In 2017, websites are commonplace. Most of us are on the web and surf our way through hundreds of sites each day, even if we’re not thinking about it. It would be unthinkable to run a company and not have a web presence. Sites act as advertising, storefronts, social gathering spots, newspapers, informational brochures, and even corner speakers. Duran Duran has operated their website for years now. Amanda and I have come to rely on it for a variety of purposes. We are typically able to find what we need, and it’s always up and running.
There was a period of time back in the late 90s when this wasn’t exactly the case. First, I’ll set the scene: it’s 1999. Medazzaland had been released in 1997, the band was touring and playing smaller clubs on the Let It Flow tour. Pop Trash wasn’t released until 2000. Earlier in August, Duran Duran had signed a 3-album deal with Hollywood Records. John Taylor was no longer with the band, instead playing dates in small clubs like the Viper Room in Hollywood, California with Terroristen. Sugartown was being released and John had been doing the typical press tour junket to promote the film. During the 90s, there were times when the band were even self-managed, as Wendy Laister and Magus Entertainment did not come aboard until 2001. Before anyone asks, yes – Katy Krassner was working with the band by this time. I don’t know if she was directly involved with their website in the same sense as she is now. Very different days.
Months might go by without a single update made to the band’s site, even if there was a new album coming out, or upcoming tour dates—news items that would have definitely been of interest to fans, and might even help the band if they were announced. It became something of a side joke to long time fans, and not a “ha ha” funny joke, but one of those snide comments you might make to one another in jest. During this specific period, possibly while the band was self-managed, between labels (until August when they signed with Hollywood Records), it had been several months since the website had been touched at all. Security for the site was lax, to say the least. Picture the place as a ghost town with a message board of fans continually writing posts asking why the site wasn’t being updated, and you might have a fairly accurate scene. Despite the outcry from some fans even asking if they could help out and update the site themselves, there seemed to be some sort of gaping hole between the band and fans, until one fateful day in September of 1999 when one fan—Redsexy on dd.com—hacked the website herself and updated it.
Had it not been for her, I’m not sure how long it might have been before the website would have been updated. Self-managing isn’t an easy thing. Just imagine – on top of writing the music, you’re managing everything else. Promotion, image, contracts, touring, people who work for you, all of the large and small details. All of it.
Today’s websites aren’t so horrible. If you use something like WordPress (as I do), it’s fairly simple – but there is still a lot I don’t know how to do, and there’s not much time for me to learn. Imagine Simon, Nick, or Warren trying to wrangle a website back in the 90s, without the ease of WordPress or other site management companies, much less having the time to sit down and update the news or tour dates! Impossible.
So on this date in 1999, Redsexy took matters into her own hands, and we thank her for it. I’m not sure how the band felt, but I admired your spirit.