Tag Archives: Dom Brown

This blog is made from blood, sweat, and tears

Amanda and I don’t use the blog to tout successes very often. We want to write about being fans, and the blogs come from our own experiences. This post is personal, in that aspect.

Not too long ago, I wrote a bit of a review for a musician from Denmark named Michael Kratz. He had released a song back in July that he worked on with Dom. I wrote about it because I am a fan of Dom’s, and kind of forgot about it. Michael contacted me a couple of weeks later to thank me, and then ask if I’d be willing to get another one of his songs early and then blog about it since this new song also featured Dom.

I was overjoyed. I appreciated that Michael really asked for my help and trusted me with his music. I am not an author or a journalist. I am a fan. A blogger. Not many people take that seriously.  I jumped at the opportunity, and listened to the song hundreds of times before writing. (I’ve learned my lesson well, thanks to Duran Duran and our friend Lori Majewski.) I published the blog and hoped it would be taken well.

It’s kind of weird to admit that as a woman in my 40’s, I own a fan blog. Part hobby, part “full-time job that I wish were a paying one”, Amanda and I have operated the blog for seven years now. My own big dream was to have this blog lead to something that I could make into a career. I had no idea how, or what – which has always been my problem – so it is no surprise that Daily Duranie is still very much my “volunteer work”. We pay to host this site, which isn’t super cheap. We travel on our own dime, pay to go to shows, and all that stuff.  I spend a lot of time working on this site. In fact, even right now I should be working on “homeschool” with my youngest, but instead I’m writing and we’ll do school a bit later today than normal. As for money, I don’t want to think about how much we spend right now, because I will truly have a panic attack, so I won’t. Yes, we pay to write about Duran Duran. Does that make us a joke? To some, probably.

I’m pretty unsure of myself on even the best of days. My self-confidence isn’t the greatest. Lately I’ve been battling a case of the insecurities. I read things, and then have a really hard time letting go.  I’ve gotten better about it, but I still have a long way to go.  Additionally, I have a very hard time seeing and admitting to myself the good things the blog has done. It’s easier to see and believe the bad things I read and hear about the blog, and even myself as a person, I guess.

Today though, I received a message that really made a difference.  It turns out that Michael was offered record deals in two countries, and in both cases the label mentioned MY article specifically. The best part is that he wanted me to know, so he messaged me today. I’m still beaming, because it feels good to see wonderful things happen to genuinely hard-working people. I’m sure the blog played no more than the tiniest part in his record deals, but the fact that he wanted me to know warms my heart in a way I really needed.

I know that most people don’t really care about a fan site. Hell, we have a hard time getting anyone—even most of the band’s backing players, to take us seriously enough to even fill out a Q&A so that we can in turn promote them and their own careers—so I get it. By the same token, it is not just fans that read and follow Daily Duranie. We have music producers, other bands, news magazines, radio and TV show hosts, authors, and even record labels following and reading, and I’m proud of that.

Today though, I am so pleased to know that a genuinely kind and incredibly talented person I met as a result of this very blog is in the middle of making his own dreams come true. Michael thanked me for writing, but the truth is, I need to thank him for taking me seriously and trusting me with the product of his own blood, sweat, and tears. That, my friends, is anything but a joke.

-R

“What Did I…” (Feat. Dom Brown): Authentically Michael Kratz!

Amanda and I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful fellow fans, and people we would have likely never crossed paths with otherwise. Recently, another such moment occurred when Amanda texted me while I was camping in the middle of a forest in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington (shout out for wi-fi!), letting me know that Dom was a featured guitar player for a new song by someone named Michael Kratz out of Denmark. I diligently downloaded the song when I got home, and enjoyed the slight flashback to the 80s in the process. I blogged about it, and assumed that would be the end of the story, right?

Wrong.

A few weeks later, I got an email from Michael himself, thanking me for writing about it, and offering me the chance to get an early copy of another unreleased song that also features Dom.

First of all, I have to tell you that Michael is the real deal. He’s a very nice guy, with a fantastic career to boot. I don’t know why I hadn’t heard of him prior to August of this year, but like most other things in life—the more you know, the more you recognize you really don’t know.  Secondly, Michael Kratz is a Duranie. Who knew?!? (turns out, a lot of Duran fans did. I’m just a bit late to the party, as usual!)  I promptly asked Michael if he’d be willing to do a short Q&A for me since I know next to nothing about him, to which he agreed, and it wasn’t long after that I had new music and a Q&A in my inbox greeting me.

If I had to sum up Michael in one word,  it would be “authentic”. He is genuine in every sense, including his approach to music, which he describes as “old school”.  His sound gives a loud shout out to the 1980’s, and Michael embraces this.

“I think my sound is pretty old-school. After many years in the music business I figured out, that I must be honest to myself and my roots. I have released several albums with different bands, but it was difficult for me to relate to the way the music was produced.”

