Can You Eat Elderberries?

It’s that time of year again!!!

I don’t know what it is with Simon and the fan community, to be honest.  I know that within my group of friends (including Amanda) – Simon has always been the band member we’ve “picked on”, so to speak.  I can’t really answer why, but perhaps it’s because he’s out in front, he’s generally not afraid to tell a fan to take a hike. (in much better words I’m sure – but surely you get the point) ….and he likes wearing that Eagle belt buckle.  🙂   For every good fan story I’ve heard about Simon, I’ve heard and read just as many that paint him to be “not the nicest” band member to meet.  On a personal note, I’ve never really met him – other than at the signing in Hollywood.  I don’t even think I’ve ever seen him out in public after shows that I can think of offhand, so I have no idea how he “really” is.  My guess is that he’s human…and very much a scorpio.

The thing is, at least in my case, I love Simon.  I also love to tease him.  I have to think that if he knew me – which he does not – he’d probably give me a hard time right back, and I’d enjoy that.  I also know that he is at the heart of Duran Duran.  The band would definitely not be the same without him – in the same way that it wouldn’t be the same (and isn’t the same) without all original 5 members.  Some will argue that certain members, such as Simon, can’t be replaced at all, and while I would wholeheartedly disagree (everyone can be replaced, but it would change everything about the band, and that’s really the point in question.), I wouldn’t want him to leave.  I need to see him in front of the band, I enjoy watching him banter with John (those infamous JoSi moments!), I would miss watching him “dance”….well, we won’t get into that.  (note to self: must learn how to upload video to blog.)  Have you watched yourself dance to Skin Trade, Simon???

My oldest daughter has met Simon.  She was seven at the time (she’s now 13), and it was when we went to the signing for Astronaut in Hollywood.  She remembers it very clearly and it ranks right up there with Andy jumping out of his chair to shake her hand on the same night.  She was carrying a book with her in line, it was a Nancy Drew book – and he was very interested in what it was about.  I think she might have impressed him when she stood there and told him what it was about, and whether or not she thought it was worth reading.  (she did, as I recall – it was her favorite series at the time!)  Then she told him she really liked the album, and with a twinkle of mischief in his eye he asked her what her favorite song was on the album.  I kind of think he thought she was just being kind when she said that, and that she wouldn’t know what to say.  She smiled and said “Sunrise”, because it’s the happiest song on the album.  He grinned and signed her CD.    Of course, Simon didn’t look twice at me as I went through the line right behind her – but that’s OK.  I enjoyed watching him with my oldest!

The second time my daughter saw Simon in person, it was from the audience at the Pearl. (The Palms show in summer of 2009)  We were up close to the front, and during Tempted, Simon flashed his devil horns.  Keep in mind, at this point – my daughter was then 12 and full of mischief herself!  Well, she flashed them right back at him, to which he rolled his eyes.  She turned around with her eyes as wide as saucers because she thought she’d offended him, which amused me all the more!!  What Simon doesn’t know is that we coaxed her to do it back at him, and we ALL laugh when he does the devil horns.  It’s right up there with the “karate” moves at the end of Notorious – and it’s what makes Simon, Simon.

I’ve even had my proverbial ass handed to me by Simon on occasion.  Some would have been mortified – but I LOVED it.  I’m not entirely sure he even really meant his comments for me, but I will say this – they were extremely timely.  As I’m sure most of our readers have figured out by now, Red Carpet Massacre isn’t my favorite Duran Duran album.  Last year at some point, we had gotten into quite a discussion about it on DDF .  We were talking about whether or not they’d lost their label (they hadn’t announced they’d parted with Sony yet), where they seemed to have gone wrong, and what would lie ahead for the band.  I was pretty candid with my comments since it’s my home board – and apparently sometimes I forget that anyone could be reading.  Within the next day or so, lo and behold a blog pops up from Simon about parting ways with Sony AND that “for the record” he was still very proud of Red Carpet Massacre.  I didn’t save the entire blog, but when I read it, it seemed very possible that he’d either read my mind, or my post on DDF. (which I am sure isn’t the case – it was just very, very coincidental.)

As far as the fan community goes, I hear the stories about his escapades after shows.  I’ve been told that if you ever want to attract Simon’s attention – ignore him.  I suppose the bad stories tend to go along with the good, and it’s not up to me or anyone else to judge.  Simon is who he is, like it or not, and that’s one reason why I do like him.   I know how much we poke fun at him for tripping on stage or for attempting to crowd surf, or for putting on a hat and sunglasses that make him look like a pimp.  I suppose it’s all part of our relationship, if you can call it that, with Simon.  I sincerely hope that he recognizes that most of it is done out of fun, and love.

