Duran Duran Roundtable Part 2: Touring, Online, and Miscellaneous

On yesterday’s blog, I responded to the first half of Duran Duran’s roundtable released this week, which, again, you can find here.  The first half of the roundtable focused on music, including albums, singles, unreleased material and more.  The latter part of the roundtable contained some questions regarding touring, online presence and questions that did not fit into any category.  Like yesterday’s blog post, I won’t transcribe questions and answers but respond to what I heard. 

The first question under the touring section regarded how much input the band has on what countries, what cities and what venues they play.  Simon mentioned how their are certain countries they won’t play due to the countries due to political regimes of those places, which makes sense to me.  He then went on to say that they really let the booking agent work out the details of a particular tour.  The only time they might step in is if the tour misses an obvious city like Los Angeles or New York City.  I have two thoughts in hearing this answer.  First, I hope that their booking agent takes some factors into consideration.  I couldn’t help but to think of this summer when the band played outdoor venues in the heat of the summer.  I couldn’t also help but to think of Nick getting sick at the end of the tour, too.  Second, I think this shows how much we, fans, do not know about the business.  We don’t know all of the details that must be worked out when it comes to planning a tour.  We don’t know exactly which pieces the actual band members have their say with.  I guess this helps me realize that there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes and that the band can’t do every little thing themselves.  They must have help and must trust that the help knows what they are doing. 

The next question regarded writing on the road.  I was pleasantly surprised that they started to record some of the jam sessions or warm-ups as something interesting things were heard.  I wonder, of course, who all is involved in the warm-up.  I remember back in 2005 that there were clips of the warm-up and, at that time, it consisted of John, Roger and Andy Hamilton.  Is it still John, Roger and Saxy Simon?  What about Dom?  Is he involved? 

There were a number of questions that touched on the setlist in some way, which isn’t surprising to me as setlist discussions are frequent ones in Duranland.  They were asked if they would ever play Palomino, if they would ever do a B-Side tour, or if there is one song that they must play.  They did not think that there is one song that they must play.  I suppose that I agree.  I have kept track of the songs I have heard live.  I have been to 32 shows and have not heard one particular song 32 times.  Thank goodness.  I could say, though, that there are far too many that I have seen about 30 times.  As far as Palomino and the B-Sides go, the response was predictable.  They like the idea but…as Simon pointed out it is a job.  Thus, they have to be sell tickets and leave people with a lasting positive impression so that they want to come back for more.  This makes perfect sense to me.  As much as I would love, love, love a B-Side tour, I get that the crowd isn’t made up of just us die-hard fans.  Much of any audience is made up of people who only know the hits.  Those people wouldn’t enjoy a show of B-sides.  John did suggest an idea of Nick’s to do a 5 show residency in which each show would have a different focus.  One night might be B-Sides.  One night might be So Red the Rose, etc.  I don’t know about the rest of you but I would LOVE this.  I think it would be a great way to thank the hardcore fans!

The last touring question that caught my attention was whether All You Need is Now, the tour, was the best ever.  John said it was consistent and “up there”.  Roger said that the quality had a lot to do with the right album and the right band.  (We think so, too.  Have we mentioned that we kind of like that Dom Brown guy and think he offers a lot, especially live!)  The part that really caught my attention was how John said the band no longer focuses on numbers.  They aren’t going to hit the numbers of the 80s.  Now, they just focus on playing better than ever.  Rhonda rightly pointed out that this seems like a bit of the All You Need is Now philosophy!

The online question focused on the use of twitter.  John’s and Simon’s responses clearly show how they use twitter differently.  For John, it is “therapeutic” and he likes (kind of) being in touch with the fans and knowing what we are thinking.  Simon, on the other hand, uses it to be “unprofessional”.  He gets to say what he thinks without it being what Duran thinks.  Then, he points out how that can be scary because he can say the wrong thing.  I’m glad to hear that my thoughts about their twitters match exactly to what they think of their own twitters.  It has always seemed to me that John typically uses twitter to converse.  Simon uses it to say what he thinks.  Obviously, neither one is wrong.  They are just different. 

