Tag Archives: Dom Brown

What WON’T the band do for their 40th anniversary?

I’ve noticed a lot of people working on surveys and things, putting together a wish list for Duran Duran’s 40th anniversary. I suspect the intention is that if fans work together to come up with a cohesive list, then perhaps the band will take a look and perhaps see their way clear to incorporating some of the ideas into their celebration plans. Maybe.

Amanda and I haven’t really done much of that here on the blog. I suspect part of the reason is that we’ve been around for six years, and during that time – while we’ve gotten support from DDHQ – I think we’ve come to realize they’re not going to take us seriously when it comes to the business of the band, and quite frankly – they’re probably smarter that way.  That doesn’t stop either of us from looking side-eyed at some of the things that have been done over the years, but you know, it’s much easier to quarterback from the sidelines than it is to actually be in the game. I don’t think we were always quite that accepting, but you know, Amanda and I have changed a little bit over the years.  Now we’re just having fun with it all.

That doesn’t mean we don’t throw some ideas out there every once in a while for fun though, and today will be no exception as I put together a short list of things the band will (probably) NOT do during #DD40!

Play a cruise!

I dearly love every human being who has suggested that Duran Duran basically put themselves on a cruise ship with what, 3-4,000 of their most rabid fans. How could that possibly go wrong??

Let’s just think about that for a minute: sun, water, several bars, thousands of fans who may or may not have partaken in said alcohol….and nowhere the band can really go to hide. Or run. Outstanding!

Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that won’t be happening. Again, love the enthusiasm, but probably not for their 40th anniversary.

Play shows with Dom, Andy and Warren…at the same time!

Again, love the enthusiasm for their 40th anniversary.  Honestly, I think about the possibility of this purely for the entertainment value.  Can you imagine all three of them on stage? Together? Two of them have enormous egos…the third might be trampled in the process. All together onstage for the same shows, same songs?  My money is on a firm “no”.

For that matter, why don’t we bring back everyone who has ever played with the band to play onstage? Andy Hamilton, all of the backup singers, Sterling, Steve Ferrone, Joe Travers…is there a stage large enough???

More travel packages!

This is one idea that I could see the band instituting in part, but I’m going to gamble and say they won’t do it again, even for their 40th anniversary. Back before Astronaut was released, the band did a few very special travel packages that were in extremely limited quantity. Fans paid a tidy sum for a ticket to a specific show, accommodations, special merchandise, concierge service, and a cocktail party with all five band members in attendance. I have a good friend that bought a travel package, and by her account it was extremely well-organized and thought out, and I think it’s fair to say it was a very positive experience for her. The travel packages went from these extravagant luxuries down to a ticket and a quick meet and greet, and then they morphed into meet and greets given at random to VIP ticket buyers, and now none of the VIP packages come with anything other than the ticket, merchandise and possible cocktail parties in some cities (without the band in attendance).

I know the demand for these travel packages (and meet and greets) still exists, but I think the band hated them for the most part.  I can imagine the thought of going into a room filled with Duranies can be a bit overwhelming. I can’t blame them even if I might wish I’d been able to take advantage when meet and greets or travel packages were offered.

Play individual albums in their entirety!

The one suggestion I’ve seen over and over again is to play Rio, or any of their albums – entirely live for their 40th anniversary. It’s the one suggestion that I am positive most Duran fans want (even if there is discussion over which album they’d most like to see done that way), and it is the one suggestion that the band just doesn’t seem to get.

Just last week, Lori Majewski had John Taylor call in on her radio show, and she mentioned playing Rio live. John thinks we’d be bored (sometimes, I really don’t think they know their fans) because we’d already know the set list.

Ok, John. I get you. I’d just invite you to take a good look at your set list for the past few years as you’ve been touring Paper Gods, and then tell me again that fans get bored when they know the set list. The fact is, to have an entire album played live is a completely different experience than many of us have had before – Red Carpet Massacre aside.  For that matter, you could mix it up and that way, you’re not playing the same album over and over, and if fans like me want to see them all—they’re gonna have to take a leave of absence from their lives and travel to different shows to do it.

Even so, I think it’s safe to assume the band isn’t going to listen to reason on this one. They’re gonna play the hits, and we’re going to like it.

My heart is still hoping for Late Bar…but my head knows we’re getting Hungry Like the Wolf.

Intimate shows of 3,000 or less!

Let’s be real. Again, this one is a gamble, but I’m thinking money-wise, touring the 40th anniversary would be a cash cow. Why on earth would they only want to play in small venues when they can play arenas and bring in more money?

Personally, I’d love to see them play in smaller theaters so that long time fans have the opportunity to get up close and celebrate with this band. I’d like to see fans acknowledged for the time and energy we’ve given over the years. Who wouldn’t? That said, the lure for a huge “comeback” anniversary tour (no, they never left but the rest of the country, world, so forth probably doesn’t know that) is ever looming.

I’m just hoping they don’t decide to do that “Verified Fan” thing through Ticketmaster…

There are a lot of things I’d like to see the band do for their 40th anniversary. Mostly, I’m at a point where I’m just happy to see they’re still around fighting the good fight.  I’m looking forward to reading what they’ve got planned, and I’m hoping that I can take an active part in some of it along the way!

