Tag Archives: Duran Duran history

The Power of Performances

Last night, I went out with some neighbors to see a classic rock covers band.  One of the band members is another neighbor and people wanted to cheer him on.  Classic Rock isn’t exactly my favorite genre but I can appreciate a good performance and knew most of the songs.  On top of that, I appreciated a chance to blow off some steam as the honeymoon with the school year is over.

The observer in me enjoyed people watching last night as I sipped my beverage.  While a lot of the audience was into the show, there was one woman that really caught my attention.  She danced right in front of the lead singer for the majority of the show.  When she stepped away, it was only to buy shots for the band or to try to get on the stage, which she did.  Now, I don’t know this woman.  She might have actually known the band.  Even if she did or did not, I’m not judging her behavior other than saying this.  She clearly was moved by the performance, which made me smile.  Every time I see a band play live, I’m reminded that there is something special with live music that cannot be replicated in any other way.

As I watched this woman along with the rest of the crowd, I found myself missing seeing Duran play live.  I know that I just saw them in December, which really wasn’t that long ago.  Yet, I miss that magic and hearing their music live and in person.  I have no idea when the next time I will see them live but I know that I’ll be way more than ready.

Speaking of Duran Duran and performance, my handy dandy day in Duran history chart tells me that the band played Pressure Off on the Tonight Show on this date in 2015.  I miss those performances, too.  Perhaps, this is part of the reason why fans get so into new album releases.  A new album means new music, of course, but it also includes live shows and TV appearances.

Here’s the Tonight Show performance from 3 years ago:

I don’t know about the rest of you but I enjoyed watching it as much this morning as I did when I watched it three years ago.  Good times.

-A

Signals in Smoke: Comparing DD History and Fan Support

Do you ever wonder if you are the only one to do something?  Sometimes, I think I’m way weird.  Am I the only one who thinks about the band’s history when pondering one’s life?  For example, when I have been a part of a winning campaign and feel like I’m on top of the world, my thoughts immediately turn to Duran’s history.  Is this what it felt like to play Madison Square Garden in 1984, I ask.  Am I the only one???  Maybe this is a sign that I have read too many histories of the band or watched too many documentaries that the band’s story is permanently etched into my brain.  Perhaps, it is the historian in me combined with my Duranieness.  Who knows?

So which part of Duran’s history have I been thinking about?  1986 is the year that I have been thinking about.  It was the time in which Roger and Andy left.  The band was in a transition period coming back from side projects and attempting to regain popularity and media attention.  They tried hard to get back to where they were in 1984 despite the changes.  Eventually, it seems to me that the band members had to find a new normal.  They had to accept that their careers might be very different from here on out.  (Some might argue that they haven’t really accepted that as they continue to push for commercial success that they once had.)  In thinking about this, I try to imagine what they must have felt like.  Was this change so huge that it was heartbreaking to them?  Was it frustrating?  Was there an underlying anxiety?  How did they know which aspects of the new Duran Duran to accept and which ones should they fight to maintain?  How did that acceptance come about?

I ask all these questions in the hopes of shedding light to my current situation.  I, too, feel like I’m in a transition despite having the same career (just like the band did).  There are parts of my life that are pretty significantly different than what they were two years ago.  In thinking about some of those changes, I’m left feeling lonely and a little heartbroken.  My natural tendency is to embrace whatever dark emotion I have and even wallow in it.  I’m trying hard not to do that.  Maybe the band members felt that way in 1986, too.  It is possible that they wanted to live in anger towards their former colleagues or the media or the fickle fans.  Yet, it seems to me that they did what I’m trying to do, which is to hold on to the elements that are at the core while accepting the new aspects to the best of their ability.

When I think of Duran in 1986, I don’t see people who were depressed or frustrated with many people and institutions.  Maybe they did and they just couldn’t or wouldn’t show it.  I can relate to that.  I suspect that I hide my feelings well or shield people from seeing the extent to my emotions.  The other theory is that even if people see that I’m not doing super well, I also seem unapproachable.  Yet, every once in awhile, someone pushes through, sees that things haven’t been great for me and reaches out.