The last serious question that I noticed had to do with John’s book.  He was asked why was now the time and if there were any events that pushed him to writing it.  He said that his father’s death and Simon losing his voice.  He didn’t say much after that but how Simon losing his voice gave him extra time.  Yes, that would be true, but he could have done other things to fill the void.  I have to wonder if both of those events reminded him that nothing lasts forever.  Again, how very All You Need is Now!

The rest of the roundtable was fun and kind of silly with questions about hair, cooking and hobbies.  I enjoy those light moments and it sounded like the band did, too.  Overall, I enjoyed the roundtable and would love to see more of them.  They seemed to be tired but perked up as it went along, which is usually how I am when I first start teaching in the morning!  The one thing that Rhonda and I really picked up on, though, is how curious the fans are about the business side of Duran Duran.  We don’t really know much about so many elements of their jobs and we have to remember that.  It is a job.  It is what they do for a career.  We may think we know what they should do, but most of us don’t have a clue.  We know what we like.  For example, we know that we would like them to do a B-Side tour or, at least, play a song like Palomino.  We forget that it is about ticket sales–not just current ones but future ones.  The same is true when it comes to locations of where they play.  We don’t know who is making the decisions and why they are making them.  Again, we know that we want them to come to our locations and most of us rarely think about why they might not.  I would also say this.  I think this must frustrate both sides.  We don’t know how things are run so we get frustrated when it seems like they should be doing something that is obviously what we want or think makes the most sense.  I’m sure they also get frustrated that we don’t understand how the business part of it works.  It seems to me that the best way forward would be for all of us to try and be understanding. 

Now, my new understanding self is going to wait patiently for the next roundtable, tour, album, etc.  I can do this, right?  🙂

-A

11 thoughts on “Duran Duran Roundtable Part 2: Touring, Online, and Miscellaneous”

  1. I have to say, I really appreciated the discussion about the business end of things. I guess you can tell that I've moved beyond a fascination with eyeliner and girlfriends! I always had the impression that what DD did in the 80s was more of a romp…it wasn't so much a “career” but never ending party. Being so young, I assume some of the management took over the more practical aspects of the tour. I was THRILLED to hear that they were planning on working with Mark Ronson again. I am going to see them live…there is still yet a chance!

  2. So just glaze right over the whole SORT OF comment! Sheesh. I cried for, like, a day and a half over that.
    (this is Jonee- the DA who can't figure out how to post un-anonymously)

  3. Yeah, I thought about that last night, Jonee. I'm not sure why John says he enjoys communicating with us via Twitter “SORT OF”… Why do you think he may have said that? My own suspicions is that we are DAMN overwhelming. I don't know how many people you follow on Twitter, but Amanda and I have about 528 people in our timeline – and when John Taylor comes on there and says one thing, my entire timeline becomes a series of “I LOVE YOU JOHN TAYLOR” messages. I can't even begin to imagine what his must look like. It probably scares the hell out of him, because it frightens me…and I'm not seeing nearly what he must see. Blows my mind really.

    I also think that people in general scare John Taylor. I think the idea of getting close to anyone is probably on just the other side of being scared to be alone…it's sort of a strange dichotomy when you think about it, but I would imagine it provides the same sort of fear either way. So I suppose that while it's sad to me that he only likes talking to all of us “sort of”…I guess I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt simply because of what I've seen go on from time to time when he's around. ???

    That said, I wish we weren't so darn scary. I'd love to talk with them about OTHER stuff besides Duran Duran, and there's just no chance of that in the current environment. Kind of a bummer, really. -R

  4. As anyone should know by now – I am dangerous with my iPad. The innocent victim this time was a comment by Jonee Howell. Sorry Jonee!!! I will copy and paste it here though (I saved the comment from certain death in the Nick of time!!!) -R

