Tag Archives: Blackstar

Final 2016 Year End Katy Kafe with Simon LeBon

On today’s final 2016 year end Katy Kafe, Simon LeBon took time out from a busy day (they performed for Brian Cox’s charity that evening) to chat, covering everything from the weather to the Far East!

Simon begins by saying that it isn’t very cold by UK standards for December. Apparently the weather is hovering around the 40 degree F mark most days. Freezing for Southern California, mild for everyone else!  Katy asks what his favorite “tipple” for Christmastime might be (tipple is alcohol if you’re scratching your head in wonder).  Simon responds exactly as I’d imagined, “Everything!” He does say though that he had some cider brandy shipped to him and is really enjoying that. (I won’t lie, I immediately decided to do a search for that online because it sounds like something I would be into!) After saying that he likes anything from red wine to beer, to champagne, white wine, etc…they move on to the favorites for the year.

World Event

Simon mentions a few things, but first is Brexit. Simon has an interesting take on this—rather than be outraged by the outcome, he is thrilled that the UK was allowed to voice their opinions and make a decision, citing that many other places in the world have “so-called democracies” and yet the people really aren’t allowed to make the big decisions. I can certainly understand that sentiment, and I applaud his open-mindedness.

The ongoing “sad and tragic” war in Syria is also mentioned, and I agree wholeheartedly with Simon that we certainly cannot forget those people or their suffering.

He also cites the electoral race here in America, calling Trump an “extraordinary candidate”, and saying that he isn’t a big fan of Clinton either. He does say though that Trump has wanted this office for a long time, and that now he’s got it, and he had better do something productive with it, going on to remind us that Americans know how to get their Presidents OUT of office if need be.

The Olympics is another big event for 2016, commenting that Andy Murray’s big win in tennis is a first in a very long time for the UK.  (I don’t mind adding here that the Olympics feels like it happened two years ago rather than just this past August. Unreal!)

Favorite Movie

At first, Simon doesn’t recall if he’s actually seen anything, saying that this category could actually be “What ONE film did you see in the theater this year, Simon?”

He then remembers that he saw Jungle Book with John, and he did just recently see Fantastic Beasts, but overall he wants to defer the question to next year, or at least until he goes to see Nocturnal Animals.

Favorite Book

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry  It is a love story taking place in the Victorian era, and it focuses on the struggle between religion and science. Simon read it quickly and says “It is as good as a book gets.” So there you have it!

Favorite TV Show

He mentions several, but settles on The Vikings, saying that it is brutal and sexy.

Favorite Album

This category nearly stumps Simon. Katy mentions Blackstar by David Bowie, but Simon says no, that it was too depressing. He prefers upbeat. He says he’s still listening to Tame Impala’s album, and then also mentions Lemonade by Beyoncé, explaining that he loves the project as a whole.

Favorite DD Event

Simon says he loved the tour. All of it, going on to explain that the shows were good and consistent, and so he can’t pick out one moment. He really loved it all.

Personal Event

He really enjoyed sailing but that nothing compares to being on stage. He’s having more fun now, and it’s likely because he realizes that it can’t go on forever.

Onward to 2017

Simon eagerly exclaims “The tour!” He follows that up by saying, “When I am in this mode, it is the single most important thing.” He likes the simplicity of it.  They are still trying to schedule shows in the Far East, and at the time this was recorded they were thinking those shows would be towards the end of next year. I think the takeaway is two-fold: 1. They don’t know for sure where they are going or when.  2. There is no real set schedule for returning to the studio – so we cannot hang on every single word the band says about such things, at least not yet!

-R

I Feel A Void: Lady Gaga’s Tribute to Bowie

Yeah, I saw Lady Gaga last night. After realizing I wasn’t going to be at home in time to catch the beginning and a quick text home, I knew I’d be playing with the fast-forward button on my DVR in order to squeeze in the more interesting parts of the Grammy Awards into my evening TV plans. Rest assured, Lady Gaga and Nile were on the top of that list.

