For quite some time now, we have been keeping quite a secret from the rest of you. (Trust us, it was not easy!) We have been working on a super-special/super-secret interview with Dom Brown, done over a few weeks this fall. This is Daily Duranie’s first interview, ever…and we’re very proud to be able to share this as our holiday gift to all of you. Dom was extremely kind and patient to grant us this kind of time, and we send him huge thanks, we really cannot thank him enough for trusting us with such a task. Yes, we write a blog, but we’re fans like all of you.
Before we jump into the interview, let’s talk a little bit about Mr. Dominic Brown. He first began playing guitar for Duran Duran during the Astronaut tour in December of 2004, by our math, he’s been with the band for eight years now. Time flies! Prior to Duran Duran, Dom was a session musician, working with artists such as Liam Gallagher, Lionel Ritchie, Go West, Take That, Andrea Bocelli and Reba McEntire among many others. Even with such an illustrious resume, when Dom first took to the stage with Duran Duran, it is doubtful that many fans knew who he was, only that he was (at the time) standing in for an ailing Andy. We would venture to guess that for at least the beginning of his Duran Duran tenure, most fans didn’t notice he was there – only that Andy was not.
For ourselves (Amanda and Rhonda), it was a moment at the Sears Center show in 2006 that made us realize Dom was the right guitarist for this band. Just days prior, it was announced by the band that Andy would not be returning. After having mini-breakdowns at home, by the time we arrived at the show that evening, we were curious as to how the show would go. Would there be mention of his absence? Probably not. Would Dom take on a larger role – would he simply assume the part of guitarist was his? We didn’t know for sure, but felt certain this show would speak volumes. (Our over-thinking began WAY before this blog ever came along!) That night, we watched the movements of the band, waiting for some sort of sign of what was to come. The sign wasn’t one of an overconfident guitar player ready to step into someone else’s shoes with vigor, but rather someone who knew and understood the finer intricacies of the situation at hand. He had a job to do, but he also must have realized he had to sell himself very slowly to the fan base. He tread very lightly, staying in the shadows when appropriate, and stepping into the spotlight only when coaxed by other band members. It was as though Dom recognized just how difficult the night was for not only the band, but the fans as well.
Later that same weekend, we had a surprise for Dom as he stepped out on stage in New Orleans for the Voodoo Festival. Along with signs for the rest of the band, we had made one especially for him. Given the fact that we’d nearly been crushed to death several times during the sets for other bands, it’s a miracle any of the signs we’d created actually made it! We tried to wave the sign several times during the show, but to no avail – Dom was so used to standing in the background, playing his part and exiting the stage that he didn’t see the sign. It was John and Simon that saw our sign at the end of the night and excitedly tried to get Dom’s attention. We still scream for Dom! (Perhaps one of us slightly more than the other…)
Dom has been egoless when it comes to his role in the band, taking care to remain out of the spotlight before Andy’s departure was made official, and allowing his presence to grow naturally on the fan base. His efforts did not go unnoticed. Fans have been able to watch his gradual transformation from a stand-in guitarist to band member, and during the latest tour we heard many a squealing fan (besides ourselves) during the numerous “DoJo” moments on stage.
Yes, yes we really did give those moments a name, and we know we weren’t the only ones screaming when they happened. Admit it! So with no further adieu, we give you our interview with Dom Brown. Today we’ll begin by talking about his tenure with the band, followed by some discussion tomorrow of his career outside of the band, and finally, a little bit of a peek into his personal life. Enjoy!!
Dom Brown on DURAN DURAN:
Daily Duranie: How long did it take you to learn Duran Duran’s music and be comfortable enough so that if they decided to play Secret Oktober, New Religion or something else one night it was not a problem? How long did it take you to feel comfortable enough playing that you felt like you could make the songs your own instead of just playing them exactly as written?
Dom Brown: Initially I had to learn 20 songs in 2 days for my first ever Duran show. That’s not a lot of time, so I pretty much had to learn as closely to the originals as possible. 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. The guys will often drop in a new song or something that’s not been played for awhile without much notice… keeps me on my toes!
Daily D: Do you have any particular way you prepare to go on stage? Practice or warm-up beforehand? We have heard that you, John and Roger have jam sessions – is that before every show? Do you find time to practice at home when you’re not touring?
Dom: When touring, I try and find time in the day to run over new songs, but I also write when I can in my hotel room. John, Roger and I jam before every show and it’s a great way to get in the mood. We have been recording those jams and hopefully some of the ideas will make it to the new album. Home is the same though I tend to spend more time writing and learning about recording techniques these days.
Daily D: Now that you’ve toured quite a bit, do you have a favorite type of venue that you like to play, and why?
Dom: That’s a tough one to answer…and I think the answer is no, as there are pros and cons to playing all different types. I love performing at large open-air events like the Hyde Park show we played at this summer to 80,000 people, for the sheer magnitude. I love the O2 Arena type venues. Then smaller venues like for example Chicago Theatre, that is a beautiful, old, ornate room steeped in so much history. I do also love playing in intimate venues that only hold a couple of hundred people…but there are so many factors that make up a perfect night on stage.
Daily D: What do you think has surprised you the most out of touring with Duran Duran?
Dom: I am surprised that considering the amount of time we all spend together, I have never really seen any obvious tension between the guys and this makes the whole process so much easier. We all travel on the same private jets and pretty much stay at the same hotels.
Daily D: What do you like most about being on the road?
Dom: Visiting totally new places and tasting the different cultures. With Duran we do get to visit some exotic and beautiful places.
Daily D: One question we have always wanted to ask the band is about being a fan. Do you think that now you’ve been on the other side of fandom – being the object of fandom rather than a fan yourself – that you could go back to being just a fan? Can you still be start struck in the presence of one of your influences or idols, or do you think that whole thing changes once you’ve been famous yourself?
Dom: No, I still get a bit jittery around certain stars.
Daily D: We have to ask since we’re currently reading his book as part of our book club discussion – do you own a copy of John’s book, and have you read it yet?
Dom: I have a signed copy yes, and I have literally just finished reading it. I was proud and touched to have such kind words spoken about me! It’s a very interesting book and I did learn a few new things about John.
Be sure to check in tomorrow for the second part to our interview with Dom as we talk a little about his career outside of Duran Duran!
-A & R
-A & R
All photography is copyright of Daily Duranie (Rhonda Rivera). Please do not use these photos without our permission. They’re cursed.
No really, they are.