He likes to call his brand of music West Coast, and if you think back to bands like Toto, Michael McDonald, Richard Marx, Marc Jordan…and I’d even add a bit of Cutting Crew to that list…his music fits in very well in that lineup.  Rather than try to be something he’s not, he found a producer, namely Kasper Viinburg (and his father Ole Viinburg) who understood and appreciated the sound he was trying to attain. I think any of us who have been around for the entire evolution of Duran Duran recognize how difficult it can be to find a producer that is equal parts of push and pull (pushing to reach new levels, pulling the authentic, real sound out).

Having grown up on the west coast, I certainly heard a lot of that music on the radio.  If you take a look at my iTunes, you’ll see quite a bit of that in my library as evidence. It isn’t a stretch for me to listen to “What Did I…”.  As I listen to the opening notes, I can’t help  but think of Richard Marx, in the same way that I thought of Toto or Michael McDonald when I heard “Never Take Us Alive”.  While sure, the sound isn’t necessarily pulse-pounding, state-of-the-art EDM, it is clear, authentic, and real, which I appreciate.  Dom’s guitar gives the melody a modern edge without completely blowing the song out of the water. There’s something to be said in this day and age for music that holds true to the roots of the writer while seeking to be contemporary. “What Did I…” hits all of those notes. A little something more I picked up on after listening several times— Dom’s blues influence is evident. I challenge anyone to give this a listen, and then take “Please, Please” from Dom’s Blue to Brown for a spin. The similarities are there for the taking.

Overall, I’m thrilled to help out a fellow Duranie. There’s a part of me that finds a certain poetic justice in the fact that once again, it’s Duran Duran’s music that brings people together. I may have never heard of Michael had Dom never recorded with him. Yet here I am, writing about how like many of us, Michael recorded Sing Blue Silver from TV back in 1985, and he rewound and played “Save a Prayer” over and over again because he loved the song so much. Who hasn’t done that with their own favorite song or band member?  Michael has also had the chance to see the band quite a bit over the years, although because he’s a musician in his own right, he’s missed opportunities. Michael cites a story that only seems familiar to me because my overall luck has been similar.

“Back in 2008 when DD played in Odense (DK), I was playing in a venue right next to the stage. I got to see the support act (Saybia) and 10 minutes before DD should enter the stage I had to leave for my own soundcheck. So while tuning my drums I could hear the band’s starter, The Valley, and I couldn’t go out to see them. That was a bad day!”

While we’re on common ground as far as being fans goes, I can’t say I’ve ever missed a DD concert because a gig of my own was happening at the same time! Then there’s meeting and recording with a fellow musician who just happens to tour with Duran Duran…

“I just wrote him [Dom Brown] an email one Sunday afternoon.  I sent him some tracks and we talked about styles etc. and agreed to meet in October last year. My producer and I stayed with Dom at his studio for two days and we did two songs (“Never Take Us Alive” and “What Did I ..?”. He is very nice and it was very easy to work with him.”

Michael Kratz is one hard-working musician. “What Did I…” is due out tomorrow, so grab your copy!  His new album, Live Your Life, which includes “What Did I…”, is due out October 26. In addition to Dom, Michael worked Steve Lukather of Toto, Michael Landau (Michael Jackson, Richard Marx), and David Garfield (George Benson).  He describes the album as ranging from the classic pop/rock vibe heard in “What Did I…” to a more modern Brit-pop, which intrigues me.  He also has re-recorded his first album, Cross that Line, which was just released, and then on November 30, he will release a double live-album that was recorded in February of 2017.

If being hard-working in the studio isn’t enough, Michael is also easy to connect with online. He’s no slouch to social media, and MANY Duranies have already found him on Facebook as well. (I dare say that I know of a guitar player that could learn a little something about self-promotion from him)

I want to thank Michael for pushing me to get back in touch with my own roots. Since first hearing his music, I find myself gravitating to my old Cutting Crew and Toto albums, which has been a refreshing change of pace. There’s something about the authenticity in the music that I’ve been enjoying, and it’s good to hear someone like Michael staying true to himself. The fact that he’s also a Duranie is a bonus! I look forward to staying in touch and keeping up-to-date with what he’s working on.

“What Did I…” and “Never Take Us Alive” are available on all digital platforms worldwide (“What Did I…” drops tomorrow!), and they’re also available as CD’s from Michael’s website http://www.michaelkratz.net.

If you want to connect with Michael Kratz (and I really think you should!), check him out:

Michael on Facebook

Michael on Twitter

Michael on Instagram

-R

 

 

 

 

 

Too Much to Know?

Sometimes, life has a way of sending a bunch of little signs that all add up to one idea.  That is how my week has been leading to this little blog post.  It really started early in the week when Rhonda posted a couple of blogs about both Anna Ross’s new music (which if you haven’t heard by now, you NEED to get on that!) and a new song featuring Dom Brown.  Then, there was some discussions on Twitter about John Taylor’s solo work.  Lastly, there was a moment at Wednesday’s Killers show that really made me think.  While none of these things really seem to go together, they all got me thinking.  Do Duranies really want to embrace all of Duran or just some Duran?  If so, am I guilty of this, too?