-R

Notorious & Wild Boys by Steve Malins

Do you like to read books about Duran Duran?  It is probably not shocking that I do and always have.  Looking back at my childhood, I remember reading and rereading and rereading paperbacks about Duran, such as Bop Magazine’s 700+ facts.  These days, the books and magazines surrounding the band are a little more sophisticated.  Obviously, fans who like to read have been lucky enough to enjoy both Andy and John’s autobiographies in recent years.  On top of that, in 2005, an unauthorized biography called Notorious by Steve Malins was published.

As I’m sure you are not surprised, I read that book as soon as I purchased it and have even read it more than once since then.  Rhonda and I have had a few conversations about the book.  In general, I think the book is stronger in the beginning, about the band members’ childhoods and the early days of the band.  As the book moved closer to current day, the sources were clearly all secondary sources, meaning that the information came from published articles, etc. as opposed to any real life individual.  This, of course, is common with unauthorized biographies.  The band did not share or get interviewed for the project.  I would say that in many cases the information in the book is common knowledge for many Duranies.

That said, when I saw that there was an updated version out, I had to pick it up.  The updated version, called Wild Boys, contains an additional chapter, surrounding both the Red Carpet Massacre era and the All You Need Is Now cycle.  What did I hope to learn from this additional chapter?  I won’t lie.  I hoped to gain some insight about Andy’s departure as well as behind the scenes for Red Carpet Massacre as I suspect that there is a lot more that went on that fans have been in the dark about.  What did I find out?

Andy’s Departure:

Interestingly enough, the book dedicated about two paragraphs to Andy’s departure.  Literally, it mentioned that the album, Reportage (the one Duran wrote and recorded after Astronaut but shelved), was stalled by “legal issues with Taylor”.  I’m not sure what the source of that was.  The author describes reports about the album that claim that the album was “edgy and contemporary”  (Malins 283).

Then, in the next paragraph, Andy’s departure was summarized by describing the official press release on the band’s website as well as how Andy described it in his book.  According to this book, the band claimed that there was ‘an unworkable gulf’ and Andy suggested that there was tension between him and management.  Clearly, I was hoping for a lot more as I knew both of those statements already.  I read the official announcement when it was posted in 2006 and read Andy’s book as quickly as it came out as well.  Now, I realize that an unauthorized biography will not have as much insight as an authorized one where the author is getting the scoop from the celebrity him/herself.  That said, I am surprised that there was not even any speculation on the author’s part on how this major personnel change would affect the band.  Instead, there was no analysis, just those statements.

Despite the lack of analysis on Andy, the author does mention Dom Brown a number of times.  The first time was right after talking about Andy’s departure.  Here the author says, “Duran Duran soldiered on by installing Dom Brown, who had toured with them before, as their new guitarist.  He has remained with them ever since, playing an increasingly valuable role”  (Malins 283).  Later in the chapter, Dom’s contribution is described during the writing and recording for All You Need Is Now, stating how he co-write most of the songs on that album.  What I found fascinating by this is that if I didn’t know better, I would read this chapter and assume that Dom is a permanent band member.  Yet, that is not the case.  He is in some weird limbo between a touring guitarist and a band member.  Malins does not explain that at all.  Likewise, there is no explanation of when and why Dom toured with the band before RCM.

Red Carpet Massacre:

As for the album created following Andy’s departure, Malins chose to focus on an article/interview from The Quietus that came out, not during the RCM cycle but afterwards during AYNIN.  According to that interview, Nick stated how they knew that RCM would be a risk with the fans.  Simon followed by stating that the fans left “no doubt” about how they felt about the album (Malins 293).  Again, though, outside of the quotes from the band, there is little explanation about why the fans might not like RCM.  On top of that, as someone in the fandom at the time, those brief statements don’t really explain what was really going on with the fans at that time.  It is and was far more complicated than that as many fans actually liked it, creating a wide division within the fan base.

All You Need Is Now:

The focus of the All You Need Is Now discussion surrounded Mark Ronson’s vision for the album and the Girl Panic video.  On one hand, I always appreciate reading and hearing about how Mark is a fan and pushed the band to really try to embrace their true selves and to occupy their rightful place in the music industry.  On the other hand, I am not really sure why there was so much focus on the Girl Panic video.  While I get that they used models who were pretending to be the band, I still found the discussion about it superficial.  Why did they use models?  I don’t know.  Why did they show fame in the way they did with luxury hotel living, fans surrounding them, bottles of champagne, etc?  I don’t know.

This, of course, is the argument I make about the entire project.  I want more of an in-depth, behind the scenes sort of analysis.  Perhaps, my frustration is unfounded.  I already know a lot about the band so I didn’t learn anything.  Others reading this book might learn a lot.  For them, maybe, the book serves the perfect function.  It does give a rough outline about the band’s history from formation through All You Need Is Now.

Has anyone else read this book?  What did you think about it?

-A

Malins, Steve.  Notorious.  London:  Andre Deutsch, 2005.

Malins, Steve.  Wild Boys.  London:  Andre Deutsch, 2013.

Do You Remember Blue to Brown?

I love writing this blog.

No really, some days, I love it. And then there are other days when I REALLY LOVE IT.  Those are the days when I get to gush on and on about something I’ve enjoyed or am particularly fond of.

On this day, it is both, because my trusty desk calendar reminded me that on this day in 2012, Blue To Brown was released for pre-order.

Ok, now I realize that it is likely a good portion of you are sitting there, squinty-eyed, wracking your brains trying to remember what Blue To Brown might be. Others may have probably already rolled their eyes once, perhaps even twice. I know this is an uphill battle, but one I don’t mind taking on.

