Just a Perfect…Weekend or Two!

I am happy to report that my dad is home!  My mom, my niece and I picked him up this morning.  He is a million times better than he was but it will take him some time to fully get his strength back.  While he finishes recovering, I can start to return to my normal life.  It, too, will take me awhile to get back to normal as everything got pushed to the side.  One of the things that I find happens when something like this takes place is that my mind cannot focus on anything besides my family.  I look forward to thinking about other things besides worry, status updates and doctor visits.

It has been so crazy that I haven’t been able to keep track of days, times, etc.  I have noticed that my partner-in-crime has posted a couple memories on Facebook, reminding me of where we were last year on this date.  Oh, yes, March 18th is one that I definitely want to remember.  In fact, this is one of those dates that my Duranie self should always remember as two incredible weekends happened on this date.

In 2005, 13 whole years ago, I was in Chicago seeing Duran play at the All-State Arena.  It was the first show I ever saw with Rhonda and it led us to where we are today.  I tend to think of that weekend being the first bookend to my fandom.  While I had been a fan before that (duh) and had even seen the band in concert before, that weekend in 2005 changed it all.  In many ways, it was the perfect weekend.  No, it did not feature front row seats or a meet and greet with the band.  Yet, it was so much fun that I became addicted to this fandom thing and to touring.

What made it so fun?  It was definitely a combination of factors.  First, I knew a bunch of people attending this show and called them all my friends.  Most of us were staying at the same hotel, resulting in multiple late night parties.  We ended up closing the hotel bar both nights and still were not ready to call it a night as hotel rooms became gathering places for late night/early morning conversations and laughs. The strong connection carried over to the concert venue as the show was enhanced by engaging looks and acknowledging moments with each other.  Okay, it didn’t hurt that we were in the 3rd row in front of John Taylor, either.  Then, of course, Rhonda and I along with some other friends continued the fun the next day at the show in Milwaukee.  By the end of the night, Rhonda and I were so ridiculously tired that we ended up laughing at nothing for hours.  When Rhonda left that Sunday, we both knew that we had found touring partners for life.  I knew that I had found something so fun that I would do a lot to experience it all over again.

Fast forward to 2017, a full 12 years later, and Rhonda and I found ourselves at another weekend.  This time, it was closer to Rhonda’s neck of the woods in California.  While we might have been surrounded by different friends, it was still an amazingly fun weekend with great shows, late nights, partying and more.  I wouldn’t say it was the same at the weekend in Chicago but it was just as good, including more amazing seats.  My addiction had been fed.  In fact, it was such a great weekend that I thought to myself that if that weekend was the last tour, it would provide the best bookend possible to this touring thing.  It didn’t become that touring bookend as more shows followed, but I would have been more than okay with that.

Truly, I realize how lucky I have been.  Not only is my Dad better and back at home, but I have had the good fortune of having some amazing weekends with friends and Duran Duran.


March 2018 Katy Kafe with Simon

Before I dive into the highlights and my thoughts regarding this month’s Katy Kafe, I want to thank everyone for the thoughts and well-wishes for my dad.  All of the comments have helped me to keep going in order to be there for him and my mom.  Again, I thank you.  Now, on to the Katy Kafe…

This particular one features Simon answering fan questions, twenty of them in fact!  As always, this is not a word-for-transcript.  Instead, I’m just sharing the highlights along with some of my commentary.  If you want it all (and I know you do), get yourself over to DuranDuranMusic to listen for yourself!  This means that I am not going to cover every question but  will pick out the most interesting to me.  I’m also going to divide them into band related questions and Simon only questions.

Duran Related Questions:

Question:  Does Simon write lyrics all the time or just when an album is coming up?

Simon stated that he does often write down phrases that could work as song lyrics all the time but tends to do more when an album is coming up.  It just happens naturally.  One aspect of songwriting that he focused on was on titles.  He mentioned an artist who had a friend name one of his pieces, which he thought was so fascinating.  At times, being given a title has worked for him like Rio, A View to a Kill, Girl Panic, and Electric Barbarella.  (Note to self:  That could make for an interesting daily question. Which title is better?  Or what is a title that would make for an interesting Duran song.)

Question:  Why is Last Chance on the Stairway not played live?

Simon focused on the middle part of the song that features a vibraphone that he would have to relearn.  I suspect some fans would love for him to do just that in order to hear it live!

Question:  Which DD song from the 80s should get a 2018 make-over?

He suggested Late Bar or My Own Way but commented about how fans really aren’t that keen with changing songs.  (I have to admit that is true.  I remember freaking out a little with the changes done to Too Much Information live in 2015.  To my credit, I actually liked it a lot once I got used to it.)  Katy and Simon focused on changes to Hungry Like the Wolf in 1993.  Simon wants to know which is better:  album version or the live 1993 version of that song.  Answer on Twitter via #AskSimonMarch.

Question:  What was Simon’s favorite DD video to shoot?

Simon really like the ones filmed in Sri Lanka because it was so amazing being there.  He enjoyed the action shots from Hungry but loved the relaxed feel of Save a Prayer and how there was more band in that one.

