Tag Archives: Duran Duran

You Catch That Mirror

This weekend marks the release of the latest album by the Killers.  As many of you know, both Rhonda and myself are fans of that band. They aren’t Duran to us, as no other band could ever be.  Yet, we like them and we do pay some attention to what they are up to when we can.  As both a fan of the Killers and a student of music fandom, I have spent a little time in between grading to see how the hardcore Killers fans are responding to the new album as well as changes within the band.  The more I looked at social media, the more I found myself smiling.  Why?  It all felt so familiar as looking at that fan base was like looking at a mirror of Duran’s.

So how are the Killers fans reacting to the new album?  Some absolutely love it.  I have read adjectives like “brilliant,” “genius,” and “amazing.”  Others are complaining.  Some claim that it is not the rock music they come to expect with the band and that the guitars are straight up “missing”.  Still other fans try to be a little less harsh with their disappointment by calling it a “letdown.”  Of course, much of the discussion focuses on the comparison between this new album and the previous ones.  It doesn’t sound like the “classics” say some while others believe that fans shouldn’t compare but evaluate the album by itself.

If I didn’t know that those comments were on a Killers thread, I could have assumed that it was a Duran related thread from any of their album release weekends.  Goodness knows that the most recent albums of Duran have been met with both praise and criticism from fans.  As I read, I understood the passion that those fans are feeling.  The music matters to them.  They all want to love the new album and some do and some don’t.  Maybe, in some cases, the fans who love it are not being critical enough.  In other cases, perhaps, the fans who don’t like it aren’t open-minded enough.  Part of me wanted to respond as someone who feels like I have been through this a bunch.  I wanted to remind everyone that they are all passionate for a reason–because they fell for the Killers at some point.  More than that, I had the urge to point out that this is just one album.  The band has been around for awhile now and things can change.  One disappointment is simply that–one.

Then, of course, the discussion surrounding the band itself comes up as some fans point out that both Mark, the band’s bassist, and Dave, the band’s guitarist, have walked away, at least as far as touring goes.  There is concern that the band won’t be the same without them, which is valid.  Other fans feel like they should support those guys’ decision to walk away, if that is what is best for them.  Again, I feel like Duran fans have been through this.  We know what it is like to have band members walk away as we have been through it a lot.  Does it change the feel of the band?  Sure.  Does it mean that the overall feel of the band changes?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I feel like in the case of Duran, the band is larger than the individual members.  The feel of Duran is stronger than any particular member, which is why the band and its fans were able to survive through the loss of all the Taylors as well as Warren and Andy for a second time.

If I could give any advice to these fans, I would remind them that times change, bands change.  What feels like a huge deal right now might not be a big deal later–it will simply be one chapter in a long history.  I would recommend holding on, even if they are not fans of what is going on with the personnel or the album itself.  I know a lot of Duran fans who walked away when Andy and Roger left in 1985 or left with albums like Big Thing or Liberty and regret it.  I know that I wish that I remained more of an active fan throughout the entire history of the band.  I am also glad that I stayed with the band through a rough Red Carpet Massacre period in which I wasn’t a huge fan of the album and even less of a fan of the division within the fan community.  Lastly, I would urge them to try to find something positive or something to be excited about.  It can make all the difference in both enjoying one’s fandom but also in getting through a rough patch.

I will be watching how things go both for the Killers and their fans from here on out.  Perhaps, watching them can provide a mirror to our fan community that I could learn from as well.

-A

I’ll See You in Some Other Lifetime

Yesterday marked the final show for Duran Duran’s Paper Gods Tour as the band finished the tour in Osaka, Japan.  The Paper Gods Tour began in the fall of 2015 and carried through until September 2017.  Of course, there were plenty of breaks but still.  The band played quite a few shows.  As I looked at the pictures and setlist, I thought back to 2008 when I saw the final show of the Red Carpet Massacre Tour.  I remember Simon commenting about how it would be the final time for the outfits, the setlist and more.  This made me wonder what will never be seen again, what made the Paper Gods Tour a unique one.

