All You Need Is Now (single) – the Daily Duranie Review

As I mentioned earlier this week, Amanda and I felt that it would be fun to do our own review of each song off of the album, and today we begin that journey by reviewing All You Need Is Now. If you haven’t already downloaded this song off of iTunes, you really should!  As an early Christmas present from the band, the song is free for today, Wednesday December 8th, 2010!

The reality is, neither Amanda nor I are music experts – except perhaps in our own heads.  This review section is purely our take on the new music and is part of an examination we are doing of the Duran Duran’s music as a whole.  We aren’t expecting anyone to wholly agree with us, as it’s purely our take – just as when you listen to music, you make your own judgements.  You may find in reading that Amanda and I will not always agree or get the same take from the same song.  Personally, that’s what makes music so amazing: two people can listen to the same song and come away feeling completely different things.

A couple disclaimers aside from the above:

1. We are not employees of Duran Duran.  They aren’t holding us in duress, nor are they telling us what to say and write.

2.  We pay for our own music.  We do not receive early copies of their music and we listen to the same grade of music as everyone else.

The way we will handle reviews from this point forward is that both Amanda and myself will each do our own review within the blog.  We have 4 basic categories that we will review – Musicality/instrumentation, Lyrics (the writing), Vocals (yes Simon – we have a “special” category just for you!), and Production (or aspects thereof).   Finally, we will wrap up with overall feelings of the song, and then we will give an overall rating.   Hope that makes sense – R

Our rating system is simple, and very indicative of our personality:

1 cocktail:  It’s really not our thing and honestly at this point the band should be sending US cocktails just to keep listening.

2 cocktails: It could really use work.  There are problems in most, if not all, areas of the song/album.  It’s not making our ears bleed yet, but it’s close.

3 cocktails: It’s not bad, but it’s not great either.  We aren’t going to turn it off, but we might not actively listen either.

4 cocktails:  We’re liking what we hear!  It reminds us as to why we’re still fans after all of this time!

5 cocktails:  AMAZING!  Can this band really get much better?!?  This is the Duran we know and love!

Of course, we may even do half cocktails when necessary! 

Amanda’s take (as of now and is always subject to change!)

This song is not static as it changes.  The first part is a rather in-your-face electro.  It is rather jarring and definitely not what one thinks of when they think of Duran Duran.  For that reason alone, I think I like it.  It is hard to miss and would definitely get people’s attention.  I also think it is fitting for the lyrics, which I will get to.  It also reminds of the Reflex, in terms of different introductions.  I remember when that song came out and everyone wondered about the beginning.  Yet, now, we can’t imagine the song beginning any other way.  Even with the electro part, the song feels like essential Duran on all levels, including musically.  The instruments are all present, which is a welcome return!  I adore the fact that the song goes through all of these changes from the intro to the verses to the chorus to the build up back to the chorus to the end.  Yet, throughout all of the different parts, the song is upbeat and makes you want to hear more!

The thing I noticed about Simon’s vocals is that the mood they created in me changed as the song changed.  In the beginning, he was more abrupt, more straightforward but with the chorus, he was more melodic.  This change seemed to match both the music and the lyrics, which is really what matters to me in the long run!

Lyrics make a big difference in my ability to appreciate or like a song.  If I can personally relate to a song, it will really enhance it for me.  I think that is true for a lot of people.  Anyway, I heard the chorus of this song before I knew all of the lyrics.  When I heard the chorus, I felt in my gut that this song was to us, the fans.  Then, the rest of the lyrics just continued that feeling!  We do have to “sway” like when we were “younger” and have to let the music play “a little longer”.  Then, I started thinking about touring and it makes even more sense with the line about the VIP section.  The message seems clear.  Embrace the music.  Embrace being a fan.  Enjoy it.  Nothing else matters but this moment.  It is interesting how the lyrics start out with the line (as I hear it), “It’s all up to you now,” as the idea is that you have a decision to make.  This decision may not be an easy one to make unless you stop thinking about everything else but the music and the present.  Obviously, the lyrics really spoke to me as someone who has often not embraced this, at various points in my life and for various reasons.  Now might be the right time to embrace this philosophy.

Production Aspects:
I feel like this is the one area that takes the song down some on the cocktail scale of excellence.  It sounds a bit too polished.  Some of the rawness seems to have been taken away.  While that in no means makes it bad, it is a blown opportunity.  A perfect example is the electro part.  While in the beginning, I really like it and feel like it has its place but it is too loud during the second verse.  It distracts from Simon’s vocals and the rest of the musicality there.  Plus, it would have been more fitting for how I see the song flowing.  By the end of the song, there is more of a beautiful reminder that all you need is now.  The electro part comes back from time to time as does real life or the worry for the future but should be pushed aside for the seize the day mentality of happiness.  It should not be such a strong presence after that first chorus.  On a different note, I find the inclusion of the street noises at the end of the song to be interesting.  Could these noises be saying that once you accept the current status, the real world becomes a background noise.  I think it is a nice touch!
Overall Impression:
This song seems to have a theme running through it, to me.  It represents how people have decisions to make about how they are going to live their lives.  While those decisions might be difficult and abrupt, everything becomes beautiful once the present is embraced, once one’s core joy is embraced.  I feel like this song could have been written as a reminder for Duranies to accept where the band is, accept the fact that the band is still around and still making beautiful music and accept that we are still fans, still Duranies.  It is something that makes us happy.  As a musical piece, I love that it feels like the Duran I know without being something we have already heard!