As much as I complain about how some of his blogs in the past have almost driven me to drink because I couldn’t understand what the hell he was saying, and as much as I cringe when he decides to spit water on the audience (I swear I’m bringing a poncho and umbrella next time!!), he is part of what makes this band so terrific.  He is the reason my friends bring air horns and tambourines to shows, and without his amazing voice, we wouldn’t have songs like Ordinary World, Rio, Chains, or even Red Carpet Massacre.

So, to my fellow scorpio – a VERY happy birthday.  I didn’t send you a card or an expensive prezzie…but you get a blog instead.  🙂   Tomorrow it’s back to my endless teasing and ridicule, so enjoy, buddy.

Oh and Simon, you CAN eat Elderberries, but only if they are very ripe and/or have been cooked VERY well.  Don’t eat anything “green”. (leaves, stems, etc.)   You can make elderberry jam, wine, tea and brandy – I’m sure you have time to make that jam or brandy while you’re waiting for the album to be done, right?  That said, apparently elderberries contain cyanide…and I sure as hell do not want to be responsible for the lead singer ending up in the hospital.  Hmmm…yeah I’d probably just skip the elderberries altogether and go with raspberry tea!!

-R

Silver Lining

I usually title my blogs first, oddly enough.  I know Simon feels that you can’t really name something until you’ve seen it – but I do it backwards.  (that is so typical for me!)  In any case, this time – I can’t title it yet.  Hopefully something will hit me before I need to publish, otherwise this blog is going up without a title.

I have a calendar that Amanda, my writing partner for the blog, created.  It’s a daily Duran Duran calendar – each date has a specific event listed.  There’s no need for me to worry about whether the band is going to publish an “official” yearly calendar because I already have my own, and I love it.  Every night I change out the page for the next one (it’s in a small plastic frame in my room), and it gives me a brief moment to reflect on the memory of the event, or in some cases, I just say “huh” and go on to whatever task I have happening next.  Last night, when I finally got up to my room for the night, I turned the page only to reveal that on this day just 4 years ago, we got the “official” announcement that the Fab 5 partnership had once again been dissolved and we were now at 4.  Truth be told, I had already learned of Andy’s leaving a couple of weeks prior – but I was sworn to secrecy, and to this day I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone just how much earlier I’d known what was going on.  I don’t even really have “insider” knowledge – it was just odd luck, and it was something that at the time, I didn’t want to believe and I certainly didn’t want to share in hopes that it was false.  Regardless, as I turned the page and put it into the frame, I remembered how I felt that day when I got several phone calls from my closest friends.

I think that for me at least, I don’t know that I ever expected Andy…or Roger for that matter, to stay for long. I guess it just all seemed way too perfect.  I know of many, MANY Warren fans out there, and good on all of you for being able to accept him so well, but for me he was never a part of MY Duran Duran.  At least not the one I fell in love with.  For me, that band has 5 members, and you know their names, including those 3 Taylors.  So, when the reunion was announced and I saw them live again, it WAS perfection.  It was my childhood, adolescence and adulthood all coming full circle – and it was a perfect, shining moment that I never thought would last.  Of course, it didn’t.  I saw Andy perform with the band 4 times, and I do treasure those times.  Regardless of what anyone says about his work ethic or his playing style, he provided something to that band that can’t be replicated, and I thank him for coming back at all because in doing so he allowed me to live out a dream – and that was to see all 5 of them together.

That day 4 years ago, as I spoke to friends on the phone, I had very mixed emotions.  I know I was really angry – many fans have been and still are to some extent.  However, I think that if anything, my anger was directed towards the rest of the band more so than Andy, particularly because from everything I’d learned about the upcoming album – it was going to be nothing like what I expected from Duran Duran (and it wasn’t).  I was (and still am) convinced that the direction of the new album was at least partially responsible for the dissolution of their partnership.  Many will argue with me, saying that I couldn’t possibly know what went on – but one thing I *do* know, is that if Andy were truly interested in being in the band and recording the album – he never would have allowed for a stupid travel visa (or lack thereof in this case) to be the reason he didn’t show up for recording.  Out of all of the lame reasons I’ve ever heard in my lifetime – and trust when I say that working in HR and staff management – I’ve heard more than my share – that is probably one of the worst.