I experienced this very thing this week when I arrived home to find a unexpected package in my mailbox.  What was in the package?  It was from Durandy who said that he heard that things have been rough for me so he wanted to send a little joy to me.  What did he send?  He sent a copy of his book, The Music Between Us:  Concert Ads of Duran Duran.  I cannot begin to express how much this touched me.  On top of being thrilled to have a copy of this book, it means the world to me to know that someone cares.  Of course, the gift in one that I look forward to really looking at.  I have already gone page by page once and cannot wait to really analyze each and every ad and story.  It is a gift that will keep on giving.

So, I guess, just this once, my signals in smoke were seen and received.  It definitely makes me feel a little stronger, a little more supported as I move through whatever weird transition period this is.  It also reminds me of the best of fandom, which is how fans can and do support one another.  That is another gift I will treasure.

-A

Duran Duran History: Storytellers 2000

On this date in 2000, the VH1 show, Storytellers, aired in the UK.  Are you familiar with the concept of the show?  Wikipedia describes it in this way:  “In each episode artists perform in front of a (mostly small and intimate) live audience, and tell stories about their music, writing experiences and memories, somewhat similar to MTV Unplugged.”  The Duran Duran episode was the 58th and originally aired in June 25, 2000.

During this time, I was not paying a huge amount of attention to Duran Duran, sad to say.  I was deep in the midst of graduate school even during the summer.  Yet, my sister-in-law told me about the show before it aired.  She knew that I was a big fan and pointed out to me.  Of course, I tuned in then!  I couldn’t wait to see what songs they would play but also the stories behind the songs.

The show which you can see here is just short of an hour and featured many classic Duran tracks like Rio, Girls on Film, Hungry Like the Wolf, Notorious, A View to a Kill, Save a Prayer,  Playing with Uranium, Ordinary World, and Pop Trash Movie.  I think my favorite story actually was the free association the band did before Hungry Like the Wolf.  While it didn’t shed light to the creation of the song, it did amuse me a lot.  It shows how quick on the feet they are, which I love!

I truly appreciate the little behind-the-scenes of how the songs were created.  It reminds of the Classic Rio DVD, Songbook from 2009 and even what is featured on the extras of the All You Need Is Now CD/DVD.  It seems to me that no matter how many articles I read or how many shows like this I watch, I always learn something new.  This leads me to wonder.  If the band were to do another show like this, which songs do you think they should tell the stories for?  Part of me thought it would be good to do just post-2000 songs but then I realize that there are lots of other songs that I don’t know much about.

So, here is the challenge.  Like the show, pick out 9 number of songs that you would love for the band to shed some light on.  For Storytellers, they tended to focus on some big hits and their new material.  In this case, you could choose any of them.  Here is my list today (note–if I did this again tomorrow, my list might be completely different!):  Planet Roaring, Red Carpet Massacre, Secret Oktober (lyrically), Vertigo, Last Man Standing, The Universe Alone, New Moon on Monday, A Matter of Feeling, and Too Bad You’re So Beautiful.  What songs would you like to know more about their creation?  What would make your list??

-A

Duran Duran History: Violence of Summer

According to my handy dandy chart of Duran Duran history, the song, Violence of Summer, was released on this date in 1990 in the U.S.  Ignoring the fact that this was a heck of a long time ago, I appreciate an anniversary that allows me a chance to really explore and acknowledge one individual song.

So, here are some Violence of Summer facts to begin with:
*21st single
*B-side was a song called Throb
*There are a lot of different versions:

  • 4:20 (Album version)
  • 3:30 (7″ Mix)
  • 3:18 (The Story Mix)
  • 4:56 (Power Mix)
  • 4:01 (Power Cutdown)
  • 4:45 (The Dub Mix)
  • 4:23 (The Rock Mix)
  • 6:02 (Version Maxi)

Wikipedia describes the song in this way:

“Violence of Summer” is a bright, simple rock song, with ringing piano-like chords over a slick bass underpinning. Lyrically, the song plays with familiar Duran themes: of fleeting romance in the face of sexual politics, and mars-meets-venus peculiarities between the genders. Le Bon continues to set these preoccupations into more realist scenarios, challenging himself to leave behind the opaque mysticism of the band’s first three albums.

Also worth noting lyrically, is this tracks return to the U.S.-inspired lyrics of Notorious: “going South where her mother writes”, and “breaking heads in the sugar shack” (which references the cover art of Marvin Gaye’s I Want You.)

It was released 23 July 1990 in the UK, and 11 August in the US.”

