I discovered something new yesterday that I want to share! I was reading through my Twitter timeline, and saw @roqofthe80s had liked one of my posts. Remembering that was a tagline for my favorite radio station back in the 80s and 90s, I clicked to investigate.
During the 1980s, there several “reasonably good” radio stations here in the local Los Angeles market, but KROQ rose above them all. They seemed to identify with most kids in my age range, playing music that no one else bothered to play. The DJs were funny, sometimes even a bit corny, but they knew their stuff and I appreciated that. Richard Blade, likely the most popular of KROQ DJ’s, was a god to most teenagers here in Los Angeles. His career at KROQ is one of the shining memories of my teen years and early 20s. While Duran Duran may have been the soundtrack to my memories, Richard was the one spinning the tunes.
The KROQ I once knew wasn’t afraid to play brand new music, and although I had no idea at the time – they weren’t a big budget station at all. Naturally, tastes change, management changes, as does music. Through the decades since I graduated from high school in 1988, the format at KROQ changed as well, and while I don’t listen nearly as often, it is still one of my presets.
So imagine my surprise (and initial skepticism) when I saw that KROQ – my KROQ – was back! Oddly, I’ve never been into much internet radio, preferring just to stream Spotify. Among many other types of music, I enjoy finding a good New Wave playlist with songs I haven’t heard much in the past 20 years unless I’m digging through my own collection. I didn’t ever bother with iHeart Radio or even radio.com, until yesterday.
I figured I’d give it a quick listen, and my expectations were pretty low. It turns that if you’re lucky enough to own a vehicle with an HD radio, you can even tune in at 106.7 HD2. At this moment, there are only two DJs (and if you’re not from LA you won’t recognize the names) – Freddy Snakeskin and Tami Heidi. To my memory, Tami started at KROQ fairly late in the new wave game. Freddy is far more recognizable to me and it was comforting to hear him. Right now, they seem to be playing a recorded countdown of the top 500 New Wave songs of the 80s on repeat, but given that the station only started on September 4th, I’m hopeful they expand beyond that format to something more live-ish. In the meantime, I’m going to keep listening!
Truthfully, it isn’t every day that we run into a brand new fan, particularly those that discovered the band in 2018, just a few weeks ago! Today, we are thrilled to share a story that will sound very familiar to most Duranies – once again proving that there is absolutely ZERO age limits on being a fan! Enjoy – R
by Kathy Diaz
Duranies all have stories about how they discovered the band. Most fans likely found the band back in their teenage years during the early 80’s, when the band began their career and during their golden days of glory.My story is quite different, especially because I didn’t grow up in the 1980’s. I was born in 1986, just months before Duran Duran released their fourth studio album, Notorious. By the time I was born, they already had a steady career, but I didn’t learn about them until much later. I missed their comeback in the charts with “The Wedding Album” in 1993, and even their reunion of their original lineup in 2003. I didn’t even take notice of them when they first released their latest album “Paper Gods” in 2015. No, it wasn’t until 2018—yes, just this very year—that I found this band and became a fan.
I always have been a fan of 80’s music, as I grew up listening to Michael Jackson and Madonna. I knew about the existence of a band called Duran Duran, but I never really paid much attention to them before. Up until this year, the only song I could recognize by Duran Duran was “Ordinary World”. I probably listened it on the radio when I was a child, but I didn’t know who sang it, or even the name of the song.
It all started a couple of weeks ago, when I was searching for new music for my Spotify playlists. I stumbled upon a YouTube channel that makes lists of songs by the year. I was watched the playlist for “Top Songs of 1982” that I came across “Hungry Like the Wolf”. I was immediately impressed. The song, video, and lead singer—whose name I later learned to be Simon Le Bon—all stuck with me.A normal person would have looked for the song, downloaded it and that was the end of it. Not me. I had to look up the video of “Hungry Like the Wolf” again. After I finished watching it,I knew I was completely hooked. It was like love at first sight.
