Tag Archives: Duran Duran 40th Anniversary

Makes Me Curious

Did you listen to the Katy Kafe this week featuring Roger Taylor?  I did and blogged about it on Friday.  Sometimes, a word, a sentence or a detail from those Kafes stick with me.  That is the case with this one, which is funny because it wasn’t very long or did not feature a ton of news on the Duran front.  Yet, it did give one juicy tidbit.  Duran Duran is planning on returning to the studio before the end of the year.

According to Roger, the band is planning to return to the studio for some “fun” (his word) but it might not be a new album.  I don’t know about the rest of you but I keep thinking about what exactly that might mean.

After the All You Need Is Now album cycle, I felt a sort of desperation for the band to keep active.  That album spoke to me and felt like Duran had embraced themselves and their fans.  Many fans seemed to be active on social media and expressed a lot of happiness about their fandom during that time.  While I say that, I recognize that it wasn’t a complete utopia and I knew that even then.  Nonetheless, things felt good to me and I really believed that Duran was on the “right track,” whatever that means.  Then, of course, the time between that album and Paper Gods rolled around.  2012 turned to 2013 then to 2014.  That tiny sliver of desperation I felt seemed to be growing.  I often blogged in response to this feeling.  Many took some of those blogs as complaining and not being understanding of the creative process.  I kept trying to explain that it had more to do with my concern over their success and the fear that if they took too long, the fans wouldn’t remain.  Those blogs always came from love, despite my flaws.

In hindsight, a lot of it had to do with my own fear that the band wouldn’t come back or that when they did come back, too much would have changed to feel the same.  The fun wouldn’t follow.  In reality, this had a lot more to do with me.  Things were not always ideal in my world and I was putting a lot of my hope and joy onto fandom.  I needed to have something to look forward to, something to give me happiness and not much in my life was beyond fandom.  This combined with the fact that Rhonda and I took our fandom to a more serious level by not only blogging but organizing meet ups and a weekend long convention.  Fandom took on a greater role in my life.

Now, we are witnessing the last dates of the Paper Gods Tour and era.  This time, things seem to be different.  On a personal level, I’m aware of what happened last time and how I reacted and why.  I also understand creative process work in a different way now than I did in 2013.  I have vowed to give them as much time as they need for whatever exactly they are going to do next.  Yes, the plan is just to give as much support as I can.  Funny enough, though, the band seems different this time, too.  The fact that they are planning to go into the studio indicates this.  It doesn’t sound like it will be years between Paper Gods and whatever is next.  (While I type that sentence, I hear many of you pointing out Durantime.  That may be true but I, again, will be positive throughout it all.)  Of course, while the band is planning to return to recording, Roger says that it might not be a “new album”.  So, what could it be?

I have no idea what exactly the band is going to be doing in the studio.  In order to figure it out, I have thought the band’s career.  Is there anything that they have had in the past that could give us an idea?  Maybe.  At times, the band has released a single in between albums.  I’m thinking about songs Iike Is There Something I Should Know or Wild Boys.  Could they think about writing and recording a song to be included on a re-issue or on a live album?  What about a album of remixes or another greatest hits album?  While they have never done a real EP, or smaller album, they could do one now.  Maybe that would be good.

Of course, one factor that makes this time unique is that the 40th anniversary is coming up.  Could that be the factor that is pushing the band back into the studio?  Could they be doing something special for that?  What about the idea of going through some of those demos that we know were close to being ready and finishing them?  I can only imagine that the band has a lot of work out there that could be completed and sent out into the world.  If they did an album of those, that might not be considered a “new” album?  I’m not sure.  Roger sure left me with more questions by this piece of news.

While I’m prepared to be patient and supportive through this time between Paper Gods and whatever come next, I wouldn’t mind getting a little something to ease the anticipation.  I’m okay if it is a song or two or an EP or an album featuring previously unreleased demos.  Whatever and whenever it is going to be, I’m looking forward to it.

-A

My Head is Cool and Quiet: The Possible Return of AT

Sometimes, I know that blog posts are going to get little attention.  Others, I know might get a lot of attention.  Some of those, I suspect could potentially get a lot of negative attention or criticism.  This post will be one of those.

As I mentioned on Friday, I promised that I would give my thoughts about the various ideas John Taylor has bantered about in regards to the upcoming 40th anniversary celebration.  Some of his ideas are not very controversial.  Most fans, if all, might like the release of previously unreleased material like Reportage.  The idea of having 40 happenings sounds interesting.  Of course, I’m not sure what would entail a “happening” but it sounds good in theory.  Thus, this blog won’t focus on those ideas.  No, I’m going to do it.  I’m going to rip the band-aid off and talk about the white elephant in the room, so to speak.  I’m going to give my thoughts about Andy Taylor being involved in the anniversary.