I also knew that I was about to board a plane headed for Chicago, where I was going to see Duran Duran be the opening concert for the brand new Sears Center.   I’d already seen Dom Brown as their guitarist for a few shows – so I knew the band would obviously still play, but I wondered how they would be as they came onstage.  They would be facing a lot of fans with a lot of emotion behind them – and many of us were following them on to New Orleans (they would play the Voodoo festival later that weekend) from there.  It was important that they come out on stage that night and play the show of their lives to prove they could still do it without Andy – at least, that’s how *I* felt about the show.

I went to the show with a heavy heart, but also an inner yearning.  I wanted that band to come out there and blow my socks off.  I needed to hear that they were going to be fine, and I’ve always felt that I could tell how the band was doing by the way they were playing – they aren’t that great of actors, and I think it’s become fairly clear (to me, at least) when things aren’t great backstage.  They came on that night with a fire in their bellies, that is for sure.  They all sang and played with more fire and conviction that night than I’d seen since they played at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa in 2003.  John Taylor played his heart out that night, while Amanda and I sang right along with him.  😀  I looked over at Dom several times that night, wondering how he must have felt.  It’s one thing to take over for someone when they are ill – but it’s quite another when you know it’s just been announced that they aren’t coming back and for the near future, you’re the guy.   Dom stood off to the side, respectfully played the guitar and did a fine job.  He interacted with the band, but not overly so, and I found myself being more and more drawn to him.  Mostly, I wanted him to see that the fans wouldn’t eat him for dinner just because Andy wasn’t coming back.  I found myself wanting to give him the heroes welcome in a lot of ways, because truly – had it not been for Dom’s ability to step in and play a superb guitar, we would not have had a show that night.

Later that weekend, I ran into Dom on a plane bound for New Orleans.  He sat right across the aisle from me – and after I picked myself up off of the floor both from illness and from shock, but I took a second to thank him for playing, and I commended him on being able to step into some very big shoes.  We talked a little bit during the flight, Dom was very, very kind and he’s earned my loyalty as a fan, whether he’s playing for Duran Duran or playing his own shows. (someday, I will make it to the UK to see him, or he’ll come here – but I will see him one of these days!)  I know he’s not Andy Taylor, and of course he never will be – but he’s a gift to us in his own right.   That weekend, Amanda and I made Dom his own sign for the Voodoo festival (and we waited all day, were practically trampled by My Chemical Romance Fans and narrowly avoided being rolled on by the lead singer of Flaming Lips in a huge hamster ball in order to show it to him), to us – he’s part of Duran Duran and therefore part of the family.  The sign said “We Scream for Dom” – and I don’t know if he ever saw it, but Simon and John did – and they were trying to point it out to him.   It was just our way of saying thanks and welcome.  To this day when we see the band in concert and it’s a GA show, I try to position myself somewhere between Simon and Dom, that way I can see Dom, and I get a great view of Roger as well.   I have no idea if Dom remembers me – but he’s got a fan until I can no longer get myself to the shows, and even then – I can still keep listening.   For me, he is part of the silver lining.

Nile Rodgers once posted that the gift is always there, even in the worst of times – you just have to find it.  I think that our gift is that many of us finally got that opportunity to see and hear all five together again.  How many of us really thought that would ever happen??  Certainly not me.  It was a brief, shining moment – and one that I continue to treasure.

-R

All You Need is to Download?

Happy Monday, everyone.  It’s a gloomy drizzly day here in Southern California where I live…so it makes for perfect Monday weather, in my opinion.  I’ve spent some of my morning getting caught up on the news of the weekend, and I’ve been reading the recent “news” from DD’s make up artist (am I the only one that believes the housekeepers are going to be the next to give interviews??) that the new album will be available for download in December, and the physical copy will be released in January.

As my partner mentioned in her blog – this is being talked about on the boards, and of course the speculation is running wild.  Everyone wants to know if there’s a label, they think this is a risky move on the part of the band, some believe that the sales will be even worse under these circumstances…etc….etc…..because in true Duranie fashion….”We are NEVER satisfied.”   (insert my laughter here)


I’m not really here to speculate on the reasons or how it’s going to effect sales.  Others have done that rather well (see Gimme a Wristband for a fantastic blog on that subject!), and there’s no need for my input here.  My interest lies with the fans, and more specifically – are we a part of the downloading generation?

When I grew up (born in 1970), I remember the Sony Walkman being all the rage…and I’m not talking about the CD version.  Then it did become the CD version, and as I’m sure many if not all of you remember, vinyl became less and less important.  (never mind the dreaded 8 track or tape – my kids ran across one the other day and asked me what it was.  *sigh*  I love turning 40. I really, really do.)  Nowadays, we have iPods and MP3’s, and a good many of us wax nostalgic over vinyl, and even CD’s!