I spent the rest of the night watching some of their other music videos and I was in awe with “Save a Prayer”, “Rio”,“Is There Something I Should Know”, and “Wild Boys”. I kept asking myself: “How I didn’t discover this band before?” “Where was I living, under a rock?!?” Apparently! After this discovery, I knew I would never be the same again.
During the following days, I indulged myself in a Duran Duran marathon from morning-to-night. I figured that since I was on vacation from work, I had the time to do it. I spent those days listening to their songs, watching their music videos, and looking for any information I could. I quickly learned the history of the band, the names and backgrounds of each member, and anything else I could find on the internet. Their songs give me a warm feeling.I could be feeling down, or stressed, but when I am listening to their songs, I feel happy, calm and joyful. It is rare for a band to have this effect on me.
I felt alone in this new obsession because I didn’t know anyone who were also a fan of this band, so I decided to search in Facebook for Duran Duran groups. I found two amazing groups full of Duranies who gave me a warm welcome to their inner circle, even though I was kind of an outsider since I had just become a fan only weeks ago and they all had been fans for almost four decades.
Then, some moments of frustration came. I found out they played in my country, Puerto Rico just 2 years ago. Before that, they played here other 3 times. I was so distracted by other things that I didn’t discover them in time to go to any of those shows. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and slap myself in the face for not paying attention before.I am thankful that they are still together and making music, but it also makes me a bit sad that I had to discover them in a dry period when there is no news on new albums or tour. I don’t know why I had to discover them now, was it fate or just coincidence?
All I know, is that this band is giving me joy and happiness with their music. That is something I thought only could happen when you were a teenager. I believed my years of “fangirling” for a band were over long ago. I didn’t ask for this, but Duran Duran just came into my life, changed it and I didn’t expect it at all.
I still have a lot to catch up on, but I feel happy to be part of this fandom. I so look forward to what Duran Duran has in store for the future. Hopefully one day, not too far in the future, I will finally see them live for the first time. Until then, I will enjoy this new interest as much as I can, however possible.
Kathy Diaz is a newbie Duranie. She lives in Puerto Rico where she works as an Elementary School Teacher. She is also fan of Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and basically everything and anything that is British. You can follow her on Twitter: @KathyDi86
Anyone ever hear of Ian Little? Think back to a little album that rocked our worlds back in November of 1983, titled Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Mr. Little co-produced the album, and in doing so — changed everything I thought I knew about music.
It isn’t every day that I run into a hero of mine, and I don’t JUST mean John, Simon, Nick, or Roger. Today, I ran across a retweet from a friend, and in responding to that tweet, I found myself in a position to trade messages and help someone else with a project.
Ian is currently working on a new DD project, and he needs our help to get the word out. He is writing an e-book based on his experience producing Seven and the Ragged Tiger. He’s looking for Duranies—yes, real fans like you and me—to email him in support of this new project! Please read the description Mr. Little sent (see below) for a bit more information:
“I am writing an e-book – which I will also produce in a limited edition of physical copies signed and numbered by me – telling my story of the production of 7&TRT. It will contain stuff previously unknown to the public or even the most devoted fans and explain what it was like to live with the band for almost a year. During that time I helped them write the songs for the album in the South of France and then went to Montserrat then Sydney to produce the album alongside Alex Sadkin who is sadly no longer with us.
I know it will be a great read for anyone with a passion for the band and the way records were made in the ‘80s. as I say it will contain material never before made public (nothing bad about the lads!), intimate moments, inside stories and things that only those involved in the creation of that classic album know.
If that sounds like something you’d enjoy reading let’s hope enough people respond to make it a reality!
So, how do we get involved? It is easy! All you need to do is send an email to Ian Little at firstname.lastname@example.org and put DD Project in the subject line. Tweet the news on Twitter, post about it on Facebook, use smoke signals, post messages by skywriter, and spread the word!
