Category Archives: Warren Cuccurullo

Today’s Date in Duran History – TV Mania!

Do you know what was released just ONE short year ago today?? TV Mania’s LONG awaited album, Bored with Prozac and the Internet?  There are times when I sit back and say “Wow, it’s been a year already?”, and this is one of those times. Where has that year gone???

For me personally, this is one of the very few albums in my lifetime that really made me sit back and take notice. Surprising (for me) in every sense. As I wrote back then, I fully expected to develop an instant dislike…or at least deep-apathy, for this album. That couldn’t be further from the truth, and as much as I enjoy listening to the album from my happy “home” (my computer, of course…as I’m still not quite bored with the internet, and Prozac just isn’t my thing), I love listening to it on vinyl even more. Even better? Warren REALLY outdid himself on this one. While I admittedly had trouble ever embracing him as a member of Duran Duran – his style of guitar just never quite worked for me – I still say his work on this album is nothing short of genius.

I still get a chuckle from the tweets sent from the @TVManiaMusic, and sometimes the tweets even give me a chance to stretch my brain a bit, which I enjoy.  I wish that Nick and/or Warren had the time/interest/compunction to communicate with fans…but I guess putting out an album that was a decade or more “in the making” was hard enough. Best not to push it. Can’t have it all, can we?

-R

The Video for Beautiful Clothes (TV Mania)–The Daily Duranie Review

Yesterday, we were pleasantly surprised to find out about the next video for TV Mania for the song, Beautiful Clothes.  While we knew that the video was coming as it was discussed during the TV Mania Katy Kafe, we didn’t know that it would be released on April 30th.  The video was premiered on yahoo and can be found here.  One thing that the news release mentions that is significant is that this video is directed by Nick Rhodes, his debut as a director.  Also, according to the release, the video should remind viewers of Duran videos like Girls on Film, The Chauffeur, Girl Panic and Electric Barbarella.

Rhonda’s thoughts:
I was really intrigued by the idea of a video for this song, partially because I loved the video for Euphoria, and I really like the idea of continuing the story of the family through this medium. I had no idea that Nick was going to be directing it, and when I read that this morning, I sat down right away to watch. (as opposed to doing what I should have been – which was getting my daughter ready for school!  What are five little minutes amongst friends?)  As I sat down to watch, I wondered what Nick would have in store. My mind immediately went to some of the photographs and visuals already supplied to us online as well as within the packaging for the album.  I thought about the song itself, and whether the video would have a full storyline, or if it would be a grouping of visuals…or if it would be its own entity.

Overall, the video fit within the framework that Nick and Warren built for the album.  I will go out on a limb and guess that the subject of the video is indeed meant to be Sassy (I am waiting expectantly by my inbox to be told otherwise!), showing her addiction to fashion. (and the camera, in my opinion.)  The videography was truly like a group of “moving pictures” straight out of Nick’s Bei Incubai.  I loved some of the effects and what they did for the imagery – such as the strobe-like lighting, the “TV” screen appearance of some of the frames, and even the way  “Sassy” was superimposed over other scenes, like the lips. (very 60s-esque.)  One scene that I found particularly amusing – given my current situation with my youngest, were the scenes where Sassy was standing next to what I think was Cinderella’s castle. I have a budding princess here at home too. She’s thoroughly convinced, and is currently training the rest of us to her line of thinking.  (HELP!)

I’m sure many who have watched the video can see the similarities between this video and many of Duran Duran’s.  The female model(s), the clothes…it has the mark of Duran Duran, but in a completely different way.  This video focuses purely on the aesthetic, not so much on the depth. It felt more like a photography shoot, or…in going with the story of the entire album…it very much reminded me of a young girl playing around in front of a mirror or with a video camera mounted on a tripod.  I have a teenage daughter, and it happens!  In this case, we know that Sassy is infatuated with herself, and desperately wants that fame and will do anything to get it.  The outfits, the eyelashes (love those pink lashes), the way she unnaturally sneers at the camera or blows bubbles…look at nearly any teenage girls Facebook page and you’ll likely see some of the same images.  One other thing that came to mind at the end of the video was when you see the girl chewing gum obnoxiously.  Reminds me just the teensiest bit of a certain synthesizer player in the video for Serious.  Hmm…interesting!

Absolutely, the video fits the entire project and Nick did not disappoint in his debut as a director.  I can’t say that I was surprised by the scenes or the way Nick directed the video, but I can say that I enjoyed watching. Is it the same as Duran Duran?  No, and if it had been, I would be writing a scathing review – this is TV Mania, and I love what they’ve created.  It isn’t mainstream, and it forces the listener/viewer to think.  Brilliant.

Amanda’s view:
I was looking forward to this video as this song is one of my favorites off of TV Mania and I adore the visuals that have accompanied every aspect of this side project.  Then, when I found out that Nick directed it, I was even more excited to watch it!  How will it compare with the rest of the project?  How will it compare with other things Nick has done, including his photography?

The video felt very fitting to me.  It had the same feeling as everything else released as a part of TV Mania and even had the feeling of much of Nick’s photographs from his current work back to his Interference project of the mid-1980s.  As the news article points out, this song focuses on the daughter and her obsession with clothes as well as her desire for fame.  Because of this focus, the video features women posing in various rooms or settings.  In many ways, most of the scenes felt like models in the midst of photography shoots.  These fictional photo shoots felt very realistic in terms of modern fashion with extreme hair or makeup, at times, revealing clothing and a focus on accessories from shoes to handbags to lipstick.  In this sense, this video does have elements similar to other Duran videos like the ones mentioned above.  Yet, even Girls on Film, which, as a song, discusses the life and exploitation of models, does not have the same flavor.  Girls on Film seems to show a lot of male fantasies, which may or may not be a part of various modeling jobs.  This video only had women and showed them in such a way that they were one-dimensional.  They were models only.  There was no behind-the-scenes like there was in GOF to give the aspect of complexity.  Now, I’m not saying that this is a negative, necessarily.  I’m pointing that while this video has some similarities to some Duran video, it doesn’t have the same feel.  TV Mania is not Duran.  Was Nick right in directing the scenes to only give this modeling characteristic?  I think so.  I think that is the point of TV Mania–to question how we take in media and fame.  Do we as a people forget that models (or rock stars, for that matter) are complex human beings with many sides to them?  Do we just see the surface, what is seen in the photograph?