I really started to think about this question after a moment in the Killers concert that I would never expect to see at a Duran show.  A few songs in, Brandon, the lead singer, asked the audience if they would prefer to hear an obscure, “b-side”, called “Under the Gun” or a classic hit of theirs, “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine.”  Shockingly enough, the entire audience wanted the more unknown song.  With any show, I wouldn’t expect the entire audience to be made up of die-hard fans.  I would expect a lot of die-hards but some who are just fans.  For example, I love the Killers but I cannot say that I’m as hardcore about them as I am about that other band.  Nonetheless, I stood in shock by the fans’ voting for the lesser known song.  I’m sure that there are plenty of Duranies reading this blog that thinks, I would definitely vote for the b-side.  Yes, I’m sure that most of the fans reading a fan blog like this would be die-hard.  Would people who are just casual Duran fans?  Would the vast majority of any Duran audience vote for it?

I’m thinking about my experience in San Francisco where I was half way back.  I’m pretty certain that the people around me were fans but not hardcore ones.  They had not seen any of the previous shows on the Paper Gods Tour.  Some of them, it sounded like, had never seen Duran before.  The songs they referenced were all the hits of the 80s.  Based on their reaction to the newer songs, they had not heard Paper Gods.  Those fans?  They would vote “A View to a Kill” over “Khanada,” for example.

Then, I started to think about how even the die-hard fans who read this blog reacted to the blog posts about Anna and Dom.  While those posts got positive reactions, I guess I was expecting more. This led me to think more broadly.  I know that there are Duranies who love, love, love the band but don’t own all their albums.  I know there are many, many fans who are HUGE John Taylor fans but are not super familiar with his solo catalog.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not criticizing.  Sometimes, it is takes awhile to get into new music.  I also won’t lie.  None of the songs or projects that I just mentioned sound exactly like Duran.  It could be that many of these fans have listened to some solo and side projects that just don’t like them enough to listen more.  Again, I’m not criticizing or blaming.  After all, I have tried to love all of the solo and side projects but I don’t put Andy Taylor’s solo work on very often or the second album from Power Station.  Does that mean that I don’t love Andy or I don’t love all of Duran?  Of course not.  It just means that his work is different than what I’m used to and that there are parts of Duran that I love more than others.

I think my point, though, goes beyond what’s in a collection or what would be cheered for at a concert.  It is more about what Duranies are actually interested in, generally.  There is a large part of the fan base that really does just love Duran of the early 1980s.  I have now spent years asking various questions or opinions about everything from songs to videos to live performances on this blog.  Way more often than not, Duranies will choose something off of Rio or the 1984 live performance.  Again, I’m not criticizing anyone here.  Heck, I just answered the question about favorite b-side with Secret Oktober like tons of other fans out there, but I do acknowledge that it is a standard answer.  My favorite album is the first one.  It isn’t Rio but Rio is one of my favorites.  I get why this is the case.  Most of us fell in love with a certain band with a certain sound and look.  It is hard to love changes in the same way.

Yet, I wonder if we as a fan base could really benefit from challenging ourselves.  Instead of just playing the Rio album, pop in Medazzaland.  Instead of listening to Arcadia, try a little Neurotic Outsiders.  When you feel like busting out some solo work, try Anna’s new material.  I know that I need to take my own advice with this.  I’m good with John’s solo stuff because he’s my favorite and I genuinely really like but I want to know more of Simon’s, for example.  That means I have to push myself to try something new or something I’m not as familiar with.  Somehow, I don’t think I’ll regret it.

-A

For Rumours in the Wake of Such a Lonely Crowd

About those rumors

Wild tales of tour dates, returning band members, and new albums have surfaced from the dank, dark depths of the internet.  I’m already exhausted, and I’ve been back from my own vacation for less than a week.

The new album thing came up today in my twitter feed, actually. Based purely on my past experience as a Duran Duran fan, I feel pretty certain that there’s no “new album” coming next month.  No, I don’t have an official word – are you kidding me? I just know that in all the years I’ve been a fan of this band, they’ve never been on tour and written/recorded an album at the same time and put it out while still technically ON tour. (They’re just taking a break and still have dates to do!) I kind of think that’s almost humanly impossible, and while I have admittedly had high expectations in the past, this is even over my limit. I think it’s really obvious that the original poster is confused with Paper Gods, which by the way, was already released. TWO YEARS AGO.

Amanda already addressed one of the other more rampant rumors – the return of Andy Taylor for the 40th Anniversary.  Everybody loves chatting about Andy and Warren, and about what guitar player is their personal favorite.  That debate will never go away, and as someone reminded me the other day – you know you’ve made your mark on the world when you can be out of a band for a decade and still be the talk of the fan community.  I’m not sure if that’s a win, but I suppose if you’re in the PR industry, maybe so!

