Gratefulness

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I admit that my entry today is going to be similar to Rhonda’s yesterday.  I’m not one who is terribly excited by Thanksgiving and never really have been.  Yes, it is nice to get together with family, but the traditional meal doesn’t thrill me (I’m a vegetarian) and I am not into cooking.  Nonetheless, the one thing about this holiday that is worthwhile, in my opinion, and is acknowledging what you are thankful for.  Rhonda summed up what she is grateful for, including her family, her friends, the Duranie community, DDF, the band and our readers.  I feel the same, but today I specifically want to acknowledge my gratefulness that Duran Duran is still in existence.

There are not many bands who last for five years or ten years and there are very few who last as long as Duran Duran has.  Now, looking at their history, it is even more impressive.  Goodness knows that some of the members have put their lives at risk, at times, through things like yacht races or excessive partying.  Yet, all of the members both past and present are still with us.  They survived these risky moments.  Then, the band as a whole has remained a band through lineup changes, side projects, poor album sales, criticism of both fans and press alike and more.  I remember explaining to people in 1986 that Duran Duran would return as a band after they participated in Power Station and Arcadia.  I know that I still inform people that not only does Duran Duran still exist, but they even make new music and still tour.  The reaction then and now is one of amazement. 

I have to admit that I have experienced amazement myself during this year when it comes to this band.  I witnessed both the celebration of the reunion and Astronaut followed by the utter disappointment of Red Carpet Massacre.  I saw fans leave the community and I observed the poor album sales.  I couldn’t imagine how the band could recover.  Obviously, I wanted them to and would always say, publicly, that I believed that they would return, but doubted it on the inside.  Yes, I saw the brief pieces of news from them in regards to making the new album but those bits of information were few and far between.  I started to prepare myself for what seemed like the inevitable announcement that the band was done.  The only thing that kept me hoping was that they would, at least, do one more show to say goodbye.  I longed to have one more show, one more tour, one more chance to be with my friends in that way.  Then, there appeared a tiny light at the end of the tunnel.  Now, we are moving closer and closer to reaching that light and my fear has ended.  It seems clear that there will be one more album, one more tour, and one more chance to celebrate with my friends.

Will there be more Duran Duran after this cycle?  I do not know.  For now, I’m embracing their current motto of “All You Need Is Now”.  I am living in the present and looking forward to the new music and to touring.  Therefore, this year, at this time, I’m more than happy.  I’m grateful.

-A

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m sorry for my tardiness in getting today’s edition of Daily Duranie out!  As most readers know, I’m the mom of 3 – their ages span from 13 (and she tells me that she’s “almost 14” now, which threatens to add more worry lines to my face at every passing moment) down to two and a half.  They are all home today, and we’ve been working hard to get the house into order and some of the cooking done for tomorrow, because for America – it’s Thanksgiving.

With tomorrow being our holiday of giving thanks, I would like to give out my own thanks here on the blog.  I know it’s not very Duran-related, but I’ll do my best!

I am thankful for my writing partner Amanda, because she continues to make me laugh, make me think about things differently…and let’s face it, she’s one heck of a touring partner.  Looking forward to 2011!!!!

I am thankful for my Duranie friends, both those that have come to mean far more to me, and those that I’ve only walked a short time with along the way.

I am thankful for our crazy, mixed up fan community.   We are a fantastic case study…that’s all I can say.  I look forward to seeing all of you on tour next year!

I am thankful for DuranDuranFans.com  because it was my very first Duran home away from home.  My best friends were met through that site, and I often wonder where I would have ended up without it!

I am thankful for my family, as insane as it is.  We’ll just leave it at that.  😀

I am thankful for the band…because without it, I’d probably be stuck writing about 60’s pop culture, or maybe nothing at all!  It’s about the music, the friends, the constant learning, and the constant complaining we all do about whatever decision you’ve made most recently.  Good times, good times.  🙂   I laugh and poke fun, but what you give us, your blood, sweat, tears and music – are truly a gift.  Thank you….can’t wait to see you all on tour even if you have NO idea who I am.  (perhaps that’s a good thing)

Thank you readers.  I hope our blog makes you laugh, and maybe even think a little.  We might not always hit the nail on the head with what you believe, but I hope it at least gives you something to think about.