Of course, there is more to the video than just the shots of what I perceive as models.  I was intrigued by the giant lips with the woman dancing in front of them.  This image really reminded me of something.  Perhaps, it reminded of TV in the past.  I almost waited for a 70s vibe.  Then, I wondered why the bubbles were used by the one model.  Was this to get me to question why models are asked to do what they are asked to do?  Was this just something that Nick thought looked visually interesting?  Am I missing the whole point?  Probably.  I think that is the best part of a video like this.  I have no choice but to think, to ponder.  I might watch the video 50 times or 500 times and noticed something new.  It may be a situation that something finally clicks with me at the 503 time.  I like that a lot.  Of course, there were parts that I got, or so I think.  I understand why beautiful clothes in neon seems to come across or through the woman’s mouth at the end of the video.  Is that because it is all that the daughter seemed to talk about?  So much to think about! 

While I think this video fits the project, is visually interesting, and shows off Nick’s artistic talent and vision, I can’t say that it is the most fun video to watch.  I won’t put the video on to just sit down and enjoy the entertainment.  I would put it on when I’m feeling like thinking, analyzing and experiencing a little art.

– A&R

Special Katy Kafe with TV Mania

I never get the chance to discuss a Katy Kafe, or so it seems.  Therefore, when a special edition popped up on my radar yesterday, I knew that I had to scrap my original idea about what to blog about to discuss it.  Of course, now that I have taken the time, I realize how challenging it is to figure out how to get started since there is a ton to talk about.  First, let me provide the link, in case you haven’t heard it and would like to.  Unlike most Kafes, this one is not just for DDM members.  If you would like to listen to it, you can go here.  Obviously, my discussion about it will focus on the most interesting moments and this Kafe did not had many of them!

There was, obviously, quite a bit of a discussion about the TV Mania project and how unique it is compared to other bands or to other side projects of Duran’s.  Part of its uniqueness is that there was this family created that truly reflected the society of the 1990s.  One of the questions that they were asked focused on who influenced the creation of their characters, specifically Sassy.  Nick explained how they were truly based on “extreme stereotypes” including the Dad is the “religious freak”, Mom is a “pill head”, the son is a computer hacker and online gamer and the daughter is a fame seeker through whatever means necessary.  While this wasn’t necessarily new information to me, I did find out that this family now has a space on Second Life.  Who knew?!  As someone who doesn’t go into Second Life ever, I had no idea.  My question to those of you do:  Can/have you interacted with them?!  Of course, the project is also unique because of the incredible focus on the visuals and how, musically, it creates a new genre, according to Warren, which I have to agree with.  He explains how it doesn’t fit into the electronic genre of the 1990s and doesn’t fit today.  Of course, the visuals for this project are everywhere.  Many of us are fascinated by Nick’s photography exhibit, which he discusses to some extent.  I didn’t realize that the images were divided into “vicious women” or “troubled women” but featured all the same model, who is the “Sassy” character.  Fascinating.  This is one of those moments when I truly wished that I could see this in person.  Of course, the vinyl packaging is also supposed to be something.  (I will discuss that when I receive my vinyl.  Anyone in the US get theirs yet??)  They also mentioned the video for Euphoria and how there is a video remix of that coming, along with the video for Beautiful Clothes.  I, for one, cannot wait for that!?  Nick also mentioned how there will be a “visual” surprise for What About God?

Speaking of which, the project unlike a lot of music out there really, obviously, reflects on society and popular culture.  While the project came out before a lot of the social networking sites were up, running and popular, they did talk about the current use of twitter.  For them, it is another visual.  They described it as a means to send out random thoughts and images to “stimulate the brand”.  That said, when asked about what they saw the future being like, Nick hoped that social networking still wouldn’t be as important as it is now.  Hmm…so he still isn’t a fan?  Yet, clearly, TV Mania is using it.  Is Second Life not social networking?  This is even more interesting as they introduced this idea of having TV Mania being a franchise with different TV Manias all over the world.  What would that be like?  It would be anyone who is interested in making music using samples, technology, different sounds and combining it with visuals.  There would then be a YouTube channel that would showcase these different ones.  Wow.  There is a lot to think about with this idea.  On one hand, I love the idea that everyone could do it.  It feels very punk rock in that sense.  I also adore the encouragement of art and creativity.  Yet, I wonder about the details.  How exactly would it work?  I’m sure there will be more information to come.

Of course, no Katy Kafe would be complete without some mention about what both Warren and Nick are up to.  Nick, as usualy, sounds super busy.  He mentioned how they were back in the studio with Mark Ronson with the hopes of releasing the album next year.  One personal project he has is to sort his photography archives, especially since they won’t be touring anytime soon.  Yet, the part that caught my attention is how he is working with John on some sort of elaborate musical project with a storyline!  Fascinating.  While they might be the oldest of friends, they certainly haven’t done much together outside of Duran.  In fact, when apart, they seem to have gone in opposite directions, musically, so I can’t wait to see what they could come up with together!  Warren is working with a singer from Stockholm on some sort of Missing Persons project and is busy with his production company. 

