Tag Archives: BBC

A Diamond In the Lens

A few months ago, I was seeing a group I’ve become friends with over the years called The Joy Formidable. When not touring stadiums with Foo Fighters, the band regularly tours smaller venues, melting minds with power and grace. Hanging out before the show, I was blessed to meet photographer Sarah Jeynes who was touring with the band. It turns out, we shared a lot of common ground musically.

Working for the BBC London, Jeynes regularly shoots some of the biggest names in entertainment and we found common ground discussing bands like Joy Formidable and Biffy Clyro. At some point, she let slip that she photographed Duran Duran for their DVD A Diamond In the Mind. Once I picked up my jaw off the floor, we discussed our love of the band, and what it was like working with them. She kindly agreed to an interview and to also dig into the archives and share some of her work with us at Daily Duranie!

When did you first become a Duran Duran fan?
I’ve been a duranie since 1987 – some boys in my school were fans and we formed a fan club and I used to write the words down to all of the songs and at playtime we would sing them together 

How did you get involved with the ADITM DVD project?
I was asked by a fellow photographer to join him on this project as he had worked with the band before.  It was a two man job over 2 nights we shot the whole show and some backstage pix before the show started.

Had you shot the band prior to this project?
This was the first time for me!  I’ve photographed them since on numerous occasions

Did you get a chance to interact with the band?
I did, they were really relaxed with me.  I went into a small room backstage and John and Taylor were jamming so I just started taking photos.  Sometimes you get a vibe that its not a good time, but they knew I was there for the DVD so all was good.  After the show I showed Simon some of my photos, he loved one in particular (a shot of him spitting out a fountain of water)

What are some of the most memorable photo shoots of your career?
I’m really lucky that every week I get to photograph some of the most famous people in the world.  I mostly only get a few minutes with them.  On other occasions, I photograph bands at their shows, and because I have a good relationship with them I get the best out of them for photos.  I have a great shot that I took recently of Mark King from Level 42 where he is sticking up his fingers to me (and the camera) he shouted my name when he did it.  Some other pix are of Dave Grohl.   I have had the pleasure of photographing the band for the past 8 years and I’ve many unique shots of the band.

Does knowing an artist’s music help when shooting a show?
It helps to know the music. Or my advice is to watch some of their live music videos to see what the band are like on stage.  It will give you a good idea of how the band will react.  If you know the band, it helps to get you better access such as side of stage or even on the stage.  Sometimes they interact with you like Mark King and Dave Grohl have done with me in the past..so yes!

Having seen shows in the UK and US, do you notice a difference in audiences and how they react to an artist?
Yeah the crowd in the UK bounce!! 

See more of Sarah’s work here.

Front Row Podcast and Friendship

Do you listen to a lot of podcasts?  I don’t but I have many friends who love them.  That said, I’m always open to listening to one if it features members of Duran Duran.  Last week, the BBC Podcast called, Front Row, included a ten minute (or so) segment with John and Roger Taylor.  Of course, the purpose was to advertise the two TV specials, Something You Should Know and Boys on Film, that aired on Friday.  Whenever something airs outside of the U.S., I always worry that I won’t be able to see/hear it.  Luckily, though, a friend ensured that Rhonda and I could!

The Front Row podcast began by sharing the fact that the famous author, Neil Gaiman, first published work was, indeed, a biography of Duran Duran.  (That book costs a lot of money to buy, BTW.  Right now, you could buy a copy on Amazon for a cheap $157.)  Anyway, the podcast continued by discussing some of the highlights and lowlights of Duran’s career to introduce Roger and John.  The conversation, much like the documentary, runs in chronological order of the band’s career, obviously starting in the 1970s.  Interestingly enough, in describing punk, John talked about how the youth of that time were rebelling against their parents, the war generation.  That sort of made me sad as the World War II generation accomplished a lot like defeating fascism.  Nonetheless, I understood what he was saying.  Roger followed up talking about how all the family in his family held manual labor jobs.  In looking at his life, he acknowledged that just a couple of changes in his life or the band’s and he, too, could have been a manual laborer.  He’s really right.  Little moments and choices add to one’s life and any changes could make a big difference.

