Tag Archives: Duran Duran

Twenty years ago, John plays his first solo gig

I’m struggling this morning. First of all, it’s Monday. Second, in the past 72 hours I have had a bout of food poisoning, had a massive allergy attack, and I’ve gotten a cold. I’d really just rather be sleeping right now.  Today’s blog will be short and sweet.

On this date in 1997, John Taylor was seriously committing himself to going solo. He played at Radio Antenne Bayerne in Stuttgart, Germany.  It was his very first live show as a solo artist.

Flash forward twenty years (yes, twenty!), and he’s back with Duran Duran, getting ready to hit the road for what seems to be the final leg of the Paper Gods tour.

Time flies when we’re all having fun, I guess!  Today’s date in history is a gentle reminder to trust the process. Just when you think all is lost, maybe it’s not after all!

I’m off to begin the week. Happy Monday, everyone!

-R

 

Keep the Rhythm Going

Sometimes, I have no problem getting started on a blog and other times, I struggle.  Today is one of those days of struggle.  I have a couple of ideas in my head.  I started to blog about the first one but felt lost, without a big idea.  So, I scrapped it.  Maybe, I’ll try the second one.

I have a number of Duranie friends on Facebook.  I enjoy them on days like John Taylor’s birthday when people share pictures or favorite videos.  I like having a timeline filled with John Taylor!  This morning, a friend shared a little video she took at a recent show.  I watched the video as I always appreciate a little Duran in the morning, but I also noticed the comments.  A number of people stated how much they enjoyed the video and how Duran always put them in good moods.  I stopped and thought.  Is that true?  Does Duran always put me in a good mood?

Throughout my life, I have always used music to deal with my various moods.  I can remember playing Seven and the Ragged Tiger, for example, on my little record player as a young kid and singing and dancing along.  I’m not sure I would play the album to put me in a good mood or not, but I agree that it did work.  I was in a good mood after that!  Later, as a teenager, I adopted a different music policy.  I played music to match my mood.  If I was angry, I wanted a song to match.  If I was feeling hopeless, I picked songs that emphasized that feeling.  The music allowed me to indulge in my negative feelings.  Many of my college friends would say that they could tell my mood simply by what song they heard loudly being played coming from my room.

Now, some people might say that it wasn’t/isn’t healthy of me to play songs that are negative by nature.  Some might say that those songs would just reinforce my less-than-cheerful feelings, which allowed them to continue rather than to be diminished.  Maybe.  I have found, though, that those songs made me feel understood.  I felt less alone, less isolated.  I was also able to get rid of or purge my own negative feelings that way.

Now, as an adult, I have found that songs alone don’t have as much power.  Experiences matter more in altering or fixing my moods.  My feelings have experienced quite a number of ups and downs for the last few months.  Before I went on tour in March, things were getting really bleak.  My feelings of hopelessness and frustration were growing and I felt very isolated and alone for a lot of reasons that don’t need to be mentioned here.  Yet, that tour allowed me to push those negative emotions away.  It felt like I moved the storm clouds away to reveal sunlight for the first time in months.  I felt renewed and joyful.

Why is that?  Was it just Duran Duran’s music that did it?  I think their music definitely played a role.  There is nothing better than being a Duran show.  Truly, it is where I let everything go and just live in the moment.  I am the happiest there.  I also had a chance to have some good conversations with Rhonda, which were needed and appreciated.  Beyond that, of course, we had a ton of fun with other friends and got to make more new ones!  That was my favorite kind of weekends and led me to experience more happiness than I had been.

Now, as time as gone by, I have found those positive effects from that mini-tour fading away.  My emotions are experiencing more downturns lately.  I want to wrap myself in those less-than-happy songs.  Instead, what I must do is get ready for the next little mini-tour, which is thankfully approaching quickly.  What my task will be then is to figure out how capture the feelings from that weekend so that the feelings last.  I want to be able to bottle tour feelings and be able to let out a little every so often as I need it to balance out the reality of life.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  It would certainly make me happy!

-A

Ultimate Box Set: Side/Solo Projects Part 5

In the last few weeks, our Saturday polls have focused on side projects.  The idea is to pick 7 songs from various side and solo projects each week until we have asked about all of them.  Then, we will have one final poll to pick the 7 side and solo project songs that Duranies believe should be included on the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set.  So far, we have asked about Power Station, Arcadia, The Devils, TV Mania, Neurotic Outsiders, Dom Brown, and Freebass.

