Tag Archives: Duran Duran history

The Perfection of the Paper Gods Track List

The other day we posted Jason’s blog about how the track list for Paper Gods is all wrong, in his opinion. As I read it, I found myself shaking my head. While I appreciate that he didn’t like some of the tracks as much as others or that he felt the order was not quite right, I believe strongly that the track list is as it should be. (You can read his original post here.) Now, he was coming at the question from a purely musical standpoint and used previous albums as his guide. I get all that but I tend to look at the Paper Gods album very differently. As Rhonda and I have hinted or stated on here before, we believe that the album is about their career. If that is the case, the order of the songs might be essential and might not fit the traditional method that Duran typically uses. (The same is true for Red Carpet Massacre’s track list being a story but that it the topic for another blog.)

Paper Gods

The song, Paper Gods, is a perfect opener to let listeners know or remember about how too much of the public and most critics see/saw Duran Duran. They see them as “paper thin”. Back in the 1980s, they were so easily dismissed as being nothing because of the fact that girls liked them and had posters of them on their walls.

Last Night in the City

I don’t know about the rest of you but this song screams touring to me and I think it does for the band, too. All you have to do is check out a verse like, “I’ve been traveling around now, big world with my brothers, always moving’ to a new town, no time to put the roots down, We can’t stop believing, can’t stop, now we believe in you, Coz when you’re standing in the spotlight, the only thing that matters is tonight.” This track is essential and certainly describes their early years of touring, staying up all night, etc.

You Kill Me With Silence

This one might be harder to place in the band’s career context but it describes someone who keeps in a relationship despite criticism. Couldn’t that all be about Duran Duran with the rock critics? I vote yes.

Pressure Off

This track is similar to Last Night in the City in that it could be about live shows since there are lyrics like, “searchlight the crowd.” Could it be about how Duran could let go of all the pressure to be acceptable to the media when they played live? Again, that makes sense to me.

Face for Today

This song’s lyrics lead me to think it is about the band’s acceptance of fame. “You can fight it or invite it.” Couldn’t that it be fame? Then, the idea of “hold on to your time boy,” could be a reference to recognizing that the fame thing might not, probably won’t last forever.

Danceophobia

Could this be a song about how they needed to be reminded not to take it all so seriously, especially as the early 80s became the late 80s? Could it be a reminder just to enjoy the music and the dance even if people might judge them? Maybe even that they should be themselves, musically? That it is okay to make dance music?

What Are the Chances?

To me, this is the part of the album that represents the time in which Duran Duran has fallen off the top 40 charts and away from the media spotlight. Fame has ceased to be as all-consuming as it once was. Now, they are looking to change the direction they seem to be heading. “I’m just trying to change my luck.” Part of this process includes remembering to appreciate each other and what they do have, especially since they really lucked out in finding each other in the first place.

Sunset Garage

Despite this effort to change the direction that they seem to be headed, it isn’t working much. So, they need to remind themselves that it will be okay. “Whatever happens we’re OK – hey we’re still alive.” They reassure each other that they can make it on their own, without the support of record labels, the media, etc. “..if it all goes wrong we’re gonna make it on our own.” I feel like these lyrics represent Duran’s ability to keep going despite the obstacles.

Change the Skyline

By the time the late 1990s roll around, the band members seem to realize that a change needed to be made. They seemed to be realize that it was “time to change the skyline”. This meant that they will have to watch the current version of Duran fade (the Simon, Nick and Warren version) if it means a new one can be born (current line-up), “An empire in a day, Built on hope and burnt by the sun, But I’m happy to watch it fade, What I can raise it up again.”

Butterfly Girl

While the band recognizes that they need to “change the skyline”, they also need to come to grips with where their heads are at. John Taylor is the classic example here as he fought hard to overcome addictions, which I’m reminded of in the lyric, “There’s only one kind of happy in that glass of wine.” I also think of Simon who, from everything I read, was unable to really write a lot of lyrics for Pop Trash. He was in a lyrical hole just like the Butterfly Girl, so to speak.

Only in Dreams

This song always makes me think of the reunion and of our fan community. Wasn’t the reunion in our dreams for years and years and years? We also definitely don’t want to wake up if it means finding out that the reunion and the return of Duran as many of us knew them wasn’t real.

The Universe Alone

For a long time, I think Rhonda and I were convinced that this song was about the end of the line. Could this be why Duran put the album together in such a way that seemed to tell the story of their career with the Universe Alone at the very end? After all lines like, “It’s beautiful the dying sun, The end of everything and everyone” followed up with “I’ll see you in some other lifetime.” Even the very end, musically, with the choir singing left me believing it was the final curtain that was referenced in Paper Gods. Maybe it is them just preparing for the end because they did add bonus tracks, which could be a sign that they are continuing on, especially that first one.

