Tag Archives: Arcadia

Repost – Step Into My Flame: Reflecting on Arcadia

This post is an oldie, but a goodie from way back in January of 2013. It was the first of many posts that C.K. has contributed to Daily Duranie. Since this week marks another anniversary for Arcadia and So Red the Rose, it seemed like the right time to crack open the archive and find it! Enjoy! – R

I could walk into a room full of Duran fans and incite a riot with any number of comments. I could pick on Andy or Warren, as each has a dedicated following; I could shout out that Red Carpet Massacre is actually one of their best albums (don’t worry—I don’t think that—but confess to loving half of it); I could say they were better off with Sterling Campbell than Roger…(well maybe that’s just bordering on the absurd…)….I could say that if Dom were the guitarist from the get-go, Duran would have more hits and more stability and would be rightfully enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and routinely performing the halftime show at the Super Bowl (okay, now I’m just blatantly kissing up to the management of this blog)…anyway, I think we DD fans are an easy group to get riled up, on any number of topics.   

However, I’m not here to do that today. I don’t think I will, anyway—we shall see. Rather, I’m curious about what the readers of Daily Duranie feel about one of the band’s most famous and successful side projects: Arcadia. My general sense of the fan community’s attitude to the album is that, in context, it was a relief to know that Simon/Nick and (sort of) Roger were “doing something” while Andy and John were off with Robert Palmer and The Power Station.  Thus it was nice, in 1985, to hear Simon’s voice on a song on the radio while “Some Like It Hot” and “Bang a Gong” were being played nonstop, and John and Andy were jamming out in front of toilets and scantily clad women on MTV.     

I also think there is a segment of the fan base that treated So Red the Rose as Duran’s fourth studio album—listened to it over and over again, poured over the artwork and lyrics that accompanied the vinyl and/or cassette release, watched for the videos on MTV like a hawk.  I count myself among this group—I absolutely love the album.  But is loving Arcadia akin to, say, also loving Medazzaland or Pop Trash (count me guilty there too)? For the most part, I think the current Duran fan base dismisses those albums, which his fine—to each his or her own. Or is my affection (obsession?) with So Red the Rose more widespread and shared among the fans?  

I am not a musician so, at least consciously, I can’t claim to know or be attached to Andy’s guitar style or John’s style as a bass player, etc. For me, Duran Duran begins and ends with two elements: Simon’s voice and Nick’s synths. So I guess it’s logical, given that perspective, that I gravitated toward Arcadia.  

I scanned the past blogs and comments on Daily Duranie to see what people said about the project. Amanda’s blog on October 12 of last year addressed the question of why some of the later side projects were not as popular among the fans as Arcadia and Power Station.  Two replies to that blog cited the fact that other projects like The Devils and JT’s solo albums weren’t their style of music, while Arcadia was “amazing” (wrote Joel) and “a great vehicle” (Jetrell69) for Nick/Simon and “Roger’s drum machine.” (LOL-and I don’t use that term loosely!) 

But not everyone loved So Red the Rose. In response to another blog that month (on October 23, the anniversary of the release of Notorious), Heather Todd wrote that, “Arcadia went down a road I wasn’t interested in taking. I wanted more Wild Boys!” I can relate to that point of view. Let’s face it—Arcadia was weird. Even I, as a devotee of the album, can say that.  It had odd artwork, all those numbers, the guys with their black hair, the Grace Jones spoken word portion that is the only thing I don’t like about “Election Day,” and all those six and seven minute songs on the second side…it certainly was a far cry from tight, pop-oriented “Seven and the Ragged Tiger.” It was Nick unleashed, unbridled.   