This Katy Kafe was jammed pack with both information and with interaction.  Katy, often, didn’t get a word in edgewise as frequently Warren and Nick would just keep discussion alive.  If you are a fan of hearing interaction, then, this is a good one to listen to.  Sometimes, it was hard to pick out the information through all of the interaction and, at times, humor.  I appreciated the little jokes like the idea that TV Mania would tour in 2031 since it seems to take a long time to do things surrounding the project or when Nick stated how it was -500 degrees there.  Oh, Nick.  Try living in Wisconsin the last few months!  There is still snow on the ground that has been around since before Christmas.  All of that said, I can see where Warren fans would enjoy this Kafe more than others.  For me, I just loved hearing that there is more to look forward to with TV Mania and other projects!

-A

The video for Euphoria (TV Mania) – The Daily Duranie Review

We have given everyone a few days so that they could go and catch a glimpse of the new video before we decided to tackle it in a review…we hope you’re ready!

Rhonda’s view:

The trouble with video – at least the trouble that I seem to have – is that they all seem to be about the same these days. There isn’t the rush to create something new or unusual. I think that at least in part that must be due to the relative lack of importance or priority that video is given these days.  As a child of the 80s, I have to admit, the thought is heartbreaking. I loved video.  I loved Duran Duran. The two go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. The thought that video has gone from being this obscure medium that only the very coolest bands  really did back in the very late 70s and 80s, to mainstream MTV in the mid to late 80’s…to now, where MTV has actually forgotten what their name stands for…or stood for…well, you get my point. Sure, there’s YouTube. It just isn’t the same, and I think that many bands out there really don’t know how to use YouTube properly in order to get the desired effect.  I’m just not sure. Regardless of my rambling, I wasn’t sure what to expect with Euphoria at all.

Here is the thing, the visuals are striking, so much so that even I, the cynical one, took notice. I adore the Marilyn-esque way that Miss Mosh takes up the main character. There’s nothing blasé about the colors: vivid red, black, white..even some yellow and blue in parts. It is visually stunning. There are even some very, very familiar things that no one but the most aware fans would notice. I saw imagery reminiscent of Too Much Information and Come Undone, for example. I did chuckle at the slightly crazed, demonic grin Nick gives from behind his slumber-mask, and of course I recognized Warren both with his guitar and in a hooded sweatshirt throughout the video. No fans should be disappointed, rest assured.

The storyline is also worthy of mention here, as it is carried out in this video. Miss Mosh plays the part of who I think MUST be Sassy (and if there is some question – there is a scene early on in the video where she is pictured just as on the cover design of the album.), and she is quite liberal with her usage of whatever drug she needs in order to feel that euphoria.  Aren’t we all. (My drug just happens to be in the form of a band with five guys…yours?) So the video and all of the visual contained within is about what that euphoria must be like.

There is so much in this project to be looked at and examined. I have read many, many comments from fellow fans who are less-than-enthused by the music…and to be fair I would have EASILY thought I would be amongst them, but what can I say? Nick and Warren have me sold. Not only did I enjoy the video, I find myself wondering what they would do with videos for “What about God” or my current favorite on the album, “Paramount”…or even perhaps the more obvious (but is it really?) “Beautiful Clothes”. I find myself curious about the story of this family – and admittedly, I recognize at least part of my OWN family’s story in what they are trying to convey. Like I said – I think we’ve all got a drug to keep us going.  Mine is just a little more exciting than Prozac these days.  (And I’m not at all bored!)

Well played Nick and Warren, well played.

Amanda’s thoughts:

I’m not sure where to start with this one.  We have been doing videos for the question of the day lately and I always wonder what makes people decide one video or the other.  Is that a particular band member looks better in one than the other?  Is that they can’t separate which song they like better?  Is it that one is more enjoyable than the other?  Maybe, it is that one is more creative or clever than the other?  Whatever it is, I knew that I couldn’t think about this video in the same way.  As I watched it, I was sad that Rhonda and I weren’t together to see it or even to discuss it as it felt way more like a piece in a contemporary art museum than an ordinary video.  You see it is very common for Rhonda and I to spend time in contemporary art museums whenever we are together or on tour.  Yes, it is also common for us to discuss the pieces and what they might mean.  I think the same could be said for this video.  The dialogue surrounding it could be endless.

As soon as I start watching the video, I am bombarded with influences or other things that the video reminds me of.  Of course, I could mention the ones that Rhonda did and she isn’t wrong with Too Much Information and Come Undone.  The focus on the female and clothing like her stockings certainly reminded me of The Chauffeur.  Yet, I also saw similarities to the Unstaged production that David Lynch directed, particularly with the smoke and the image of the tiny plane pointing downwards in the beginning of the clip.  It also reminded me of Dirty Great Monster performed live on Broadway.  I know that I will never forget that.  For that song, screens were lowered with the band in between.  On the screens, various colors were projected in an amazing, visually stunning way.  The colors were constantly changing and yet, the band continued to be shrouded somewhat by them.  It was a fantastic way to showcase that song and one that I’m forever bummed that I never had the chance to see it live more than once.  I remember my friend, who went with me and isn’t a Duranie, muttering, “wow” over and over after it was done.  Clearly, we were both in awe.  Obviously, the projections over Miss Mosh reminded me of that as did the changing colors of the smoke.  Did those projections over her expose her or hide her or both at the same time?  The other thing I thought about while watching the video was of Cindy Sherman’s art work.  Her work is so hyper realistic of people in modern surroundings with vivid colors that I couldn’t help but to think of her work when Miss Mosh is standing by the pool, still, wearing bright red.  I love that the video make me think of all of these other artistic pieces!

