that is only politics and this blog about being a Duran fan. Humor me, though, and keep reading. Yes, it was about politics, but it was personal to me. I won’t go into all the reasons for this but I think that anyone who has ever failed at something that really meant something to them understands my distress that summer. On top of that, I already had experienced much stress related to this governor and feared the future. Yet, I had hope that Duran and our little tour around the Southeast would help with my mood. In fact, I was so determined in this that I pushed for having pre-show meet ups before each concert. I wanted to dive into some other task. Then, I could forget my fear and failure.
Did my plan work? I have already mentioned that the Biloxi show was a failure, in terms of how we responded at the show. We did better for the rest of our shows, but I never really felt it. My distraction didn’t work. I couldn’t shake it. I remember after our final show in Virginia about how ready I was to go visit my sister and to have the tour be done. That is not normal. Rhonda itched to add a show and I didn’t even consider it. Again, that is not normal.
Now, in 2017, I feel like I’m in a similar headspace due to the political climate. Again, I was involved in a campaign that lost. Like five years ago, I fear. I feel like I get to a spot where I can shake it and then it comes roaring back. I recognize that this makes me weird. I get that. I know that most people don’t feel politics that deeply. I do. Maybe it is that history teacher in me that recognizes the drama of current events. Maybe it is because I have been active in politics. Perhaps, I worry about my students and their futures. Whatever the cause, it is a thing with me.
In 2012, I tried to get over the lost by going on tour and failed in my quest. Looking back, I know that Durham was a great show on paper and that my partner-in-crime loved it but when I think of it I feel an emptiness that I couldn’t get beyond. This time, in 2017, I have also gone to shows. I’m sure that part of the reason was exactly as it was in 2012. I wanted to get over what was bothering me. I wanted to forget about it. I needed to experience some joy. Interestingly enough, the shows I have attended have all been fabulous this year. I loved each and every one of them. What was the difference? I’m not sure. I guess that is part of the reason that I’m blogging about it today, to try and figure it out.
Were the shows better? Maybe. Was I responding differently? I’m sure. If I had to determine the difference, I think this time I dove into the shows in a way that I couldn’t let my mind wander. I also feel like there is more interaction between the band and the crowd. Maybe that has helped me keep in the game more. Fandom has been a sanctuary this time for whatever reason. Perhaps, I just need my fandom differently now. No matter the reason, I’m thankful that the shows in 2017 that I attended gave me as much joy as they have. Certainly, Duran Duran has been the sun through a very cloudy world.
Wild tales of tour dates, returning band members, and new albums have surfaced from the dank, dark depths of the internet. I’m already exhausted, and I’ve been back from my own vacation for less than a week.
The new album thing came up today in my twitter feed, actually. Based purely on my past experience as a Duran Duran fan, I feel pretty certain that there’s no “new album” coming next month. No, I don’t have an official word – are you kidding me? I just know that in all the years I’ve been a fan of this band, they’ve never been on tour and written/recorded an album at the same time and put it out while still technically ON tour. (They’re just taking a break and still have dates to do!) I kind of think that’s almost humanly impossible, and while I have admittedly had high expectations in the past, this is even over my limit. I think it’s really obvious that the original poster is confused with Paper Gods, which by the way, was already released. TWO YEARS AGO.
Amanda already addressed one of the other more rampant rumors – the return of Andy Taylor for the 40th Anniversary. Everybody loves chatting about Andy and Warren, and about what guitar player is their personal favorite. That debate will never go away, and as someone reminded me the other day – you know you’ve made your mark on the world when you can be out of a band for a decade and still be the talk of the fan community. I’m not sure if that’s a win, but I suppose if you’re in the PR industry, maybe so!
