Why You’ve Stayed (Part 3)

In telling why we have stayed, we asked you to tell us why you have stayed.  Interestingly enough, we did not get as many responses.  If I had to give a reason for that, I would say that it is much more difficult to answer why one stays versus why one became a fan.  Finding an interest is more common than keeping one for years or decades, even.  That said, out of those people who responded, we found similarities to why we have stayed fans.

Many, many people mentioned the music and how the quality of the music remains high.  Obviously, this is important since we are talking about being fans of a band.  It also reminds me of the answer that the guys give when asked about why they continue to make music.  They almost always say it is because of the love of music and their ability to write quality songs.  I think that if Duran wrote album after album of not great stuff, most of us would leave no matter the other reasons we stay.  The music is what matters most.

Beyond the music, there is what Duran has given us and what they continue to give us.  Many people mentioned the memories associated with Duran Duran and with being a Duranie.  These memories are positive ones.  In fact, Duran Duran has been around so long for some of us that they are a part of us and a part of our lives.  Typically, they are something we have loved for so long that we simply cannot imagine not loving them and not having them and their music in our lives.  In many situations, we connected emotionally to the music.  It spoke to us and continues to speak to us.  Often, the music has helped us get through tough emotional situations.  Because of this emotional connection, it is next to impossible to turn one’s back to it.  How do you walk away from something that helped you, that was there for you?  The answer is that you can’t. 

Of course, in reality, Duran is still giving to us.  They give us great music but they also give us tremendous performances that leave us so happy, so excited, and so ready to do more.  That kind of “high” doesn’t just happen in real life.  Thus, none of us are ready to walk away from it any time soon!  Of course, they have also allow us a chance to be ourselves and to be part of a larger community.  At a Duran show or on a Duran message board, we are all “fans”.  We are no longer the typical roles we have in life.  Rhonda is no longer just “Mom”.  Amanda is no longer just “teacher”.  We are just Rhonda and Amanda, fans.  In this case, we are all just like everyone else as we are all fans.  Nothing more and nothing less.  We then form a community, a community based on a common interest.  We are a community of Duranies.  We all love their music.  We may express that interest differently but we are united in that common love.  Being a part of a community isn’t easy to walk away from ever.

I, for one, am happy that Duran Duran is a part of my life and that I am a member of a larger fan community.  I appreciate everything that they have brought to us and continue to provide, which is rather fitting on Duran Duran Appreciation Day! 

-A

Why I’ve stayed Part 2

Yesterday, Rhonda answered the question about why she has remained a fan.  Today, it’s my turn!  One of the reasons she mentioned was how she is a fan because it is an escape from being a mom.  While I’m not a mom, I, too, find myself in need of escape from real life (don’t we all?!).  Most of my life is focused on some pretty serious stuff.  Career wise, I have been a special education teacher for years.  While that job isn’t easy anywhere, I am in an urban district at a middle school of poverty.  While I have loved my students, their lives are not always easy and I often take their worries home with me (not by choice!).  Then, outside of work, I’m pretty active politically as I have been working for and with political campaigns.  This isn’t an easy gig, either, as I feel very strongly about candidates, laws, policies, etc.  In fact, today, I’m a huge bundle of nerves as my state is going to the polls in six recall elections.  (Go Dems!)  Thus, most of my life is spent dealing with tough “real life” issues.  Yes, I choose to do that because I believe that I can and should try to make a difference.  I’m a sap that way.  That said, I need a break, at times.  I need something to focus on that is silly and fun.  Duran Duran is that for me.

Not only does Duran’s music often take me away from all of the stuff I deal with on a day-to-day basis, it has taken me physically away.  In the name of going on tour, I have traveled so much more than I ever thought that I would and have seen so many more places.  Since going on tour, I have seen great places like London, New York City, New Orleans, Vegas, and more.  Their tours have given me permission, in a way, to vacation, to spend money on traveling.  Without Duran, I would just be traveling to Boston or Raleigh, where my siblings live.  This has made me realize that while I still hate flying, I actually enjoy seeing other places.  I have learned a lot of about how to travel and gained quite a bit of confidence in my ability to do so.  For example, I have always wanted to see England but never really thought it possible.  Now, I’ll be there twice in a year!  Insane!   Of course, a big part of my enjoyment with traveling has to do with who I go with.

My tours have been fun for many reasons.  They have been great for the shows themselves (of course!) and I have loved seeing new places, but the real reason they have been fun is because of the company.  In many cases, I have traveled with Rhonda.  Duran Duran brought us together as we met at the Duran Duran Fans Convention in New Orleans in 2004.  We barely knew each other before that as we had only “talked” via posts on a message board before that.  We didn’t know if we were going to get along.  Yet, we did.  Now, I can’t imagine not having her in my life and I’m willing to bet that she feels the same way about me.  (After all, we do have this blog together!)  Beyond Rhonda, I have met SO many great people!  Part of the reason I like going to shows away from home is that I get to meet people.  How cool is it when you meet other people who feel like you do about Duran?!  Then, in between tours, I have gotten to meet people online through message boards, twitter, and facebook.  My life would definitely be less fun without all of the people I have met!

Of course, at the end of the day is the music.  The truth is that I still love their music.  I love the classics like Planet Earth but I also love the new stuff!  While they might irritate me at times and while not every song is awesome, when they do a song or an album right, it is REALLY right.  Thus, Duran Duran has given me great, timeless music, forever friends, an escape from reality and the reason to travel!  What a great combination!

What about you?  Why do you stay a fan? 

