Tag Archives: Duran Duran history

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

13 Years Ago…Outstanding Contribution Award

Fun fact:  I typically do Friday’s blog on Thursday night.  I do not have time to blog Friday morning before I go to work.  Sometimes, I plan ahead in my mind about what to blog about and other times the topic hits me when I sit down to type.  In this case, I knew that I needed fun, something light-hearted.  My Thursday was a little rough, to say the least.

In looking at this day in Duran history, I realized that Duran Duran received the Outstanding Contribution to Music Awards at the Brits in 2004.  I remember seeing the clip below in the summer of 2004.  I felt proud of them and proud to be a fan of theirs in watching.  Their speech as well as their performance clearly showed them to be the intelligent, articulate, professional musicians that they are.  In watching it, I recall thinking to myself that I have no idea how people cannot see their greatness.  See for yourself below:

The first aspect of this clip that I love is the montage in the beginning, showing clips throughout the band’s history.  Of course, they skipped some years and eras but I still love seeing the band’s accomplishments shown like that.  Tell me that I’m not the only one!

Then, Justin Timberlake reads a blurb about the band that shows off much of what makes Duran great.  He mentions everything from bringing in different genres, writing and performing their own music and embracing the music video.  Again, like the montage, I appreciate all that this description includes.

Lastly, the band clearly prepared and practiced a solid acceptance speech.  I like how they included so much in what they said.  Not only did they mention their influences, families and people who worked with and for them, they also acknowledged the fans. At that moment, I recognized that they, too, felt proud in their accomplishments.  At the same time, they appreciated who helped them get to where they are,.

After watching this clip again, I definitely believe that I chose well.  The clip made me smile and helped me escape the crazy, crappy day I had.  It also gave me the chance to silently congratulate Duran Duran once again from my own house, even 13 years later.

-A

I’m Looking Out the Window…

I hate February.  I think I say that every year.  If you went back and looked at blog plots from February from last year or the year before or the year before that, etc., I’m sure there are sentences that are very similar to my first sentence.  My students are going a little stir crazy as it has been months of cold temperatures and little sunshine.  I’m dying for spring break but it is months away.

In thinking about this, I realized that the last few Februarys have also been quiet on the Duran front, too.  The band has not toured during the month of February since 2005.  Yes, they have played a few shows here and there in February but not a real tour.  Before that, they did play a few shows in February in 2001 and 1993 with longer tours only during the years of 1994, 1989, and of course, 1984.

Ah, yes, 1984 is the year of Duran-mania.  We all know about that year, that tour.  After all, we all saw Sing Blue Silver, right?  This scene always pops in my head when I think about Duran touring during the winter:

I bet that drive to Pittsburg (That is where they were headed in that scene, right?!) was a tough one.  (I recently drove right past Pittsburgh in the middle of the night in the worst fog ever so I can relate.)  In watching that scene, I always wondered if they feared that they wouldn’t make that show.  This, of course, makes me consider why they might not schedule many tours during February.

Winter can be harsh.  Traveling is certainly unpredictable during the this season.  I worried about the weather in making plans to see Duran around New Year’s in DC.  What if the weather sucked and flights got canceled?  What if I couldn’t get to O’Hare?  I had the same concerns in 2008 when I went to a few shows in the Northeast during December.  Luckily, the weather cooperated both times.

I guess the band could tour just in warm places during the winter in order to avoid potential weather pitfalls.  Then, they would be assured that they could get to the shows  without a problem.  That said, others might not be able to get to those shows as easily.  Perhaps, they realize that there is a group of Duranies who are willing to travel to see them when they can.  Their audiences are not just made up of local or nearby fans.  Some part of the crowd consists of people who traveled to go.  Therefore, tours during the winter could be problematic.

Really, I have no idea why Duran has not toured in the winter in the last ten plus years.  It could be that weather factor or something else.  As much as I understand the potential reason(s) why, I find myself wishing that there were shows coming up in a week or two.  Maybe, it is just that I’m anxious for the shows in March.  Perhaps, I just want a break from a reality that is beyond exhausting at this point.  Whatever the reason, I’ll try to hang in here until the shows get started.