At the time, and for many years later, I viewed Arcadia as Duran’s second best album.  I know that statement is fraught with controversy on multiple levels…but it simply reflected how I felt. I even grouped the Arcadia cassette with the Duran Duran ones, always slipping it in between Arena and Notorious, in its proper chronological place. Why did I like it so much?  I thought it was extremely catchy. I loved the diversity—if you wanted guitar, you listened to The Flame; if you wanted a pop song, you listened to Election Day; if you wanted to be absolutely depressed and sad, you listened to Missing; if you wanted powerful songs with a message, you listened to Goodbye is Forever and The Promise.  

So Red the Rose had the “meat” and depth to it that Seven and the Ragged Tiger (SATRT) lacked. It was like a bizarro, alternate universe counterpart to Rio—darkly mirroring it in everything from the artwork to the running order. (Yes, Lady Ice is Simon’s first of many pseudo-Chauffeur songs and probably my favorite.) And it did represent a return to that “darkness” that harkened back to the first album. I remember listening to the second side of Duran Duran and creating all of these dark videos in my head, and the second side of So Red the Rose evoked a similar response. (Rio does that too, although I think that’s as much about the videos as it is the songs themselves, e.g. I’m not sure I would associate Save a Prayer with running on the beach if I had never seen the video)  

It was weird, dark, moody and gray…but it was also cool. How great was it to hear Sting and Simon sing on a song that wasn’t “Do they know it’s Christmas?”?  Or David Gilmour’s killer guitar on The Flame?  (ed note: David appeared on “The Promise”. Our apologies for not getting this correct the first time.)   

I listened to So Red the Rose over and over again in 1985 and 1986. The only thing that tore me away was getting Notorious for Christmas in 1986 (I was 14—too young to drive and get it on release day!). But in 1987, I purchased the Playing for Keeps soundtrack because it included “Say the Word,” the lone b-side from Arcadia (remixes notwithstanding). I loved “Say the Word” but was glad it wasn’t on So Red the Rose—in much the same way that I love Secret Oktober but was glad it wasn’t on SATRT—it just functioned better outside the album.   

So, over a quarter century after its release, where do I rank So Red the Rose? I would say it’s in the upper tier of Duran albums. Off the top of my head, I probably like it better than anything after 1990 with the exception of Medazzaland and AYNIN; I’d say it’s on my Mt. Rushmore of Duran albums: Rio, the first album, AYNIN, Notorious, and Medazzaland.  (My Mt. Rushmore has six faces!).  

Jetrell69 had also commented that, “I had hoped we’d see another Arcadia release.” I recall The Devils album being billed as such in 2002, which of course led me to be very disappointed in it. The closest we’ve come to an Arcadia follow-up is likely Medazzaland.  Musically, maybe I’m way off with that comparison, but it seems to be the most similar in style and tone to So Red the Rose.   

You’ll notice that I did not get into an Arcadia vs. Power Station analysis. I avoided this for several reasons. For starters, I never even bought The Power Station album until 1990. I simply had no interest in it before then. Admittedly, I loved it, and that I think the ’96 follow-up, Living in Fear, is excellent and I still listen to that on occasion.   

However, to me, Arcadia is unique among all Duran side projects because of Simon’s voice.  I would no more compare Arcadia to The Power Station then I would Arcadia to any other band—it’s apples and oranges. Maybe that’s a topic for another blog or poll question…but not today.   I’m curious what you think. Am I overrating Arcadia? Is it truly “the most pretentious album of the decade” as Simon called it? Or do you view it as I do, as the dark companion to those early, classic Duran albums, and the bridge from the “original lineup era” to what followed?  Don’t keep us in the dark…comment below!!!    

A Special Halloween Playlist

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Today is a “special” sort of Halloween. The kind where you still have school in the morning, a showing at your house in the afternoon, and no time to clean, much less get ready for trick or treating.

I realized this morning that I packed our candles. More specifically, I packed the tea-light candles I typically use for jack-o-lanterns. Those are packed along with the bucket I use for the trick-or-treat candy, our Halloween decorations, and the trick-or-treat pumpkin that my youngest normally uses for collecting her treats. They are in a storage unit approximately 3 hours from my house right now. God, I love moving…and even more so now that we’ve been “moving” for about six months.