Our goal is to get 1,000 Duran fans to respond. According to Ian, he is far from that goal at the moment. It is mind-blowing that a band like Duran Duran can sell out arenas all over the world and yet there is trouble getting 1,000 fans to send Ian an email about a brand-new DD project. Get on it, people!
The best part of this little story for today? Well, when I first heard about the project and sent an email to Ian, I told him I was concerned that it might be a scam. Call me crazy, but the idea of communicating directly with the co-producer of Seven and the Ragged Tiger seemed just on the other side of Crazytown. Turns out that yes, it really is Ian Little, and yes, he really did respond to me.
Yes, I did have a fangirl moment, thanks for asking. My defense is simply that he is partially responsible for my favorite song ever (ITSISK). I couldn’t help myself. And then he gave me a little inside secret on the writing of that song—and someday, I’ll share!
So, if you haven’t already clicked on the link and emailed Ian Little with your enthusiastic support, get on it! Here’s the link again, just in case!
What are you still doing here reading? GO do your thing, Duranies!
That means by this date in 1983, that little album with the recognizably Nagel cover had sold 500,000 copies. 500,000 people or so, snatched up that vinyl, or cassette. (did they have 8-track too??) I still have my original copy and remember buying it. Do you?
I’m a little surprised that my copy still works. I would have thought that with the number of times I played it – over and over again – that by now the grooves would have widened and been completely worn out. I loved that album from the very moment I heard the opening “backwards sounding” rush of notes all coming together to transport me away to a completely different world. Escapism at its best.
To this day, some of my favorite songs and videos are from that album. So for this Throwback Thursday, I’m going to spend some time gleefully skipping down a memory lane dipped in gold!
I couldn’t find a full-length clip of Last Chance on the Stairway (dammit, why hasn’t someone else done it for me?!) but I did find a couple of the electroset version they did….and this is the longest:
I haven’t given a book recommendation in a long time, but I’m about to offer up a good one! As most know, I grew up in Southern California, probably about an hour from where I live now. If you really want to look it up on a map, the name of the town is Glendora. I lived in the far-less-than-wealthy, southerly section of the town.
At some point during the summer between fifth and sixthgrades for me (1981), I discovered KROQ 106.7. I don’t really remember much about how that happened, except that it might have been my friend Kristy who kind of led the way.
I had an old clock radio in my bedroom starting in fifth grade. When I got it, I had no idea about radio stations – so I just turned the dial until I found one that came in clearly playing music. Nearly every morning I’d be woken up hearing “My Sharona” by the Knack. I still twitch funny when that song comes on the radio! Even so, I left the radio untouched because I had so much trouble finding a station that came in, let alone one with music I recognized.
During that summer between fifth and sixth grades though, I started becoming more interested in music. I asked my friends, and Kristy piped up with “Listen to K-West!” I didn’t know what K-West was, but I figured she’d know, and so when I went home, I fiddled with my clock radio, adjusting it to the 106-area. It was so hard to fix the dial to get something to actually come in, back then. Move the knob a teensy bit too much and it would be static or you’d not get the button exactly on the right station. It would appear to be on 106, for example, but it would actually be 105 or even 107-something. Annoying.
On that day, something did come in, and it was music I really liked. I had no idea what it was, but I stuck with it. I carefully placed the radio back on my dresser and didn’t touch it, assuming I was on K-West, and that Kristy was right. I never listened for that long, just when I was waking up in the morning. At that point, I wasn’t spending a lot of time in my room listening to music yet. I must have had that clock radio set to that station for a good year before I realized what channel it was. Richard started working at KROQ in 1982, and it is just about that time when I remember hearing his voice on the air. My memory might be a bit faded and mixed up (I’ll admit having to come back and edit this post well after I first wrote it!), but I can remember Richard giving out the call sign for the station like it was yesterday!
