Tag Archives: autobiography

A big announcement from John Taylor!

For the most part, January is a quiet month. Over the years, the band has toured sporadically during January, but for as many years as there have been shows, there have been many others that have not. January is a month used for getting back on track, adjusting to change, maybe it’s even a “dry” month for those who so choose. (certainly not me, but others who enjoy that sort of thing. I have a husband looking for a job and things are stressful, so believe me, this house is not a dry one!) I don’t know what Duran Duran is doing this month, but whatever it might be, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t equal studio time.

For example, John is here in LA. I know this, not because I was invited over for tea, or because I saw him at a party last week, but because he was with Richard Blade recently for an “appearance” on Richard’s radio program on Sirius XM. “A big announcement to be made”, Richard said on Monday afternoon.

I wondered what that announcement might be. Like a lot of fans, of course my mind went to the big, impossible things first. I don’t know why I do that, because in all seriousness,  it is NEVER something huge out of nowhere like that. What’s that saying about expectations?? No matter, I still went through the IMpossibilities, getting more and more outlandish with each thought to cross my mind. “His book is being made into a movie”….. “Duran Duran are already back in the studio”…..”They’re touring again”, “It’s the musical”….”He’s announcing an anthology for #DD40” (which I can’t even mention without the hashtag, even in a blog…)

On and on I went, full well knowing that my first instinct, the one that my gut bellowed as soon as I saw the “big announcement” mention, would be most likely the case. That the big announcement wouldn’t be THAT kind of huge. It would be a big deal to a select group of people, but if you were hoping for some sort of mind-blowing Duran Duran announcement, this was not that day. That’s called a “build-up”, and of course that kind of thing is used all the time. That’s how you get audiences to tune in, right?

I couldn’t listen. We don’t have Sirius XM these days, so I had to rely on the Power of Social Media to inform me. It did not disappoint. Within minutes (if not seconds) of John’s appearance on Richard’s show, I had the answer to my burning question.  I think that says plenty about social media, but that’s another topic for another day.

Richard Blade is recording the audiobook for his autobiography, World in My Eyes. John is going to record the first chapter, and do some additional recordings throughout the book. Those of us who have John’s autobiography on audiobook know that we’d even listen to him recite the phone book…so this is an easy sell, and yeah, its great news!  It’s also much cheaper than a tour, which for me this year, is a plus!

I know plenty of Duran Duran fans that scoffed about the whole build up and let down. Sure, even I laughed ruefully at the build up, because even as I texted Amanda about the “big announcement”, of course I knew that while the announcement might be exciting to some, it was not going to be monumental to many Duran fans. Expectations, right? The fact is, I loved Richard’s book. I’m looking forward to the audiobook version, and having John participate certainly doesn’t detract from that anticipation! So while I had already planned to buy it, now I’m going to make it a must.

Sure, January is fairly quiet. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that on the band front – it’s going to be that kind of year. So, I’m going to take what little excitement I can get and be thankful.

-R

 

 

Today in Duran History – In the Pleasure Groove

On today’s date in 2012, John Taylor released his autobiography.  Maybe you’ve heard of it???  😀

That’s right – just two years ago In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran  was released. We were giddy with the excitement, sharing pictures and stories from the many book talks and signings with John…and some of us may have actually read the book. (4 times including the two times I listened to the entire thing in the car…but who is really counting?!?)

For the record: I still believe it’s a must-read for all Duran fans.  I wonder if the rest of them will ever write one……

-R

Today in Duran History – Birmingham Conservatoire

On today’s date in 2012, Duran Duran’s John Taylor appeared at the Birmingham Conservatoire in support of his autobiography In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran.  He gave a talk on the book itself and then signed copies for those in attendance.

I am almost positive many of our readers were there – if so, post a picture of you with your book!

-R

Guest Blog: The Notorious Mr. Nile Rodgers

By PamG

As most of us in Duranland know, the band has recently worked with the legendary Nile Rodgers for the new album. This news really made me happy. I mean, really, really happy. Not only does it signal forward progress on the new album, but I’m also hoping it means he’s bringing back some funk on the long-awaited album. And since reading his memoir Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny, I am even more interested in what happens next.

