On March 20 of 2005, I flew home from Chicago’s O’Hare airport after a fun-filled weekend that surpassed my wildest expectations.
I can hardly believe that was fourteen years ago. In some ways, it feels like last year, and in others – wow. That was even pre-Daily Duranie!
A lot has changed since then. For one, I have actually been in the front row. The one thing I kind of thought I’d never experience, and I can say I’ve been there multiple times now. I also run this blog, I’ve set two kids out on their own, moved my entire house, and the list goes on. Things don’t stay the same forever, I guess.
Staying up with the moon
The night before I flew home, I went to the Milwaukee show at the Riverside theater. I can barely remember any of the venue names I’ve been to – but I remember that one. I think Amanda, our friend Lisa, and I were back in the 9th row or so, and we were wearing these light-up horns a friend had sent us all the way from New Zealand. (ah, our dear friend Froggy.) We even got a wave from Roger at one point because Dave had pointed us out to him. I nearly died.
I have to chuckle a bit because I didn’t even know who Dom was at that point. He was just some substitute guitar player standing in the shadows, doing his job!
We waited outside of the theater door that night after the show, kind of on the driveway, hoping that the band’s cars would go past as they left so we could wave. Luckily, they did. Again, I nearly died as they waved to us in passing. Then we did the unthinkable. We ran to Amanda’s car, hopped in and tried to follow the caravan of Ford Econoline vans back to Chicago.
I got a lot to lose
We had a suspicion of where they were staying. Banking on that, we casually walked into the hotel, asked where the bar might be, and headed there. It was quiet and there weren’t a lot of fans sitting on the floral couches dotting the spacious, bright room, but there were some.
We did what we tend to always do: sit on the outskirts and watch. We saw Simon and Nick, but we didn’t ever approach either of them. Far too risky for us at the time. (and I laugh because I’m not entirely sure we’d do any differently today!) I don’t really know what we were doing in that lobby bar area that night – I guess we just wanted to see what might happen? It wasn’t wild or crazy or much of anything. There were just some people talking. It was a far cry from some of the scenes I’ve been in since that night, I’ll say that much.
For me though, sitting there that night, observing the situation – was one night of many where I kind of think I just desperately wanted to see how “real” that band really was. I mean, prior to then I’d only ever seen them on a stage or on TV. They weren’t real to me in the same sense that a friend might be. As naive or as immature as it might sound, I think seeing them off-stage, away from the lights and fans, gave me a glimpse of something or someone I wanted to know really existed. I had absolutely zero intentions of actually speaking to them or drawing attention to myself. I just wanted to convince myself that yes, they really were human. For so long before that, they were just posters on my wall, or people on my television.
There is nothing better than being with you
In many ways, they are still those same people for me. The mystery hasn’t really disappeared. Going to Birmingham and seeing where they started helped raise the curtain a bit. Being around and involved in the community for so many years has done it’s bit too. Even so, when they come out on stage and start playing, the feelings of excitement and wonder are still there for me. I might not wear the light-up horns these days, or follow the band’s vehicles across state lines, but there’s still a fair amount of naivety and wonder left in me. How about you?
Hi everyone! Happy Tuesday! Just before going to bed last night, I went through the Daily Duranie inbox. It isn’t often that we get extremely pointed reminders from anonymous people, but last night, we did. To be fair, I was happy to have the reminder! I FORGOT THE KAFE! Oops!
Yesterday was crazy, involving now 4-week old chickens figuring out how to fly up and over their 3.5-foot high fencing. Essentially, they were then having free reign of the room where they are currently located. They’re not old enough to be outside of their brooder (think baby crib for chickens!) just yet. I’ll bet none of you can imagine my reaction when opening the door to find a REAL Late Bar party going on amongst the chickies.
My life. I have to laugh. Why would I expect anything less than “baby” chicks escaping??
Anyway, I’m back on my game, the chicks are safely in their appropriate brooder, and I’ve listened to the Kafe! Below are the just the highlights! If you want to listen to the entire Kafe (and you should!) we at Daily Duranie highly recommend getting your own DuranDuranMusic.com membership!
Simon is sick with a cold right now – mentioning that he is bringing a Virus to the Kafe. As am I (Bringing Virus, that is.)
At some point, he starts singing some crazy little tune I don’t think I’ve heard before. That’s only after going after his cat – who is trying to get into a room that is off limits.
Sounds like my house on any given day! First it was dogs and cats, now it’s poultry. I don’t know people…maybe I should start singing crazy obscurities too. Moving on.
Studio time with Mark
Thrilled that Katy asked about the band being in the studio with Mark back at the end of February! After the Vegas shows, and just after Mark won an Oscar, they met in a Los Angeles studio. They did some writing with not only Mark Ronson, but also Lykke Li and Graham Coxon.
It was the first meeting of Graham and Mark, as the band introduced them that day. According to Simon, they did a lot of work – and now it is about seeing how much of it they will actually use. It did not sound as though Mark is acting as the only producer, or even as a producer at all, but rather more of a collaborative writer. although Simon did not go into a ton of detail. As Simon explained, while it sounded great, it is very difficult to discuss the songs because so much changes over the process of writing, recording, etc.
It would be a good reminder here that thousands of hours can go into recording for an album, and only a small percentage may get used. Having your heart set on Mark, or anyone for that matter, being the producer or working with the band on what ends up as the finished product is setting yourself up for certain disappointment. Keeping an open mind is prudent!
