Sometimes, life has a way of sending a bunch of little signs that all add up to one idea. That is how my week has been leading to this little blog post. It really started early in the week when Rhonda posted a couple of blogs about both Anna Ross’s new music (which if you haven’t heard by now, you NEED to get on that!) and a new song featuring Dom Brown. Then, there was some discussions on Twitter about John Taylor’s solo work. Lastly, there was a moment at Wednesday’s Killers show that really made me think. While none of these things really seem to go together, they all got me thinking. Do Duranies really want to embrace all of Duran or just some Duran? If so, am I guilty of this, too?
I really started to think about this question after a moment in the Killers concert that I would never expect to see at a Duran show. A few songs in, Brandon, the lead singer, asked the audience if they would prefer to hear an obscure, “b-side”, called “Under the Gun” or a classic hit of theirs, “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine.” Shockingly enough, the entire audience wanted the more unknown song. With any show, I wouldn’t expect the entire audience to be made up of die-hard fans. I would expect a lot of die-hards but some who are just fans. For example, I love the Killers but I cannot say that I’m as hardcore about them as I am about that other band. Nonetheless, I stood in shock by the fans’ voting for the lesser known song. I’m sure that there are plenty of Duranies reading this blog that thinks, I would definitely vote for the b-side. Yes, I’m sure that most of the fans reading a fan blog like this would be die-hard. Would people who are just casual Duran fans? Would the vast majority of any Duran audience vote for it?
I’m thinking about my experience in San Francisco where I was half way back. I’m pretty certain that the people around me were fans but not hardcore ones. They had not seen any of the previous shows on the Paper Gods Tour. Some of them, it sounded like, had never seen Duran before. The songs they referenced were all the hits of the 80s. Based on their reaction to the newer songs, they had not heard Paper Gods. Those fans? They would vote “A View to a Kill” over “Khanada,” for example.
Then, I started to think about how even the die-hard fans who read this blog reacted to the blog posts about Anna and Dom. While those posts got positive reactions, I guess I was expecting more. This led me to think more broadly. I know that there are Duranies who love, love, love the band but don’t own all their albums. I know there are many, many fans who are HUGE John Taylor fans but are not super familiar with his solo catalog. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not criticizing. Sometimes, it is takes awhile to get into new music. I also won’t lie. None of the songs or projects that I just mentioned sound exactly like Duran. It could be that many of these fans have listened to some solo and side projects that just don’t like them enough to listen more. Again, I’m not criticizing or blaming. After all, I have tried to love all of the solo and side projects but I don’t put Andy Taylor’s solo work on very often or the second album from Power Station. Does that mean that I don’t love Andy or I don’t love all of Duran? Of course not. It just means that his work is different than what I’m used to and that there are parts of Duran that I love more than others.
I think my point, though, goes beyond what’s in a collection or what would be cheered for at a concert. It is more about what Duranies are actually interested in, generally. There is a large part of the fan base that really does just love Duran of the early 1980s. I have now spent years asking various questions or opinions about everything from songs to videos to live performances on this blog. Way more often than not, Duranies will choose something off of Rio or the 1984 live performance. Again, I’m not criticizing anyone here. Heck, I just answered the question about favorite b-side with Secret Oktober like tons of other fans out there, but I do acknowledge that it is a standard answer. My favorite album is the first one. It isn’t Rio but Rio is one of my favorites. I get why this is the case. Most of us fell in love with a certain band with a certain sound and look. It is hard to love changes in the same way.
Yet, I wonder if we as a fan base could really benefit from challenging ourselves. Instead of just playing the Rio album, pop in Medazzaland. Instead of listening to Arcadia, try a little Neurotic Outsiders. When you feel like busting out some solo work, try Anna’s new material. I know that I need to take my own advice with this. I’m good with John’s solo stuff because he’s my favorite and I genuinely really like but I want to know more of Simon’s, for example. That means I have to push myself to try something new or something I’m not as familiar with. Somehow, I don’t think I’ll regret it.