Of course, CD’s are still available.  I can go down to Target and find a pretty small selection of CD’s to purchase.  I don’t shop at Walmart, but I know they do still carry CD’s, as does Best Buy and several other stores.  Naturally I remember the days of Tower Records (I miss Tower Records…I could shop in there for HOURS!) and even Wherehouse Records, where I not only bought my very first Duran Duran album, but also stood in line to buy concert tickets back in the day when there was no internet!  Someone get me my cane, please.    I digress…  My point is, CD’s are still around, as are albums, they just aren’t as widely available as they once were.

What has most assuredly taken the place of my beloved Tower Records is iTunes.  Personally, I have mixed feelings about iTunes.  I cannot argue the convenience of being in my home (or anywhere these days!), hearing a song somewhere and immediately being able to download and listen to my hearts content.  I also cannot argue the fact that it’s much cheaper to buy one song off of an album than it is to buy an entire album and only listen to one or two songs.  What bothers me about iTunes is that we’re buying an MP3 – which definitely has a loss of information from the original music file, AND we’re not getting the full product that a CD would have. (liner notes, pretty pictures, etc!)  In my head, an MP3 is like really cheap fast food, while a CD might be a decent restaurant – and vinyl?  For me vinyl is a great dinner at a fantastic restaurant.  You linger, you have a great bottle of wine, and you enjoy.

I don’t think I’m much different from any other fan of my generation – but I have to wonder, how many of us love downloads?  Do we download because it’s the option given to us, or have we learned to love them yet?

-R

Download vs. Actual Hard Copy

A new rumor has been posted on various message boards and on Gimme a Wristband.  This rumor came via Duran’s makeup artist.  According to this person, Duran’s album will be released through a download version in December and actual hard copy in January.  This, if it is true, is fascinating.

The first question I have is in regards to a record label.  Does Duran have one?  If so, which one?  Was this idea of two separate releases their idea or Duran’s?  What is the logic behind it?  Why does there need to be a month in between?  I, obviously, don’t have any answers to these questions.  I’m sure that, in time, all information will be shared.  Until then, I’m going to continue to speculate.  Maybe they do have a record label and one that wanted it just released via downloading as this would cost less for them and might move more “units”.  I could see Duran, specifically Nick arguing for a hard copy release.  After all, they have always been all about the packaging.  Of course, I could be all wrong.  Maybe the band is releasing it on their own.  They don’t want to wait for the hard copies to be pressed so they will release earlier via downloading.  (Yeah, I’m being super kind about the band’s desire to please the fans in this fashion!)

Assuming this rumor is true (big assumption, I know!), I, for one, am glad that they plan on releasing hard copies.  I can’t imagine not being able to hold a new Duran album in my hands.  What would it be like to not look through the lyrics?  I don’t know that I could survive not seeing the new cover.  If these things were missing, it would be like missing an essential part of Duran.  After all, they have always been about the visual as well the musical. 

-A

Album Cover Art

One of the topics most discussed across the Duranie community lately is that of the artist chosen to do the cover art for Duran’s next album, Cluney Reid.  Her work is not always easy or fun to look at but definitely interesting and thought provoking, in my opinion.  Duranies have had much to say about this choice and about album covers, in general.

It appears that most fans who have seen samples of Reid’s work are not impressed.  Those people, it seems, would prefer something more obvious, something easier to look at, something that generally seems happy.  Some fans prefer the cheerful, now iconic, image of the Rio cover. Other fans request covers featuring the band’s image like Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  Many mentioned the possibility of how the album cover might affect sales of the album.   This lead me to think about the purpose of both art and album covers.

Are album covers supposed to just help sell the album?  Are they supposed to encompass the overall feeling of the album?  Are they supposed to do something more and ask people to think about something?  It seems to me that they can do all three.  I don’t really know if an album cover could actually sell an album, especially now.  Would a cover make you buy something from an artist or band that you have never of?  Would it make you try a band again if they had not been enjoyable to you?  I doubt that the album cover would have much impact on sales in that way, especially in the era of downloading.  Maybe it helps fans be proud of an album, though, and that this pride translates into playing and showing the album to friends and family, which might result in more albums being sold.  Nonetheless, I suspect that any increase in sales via the album cover is minimal.  Should the album cover do more then just trying to sell copies then?

