As Duranies up on their Duran history know, this album took a long time to make as opposed to the first album or Rio. Part of this could have been due to the fact that they worked on it in three separate locations, all being out of the UK. The reason for this, according to Nick here, was to escape London as it was “a little too crazy”. I can only imagine as 1983 was at a very high point in Duran mania. The guys discussed how they started in the south of France for about 3-4 weeks. According to this, it wasn’t super productive there as they had to wait for parts to come and they spent a lot of time doing other things. What did they do? It seems they spent time going out, playing tennis (Simon), watching a big screen TV, and playing the game of Risk. Now, I can’t be the only one who is completely entertained by the idea of them sitting around playing a game like Risk, can I? I would love to play a game like that with any of them, even though, I lack military strategy. I would rock on domestic, political strategy, though. It sounds like Andy would have been the toughest as apparently he used some tough tactics that their managers got frustrated with. Oh, they also ate a lot as they had a chef there. From there, they moved on to Montserrat in the Caribbean. There, they also had to deal with a chef. This one apparently carried around a big meat cleaver! That sounds like quite a scene! Speaking of scenes, there was also some crab racing going on! Clearly, they all had too much time on their hands! I so wish that I was bored enough to think of crab racing!!! Lastly, of course, after doing a couple of shows back in the UK (Prince’s Trust and Aston Villa), they moved on to Australia, which sounded pretty crazy, too. After all, they knew about 60 fans by name by the end of their time there. They did finish, though. Perhaps, it is because there was no chef there!
Australia and Deadlines:
I’m glad that they talked about why they went to Australia, especially since they talked about how London was crazy and mentioned how Australia was, too, at least when it came to the fans. Apparently, they had a tour booked to start there so they figured they could go, finish the album, rehearse for the tour, and be ready to go. That sounds logical. I found it really interesting that they mentioned how they had a deadline to finish the album and how as John put it, “Those were the days of deadlines.” Clearly, this is very different from now…the days without deadlines. Simon did say that the deadlines were what made them finish the album. While I get the desire to have all the time in the world to finish a project and that I am well aware that art can’t be rushed, I also know that deadlines can be a good thing. I know that the blog will always get done. Why? There is a deadline. Likewise, when we were working on Durandemonium, it was a higher priority because there was a deadline. Speaking of deadlines, Union of the Snake was the first single. Why was it chosen? Simple. It was the song that was most finished. Here, we are thinking that there was always some grand plan with single choices. Apparently, that wasn’t always true. The day before it was to come out, they were asked about a b-side. They didn’t have one. Simon and Nick stayed up all night doing Secret Oktober. Again, this leads me to wonder about that pressure to get something done. After all, many of us, most of us LOVE that song. It is not only one of their best b-sides but one of their best ever! Perhaps, Duran should think about that.
John mentioned how there were a lot of expectations about this third album. He stated that the expectations following the Rio album were “massive”. I can totally see that. Union of the Snake felt like a disappointment to them at only reaching number 2. Again, I can see that, knowing where they were in their careers, at that time. Now, of course, we would all be thrilled if that happened. Perspective and time makes a difference. Simon thought they were the most critical about it and were uptight, anxious. John talked about how he listened to it when the remastered vinyl came out a few years ago and that he loved it. Nick mentioned that he thinks it has held up to the test of time despite not being sure that it would. Roger discussed how so much of the album changed from start to finish. The most well-known example of that is the one they cited, which is Seven and the Ragged Tiger, the title track, changed to the Seventh Stranger. There is a bootleg out there that claims to have the demo of that Seven and the Ragged Tiger version, but, from what I know, it isn’t real. It sure would be interesting to hear what it did sound like.
Unlike usual Duran fashion, they discussed favorite songs from the album. The songs that were chosen were: Cracks in the Pavement for the lovely anxiety it has, The Reflex (album version over Nile’s version), Shadows on Your Side and The Seventh Stranger. Who picked which? I recommend listening to the podcast for the answer! Make a guess and see if you are right! What I did think was exciting was how they mentioned both Shadows and 7th being possible songs for a setlist. John mentioned about how he couldn’t remember what he played for Shadows and someone sent him a youtube clip with a tutorial. They seemed worried about the tempo for the Seventh Stranger but I could assure them that the fans would LOVE it. They would love to see/hear both performed live.
I love listening to things like this. Any new information, any new insight into Duran and the history of Duran is welcome. More than even that, I love to hear them interact. I was constantly smiling while listening to this as I was struck not only by the shared experiences but by the very obvious friendship and affection between them. Truly, they showed what long lasting friendships and working relationships sound like. It was quite an enjoyable walk down memory lane for all of us, I think.