Cocktail Rating:

Rhonda’s take on All You Need Is Now 

Musicality/Instrumentation:  I have to say that it’s nice to be able to hear John again.  I don’t think I’ve heard that funky bass in many years – I love that you can feel it and hear it, yet John isn’t looking to be the lead. It’s a real rhythm section again, and is a welcome change from their more recent albums. Roger provides a very clear and strong back beat – and when he hits that high hat I can almost see him twirling that stick!   The rhythm is impossible to ignore during the verses, and it really does well to provide the backbone.   The guitar is there, although on this particular song it does not play the lead role – that seems to go to Nick, and appropriately so.  If you listen during the verses, the guitar plays a call/response game with Nick’s synths, and it’s a beautiful thing.  One thing I’ve always enjoyed in Duran’s best music was the tug-of-war played between the guitar and synths, and it’s been sorely lacking in their recent attempts.  The chorus is Duran Duran perfection in every way.  Both anthemic and atmospheric in the way only Duran Duran can do it.  That said, I feel it’s very electro in parts – dangerously close to annoyingly so.  It’s amazing because I would have sworn after the first couple listens that the song was originally two completely different pieces of music.  The verses are strangely similar to something I have heard on more recent albums (I hate to say it, but I could imagine it being on Red Carpet Massacre), and the chorus could be straight from 1983, give or take a few years in either direction.

Vocals: Who am I to critique Simon when he is at his best?  His voice is strong, and while I know that he’s had the tendency as of late to sound strained and nasally, I don’t hear that in this song.  I know that in the past, Simon had a way of reaching notes much lower than I would have expected of someone with his vocal range – almost whispering like Barry White (a slight exaggeration) into the microphone, but this song doesn’t require that, and so I don’t expect it.  I have tried and failed to think of one thing that could have been done differently to improve the song from a vocal standpoint.

Lyrics:  I originally heard snippets of this song when it was played on Behind the Music during the credits – and I felt that lyrically, the song was more reminiscent of Simon’s more recent work.  His writing has been far more straightforward than the poetic, filmy imagery of his early Duran Duran days.  That doesn’t mean to say that the writing is at all poor, because it is not.  The chorus is VERY straightforward – it says what it means and means what it says, which we should embrace and appreciate.  The writing is strong, and while yes, the fans from way back when might say he’s become a weaker lyricist over time,  I would wholeheartedly disagree.  It’s far more difficult to put yourself out there in black and white than it is in a series of gray that could mean one thing to you and something completely different to the next reader/listener.  Does it lose the romance of previous work, though?  For me, I’d have to say no.  This song is written for the fans, it’s written for me, it’s written for you – and I think it’s even written for them.  Who needs romantic flowery lyrics when you’ve got Simon telling you to sway in the mood?  My favorite line?  “Everybody’s gunning for the VIP section; but you’re better off running in another direction.”  (how’d they know I felt that way?!?)   This song was written about their fans, and about themselves.  It’s a beautiful relationship.

Production Aspects:  I hear what I hear, and on this song – it’s just a little overproduced, in particular during the chorus.  Unfortunately with today’s music and production – to hear a song that isn’t a victim to overproduction is the rarity.  The music is a victim to the technology, in my mind.  There is so much we can do to play with the sound of an instrument and with the mix of a song – we do too much.  The chorus sounds rather flat at times, as though it’s a giant brick wall of sound coming out you to hit you with force.  The synths blend so much into the vocals that it can sound rather muddy, and not just because it’s an iTunes file.  Sometimes too much is really too much.  I will also say that as far as the mix goes, the electronic part that plays during the verses is way, WAY too loud.  It competes with Simon’s lyrics, and that’s just wrong.

Overall Impression:  Here is where it gets personal.  When I first heard this song on Behind the Music, tears rolled down my face.  I had wondered where Duran Duran…*my* Duran Duran…had been all of these years.  Of course, I’d only heard the chorus, but it was as beautiful as anything they’d ever done.  I dare say it was perfection.   When I had the opportunity to hear the entire song, I stumbled back a bit.  The verses didn’t blend well into the chorus and overall it felt very awkwardly done.  I will admit that as time has gone on, I’ve gotten used to that – and I actually enjoy it now. The very fact that the song grows on me and changes for me over time signifies that it’s something very special.  Does it lend itself to the days of Rio?  Is that really even a fair question??  My answer is that it’s a Duran Duran song.  There is nothing about this song that I wouldn’t attribute completely and solely to Duran Duran, and for me – that’s a victory, plain and simple.  Will it get airplay?  Will it be a hit?  Who the hell cares?!?  This is for THEM.  For US.  Enjoy it!!

