Tag Archives: Duran Duran guitarist

Happy Birthday Dom! (2018)

It is Thursday, June 14th…which means it MUST be Dom’s birthday!  Happy Birthday Dom!

I’ll be honest, I could gush about Dom all day, and that could be embarrassing (for me, no doubt). So I won’t. Much.

Dom first performed with Duran Duran in December of 2004, while Andy was out ill. That continued off and on into 2005, and in 2006 when it was announced that Andy would no longer be in Duran Duran, Dom stepped into the role recording the guitar parts for Red Carpet Massacre and as the band’s permanent touring guitarist. He’s been performing with the band now for nearly 14 years. I can say that for me, seeing Duran Duran would not be the same without him on stage with them.

Every single year, for each of the band’s birthdays – we try to write some sort of poignant blog about them. It’d be great to believe they read them, but Amanda and I both know that might be a little too lofty of a goal. So we write them to share with you, and hey – if they hear about them or see one eventually, fabulous. We’ve been publishing the blog for nearly eight years now, and to be honest – I’m not sure we’ve actually had enough personal experiences with the band to keep writing these birthday blogs (but we try!).  This year, I’m kind of struggling over what to write.

The thing with Dom is that I’ve been a fan since nearly the first time I saw him live. There’s something about his being the new guy, and realizing how difficult it was going to be for him to take over for Andy that made me pay attention. I liked that he didn’t seem overly confident. He was just trying to do a good job, and I knew that no matter how perfectly he played the songs, there were some fans he’d never win over.  I suppose I just wanted to encourage him, and yeah – I usually have seats close enough to where he can and does see me. I think he probably still sees me as that semi-crazy person that writes some silly blog for the band.  He’s probably right, but I can at least appreciate that he doesn’t call for security when he sees me!

One time, I got up the nerve to ask him to do a Q&A for us. Actually, I’d asked him to do an interview, which secretly freaked me out. The idea of actually speaking to any of the band on the phone?? Are you joking?!? Not this girl. I hate being on the phone with just about ANYONE, much less any sort of member of Duran Duran.

That’s right. I am a female who hates the phone. I’d rather email, text, send smoke signals…telegraph…sign language…anything but be on the phone. 

Back to my story – I must have spent an hour typing this ridiculous email, asking him for an interview. I assumed he’d have not a single clue of who I was, so I described myself (I have no idea what I said but I’m sure it was something dumb), asked if he’d be willing, and clicked send. The pit in my stomach was more like a sinkhole, and I just shut the screen to my laptop quietly, muttered something about how much of an idiot I was, and figured I’d never hear a word back.

Well, I was wrong. In what I would consider to be record time, Dom answered back. He knew exactly who I was (I still think it’s because it’s difficult to miss an insane person in the crowd, and I’m sorry about that), and he asked if we could do it as a written Q&A. I was RELIEVED. Like I said, not a phone person! This is also why we don’t do many interviews for Daily Duranie. I’d rather conduct an interview in person before I would over the phone or even Skype, and yes I know that’s weird. In any case, I wrote up the questions, sent them to him, and he sent answered them. I worked to edit it all up, and posted it as our very first interview. I really owe him for being nice to me when he could have easily just said no, your blog isn’t Rolling Stone magazine. 

(By the way, Mr. Brown….assuming you’re reading this…you owe me a Q&A. I sent it to you MONTHS AGO, and it’s super short. I think just five or ten questions. You’re not even touring right now…you could answer it over breakfast or tea or whatever you do these days, and send it back so I’d have something exciting to publish.  Just saying.  :D)

A year or two after that first interview, Dom and his dad recorded their Blue to Brown album. In short, I am not/was not a blues fan, but I wanted to help promote and support Dom. So, I dusted off a couple of textbooks I kept from college, and studied up on the blues. When his album came out, I reviewed it.  Here’s the thing: I am not a critic. I’m sure that is shocking to read. I’m not a journalist. (also shocking) I’m a music fan, but more importantly – I am a fan of Dom’s work, and I wanted to help him in some small way. I wrote up my feelings about his album, which to this day I will still take out every now and then and play. I tweeted the review to him, just because SOME people don’t really check out Twitter very often cough, cough. He commented back that it was great, and now if he could just get Rolling Stone to do one, he’d get somewhere.