Naturally, I watched some of the rest of the awards show as well. I don’t know about anyone else, but it very much felt like a LACK of awards show, and much more about just performances, which is fine…I guess…but it was strange to be five minutes into the broadcast and have LL Cool J announce that Lamar Kendrick had already won five awards. What the hell?  Maybe that’s just me.

As I continued fast forwarding whenever possible, I finally got to the Bowie tribute. Here is where things get tricky for me. First of all, I wouldn’t dare call myself a huge Bowie fan. I have dear friends who are huge Bowie fans, and it would be unfair to put myself in that same category. I will say that I have become far more of a fan since his passing, and that’s probably a subject for a much different blog post that has more to do with art than fandom. Moving on…

Performing something called a tribute is a very difficult balancing act. The goal of course is to honor the artist. That artist might be honored posthumously, as in the case of David Bowie…or they might be watching in person, as in the case of Lionel Richie last night. Either way, I truly believe that the people performing do so in an attempt to honor.  Do fair justice and respect to the work without making the performance about you (the performer) when it should be about the artist being honored. Make it too much about the person you’re honoring, and it can end up looking like a mockery of the very person(s) you’re trying to honor.

This goes as much for tribute bands, who make a living (or try to do so!) playing onstage in the persona of the band/artist they honor as it would for something like the Grammy’s where a huge portion of the show was dedicated to tributes (like last night). When I go to see a tribute band (I go often and have seen many, from Elvis and the Beatles to Oingo Boingo, Depeche Mode and Duran Duran to name but a few), the acts that are the most successful are the ones that take it seriously without going over the edge into ridiculous. Make too many jokes about the band you’re paying tribute to – and you’ve just taken that down a road that fans will not like. Play too much like your real-self, changing the original music and arrangements to suit your own taste, and you’re just a cover band, which is fine, but don’t call yourself a tribute act. There’s always a fine line to walk, and many bands do not do it well.

So, with that in mind, I watched intently as Lady Gaga’s face appeared on my TV screen and became painted like the Starman. She came on stage with beautiful red-hair and sang incredibly.  Had she just done that: relied on her voice, her obvious love for Bowie’s style, music and art, I think it would have been fine, I really do. But somewhere along the line, either she decided or someone told her that she should try to completely embody Bowie. And that’s where it all went wrong for me. I am not even a huge Bowie fan, and yet I couldn’t help feeling as though I was watching a poorly executed Vegas act in certain moments of the performance. It wasn’t her voice, gosh no. She was incredibly strong and did a beautiful job. It was theatrics that really got me. No one need point out that Bowie himself was theatrical. Believe me, the point has not been overlooked. The problem is, in recreating that drama, it felt very over-the-top, sliding down the steep terrain into mockery. It was pointed out to me by Katy Krassner that she really didn’t seem to be doing that intentionally (and I am sure she wasn’t), but I struggled with how to describe it all.  Campy is the right word. Picture a Vegas lounge act, and I think we’re on the right track.

Here’s the thing, at least for me: Lady Gaga sang beautifully last night. I want to make sure that point comes across. As much as I disliked and was confused by what was going on visually, her voice completely blew me away. I really don’t know that they could have found anyone else to do the job as well when it came to singing the songs. I loved seeing Nile every time he was given precious camera time, and I was thrilled to hear just a few bars of “Let’s Dance”.  I just don’t understand why her voice and Nile’s obvious talent and emotion for his friend weren’t enough without the theatrics.