Should the cover reflect the mood or theme of the album?  Should it give a hint about what the music will sound like?  This seems possible to me.  If I see an angry image on the cover, I might have some idea that the music might be loud and angry, maybe something in more of a metal genre.  Likewise, if I see something happy and carefree, I would suspect that it might be light pop music.  Should the title then match the mood or feeling?  I think that it isn’t a horrible idea.  Duran has done that, sometimes.  Red Carpet Massacre has an album cover that certainly matches the title and to some extent, the music.  At other times, they haven’t.  For example, the album Astronaut showed a picture of the band rather than any space references.  Will this album cover match either the music or the title?  Will it do both?  Only time will tell.

One thing that I have always appreciated about Duran’s album covers is that they have always been interesting to me.  There are some I like more than others.  Yet, they have always made me think a bit more about art and about the music included.  If that is part of the goal of an album cover, then, I am beyond excited by the idea of using an artist like Reid who obviously wants people to think when they look at her work.  Maybe it will spur more discussion about some or many contemporary topics.  Perhaps, the fans will have much to ponder as they have had with past album covers.  For this, I appreciate that the band has always taken time to really think about the album’s cover.  Of course, sometimes, I have wished that they would not have spent so much time on the cover in order to get the album out faster!!!  🙂

-A

Album Release Date Rumor

As my partner-in-crime mentioned yesterday in her blog post, there was a rumor going around a message board about the release date of Duran’s album, “All You Need Is Now”.  The rumored date is Tuesday, February 1st, 2011.  I’ll assume that this is the U.S. release date as new albums drop on Tuesday here.  Rhonda also mentioned that this date is almost 30 years to the day that Planet Earth was released.  Two questions immediately pop in my mind:  First, could this rumor be true?  Second, is this a good idea to connect these two?

First, it definitely seems that this date could be true.  It matches the timeline that we keep hearing in interview after interview.  Interestingly enough, this would give the band wiggle room in terms of fulfilling their statements about releasing the album in January of 2011 as the U.K. would probably release it the day before on Monday, January 31st.  They could actually keep their “promise”. 

Second, is this date a good one?  The surface level of my Duranie self says no.  Why?  It should be released now or next week or next month!  Not 3 months from now!  Ugh.  I don’t think I can take it.  I suspect that most Duranies are like me and are impatient.  After all, we have been waiting for a new album since November of 2007!!!  After that thought comes and goes, the more serious Duranie in me comes out.  Should this new album be connected to their first single?  I realize that they have been advertising this album as the return of the early, classic Duran sound.  Maybe it would help to make that connection explicit.  Maybe fans who left during RCM would come back, simply for the historic nature of it.  I can see some people saying or thinking, “I was a fan for Planet Earth and 30 years later, I’m a fan of All You Need Is Now.”  That might even be what I would be thinking.  Will this connection give me hope that it might be like Planet Earth?  Maybe.  I could dream, right??  After all, Planet Earth is my favorite Duran song of all time.  Therefore, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that this connection between anniversaries would push me into having nothing but optimism for the new material.  What Duranie is going to admit that she/he doesn’t like something released on the same date as something as classic as Planet Earth?!  While that is all true, I started to think a little deeper.

As of right now, this next album is entitled “All You Need Is Now”.  To me, it says that we should all embrace the present and whatever good or bad came from the past is simply that…part of the past.  Wouldn’t it be ironic or even strange to release an album with this title, with this philosophy on the anniversary of the first single?  Wouldn’t that move seem to be contradictory?  Then, I started to think about how the music is being advertised on this album.  If it is supposed to be a return to the early Duran sound, isn’t that about looking and using the past?  How exactly is that embracing the present?  Don’t get me wrong, I, obviously, love, love, love early Duran.  I’m so looking forward to an album that FEELS like classic Duran.  I will also have no problem embracing this present, if it is as good as they all claim it to be.  Nonetheless, it does seem a little strange that they seem to want to focus on the present while still using the past in this way, assuming that is what they are doing.  (It is very possible that this is a coincidence and one that they know NOTHING about or it could be that this is part of a master plan or something in between!)

I hope to love this new album, no matter the title, the release date, or the emphasis on present and/or past.  I’m hoping I love it so much that it holds a special place in my heart that is equal to the special place that Planet Earth holds.  Therefore, I truly want both to have different anniversaries so that I can treasure and focus on them, individually, as true masterpieces.

-A

The Real Wives (and Girlfriends)

You might think that I would be ready and excited to talk about the rumored release date for the next album…someone posted on one of the boards that the release date for All We Need is Now (if that’s really still the title…they still have time to change it, you know!) is February 1, 2011.  As far as I’m aware in this moment, that is still an unsubstantiated rumor.  Regardless, the date rings very familiar – as in exactly 30 years prior to that date, Planet Earth was released.