Of course now when I tweet him about something to do with the blog, I always have to mention how we’re not Rolling Stone…but we’re not too bad for a fan blog!

Compared to many of you reading, I’ve spent very little time with Dom in person. I’ve seen him a few times in passing before or after a show, for example. I did see him one time at a rooftop bar in Los Angeles though. I’m here to tell you that if you are like me and cannot hear very well, it is almost 100% impossible to actually have a conversation with someone in a packed room. I’m self-conscious about my hearing even on a good day, and in front of him it was 10,000 times worse.  I know he said or asked me things during the two minutes I tried to talk with him and I just couldn’t make out what he was saying. That could be why the next time I actually stood in front of him, he leaned over and whispered directly in my ear. (Wait, how did he even know to do that? Does he read this blog?!?) He’s never forgotten my name, and he always has a smile and a nod for me even when I’m pretty sure on the inside he is thinking, “Seriously, you again!?!” (my husband says the same thing about me – so I get it. :D)

I have no idea when or where I’ll see the band again, but I do miss the  few moments during the show where I’ll catch Dom’s eye and make a face and he’ll laugh and do it back. He makes the shows fun. I hope that in some small way I made it easier for him to find a friendly face out in the audience when he first started with Duran Duran, too. There are plenty of people who adore Dom now, and I’m glad. He’s a good guy, and I hope he has a fantastic birthday. He’s loved by many.

Happy Birthday Dom – send me that Q&A!!!  😀

-R

 

Through the Barricades – a Wild debate over Spandau’s new lead singer

In the few minutes of spare time I’ve had since my last day of work, I’ve kept up with posts in a Spandau Ballet Facebook group. Just as Duran Duran fans sometimes find themselves embroiled in debate, Spandau fans are currently going a similar, yet far more intense deliberation. The subject, is  of course, the new lead singer. His name is Ross William Wild, which doesn’t quite roll off the tongue or my keyboard quite so easily yet. He’s young, good-looking, and most importantly, at least to Spandau fans—he is not Tony Hadley.

Whether or not that is a problem, depends upon with whom you’re chatting. Ross performed at his first Spandau Ballet gig last week. Social media went wild, no pun intended. There were many who felt as though he has the potential to re-energize the band. Some felt strongly that Spandau needed to hang it up. Still others have taken to calling the band nothing more than a “tribute” at this point.  (That last one is an “ouch” for sure!) It would appear that either you are “for” Tony and therefore hate everything about this new frontman and the existing members, or you are “for” the newest reincarnation of Spandau and therefore cannot possibly still love Tony. There is simply no in-between. Choose a side and get on with it…or so may seem.

I bring this seemingly un-related issue up here on a Duran Duran-dedicated fan blog purely because it has been both fascinating and heart wrenching to watch the debate unfold. The issues are vaguely similar, yet incredibly different, to some of the things we ourselves have debated.  It has been enlightening to witness the passionate outcry, and it reminds me that fandom is driven completely by emotion. Barely containable under the best of circumstances, fans struggle with change. Emotions run high. Choices are taken on an incredible, personal level.

This claim can be substantiated by recalling the heated debates in our own fandom over guitar players or even changes in musical direction from one album to the next. The fact is, fans are entangled tightly around the heart of Duran Duran. Like it or not, sometimes it is forgotten that we fans are not the band.  Many times over the past week I have read posts from fans proclaiming, “had it not been for the fans, the band would never be here”. We’ve grown up as fans, entered adulthood as fans, we are skipping down the path of middle-age as fans, and it can be very difficult to separate our own lives from the career of the band.  Decisions made by the band, are taken as a direct hit to fans. It makes no difference how pragmatic, practical or business-oriented those choices may be. Fans take each one to heart.

Fans are so personally involved at this point—twenty, thirty or even forty years in, there’s just no way to ignore what a serious change like a lead singer leaving (regardless of the backstory, which still seems to be in question) would do to any fan base. I don’t envy Spandau, they have quite a rebuilding process ahead. It is painful to see fans, completely torn by loyalty—to whom is very much the point of contention here—say that they’ve enjoyed their time with Spandau but they cannot continue on, citing that the band is not the same with Ross, or that he’s not good enough. It is heartbreaking to read posts pointing blame, or completely discounting the work of one young man purely because he dared to step into a spot previously owned by another. The arguments of why Tony left, or who is to blame, will not doubt continue.