From there, they go on to discuss other topics, including the influence of glam and technology, the affects of having female teen fans, creating the James Bond theme song for A View to a Kill, the split in the mid-1980s, and advice for the young.  Which topic do you think caught most of my attention?  Yep.  I was most interested in what they would have to say about having female teen fans.  The interviewer directly asked if having female teen fans hurt the band when it came to the critics?  Roger acknowledged that it did.  He commented that it put them in a box with critics which resulted in having the music overlooked.  I don’t disagree with him at all.  That said, I wanted more.  Maybe I felt compelled to go deeper so I yelled  out in my living room the following (like Roger could hear me):  “Why is that Roger?  Why does having female teen fans mean that the music would be overlooked?  What would critics assume?”  So, what did  I mean about all of that?  Simple.  If a band has a lot of female teen fans, the assumption was that the band could not really play.  The only reason that female teens would like a band is because they were cute, not that they were talented musicians.  The implication, of course, was that female teens couldn’t judge music.  They weren’t smart enough, according to (probably) male critics.  Obviously, I think those assumptions are a bunch of bull.  I’m not sorry that I was a part of that group of fans, but I am sorry that sexism towards their female following hurt the band with the critics.

Overall, I enjoyed the podcast even though I wished it was longer and that I might have chosen a few different questions.  For example, I don’t think I would have asked about A View to a Kill because I have heard/read a lot about that.  I appreciate the discussion of the band’s origins but I would love to hear them analyze the reunion, for example, or the music industry.  All of that said, I completely appreciate our friend, Debbie, sending the podcast to us.  It means the world to us to know that there are people who know/understand how much we love Duran and want to be able to enjoy all media about the band.  It reminds me of what is really great about fandom when fans look out for each other.  Thanks again, Debbie, for both the podcast as well as the reminder.

I loved having new Duran stuff to write and talk about this weekend. Definitely added some joy when it was most needed.


Simon LeBon Interview

Duran Duran tweeted that there would be a Simon LeBon interview on the BBC in the UK yesterday, and while we were thrilled to hear the news, we weren’t able to hear the interview ourselves….enter Debbie Craggs, who graciously agreed to listen to the interview and take notes to share!  Thanks Debbie!


By Debbie Craggs

Last night DD.com announced a Simon LeBon interview on the BBC. Our front man would be talking to Mark Lester on BBC local radio stations prior to the main event of the evening in the UK – the Brit Awards 2015.   (Some may have preferred to watch the great British Bake Off for comic relief but that’s another matter altogether.  In our house my One Directioner youngest daughter took control of the TV for the Brits.

So on I went to BBC, ready to listen and possibly hear any scoops for the new album!  As the interview began, the topic of conversation was clearly on the Brits. Simon stated he couldn’t remember how many Brits he has been to as he was drunk for most of them. He also jokingly accused organisers of putting something in the air conditioning to make people “off their faces”.

Simon described Brits as the premier UK music award show. Compared to the US Grammies, the Brits has an air of anti-establishment – everyone wants to have as much fun as possible. He recalled going to the Brits very smashed one year, and pinched someones seat, only to end up getting punched in the nose.

As they continued talking about the award show, Simon said it is difficult as it is such a massive venue (now hosted at the O2).  He described the evening as lots of different factions sitting round tables, record company bosses, etc. and sometimes it gets quite loud with parties around the tables.

Mark Lester asked about 2004 when Duran Duran was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Music award, presented by Justin Timberlake.  Simon explained that meeting led to the collaboration which we all know as Red Carpet Massacre.  Simon also laughed that   you can stand there on stage looking out over all the columnists that have written horrible things about you in the past, thinking “Yeah, gotcha now!”

The conversation then turned to the War Child gig at Wilton’s music hall. Simon described this gig as spectacular and how one of the reasons for the band still being here after 30 years is because they still get along with each other. They are friends and have a laugh together and enjoy themselves.  Simon also made a comment that the music that they wrote, “…turns out to have been not that bad at all!”

They go on to discuss who would win at the Brits tonight. Simon  mentions Sam Smith, and says he would love Mark Ronson to win something (that prediction came true with Mark and Bruno Mars winning Best Single of the Year). Just as I was about to lose hope of any album news…Simon then says he is going to blow his own trumpet, and briefly talks about the new album and how they have been in the studio.  He explains that the band has done three songs with Mark and Nile Rogers, and that they are working with the “fantastic producer”, (that’s a quote directly from Simon) Mr Hudson.

Simon then gives some insider predictions, or tips, for tonight. He lists the winners as: Mark Ronson, Charli XCX, Sam Smith and Royal Blood.  For those who haven’t heard – Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars won best single, Sam Smith won British Breakthrough act and also the global success award, and Royal Blood won the British Group award.

During the interview, Simon even had time to answer a question posed by a fan. They ask Simon about who should have the Outstanding Contribution to Music who hasn’t already received one.  Simon answers that Steve Strange should have something for the encouragement and involvement he had with the music in the 80s.