First of all, yeah – I’m seriously expecting you all to champion a blog post where I am celebrating not even a CD release, but a pre-order.  I’m getting a bit ahead of myself though, so let’s start at the beginning.

Blue To Brown is the album recorded by Dom and his father. It is a blues album (I think it might be the only one I own, not counting the vinyl collection that Walt has amassed!), and it is very, very different from Duran Duran. When it was announced that Dom would be taking pre-orders for this album, the deal was sweetened a bit by saying for the first 100 orders, Rob and Dom would sign the CD inserts.

I was in!

I mean, I was “in” as soon as they announced I could order an album, but having one signed by both Dom and his dad definitely didn’t hurt. While I knew I’d probably be able to ask Dom to sign something eventually, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see his dad. (and I haven’t, actually!)  So I ordered away. Did you know that our lovely Anna Ross performs on the album?  She does fantastic work for Blue To Brown.  

It is true, I adore Dom. Any time I can interject his name here in a positive manner, I’m happy to do so. He’s a good guy, a hard worker, and he was the first person I’ve ever interviewed….EVER…for this blog or otherwise, so yep, I’m in his corner. Blue To Brown is a solid blues album with some fantastic guitar, so if you don’t have it yet, get it on his website.

It’s hard to believe that I pre-ordered that album five years ago today. Without knowing the date, I would have thought it was just a year or two ago…three at most!

-R

 

 

You Won’t Miss Me When I’m Gone

Well, the spring run of shows is over, and the band has gone back to England.

I feel a little deflated, and yet my shows ended weeks ago. If that weren’t enough, I’ve seen a few people comment that they’ve never seen a tour happen this way – and so that must mean it’s farewell.

Oh come on now. Really?

First of all, I’ve seen a lot of tours like this. As in, most, if not all of them. The band always adds dates here and there, at least for as long as I’ve been actively paying attention. They do first, second…sometimes third and even fourth “legs”, and Duran Duran is FAR from the only band in the universe to do this. As John Taylor said recently in an interview, sometimes dates (like the South American shows) come up, and they have to get their whole group together, and so it just makes sense to add in a few more shows to make the trips worthwhile. I’m not going to find fault with that kind of sanity.

Second, if we’re talking about the fact that they haven’t gone many other places aside from the UK, Italy, the US and now South America – again I have to say it’s about money. Like it or not, the band has bills to pay, and they only go where they’re being paid to go. I know it’s hard to imagine, but the cost involved with doing a world tour – a real world tour – are staggering. They can’t just fly to Australia and do one show, and they can’t do more than that if promoters and bookers aren’t getting them shows. It’s that simple, whether we want to believe it or not. Sometimes, I think Duran fans look for conspiracies that just do not exist.

Lastly, even if this is their final farewell, does it really change anything? Does it change how YOU are touring? What shows YOU are attending? For me personally, I’m going to what I can. Even if I knew it was the final countdown, I couldn’t possibly do more shows right now, even if I wanted. I mean, what more could I really want though?

I’m not the type of person that is going to sit and wait for them outside of their hotel, or at an airport. I love them, but I also feel awkward doing that stuff. I know a lot of others do, and that’s great. It’s not my thing. There is only one time I’ve asked one of them to sign something for me, and in all honesty it was Dom, it wasn’t Simon, or Roger, or anyone like that. I’m just not that kind of fan, not that I think those people are wrong or weird or anything like that – it’s just that for me, I don’t want or need much signed. I’ve been to the UK. I’ve seen Birmingham – out of everything I’ve ever done in the name of “fandom”, that was the one thing I really wanted and it lived up to every last possible expectation and then some. Truth be told, I would really like to go back to the UK again. Very much so. I don’t know if I will have a chance to take that trip though, just because of timing and family expenses (again, college is NOT CHEAP).  I’ve taken long road trips with Amanda, I’ve had some wonderful experiences at shows, and I have made a lot of friends along the way. I just don’t know if there’s much else I could reasonably want, except more.

So while the idea of “farewell” bothers me, I can’t go on worrying about it looming overhead. A bit of advice my dad gave me before he died was that I needed to not worry so much about the dying. I’d call him at least a few times a week towards the end, and I’d always ask how he was feeling. It was natural, and I meant it in the most loving way possible – he was my dad and I was worried. Dad got tired of talking about how he was feeling though, because let’s face it – he already knew he was dying. It was no secret. He didn’t want to focus on the end, he just wanted to enjoy the living. So, he told me that the end was going to be just that, the end, and that none of us had much control over when that was going to be, or how that was going to transpire. What he and I could do though, was to enjoy the time we had. So I am, and I will. It was still a shock when the end arrived, and I still went through all of the same stages of grief as anyone might. But, I’m kind of glad my dad gave me that little pep talk though, because it’s come in handy more than once in the almost nine years he’s been gone. That’s my dad – watching out for me up until the very end!

Of course I’ll be wistful and sad when they stop touring. I have friends that I don’t know if I’ll see again when that time comes, even if I don’t think now is that time. I can’t imagine not seeing the band, or Dom, or even some of the roadies again. We fans have known them so long we can’t imagine not having them around and yet they really don’t know us at all. There’s really only one person in or around the band that truly knows me or my name, and I don’t even question whether or not he’ll know me in a crowd. It’s kind of like going to family reunions every time they tour or do a show, and I’ll miss those.

