Tag Archives: Brevard Cultural Alliance

In Conversation with Simon Le Bon

By Douglas Armstrong

Prologue

“Excuse me? Aren’t you…?”

“Bon. SIMON…Le Bon”

This humorous Paris conversation atop the Eiffel Tower marked the end to the cinematic music video for the 1985 MTV anthem, “A View To A Kill”. The film theme marked a crossroads for Duran Duran, and for global pop culture itself. Why?

  • “A View To A Kill” became the FIRST single from the (decades old) James Bond motion picture series to reach # 1 in America.
  • “A View To A Kill” remains the ONLY Bond anthem to reach #1 in America.
  • LIVE AID became the concert event of the decade in the 1980s. In the “Woodstock” of its era, the one-day charity stadium mega concert spanning the Atlantic Ocean in both London (UK) and Philadelphia (America) simultaneously played host to a wealth of music legends: Queen, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Mick Jagger, U2, Madonna, George Michael, Adam Ant, Phil Collins, Sting… with reunions by Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. (Only one band, however, marked the zeitgeist of the moment with the NUMBER ONE single on the Billboard Hot 100 that week: “A View To A Kill” by LIVE AID’s ABC and MTV prime-time headliner: Duran Duran.)
  • “A View To A Kill” came to mark the summit of Duran Duran’s commercial blaze as well. As guitarist Andy Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor soon departed, keyboardist Nick Rhodes and bass guitarist John Taylor forged ahead as a trio with singer Simon Le Bon.

Styles change. Style doesn’t.

This promotional manifesto emerged from Capitol-EMI Records in the 1990s, serving as the catalyst for a return to form for Duran Duran. New Wave was out. Glam Metal was out. Hip-Hop was in. Grunge was in. Was there room for the unflagging vision of Duran Duran? Yes.

“Comeback” is a tricky word for Duran Duran and their fans… this omnipresent dance-rock band has seen the top, the bottom, and the middle of the mountain creatively and commercially for 40 years since their 1978 formation.

(FOR THE RECORD: Duran Duran have never broken up… there has never “not been” a Duran Duran in existence since they dominated radio, MTV, poster and magazine sales, and sold out sports arenas in the 1980s.)

Billboard interviewed the band in the studio with producer Chris Kimsey in 1990 for the making of LIBERTY. Remarkably self-aware, singer Simon Le Bon stated defiantly: “We’re aware of the struggle we’re involved in. We will not be killed off.”

2019: A Space Coast Odyssey

In this spirit, I could hardly wait to be part of the 2019 Cultural Summit presented by the BCA (Brevard Cultural Alliance) in Melbourne, Florida. As a devout fan of Duran Duran since 1983 (at age 10!), I had seen many interviews with this band – in writing, on MTV and VH1, and later online. I have been fortunate to personally see Duran Duran live nearly 30 times since 1989, and met each founding member.

Was there anything left to “learn”? I wondered to myself.

I did know that I was delighted to be invited to this rare event. In 2000, while watching Duran Duran “Storytellers” on VH-1, I marvelled at the intimate British audience allowed into that “inner circle”… I observed how keenly these fans listened to the band members as they shared anecdotes of their culture-shifting history.

Nineteen years LATER… I was surprised to receive an e-mail from the BCA asking me if I had a question I would like considered for inclusion in the Q&A with Simon Le Bon. (My inner voice’s response: “WHOA….ME?”)

IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?

May 23rd, 2019. Award-winning Orlando/Melbourne journalist Greg Pallone (Spectrum News 13) was appointed to moderate the onstage exchange: “In Conversation With Simon Le Bon.”

“Hundreds of artists, creative professionals, business and political leaders from Brevard County and beyond” were welcomed by the arts and cultural nonprofit organization BCA in their event handbill. A full day conference of morning and evening workshops were scheduled for paying attendees in the business-related fields of arts, culture, and the music industry. Wendy Laister, CEO of Magus Entertainment (and long-time Duran Duran band manager), was one of many notable presenters who spoke during the day’s breakout sessions.