Since I was thinking about Halloween, and showing my house later on…and since I also have a real sense of humor, I was considering putting together a special play list to have going softly in the background as people come to see the house today.

Yeah, I’m THAT type of seller. Hard to imagine my home still being on the market, huh?

Anyway, I want the playlist to be Duran-centric, for the most part. It can’t be too long because my house doesn’t take that long to see, but I’ll also use it tonight for the darling little trick-or-treaters as I’m sipping on some sort of apple-cinnamon type of drink. Hey, we ALL should get treats on Halloween, shouldn’t we?!?

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Night Boat (Yeah, I took DDHQ’s idea. Sue me.)

Out of My Mind

The Flame (Yes, it’s Arcadia. And??)

Tricked Out (I picked this because for some strange reason it reminds me of something Danny Elfman might compose, and he reminds me of Halloween. Yeah, I’m stretching. Again, sue me.)

Secret Oktober (come on now…of course this has to be on it!)

Chains (It has this haunting sort of feel to it that goes well for the occasion)

Red Carpet Massacre (the name alone works for me!)

Only in Dreams (can you pick a song just because it has the word “vampire” in it? I say you can.)

New Religion

Late Bar (legs and arms crawling through. Good enough for me!)

Election Day (Yeah, has nothing to do with Halloween but everything to do with what will come next. GO VOTE!)

The Universe Alone

 

There are plenty more that I could add..but what would you add to your own Halloween playlist? Give it a try and let me know!

Off to go get myself some candles….

Happy Halloween!

-R

 

 

 

 

Classic Pop Special 40th Anniversary Edition: 7ATRT and All Excess

This marks the third blog that gives a little summary and my thoughts about the next set of articles in the Classic Pop Special Edition for Duran’s 40th Anniversary.  In the previous posts, I took a look at the articles, “Conquering Planet Earth,” “Rare Photos,” and “Rio”.  Today, I’ll cover “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” and “All Excess Areas”.  Mind you, this only takes me through the first 40 pages of the magazine that ends at page 129!

Seven and the Ragged Tiger:

First thing I notice about this article is how much shorter it is compared to the one on Rio.  Then again, the first album did not get this coverage at all.  There is not the focus on the songs and the videos like Rio had.  I guess that I can understand why.  Rio was/is far more popular and one could argue that Seven was not as important in the history of Duran.  Nonetheless, I’m anxious to see how this album is covered.

The article starts out with quite a bang.  The subheading reads, “…album saw them threatened with becoming victims of their success, in danger of being overexposed, they saved their reputations – and their money – by spending the year abroad.”  Victims of their own success?!  While I don’t necessarily disagree, I don’t think I have ever read it or heard it in that way.  I have often thought about how the band members might have felt then when fame was all encompassing from fans everywhere to an insane schedule in order to maintain the success.  The article gives a quote from Simon in which he explains about how the album was about “ambition”.

The first part of the article focuses on how the writing and recording was different than the previous albums.  There is a quote from Nick about how the songs “were built rather than written”.  This is literally the first time I heard that, which makes total sense to me.  I think you can hear that with all of the various layers on the songs on that album.  According to the article, EMI started getting nervous with Ian Little producing so they brought in Alex Sadkin who kindly decided to keep Ian on.  All of that was new to me, too.  It makes me want to know more, that’s for sure!   I wish that the articles included their references so that I could check out sources for myself.

 Excess All Areas:

The picture that accompanies this article tells me it is about the side projects of 1985 as the title did not give it away.  A classic Arcadia picture leads the reader in and the subheading leads me to think the focus is going to be how the two side projects show the two sides to Duran (arty and rock sides).  As the article begins, I finally understand the title about “excess” with the sentence, “…where every artistic whim in the studio was fully indulged.”  Ah.  I get it now.