Beyond the connections to other elements, I was fascinated by the main character and what she represents in modern day life.  Obviously, she is taking a lot of drugs to get that sense of “euphoria”.  Is that what we all need?  Is that we think we all need?  What about the fact that she is in tight clothing?  (Yes, I know that she is a fetish model outside of this video.)  What does her clothing represent?  Does it represent that we are all restricted in some way but don’t know it or don’t care?  Then, of course, there are the words that flash across the screen, at times.  Here are the ones I caught:  “I am Euphoria”, “so much to see”, “watch it”, and “you 444 eee aah”.  I understood the first three but what about the last one?  No clue.  Yet, I like the idea that I might have to try and figure it out.  Obviously, the “so much to see” and “watch it” combined with even the logo of TV Mania with the bar code could show how much advertising is part of our lives and how we have to buy things to experience that “euphoria”.  Heck, even drugs are advertised on TV.

As you can tell, I definitely enjoy analyzing a video like this.  There is “so much to see” that I think more and more could be picked out each and every time that you watch it.  Is this a video like Hungry Like the Wolf with an obvious, don’t-need-to-think-much storyline?  Nope.  It isn’t.  I can appreciate both for different reasons.  I can appreciate this one for its artistic merits and that one for the fun aspect of it.  Both can and do have a place.  The one thing that I question about this video is adding Nick and Warren to it.  While they aren’t on screen much, I wish that they had left it just a purely artistic piece.  The fact that they are there takes a little bit of that away.  Every shot of either one of them I am reminded that it is a music video.  I wanted more pure art, I guess.  Overall, though, the video is fascinating.  I would love to see what they would do with other songs on the album.  I bet they would be equally, if not more, interesting and artistic.

TV Mania’s “Bored with Prozac and the Internet?” – The Daily Duranie Review

As promised, we present our review of TV Mania’s “Bored with Prozac and the Internet?” We want to begin with the disclaimer that, once again, we are not professional reviewers.  We are merely a couple of fans who force our opinions on the rest of you. As such, we should also probably admit that neither of us listen to a ton of electronica, nor do we really listen much to experimental music.  That posed a bit of a challenge for us in deciding exactly how to review this project, but in the end we agreed that the best thing to do is just listen. So we did….

Rhonda’s take:

I have to admit that when I first heard about this album finally seeing the light of day, I really paid almost no attention. I took note in the back of my mind, and went on about my day – not really thinking much about it until a brand new, interesting sort of Twitter account showed up on my radar. I paid rapt attention to @TVManiaMusic – I enjoyed the banter between the tweeter and those of us who desperately wanted to somehow decipher the images, comments and quotes into something that made sense. I was so curious, and the art-geek within me LOVED trying to figure out what all of it meant. Anyone who has been reading this blog for any amount of time probably knows that Amanda and I do that – with vim and vigor – whenver the band releases anything new. Overthinking? Yes!! I was delighted when the banter went on for several weeks (I’m honestly thrilled they are keeping it up!) Even so, I was concerned about the music. Would I like it? Would I appreciate the work? I was almost relieved when someone posted “Euphoria” – because I could finally listen and see how I would react.  I shakily pressed the play button and hoped for the best.

It is not Duran Duran. But then if it had been, I would have been incredibly and deeply disappointed. Nick and Warren do not disappoint.

I have learned to love this project over time…and for me, that’s the best part about it all. It isn’t JUST music. It isn’t JUST art. It isn’t JUST a story about a family, or a commentary on our addiction to media. It isn’t JUST an album. It is an art project that has grown beyond the boundaries and expectations of anything I ever had in mind. I can listen to the songs over and over again and hear something completely different every single time without fail – it is that good.  No my friends, this isn’t Duran Duran, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away.  I hear very recognizable things on the album that are worth your time and worth opening your mind wide enough to appreciate. “What About God” has this chord section at the beginning that reminds me SO much of “Tiger Tiger” with a smidgeon of “Faith in this Colour”, I half expect to hear Roger’s drums or at the very least envision those ever-familiar semi-trucks at the beginning of “Sing Blue Silver”.  “Euphoria” – the very first song I heard off of the album has vocals that I would swear sound like “Love Voodoo”.  Then there is “Paramount”, the one song off of the album that has a real melody line that can nearly get one dancing. I love the “music box” type feel of “What’s in the Future”, and let me say one thing about Warren’s guitar. It is amazing. (That’s right…you read that correctly and no – no one is paying or forcing me to say that!) I couldn’t have ever been able to guess how he would have incorporated a guitar with Nick’s synthesizers on this project, and I really questioned how it would work. I love his work on “Beautiful Clothes” and “I Wanna Make Films”.  No question here, there are some really “out there” songs on this album as well – “Yoghurt and Fake Tan”, “Using a Hidden Camera” and even “People Know Your Name” can be tough to get through if you’re not into the more experimental type of music. I think the key there is to listen without judgment – see the forest through the trees. This is not a dancing, singing along type of album. It is the kind of album, much like most really interesting artwork out there, that forces you outside of your comfort zone and convinces you that your taste can grow beyond its assumed boundaries. Challenge yourself and download it.

Amanda’s thoughts:

Rhonda is right that we don’t listen to a ton of electronica, but I did more in the past when I was into more EBM, techno, industrial, etc.  I went into this album with that lens on, rather than my usual lens as a Duranie.  To me, it wouldn’t be fair to judge this project in any other way.  Likewise, if and when we go back to review an album like Neurotic Outsiders, we will need to look at it with a much harder rock lens on.  I, for one, absolutely appreciate that Duran and their related projects dive into so many different genres and styles.  I don’t find that with other bands that I listen to.