Last week, we started asking about John Taylor’s songs.  Instead of asking about all of John’s songs, I split his long list of songs in half to make it more manageable.  The songs of John’s that people picked last week were:

John Taylor:

  • I Do What I Do
  • Feelings Are Good
  • Always Wrong
  • Anon
  • Don’t Talk Much
  • Losing You
  • Look Homeward Angel
  • Silent Skin
  • Lovers Afternoon

The rest of the possible side/solo project songs are:

Power Station:

  • Some Like It Hot
  • Get It On/Bang a Gong
  • Communication
  • Murderess
  • Harvest for the World
  • Still in Your Heart
  • She Can Rock It

Neurotic Outsiders:

  • Feelings Are Good

Arcadia:

  • Election Day
  • The Promise
  • Goodbye Is Forever
  • The Flame
  • El Diablo
  • Lady Ice
  • Keep Me in the Dark

Dom Brown:

  • Amazing
  • Day Turned Black
  • Crocodile Tears
  • Changing
  • Chocolate Fever

Freebass:

  • Love Is Like Oxygen

This week, then, we will finish voting on John Taylor’s solo songs.  Before you vote, here is a playlist of many of the songs on this poll.  I put as many of John’s songs that I could find on the playlist.  Now, go listen, vote and have fun!  Which of these 7 songs of John’s should be considered for the Ultimate Duran Duran Box Set?

-A

 

Duran’s Peak Live Performances

Lately, our daily questions/polls have focused on Duran’s live performances.  Specifically, people have picked which version of a song they like better.  The versions are live performances from different tours.  We have asked about New Religion, Careless Memories and the Chauffeur.  Interestingly enough, for each song, fans who participate in our daily questions have stated that the 1984 Sing Blue Silver version of these songs are the best.  This has made me think.  Was Duran really better live in 1984?  Were the arrangements better?  If so, what does that say about the band?  If not, what does that say about the fans?

1984 was the height of Duranmania.  They were selling out stadiums worldwide and had songs and albums at the top of the charts.  Most would agree that they were the most popular band in the world at that time.  Their concerts were often filled with teenage girls who spent a LOT of the time screaming, from everything I read.  I have also read/seen many interviews in which the band discussed the “wall of sound” that was created from the screaming crowd.  Watch the video below and hear the band talk about this about 7 minutes in:

Now, in fairness, I did not see Duran Duran in 1984.  I’m sure that I would have thought that they were amazing then!  But, would they be better then than now?  Would the 30 years after that not make them better, in terms of their musicianship and performance?  Did their live performances peak over 30 years ago?!?  Listen to what Nick said in 2005 about 1 minute into this clip:

Duran would argue that their live performances are better now.  That said, I’ll play devil’s advocate.  In 1984, they were younger and had more energy.  Perhaps, that energy would make their performance more entertaining.  I could see that.  Yet, when I think of live performances, I do want the songs to be entertaining and fun, but I also want the music to be played well.  

Let me try an experiment.  I’m going to put videos of Careless Memories from 1984 and then from 2004.  Just listen to them.  Do not watch them.  Then, tell me which version you like better.  Both of them are from official videos, too, to ensure that the sound quality is decent on both.

In thinking about this question, when did Duran play better live, I think about my own career.  Just yesterday, I was asked to meet with a bunch of soon-to-be-teachers.  While I appreciated their enthusiasm and their idealism, I liked that they wanted me there as someone with experience.  While I might not be as energetic as I once was as a teacher, I know that I’m a better teacher now than I was when I first started.  Experience matters.

Personally, I would hate to believe that the best days of my career were in the past, when I first started.  I would imagine that Duran would hate that, too.  I’m willing to bet that Duran gets a lot of questions in reference to their “heyday” and how they “peaked” in their mid-20s.  I’m sure that’s frustrating and that they would prefer to think that they are at their best right now.  After all, if they were at their best in the mid 80s, then why continue now?

I’m sure that the fans who are voting for the 1984 Sing Blue Silver Tour versions of the songs don’t mean all this.  They are just thinking that they loved that time period.  Sing Blue Silver and As the Lights Go Down bring back nothing but fond memories of a band that they fell in love with.  I guess, for me, while I loved the band then, I love them differently and more now.  Maybe it is the fan in me that actually believes that they are better now, too.

-A

When you get that lonely shine in your eye

The other day, Amanda and I were on Skype. We were beginning work on a project and kicking around ideas when the topic turned to our upcoming road trip to San Francisco. We’re both really excited to have plans this summer, even if it’s only for a couple of shows. San Francisco is a city we’ve never been together while “touring”, and it will be great to see fellow Duranies, too.

That got us talking about our friends. Duranie friends, that is. We have a lot of people we know from the blog – people that we might not know well, but that have introduced themselves to us at various shows and things. We also have our core group of friends, which honestly, seems like it’s dwindled over the years. It is that group that I’ve been thinking about more recently.