-A

Why I’ve stayed

That’s really the question, isn’t it?  Amanda and I have been writing this book about fans…about the fandom…and the question that pops up over and over again is “Why do we stay?”  Why have we been fans for over 30 years now?  What is it about Duran Duran that keeps us coming back??  I wish I knew.  I’d bottle it, sell it to new upcoming bands and make millions!   While I think the answer to why we each became fans is probably very generic and simple (it’s the memory we each have that makes it so unique), I’m certain that our answers for staying are as varied as our personalities.

To begin with, my memories of childhood are very good.  I am extremely lucky in that I came from two wonderful parents.  Yes, they were strict, but when I think of my dad or even of my mom, I have mainly good memories.  They were married up until the day my dad passed away, and they truly loved one another.  My home life wasn’t broken, I was safe, well-fed, clothed, and even happy.  Duran Duran play a fair part in those memories.  It’s impossible for me to think back on my bright green (yes green.  Summertime Green, to be precise!) room with yellow furniture and the strangest shade of orange-brown carpet I’ve ever seen (and I wonder why I was always an insomniac….) without thinking of my beautifully self-wallpapered Duran Duran walls.  When I think of the time I spent in my room (probably cleaning because my mom INSISTED that our house be vacuumed and dusted every single weekend regardless of what else we all had going on), I remember my trusty record player – the one I begged and begged for until my parents finally caved in and gave me the old one from our family room – and how I would play records until either my sister started complaining about my choice in music (Duran Duran of course) or my dad finally came in and shut it off.  I can remember riding in my parents  car just about anywhere and hearing Duran Duran come on the radio.  I would always squeal in delight, and my sister (she is 5 years younger) would simultaneously groan and begin complaining in an attempt to convince my mom to change the station.  This would then grow into an argument – meaning I wouldn’t even HEAR the song – until my dad would get mad, snap the radio off and tell us both that if he heard one more word out of either of us, he’d pull the car over “and come back there.”  Nothing good happened when that occurred.   Yet I’m still smiling at the memory.  So I suppose that yes, a good portion of why I still love the band has everything to do with the memories I associate with Duran Duran while I was young.   They’ve really been the background music in my life (our lives) for a long time now, haven’t they?

As anyone who has been reading the blog knows – I’m now married with three children of my own.  I was married fairly young – let’s see here – I was 24 when we got married in April of 1995.  Looking back,  I had absolutely no business getting married at that age.  I hadn’t even had the chance to experience life on my own yet.   In fact, I moved from my parents home right in with my new husband. (actually, we moved in together 3 months before our wedding but his parents still don’t know that to this day!  shhhh!!  Ha ha!)   I’d been out on my “own” during college; which really doesn’t count because I lived in the dorms and then in my sorority house for a school year.  Not really the same as paying for an apartment or buying a house.  I’d never traveled on my own, I’d never really been responsible for my own budgeting, and I’d certainly never bought anything big on my own.  I did have a car – but my parents had bought it and I was just making the payments, but the fact is – I don’t think I’ve ever really been on my own.  Then a year into our marriage I decided that I was ready to start a family. (a gross overestimate of my abilities at the time…)  Before long I was knee deep in diapers, bottles, laundry and motherhood.  During this time, I can almost say that Duran Duran was nowhere in my thought process.  In fact, none of my own hobbies or interests were in my thoughts!  I grew increasingly tired of “just being a mom”.  I hate saying that, but you know – I couldn’t stand the thought of just doing play dates and discussing the merits of Tide vs. Gain (different laundry detergents – for my friends outside of the US.), or talking about what preschool my kids were going to attend.  I tried making it fun by getting involved with local MOMS Club, but I was the mom who insisted on setting up Mom’s Night Out at the local clubs.  The other moms didn’t really “get” me, and quite frankly – I didn’t get them either.  I didn’t see the point behind embracing PTA with a vigor and never doing anything without a child in tow.  I needed more.  I needed ME.  I grabbed onto the internet with a death grip, found all of the music I’d been missing over the years, and my husband made the slight miscalculation of taking me to a Duran Duran concert – my first one since 1993.  My interest was indeed piqued. Then the reunion happened, and I nonchalantly suggested to my husband that we attend the 78-03 shows in our area.  (actually the truth is that I fell over a chair and have scars on my legs to this very day from trying to run from our then computer room out to the garage to scream at my husband that the band was playing a show as the “Fab 5” for the first time since the 80’s – and the show was in Costa Mesa near our house!)  Sadly for him, he agreed.  Our lives have never been the same since.

My Duran Duran life is full.  My husband might even say it’s overflowing, but I’ve really never been happier.  There are some things I wish I could change – for instance the fact that the people I most want to see live a good 2000 miles from me, and in a few more cases they are overseas. (and I’m not just referring to the band!)  Overall though, Duran Duran has become my escape from the pressures of being Mom.  I’m the most “me” when I’m writing the blog, talking to friends or going to shows.  I am rarely without a smile on my face during those moments, and for me, they’re special.  Sure, the last year has been a trial at times.  Going to the UK in May only to be completely blown out of the water really sucked.  I think the band would agree.  Knowing that my touring during the fall has to be curtailed so that I can fly out to the UK again in December really bites too, but that’s OK.  I suspect that if I could really do it all – both financially and time-wise, none of it would mean as much.  This time is precious for me and I’m enjoying it as much as possible.