The difference between Gaga and Bowie comes down to artistry. Bowie just knew how to make it all work together without one overshadowing the other, and he did it with ease. Bowie’s work never really looked like he was forcing it into being a spectacle, in my opinion. Even at the time of his death and in the making of the videos for “Blackstar” and “Lazarus”, he was able to work in those deep, hidden messages without changing the intention of his work. Hell, I fell in love with Lazarus before I even realized what it was truly about. That it ended up being this lasting message to fans about the end of his life on this earth, and the idea that he made his death into this gorgeous supernova which becomes a black star (another word for a black hole) that will live on, just makes me long for more. (I could write and talk for hours about that single album and its artistic references. I mean, the man turned his death into a fucking multimedia event. Who does that?!?) When Bowie sang Starman, for instance, it wasn’t campy or in danger of becoming a late-night lounge act on the Vegas strip. It was just enough without going over the edge. That’s where the real art lies, and for me, that’s what last night’s performance was missing.

I’ll end with this thought: should the day come when it is Duran Duran being honored, I would hope that it would be done with the utmost in care and respect. I don’t need to see a full-mock up of the yacht from Rio, military suits, tigers, leopards, or a scene from Wild Boys on stage to honor them. I simply want to see respect from an industry that has offered them very, very little over the years. I would think that is all any fan would want.

-R

Katy Kafe January 2016 Highlights

Did you get a chance to watch (yes, I said “watch”!) the latest Katy Kafe that was posted yesterday?  If you are anything like me, I struggled to view it.  After asking on Facebook and Twitter, here is the information I received.  Those who were able to watch it used older devices.  For example, someone tried on her Mac and iPhone5 with no luck, but she was able to watch it on her iPod Touch4.  Likewise, I tried on my Mac, a PC, and my iPhone6 with no luck.  After reading about the iPod Touch4, I decided to try my iPad, which is about 5 years old.  Guess what?  It works.  Now, I realize that everyone still might not access to an older device.  I emailed customer service at the fan community website about the problem and they promised to get back in touch with me once their tech team looked into the problem.  Hopefully, my highlights here will hold people over until everyone can watch it for themselves, which I highly recommend.  I ALWAYS recommend getting a membership in order to hear/watch the Katy Kafes since our blog posts just offer some highlights and commentary.  They are in no way a complete transcript.

I was happy to hear that there was a new Kafe out since the Duran camp has been very quiet for the month of January.  I found myself wondering what the band might be up to and thinking.  I was hoping that this Kafe might offer some insight, especially since it is a video one!  Well, this Kafe did not disappoint, even if the majority of it was not focused on Duran Duran, specifically.

David Bowie’s Death

John talked about when he found out about David’s death and how he won’t ever forget it.  He goes on to describe Bowie as a “creative parent”, which I found very logical.  He did after all influence not only Duran Duran but so many and it does make sense then when John said that losing him was like “losing a family member.”  John and Katy went on to discuss the extent of his creativity and the extent of his influence.  David’s album, Blackstar, was discussed as well and John said that he was enjoying it and that it felt “fitting” in light of his passing.  Two parts of the conversation really grabbed me.  First,  John discussed how David had been leading a very quiet life with his family the last few years and how that made John “happy”.  According to John, he was able to focus on “what was really important to him” rather than things like going to big events and touring.  Based on this, I wonder if that would be John’s choice on how to live his life if he found himself in a similar situation.  The other part of the conversation that spoke to me was when Katy asked if John was reading articles about Bowie as a fan or as a peer, John said as a fan as “you never able to shake that off” but that also he knew him as a person.  As John talked about Bowie’s death, I couldn’t help but to think that he understands how many of us would feel if something happened to one of them.   He talked about how it was like a part of them had died because he mattered so much.  It caused them to stop and think and reflect about their own lives while dealing with negative feelings of sadness and fear.  John talked about how he has to process the loss of HIS David Bowie and when he gets with Nick, they will talk about the loss of THEIR David Bowie.  This is exactly how it would be for Rhonda and myself if/when we lose someone connected to Duran Duran. When John articulates things like this, I really know that he GETS fandom.  He really does.

