Tag Archives: Duran Duran

If You Want To Stay With Me

Something to let you understand the way I feel

Today is March 28. On this date back in 2001, I went to see Duran Duran in Anaheim. Granted, it probably wasn’t a monumental show to anyone but me. Regardless, every single year I think about that night, and how it completely changed me.

I know that for many of you reading – you’ve seen this story and are sick of it. I get it. The reason I take the time to write about it each year though, is because I think it illustrates just how one single show, event, etc, can change your life. (So buy the tickets!)

Had I not been in the audience at the House of Blues that night, there’s no way this blog would exist. I would have never met Amanda, Jessica, Lisa, Suzie, or Lori. Prior to that night, I’d tucked away memories of being a Duranie right along next to those marked “high school” or “middle school”. Sure, I still loved their music, but rather than having the songs be a vibrant part of my life – they were special memories.

To feel it once again

I still loved them. I mean, whenever I’d hear they were going to be on a talk show in support of an album, I’d be sure to tune in. Most of those shows were during the day, and I was a stay-at-home mom anyway so it worked well. I didn’t deliberately keep Duran Duran a secret, but I also didn’t think to talk about them much. My knowledge of them was rather limited to whatever I’d heard on the radio or read in a book or magazine. It was the kind of thing where I’d say “Yeah, I really loved them back in junior high and high school.” No more, no less.

But then Walt insisted on buying these tickets to see them at the House of Blues. I thought they were a fortune at $65.00 a piece. (Seriously? Someone slap me!) To say I wasn’t excited was an understatement. I tried to talk him out of going several times, even complaining about how we didn’t have a sitter. (Obviously we found one) But the night arrived, and my husband was hell bent that we were going.

It’s just Duran Duran…

I can remember arriving at the venue. It was in Downtown Disney at the time, and we walked up to see a line of people waiting to get in. It was only about 5pm, maybe 6 at the latest, and I was appalled.

“Waiting to get in as though it’s still 1985??? REALLY?!? There’s no way I’m waiting in that. I don’t care how far back we are. How dumb!!”

We went and had dinner at the House of Blues. We found out through our waitress that since we ate there, we’d get in early. I waved her off, laughing.

“It’s just Duran Duran!”

(Famous last words)

We finished dinner and walked right into the music hall, where I announced that we would just stand by the bar. Walt was floored.

“Really? Are you sure??” He shrugged and went to go get us drinks.

Thank you for the fine times

I stood there for a while and surveyed the scene. The floor continued to fill up steadily, but I was insistent that I didn’t need to be in that mess. I could hear them just fine from the back. My thinking was that John, Roger and Andy weren’t even in the band, and I had no idea who in the heck was even playing drums or bass these days. Simon and Nick? Warren? I shrugged to myself. They weren’t my favorites, who cares?!? I just hoped that they’d sound like what I remembered.

I’m not exactly sure when I finally made my way over to about the top of the stairs (going down to the floor), but I suspect it was because Walt insisted. I don’t remember much about him being beside me after that, either – which is pretty funny, and telling.

The band took the stage (although if I remember right, they were way late to do so), and from the second Simon opened his mouth to sing – I was lost to the rest of the world. I was there. In the same room. With Simon! Breathing the same freaking AIR.

Do you remember

Not going to lie, aside from Simon introducing a song at one point by saying it was off of their Pop Trash album (I couldn’t even tell you what song it was – and I didn’t even OWN the album), I have no idea what they played that night. I just know that I was transported somewhere else. I felt like I’d stepped back in time and was reintroduced to someone I’d left behind many years back—me.

Junior high, or middle school, were tough years. Puberty, hormones, just an overall feeling that wavered between being thankful I had friends to feeling awkward and completely alone. Duran Duran had been my saving grace, then. It was the one thing that made me feel “cool” (and I definitely was not). I was included in a group of friends who loved the band as much as I did, and that’s how I managed middle school.

While I hadn’t really discovered boys yet – I discovered Duran Duran. They were safe. They couldn’t reject me, and they didn’t know I was a nerdy kid with frizzy hair that didn’t know the first thing about fashion. I could put posters all over my room, retreat into the safety and warmth of my room, and daydream about meeting them. I was convinced that Roger would fall for me, and that I’d become best friends with the rest of them. Ah, the innocence and naivety of the tween years.

