Question of the Day: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:

Which video do you like better:  Electric Barbarella or Sunrise?

You can call me wrong, you can put me straight

During some of the six and a half years we’ve been writing Daily Duranie, I’ve wondered what the band would say if they read our blogs. I’ve written with the hope that they’d at least be proud to have fans reacting, but not expecting they’d agree with everything I said.

Nothing brought this to light more than a video I watched yesterday.  A friend of mine directed me to a video by FBE. They had Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park watching teens react to their videos.

First of all, allow me to set the stage. I believe the video was done due to the blowback from Linkin Park’s new album. One More Light. The argument is that the band has sold out and abandoned their core sound for something that is more commercially welcome or “pop”. Fans are furious. There’s a deep divide in their fan community at the moment between those who approve and those who do not. Any of this sounding familiar???

Linkin Park has been around since 1996. Chester Bennington, their lead singer, has been with the band since 1999. If we do the math, there are teens in high school right now that weren’t even born when the band began. I’ll go one step farther and say most teens in high school right now probably weren’t listening to music when they had their first semi-hit, “One Step Closer”, in 2001. I’m not even getting into the debate of whether they’ve evolved over the years, so don’t send me mail about that. I’m merely reporting what has been said to give context about the video. The teens in the video (link below) are probably not Linkin Park fans for the most part. They’re kids who the band is likely trying to reach with this new album. Again, any of this ringing a bell???

Teens react to Linkin Park video

So, my friend sends me this link, and of course I watch. At first, I’m amused. Not all of the teens recognize Linkin Park’s old videos. In fact, most do not. When a few do, they’re dismissive, saying that other kids “hate” on them. They might not even know the band themselves, but they know friends hate them, so they should too. (I had no idea, probably because I could be a parent to any of these kids!) Truly, if I didn’t know what year it was, or what band they were talking about, I’d automatically assume they were talking about Duran Duran.

Someone off camera explains to each of the teens that the first video they watched was their new single, “Heavy”, and that the band has gotten quite a bit of backlash from fans about it.  One guy, in a hoodie who clearly knew the band well enough to recognize their hits over the years, agreed. A girl – the one who talks about the haters out there – said that their music all sounds kind of the same, and that this new song feels like a sell-out because it seems like they thought about doing what is trendy right now.

At this point, Mike explains that the “trendy” comment is funny because their album writing cycles are anywhere from 12-18 months, and so it’s either that they are lucky and anticipate the trend, or they do something that was trendy 18 months ago. Good point, and not something I’ve really thought about.  Then other teens weigh-in, saying things like “bands evolve, and so fans have to suck it up” (point taken), and “there’s so many fans where if their favorite band doesn’t do the one thing, in the one category, in the one genre in the one sub genre they’re supposed to do, it sucks…and I don’t think they understand how music works because you’re supposed to change it up.”  Mike claps at that comment.

I couldn’t help but see the parallels.  We’ve had those moments with nearly every album Duran Duran has released. It would seem to be an impossible task, and Mike mentioned this when he talked about the vicious cycle of creating. There are always going to be a group of fans that like one particular “thing” the band does, and they’re going to demand the band stay within that realm. That said, Mike also explained that if they were to put out music that all sounded the same – it would drive them crazy.  Not every song can be “Rio”, in other words, but they’re then always going to have fans that scream “sell-out” when the sound isn’t what they expect.

At the end of the video, Mike says that as long as he loves what they’ve done – he has to keep that foremost in his mind as he goes on stage or releases work. Linkin Park is still going to get a certain amount of hate in reaction to their new material. He says that if at least he doesn’t love what he’s done, then he stands to be very disappointed. The whole video gave me a new dimension to consider going forward.

On the other hand, as a blogger, I went from being mildly amused, to nearly cringing. I recognized myself in those teens as they filmed their reaction. Duran Duran puts their blood, sweat and tears into a new album, and then two yahoos from America decide to review it on YouTube. I am one of those yahoos, by the way, and my reaction isn’t always the best.

In any case, the video provided some perspective on the evolution of a band’s material. As I said to my friend yesterday, I appreciated everything Mike Shinoda had to say on the subject. It was clear from the way Mike spoke that he wasn’t just carrying on the “party line” or “talking points” straight from management. He spoke from the heart even though he is directly in the middle of the market launch of their new album. The words hit home and made me think about reviews I’ve done in the past. I can’t say I’d change what is done, but it does make me think as I move forward. -R

 

Question of the Day: Monday, May 22, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  Ordinary World

Which video do you like better:  White Lines or Perfect Day?

In This Place You Made

May is always an interesting time for me.  It is the end of the school year.  This means that the way life is right now will end soon, never to be quite the same again.  I think about my classes and the kids who come in on a daily basis to hang out.  Next year, I’ll have new kids with different kids popping in and out of my classroom.  Some of my colleagues will remain the same and others will change.  The end of the school year almost always means that I stop, look around and think about my life a bit.  I take stock.

One element that I have to acknowledge is my fandom and this place.  Most of the time, I don’t even really think of this blog.  It is just part of my daily routine.  There isn’t much questioning on my part.  No “should I still be writing this blog” or “should I take a break”.  Unlike my paid gig where I do take the time to look around, think about how things are and how they will be, I don’t here.  Maybe, I should, though.