Before I dive into present day Duran, let me acknowledge that I am one of those original Duranies.  I became a fan as a kid in the 1980s.  To me, Duran was the Fab Five with John, Simon, Roger, Nick AND Andy.  In listening to those first couple of albums, I can hear the musical tension between guitars and keyboards, which often created the best songs.  In many cases, it is almost like they were having a dialogue through the music.  I felt strongly that this is what makes Duran Duran music so amazing.  It is the blending of different genres, ones that often seem opposite of each other.  As a kid, I was crushed when Roger and Andy left and struggled to love the band in the same way.

As an adult, I embraced the reunion like so many fans did.  It felt like a dream come true.  The Fab Five returns!  It took me until the spring of 2005 to see the original band perform live together and treasured every minute of it.  Likewise, I was crushed when Andy left in the fall of 2006 and wondered once again if my love for the band could last through this trial.

Based on all of that, you might assume that I would be all for Andy’s return in some way, shape or form for the anniversary.  Yet, I’m not.  There are a couple big reasons that this idea makes me very nervous, including my worry about how this would affect all involved, and the acknowledgement of the band’s history .

In case I have not made myself clear, I consider myself an Andy fan and a Duran fan.  Despite that, I like how things are with Duran now.  In my opinion, things with the band have been going relatively well.  When I see the band perform live, I see lots of interactions between the band members and the supporting players.  I see camaraderie.  I see lots of smiles and joking between members.  They seem to be having fun with each other and enjoying their jobs.  More importantly, I see a really tight show.  Just recently, I have had the opportunity to watch some older shows and it is clear that the live performance was not as tight and as solid as it is now.  I cannot imagine that the show would be as fabulous if the band wasn’t happy with how things are right now.  While I can appreciate wanting to acknowledge the past, I worry that Andy’s presence in some way, shape or form would disrupt things with the band.  I also worry that it would disrupt things for Andy.  Would this be good for him?  Yes, I know that some might say that it would.  I don’t know.  Yes, I can imagine that he might make some money through appearing but would that make him happy?  Would it bring up negative emotions?  I worry.

This leads me to the second reason, which is history.  Again, as an Andy fan, I have to acknowledge that it hasn’t worked with him in the band.  Sure, it worked between 1980-1985.  They were young.  There was FAR less water under the bridge.  They had strong managers.  A lot was different then.  It didn’t work when he came back for the reunion.  We all wanted it to be great.  Yet, he left again and I say that not knowing the exact course of action that led to his leaving.  Was it him?  Was it the band?  Was a combination?  I don’t know and I don’t know if it even matters.  I know that it didn’t work.  Why would they want to go through something like that again?  Then, I think of the fans.  Even if Andy came back for ONE concert or to write just a few songs, fans would get their hopes up.  They would start to believe that this temporary-ness would lead to something more permanent, even if that wasn’t the case.  I, for one, do not want to go through that kind of pain and heartache again and I certainly don’t want that for other fans, for the band or for Andy.  The fact of the matter is that I wouldn’t want that for Dom, either.  After all, he came to fill in a huge void and has done it with grace and professionalism.  I don’t think this would be fair to him, either.

I know that my thoughts here are going to be unpopular.  Andy is the sentimental favorite for a LOT of fans.  I know that there are Warren fans out there, too, but Andy represents early Duran.  He was the guitarist when the band broke through and became popular.  A lot of fans haven’t gotten over that loss.  Maybe a lot of fans think that the music was better with him.  I cannot argue against any of all that.  All I can do is express my concern and my thoughts.  I know that this post won’t change anyone’s mind or anyone’s wishes and that’s okay.  I have to say what I think and what I feel.  I needed to express my concern, my fear and those feelings come from nothing but love for Andy and the others as well as for the fans.

-A

Only in Dreams: Fan Wishes for 40th Anniversary

This week, I had a visit from my friend, Nat.  One thing became glaringly obvious within 15 minutes of her arrival is how good it is to be around a fellow Duranie.  She just gets it and knows I get it, too.  Over the course of her visit, we spent quite a bit of time speculating, brainstorming, pondering what Duran Duran and their management could do for the band’s upcoming 40th anniversary.  Of course, we acknowledged that there are already ideas out there.  Some of them we liked more or less while we created our own list (that we should have written down).  In general, it seems to me that all of these ideas could be put into a few different categories.