I, for one, am fascinated with how the song is described both musically and lyrically.  It is simple?  I can get behind the idea of piano-like chords over a slick bass.  As for the lyrical description, I’m not sure about the idea of “fleeting romance in the face of sexual politics”.  I get the idea of a fleeting romance–I suspect that is why the lyric “summer” was included, to show that it was a short term thing.  Was Simon challenging himself, lyrically?  No idea.

What about the video?  Wikipedia describes it this way:

“The video for “Violence of Summer” was filmed in Paris by the young directing duo Big TV! (more conventionally known as Andy Delaney and Monty Whitebloom). The band, with paler skin and shorter hair than before, plays energetically on a set constructed to look like a bumper-car rig (mirroring the amusement park theme of the album sleeve), while models (including Tess Daly) in platinum blonde wigs hang about outside looking seductive. Newly muscular guitarist Warren Cuccurullo is almost unrecognizable to fans who were accustomed to his formerly waif-like appearance.”

First of all, I find it interesting that the writer focused on Warren’s appearance so much.  I don’t know that I would have ever described Warren as “waif-like.”  Then again, there is a lot here about appearances, in general.  There is only one mention of the band playing live and nothing on the rest of the storyline.  Let’s watch the video.  How would you describe it?

What about chart success?  How did it do?

  • #20 UK Singles Chart
  • #64 Billboard Hot 100
  • #36 Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play
  • #13 Billboard Modern Rock Tracks
  • #3 Federation of the Italian Music Industry
  • #29 The Swiss Top 30
  • #59 Australia (ARIA Chart)[1]

Number 20 in the UK really isn’t bad.  64 isn’t great in the US but better than many of the singles that followed.  Isn’t it funny how what is deemed successful is relative.

What do I think of this song?  It is one that I definitely enjoy especially when I am in the mood to sing aloud at the top of my lungs.  Favorite lyrics?  Let’s look at them first.

Hey!, pick it up
This’ll get you out.. of your head
China’s heading up, by the ratings on a motion
She goes with a real head biker, he’s a metalhead
She looks me up and down talkin’ dirty eyes
Sweet sayin’ boy, baby I can lick you any time.
(keep it up)
(Ha ha, that’s right)
Here we go again…
Bit later…
I’m gonna run into ’em round the back
While all them guys break heads in the sugar shack
Don’t give me drink, I don’t wanna get too stoned
Then we’re gonna see who’s gonna take who home
The violence of summer, and love’s taking over
It starts with desire, ends up under cover
Those lips will make me right..
You may look down but don’t think twice (ooh-oh)
So death is on the way,
So what man? I still want to play….
(oh-oh Yeah..)
One, two!
This’ll get you out, of your money
This’ll pick you up, let’s go!
We’ll take a ride, going south where her mother writes
For bad news catches up, we still got a little time
We made it all so far away,
One thing is sure, we shouldn’t stay
I’ll take it all – China gonna get the run around,
A run, a run around..
The violence of summer, and love’s taking over
It starts with desire, ends up under cover
China, na China, na, na, na
China, na China, na, na, na
China, na China, na, na, na
China, na China, na, na
The violence of summer, and love’s taking over
It starts with desire, ends up under cover
Mmmmmm
Loves taking over..
Yes loves taking over..
Loves taking over..
I’m not going to lie.  My favorite line, “Don’t give me drink, I don’t wanna get too stoned.”  What about the rest of you?  What do you think of the song?  Video?  Lyrics?
-A

Sets You on a Path: Duran Duran Turning Points

Summer means sleeping late, catching up with friends, watching baseball and more.  While I consider my time off to be compensation for all the overtime I work during the school year, I don’t completely turn my teacher brain off.  What does that mean?  Sometimes, it means taking classes or joining a summer teacher book group.  This year, the teacher in me is tackling the book, Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  This dense masterpiece is a bit of a monster at over 700 pages.  As I read it, I ponder Lincoln’s smart political moves, including his understanding of the times and inherently knowing when to push for progress.  Yet, I cannot help but think about what historians call “turning points.”  These are moments in history that shift the trajectory of a person, group, country or world.  Lincoln’s election would be one, for example, as it led to states like South Carolina to secede from the Union.  Of course, in thinking about turning points, my brain immediately turns to my own personal turning points and the fan in me wonders the same about Duran.

Typically, turning points, for historians, are ones that change things.  They are not moments that show the results of significant change or work.  In thinking about this, what were the turning points for Duran Duran?  What were the turning points in my own fandom?

