Fluff!

Today’s blog is full of fluff…and I make no apologies for that.  It’s one of those days where I can’t think clearly enough to put anything hard-hitting together, and so I’m going to just gush instead.  🙂

Has anyone seen the photos or video from the bands’ appearance with Mark Ronson yesterday?  (if not, you should check out gimmeawristband.com for photos and youtube for video – I found one of Planet Earth that was great and I’ll post the link below!)  The band looked great, and I loved that Mark was all in his 80’s glory as he was playing the guitar – I would swear I had similar hair at one point during the 80’s.  😀  A couple of comments:

*The Eagle has landed…on Simon’s belt, again.  I couldn’t ignore that the infamous eagle belt has been resurrected.  Some love it, some don’t…but it was there in all it’s glory.

*Plenty of JoSi moments for those who like that sort of thing…it was good to see John and Simon smiling and happy, and it did make me wish I was there!

*Nick was wearing….sneakers???  Really?!?   Jeans can NOT be far behind, my friends.  All that really did was give me permission to ditch the heels, save my forever aching feet and be proud in my own sneakers as I stand in GA this tour…which I will!

*I loved John’s t-shirt…so much that I already own one of my own.  Love that we’ve finally gotten rid of the Red Carpet Massacre-wear.  I’m so used to seeing the guys on stage in basic black/white, to me it’s how they belong.  I’m sure they’ll have something different going on for the next tour, but I do love a man in a suit.  😉

*Musically (oh yes, they did play didn’t they?), they sounded great.  I thought that maybe the beginning was a little slow – but given that the video was taken from a live show and of course the sound wasn’t balanced the way it would have been had it been taken directly from the sound board, I thought they sounded great.  I have to wonder what Mark thought about being on stage, playing with the band he seems to idolize so much….that’s a subject I would LOVE to hear more about from him if given the chance.

I hear more dates are to be announced soon, and the video from yesterday only makes this fan more excited!

Promise to back to my more analytical self tomorrow…..

-R

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Every year about this time I see a post on more than one DD message board, and it goes a little something like this “I cannot BELIEVE  ____________  was nominated before DD!!  How can that be??”  Almost every year, I resist from posting a response, primarily because there are several others that have already posted exactly what I’m thinking – which is generally “So what?!?”

I know that probably sounds crass coming from a fan.  It might even seem a little blasphemous to some.  The fact is, and I know there are many out there who are with me on this – why on earth should Duran Duran be IN the Hall of Fame?

Are they a great band?  Well, in MY opinion, yes…but in the opinion of most Americans, and definitely in the minds of most of the people  who nominate, probably not so much.  The fact is, Duran Duran is an 80’s band who only had wide appeal for a very short time, musically speaking.  That doesn’t detract from what we as fans see, and it’s not meant.  Bands like Bon Jovi, (nominated this year), or U2 – as much as I hate to admit it in the case of the latter – they’ve had enormous mass appeal for a very long time.  U2 can still fill up stadiums when they tour.  Duran Duran can fill up some of the House of Blues locations.  It’s just the way it is.  Duran Duran have never had immense success with critics, and although as a fan I can give critics the finger and be done with them,   it seems to me that having the critical acclaim is important (to some) to show that yes, this band has actually influenced musical history over a length of time.

Did they have impact on the industry?  Here is where I think there’s a chasm between the fans – they had a HUGE impact on VIDEOS, yes.  Music??  I have to say probably not as much.  Yes, it pains me to say that – but it’s true.  I really believe that many years from now, the music history books will take a paragraph or two to denote Duran Duran’s influence over the way videos were made and marketed to the public.  I think a lot of fans who have been following the band over the years would agree that it’s in videos where they are likely to leave their lasting mark.  They already have, in my book.

Lastly, and probably most importantly for the fans who like me aren’t concerned about Duran Duran being in the Hall of Fame yet, the band isn’t finished.  In some respects, it really seems that a band shouldn’t be nominated into the Hall of Fame until they’re done and they have their whole catalog to be reflected back on.  To nominate them at this point would seem to be a little unfair to the band, because they just aren’t finished.  It would almost be like assuming their best is behind them – and while I know there are many out there that think Rio was the pinnacle, I’m saying (and others like me), be patient.  Let’s sit back and wait this one out a bit because I have a feeling that the band isn’t quite finished.