    “First of all, let it be noted that I actually DID get my name to show up up there (I can haz cookie?? Haha) Ahh, where to begin, where to begin…I think it woulda been better if he'd just left the freakin' 'sort of' out altogether. Do we NEED that much honesty? Why, no! No we (I) don't! Ok…in all seriousness, I don't know why he said that. I was sorta taken aback cause he's never really been outwardly 'meh' about it before. I think your explanation is as close as I can get to an answer though. Trying to understand/'know' someone from tweets alone is kind of maddening isn't it? You always have to read between the lines, yadda yadda…maybe it'd be better to just hang that up (I say this knowing full well I won't) 🙂

    I do agree that it's unfortunate how lots of people react to him (SLB as well) the second he shows himself. I see a lot of attention wanting, way too much of the “why don't you ever tweet me” stuff, and more than a little outright weird. I think, though, that some people really believe he only reads tweets that happen during the five minutes he's 'on' (I don't belee dat a bit) so they rush rush rush to say something. I don't doubt for a minute that that all overwhelms the guy…It'd have to, wouldn't it? I sorta see him as just a regular guy who's had some extraordinary stuff happen to him, and part of that stuff has been (different levels of) crazed fan reactions. And by now, he's gotta be used to it for the most part. Maybe he likes it sometimes and doesnt others…I dunno. I DO know it was way more fun to talk to ('at'? Hahaa!) him when I thought he was having fun with it. Now I only SORT OF even want to bother (grin).

    Anyway- so that I stop my babbling- the end result to me is this: He probably sees the whole of those who tweet him as mostly one big unit. He takes what he needs from it that day (depending on his mood) and goes about his business. WE are the ones who care about what THIS means and what THAT meant…One of my friends on twitter once told me that he was only there to promote stuff (that was the basic gist)–maybe she was right. I gave her allll kinds of pushback then cause I thought he actually liked the communication with fans. Maybe he did, but it seems that luster has faded. And maybe the whole illusion of familiarity was always just that. Am I being cynical you think? 🙁 “

  5. Just my opinion

    If a band isn't charting and has new material to promote twitter is perfect
    they need to sell records and concert tickets. I believe social media is just part of business plan these days tweeting or posting on FB = Sale dollars every

    JT and SLB tweet style are different I like them both. BUT Their mentions are completely different I tend
    Yes JT's @ are filled with love and all of us reverting back 30 years SLB's are just
    gross and filled with so much delusion its scary

    Is this a result of how john and SLB choose to interact with fans outside of social media? After a show? I think so

    A b sides show would be great something different like the electronic set in 2008 but would fans embrace the concept? Other then Beautiful Colors and SO people may be lost

  6. I don't really know if John is on twitter just to promote something but I don't get that feeling. Perhaps, it is because he refers to it like he did on this roundtable as “therapeutic”. I think you hit the nail on the head, though. Sometimes, he likes all the attention and sometimes, he doesn't.

    -A

  7. I'm a little confused…are you asking if fans – like BIG fans would have difficulty with a B-sides show? I have to be honest and say no. I think long time, die hard fans would love a show like that. Even the band says they would love doing one, but as they mentioned, it would be a very tough sell beyond the fan community, and although I'd love to believe we are strong and mighty, we are few in number compared to playing for crowds of 3,000 – 5,000 people 4 or 5 times a week for several weeks in a row.

    As for the social media – of course it's for promotional purposes. I'd love to believe that the band wants to hang out there and chat, but I think they've made it clear in their actions that we're just another part of their job (however entertaining we might be at times). It's hard not to feel a bit of a sting from that, but reality is reality. That's why I do appreciate it when John says he doesn't always feel like talking on Twitter (even if I think he's at least READING his tweets). I don't always feel like talking or tweeting either, and I don't have a zillion fans to placate, either. 🙂

    -R

  8. I think he still likes it when he likes it. Sure, he's promoting himself – let's not lose sight of that, but I think he is curious at times too, and he DOES have other friends on there as well. I just think we caught the “sort of” statement from a guy who was at the end of his tour, very tired, and maybe in a bit of a mood that day. I sensed a bit of testiness when he answered other questions as well. That's OK, you should see what I'm like here on any given day after homeschooling my less-than-willing son for any given time (especially History and Language Arts!!!) 😀 -R

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!

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