Happy Thanksgiving – whether or not you live in the US and celebrate the holiday, I believe we all have something to be thankful for.  Peace!

  -R

So about that artwork!!

Many folks have commented on the artwork for the album – All You Need Is Now.  The chosen work was posted yesterday on dd.com and the bands’ facebook, and probably every other Duran Duran dedicated website on the web.  Fans began to weigh in almost immediately, an overwhelming majority saying anything from “yuck”, to “I don’t get it.  Why doesn’t it look more like .”   I even read a few posts asking who did the artwork, thinking that it was another John and Patty collaboration.

The artwork was done by Clunie Reid.  She is an up and coming artist (although I really don’t consider her up and coming – she’s as “on the scene” as they get these days in my humble opinion), and she tends to specialize in more contemporary or modern art.  Her work is very similar to the artwork for the cover – she’ll take pictures or drawings and then write a statement on them, just like what you see on both the cover of the album and the European EP.  Reid’s work isn’t meant to be “pretty”, it’s meant to stir thought, and to keep the viewer interested in what the message might be.

What is the most fascinating to me about this is how quickly the fans reacted to the artwork.  Of course, from the moment that Duran Duran announced that Clunie Reid would be the artist, I knew the chances of the community embracing the cover were nil to none – first of all in order to appreciate the work you have to be willing to look farther than the surface, and secondly – if you’re not into modern or contemporary art, this probably isn’t going to be your cup of tea.  A lot of fans commented on wanting a picture of the band on the cover, and naturally for this album that doesn’t appear to be the case.  Regardless, the band definitely got a reaction – whether or not it was the one they were expecting, I have no idea.

Interestingly enough, a lot of fans have commented that they miss Simon’s style of writing.  His more recent work is far more straightforward – he says what he means, I guess, and many fans don’t like that as much.  What is really funny about that is this artwork is very much the same as the lyrics off of the first album, Rio…SATRT… you have to look beyond the surface and be willing to see (or hear) what’s there.

Perhaps the real problem is that for at least the near future, the closest we will all come to this album is our computer screen.  The physical copies will not be released until February, and it’s very difficult to really feel the full impact of the artwork when you can’t see it very well.  Seeing it online is all well and good, but the details are so hazy that you can’t make out what they are….

then again, maybe that’s what the band wanted.