Planet Roaring

This bonus track seems to summarize how fans still want to see and hear the band live. Maybe, this is why they are still doing what they do as opposed to saying good-bye like they could be doing.

What do the rest of you think? Could this album be about their career? In my opinion, the songs say that it is. Take a hard look at each of the lyrics and think about Duran’s career. Maybe you will see what I see. I might argue that the cover also focuses on their career. (An idea that we have covered already.)

-A

Post DDAD19 Thoughts

Yesterday was a busy, crazy day in my world. It started out by taking the niece back to college, including helping her move back into the house that she will be living in. It was tiring, especially once we got stuck in a massive traffic jam on the way back home due to an accident. As the minutes slipped by without moving, my impatience grew. After all, I had other plans! Eventually, I made it back home where I could join my partner-in-crime with our online Duran Duran Appreciation Day party.

I haven’t spoken with Rhonda this morning but I was pleased as punch with how things went yesterday. We had quite a good turn out on Twitter where we chatted with friends using the hashtag #DDAD19. One of the things I loved the most is how we had some people with us the vast majority of the time who participated with drink suggestions and tweets. Others came and stayed for awhile before moving on to life activities. Some came, left and returned again when they could. Of course, we probably had people who just watched the playlist and did not chat with us on Twitter. No matter how or how much people were with us, we appreciate each and every one of you. It made the day far more fun for us!

I don’t know about the rest of you but it has been a very long time since I have taken a huge chuck of time to simply watch Duran stuff. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do it. I worried that I might feel guilty for doing so or feel like I should be doing twenty-five other things but it did not happen. Instead, I found myself watching and thinking about fandom and the good times I have had. In fact, there were a number of times that I found myself tearing up. For instance, as I sang along to the songs featured in Sing Blue Silver, I was transported back to my childhood watching the VHS copy that my friend, Beth, had. I remembered how we memorized lines and did everything that Simon directed the crowd to do. It reminded me that I have been a part of this larger story that is Duran Duran for over 30 years. Then, the end of the night featured A Diamond in the Mind. As I’m sure that many of you are aware but that era, the All You Need Is Now era, was a big one for Rhonda and myself. Not only did it mark the beginning of this blog, it also included the trips to the UK. Fandom became way more significant for us then. Because of that, that era will always have a big piece of my heart.

The online party brought more than an opportunity to bring back memories for myself but allowed me the time and space to talk with Duranies about a variety of topics. I haven’t talked Duran like that in forever! The best part was how something on the screen would bring up a topic on Twitter that would just flow from one idea to the next. Some of those topics included everything from the movie, Barbarella, to best concerts to how some songs are better live than others. At one point, I paused and thought, “Is this conversation really as positive as it should be for Duran Duran Appreciation Day?” Then, I realized that it totally was. What does it mean to really appreciate something? According to online dictionaries, it can be defined as “recognize the full worth of” or “understand fully.” Does watching various videos from the band’s career help us understand fully their history and who they are as a band? I think so. Does discussing any and every topic help us to recognize the full worth of the band? Again, I say yes.

Here’s the deal. I don’t believe that Duran Duran is “perfect.” No band is. Yet, I think that by understanding them and their history, both awesome and not, as much as possible through watching videos, through talking about, I can better understand and appreciate them. To me, that means that the day and our online party was a big win for this Duranie.

-A

Early Summer Nerves

Every year, I make a Duran Duran wall calendar for Rhonda and myself. This calendar includes photos we have taken at concerts. Various dates are highlighted. Unlike most calendars, these dates are not always national or religious holidays. No, they tend to be dates of Duran concerts we have attended or dates that singles or albums were released. As I turned this calendar to May, I noticed that there weren’t many dates listed.

Why are there not many dates listed on our personalized calendar? The simple reason is that we have not attended many shows during May. Is that because Duran has not played many concerts in this spring month? Let’s check out the handy dandy complete concert list on the band’s official website. Here’s what I saw:

There were 0 shows in May for the following years: 1980-1981, 1983-1986, 1988-1992, 1994, 1996-2003, 2006-2007, 2009, 2013-2015, and 2017-2019. That’s a lot of years that did not have shows in May. What about the years that did have May dates? Were there many shows those years?