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
So, anyone hear that Simon and John have the distinct honor of inducting Roxy Music into the Hall of Fame? The ceremony, which is to take place March 29th at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, should be interesting this year. Roxy Music, Janet Jackson, The Cure, and even Def Leppard (not to play favorites but those are the few I remember off the top of my head) are being inducted this year. I’m looking forward to watching the ceremony at some point.
Simon says he is flattered and very honored to be inducting Roxy Music, as they are crucial to Duran Duran. He feels as though it is a huge responsibility to make sure they are given the credit that is due. He and John will deliver a speech (usually these are incredibly impassioned, and honestly – they are what make the ceremony special, in my opinion). Simon says that John is mostly working on it because he is a massive fan. He has never been to an induction ceremony before, so I’m curious to hear what he thinks of it all after he’s gone.
February Mini Tour
Loved hearing Simon talk about the mini-tour. He commented that the show in Miami was just “okay”. They hadn’t played a 90-minute show in about 18 months (since Japan). I know we had discussions about the length of their set several times during the mini-tour. There were critics who mentioned it as well – to which I responded in a blog right here. Listen, I’m a fan – I would love a four hour long set complete with an intermission! However, this band is made up of humans, not machines. I don’t know how people like Elton John or Paul McCartney do a 3 hour show every night. Maybe they rehearsed for months beforehand, conditioning themselves?
I just know that when Simon feels like he’s got to comment on a Kafe that it has been forever since they played a 90-minute show that maybe, just MAYBE, we need to cut them a little slack. He said that Miami wasn’t that great – I believe he used the word, “okay”, but that they got tighter in Cayman and by the time they hit NOLA they were feeling good and the show felt smooth.
I can understand that, too. Duran Duran doesn’t rehearse a ton. Now, we can certainly have a discussion about whether or not that should be happening more regularly; however, the bottom line is that this isn’t a band that rehearses for months or weeks on end before a tour begins. As they perform shows, they play tighter, and smoother. That’s the way this band rolls!
As we know, they added in a few extras to the set this time around. Seventh Stranger, New Religion, Tempted, and even Friends of Mine. For long-time fans such as myself – this was a dream come true. Simon commented that they like to change things up. “We have quite a huge catalog to choose from, and it would be a real waste to stick to the same 18-20 songs.”
Yes, yes it would.
What I found particularly interesting here though was that Simon said they tried to make Seventh Stranger sound more modern. This was after saying that if they’d written that song today, they would have done it very differently. I don’t know if he felt the song was incredibly dated as is written – but let’s be fair to ourselves a bit here. It was released in 1983, and one can assume it was written at least several months (if not a year or more) prior. Simon followed up by saying they performed it by using the musical technology available today as opposed to the way it was in 1980-something.
A word or two for Simon
Nick tried to get Simon to lip-sync to the video on the screen, and I got the feeling that Simon wasn’t sure if that worked out right. Let me clear that air for him by speaking to Simon directly here. IT WAS FANTASTIC. I can imagine performing it that way, and trying to stay conscious of what was happening on screen might have felt weird, but the full effect of seeing you at 20-something on the larger screen and then right in front of me singing in person blew me away. I’m not a very emotional person (I cry in private thankyouverymuch), but that performance took everything out of me. It was an incredible five minutes that I will never forget. I am not the only one, either. The audience was filled with people sobbing just like me.
That doesn’t happen without a lot of magic, my friend. And that’s what that song and performance(s) were like. Magical. Don’t downplay it, and take my word for it. I can be incredibly hard on this band, but those performances contained some of the moments my heart was craving most. I feel lucky to have been there.
And if that weren’t enough….they announced they’d be playing at Tinderbox in Denmark this year, and Katy says “there may be more this summer”. Stay tuned….
Record Store Day 2019
It is exciting to hear that As the Lights Go Down will be available on pink and blue vinyl as Duran Duran’s RSD offering this year. Humorously though, Simon says he doesn’t remember even recording it. Not a single thing.
I’m sure there’s a joke in here about drugs in the 80s and 90s, or age….but I’m gonna just let it slide for now. (after all, I can remember the words to every Duran Duran song, but can’t remember where I put the TV remote. It was in the cupboard this morning. So….)
He does say though that when he gets his copy, he’ll “give it a go”.
Well, alright then. Just maybe then I will, too.
Simon will be back during the summer, and I can hardly wait to hear what obscurity he’ll sing.
As for me, I’m off to check on some very loud squawking I hear. I can only imagine what I’ll find this time.
Every once in a while, it is good to gain new perspective. I used to do this pretty frequently when I lived in Orange County by going to see other bands – essentially cheating on Duran Duran when they weren’t looking – right?? Since moving up to the central coast, it is a bit more challenging, particularly in my small town. While I have definitely gone to see live music, they are typically unknown bands, and more often than not – the style they play is a little less rock and a little more folksy in nature. Not my favorite, but…when you’re desperate…
However, on Saturday night, I saw Rick Springfield. I think I might still be a little giddy from the evening! He played at Rava Winery in Paso Robles, which is a gorgeous setting. If you’re ever in Paso, it is worth the drive to go and taste there just for the peace and beauty alone. Known for their sparkling wines, Rava also hosts quite a few bands and artists each year, Rick being one of them. He was doing his “Stripped” show. (get your minds out of the gutter – he was fully clothed, told stories, and played without a backing band)
I bought these tickets not long after moving into the house, and couldn’t wait to see him once I realized just how small of a setting it would be (think ballroom rather than theater). On Saturday, our seats were about in the middle, and in fact – I’ve been much farther back with VIP seats for Duran Duran than I was that night with our regular “no frills” tickets. The venue is just that small, really.
