Tag Archives: Duran Duran music

It’s Got to be Funky!

It’s a little bit late now

Welcome to a brand new week, Duranies. As I sat here pondering what to write about today, (and let me just be honest: I was not prepared in the least for today, and if I had it my way, I’d have called the day off altogether!) I saw that DDHQ had asked social media what they felt was Duran Duran’s funkiest song.

I thought the answer was pretty simple. Of course it’s “Notorious”. After all, Simon pretty much proclaims it at every show when he asks if anyone is ready to dance, and if so what should they play…and then he’ll say something like “Whatever it is, it has to be FUNKY!”…and then they break into “Notorious”. I didn’t have to think hard about it, and started to type when I decided to take a quick scroll through the other answers being offered on Twitter.

Turns out, “Notorious” wasn’t even the most popular answer (at the time), and the answers ran the gamut from “Nite Runner” to “Skin Trade”. All of that had me thinking whether or not I still wanted to go with “Notorious” as my answer. Sure, it was the easiest for me to come up with, but is it really the funkiest? I think that might depend on your definition of funk.

Soul persuasion

I decided that if I was going to write about funk, I’d better have a decent, formal definition. I pulled the following up from Google:

Funk (noun): A style of popular dance music of US black origin, based on elements of blues and soul and having a strong rhythm that typically accentuates the first beat in the bar.

The definition is a little vague, but the idea is there. The music is danceable. It has a foot firmly in the jazz rule book, but the rhythm and blues current is undeniable and very forward in the music. (meaning it is what your ears notice first. You can’t really miss it.) Even more interesting than noticing just how many Duran songs fit into that box, is realizing that the one element found on every Duran Duran album in some way, shape, or form, is funk!

Even on their debut album, you can hear funk in the bass and in the drums. It is there, even when the other song elements aren’t in that same vein. That effect – the melding of electronic with funk, rhythm & blues and even disco – is likely what made their music so special to many of us, from day one.

It moves me into place

While many fans (including myself) have engaged in discussion over the ever-changing musical fabric with each album, the one element that remains the same is indeed that sense of funk. So often I find myself talking with folks about whether or not I can hear the guitar, or the bass, or even synthesizers, when in fact what I think we should really be discussing is whether or not we still hear that “Duran Duran Funk”.

If we hear it, is it weak or strong? Overpowering? Just the right amount? If it seems absent, how does that make us feel? Do we think something is missing? It is definitely worth a trip down the rabbit hole into the back catalog to see just how important funk is to the Duran Duran musical “brand” and to individual listeners, or fans.

If we can lay this down

Obviously, this concept isn’t new. It wasn’t as though I woke up today with the magic formula for a perfect Duran Duran song. Rather, the idea of just how many songs in their catalog have funk as their elemental backbone gave me something to consider over coffee this morning.

I don’t know if it is really the “funkiest” song in their catalog – but “American Science” has a slow, hypnotic, soul, with plenty of funk to it that I’ve always loved. While the tempo isn’t fast and it certainly isn’t “Notorious”, it has all the elements that make it a song worth many listens.

-R

It’s a Lonely Burning Question

Our little corner of the world is certainly small, isn’t it? The longer I am a participant in the fan community for Duran Duran, the more I realize just how tiny it really is.

Unlike most other bands I go to see in concert, with Duran Duran I tend to be more involved. (Shocking, right?) I subscribe to their fan club (DuranDuranMusic), and I tend to buy VIP tickets to most shows because I’m greedy and I want the best seats. I can’t lie about that. The thing is, there are quite a few of you out there – many of you reading, actually – that are right there with me!

I am I myself alone

I don’t make it my business to introduce myself to the “who’s-who” in the fan community. I’m not buddies with each and every person who seems to be attached to the band in one sense or another. I’m not somebody who will go bouncing up to someone I’d call a “well-known fan” just because I recognize them and want to make nice. That’s not me. I hate approaching people as it is, unless I’m comfortable and actually know them.

There’s no way I’m going to just insert myself into someone’s evening just because I happen to know they’re friends with a roadie, married to someone in management, or is actually on “the team”. I would be a horrible politician, and it is very obvious that I’m not the greatest at making connections. All one has to do is look at my LinkedIn to know that I fail horribly at networking. I always assume I’m putting someone out, or that I’d be bothering them. I guess I’ve mostly stayed to myself, as much as one can when they write a familiar blog, I guess??

The thing is, and I’m going to be brutally open about this – the “It” list of fans, you know the ones – they tend to be at most of the shows, they always seem to know where and when to be, and how to get places that normal, everyday fans don’t – aren’t really on our reader list. At least, not that *I* know of. They’re not usually people who will even admit to reading this, or any fan blog for that matter. I suppose we might be a bit too pedestrian, maybe too wide-eyed, and probably far too “Fan” like. With a capital F. I get it.

Got to show now, got to move on

In a lot of ways, I’m more of a watcher than a participant. I remember a number of years back when I was in Chicago for a show. A group of us met up afterward and walked to a local bar. When we got there, the place was packed, to the point where we were turned away at the door because it had reached capacity. We stood outside for a bit, trying to decide where to go next. As I glanced towards the windows of the bar, I saw somebody inside. She was waving at me and kind of laughing. I could guess what she was laughing about. There I was, along with a small group of others, proverbially on the outside looking in. She was IN, along with several members of the band, I might add, and we were most definitely OUT. Weakly, I waved back and tried not to feel like a complete loser. Story of my life.

