Expect the Unexpected

Have you watched Roger’s Desert Island Discs yet? In their ongoing effort to teach us all to expect the unexpected, it’s Roger’s turn to shine.

In this first (I hope he does more!) episodes, Roger talks about The Beatles, Jackson 5, Generation X, David Bowie and of course, Duran Duran. (can’t really forget them, can we?) In just under 15 minutes, I think I learned more about Roger’s musical journey than I knew previously. I loved hearing about what made him into the person he is, and I hope he agrees to do more.

Isn’t that what has really been interesting about all of this? We have Simon doing his “radio” show with Katy, John deconstructing bass parts and having chats with other notables on Instagram, Nick gave a lengthy interview with Red Ronnie, and now Roger is talking about the music that changed his life. While the common thread is music, I have really enjoyed hearing from each band member in their own way, perhaps in formats that are most comfortable for them. It just isn’t all about Duran Duran, and it shouldn’t have to be. I think about that a lot while I’m listening.

I would go out on a limb to say that perhaps that is the one “thing” that has been missing previously when they’ve done sporadic Q&A’s on Twitter, or even in other interviews – there’s not been a way for them to really BE themselves when they’re facing a battering line of questions from fans, or even when they’re doing interviews for press. It would be like listening to someone talk about their job for 40 years. While sure, it’s interesting, isn’t there more to them than that? Of course!! I just don’t think they’ve ever had the right avenue, or maybe even the reason, to share much more, until now.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know that any of the band is ever going to sit and dish about their private life. Sharing a song, deconstructing a bass line, chatting with a fellow musician, though – those things have real merit in a multitude of ways. I’m finding that I spend more time listening to music, exploring new sounds, and enjoying the journey that seems to take place weekly with these guys. Who knew?

I shared some of my concerns with Amanda over a Zoom “happy hour” chat last week. When this pandemic first began to unfold and it became clear that there wasn’t going to be a tour or live dates for Duran Duran (or anyone else) in 2020, I was a little concerned. How would the band respond? Would they even try to engage fans? Did they need to? Reaching a fan base through online methods seemed like it might be a bit of a reach. Sure, other bands and artists have responded in their own way, but I wasn’t sure what Duran Duran would do, or might be willing to do. This isn’t a band that has anything left to prove. Their career stands on its own. Did they have anything left to say – some might say yes, given that they’re still writing. Musically, I’d agree. They’ve got some left in the tank. Beyond that though? Dealing with us – fans – is a very different animal. They could wait the pandemic out, do their own thing, and re-emerge in a safer time. We’d likely still be there, right? Would we? My concern was that maybe, just maybe, they’d decide to just stop. The words look strange to me, but in my head, I thought the idea of no music for a year or possibly more could give the band a lot of time to think. Would it be easier to quit? I didn’t know, but I wondered.

Thankfully, this isn’t a band we should ever try to second guess, or count out. Each time they come up with something new to keep us thinking is a way they engage with fans. If I’m anyone to judge by – consider it successful. I don’t clear my incredibly busy (ha ha ha) schedule to watch John talk about his bass lines in songs just because I fan girl. I’ve learned a lot about the evolution of the songs I love most during the past few weeks. Simon has made me laugh and think about music I’ve never heard before. It’s been fantastic. Today, I learned that Roger also listened to the Jackson 5 during his formative years – just like me. He’s also a Beatles fan. As if I didn’t already love him.

Okay, so there’s been a little fan girling along the way. Sue me.

Forty years on now, and I’m still glad this is my band.

-R

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