When I first started out on the message boards, I stumbled upon a group of women that I became pretty attached to. Many of them were on the organizing committee for a convention that I was a part of, and a few others were involved on the board. (Amanda is one of those people, actually!)  They were what I like to call, my people. (We also called ourselves the Gutter Gals at one time, back about thirteen years ago!) I remember feeling like I needed to study up on Duran Duran because these women knew Duran Duran’s history like nobody’s business. I knew only what I’d read. These women had been to shows. Many of them. I think I’d been to about six at the time, and one of them was a festival. I knew next to nothing compared to most of them.

One of them had organized more than one convention, and seemed to know everyone, everywhere. When I looked at her (virtually, of course) and then looked at myself, I felt like I had absolutely nothing in common with her. She seemed hard-edged, and there I was—Miss OC Soccer Mom—trying my best to fit in. Another one was easily likable. She was popular on the boards, friendly to all, and everyone thought she was cool.  She could use humor to diffuse almost any situation, a tool she still uses to this day. I witnessed women tripping over themselves to befriend this person, and when she and I hit it off – calling one another the “other half of our brain”, I thought I’d made a friend for life. Yet, I was really nothing like her, either.  She was young, independent, single, a partier—and everyone loved her.  Still others were quieter, but they knew their Duran-stuff. They had history following the band, whereas I had spent the majority of my life prior on the outside looking in.

As many know, this group of women embraced me, for reasons I still don’t really quite understand. I never felt like I measured up. I don’t have tattoos or a number of piercings. I don’t know the band, haven’t had any body part signed by them, nor have I jumped the stage and been carried off by Dave. I look ridiculous in Doc Marten’s, and I look stupid with burgundy colored hair. The hardest-edged thing about me are probably the toe rings I wear in the summer – and yes, that’s a joke (although the toe rings are not). Rocker-girl or goth enthusiast, I am not. I’m more apt to wear pink than black on any given day. Oh, how I’ve wished I could be one of those women who can pull off black hair, black leather, etc. I’m just the opposite. I’m more like bubble gum, really. I suppose in many ways, it’s why I started this blog. I wanted to prove to myself that I could be like those women in one way or another. For once, I wanted to be on the inside and actually do something. But, as time has gone on, I’ve noticed that most of that original group of women are no longer around.

I probably can’t really call them close friends, anymore. It’s not that I don’t love them, or care about them, but they’ve moved on, and I really haven’t. The most I see or hear from them is on Facebook. They’ve got careers, lives, marriages, and they’ve kind of dropped Duran Duran along the way. I don’t know if the band got “old” (I don’t mean in age), or if they got tired of it all, or if the trend changed—and me being me—I missed my cue to leave and instead, I got more involved. Many of them complain about the band in one way or another, and yet I embrace them tighter. Maybe it’s me, really. (It is probably me.)

I haven’t seen many of them in years, now that I think about it. I don’t travel alone (meaning without the family) much unless it’s for Duran Duran. Then again, I can’t afford to fly these days anyway, so unless the band plays on the west coast (thankfully they are this summer) and I can drive there, I’m sort of stuck. The good news is I’m just about halfway through the whole “paying for two kids in college” thing, so I’m hoping it will get better from here. Point being, I don’t get out much, so I don’t see them often, if at all. Maybe that’s it. Or maybe it’s just that people drift apart, and we weren’t all meant to be friends forever.

The one thing I know for sure, is that without those women, I wouldn’t be writing. The only reason I ever started writing was because I missed being able to tear through album, song, video and show minutia. I loved talking about all of that “little” stuff. I liked examining the human condition and how news would affect the fan community as a group. I used to do that on the message boards, until there stopped being message boards. So, without those women, I don’t think I would have started this blog, and I don’t think I would have gone to the last thirty shows or so. I still love this band, for some crazy reason. I have a blast when I go to the shows. I have spoken to a few from that original group over the years, and the subject of meeting the band always comes up. They don’t understand why we continue to put in so much effort to be completely ignored by Duran Duran.

First of all, I haven’t been totally ignored, and Daily Duranie hasn’t been ignored. At least for me, it really has been about the expectations I had swirling in the back of my head from day one. This was never about being accepted by the band. I wanted to be accepted by my peers. There have been times when I’ve let the idea of acceptance by the band cloud my judgment, and the outcome has not been good. This is not about them. It’s about me. I wanted to prove I was more than just a housewife. More than just some nerdy kid than never quite grew up. More than solely a mom. I desperately wanted people to like me.

The irony that I have weeks like this, where I openly muse about friends I’ve lost along the way, isn’t lost on me. Speaking out has come to mean standing alone, sometimes. Even so, the nostalgia for that close group of friends I once had, and the journey I’ve been on since, is a little bittersweet.

I’m excited for my upcoming trip, and if you see Amanda and I at a table or at the bar—come say hello. We’d love to make a new friend or two along the way!

-R