Sometimes, even in Duranland, patience can be a real virtue.

-R

New Album Title – the sequel!


So John Taylor tells Katy that the new album is to be named All You Need is Now.  Quite a departure from King of Nowhere, I’d say.  🙂  

Where King of Nowhere could possibly be very telling as to the bands’ overall mood at times, if I’m going to be fair and truthful to all that has ever been Duran Duran, All You Need Is Now is probably a much better title for one of their albums.
I don’t think Duran Duran has ever really been the brooding type of band, so sunk into reality that they can’t see the beauty in just living.  No, I think the band has probably been just the opposite.  Simon himself said in one of the promo videos for the Astronaut album that the band is about pure joy (as was the song [Reach up for the] Sunrise, off of that same album).  The band has always been about enjoying the here and now, and let’s face it – if All You Need is Now is to be the next album title – that truly embodies the full spirit.  
Even more interestingly to me were the reactions from the fans as the community contemplated King of Nowhere as the album title, and once again All You Need is Now.   With King of Nowhere, many fans were disappointed – they felt the title was too depressing, too negative – and some were even concerned that it was going to end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. (clearly those fans haven’t been around since Astronaut – the last album title was Red Carpet MASSACRE, folks.)   Last night, I took a peak around some of the boards after this latest news was announced, and amazingly enough, the fan community as a whole reacted far more positively, saying that the title reminded them of the type of hope, love and joy that they believe the band stands for.  
I think that the fantasy life – the yacht, the wealthy (young) men, the models, the champagne, the exotic locations – is the package that once sold the world on Duran Duran.  It’s not just one part of it, it was the sum of all of the parts that made the group what we know it.  Many of those same fans are around today, and I can’t speak for all of them, but for me, my reality is pretty far from the life Duran Duran once portrayed in their videos and songs.  The band is still very much an escape at times (heck I even travel to shows in order to escape from the present!), and during those times – I really do try to live in that present.  I only get a weekend or two a year at the very most to spend with my friends, and when you’ve only got those few moments – you tend to try and only live in that moment, right?
Even back in “reality”, living in the now is a lesson all of us should learn.  Not long ago, my father was very ill, and while I would sit and worry and ask him how he was feeling – he would constantly tell me not to think about it.  “What will happen will happen, but while you’re alive, you need to LIVE.”   I don’t think I ever understood that until the day he died.  It’s a simple, but very difficult lesson to put into practice….and I stand even more fascinated that the band is continuing to teach and challenge their fans, should they take the effort to look a little deeper than the surface.  

Durantime

Since the announcement of the South African tour dates, fans have been speculating about when exactly the new album will be released.  The press release said that these dates will begin a “global campaign” for the new album.  The common thinking is that the album will be released in early 2011.  This would make sense since that is what the band have been saying in interviews and also what was stated in the presale email from the official fan community.  Plus, this fits in the typical pattern for Duran. 

On every message board I go to, there are references to “Durantime”.  This is a term used to describe how Duran Duran takes an incredibly long time to release new material, no matter if that material is a new album or a new dvd or even a re-release of an old album.  Everything Duran is connected to seems to take a long time.  Of course, some of that time is because the band seems to seek perfection, which really could be a positive.  After all, fans, including myself, want quality products.  We don’t want things that look or feel rushed.  Most of us would prefer quality over quantity.  Right?  If that is true, then we must accept this concept of “Durantime” even if we do not like it.

Like most fans, I accept “Durantime” (since I have no other choice) and I will continue to complain about it.  At this point in time, though, I would LOVE the band to destroy this concept, at least a little bit, by releasing the album ahead of the common thinking.  Perhaps, this is just my desire to get my hands on the album sooner rather than later.  At the same time, I think it would be good for the band to be a little less predictable.  It would keep the fans on their toes and more engaged in the fandom.  After all, who can afford to turn away when something may happen at any time?! 

-A

Tour Dates in South Africa

Today, there was an official Duranie alert as the band announced tour dates in South Africa during December.  While I’m not anywhere near there, announcements like this get me all excited as they do for countless other Duranies!  People are thrilled with the news, even if they are unable to go, as it is clear that life in Duranland is about to pick up.  It seems we won’t have to wait long for official word about the album and tour! 