Would never seem to end

High school began much of the same way. I was still a total nerd with frizzy hair, but I’d gotten into marching band. In high school, marching band became my haven (although even there, I was one of the nerdy ones). I had no idea how to flirt with the boys, was disgusted by the girls who did, and instead of learning – I did the opposite by befriending them all. One of my friends would giggle and act like an idiot at our local pizza parlor hangout, whispering about her then-boyfriend with our other friends in a corner. Me? I’d sit with him and the other guys at a table, and we’d talk like normal people. I couldn’t ever understand why the boys would always fall for girls like my friend, and never ones like me, though.

Naturally, that changed during my high school years. I had boyfriends. I suppose I finally learned how to flirt without feeling like I’d lost IQ points in the process. My hair stopped being so frizzy. While I never quite became a fashionista, I did settle into my own style and owned it. Sort of.

College was more of the same. I gained and lost friends, all the while learning who I really was. I changed a lot, and not necessarily for the better. By then, Duran Duran had been all but completely shelved. My posters gone, my childhood bedroom became someone else’s as my parents moved out of the area and I lived at school. I just don’t think I ever noticed just how much of myself I was leaving behind in the process.

To feel it once again

I didn’t recognize how different I was until I saw Duran Duran that night in 2001. I’d been functioning for so long, I didn’t see it.

That’s just it though. I functioned. Something was always missing. I lived, but not fully. I loved being a mom, but secretly I wondered if that was really all there was left for me. Rather than search or start asking questions, I just settled into what I had. This reads so pathetically as I’m typing it – but it’s exactly how I felt at the time.

Going to that show on March 28, 2001 opened up a door. In some ways, it feels a little like an escape hatch! I became reacquainted with this inner-Duranie that I thought was gone forever. I really like her, too. There’s a fierceness, a sense of bravery, and even a bit of fiery independence somewhere inside of me that peeks out every now and then, at her insistence. She’s not willing to just settle, no matter how often I try to stuff her back into the box and explain that I can’t just restart my entire adult life over again to suit her.

At your liberty

I think that’s a lot of the reason why I keep writing this blog. Sure, sometimes finding topics of interest is tough. I’ve been writing for eight years, and the words don’t always just float ever so gracefully to the surface. While this blog serves as a sort of tribute to being a fan, it also gives a little justice to the inner-Duranie each day.

…as if I could ever really forget her.

-R

The Union of the Snake

Telegram force and ready

When I don’t have real news to report, admittedly I fall back to historical dates. They tend to either jar my memory, or get my creative juices flowing. Or, it remains as dry as the Sahara, and I struggle a lot to get something written. You just never know!

Today though, there’s a lot to get my brain going. I really don’t know what it is about March 27th, but this seems to be a day for label deals. Perhaps that is because many of their albums (or so it seems) have been released during autumn, so give or take six months prior brings us to March? I really don’t know. I’m not an expert, but I do know that in 2009, Simon blogged on duranduran.com that the band had left Sony Records.

There’s a fine line drawing my senses together

Much has been written about that time. The band had recorded and self-produced Reportage. Sony wasn’t sold on it, and had given the band a list of names to choose from to produce their album. We all know that during that time, Andy had also left the band for the second time, and of course – Timbaland entered the picture for Red Carpet Massacre. I still believe to this day that Sony felt that anything Timbaland touched would turn to gold (or platinum), and when that didn’t happen – they were convinced it was the band that was the problem.

I still smile nearly every year when I think back on it. It was probably the best move imaginable for the band – regardless of whether the band left Sony or if Sony left them. I cheered when I read the news that day, and when I posted the update on a message board (DDF), a mysterious visitor commented that they could not be happier. This was of course, AFTER handing me my backside on a platter for nearly crucifying the album. I still chuckle about that. I can honestly say it was the only time I’ve ever really laughed at myself after being publicly flogged. Perhaps I deserved it…but maybe the person doing the flogging needed to understand that it’s OK to still be proud of something that the general public didn’t fully embrace at the time, too.