I have no real experience seeing Rick Springfield, but I had an angel on my shoulder that night. My dear friend Laurie, who was killed in a car accident several years ago, was a huge fan. She was easily as much of a Rick fan as I any of us are of Duran Duran. In fact, she was such a pillar in his fan community, that Rick sent a huge spray of flowers for her funeral. I have no doubt that Laurie was there with me that night, as I stood up with other (far more intense) Rick fans around me and sang the words to his music with him.
Speaking of those Rick fans – prior to the show, there were food trucks and tables to buy glasses and bottles of wine outside in their patio and garden before the show. As I walked around, I did some people watching. I overheard people talking about traveling from show to show on the tour, the VIP packages, and basically all of the same things we tend to chat about with one another before the DD shows. I saw fans greeting one another exclaiming how surprised they were to see each other, “I didn’t know you were coming to THIS show. How did you get here so fast?!?” I couldn’t help but smile, knowing that the basic “fan” stuff is pretty universal.
After we took our seats, two women sat down next to me on my left. They immediately apologized (in advance) for screaming or standing up and dancing. I replied that they didn’t need to say sorry, that I’d be doing it right along with them. We talked a little bit about being fans, and then I mentioned that I’m a huge Duran Duran fan and even write a blog about them. The woman next to me poked her friend and said “That’s her favorite band!”
Try to explain it
I laughed because we (Duranies) are EVERYWHERE. My husband, who had been watching this scene unfold, nearly rolled his eyeballs right out of his head. I could almost hear the “Good lord, I cannot take you anywhere without Duran Duran coming up in the conversation…”
He’s right. He can’t.
At that point, Rick took the stage. I have to admit that as excited as I was to see him, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I know some of his music, but most of it is earlier – not the more recent stuff – and although I’ve read his autobiography, I just didn’t know what he’d be like on stage telling stories.
My fears were completely unfounded. He is fantastic live. Not only did I enjoy the entire set he played – the stories were what made the show. The reality is, Rick was my crush just before Duran Duran. I started watching General Hospital because he was on it. So seeing him live and in person in front of me was kind of like traveling back to my tween years. Awkward, kind of goofy, and pretty damn giddy. The only thing really missing was my friend Laurie. Just prior to the accident, we’d met for lunch with our other friends, and we’d agreed that the next time Rick toured – I’d go with her.
Nothing really gets them that high
This was not the first time he’d been in my area since that last lunch together, but it was really the first time I felt like I could be there and enjoy it without her. And…I did. That doesn’t mean I didn’t think about her as I sang “Jessie’s Girl” or stood and cheered during “Human Touch”, or my very favorite, “I’ve Done Everything for You”. It was hard not to, but rather than sadness, there was joy. Total joy, the way I know she would have wanted.
One of the things Laurie and I spoke about often before she died was that we were going to stop feeling bad about buying the concert tickets. Laurie wasn’t married and didn’t have children, but she still felt some of the same misgivings I did about being so thick in fandom at our age (which at the time, was right around 40). She was one of my very few friends outside of the DD community who really “got” it, and I remember that last lunch, she looked at me and said “You know, we have no idea how long we’ve got. You’ve got to just LIVE. Buy the tickets. We have to stop worrying about what other (assholes – Laurie had quite the mouth, even worse than my own!) think. Have fun, because who knows when our last time will really be.”
It was a matter of days before Laurie was gone. She wasn’t wrong that day and I’ve never forgotten what we talked about over margaritas that afternoon.
Emotion’s a game
It is hard for me to live up to her words at times. I do spend less time apologizing for being a fan, and more time rejoicing that I am a small part of this wonderful community of people. Although, I still let a lot of other things play on my mind, and guilt me out of taking risks that might make me happier in the long run. I’d say I was trying to find balance, but the reality is that I’m always worried about upsetting something or someone.
The inexplicable decision to record Thank You in the wake of a commercial resurgence continues to perplex me whenever I revisit it. Duran Duran have a few solid covers to their name but few of them made it onto Thank You. If they had either released a covers album on par with David Bowie’s Pin Ups (a tall order for any artist) or put out a new studio album with a few hit singles to maintain their momentum, the 1990s might have gone much differently for the band. What should have Thank You sounded like? That is a question I plan to address in part two of this essay. For now, I am more excited about the idea of younger bands wearing their Duranie influence on their sleeves.
The recent cover of “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Muse is far more significant than has been noted. The 2014 tribute album Making Patterns Rhyme was a beautiful collection of ethereal covers but apart from Warpaint (and veteran Moby), the artist list was more underground and obscure. Muse are playing sold-out arenas right now. They are one of the few rock-n-roll bands who can do that in today’s industry. And they covered “Hungry Like the Wolf” without a hint of hipster irony. If you haven’t heard this slice of sonic gold, check it out here:
Muse joins The Deftones, and Eagles of Death Metal, as contemporary bands willing to fly the Duran Duran flag with sharp covers. The influence of the band can be traced through almost every sub-genre of popular music today and popular culture’s retro fetish has again made Duran Duran fashionable. It gets me excited for what happens tomorrow. Here is my list of twelve dream covers of Duran Duran songs.
1. Peaches – “Girls On Film”
The current live version of the song by Duran is what I’m imagining with a Peaches cover. Her ability to deconstruct gender roles makes this a lyrical feast for her to dine on. Check out how she balances guitars and electronics on “Boys Wanna Be Her” and you hear some of Duran’s DNA percolating beneath its surface.
2. Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) – “First Impression”
OK, we have to get MCR to reunite for this to work but I can see that happening in the not too distant future. Regardless, Gerard Way’s solid solo album would have been a good home for this cover as well. Slathering the lyrics in some teenage angst would give it a stronger narrative punch. I can see the band playing a goth prom with young kids “turning on the animal” and knocking over the lockers as they run out into the night.
3. The Killers – “Planet Earth”
This seems so obvious it may have already happened and I missed it. The vocal line suits Brandon Flowers perfectly and the rhythm track would be a rollicking fun ride with Ronnie Vanucci Jr. pounding the skins. The influence of Duran Duran is all over Hot Fuss and it’s not like The Killers are making interesting music at this point (Wonderful Wonderful? Umm, no and no.).
4. Kacey Musgraves – “Lonely In Your Nightmare”
She would own this! Strip it back to an acoustic ballad with a little steel guitar playing behind her. As a country artist, she has confounded expectations at every turn and a Duran Duran cover would be another unexpected move. She could probably sing any Duran song and make it work but these lyrics seem to best suit her style.
5. Let’s Eat Grandma – “Come Undone”
When Let’s Eat Grandma take the stage at Coachella in April, they will convert even more listeners to their unique alchemy of glitchy synths and soaring pop. Covering this song demands a complete re-invention because it is hard to top the original. Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth were born long after the song was a hit so they could shatter it and re-arrange the shards into a beautiful new prism.
6. Sunflower Bean – “Do You Believe In Shame?”
Julia Cumming’s voice and bass tone are in this song’s sweet spot. Sunflower Bean can shift from Blondie disco-punk to Fleetwood Mac balladry in seconds so they could take this in a few interesting directions. One of Duran Duran’s most beautiful songs, it really deserves to be revived and shared with new listeners.
7. The 1975 – “New Moon On Monday”
I don’t know why but I can see this video already with Matty Healy looking mysterious on crowded London streets. The nonsensical lyrics (A lizard mixture? Help us out, Simon.) are no problem for Healy. He could sing anything and teenagers would go crazy. The 1975 already borrow a lot of their aesthetic from the 1980s so this wouldn’t be a creative leap for them to tackle.
8. Robyn – “Electric Barbarella”
Nobody makes dance music like Robyn and this song would be the perfect companion to her classic “Dancing With Myself”. Sprinkle a little Swedish electro-pop fairy dust on the song to give it a stronger kick drum that shakes the walls and you have a hit song. Hearing Robyn whisper “princess of my dreams” would leave us begging for more.
9. IDLES – “Wild Boys”
Last year’s Joy As An Act of Resistance won IDLES critical acclaim and a legion of positive-minded punk fans who are ready to kick toxic masculinity in the face. Never an easy vocal for Simon LeBon, IDLES could reimagine it as a working-class anthem for young men trying to do right by this world.
10. Garbage – “Pop Trash Movie”
OK, Garbage probably don’t need to cover Duran Duran but their recent version of Bowie’s “Starman” was a sheer delight. The only band on this list to have also done a Bond cover, Shirley Manson would bring this song to life. Manson would sell the narrative, too. She knows exactly what this song is trying to say and she could deliver it with more force than Duran Duran.
11. St. Vincent – “Too Much Information”
Annie Clark’s immense guitar skills and anti-establishment attitude would suit this better than Duran Duran. No soda company will ever sponsor a St. Vincent tour. She would turn it inside out with a less linear version, I believe. Her and Dua Lipa covering this at this year’s Grammy Awards would have been a joy to see.
12. Pale Waves – “Night Boat”
Pale Waves straddle the border between dark pop and dreamy gothic atmosphere which makes “New Religion” the perfect tune for them. They would slow it down to a glacial pace, perhaps, and take it from Birmingham to Manchester where the heavy clouds of Joy Division could strip it of any color. Pale Waves are finding success injecting irresistible pop songs with darker, more artistic tones. Sound familiar?
Jason Lent (Velvet Rebel Music) discovered Duran Duran on MTV in 1983 and a lifelong musical love affair was born. In 2010, he left a job in Hawaii to tour with Cowboy Junkies as a music writer and his work has appeared in various online music outlets. He currently resides in Las Vegas managing a music venue while trying to learn John Taylor’s bass line from Rio.
I did something crazy yesterday. After blogging, I went outside. I trimmed and shaped most of our landscaping. It was sunny and warm, the air was fresh and clean, and it was fantastic. Then I came inside and cleaned out the chicken brooder. (The things I type these days…never thought I’d ever write about my own baby chickens!!) I felt really good until about 5:30 when my back announced, out of nowhere, that I was going to pay for what I’d done.
I love aging.
So today, in between taking copious amounts of Advil and teaching an unwilling-to-write-anything 10-year old tween, I need to blog. I had a great idea for blogging last night while I was getting ready for bed. I knew I could write it quickly and then be on my way for the weekend. This morning when I woke up – the idea was gone. Poof.
Again, LOVE aging. It is the best!
I’ve come up with another topic though. Lately, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about #DD40. I’ve seen a lot of tweets, spoken to people…and even hoped out loud for things, but I haven’t really blogged about it that much. So here we go.