I’m not sure if I’ve really answered the question of why I’m still a fan though.  I mean, sure – it’s about the music, because if I hated what the band was doing, I don’t think I’d still follow them.  I do need to give them their due when it comes to that, but it’s not entirely about the band, and in my case, I’m not sure if the music means nearly as much as the rest of it at this point.  If the band stopped playing tomorrow, I would still have so many great memories with friends to look back on.  I would sorely miss Duran Duran, there is absolutely no question there, but I’d still have all of those fantastic memories and friendships.  The music they bring is only half of the equation. That said, I don’t want to sound judgmental.  Everyone comes to being a fan for their own reasons, and as I’ve found during the writing of our book, we all continue to be fans for VERY different reasons, and the beauty is that none of it is wrong.  It’s far too easy in our fandom to look down at one another for not being the same as ourselves.  Not all of us has the ability, time, or need to experience our fandom in the same way. We really and truly cannot quantify those things to equate to how committed we are to being fans.  It sounds so silly to say or put into print because we all should know that and it shouldn’t matter, yet for some reason that subject always seems to come up.  The reality is that each of us have our own story for becoming a fan and staying a fan, and I hope that many of you will share!  -R

Tour Choices

It has been almost a week since Duran announced new tour dates for the US and Canada.  Many people have developed plans and some have even bought tickets, through the DDM presale or the regular public sale.  Other people are figuring things out and debating which shows, if any to go to.  I think that this indecisiveness is common.  Yet, I don’t really feel like this upcoming fall tour will be normal.  Maybe I feel this way because I flew all the way over to the UK to see some shows and didn’t get any.  Perhaps, it is because I have a lot of questions in my own future.  No matter the cause, I find my thinking about the tour to be different than normal.  It isn’t just a tour in the long line of tours.  It isn’t just the fall tour 2011 with more following.  I don’t know what it is but it isn’t like every other tour to me.

One question or comment I have seen more than once relating to this tour is when Duran is coming back to the US.  I am actually a little surprised by this question as it seems to me that many who are asking it, are hoping or thinking that Duran will come back in 2012.  It seems to me that the people asking this are people who aren’t able to see a show now.  Maybe, thinking that they will come back sooner rather than later helps them deal with their disappointment.  I get that.  It would help me, too.  That said, I’m still surprised about it.  First, I am still worried about Simon.  Do we really even know if he can do these shows.  While we know that he has been able to sing many notes that he wasn’t before, I haven’t seen anything to indicate that he is perfect.  Will he be able to make it through these 20 some dates?  If he does that, will he be able to make it through the UK?  My point here is simple.  Let’s worry about getting through what is already scheduled but don’t assume that everything is like normal.  It isn’t.  Then, if things are back on track, what about the rest of the world?

Duran still needs to reschedule Europe.  They owe it to those fans to do that next.  Yes, I think there is a very legitimate argument to be made that they should have done the UK first then Europe before coming back here.  I wouldn’t disagree with it.  I understand why they are doing this, assuming that they had these dates scheduled before they postponed Europe.  That said, I do think it would be good for American fans to remember that our country has had them twice in one year before the UK or Europe, not to mention the rest of the world.  They still haven’t done dates in South America (yes, I know that they have ONE date scheduled in Brazil), Asia, Australia or make up the dates in South Africa.  There are a LOT more places for them to play before they come back here.  No matter how much we love them here or how big our country is or how much money they make here, there are other places in the world, other fans that need to be reached.  We cannot and should not be selfish.  Yes, obviously, I want to see them as much as I can.  All fans do.  I try to understand, though, that the US isn’t the only place in the world. 

Now, I can imagine that many of you are saying something along the lines of, “You live close to shows so it isn’t a big deal for you” or “You have the time and money to travel”.  I won’t deny that I have been VERY lucky with what I have been able to do.  I am within driving distance of a major market (Chicago) and have been very fortunate to be able to travel to see other shows.  That said, it isn’t like I’m able to do everything I want to do.  I can’t go to all the shows I want to.  I can’t travel all the time.  I have to make choices and I have to make it work with the dates and locations I have been given.  I have to be willing to drive or fly to the shows that I want to see.  I have to be willing to sacrifice buying some things that I want in order to be be able to go to a show.  It is about choices and priorities for me.  I realize that the band isn’t going to play in my backyard or charge me less for tickets.  I have to be willing to work with what they have given as far as any tour goes.  If I’m not willing to travel or spend the money, then it isn’t their fault.  In my case, it is MY choice to not travel or spend the money.  Now, obviously, some people don’t have the choices I have.  For many people, I know, that they can’t buy concert tickets because it means that they won’t have money for necessary items like groceries.  I also know that there are people who can’t drive distances for whatever reason.  Yet, some people might be able to sacrifice one thing or another to get to a concert.  If those people go or don’t, it is about choices.  They choose to go or not.  They aren’t forced one way or another and I respect whatever choices they make. 

Tours or concerts will never be perfect.  Duran won’t always play where you want them to play.  They won’t always play when you want them to play.  The ticket price will never be what any of us wants.  I recognize this.  I accept it.  This fall tour isn’t want I really want it to be, in terms of dates, locations, etc.  That said, I accept that it is what it is and I’m willing to make the choices and sacrifices necessary in order to get to at least one show.  In the back of my mind, I now know that every show, every tour could be the last.  I can’t wait for them to come back.  I can’t wait for 2012.  This could be it so I will do what must be done, at least once.

-A

Essential Duran Viewing

I have spent yesterday and today with my cousin-in-law.  Well, normally, this isn’t really blog worthy material, but now it does connect with Duran.  I have known for a very long time that my cousin-in-law was a Duran fan.  I’m not sure when or how it came up in conversation years ago but it has been a situation that whenever the family gets together, she would always ask what the latest Duran shows was.  This past spring I offered her a ticket to see Duran in Chicago.  She jumped at the chance and appeared to have a great time at the concert!  For this visit, I decided to bring down some Duran viewing material.  While it is easy to bring a few DVDs, what is most difficult is deciding what to watch, especially when you have a lot of Duran related DVDs.  This got me thinking.  What are the most essential viewing items? 