The one thing that boggles my mind, is that no one seems to pay any attention to the fact that the guitar player we already DO have can and does read social media, as can the other two. Sure, say what you will about his being a hired gun, or that the other two don’t care and it comes with the territory. The brunt of rumor and discussion doesn’t just affect fans. These guitar players are real people, and this “job” is their career.  Sometimes, I think we fans forget that. I know that I do. Many fans feel that the band should have a thick skin by now, and it’s not a problem if they read that you think they suck, or that they completely destroy a guitar solo, or that you think there is only one guitar player for Duran Duran and that’s Andy….or even that the only guy we want onstage is Dom, or that we can’t stand Warren’s ego and refuse to have him back. I’m just not sure that any of that is right or fair to be saying, even when I’ve been the one to say it. So I’m trying my best to be fair. It isn’t easy. I have opinions and a favorite person like everyone else, but I also have to respect those that came before. It took all three: Andy, Warren and Dom, to keep Duran Duran afloat. I’m going to try not to forget that as we move forward. I don’t mind the discussion because we’re a blog and it is what we do, but I’m also a little surprised that the rumors (and that’s all they are at this point) have taken off so quickly. Out of all the debates in the community, this is truly the firestorm. I’m kind of glad I’m not one of the past or present guitar players for this band, that’s all I’m saying.

About that post-tour depression thing

I saw the band last on July 8th. On one hand, It feels like it could have been last week, and on another it feels like it has already been six months. Amanda and I have been tweeting with another friend of ours saying that this post-Duran Duran tour depression (it is a real thing!) has been much harder than normal. I’m in a funk, and naturally it’s because I don’t know that any other dates or new music or anything like that is coming….soon.  Sure, the 40th anniversary is coming up, but we don’t know when/how/why/what, and that makes it all sort of enigmatic and ambiguous rather than having a certain something to calendar and look forward to. I’m not suggesting the band fix that by making announcements they’re not ready to make, but life as a fan is just hard sometimes. The waiting is not always fun. Social media helps to make me feel a little less disconnected. I’ve enjoyed being around more to tweet and be a general pain in the ass when necessary. You’re welcome. Bet you all are wondering when I go back to my real job… (the answer is soon)

I suppose on another hand…or foot…that a deep post-Duran tour depression is a sign of a very successful tour. I can’t disagree. I had a blast from start to finish. I’m still thinking about how it started for me at the Jimmy Kimmel show in Hollywood and how it ended at the Masonic in San Francisco for me, and I still smile.  I still feel so damn lucky. I mean, I wasn’t even supposed to GO to shows this year. (At least, that is what my husband keeps saying. I don’t really understand his words. Obviously.)  I went to four with my best friend. I saw my favorite person several times. I hung out with dear friends. We went to nightclubs. We drank enough vodka to wake up with Russian accents. We teased Simon and John pretty relentlessly. I heard fantastic music. I cried at least once during a show.  I fell more in love with the band. AND…I was only spit on three out of the four times I was at a show this year. That’s success!!

Simon spitting in SF, the one time he didn't quite douse me.
Can’t hit me, Simon!!! You’re gonna have to really bring it next time!

I’m gonna miss teasing him until they come back….although I will try my best through social media whenever possible, because you know…it’s what I do. Besides, something has to stave off the sadness, dammit!

I’ve really enjoyed seeing pictures from John, Roger, and Simon on the band’s Instagram and Twitter. Simon never ceases to make me laugh, and I smile whenever I see something from John and Roger, too. Even Dom tweets sometimes. I almost think they’ve found a way to engage, and they may have hit on something that just might work for them, which is great. It makes sense too, because Duran Duran has always enjoyed creating a visual experience.  Why not engage through pictures?

So yeah, those rumors drive me crazy sometimes, and other times get me thinking about how I respond. They can be a double-edged sword. The depression, on the other hand, makes me realize that I’m still not “cured” of this fandom. I still care, which is good since Daily Duranie turns seven next month.

Seriously, we’ve been doing this for seven years now? What??? We really are certifiable, Amanda!

-R

Never Take Us Alive feat. Dom Brown

Anyone heard the latest single from Michael Kratz featuring Dom titled “Never Take Us Alive”?

Interestingly enough, we didn’t hear about the single from Dom himself, but instead we caught it “through the grapevine”, and Amanda alerted me while I was…yes again…deep in the forests of Southern Washington. It is a miracle I had cell coverage, but no wi-fi, and unless I wanted to risk life and limb downloading it while using our (VERY!) limited data plan that has to be split between five family members, I had to wait until I got home to download and listen.

I tweeted Dom a few times about this, trying to get him to come out from under his rock (or out of his studio) to share the news of the single, to no avail. Turns out, I think he’s traveling. Having a holiday with family, as if that’s a thing or something. <wink> I did finally see a tweet from him announcing the song on release day, and that was it.