Cocktail Rating:

Male fans

There has been a lot going on in the world of Duran lately – much ado about the new single hitting iTunes tomorrow (my motto: download early, download often!) aptly named All You Need is Now.   I’m looking forward to hearing the entire song the way the band intended rather than the youtube clips that are rather distorted and muddy sounding, and I’m sure all of our readers are as well.

Not long ago, I was on a search for a new Duran Duran related message board.  The one which I had called home for quite a few years had dwindled to the point where I could go weeks in between visits and still not see many new posts.  Oddly, I am still good friends with several of the people I have met on that board, it’s just that our friendships have transcended the original platform of “Duran Duran”, and we use many other avenues of communication, including facebook.  That said, I still enjoy to read about what is going on within the fan community, and so I was on a hunt for a new place to read and mingle!   I won’t go into detail (in this blog) as to what I found on some of the boards I visited, suffice to say that what is comfortable and right for me is probably not what is right or comfortable for someone else.  That’s OK, that’s the way the system works and it’s a very good thing that there are still 50,000 and then some pages still dedicated to Duran Duran out there.

The board that I have ultimately “chosen” is a much different place than where I began.  My current board is populated by a much higher percentage of active male posters – which is really exciting for a change!  I find that as I grow older, my interest obviously changes, and while at one time it was enough to talk about the band members, exchange “new” photos we’d found of them online, and of course we’d chat about the music from time to time….now I find that I’m really mainly interested in the music!  (I could easily add a cornball line here about how “The music’s between us”…but I won’t.   No really, I won’t!)

The men that I’ve exchanged posts with, debated, and even traded insults (!!!) with have been the ultimate in Duran fans – and I think it’s refreshing to see that in this day and age, it’s finally cool to be a male Duran fan. (I feel very odd calling them Duranies…so I just won’t.)  It makes no difference whether they are heterosexual, gay, metrosexual or a combination of everything – it’s about the music, and none of them are afraid to let me know when they think I’m wrong, which again is something I really appreciate, oddly enough!

At one time, back when my Duran Duran fandom was in it’s infancy and I was in middle school, it was made very clear that if you liked Duran Duran, you were totally an outcast.  It was even worse if you happened to be male.  I knew very few, and I mean VERY few, guys who would even admit to listening to their music, much less admit to being in the fan club or going to concerts and reading articles about them.  In 2010, it’s a mixed bag.  Yes, there are plenty of female fans out there, and I would imagine that there still might be more females than males….but there is plenty of room for men to join in, and find issues to debate with vigor.

The board that I visit is a “closed” board, in that you must request permission before you’re allowed access to read and post, but I strongly urge anyone who is interested to come, request membership and check it out, especially those male fans out there because this is a great place to talk about the music.  The address is – I hope to “see” you there!  It’s bound to be a busier place in the coming weeks, so now is the time to join in!


It’s Monday – are you awake out there?!?

If you’re anything like me…or Garfield (my favorite cartoon character)…you hate Mondays.  I despise them, mainly because each Monday, I feel as though I’m being thrust back into reality with brute force.  It’s insanity in my house as we race to get kids to school, a husband to work, laundry, groceries, and catching back up with “life” on the computer.  Granted, I could probably make this weekly adjustment easier on myself by grocery shopping over the weekend, or doing laundry another day besides Monday, and if I actually spent time on Sunday night looking at my email or catching up on the weekend’s worth of Duran Duran news, I might even have a blog in mind for Monday morning.

Well, THIS weekend, I did all of that.  I did laundry on Sunday, for crying out loud.  I didn’t grocery shop – let’s not be hasty here – but I did get prepared.  I even read the boards briefly yesterday afternoon, and I even had a blog in mind for this morning.  What I didn’t take into account, of course, was the band.

What is it “they” say about the Best Laid Plans??

After the initial Monday morning rush to get everyone out the door, I sat down to the computer with a nice cup of coffee and the beauty of a blog topic in my mind.  It took all of 30 seconds to blast me from a relaxing zen-like calm, to feelings of near panic – and not just because the flooring people showed up to my house and started making enough noise to wake the dead.    Today on Facebook and Twitter, the band announced an early surprise – “it’s really all you need”.  Upon further investigation, it is pretty clear that the release date for the single has been moved up to Wednesday!