I started the process of figuring it all by dividing them up into years/eras and then general.  Otherwise, I was overwhelmed!!  For general viewing, I chose some obvious choices.  First, I picked Greatest.  What Duran fan doesn’t appreciate their videos?  Besides, if you were a fan back in the day, videos were a big deal.  Plus, I still have work to do on the Daily Duranie’s upcoming video challenge!  ;D  I chose two other programs as well that were on youtube at one point, which are Behind the Music and Duran’s Millions.  I think Behind the Music does a pretty good job going over the band’s history in a way that captures the spirit of the band.  Duran’s Millions also talk about the band’s history but in the guise of figuring out how much money they made.  There is lots of cool footage in that one.   

As I move in the different Duran eras, I am reminded of all the good footage on the remastered editions.  I thought those first performances on the 1st album’s remastered edition were really cool.  Likewise, the Hammersmith DVD from the Rio era is cool, too.  Interestingly enough, many people were talking about that one with the 30 Day Challenge and how great their performance was.  While still in the Rio era, there is always the Classics album.  This is a great one for people who are really into the music and the process of songwriting.  Then, of course, there is the Seven and the Ragged Tiger era.  Essential footage must include Sing Blue Silver, right?  How many times did I watch that as a kid?!  Countless times!  I swear that I could say every  line!  The remastered edition also contains As the Lights Go Down for those who just want the concert. 

The Notorious era has 3 to Get Ready, which I have only seen released on VHS.  It is still a good one for all those behind the scenes footage.  The remastered edition has Working for the Skin Trade, which was another one brought up a lot during the challenge.  Apparently, Wild Boys worked for a lot of people!  Another concert is featured on the Big Thing remaster.  In my opinion, that one is fun for a drinking game or with running commentary, which I say with all of the love in my heart!  After the reunion, there is lots to watch!  The Astronaut DVD is a favorite of mine as it felt a little like Sing Blue Silver to me.  Beyond that, the Live from London is a great one, too!  It has the concert and the extra interviews!  Good stuff! 

Clearly, there is a lot of Duran stuff to watch!  Perhaps, I will not be the only one watching Duran related DVDs this weekend!  Maybe this will get some of you to bust out your Duran DVDs or click on youtube! 

-A

How we became fans! Part 3!

Rhonda and I completely appreciate those of you who have shared your stories about how you became fans and welcome more stories.  As I read over all of the stories we have received via facebook, twitter or here, I couldn’t help but notice that there are some common themes in them no matter if people became fans in 1981 or in 1993 or in 2004. 

First, most people mentioned a specific song or video that did it for them, usually one heard on the radio.  This song or video grabbed attention and demanded that the listener/viewer ask for more.  Many fans then went ahead and searched out other songs/videos/albums.  While I’m not surprised by this, I have to admit to being pleased by it.  It seems to me that we became fans, that we became Duranies because of the MUSIC.  While this seems obvious, it just reminds me that we genuinely liked their music.  It wasn’t that we saw their pictures on the cover of a magazine that made us fans or even heard an interview on an entertainment show.  It was the music.  Perhaps, this is the reason that we have all stayed.  We will look at that next week. 

Second, most people talked about the videos and how they often reinforced their interest.  Many people talked about how they fell for the fantasies they provided, the escape from their dull lives.  We, too, wanted to travel to exotic locations and have James Bond like adventures.  At this point, people did mention the good looks of the individual band members.  It seems that their attractiveness just added to their appeal but it wasn’t the only thing, which is not what music critics thought then.  Everyone assumed that we became fans because the boys were cute.  Yet, based on this, that is completely untrue (not that we didn’t know that before!).  While on the topic of videos, a number of people mentioned watching MTV and Friday Night Videos.  These video shows as well as listening to the radio are no longer common means of kids finding music.  As a child of the ’80s, I can’t help but feel sorry for kids these days. 

Of course, as people dived into fandom, most began to buy teen magazines that featured Duran and put up posters in their room.  They often bought strange merchandise like school folders.  I know that both Rhonda and I had Duran pajamas.  That’s how cool we were!  We began to show our fandom openly with our posters or with the buttons on our jeans jackets.  We were proud to be Duranies and it seemed that we wanted everyone to know!

The last common theme that most people talked about was that emotional piece.  For some people, being a Duranie connected them to friends or family.  It was something that was shared.  It was a part of important relationships.  For others, the music provided an escape from unhappy or tough situations.  The music and the videos took them away from reality even if it was just a few minutes at a time and this escape could be essential to surviving, emotionally. 

I’m sure that every fandom has themes like ours.  Duranies seem to share common experiences in terms of listening to the radio, watching videos and having an emotional connection to what we heard.  These common experiences have led us all to be the Duranies we are today.

-A 

How we became fans! Part 2!

In many ways, my story about how I became a Duranie isn’t that different from Rhonda’s and probably not all that different from any Duranie out there.  Like Rhonda, I was near a major city when I became a Duranie as I was living in the south suburbs of Chicago.  I, too, had a radio station that I listened to frequently (B96) and got MTV at some point in the early 1980s.  I also had some cool friends. 