As a child of the ‘80s, I had mostly known Nile as that guy who did the awesome remix for The Reflex and performed with Madonna during Live Aid. Oh, and he had something to do with David Bowie’s Let’s Dance album too, since his name kept coming up during whenever Bowie was nominated for Grammy or VMA awards for it. Over the years, I came to realize that he played a very large role in the music that shaped my adolescence.

When I learned that he had penned his memoir, I knew I had to read it. I didn’t know much about the man, but I assumed he’d have a lot of tales of the 1980s music scene, and of course I was hoping for some new salacious tales about Duran. So if nothing else it might be a good source of gossip and backroom Studio 54 stories.

Little did I know how moved I would be by his life story. For this white girl who grew up in the suburbs, his background was nearly 180 degrees away from my middle-class experience. That wasn’t too surprising. And frankly those are the kinds of memoirs I enjoy reading. Sure, I expected there to be tales of drug use and abuse; that was a pretty safe bet with anyone who was in that music scene. And there was a rags-to-riches story too. But what hit me was how much Nile had survived before the tender age of ten: he was born to a teenage mother, witnessed rampant drug use in and around his home which was constantly on the move, and was sent to live in a convalescent home for his severe asthma. And this was only Chapter 2. This man was a survivor.

Don’t get me wrong: his brutally honest narrative is not a drab, sad tale. Even as he tells the tales of the ups and downs of his life so far, he does it with some humor too. And from the many interviews I’ve watched in recent years, it just seems that it’s part of his survival tactic. Mr. Rodgers’ memoir was published in 2011, not long after he was diagnosed with cancer. He addresses the diagnosis in his epilogue, but continues to publicly share his story on his blog “Walking on Planet C” (http://www.nilerodgers.com/blogs) and his Twitter account (https://twitter.com/nilerodgers). He recently shared that he is now cancer-free, and I wish him good health for many years to come.

Photo: Nile Rodgers Facebook page August 23, 2014
Photo: Nile Rodgers Facebook page August 23, 2014

Are there spicy tales about Duran in Le Freak? Yup. He speaks to some of his collaborations with them, both in and out of the studio. As expected, Nile also shares stories of other collaborations from the 1970s and 1980s, including Madonna, David Bowie, Donna Summer, Mick Jagger, and Michael Jackson, just to name a few. For a kid like me who grew up on MTV, this book is rich with tabloid-like tales that are like bedtime stories to me.

But in addition to the behind-the-scenes tales, I found myself drawn into the story of his musical collaboration and inspiring friendship with Bernard Edwards. When describing the first time they played together, Nile describes a musical telepathic connection. They follow their musical passions and form the band Chic. It didn’t take long for the disco world to become their oyster. But it’s Nile’s tale of their friendship—including when they drifted apart—that impacted me most. Reading the passage about their last moments together was both chilling and tear-jerking.

What will come of his collaboration with Duran on this next album? Time will only tell. But no matter what, I will be forever grateful for his remix of The Reflex. That record changed my life. Not only is it one of my favorite Duran songs, it was the first 12” record that I ever bought, and it opened my musical ears to the world of remixes. In the latter half of the 1980s I spent countless hours in record stores (remember those?). I still have vivid memories of heading straight to the “E” section of the store, backing up one row to the end of the “Ds”, and then filing through the Duran section for any 12” records that I hadn’t found before. Of all the vinyl I used to own, the Duran 12” singles are among the very small collection I have retained. It is rumored that The Reflex wasn’t even considered as a single off of Seven and The Ragged Tiger until Nile’s remix happened. On behalf of many Duranies, thank you Mr. Rodgers!

Photo: Duran Duran Facebook Page August 21, 2014
Photo: Duran Duran Facebook Page August 21, 2014

I recommend Nile Rodgers’ memoir for anyone who is interested in a story of how music can change the trajectory of a person’s life. Or if you want to read one man’s story of survival. Or even if you just want the behind-the-scenes stories of some of your favorite ‘80s darlings. And of course, it’s also for anyone (like me) who is still hungry for more Duran while we wait for #DD14.

 

PamGPamG has been a Duranie since the early days of MTV. In addition to all-things Duran, she also enjoys music documentaries, pop culture trivia, and live concerts of any kind. Her Duran dream would be to journey across the pond and see the band play throughout Europe. After waiting over 25 years to see Duran Duran live, she saw her first show in 2011 and it changed her life.