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM was reserved for the luncheon, prior to which hundreds of animated Duran Duran fans swelled the ample hallways of the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place. The Florida resort and the BCA Team were well-prepared for the “Sold Out” 420-seat capacity marquee event. Fans relished reliving key DD fan moments in the resort hallways. A table of BCA volunteers cheerfully logged in each guest, and handed the “Golden Ticket”-like wristband to each pre-paid attendee. And then the ballroom doors opened…

Is Anybody… HUNGRY?!

Doug and some of his tablemates!

Flank Steak.

Grilled Chicken.

The choice of entree was yours upon reserving your tickets online. My food was delicious – better than the catered hotel fare typically experienced at such events. The lunch I was served:

  • Flank Steak (with feta cheese, garden herbs, and sun-dried tomatoes)
  • Garden Vegetables (steamed green beans, carrots, broccoli)
  • Mashed Potatoes (whipped in butter)
  • Coffee / Water / Tea
  • Key Lime Pie (w/fresh whipped cream)

My good friend Mike McCoy drove across the state from Tampa Bay for this event. We grew up together in the 1980s listening to Duran Duran’s hits when they were NEW songs – so our history as friends just added to the fun of the luncheon for each of us. Summoning the spirit of “Hungry Like The Wolf”, Mike says during our proper meal: “Wouldn’t it be AWESOME when Simon comes out, if we just ‘THREW’ the table over…??!”

(…as Mike gestures his arms upward, in a slow ‘throwing’ motion…)

Mike clearly knew we would obviously NEVER misbehave in such a way. But oh, the laugh. I’ll never forget that line. It was one of MANY great “Duran moments” from this day.

MY line at lunch: When the server places the china before me, I look upon my juicy flank steak and say aloud to our tablemates: “Is anybody… HUNGRY?!”

We all laughed. Among this crowd – we all know the lines, the cues, the nuances, the looks – and there is never a need to explain ourselves. We’re about to have lunch with ‘SIMON LE BON’. Just a PERFECT DAY…

While we dined, Neil Levine (BCA Executive Director) lead a powerpoint presentation revealing the findings of the “2019 Economic Contribution of Arts & Culture to the Space Coast. Levine made the case of how the creative community made the area a desirable locale for residents and for tourism alike. Then, Greg Pallone of Spectrum News 13 was introduced and welcomed to the stage. The audience excitement was palpable – and to the sound of forks and knives clanging chinaware, Greg enthusiastically profiled our conference’s special luncheon guest…

All You Need Is NOW…

Entering from stage right: The singer of Duran Duran – SIMON LE BON. The applause and cheers evoke a Duran Duran concert. Simon looks calm and relaxed… to describe his look in 3 words? “MIAMI VICE. HAVANA.”

  • White, long-sleeved button-down collar casual dress shirt. A few buttons undone, he looks ready to sail into Florida’s cool coastal breezes…
  • White slacks
  • Off-white, low-top deck shoes. (No socks, that I could tell?)
  • A small gold, hoop earring in his left ear. (It’s BACK! LOL)
  • Fresh haircut: short on the sides, lightly spiky length on top. Sun-bleached brown. (Think: “Last Night In The City” video.)

…Greg notes that many WOMEN are here in today’s audience. As the crowd calls out to him, Simon relishes the moment – yet with good-nature, defers to his interviewer and bellows into his microphone: “Let’s hear it for GREG!!”

The light banter introductions segue into about 10 minutes of Greg asking Simon to share some of his music stories. Simon speaks of the early days starting out with Duran Duran in working class Birmingham, England. He speaks of how when the band toured in America early on, radio wouldn’t play their music – yet the risque music video for “Girls On Film” gained them airplay and underground credibility in American dance clubs. During this time in their young life (“Nick was only 19!”), they were very excited to play in New York City. Dancing in Studio 54, and meeting legendary artist Andy Warhol, were quite exciting bucket list moments for them.