From that time on, Richard Blade was a constant part of my life. I listened to him nearly every morning, and he had everything to do with helping me shape my musical tastes. If radio weren’t enough, I watched him on MV3 which became Video One, and later on, once I was 18, if he guest DJ’ed at clubs in Los Angeles, I went. (The Palace in Hollywood, and Fashions on the Redondo Beach Pier to name a couple!)
Most readers might also know that I hold Richard Blade responsible for me meeting my husband. Richard was a near-constant figure at Fashions for years. On his fifth anniversary, I went to the club and met Walt. Sometimes I want to thank Richard for that, and other times—well, being married has its challenges, doesn’t it?! Even so, I have a beautiful family, and my children might not be here had it not been for Richard Blade, which is wild when I think about it! I don’t know that I would have ever known Duran Duran beyond being an obscure band from the UK, and I definitely wouldn’t have had my eyes opened to alternative music. Who knew a DJ could subtly influence the direction of my life?
Since those days, I guess I’ve followed Richard. If he’s DJ’ing somewhere, Walt and I try to go whenever we’re able. He plays the music my husband and I listen to, and the weirdest thing happens when we are dancing (and yes, he and I LOVE to dance. It is what brought us together to begin with). I forget about the tough stuff, and we both get transported back to those beginning days downstairs at Fashions. It is like we remember what is really important, and get back to the basics if only for a few hours. Those hours have somehow saved our relationship over the nearly twenty-six years we’ve been together! We’ve had the opportunity to meet Richard a few times, have had a photo or two with him, and now my friend Steven works with him quite often, which is really cool to see.
When Richard announced his autobiography, World In My Eyes, I was excited to get my hands on it. Richard markets the book by saying that we’ll read about the bands we all know – including Duran Duran – but the truth is, at least for me, I wanted to read his story. It’s not his knowing Duran Duran or Depeche Mode that makes the book interesting – although for many, I understand it’s a true selling point. I haven’t even downloaded his interviews with some of the bands I know, I’ve been too busy reading! I’m not even halfway through it yet and I can honestly say – the man has LIVED. It is no wonder why he’s so successful, or why he’s been a constant source of inspiration and learning to me personally. He has had a life well-lived.
The book is outstanding so far, and I have just barely gotten to the point where he moves to California. It is easy to fangirl Richard Blade, and I don’t want to seem too gushy. To many in my generation, he is (in a very vague sense) our Dick Clark. We can leave American Top 40 to Ryan Seacrest—we don’t need him. But Richard Blade? He taught me nearly everything I know about New Wave and 80’s music. He’s open, honest, and cares about people and living things. He has no problem arguing his feelings and concerns, and while I might not always agree, I fully respect him.
Richard is the real deal, and I want to congratulate him on such a wonderfully written representation of his life. I know the diligence required with writing a manuscript, much less an autobiography. It isn’t enough to just want to do it, you have to want to do it more than anything. Richard wrote every single word, no ghost-writers involved, which is rare!
I have no problem highly recommending World in My Eyes. As I said, I haven’t even gotten halfway through it, and I would easily put this on the same shelf with Mad World. We are so lucky to have books about our music and the people who influenced us. I hope everyone grabs a copy. With the holidays coming, I think it would make a great present for anyone who loves music, Duran Duran and New Wave/80s alternative, or knows of Richard Blade! At over 500 pages, it’s the best $20 I’ve spent in a long time.
(And no, I wasn’t asked to write about his book, and I’m certainly not being paid to do so – this is all straight from me)
I can’t wait to get back to reading – so I’ve got to wrap this up for now.
*edited because as I could have predicted this morning when I first wrote it – I got the dates all wrong. 🙂
Hey you 80s fans out there (and I know you’re reading…), I have some new reading recommendations for you, featuring a couple of fellow Duranies turned authors!!
If you loved Bring Me Back and Back Forever, you should pay special attention because Karen Booth is back with another novella to add to her Banks Forest series! You might even recognize the title…
I’m also really excited to share that Bobbi Ruggiero, another wonderful Duranie-turned-author, celebrates her writing debut with her own entry into this 80s Mix Tape collection with her own novella. Rather than my mindless drivel, how about a taster of each “tune”?
