Tag Archives: Astronaut

Happy Birthday Roger!

Another day where I love writing the blog, because I’m able to wish my favorite drummer a very happy birthday!

I met Roger one time at a signing at the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood. It was for the release of the Astronaut album, and I was so nervous! I’d been standing in line for hours with my daughter Heather and a friend. As we finally made our way up to the door, I could see in. Mostly all I saw were the backs of a lot of people, but if I stood on tiptoe and leaned just the right way I could see the top of Nick’s head. My stomach began doing flip-flops, and I could feel my heart begin to race. I had that slightly woozy feeling that I tend to get just before I pass out – this is a problem I have with my heart rate, and at that time – I didn’t even know it was a problem! As I stood there waiting, I was silently giving myself a pep talk.

“You will NOT act like an idiot or say anything you will regret. You will go in there calmly and not ruin the one shot you’ll ever have to be in front of them. There will be no fainting, no crying, and you will NOT get yourself dragged away by security!” 

By the time we were called over by Nick and made our way down the line as each band member signed my album and Heather’s CD – I was strangely calm. It’s very hard to soak in every single microsecond when you’re only in front of them for about a minute total, but I tried. I got to Roger, and sort of stood off to the side of the table (he was on the end). While he signed my album, I asked him how he was doing – he said he was tired, and I smiled and then thanked him for doing the signing. I told him I didn’t think I would ever have gotten a chance to meet him otherwise, and that he was my favorite band member. Those words sort of came flying out of my mouth before I’d had a chance to think it through. Roger smiled and said that was really sweet of me to say. I took my album from him, thanked him again, and floated out of the store.

Heather was waiting for me on the other side of the security rope thing they had up, and she was practically in hysterics because I had spoken to Roger. She knew he was my favorite. I can still remember her smile – she had one tooth missing because she was only about eight at the time (same age as my youngest is now, which is hard to believe) – and boy did she ever give me grief about what I said to him.

“Oh Roger, you’re my favorite!” She said in a sing-song voice, collapsing into a fit of giggles.

I love eight-year old girls, I really do.

You know, it’s really hard to be a mom when you’re busy being a fan.  Even so, I’m glad I shared that with her, and I’m not sorry I said what I did to Roger, despite the somewhat ridiculous amount of teasing I’ve gotten from her in the years since. I’m just glad I had the chance to meet him. Little did he know that I’d be one of the women who would eventually try to throw him a Daily Duranie wristband several years later – that he then turned and tossed aside like trash. Ha!! 😀

I have a feeling a lot of things have changed for Roger in the years since I saw him DJ. I suspect his outlook on life is a little different now, he certainly sounds much more centered, happy and content. I wouldn’t wish anything less for him.

Happy Birthday Roger!!!

-R

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

Jimmy Kimmel Show 2005 – Do You Remember?

On this date in 2005, Duran Duran performed on the Jimmy Kimmel show.

I tried finding some YouTube footage, but there was none to be found…which surprised me. So, in order to find some sort of context, I went way back in the news archives on the band’s website. I had forgotten just how busy the band was back in 2005. I mean, their tour for Astronaut was underway, and they were announcing dates as quickly as possible, updating on nearly a daily basis. (For example, on March 1st there was a post that was the NINTH update for the US tour!) At the same time that the band was touring and performing, they were taking time to do shows like Jimmy Kimmel, and attend parties and things like the Vanity Fair Oscar party.  Roger and Nick attended that party, and were able to congratulate Cate Blanchett on her win (Cate had attended the DD show the night before) The band was running around like crazy, likely burning the candle at both ends. That same day, an article with the headline, “More than a Nostalgia Act”, was printed in the OC Register reviewing their show at the Staples Center. A day later, they were announcing the CD/DVD combo to Greatest. At the time, I don’t even think I really noticed the amount of activity as much as I noticed a day rarely went by without the band announcing some sort of news on their website.

Hindsight is funny that way, I guess.

Nowadays, while we wait for the band to make their return to the road, I think we’ve grown accustomed to their being less news, overall. It isn’t as though the band isn’t working hard, it is that I think we’ve settled into a new sort of “normal”. They still do press, they still attend parties, but it doesn’t seem quite so frenetic. The pace seems manageable, and above all – at least in my opinion – it doesn’t seem quite so likely that the candle is about to burn out.

At least, that is the hope I hold on to from day to day.  I’m not quite ready to bid this band, or any of the members within, a fond farewell.   So while I marvel at the pace kept in 2005, I actually enjoy the pace of 2017 a bit more. I can keep up!

So, do any of you remember the Jimmy Kimmel show from 2005?

-R

 

Do you remember the website for Something You Should Know?

During the frenzy of 2005, something else was going on besides just Astronaut tour dates. Something You Should Know was coming our way.

A director saw a story that needed to be told, and had spent time going around the country interviewing fans for a documentary named Something You Should Know.  M. Douglas wanted to tell the story of Duranies, explain why we were fans, and what kinds of things we would do to express our fandom. Many of my friends were among those he had interviewed for this documentary, and they were excited to know that at some point in the future, their tales might have ended up on a big screen.

The timing could not have been more perfect for such a venture. After a long hibernation for many, the re-emergence of the Fab Five with the Astronaut album provided just the enticement to come out of the shadows.  It seemed like I was running into fans nearly everywhere I went, and it made the journey that much more exciting. Like many of you, I sat waiting for the announcement that he documentary would be released. On this date in 2005, the website for Something You Should Know was launched.