The one thing that boggles my mind, is that no one seems to pay any attention to the fact that the guitar player we already DO have can and does read social media, as can the other two. Sure, say what you will about his being a hired gun, or that the other two don’t care and it comes with the territory. The brunt of rumor and discussion doesn’t just affect fans. These guitar players are real people, and this “job” is their career. Sometimes, I think we fans forget that. I know that I do. Many fans feel that the band should have a thick skin by now, and it’s not a problem if they read that you think they suck, or that they completely destroy a guitar solo, or that you think there is only one guitar player for Duran Duran and that’s Andy….or even that the only guy we want onstage is Dom, or that we can’t stand Warren’s ego and refuse to have him back. I’m just not sure that any of that is right or fair to be saying, even when I’ve been the one to say it. So I’m trying my best to be fair. It isn’t easy. I have opinions and a favorite person like everyone else, but I also have to respect those that came before. It took all three: Andy, Warren and Dom, to keep Duran Duran afloat. I’m going to try not to forget that as we move forward. I don’t mind the discussion because we’re a blog and it is what we do, but I’m also a little surprised that the rumors (and that’s all they are at this point) have taken off so quickly. Out of all the debates in the community, this is truly the firestorm. I’m kind of glad I’m not one of the past or present guitar players for this band, that’s all I’m saying.
About that post-tour depression thing
I saw the band last on July 8th. On one hand, It feels like it could have been last week, and on another it feels like it has already been six months. Amanda and I have been tweeting with another friend of ours saying that this post-Duran Duran tour depression (it is a real thing!) has been much harder than normal. I’m in a funk, and naturally it’s because I don’t know that any other dates or new music or anything like that is coming….soon. Sure, the 40th anniversary is coming up, but we don’t know when/how/why/what, and that makes it all sort of enigmatic and ambiguous rather than having a certain something to calendar and look forward to. I’m not suggesting the band fix that by making announcements they’re not ready to make, but life as a fan is just hard sometimes. The waiting is not always fun. Social media helps to make me feel a little less disconnected. I’ve enjoyed being around more to tweet and be a general pain in the ass when necessary. You’re welcome. Bet you all are wondering when I go back to my real job… (the answer is soon)
I suppose on another hand…or foot…that a deep post-Duran tour depression is a sign of a very successful tour. I can’t disagree. I had a blast from start to finish. I’m still thinking about how it started for me at the Jimmy Kimmel show in Hollywood and how it ended at the Masonic in San Francisco for me, and I still smile. I still feel so damn lucky. I mean, I wasn’t even supposed to GO to shows this year. (At least, that is what my husband keeps saying. I don’t really understand his words. Obviously.) I went to four with my best friend. I saw my favorite person several times. I hung out with dear friends. We went to nightclubs. We drank enough vodka to wake up with Russian accents. We teased Simon and John pretty relentlessly. I heard fantastic music. I cried at least once during a show. I fell more in love with the band. AND…I was only spit on three out of the four times I was at a show this year. That’s success!!
I’m gonna miss teasing him until they come back….although I will try my best through social media whenever possible, because you know…it’s what I do. Besides, something has to stave off the sadness, dammit!
I’ve really enjoyed seeing pictures from John, Roger, and Simon on the band’s Instagram and Twitter. Simon never ceases to make me laugh, and I smile whenever I see something from John and Roger, too. Even Dom tweets sometimes. I almost think they’ve found a way to engage, and they may have hit on something that just might work for them, which is great. It makes sense too, because Duran Duran has always enjoyed creating a visual experience. Why not engage through pictures?
So yeah, those rumors drive me crazy sometimes, and other times get me thinking about how I respond. They can be a double-edged sword. The depression, on the other hand, makes me realize that I’m still not “cured” of this fandom. I still care, which is good since Daily Duranie turns seven next month.
Seriously, we’ve been doing this for seven years now? What??? We really are certifiable, Amanda!
Anyone heard the latest single from Michael Kratz featuring Dom titled “Never Take Us Alive”?
Interestingly enough, we didn’t hear about the single from Dom himself, but instead we caught it “through the grapevine”, and Amanda alerted me while I was…yes again…deep in the forests of Southern Washington. It is a miracle I had cell coverage, but no wi-fi, and unless I wanted to risk life and limb downloading it while using our (VERY!) limited data plan that has to be split between five family members, I had to wait until I got home to download and listen.