-R

Learning to Laugh

I don’t know about anyone else out there, but invariably for me – as things are moving along at a good clip, and good things are happening, inevitably a small fly will end up in the ointment.  It doesn’t completely screw everything up, but it’s an annoyance, and if I let it, it’ll ruin the whole thing.  Admittedly, I’m not very good at ignoring the small things.  I wish I were, because then my life would be a lot less stressful at times, but I suppose I am who I am, faults and all.   The same holds true for this blog.  While things are starting to move at a steady pace, and our readership is growing, inevitably there are folks out there that don’t have appreciation for what we’re doing, and you know – in and of itself that’s OK.  At one point a while back another author told me to make sure to write each day, and know that at least one person out there would agree with whatever I was saying.  I’ve tried to hold true to that as I’ve gone along here.  The fact is, I’m no more a writer than I am an engineer, and I’m just learning my way.  That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be held accountable for my writing, it just means that in no way do I consider myself an expert.  I write what I feel is important in that moment, and I’m finding that just as in most arts – the most successful pieces of work I’ve written so far are those in which I allow myself to be the most open and vulnerable.  Putting yourself out there is difficult even under the best of circumstances, and the fact is – not many people appreciate that vulnerability.  
Now, you might be thinking – “Who cares?  That’s all part of writing a blog and you should have expected that!”  You would be right.  The fact is, I expected criticism and ridicule when we started this blog.  I knew there would be those that would immediately scoff and laugh, and the fact is – that’s OK.  Let me be honest for a minute:  I am 40 years old, and I write a blog that at least on the surface, is about Duran Duran.   There are words to describe people like that, whether you call them fans, fanatics, Duran”tards”…etc.  I might have used similar words to describe other fans I’ve met, and I’m not necessarily ashamed to admit that.  The funny thing is that once you get past the annoyance of having been called some or all of those names, you start to realize that it really IS funny.  
Yes, I stand up proudly and say that I travel great distances to go see Duran Duran in concert. I have their posters up in my room (well, it’s actually my closet), and I own a good portion of all of the vinyl they’ve ever released….officially and “unofficially”.  I read a ridiculous amount of articles about them, I monitor message boards dedicated to the band, and I even get a little excited when I see new interviews, TV shows, etc that they are on.  I’m I embarrassed by any or all of that?  No, not really.   I would say that in the past year or so, I’ve realized that at this point in my life, I really don’t care what other people think.  Yes, I would love to have the acceptance of my peers, but the fact is, my peers probably already do those things right along with me.  That’s one reason why the fan community is such a fantastic group.  We may not all get along, we may all participate in our fandom in completely different ways, but it takes each of us to make up the community.  
I enjoy writing this blog, and for those who have actually read and absorbed each post for the day, you should be able to see that while the blog is called The Daily Duranie, and the posts generally have something to do with the band….they are as much about being people in general.  The focus goes well beyond the band and has far more to do with the social science of it all than it does worshipping the ground the band walks on (although we’re not above that).    I suppose some people can’t get beyond the surface, and that’s OK.  That’s why we chose Duran Duran as the sort of “case study” to examine, because we knew that doing a blog solely on examining fandom would never attract the types of readers we would like.  Many of the more “I love the band” posts are sprinkled throughout the blog as a whole, and we’ll continue to do that because let’s face it – it’s fun.  There are many in the community who feel the need to question the intentions of the rest of us, and it’s far more fun to point fingers and ridicule than it is to examine ourselves and what our own intentions are for being here.  Good for them. I hope that they read the blog and find plenty of substance to fill their heads.  The fact is, I laugh at myself as often as I can these days.  I’m 40, I’m just a stay at home mom with two college degrees, and yet I’m writing a blog about my teenage heartthrobs.  It is hilarious when you think about it.  Embrace it and move on, right?   The best part is that I’m thoroughly enjoying myself, I’m learning a lot about people in general and I come away from writing each blog feeling better about the day.  I wonder if there are many other people out there that can say the same?

-R

They Are Back

No, I’m not referring to the band, for once.  I’m referring to fans.  It seems to me that since the album and single release dates are getting closer, more and more fans are coming back to the fandom.  Of course, one can argue that they never really left the fandom.  While, for some, this is technically true, there were many fans who weren’t checking the message boards and weren’t posting, even if they were.  These fans weren’t talking about Duran in emails or on social networking sites.  Yet, lately, I have begun to see a flurry of activity across the online community. 

Last night, my own particular facebook page and the Daily Duranie’s twitter were alive with Duran comments!  Many of these people were either watching and commenting about the Behind the Music airing or were talking about their excitement over the album!  I see enthusiasm returning to many of my Duranie friends, something that I haven’t seen since Astronaut days.  I also see the message boards getting more and more popular as it is taking longer and longer to read them as so many more people are posting per day.  Obviously, not all of these posts or posters are positive about the album or the snippets of songs they have heard.  For some of these people, a new album still provides a large discussion topic and they go to the boards to read and discuss.  I get that.  I, too, like to discuss the band and their current status.  Heck, I am a co-author of this blog in order to do just that.  Yet, some of the people talking and thinking about Duran now aren’t necessarily those who want to discuss everything but those who are positive about the album.

I definitely was concerned after RCM about the state of the fandom.  Obviously, some fans came back only for the reunion and to relive some aspect of their childhood.  Once they had seen the Fab Five in person, they had no more need to think about Duran.  Yet, many people actually left because they did not like what they heard and saw.  That worried me.  I was concerned that these people would never return, no matter what the band did, musically or otherwise.  Now, some of those fans are returning.  Yes, some are coming back because they are too curious to stay away and they may not stay but some are back because they LIKE what they hear.  They like the feel of the current Duran as it feels like true Duran Duran to them.  This makes me happy.

Why should it matter to me if the fans come back or not?  Well, personally, I believe that participating in a fandom is WAY more fun with more people!  Yes, I could assume to have a greater chance to meet the band or to have really good seats if there are less fans.  That is true.  I don’t think I would have as much fun, though.  There is nothing better than sharing one’s excitement over a new snippet or interview with one’s fellow fans.  Their level of enthusiasm only works to enhance mine!  I have been to shows with non-Duranies and can appreciate the performances of the band but those shows won’t stick out to me as the best shows (even if they were really great, musically).  To me, the best shows are ones with a great performance with the band, attending it with a Duranie similar to yourself (in my case, that always means my partner-in-crime), and hanging out with other Duranies both before and after a show.  I feel like the future tour (dates can be released any time now…) will be really fun again!  I have high hopes for really good times with my fellow Duranies currently that I didn’t have even a month or two ago. 