  • 1979 – 2 shows
  • 1982 – 1 show
  • 1987 – 22 shows all in Europe
  • 1993 – 8 shows mostly in South America
  • 1995 – 8 shows mostly in the US
  • 2004 – 1 show in the UK
  • 2005 – 7 shows in Europe
  • 2008 – 20 shows in the US
  • 2010 – 3 shows in Europe
  • 2011 – 3 shows in Europe and 9 more that were scheduled but canceled
  • 2012 – 4 shows in South America
  • 2016 – 3 shows (1 in US and 2 in UK)

So, in looking at the band’s tour history, it makes a ton of sense that we would have not many shows on our calendar for the month of May. On top of the fact that there are few years that had dates in May, many of them were outside of the US. The only years that could have applied to me easily were 1995 and 2008. In 1995, I was in college and not paying a ton of attention and in 2008, I went to one of the shows. One. Anyway, I wonder why May seems like an off month. I would get why a band would not want a ton of shows in months like January when it is winter and potentially a tough time to travel. But May? The only thing I can figure out is that they are often really busy in the spring and summer and May provides a break between two really busy times.

Now, in fairness, I cannot say that I’m terribly sad that the band has not done more in the month of May. I know. That sentence does not seem right, but it is. May is an incredibly tough time for me to get away. It is the last full month of the school year and my school district does not allow any personal days after the end of April. This means that if I were to go to shows in May, I would either need to lie (not my preference) or get special permission. I have done that before and it wasn’t fun. Anyone remember 2011? I fought my district for months to get permission to go to the UK for some shows. Eventually, the district gave me permission only to have the shows get canceled. I would rather not go through that again. No, it is so much better to just be able to go on tour easily with personal days or during the summer.

This brings me to 2020, the date of the band’s 40th anniversary. I have no clue what the band’s plans are. At one point, there was some talk on a Katy Kafe about doing something in Birmingham in the summer. I’m all for that!!! That said, I need those shows to be after June 12th and before August 24th. While I’m at it, it would probably also be good to avoid July 13th-16th. I promise that I could make anything else. Not only could I make it but I guarantee that I would be well-rested and beyond excited! I’m even saving as we speak!

-A

Hungry Like the Wolf: Straddle the LIne

According to Wikipedia, the song Hungry Like the Wolf was released in the UK on this day. This, of course, makes me both smile and cringe as the same time. Am I the only one who responds in that way? I’m sure that there are a lot of Duranies who love, love, love that song and others who might express outright annoyance or dislike. Why is there so many mixed emotions, though, within the fandom, at least from what I have seen?

Let’s start with the positives and why this song might make Duranies smile. It goes without saying that this song played a significant role in breaking the band in the U.S. We all know the story. It was all about the video, really, that did it. Before the video was released, Duran was getting minimal attention and radio play. Then, the video began to play on MTV, which I suspect the network was excited about. After all, it was an interesting video to watch with a adventurous storyline, exotic location and attractive people. I’m sure it would got more viewers than a basic boring in the studio performance. After the video got more play, then the band started to sell more albums and to get more radio play. So, I think we can all appreciate that this song/video helped make the band more popular in the States.

Speaking of the video, I’m willing to bet that it is a video that many fans fell for the band with. I’m not in the same boat on that but I will admit that the video is one that is hard not to love. I fell for the storyline and the Indiana Jones vibe with it, not to mention how good all the guys look in it.


So, if the song and video helped the band reach tremendous success and made people fans, why do so many cringe now when they hear it? If I had to summarize what I think the reason is in one sentence, I would mention how it is too often the ONLY song/video that people think when they did Duran. Let me give a couple of examples to prove my point. Recently, my school had a staff development day. The administration decided to welcome us to the day by playing songs to represent the staff. My song? Of course, it was Hungry Like the Wolf. People know I’m a Duran fan and the only song they could think of was that. Then, I think about the various Howl at the Moons I have been in. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Howl at the Moon is a chain of dueling piano bars where the audience makes requests and the musicians play them. Whenever I have asked for Duran, the song that has always been chosen is HLTW.

Then, there is the fact that Hungry Like the Wolf is the song Duran Duran has played most in concert, according to Setlist.fm. Why is that a problem? I think it frustrates some fans that the song is almost always played. Setlists are not limitless. The band cannot play as many songs as they want. They have to limit the number for obvious reasons. If the band didn’t always include HLTW, they could add a different song in its place. Fans could hear something different. Now, the reason that is often played include what I mentioned above. Fans get it but they aren’t always thrilled about it. All that said, in fairness, the band has tried to change it up a bit throughout the years as seen by the following videos:


There have been times that I really got annoyed when the song appeared in the setlist and allowed it to sap some of my enthusiasm. Now, I just try to remind myself that the song is played because it is well-known by fans and non-fans alike. It is a song that is significant to the band’s history and success. I cannot ignore that. Would I like something different in the setlist? Sure but it is not going to happen so I would be smart just to accept that and try to appreciate it. Of course, it really helps now that there is a lot of DoJo during the song. For some reason, that really helps make it better…

What about the rest of you? How are you feeling bout Hungry Like the Wolf these days?

-A

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