In thinking about Duran’s history, the first moment that pops in my head is when Nick and John walked into the Rum Runner for the first time.  There, they met the Berrow brothers who would not only become their managers but also provide them a place to practice and play.  What if the band members did not meet these guys in the beginning of their careers?  What if they didn’t manage them?  Then, I think about having Simon come to audition.  That moment was clearly a significant turning point for Simon.  His life changed dramatically based on that one action.  What if the barmaid in the Rum Runner never suggested Simon?  What if he never came?  Would Duran be as successful as they have been?  What about having producers like Colin Thurston?  What if he didn’t produce the first album?  Would it have turned out as fabulous as it did?

I don’t really have an answer to any of those questions.  The easy answer would be to say that they were all essential moments for the band.  Did the band members know that they were turning points, that they were so super significant?  I don’t know.  Obviously, I think about John’s autobiography when he talks about Simon’s arrival.  He called his lyrics “poetry”.  Maybe, John had a sense.  Did Simon know?  I don’t know.  I remember hearing an interview in which Simon claimed that he would just going to sing in the band as a hobby but that John convinced him otherwise.

Then, I think of my own fandom.  What were my turning points?  I know that I have talked about falling for the band in the first place over the song, The Reflex.  That song certainly changed my life.  Then, of course, I might pick the moment I heard about the reunion or checked out message boards for the first time, bringing me back into the fan community.  For sure, Rhonda and I might list the 2004 Duran Duran Fans Convention in New Orleans as a turning point.  What if Rhonda and I hadn’t met each other?  So much would be different.  We wouldn’t (probably) be blogging everyday.  The Daily Duranie would most likely not exist or not exist in this format.  Did we know it then?  Did we know that the convention was a big deal in our lives?  I cannot speak for Rhonda but I had no clue.  When I returned home, I had more friends, memories of a  seriously fun time and my love for Duran had been reinforced.  That is all that I knew.

Would I recognize another turning point?  Would the band?  I don’t know.  Maybe.  Some events, I think, are so big that you might know.  For example, if I walked outside my house right now and got hit by a bus, that might be an obvious turning point.  Then, it makes me think.  Is it important to recognize them when we can?  As a historian, I know that it is essential to understand the story of the past but I am not sure that it does it matter in our personal lives.  Maybe, it does.  After all, just like in history, recognizing turning points provides clarity that can not be gathered else wise.  Perhaps, it is the same for people, personally, and for fandom, generally.

-A

Watching Over Lucky Clover

The other day Duran Duran tweeted a question about how they celebrate anniversaries of songs, albums, etc. and then asked fans what DD dates they commemorate.  Immediately, I responded about how I like to remember my concert show dates.  In fact, in our homemade Duran calendar, the dates and locations of each show that Rhonda and I have attended, together or separately, is listed.  Today is one of those dates for me.  On this date in 2005, I saw Duran play in Detroit.  It was the last of my spring Astronaut shows and the end of an amazing Spring Break in which I saw five shows that week.  More significantly than that, it was the first show I saw with all five original band members.

At the time of Astronaut’s release, I remember feeling so behind the curve because I had yet to see the Fab Five live.  It seemed so many other people I knew saw all of them in 2003 or 2004.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards for me so I had to wait until Astronaut.  In December, tickets were purchased and a countdown began.  January and February felt like the longest months ever.  During that time, I kept my excitement about seeing all 5 mostly to myself.  I didn’t want to point out that I wasn’t a cool fan like all those who saw reunion shows.  Then, finally, my part of the tour approached only to find out that Andy had to fly back to the UK to take care of his dad.  Obviously, I understood but was disappointed.  Others around me expressed that while I quietly convinced myself that I would still enjoy the shows, which I did.

By the time the third show came, I stopped hoping that Andy would return.  I reassured myself that this was just one tour and that the band would be back around.  Yet, I was stunned when my friend called the day of the Detroit show telling us that Andy would be there for the show!  I cheered along with my friends and my excitement of the show increased immensely!  Indeed, it was a special show and have a fond little spot in my heart for it.  As I drove home the next day, I found myself feeling very, very lucky to have been able to see the Fab Five live and it didn’t matter that it was in 2005 rather than 2003 or 1984.  I did it.