I love that this new album is bringing the Duranies back.  Now, I hope that the album is good enough that they all stay!

-A

Behind the Music

I apologize for the late blog entry today.  I wanted to wait to respond to the airing of Behind the Music, which aired tonight in the U.S.  First, let me say that I always enjoy watching shows featuring Duran and I especially like documentary-type programs.  It is pretty funny that I do since I feel like I could tell the history as well or better than the typical documentary, especially since they are pretty predictable.  Most Duran documentaries feature the following:  Why Nick and John formed the band, getting Andy from a Melody Maker ad, Simon’s audition in the leopard skin pants, the use and success from videos, Nile Rodgers, Power Station and Arcadia, Roger and Andy leaving, Ordinary World, John’s drug use, John’s leaving and now the reunion.  This was the first one I have seen since Red Carpet Massacre, however.

The original Behind the Music was one of my favorite Duran Duran documentaries as I felt like they had captured most of the important elements of their history, but, more importantly, they had captured the hysteria of the fandom and placed Duran in their rightful place, historically.  That said, I was dubious about how this new remastered one (interesting that they call it “remastered”, by the way) would be.  I enjoyed the program and was pleased to see that some of the more annoying elements of the original had been removed, including the bad rumor about Simon almost drowning during the making of the Wild Boys video.  I, of course, loved the new parts just because I’m dying for any and all footage of the band in their current state.  That said, I thought that the show’s editing and production could have been better.  They kept parts that I don’t understand.  For example, why keep Simon saying that he missed John?  That statement is out of date.  Why didn’t they ask Roger anything from their early history?  During the original, Roger did not appear but now his voice was noticeably missing.  Certainly they could have edited in some statements from him.  Overall, I just don’t feel like they blended the two parts together well.  They wanted to make it a smooth program but ignoring the fact that some interviews were done in 1998 and others in 2010 seems stupid.  Why not just have a part one and a part two?  Obviously, part one wouldn’t necessarily end the way the original ended but they could have ended part one right before the reunion and start part two at that moment.  It is a logical separation. 

The new part was mixed for me.  It started with the reunion and how the idea formed after John left.  Nick and Simon commented about how they had to tell Warren that he wasn’t a part of the future of Duran.  Simon, in particular, seems reflective about this.  Then, Rob Sheffield, the Rolling Stone writer, commented about how this was bittersweet for the fans as we had gratitude towards him.  Obviously, there were and are fans who love Warren and then there are others who were happy to see him go.  I’m not sure that Rob’s comment captures those feelings.  Then, the show moves forward to talk about their plan to tour and to show record companies that there was a demand for them.  This part did remind me of the excitement that the reunion, Astronaut and the tour, that followed, had.  From there, the show skimmed the surface of the controversial topics of the rejection of Reportage, Andy’s departure and RCM.  The narration did not dive into those issues and stuck to the least problematic versions.  While I understand that, in a way, I would have loved for the producers to go further, to go deeper like a real documentary.  Obviously, some interesting statements were made, but not enough to draw a serious conclusion.  First about Andy, Simon said that he was becoming very difficult to work with and that the whole band felt that.  Then, Roger said that it was a “ticking bomb” that they had all been feeling for over a year.  John ended the discussion by saying that they were moving in different directions.  Hmm…As for Reportage and RCM, the Sony executive said that they need an album with a “vibrant beat”.  Simon said that the record label didn’t “get” Reportage and the fans didn’t want RCM.  He isn’t wrong, at least when it comes to the two authors of this blog.  The show ended at the present day with Duran working with Mark Ronson on AYNIN.