Question:  What was the inspiration for Cinderella Ride?

Simon talked about someone who helps the sick and the poor, especially in the back streets of London.  (Now I’ll have to relisten to it through that lens!)

Question:  When does the band celebrate the 40th anniversary?

Simon thinks that July 16, 2020 would be a good day as it will be the 40th anniversary of him being on stage with the band for the first time!  (NOTED!  I will keep that date open!)

Question:  Which song would you never get tired of performing?

Simon said that the song has to be something that he could sing in a wheelchair like Come Undone or Secret Oktober. (!!!)

Question:  What does it feel like to be a band that is so loved by many for so long?

Simon loves the music and the guys in the band.  “We look out for each other,” he stated.  Being a part of Duran has made him feel “useful.”  (I get that.)

Simon Only Questions:

Question:  Has the SYN track, “Closer to Your Bed” ever been released?  If so, where can people hear it?

Simon does not think that it has but maybe it should be.  He went on to share that when he was 12, he made a 4 track record when he was part of the church choir.  His old choir master has a clean copy and thinks it should be released.  Simon is considering doing that as a fundraiser in which the proceeds would go to the church choir.  Would people be interested in buying a copy?  If so, tell him again on Twitter with the hashtag #AskSimonMarch.

Question:  Who should play him in a movie?

Simon suggested Aaron Johnson, Ryan Gosling, or even Margot Robbie.

Question:  If he could take out a giant billboard, what would it say?

Be nice.  (Aww…)

Katy must have said a number of times that this is one of the best Kafes they have ever done.  I cannot disagree.  As I stated earlier, I didn’t include everything because there was so much.  Some of the questions I didn’t cover here:  One thing Simon has tried but wouldn’t do again, which 80s peer is he still in contact with, whether or not the duet with Isabelle Adjani would ever be released, who should cover a Duran song and which song, and more.  I, for one, applaud the questions as they were super interesting and loved hearing Simon’s responses.  I look forward to more Kafes like this one!











Two Hearts Beating

I wanted to write about the latest Katy Kafe with Simon for today.  Apparently, it features 20 questions from fans and Simon’s responses.  Unfortunately, I don’t and haven’t had the time to listen yet.  I promise, though, that I will as soon as I can in order to properly blog about it.

So, what have I been busy doing?  Well, if you read the blog last weekend, you know that my dad was pretty sick.  His illness continued throughout the beginning of the week until finally he was hospitalized on Wednesday where he still is.  In fact, as soon as I get done with this blog, I’ll be heading back there.  The good news is that they know what the problem is and he appears to be getting better.  While I’m obviously relieved, this kind of event has shaken me.  Here’s the deal.  I don’t just simply love my parents but I adore them. I look up to them.  While almost every person I know has some conflicted feelings about their parents, I do not.  I benefitted from having my mom and dad as my parents as they raised me and my siblings well.  They sacrificed so much for us and it is only right for me to return the favor now.

While I love my fandom and need it in my life, my parents will always come first.  They will come before anything–my job, my students, myself, everything.  In 1997, I moved to Madison, hoping that this city would fit me.  In 2003, my dad retired and my parents chose to come to Madison to enjoy their retirement.  This has benefitted me on every level.  They, for example, take care of my cat when I’m on tour.  There have been countless times that they have taken me to the airport when I have traveled to see Duran.  I could go on with this list forever.

All that said, I couldn’t help but to think about Simon and how he recently lost his mother.  Then, I think of other band members who have lost their parents.  John’s autobiography, for example, captured his feelings about losing both of his parents.  How do their jobs fit with family?  I just got done saying that, for me, my parents come first and always will.  Does the job of rock star, of musician allow them the same?  I sure the heck hope so.

At times, I have pushed the band to speed up their work when it comes to writing and recording albums.  While I didn’t mean any harm to that, at the time, now I look at it differently.  They need to have the time to spend with their families, too.  This doesn’t mean they ignore their jobs, but it does mean prioritizing.  Yesterday, at school, I pushed through my classes but spent any extra time calling to check in on Dad.  I fulfilled my duties, but my focus was still on him.  Does the band have the same chance?  Again, I sure the heck hope so as life is a pretty precious thing.

On that note, I’m off to see my dad.


Quicksand featuring John Taylor, 2016

From the “Another Something I Didn’t Know ” file…

On this date in 2016, Jilann O’Neill released Not Alone, an album of Bowie-esque tunes with Mike Garson, and co-produced by John Taylor.

On this album is a little song called “Quicksand” that features John Taylor…and he’s singing, both as a duet AND alone.

Cue shocked face.


Yep, that’s the one.

Now, I’m not shocked that John Taylor can sing. It is just rare to hear him singing, generally speaking. I mean, I have his solo music, it isn’t as though he never does it…but in Duran Duran, it’s not all that often that we get to hear him, that’s all.  (this is code for: don’t send me hate mail)

Here’s a link to a YouTube audio of the song, in case like me, you haven’t heard it or don’t already own it.

