Fan Club of One

There are many things I have noticed over the years as a Duran fan about our fan community.  Many of those things we have talked about in this blog over the past couple of years.  Right now, in Duranland, the only topic people are really talking about is John Taylor’s book.  There was some discussion regarding Andy’s book leading up to the release of John’s book.  For some fans, John’s book release and readings/signings he has done and will do are pretty exciting deals.  For many others, these events aren’t all that interesting.  In fact, I might argue that most fans aren’t really all that into it.  Is that because people haven’t bought John’s book?  No.  Based on its appearance on best seller lists, clearly, many copies have been sold.  Yet, when I glance at our facebook or twitter (granted, I haven’t been looking ALL that much due to my crazy schedule), I don’t see a ton of talk about the book or the events surrounding the book except for fans who are or have attended such events or when people get or finish the book.  Heck, even the first part of our book club didn’t get a ton of comments.  This observation got me thinking.  Is this a new deal?  Are fans not interested in talking about books, maybe?  Are they uncomfortable discussing John’s life and what he described?  I don’t know but, in my experience, it seems to me that our fan community has never really embraced their solo acts. 

Duran Duran first ventured away into side projects in 1985 with Arcadia and Power Station.  Those side projects were pretty popular.  John Taylor’s first solo single, I Do What I Do, was popular as well.  Then, again, everything that the band touched in that era seemed to turn to gold.  This era seemed to be the end of the fan community’s major concern about side and solo projects.  (Please note that I’m not saying that no fan was interested.  I’m just saying that the overall fan base didn’t seem all that interested.)  Andy Taylor’s first solo material followed and didn’t do that well.  I just heard or read somewhere that his first solo album sold something like 300,000 copies.  In 2012, that would be great!  In 1986, that wouldn’t be that great, especially in comparison to Notorious, which sold a lot more than that.  As the years went by, there wasn’t much interest in other side projects like Neurotic Outsiders to the Devils.  There wasn’t a ton of discussion about the second Power Station album either, from what I have seen.  Of course, I wasn’t always as involved in the fan community as I am now so maybe I just missed some of this discussion.  That said, I have seen and heard from many people who don’t know much about those projects or those albums.  Some of you might be thinking that the reason these projects weren’t all that popular is because less popular band members were involved in them, but that isn’t necessarily true as John was in Neurotic Outsiders, for example.  He didn’t get all that much attention during his solo days outside of a very dedicated group of fans even when there would have been easy access to him.  I remember hearing one story about how he played a show once to like 20 people.  Wow.  Of course, during the height of those solo and side projects I referenced, the band wasn’t all that popular.  A lot of fans had lost interest in all things Duran.

Even today, though, I don’t see a ton of interest in the various side and solo projects outside of those very first ones of Power Station (the original) and Arcadia.  I don’t hear about people seeking out the Devils album or searching high and low for all of John’s solo albums.  Of course, I’m sure that there some some people interested or seeking out copies.  My point here is that it isn’t that widespread.  Some fans still are trying to complete their collection of Duran Duran material.  Now, I’m not criticizing any of this behavior.  I’m just acknowledging an observation.  Then, of course, I begin to wonder why it is that fans are not as interested in solo and side projects.  I know that it isn’t because we, as fans, don’t care about the individual band members.  We do, at least to some extent.  After all, I still see people discussing who their favorite band member is and why.  I know that there are tons of facebook groups dedicated to specific members.  Clearly, we don’t totally think that the individual members don’t matter so why don’t we care as much about solo and side projects?  One reason that I thought of is that these outside projects sound different.  They might even be different genres, almost, in comparison to Duran.  Another reason is simply because the whole does not equal the sum of the parts.  The band is much better together than they are apart.  Their chemistry together is a lot more than the chemistry of the parts, or so some people might believe.  Maybe there is another reason that I can’t think of.  Maybe my basic observation is wrong.  So, let me ask you.  Do you care as much about the side and solo projects as you do Duran?  Why or why not?


13 thoughts on “Fan Club of One”

  1. I have a couple if thoughts and comments:

    Re: Johns Book. I bought the book. I followed a couple of the interviews during his British book tour, and read a few articles, but then I stopped because I did not have my copy of the book yet, and I did not want it spoiled! Now that I have read it, I am not interested in hearing the same stories told over and over again. I will be listening to his interview tomorrow on Jian Ghomeshi's CBC show called Q… he is an excellent interviewer and a fan of all things 80's… (I recommend you listen to that one! Really!)

    About Participating in the Book Club: I would contribute… more in depth, but I find that the blogger comment window to be so frustrating. There have been more than one long and thoughtful posts that went where the odd socks go after they disappear from the dryer… Grrrr. Could that be a factor?