I feel for Ross. Like someone else I know, he is the one most likely to “pay” in this situation. He cannot win. Even if he is every bit the singer that Tony is, the reality is that he is not Tony Hadley. He is Ross William Wild. That alone is a sin far greater than any bum note he may ever hit. He will never sing “Through the Barricades” like Hadley, even if he sings it note for note. The same can be said for “True”, “Gold”, and pretty much any other song in their catalog. I have already seen the words “hired gun”, “stand-in” and my favorite, “hack studio-singer” used to describe Ross. Unfair? Definitely, although I know I’ve read most of those words before somewhere…. He’s in an impossible situation because while many have and will embrace him, just as many (if not more original SB fans) will not. Many will openly (and loudly) proclaim him to be nothing more than a stand-in. It is most assuredly a no-win situation.

Tony Hadley tours with his own band as a solo artist, and still sings many of the same songs Spandau will also continue to sing with Wild at the helm. How on earth can anyone move forward under these circumstances? I am not sure.

While undertones of this debate seem very familiar, the truth is— what we’ve dealt with as Duran fans is likely 1/10 of the agony and turmoil Spandau fans have felt, particularly lately. It is painful to watch, particularly since I have some limited sense of what it feels like.  Spandau Ballet as we once knew it ceases to exist. While the band has stood at the crossroad and decided to take a new direction, fans must decide for themselves. I do not envy them.

-R

Vodka Friday Episode 2 – The Guitarists!

Hey everyone,

Do you know what day it is???

IT’S FRIDAY!

That means it’s Vodka Time!!  Today’s Vodka Friday is all about guitarists. Not gonna lie, it gets a little loud, and we let the opinions spew forth.

Again the disclaimer – if you don’t like laughing and you have no sense of humor, you’re not gonna like what you see and hear. We tear it all apart: The good, The Bad, and the Warren.  No holds barred!

Enjoy and happy weekend!!

 

 

Happy 10th Anniversary Dom!

I know that at least some of you have noticed that the site has been down for the past couple of days.  I’ll save you from the stupid details, but it comes down to two things:

  1. I am not a webmaster, tech-geek, web-designer…etc.

  2. I am NEVER MOVING THIS BLOG AGAIN.

Regardless, we’re here…we’re working…I think most people should be able to see the blog now, and for that I’m thankful, even though I’m still ironing out the details of how to get things to look the way they once did. That will happen over the next couple of weeks, but for now, as I’m about to take off for a trip to Wisconsin tomorrow (of all places)…I’m hoping everyone can read this post. In all of the excitement (read: behind the scenes at my house stress), I nearly forgot an important date.

DBF

Ten very short years ago on this very date, Dom Brown played his very first gig with Duran Duran. I wasn’t there for it – I didn’t see him play until March of 2005, but I know many of our readers must have been there.

Dom wrote (!!!!) a very nice post for duranduran.com that you should check out. It is filled with nice memories and definitely chuckled over the fact that his wife Martha knew all the words to the Duran Duran songs – love that!

I write about Dom a lot on the blog, so if he really needs to see how much I appreciate his being on that stage – he probably doesn’t need to look very far. He is incredibly talented, but he also stepped into very large shoes. It could not have been very easy to not only be “the new guy” and learn all of the music, but also be the “sub”.  Yet he handles all of that, plus all of the criticism that comes his way as a result of not being Andy OR Warren with an enormous amount of grace. I have nothing but respect for him.

So Dom, if you’re reading – happy anniversary!  We’re glad you’re here, and thank you to your family for sharing you with us. I’m sure that part isn’t easy either.

-R

 

 

You’ll see I’m right some other time

Last night wrapped up a brief two-date stay for the band in Austin, Texas as they played a gig at Dell World, headlining with none other than Weezer. I don’t keep up with the day to day travel plans of the band (Yes, you all can heave a great sigh of relief because I still have my feet firmly planted in reality), but I would imagine they must be headed back to…well…where ever it is that they’re going next. I’m hoping that means back to the studio to finish up #DD14 (not even going to mention that they still haven’t even told us it’s name yet…if it has one…I hope it’s got one…) and that we will hear that the album is FINISHED SOON.  (too emphatic??)