-A

All Looks So Familiar

Happy Friday everyone!  I know that I have promised you all a rubric, or means of evaluating Duran Duran concerts and I plan on doing that, but I cannot produce that tonight.  As usual, this week kicked my ass and I haven’t had time to finish the rubric yet.  I expect to get it done sometime this weekend.  I wish I had finished, though, as I am sitting here struggling with what to write about.  That’s weird for me.  I normally have ideas upon ideas.  I blame being tired and feeling old.  I’m so old, in fact, that my niece turned 18 yesterday.  18!  How did that happen?!

I think back to January 12, 1999, and how very different my life is now compared to then.  In 1999, after having substitute taught, I anxiously hoped for a full time teaching job.  Funny enough, the day after my niece was born, I received an offer for a semester long teaching position.  I did not hesitate to take it and did not look back.  While I have had moments (sometimes many moments) questioning this career decision, in reality, I have identified as a teacher since then.  Teaching is a huge part of who I am.  In 1999, I was so focused on teaching that I didn’t even think about fandom at all.  In fact, I had no idea what Duran Duran was even doing!  I know, I know.  For shame!

Part of me looks back and is very sorry that I missed out on so much Duran history.  I could have seen shows on the Pop Trash tour.  I could have seen John Taylor solo shows (which I actually regret more!  I am a bad Duranie!).  Another part of me definitely does not believe that I made the wrong decision.  I needed to focus on getting a job, getting settled, really learning how to be a teacher.  While education classes are great, one does not know how to teach until one actually does it.  I learned that quickly in my first semester teaching.  I had to be intensely focused on the job to get decent at it.  It would take years before I felt that I was a competent or good teacher.  Yes, sometimes, one must be laser focused.

This brings me back to Duran Duran.  I suspect that the band was pretty dang focused on writing and making music during the first months of its existence.  I bet they ate, slept, and breathed Duran Duran for years after the band formed and after each member joined.  If they didn’t, I suspect that they wouldn’t have been as successful as they were.  They wouldn’t be as good.  Just look at how many albums and videos (and quality ones at that!) they created in such a short time span.  They were extremely prolific in the early 1980s.  I think it is pretty normal for people to emphasize their career when it is beginning.  The band did.  I did.

As time went by, teaching became second nature to me.  I began to develop skills to think on my feet in a different way than I could as a first year, second year or third year teacher, for example.  Day-to-day tasks got easier.  I got faster as creating curriculum and knew how to deal with students and parents better.  I learned.  I learned a lot.  I bet the same is true for Duran Duran.  Things that probably once took a lot of time and effort to do now potentially comes easily. For example, I wonder how they felt when they had the first interviews.  If you have seen the first known interview, which I have included below, they look awkward, uncertain, nervous.

Compare that interview to the one Simon did this week on an Italian TV show:

http://www.video.mediaset.it/video/music/clip/la-canzone-della-vita_680332.html

Even with the translation over him, you can tell how at ease he seems.  Likewise, John Taylor also seems relaxed in this interview from this week:

As I became an experienced teacher and got more comfortable with my skills, I found myself with more free time and the chance to do other activities, including this blog!  I didn’t need to focus on my career 24/7.  I could and did broaden my interests and activities.  The same seems to be true for the band.  They do not live and breathe Duran like they once did.  As a fan part of me wishes that they would.  They could produce more music or make more videos.  Yet, I do believe that they should be able to have time away from their careers just like I deserve vacations or any of you do.

Funny enough, even during their time away, they are not that far away from their career.  John did an interview for For Bass Players Only.  Simon was performing for that Italian show, which you can see here.  I sort of feel the same way about teaching.  While I love getting away from the job and being able to explore something new, I know that the teacher in me is never that far away.