My story as a Duranie really begins in 1984 when I was 8, going on 9, as I’m a bit younger than Rhonda. 😀  I do remember hearing many of their songs on the radio in 1983, including their new singles like Union of the Snake and New Moon on Monday.  I liked them just fine, but I wasn’t a Duranie quite yet.  I needed two big pushes for that to happen.  The first push came in the form of my best friend at the time.  We were constantly together, which is pretty impressive as we didn’t go to the same school and couldn’t easily get to each other’s houses as a major street separated us (which also separated the school districts).  Luckily for us, though, our parents got along and were pretty accommodating when it came to driving us.  My friend and I used to listen to the radio when we hung out.  One of our favorite activities was hanging in my backyard and taking turns swinging (I had one swing in the backyard).  There we would often talk about the music we were listening to.  One night, we heard Save a Prayer and I literally could not get the chorus out of my head.  Could either one of us tell you that it was by a band named Duran Duran?  Nope.  It was funny to us, though, that I kept singing it and singing it.  We vowed to pay attention the next time that song was played.  Strangely enough, I don’t remember who learned the band name or even if it was connected to Save a Prayer but I do know the next song to catch our attention:  The Reflex.

Like many kids, my best friend and I used to spend the night at each other’s houses, especially on Friday nights.  In my house, this meant that we would crash in the room we called the toy room (in reality this room housed the laundry and my mom’s art studio as well as my toys).  There was a very small TV that we would watch.  Again, like many kids in 1984, we tuned into Friday Night Videos.  At some point, they started airing a new video by Duran, which was the Reflex.  We fell in love with it.  Seriously.  We were obnoxious about it, too, as this was around the same time we got MTV, which acted as my second push to being a fan.  From that time on, we tuned into MTV and Friday Night Videos as much as we could to catch a glimpse of this video.  If we were not together, we would literally call each other on the phone to tell the other that it was on.  Strangely enough, this really isn’t that much different than calling, texting or emailing your Duranie friends to alert them to new tours or album news.  Of course, from this focus on videos, we discovered the old clips and fell in love with all of them.  At this point, the Reflex was a number one hit and we, officially, started calling ourselves “Duranies”.

From this point on, our friendship was focused on Duran Duran.  Our sleepovers consisted of watching Duran footage, which including their videos and eventually Sing Blue Silver once VCRs came out.  When our mothers forced us out of the house to go to the grocery store, we went to see what the latest issue of Bop or Tiger Beat had on it.  In some ways, we competed with each other as it was exciting to see who got the newest poster or a paperback book that described the band’s “long” history.  We ate up all of the information we could and tried to outshine the other with who had the band member’s birthdays memorized or who knew the kinds of cars John Taylor liked.  That’s another thing.  We both loved John.  I tried to like Simon for awhile but that didn’t stick.  You might be wondering if that caused a problem for us.  It didn’t.  We were cool about it since it meant that we both had good taste!  We could both *squee* over the same pictures or the same facial expressions he made in the videos.  In this way, we reinforced each other’s fandom. 

In 1985, I moved away from my best friend but my love of Duran stayed.  As the years went by, we still talked (though haven’t for years now) and I remember how bummed I was when she moved away from Duran.  I was shocked when she told me that she had taken her posters down.  I, of course, questioned whether or not, I should do that, too.  I obviously decided against that and the rest is history.  ;D

So, what about the rest of you?  What is your story?  How and when did you become a fan?  Rhonda and I appreciate those people who have already shared their stories but we definitely want to hear more.  Keep ’em coming!

-A

How we became fans!

As a fun little aside to the normal day-to-day, Amanda and I decided to each tell our story about how we became fans.  Yes, that means we’re subjecting the rest of our little blog-reading world to our lovely little tales.  Today it’s my turn, tomorrow it will be Amanda’s.  Enjoy!

Back in 1981, I was an awkward little tween by just about anyone’s description.  No, I didn’t wear glasses and I didn’t have braces, but I had the biggest hair ever (and not because it was the style, but because I didn’t know enough to use conditioner and contain the frizz!), I wasn’t allowed to wear make up yet, I had zero…and I mean ZERO… fashion sense, and I was in 6th grade.  I was a young 6th grader in that I had only just turned eleven by the time January 1, 1981 rolled around.  As I’ve mentioned previously in lots of other blogs, my musical taste was pretty limited.  I cut my chops, so to speak, on Disney records (give it up for Winnie the Pooh and Disney Disco albums my friends!!) and a few K-Tel compilation efforts.  I did have brief, fleeting affairs with Shaun Cassidy (I always wondered what the lipstick on the coffee cup for his “Room Service” album was all about…) and Rick Springfield (I was a sucker for the dog, what can I say?), but all in all, I didn’t really have the first clue.  Or the second!

Being rather young, I felt like I was miles behind most of the girls in my grade at school.  While they were all pouring themselves into their Jordache jeans and Vans….I was still wearing Dittos and whatever shoes my mom could find on sale at Gemco.  They were holding hands with boys in the hallway, and I was wondering why they’d want to touch them.  Then there were the ones who liked to glue their faces to the boys. (I always wanted to know what the “Wanna suck face?” pins were about and why anyone would seriously want to do that!)  Suffice it to say, I was way, WAY behind.  After school, I’d rush home to turn on General Hospital, do my homework, practice my clarinet and then turn on KROQ 106.7 to listen to music.  I was always intrigued by what I would hear, and I would sit there, wish I could be brave enough to ask my parents to take me to the record store over the weekend, and wonder what it must be like to be cool enough to actually buy records and have my own stereo in my ROOM.  This is no joke.  I was once a very pathetic tweenager, and now – I’m a pathetic parent, according to my two oldest.  😀