What I would like to use this post to comment on is not how well the band did last night – I hear it was a great gig, by the way – but instead on a review for the show at ACL on Saturday night. The review, as Dom tweeted, was mostly glowing, which is always nice to read.  The pictures that accompany the article, taken by Suzanne Cordeiro, are simply outstanding – and if you haven’t taken a gander yet, you really should.

The article makes a point though, that I, as one of those “rabid fans” the writer mentions – must take issue. The article quotes, “Also laudable was the absence of backing tracks which the synth-heavy act could have easily employed without complaint from their rabid fan base.” I’m certainly not going to argue over backing tracks, but I am *definitely* going to say that the large portion of THIS particular fan base would (and does) absolutely know. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I really dislike it when critics assume we’re stupid. I’m a fan. I’m not deaf, blind, crazy…or really even very rabid. I certainly don’t bite. At least not hard.

The truth is that we do know when backing tracks are used – we can hear it even if we don’t acknowledge. It is really difficult to stop yourself and say “Hey, is Nick REALLY playing synths here?” when you’re busy screaming for John Taylor to marry you or you’re too busy staring into Nick’s gorgeous eyes or watching Simon’s infamous dance skills, but we still notice in the back of our minds. We might excuse it, but let’s face it – in the very same way that we know when Simon skips a line or fumbles lyrics, we know when something is up with the sound, and to assume otherwise is just really discounting our intelligence, whether or not we choose to comment on it one way or another.

Secondly, and perhaps just the slightest bit more important to me for reasons that are about to be crystal clear, the article says something else that I (and plenty of others) keyed in on.

“…with core members Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor and Simon LeBon along with touring guitarist, now full-time member, Dom Brown the band has soldiered on…..” 

Yes, I did see that “full-time member” comment, as did many other readers and fans. On one hand, the fact remains that even when asked directly, John said that Dom is a permanent member of the band for as long as he wishes to remain. What he is not; however, is a “founding member”…which apparently is the sticking point for many fans out there who still insist on calling him everything from the “stand-in guitarist” and  “touring guitarist” to the less-kind comments such as, “not-Andy(or Warren)”, and “the hired-gun”. Any time the mere mention of Dom being a “full-member” of the band comes up, another fan is quick to say that he’s not a member of the band and that he never will be. The band themselves drive this point home entirely when they post press picture after press picture of Simon, John, Nick and Roger without any sign of Dom.  In doing so, they make the point that he’s “just” a touring musician without even needing say the words. (Albeit a touring musician that has writing credit on more than one of their albums at this time…but apparently that’s different.) For me personally, it makes Dom’s situation with the band seem slightly precarious, because it never really FEELS like he’s permanent. I spent the better part of a year wondering if he was even going to be on this next album because the band never mentioned him, and Dom himself was fairly quiet and didn’t say much about working with Duran – instead focusing on his own studio and production work. Then of course we were slammed with the big news of John Frusciante working with DD, which wasn’t necessarily comforting if you like Dom’s work with the band. (The band did come out with AMAZING quickness to say that Dom was still going to be touring with the band, though…which my heart appreciated.)

On the other hand though, is it possible that the band is finally beginning to see the light? I must admit that seeing the number of people reacting to that short one line comment and asking Dom directly if it’s true startles me. When I read the review, I immediately assumed that the comment was made purely because Dom has been around now for the better part of the last ten years. It’s pretty difficult to call him temporary after that length of time. I assumed that like me, the writer considered him part of the group, even though the band has never once officially communicated his permanence, which is well overdue and would settle a lot of the chatter. It is very difficult to even begin to accept a new guitarist when we’re constantly being shown that there isn’t one, at least not one that the band values enough to include in their press material, merchandise or otherwise. We take our cues from the band, and in this case – if the band doesn’t appear to value Dom, it is no wonder that many fans still think of him as another stand-in or less.

While I have my own doubts as to whether this was a subtle way to really solidify Dom’s position in the band or if it was really just a carelessly made comment by someone who is relatively unaware of the real situation – there is no doubt that other fans saw it and are wondering for themselves if this really means something….and the chances of getting real answers from the band at the moment seem slim.

-R