Rhonda mentions in her review about how she didn’t think much about the project until the tweets began with their variety of pictures, commentary, characters and more.  I was worse.  I knew that I would buy the album, think about it and even review it.  I own everything I can, including side and solo projects and like Rhonda mentioned, I definitely enjoy analyzing whatever the band or the band members put out there.  I, too, am a lover of art (it’s in my genes!) so once I knew that there was more to this project than a series of songs, I began to get more intrigued.  That said, I didn’t get into the tweets.  I was out of town when they began and had a hard time catching up with work, sleep and household chores when I returned so that something had to give.  It was TV Mania’s twitter.  Now, I check out the tweets when I can, but I don’t think it is the same as I had been around in the beginning with them.  The one thing I definitely did avoid by choice, however, was all of the samples of songs that were released in some way.  Why?  It wasn’t that I was avoiding hearing them.  Nope.  I just wanted to hear them for the first time on the vinyl I had ordered (still not here.  Ugh.).  I also wanted to absorb the whole project by listening and looking at the packaging at the same time.  I suspect I will have things to say when the vinyl does arrive.  I gave in this weekend and finally downloaded it.  I needed to hear it.

As Rhonda mentioned, it isn’t Duran.  We couldn’t review it like we do their songs.  The instrumentation will not be separated from the lyrics and vocals.  These songs don’t work that way.  Yet, I still struggle for an adequate way to describe what I hear and what I think exactly.  This is exactly what I think when I walk through a contemporary art museum.  Generally, at the end of a visit, I will determine the pieces I liked the most were the ones that got me thinking and feeling the most.  These songs do that.  Some songs work better in that regard than others.  Sometimes, it is the subject matter that seems to grab my attention even though there aren’t lyrics in the same way a usual song has them.  A song like, “What About God?”, is a perfect example of that.  I wonder about the samples chosen and like that they make me think about an intense topic of religion and religion is our modern times.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the song has not only samples, but layers of other sounds, too, including bells at times, female vocals at others.  Other songs grab my attention because they are like what Rhonda mentioned–reminders of Duran, at least in some small way.  “Beautiful Clothes” is the most mainstream of all of these songs and definitely sounded like something that could have been on Medazzaland.  A song like “Euphoria” begins with a sample that sounds like just classic sci-fi, which Duran has always been connected to right from the beginning with the fascination with space.  Even the female vocal in that song reminds me of a certain 70s vibe.  Frankly, there were moments in many of the tracks that reminded me of The Devils (side project of Nick and Stephen Duffy’s that really was the first Duran tracks).  I think that is the part of this project that I was most surprised by and pleased with–the fact that it managed to sound both completely modern, very 90s and decades before that.  This mix would often be found in the same song like “People Know Your Name”.

On top of everything cool with this project and there are many, I found myself being hyper productive this weekend while listening to it.  The songs got into my head and did make me want to listen more to figure out all the layers.  I definitely could see that this will be one album that I would get something different out of it every time I listened to it.  I definitely recommend it to those people who want to step out of the norm, think a little bit about society, and have music that is a real unique art form.

What’s In the Future? (TV Mania)

I think it’s time for a little TV Media update, don’t you?  It has been quite some time since I last mentioned the genius tweets coming from “some unknown entity” behind the Twitter name @TVManiaMusic, or how much I admire the entire basis for the album.  I haven’t even heard the album in its entirety yet, and yet I find myself very much intrigued.

I know how Duran Duran fans can be – many aren’t interested in listening to other incarnations – if its not Duran Duran as they know it, forget it.  There are times when I can be just as judgmental so I won’t point fingers, but I recognize the attitude well. I think that in this case, I’m very curious about what Nick and Warren came up with, and yet when the project was first announced, I won’t lie – I’m fairly certain I rolled my eyes in response.  I suppose part of me felt that this project needed to be kept in the past, and even as Nick would say from time to time that they were going to release it, part of me thought it would never see the light of day. Durantime, right?

Truthfully, I don’t think I became “interested” until I saw that someone was posting from Twitter on @TVManiaMusic.  Now, I wasn’t too terribly concerned with whom was posting as much as I saw each tweet as a bit of a clue to something much larger.  I liked trying to connect the dots or see the meaning behind what I know a lot of people felt was pure madness.  Sure, some of what was posted was crazy and downright weird – but that only made me more curious!!  I was worried that once I heard the music I’d be turned off – I figured that anything Nick and Warren could work on together would be way too “out there” for my tastes (Which are far more down and dirty rock with plenty of guitar, drums, bass, etc.), so I almost didn’t want to hear music until the album came out.

I have really enjoyed seeing the photos, websites and other things that Nick or Warren…or someone has tweeted.  I love art, and I’ll admit – the stranger the art the better.  I love trying to decipher the story, which is why “Bored with Prozac and the Internet?” has been so fun for me personally – and once again I say, I haven’t even really heard the music yet!  I must have been craving a full immersion art/music project like this, and believe me – I am wishing that I had the funds and time available for a trip to London right now so that I could see Bei Incubi, a photo exhibition by Nick Rhodes that will be at The Vinyl Factory Chelsea from March 8 through April 6.  It is one of those times when I do wish traveling were easier for me, and I envy the UK folks that are able to attend.

Edited midday Thursday (CA time) to include a youtube link to a sneak peak of Bei Incubi, filmed by Mark Tinley!

The other day, I decided to take another look at the TV Mania website to see if it had been completed, and to my delight – it has been finished.  As I was looking around, I noticed a few things that I really want to share.  To begin with, if you have not taken the time to read the “Info” page – you really should.  Not only is the background history of the project explained, but just below, Nick gives a fabulous synopsis of the album storyline, with incredible detail.  As I tweeted to Nick yesterday – if the whole “Duran Duran” thing doesn’t work out, I think he has the beginnings to a great work of fiction here!