I loved the ending of the show and admit to being terribly excited by what I have heard about and from this new album.  Ronson does seem to match Duran well and, clearly, he is an “ultimate Duran Duran fan”.  😀  Of course, the show leads the viewer to think that this is the time for the next wave of Duran success, whatever that might mean.  I obviously have no idea if this is true or not and won’t know for awhile.  What I’m hoping for is that this album is one that they like and are proud of.  This will help the fans to return as well.  One thing I noticed tonight was the number of fans watching and talking about it on message boards and social networking sites.  Clearly, the fans are starting to pay attention and are starting to get excited!

-A

Merch

About a week ago, Duran Duran posted a picture of John and Roger wearing new t-shirts with the upcoming album title, “All You Need is Now.”  These t-shirts were in black and white and simply had that phrase.  Today, I received an email from the ddstore, letting me know that there are new items in the store, including these t-shirts and more advertising the new album.  I immediately had to go check things out, despite the fact that I was still at work and needed to finish a report.  Like many Duranies, I saw many products that caught my attention, including those and other t-shirts, mugs, etc.  Since then, I have seen other fans react with interest, matching my own, and others who aren’t feeling it.

The fans who are not interested in the new merchandise complain that these simple t-shirts look like they could have been made at an online “make your own custom products” store.  While I can’t necessarily argue with that, I also can see why they are as simple as they are.  The title of the album and, even the little part of the song I have heard, incident a feeling of embracing the present and living in the moment.  In many ways, it is about living simply and ignoring the past and stop worrying about the future.  It suggests the need to remove all of the extras and just go with what you love best.  For Duran Duran, it is the music.  Simple as that.  If they were to have really complex designs on the shirts, wouldn’t that be going against the overall feeling and mood they seem to be trying to convey?  Shouldn’t they be simple and straight-forward?  I love the idea of embracing the now and living simply and if the shirts and album help us with that, great!  Of course, the other complaint is about how costly they are, especially at this time of year.

Duran Duran and their management aren’t stupid (although, sometimes, we have wondered).  They are thinking about making a profit like any other business.  Obviously, they want to charge a lot more than what the shirts are worth in order to make money on them.  Yes, the shipping is horribly expensive for those of us living outside of the UK.  Yet, it seems smart of them to put these items up for sale now.  They didn’t wait for tour time, which is great.  First, people are getting ready to buy gifts for the holidays and many of these items could be given for such a purpose.  Second, some people (me) aren’t that excited to buy merchandise at a show.  People don’t have a lot of extra cash at those times because they have spent the money on tickets, travel, etc.  They don’t have a lot of money for extras.  Personally, I don’t like buying t-shirts and posters at a show because I can’t stand having to carry them around.  I will and I have done it when I have had no choice but I don’t like to.  Besides, I like having t-shirts to advertise a new album for the band ahead of time.  After all, if I’m excited about it, I want others to know.  In this day and age, there are too many people out there who don’t know that this band is still around and is still releasing new music.  Wearing t-shirts help to educate the public about the current status of Duran Duran.  🙂

Therefore, based on both the fact that I like the shirts and I like to show my Duranie pride (silly me!), I’m sure that I will be buying a shirt or two.  Of course, I will also put them on my wish lists and maybe my supportive family will buy me one!  Wouldn’t that be cool?! 

-A

Do You All Know it’s Time for Holiday Music?!?

I was in the car today trying to get some shopping done before I had to go and pick up my youngest from preschool.  I was listening to one of my regular stations (I listen to JackFM in Southern CA because it’s the only station where I can hear Motley Crue in one moment and Duran Duran in the next!)  when I started thinking that it’s the week before Thanksgiving here – and that next week some of the stations out here should start playing holiday music.  My family celebrates Christmas in all it’s glory (and I mean that in the most secular way possible…), and I am known for going above and beyond in my decorating.  I love the holidays, but I pretty much detest cooking, so any motivation I can have to get in the mood to bond with my stove is very much appreciated. I suppose holiday music is one of those things!  I don’t know what prompted me, but I changed the station just to see if KOST 103.5 had started their “month of Christmas music” yet – and sure enough, they had!