At every single show I attend, I’ll see quite a few of the same people. Over and over again. I silently marvel at how they’re able to be everywhere. It isn’t jealousy as much as it’s curiosity. I know how tough it is for me to be at the several shows I can attend each tour, and I can promise that from here on out – it will be far less than it was during Paper Gods. (Or so my husband assures) How do they manage?!? Even more so, I’ll watch other fans flock to these people, befriend them, and situate themselves near them. I don’t even know their names or who they are beyond their faces, and yet the fan-community-at-large are already Facebook friends with them, at the very least! On one hand, I’m surprised I don’t know everyone’s name by now, I guess. On the other, I am not one of those super outgoing and bubbly people.

Puts my faith in none of the above

The kicker for me, is when I’m online and happen to be reading a Facebook post or reading through a Twitter thread. As I go through it, I realize that most all of my friends are actually connected, to some of those people I mentioned above. They’re not just “social media” connected, but obviously know them. Or maybe I’m surprised by people who have not really been active in the fan community for very long (not that they haven’t been fans – that’s different), but are very connected to the “A list” of fans and people in the Duran Duran circle. Perhaps I’m shocked when I realize that the reason why so-and-so IS at all of the shows is because she’s married to somebody who works for the band. It could be a million other scenarios, because for as long as I’ve been in the fan community, or have been actively blogging – I know very little about the people within.

I know how people behave as a group. The trends and patterns of behavior are easy for me to recognize. I can, and have helped put together some really fun meet-ups and parties over the years. But do I really KNOW people?

Probably not so much. It is strange how one can blog for eight years and yet really still be on the outside looking in, isn’t it?

-R

DDM Interview with Patty!

Do you ever read the written interviews on Duran Duran Music?  If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, these are interviews with people who can give a little behind-the-scenes info.  They are connected to the band in some way and the interviews often shed light on both the person and the band, in some way.  In the past, they have featured people like John Warwicker who was involved in various designs including the one for the Live from the Budokan album that came out on Record Store Day this year, or DJ and author, Richard Blade.  Now, I admit that I don’t necessarily read each and every one.  While sometimes it is due to a lack of time, a lot of the times the person does not catch my attention.  (I know.  I suck.  I’m a bad fan.  I just cannot do it all.)

The most recent interview definitely peaked my curiosity as it features one Patty Palazzo.  If you do not know who Patty is, DDM introduces her in the following way:  “She’s helped design a lot of awesome DD things you’ve seen around for oh, maybe the last 15 years! She worked with John early on with B5, and on Juicy Mens etc etc AND she launched her own totally amazing tee shirt line, Punk Masters.”  Even though, I know Patty and am lucky enough to call her my friend, I was anxious to read more.  What more could I learn about her, her friendship with John Taylor, her art, etc., I wondered.

As I read about the various topics, including Patty’s love of t-shirts, how she got involved in designing t-shirts and how John supported her work, it made me think.  At first, I thought about my mom.  As many of you know, my mom is a fiber artist.  What this means is that she uses fabric as opposed to watercolors or oil paints to create her art.  She didn’t always use that medium.  When I was a kid, she used more traditional oil paints in her work but she always enjoyed sewing and the use of fabric.  It made sense that her art would go in that direction.  I feel extremely fortunate that I have been able to see the journey my mom has taken as an artist.  I think this interview of Patty does a nice job knowing her journey as well from loving t-shirts as a kid to designing shirts for John’s side project, Neurotic Outsiders to working with Juicy to creating her own line.  It seems to me that all great artists do this.  Patty has.  My mom did, too.  Duran certainly has.  They all experience a real journey.

The other fun of the interview for me was learning little tidbits that I didn’t know.  For example, I love the story about how Patty picked the name, Punk Masters, or how she has come up with various ideas.  I don’t know about the rest of you but I appreciate things more when I know the backstory, including how it was created and why.  Right now, my mom, for instance, is working on a piece for my classroom.  I asked her to create something to capture what I try to do for my Women’s Studies class.  I love that she is not only walking me through her thought process but how she is bringing various elements in.  I’m sure I will treasure the heck out of this piece and I suspect that my students will, too.  As I read the rest of this interview, I felt good about owning some of Patty’s shirts and will gladly continue to support her in the future, not just because she is a friend but also because I applaud what she has done with her work.

So, what about the rest of you?  Own any Punk Masters t-shirts?  If so, which ones?  How did you decide on the one(s) you did?  Which ones would you like to get next?  My suggestion.  Go read the interview on DDM here then head over to Punk Masters and do a little shopping!

-A

The door is standing open

Rarely do I find time to write three blog postings in a single day, but on this Monday, I make the time. For me, this post, which will publish tomorrow afternoon, is about processing, cleansing, and still more processing, I suppose.

A little more than an hour or so ago, I stumbled upon news that another one of our extended Duranie family members has passed. Her name is Lisa Amaral, and I am certain that many of you reading probably knew her. She was a regular on DDM back when it was a busy “crossroads of the world” for Duran Duran fans, and from what I can tell, she was loved by many. To be that kind of person…I don’t know what that is like.

Despite my sadness, I didn’t really know Lisa. We were not friends, and I don’t want to pretend otherwise as I write this. That isn’t the point. I had a great many friends that were close to her, loved her, and are incredibly heartbroken today. Their grief is palatable on every level, and I wish I could hug each one of them.