After playing clubs around the world, the band finally got a mainstream break in America: MTV. Simon said that MTV brought the music of Duran Duran straight into people’s homes in America. He talked of the relationship they built with the fledgling music video network – especially “the VJ’s on MTV… when they actually PLAYED ‘music’!”

Greg asked Simon to highlight his childhood inspiration to make or perform music. Simon responded by singing: “She loves you / YEAH, yeah, yeah! / She loves you / YEAH, yeah, yeah!” as he namechecks “The Beatles… Stones… classical… T-Rex… David Bowie!”

As the crowd cheers and hangs on to every name cited, the interviewer cites the similar effect that Duran Duran had upon a generation of young people, particularly in the 1980s. Simon good naturedly interrupts, to a roar of laughing approval: “…***I’M*** stuck in the Eighties!!”

Simon talks about his relationship with his fans, stating how it is special “…to be a PART of their conscience – be a PART of their wallpaper.”

Shortly after, Greg announces that a few fans in attendance have been invited to submit questions for today’s event. As the host lifts a small stack of index cards, he announces that when your name is called, you will be invited to stand up and ask Simon your question… or Greg will read it for you, if preferred. Making eye contact with his fans in the eager audience, Simon grins widely: he knows it’s TIME to leave you…

…ANSWERED WITH A QUESTION MARK

  • Simon is asked how it feels to have recently become a grandfather. He notes that he recently turned 60 years old – and he loves family, and loves having a newborn child in his life again.
  • Simon talks about the effect of his fame upon his children. He namechecks the SING BLUE SILVER 1984 tour DVD (to enthusiastic audience cheers). “I recently showed it to my CHILDREN for the first time. They were VERY surprised……. (with a look of being awestruck, the audience laughs loudly with him).”
  • A fan says “You are a HEALER…” and tells Simon how his music has given hope to so many fans through the years, and asks how he feels about that. Simon thanks the fans, who have sent him so many letters detailing how his songs saved them. He says “Save A Prayer” may be the one that fans give him the most feedback on in helping them out of dark times…
  • A woman stands up and tells Simon that she was the person who introduced him to the modelling photos of (his now wife) YASMIN in the 80s, backstage at Madison Square Garden in New York. Simon is completely floored… “Do you have the pictures WITH you?” he asks. She says yes, and holds up the portfolio. Simon motions to her, to come join him onstage. Standing up, Simon and this young woman leaf purposefully through the book of glossy photos. Slowing down the present with his own eyes – Simon indulges his PAST, recalling how falling in love with the face of a girl forever changed his FUTURE.
  • Another fan asks if DD will be making any new music together again… Simon confirms that in the 40th year of the band, they have been. “We’re writing a new Duran Duran studio album in London with new dance producer Erol Alkan – and in L.A. with Mark Ronson. We’ll be celebrating (DD 40) all year… and for the NEXT 10 years…!”
  • “You know what your music has done for US…” the next fan is called upon to ask. “What has it done for YOU?” Simon answers: “It… has kept me OCCUPIED. It has given me the SCRIPT for my LIFE, really. Time FLIES, when you’re having FUN… It’s given me a reason to wake up in the morning, to wake up with these guys (his bandmates).”
  • Host Greg Pallone takes up the subject of sailing (close to the heart of Melbourne locals and many Floridians)… calling upon the fan who submitted that question. Simon waxes poetic, tying in his draw towards the ocean and being a member of a sailing crew, into his love of the give-and-take process of creating music in a band. “You learn to RELY on other people…”
  • Somebody asks Simon what music he enjoys today. He loses me personally with some names I am unfamiliar with. He mentions relishing the music of Fela Kuti, a frequent fallback for him. And Tame Impala is one of many new bands he thinks is great.