Dear Duran Duran,
(Like the opening? I figure I may as well address it to the right people. Did I get their attention? Probably not. I think Simon just shut his laptop. *sigh*)
It is 2019. My first question is basic. Are we even gonna celebrate this thing at all? I mean, ever?? Yes, I know that none of you like looking back. I suppose that if this were my own 40th anniversary of something, I might not like looking back at Rhonda, circa 1980 either. In fact, I’ve seen those pictures. In my own case, I look like an awkward 10-year old. May those photos never see the light of the internet. Anyway, I get it. Simon did say we’re all looking old. Why look back when we can look forward, yes?
Fine then. But really? What year are we going to say is the 40th then?? I am confused.
If we ARE choosing to celebrate – and I don’t see any reason to turn down having a good party – then I have some ideas for you. Feel free to use them, and I don’t really need to take, or be given, credit. I’ll know. You’ll know. That’s enough for me. <exaggerated wink, wink>
Your anniversary shows (if I dare be so bold as to assume they’re happening) should be in the UK. Now, I realize the rest of the world is probably ready to throw grenades in my general direction now, and I’m sorry. Facts are facts. You started in the UK, and that should be the place of the party. We’ll come to you.
In keeping with that theme, it would seem to me that having these special anniversary shows that I am formally requesting should coincide, generally speaking, with the time that Simon joined the band and you first did shows with him. Especially since we didn’t celebrate the date you played your first shows AS Duran Duran to begin with. Did that happen by design? Forgot the date? Didn’t care? Simon didn’t want anybody to remember Duran Duran before he got there??? Who knows…….
So when was that time of year that you played your first show with Simon then? Summer? July?? This works for me, and I think it might still work for Amanda. (although I did see that the Democratic National Convention is in Milwaukee during July of next year…) I mean, since I’m typing up these ideas anyway. July of 2020 is a good time. It might be hot, but then, I did survive other summer shows outdoors in the US during Paper Gods.
Hmm…. NO OUTDOOR SHOWS. Can I even suggest that??? This is my blog. YES I CAN! (You just don’t have to listen. I know you’re not. Simon shut his laptop and John threw his phone. Ok then. Fine….)
NO FESTIVALS. <big giant grin here>
I’d like a set (as in more than one because I know they’ll sell out and that would suck for anyone who can’t get tickets!) of dedicated shows where we (you) don’t have to worry about little things like “Does anyone beyond the first ten rows really KNOW “Planet Roaring”, “Shadows on your Side” or even “Late Bar”?? (I had to get that in there, sorry.) Celebrating the band should be about more than just celebrating your hits. Yeah, I know that’s a pipe dream. So is the rest of this list. Yet I keep adding to it….
This next one is probably outside of your realm of influence, but I’m going to beg anyway. What if someone from your camp were to give the dates to a couple of fans who are willing (and very ready as of mid-April!) to organize a real fan party – like a Durandemonium party – during the time of these shows? We don’t need much, just the show dates and a good idea of where they’ll happen so we can pick a place that would be easy to get to/from along the way to shows. I mean, what good is an anniversary without a fan convention?!? While I know we’ve reneged on a couple in the past, if you announce the shows, we will put together the appropriate fan celebrations. Done deal. (Oh by the way…. Amanda? We might be planning a convention. Overseas. Forgot to tell you. Oopsie.)
Aside from shows to commemorate such a tremendous occasion, how about some good stuff for the collectors out there? Reissues? Hard-to-find video from way back when? Photo books? Posters? Things that aren’t priced as though they are coming direct from the Louvre itself? Just saying…
It would be really cool to have a massive one-off where everyone who has been a part of the band could be there. You know, Warren, Dom, Andy (that alone would floor me)…Sterling and Steve Ferrone…the list is lengthy, but you get the idea. I know that’s probably not possible, but then again – most of this list isn’t possible or probable! (Dear fellow fans, do not send me mail saying that the band doesn’t have to listen to me. I already know that. Please find a sense of humor. The band would be crazy to take cues from me) I figured I’d throw out the request here anyway.
Most of all, I think that people like me just want an opportunity to really celebrate the one constant that has been in our lives for 40+ years now. Sure, some of us have gone to shows lately, but I think that having a show or shows in Birmingham that are announced and billed as the #DD40 shows would have special significance, as they should. In all seriousness, the time I spent in Birmingham changed my entire outlook on Duran Duran, and even myself. The idea of going back specifically to see you for the 40th is especially intriguing to me. When I was in Las Vegas, nearly everyone I spoke with about even the possibility of going to the UK next year, was on board and ready to commit to being there. It could be quite a party, and really, isn’t that what this band is all about anyway? 😀
With all the love, joy, and respect possible,
So there you have it. My list. I could have added more on it, like showing up to our convention, or doing meet and greets, or even finally getting the chance to meet them beyond a quick signing….but I was kind and at least partially realistic! We just want to celebrate with the band, am I right? Sure, new music would be great. Old music would be outstanding…but mostly, I think we all just want to be gathered as a fan community, enjoying time with the people who brought many of us together in turn. I have loved Duran Duran longer than almost anything else in my life. Celebrating not only their music, but these guys as the humans they are – seems appropriate. I only hope they don’t let the time slip by.
I’m late. I know I’m late, and I’m sorry. (and here comes the strangest sentence I’ve written YET…) I needed to go to the Farm Supply Store for Chick Grit and mealworms.
This morning I learned that chickens can be cannibalistic. I did not know that before this morning, and to be fair – I kinda wish I didn’t know now. However, I came home armed with all the aforementioned supplies, along with bottles to both heal a chick that is getting pecked as well as stop the others from thinking it is also a live buffet.