The interview ends with “All You Need is Now” being played.

Debbie CraggsDebbie Craggs is a single mum to three teenage girls in Northamptonshire UK where she works as a school nurse. She has been a Duranie since the 80s and in her spare time she plays clarinet at her local chapel.

Inside this gilded cage

I was able to take some time and catch the Robert Elms (BBC London) interview with Lori Majewski and Nick Rhodes. Here’s the link for those of you who want to listen. (It starts with Girls on Film at about the 2:31:00 mark)

For the first half, Robert spoke with Nick as they were having “technical difficulty” getting Lori patched in from New York. They talked about New Wave, and how even on American charts – most of the acts were British. Nick spoke of how British acts really wanted to make their mark in America. He also talked about the diversity of the charts and what was available at the time.  At this point, Lori is on the line and is able to say that we were very much caught in “middle-aged” American tastes. She’s right. I can remember being at my sitter’s house after school and having to listen to Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” over and over again. On 8-track. It really is a wonder how I made it through that year before I finally discovered KROQ and heard Planet Earth for the first time.

They continue on this theme, and it seems almost astounding to Robert Elms, and I suppose many Brits, that here in America it wasn’t places like New York and LA that drove New Wave. It was suburbia.  Lori makes the point that MTV didn’t arrive in NYC or LA (proper) until 1983, but places in middle-America had MTV far earlier. It was when radio stations began getting requests to play Girls on Film in the middle-of-anywhere Kansas or Florida that suddenly New Wave got a foothold. Thank goodness, otherwise we might still be listening to the Piña Colada Song…

Lori also talks about John Hughes films, which, if you’re not from America, I’m just not sure the importance comes across. You just cannot really imagine how vital those films were to 1980s coming-of-age. Movies such as Pretty in Pink, the Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire…those films were what framed our adolescence. They set the bar for what American teens wanted to look like and be like, and that music really became not only part of the soundtracks for those movies, but for our lives. Much of that music IS New Wave.

I think back on my pre-teen/teen years and it’s really impossible to untangle it all. Unlike many people who chose to write off the 80s as some sort of style experiment gone off the rails, those years matter to me. They made me who I am. I interviewed Lori Majewski several months back (you can read that interview here) and we talked the reasons why Duran Duran fans respond so emotionally to the band, even today. Why does this band matter so much to us?  Many of us were so young when the band was at the height of its popularity, I know that in my case, I didn’t even have the opportunity to see them (Duran Duran) until I was in college.  Even seeing them today has the potential to live out (some of) the fantasies that rolled through my head back when I was twelve. That undaunted, unbridled, RAW teen emotion still exists within. For many, that emotion is not only what keeps us returning for more, it is also what drives us to do some of the crazy things we hear about. Not that I’m judging.  After all, I’ve bought tickets to shows I openly swore I would not be attending, I’ve fawned over a band member or two in my time…and I write a blog. When I picture my fandom, I see it as that leopard in a cage that a certain song mentions. Occasionally, the leopard gets out. I’ll bet yours does too.


Today in Duran History – Peter Powell

On today’s date in 1981 (which feels like a very long time ago as I type this…), Duran Duran recorded a performance for Peter Powell’s show on Radio 1 in the UK.  It was not transmitted on this date, however…that came later in August of the same year.

I’m guessing that most people from the UK recognize the name Peter Powell, but for those of us in other parts of the world, his name may not be quite so familiar unless you’re very well-read on Duran history. Peter Powell was a DJ from Birmingham (of all places!). He was hired by Radio 1 in 1977 and shortly thereafter added being a presenter on Top of the Pops to his resume as well.

His shows on Radio 1 included the weekday late afternoon time slot (3:30-5:30 pm) but in 1981, the year that the band performed on the show – he took over the weekday teatime slot from 5-7pm.  Here in America we call that the “drive home” time slot, incidentally! From what I read, he was paramount in getting new bands airplay by introducing new music on his show.  He was a champion of bands like Duran Duran (Culture Club and Spandau Ballet are also cited), and he is still very influential in the industry by owning a large management agency in the UK.

There are four songs from the session included on what I believe is the latest EMI/Duran Duran remaster of the 1st album. If you have a Spotify account you can hear them there, or obviously if you’ve got the most recent remastering – they’re on disc 2 (after the Air studio and Manchester Square demos).  The songs included are Night Boat, Girls on Film, Anyone Out There, Like an Angel and they are labeled BBC Radio 1 Peter Powell Sessions, recorded 19 June 1981 transmitted 11 August 1981.