  • “We’ve heard from a lot of female fans today,” host Greg says, “now let’s hear from some of the MEN. Where’s Douglas Armstrong…” “RIGHT HERE! Hi!” I enthusiastically reply, standing up. I roll up my left sleeve, showing the skin of my upper arm, declaring, “I just want to represent – ‘MAN’ with a Duran Duran TATTOO!” Our spirited ballroom of Duran fans cheered my ‘ink reveal’ to the singer approvingly. What could feel better! Simon responds: “It’s quite a rare BREED, you know…!”
  • My question: “I just wanted to welcome you today to Melbourne, Florida. It is the birthplace of Jim Morrison. I know in 1995, The Doors’ ‘Crystal Ship’ was a song that Duran Duran covered. So I just want to ask: A lot of us know the ‘MUSIC’ – but part of what always captivated me about Duran Duran was a ‘POETIC’ aspect… it wasn’t just literal. It didn’t ‘TELL’ you where to go… it was open to interpretation. I get a lot of that listening to The Doors as well. So I just want you to go into that a little.”
  • “Yeah, I think it’s a very valid point,” Simon replied. “I think it’s something in works with a lot of lyrics – AND poetry as well. A lot of songs are not ‘specific’. And they leave a lot to the imagination. I think there’s a very good REASON for that. I know there is in my songwriting. And that is because I want to leave room for you, and you, and you, and YOU to insert your own experiences, and points-of-view, into the song – so you can make it your OWN. Because for whatever happens – the songs that come back, the way that people interpret them into their own way, are WAY more important than the ones that convey a ‘message’. Because it’s when you get that FEEDBACK from people… You say ‘I understand this song, I know what it’s all about’ – and its NOTHING that you intended. But it means SUCH a lot to THEM. And suddenly, it speaks to the audience about their OWN lives. And I think that’s a really wonderful thing.” (Crowd applauses… Simon breaks back in, to close.) “And I think – that’s a really IMPORTANT part – of what makes ‘poetry’, poetry.”
  • “In the Eighties, NOTHING was more important than music to people…” Today, Simon notes the most unifying passion across generational and cultural lines “seems to be sports.”
  • Host Greg asks aloud to know who is the “youngest” fan of Duran Duran in the audience (a mother speaks aloud for her daughter, named Rio(!) – aged 9! The mother of Rio asks: “Why did you name the song “Rio”? Simon replies, “I LOVE that name! I was just BLOWN AWAY by this beautiful country (America). I felt that ‘Rio’ could be about something much MORE than a girl. I wrote ‘Rio’ about your country. I wrote ‘Rio’ about the United States of America!!”
  • Greg turns back to ask the crowd who is the “oldest” person in the audience… “ME!” Simon cheekily says into the mic. The crowd loves it, rewarding him with hearty laughter at his self-effacing British humor. A young woman arises and introduces her elderly mother (I couldn’t discern her age), who smiles and waves back while remaining comfortably seated at her table. Her daughter then asks Simon who his biggest influence was in pursuing the arts? Immediately he answers: “My MOTHER, Anne Le Bon.” He goes into some detailed recollection about all the ways she encouraged him in his creative life. He was pursuing academics in university, only to find himself at an impasse after joining a local Birmingham, England band… “SHE said I should go for the band. I MISS her, everyday.”
  • He then adds “My choirmaster…” as a mentor who figured heavily into his musical development. Simon wraps up his answer by encouraging us to watch the recent BBC documentary “There’s Something You Should Know”, adding that the career retrospective “…really showed great footage when we were young.”
  • Will Simon ever write a published BIOGRAPHY about his life and career? The question came from an inquiring mind, pointing out that John Taylor has written his bio about Duran, and Andy Taylor has as well… the singer’s response? “I don’t have any particular ambition to write a book.”

“Did you read John or Andy’s book?”

“NO.”