Seems to me he needs a PR person, or at least someone well-versed in social media to help him with this stuff. I know Dom works a lot outside of his Duran Duran touring, and produces for a lot of people. Seems to me he could really publicize far more than he is in order to help make a bigger name for himself…but what do I know? I merely write a daily, very-well read, fan blog that Amanda and I built from the ground up.

Did I mention that I work for cheap? 😀

I digress…

I’m bad with names sometimes, but I couldn’t make a connection to Michael Kratz. So I searched for some basic information. Turns out, Michael Kratz is Danish, and has done session work over the years. He has several albums out in a style called west coast—a style attributed to the coast on which I live in America—and I’ve never heard of it before now.  According to westcoast.dk, it’s a style that emphasizes melody, harmonics and arrangement. When I listen to Michael’s music, I hear heavy 1980s pop with lush electronic backing. It vaguely reminds me of some electronic musicians I’ve seen that tend to play small venues, and it’s usually just themselves and their keyboard set-up, but Michael’s work seems a bit more complex with far more dimension. It’s still very pop compared to anything on our radio these days.

I have a feeling that west coast music is one of those styles that is popular in other parts of the world, unbeknownst to those of us who live here…and so the rest of the world might think everything we listen to here in California sounds that way. Kind of like how most of the country (if not the world) thinks we all surf every day or have lunch with celebrities. Newsflash: we don’t. I haven’t been on a surf board since I was in my late teens, and using the word “on” is exaggerating, if you understand what I mean. I’m trying to remember the last time I saw a celebrity anywhere near me, and unless we’re talking Duran Duran….I think Teemu Selanne is the only one I can brag about. His daughter and mine were preschool chums, and my youngest is now nine.

Aside from being puzzled as to why Dom didn’t take full advantage of those of us who would buy nearly anything he’s worked on, I was happy to hear some new music from him. I wasn’t really ready for the full blast back to 1987 or 1988 when I listened to “Never Take Us Alive”, though, I must admit. That took more than one listen to warm up to, and I don’t want to pan Michael (or Dom) for that, it’s the style – and it’s just very different from what I might hear on any of our radio stations in the US right now.  Dom’s guitar cuts right through the melody, adding much-needed “guts and groove”, and he sounds like he’s having a lot of fun playing it too, which I appreciate.

Yes, “Never Take Us Alive”  is about as pop as you can get, reminding me of when I worked at (dating myself here) Millers Outpost (google it – the store was famous for having a denim “wall” in the back of the store and carried Levi’s 501s, an American clothing staple) in 1988. We had a stereo system in the store that played what felt like a revolving track of late 80s pop. Not a single The Cure or Duran Duran song to be heard, with endless hours of Lionel Richie, Steve Winwood, Terence Trent D’Arby (if I ever hear “Wishing Well” again…), Jermaine Stewart, Richard Marx, and so on. You get the idea. I quit working there after three very long months. I wonder why?

Rambling again…this is what happens when someone stays up until after 1am, watching The Killers concert stream from Las Vegas, I suppose. I need coffee.

Regardless, after many listens, I’ve decided the tune is catchy, and I’m starting to find myself humming the tune and knowing some of the words. Dom’s guitar adds exactly the right touch, and I love hearing his groove in the background, adding backbone and structure to a song that I have to admit would be incredibly shallow otherwise. It is worth the $1.29 download just to hear what he’s worked on. Sometimes it is easy to forget that Dom is a very accomplished session guitarist because he’s been with Duran Duran for so long.  I will brag about him to anyone who will listen (or read!) and say that his session playing has improved a hundred-fold since I first started checking him out. I can hear the emotion and enjoyment in his playing, which can be challenging to do as a session player.

I only wish he’d let some of us help him publicize and brag about him a bit more!

-R

Get your copy of Michael Kratz “Never Take Us Alive” on iTunes! Click on the photo to go to iTunes.

Paper Gods – Which Is Your Favorite?

As I continue to kind of sort out my final thoughts on all things Paper Gods, I’ve been thinking about the album itself.  This album took a while to grow on me.  Amanda and I spoke about it on the way home from San Francisco, and she surmised that this was a ‘thinking person’s’ album.

I think she’s right about that. In my case, it wasn’t an album that reached out and grabbed me, but instead it kind of sat bubbling in my head, percolating away. For what seemed like months, I’d listen to the album on repeat in the car, and then I’d put it away for a bit. Then I’d pull it back out, and listen to it again on repeat. I would think about the lyrics, the meaning, the possible story, and the music itself.

There were a few things about the album that just didn’t sit well with me. I struggled with the idea that Dom was barely on it, for instance. Yeah, I’m loyal. I know he’s not an “official band member”.  Whatever. He’s been with them for so long, it sure feels like he’s official. It bugged me. I wasn’t totally in love with the feel of the album at first, either. It felt very electronic in parts, and oddly un-Duran Duran like in others. I kept listening. I did not want a repeat of Red Carpet Massacre – an album that I never really enjoyed – so I kept at it, trying to bond.