I think that’s really just it. Family. Somewhere along the line, this band and all of the fans that go along with them, have become a family, whether we like it or not! Some I might see as crazy uncles (there’s always one!), and others are probably related only by marriage and we don’t really know how they fit in, but they’re part of the group. I can’t imagine that feeling of family just ending, can you?

I don’t know what the band has coming next. I know that they’re coming back to California in July. I have heard rumblings of other possibilities, courtesy of the monthly Katy Kafes. I don’t think this band is quite done yet, but I’m not going to worry about that. I’m going to enjoy seeing pictures, chatting with friends, and planning for the shows I will see in July. I am going to work on a couple of projects I have going on here at home – including a high school graduation for my son, and I’m going to be reveling in the joy I have bubbling within for getting him to this point. I’m going to savor each moment as it comes, and live in gratitude for each day I’m given, and so should you.

-R

So Red The Rose: Arcadia or Power Station?

I don’t think I’ve spent much time writing about Arcadia or Power Station. I suppose to begin with, this site is dedicated to being a Duran Duran fan, so there is that. On the other hand though, Arcadia, Power Station, et al, have all been stops along my way. On this date in 2010, So Red the Rose was remastered and released. So, it seems appropriate to write a little about Arcadia today.

On the purely frivolous side, I loved Simon’s look during this period. Nick’s hair, longer than mine has probably ever been, was beautiful too.  It was as though they took whatever they’d done in Duran Duran and turned it up a notch with just a tinge more darkness. I loved it.  Their style was part of their branding, and I loved the whole package. The videos? I still watch them whenever I get a chance.

For me, Power Station was all about the music. It’s not that I wasn’t a John-fan or an Andy-fan, but I don’t know that I would say style was as much the focus as the music.  Many people describe Arcadia as an art project. Well, Power Station was a rock band. I embraced that.

This is the point where the discussion gets trickier (for me). Arcadia checked all the same boxes for me as Duran Duran. I loved the feel of the music, it was unique and different and nothing like anything else I heard on the radio. It was recognizable and comfortable to me because of Simon’s voice, but I cannot lie – I dearly missed John and Andy.

On the same token, I enjoyed Power Station. In the same way that I dearly loved AC/DC…Led Zeppelin….and just about any hard rock band of that era, hearing Andy and John lay it all out on the line in a way that Duran’s music did not allow was fantastic. But I missed the keyboards.

It was as though Power Station and Arcadia were the results of a very involved surgery to separate conjoined twins. Each could survive without the other, but should they? They weren’t quite the same on their own. Both bands were great, don’t get me wrong. I loved them both for their individuality, but if I could have smooshed them together to create one band, I think it might have been perfect.

Oh wait.

I see the debate anytime the subject of one or another comes up.  It always starts out by asking, “Which was your favorite?” For me, it depended on my mood and it still does. Yes, Roger was my favorite, and so you’d think I would have given the edge to Arcadia. Some days, I did. On other days though, I longed for that seemingly reckless guitar and deep bass groove. I never really had a favorite between the two of them. Sure, I loved the video for Election Day (who doesn’t?!?), but I also really liked Some Like it Hot. That guitar solo? Yes, please!  Invariably the discussion dissolves into who “left” the band and why, as though those facts alone should determine allegiance. It is just music.

In a nutshell, the Arcadia/Power Station debate is a very good metaphor for my own musical tastes, even today. On one hand, there is nothing like a great Duran Duran concert.  On the other, I really just want to stand in front of Dom while he’s playing his own music. I love Duran Duran. I also like Metallica. It’s not necessarily this OR that, but both…and why not?

So let’s watch some videos!

 

 

Enjoy!

-R

 

 

 

Don’t fake it when it comes to making money

One comment I’ve heard over and over about the band is that they probably laugh all the way to the bank. Yeah, some of us feel as though the shows are of good value at $300-400 (and sometimes more) for those great VIP seats, but I see plenty of comments otherwise, too.  Even I’ve had my “OK seriously guys, how much more cash do you need??” moments.

It’s hard. I love Duran Duran. YOU love Duran Duran. We want shows. We want to have great seats. We also need to eat, pay bills, send children to college, drive cars, and so on. While I know that there are plenty of other acts out there wanting $400 just to get in the door to the venue, much less sit near the front, I also know that it’s painful to buy more than a show at a time to see Duran Duran unless I don’t care where I sit.

Let me be clear: I CARE.  I care too much, as my husband might say.

It’s easy to throw an “off the cuff” comment out on Twitter or Facebook about how we’re paying for their retirement, or that we’ve paid for their kids’ boarding school. Naturally, most of those comments are made in jest. For instance, I realize it takes more than my dollars to buy a Picasso or an Aston Martin.  I often wondered what kind of mansions they all must own or the lives they must lead when they’re not on stage. Even as an adult, I didn’t start really considering their costs to actually operate until around the All You Need is Now tour.

It can’t be cheap.  Think about all of the people they’ve had work with the band. Those people don’t work for free. Timbaland, Mark Ronson, even Nile….all of them are in or have been in demand over the years. Collaborations, even with Janelle Monae or Lindsey Lohan, couldn’t have been for free. All of that studio time, the mixing, the engineering, mastering, etc… it all costs.

