Happy Birthday Dom!

I feel a birthday in the air….

You might be wondering why I am blogging today. It’s Friday. That means it should be Amanda’s day, and I should be off enjoying the first full day of summer break for my kids. (I am, which is why I’m writing this on Thursday!) Well my friends, today is a special day. It is Friday, June 14…which is also a big holiday.  It’s Dom’s birthday! (face it Mr. Brown…it’s no longer a secret!) So, Amanda and I agreed we would trade days – she will blog on John’s birthday next week, and I will blog today.

Normally I gush on and on about how wonderful each guy is on his birthday. That would be fairly easy for me to do here…but instead, I’ve decided to pick a few of Dom’s songs and highlight them here….in addition to gushing endlessly, because well, it’s what I do.

Dom has been playing with Duran Duran since December of 2004 when Andy Taylor became ill while on tour. Dom stepped with just two days notice, which is ridiculously amazing. I’m still in awe that he was able to learn 20 songs in that span of time, but that should probably be evidence of Dom’s work ethic. There was a reason why it took us nearly three months to complete the interview we did with Dom last Fall – he is always working!  While on “hiatus” from Duran Duran (I use that term loosely!), Dom opened his own recording studio, and nearly every week I read that he was working with one artist or another, either writing, producing or both. This is not a man who rests!

In 2006, Dom joined the band as their guitarist on a permanent basis – although SOME of us are still waiting for his likeness to be sold on t-shirts and other Duran Duran merchandise.  My my count, Dom has been with the band as the “stand-in” as well as permanent guitarist for almost 9 years….seems like a t-shirt or poster wouldn’t hurt at this point. (I’m looking at you, DDHQ) I think that the arrangement has probably worked out well for both the band as well as Dom up until this point, but I have to admit that as a fan, I would love to see him be included in more group shots.

I liked Dom immediately when I watched him play, his talent shining through as he became more comfortable with the material to put a little more of himself and his own feeling into his playing. When I asked Dom about this, he said, “Over time I became more comfortable and could integrate and interpret with my own style and I hope that comes across. I am a strong believer in keeping to the original spirit of the song as much as possible.” As a fan, I appreciate that he strives to keep the integrity of the original work. None of us are really fans of having these songs we’ve grown to love so much completely changed due to an evolution in personnel, so hearing that Dom wants to keep the original spirit but add a bit of his own personality to the mix is reassuring. We are extremely lucky the band found him, and honestly I’m surprised to see he’s still with the band (although he’d better not leave!), because he has so much room to grow on his own. So I’m biased!

I have heard that Dom is not a big fan of streaming his gigs at The Bedford. I guess I’m punishing him by posting a few clips here…. but the fact is, the audio quality is not outstanding, and so if that is what bothers him, I guess I can begrudgingly understand. It does sound muffled a bit, but you can still hear him just fine, and I WISH he’d agree to have more of them streamed for his very loyal, outstanding fans elsewhere in the world who have been a pillar of support for him since the very beginning (am I laying it on thick enough here??)….*coughs*.