Before I dive into those categories, let’s take a look at what the band (mostly John Taylor) has hinted at.  First, John made some comments in the June Katy Kafe.  Rhonda blogged about some of the highlights, which you can read here.  The ideas mentioned included:

  • Going back into the studio
  • Working with some unreleased material such as Reportage

Later, John spoke to the press in Hawaii in this article here and included these ideas:

  • 40 events or happenings
  • Could include the return of Andy

I’m going to write about my feelings about these ideas more on Sunday.

So, beyond these possible ideas (please note–from everything I can tell these are just ideas and nothing sounded definite to me), what could fans want to have happen?

Unreleased Material:

Obviously, a lot of fans would love for the band to release Reportage, the album written and recorded after Astronaut and featured Andy Taylor that was shelved.  Red Carpet Massacre was released instead.  Beyond that album, the band also has countless demos that could be released, some of which we know of and probably many more than we do not know.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the band had remixes as well as original songs that never seen the light of day.  Beyond the music that the band has not released and could, I’m sure that there is plenty of video, too.  For example, I remember hearing something about a documentary called “Drama Americana” about the US Astronaut Tour of 2005.  So, let me ask you fans.  Would you want the band to release material that has not been released before?  If so, what, specifically, would you hope for?

Re-released Material:

I know that some fans roll their eyes to having material re-released or re-mastered.  Not that long ago, there were re-mastered editions of the first five albums, but the rest, starting at Liberty, never got that treatment.  Should albums be re-released on vinyl?  What about singles and 12 inch remixes?  What about putting a package of vinyl records together?  Do you think the band should re-release material?  If so, what and in what format?

Merchandise:

Perhaps, some fans would like to have some special merchandise.  I’m sure we can all think of what would make cool Duran Duran merch.  After seeing the popularity of those guitar string bracelets, what about jewelry?  What about a special t-shirt to commemorate the anniversary?  Photo book over the years?  Duran Duran bobble heads?  A special DVD created to celebrate some fabulous moments over their career?  Maybe a DVD with interviews of current and/or former band members talking about their memories?  I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of fans would like something with band members’ signatures.  Maybe a limited edition signed print?  The options here seem limitless.  What items/merch do you think the band should do, if any?

In-Person Experiences:

Obviously, some fans will really want the band to perform.  If so, should it be a regular tour?  Should it be a tour only in a few select locations?  Should it include a residency or a few of them?  Should the shows include a setlist that represents the band’s entire career?  Should the fans have a say in the set list?

What about the idea of a fan show with just members of DuranDuranMusic?  Yes, I know they have done that before and without much success.  What about a few of them done in various places around the world?  What about streaming a live show for people not able to be present?

Should there be other events that are not concerts?  I, for one, have loved the screenings of their DVDs I have attended.  Should the band do more of those?  They do have a number of DVDs that they could show in movie theaters.  How cool would it be to see Sing Blue Silver on the big screen, for example?

I am well-aware that I have listed a ton of ideas and I’m sure that there are countless more than you all could come up with.  So, I’m openly up the discussion.  What would you love to see the band do for their 40th anniversary?  If you could design the celebration, what would you do?

-A

March 2017 Katy Kafe with Simon!

I am late. Ridiculously late. Not one, not five…but TEN days late…..for posting the highlights of the most recent Katy Kafe with Simon.

This is the kind of thing that happens when someone is working and misses a tweet or post from Katy, announcing that the most recent Kafe is up and ready for listening. Thanks to Debbie on Twitter!  When it appeared that I was going to ignore the Kafe completely, she sent a note asking about it. I saw the message yesterday while welcoming my students on to campus yesterday, and made a note to figure out what she was talking about!

I think this might have been the first time I truly missed a Kafe completely, and I’m sorry.  But, without further delay – here are my highlights.  You all know the disclaimer I’m about to write, but I will say it anyway:

These are my notes from the Katy Kafe, it is not a full-transcript of what was said. Often, I interject with my own opinion, and therefore, if you really want the full Kafe, you’ll need to purchase a membership to Duranduranmusic.com.  

Simon on Coffee

Over the past couple of years, Simon has talked about coffee quite a bit in the Kafe. He is down to six cups a day (down from 12, which he claims “…is apparently not good for you.” I don’t even know how to respond to that, Simon…except that you never fail to make me laugh. If I drank six cups a day, my heart rate would be about 175 and I’d end up in the hospital. My “ticker” already likes to go faster than normal as it is!)  But now, he drinks Bullet Coffee.