Planet Earth with Bowie Tribute

For a long while, the band interjected David Bowie’s song, Space Oddity, into their classic hit, Planet Earth, in order to honor one of their heroes and a musical legend.

Sunrise with New Moon on Monday

Another mash-up was New Moon on Monday in the middle of Sunrise.  I know that I loved this each and every time I saw it!

Rio with beach balls and confetti

While I loved the festive confetti at the end of Rio, I cannot say that I was ever a big fan of those beach balls that distracted me and hurt when they landed on my head!  Nonetheless, when I think of Paper Gods, I cannot think of Rio in any other way.

Too Much Information

I remember the first time I heard the 2015 version of Too Much Information live.  I couldn’t wrap my head around it.  It seemed so fast!  After hearing it a couple of time, I liked it.

Love Voodoo

Another song that the band pulled out from the Wedding Album for this tour was Love Voodoo.  I never had the chance to hear it myself but others seemed to enjoy it.

Hold Back the Rain

Duran definitely pleased a lot of fans when they busted out Hold Back the Rain in 2017.  Obviously, it is a definite fan favorite!  I noticed that the Japan shows had screens showing old footage of the band, which I think is super cool!

Paper Gods:

Of course, the band featured quite a few numbers from their latest album.  As is their tradition, they opened up the show with Paper Gods, which featured smoke, lyrics flashing through a forest of sorts on the video screen.

The other songs that the band included from this album were Last Night in the City, You Kill Me with Silence, Pressure Off, Face for Today, Danceophobia, What are the Chances, Only in Dreams and the Universe Alone.  Some of these stick out to me more than others for various reasons.

Last Night in the City

To me, this song represented touring and all that it means to me.  I loved the use of the fabulous backing vocals of Anna and Erin and/or Jessie.  It was always fun live!

Pressure Off

Pressure Off is such an incredibly fun song!  Seeing it performed live with Nile Rodgers and confetti almost made the song too fun to stand it!!!

Danceophobia

I cannot say that this is a favorite from the album, but seeing it live definitely made me think fondly of it.  After all, John Taylor’s dancing made the song worth it each and every time.

What Are the Chances

I simply adore this song.  It’s not usually the type of song that I’m drawn to but this one is something special.  One element that enhanced the song to me was the beautiful visuals that accompanied this song live.

The Universe Alone

This is one song that I never expected the band to play live.  It is an intense one and one that screams emotionality.  Yet, they put it together with Save a Prayer this year to give quite an emotional punch at the end of the show.

Now, as we move on to the other side of Paper Gods, none of us know what will happen from here.  I suspect that it will be different from the Paper Gods era or any of the previous eras.  Will any of these Paper Gods songs continue in a set list?  I don’t know.  Will the band’s outfits remain as they have been?  I don’t know.  (I couldn’t resist one final comment about the clothes!  They have provided us with quite a few smiles and laughs in the last few years—all with love, I assure you!)  On a personal level, I had so much fun and loved so much of this era.  I will miss it.

What about the rest of you?  What sticks out to you when it comes to the Paper Gods era?

-A

Books Never Read Better

The title is my weird attempt to switch up one of John Taylor’s frequent phrases in his autobiography.  If you have read the book, you know that he wrote the phrase, “Music never sounded better,” a lot.  I twisted around for the title of this blog.  Needless to say, I’m not feeling particularly clever or witty right now.  No, I’m feeling pretty desperate for the weekend.  The third week of school is always busy, overwhelming, stressful, or whatever appropriate adjective could fit there.  The ten to twelve hour days are sucking the life out of me, which is why the lame title.

Instead of thinking about the upsetting world events (or American politics–same difference) or the mountain of grading I have, I want to think back to this time in 2012.  Five years ago this month, John Taylor’s autobiography was released and he was traveling around the UK and later the US to do various book talks and signings.  I have fond memories of that time period.  First, I was so super excited to read the book that I downloaded it from Amazon UK because I couldn’t wait for the US release.  I even ordered a British copy as well as buying for American copies as well.  Once downloaded, I cleared my schedule, laid on my couch and read until my battery ran out.  I think I read the book in like a day, which is not my style at all.  I’m usually too impatient to continue to read that much despite my love of reading.