Fans have been discussing and analyzing both the announcement on duranduran.com and the email sent out about the presale from Duran Duran Music.  Two lines, in particular, from the official announcement have captured people’s focus.  The first line that grabbed people mentioned that this mini-tour is the beginning of a huge promotion campaign in regards of the upcoming release of their latest album.  There seems to be universal consensus among fans that this means that there will be a ton of tour dates to follow!  The only question seems to be when will those dates start and where exactly they will go.  Will they do more shows before 2011?  Around Christmas?  Will they do them in the U.S.?  Europe?  People’s minds are already guessing about when they will be coming close to them, geographically, and then plotting about how to get to those shows, myself included!  The other sentence that has captured people’s attention can be summarized by saying that the new album is going to be released shortly after these tour dates (December 8th-12th, by the way).  Does that mean that the album will be released this year or in the beginning of 2011 as they have been promising?  Time will tell but that certainly doesn’t stop the fans from speculating! 

No matter what specifically happens in terms of an album release date or tour dates, I love when alerts like this come out!  I get excited for what is coming and love that other fans do, too!!

-A

Friends of Mine

Six years ago today, I met a number of really fabulous people, including my partner in this blog.  We met in New Orleans at the Duran Duran Fans Convention.  This convention was a three day event when Duranies from across the country came together to celebrate our mutual love for the band.  There were many fun activities as part of the convention, including Duranie games, the vendor fair to buy merchandise, and the dinner/dance.  In many ways, that weekend is a blur as it truly felt like one big party!

The thing that sticks out the most to me (and did then) is how many great stories were shared.  I heard so many fans talk about their adventures as fans, including going to shows and seeing and/or meeting the band.  Everyone seemed excited to hear about each other’s experiences and had their interest (obsession!) fed by them.  We all wanted to have stories to share, if we didn’t already, and felt strongly that we would be able to soon with the album, Astronaut, coming out and a tour soon to follow.  Would we all respond in the same way now?  I suspect not. 

It seems to me that when you join or rejoin a fandom, everything seems great in the beginning!  All of the other fans seem so open and welcoming.  There is no negativity and everyone seems considerate and honest.  Of course, this positive energy was partly coming from the band at that time as they were, or seemed, happy to be back together.  It all seemed new again for ALL of us.  Since then, two new albums were released and many tours took place.  Now, most Duranies recognize that things are not always happy-go-lucky within the fan community as more and more people had their experiences, both with the other fans and with the band, and some of those experiences were not positive ones.   

Does that mean that there shouldn’t be anymore conventions?  Should meetups no longer exist?  Interestingly enough, a group was started on facebook during the summer about a possible Duran Duran convention.  Currently, the group has over 550 members.  Yet, I haven’t seen anything happening in regards to a convention.  In fact, there are no administrators left in that group.  Why couldn’t a convention happen now?  Why didn’t more happen after that 2004 one?  Is it because there is no interest?  550 people would say otherwise.  Is it because it is difficult to plan?  That could very well be true.  Is it because Duranies are too negative, with the band and/or each other?  That could depend on who goes, I suppose.  Perhaps, people would say that they are interested and end up not going in order to save money for a tour. 

Personally, I think that conventions and meetups still have their place and can be incredibly fun!  I wish that there had some been one between the shows last summer and whenever the next shows happen.  After all, a convention could end up not only being a ton of fun but also the beginning of great friendships!

-A

Oh No, Not Again?

Once again, information seems to have gotten out of the bag before it was intended…contrary to yesterday’s interview with Mark Ronson (as well as the MTV blog) that King of Nowhere was to be the title of the next album, officials from Duran Duran are saying that is not the case.

Ultimately, you and I will not know the album title until it comes out…but this kind of back and forth is very typical of Duran Duran in general.  It’s almost laughable at this point because every time a piece of information gets “out” before management can decide to cross the T’s and dot the I’s, inevitably management will come out with a “That has yet to be released” statement to negate whatever piece of information was released without their say-so.

You would think that after so many years in this business, they would know to react faster (it’s been a full 24 hours since the blog and video were publicized), and you would also think that they’d have mentioned it to Mark Ronson….but hey, maybe not.

So, while I am absolutely not going to pull my prior blog from earlier today….  I do have to say that at least for now, we’re not sure what the album title will be.

I wonder if the band knows!