Seven New Adult stories of love in the ’80s, inspired by songs of the decade…
Save a Prayer by Karen Booth Angie Dawson never wanted to see Graham Whiting or his cheating face again, but her dream job at Music Maker magazine has her photographing his band. Angie had prepared to be a grown-up about working closely with him, but there’s one scenario she hadn’t anticipated. Graham wants her back. She wants him to be the guy he says he can be, but the band has massive tours planned and the groupies will always be there. How does a reunion with her ex end up being anything more than a one-night stand?
Need You Tonight by Gwen Hayes Jacob Stone is on the run for a crime he didn’t commit, but when he’s stranded by chance with the only woman he’s ever loved, he can’t deny the need to possess her one last time. Mind, body, and soul. Typical good girl Becky McDonald has loved bad boy Jacob since they were kids, but even as she gives in to the passion only he can ignite in her, she hides the truth. One night of passion. One night of need. That’s all they can have, but it will never be enough.
Kickstart My Heart by Autumn Jones Lake Russell “Chaser” Adams knows he’s destined to take over his father’s outlaw motorcycle club one day, but for now his father encourages him to pursue his music. Raised in a strict family with old-world traditions and their own secrets, Mallory Delov longs for glitter and glamor instead of blood and deceit. Chaser is unlike any man she’s ever known, she can’t help being drawn to him. On the surface they seem like complete opposites. Little do either of them know how much they have in common.
The Fixer by Jenny Holiday Jenny Fields is a crusader. The editor of her college newspaper, she never met a cause she couldn’t get behind. So when the administration announces it’s tearing down the historic art building, she’s on the case. All she needs to do is get Matthew Townsend, the art department’s most talented student, on board. If she could just get the moody genius to answer his phone…
Drummer Girl by AJ Pine Sam Walsh is done—done with college, done with guys, done with the whole scene. But her roommate coaxes her out for an epic last night to see an up-and-coming band. Ben McCarthy is the sexy drummer, the would-have-been valedictorian who dropped out three years ago to follow his dream. Tomorrow he and the band leave for London, but for one unforgettable night, it’s just Sam, the music, and him. Can a girl with her feet planted firmly on the ground fall for the boy who reaches for the stars when the only result is a broken heart?
Young Teacher by Bobbi Ruggiero Control freak Julia Powers hates surprises. With the skills of a ninja, she keeps her ad business and personal life in perfect order. Matthew Gordon wants nothing more than for his band Joyride to go national. While he waits for his big break, he spends his days working in a sandwich shop—a job he loathes—and teaching guitar on the side—a job he loves. His days get a bit more interesting when a mysterious woman comes in for lunch. Imagine his surprise when she shows up at his door for guitar lessons. Unfortunately, Julia can’t play guitar to save her life, and her frustration threatens to ruin any chance of her finding happiness. Will he ever be able to teach her that she’s perfect just as she is?
Just Like Heaven by Rachel Cowell As a premed student, college junior Sarah Lattimore’s life is a carefully calibrated system of studying, studying, MCAT prep courses, and more studying. But when she walks into the first day of anatomy lab and sees her gorgeous TA, Sarah’s brilliant mind is suddenly racing in new directions. Grad student Josh has future aspirations toward cancer research. But the unbelievably cute, nerdy Sarah is in his section, and she’s…distracting. When admiring from afar turns to up close and personal, both their academic lives begin to fall apart. Will Sarah realize in time that being with Josh was the smartest choice she’d ever made?
The best part? You can grab your own copy…available for a very limited time…at just 99 cents!! Cheaper than a trip to iTunes, and a lot less work than putting together an 80s mix tape, besides! Support a couple of fellow Duranies (hey, they’ve got a habit to support, too!) and get a great collection of 80s themed love stories at the same time.
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!