Of course, this is fantastic news for the fans.  We have been waiting for what feels like a lifetime (actually in my case, it has been – my youngest is 2!) for the new material to surface, and I honestly can’t wait to hear it!  All of the teasing snippets and reading how Mark Ronson believes this is the best thing the band has done in 20 years will be coming to an end. (well, maybe Mark will continue saying that, but soon we’ll have our own opportunity to weigh in!)  Wednesday is only two days away!

This is also an exciting time for our blog.  The Daily Duranie has always been about the fans, first and foremost.  Yes, we share news.  Yes, we might even gush a bit.  We also make sure to cover all of topics from a fans point of view as opposed to that of a journalist – and those topics can be anything from lyrical content, to art, to issues that go on within our fan base.  In addition to that, it is the intention of Amanda and I to give our own take on the music, since that’s what brought us to Duran Duran to begin with.  Sure, they don’t hurt my eyes to look at them….but the music really IS what’s between us.   Our plans are to take a deeper look at each individual song (beginning with All You Need Is Now) and each album as a whole.  We hope you stay with us, and we invite you to weigh in with your own thoughts and comments as we go along this journey!



It seems to me that promotion for this album has included some typical promotion tools and some new ones.  I have seen the official website’s list of what media appearances Duran Duran will be doing in regards to their upcoming album.  I, for one, am excited to see the pieces in Rolling Stone magazine and in USA Today, simply because they will be available here in the States.  Of course, I’m hoping that they will also do some more TV appearances beyond the Today Show one.  It sounds like they have some TV appearances planned in the UK.  Perhaps, they will also do radio interviews across the world as well.  These are the typical promotion tools for them.  The fans expect these.  Yet, in 2010, the world of promotion has changed.

This weekend, the band’s official website advertised banners for people to put up on their websites and whatnot.  Some of you may have noticed that this blog is sporting one as well.  What is the point of sharing these banners?  Clearly, the point is to have fans advertise for the album on their websites.  I have also noticed how much advertising is being done through social networking sites like twitter and facebook.  Every time Duran tweets or posts on facebook, not only do Duranies see these but they then share themselves.  Then, perhaps their friends become interested or even pass them on.  It is hard to know how many people actually see the tweets and/or posts.  It is actually quite a nice way to promote something.  When friends share something, it seems a lot less like trying to sell something and more like genuine interest, which has a greater appeal to others.  Plus, I have first hand experience that this type of promotion is actually working.  Last week, I went out to dinner with some friends.  They are not Duranies.  Yet, we are friends on facebook and they have seen my status updates on the band and/or album.  They have seen the pictures and videos I have shared.  They have seen my interest and, frankly, my excitement about the current state of Duran Duran.  So, in the middle of dinner, my one friend says to me, “So.  You seem to be a fan of this Duran Duran band.”  I laughed and explained that I was not only a fan but that I blog about them!  Her response was, “Well, after all of your posts, I, too, feel like I should be buying this album that is coming out!”  I confirmed that sentiment!  While there is no guarantee that she will buy the album, she is curious now.  She is much more likely to check out the songs and videos now.  Maybe then she will like what she hears and will end up buying it.

The world has changed.  Regular promotion of TV, print and radio isn’t going to be enough in 2010.  MTV isn’t out there to show videos as it once did.  People do not rely on those sources to find out what is new.  Social networking sites do a lot more for finding out the latest.  Perhaps, the band and their management get this now, which is why they are embracing social networking sites now.  It will be interesting to see how successful this shift of promotional tools is, assuming that the album will be of a good quality.


Types of Fans

As the release date for both the “All You Need Is Now” single and album move closer, it is interesting to see the comments made by fans on message boards, social networking sites, etc.  It seems to me that the fans are reacting to the snippets and youtube clips of the new material in predictable ways, depending on the type of fans they are.  The first type of fan is the person who is just excited by anything that the band does no matter what, including these new songs.  The second type of fan is the person who is critical of everything the band does.  The third and final type of fan is the one who in between.  Are all these types of fans valid ones?  Equal ones?  I suppose it depends on how one defines a fan.

Should fans accept and love everything that the object of affection does?  Is that what a fan should do?  Fans become fans because they found something special in the person/band/whatever that they became fans of.  Does that mean that they must always be something special forever?  Can you be a fan if you disagree or dislike something that the celebrity/celebrities of your choice does?  What if you stop supporting that person/persons/organizations?  For example, does every Duran Duran fan have to like every album?  Do they have to buy every album?  On the other hand, can you be a fan if you disagree with everything that the band/celebrity does?  I would question that.  Doesn’t being a fan mean that you LIKE something?  Wouldn’t a so-called Duran fan like some music of Duran Duran?  I suppose the “always critical” fan could have liked something in the past and now doesn’t like anything.  To that end, though, why stick around?  Why continue the discussion?  Why spend time on message boards and post?  Is there some joy is expressing negative thoughts and opinions?  I admit that I don’t understand.