Rhonda and I have been writing this blog for six and a half years.  We have created over 3,000 posts and have had hundreds of thousands of page views.  That is pretty remarkable, isn’t it?  While we have taken some time away for various reasons, for the most part, we have posted something daily.  On top of that, I look at the Duran fandom and see plenty of what we do here replicated, including Duran history or surveys.  Clearly, we have readers who check out what we write on a  daily basis and still others who read a few posts a week every week.

Beyond the statistics of the blog, I think about what it has meant to me.  On one hand, it has become a diary of sorts.  I have discussed many personal issues on this blog from political campaigning to my job to my parents’ health.  This diary has also captured the band’s history in the last six years.  Just the other day, Rhonda mentioned about the 2011 shows that had to be cancelled due to the fact that Simon lost his voice.  We documented that here.  In fact, we have documented two album releases and many tours, at this point.  Have we captured every single thing?  Of course not but we have talked about quite a bit.

Fandom is an interesting element in someone’s life.  For me, I have had some fandoms my whole life.  Those fandoms including Star Trek and the White Sox, represent my family, my childhood.  They are like comfort foods or a security blanket.  I feel safe when I think about them.  Then, there are the fandoms that I participated in for awhile that might have brought me great times and good friends but couldn’t last.  Duran Duran fandom, though, is in a category all by itself.  While it has existed in my life for decades, it is not as old as my family connected ones.  Like the short term fandoms, it has brought me amazing times and experiences along with good friends.  Yet, it has been so much more than all of those others combined.  It has a grasp on my heart and soul that the others don’t come close to.

When I think about why this fandom matters so much to me, I consider the history I have with being a Duranie.  Memories of tours, conventions and friends pop in my head.  I immediately think of all of the tremendous shows I have been fortunate enough to attend.  Yet, this blog is a big part of the picture, too.  It has kept me grounded into this fandom in a  way that all of the other elements of the fandom could not.  It keeps me always thinking about Duran.  I’m forced to pay attention to what the band is doing even when I’m distracted by real life or other concerns.  Some of you might view what see this as an unfun responsibility, but I don’t.  I’m thankful for it.  The blog allowed me to really commit to a fandom that I love more than words can ever show.

I don’t know what my fandom would have been like without this blog.  Maybe I would have walked away at some point.  Perhaps, I wouldn’t remain as involved or I would have dived deep into something else.  On top of that, I’m proud of what Rhonda and I have created here.  I think that 6.5 years is pretty impressive.  To be honest, I’m not sure where or when it would ever end either.  No, this blog and this fandom of mine are truly lifelong commitments.

-A

Question of the Day: Sunday, May 21, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  Do You Believe in Shame?

Which video do you like better:  Ordinary World or Too Much Information?

Ultimate Box Set: Live Songs FINAL Vote!

Fans of Duran Duran Live, this blog post is for you!  As dedicated readers know, we have been working on creating an Ultimate Duran Duran Box Set from fan preferences.  Fans have chosen 7 singles, 7 album tracks and 7 b-sides/demos.  Now, we need to make our final selection of best live songs to capture the quality of Duran’s live performances.  We began this task by  listing the 50 most often played songs and asked people to choose their 7 favorite live songs.  Then, we eliminated the 15 songs chosen the least, leaving 35 songs left.  After that, we did the same thing again decreasing the list to a more manageable 21.

Today begins the week long chance to pick the 7 live songs that will be included in our imaginary Ultimate Box Set.  When voting, people might consider which songs capture the band’s live performance.  Perhaps, one might think about songs that sounds so much better live.  No matter what criteria you use to cast your votes, I wish you some fun.  My advice:  Don’t think too much.  If you do, it will be next to possible to actually choose!  I, for one, look forward to the results and analyzing those next week!

-A

Question of the Day: Saturday, May 20, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  I Don’t Want Your Love

Which video do you like better:  Do You Believe in Shame or Serious?

I’m Making a Break

Today is one of those days.  It is a day in which I just find myself sitting in my living room, unable to write anything on a blog post.  This does not happen to me much.  I always have something to write about, right?  In fact, I have a list of blog topics that I keep around.  I have been doing a lot of reading surrounding female fandom lately, which is bringing up a ton of topics to write about.  Yet, none of the topics on my list are motivating me right now.  I’m just not in a mood to think that much.  Call me exhausted and needing a break, I guess.

What am I going to do with blog then?  I’m not sure.  I thought I might do a little YouTube cruising and see if any Duran clips catch my attention.  Perhaps, I find some ones that I haven’t seen before that I can share with all of you.

I started out by checking out the videos “recommended” to me!  Sure enough, right away, I saw this clip, one I had never seen before:

This clip made me laugh!  As you see here, Simon and John certainly were laughing during this interview.  John tells a story about his dad pointing out that he is “thinking a lot more now” and Simon addresses the sexual nature of the song, “Big Thing.”  The interviewer says that parents must be super concerned about this “rougher” Duran Duran.  My reaction.  Huh?  The album, Big Thing, was rough?  Bad boy like?  Really?  Of course, the interviewer’s concern about parents says to me that she is making a big assumption that the band’s fans are all kids.  Now, I was a kid still in 1988 but a lot of Duranies were grown people.  Annoying.