Yes, you might think I’d discuss that.  But I’m not!  Perhaps my partner in crime would like to cover that omen this weekend.  Or not.  You’ll have to wait and see.

I was watching Anderson Cooper yesterday, and he interviewed Yoko Ono.  For those who have been completely buried in their Duran Duran cave for the past 30 years that they weren’t even aware that music existed prior to DD – Yoko Ono was married to John Lennon.  John Lennon was/is a god in my mind, but to the rest of you he was a member of The Beatles…the original Fab Four.  Second only to Duran Duran in my heart (and truthfully, I still feel robbed that I never had the chance to experience them live) – I’m a big Beatles fan.

In any case, Yoko has always been the bane of any Beatles fan’s existence.  To many, she was the cause of the group’s break up, amongst many other issues.  What always struck me about Yoko was her defiant attitude towards anything and anyone – yet I can tell that she loved John completely.  Keeping in mind that I was only 10 when John was murdered, I have very little memory of him being alive, most of my memory comes from the time after his death – and the emotion that his music, and that of the Beatles is what continues to live on.

As I watched the interview, Anderson asked Yoko directly as to why she thought the public hated her so (back then).  I was fascinated that even after all of these years, he’d ask such a question – and in his asking, she obviously felt she needed to answer.  Her response had more to do with there being issues with her culture (Japanese) and the fact that she was a woman.  Having not been alive back when she first met John Lennon – I can’t say for certain that being female and Japanese didn’t have anything to do with the public (or the fans) dislike;  but I can say that as a Duran Duran fan…I think she’s ignoring the obvious.  She married a heart throb to many, and an idol to still more.   Female fans loved John Lennon in much the same way that we love John, Roger, Simon and Nick.   I would bet that the wives of Duran Duran would have much to say about the fans treatment of them over the years – and yet they probably didn’t ask for it.  They just dared to love one of our idols.

That particular section of the interview with Yoko was short – but it caused me to really think about how we’ve treated the wives over the years.  It can’t be easy to be one of the wives, or girlfriends of a member of Duran Duran.  Admittedly, we fans are a bit (a lot!) overwhelming at times, downright intrusive at others – and mean spirited when we feel we can be.  It’s a shame because #1 – those guys are NEVER going to fall for one of us.  (Be serious ladies.  It’s a dream.  A good dream, but still…just a dream.)  #2 – those women are probably for the most part, very kind people and we should be respectful.   I’ve seen FAR less than respectful behavior come from fans towards them at times…myself included.  My goodness, I cried for days when Roger married for the first time.  Of course, I was only 13.  I didn’t cry when he married Gisella – after all, he had to marry someone else.  I was already taken.  😉

Maybe we all need to think twice when we see one of the girlfriends or wives – rather than sneering, maybe a smile is the better way to handle it.  After all, there is no contest to be won – the music is there for all to enjoy, and the band?  They were never up for grabs to begin with.

Have a great weekend everyone!
-R

The Line

Fandom is a funny thing.  It can suck you in very quickly, and one can go from just enjoying a new album to wanting to know every last thing about the lead singer…or keyboardist, bass player and/or drummer in a matter of moments.  I know this because it happened to me, a very long time ago!