Of course, on the same token, I don’t understand the fans that LOVE everything.  I don’t believe that being a fan means that you have to stop being critical.  Fans can and should think about whether or not something is good or bad.  I don’t think fans have to like everything, especially in a fandom with as long of a history as the Duranie world.  Duran Duran has released a ton of songs, videos, etc.  I think it would be weird to love every song the same.  How is that even possible?  Should it?  Therefore, when the song and album comes out, our readers should understand that Rhonda and I won’t say that every song is fabulous unless we think they are.  If we think they suck, we will say so but we will also explain our thinking.  Of course, we won’t be negative about everything as well.  I wouldn’t think that would be fun.  If I stop having fun and stop finding joy, I’m going to leave.  Now, I can’t see that happening since I have been a part of this fandom for decades.  Therefore, I will continue to the be the third type of fan.  I will be a person who looks at everything that Duran does with a critical eye.  Yes, I fully expect to love some things and dislike others.  I feel that this is the most respectful thing I can do as a fan, for myself, for other fans and for the band.


Leaked Material

Duranland has been a little crazy the last few days.  First, it started with the discovery that the European EP of Mediterranea was available on many European iTunes.  This, obviously, was not a planned release.  Nonetheless, the community went crazy.  Some people were able to download the EP, legally, via those iTunes until iTunes realized their mistake and the songs were removed.  (EDITED TO ADD DISCLAIMER:  I have no idea if this was a mistake on iTunes part or what.  This is my assumption about what had happened.  I know nothing official, people.  I’m just a fan.)  Other people were able to hear a sample of many songs, including “All You Need Is Now” and “Mediterranea”.  Everyone wanted to know or discuss what the songs were like.  Of course, those without the downloaded songs were either openly hoping to get a copy from a Duranie friend or were arguing that the copies should not be shared, for a variety of reasons.  Now, new rumors appeared, which included that some of the songs were put up on youtube to hear or that the entire album was available at a torrent site.  While I would love to be one of these lucky people to have copies of all new Duran Duran material, I’m not.  Therefore, I cannot write about what the songs sound like but I am interested in how the fan community responds to rumors of such significance.

It seems to me that there is no Duranie Alert like hearing that a new song is available in some means.  These alerts are more interesting when the song(s) are not available legally.  Does the legal status deter Duranies from trying to get the songs?  For the most part, in my observation, the answer is no.  Duranies may say publicly that they don’t want to hear songs in advance or wouldn’t want to get a hold of the album before it is actually released, but that isn’t true.  Behind the scenes of the message board, most fans are contacting the other fans they know to find out if they have the songs and are willing to share.  Part of this is simply to hear the new material but there is another piece to this.  For some people, this is a way to show one’s status within the fan community.  For example, if you are one of only 15 people who have the song, you might feel pretty darn special.  Likewise, I can only imagine what that person would feel like when telling others that s/he has one of the only 15 copies of the song.  That must make people feel special and/or superior!  Of course, the people who have to ask about the songs don’t have the same feeling.  Instead, they are forced to beg or do something to encourage the other person to share with them.  It becomes a rather interesting and unequal dynamic.

Where does that leave the fandom on a day like today?  It leads to fan community to be leading two different lives.  On one hand, on message boards and on social networking sites, there is discussion about how people should not download illegally or share with their friends, if they did have a copy.  The reasoning is a logical one.  Downloading illegally or sharing leads to poorer sales for the band and less chart possibilities.  Behind the scenes, fans are contacting each other in order to get the songs.  Duranies clearly are an impatient bunch.  They are also people who can be constantly concerned about their social status in the community.  So, what is the solution to this?  I don’t know that there is.  Duranies, like all fans, will seek out things unavailable to the public.  I suppose the real way to stop this is for the band and their people to keep such incredible control over their material.  Yet, is this a good thing for the band, in the long run?

Does leaked material lead fans to not buy the song(s) or album?  I don’t think so.  Does it create more excitement, more interest?  Quite possibly.  What would they think of all of the maneuvering between fans in order to get the songs?  Perhaps, they would be horrified.  Maybe, they would be entertained.  Who knows.  Here is what I do know:  the next few weeks will be VERY interesting for the Duran Duran fandom.  This will help me survive the time while waiting for the single and album.


Are you going to live in the moment for this one?

We’re really coming down to release day on the new album. (Once again in case you didn’t read yesterday: All You Need Is Now, available December 21 on iTunes.  The single, also named All You Need Is Now is available December 14 – also on iTunes!  Duran Duran needs to pay me for my plugs, don’t you think?  Kidding boys, no worries. :D)  Just last night some very excited and enterprising Duranies found that for a very short time – one could download Mediterranea from iTunes UK (not sure if that’s still the case – I’m in the US so I couldn’t do it), and for an even shorter time – All You Need Is Now (the single) was up and available for purchase.  I never heard if anyone actually got that downloaded.  I’m assuming yes, but don’t send it to me – I’m waiting until I can buy it legally on December 14th.