Interestingly enough, the majority of the article focused more on Power Station rather than Arcadia which does not seem typical to me.  While I knew of the history listed in the article, the author added some ideas that were new to me, including bad blood with Robert Palmer.  The article claimed that he used Power Station to jump start his own career and that he believed that he created the Power Station sound.  Fascinating.  Again, I wish that I had a list of their sources.  I did appreciate that it mentioned the second Power Station album, which rarely gets talked about ever.

The section on Arcadia was generally predictable with the art influences and awesome guest stars.  I did think it was interesting that it mentioned about how it didn’t do as well, chart wise, as Power Station, especially considering that fans now generally prefer Arcadia.  The article does include a blurb on TV Mania but did not mention John’s solo work or Neurotic Outsiders.  Hmm…

I have to admit that this section of the magazine had a few eye-opening ideas.  As I mentioned a few times, I wish I knew their sources!  Anything surprise all of you?

-A

Is it Congratulations, Happy Birthday, or both?

Over the weekend, the A-list of who’s who amongst friends and family of Nefer Suvio (Nick’s significant other) gathered in Venice to celebrate her birthday, complete with what can only be characterized as the reuniting of Arcadia. (I’m not posting other people’s photos here because I don’t have permission to do so, but there is a photo of Simon, Nick & Roger floating around in full gothic glamour that is rather stunning.)

A very happy birthday to Nefer, by the way! She is someone I’ve never met but did stand next to in Berkeley as she took photos of the band on her iPad. I didn’t say a word to her, but offered a shy grin and went right back to my business of cheering and dancing.

The celebration was a dramatic, gothic-glamour-themed night, complete with a stunning black layer cake topped with a skull, cascading with blood-red roses down the side, and a giant white tapered candle (because dammit, goth-themed or not, it’s a birthday and you gotta have candles).

Like many fans, I’ve seen a good many photos of Nick and Nefer over the years. She’s a part of the Duran Duran family, and as such she’s no stranger to the cameras that typically follow. There seemed to be quite a bit of paparazzi surrounding her party this weekend, including some posed photos through Getty Images, and those photos have ended up on various news media (Evening Standard included as well as a few instagram accounts of their friends who were there) In most cases, Nick is referred to as her husband, and Nefer as his wife.

Normally, I wouldn’t really even respond. The rumor mill is quick, creative, and typically way off base. We haven’t had any sort of statement from the band, or from Nick & Nefer themselves for that matter.  It is just that this time, I’m seeing the words “husband and wife” in nearly every blurb about the party. Is it possible?  Sure, I suppose it is.  Why not?

Does it matter? Well, it matters in that I’m happy for them. I would expect as much from most, if not all fans. She and Nick have been together for quite a while. I never really thought about whether or not they’d marry – that’s their business, which is probably why if it IS true, they haven’t put out a statement, and I get it. But, I’m happy to see good things happen to good people. Will it change how I feel about Nick?  Absolutely not. He is still that crazy alien who never breaks a sweat, complete with that knowing grin, peering down from the top of his keyboard riser.  My friends and I have called him “The Controller” for as long as I can remember, and that will continue just as it always has, married or not!

I know that a certain percentage of fans tend to lose it when we hear rumors and aren’t told things. We all love to pretend we’re on the inside track when it comes to information, don’t we?  Like it or not, fans are on a need-to-know basis, and we may never “need-to-know”.

Lately I’ve noticed cameras getting more and more of those natural, toothy-grins from Nefer. I must say, for someone who seems to love that deep, dark, gothic glamour, nothing brightens her whole look more than those big smiles. She is lovely and it is nice to see warmth and joy on her face.  Married or not – and for our purposes as fans I’m not really sure it matters – Nick and Nefer seem very happy, and it is wonderfully nice to be a very-extended witness to that.

Happy birthday, Nefer, much health and happiness to you!