Something like this might be somewhat foreign to many Duran Duran fans since I really don’t believe that there has been an album project quite like this one – complete with a full storyline – in the band’s catalog. Some of the most influential albums in the history of music have been huge concept albums similar (yet not nearly as broadly carried out) to “Bored with Prozac and the Internet?”  The fact that the storyline and concept has been carried on through the music, the artwork on the album as well as the art that Nick has created to work in tandem with the album, and even on to social media is not lost on me. There is a place in history to be owned by TV Mania Music for being the first to carry a concept across so many dimensions of media.  Mark my words, without even hearing the entire album I would be surprised if someday there isn’t a space in rock (modern) music history books discussing this project.

Which leads me to the music, of course.  It is true, this music is going to be very, very different from anything we have ever heard from Duran Duran. We are going to review the album here on Daily Duranie, and I nearly shake in fear of the prospect purely because it IS so different. These aren’t necessarily songs you put on and sing along with on the radio (and if you do…I am just as curious!), and I think they have to be examined on the basis of artistic content as opposed to being held to a certain predetermined standard.  It’s just like visual art – like a modern painting – in that respect. I’m excited (and nervous!) by the challenge ahead.

Once again I realize that there are plenty of great fans out there that have no interest.  I can understand that, after all – Cubist or Modern or Dada (artwork) isn’t for everyone.  That said, generally speaking it is my belief that broadening horizons every once in a while is good for the soul – even if you don’t love what you hear or see, one can certainly appreciate the groundbreaking concept and execution.

-R

We’ll all be famous for just 15 minutes…my love/hate relationship with rumor.

I have a love/hate relationship with rumor. Maybe I should write that as hate/love. I really detest hearing rumors because they tend to be time wasters. More often than not, they are completely ridiculous and I have to wonder what happened to creativity. I mean, if you’re going to spout rubbish, let’s be a little unique, shall we? On the other hand, I love to sit back and wonder how each little piece of created news began. I also like to be the one cracking the rumors (don’t we all?), but more often than not I’m usually left wondering if it’s true only to be told otherwise. I can’t get over my natural curiosity for such things though. Where most want the rumor to be proven (whether true or false), I’m sitting there wondering who really started such a thing…how it happened…and why. What did that person think they were going get out of starting such a thing. Did they just figure if they flung enough mud, something would stick? Yes, I really spend time thinking about that as everyone else is in a panic.  Then I start in thinking about the panic and how quickly it spreads like wildfire. I know, I’m “unique”. (That’s a nice word for crazy in this case. I know.)

My personal opinion of rumors in this community is that we get bored with not hearing any news and so we decide to make up our own. I kind of think in some respects this is narcissistic behavior raising it’s ugly head. People like being the center of attention and you know, if a well-placed news tidbit gets us noticed, what harm could it do??…and besides, it could be true. What seems like something so innocent – like simply giving our opinion on something – could easily wind out of control. Once upon a time (back during the writing and recording of the RCM album – which I personally felt went on about 18 months too long.), I remember some crazy rumor flying through the community about the band working with Kanye West. I suppose that it was very possible that phone calls had been exchanged between Kanye’s people and Duran’s. I don’t know – that’s why I get paid the big bucks. (Oh wait….)  Anyway, I was pretty frustrated at the time and mentioned on our message board that I bet I could start rumors about the band working with Britney Spears and that it would fly.  Not long after that I did a search (Yes, I had free time back then.) on Duran Duran working with Britney Spears. Lo and behold – news items popped up citing “rumors read on fan message boards”. Honestly people. If you’re going to use MY completely fabricated, totally false rumor, at least credit me as the source. Dammit. See how quickly things start?

Not too long ago, there was a rumor circulating – and maybe it is still out there – that John is leaving the band. I felt pretty sure that wasn’t happening. The rumor made no sense, and aside from his continued (and very much noted) absence from Twitter, as far as I can tell, that rumor was a complete waste of time. However, every now and then, I still see people chatting about the possibility. Their theory? Well, he’s not on Twitter, now is he? I often wonder if people have ever heard of taking a break. Maybe he needed time to get his own personal priorities back in line? Maybe he just saw Twitter as a time waster and he needed to move on. Perhaps something spurred him into realizing that he needed to be present in his own private life. Sometimes things happen that we aren’t necessarily privy, which I recognize is a very tough concept for fans. He has this entire other life of which you and I are not a part. I also know I’m not too worried. I figure he’ll either come back when he’s ready, or he won’t and I’ll still wave to him at the next show. Either way, I think he’s still in the band and I think that while the rumor annoyed the hell out of many of us, we need to just relax a little.

That brings me to just this past week, when I started noticing discussion on Twitter that caught my eye, but I didn’t get involved until I started getting personal messages. I hesitate to bring it up, but I think it’s worth noting if only for the sheer magnitude of seeing what gets the community riled up. The discussion has been something about hearing that Warren was back with the band again, and people wondered what would happen to Dom. Oh boy…here we go, right? First of all, I have no knowledge of any of it, whether it’s true or not. However, let’s just look at some facts, just for fun. TV Mania is coming out with their album on March 11th, correct? Warren at least appears to be helping out with the promotion of that album’s release, and seems to also be helping out with the @TVManiaMusic Twitter. Maybe…because we still can’t really tell for sure who the creative genius is behind all of that. The 20th anniversary for the Wedding Album (Duran Duran) took place on February 23rd.  Warren offered a beautifully written piece on his thoughts of that special anniversary, as did the rest of the band. Then Katy (who I honestly don’t think realized what was going on in the fan community with regard to this rumor) mentioned how fun it was to work on that piece with everyone. Then finally, someone let me know that Warren was hanging out in DD’s Second Life.  Somehow all of those things, as disjointed as they seem to me – have made some people in the community believe that Warren is back in Duran Duran, and they just haven’t told Dom yet. Or the fans.  Can you just envision my eyes rolling right now???