Back in my teens and twenties, it was fairly easy to delude myself into believing tomorrow would always be there. I only had a few friends that died between the time of middle school and college, and just one that I knew well. It was simple to tell myself that someone dying when they were my age was practically unheard of, unless they were very, very ill. I was healthy, young, and had a lifetime ahead of me.

In my thirties, I lost a few other friends. One that was very close to me in my local MOMS Club, and that was a tragic loss. I started realizing, but trying my best to ignore, that a “lifetime” didn’t mean any particular length. You get what you get.  I watched my own father die from a disgustingly evil disease, but even then, I pushed that thought out of my mind because I was a mom and had things to do. Tours to go see. Bands to meet. Friends to make.

Now I am cruising through my forties. The time seems to have sped up with each passing decade.  I have lost a few very close friends, and seen many family members and other friends battle illnesses that are meant to kill. I am still a major procrastinator.  The saying, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” is one of my favorite. I’m awful.

You’d think I’d learn my lesson, but somehow, I still haven’t. I see friends at events like the weekend in Las Vegas and many times I’m the one standing there…or walking by… hemming and hawing about whether or not I should even go up and say hi. I immediately assume that I’d be interrupting them, or that they don’t really want to be attacked in the middle of a hallway as they’re standing by, waiting for an elevator or chatting with friends. I saw a lot of people I knew that weekend, but very few did I run up to and say hello, or hug, even if I wanted. I was content to either just wave from afar, or say nothing. Yes, I’m shy, but I’m also not very good at approaching people out of the blue.

We don’t know if we have tomorrow. That is a concept I can’t seem to teach myself. I wasn’t friends with Lisa, but I knew her. I knew who she was, and I saw her that weekend in Vegas.  It is unfathomable to me that life can just end without warning in three weeks time, yet it happens all of the time. It’s hard to process that idea.

I don’t like the idea that over the next I-don’t-know-how-long, I will have other friends and family die. I worry that I won’t do the things I should do in the meantime, because it’s easy to slip back into that place where I delude myself into believing I have forever to tell people how I feel. It’s maddening.

For those of you reading who knew and loved Lisa, you have my heartfelt condolences. I am so sorry. A great deal of my friends are posting about their loss, and it is a testament to Lisa that she has so many friends that adore her and are heartbroken.

When these things happen, I always think about how I’m glad I went to the shows I did, or that I’ve had a chance to talk to some of the people I’ve met along the way. I’m grateful for the friends that are willing to put up with me, and for those that push me way the heck out of my comfort zones, too. This time though, I’m starting to think that I need to take more chances with my emotions. I need to make sure the people I care about know how I feel. Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone.

Rest in Peace, Lisa.

-R

DDM Gold Membership Merchandise Wrap Up

Last week I received an email letting me know that my Duran Duran Music Gold membership merchandise package had been shipped. I was surprised because I’d completely forgotten about it!  I vaguely remembered reading that it would take about 6 weeks (after renewing) to receive the merchandise, and to be honest I couldn’t even remember when I’d actually renewed, but I was excited to read that it was on its way.

The package made it to my house yesterday, and it felt a little like Christmas as I opened the long, rectangular package addressed to me. I didn’t realize that this was coming from DDM until I opened the box and pulled out the first item: an umbrella!

sorry about my beautiful place mat in the background

Admittedly, the umbrella is what sold me on the upgrade to gold membership on DDM. If I think of the amount of times I have said that I needed to bring an umbrella to a DD concert for possible use during White Lines…well, when I saw the gold package included an umbrella, we’ll just say it spoke to me. This umbrella does not disappoint and is not your ordinary drugstore umbrella.  No…this thing is HUGE, measuring about 4 feet across when open (from spine to spine across the middle) It is a push-button automatic open (pull down to release and pack away), and feels very heavy-duty compared to the cheap umbrellas I buy for our California sprinkles over the years.  Two people could easily fit underneath, and if our predicted “El Niño” weather pattern holds true for California this year, I am sure it will get a lot of use!

Yes, those are my cat's paws in the background there. She is incredibly strong-willed and not very well-behaved...and very big.
Yes, those are my cat’s paws in the background there. She is incredibly strong-willed and not very well-behaved…and very big.

After pulling out the umbrella and realizing what this package was, I excitedly pulled the rest of the merchandise out of the box: a t-shirt, a keychain in a black pouch, a power bank, a pen, a pad of post-its, and a lyric sheet.

The t-shirt came to me with the correct size, and when I tried it on, it was very roomy. The silver foil looks great, and I’m very happy with it. I’m pretty sure this is a unisex sized t-shirt, and while I’ve heard of people getting the wrong size, I am happy to say that mine worked out just fine.

tshirt

The keychain (pictured without the pouch) has a nice quality silver-finish, and doubles as a bottle opener (they know their fans and I love the utilitarian value here). The interlocking D’s are engraved on it, and it’s already doing it’s duty on my keychain.

my apologies for the blur here...my phone didn't like taking a picture of this one.
my apologies for the blur here…my phone didn’t like taking a picture of this one.