Changing – The Bedford
I don’t know what “Changing” is about, but I tend to think about how much of a change in direction it must have been for Dom to play in Duran Duran as a contract guitarist. It wasn’t his own band, and I think it must have (and probably still is) incredibly difficult of a position to be in. He isn’t even playing his own style of music in the band, although I do hear more and more how he brings his own personality to the writing process. He had to step (nearly literally) into Andy’s shoes and then face the ire of many a fan who still wishes that Andy were there instead. When I met Dom for the first (and only) time in person, that was the one sentence I said to him – that it could not have been very easy, and that I really appreciated his efforts.  
Day Turned Black -The Bedford
Day Turned Black is from Dom’s second solo album – Between the Lines. Again, I really don’t know what the song is about, but when I listen I think of the horror of 9/11 because it’s what hits closest to home for me. I suspect that this song was written following the tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004 after the massive Indian Ocean earthquake – which was the deadliest tsunami in history, but I’m not sure. (Maybe we’ll get lucky and Dom will fill us in!) Regardless, it’s a beautiful song.
Crocodile Tears – The Bedford
On a lighter note, Crocodile Tears was the first song that introduced me to Dom’s father, Rob.  (Who is really funny in this video!) The song itself reminds me a lot of someone who cries wolf a lot and basically gets rewarded for bad behavior. Let’s just say the theme rings very familiar.  I think having Dom’s dad do the spoken word in part of the song is genius too – he fits right in, which isn’t a surprise given that Rob is a voice-over artist in the UK! 
Tricked Out – Duran Duran – 10/29/07
A disclaimer:  I’m not going crazy just because I dared to post something off of Red Carpet Massacre. I really do not have a lot of regrets regarding the band – but this? Yes. I wish I’d been able to see them do this one song live, although I probably would have completely lost it had I been anywhere NEAR the front. Although….if they should ever think to play it again, I’ll try to keep it all together. If there is any question about Dom’s talent, or any question as to whether he belongs in this band or not – watch the clip and then tell me all about it.
White Lines – Chastain Park, Atlanta 2012
Hands down one of my favorites that they have done live, and I think Dom does a brilliant job – this is a great example of how he kept the original spirit and flavor of a song and yet has changed the solo to incorporate his own style.  I know there are those out there that love what the guitarists before Dom did, and I can appreciate that – but the man can play!
When I first asked Dom to do the interview with us last October, first of all – I was very apprehensive about asking because the last thing I wanted to hear was the word “No”, and I felt that was very possible. I kept telling myself that it didn’t really matter, and that I had to get used to just asking. So, I did. I explained who I was, knowing there was almost no chance he’d have any clue who I was, and hoped for best. Well…and I’m still trying to decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing….he knew exactly who I was. (from the shows I’d attended in the past) That broke the ice (for me) a little, and I felt much more at ease. Thankfully, he was very receptive to the idea and made the interview incredibly easy. My goal with interviewing Dom was to try and make him a little less of a mystery, and a little more accepted among the fan base. It’s hard to explain to someone that while he’s loved by many, there are still those who take issue with his even being on the stage. Dom was so kind, saying that the fans he has met have been very nice to him and welcoming – which is great. He was extremely generous giving his time to us, and we really appreciated his effort. (even though he said he enjoyed answering!)
A couple more because it’s my blog and I’m not done yet!
I Get Loaded – Blue to Brown – The Bedford 2009
I’ve yet to see one of Dom’s solo gigs, or a gig with Blue to Brown, and I’m hoping to manage that some day. Going to the UK is not just a simple hop across the pond with my schedule, so it’s something that I have to plan at just the right time…but eventually I will get there…or else we will work very hard to convince him to come to the US!  I think that is probably a tough sell for someone without a huge touring budget…but you know, dreams are free!
One last one…just because it’s one of my favorites:
Queen of Spades – Blue to Brown – The Bedford 2009
Funny thing – if you would have asked me ten years ago if I ever thought I’d have another favorite in that band (being the diehard Roger Taylor fan I was the entire time growing up), I would have laughed. Are you kidding me?? I also remember how I felt the day that I heard Andy wasn’t going to be at some of the shows in 2004 and 2005…and especially how I felt in 2006 when they announced they had parted ways. I felt like they should never have another guitar player. In my head, that place permanently belonged to Andy, no matter that he couldn’t get along with the band and vice-versa. I’d already lived through another guitarist, and quite honestly – I was not up for Round #2. Sure, they needed someone to just play – and that was fine, but I never wanted to see another permanent band member. Then I went to a few shows, and I ran into someone on a plane to New Orleans who insisted on coming out that night to hang out with fans (Silly, silly man. I warned that they’d try to eat you alive!), and he slowly changed my mind.  More and more I found myself watching Dom at the shows, and now – well, I can’t imagine the band being any other way than it is now, and to me – he really IS Duran Duran’s guitar player. I don’t care about the business end of things – it’s not my business.  Fans are my business though, and I hope he really feels like the band is his home. I also hope that we fans continue to  embrace him as a part of our crazy family, because after all this time – that’s really what we are.  A huge, messed up, slightly dysfunctional, crazy family. Welcome!!
Happy Birthday Dom! I hope you have a fantastic day with your family, and that you remember your poor, sad fans across the world and tweet once in a while even when you don’t have a gig to announce…or cancel (!!!)…just so we know you’re alive and don’t have to do a health and welfare check to make sure your studio didn’t eat you alive. 
-R

6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Dom!”

  1. YAY! It's my pleasure in joining you to celebrate our awesome guitarist.
    I'm thankful for all of his outstanding conribution to the band's music and catalogue.
    I'm glad we got a gentle, honest, nice and wise guy in the current line up.
    Rock on Dom and I hope I could see you soon on the stage with the band and with your own band.

  2. I will admit that my first experience with Dom was not positive (through no fault of his own). It was the Astronaut tour and I was psyched up to see the “original” lineup play live. It was the Boston show in April 2005, and I had purposely stayed away from the internet and message boards. I wanted to be surprised by the set list…so I had no clue about Andy’s father. I remember the sick feeling I had when the lights came up and I saw “that guy” on guitar. I was angry…not at him, just in general. Andy was back for the Connecticut and New York shows on that tour (the only two times I would ever see Andy play live). Of course I was disappointed when Andy and the band parted ways the following year.

    I won’t pretend to be as big a Dom fan as the two of you, but I will confess to the fact that he grew on me during the RCM tour. Specifically, I thought he was great on The Valley and the song RCM. I was also pleased to hear some of the other, later hits played very well (e.g. I thought AT murdered Ordinary World and Dom was so much better on it—and apparently the band did too from subsequent reports—and I also enjoyed Dom more on Notorious.) I also enjoyed the chemistry with him and JT. However, experiencing AYNIN—both the studio album and the live shows—is what really cemented my acceptance of him. The fact that he co-wrote such amazing songs and was part of one of their best albums and tours—what more could we ask for?

    I find it a bit annoying that Dom’s status with the band is this weird middle ground—he is clearly more than a session player, and yet he is clearly not a “full member” in the same way that Warren was (or Sterling freakin’ Campbell, for pete’s sake). As Rhonda or Amanda recently said, he is co-writing the songs, so that is good enough for them (and me!). I do think politics and past history plays into this decision—the band had to sue Andy during the Notorious sessions, and later had to buy Warren out and give him a share of Astronaut’s sales (LOL-not that there were many!)…so maybe they think it’s safer to give Dom credit on specific songs and leave it at that. Regardless, I don’t think this should be a point of contention among us fans—we should be happy that the band has found a guitarist they feel such chemistry with and hope it continues as long as possible.

    And so…thank you for the blog…and Happy Birthday Dom Brown!

  3. Um, ladies isn't Dominic's birthday July 14, 1972? At least that's what it says on Wikipedia, so my info may be incorrect, but that's what I have read.

  4. You're right I just rechecked Wikipedia, and his birthday is listed as today, sorry. For the life of me I have no idea why I thought it was July. Again sorry for the confusion on my part.

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