Speaking of lucky, I believe that I have been a very fortunate Duranie in that I have had the opportunity to see the band live with not only Andy, but Warren once and Dom a bunch of times.  The debate of Duran’s guitarist will probably never die.  While I personally love Duran as it is right now and feel strongly that Dom should definitely be there, I appreciate the history that came with Andy and the creativity that came with Warren.  I know that each guitarist has brought something to Duran that cannot really be measured.  So, on today’s date, I celebrate not only the Detroit show that took place 13 years, but also the guitarists that have been a part of the Duran story.

-A

But I’m Happy to Watch It Fade

Things have been interesting at work.  A couple of months ago, I was really struggling to keep my head above water.  I felt like I was drowning in grading and the pressure to produce “results” threatened to overwhelm me.  It took all of my energy to hold on, to push through, knowing that there was an end in sight.  The last couple of weeks, though, have been almost the opposite.  I’m feeling on top of my work, my grading and able to deal with the pressures placed upon me.  Will it last?  Probably not but I’ll appreciate it while it lasts.

Despite the smooth sailing, there are some significant changes on the horizon.  Every year of my teaching career has included changes. Sometimes, those are small like who is teaching what or what hours my classes will be.  Those are easy to deal with.  Other times, the changes feel radically different.  I am about to enter one of those.  Two of my closest colleagues are leaving.  One is retiring and the other is leaving for a different position at a new program.  This would be enough to shake me but this is adding to another close friend who left last year.  I see my colleagues, my friends moving on.  They are entering new phases in their lives.  I’m genuinely happy for them but I will miss them for a variety of reasons.  On a work level, I’m sad that we won’t be brainstorming how to teach this, that or the next thing.  On a personal level, I worry that I’ll be lonely.  I won’t have people to talk to in the same way.  Of course, I don’t know who will take their places.  Maybe, the new people will be just as awesome but I know that it won’t be the same.

In thinking about these changes, I’m reminded of Duran’s history.  (I’m not sure what that says about me in that I often find myself making parallels between my life and the band’s history.)  I was thinking about how Nick and Simon must have felt when John left.  Did they feel like I do?  Did they conflicted feelings?  I bet that part of them understood the choice that he made as I understand my colleagues.  Yet, I wonder if there was a part of them felt a little abandoned.  I know that I am supposed to take the high road but I cannot help that there is a part of me, a selfish part of me wants them to stay.  Of course, I won’t tell them that.  At the end of the year, I’ll hug them and wish them luck.

Part of my reaction is the fear that I have that my life isn’t progressing the way it should.  Is the goal that I had twenty years ago still good?  Still enough?  Am I jealous that their lives are changing?  Again, I cannot help but to think about Nick and Simon with John.  They chose to stay with the band as they continued to focus on Duran Duran.  This focus is one that they kept for decades just like teaching is one that I had for over twenty years.  Did John’s departure make them question their goals?  Their focus?

I haven’t taken a ton of time yet to process these upcoming changes.  I’m not sure what exactly next year will look like for me at school.  My plan right now is to keep my focus on the goals that I have had.  They might be slowly fading and I’ll have to accept that, but maybe my life will follow in the band’s history.  Maybe, there will something equal to a reunion to create a spark into greatness again.

-A

Time Machine…John Taylor Solo

On this date in 1986, John Taylor’s song, I Do What I Do, was released in the UK.  I like looking into Duran Duran history.  Maybe it is the history geek in me but I think that knowing what happened in Duran’s past makes now, the present day, more meaningful.  Plus, it creates a much needed personal perspective.

It is hard to believe that John Taylor’s first solo song was released 32 years ago.  32.  Looking back, this was the time that Duran was in that weird place.  After all, 1985 saw the two major side projects of Power Station and Arcadia.  It felt like there was a lot of guessing, speculation about whether or not Duran would really come back together to be a band again.  This solo song, I think, just fed that.  Interestingly enough, as a kid, I didn’t think about any of that.  I just thought that this was my chance, my moment to hear John Taylor!  As much as I loved the band and Simon’s singing, I was a John fan.  I soaked up each and every time I heard him or saw him in the spotlight.  I wasn’t worried about what was going to happen with the band.  I read and saw many interviews in which they said that everything was cool and that they were coming back together eventually.  The young me trusted that.

Of course, now, we all know that the band did get back together but things weren’t quite the same as Andy and Roger had left.  We also know that this song of John’s wasn’t his only one.  No, he would go on to write and record many more songs in various solo albums.  In fact, he has so many solo songs that I now am a little bit more discerning when it comes to his work.  I have songs that I love, love, love, others I like and some that don’t tend to get as much playtime.  I have the luxury of choosing among all of them.  In 1986, I didn’t.