Somewhere along the line, I must have done just that. The songs no longer sound foreign to me. They no longer feel too electronic, or not DD “enough”.  I don’t even think about who played or wrote what song. They feel just right. Even so, I have favorite songs on every single Duran Duran album. I think we all must have tunes we enjoy more than others, and this one is no different. I also think that looking back on this tour has kind of given new meaning to at least a few of the songs I once struggled with.

When I think of Paper Gods though, a few songs come to mind: Pressure Off, Last Night in the City, and What are the Chances. I am certain this is because the band played all of them on tour, and so they come to mind easily. I also think about The Universe Alone, Planet Roaring, and Cinderella Ride. It’s kind of hard to pick a favorite from that list, but in the end it is purely sentiment that drives me.

While I know he didn’t write it, there’s no arguing that Dom owns the guitar solo in What are the Chances when he plays it live. He took something that wasn’t really his and made it so, and the album version is every bit as beautiful, of course. I feel just a teensy bit guilty that I had to remind myself on the way home from San Francisco that John Frusciante actually wrote the guitar part – I’d gotten so used to Dom doing it that I’d forgotten.  I’m not normally a ballad person, but on this album it’s the two ballads (What are the Chances and Cinderella Ride) that I love hearing most when I’m at home.  The words for both ring very close to home for me in completely different ways – which is something I can say for 99% of the album. The lyrics really hit me.

There is a lot to like on this album, and since it’s release, I’ve fallen in love with much of it. It may not have been an album that knocked me over upon first listen, but it is definitely one that made me think, reconsider, and ultimately embrace. It’s been a great ride.

-R

Ultimate Box Set: Side/Solo Project Final Vote

The Daily Duranie has been working to create an Ultimate Duran Duran Box Set.  While Rhonda and I have definite strong opinions about what should be included, we didn’t think that made sense to just have it be from us.  Therefore, we have taken time to ask all of the Duranies who read this blog to help us create it.  The Ultimate Box Set would have multiple categories including:  Singles, Album Tracks, B-Sides/Bonus Tracks, Live Tracks, Side/Solo Project Songs, and Remixes.  So far, readers have chosen 7 tracks from all of the categories except for Side/Solo Projects and Remixes.  The results so far are:

Singles:

  • Planet Earth
  • Save a Prayer
  • Ordinary World
  • Girls on Film
  • Pressure Off
  • Rio
  • New Moon on Monday

Album Tracks:

  • New Religion
  • The Chauffeur
  • Hold Back the Rain
  • Friends of Mine
  • The Man Who Stole a Leopard
  • The Seventh Stranger
  • Paper Gods

B-Sides/Bonus Tracks:

  • Secret Oktober
  • Late Bar
  • Beautiful Colours
  • I Believe/All I Need to Know
  • Salt in the Rainbow
  • Planet Roaring
  • Faster Than Light
  • (Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile

Live Tracks:

  • New Religion
  • Careless Memories
  • The Chauffeur
  • Rio
  • Wild Boys
  • White Lines
  • Planet Earth

Now, we are ready to finally choose the 7 songs that will represent the best of Duran’s Side and/or Solo Projects.  In case, you want to listen to the choices, I made some playlists on YouTube for all of you:

Arcadia:

Power Station:

John Taylor:

Simon Le Bon:

Dom Brown:

Now, I think we are all ready to pick SEVEN side and solo project songs that should be included on the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set!!!

-A

Happy Birthday Dom!

Any day is a good day when I can wish one of my favorites a very happy birthday!  At 45, he’s still a kid compared to many…but we’ll let that go for now.

I’ve had a special affinity for Dom from almost the moment he started playing with Duran Duran. While it is absolutely true that I idolize Duran Duran – it is hard not to when they are the people in the posters I still have hung on my walls – Dom is a little different.  Let’s face it, for me, Roger Taylor is the fictional, “Knight in Shining Armor.” When I was young, I believed he could do no wrong. I suppose that at least to a certain extent, the same held true for the rest of the band.

After I grew up, my thoughts on that changed, at least somewhat. Even so, I still have their posters, and I think that I’m still a little starstruck. How could I not be? I still sometimes have to pinch myself when I’m at a concert, particularly when I’m near the front, to remind me that yes – this is all real.

Dom joined the band onstage after I was already an adult, and because I met him in person not long after, I don’t really idolize him. At least, not exactly in the same way….or so I keep telling myself.  I mean, there is still plenty of this atrocity going on:

I have to laugh.  I wore my Apple watch that night as a test because I wanted to see what the step meter would do at a concert. (It turns out that I get a week’s worth of steps in…) In other words, I am a total geek. Not that this picture proves otherwise, anyway.