Then there’s the touring. Ah yes, the touring. When I was in England, I was surprised by how austere the touring was there compared to here. Many times, the band could (and did) travel from their home to where ever they were going to be. Here in the states, they use a private jet. That isn’t cheap at all even if the band gets a good deal. Here, they stay in pretty nice hotels, even if they put the crew up somewhere less expensive. Speaking of the crew – they pay all of those people, right? Everyone from the guy who has to take care of all that cabling (my worst freaking nightmare!) to the techs and beyond gets paid. Lighting, sound, audio/visual, and everyone in between get a pay check.  There’s also Dom, Anna, Erin and Simon W. to consider…. I’m fairly certain none of them donate their appearances for free!

Those things I’ve mentioned are merely a drop in the bucket. The minutia of touring, right down to the copying and printing that needs to be done, all takes money. Every last paper clip, button to be sewn, guitar string and costume, all takes money.

So, when I see that last year’s Paper Gods tour (2016 in case you’re unsure) grossed 16.1 million here in the states .I’m surprised, for a few reasons, actually.

First of all, according to Pollstar, who compiled a list of last year’s 200 top grossing tours (Duran Duran ranks at 74), the average ticket price to a DD show was $68. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my average ticket price was “slightly higher”…like about $300 a show, give or take.  As I said earlier on Twitter, the average ticket price for someone who doesn’t know much more than Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf was probably $68. For a die-hard fan? $300 if you want near the front.  I alternatively laugh and then cry…

Secondly, the band played 44 shows in 40 cities. That’s a lot. They grossed (that means before their costs), on average about $400,000 a show.  Not as much as I might have thought, really. (The band should not see this as an invitation to raise prices!) When you consider that figure is before anything else is paid – it becomes clear that no, this band isn’t really laughing all the way to the bank after all.

While I still feel fleeced from time to time – in a kind of a “Hey, congratulations Big Fan – you love us so much that you’re going to pay way more than others on average to sit near us” sort of way, it’s kind of the way things go. Demand. Demand, demand, demand. We want them, we’re going to pay for them. Welcome to Economics 101.  I can’t blame them for making a living, particularly when I do the math myself and realize they’re not making as much off of these shows as we might think. 16.2 million before paying all of the bills for things we know, and then the stuff we don’t even realize might not leave a lot….and I am sure they had to share some of that with Chic, too!! Sure, they’re making money. It’s their job in the same way that wrangling children and making copies is mine. I just happen to enjoy the fruits of labor an awful lot!

-R

 

Since when did being a fan become a bad thing: Crazy Some’d Say

I could probably just post this picture and be done with the blog for today, because it probably says everything (and much, much, more) than I’m about to say anyway.  I am consciously reminding myself that sometimes, the toughest blogs to write turn out to be the ones most needing to be read.

Yes, I went to some shows this weekend, and yes, I had a fantastic time. I am so grateful that I had the chance to go and be with friends.

So, while I was basking in the sheer glory of being up front, screaming for one of my favorite people on the planet, a friend took the photo.  I (OBVIOUSLY) had no idea it was being taken at the time. I’m not so sure I love my face, but I see the sheer joy. It’s kind of hard to miss, really.

I pride myself on being pretty low-key. (HA!) I have a great time at the shows, but I also recognize that the band are indeed real people. Being on stage is part of their job, in the same way that wrangling young children during recess and lunch is mine.  I don’t have children screaming for me at work (but I do have a few that are insistent about coming to visit me nearly every day for tummy aches or to apply band-aids to non-visible “injuries”).  In the same respect, once the show is over, I typically don’t bother the band. Yeah, I’ve ended up at the same bar once or twice, but other than that – I expect them to resume their normal lives. My students don’t come to my house and wait out front for me, and I try to be the same way with the band. I get it. It’s a job.

Since Dom is the lucky guy in this photo (which btw was taken by my friend Suzie at the “breast show ever”….just go with it and don’t ask…), he’s part of the example here.  As much as I love this photo, I also struggle with it. I tweeted it out, but stopped short of tweeting it directly to Dom. I wanted to share it with him because it’s both hilarious and really kind of sweet at the same time, but I just couldn’t.  Why?

On one hand, if you really need an explanation of fandom, it is all right there in that shot. I suppose that yeah, you could look at that photo and see all the craziness you want.  Context is important here, because at the time Dom was playing the guitar solo for White Lines, and he knows that I love that song live.  I smiled at him when he started it, and he came right over to me, and this picture was taken just before he bent down to play.  He does an excellent job, and I was screaming for him. I’m proud of his work, and I’m not shy about that.  I was also in the front, and I was thrilled to be there.  I had so much love and joy flowing through me in that moment, and this picture captured all of that.

On the other hand, and this is the part I have a rough time with – I almost hate using the word “fan” because it immediately puts me on the crazy train.  Since when did the word “fan” make me so damn self-conscious?  Here I am, writing a fan blog, and I’m worried about someone thinking I’m a fan?

There are so many different directions I can take this post from here. The path that seems most relevant is simply to say that we fans, collectively speaking, have been equated with the word “crazy” for so long now, that at times it is painful to admit that I am, indeed, a fan. I’ve been a Duran Duran fan since I was ten. I don’t remember life much before being a fan. Yet everywhere I go, particularly when at shows, all I hear is the word, “crazy”.

“You’re still one of those crazy Duran Duran fans? How old are you again?

“You’re a woman out on the town going to a show without your husband?  You’re just crazy to get into Simon’s pants, right?” 