-A

A Break in Time

How many of you follow Duran Duran’s social media?  If you are reading this, my guess is that most of you do.  Why?  Do you follow their Twitter account in order to get news and updates?  Is their Facebook page one that you follow in order to get features like “Facebook Page of the Week” or “Watch It Wednesday”?  Perhaps, you like all of the above.  Maybe the big goal is simply to know when a new album will come out or when new tour dates are announced and the rest you just skip over.

I’ll be honest.  I follow the band’s social media mostly for news.  For example, this week, DDHQ posted the video of Duran Duran and Chic singing “Good Times” on stage together during this recent tour again with a statement about how this should happen again.  It got me thinking, wondering.  Was this post to prepare us for news of that rumored East Coast date?  During the latest Kafe, there was some implying that Australian dates with Nile Rodgers were set up for 2017.  Could that post be hinting about that?  I wonder.

Does this mean that I skip the other parts?  Sometimes I do.  I know.  Shocking.  The horror.  Shame on me.  I’m pretty busy so I always have to limit what I look at on social media or how often I even check out the online world.  While I like that DDHQ shares a “Facebook Page of the Week” unless I’m really into it, I might not check it out.  Sometimes, I have already liked the page that they share.  That said, sometimes, the posts/features that are shared that I might skip over from time to time catch my attention.

This past week, the photo below was shared:

Duran 87

While good Duran pictures always grab my attention, this picture make me think.  First, it made me think of the different Duran “eras”.  When we look back at their legendary career, I think we can all acknowledge that there were many eras.  For example, we are in the midst of the Paper Gods Era.  Before that, we experienced the All You Need Is Now Era.  Just like with all types of history, once enough time has passed, people can examine those different time periods.  We can decide what went well and what didn’t.  Heck, people can and do this with their own lives.

Looking back, then, fans can pick out their favorite era(s) and the reasons behind those favorites.  Maybe, one’s favorite era is the Rio era because s/he love the videos from that time and became a fan then.  Others might choose the Medazzaland era for the experimental music.  Then again, others might still claim that the current era is their favorite.  I know my gut instinct is always to say the current one is the one I like best.  Can I judge a current Duran cycle as well as I can older ones, though?  I don’t think so.  I need time and context to really analyze it.

Then, of course, there might be some discussion about what the different eras are.  While my first response is to declare each era to be based on the studio album released at the time, I recognize that it isn’t that simple.  Where would Wild Boys and A View to a Kill fit in?  Do they go with the Seven and the Ragged Tiger era?  Are the Power Station/Arcadia side projects a separate era?  Duran played a mini-tour in 2009.  Do those shows connect with the Red Carpet Massacre album or the All You Need Is Now album?  What about the Fan Show of 2007?  A CD was played with new tracks off of RCM but that was months before the album release.

What do you think?  What are the different Duran eras?  When do they stop and start?  Then, after deciding that, which one is your favorite and why?

-A

Today in Duran History: One Night Only 2011

Five years ago today, Duran Duran performed for One Night Only at ITV Studios in London.  The premise of the show is simple.  The band plays songs from their entire 30 plus career in front of a live audience in between getting some history on the band through pictures, interviews, etc.  You can see the entire show here:

I absolutely adore shows like this one!  I like shows that balance between history/interviews and live songs.  Shows like this remind me of the true phenomenon that was/is Duran Duran.  They had such a huge impact on the music industry and on their fans’ lives.  I love seeing that through video footage like this!

This show also reminded me of what life was like at this time, during the All You Need Is Now time period.  For many fans, it felt like Duran had really returned after a strange turn with Red Carpet Massacre and this marked the return to normal.  It felt like Duran was really embracing who and what they are and many/most fans were eating it up.  We couldn’t get enough!  It seemed like everything was going right for the band!!!  For me, personally, the band was what was holding me up as so many other aspects of my life were a mess.

After watching this, what parts were your favorite?  What did you think of the show as a whole?