Then, in October of 2012, I attended one of those book signings and talks in Chicago even though I had no business attending.  In October of 2012, I was working about 80 hours a week.  I was teaching full time and I was campaigning full time, too.  My level of exhaustion was so strong that I barely made it to election day without literally collapsing.  Yet, I couldn’t miss this chance to see John read his book in person or to have him sign my copy (and one for Rhonda!).  Thus, I drove down to Chicago, about 2.5 hours, attended the event and drove back, knowing that I had to be at work the next day.

Like reading the book, I have distinct memories of that event.  For example, I remember being in line, chatting with friends and fielding constant campaign calls.  I wanted to just focus on John Taylor that night but couldn’t.  Honestly, I feel like that is the story of my life.  When I’m at work, I sometimes want to focus on fandom and what’s the latest tweet or post from the band.  Sometimes, I’m able to squeeze in a glance or two.  Likewise, when I’m at home or campaigning, other aspects of my life demand my attention.  It is rare that I just focus on one role I have in life.  I feel like I have to multi-task all the time.  I not really a fan of that.

What is interesting, though, is that when I think about reading John’s book, I don’t remember being districted or interrupting (other than the battery drain).  No, I was able to be laser focused and I liked that.  Of course, the book had a fascinating focus that led to a little book club on here as I reread and led discussion on it.

Anyway, I wouldn’t mind another book by John Taylor or about John Taylor to totally distract me from real life.  I think I could use it and it would give me an excuse to just say, “to hell with,” my grading or my household tasks or whatever else I need to do.

-A

Now We’re Online: When DD.com Was Hacked

In 2017, websites are commonplace. Most of us are on the web and surf our way through hundreds of sites each day, even if we’re not thinking about it. It would be unthinkable to run a company and not have a web presence. Sites act as advertising, storefronts, social gathering spots, newspapers, informational brochures, and even corner speakers. Duran Duran has operated their website for years now.  Amanda and I have come to rely on it for a variety of purposes. We are typically able to find what we need, and it’s always up and running.

There was a period of time back in the late 90s when this wasn’t exactly the case. First, I’ll set the scene: it’s 1999. Medazzaland had been released in 1997, the band was touring and playing smaller clubs on the Let It Flow tour. Pop Trash wasn’t released until 2000.  Earlier in August, Duran Duran had signed a 3-album deal with Hollywood Records.  John Taylor was no longer with the band, instead playing dates in small clubs like the Viper Room in Hollywood, California with Terroristen. Sugartown was being released and John had been doing the typical press tour junket to promote the film. During the 90s, there were times when the band were even self-managed, as Wendy Laister and Magus Entertainment did not come aboard until 2001. Before anyone asks, yes – Katy Krassner was working with the band by this time. I don’t know if she was directly involved with their website in the same sense as she is now.  Very different days.

Months might go by without a single update made to the band’s site, even if there was a new album coming out, or upcoming tour dates—news items that would have definitely been of interest to fans, and might even help the band if they were announced. It became something of a side joke to long time fans, and not a “ha ha” funny joke, but one of those snide comments you might make to one another in jest. During this specific period, possibly while the band was self-managed, between labels (until August when they signed with Hollywood Records), it had been several months since the website had been touched at all. Security for the site was lax, to say the least. Picture the place as a ghost town with a message board of fans continually writing posts asking why the site wasn’t being updated, and you might have a fairly accurate scene. Despite the outcry from some fans even asking if they could help out and update the site themselves, there seemed to be some sort of gaping hole between the band and fans, until one fateful day in September of 1999 when one fan—Redsexy on dd.com—hacked the website herself and updated it.

Had it not been for her, I’m not sure how long it might have been before the website would have been updated. Self-managing isn’t an easy thing. Just imagine – on top of writing the music, you’re managing everything else. Promotion, image, contracts, touring, people who work for you, all of the large and small details. All of it.

Today’s websites aren’t so horrible. If you use something like WordPress (as I do), it’s fairly simple – but there is still a lot I don’t know how to do, and there’s not much time for me to learn.  Imagine Simon, Nick, or Warren trying to wrangle a  website back in the 90s, without the ease of WordPress or other site management companies, much less having the time to sit down and update the news or tour dates! Impossible.