Up until today, I hadn’t yet even shopped for Thanksgiving yet – again I have to mention the whole “detest cooking” thing, and at that moment I was coming back from the grocery store.  I really wasn’t feeling the holidays at all.  It’s hard for me to believe we’re already staring down the barrel at holiday shopping – so I cranked up the tunes and sure enough, I went from thinking about fall to getting excited about getting out my decorations next weekend.  (never mind the day of cooking that comes next Thursday)

As I drove home, I wondered how long it would be before I heard Do They Know it’s Christmas.  So many memories come along with that song for me.  I can remember the Christmas it came out, and how I think I drove my Dad crazy with insisting he keep the radio station in our car tuned to KIQQ (yes, this was back in the 80’s…that station is LONG gone now!) because they kept that song in heavy rotation, along with New Moon on Monday and pretty much every other Duran Duran song at the time.  I can even remember hearing it as we were out looking at Christmas lights one night, and squealing with delight when I heard Simon’s voice.  My poor father probably lost hearing that night.  🙂

To this day, I get a silly grin on my face when the song comes on the radio.  I don’t think it just signifies Christmas for me anymore – it is a dear, dear memory of my youth.  It’s a memory of Duran Duran truly being on top of the world, on my wall and in my heart.   It’s memories of going for rides in my parents green Mercury looking at Christmas lights, having my Dad tell me to “keep it down in the back!”, my mom asking me which singer was Simon for the 100th time, and hearing my younger sister groan at having to hear Duran Duran yet again.  Good times!

This year, it appears we are going to get a little something extra for ourselves around Christmas time.  While it’s pretty obvious to everyone that we’re no longer 12 years old…I wonder if we’ll always associate All You Need Is Now with the holidays after this?  I look forward to finding out!

-R

What’s the Difference?

From time to time in this blog, I’ve tried to bring up issues that aren’t necessarily central to our community, but about fandom in general.  One of those topics is fanaticism.

From the time I was a child and really became aware of what being a “fan” was all about – it became very clear to me that you can be a fan by enjoying someone’s work (whether that is a sports team, an actor, a band, etc.), and that experience can be very positive.  Somewhere along the line, however; there is a point where fandom can be very negative.  The love and appreciation for a certain entity can become something very ugly, and even dangerous.  There is a very clear difference between hanging posters on a wall and say – photoshopping pictures so that it appears that your life is somehow entwined with the obsession.  Even more drastic, there’s a difference between leaving a kind “can’t wait for the album” comment on a facebook page and writing a threatening and long winded “love” letter to the band.  I think most fans can see that difference and recognize when another “fan” has indeed crossed that line.

What tends to be more blurry, and far less black and white, is when someone who has been a fan for years starts to become frustrated with the band’s situation, or with the fact that in their opinion the band hasn’t “delivered” in many years.  What was once kind appreciation becomes anger and again, frustration.  Of course, this is much different than just not liking a specific album.  The problem is when, for the same fan, over the course of a few years or a few albums, it’s as though the band can do nothing right.  Again, many can say (and would be right and fair in saying!) that perhaps the band/artist/etc. has hit a very bad patch – and there is absolutely nothing wrong with having an opinion.  That isn’t my point at all, and that’s also what makes this type of negative fanaticism difficult to identify, both in ourselves and in others.  It has much more to do with a cycle of behavior than a few flippant comments.  After all, there are many fans who haven’t liked an album or two.  There are still plenty more that joke about “Durantime”, or comment on the bands’ chances of hitting the charts again.  Those comments do not indicate the behavior of a fanatic, other than the fact that we spend an awful lot of time discussing the band!  I would assert, however that there is a distinct point when the negativity becomes much more fanatical than fan.

In the time I’ve been involved in the community, I have noticed there is a definite roller coaster feeling to this nonsense we call fandom.  There are huge highs, and very low points that can sometimes be very difficult to even out from, and gigantic hills to climb to get to the good parts.  I don’t think it’s unlike addiction, to be honest.   At first, the ride is fun – even the drop offs and hills don’t seem so bad because everything is moving so fast.  All we want to do is ride the coaster again and again.  Then slowly, we start to get tired of it all.  We only want the good parts – and yet those seem so far back, and so hard to reach in front of us that we start to hate the ride.  We want the band to play on tour so that we can feel that high again, we want to get new music because we want to feel that shiny and new feeling again and again.  The band doesn’t move fast enough to keep up with our own “needs”…and we start really getting down on the band.  Then the album comes out, and while it’s OK, it’s not exactly what we wanted.  What we wanted was back 20 years ago, or maybe we want more of what was on the last album – but in any case the current album doesn’t give us that high at all.  What’s up with that?  Then they tour, and while the shows are OK, that exhilarated feeling we used to have after the shows seems to be missing.  We want that high – desperately so – so we continue to go to show after show and still nothing.  At this point, we’re getting angry because the band just isn’t meeting our needs at all…yet we can’t seem to tear ourselves away.  We just want the band to respond correctly, and maybe if we complain loudly enough, they’ll hear and fix it.  And so the roller coaster begins again.