The song is beautifully simple and organic, and vocals are intriguingly raw, which gives the song even more depth. I really liked it, particularly because it is 100% different from anything I’ve heard from John before. Huge thumbs up from me, and I feel kind of bad that I hadn’t listened to it before. (Although as I type that, I’m wondering if maybe I did hear it and just forgot. I’m going to have to take a walk back through our blogs in 2016!)

So your homework for today is to go check out the album Not Alone, by Jilann O’Neill. Google it and give it a good listen! If you haven’t heard it before, its new music for you!


I Want a Miracle: making a difference

Just when you think your own problems suck, life has this crazy way of giving you a good kick in the pants. I probably should just say me. Life has a crazy way of giving me a good kick in the pants. The kick was much needed, and probably well-deserved.

I have really cut back on reading Twitter lately. I know that for many, it’s the way they catch their news and sound off on politics. I’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable by the tone of incessant anger on Twitter, so I’ve just stopped reading. I do spend a few moments catching up each morning, but that’s about it. I’m happier that way, but I also miss things on occasion.

The other day as I scrolling through, a tweet caught my eye that I hadn’t seen before. Dom had retweeted something from Fred Rister about an upcoming documentary, as well as a song, “I Want a Miracle”.

First of all, I am betting that some of you are asking, “Who’s Fred Rister?” Have you ever heard of the song, “I Gotta Feeling?” by the Black Eyed Peas?  What about David Guetta?  (If neither of these ring a bell…you need to spend a little QT with Google, Spotify, and maybe even some YouTube.) Fred Rister is a record producer, and he is also a business and writing partner with David Guetta.

I found myself clicking on the video link in the tweet, which took me to a trailer for a documentary on Fred Rister. From listening to what his peers have to say about him, he is not only well-respected, but very loved in the music world. I didn’t know this, but he has cancer. From the way the documentary sounds – he doesn’t have much time left. He is writing, composing and recording “I Want a Miracle” and donating all the proceeds to the Kidney Cancer Association. Mr. Rister wants to see this project through to the end, and I have to applaud him for that. If I were in his shoes, I suspect I’d want to bury my head and hide. He’s far braver than I could ever hope to be.

I’ve watched and listened to the trailer several times now. I don’t know why, really. Granted, “I Gotta Feeling” could probably make anybody dance, including me. I know a little about EDM, primarily because my son Gavin loves it, and of course…there’s Duran Duran, who is responsible for a great many dance remixes out there, and I believe they were and ARE still trailblazers.

And in this case, there’s Dom’s involvement…oh, did I not mention that??  Dom actually plays on “I Want a Miracle”, and if you listen to even the short bits that are included in the background of the trailer, he’s easy to pick out! A few weeks back, Dom tweeted about being in the studio with Fred Rister. I saw the tweet, and as is typical, I marveled at how many people Dom seems to know in the industry. Let’s just say that if he wanted, he could probably leave Duran Duran tomorrow and not be out of a work for a single day. It’s impressive, and so few fans actually see and know that about Dom, assuming that the band is all he has going on. Not so, my friends. Not so.

Even better than knowing he played on the trailer, and the part that really stuck with me, I guess is witnessing the love and respect that Dom and Fred Rister seem to have for one another. Like anyone else on Twitter, I’m just an outsider with my nose pressed to the glass.

Dom retweeted the link to the documentary with these words, “To the bravest person I have ever met, Fred Rister, who continues to fight his cancer with such strength and positivity. I’m so happy to have played on this track. Looking forward to the full length documentary.”

Fred responded, saying “Thank you so much man… I think exactly the same about you, and when you played guitar on “I Want A Miracle “ it was awesome 😱 I allways have our studio session in my mind… Love”.

I mean, come on now! When I read that, I had to go investigate and see what it was all about. Sure, it could have all been play-up in order to draw attention to the release of the song (March 16), but I am not quite that cynical.

So the purpose of my blog today is two-fold: one, I want to everyone reading to buy Fred Rister’s “I Want a Miracle” on Friday. It’s not just about the love for music, although “I Want A Miracle” has a great message, hook and it’s totally danceable with a certain recognizable guitar in its depths… Even better, it is idea that we could do something beneficial and worthwhile. Two, of course I want to support Dom’s work. I do admire his work ethic, talent, and overall sense of gratitude, and yeah – I’ll probably want to punch you in the face if you call me a fangirl or groupie. The truth is, the guy does a TERRIBLE JOB of promoting and marketing himself. So I here I am, doing my (extremely little) bit. I hope it makes a difference on all counts.

If there’s anything our readers should know about me, is that beyond  the music, I love a great story. That’s probably the avid reader and writer in me. I also don’t like being the person “out front”. I would much rather be in the back, unnoticed, just doing my bit to make things work. Yeah, I write this blog four . I occasionally will do videos and host gatherings. I also like being the mom, taking care of people, and just making everything work seamlessly without a lot of fanfare. However, I’m no fool. The Daily Duranie isn’t going to change anybody’s life. It’s not going to suddenly propel anyone’s career—least of all my own—but it might just sell a few more copies of a song and make people feel good about being a fan of something.

That works for me.