So on this date in 1999, Redsexy took matters into her own hands, and we thank her for it. I’m not sure how the band felt, but I admired your spirit.

-R

 

Too Much is Never Enough

So last night, Duran Duran played Budokan in Tokyo. For a place that the band seems to really enjoy visiting, like so many other areas of the world, they do not seem to visit Japan very often. I think the last appearance there was in 2010 for a conference (I believe this may have been a private gig, but I’m not positive), and before then they played Tokyo in 2009. (Yes, I looked this up because there is absolutely no way I would ever remember this kind of thing. My brain is full.)  The band seems happy to be in Japan again, with Dom commenting last night that it was a dream of his to play Budokan.

During their time there, I’ve seen a few comments here and there from some of our Australian fellow fans. Suffice to say no one is happy that the band is not making the trek to Australia and/or New Zealand while in that area of the world. What boggles my mind though, is the anger towards America, and American fans as a result. In fact, I’ve seen other fans comment in response that the band must be tired ending the tour as a direct result of how much time they’ve spent in America.

That’s right. It’s America’s fault for continuing to line their pockets and fill whatever venues they need filled for shows. It is absolutely the fault of the U.S. for being just over 1 million square miles, or about 2.6 million square km larger than Australia, not to mention Japan and even Europe, with dozens of large cities that are not closely connected. It is also America’s fault that the worldwide media/entertainment industry is headquartered there, and the US dollar seems to still matter on a global level. Naturally, there are also comments about how DDHQ is located in New York, of all places. Surely that must be the reason for the obvious favoritism, on top of everything else. Those damn Americans!

Of course I’m being facetious, but I’m also frustrated. We hear about how terrible we are, and how unfair it is that the band  chooses to be here after every single tour is announced. It is to the point where I nearly wince when the band announces U.S. shows.

If we’re going to point fingers, look at the promoters in whatever country we’re talking about. Simon and John, for instance, do not sit down, spin a globe and decide where to go based on where it stops. There’s no grand scheme here to leave out entire continents. It comes down to dollars, timing, and the willingness of promoters to book them. I can’t answer why promoters aren’t knocking down their doors to book them in places like Australia, or most of Europe. I think the markets in those places of the world must be very different. Bottom line is that it is not 1985. The world has changed, the music industry has changed, and, like it or not—the band has changed too. While we still think they’re the biggest and best band in the world, it would seem that concert and tour promoters do not. Right or wrong, it is the way it is.

I’m sorry that Duran Duran didn’t tour everywhere.I am very empathetic to other Duranies, and yes, it IS unfair. While I’m frustrated at the moment, I also care about fans in general. On the other hand, I can’t help but be thankful that the band comes here so often because yes, I love them too.  In some ways, I feel as though I should apologize for their frequent visits here, which is ridiculous because I have no control over what they do. Sometimes I think people would appreciate it if Amanda and I came out and told the band that they shouldn’t visit the U.S and spend the time elsewhere.

First of all, the band isn’t going to listen to us because—and I’m thankful for this—I am not a tour promoter or a band manager. I’m a mom, blogger, and fan. Secondly, it isn’t because they toured  America more than once that they didn’t visit Europe, or Australia, or even why they didn’t do more dedicated shows in South America.  I know it is convenient to just blame those “damn Americans” but let’s get real for just a minute before everyone goes back to hating. The band is able to book a plethora of shows here and have them well attended enough to pay their bills AND make a profit.  They can play a variety of different places over an extended period of time, and since the U.S. is one large country, I suspect the logistics with paperwork and so forth is a bit easier, too. All of it adds up to money and turning a profit. Like it or not, the band makes their living that way, as do the hundreds of people who work for them in one way or another.

I get it. America is the scapegoat, and if fans really feel like they need to blame someone or somewhere, we’re an easy target. I just wish fans spent a little more time thinking about why Duran Duran might continue touring here, rather than just blaming America for all the places the band has missed.

-R