-R

 

Examining the Promise

This week’s lyric day search landed me on Arcadia’s song, The Promise.  As I looked over the lyrics, I realized that instead of analyzing just one line in relationship to myself or my life, I should look at the entire song.

First, let’s take a look at the lyrics:

Whose tears on a gaping voice
Who’s stretching arms match
The hunger of mine
There lips will they never join
But always draw me closer
And further entwined
With a promise dealer understand
All freedoms fade away
To a point of view
Where many different pathways meet
And we’re standing on this precipice
With nothing much to gain save
But the deep blue screams
Of falling dreams
With our next move
Heaven hide your eyes
Heaven’s eyes will never dry
The shades of a thousand steel
Come flashing by my face
In the fury of war
In desolation and abandoned fields
The hungry make their stand
When they’ll stand for no more
Hear the passion in their voices
See the heaven in their eyes
Their hopes and schemes are waiting
Dreams of less than paradise
And sometimes we make promises
We never mean to keep
For blackmail is the only deal
A promise dealer sees
Heaven hide your eyes
Heaven’s eyes will never dry

Hmm…as soon as I read those lyrics, I think about what I teach each and every day.  As I’m sure that most of you reading this blog know, outside of my life as a Duranie, I teach high school.  Specifically, I teach United States History from Reconstruction through World War II (1865-1945).  To me, this song could be about teaching history, any country’s  history as there are many moments of grief, anger as well as hope.  Just yesterday, I taught my students about the Wounded Knee massacre that took place on December 29, 1890, in which about 250 members of the Lakota Sioux tribe were killed by the United States army.  There is a great and famous quote by a member of that tribe stating the Wounded Knee was the end of a people’s dream (Native Americans).  The lyrics definitely could fit that event.

If you spend any time at all looking at human history, many tears can be shed as the history of humanity is filled with horrors, tragedies and loss.  Of course, history also has moments of greatness, progress, hope.  There are so many lines from this Arcadia song that captures the feeling well, including “Heaven’s eyes will never dry,” “in the fury of war,” “the hungry make their stand when they’ll stand for no more,” and so much more.  The video, I think also, fits this theme, which you can see here.

When I look further into this song, I found an Ask Katy question on the band’s official website:

January 12th, 2001

Hello Katy, I was wondering, who wrote the lyrics to the song, “The Promise” on the Arcadia album? Also, what was the inspiration for the songwriter? Thank you for your time!

SIMON WROTE IT. “I DID. IT’S ABOUT THE WESTERN WORLD’S BETRAYAL OF THE THIRD WORLD. s”

According to the Song Meanings website, there was another Ask Katy question about this song in which case Simon supposedly responded with, “The Promise is about all that’s worst and all that’s best about humanity.”  My response to both of these quotes is fascination.  If this is the case, Simon views history similarly to how I not only view it but teach it.  This will make me listen to the song in a very different way now.

Speaking of history, Arcadia came out in 1985 at the time that a lot of people, including many fans and members of the press thought of Duran as nothing more than pretty party boys.  Some people saw them as superficial and only looking for a good time.  The lyrics to this song, in particular, really calls into question that assumption.  Clearly, Simon was not just about having fun.  He did think about the world around him and even wrote about it.  This makes the negative assumptions about the band even more infuriating to me.  Obviously, a lot of critics and a lot of the public missed that Simon and the rest were a lot smarter and more aware than what they assumed.

-A

 

Cause Maybe We Have More Play Time Than Money

Last week, I introduced the idea of lyric day created by using shuffle to find a Duran related song then lyric to use as a blog starter.  Basically, the idea is that I would press shuffle on what music device is closest to pick out a Duran related song.  From there, I would search the lyrics to find a line that grabs me.  Then, I would write a blog based on what thoughts popped into my mind from that lyric.