Simon just let that one ‘hang’ out there… and the one-word response grew funnier to the laughing crowd, as he deliberately resisted elaboration. “I LIVED with them!” he finally pleads. “Why should I READ it?” (Again, the crowd laughter has not abated, as Simon holds his mic waiting for the next comic line to arrive from the ether like the 5:30 train…)

“You SHOULD read Andy Taylor’s book. You SHOULD read John’s book. I… ‘HIIIIGHLY recommend’, that you read them. Have ‘I’ read them? ‘NO’.”

  • Once the audience’s amused laughs tapered, Greg deferred to the next audience pre-screened question. How does Simon feel, about a possible induction to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame one day? He shared how honored he was to be asked by the organization (along with John) to present Roxy Music with their induction to the Class Of 2019 this year. Simon elaborated by saying how astonishing it felt to be considered for that honor – and what it was like to be backstage and onstage with Bryan Ferry and his heroes who he admired as a young lad growing up. He then stated in earnest that if there were NO Roxy Music in the world – there would be no Duran Duran. But yielding slightly to the nature of the original question, Simon said of a Duran Duran induction to the Rock Hall: “We would be grateful. We would WELCOME it, with open arms.”
  • Greg directed another audience member to ask Simon about his favorite “football club” (I.E. American soccer). As I personally follow American NFL football and NBA basketball – I honestly didn’t pay much attention to this answer. (Sorry, soccer fans! LOL)
  • A GREAT question emerged from the audience, asking: “How would you like Duran Duran to be ‘remembered’?”

Simon looked thoughtful. He elaborated that it didn’t matter what he thought or preferred – he just wanted the band’s life work to continue to be soundtracks to people’s lives. “I would like my ‘MUSIC’ to be remembered. I would like people to JUST, STILL, PLAY – DURAN DURAN music.”

  • The last question asked of Simon was for… his autograph. (Hey, who doesn’t want that, right?!) Simon smiled, but explained why it truly wasn’t practical due to the scale of audience in attendance here today. There were music industry workshops still scheduled for the afternoon session of BCA Cultural Summit, and he did not want to impede upon their times. Yet, as Simon talked himself OUT of autographs for 420 giddy Duran fans – he cracked open the window for ONE lucky fan… “If I do ONE, I’ll have to do it for all… (sigh) I’ll do ONE. Where is ‘RIO’…….?”
Simon and the youngest fan in the audience…who just happens to be named after one of their biggest songs!

The young girl of 9 was brought to the stage by her mother. Simon revealed his sweet, paternal instincts – lifting the joyous child into the air. It was near OLYMPIAN in pose… delivering on the promise of an icon who adorned school lockers, Trapper Keepers, bedroom walls, and even the daily TV or VCR rituals of the 1980s “MTV Generation.” The frontman of Duran Duran was a music video “god” to teenagers of a different era – yet today’s Simon Le Bon is a 60-year old grandfather. Simon lifting the living embodiment of his band’s legacy into the air onstage was the perfect ending for our private “Storytellers” Q&A luncheon today with this pleasant and engaged music legend. Our luncheon ended with a NEW iconic image for Simon Le Bon and Duran Duran fans.

“HER NAME IS ‘RIO’…….”

Douglas Armstrong is from The Palm Beaches, Florida. He has been an ardent Duran Duran fan since the days of MTV, Martha Quinn and Union of the Snake. He loves music, dreaming, and traveling with his wife and three children. You can reach him on Twitter: @TravelAgentA

Simon at the 2019 BCA Cultural Summit

(Obviously, Amanda and I cannot be everywhere, so in this case, we called out to the internet for help in covering such a wonderful event! Lucky for us, we had a couple of wonderful Duran fans willing to be our special “on the scene” correspondents! We are featuring Kathy’s today, and hopefully another later in the week. THANK YOU!!) -R

By Kathy Diaz

Thursday, May 23 was here! For me, this meant missing one day of work and driving two-and-a-half hours to Melbourne, Florida to see Simon give a talk at a luncheon for the Cultural Summit.  For some reason I wasn’t as excited for this as I was for the Duran Duran show in Miami.