Give me strength at least give me a light

On the same date in 2015, Duran Duran announced that Warner Bros. Records (Part of Warner Music Group) signed a global “recording contract” for Paper Gods. Many fans argue whether or not the band is still signed by Warner Bros. I cannot confirm one way or another, as I do not know. However, Duran Duran is not included on their current artist roster. I just checked the website again today, but I don’t know how up to date that really is. Then again, they signed with Warner Bros. in 2015. Seems like they might update that roster every once in a while?

The truth is, they could have had any one of a number of different deals with Warner. Production deals are common, although unlikely since the album was already written and recorded when Warner Bros. signed them. A distribution deal is also possible, even globally. That means the label would have been responsible for getting the product out into the world, and maybe even marketing. Standard deals are another option, which are what most people think of when they hear of a label “signing” a band. A deal like that usually includes development, recording, pressing, distribution and marketing. Lastly, there is the 360 deal, which is common these days. This means the label has their hands in everything from touring to brand development and everything in between, and the band would lose a lot of control and autonomy. Each type of deal has it’s benefits and detractions (like money, or lack thereof!).

Or, it could be some clever wording from DDHQ and PR people so that fans don’t really know what type of deal it is – because it’s really none of our business anyway.

There’s a chance you could be right

Many people have commented that since John said Warner Bros. suggested the record store day offering of As The Lights Go Down on vinyl, that must mean they’re still with Warner Bros. Again, I’m not an expert, but that’s possible. Another possibility is that the band is still on good terms with Warner Bros, and asked them to press and distribute the album. PR “spin” would be that Warner came to the band with this bright idea because it makes it sound as though the band is in demand. Which isn’t wrong. We fans are kind of demanding, aren’t we? That sort of spin happens frequently! According to John, the entire catalog is under “one umbrella” these days, so I can see this scenario as a possibility.

There’s no reason that I can find at this point, to assume anything more or less drastic. Paper Gods did well for Duran Duran – it was the first top ten for them since 1993, and it would not be a surprise if the band stayed with Warner Bros. for future albums. It also wouldn’t shock me if they didn’t – but by all means feel free to enlighten me otherwise!

In any case, March 27th seems to be the day of deals for this band. Makes you kind of wonder what the next year or two could bring!

-R


From Here to 2009 and Back Again

Think back to 2014, my friends. Do you know what happened on this day?

Simon sent out a short update on #DD14 (which we now know to be Paper Gods), saying they were in the refinement stages – but he didn’t give out names or confirm/deny any other rumors circulating at that time.

It was as though we were gathered outside a studio, waiting for any signs of life from within. There was a gasp, and perhaps a small shriek of victory from the crowd as a tiny window in the door suddenly creaked open. We ran up to the door, essentially climbing over one another, and straining our necks to see whatever there was to see (which wasn’t much). A voice beckoned from beyond, although it was too dark to see much. The voice told us all that yes, they were still in the studio, and no – we could not come in yet. Go home, the voice suggested. Wait for further instructions there, and leave them in peace. The window slammed shut, the crowd sighed in collective disappointment and perhaps a bit of relief, and more silence ensued.

Can you believe that was already FIVE years ago?? I can remember being so nervous about what the end result would be. So many rumors had circulated about what the band had been working on, and in the end – Paper Gods was exactly as it should be. This time around, I’m not nearly as anxious. I think having time and space to work without comments from the Peanut Gallery (that’d be me!) might be helpful. After all, the band didn’t get this far in their career without knowing a thing or two.

So here we are once again, waiting to see what may come. I say, grab a comfy spot on the sofa, because it might be awhile! While we wait, let’s take a look at an oldie but a goody: Songbook, which aired on Sky Arts also on this date in 2009! Truth be told, this is one of my very favorite televised programs from the band, so I don’t have to be coerced much to sit down and watch it again.

I can’t help it – I do love watching these videos. They help boost my mood a bit (I’m suffering from a little bit of missing my two oldest kids today), and who doesn’t need a pick me up every once in a while – right?

Looking forward to the day when I can post news about studio updates, should we be so lucky as to hear of some! Until then, I’m going to start looking for some good older videos to share from good old YouTube. If you’ve got any you’re hoping to find or want to share – let me know!