*sigh* The more you know…
The funny thing, and the topic of this blog for the day, is that as I was driving out of the Farm Supply parking lot, I thought to myself: Wow, cannibalism. That sounds an awful lot like what happens at Duran Duran GA show, or even in our fan community at times.
Dark thoughts for a Wednesday, no?
String of pearls meet bits of gems
It is true though. I mean, overly dramatic yes, but still true in some sense. I’ve seen it happen on message boards, in Facebook groups, on Twitter and most certainly in person. We tend to go after our own.
Online, it seems to happen when one chick, er, Duran Duran fan, tries to assert themselves over and above whomever is the strongest (read as “most popular”, “well-liked”, etc.). Maybe they call somebody out on their BS, or maybe they just disagree over a song or something even less “important”. At first, maybe there are a few nips or well-placed comments between the two involved. Invariably, someone sends a larger shot over the bow to make their point known to all bystanders.
Regardless of how or whom, the community tends to jump “en force”. The seemingly “weaker” fan is left defending themselves much of the time against a mob of fans willing and ready to defend the more popular fan. As if they really need defending, right? Regardless, eventually the “challenger” crawls away, the fight dies down, and some sort of normalcy prevails. Sometimes, I even see the two who were initially arguing end up as friends. It is as though a sense of mutual respect is spread between the two.
Honestly, I just think it’s weird. It’s also human nature, combined with female territorial instincts. We don’t want other women to have what we have, even when what we have is all in our own damn heads to begin with.
Enter the battle of the lenses
At shows, it is the same way. At GA shows, I’ve seen entire groups band together over one person who threatens to interrupt the balance of a crowd. Maybe that one person is drunk, or refuses to acknowledge personal space, or shoves just a little too much while waiting for the band to take the stage. If it bothers one person, well, maybe not much happens. However, let that bother enough people, or that one person in a group of people who just isn’t going to have it – and the next thing you know – there’s a real problem happening. The weak end up moving. The strong stay in their spot. It is survival of the fittest.
Are we really cannibalistic? Will we really go after our own? I kind of think we do, figuratively speaking of course! I tend to believe in survival of the fittest, even amongst humans. All one need do is observe Twitter for any length of time. The mob mentality is there. Let someone with a less popular point of view dare assert themselves and people will come out of the woodwork to band together and bring the offender down. Drag them into the proverbial street, make them into an example for all to see. I don’t think fandom is all that different.
After all, we’re all friends until we’re not. Whether that point is when the band shows up, or when someone points out that you’ve spent far too long in too many hotel lobbies, the shots are fired, and before you know it – we’re at war with the people who were our friends last week or even last night.
Dark thoughts for a Wednesday, indeed. I’m off to save my chick from the rest of the flock!
Well, heck. I’ve sat here with this window open on my computer for far too long, without a single Durancentric, fandom idea popping into my head.
The trouble is two-fold: Spring has sprung at my house. We actually had to mow the grass yesterday afternoon, and for the first time since we moved in – I was able to be outside without a jacket or hoodie on. It had hit 60 degrees F, and I was outside with a Punkmasters t-shirt on. Funny. When I lived in So Cal, if the thermometer dipped below about 68, I was in long sleeves. I had to – it wasn’t as though it would get too much colder! Up here, I was proclaiming it nearly beach weather! So, I’m anxious to be outside, getting our chicken coop finished, and begin making plans for the goat barn and pen areas.
Yes, you read that correctly. Just go with it.
Naivete falls from our eyes
Where was I? Oh yes, the second, more somber reason for my writers block. Well, real-life trouble, of course. I need to tread carefully because this isn’t my story to tell. The bottom line is that sometimes, I don’t know how to help someone. It isn’t just a case of someone needing a bed moved, or even a love triangle than needs sorting. More serious than that, addiction, rehab, lying, and scheming all taking their fair share of the story here. You’d think these were themes from a TV show, except this is all happening in real life.
Of course, I think about John. I have other friends who have gone to rehab and have their own 12-step programs, but he is obviously the most well-known. I think about all he has done in the years since, and how he gives back – as do others within the band. On this very date in 2009, Nick attended the Naked Soul art exhibit in Howick Place, London. The exhibit was to benefit Youth to Youth, a charity to end gang violence and drugs in 2009. Clearly, the cause is something they take to heart.
You know there’s no avoiding
John, of course, has remained pretty vocal about addiction and recovery programs. He’s made it less of a horrible secret and more like any other disease, which seems to be the key. The more we talk about it, the less shameful it becomes. Addiction is a disease. The people – the addicts themselves – aren’t terrible people. They’re not losers, they’re not wastes of life. I sometimes think that gets lost in the translation amongst the horrific tales of desperation that coincide with addiction. Before John wrote his book or started really speaking out, my feelings were very different. It all seemed pretty black and white to me. The school drug programs we sat through each year while growing up really did their work on me.
Now, as a grown woman with children, I see shades of grey. If we can’t help one another, what good are we as humans, anyway? Compassion and kindness go a long way. (Consider this my newer, softer side!)
Admittedly, while I have quite a few friends who have faced the disease, I don’t have a lot of personal experience. I’ve never been that close to it, at least not that I know. Compassion though – that’s something I understand. How far that should go, though? I can’t answer that question. It is one thing to be compassionate, it is another to have your life railroaded. Self-care and protection is important. I recognize that the idea of fighting for sobriety must be incredibly overwhelming.