I can hardly wait to be out and about and use my power bank – especially while on tour with Amanda. Seriously, I’m always out of power with at least ONE of my electronics…so this is handy! I like that the end lights up blue and indicates when it needs charged….and truly, it takes very little to entertain me!!

powerbank

 

The pen is a really fancy ball point pen that I haven’t tried using yet…this will be hidden deep in my closet so that my family doesn’t steal this pen like they have my others…

pen

 

The post-its were probably the least exciting item in my gold package. This is not because I don’t want DD post-its, but because I will be afraid to use them for fear of the day when I run out! I’m the same way about the DD wrapping paper and other “consumable” items that the webstore sells…which probably says way more about me than anyone cares to know…

these are about 2 x 3 inches...about the same size as a typical post it. They're great unless you're like me and afraid of using them all...
these are about 2 x 3 inches…about the same size as a typical post it. They’re great unless you’re like me and afraid of using them all…

The lyric sheet was the one real “miss” in the entire package. You see, when I pulled out all of the merchandise and went through it, I realized that I didn’t have the lyric sheet. So, I looked in the box to see if I missed it. Didn’t see it right away, so then I felt around and sure enough – I found it.  The lyrics are copied onto standard thickness stationary that has a beige stippled look to it.  Kind of reminds me of the kind of paper one would use for a treasure map, so it sort of has that “old” look to it.  Nicer than putting it on a standard piece of copy paper, not quite as nice as having it on cardstock. The problem is that due to the way it was packed along the inside of the rectangle box (to fit the umbrella) and now has fold marks. I didn’t really know what I would do with this, but framing it is kind of out of the question now (probably??) since the paper is now wrinkled…but I don’t think I would have framed it anyway because that’s not really my thing. That said, I know my fellow fans. Someone out there probably would want to frame it, and this is likely going to piss that someone off.  I don’t know what DDM could have done to ship this so that it wouldn’t be folded and wrinkled, except to maybe do the merchandise in two shipments, one for the umbrella and hard sided items and another for these lyrics so they could be shipped flat. Yes, that would cost more, but I think that at least having that option available for fans (to pay for better shipping), might solve the problem. As it is now, I don’t really know what I’m going to do with these lyrics…not that I really knew what to do with them before. It’s one of those things that is nice to have since Simon wrote them (and completely mislabeled the second verse as v1, which makes me laugh because you know that he dashed these off super quick!), and now I get to figure out how best to save them.

lyrics
not sure if this really shows the wrinkles as well as it does in normal light…just don’t say I didn’t warn you if you’re still waiting for your merchandise!

All in all, I’m extremely pleased with the merchandise! No, it wasn’t all that important to have, but they’re nice “extras” and I don’t treat myself to DD merchandise all that often (as in maybe once every couple of years!!). Thumbs up from me!

-R

 

Here Comes the News

While I don’t have a lot beyond Duran Duran news crumbs to share today…I’ll do what I can!!

New Gold Membership Merchandise Package at DDM

Yesterday, DuranDuranMusic, the paid fan community for Duran Duran, announced a new “Gold” package membership. At $79.99 for the year, the package includes all of the exclusives from the Silver level ($35.00 a year) below:

  • Full Access to the Duran Duran VIP community
  • Access to Presale Tickets, tour and show updates, set lists etc. when band is on tour
  • VIP Ticket Packages (including amazing seats, exclusive items) when band is on tour
  • Exclusive Content JUST for community members including a monthly band audio interview
  • Monthly Contests to win personal items, signed merch, Meet & Greets when band is on tour and more
  • FAN2FAN Features (Personalize and customize your fan site, create your own fan blogs, journals, and photo albums that you can share with other members, participate in forums, and private messaging)
  • Communicate and share with other Members

Plus the exclusive merchandise “Gold membership” bundle listed below:

  • An exclusive NEW custom designed T-shirt featuring a silver foil design
  • Logo’d lightweight, digitally powered 1800mAh Power Bank for cell phones and digital products (Note: Phone not included)
  • Custom Giant Telescoping Umbrella with new silver DD logo
  • Laser Engraved Logo’d Keychain Bottle Opener
  • Fridge magnet with new DD logo
  • Logo’d Micro Sticky Pad for those “important” notes
  • Grip “Roller Plus” Pen with DD logo
  • Reproduction of Simon’s handwritten lyrics to “Pressure Off” (Not pictured)

This brought me to a quandary. Do I wait until August, when my membership expires, or do I get it now? Truth be told, I’ve never done anything other than Silver level membership (my partner-in-crime bought gold last time, see her review.) Why now, you ask?  I wanted that umbrella. Yes, I live in So CA. Yes, I know the chances of my using it (here) are slim..but I wanted it anyway.  I also figure that chances are, I’ll have learned the lyrics to Pressure Off before the band even releases the single, with this package!  (I kid, I kid!!)

DDM clarifies that if your renewal isn’t up for several months, you can go ahead and renew now, and they’ll add another 12 months to your existing membership date – so in my case, I won’t be up for renewal until August of 2016. That seems fair, but what about the people who have already renewed this year at Silver because there wasn’t a new Gold package? You can either renew again and yes, they really will extend your membership renewal date out another 12 months, OR you can long in to DDM and there is apparently supposed to be a link you can click on to receive only the merchandise upgrade to your existing membership.