I tweeted Dom a few times about this, trying to get him to come out from under his rock (or out of his studio) to share the news of the single, to no avail. Turns out, I think he’s traveling. Having a holiday with family, as if that’s a thing or something. <wink> I did finally see a tweet from him announcing the song on release day, and that was it.
Seems to me he needs a PR person, or at least someone well-versed in social media to help him with this stuff. I know Dom works a lot outside of his Duran Duran touring, and produces for a lot of people. Seems to me he could really publicize far more than he is in order to help make a bigger name for himself…but what do I know? I merely write a daily, very-well read, fan blog that Amanda and I built from the ground up.
Did I mention that I work for cheap? 😀
I’m bad with names sometimes, but I couldn’t make a connection to Michael Kratz. So I searched for some basic information. Turns out, Michael Kratz is Danish, and has done session work over the years. He has several albums out in a style called west coast—a style attributed to the coast on which I live in America—and I’ve never heard of it before now. According to westcoast.dk, it’s a style that emphasizes melody, harmonics and arrangement. When I listen to Michael’s music, I hear heavy 1980s pop with lush electronic backing. It vaguely reminds me of some electronic musicians I’ve seen that tend to play small venues, and it’s usually just themselves and their keyboard set-up, but Michael’s work seems a bit more complex with far more dimension. It’s still very pop compared to anything on our radio these days.
I have a feeling that west coast music is one of those styles that is popular in other parts of the world, unbeknownst to those of us who live here…and so the rest of the world might think everything we listen to here in California sounds that way. Kind of like how most of the country (if not the world) thinks we all surf every day or have lunch with celebrities. Newsflash: we don’t. I haven’t been on a surf board since I was in my late teens, and using the word “on” is exaggerating, if you understand what I mean. I’m trying to remember the last time I saw a celebrity anywhere near me, and unless we’re talking Duran Duran….I think Teemu Selanne is the only one I can brag about. His daughter and mine were preschool chums, and my youngest is now nine.
Aside from being puzzled as to why Dom didn’t take full advantage of those of us who would buy nearly anything he’s worked on, I was happy to hear some new music from him. I wasn’t really ready for the full blast back to 1987 or 1988 when I listened to “Never Take Us Alive”, though, I must admit. That took more than one listen to warm up to, and I don’t want to pan Michael (or Dom) for that, it’s the style – and it’s just very different from what I might hear on any of our radio stations in the US right now. Dom’s guitar cuts right through the melody, adding much-needed “guts and groove”, and he sounds like he’s having a lot of fun playing it too, which I appreciate.
Yes, “Never Take Us Alive” is about as pop as you can get, reminding me of when I worked at (dating myself here) Millers Outpost (google it – the store was famous for having a denim “wall” in the back of the store and carried Levi’s 501s, an American clothing staple) in 1988. We had a stereo system in the store that played what felt like a revolving track of late 80s pop. Not a single The Cure or Duran Duran song to be heard, with endless hours of Lionel Richie, Steve Winwood, Terence Trent D’Arby (if I ever hear “Wishing Well” again…), Jermaine Stewart, Richard Marx, and so on. You get the idea. I quit working there after three very long months. I wonder why?
Rambling again…this is what happens when someone stays up until after 1am, watching The Killers concert stream from Las Vegas, I suppose. I need coffee.
Regardless, after many listens, I’ve decided the tune is catchy, and I’m starting to find myself humming the tune and knowing some of the words. Dom’s guitar adds exactly the right touch, and I love hearing his groove in the background, adding backbone and structure to a song that I have to admit would be incredibly shallow otherwise. It is worth the $1.29 download just to hear what he’s worked on. Sometimes it is easy to forget that Dom is a very accomplished session guitarist because he’s been with Duran Duran for so long. I will brag about him to anyone who will listen (or read!) and say that his session playing has improved a hundred-fold since I first started checking him out. I can hear the emotion and enjoyment in his playing, which can be challenging to do as a session player.
I only wish he’d let some of us help him publicize and brag about him a bit more!
Get your copy of Michael Kratz “Never Take Us Alive” on iTunes! Click on the photo to go to iTunes.
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!