You know what is funny.  On the surface in 1986, I was certain that Duran Duran would be fine.  I remember trying to convince others to hold on to their fandom a little while longer.  In thinking about that, I now recognize that part of it for me was the need to keep something consistent.  In 1985, my family moved.  While I only moved an hour or so away, it felt like I had moved to a different planet.  My old home had MTV and Top 40 radio along with a best friend whereas my new one did not.  Kids in the new town had no idea who Duran Duran was.  I desperately missed my best friend and the old life I had.  I guess I needed Duran Duran to be one of those consistent parts of life.  They were like the lifeline to the old world.

When I think about the song, I Do What I Do, I have strong memories of me listening to the song over and over again through newly acquired headphones.  I remember being bummed about this, that or the next thing, and turning up the volume to the maximum, hoping to shut out the world.  Looking back, I appreciate that John Taylor released this song then.  I didn’t know it then but I needed something to help me get through a challenging time in my childhood.

-A

Duran History 2009: Songbook

On this date in 2009, Duran Duran taped a live performance and interview called Songbook in London.  Have you seen it?  Basically, the idea behind the show was a simple one.  The band would discuss the story behind many of their songs then they would perform them.  While there have been many, many, many TV shows or performances that I have appreciated over the years, there was something special about this one.  I’m not sure if it is because I learned something new about some Duran songs, because they played some amazing songs or both.  

The set list for this was as follows:

  1. Planet Earth
  2. Late Bar
  3. The Chauffeur
  4. The Valley
  5. Box Full O’Honey
  6. Do You Believe in Shame
  7. A View to a Kill
  8. Skin Trade
  9. Ordinary World
  10. (Reach Up for The) Sunrise
  11. Rio
  12. Thank You

Thankfully, this show can be found on YouTube.  Let’s watch part one and I’ll comment on some of the highlights.

Part 1:

Like many other documentaries, this one starts out with the band’s history.  While I feel like I know the start of the band so well that I could recite it in my sleep, I never get tired of hearing it.  There is something magical about understanding their influences and how dedicated they were to being a success.  As someone who has tried to organize people for a variety of purposes, I can totally understand how hard and how important it is to find committed people.

Then, to my shock and amazement, they discuss Late Bar!  I love how the Rum Runner and the Tritec bar influenced it.  Likewise, I appreciate how Nick said that when they first started out they didn’t analyze everything to death, which is the mood that produced Late Bar.  There is a big part of me that wish that they could replicate that mood again but I get it.  You cannot go back.  On a related note, this live performance of Late Bar is so, so, so good.  One of my favorites.

Unlike Late Bar, there was some discussion on the Chauffeur, which did not surprise me at all.  One thing Nick said that I really appreciated is that while they were self-taught, the fact that they were such fans taught them a lot.  Rhonda and I often worry about whether or not our education on fandom is good enough since we are self-taught both through our reading and our observations.  Hearing Nick makes me think that we really are.

Similarly, when the band talked about the making of the song, Rio, Nick mentioned about how magical songwriting is in that you never know what is going to get created.  I feel the exact same way about writing.  Sometimes, I reread something I have written and I just shake my head, wondering how certain words or phrases gotten added, gratefully, to the sentence or paragraph.  The creative process is an awesome one, for sure.

Part one finishes up with Skin Trade and the story about how Nick and John weren’t going to let go of the song even when Simon couldn’t develop any lyrics.  Luckily, the lyrics finally came to Simon!

Part 2:

This part opens with a discussion on how tough Seven and the Ragged Tiger was to record and how disappointed they were when the album debuted at number four as they were expecting number one right away.  Clearly, expectations matter.  This was followed up by the story behind A View to a Kill where the pressure continued since they had a week to write it and it was for a Bond movie.

Before the next song, Do You Believe in Shame, Simon shares the death of his friend.  While I definitely appreciated his willingness to be open and vulnerable, I found the discussion surrounding egos to be just as fascinating.  They claimed that the band ego was bigger than any individual so they aren’t too proud when someone finds something amazing to work with for a song.  I know I am grateful for that.  I shudder to think what might have been dropped if they didn’t trust each other and their work.

The logical follow-up was Ordinary World, of course.  Every time I hear the story behind this song, I end up appreciating it a little more. Clearly, it is an essential one to the band’s history.