This week, when I pressed shuffle the first Duran related song that came up was an Arcadia song, Election Day, to be specific.  My first thought was to blog about the line, “She’s moody and grey.  She’s mean and she’s restless.”  After all, I might resemble that remark but it also seemed too predictable.  Boring.  I don’t want that.  Thus, I chose the lyric, “Cause maybe we have more play time than money.”  This line is one that always catches my attention when I listen to it.  It reminds me of the differences between fandom as a kid and fandom as an adult.

When I first became a Duranie, I was very young (8!).  My fandom was simple then, in many ways.  It involves listening to the records over and over again.  Similarly, it included watching MTV as much as possible for any possible video viewing.  Many Friday nights were spent in my family’s “toy room” on the fold out couch watching Friday Night Videos with my best friend.  Fandom then meant simple consumption.  It was about listening, watching and buying.  What I was buying included the usual 1980s memorabilia.  I bought a lot of magazines.  I saved up money for thicker books like “The Book of Words” and “Sing Blue Silver”.  Christmas and birthday lists featured random Duran related items like the Into the Arena board game or Duran Duran pajamas.  My fan community was very super small.  Basically, it was me and my best friend.  We encouraged each other’s fandom by listening and watching together.  Likewise, we shared purchases with each other and tried to find the cooler items.  As kids, we had a lot more playtime than money and money is what we really wanted for our fandom.

Now, as an adult, my fandom is expressed way differently than my kid fandom.  I still like Duran merchandise, of course.  It is a good time and a good night if I’m able to spend it listening or watching Duran but that is rare.  No, my fandom now has to do with writing, like this blog, for example.  Traveling and going to shows is another significant part of how I express my fandom.  Like my childhood fandom, money is still involved.  Now, I have more money to buy those little Duran related items but there is not much of that around.  I often have some money saved up for shows but…there is a lot of time in which there are no shows to go to.  In many cases, that is just as well since I always have a long to do list.  So, now, that lyric feels like the opposite.  I have more money than playtime especially during the school year.

When shows happen, I try my best to squeeze in a show or two depending on when and where they are.  They are simply squeezed in to a super busy existence.  As a kid I focused on money and the cost of what I wanted in terms of my Duranieness.  Now, of course, money is important to get what I want but I also need the playtime and that does not always exist for me.

What about the rest of you?  Which is a bigger deal in terms of your fandom:  money or playtime?

-A

Ultimate Box Set: Side/Solo Project Final Vote

The Daily Duranie has been working to create an Ultimate Duran Duran Box Set.  While Rhonda and I have definite strong opinions about what should be included, we didn’t think that made sense to just have it be from us.  Therefore, we have taken time to ask all of the Duranies who read this blog to help us create it.  The Ultimate Box Set would have multiple categories including:  Singles, Album Tracks, B-Sides/Bonus Tracks, Live Tracks, Side/Solo Project Songs, and Remixes.  So far, readers have chosen 7 tracks from all of the categories except for Side/Solo Projects and Remixes.  The results so far are:

Singles:

  • Planet Earth
  • Save a Prayer
  • Ordinary World
  • Girls on Film
  • Pressure Off
  • Rio
  • New Moon on Monday

Album Tracks:

  • New Religion
  • The Chauffeur
  • Hold Back the Rain
  • Friends of Mine
  • The Man Who Stole a Leopard
  • The Seventh Stranger
  • Paper Gods

B-Sides/Bonus Tracks:

  • Secret Oktober
  • Late Bar
  • Beautiful Colours
  • I Believe/All I Need to Know
  • Salt in the Rainbow
  • Planet Roaring
  • Faster Than Light
  • (Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile

Live Tracks:

  • New Religion
  • Careless Memories
  • The Chauffeur
  • Rio
  • Wild Boys
  • White Lines
  • Planet Earth

Now, we are ready to finally choose the 7 songs that will represent the best of Duran’s Side and/or Solo Projects.  In case, you want to listen to the choices, I made some playlists on YouTube for all of you:

Arcadia:

Power Station:

John Taylor:

Simon Le Bon:

Dom Brown:

Now, I think we are all ready to pick SEVEN side and solo project songs that should be included on the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set!!!