Upcoming Tour and Cover Songs

While the majority of the Kafe focused on David Bowie’s death, Katy did ask one big question about the upcoming tour.  Will there be a tribute to David Bowie?  John said that they would discuss it but haven’t yet.  Katy then asked which was the favorite David Bowie cover song that they did.  John began by listing all of the ones they did.  Here’s the thing.  The band played a LOT more Bowie songs that I think any of us knew.  Obviously, many were not recorded.  I would love, love, love for them to record all of the Bowie songs that they have done and release it for all of us to hear/have/treasure.  Which one was his favorite, though?  None as David Bowie was a hard act to follow.  On a different note, John is looking forward to the upcoming tour since the audiences were so great in the fall!  He is also anxious to “dive back” into Paper Gods.  Spoiler alert  John says that he does not see the setlist changing from what it was.  I’m not super happy to hear that as I always want to see/hear new stuff.

I, for one, am glad to have taken the time to really watch and listen to this Kafe.  I feel like it has helped me process David Bowie’s death a little more, which I am grateful for.

-A

 

 

Paper Gods and Chart Success

I don’t pay a lot of attention to chart success, but occasionally something will grab my interest. This past week there were two things! First off, I couldn’t help but notice that David Bowie’s album Blackstar went to #1. I can’t imagine I’m the only one out there struck by the thought that this is his first #1 album ever.  Really?!?  (yes, really!) Secondly, I saw that Paper Gods re-entered Billboard at #45. The year 2016 seems as though it might be full of surprises…

It wasn’t the fact that Blackstar hit number one that surprised me. In many ways, I anticipated as much, and truthfully I think it would have disappointed me had it not charted that way.  No, what really surprises me is that this is his very first #1. I just don’t get it.  I’ve seen all of the love, the devotion, the sadness, the pure emotion…and yet there’s not been a number one hit for Bowie until this album. I guess that really just goes to show how incredibly screwed up the charts and sales can be. I am sure that I could invest many hours of time looking over the past charts, finding out what albums/singles did hit number one during the same periods of time that David Bowie had albums release….but I won’t.  I think we all understand, or we all should understand by now, that artistic merit doesn’t always equal commercial success…in fact it is rare when it does. On one hand, I’m thrilled to see Blackstar making its way into the playlists of so many (including my own), and on the other, there’s a niggling bit of sadness that it took so long and came so late. One might wonder if there would have been the same outcome had it not been for Bowie’s death two days after the album’s release. Another might say that we can’t think that way, because we will never really know. Truthfully, both thoughts run circles in my head today.  I suspect the real journey of Blackstar is only beginning, regardless of how that interest was originally fueled.

Then there’s Paper Gods and it’s chart success. Honestly. Sometimes, I just have to sit back and watch in wonder when it comes to this band. It’s no wonder I am rarely bored when it comes to Duran Duran. When this album first came out, I realized it would chart well, at least initially because of streaming and the sheer force of promotion. Katy’s hard work did not go unrecognized, and the album  was #10. It was a thrilling, welcome moment for the band, whether we fans want to admit that or not. When the album exited the top of the charts just as quickly, I tried not to notice or pay attention.

I know many fans will say chart success doesn’t matter, that they don’t care – they just love Duran Duran and the rest doesn’t matter. I get that. Fans are lucky in that respect. We can like what we like and not worry about the commercial aspect. I don’t personally believe it’s something that the band can or should try for when writing, but we’re all kidding ourselves if we think it doesn’t matter at least in some aspect. Sales matter. Money matters. The album needs to be able to pay for itself, otherwise we’ve all got problems. Let’s be honest: Duran Duran would like to know the album is getting out there to the people. I don’t pretend to know all the ins and outs of the music industry, but I do understand the basics. Gotta sell the music, whether by albums, by ticket sales, or something else… to make it all work. I don’t think Duran Duran sees the whole “music thing” as a hobby, and so there’s not much point in doing all of it for free. Hence…charts matter, at least to a limited extent to the band and their management. Let’s all take a moment to be thankful they don’t have to matter to the music lovers out there….