There has been a little confusion on the part of members about memberships renewed earlier this year, so don’t be afraid to ask DDM for answers to clarify; although sadly, I’ve also been told that the responses from DDM have been incredibly rude at best. That’s unfortunate given that fans are truly the site’s bread and butter, and it is just a part of customer service. I really wish the folks in charge of the fan community would just LEARN that and put it into practice, and if they can’t be bothered – hire people who WILL. It continually looks bad for the band when the people in charge of their fan club are rude to the very people the club is meant to attract: FANS.

Bottom line on renewals: they aren’t adding extra months to an existing membership, but they’re also not going to change my membership renewal date to June because I happened to renew now instead of waiting until August, either. Fair enough. Sold!  I’ll let you all know what I think of the merchandise once I receive it…hopefully I will get it faster than that 4-6 weeks mentioned, but we’ll see!

Still In The Mix

Have you been wondering what Duran Duran are up to?  Well, it turns out that they’re still working with Spike Stent in the studio, mixing the new album. I’m not sure if they are only working on Pressure Off, or if it’s all of DD14…or something else entirely, but they’re definitely working. AND…if you were wondering if Nick is still The Controller…I think this photo and the caption (from DDHQ on FB) speaks volumes.

"Spike Stent is a very patient man" - Nick Rhodes
“Spike Stent is a very patient man” – Nick Rhodes

The appearance of this photo on Facebook stirred some comments because many (including myself) had thought that the album had already been finished – including mixing – but you know, things change. We’re still closer now than we were a year ago, and surely live dates will be coming.

Along those same lines, there has been a kerfuffle of activity on Twitter today with regard to the single, “Pressure Off”.  As many may have noticed, all signs of said single have vanished from the stratosphere we know as “The Internet”.  Unless you managed to rip a copy of one of the less-than-clear files roaming YouTube and the like back in March – I doubt you’ll find hide nor hair of the song online. So, we all continue to wait in anticipation for the single to be released sometime in July. However, on a recent Katy Kafe, mention was made that perhaps maybe there would be a taste of the song for fans to hear sometime “soonish”.  Not much has been mentioned since the Kafe, but today a fan asked about the possibility of such an appearance, and they were told “Well maybe. but definitely THIS MONTH” by DDHQ.  Listen Duranies, you can take that comment however you want, and wish for whatever you’d like; but I’m going to point out that it is now June 2nd. July is less than 30 days away right now…so when they say THIS MONTH….I think we can count on hearing that single in another month, you know?

Residency?

Lastly, I’ve been catching up on my reading…and with the summer festivals nearly upon us, #Duranlive is coming. Yesterday I caught up with an interview on DTLV with John Taylor done in promotion for their upcoming performance at the Life Is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas. (Incidentally, despite the corny title, “Duran Duran is Still Hungry” the article is very good.) John discusses the idea of doing a residency in Vegas. He likes the idea of the venue building the room around them, and being able to “really experiment” with the performance.

This is something Amanda and I have been talking about for years, actually.  We would love to see them settle somewhere and do a residency. Yes, I’m aware they did one in NYC a few years back. It would be nice to have them acknowledge that the rest of the country matters – or even their OWN country for a change, don’t you agree?  No matter where they chose to do one, it may give fans an opportunity to travel, see the band for a show or three, AND see the city.  It would cut travel for the band, and maybe even give them the chance to experiment with different set lists and even entire performances.  It might even be a great way to introduce a musical written and produced by Nick Rhodes and John Taylor….just thinking “out loud” here…

DDHQ says to be on the lookout for more press now that the Summer festivals are nearly upon us, so keep those eyes open!

-R

January 2015 Katy Kafe – John Taylor

There are times when I’m really nervous to listen to the Katy Kafe. Chalk this up – the January 2015 Katy Kafe – as being one of those times. I know what I’ve written lately here on the blog. I know that while my heart is definitely in the right place, sometimes my faith in the band is shaken, and I just wasn’t up for more of that. But I listened. My comments are typically in parentheses and italicized, in case you’re curious.

Before I dive into the January 2015 Katy Kafe, I just want to say that if you haven’t listened to it yet, I really think you should. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something there in John’s voice that I haven’t heard in a long time. Maybe it’s passion. Maybe it is that he isn’t bored, maybe he’s just thankful they aren’t still writing music??? Whatever it was, I’m glad I heard it. Do yourself a favor, get yourself a membership to DDM and listen to the January 2015 Katy Kafe. My highlights here aren’t going to do it justice, and if you’re planning to see any shows this year…and I hear that there might be at least a couple this summer, you’re going to want pre-sale ticket access anyway.

New Album

John is in LA for a couple of weeks, having flown in after New Years. He’s recharging a bit, and if the band holds up to what I (Rhonda) have seen historically – they take January off and reconvene in February.  (This is my own guesstimate!!)  So what about that new album? John says they are excited, and this time – I can hear the emotion in his words. It isn’t an “excited” like you’d hear at a show, it is more of a passion-filled urging us to stick with them.

“We’re facing up to an end-of-summer release” 

Not the greatest words any Duran fan – least of all myself – is ready to hear, but it is what it is at this point. (I still say it will be Autumn before that album ever sees its way into the hands of fans) John says they are still in process, having finished the first round of mixes in December. Katy chimes in, saying that she’s heard the album (And no Katy, it is NOT unfair that you’ve heard it – don’t let a few wayward fans railroad you into believing that. How can you honestly promote an album you haven’t heard? ) and that she was “pleasantly surprised at how funky it was.”  She comments to John about how it must have been great to record this type of album. John is quick to say that especially today, records have to be molded and shaped, but that the groovy feeling there is inherent…quintessential Duran Duran.