Even though I scream at shows for him (obviously), he seems perfectly normal otherwise. (Yes, HE seems normal. Me? Read on)The thing is, I’ve met Dom before. He’s a nice guy. He’s even done a Q & A for this blog, and I lived to tell about it.

I remember when I emailed him to ask about doing the Q&A. I had to force myself to hit “send” and then nearly ran from the computer. It was a ridiculous display. Thankfully I was here at home and there is no video.

I was amazed by how quickly he responded.

Even so, I’m shy. Super shy.  Not sure if anybody is getting that…. One time, I was sitting at a sidewalk cafe table in Los Angeles at the Ace Hotel and he walked by, going into the hotel. I nearly choked. I didn’t say a single thing. I just watched him walk past. I felt paralyzed in my seat, very much the same way I used to feel when Ken Sears, the object of my middle school crush, would walk by the clarinet section on his way back to the drum section in band. I had it SO BAD for that guy. I think back on those awkward years (yes, years) and I cringe. It took me months to even work up the nerve to say hi to Ken, and by the time I finally got comfortable with him, he moved on to high school. I still had another year in middle school. It was horrible.

So there I was, in my forties and I still couldn’t speak, couldn’t say a thing when Dom walked past. I tweeted about it though…and I still laugh when I think of Amanda looking at me as though I’d grown a third head as I pointed out that Dom had just walked past. I think Amanda was ready to get out of her chair and go grab him herself, and I pleaded with her not to. Yet I tweeted him afterwards, and he responded – probably the only time he has ever responded to me, actually! Needless to say, I felt like an idiot and I’m sure he was amused that I even bothered to tell him how shy I was/am. Yep, I’m socially inept. Love to write, hate to speak in person.

Then there was the time, that same weekend, when I ran into him at a bar. I am pretty sure he went to hug me and I am also pretty sure I dodged it. I don’t even know why. I suppose at the time I was nervously trying to step out-of-the-way of people (it was crowded and that’s my excuse!), and I’m not really a hugger, or at least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.  I wanted to fall into a hole in the ground after that, so yay for me!

I did make up for my idiocy about three years later, when I saw him at Agua Caliente in March. I actually got up off of my bar stool and walked through a crowd of people to say hi to him, and I say “actually” because that is not typical “Rhonda” behavior. I’d cower in a corner and maybe wave, but no way would I risk actually walking. (I’m clumsy and always at risk of falling, so no.)

I did wave. Then before my brain registered, I’d gotten up off of my chair, walked over and waited for him to finish taking pictures. It was an out-of-body thing, I’m pretty certain. I remember saying to him that I wasn’t there for pictures and I didn’t want anything signed. I didn’t even get the full sentence out.

He is a good hugger.

Ken Sears would be proud. Don’t google him, though. He’s just some poor man who likely has nightmares about some frizzy haired girl with a clarinet following him in middle school. I should probably apologize to him.

Moving on…he’s a really nice guy. I still say the band is lucky to have him. He’s down to earth, has an incredible work ethic, and is extremely talented. I’ve met him several times now, and I can’t really say we’re friends, but we’re friendly (or else he’s just really nice about humoring me), and I’m glad he’s a part of this crazy family.

I doubt you’re actually reading, Dom – but if so, happy birthday!! I hope you have a fantastic birthday with your beautiful family. I’ll see you in a few weeks!!

-R

Ultimate Box Set: Side/Solo Projects Part 3

This week, we continue on with our polls surrounding side/solo project songs that fans feel should be considered for the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set.  The goal is to pick 7 songs each week until the readers have gone through all of the various Duran related side and solo projects before having a final vote.  So far, songs have been picked from Power Station, Neurotic Outsiders, Arcadia, The Devils and TV Mania.  This week, we will tackle both Dom Brown and Freebass.

Before I attach the poll, I have to say something about these two projects.  Dom Brown, Duran’s current guitar player, has done work on his own.  In fact, he has released two solo albums, “Touch the Flames” and “Between the Lines”.  If that was not enough, he has a blues band, Blue to Brown, with his father that also resulted in an album.  If you haven’t heard these albums, I highly recommend them and can be purchased on Dom’s official site.   Normally, when I have done these polls, I have put up YouTube playlists to provide the opportunity to hear the songs before voting.  Unfortunately, there are only a handful available.  I will post the ones I found:

I can provide even less about Freebass.  According to the Duran Duran Wikia  page, Freebass was formed in 1997 by Roger Taylor and Marco Silver in Birmingham.  An album was recorded and the band’s only single is “Love Is Like Oxygen“, a cover of a song done by the British band group, Sweet, was released in January of 1998.  At the same time, the band broke up.  Marco Silver continued on and is now using the name, Free Bass Inc.  You can hear “Love Is Like Oxygen” by clicking the link above.  I will include the other songs on the album on the poll, but lack means of providing all of you a chance to hear them.  I apologize.  If someone knows where/how I could share, please let me know.