“You crazy Duran fans…we know all about you guys!” 

If that’s not enough, we even admonish one another while we’re at the shows!

“Don’t rush the stage, the guards will think you’re crazy!” 

“I don’t want to go up and try to say hi, because if I do, he’s going to just think I’m some crazy fan.”  (In this case, this fan was ME, and I was specifically talking about going up to say hi to Dom in the hallway. Even though he saw me clear across the hallway and smiled – I was still concerned about how it would look if I got up from my chair at the bar and walked over there. I knew he was trying to just get up to his room and I didn’t want to bug him. For the record, I did finally get up the nerve to walk up and say hi, and I don’t think he believes I’m crazy. Imagine that!)

“Look at those fans fighting over the set lists. They’re crazy!” 

The word surrounds us and it is never-ending.  Even I’m starting to buy into the hype. Since when did being a fan become a bad thing?? Pictures don’t lie – when I look at that picture of Dom, the girl at the bottom is a FAN. That girl is me, yet it’s the last thing I want to be known for. It’s silly because of course I’m more than a fan. I’m Rhonda. I write. I am smart. I play a couple of instruments. I have three amazing kids. My life is pretty damn full, and I have feelings. I refuse to be just another face in the crowd.  When I get up the nerve to walk up and say hi to a band member (or anybody for that matter) in a hallway and even get a hug, the last thing I want for that person to think is that I’m just another crazy fan who won’t let them go up to their room. Yet, in the back of my mind – that is always my worry.

This blog aside, of course. Because yeah, it IS pretty crazy that I’ve written a fan blog for 78 months now. (That’s six and a half years for those of us who don’t love math.)  Someday I’m going to switch the name of this to Daily Duranie Rehab and we can call it group therapy!

The relationship we have with our idols and other people we care about is complicated at best. (I have a tough time calling Dom my idol, I have to be honest. I didn’t grow up with him on my posters, or worshipping the ground he walked on in the same way I did the rest of the band. It isn’t the same.) Impossible at worst. Not everyone gets to have their moment, even fewer become true friends, but somehow – those of us who have been around awhile get called “crazy”, and it’s unfortunately a term that has wrapped itself around my core.  Sure, we can say we don’t care what other people think, but what about what WE think about ourselves?

Food for thought.

-R

 

A Corporate Retreat? Sign me up!

Do you ever get the feeling that you are working for the wrong company?  I sure do, particularly when I see that the band is in Palm Springs (Palm Desert, to be more precise), which is about an hour and a half from me, and they are doing a corporate show for the WME/IMG company retreat!

First of all, my “company” doesn’t even do retreats. I work for a charter school, and we teach…and wrangle children. (that’s my job!)The best thing we do to team build is have meetings, which quite frankly—I enjoy—because it’s the only time we have to actually talk to one another without risk of a small child coming in to ask for a band-aid or to call mom.  It is never a dull moment, but I love it. I’m also completely exhausted at the end of the day. But, back to those retreats that I’m missing out on and that band we all love…

I noticed on Monday…or Tuesday (the days run together for me anymore), that Anna Ross had posted a photo from a morning hike in Palm Springs. I really didn’t give it much thought, figuring it was from another visit. I mean, how could they possibly be in Palm Springs? Or maybe she was here on her own. I had no idea. Until Dom posted something similar.

I remember seeing the tweet, and thinking –  they are here. (Who am I kidding? I really thought, HE IS HERE. Don’t tell anybody.) In my state. 90 minutes from me. What. The.  (well, I’ll let you think the rest from there.) 

Granted, I could have gotten into my car and driven out there. I know this. YOU know this. But I’ll bet you also know I didn’t. I couldn’t. No way. First of all, my days are pretty wrapped up anymore. Either I’m teaching at home, or I’m at school. If I’m at school, I have no time to think about anything else for the entire eight hours I’m there. I rush from the second I arrive – usually being bombarded by children from the moment I shut the car door before I even hit the door to the building, until the moment I close the car door to leave. Sometimes even then I get a phone call on the way home.  When I get home, I crash. Hard.  It’s a problem.

Even so, I could have gone out there. What stopped me was the though of how ridiculous I would have looked. (Oh, and yes – my children. And husband! But never mind them…) Yes, I had a reasonable idea of where they were, but stalking isn’t a hobby of mine. I’m terrible at being a fan in that respect, because the last thing I want to do is annoy any of them. I don’t approach (been there, wrote that email, crashed and burned spectacularly…thank you very much), and as a result, I’m the last person who is ever going to “meet” them after a show, or anywhere else for that matter, unless we’re introduced….or unless Simon comes on over for another toast at a bar. When I sit back and think about how long Amanda and I have been blogging and yet we’re STILL saying we don’t really know them, well – it’s laughable (and believe me, we do laugh).  Even so, I was tempted, I’ll admit. Of course I wanted to see them, but on the same token, I didn’t want to look like a fool, which I would have. For sure.

So instead, I tried to enjoy the torture of knowing that they were so nearby, and that they were also very close to where I’ll be seeing them in a couple of months.  Anticipation can be fun. Sort of.

Honestly, seeing the tweets from Dom and Anna – and there were only a few – was nice. It was a treat to have them share where they were, knowing that fans (at least not many) weren’t really a part of what they were doing out there this time. And today they’re headed back home, presumably until they begin the sweep of shows they have planned for spring.