“This is a very important album for us” 

John says that at this point everyone really has to love what they’re doing or else it’s not worth it. He comments that it was never their intention for people to think they’re in it for the money (he may have said “still” in it for the money but I’m not positive) or that they’re not totally committed to their craft. (As a blogger, there are a lot of times when I wonder if anyone is reading this blog. I mean, I can see our stats, but I really mean I wonder if the BAND reads. This is one of those times, as I’ve commented about both of those topics before. I am not without a conscience when I write – I don’t say things purely to hurt anyone, least of all Duran Duran – but yes, there have been times as of recent when I’ve put the thought out there. I suppose I’ve written what I’ve written as a sort of “nudge” to the band, because quite frankly if I’m thinking it – I KNOW others are as well. It’s tough love, but if I can’t be honest, who really can?!? That said, I also know what I hear, and I believe John’s passion.)  John also comments, and he stumbles a bit here, but he says that “There aren’t that many…..they don’t come every year.”  (Let’s just be clear, I think most of us know there aren’t THAT many albums left to be made here. If you’re not already realizing that, you should be. Even if they made FIVE more albums, which might be a stretch to say, that’s a lot less than the 13 or 14 they’ve already released. Capiche??) He goes on to say that he thinks they might even care more today than when the band started out. Back then, there was no sense of legacy, which is challenging for the band. He says the band wants to play to their best. Be their best.

“…struggle to make something that is classic Duran Duran but current.” 

Katy asks a question that I think is brilliant and worthy of a blog all on its own. “Do you think there’s a difference between being relevant and being current?”  John answers the way I would suspect, but suggesting that not everything that is current is good. (100% agreed. I have plenty more I could add here, but I will refrain. I’m already at just under 900 words and there’s more to be written. EEK!) 

They finish this topic in the January 2015 Katy Kafe by talking about the pressure and anxiety of putting out this record. (Again, I’ve talked about this right here on the blog. I have to admit I wonder if the pressure gets to them. The anxiety of having something worthy, and believing they’ve got something to prove – does it get to them and that’s why they’ve recorded and re-recorded?? John clearly doesn’t buy into this theory. He says that at the end of the day, they’ve got to let it out. They had an album they could have released a year ago, but they kept reworking it. (I guess my question is, how do you know when you’re done???) John likens it to cooking a stew, you keep toying with it, adding more salt, more chile, until it’s gotten down the essence of what you want.  (I get it. Kind of…)

Before I forget, they did talk a little bit about the business of releasing a record these days. The fact is, it is a very different planet than it was back in the day of Ordinary World…and a completely different galaxy from Planet Earth. As they finish the record, they do have to think about how they are going to release it. How will they make the biggest impact – the maximum impact.  (Well John, I have a few ideas…one of which involves a listening party for fans…)

War Child Gig in London

This will be a super intimate show that I personally will try not to be jealous that I cannot be in the audience to enjoy. John says that this is a really nice way to play London for a charity, a feel-good all-around event. One thing that concert-goers should know though is that there will be NO NEW MUSIC played. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!) John talks about the various one-off shows they’ve done lately – like those in Austin or the one in Monterey, CA and says that they keep the blood pumping.  He still holds firm to the fact that these shows satiate the band.

Touring

“None of us are dying to get out and do lengthy tours.” 

John is quick to say that whatever shows they do for this album – and he does say they’ll make it around the world…eventually – won’t be like old tours. The way John spoke, it was as though the band is looking for more quality, less quantity when it comes to touring. (Given what John is saying, I would venture to guess that if you’re a fan who has never traveled for a show and expects the band to make it to your town or close to it – you are bound to be disappointed. I am fully expecting to hear whining like I’ve never heard or seen before when dates are announced. Duranies – get your travel funds ready and be willing to go out of your comfort zone a bit. This is your warning!) 

Now, if you were looking for some hints as to what might be coming – John and Katy were kind. They didn’t say WHEN, and they didn’t say WHERE, but they DID say in this January 2015 Katy Kafe that there might be a couple of shows this SUMMER (THIS IS YOUR OFFICIAL DAILY DURANIE ALERT!). Katy has the dates, and while she said she was being as nebulous as possible – the fact is people, shows are coming. Shows are coming!!! (and as a personal aside – if you’ve been reading my personal twitter lately, you will know that these shows will be announced soon. Not because I have an insiders knowledge, but because I just SPENT MY DURAN FUND on a brand new kitchen mixer. That’s right, you all go and buy your summer show tickets. I’ll be making baked goods in my kitchen. Crying.) 

Denis O’Regan’s Careless Memories

Katy comments a little on this book, talking about the “Then” and “Now” statements that John includes throughout the book.  I did not know this, but John and Denis are best friends. John talks about how seeing Denis with a camera makes him smile, and that he was a bright spot during a very stressful time.  John calls himself a sharer, and introspective by nature, and that the book opened him up (I wasn’t sure if he meant this book or his autobiography, but in either case – it does make me at least wish I could afford THIS book.) Katy expands, saying that the book is the most exhaustive photo book she thinks she’s ever seen, and she again calls it a piece of art, saying that she was completely blown away by how well put together and thought out it was. (I have no doubt that the book would be a wonderful addition to any fan’s collection – my only problem with it is that it’s extraordinarily priced, and while I’m sure the most exclusive editions are truly “art” – even the most “mass-marketed” version, which really isn’t meant for mass market at all – is far too much money for most fans to purchase. It becomes a case of the haves and have-nots, which is unfortunate, especially since for many fans, their history has in a sense been our OWN history.)

