(Amanda kind of dared me to use this as the title, and maybe you’ll see why in a bit.)
I have spent my day re-writing. A wise person once told me that writing is really re-writing. I really wish I’d listened more carefully because they weren’t kidding. My brain is now fried, so let’s all hope for the best and expect the worst for this particular post!
I haven’t been to a single show yet (well, recently is probably more accurate), and so my excitement has been confined to being thrilled for other fans, and reading the inevitable reviews following a show day.
As I mentioned in my first paragraph, I’m struggling with the basic thought process, so I’m probably going to be more honest and blunt than usual. With that in mind, I’m just going to say it: I always look for Dom’s name in the reviews. Is that wrong? I say no. Most of the rest of the band gets mentioned in each review; but it’s not always that way for Dom, so to see him be mentioned certainly isn’t a bad thing. Likewise when the band is interviewed – typically they are being asked about themselves and their career. It’s really rare to see them asked about their guitarist, so when they are and someone brings up Dom’s talent – I notice.
Imagine my delight when Simon is asked about working with guitar players in today’s edition of The Morning Call. John Moser conducts the interview with Simon by phone (By the way Mr. Moser, it’s Nile. Nile Rodgers) and asks about how they got together with John Frusciante for the album. Simon explains how they were contacted by John, and Moser follows up by asking Simon if he’s worried about replicating the sound live.
“Well [laughs] we’ve got an amazing guitarist, which is Dom Brown [he’s been the band’s touring guitarist since 2006*.] Dom in very versatile; he’s been a session player for years and years and years before he became part of the Duran Duran setup. And if anybody can do it live, Dom Brown can.” – Simon Le Bon
I know that as a writer, I should be taking “myself” out of this blog – but the fact is, I could have cried in that moment I read that line. I tweeted my one-word comment and the link out to Dom, because you know what? He so deserves the kudos. Damn Simon, making me feel all sappy…
But then I kept reading (Yes, I really did stop reading in order to send the tweet to Dom. I have a very soft spot in my hard-as-nails heart for the guy. If he ever left Duran Duran, I would still be a fan.) I’m glad I went back to the article. Simon was asked a great question about how to walk the balance between pushing the envelope and keeping the “older” (I will try not to take offense at that term) fans happy with newer music.
“Well I think you’ve got to think about all your fans. And the first ones you’ve got to look after are the ones who’ve been with you for years and years and years. You know, those are the people, by the way, who gave [Duran Duran’s 2007 album] ‘Red Carpet Massacre’ the thumbs down, and that’s because it didn’t have that critical mass of following supporting it. It didn’t really make it onto the radio and it wasn’t really a hit because of that.
The next album, 2011’s ‘All You Need Is Now,’ definitely connected with out fans. They felt it was our and Mark Ronson’s attempt for Duran Duran to reclaim the ‘80s. And that worked really well with our fans – they loved that one.
With this album, we take it as – we realize we couldn’t really do the same thing with ‘All You Need is Now,’ but this band had to develop the idea. And do something – well, guess that the fans would be proud of. You always want your fans to be proud of you as a band, because really you belong to them.” – Simon Le Bon
I don’t need to talk about Red Carpet Massacre. That album is the past, and it is every bit as worthy as Rio in their narrative, because both albums brought them to this point. And this point is pretty damn good, I must say. Instead, I’m thinking about my pride at being a fan. I certainly didn’t know when I was eleven years old that I would still be a fan at forty-five, and yet here I am. Proud? Without a single doubt.
This band really isn’t “mine” in the sense that I own them….but on the same token, I feel as though their history IS a part of my own. This fandom is so complicated and messy at times, but it’s home. For those that don’t know, I’m Italian. We Italians are a funny sort, and family, or, “famiglia”, is very important. Never mind that you may get supremely angry at your family for something as small as calling during dinner and choose not speak to them for the next six months…famiglia is important. This band, as well as the fan community, is my family. It is home.
It touches my heart whenever the band mentions the fans, because although I try to pretend otherwise, I’m really not made entirely of stone. The love is there, and to feel it being returned on occasion sure doesn’t suck.
Then there’s this beautiful interview I read this afternoon on rolling stone.com . Yes, it mentions Lindsay Lohan…again….but I can ignore that purely because Rob Sheffield is saying something that I wish I could scream from the rooftops.
“If Paper Gods were a debut from some upstart band, the buzz would be insane — yet this is the latest from a group that’s been reinventing itself for more than 30 years.” – Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone
I don’t necessarily always agree with Sheffield, but he nailed it here. If this were any other band, the buzz would be huge. I think most fans believe in this album and know it SHOULD be huge. The question, the struggle, is how to get it there.
All I really know how to do is love the music, love the band, and keep writing. Amanda and I have always kind of poked fun at Simon here on the blog…and of course there’s that whole “do not spit on us during White Lines” thing. We love him, and we love to tease him. Endlessly. Mercilessly. We figure that he’s got most women willing to eat out of his hands, so he can take a couple of Americans giving him a rough time once in a while.
So, when in a single day I read not one but two heartwarming and kind quotes from Simon…it throws me. No, the Rolling Stone interview quote wasn’t from him but I don’t care. I’ve got no Le Bon jokes today. Damn it!!
*Dom has been touring with Duran Duran since 2004, but he wasn’t actually made a permanent member of the touring band until 2006.