I don’t really know how “The Powers That Be” see the success of Paper Gods, at least not yet. I’d quietly wondered if they’d written it off when it left the charts, not knowing what they were planning next (keep reading). I knew we’d never really see (at least not until much later) if there was any disappointment, because it’s obviously not to the benefit of the band to mention worry when it exited the charts so quickly. In protection and promotion of the band, staying positive is key. Paper Gods hit #10. A Duran Duran album was in the top 10 for the first time in twenty years. Those are not bad notes to hang one’s fedora on, some thirty years into a career, and we cheer those things on. Even so, I had to wonder what the band  was feeling. Does it ever get a bit irritating to know you’ve worked your ass off, put out what you feel to be some of your best work ever, and have it drop off the radar so fast? Is that the way it happens with most bands? I don’t pay enough attention to really know….and we can’t all be Adele all of the time, can we? Nick has mentioned a few times that there’s just so much out there, it’s difficult to get the music heard. He’s right. For all the good that the internet does, I know that even personally, I feel like it’s a constant flood of information. I miss things. I don’t hear every single bit of new music that’s out there, and talk about being overwhelmed? Oh yes. Very. How can they possibly get their music heard? Land-based radio sure as hell hasn’t helped, so what can be done?

Enter in ticket sales. Remember those Ticketmaster or Land Nation purchases we all just made (and probably have now seen on our credit card statements)?? Each ticket came with a copy of Paper Gods. Obviously someone in marketing is fully committed to the success of Paper Gods. At the time, I wondered out loud to Amanda if those albums would in fact count towards album sales. To be completely fair, I am still not entirely sure…but from the reading I’ve done, it appears that yes, they would. I think. The “rules” seem sketchy at best, and they seem to vary based on chart. That said, the proof seems to be in the pudding, and Paper Gods re-entered the charts last week at #45…12,000+ units having been sold.  Was it the upcoming tour that really provoked the sudden buying spree, or was it that the tickets each came bundled with their own copy of the album that are counting towards those chart sales, and… is it artificially inflating the chart position if in fact that is how those CD’s that came bundled with the tickets are being counted?  Does it matter?

For what my own opinion may be worth, I think any time Duran Duran is able to get themselves onto the charts, it is ultimately good.  I have no issue with “artificially” inflating the charts because the bottom line is that if a copy of the album was purchased – then it was purchased, whether with a concert ticket or without; whether due to an upcoming tour or not.  The method makes little difference. After all, what is really the difference between buying an album with a concert ticket as a bundle or going up to the merchandise booth after a show, or going to iTunes, and buying a copy?  All DD has really done is speed up that buying process, and given someone the opportunity to listen. Truthfully, this is indeed the playing field the band has been set on in the year 2015 and 2016 – they have got to get their album heard by as many people as possible. Never mind that I personally have approximately seven extra copies of this album that I really do not need. The idea, of course, is visibility. The band cannot possibly hope to get the album noticed unless they do something to force that exposure. Putting the album in the hands of people who cared enough to buy a tour ticket but maybe didn’t care enough about the new music to make the purchase seems reasonable. Will it convince a casual fan to put the CD in their music player and tell others?  Those chapters have yet to be written in the tale of the Paper Gods, but I look forward to seeing where it all goes.

-R

Loving the Alien Lives On

I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been run over. I couldn’t figure it out because I went to bed at a reasonable time and slept very well – which is unlike me. Usually I wake up several times, but not last night. I hurried to get dressed, because I was also late…and rushed to get the youngest ready for the day and out the door. At some point before leaving, I looked at my phone and felt that feeling of dread come over me when I saw my news feed still commanded by post after post in tribute to David Bowie.