The January 2015 Katy Kafe with John rounds itself out by the final comments that John thinks Birdman should get Best Picture at the Oscars, and that the album….forever entitled DD14 (in MY head, anyway!)….still does not have a title.  I suppose though, if it’s not done, the band doesn’t think they can name it yet.

Late summer….although John thinks we’ll have new music in the spring….  But hey, there will be a few summer SHOWS!!!

Words and hopes that will get us through the doldrums of Winter, I am certain.

-R

Rio: The Duran Duran drought is over?

I’ve almost certainly lost my DD mojo at this point.

These are words I actually texted to a friend of mine on Saturday afternoon as we discussed going to see the greatest Duran Duran tribute band on this side of the Atlantic – Rio. They were playing at the Totally 80’s Bar in Fullerton California, which wasn’t far from my house.  I needed a night out, as did my husband. There has been a serious Duran Duran drought going on, and judging from responses I’ve seen over the past several months to whatever the band says, or even what happen to say on Twitter, it sounds like this is a full-fledged emergency.

Before I get into whom to blame for this tragedy (I think we all know exactly who is to blame here), let’s just talk about that evening. The truth of the matter, it’s been so long that I’ve been out, I feared I’d forgotten how to dress. I spend my luxurious, fun-filled days in jeans, a t-shirt and athletic trainers, running after a now five-month old puppy before he decides to use our house as his personal toilet among many other equally amazing “hobbies” I’ve acquired in the past four years. Dare I say I’ve become frumpy?!? I certainly feel that way every morning when I crawl out of bed, grabbing the first clothing items I can throw on, not even bothering with makeup or hair product. Instead of just being a Duranie-on-a (short) hiatus, I felt like I was becoming my mother, feeling every single second of my forty-four years on this planet. For a while, I even started to give in, waving my dishtowel as a white flag in defeat, sensing that it might be a while, perhaps even forever, before I went to another concert and screamed for the men onstage.

Yes, I had lost my DD mojo. Most definitely.  There is an intense Duran Duran drought going on here.

So that brings me to Saturday night. Immediately upon texting that I’d go to see Rio, I realized I had no idea of what to wear. Did I even still fit into my typical concert clothing? It had been months since I actually did a full make-up job or worried about my hair – could I still pull it off? Probably not. I pulled on my jeans, noting that I could still breathe (definitely an unexpected bonus), and then tried on a shirt. I shrugged it on, and then went to the mirror to see how bad it looked. I took a peek, and to my surprise – I started to recognize the reflection in the mirror. Yes, the girl was still in there, but what about the band…the real band? I hear we’ve got at least another six months of this Duran Duran drought ahead. Seriously, they expect us to hang on this long with virtually nothing?? No one needs remind me that they’ve done a few shows over the past year – but unless you were lucky to be able to attend one – which I was not, the rest of us are still living a California-sized Duran Duran drought.

We get to the club that night and sit down to grab a little pre-show dinner. If you haven’t been, the menu is filled with delights like the Breakfast Club burger (which has everything including an egg and hash browns on it) to Tater-Tots with toppings like poutine or nacho cheese sauce. They also have drinks that run the gamot of 80’s names. Yes, they even have a Duran Duran shot bomb. From memory it is black cherry vodka with some grenadine dropped into Red Bull.  I am certain this could kill me, so I go for the Richard Blade Rum Runner instead (still Duran themed, damn it!). I don’t even remember what is in this drink, but it was good. I want to say there was something raspberry in there with rum and maybe even some pineapple. Not sure. I just know I drank it and lived, even if my memory did not.

My friends arrive, we chat for a while at our table and then make our way to the front of the club to see the show. I’ve been to see Rio before – in fact I’ve done an interview with them here on the blog as well as reviewed a show, so being near the front wasn’t a requirement, but we made our way as close as possible – which ended up being directly to the side of some speakers. Yay for more early onset hearing loss! The show starts and the band is terrific as always. Honestly, as Tiger Tiger began, I could feel the Duran Duran drought ending for me in very much the same way I felt when California finally got some rain in December. Nourishment!! Relief!! I felt at home because let’s face it – Rio’s set list is vaguely familiar, with tunes like Planet Earth, Hungry Like the Wolf (oh you betcha!), Come Undone, Ordinary World…but they also played Is There Something I Should Know, New Moon on Monday (which sounded just a little off to me, but in fairness I was only getting part of the sound through the one set of speakers deafening me), and New Religion. A full-set of Duran Duran drought ending greatness. I can’t  complain about their show (and I wouldn’t anyway because as I’ve already said – this is the greatest DD Tribute band on this side of the pond, hands-down). For this Duranie, their set gave me a hint of DD mojo back.

However, just as I was starting to remember why it is I love the band, and yes, lately it has been difficult to remember why…I started remembering what I’d forgotten about concerts in general.

People are freaking NUTS.