I know I’m not commenting unless this really becomes news, and this my friends…is not news, it’s wild guessing and assumption at this point. It’s only worth mentioning because it is another example of just how quickly rumors spread and grow out of almost nothing. Stop the insanity!

We must really and truly be bored…which is why I will close this with a bit of news:  Mark your calendars and plan to be in Chicago, October 18-20 for a DD fan convention!!  More details to come this week!!

-R

I dream of ostriches and chariots…

The mystery continues…

I cannot help but comment once again on @TVManiaMusic – and if you’re not following them on Twitter, you really should. As I mentioned yesterday, the tweets are mildly chilling at times, probably over the fence in freakyland, but amusing all the same. The fact is, they get you thinking, even if you’re not into seeing broccoli shaped as a purse, or an eyeball looking at you on someone else’s blog.  
I tend to be curious about the actual content of what is being tweeted – I want to know why I am looking at a lady riding an ostrich-pulled chariot, for instance; or what is significant about a voice-activated tape recorder (although one of those saved my behind in college, and I don’t mind dating myself to say that!!)  Though I suspect that it isn’t the tweets as a whole that should be considered, but rather that each tweet is independent of one another…kind of in the same respect as what would happen if you changed channels on your TV.  (TV Mania…get it?!?) These tweets are sort of like sound bytes.  If they had sound…. 
Others are obsessed with trying to discern who is tweeting.  Is it Nick?  Is it Warren?  Is it Katy?  (I said that if Nick was emailing all of this to Katy who then in turn tweeted – she wasn’t being paid enough. I stand by that assessment.)  My Twitterfeed was all abuzz last night with friends discussing the possibilities, as well as the freak-factor, and I too wondered just who could be responsible. Yesterday there seemed to be a preponderance of tweets with subtle messages regarding art, fashion and even pop culture…but there were also at least a couple with regard to every housewife’s favorite drug – Prozac. (Hey, I hear that’s the case. Personally I wouldn’t touch the stuff, but those are my own control issues at work and I make no judgements otherwise.) I’m still slightly obsessed with the idea of an ostrich pulling me around on a chariot though.  I think I’d prefer a male peacock.  More showy…  I still haven’t solved the puzzle of whom is tweeting, but I have come up with a question of my own.
Does it really matter?
As I mentioned to some friends last night, I don’t think the point of @TVManiaMusic is to chat with followers.  Maybe that will change (I’m doubtful), but I think the point is exactly what it is doing – it’s getting us talking about it, and thinking.  While I think it’s natural to be curious of who might be working behind the scenes, the goal of the twitter isn’t necessarily to communicate on that sort of level with fans. It is to get the fans talking to one another. It’s to market the cause. The more we talk, the more we mention the name, the more our own friends and followers get curious, follow and so on. It’s funny because while I do think the band has gotten closer to the fans as a result of Twitter, I am not so sure it’s an effective marketing tool in so far as sales. Think about that.  How many of us who are following them right now (@DuranDuran, @ThisistherealJT, @SimonJCLeBon, @DomBrownMusic) would NOT have bothered buying All You Need is Now if it hadn’t been for Twitter?  I would argue that number to be very, very few – if any.  However, @TVManiaMusic seems to be utilizing the media much differently, and while right now their follower number is low (if you are reading this right now and are already on Twitter – follow them – and if not, go grab yourself an account and get following!), those who are following are curious.  Curiosity might actually lead to sales.  
I still hope, as do the rest of you who are obsessed with broccoli purses, eyeballs and ostrich-driven chariots, that Nick or Warren will make themselves known…but until then, I look forward to being baffled yet again, and in case you were wondering, I’m very curious about that album now!
-R

Notorious!

On today’s date in 1986, Notorious was released.

I had difficulty coming up with a blog topic day (as a quick aside – happy birthday to my husband!!!), so I shot a note to Amanda for help.  She responded with a couple of ideas, and as I glanced at them I realized that I have almost no memory of Notorious. The only thing I can tell you is that I was sitting in the back of my parents car on the way up to Oak Glen, California to pick apples when I first heard the song, Notorious on the radio. Picking apples was one of my favorite “Autumn” activities as a child, and I looked forward to our yearly trip to the small town for apples, pies and a picnic under the many oak trees. I remember hearing the very first note and knowing it was Duran Duran, without a doubt. I didn’t know an album was in the process of being made, and I was very surprised to hear them. I don’t remember if I even knew that Andy and Roger had left the band, to be honest, but I think that by this time I must have known. And…that’s about all I’ve got for a memory of that time.

What is interesting in hindsight is how quickly I knew the song was indeed Duran Duran.  It was instantaneous, almost like Pavlov’s bell. As soon as I heard it, I knew who it was and I could feel the excitement build within, like a glass pitcher being filled with water to the very top. Back then, I relied heavily on the radio for all of my Duran news – while maybe many of you were involved in the fan club or had other ways of getting the latest intel from the group – I wasn’t quite that connected. In many ways, I was incredibly far removed from the world of Duran Duran. I probably didn’t hear information until it was nearly stale, and somehow – I miss that complete ignorance at times. You know what they say? Ignorance is bliss.  Sometimes, I still feel that way.

I don’t think I even recognized that there was somebody else on drums when I heard the music for the first time. I have a funny way of ignoring the obvious if my psyche needs – and for me the absence of a Mr. Roger Taylor would have been pretty traumatic, so I am almost sure I didn’t allow myself to even come to terms with that little notion until much, much later.  Of course, this was also the album that brought Warren Cuccurullo to the band. The funk that can be found on this album wasn’t something I really appreciated much until many years later (although I did love the song Notorious from day one), but it was an odd time.