Since the last concert that I attended in support of Red Carpet Massacre, my friend and writing partner Amanda and I have been talking about our dreams and game plan for the next tour.  We really want to live life to the fullest on this one, because as I’ve touched on before – you just never know when is going to be the last time.  I’ve always had to hold back on shows, whether it’s by only doing a show or two, or not trying to get front row – and the fact is, seeing Duran Duran in the front row is on my “bucket” list. (things I want to do before I kick said bucket!)  Another major item on my list – seeing Duran Duran in the UK.

Truth be told, just 10 short years ago, I never thought I’d be seeing Duran Duran anywhere but near my home in LA – much less even considering the idea of seeing them on their home soil. I thought it was odd to go to more than one show on a tour! (and my delightful husband still thinks it’s weird – “Don’t they just play the same songs every night?”)  Well, I don’t think it was as much that I felt it was odd, as much as it was that I figured it was beyond the scope of what I could ever do.  Now I’m talking seriously about flying to the UK and doing my own “tour” there if there’s an opportunity.

I just don’t want to look back in 5, 10 or even 3 years from now and say “I wish I’d done…..”  I want to live in the moment and enjoy the band at what I really believe will be their best.  I don’t care about the charts, I don’t worry about whether the band is going to be a commercial success because I believe all of that will take care of itself.  I just want to ride out the moment with them and I hope that you all will do that for yourselves as well, regardless of whether it’s going on tour with the band, or in other aspects of your lives.  Enjoy the moment!


South Africa saga, Day 2

It’s 12:25 in the afternoon my time here in lovely Southern California, and I have yet to write today’s blog.  I’ve been sitting here, scouring the boards and trying to come up with something “smart” to write for the better part of the morning as our construction team is downstairs ripping out our fireplace.  If I were a better writer, I would probably be able to make some sort of fantastic parallel between the demolition of the fireplace and the reconstruction of my family room to the band and their current state of “remodeling” with the upcoming album. (All You Need is Now, available on iTunes on December 21.  How’s that for a free plug?!?)

One day later in the South African show cancellation saga and the news continues to spur speculation within the community.  The news articles coming out of South Africa continue to blame low ticket sales for the cancellation, and there have been no further updates from the band.  The truth is that we fans may never know the entire truth behind the dates being cancelled, and we are probably going to have to be OK with that.  That said, I can’t help but fan the flames of the speculation fire a bit by saying that perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle of “the tour promoter defaulted on the contract” (notice that no reason was given as to WHY the promoter defaulted) and “low ticket sales”.  Other news bytes on the topic quote the promoter as saying that they tried to renegotiate fewer dates with the band as a result of the low ticket sales, but they were not able to come to a favorable resolution with the bands management.

Oddly enough, after one looks into the venues where the band was slated to play – the story seems to become clearer to some extent.  The band was to be performing 5 shows throughout  South Africa: one in Durban, two in/around Johannesburg, and two in Cape Town. The venue in Durban accommodates 15,000; the venue in Cape Town from 8-10,000.  Those are large venues, to say the least.  It isn’t a surprise if the ticket sales really were lower than expected, but that would seem to me to be on the shoulders of the promoter.   Chances are, the promoter realized the shows would not come close to being sold out, tried to back out on the agreement, and the band held their ground.  Whether it was a mistake for the band to back out on the chance to play ANY South African shows is up for others to decide.  

Other writers from South Africa have touched upon the subject today (you can read one article here ), and they’ve painted a far less positive picture.  As a fan, I have to wonder how it is that Roxette can sell tickets well and Duran Duran was not – although once you read the article it’s pretty clear: Roxette sold 5000 tickets for 3 shows coming up in May.   These South African shows were not given nearly the same amount of sales time between announcement, onsale date and show, and if that’s not enough to convince the naysayers out there, 5,000 tickets is only 1/3 of the capacity of just one of the venues that Duran Duran was to play during their 5 show run.  Doesn’t seem as though the author is truly comparing apples to apples….

Regardless, the speculation will go on.  In the meantime, I will sit and listen to the roar of saws, nail guns and hammering in my house!  Who had the crazy idea of taking out the fireplace and getting new flooring anyway?!?   (um, that would be me!)


South Africa and Rio

I am not a news writer.  I take that statement very seriously, because I have almost zero interest in being the first to print a story, or the first to uncover juicy information about the band.  I’m also not a music critic.  I love music, and while you will read my opinion on songs here from time to time (as well as shows that I’ve been to), I know that I’m no expert.  My interest is in pop culture and the fan base – and I try my best to stick to that format here at Daily Duranie.  That said, from time to time, a news byte will come up that seems to cross over from news, and I’ll cover it as I see fit.