The lesson to be learned
As I said this morning, the one thing I do know about addiction is that it is a continual, lifelong process, fight, or journey. There’s no magic recipe, or rehab that one enters and comes out an immediate, perfect, success. My understanding is incredibly limited, but I hear it is one day at a time. That’s it. One day. The decision to remain sober is active, whether it is minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, or day-by-day. For those of us habitual, control freakish, long term planners, it seems like a potential nightmare.
Unlike many of my other writings, this doesn’t end with a shiny red bow to tie it up prettily before publishing. These are just musings going through my head that somehow found themselves typed and bound into WordPress. I very much dislike not having answers beyond “protect yourself, but be compassionate”. I know how to finish a chicken coop. (words I never thought I’d type to the world…) I can fix something like that.
This though, is tougher. There isn’t just one pat answer.
If you had to categorize Duran Duran in a word, what word would you pick?
Are they pop? Rock? New Wave? Synthpop? Electronic? New Romantic? I think Nick described the band as Modernist once or twice?? What would you say?
My head is stuck on something precious
Yesterday, there were a few tweets going back and forth between several fans about DD’s music. Classic Pop Magazine has a Synthpop issue out on newsstands now. Although Duran Duran aren’t really mentioned in the magazine much, one of the editors put Ordinary World in their top ten synthpop songs. I find that interesting, because I wouldn’t characterize Ordinary World that way at all.
That got me thinking, of course. If Ordinary World isn’t truly synthpop, then what? I don’t think I ever came up with a reasonable answer for that. I always struggle with calling them a pop band because in my head – they’re not. They’re not music you’d hear on Top 40 radio (although we certainly did once). They might have some pop songs in their catalog, but I really hate the idea of categorizing them just as pop. It seems so pedestrian, boring and kind of cringy. Clearly, they’re not rock either. I mean, yeah, they’ve got guitar, but they don’t rely on it. I’d say similar for Synthpop – in my head, a synthpop group relies on the synthesizer for the melody lines. Is that the case with DD? I’d argue no on that.
Does it help to take one album at a time? I’d say no. For example, I mean, what do you call their debut? New Romantic? The problem with that, of course, is that the moniker isn’t as much about the music as it is about the fashion of the time. The reason we think of Planet Earth as New Romantic (aside from the words being in the lyrics…thank you Duran Duran…) is because of the ruffled shirts, the over the top hair and make up, the pirate look. To use a similar idea to what was discussed yesterday on Twitter, bands who were classified as New Romantic had synthesizers, but not all bands who had synthesizers were New Romantic. (nor were they New Wave – thanks @GuyFansofDuran!)
My eyes so cloudy, I can’t see
I think that for me, one of the reasons I’ve always valued Duran Duran so highly is that they didn’t CARE about boxes marked “New Wave” or “New Romantic”, or even “Pop” or “Rock”. The one thing I loved most about the band was also the one thing that challenged me from album to album. I never knew what a finished, new album would sound like, and there was never any way to prepare. As an aside, I’ve learned to never, EVER review one of their songs publicly after only a few listens. I have to sit with the music for a while. Paper Gods took me a good solid two or three weeks before I finally had that light bulb “I GET IT!” moment. I still don’t know what I’d characterize Paper Gods as, musically, though. Does it matter?
For those of us who tend to value a sense of routine and normalcy, Duran Duran has sometimes been the very opposite.
They’ve created music they liked. In their purist, most raw moments as a band in the very beginning, I don’t think they were worried about marketing or labels. Sure, they wanted fame and fortune. They wanted to be the biggest band in the world. But I don’t know that they were overly concerned with the minutia in getting there.
Can you hear me now?
What do I mean by that? Well, what I’m NOT saying is that they were careless for detail. That isn’t it at all. I just don’t think that they consciously sat back and tried to figure out what music might sell best, or get radio time the easiest. There was a certain kind of bliss with industry ignorance in that respect. How self-aware was the band before they really “made it”? I believe it was simple enough for them to get out of their own way back then.
Writing and recording under those conditions had to have been easier in that aspect. I mean, once you know who you are, and what you’ve done in the past, I suspect that has the potential to set the bar incredibly high. When I compare Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger, I see the latter as evidence of being far too self-aware, despite my undying love for the work.
I’m not sure how Duran Duran gets past all of the mind games that come along with recording nowadays. The ghosts of albums past, the requirements of record labels to deliver at least one verifiable, marketable, top 40 hit coupled with the notions of playlists, streaming, and the idea of how much differently music is consumed these days than forty years earlier. On top of all that, deciding what kind of music they’re actually going to record, and fighting whatever label people want to put on them now? Pop? Rock? Electronic? EDM? Urban? Contemporary? Oh hell no. How can anybody be creative in that environment?
Is there anybody out there trying to get through?
If I were them, I’d want to throw my phone in the trash compactor, unplug from society, and forget the labels. It seems to me that it might be the only way to record an album with honest, pure, organic intentions.
Of course, if they did that, then they wouldn’t be able to read my incredibly humorous and intelligent fodder.
Throw your electronic devices away, gentlemen… and good luck!
After yesterday, I need a little “happy”. Anybody else?
I’m still bogged down between Michael Jackson being a pedophile and my #1 crush of the 90s, Luke Perry dying from a stroke. (sorry Roger, but you were farming!) Was yesterday really just Monday?? I’d like to declare the week finished now.
However, today is a brand new day, and I’m determined to find the good. Luckily for me – I didn’t have to look very long, or very hard to find it.
Two great things to be happy about today:
Duran Duran will be inducting Roxy Music into the Hall of Fame
While it isn’t the same as say, Duran Duran being inducted – they will be participating in the ceremony to be held on March 29th at Barclays Center in New York. Last week, John was on KLOS 95.5 with Steve Jones (Jonesy’s Jukebox) in Los Angeles and broke the news.