-A

[socialpoll id=”2451163″]

Ultimate Box Set: Side Projects Part 2

It is Saturday, which means that it is time for our weekly poll relating to the creation of the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set.  So far, the participants have chosen singles, album tracks, b-sides/demos, and live songs.  Now, we are working on which side/solo project songs should be considered.  Instead of tackling the enormous list all at once, we are breaking them into manageable chunks.  Last week, we started with Power Station and Neurotic Outsiders.  The songs most picked by the fans voting were:

Power Station:

  1. Some Like It Hot
  2. Get It On/Bang a Gong
  3. Communication
  4. Murderess
  5. Harvest for the World
  6. Still In Your Heart
  7. She Can Rock It

Neurotic Outsiders:

  1. Feelings Are Good

I allowed for 8 songs rather than the usual 7 because there was a tie between She Can Rock It and Still In Your Heart.

This week, we vote on the songs from the side projects that Nick Rhodes was involved in.  These include Arcadia, The Devils and TV Mania.

If you want to hear these projects again, here are some YouTube playlists:

Arcadia:

The Devils:

TV Mania:

Now that you have familiarized or re-familiarized yourself with these songs, it is time to vote!

[socialpoll id=”2444712″]

Duran Duran without a drummer?! Roger Taylor leaves the band in 1986.

Nearly every Duran Duran fan I know has a favorite. It is one of the first questions we asked one another when we met, as though it’s some sort of way to identify one another. “Oh, that’s Suzie—she’s a Simon-girl.”

Well, my favorite original band member is Roger. My friend Lori believes it’s like imprinting, once you pick a favorite – that is it, he’s your favorite for life and it isn’t as though you really have a choice. It just happens. I can’t really say for certain that is the case, but I can tell you that my “favorite” came about in exactly that way. I saw him in a picture or on a video, and that was that. I really liked that within my group of friends, I was the only Roger-girl, and I didn’t have to “share” him, even if that meant I was only having to share pinups or posters out of the magazines we’d look through during breaks and lunch at school!

It was a happy existence, right up to when the Sing Blue Silver tour finished and I stopped really hearing much about Duran Duran for a while. I stopped seeing as many articles about them in the teen magazines, and instead heard little blurbs about how there was Arcadia, and Power Station…and then I saw Live Aid, and then nothing. By then, rumors were really circulating that Duran Duran was done or that some of the members were quitting. I didn’t really know what to believe, but I knew I didn’t like what I was hearing.

The one thing most Duran Duran fans will tell you is that throughout our history with this band – fans find out the news first, and then the band will finally come out with a statement. It does seem to be a pattern, even if I have more understanding now of why it all happens that way.  I think most fans knew something wasn’t right with Duran Duran way before they ever announced Roger wasn’t coming back, but hearing the words – reading the words, made it real.

I can remember hearing about Roger leaving the band on the radio. I couldn’t tell you what station I was listening to, or even who said the words, but my heart sank that day in 1986. I don’t think it was really a surprise to me when I heard the news, it just felt real. I knew things wouldn’t be the same after that. I still followed Duran Duran for decades (obviously!), but from that day up until 2001, there was always a little hope that he’d return. I remember hearing rumors of a breakdown, and wondering what really happened.  I never collapsed into a fit of tears or anything quite that dramatic, but the magic of Duran Duran just didn’t feel the same after that.  Silly me – every time I’d see them in concert, I’d hope Roger would make a return. Hope springs eternal, right?

For me, the worst part was not Roger’s absence, but the questions of why he left—which have all been answered. Sometimes, I don’t think the band necessarily understands THAT piece of it – that for fans, it isn’t the fact of whether or not someone left, it’s the why.