-A

The Aftermath of Moments as They Pass

The title is one of my favorite lyrics in any of the songs off of Paper Gods.  It seemed particularly fitting about this blog topic.  Before I dive in, though, I want to say that I wasn’t planning on writing anything for today.  It has been super busy and I worked like 12 hours yesterday.  However, yesterday was more than just work.  It was an anniversary of sorts, which motivated me to write this little blog post.

September 24, 2004.  I knew then that September 24th would be an exciting day.  I didn’t quite realize that it would have the impact that it did, though.  You see on that date, 11 years ago, I flew from Chicago to New Orleans to attend Friends of Mine:  The Duran Duran Fans Convention.  I was hoping to meet some cool people, have a ton of fun and talk lots about Duran.  That convention did all of that and then some.  You see on that first day at the convention I met Rhonda.  We had exchanges some comments and whatnot on the DuranDuranFans message board.  Yet, I wouldn’t say that I felt close to her in any way shape or form.  I knew who she was and maybe she knew who I was.  I don’t know.  During that weekend, I had the chance to get a real sense of her and she of me.  I think we would both say that we thought the other seemed cool and that we had fun when we were out in a big group.  We might have chatted a little more when we returned but it still wasn’t real deep friendship.  Then, she decided to go to the show in Chicago and somehow, I ended up being the ticket buyer for our little group.  The next thing I knew we were going to be in the same hotel room and traveling to and from Milwaukee together.  By the end of the weekend, I knew that I had found a real friend and a touring partner-in-crime.

What is the point in looking back on all that history, much of which has been blogged about before?  Simple.  I started to think of the song, What Are the Chances, and the lyric I posted as the title.  Is our friendship simply a matter of those moments that happened?  Is our friendship due to random interactions?  It is sort of weird when you think about it.  We both ended up on a small Duran Duran message board.  What if we didn’t?  Then, we both attend this fan convention in New Orleans.  What if we hadn’t?  She decided to attend the Chicago show in March of 2005 rather than some other show.  What if she hadn’t?   A lot of events had to fall into place in order to bring us the friendship we have now.  Things could have gone an entirely different direction with any of those moments.  So, was it destiny?  Of course, what makes our friendship even more bizarre is that we wanted more out of our fandom.  We wanted to study it and understand it.  We wanted to be able to explain to others.  We also wanted to see others connect like we have.  Thus, when see other fans meet through the blog or our meet ups or conventions, it makes us beyond happy.  This whole thing has become something bigger than a blog or a book or a convention.  I’m not totally sure what it is but it is pretty massive.

Yet, when you think about it, there are so many times when things  could have gone differently, that could have stopped our friendship and everything that has come after.  This is when I start thinking about Duran and their history.  What if Nick and John never met?  What if Simon’s ex-girlfriend didn’t work at the Rum Runner and suggest him to audience for Duran Duran?  What if Duran Duran didn’t go on tour with Hazel O’Connor or didn’t get into videos?  What if MTV never existed?  I could go on and on forever.  So many things could have gotten in their way to exist and to reach the level of success that they have had.  It really is pretty amazing when you stop and think about it.

In both thinking about the band’s history and Daily Duranie’s history, I find it all really awesome, if you think about it.  So many aspects, moments went absolutely RIGHT for Rhonda and I to be here like this today and so many moments went right for the band to be here like they are now.  So, I guess what this blog post is really all about is exactly what the message is in What Are the Chances–just appreciating what has led us here and not taking any of it for granted.

-A

P.S. Happy Belated Meeting Day, Rhonda!

Duran Duran History – Arena

The Arena album makes Duran Duran history today by climbing all the way to #4 on US charts on this day in 1984. 1984 wasn’t a bad time to be a Duranie: from MTV to radio, magazines to board games, it seemed like the band was everywhere, and in many ways fans were spoiled into believing it would always be that way. There was little (if any) down time for the band during this period and it seemed that nothing but good times lay ahead. Little did fans realize that with the end of 1984 also came the veritable end of the band’s initial heyday…at least as far as chart success, and the general public was able to gauge.

-R