 I mean, it was Simon! If you don’t know me, you must know that I’m completely obsessed with this man, so when I heard the news that he was coming to Florida I was ready to leave everything behind and go see him.

I woke up that day at 7AM and for me, this was too early. So, I took my time getting ready. Before I knew it, it was already 9AM and I was expecting to leave at 8:30AM. So, I got there a bit later than I’d planned. Thankfully, I had no problem finding the ballroom where the luncheon was taking place. I walked in and found a decent seat where I would see Simon clearly.

I was pleased to find out that the place was smaller than I thought, so even if you were all the way on the back, you were going to be able to see Simon. At 12:00PM, they started serving the lunch: for me it was chicken breast, mashed potatoes and vegetables…oh, and carrot cake, which was delicious.

Someone spoke before Simon, but he promised to be brief as he knew we were all there for Mr. Le Bon. He kept his promise and only talked for about 15 minutes. Just before 1PM, Simon made his entrance. That’s when the excitement hit me! Seeing Simon making his entrance to the same room where I sat felt surreal.

The man that I am used to seeing on the screen of my computer was there in the same room! He probably even looked at me! I’m going to sound like a naive teenage girl but, when Simon was talking, I felt he was looking directly at me. Please, let me live my dream.

The interview couldn’t have been better. Simon—as always—was very funny and humble. There was even a chance for the fans to ask him questions, which I didn’t expect. A lot of people kept raising their hands to ask questions, and I wanted to do it, but I couldn’t. I’m way too shy, and I would have to stand up and ask my question in front of him and other 400 people. Nope, I just couldn’t do it. Regardless, I am very happy for the brave ones who stood up and asked their questions.

Some of my favorites were the fan who told Simon she met him and Yasmin in 1987, and she still had the photos of that amazing experience. Simon even had her join him on stage and show the pictures to him.

There was a guy who also showed Simon his DD tattoos, which Simon thought was a rarity. 

Additionally, Greg Pallone, the reporter who was doing the interview, asked the audience who was the youngest fan. For a moment, I thought it could have been me (I’m 32) and the everyone around me seemed to be in their late 40’s or early 50’s. However, there was actually a 9-year-old girl in the audience named Rio. She was the luckiest fan that day. Not only did she have the chance to ask Simon a about his inspiration for the song, but she also got a picture with him, which is now all over the internet.

In total, the conversation lasted for about an hour. Simon talked about fashion, music, and even his family.  One of the things I learned is that Simon recently showed his daughters the documentary of Sing Blue Silver, and they thought he was annoying. 

Even though my excitement in the hours prior to Simon’s appearance wasn’t quite as intense as it might be before a gig, this was still an experience that I will never forget.  A live show is fun and exciting, but in these types of events, you can see more of the real person behind the artist. The conversation tends to be more intimate, and overall it is a great way for the artist to connect with fans on a personal level.

I wanted to meet Simon after the event and even waited for him outside, but I didn’t get lucky this time. However, being there in that room listening to him talk to us was more than enough for me. It was well-worth the money, lost wages, and long drive. I really hope they keep doing events like this!

Kathy Diaz is a fairly new Duranie, just discovering her obsession last year! She recently moved to Miami from Puerto Rico. She is also fan of Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and basically everything and anything that is British. You can follow her on Twitter: @KathyDi86. We invite you to check out her own Duran Duran blog at theretroarena.blogspot.com.

Simon at BCA Luncheon

Teaching is an interesting gig in that some aspects of the job that I like are also the ones that can frustrate the heck out of me. I was reminded of one of those this week. My job is an intense one in that I’m always busy and there is always way more than needs to get done. This allows for days to fly by. At the same token, it rarely allows me to check in with the rest of the world and when I do, it involves quick glances or short replies. I don’t have the time or the focus to dive into something happening in the world or in Duranland. While I’m glad that my work days don’t drag, I am sad that I miss out on things, particularly when it comes to fandom.