I wouldn’t say (necessarily) that it’s because we want to intrude on their personal lives—although I can understand why some would assume that we’re just nosey, but the reasons are much more complicated.  In order to understand, I think you have to recognize that to a fan like me—I’ve “known” the band for many years now. (Seriously, I have known and loved Duran Duran longer than any other person in my life, other than my parents and sister. Think about it.) For example, Duran Duran have been in my life for so long now that I assume I know them. How can we not be family?? As family, we all feel like we have the right to know what’s going on….except to the BAND….they don’t know us at all. I mean, there’s only a handful of fans that they generally know. This goes back to general math: five of them, thousands of us, you get the idea. Even so, our relationship (as fans) with them, is really intense. It’s personal. We feel like they’ve saved us, or we’ve cried over life with them in the most intimate of moments. That isn’t crazy behavior, it’s just being a fan.  Many of us have been fans since we were very young. On some basic level, It is unconscionable to us that the band (or their representatives) wouldn’t explain full reasonings to us when things happen.

Sure, as an adult, I get it. I don’t NEED to know why Nick left the tour last year, for example. It’s none of my business. I understand privacy and I respect his. But back when Roger left the band, I would have given anything to have been told why – and not just a pat answer some PR genius wordsmiths together – but a real reason. Yeah, I wasn’t even quite 16 at the time. I still lived in fantasy land and loved it.

I quietly shut the book on fairy tales until some point in 2001, when I  read something about a reunion and nearly fell off of my chair. I can remember saying as much to Roger a few years later at a signing for the Astronaut album, as I told him he had always been my favorite and thanked him for coming back to the band. Thankfully, he didn’t make me feel like a complete imbecile that day, and instead said it was sweet of me to say. I swooned all the way home.

-R

Still Screaming “Like a Girl”, Thirty-two Years Later

Without knowing it at the time yesterday, my blog was timely!  In 2010, So Red the Rose was remastered and released, and on today’s date in 1985, Some Like it Hot peaked at #14 in the UK.  I wrote about both Arcadia and Power Station, describing how for me – I like both.

Since Arcadia never toured, I didn’t have the opportunity to ever see them live. On the other hand, Power Station was my very first concert. I was fourteen and went with my cousins, who were much older.  We sat in loge seats on what would now be called “John’s side” at Irvine Meadows. (My first and last shows at Irvine Meadows —which has been torn down since Duran appeared just this past August—had John Taylor on stage, which I realize no one else cares about, but I think it’s cute – particularly since I didn’t even think about it at the time!) I sat in my chair (yes, sat. My cousins were too cool to stand I guess?) and wondered what it would be like in the front.

I wondered about the front for a long, long time…apparently!

Anyway, I’d love to tell tales about how fantastic the show was or how I was so bowled over. I don’t remember much. I do remember the band coming on stage and being annoyed that Robert Palmer wasn’t with them.  I also remember screaming at John Taylor until my oldest male cousin told us to stop “screaming like girls”…whatever that meant. We were girls. We screamed. And??

I also remember walking the ridiculously long way back to our car that night and seeing limos pull out away from the venue with girls chasing them.  I don’t even know if that was really the band in there. Back in that day, I think they were still using decoy limos at times. I can remember wondering about that as we walked. Again, that same older male cousin telling me that “…only groupies follow the band, Rhonda.”  I didn’t even know what that meant at the time, only that being called a ‘groupie’ must be a bad thing, and to my cousin, most girls were groupies.

Live and learn, I guess.

Regardless of my poor memory, 1985 does not seem so long ago…until I start really thinking about it, and then I realize I don’t remember a lot from that time. Only then do I recognize it was thirty-two years ago, and that seems painful.

Am I really that old?

Nope!!!  I just came back from seeing Duran Duran last week and screamed “like a girl” for my favorite.  Not only am I young, I’m pretty damn proud to say I’m still screaming, whether for Power Station or Duran Duran.

-R