Last night, Duran Duran announced that they are having to cancel their South Africa shows in December.  By my count – they had little more than a week to go before performing, and in their press release, the band cited that the promoter defaulted on the contract, forcing them to cancel their shows.  You can read the official announcement here.

As the night wore on, speculation – Duranies L.O.V.E. to speculate – rose. (including this one. Hence the blog…)  Announcements were released from the South African promoter that the ticket sales were low.  They wanted the band to do fewer shows, and they could not come to an agreement.  Interestingly enough, I had just read that the shows were selling well, but of course, I am not in South Africa, and I have no idea what “well” really meant.   Naturally Duranies all over the globe wonder what this has in store for the band.  Does it mean the band will play elsewhere?  How does this affect the promotion for the new album?  Is this a sign of what is to come?  The speculation goes on…

My take is simply that while it’s unfortunate that the band had to cancel shows – this this a touring band by all means – it is not the end of the world.  I don’t know how large their audience really is in South Africa, and I don’t mean to diminish their worth – but the fact is, if they had a huge audience there, I have to think that they’d have made it a point to perform there far more often than they have.  From the time they announced their shows in South Africa, I questioned the value in choosing to perform there and possibly perform new music there first – but it was more a question rising from lack of knowledge about the South African fan base than anything else.   I do feel for the fans who are not going to have the opportunity to see them in December, because ultimately it is those fans who will come away as the victims in this business.


The question of Rio has come up on the boards once again – perhaps it never really left – and I find it necessary to address it on the blog.  Just this morning I read a thread  where a fan mentioned that the newer music (the very few snippets we have heard so far) sound nothing like the classic sound from Rio and that the band is still trying to play the modern sound – and that it won’t work.

Of course, for every fan that feels that way, there are several others that will take that fan down in flames.  The replies varied from those who tried to prove that the snippets did in fact sound classic, to those who questioned why someone would want a recreation of Rio to begin with.  Interestingly enough, I myself have wondered that same thing from time to time, and I’ve done some very unscientific research, which I’ll share.

It seems as though the younger the fan, the less likely they are to want an album that sounds like it should have been the follow up to Rio (or even less likely – a recreation thereof).  That alone speaks volumes to me.  My assertion is that it’s not really just the music that the fans want recreated.  I would suggest that for all of you out there who look back to Rio with a certain fondness, that perhaps it’s the spirit of the time you’re looking for.  The fans want to experience that moment again – the newness of the music, the fact that the band was sitting on top of the world, the youthfulness of 1985 (because most of us were in our early to mid-teens at that time)….it’s the spirit of the time as much as it is the music.   Music is very much about sentimentality.  When we identify with a song as deeply as some us did with the Rio album, or the first album, it truly seems to take on a life of it’s own.  It becomes part of the soundtrack to our lives, so to speak.  We each carry memories that go along with that music, and for some of us – it’s a moment in time that we want to live over again, even if we don’t necessarily cognitively acknowledge it.  I would guess that most who read the blog are saying “No way.  I want that classic sound because it’s what is Duran Duran.   I don’t need Rio over again, I just want the band to sound like Duran Duran.”   I would agree.  However, I would also say that for many, the Rio album = Duran Duran.  They can’t separate the two, and their feelings for one blend into the other.  I would go so far as to say that’s why Mark was so set on having the band embrace that and own it as opposed to trying to recreate the wheel to a certain extent, which truthfully – I think the band has tried to do over the years, even if they themselves don’t recognize that in themselves.

Ultimately, it will never been 1983, 1984 or 1985 again.  While those moments were fun, and I will never forget the glee I would experience when watching the band on MTV or sitting through the American Music Awards or the Grammy’s just to get a glimpse of the band if they were there, it’s far past time to move on from there.  Rio was a wonderful moment in time that I never hope to recreate.  Some things are just too perfect to mess with.


Welcome to the 21st Century!

My kids say that to me constantly these days.  At first I suppose it was funny, but when they started referencing the fact that I was born prior to the internet being “born”….well, let’s just say they ran from me as they were laughing.  The sad (or not so sad) fact is that it’s true, I have seen many a technological dream become a reality in my lifetime.  The same could be said for most of Duran Duran’s fans, and most certainly those who have been around since the very beginning.  At one point (that doesn’t seem nearly that long ago!), fan communities were called “Fan Clubs”, and they communicated with fans through good old snail mail with a stamp and envelope.  Bands communicated with their fans through doing TV, radio & magazine interviews, through the rare newsletter sent to their fan clubs, and of course through their music.  There was always some sort of barrier, whether inferred or actual, between the fan and the band.  Of course, this was also back in the day when we actually bought record albums, or CD’s – Tower Music or Wherehouse Records were not only places we would spend precious hours pouring over each aisle of record bins, but also where we would stand in line for hours waiting for tickets to go on sale, or for our favorite musicians to make an appearance to sign record albums.   I can remember standing in line for hours waiting for tickets for a concert to go on sale, only to see a few people go in, buy tickets and have a clerk come out to tell us they’ve sold out.  (this was before the dreaded randomly numbered wristbands were handed out, and before Ticketmaster took to the internet!)