This week, Simon participated in a luncheon as part of the 2019 Cultural Summit, an event put on by the Brevard Cultural Alliance (BCA), which is ” the professional organization representing the arts and cultural sector on Florida’s Space Coast.” The goal of the organization is as follows: Brevard Cultural Alliance provides artist residencies in numerous public schools, has a thriving Art in Public Places temporary exhibitions program, helps buildcollaborative working groups on issues of importance to the sector, supports the development of cultural destination, and holds capacity-building workshops for artists and cultural organizations. BCA administers the County Community Cultural Grant program on behalf of the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners. BCA and the Space Coast Office of Tourism coordinate promotion of events for participating organizations through the Cultural Marketing Initiative. BCA promotes area artists, arts organizations and arts and cultural events to our residents and our visitors.” Simon’s luncheon was a live interview where they advertised that “he’ll reflect on the past, present, and future of Duran Duran, of the music industry, and what success as an artist means.”

This all sounds fascinating to me, especially since people could buy tickets to attend. The idea reminds me a bit of John’s book talks and readings in which fans could buy tickets to hear him read parts of the book and then to also ask questions. I was lucky enough to attend one of those so I can imagine how awesome it must have been for those fans who attended this. (I know Rhonda said something on Twitter about how much we would love anyone who actually attended share their experience via a guest blog. Let me repeat the offer. We would love to from someone there what it was really like!) So, what have I seen about this event? Since I’m playing catch up here, I’ll do my best to share what I could find out about it.

In my search, the first place I looked was at the band’s social media. Both Facebook and Twitter had some photos and video clips. In one of the clips, Simon shared one experience on MTV in which they were joined by Keith Haring, a famous artist in the 1980s. I remember seeing that clip somewhere, sometime. I tried to find it on YouTube with no luck. That said, I remember the first time I saw it how cool I thought it was that this artist was working at the same time that Simon (and I think Nick) were talking. I loved how Duran always had connections to visual artists like Keith, Andy Warhol and more. Simon’s appearance at BCA reminds me that the band’s love of art and connection to it remains strong.

Another video clip focused on how songs really help to connect to other people. In some cases, it might let people know that they are not alone and in others it sheds light into something that others might be going through. I know that this connection that Simon spoke to is what really matters to me. I fall in love with songs when I find a connection to them. Maybe I’m a Duranie for this reason–maybe I have felt a personal, emotional connection to more of their songs than anyone else or the connection is simply stronger with Duran’s music. I think back to the first few listens of Paper Gods. It wasn’t until I found myself relating to some of the lyrics that I really liked the album.

Of course, there was some other press about this luncheon besides what was shared by DDHQ. One article was in Florida Today, which you can read for yourself here. It mentioned a few fans, including ones who met Simon decades ago, named a daughter Rio, held up lots of Rio album covers and more. Simon touched on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, studio work and that he hopes that Duran’s music will just be there. (I think it is safe to say that for many of us it will be. Always.) I appreciated both the recognition of the fans as I always believe that we are a big part of the story but I loved what Simon said about the music.

From what I saw, heard and read, this was a pretty magical experience for those in attendance. Simon seemed charming, personable and open from the video clips I saw. I recommend seeking out the band’s social media as well as people who attended social media. It seems to me that when band members do this type of thing the fans just eat it up. We want to see the band members in a different setting. People would like to ask questions directly. The band members don’t seem untouchable then but relatable, human. More importantly, it works to bring a stronger connection with the fans to the band member but also between fans as I saw lots of fans talking and connecting afterwards on social media. This is the type of thing that keeps fandom going, in my opinion. Good for Simon for participating and good for the fans who attended.

-A