Before I get to voting, let’s take a look at what side/solo projects remain in consideration so far:

Power Station:

  • Some Like It Hot
  • Get It On/Bang a Gong
  • Communication
  • Murderess
  • Harvest for the World
  • Still in Your Heart
  • She Can Rock It

Neurotic Outsiders:

  • Feelings Are Good

Arcadia:

  • Election Day
  • The Promise
  • Goodbye Is Forever
  • The Flame
  • El Diablo
  • Lady Ic
  • Keep Me in the Dark

Now, it is time to vote on which Dom Brown and/or Freebass songs should be considered for the Ultimate Box Set.  Vote here:

-A

 

These Beautiful Colours – It’s All About Happy

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve had it. It’s Monday, and I’m already done.

I’d really like a day, heck, I’ll even take a MORNING, where there’s at least a little peace. Life is busy. My schedule is crazy and changing every single week because of various things going on. I never know where I’m supposed to be (and when). I have things written on my huge master calendar at home, in my phone, and even on a calendar I keep near my desk, and yet I still forget things. I’ve even had to turn down a couple of really fun and quite frankly, once in a lifetime type of opportunities for various reasons – all of which have to do with being an adult and putting my own feelings aside. On one hand I feel like I did the right thing, and on the other I wish I could just seize the day and take a chance for a change. Isn’t that just like being an adult???

I’m not even mentioning the world. I don’t really need to do that, as I’m sure all of you have heard the news each day. I don’t want this blog to turn into a political forum, but I will say this much – peace would be good right about now. It’s pretty bad when I am thinking about stocking up my trailer (camping caravan), throwing my phone in the garbage and heading north to pine trees, blue skies, and no internet connection.

There are moments when I see all that is happening here at home and abroad, and wonder if the “good old days” are totally behind us now. Sometimes I think that’s what the media wants us to believe. Sometimes, I even think that’s what we want one another to feel.  But then, there’s Duran Duran. The bright light.

The band tweeted this picture this morning from a show they did for a Princeton University class reunion this weekend. (Never before did I wish I went to an Ivy…) Dom retweeted it saying that he loves the colors. At first all I could think about was that in a month from today, I’ll be picking Amanda up at the airport and we’ll be headed to San Francisco. That thought alone made me smile. I can’t wait to see Amanda, our friends, and yes – the band.

Dom says he loves these colors. To me, they are joy and happiness.

I am no different from any other fan. I’m excited to go see the band in July. On one hand, I feel like I’m going to be seeing old friends that weekend, and on the other, I sound like a hopelessly deluded fan. They don’t know me. I only know them from their posters. Yet it all feels so familiar after thirty—nearly forty—years.  I can’t help but feel that way. Yes, I hope to at least make eye contact long enough to say hi and let them know they were missed, and I’m glad they’re back.

In many of my blogs, I try to remind the world that to the band, our relationship is probably more transactional than anything else. Very few of us have a real person-to-person connection with them. Yes, it would be nice if it were more than that after all this time, but realistically – how can they really know thousands upon thousands of people?? I’m even shocked when Simon says he recognizes faces in the crowd.  Even so, as I sit here writing this—I’m thinking of how lucky I am to be able to still go and see the band I grew up idolizing, and sure—a big part of me wants to pretend that when they see me standing in the audience, they recognize my face. Who doesn’t?

It is very hard not to feel like there’s some sort of relationship there, just based solely on the amount of time I’ve invested. Of course there really isn’t—I don’t know John, Nick, Simon or Roger—but as a fan, there’s all the loyalty in the world there. Of course, then there’s Dom. I’ve met him more than once. I’ve spoken to him while on a plane and traded emails a few times. Yet every time I see him up close enough to say hi, I’m pleasantly surprised he addresses me by name. I don’t really know why that surprises me so much, because if he were anyone else – any other guy for example – it’d be normal! There are many people I’ve met one time, and then seen again two or three years later, and we all manage to know and remember one another’s name. Yet with him, it’s different. I both love and kind of hate that all at the same time, I must admit.

I just think now, more than ever, if you get a chance to be close enough to say hi, give/receive a hug, or whatever – it’s important to let them know we care. There’s a lot of bad going on in this world. Even if, like 99% of us, you only know them for being Duran Duran, I think right now, it’s good to let them know how much they’re loved.  Love is a very good thing. We’re lucky to have this relationship, however confusing, messy, and undefined it may be. Not everyone does…and these moments are what carry me from one show to the next. The memories of a hug, a hand squeeze, or even a wink from the stage remind me that all is not so bad. So in the moments when I’m struggling to remember what paperwork I was supposed to bring to a doctor’s appointment, or that I need to contact the registrar at Gavin’s school about his high school transcripts, I try to think about those happy times. It helps.

I’m also really excited that for at least a couple of days – I’ll be nothing BUT happy. So the more I looked at the photo, the more I realized that yes, for me – the colors are happy. I need happy. Don’t we all?

-R