I guess that for me, Notorious marked a brand new beginning. It put an exclamation point on the idea that Duran Duran would continue on. I had to get used to the idea of three. Three remaining original band members. I mourned the loss of Roger and Andy. I wondered why they left, I wondered if I would ever grow to appreciate the new guys, and mostly I wondered if the band would ever be the same.

-R

“I Know the Answer…but…I’m Asking You the Question”

For the last month or so, our “daily” questions have become weekly ones.  Specifically, we have been asking people what they would like to ask the various band members if they had a chance to do a serious interview.  I went with this theme for a couple of reasons.  First, we are always complaining about how lame most questions are in an actual interview.  Heck, I think a lot of thought that of the non-fan questions asked during the Diamond in the Mind premiere were boring.  Second, this would give people an opportunity to think, seriously, about what they would like to know.  Unfortunately, the band has not asked us to present these questions to them.  (Have no fear, though, I have saved them…in case, pigs fly, and they do ask!)  Thus, we are not able to get the actual answers but, like everything else, this theme has taught me about our fandom, which is always a good thing! 

Each week, I asked what 10 questions people would like to ask a band member and I named that band member.  When it got to this week, which was the guitarist spot, I played it safe by allowing questions for any of the guitarists (Andy, Warren or Dom) or a combination of two or all three.  What was fascinating to me was which member received the most questions (John) and which one received the least (Simon).  Why is that?  Of course, not every question I got was of a serious nature no matter how many times I emphasized that.  Thus, I did not count things like, “Can I have your baby?” or “Will you marry me?” or things like that.  I definitely understand the instinct to do that.  Trust me, I do.  Nonetheless, I didn’t include those as I would never ask that for real and doubt that most fans would.  So, why did John receive the most questions and Simon the least?  I don’t really know but I could make some conclusions based on the responses I did get and based on our fandom.  First, people have gotten pretty comfortable asking John questions since he joined Twitter.  In fact, in most cases, when John is on, he is responding to questions or comments directed at him.  Simon, on the other hand, doesn’t use Twitter in the same way.  While he might respond to people every once in awhile, he doesn’t do it consistently like John does.  Second, people either seem to believe that Simon wouldn’t be serious in an interview or that they would not be able to ask him a question due to nerves, excitement, etc.  I can definitely understand being nervous!  I would be ridiculously nervous as well if I ever had the chance to ask them one question…never mind 10!  Again, though, I find it fascinating that people would be more nervous with Simon over John, Roger, Nick, Andy/Warren/Dom.  Why is that?  As for Simon not taking the interview seriously, I actually disagree with this.  Yes, I have seen Simon be “silly” but, for the most part, Simon is very pleasant and personable in interviews, at least in the ones I have seen.  Maybe, someone can point out interviews in which he doesn’t take them or the interviewers seriously. 

Beyond who got the most and least questions, I was also fascinated about what topics each band member was asked about.  Roger’s questions focused a lot on his decisions to leave the band and rejoin the band as well as the time in between.  I get wanting to know about that.  Of course, there were other topics touched on, including his family, touring, fans, music in general, health and DJing.  Nick’s questions, on the other hand, focused a lot more about art, fashion, photography, and traveling.  Nick was asked about Andy but Roger wasn’t.  Why is that?  Of course, Nick was also asked some questions about TV Mania, occupations, keyboarding and more.  John’s questions focused a lot on his life experiences, touring and Duran’s music.  In fact, John got the most questions about Duran’s music.  That fascinates me.  After all, John wasn’t there for an album and a half and there are many fans out there that feel like Nick and Simon are at the heart of the band (I don’t agree with this, by the way.) but they weren’t asked about Duran’s music nearly as much.  In fact, John was asked 21 different questions relating to their music and career.  Nick was asked 5 and Simon was asked 4.  What does this mean?  Does it mean that John is more about their music whereas Nick is more about the art/fashion/image that goes with the music, or so people think?  I don’t know, but I do find it interesting. 

Then, of course, when I asked about the guitarist, people responded in a fairly predictable way.  People’s preferences for one guitarist came through loud and clear.  Many seemed annoyed at the band for not making Dom an official member.  Others seemed irritated that Andy left and still others pointed out Warren’s contributions to the band.  I was not trying to stir the pot or bringing up old wounds.  I just wanted the guitarist spot to be treated equally, no matter who was occupying that position.  Obviously, what I was reminded of is how strongly people in our fan community feel about their guitarist of choice.  We aren’t united on this issue at all.  While some would welcome Andy back in a heartbeat, others now prefer Dom.  Yet, Warren would make others happy, if he returned.  It is not surprising to me that we are all so passionate about the guitarist.  After all, they have their own unique styles and represent very important times in the band.  It is difficult to separate the player from the music he was involved with.  For example, Andy will always be part of the Fab 5 and those early albums that many of us fell in love with.  Warren, on the other hand, was part of the album that brought the band back into the spotlight and many can argue that saved the band’s career with the Wedding Album.  Some prefer where the band is now with their latest, All You Need is Now, and would never want to replace Dom because of it. 

This weekly question theme was not as popular as our daily questions, but I am glad that I asked them.  Some things I knew about our community was reinforced, like how people are divided over guitarists.  I learned other things that surprised me, including that people would focus on Duran’s music and history with John.  Starting on Monday, we will go back to daily questions.  In fact, we will be doing brackets for Duran songs as influenced by one of our guest bloggers and guest blog, which you can read here.  I doubt the responses will be as insightful as these have been but I’m hoping that they are fun for all involved!

-A