    Regarding Side Projects: I absolutely loved Power Station 1 and Arcadia. I think my biggest fear, at the time as a fan, was that the longer they were not playing as Duran Duran… the less likely they would regroup. I did not care for John's solo stuff. Not my style… but I remember my sister and I taking Andy Taylor's stuff to school dances so they could play Take it Easy. It was very danceable!

  2. Can you post a link to that interview tomorrow?

    I suppose the blog comment window could be a factor. I would recommend people do a comment per discussion question.

    I can understand your fear but most of those side projects I mention have already happened and are done. I get not liking what you hear.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


  3. I am just not into The Devils & the John solo stuff cos it isn't my style of music,I find the sound weak,un-finished.The melodies & beats aren't strong enough.Arcadia,imo,was the only AMAZING side project they did.JOel

  4. I have always followed John's side projects when I could. I do not have the second Power Station album, he was gone by then. I was at a JT solo show with only a few people, that is how I got to meet him. I also have a CD of sax player Mindy Abair's because John played on it. Mindy went to college for a time here at the UNF jazz program. I got to meet her after a show here a couple of summers ago… Anyway, guess that makes me a bit more crazy about John! LOL
    Michelle Axelberg Browner

  5. I *hate* our comment window – and I found that there is actually a character limit on comments, too.

    I do need to talk to a friend about getting ourselves moved to a proper website and not just use blogger. I also need a million dollars. Maybe what we need is a kickstarter for the new website! LOL 😀 If I had spare time I'd learn more about html and website building so that I could just do it myself – but I really am tapped out on time these days.


  6. And that's OK. The thing that strikes me about The Devils though is that it's basic Duran history. I mean – those songs are what came before the first album. You can definitely hear what eventually became Duran Duran in those songs. I'm not necessarily saying anyone should like it, but I think it's good to at least familiarize oneself.

    I do agree with Amanda though – most fans seem to ONLY care about Duran Duran – not each individual – but only the sum of the parts, and even then they've got their own hierarchy with that. It's curious to me, although I can definitely understand it's a difference in taste. Not everyone is in this to know and absorb every last little detail about all of it, and that's OK too. It's just an observation we've both noticed over time.


  7. I remember when Mindy toured with them for the reunion. She was who I saw playing sax here in Costa Mesa in 2003. Not Andy Hamilton…but not bad at all. (of course I'm kidding there -she is a great sax player!) ;D


  8. I had considered buying Johns book until I got ran over by all the PR that was being pushed by the media and the fans. It just turned me off completely. The same thing happened to me with RCM & AYNIN. Mind you, I bought at least 4 different copies of AYNIN to help support the band and the only version I'd consider listening to even a little is the vinyl.

    It may well be that fans have more in common with the music than they do a book. The only upside I'm seeing is that John fans have the chance to meet him, by himself, and get an autograph. THAT is what seems to be driving the frenzy over it.

    Now, I've got no issue with fans who want that. I don't. I'm good with staying outside the ring and taking in the experience as a whole…it's what made me a fan in the first place.

    I'm happy for John that his book is doing well. Hopefully he's inspired in his own life by this experience.

  9. I still enjoy The Power Station (both albums) and Arcadia. I did like Andy's music a lot too. John's solo stuff and The Devils just didn't appeal to me emotionally or mentally. I did want to like them and I tried listening but it didn't keep my attention.

    I had hoped we'd see another Arcadia release as it really was a great vehicle for those 3 members and their collective talents as Power Station was for John and Andy (Roger's Drum Machine included)…LOL.

    Who knows though, right? Maybe someday….

  10. I don't really see what the PR has to do with whether or not you read the book though. Who cares?? I mean, the PR is easily ignored. It's not about the marketing, it's about the product. I can understand being turned off if the product isn't good, but unless you've actually READ the book…am I just not getting your point?? LOL

    As far as the signings go – I haven't gone to a single one, and while it might have been nice to attend, I was excited about the book itself. I mean sure, meeting John would be great, I don't want to downplay that for anyone, but I wanted to read his writing. I'd hate to have that fact somehow diminished, although I WILL agree with you that it's all somewhat curious for me – was the excitement really about the book or about the chance to meet him? Did people buy 6 copies of the book in order to go have all of them signed and yet the most they've done has been flip through the pictures? We haven't gotten a ton of activity on our own book discussion blogs here, so I do kind of wonder. It's interesting.

    I don't know, I must be a strange sort of fan. I thought his book was outstanding. I look at him far differently now than I did a year ago. I think I understand how Nigel became John and how John learned to like Nigel, if that makes sense. It was a great read even if it didn't do the whole juicy “tell-all” that so many fans wanted. I would argue that it was a great read BECAUSE it didn't do those things. Like I said, I must just be strange. I can accept that.


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