This is not really a “new” thing, because I remember seeing this little concoction mentioned by many of my friends on Facebook two years ago or more.  Alas, we’ll play along… Simon describes that basically, you brew coffee as normal, then put it into a blender (or bullet blender, as the case may be!) along with some coconut oil (he calls it wax, which does nothing to sell me on it, but he’s right – that’s what it looks and feels like) and some butter (not just regular butter, either butter from grass-fed cows, or Irish butter – maybe they don’t call it that in England?? – or as Simon mentions, goat butter). You blend it, and apparently it tastes good, and puts your body into ketosis, or fat-burning mode. Simon says he likes to drink it before he trains.

I’d like to drink it before I go to the doctor for my monthly “how high is your pulse and blood pressure today, Rhonda?” check-ins. Except I would do it just to see the reaction from the nurse and my doctor. Yes, I’m that kind of patient. Moving on…

Simon on the David Bowie Tribute Performance

For those wondering how Simon’s performance of “Let’s Dance” (which was fantastic, BTW) came about, it turns out that Sterling originally contacted Nick to play.  Sterling plays drums in Bowie’s stage band, and the tribute involved other artists coming on stage to perform with the band. Nick mentioned it to Simon, who was interested in singing. The organizers decided to have Simon perform “Let’s Dance”, (not one of Simon’s favorite Bowie songs). This made sense to Simon though, because it was from the same time frame as Duran Duran’s height in popularity (The Reflex), and the song itself suited him very well.

Simon describes the song as not being easy to sing, due to the massive gaps in singing – the timing has to be just right to keep the song flowing. As we all know (and you can see below), he did a great job with it.

 

After the show, the performers went to hotel that I didn’t catch the name of (sorry, I was busy multitasking by making breakfast for my youngest!), and stayed up very, very, late. He follows up by saying that he is “really good at metabolizing booze”.

BEST. QUOTE. EVER.  Oh, Simon. 

Simon on Music (Italy)!

Originally, the offer to do this show came through an Italian promoter who had never worked with Duran Duran. (The funny thing about this little segue was that Simon originally used the term “agent”…and then said, “I’m not really good about business things like this – ‘job titles’ and that sort of thing!” )

Simon rarely does solo performances, preferring to spend his time working on Duran Duran things and “being exclusive”, but this time, he decided to do it.

“Broken Dream” is a song that Simon completely reimagined. He sings it lower than the original, because his natural register is much lower than what he often does in Duran Duran. He had thought about the musical arrangement, wanting to go with a modern-sounding orchestra and organ accompaniment. The finished product, which I linked below, isn’t exactly as he had originally imagined, but after listening to it, Simon felt it really worked.

As a personal note, I thought it was easily one of Simon’s best vocal performances I’ve ever heard. If you haven’t watched it, you should. 

 

Simon said that learning the words was the toughest part, because for him, a great performance means completely relaxing so that he completely opens up vocally.

Katy said that she really loved his performance, proclaiming it better than the original, and commented on his suit (Sir Tom Baker), and his hair.

Simon on the Upcoming Tour Dates

This short tour began with the band wanting to do dates in South America since it had been a long time. However, the band felt they needed to do something different from just showing up and playing “the same thing”.  He made the point that Lalapalooza gives them access to an entirely new audience.  This does make sense, although as a fan I have to wonder why going and playing shows for their South American Duranies doesn’t seem to be enough.  My guess is that in order to justify the trip, business-wise (and I don’t know to whom) – they need to prove they would be gaining audience numbers. I’m not sure, but I do know that South America is thrilled they’re making their way to see them!

Katy pressed Simon on the possibility of upcoming Australian dates, to which Simon said that dates are coming for both there and the Far East, but they are not yet confirmed.  He mentioned Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore before saying he really didn’t know. I guess we’ll all find out soon!

Simon on the band’s big 4-0

The Kafe ended on a positive note, as Katy asked about any plans the band may have for their 40th birthday next year. Simon commented that this, even with the few dates they’ve got coming up, is their bit of time off before beginning to celebrate.  He continued on saying that while he didn’t join the band until the 80s, they’re celebrating the beginnings of John and Nick getting the band together and that it’s bound to be a “busy, fun, year” filled with tours and “lots of stuff”!

(I hope everyone’s bank accounts and credit cards are ready. Mine, however, are not. EEK!)

So sorry it was so late!!

-R