One evening, as I recall, KROQ would play the new music.  The DJ would make a big deal out of it and play a new record that no other radio station in the area would DARE play because it was so new.  They called it “New Wave”, and aside from that, I really didn’t know much other than I liked whatever they’d play.  On this one night, Rodney on the ROQ mentioned that he was playing a song from the new group, Duran Duran.  I remember thinking the name sounded so completely lame that no one would ever remember it.  Ha!  Live and learn….the stupid names tend to stick with you!  I turned the radio up as loudly as I could without drawing the attention of my parents, who were sticklers for my 8:30 bedtime and I was pushing it. (no that’s not a joke either.  I was 11 and had a bedtime earlier than my own 3 year old!)  I heard the beginning chords of Planet Earth, and I was immediately curious.  I loved the way the keyboards sounded, and it was clear to me right then that I needed to find out who this band was, and hear all of their music.  I remember going to the trouble of taping their song off of the radio with my super classy cassette player/stereo combo – that cassette was full of static, but you know – it was Duran Duran!  The next day I hurried through breakfast, grabbed my books and my clarinet, and set off to school earlier than normal.  I rushed to my locker, through my books in there and found my little group of friends – who were every bit as awkward as I – and told them about my new found interest.  Curiously enough, I wasn’t the only one listening to the radio that night.  My friend Marsha had also been listening, and it was agreed that I would spend the night at her house that Friday night, and we’d go to the record store in search of Duran Duran!

I’m sure it really was not that following Friday night, but at some point in the future, I did stay over at Marsha’s house, and at that point she introduced me to a show on TV that until then, I’d never stayed up late enough to see – Friday Night Videos.  It was on that show Duran Duran first appeared in our living rooms.  By then, I know we’d acquired Rio, and quite possibly the first album as well.  My memory is fuzzy of the details, but I can tell you that the very first video I saw of Duran Duran was Hungry Like the Wolf. That little memory nugget remains clear as a bell!  I was shocked by how primal and raw it all felt – and I was completely sucked in; hook, line & sinker!  After that, it’s a blur of going to Wherehouse records for any and all albums, singles, posters and even t-shirts we could find. (I had the white sleeveless t-shirt with their faces on the front and the “eye” symbol on the back)  I remember staying at Marsha’s house as often as I could in order to watch Friday Night Videos, squealing any time they played a Duran video, and going to the grocery store without fail every single Sunday morning with my mom so that she could go shopping and I could read all of the teen magazines. (Tiger Beat and Bop among them!)  Not long after Friday Night Videos started, Video One was on TV in the afternoon with Richard Blade, and I loved rushing home from school to watch.  My walls grew crowded with their pinups, and  at some point, I learned how to dress so that I wasn’t teased at school, and I finally found a hairstylist that was able to teach me the finer points of conditioning and good haircuts.  I’ll even let you in on a little secret – my mullet was WAY cooler than Simon’s ever was!  ;D

I don’t really think my story is much different from anyone else, but it’s a good memory.  I still smile when I think of how excited I’d get when I’d hear them on the radio, or how giggly I’d get when Marsha and I would watch them on TV. I even remember sitting with her when they did their infamous press conference right before the Sing Blue Silver tour – I think that was at the Roxy theater in LA or something. (yes, that’s how “good” of a fan I am, I can remember what is said at certain press conferences, but never where they were held or what they were for.  Sue me.) Regardless, it was the one where they talked about how Roger had “two hands” for his.  We laughed a LOT. I think that’s part of what made Duran Duran so fun – I shared it with my group of best friends, and we spent a lot of time laughing at the band’s expense.  Not entirely unlike how it is today, actually.  (sorry guys!)  In all that time, it never occurred to me that in 30 years, I’d still be listening to the band, still getting excited when they’d be on the radio…or even going to shows overseas!  (come to think of it, I don’t think my husband thought any of that would be the case when we married, either!)

-R

Do any social network “hunting” today??

Holy Cow.

I don’t know about the rest of you Duranies out there, but I am one exhausted fan.  It’s noon, and I’m ready for a nightcap and my bed already!  It was a busy morning for most fans, at least until the reality hit that the big “announcement(s)” for the day were the dates for more US shows during the last part of September through October.  At that point, I would venture to guess that there were at least a few disappointed fans (and likely many, many more) in Europe and the rest of the world.  We’ll talk about that more later.

Instead of just merely putting up a list of concert dates, venues and presale dates on dd.com and the various networking sites for DD, the band had something far more creative in store for us today.  Utilizing Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even Second Life – the band did cute little announcements for each date.  At first, there was a fit of madness as we all searched in vain for the most recent “announcements”, but as time wore on it grew easier to see the next concert announcement.  Personally, I thought the announcements were a lot of fun to see, and I even laughed at a few of the more creative ones.  (BTW Roger – could you have looked just a little more annoyed at having to hold up those pieces of paper with the info on them?? Baby still not sleeping through the night for ya yet??)  I found that John still has an amazing sense of fashion (loved the yellow headband – reminded me of something straight out of the movie Dodgeball), Nick can still take a polaroid better than I can – and has time for being a vampire in Second Life, and that someone (has GOT to be Katy) is reading our posts and laughing at the “husband” videos right along with the rest of us!  Yes, the dates were rolled out slowly – but you know, there’s something to be said for having a chance to comment, complain and even find the little announcement videos.  I have to applaud their efforts to amuse us, because it certainly worked today!