Then, I found this gem:

First of all, they are babies.  Babies.  So young.  What is interesting to me is the focus, still, on their looks over the music.  People, even then, seemed to think that all they (and/or their fans) cared about were the band’s looks.  Beyond that, I was entertained by the kids and all of the various things they were doing behind John and Simon’s backs.  I wonder what those kids thought of themselves years later.  Funny watch!

Here is another 1981 clip:

Here’s what I really want to know.  Perhaps, someone from the UK can explain all of the shows with little kids present with rock stars or famous people in the early 1980s.  It is so weird to see the band so young.

Then, I found this clip:

I almost turned this off until I saw the dancing.  Oh, for the dancing.  Seriously, watch until at least 1:45.  Simon has some moves.

While I feel like I see most interviews/clips that come out these days, I love when I find that I missed one.  Here is a clip of the band winning a lifetime achievement award in 2015.

Simon’s speech is touching but I really related to Mark Ronson talking about being a kid and hearing the Reflex.  “And that’s what I want to listen to for the rest of my life.”  That’s my life.  Exactly.

Clearly, I could go on and on and on and on.  Yet, I think that awards clip is the perfect place to end my search, my viewing, this blog post.  Watching these clips was exactly what I needed today.

-A

Question of the Day: Friday, May 19, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  Wild Boys

Which video do you like better:  Skin Trade or I Don’t Want Your Love?

Newcastle show canceled, 2011. Do you remember??

On this date in 2011, some of the longest “waiting” of my life began. Duran Duran was to play the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle that evening, and was the first show to be canceled during the All You Need is Now tour.  Here’s the original announcement from DDHQ:

(from duranduran.com) Singer Simon Le Bon has today been diagnosed with a throat infection that is forcing the band to postpone their Newcastle Arena show that was scheduled for tomorrow, May 18. All fans should hold on to their tickets. Details of the rescheduled date will be forthcoming within the next couple of days.

I can remember hearing about this show being canceled. I can still feel the shock waves that reverberated through my body when my friend called to tell me the bad news that day. Every one of my hairs stood on end and I really didn’t know what to do.

Amanda and I, along with two of our friends, were to fly to the UK to see shows in Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and London.  We were leaving in less than 48 hours for what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime. I had an afternoon flight from LAX on the 20th and would arrive in London the 21st. I’d meet Amanda and the rest of our friends that day and we booked a car to drive us to Birmingham. We would stay at the Birmingham Malmaison in a very fancy suite that we’d spent a bundle to book, and continue on from there. It was going to be the second time I’d been to the UK, and the first time I’d ever flown outside the country without Walt. For me, the trip was huge.

I stood there by my stairs, listening to my friend rant on and on about what my choices were and whether or not she thought I should still “chance it” and make the trip. All I could do was stand there, bite my nails, and hope it was a one-time thing and that Simon would be fine for the next show, which was in Glasgow the following day.

Of course, it wasn’t. The next day, it was announced that Glasgow would be canceled. I was to leave the very next day, and this was about the time I began to panic.  I think I kind of knew our shows would be canceled, but I held out hope until the following day, literally minutes before I left my house. My bags were packed and I was waiting for my husband to arrive home to take me to LAX so I wouldn’t have to leave my car.  I believe I got a phone call from one of our friends, who alerted me to the latest announcement from Duran Duran, canceling the next three shows….all three of which I was supposed to attend.

I remember thinking about what my options were that day, but my husband quickly quelled any plans I had to stay home. “You’ve already got your plane ticket. You’re going.” I knew he was right. It was a lot to give up, and at the time, there was still that London show. It was possible he’d be able to do that, right? I gathered my things, made my flight and hoped for the best.

As we all know, the entire UK tour was canceled, so no – London didn’t happen. It was months before Simon was in the clear and able to perform again. The trip itself was good, but strange. In some bizarre way, I think going over there and experiencing the cancellation with people who understood how I felt was oddly comforting. Amanda and I tried our best to make the trip fun, and parts of it were. For me personally, the trip was cathartic. I can say that I came back home as a completely different person. A totally different fan.

I’m still annoyingly critical, sarcastic and judgmental. I still make plenty of rookie errors when dealing with the public. But, the love I have for Duran Duran is far, far different now. I think that trip made me see them as humans. Finally. Not every fan wants that. Some want to keep the band on their pedestal as perfect, mystical beings. That’s fine. It just wasn’t the path I wanted. I can’t say it’s helped with my writing or even the blog (I have still upset fans in the past and will likely do so again at some point), but I think maybe the trip gave me a little more perspective.

Later that year, Amanda and I went back, this time seeing shows and experiencing all that a Duran Duran tour in the UK had to offer. The memories from that trip are wonderfully happy and I’m glad I went back. However, the trip that taught me the most was the one that didn’t go as planned. Maybe there’s something to that.

-R

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!