That familiar sinking feeling returned as I saw so many of my friends clearly in pain and mourning. My heart nearly broke as I read posts from dear friends as well as from people such as Martin Gore (Depeche Mode), Michael Stipe (REM) on Facebook, and even Conan O’Brien, covered on the Huffington Post. Dealing with the loss of a legendary artist like Bowie is tough enough – he really WAS The Beatles of the 80s (as my favorite New Wave experts Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein wrote in their Yahoo! Music article today), but seeing people you love, admire and care about grieve is a different thing entirely.

David Bowie is everywhere today. He’s all over the iTunes music charts, thanks to an-ever familiar surge in “after death” sales that nearly always occurs – and this is nothing to be sad about. I’ve seen a few lament over the fact that it’s taken death for people to buy his art. I say, as an arts appraiser – that this is the market. I wouldn’t look at it as being sad. It’s a silver lining. David’s music will live on. His music, his image, his ability to reinvent himself over and over again and never rest on his laurels, will continue to inspire for many generations to come. That, my friends, is a gift. Be sad that a man died. Be sad that there is no real cure for cancer, or that his wife and children will be grieving long after you and I get on with our lives, but don’t be sad that David Bowie’s music is being discovered by people who may not have paid attention previously – myself included. Last night my husband and I went through our vinyl collection and pulled out some Bowie albums we haven’t listened to in years. Yesterday, I bought Blackstar. Sure, I’d planned to buy it anyway – but hearing he’d died reminded me to get it. So I did.  Today, I’m listening to a greatest hits playlist on Spotify, with songs on it that I’d nearly forgotten about. (As an aside, I’m finding that I listened to FAR more Bowie over the years than I ever realized as I go through his collection….) None of that is bad, in fact, I applaud it.

Still others scoff, saying that today’s generation of music makers won’t be listening to Bowie – they listen to the radio, filled with monstrosity like rap and auto-tuned “fast food” varieties of music that continue to be churned from labels. Artists like that won’t be influenced by true artists like Bowie, and kids who listen to those types of artists obviously won’t be influenced either. I disagree completely. I might not be able to hear it, and I might not be able to see it – but that doesn’t mean the influence doesn’t exist. Just yesterday I’d read a quote from Kanye West of all people, saying that he owes Bowie for much of his musical inspiration.  Kanye is about as far out of my musical realm as it gets, to be fair, but I can’t help but applaud the example. After all, who is to say that some 8-year little girl old didn’t, for example, hear “Lazarus” yesterday when her mom was writing a blog and say “Wow Mom, I love his voice.” and then try to copy the sound herself? Or maybe she saw the video for “Blackstar” and then asked to see “Space Oddity” and marveled over the way he looked and sounded? We just don’t know where the influence will come from, or how it might affect future artists. As cynical as I can be about music, the industry and even art in general at times, I refuse to believe Bowie’s influence won’t continue in some fashion. I think we get ourselves into trouble when we start convincing ourselves that inspiration doesn’t flow from generation to generation, and that nothing from our own era has come through because it was simply just “too good”, and music has gone straight downhill from there.  That’s one slippery slope.

There’s no arguing the fact that music will never be the same. When you lose a family member, there’s no replacing them in the same exact way.  For us, the children of the 80’s, the music lovers, the fans…Bowie was family, whether he was extended family or the head of our musical “household”. Even so, music will go on. Life goes on. The permanence remains.

That’s when it hits me: I must be grieving. That feeling of exhaustion and pain is one I’m familiar with, although I didn’t honestly expect to feel that way from something like this. You see, David Bowie was never a favorite of mine in the way that he was for some of you – and I really do feel for each of you in a way I really can’t put into words. I am so sorry.  Grief has a horribly ironically funny way of sneaking up when you least expect.

A friend suggested I listen to his music, certain that I will find something within to touch me – and I have. His hand, whether by physical touch or inspiration, was involved in nearly everything I love in life. The grief, sorrow and loss of my friends, my heroes, and the people I love is also my own.