We’d made our way up to nearly the front of the stage before the show started, not by pretending we knew someone or faking a leg injury, by just walking up to the front. After all, this wasn’t the band. I mean, it was Rio…but it wasn’t Duran Duran. Apparently though, management forgot to mention that small detail to many of the women (and a whole lot of the men!) in attendance. I witnessed behavior that night that I haven’t seen (well some of it I’ve never seen, but I’ll get to that in a bit) in a looonnnnngg time. From the woman who refused to give up on getting to the front no matter how many times the gentleman who stopped her from barging up there continued to put her off, to the presumable grandmother that elbowed me several times, leaving me with a nasty bruise on the backside of my arm to shove me out-of-the-way so that she could lock eyes with “Simon” Jake Jacobs, and the very, very drunk woman who used the stage as a way to prop her arms so that she could twerk for her man (I really wish I were joking about that one)…I was shocked. Pushing and shoving to get up front to see a tribute band? Climbing on to the stage to dance with the band members? Staking out front row spots to have a chance for Jake to grab your hand and sing to you?  Where in the hell was I???  I continued to utter the same words throughout the show: “You know this isn’t like, THE BAND…right?!?”  I can only imagine that the Duran Duran drought has caused this kind of madness.

Don’t get me wrong. Rio is fabulous. They are an outstanding band, and they have a great time doing what they do. They’re true musicians and I dare say rock stars in their own right. But they’re not Duran Duran. Unless of course you haven’t seen Duran Duran in what, three or four years. Then suddenly, this tribute band takes on a whole new meaning – they’re helping end the Duran Duran drought!! They’re the band that is standing incredibly well for the other band that can’t seem to be bothered at the moment. From what I saw that night, the crowd is more than happy to take what they’re eager to give. And then some.

The show had everything from a guy jumping up on stage to take a photo with the band – which was harmless enough, to a woman who helped herself to a free frontal feel on “Simon”. (Don’t even ask…although I wonder if the real Simon has been molested the way Jake was that night. I’m going to guess in the affirmative, even though Jake himself told me that in the twenty-something years he’s spent performing, it’s never happened before that night. Nice.) By all intents and purposes, this very-packed crowd genuinely believed it was the real deal on the stage that night, obviously to the credit of Rio. The tribute band really is that charismatic, and while I stood by mostly mortified on Saturday night, Rio tells me that I shouldn’t go around reminding people they’re not really Duran Duran. They love being the enablers for the fantasy, and the last thing they really need is someone like me screaming “Get off my lawn!” Fair enough.

However, facts are facts, and it has been just about three-and-a-half years since the band toured. It has been just over four years since All You Need is Now has been released. As of spring this year, this will be the very longest it’s EVER GONE between album releases – you want to talk about a Duran Duran drought?? Here we are, people! This is insane. Fans are restless. They need shows. They want new music. The tribute band Rio helps to pass the time, and I’m grateful that they play, but they aren’t Duran Duran in the same way that Simon, John, Nick, Roger AND Dom are Duran Duran (and also to their credit, Rio knows this). We’re not a bunch of teenagers anymore that can still be counted on to be there in five or ten years. Fans probably won’t still be there if the band continues to wait to tour or put out a single or do much of anything. At our age – time is a commodity we’re losing, like it or not. I very much respect John, Simon, Roger and Nick – but I very much disagree with the attitude they continue to expel at every opportunity that they don’t need to hurry or get themselves out there to continue the momentum that they have almost assuredly lost after all of this time. To that I must emphatically respond, “You don’t get it at all. You really and truly just do not get it, boys.”

I question what is really going on “behind the curtain” at times such as these. It is difficult to be a Duranie in this Duran Duran drought at the moment. On one hand, of course I want to be supportive. At the end of it all, I’m still a fan. Disgruntled? Perhaps. Bored? Certainly. But I still care. I want to say, “Take the time you need. We’ll wait!” On the other hand, I’m wondering if they really want to get out there at all. It’s been a long-ass time since All You Need is Now. You can’t even argue that it hasn’t. Why did they need so many big names on one album? Why haven’t they put out a single at this point if for no other reason than to put voices like mine with questions like the ones I’ve brought up here to rest? Why don’t they seem to care at all? Have they lost their minds???  Or, is their collective heart not really in the game anymore, and they don’t know how to SAY they’re done?  I think most fans, including myself, feel like this album might be the last for a least a very long while – and every single time I hear Nick say “Well, we’ll certainly play some shows”… my heart hears, “Well, we might play SOME shows…but probably not nearly as many as we did before” and it sinks. Each time John does a Katy Kafe and sounds like he’d much rather be plucking his nose-hairs, I feel it sink even farther. How does a fan stay optimistic during this Duran Duran drought?!?

Mostly, I’ve lost my DD mojo, and this Duran Duran drought feels never-ending. We all tell ourselves that we don’t mind waiting and that it’ll be worth it in the end because otherwise, we wouldn’t be fans. I’ve been doing that as much as anyone. It is the name of the fandom game – we’ll wait because the other choice is to walk away and not care. I also know that for as many people who will tell me they’ll wait forever for Simon and Co…there are still others who are nodding their heads as they read this, proud of my “bravery” in publicly saying what we’re all thinking. This blog isn’t managed or supported by the band. I am not required to adhere to party line talking points provided by a PR company. I write whatever I’m thinking or feeling on any given day and it’s 100% truthful, even if the concerns are unfounded when all said and done – and with that comes great freedom, if not also a little sadness.

The Duran Duran drought continues…

-R