Tag Archives: Duran Duran history

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

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