Me? Oh, I’m very much looking forward to a weekend in Rancho Mirage come March, and not just because of the band! You see, for Amanda and I—it’s going to be our own Daily Duranie weekend retreat! I am looking forward to some hopefully sunny weather, a little peace and quiet by the pool, and some quality time with some friends I rarely see. It will all be happening. Soonish.

-R

Just when I thought my credit card was safe!

Back in August at the show in Chula Vista, California, I said my goodbyes. The show was bittersweet, but I knew I was at my final show for a while. I knew I had a busy school year ahead, and had a lot of fun.  I even tweeted Dom, saying I’d see him again in five years with my “special” brand of sarcasm. I came home, got a job and in a lot of ways, ran full-force in the opposite direction of fandom for a while. I figured I wouldn’t be missing much since the band was either taking an extended vacation, or they would be touring other parts of the world.

I know I’m glossing over the part where they announced shows on New Years Eve in DC and just before that in Cancun…shows that I will not be attending (but my partner-in-crime will be!!)…but I am trying to explain just how far from Duran Duran I’ve been lately. Sure, I still write four times a week (and lately I have really been enjoying that again, which is wonderful), but other than that, I’ve kind of gotten immersed in my own life here at home.

So yesterday (Sunday), I was furiously Christmas shopping, hoping to get finished. I felt my phone notify me of tweets throughout the day but truthfully, I ignored them, assuming I’d catch up later.  However, at one point I actually picked up my phone because I needed to text my son, and I saw something about 2017 Duran Duran dates. My first thought was honestly, “So what?!” I knew they’d eventually announce shows, but they’re not here, so who cares!  Then I caught the words “Agua Caliente”.

Me being, well…me, I assumed there must be other Agua Calientes in the world. (It) Could not possibly be the one here in California, right? They were already here. They played. I saw them! We’re done now. It’s time for them to go other places. Yes? So then I saw that a Duranie friend had messaged me about these new 2017 Duran Duran dates and asked if I was going.  I was incredulous. Not only are they coming back here, to California – but they are planning shows in Atlanta, Miami, Dallas and Houston in the same time frame! There I was, in the middle of Kohl’s (a store near my house), wandering among the racks of clothing. It’s quiet in the store.  My response?

Are you freaking KIDDING me, Duran Duran???”  

Here is the thing: on one hand, I’m dumbfounded. Those fuckers surprised me. I did not see this coming, I had no inkling at all that they were even maybe coming back here. Usually, I have some sort of vibe coming in on the radar. Maybe a friend tells me, maybe I get word from someone in the know. I haven’t even been talking to people lately.  As far as I knew, I would be Duran Duran show-less in 2017.  So after the initial shock and re-reading the post on dd.com several times to make sure I wasn’t seeing things, I recognized I had choices to make.

I could just say no. Surely this is the avenue my husband would advise. I could just say I’m done, not go, be responsible and do the right thing. (I think we all know how this is going to go, don’t we? I write Daily Duranie. Just saying.) On the other hand, I’m overjoyed. They are coming back here. To So Cal. I have to go!!  I didn’t say that I’d never see them again, only that I wasn’t going to be doing a lot of traveling to see them. I don’t have to fly. I just have to drive! I’m also going to have to buy these tickets, and that’s going to be expensive. I swore off that sort of thing, didn’t I???

So I type out a quick cheeky tweet in reply to Duran Duran’s date announcement and try to concentrate on shopping, which didn’t work. At. All. Meanwhile, my husband wanders up to find me pacing up and down the aisles aimlessly, staring at my phone.  Never a good sign for him, he asks what’s going on and I tell him.

I swear I saw him take a deep breath….probably because I’ve told him about 40,000 times since that Chula Vista show that I wasn’t going to go to any more shows for a while. (it’s been a while, right??) We were making other plans, trying to figure out how to pay for college, keep food on the table and still make life fun for our eight year old. So yes, I get it his deep breath.  But, it’s Christmas and he needs a gift for me, even though just that very morning I told him not to buy me anything this year.

So yes, I played THAT card. “Consider it your gift to me, my dear.”  I smile sweetly. But….he wants to know how much the tickets are.  My turn to take a deep breath as I tell him that VIP are only $335 total this time. (as opposed to $300 on top of the cost of the ticket, right?!?)

His reply? “EACH?”

We’ll get back to him later.  Like much later.  After I buy tickets. 🙂

In the meantime, Amanda sent me a tweet asking if I had seen her email. Email? Oh yeah. I’d been out all day and never bothered to download it. Go figure. I downloaded the email, clumsily commented back to her that I have choices to make and then started wondering to myself if Amanda would be thinking about coming out for the shows. At this point, I didn’t even know when the band was playing – it took me about five times of reading the post to actually see the dates they were playing Agua Caliente. I am overjoyed to see that they’re playing Friday and Saturday nights, which means I can go to both—and that those dates are the 17th and 18th of March.

Funny thing about those dates: the first night is St. Patrick’s Day – which is the night I flew into Chicago in 2005 for the first show Amanda and I saw together, and the next night is the actual anniversary of our first show. I started wondering if Amanda would even be willing to come out. I can’t imagine going without her, and yet—maybe that’s really what will happen??

In my defense, I know Amanda is going to DC and that those shows are pretty expensive. I also know she’s going back to DC a few weeks later. I hate that my first thought wasn’t about how we were going to plan for her to come here, but the whole scenario was just so weird – it was like a scene from Twilight Zone. So in the car as we’re going home I ask her if she’s considering coming out.  In the meantime she has already sent me an email asking if I’m thinking about including her in my plans…because we’re both slightly stupid, apparently. And it is only then that I start feeling like this is normal again.