Interestingly enough, they jump to Sunrise.  John describes it as an “anti-depressant.”  The interviewer bravely asked about Andy Taylor and Simon describes him as “a rock guitarist through and through.”  Fair enough.  Nick shifted gear by explaining that the live version ended up very different than the album one based on audience reaction.  For the record, let me just say here and I’m happy to provide feedback for any future music.

Finally, the show reaches an end with a discussion surrounding the Valley off of Red Carpet Massacre.  What I found hilarious about this story is how much Simon hated it and had a mental block about it.  He didn’t really get what it was about even though John connected with the lyrics right away.  Fascinating.  Sometimes, I guess, people cannot see the quality of one’s work oneself.

Yep, I still love this.  Now, I have to wonder.  If there was another Songbook to come out, which songs would I like to know more about?  Of course, I think about songs from the last two albums that were released after Songbook, but were there others they should have covered?  What do you all think?

-A

You Catch That Mirror

This weekend marks the release of the latest album by the Killers.  As many of you know, both Rhonda and myself are fans of that band. They aren’t Duran to us, as no other band could ever be.  Yet, we like them and we do pay some attention to what they are up to when we can.  As both a fan of the Killers and a student of music fandom, I have spent a little time in between grading to see how the hardcore Killers fans are responding to the new album as well as changes within the band.  The more I looked at social media, the more I found myself smiling.  Why?  It all felt so familiar as looking at that fan base was like looking at a mirror of Duran’s.

So how are the Killers fans reacting to the new album?  Some absolutely love it.  I have read adjectives like “brilliant,” “genius,” and “amazing.”  Others are complaining.  Some claim that it is not the rock music they come to expect with the band and that the guitars are straight up “missing”.  Still other fans try to be a little less harsh with their disappointment by calling it a “letdown.”  Of course, much of the discussion focuses on the comparison between this new album and the previous ones.  It doesn’t sound like the “classics” say some while others believe that fans shouldn’t compare but evaluate the album by itself.

If I didn’t know that those comments were on a Killers thread, I could have assumed that it was a Duran related thread from any of their album release weekends.  Goodness knows that the most recent albums of Duran have been met with both praise and criticism from fans.  As I read, I understood the passion that those fans are feeling.  The music matters to them.  They all want to love the new album and some do and some don’t.  Maybe, in some cases, the fans who love it are not being critical enough.  In other cases, perhaps, the fans who don’t like it aren’t open-minded enough.  Part of me wanted to respond as someone who feels like I have been through this a bunch.  I wanted to remind everyone that they are all passionate for a reason–because they fell for the Killers at some point.  More than that, I had the urge to point out that this is just one album.  The band has been around for awhile now and things can change.  One disappointment is simply that–one.

Then, of course, the discussion surrounding the band itself comes up as some fans point out that both Mark, the band’s bassist, and Dave, the band’s guitarist, have walked away, at least as far as touring goes.  There is concern that the band won’t be the same without them, which is valid.  Other fans feel like they should support those guys’ decision to walk away, if that is what is best for them.  Again, I feel like Duran fans have been through this.  We know what it is like to have band members walk away as we have been through it a lot.  Does it change the feel of the band?  Sure.  Does it mean that the overall feel of the band changes?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I feel like in the case of Duran, the band is larger than the individual members.  The feel of Duran is stronger than any particular member, which is why the band and its fans were able to survive through the loss of all the Taylors as well as Warren and Andy for a second time.

If I could give any advice to these fans, I would remind them that times change, bands change.  What feels like a huge deal right now might not be a big deal later–it will simply be one chapter in a long history.  I would recommend holding on, even if they are not fans of what is going on with the personnel or the album itself.  I know a lot of Duran fans who walked away when Andy and Roger left in 1985 or left with albums like Big Thing or Liberty and regret it.  I know that I wish that I remained more of an active fan throughout the entire history of the band.  I am also glad that I stayed with the band through a rough Red Carpet Massacre period in which I wasn’t a huge fan of the album and even less of a fan of the division within the fan community.  Lastly, I would urge them to try to find something positive or something to be excited about.  It can make all the difference in both enjoying one’s fandom but also in getting through a rough patch.

I will be watching how things go both for the Killers and their fans from here on out.  Perhaps, watching them can provide a mirror to our fan community that I could learn from as well.

-A