I asked a question on Twitter yesterday. It was really a question meant to spur discussion, and it really did!  I simply asked if anyone thought that Duran Duran is tired of their fans.  
Granted, the question was posed almost as a challenge, although at the time I wrote it I really didn’t MEAN for it to be – it was only later that I realized it would be a lightening rod for someone to tar and feather me.   Briefly I considered changing my name and running for the hills, but I digress.
I had several people point out to me that we support the band, and without us they’d be nothing. (I hope they’re enjoying their mansions then…)  A few more thought I was joking (nope.  not me!), and a couple more seemed rather shocked I’d suggest such a thing.  I would just like to send out a public “thank you” to our twitter followers for not sending out a twitter “contract” to have my head placed on a platter.  Thank you for your kindness, and thank you for being willing to participate!!  
The reality is, the word “fan” is simply short of “fanatical”.  I believe that Duranies tend to cross that line pretty regularly.  Not ALL Duranies, but enough of them over the years to where I think we’ve garnered quite a reputation, generally speaking.  I’ve seen the way fans will quite literally throw themselves AT the band both during the show and after.  I’ve watched in horror as other female fans will go to just about any length (and any wardrobe faux pas) to make sure Simon, John, Roger, Nick, etc. knows they want his attention.  I’ve also seen him/them roll his/their eyes and have to be almost rude to those fans in return so that they understand he just is not interested.  Then I’ve watched those same fans rip him/them apart on the message boards, calling them every name in the book.  I’ve been nearby when fans have gone up to the band members while they have been with their wives, and make suggestions for things that I wouldn’t have vocalized even if the band member was alone – and I’ve seen those same fans call the wives all kinds of things.  Gee, I wonder why the wife wasn’t very happy, and the band member even less?
What makes someone go from being a fan – even a fan like me who blogs and writes about them – to someone who feels like they have the right to intrude upon their personal life?  I have no problem admitting I might be obsessed, (…addicted, what-have-you!)  but I do recognize the fact that the band members are not mine.  I would never think to invite Simon to find something between my breasts (don’t even think of asking how I came up with that one…), nor would I ever think to go up and be anything but kind and gracious to their girlfriends, wives, etc – and that goes regardless of how I might really feel about any of them.  It’s just not me.  That said, I have no problem being excited when one of them throws me a grin from the stage or even across the bar.  I’m a fan!  
This blog isn’t about being higher and mightier than thou, it’s just about examining what makes a fan fanatical, and where the dividing line is drawn.  For me, it’s pretty boldly drawn.  I go to the shows, and enjoy them.  I will gladly smile at them on stage, and I love it when one of them smiles back.  Duh.  After the show, if I am lucky enough to somehow end up at the same place, I let them have their space.  If they talk to me, great – if not, that’s OK because it’s their personal time. That’s just me.  The subject has come up in conversation amongst my friends many, many times over the years – all of us wish that the band would be more interactive, more willing to come out after shows, more open with the fans, etc….but do any of us really stop to recognize what might happen if they did?  There seems to be quite a problem with recognizing where the line really is.  Some believe that as long as you’re not stalking, you’re good.  A few people feel that it’s just part the territory that goes along with being a celebrity.  Others think there’s a difference between obsessive and possessive.  So, I invite all of you to post where the line is for yourself, recognizing that you can only be responsible for your own behavior, not anyone else’s.
To answer my own posed question earlier – I do believe the band gets tired of us.  I can’t honestly blame them either.  I’m not talking about just going up and asking for a photograph or an autograph, I’m talking about cornering them in a bar, or following them where ever they happen to be going after a show.  I think that from their point of view – unless they’ve met you personally, they have no way of knowing if you’re going to just let it go with a wink and a smile – or if you’re going to pursue them and back them in a corner to talk for hours.  They have no idea if you’re “normal”…or if you’re a normal obsessed fan that has loved them for 30 years now…or if you’re a fanatic.  I don’t think it’s part of their “job” to allow us complete access to them, nor do I think it’s OK for us to expect that out of them.  I think sometimes they all probably wish that after a show, we’d just do our own thing, or we’d allow them to hang out at a bar and not be bothered.  If they wanted to talk to us, then they would do so, rather than a group of 50-100 Duranies descending upon them like vultures.  I’m not saying it’s ever OK for the band to be rude, but on the same token – aren’t we doing the same to them by intruding on their personal time?  I know if it were me, I’d take it to a point, and then suddenly I’d be unleashing it on some poor unsuspecting fan who just wanted a picture or an autograph.  
Hmm.

-R

How do they do it?!?

Last night, I had a splitting neck and headache.  One muscle in my neck was truly throbbing – so I took some Advil and went upstairs to bed.  I have a special pillow that I have to use because of this neck pain – and typically after a good nights sleep, I’m fine in the morning.

Well, at some point last night or very early this morning, I went to roll over and felt what I can only characterize as a Charlie (no pun intended on this one!) Horse in my back.  It was a muscle between my spine and shoulder blade.  I tried moving – and the pain only got worse.  Eventually I did fall back asleep, but I woke up this morning and the pain was horrific.  I look like a 90 year old woman trying to move. (and even then, my mother tells me that she knows 90 year olds that are moving better than I am this morning.  Thanks Mom!)

Originally I wasn’t going to blog – I can barely hold my head straight enough to stop my back from killing, so blogging wasn’t a big priority – then I started thinking about the band.  How on earth do they do it?!?  I will be 40 in just 19 days, and that makes me younger than the band, and yet I haven’t ever seen Simon stop and think before jumping off of the drum riser or dancing on stage.  (some might say that perhaps he should have! :D)   I suppose that by continuing to work out each night doing shows, they stay in a lot better shape than I am right now, but even so, I have to hand it to them.  I’m not sure I could do as active of a show at their age, and they do it almost every night when they’re touring!