-R

Goodbye David Bowie, Starman

RIP David Bowie

1947-2016

In a lot of ways, I’m really not sure there’s anything else for me to write…I am certain I can hardly do David Bowie, of all people, any sort of justice with my writing…but I will try.

I was just tweeting with someone about David Bowie last week. We had watched “Lazarus”, which oddly enough, I found to be one of the most artful videos I’ve seen in a very long time. (No, that doesn’t mean that I think “Pressure Off” is terrible, or that it’s not art. That’s ridiculous!) The video is haunting, and scary, and I thought about it for days afterward.  The figure of Bowie in his bed, a hand reaching from under the bed in a sort of grim reaper fashion, The way we are looking down upon him or he upon us…the video is filled with all sorts of imagery and is definitely an allegory. Who really knew, besides Bowie, that Lazarus would be his goodbye – his parting video shot – at the world? Genius.

The person I was tweeting with at the time had met Bowie, and very much considers him a hero. I pondered that, having read many times over the years that meeting your heroes or idols was always a let down.  I highly doubt that I’d have felt that way upon meeting David Bowie…or members of Duran Duran for that matter. They are people I very much admire. Fallible, beautifully gifted, wonderfully flawed, people. I thought about that as I read with wonder about this person’s experience. I really appreciate reading stories about someone meeting their hero – it’s that fandom researcher in me, I suspect.

There’s really no huge point to this little story aside from the fact that I think to at least some extent, Bowie was to Duran Duran what Duran Duran is to their own fans. I might add, it is heart-wrenching to see idols lose their own hero.

So with that in mind, today’s news – which naturally I didn’t read about until about 8 hours after it was announced, thanks to Pacific Standard Time – must be incredibly sad and devastating to Duran Duran.  Nick shared the following on duranduran.com:

“He fed us pure inspiration, beautifully strange and always unpredictable, yet somehow everything made perfect sense. No other musician was more influential for our generation.

David was a pioneer, an inventor, a space traveller, a superhero, a truly astonishing songwriter and a friend.

It’s hard to imagine that any artist will ever leave more musical and cultural treasure behind.

Thank you for letting us share your journey DB. We’ll miss you more than you’ll ever know.” 

– Nick Rhodes, London, January 11, 2016

Beautiful words. Far better than I could have strung together at such a time, to be sure.

Once again, I found myself tweeting with someone this morning as I sat staring at Twitter saying, “Nooooo….couldn’t be.”   This person, who I am hoping doesn’t mind being anonymously quoted (if you’re reading, your words were perfect. I had to include them.) “[Bowie had] the capacity to change who he was without losing his personality…The main inspiration Bowie left others is that change is not only good, it is essential to artistic survival.

Ever have a light bulb go on so brightly you can’t help but notice what you’d been failing to see all along? It was that moment for me this morning. Admittedly, I never made that connection with Bowie and Duran Duran. (I miss things. Obvious things, sometimes…because I’m too busy reading between the lines!) For all of the strife involved every time Duran Duran puts out a new album and the core fan base has to readjust their thinking, you can’t help but admire them for taking that cue from Bowie. And today they mourn his passing. Idols saying goodbye to their own idol, or hero.  We look to Duran Duran, as we always do, for some way to trudge forward. Nick’s words were a comfort (as they typically are). Yet I feel like we should be consoling them. In the same turn, I realize that if they feel even half as strongly about Bowie as we do them, there is little that can be done to console.

So, as is also typical, I turn to the music. I re-watch “Lazarus”, trying to see the message that is clearly being left behind.  What once haunted me now has me captivated. Of course it is a goodbye. Of course Bowie is trying to tell us his time is limited and that this is his final parting message.

As my Twitter friend eloquently stated, the inspiration that was left behind will live on through artists like Duran Duran. The ability to completely reinvent himself without losing his personality – the essence of what David Bowie really IS  or WAS – will live on and continue to inspire.

What a gift.

-R