King of Nowhere

So there it is…the new album title.  The news broke yesterday via an MTV blog, seen here.  Overall, great news for Duranies who are chomping at the bit for new music.

That leaves me to ponder over the album title, just a bit.  Without hearing the whole album it’s a little difficult to ascertain the reasoning behind choosing this song as the album title.  (I believe at this point I’ve heard 3 snippets of songs, although don’t quote me on that because I am honestly not positive.   Hey, I’m a mom – I lose count!)  However, I do have some early ideas.

Ultimately, we know that the title comes from a song on the album – as if it were that easy.  I know a lot of Duranies that take everything the band does at complete face value and never bother to look a little deeper – but that’s not my nature, and I’m certainly not going to be doing that in my blog.  The fact is, the band rarely does things that should be taken completely at face value – just like Simon’s lyrics truly are RARELY just about sex.  Yes, I realize that’s the party line answer he’s come up for giving whenever someone asks him about his lyrics.  That’s just the point though – it’s his pat answer because as Simon has said, approximately half a million times in interviews at this point, he doesn’t explain his lyrics – they are up to the listener to decide what they mean to his or her own self.  Quite frankly, I’m still amazed when I go on message boards and someone will ask what such and such song is about – only to be told by another brilliant Duranie that it’s about sex, because that’s what Simon said in _______ interview many years back.  It makes me both sad for the person who asked the question because they are only getting about 1/5 of the truth (and probably a whole lot less depending upon the song!), and annoyed at the person who answered.

In my mind, the album title is extremely telling about the state of affairs after the band finished up promoting what I consider to be one of their weaker albums, Red Carpet Massacre.   I realize that not everyone is going to agree with that statement, but the fact is – it did not do well on ANY front.  Musically, the album truly lacked a sense of balance.  Lyrically, I felt as though the album was written much differently than any of their other work.  Simon has some beautiful lines throughout the album, but as a whole many of the song lyrics felt very rushed and not polished.  Definitely not up to the caliber that I know Simon is capable of writing.  Yes, it was to be a “dance” album of sorts, but the way it was recorded and mixed made it seem as though there were no live instruments used in the production.  It truly could have been Simon and a synthesizer/beat box in a recording booth somewhere, and it would have sounded very much the same.  That’s all fine and good, change is great, and experimentation is what has set Duran Duran apart from the droves over the years and I continue to champion and applaud that – with one exception:  this is very much meant to be a 5 piece effort, and it is a shame that Timbaland had absolutely no idea how to record the band as such.  He did them a sincere injustice, as did their label for allowing it to happen.   With that in mind, when the band went on tour to promote the album, I think they were all very much aware of the uphill battle they had in front of them to convince their fans that it was still Duran Duran, and not Timbaland, that mattered.  Truth be told, some fans seemed to love RCM, and while I don’t agree, I can see how they might enjoy the updated sound.

Imagine what Duran Duran was working through at the time and you may see where I am going with my assessment of the title.  They had just come back from supporting Astronaut, their first effort with the original 5 since SATRT (Seven and the Ragged Tiger).  While the album itself may have not had nearly as much success as Rio, SATRT or their first album – they were indeed filling very large venues on tour.  Amazing what a reunion tour will do.  I can see how they may have started to believe they were on top of the world again.  They even played Madison Square Garden in New York again – a fantastic feat for an 80’s band!  I know from everything I’ve read that they went back into the studio in earnest to do another album, and from all indications at the time, they seemed to feel that Reportage was going to be the album their fans wanted.  As we all know, that album that has not seen the light of day, and it was announced Andy Taylor left the band once again.  Try as they might, the band cannot really convince me that they didn’t feel SOME sort of let down when that happened. I know that as a fan, it knocked me for a loop even though I knew it was coming.  Then of course, we all know they worked with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake to write and record Red Carpet Massacre.

My assertion is that the band went from feeling on top of the world, to feeling very much on the bottom of it, and that’s where the title comes from.  King of Nowhere.  Some might say – “how can you say that, you haven’t even heard the song!”  That’s true, I haven’t.  Then again, Red Carpet Massacre and Astronaut weren’t album titles purely because of the content of the song.  They were titles because they captured an overall feeling at the time.  Again, it’s up to us as fans to decide what that means for ourselves.  I look forward to reading what other Duranies think!