Over the weekend, I went with my husband and some friends of ours to a Ragtime festival in Fullerton.  My husband is a piano player, and he loves Scott Joplin. The festival was fun, obviously completely different from a rock concert, and what struck me upon getting to the small club where the festival was held was that the audience was made up  almost entirely of senior citizens.  Many of them had to be in their 80’s, and as I watched – many of them were smiling, bouncing with the music and just enjoying themselves.  To many of these people, this WAS their rock music.  Ragtime, Tin Pan Alley, Dixieland – all of them are forms of jazz that were popular back in their day.  Rock and Roll didn’t even begin until the 50’s, so to this generation – Ragtime was it!  The beauty of this music is that even at their age, they can sit and listen to piano players recreate the sounds of their youth.  (many of whom were in the same basic age range as the audience!)  I’m just wondering if Simon, John, Nick & Roger are going to be OK with coming to play for all of us as they reach their 70’s and 80’s…even if we’re all sitting in chairs while they do it!  😀   Better keep working out guys, because we’re going to keep needing our “group therapy” for quite a while!!

Now, if you all will excuse me, I’m going to hobble on over and get some Advil!

-R

A Different View

I read Amanda’s blog for yesterday and found myself on the other side of the fence for a change, so I decided to give my own point of view.

First of all, I think it’s fantastic that fans continue to talk about albums long after their release date – whether the discussions are good or bad.  The point being – we’re still talking about their work, and really, isn’t that the point?  I would be far more concerned if fans heard an album and then never brought it up again, because that means the album did absolutely nothing.  No emotion, no feeling, no sales, no nothing.  Obviously that isn’t the case here.
Secondly, I really do not know of any other album in the history of the band that has been quite as polarizing.  That alone is amazing and it SHOULD be talked about.  Why is it that this particular album has people either loving it or hating it?  I have to say that when the album was first released, people were incensed by it – this blogger included.  As time has worn on, especially now as we await their next album, people seem to be far more able to point out exactly what it is about this album that they like or dislike.  I know that for me, I’ve learned a lot about what makes my fellow Duranies tick just by reading what they’ve liked or disliked.  My objectivity has grown considerably since the album was released, I’m far better able to describe exactly where I feel it all went horribly wrong.  Conversely, I’m also objective enough to hear and see what elements were done beautifully (and there were moments of brilliance on this album.  Fleeting, but still present!) That said, no – I’m still not a “big fan”.  🙂
Thirdly, I am of the belief that much of music really is about dwelling on the past.  Many lyricists write about something that happened to them in the past, and when we hear a particular song – the feelings the song evokes tend to be about something in our past; or we connect specific songs with specific times and/or events in our past.  Red Carpet Massacre was released as I was pregnant with my youngest.  She’s now 2 and a half.  My father died  later in the spring.  To a certain extent, I do tend to associate that album, and especially the song Falling Down with that whole period of time.  I also believe that while we’re all trying to move on, we need to keep a good lookout in the rear-view mirror – just so that we have a good idea of what is, and has been, going on around us.  Can’t move ahead effectively without looking back.
I know there is something to be said for being excited and optimistic for the next album.  I too am excited to hear what is coming next, and I believe most other fans are excited as well.  However, I also know that every part of of our fan community was affected by Red Carpet Massacre.  The community shrunk, fans left the community (DDM and/or other message boards) or in many cases, they are no longer fans at all.  I personally know of two longtime fans that went to the fan show at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, and as a direct result of what they heard that night (not the show, by the “introduction” to RCM that we heard that night) they chose to end their membership at DDM, and no longer go to shows or interact with the other fans.  As a blogger and someone who is very interested in the fan or “human” side of this story – it would be crazy to ignore the emotions that this album created.  I’m still amused by the precision in which every day fans, people who seemingly have no musical background whatsoever, can break down a Duran Duran album.   I’m fascinated by the varying opinions about which songs on the albums are the real gems.   I sit back with amazement and sadness when I read and feel the anger and fury that some fans genuinely have towards the band – and I worry that a lot of that anger has become apathy.  There is still a very large number of fans who are still involved within the community in varying degrees that are incredibly hesitant to trust the band, whether that is in trusting their statements about the new album, or feeling optimistic about what lies ahead.  
Never mind the fact that the word on the street is that this new album will be released on EMI (no official announcement has been made as of this writing)……..perhaps that’s a blog for yet another day.  😉
In any case, I can’t say that I agree completely with Amanda.  We speak or have spoken about every other Duran Duran album over the years ad nauseum, and I don’t believe that Red Carpet Massacre will really end up being any different.  Once the new album is released, our attention will be turned to something new, and eventually we’ll be complaining about moving on past that album as well.  It’s part of Duranie downtime, love it or hate it.  🙂
-R

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!