Tag Archives: Drama Americana

Reading the PIctures

Today marks the end of the set of daily questions about Duran Duran’s various DVDs. First, I asked about who had various releases before deciding which one fans like best. This got me thinking. Has Duran Duran produced all the DVDs they should have? What about music videos? Did they make enough of those? Are there songs that they should have made videos for?

DVDs that weren’t released but should have been

The first one that comes to mind, of course, is Drama Americana. According to Duran’s wiki, “Drama Americana is an unreleased Duran Duran 64 minute documentary film, directed by Gavin Elder. The documentary was filmed during the US leg of The Astronaut Tour in 2005, and Nick Rhodes said on Katy’s Kafe (March 2009) that the product is now finished and confessed he’s very pleased with the title.” I know that the Astronaut Tour was super exciting for me so I would love, love, love to see this. I have to wonder if it was never released because Andy left. There is a trailer on YouTube.

What about the Live at the Budokan from the Paper Gods Tour? We know that one was done since it aired somewhere (Japan, maybe? I cannot remember.) I’m all for live performances, especially for tours that I saw. This way I would have something to watch to remind me what those shows were like (besides my faulty memory!) You can see it on YouTube but I would love to have an actual copy with all the cool packaging, etc.

Besides the ones that we know have been created, should there be other ones and if so, what? Personally, I would have loved a DVD for each tour. Duran already has quite a few with Live at Hammersmith ’82 (for the Rio tour), As the Lights Go Down (Sing Blue Silver Tour of ’84), Working for the Skin Trade (’87), Live in Milan (for the Big Thing era of ’89), Live from London for the reunion of 2004, and A Diamond in the Mind for All You Need Is Now (2011). So, I could argue that we need one for the all the rest of the 1990s. What about that Broadway run that I mentioned yesterday? That would be a cool way to showcase the Red Carpet Massacre Tour.

What about other documentaries? I, for one, loved the Classic Albums one about the making of the Rio album. I know that they have done some DVD features for more recent albums that act in that way in which we get a little behind the scenes of the writing and recording tracks on an album. I wish we had something like that for Paper Gods, actually. One documentary possibility that I think would be super cool would be if they captured the writing and recording process. I just would love to be a fly on the wall to see and hear how it is really done. After all, I don’t think we ever really know what something is like until we see it for ourselves, especially one’s job. (It is a big pet peeve of mine as everyone in the world thinks they know what it is like to be a teacher (my job) because everyone has gone to school. Wrong.)

Videos that should have been made

Similarly to DVDs, Duran Duran has created a ton of videos. I love so many of them and could only imagine that I would love more, if they had done more. Of course, to be realistic, they cannot do one of each and every song. So, I would have to pick and choose which songs are most deserving of a video. What criteria would I use? The songs that would create the best images or visuals? The songs that fans love the most? Songs that are the best representatives of an era or a particular sound? I don’t have any easy answers. Even tougher, what if I gave a limit? What if I could only request 5 more videos? What would I choose and why?

The first song that popped in my head was Before the Rain. Not only do I love the song but I think the lyrics are amazing. I would love to see what the band would come up with for a video. In concert, they used some images of military and historical images, which I thought was cool. Could it be something like the video for New Moon on Monday? Wouldn’t that be amazing? The next song that I thought about would be Hold Back the Rain. It is a favorite of mine. That said, the Rio album already has a ton of videos for it. On top of it, maybe they wouldn’t want to do that since it was a song that Simon wrote for John. What about a song like Planet Roaring? It could be a love letter of sorts to the fans or the connection that the band has to their fans. Again, I would have to think that would be pretty awesome.

Clearly, picking songs that should have videos made is not that easy of a task. The more I think about it, the more difficult it is. What about the rest of you? What would you choose and why?

-A

Duran Duran Demos: Trust the Process

As a Duran Duran fan, what is your dream day?  A dream day for me would end at a Duran show with good friends followed by an all-night party.  The rest of the day, though, I would love one thing.  I would love to be able to explore the Duran Duran vault where all songs, videos, pictures are kept.  Is there such a thing?  I’m not sure, but there really should be.

What would I be looking for in this magical vault or archive?  Simple.  I want to see and hear all of the material that I haven’t had the good fortune to watch/hear.  I can think of numerous examples.  Anyone remember a little documentary about the 2005 tour called Drama Americana that was never released?  I would love to see it.  There even was a trailer for it:

Of course, I’m sure that there is plenty of music that they created that we were never able to hear.  The most obvious example is Reportage, the album created after Astronaut that was shelved after Andy left and with the change in direction leading to Red Carpet Massacre.  If that wasn’t enough, I would love to hear demos of released songs.  One of the best features of those re-released box sets of the early albums was not only getting official remixes but often hearing demos, showing how much some songs changed.  The best example of this is Tel Aviv:

In thinking about all of the unreleased Duran material that exists, I wonder how they feel about those songs or versions that ended up on the cutting room floor.  Do they think they made the right choices with what they chose to be released or do they regret some of them?  Beautiful Colours is a demo that many Duranies have and desperately wish that it was included on Astronaut.  If you haven’t heard it, listen to it below and let us know if you agree that it should have been on the album:

Then, I wonder about the process they go through.  I think many of us have heard interviews in which they state that writing and recording usually begins with them “jamming” in a room together.  When they come up with something interesting, they try to form the song around what they discovered or something like that.  Every time I hear about this process I always think about how organic and natural it sounds.  I get the sense from this that they don’t try to force a certain sound or a specific type of song.

That said, I suspect that there are many steps, though, between grasping onto something cool and being ready to go on an album.  What I want to know more about is how they deal with questions about how they should proceed.  Say, for instance, they have something like a song that they had been working hard on but they know or someone else points out that there is something missing to the song.  How do they add or subtract or change to fill in the song, to make better, to make it ready to send out to the world?  What about those songs that they truly change like Tel Aviv?  Clearly based on the fact that some songs were never released, how and when do they decide to scrap a song?  Then, do they ever feel that they wasted their time?

I can imagine that it must be frustrated to work a song that ends up not going anywhere.  If that is the case, I wonder how they feel about albums that they created that never made it out of the recording studio.  Do they ever wish then to pick up those projects and finish them?  I know that many of the fans would really like them to see certain projects and songs through.  If they chose to just fix songs that were mostly done, maybe, the next album could be released sooner rather than later??

Overall, I find myself really wondering what their creative process really is.  As someone who is also working on a creative project, I bet that I could learn from them.

-A