As always, not everyone was pleased with what was announced.  John himself said that it’s not exhausting to try and please everyone, it’s just impossible, and obviously he’s right.  I can’t tell you how many times I saw people complain about the choices in city, or the fact that the band continues to visit the same cities on each tour.  Now, let’s be fair here.  The band goes to the same basic cities because they are usually relatively large cities, or the venues serve a generally large area.  For example, on this tour they are coming to Valley Center, CA.  This is a very, VERY small suburb inland from San Diego in Southern California.  It’s actually Indian owned land, and there are casinos out in that area.  Duran Duran is playing at Harrah’s, and while yes – the city is small, it’s expected to serve as the concert for the very southern part of California.  The band plays in the same basic places because there is a proven market for ticket sales in those places, and if you have somehow not been paying attention – the band just cancelled an entire European tour.  My guess is that money might very well be needed, and now is not the time to try and tap into a new market, should they be so lucky as to find one!  Our economy is not good, and those folks who are complaining about rising ticket prices aren’t necessarily alone – many out there can’t afford the luxury of an “extra”.  The band has to weigh the cost of moving equipment across the US, the cost of touring and putting on shows, with the probable income, and it’s a delicate balancing act.  If I were in charge (a game I LOVE to play while I lie awake at night contemplating the future of the universe for my children…), I would do exactly as Duran has done.  I’d go where I knew I could sell tickets.  While the promise that Ms. so-and-so Superfan would totally come to a show if they’d play in Timbuktoo is intriguing, it doesn’t pay bills that more than likely desperately need paying.   Sure, it’s “easy” for me to say that given that I live in Southern California – a place that the band typically plays.  True.  I also recognize, and even said that I was surprised that they’d agree to come back here on this leg, given they were just here in May.  I’m not sure that I would have chosen to do that……wait for it…….if *I* were in charge.  But, as I said myself, bills need paying, and as it turns out, I live in a populated area.  (too damn populated if you ask me!)  I count myself lucky and plan my move to the middle of Montana or even Wyoming where I can own my own hill or mountain once my kids are out of the house! (a slight exaggeration, perhaps)

Invariably people complain about how many shows the US gets at a time, not thinking that while Europe is fairly small and easily traveled – the US is probably what, 2 or 3 times it’s size, and not quite as easily accessible.  For most of the shows they are playing here in the states, I would venture to guess that there’s at least a 4 hour travel-time by car between most of the shows.  Those shows that have less than that are few.  Ultimately though, I know what has the UK people, and probably even Europe, the most worried.  It’s Simon.

Let’s be honest with ourselves here. We’re gun shy.  We’re nervous.  We don’t necessarily believe that management always has the best interests of the band at heart.  We sometimes think that management rushes things in terms of making a business decision rather than a good-for-the-band decision.  I’d be completely lying if I said I didn’t agree.  I currently have tickets to UK shows in late November and December.  This will be my second trip over there this year in hopes of seeing them.  I would be completely crushed, and likely furious to a reasonable extent, if for some reason those shows fall through again, and yet I know there’s at least a chance it could happen – and not purely because of Simon’s voice.  Anything can happen.  I’m one of thousands that are waiting for those shows to happen, and hearing that the band is coming back to the US first is both a relief and a worry.  On one hand it’s good for Simon to try out the voice and see how it goes…and on the other, if he blows his voice here, well, the UK shows might be out of luck again.  I can’t think like that, though.  It’s worrying about things I have no control over, and sometimes you have to just sit back and let the chips fall where they may.  I know I’m not the only one wishing Simon the best and looking forward to seeing him up on stage again where he belongs.  Besides, he can only work on that motorcycle of his for so long….right??

So that leaves me with what I think of the dates.  Personally, I think that for the most part, it’s a good mix.  I’m pleased that they are going to the Southeast with as much vigor as they seem.  It’s great that they’re playing Alabama and Florida and even Atlanta and Louisiana.  Those states deserve to see them, and given the fact that during the second leg of the Red Carpet Massacre tour there were dates cancelled due to Nick’s inner ear problem, this seems to be the band reaching out to those people.  I applaud that.  I think conversely, that the midwest was too sparsely covered.  Yes, there’s a show in Chicago and one in Ohio, and I suppose one might even be able to count the show in Windsor Canada in that same area – but I was surprised that St. Louis was left off the list.  It’s impossible to hit everywhere though.  Of course  I’m curious to hear what the big surprise for NYC is going to be – but the date being on a Tuesday makes the possibility for travelers a little more remote.  I know that for myself, I would love to go to a NYC show, but for me it almost has to be over a weekend for it to work.  Those are the breaks of living on the other coast.  😉  If they’re planning to play the album in it’s entirety I’ll cry myself to sleep…and hope they can do the same in the UK at some point.(Brighton, Bournemouth or even Birmingham would be fabulous!)  

My husband will likely be thrilled because with the way the cities and dates tend to fall, it appears that I will not be traveling for shows this time around.  I kicked around the idea of going to Chicago (which is over the same weekend as my husband’s birthday, and while I rather enjoy the thought of hanging out with Dom Brown, Roger Taylor and the rest of those band members…I’m thinking that my husband might want me here for his birthday….*sigh*  High maintenance husbands, you know….;D), and then I thought briefly about Boston and Atlantic City, but I just don’t know if that would work, and I won’t be able to get plans together before DDM presales for Atlantic City tomorrow.  So, that leaves me with some Southern California shows.  I will likely go to the LA and Valley Center shows, and I’m still kicking around the idea of Vegas, although it’s a trek to go all the way out there and back within a less-than-24 hour period.  I’m liable to sit that one out, which is a shame because I love a Vegas show, but not when they’re off and running somewhere else the next day.

What about the rest of you?  Did you like the announcements?

Off to the dentist with the oldest….ciao for now! – R

Be careful what you wish for!

