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?