Most fans know that Roxy Music is one of Duran Duran’s biggest influences. Simon and John will be at the ceremony to pay tribute. There is no word whether or not Roxy Music will take the stage to actually perform, although Andy MacKay (saxophone) hopes they will.
I suspect many Duran fans will be getting tickets to the ceremony or, like me, tuning in to watch the show when it airs.
Duran Duran to play Tinderbox (Denmark) on June 28th
Life is funny. Just a little over a week ago, I was speaking with a friend about the band’s 2019 schedule. This person, who is extremely reliable, and will remain nameless, shared that they hadn’t heard of anything else coming up in 2019, but that they fully expected this to change in a matter of days. I’d spoken with someone else close to the band earlier in the day who had said the same basic words. I knew by the way they’d both made sure to say that things would change that something was coming down the pipes soon. But where? When?
It turns out that Europe will be getting a Duran Duran visit this summer! While I’d love to jet on over to Denmark, I’m gonna have to sit this one out. Tickets are on sale now! Go grab yours!
If that weren’t enough, we’re still getting studio teasers from DDHQ….and this time, it’s all Mark Ronson, all the time. You could say I’m still a skeptic, but I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing what will come next! Will he sing or perform as a guest artist? Is he producing? Only time will tell.
Lastly, DDHQ tweeted an excerpt from “Extraordinary World”, which in their words, is the chronological story-telling of the band’s career up through The Wedding Album. If you haven’t seen this documentary – it is worth the hunt to find it. Since the 25th anniversary for The Wedding Album was last year, and I’m still confused as to what they’re doing for the 40th, I have to wonder why they tweeted it. More teasing? If so…for what?
I have a feeling the next few months are going to be very interesting. Don’t blink, you might miss something!
Did you read the exciting news released by Duran Duran this week? In case you missed it, Warner is releasing a double LP of live music from “As The Lights Go Down” for Record Store Day 2019. The special was a TV concert filmed in Oakland, CA for the Sing Blue Silver tour in 1984. As a collector, this news excites me as I have long yearned for the band/management/record label to release more physical music items. However, there are a few items in the press release that didn’t sound right to me. In this era of “Fake News”, I had to wonder how much of this info is “fluff”, and how much is fact.
First, the press release claims that “Duran Duran played three incredible shows to over 150k people at the Oakland Coliseum”. We all know they were incredible, that’s for sure! However, I have done some research over the years and I believe the biggest non-festival shows that Duran Duran have played in the United States were at Madison Square Garden in 1984 and the Staples Center in 2005 with both venues having a capacity of 20,000 people for concerts. Naturally, it seemed incorrect that they played to 150,000 people over three shows in Oakland.
Some quick research (and the fact that I’m a sports fan) indicates that there are two neighboring properties as part of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum complex, both commonly referred to “Oakland Coliseum”. First, there is the football and baseball stadium that can hold 50,000 people for concerts. Second, there is the basketball arena (now called Oracle Arena) that can hold 16,000 for concerts. Duran Duran played in the arena, as seen in the As The Lights Go Down video, so it is not possible that they played to 150,000 people over those three days.
Second, the press release states that “no official products were ever released”. Again, I take issue with this statement. The actual video for “As The Lights Go Down” was released on DVD as part of the 2010 Special Edition CD/DVD box set for “Seven And The Ragged Tiger”. Also, the live tracks were released as part of an iTunes audio album in 2010. Even though Itunes is a digital format, it is still considered a product in my book since I had to pay for it!!
Furthermore, for those that do not know, the live tracks presented on “As The Lights Go Down” are the same live tracks released on the live album “Arena”. The audio is mixed and edited a bit differently, and the “As The Lights Go Down” version has some of the sound effects from the video incorporated, but the base live tracks are the same recording. Therefore, I have a hard time believing that “no official products were ever released” with regards to “As The Lights Go Down”.
Third, the last line of the press release states that the release “is available from 13 April 2019 (Record Store Day) in records stores across the country”. I am not a card-carrying member of the grammar and spelling police, but shouldn’t it read record stores? Also, which country is being referred to here? I’m guessing it is referring to the United States, but then why use the European date format? Fans outside the United States may take offense to this wording. I believe the record is being released in the U.S. and U.K.
Finally, all wording issues and “fluff” aside from the press release, am I excited for this release, or am I just a bit triggered about all this? I’m absolutely very happy!!! Duran Duran has not participated in Record Store Day every year. The fact that we have something to buy on this special day in April for the second straight year is step in the right direction!
The two pink and blue colored vinyls match the gatefold cover perfectly and also gives a nice nod to the recent Paper Gods era/branding. The package will also feature photos from Denis O’Regan. As an audio collector, it will be fantastic to have this recording on a physical format. There has also been some debate online if Duran Duran are still signed to Warner. This RSD release confirms there is still some relationship, even though Duran Duran is not currently on the artist roster at warnerbrosrecords.com.
I would like to give Amanda and Rhonda a special thank you for allowing me to write a short piece concerning this press release. I don’t write a lot, but I think it’s a great outlet to organize and communicate your thoughts, and sometimes it just feels better to “get the words out”!! Happy Record Store Day 2019 to everyone!
Jeff Bistline has been a dedicated Duranie since 1984. His passions in life are his Duran Duran collection, college basketball, and his boxer dog, Vivi. He is an accountant and lives in Nebraska.
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!