I am completely ignoring the fact that there are all sorts of dates being thrown around on Facebook and DDM at the moment – so don’t even talk to me about them.  Yes, I know the impending tour announcement tomorrow is terribly exciting, but I am absolutely not ready to even consider them, so I’m not.  Yes, I know they’re playing Atlantic City over a weekend (or so the rumors say)….I know I’d like to go.  I also know I’m married, I have three kids, and I have no time, money, or any more of my husband’s patience… for such trips.

So, with that in mind, I’m changing the subject!

I went to see another concert this weekend – Johnny Vatos and Friends – at the Brixton in Redondo Beach.  To begin with, the Brixton was once called Fashions back in the 80’s and 90s, and it was a great little dance club.  Friday and Saturday nights were KROQ nights with Richard Blade spinning tunes, and I loved the place.  I practically lived there during my college years, and it was also the place I met my husband.  Going back to the club on Saturday night was definitely deja-vu for us, but going to see Vatos in such a small club was exciting as well.  For those who are unaware or don’t know – Johnny Vatos was the drummer for Oingo Boingo, and he put together a tribute band of sorts, except that this “tribute” band is made up of members from the old group, as well as some new friends he’s made along the way.  The only person really missing is Danny Elfman, and he’s someone I’ve never had the luck or good timing to ever see in person or see live at a show.  That said, we take what we can get and have a great time.

The show did not disappoint, and as luck would have it – front row was wide open when we arrived, so my husband and I decided to take advantage and get spots right in front of the stage.  I have never had front row anywhere before – ever – so this was doubly exciting for me. (yes, the only thing that could have been better had been if it were for Duran Duran.  I think we all know that here!)  The band started, and it was fantastic.  I was dancing and singing along when, about 4 songs into their set, an older man came and stood directly in front of me.  That’s right, the two extra feet I had between myself and the stage were suddenly taken, and since this man was probably a good foot taller than me, I couldn’t see at all.  I was peaking around him, trying to see, all the while getting more and more annoyed.  I mentioned to my husband that girls had done similar things to me at Duran shows before – but I’ve never had a man, not to mention an older man, butt right in front of me like that!  I tried to be good natured and still enjoy the show though.  I started noticing this guy holding up his glass of whatever he was drinking in some sort of a toast to the various band members, and they seemed to acknowledge him – but I figured he was some sort of a fan from way way back – and probably a little on the looney side as well.  Even so, I was really annoyed because I truly couldn’t see the stage!  I looked at my husband and made a kind of made a motion of “I’m gonna shove you the heck over if you don’t give me some space” towards the guy (he wasn’t looking at me at the time), and to my surprise (and embarrassment), the trumpet player saw me.  He looked at me, widened his eyes and shook his head no very slowly.  Well, I was shocked someone saw me (apparently there ARE advantages to being back a few rows – the band can’t see everything you do!!!), but of course I didn’t actually say anything to the new “wall” in front of me.  A couple songs later, a roadie dude came up to him and motioned for him to come to the other side of the room near the bar, and it wasn’t long after that when the song ended and Johnny spoke.  He starts off by announcing that they are going to do something new and have a break mid-set.  I thought that was odd, but you know – these guys aren’t exactly young anymore. (no offense to Duran Duran, but I suspect that Oingo Boingo members might be a few years their senior in some cases)  Then Johnny mentions that this has never happened before, but that an Elfman is at the show.  I looked at Walt – because truly this is his favorite band in the history of the world – and I could see how excited he was.  Of course it’s the dream of every fan to have Danny Elfman at a show again.  He hasn’t performed with Boingo in at least 10 years now, and to my knowledge – he never will again because he has some hereditary hearing loss – and if you know anything about Elfman at all, he’s an extremely talented composer and needs those ears.  It was only then that I started putting two and two together, and to my complete and utter mortification – they shined a light out in the crowd and who should it fall on but the old guy who stood directly in front of me.  This was not Danny Elfman (as I’d originally feared), but his brother Richard, who was also a member of The Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo from WAY back in the day.  At that point, I felt every ounce of blood drain from my face, and as I turned back towards the stage, once again the trumpet player, along with the trombone player, caught my eye and immediately fell into gales of laughter.  Awesome.  (Yes, I said awesome.  It fits the bill perfectly.)

In my defense, and yes – I really have one here – I never knew Danny Elfman had a brother, much less someone who looks remarkably similar to him.  I wish my darling husband had taken the moment BEFORE my little faux pas to tell me that the guy in front of me looked a lot like Danny to him, and that he’d actually been thinking that he must be an Elfman – and probably his brother – but I digress.  I also still think the guy was incredibly rude to just come up and stand in front of me without any kind of a “hey I’m sorry but do you mind if I just stand here a second – I used to be in the band and just want to say hi”, but you know, I’m just a little person. A fan.

I wish I’d have recognized him, but you know – he looked like any other person to me that night.  All I could think about was that 1. I was glad it wasn’t Danny Elfman and that I didn’t open my big mouth.  2.  That I wasn’t at a Duran show and that it wasn’t a member of Duran.  3. That it wasn’t Danny Elfman.     Wait.  I said that already.  You see for me, Elfman is a god of sorts.  He’s one of the very few people on an extremely short list that I would never want to actually meet because I don’t think I’d be able to speak.   I’d have absolutely nothing of any substance to say beyond “I really appreciate your work”, and I’ll bet he’s maybe heard that a time or two.

Moral of the story?  Be careful who you want to shove out of your way at a show.  Never know when it’s going to be YOUR Elfman, or Taylor…or LeBon or Rhodes.  😉  Oh, and GA still sucks.  -R