While the documentary itself did not turn out quite as I had imagined – the storyline seeming to sensationalize the “slightly bizarre” behavior of fans rather than tell more of an honest story, I can remember being very excited to hear that someone even thought there was a point to fandom at all.  The irony (for me), is that now having been rejected a few times for trying to tell the honest story of fandom – I can see why it was easier to sell the sensationalized stories. I could easily step up on my soapbox and lecture why this is so wrong, but I’ll refrain.

You’re welcome. Happy Valentines Day!

This is one of those times where, as I’m writing, I’m thinking about how this feels like this happened so long ago.  A LOT of life has gone on since the website for Something You Should Know was launched. Even so, I remember…do you?

-R

 

Duran Duran in Puerto Rico in 2005 – Do you remember?

On this date in 2005 The Astronaut Tour made its way to Puerto Rico. Funny how I don’t even remember that date on their tour itinerary! At the time, I was busy planning my own trip to Chicago for a show in March.  The idea of traveling even farther for a show seemed pretty unrealistic.

Famous last words… although I’m trying to rein myself back in with the traveling, at least for now. My next shows are near Palm Springs – a very easy 90 minute drive for me.  That said, I’ve traveled more to see Duran Duran than I have in order to go on vacation with my husband and family.

However, back in 2005? Life was very different. I distinctly remember the argument…I mean discussion I had with my husband when planning my trip to Chicago. He felt (and still feels) that going to more than one show each tour was a waste because it’s the same show.  We compromised at one show (which I ignored. I went to two during the same weekend anyway). At that time, even flying to Chicago to see Duran Duran felt like a huge, wasteful luxury – but a trip I was more than willing to make. I couldn’t wait to arrive, see friends and go to a concert with people who didn’t take offense to my screaming in delight for the drummer. I would be with Duranies. People who understood who I was at my core.

I can’t imagine having enough nerve to have brought up traveling to Puerto Rico back then with my husband, but I know a great many Duranies traveled well beyond the shores of the US…or even the UK and Europe…to see the band at that time.

Duran Duran at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot in Hato Rey Puerto Rico, February 8, 2005.  Do you remember?

-R

Remember DD performing What Happens Tomorrow on GMA?

I’m sick. Not horribly so, but enough to where I’m having trouble staying awake and I’m fighting the urge to crawl back into bed. (although I’ll be honest: that last part is pretty normal for midweek!) As such, I’m keeping this post short and sweet.

On this date in 2005 – which was a very good year for Duranies, I might add – Duran Duran performed What Happens Tomorrow on GMA (Good Morning America), along with Save a Prayer.

I know from looking at our own “Day in Duran History” spreadsheet that there are a number of things that DD has done on the 1st of February throughout the years. Selfishly, I continue to keep picking THIS item because I remember that time period so well. It was exciting to be a fan. The original lineup was back together (as is evidenced by this video – fun seeing Andy on stage with them again), they had released a new album, and they were back on TV. It was like the 80s, without acne and frizzy hair!

So, forgive me as I spend another day thinking back to a really fun time in my life – and likely yours as well as I take another gander at Duran Duran performing What Happens Tomorrow on GMA!

-R

Do You Remember What Happens Tomorrow?

I remember the Astronaut era. Who doesn’t? Thinking back to 2005 (and even a bit prior), it was like a rebirth of my own fandom.  I discovered the online Duraniverse for the first time, I engaged with other fans, found a best friend, and found a real home in the community. I know that in hindsight, many think back on Astronaut as though it wasn’t a best effort by the band.  Some fans have said that the juicy, meaty stuff they like wasn’t quite there. I’m not entirely sure I want to agree, but that’s OK. For me, the album marked a new beginning.

One of my favorite songs off the album from the very beginning was a song that I first heard at the 78-03 show Duran Duran played in Costa Mesa, California on July 16, 2003 called “What Happens Tomorrow”.  It was one of two songs (“[Reach up for the] Sunrise” being the other) they played in their set that would eventually end up on Astronaut.  “Virus” was also played, but was not included on the US/UK version of the album.

One of the qualities I most enjoyed about the song was ultimately left on the cutting room floor. The middle section of the song – the “Silent Icy River” section was much slower than the rest of the song and served as a bit of a break. I liked it because it added some texture, but I can also see why the band decided to nix it.  The slower section probably would have been much tougher to “sell” for radio, and at the time, I think the band wanted support from radio. Taking the mid section out made the song pure pop, which is likely what they wanted and needed at the time. I suppose that is the risk of introducing songs to audiences so early in the recording process. If the songs end up being changed, the original audience can be put off – which may or may not have been the case with What Happens Tomorrow.

When the song was released in the UK on this date in 2005, it was done without the slow midsection, and the “Silent Icy River” portion was made into its own song and included on the single as a “B” side.

Oddly enough, in my search to find “What Happens Tomorrow” on YouTube, I ran across video of Duran Duran playing on NBC for New Year’s Eve in 2004, which I think might be the last time Duran Duran played on NYE prior to just recently. I’d forgotten, and maybe some of you have too.

Without further adieu…

-R

 

Question of the Day: Saturday, January 28, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  The Universe Alone

Which song do you like better:  Astronaut or Faster Than Light?

Question of the Day: Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  New Religion

 

Which song do you like better:  Astronaut or Big Bang Generation?

Question of the Day: Thursday, December 29, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  Astronaut

Which album do you like better:  All You Need Is Now or Rio?