It’s a very different world today, indeed.  Not only do I have the luxury of buying tickets to just about any concert or show in the relative comfort of my own home, but at any given moment I can check in on Twitter to see how Boy George is spending his day, read about what project Curt Smith of Tears For Fears is working on, or read how Cookie Monster is handling his cookie addiction!   Facebook has brought the friends of my youth back into my life so that they are not only a part of my past, but also my future.  I can read how my dear high school friend is moving to another state, or get an update on what The Killers are doing – all in one place.  
Duran Duran has never been the type of band to shy away from technology.  Let’s face it, they are the band to make MTV a household name to many of us; they were the first band to make a song available to be purchased and downloaded online.  While I feel as though they have embraced technology, I have felt that to some degree, they’ve been extremely slow to warm up to the idea of interacting with their fan base online.  It is true that they’ve had message boards – had an online forum for several years before shutting down a few years back. is their paid fan community, and for just $35.00 a year a fan can have unlimited access to the message boards and exclusive news bytes, contests, presales and other “goodies”.  Even with all of the ways that fans can interact with one another, the band has remained relatively out of reach for most, if not all fans.  There would be the occasional bit of news sent out through newsblasts, or perhaps an update video posted on DDM or even more news given out through Katy Kafe on – but as a long time fan, I always felt that the band was missing out on one of the best and easiest ways to reach out and interact with their fans – through the internet!   The band eventually did set up a facebook page and a Twitter account, but their attempts to actually use the twitter account properly were dismal to begin with.  Rather than the band sending out a “tweet” once in a while – we’d get a post of a picture, or a post to remind us to check into for updated news.  It was as though the band (or more accurately the people who worked for them) had no idea what twitter was really used for.  Of course, I write that knowing that at first, *I* didn’t really get the point of twitter either.  Honestly I think the learning curve for some of this stuff gets steeper and longer with each decade of age!  Their facebook updates were a little more successful, but for the most part – the updates would be much of the same that would be posted on   Many fans would be upbeat and thankful to see some updates, but on the boards, and in private – many of us lamented at what the band was really missing.  
These days, bands have to do their part to connect with their fan base.  It’s not enough to put out an album, do a tour and think that the fans will just willingly follow along for the long haul.  (Those were the days, weren’t they??) Fans, especially younger fans, want more. That doesn’t mean that you have to be another Britney Spears or Paris Hilton and tweet absolutely everything, but it does mean that the band has to at least appear as though they are willing to share what they’re working on.  It’s a tough balance, admittedly – and I can’t fault the band for not jumping in with both feet.  
Lately, however – I’m seeing a new and improved Duran Duran.  Gone are the days where virtual cobwebs were showing on their Twitter account – and even Simon seems to have remembered his Twitter!  Just last week Duran Duran not only wished us a Happy Thanksgiving, but we actually saw a few times where the group (or someone working for the band, of course!) asked us WHAT WE THOUGHT.  A dangerous question to ask any Duranie, in my opinion!   They’ve been replying back to fans, and genuinely trying to interact.  A definite improvement.  Granted, I don’t think it’s actually ever Roger, John, Nick or Simon (well…actually I wouldn’t be surprised if Simon is doing his own tweeting) that’s interacting – but that’s not really that surprising.  It’s the thought that truly counts, and it’s all about Public Relations.  
That brings me to the “why”.  Why have the band decided to finally jump on board and throw their fans a virtual bone after all of this time?  Why not just continue to appear as though they are out of our reach and continue to create more demand?   Let’s at least be honest and recognize that, at least at one time, the fans were so hungry for the band that they couldn’t be seen in public without being mobbed.  It’s really not all that different these days, much to MY chagrin as a 40 year old fan.  Seems to me at that our age – we should be old enough to know how to act in front of the band, but I digress.  Is it that they finally recognize that by keeping themselves out of reach, both in person and online in various methods, that they aren’t creating a demand as much as they’re creating a real gap between themselves and their fans – many feel as though they act far more elitist than they really should at this point, and it’s turned fans away.  Could it be that the band recognizes that their fan base has shrunk to the point where we’re a manageable mob?  Or, perhaps the band realizes that it really is the music that has brought us together – and that is something that should be celebrated after 30 years, not something that they need to hide from.   In the past week I’ve gone from thinking that these are signs of the apocalypse, to wondering if the band has been taken over by aliens, to realizing that maybe, just maybe, they are giving this the old college try.  
It’s really hard to say, but I must thank their PR person for guiding them, and I thank the band for giving it a chance.  It might even work – and they may find that they can interact with us without fearing for their lives in the process!  😉  

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!