-R

 

Rumors, gossip, alerts and other things that excite us

This is a Duranie Alert.  


Words we all live for, as Duranies.  Typically those words mean major news – and even more typically, a tour!  Longtime fans are used to the drill, or so we think.  We know that when dates are “announced”, they show up on the front page of DDM or DD.com and at that point, we have mere hours to get ourselves together enough to buy tickets, presale or otherwise.  The funny part is – and really, it IS funny if you stop long enough to think about it – we all tend to completely lose our heads when a tour is announced.  The saying “Keep Calm and Carry On” really should be posted everywhere on Duran Duran message boards, maybe it would help!!  

In any case, it has been quite a while since the last US shows have been announced.  They played in Las Vegas and Orange County last July, and they haven’t really played a public show since.  I think it’s nearly to the point where people are going to explode without a show. (or at the very least they’ll need to enter counseling.  Well, at least *I* will.)  With that in mind, any piece of news that is thrown into the fan community is kind of like when you go to a koi pond and throw a breadcrumb in the water.  The fish go into an absolute frenzy to get it!  

The past few days, weeks really, there have been little bits of news to be read here and there.  Nothing earth shattering, but simple things like John appearing on Richard Blade’s show on First Wave, or Ronson announcing that Duran Duran would be playing with him for two UK dates, the fact that both Ronson and Richard Blade have mentioned that the upcoming album would be out in time for Christmas, and the fact that all of the boys have been out in public in one way or another.  Then there is the gossip, which has notably increased just a bit this past week.  Rumor about possible South Africa dates were circulating on a board or two, and some other gossip about Duran Duran looking for a lighting director for a yet to be announced tour.  (funny how we never hear WHEN the tour is supposed to be – but just that someone knows someone else who was contacted as a possibility for the job)

All of it makes the Duranie, especially the show starved Duranie, (yours truly included) have their radar up and at the ready.    Then I laugh when I think that the possibility exists that in just a few short weeks – I may have to send my husband that YouTube video I came upon yesterday!    

Like the rest of you, I wait in preparation, and I look forward to blogging about the experience!  

Duran Duran vs. My Husband

Today is one of those days where I have a million things to do and about two hours to finish them before I become a chauffeur for my 3 children.  In between my driving, I need to clean the house, do the laundry and cook dinner….almost impossible.  That said, today’s blog is going to be short and sweet.
I found a YouTube video (aptly named Bruce Springsteen vs. Your Husband) yesterday – I swear the person who created it was eavesdropping in my house the last time Duran Duran toured.  It’s word for word (sans the language) how any discussion involving my touring goes with my husband.  I am having trouble getting the video to inbed here properly – so here is the link…if I can figure out how to get it to work here, I will post it later when I have a free second.

The fact is – as I mentioned above, I have three kids and 5 schedules to try and work out before I go on “tour” so to speak.  (the idea of MY being gone for a week is ridiculous.  The longest I’ve ever been gone has been 5 days – and my husband swore that wouldn’t ever happen again.  We’ll see dear.)   I have to start planning nearly a month before I ever get on a plane or in my car to go anywhere – and the schedule that I have to leave behind for my husband to follow is color coded, marked in red, highlighted, crossed out….and he typically follows NONE OF IT.  My kids go absolutely crazy, and they are typically begging for my return about 3 hours into my trip.  They love their dad, but I’m the one that keeps the ship afloat around here, and the kids know that.

One would think (one who isn’t obsessed with a rock band, anyway), that if it were this much trouble to tour – that I’d just give it up and see them when they were here in town and convenient.  The fact is, and this is the one thing the video misses – is that it’s really not about the band anymore.  Yes, I love going to their concerts, and yes, I enjoy getting the little bit of interaction that I have with them when they’re up there and I’m close enough to the stage to enjoy. However, when I go to see Duran Duran, it’s also “Girls time”….something I don’t have at all here at home.  For the short time I’m “on tour”, I only have to worry about myself.  I can actually let down my hair a bit, I can eat first without having to make sure everyone else is served and settled, and I can have a full conversation with my friends without it being interrupted half a dozen times.  I get back a small part of the person I was before children, a husband and responsibilities beyond myself – and that my friends, is golden.

So that’s why *I* tour, and that’s why it’s worth the effort.  Yes, it’s about the band, but it’s also about me.

-R

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!