It has been less than 24-hours since I found out about the shows, and we’ve already gotten our roommate situation together, booked a room (Listen, when I looked at the hotel there were only five double queen bed non-smoking rooms left and so I jumped on that, and you should too if you’re planning to stay there!) and have a game plan for ticket buying. And I’m still trying to ascertain what exactly is going on with Duran Duran….

I’m going to be brutally honest here: I don’t get it. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to have the chance to see the band again. Of course I am! But I’m also perplexed. They’ve been here a few times for this album already. I thought they were going to try to visit Australia and South America (well, I guess they are going there for Lollapalooza), among other places. Why back here again?

Many fans have been saying the same thing, and in a lot less polite of terms, I might add. Fans are angry, and while I don’t especially enjoy being in their crosshairs for being glad the band is coming here again (By the way – we fans in the US don’t have any control over where the band decides to play, and if they’re going to come here, of course we’re going to go. What should we do, not go in protest and insist they play elsewhere? Come on now.), I can understand how they feel.  I empathize. I have my own ideas as to why they are returning, but nothing that I can point to as fact. So I will keep those thoughts to myself for now. I think it is fair to ask the question though, and I certainly don’t blame anyone for being disappointed. I did see that more shows will be added in 2017 though, so I wouldn’t count anywhere out just yet.

And of course, what about Nick?  Everybody wants to know about Mr. Rhodes. Will he play? Is he still with the band? Did something happen? Why is he so willing to be out and about in public if he’s not going to tour with Duran Duran? All questions (and many others) that I’ve seen in posts all over…and naturally I have answers to none of them, and I think it’s safe to say DDHQ and the band isn’t saying much either. Sure, I’m curious too, but I’m still buying tickets to the shows, regardless. I hope he’s there, but I’m prepared to still applaud and cheer even if he’s not.

In the meantime, I see I have a Kafe to watch…so I’m going to go do that with thoughts of upcoming St. Patrick’s Day shows to see in my head. 2017 Duran Duran dates? Who would have thought?!

-R

The Survey Says…

Last weekend, I did a little blog in which case I questioned the depth of fans’ Duran Duran collections, which you can read here.  In that blog, I asked fans to participate in 4 surveys, including the Duran albums they own, albums they heard completely, side/solo projects they own and side/solo projects they have heard completely.  As people participate, one factor became obvious.  I should have probably listed the extent of the side and solo projects.  For example, Power Station had two albums during their existence.  Thus, the results might not be as accurate as they could be. That said, this was all in fun so not a big deal.

Duran Duran Albums Owned:

For this survey, the question was asked:  Which Duran Duran albums do you own?  The results surprised but also did not surprise me.  The most commonly owned album?  Rio.  I would expect everyone who identifies as a Duranie to own that one.  Here are the results by most owned to least owned:

Rio
Seven and the Ragged Tiger
The Wedding Album
Self-titled/Arena/Paper Gods
Astronaut/All You Need Is Now
Notorious/Red Carpet Massacre
Greatest
Big Thing/Decade
Thank You
Liberty
Medazzaland
Pop Trash
Live from London
A Diamond in the Mind

I will describe my reaction to this list tomorrow, including when/where the big drops in ownership were.

Duran Duran Albums Heard Completely:

Ownership is different than having heard albums.  For example, some fans might have heard various albums but never bought or no longer own certain albums for whatever reason.  Unlike albums owned, there are not huge gaps between albums heard and albums heard a lot less.  Again, here is the list of which albums people have from the most to the least:

Rio/Seven and the Ragged Tiger
Astronaut/Paper Gods
Notorious/The Wedding Album/All You Need Is Now
Self-titled/Red Carpet Massacre
Big Thing
Medazzaland
Liberty/Thank You/Pop Trash

Like the first survey, the results surprised me and did not surprise me.  More reactions from me to follow on tomorrow’s blog.

Side/Solo Project Owned Completely:

Like the previous two surveys, the results both matched and did not match my expectations.  When I made the list, I left out Warren’s solo work simply because I forget about him (and I’m not really a fan).  Perhaps, if he had been included, the results might have been different.  Here are the most owned to the least owned by fans:

Arcadia
Power Station
John Taylor
Neurotic Outsiders
Devils/Simon Le Bon
Andy Taylor
TV Mania
Dom Brown
Freebass

Side/Solo Project Heard:

For this question, I asked fans which side/solo projects they have heard completely, have heard some of, and have heard none of.  Let’s start with the ones fans have heard completely from most to least heard:

Arcadia
Power Station
The Devils
Neurotic Outsiders
John Taylor
Simon Le Bon
TV Mania
Andy Taylor
Dom Brown
Freebass

Have heard some of from most to least:

Simon 
Andy
John
Power Station
TV Mania
Dom Brown
Neurotic Outsiders
The Devils
Arcadia
Freebass

Have heard none of from most to least:
Freebase
Dom Brown
Neurotic Outsiders/The Devils/TV Mania
Andy Taylor
Simon Le Bon
John Taylor
Power Station/Arcadia

All in all, I found the results fascinating.  I will dive into the results and give my reaction in tomorrow’s blog.  Before I do, what do you think of the results?

-A