The trouble comes when we don’t recognize the behavior for what it really is.  As I said above, there’s nothing wrong with disliking an album or a direction the band is taking.  That’s part of the normal give and take of fandom.  There’s nothing wrong with being disappointed, and it’s very normal to vocalize that disappointment, whether that’s in a discussion with fans or on a message board.  It’s something far different when over the course of extended time there is nothing positive coming from the fandom, whether that’s in words, actions, or feelings about the band.  What is the point of being a fan if there is nothing about the band that feels positive?  It’s behavior that isn’t entirely unlike addiction, which can truly be ugly.

As usual, this subject leaves me with far more questions than answers, and is something I will continue to focus on from time to time.  What makes a self-described fan go from sincere adoration to critical on all counts?  Is it something that happens to all fans over time, or is only a select few?  Is it that longtime fans see where the band has been, and realize the fun is over and that it’s time to quit?  Why bring down the entire community if you never have anything positive to add?  More importantly, why is that these fans don’t always leave the community? Is it really addiction to the band that keeps them around, and if so – what is the real defining difference between fandom, fanaticism and addiction, or is there really any difference at all?

-R

Success?

I’ve tried very hard not to comment on the snippets of music I’ve heard so far, mainly because it’s really hard to tell how something is going to sound from 30 seconds of music.  I will say that some of the songs have really intrigued me, others have kind of just sounded good (as if that’s a bad thing, right?), and still others have me very excited.

So then why do I feel an impending sense of dread?  Isn’t every other album out there the same?  I mean – not every song on an album is going to bowl me over, and there are some I might add, that I don’t even end up liking.  That’s normal, and I know that.

The word on the boards with regard to the album seems to be fairly mixed at this point.  Some are excited, some are thrilled, some think it’s not good…etc. etc.  Each of us have our own opinions, and none of them are wrong.  I get that.  It’s hard not to feel the urge to knock fellow fans alongside the head when they openly pronounce the album as dead before it even drops though.  First question I ask is if they’ve actually HEARD the whole album, and the second question I ask is – if so, where can I grab a copy?  🙂

What really pains me though, more than any other comment, is when some gentle soul will hope that the album goes really big, and then some other genius will announce that there’s not a chance of that happening at all.  The album will never get played on radio, and therefore it’ll never chart, and it’ll fall flat like a pancake.

Really?  Is that what constitutes an album being big?  Is that what “success” really is all about?

My thoughts on that are simply that maybe it’s time that we fans get a better understanding of what success really is.  Personally, I think success has far more to do with how we ourselves feel about something in the end, rather than what recognition we receive.  My goodness, I’m a fantastic mom – I know this because, well, I have three children whom I’m raising to be amazing little people.  I don’t win awards for that, and I sure as heck don’t get a paycheck.  That doesn’t mean I’m not successful, that’s for sure.  Success for me is giving and getting love from them, and seeing them grow into the most fabulous humans.  That’s real success.   I kind of think the band is way over the idea of hitting the top of the charts. (here’s a tip for all of you fans out there – try listening to the lyrics of the few snippets we’ve had.  Really listen, because it’s not hard to hear, but you have to WANT to hear what they’re trying to say.)   I truly think they are in this for the love and joy of making music.  They want to play, they want to tour, and I would even say that they want to see all of our faces screaming for more.  Perhaps that’s success for them, these days.

After all – they said right in their press release that they’ve got nothing left to prove and everything to play for.  If that doesn’t give us an idea of what they’re after as far as success is concerned – maybe it’s really time we look at why we’re still fans after all these years.  Are we really thinking that we’re hear to see 1985 happen again?   It’s time to redefine success, and stop setting ourselves and the band up for failure before the album even drops.

Oh, and if you’ve heard that whole album and have deemed it failure…you know where to find me.  I’ll take that copy off your hands.  Ha!  😉

-R

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!