-R

It’s the Learning of this Journey

Happy Monday! I trust everyone had a lovely weekend? Mine was spent digging!! In the continuing saga of becoming a farm family – we are building some basic infrastructure around here, including a chicken coop and run (outdoor pen area). In order to build one that will withstand and prevent potential predators – a narrow one-foot deep ditch had to be dug around the entire coop and run. We’ll bury hardware cloth (think heavy duty wire fencing) to stop animals from digging their way in. I didn’t need a gym or additional workout this weekend, that is for sure. Our soil is great, until we hit the bedrocks about six inches down. Suffice to say I’m glad the rest of our supplies don’t get here until Friday. By then I will have given my back a chance to recuperate!

Going to who knows where

Despite the hard work and a bit of rain on Saturday, we’ve been enjoying some beautiful weather, and gave ourselves a little time on Saturday night to thumb through some old vinyl. My evening was spent retracing some of my steps through music. We started by listening to Shaun Cassidy! I chuckled when Walt brought out the short stack of Shaun’s albums – I don’t think I’ve listened to them since about 1980! They had that classic 1970’s “pop” vibe to them – I don’t know how to describe it except to say that if you’ve ever heard smooth 1970’s rock – it was kind of like that, with a definite bubble gum edge (or lack thereof) to it. Listening now, I really don’t know how I ever got into it back then.

No offense to Shaun, of course. He is a lovely, kindhearted man – I follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. Once, he commended me on having a mint, unopened copy of his Born Late album. Unfortunately, he also suggested that perhaps I shouldn’t bank on it funding my retirement. Well alright then. There goes that idea! Back to Duran Duran blogging I go then…

Not knowing where you’re rolling

We moved on to Rick Springfield from there. Decidedly rock, I had no problem understanding why I liked him – because I still do. Rick was a huge step from Shaun, really. Where “Da Doo Run Run Run” didn’t have a hard edge to be felt – Rick kept the rock vibe moving. Even at the age of 69 (that can’t be right. It just can’t), Rick can tear up a room with his music, and back in 1979 or 1980, it wasn’t much different. I can’t remember what drew me away from Shaun or towards Rick Springfield – only that it happened. I distinctly remember taking down the Shaun Cassidy pin-up from my door and putting up Rick Springfield.

While my love for Rick didn’t last long (after all, “Jessie’s Girl” came out in 1981 and I believe that was about the same time I heard “Planet Earth” for the first time), I still remember getting into TV soap operas purely because of Rick playing “Dr. Noah Drake” on General Hospital. The summer of 1981 was all about General Hospital for me! Forget Luke and Laura (my apologies to those not from the states that don’t know what I’m talking about) – I was there for Dr. Drake! Age difference? What age difference???

Yes, the age difference between Rick and I is about 19 years. Isn’t it strange how in 1981, I didn’t even think about that? The guy is literally six years younger than my mother! <insert shock and horror here>

Being what makes you breathe is enough

Hearing Rick’s albums versus Shaun’s made me consider the entire journey. I began with 1970’s smooth bubble gum pop and ended up in New Wave/1980’s alternative. I’m not quite sure I’ve ever really left, to be honest.

Each year during award shows, I’ll see a friend or two who clearly pride themselves heavily on enjoying the latest artists, basically chastise those who find today’s music (or much of it) abysmal. Here’s the thing: IT DOESN’T MATTER. I am not in a race with my kids to see which of us has the broadest tastes, nor am I trying to remain relevant. I’m relevant just continuing to breathe and take up space!

The fact is, I like my music. I’m proud of what I listen to – whether it is Rick Springfield, Pink Floyd, Shaun Cassidy, Led Zeppelin, Duran Duran, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Def Leppard, The Killers or even Lykke Li. I like it all. But, I cut my musical teeth, so to speak, on the music I grew up with. I have a special place in my heart for the sounds that got me through middle school, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. I still laugh at the trajectory that got me from Disney records to Duran Duran, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

-R

KAABOO Del Mar and You!

Today has been an interesting one in my neck of the woods. I’m sorry this is posting so late. What began as a homeschool day for me ended up being one where I had to call my husband for a rescue because I’d popped a tire on my car while attempting to pick my dog up from the groomer. Then a serious family issue came up….and here I am at 5:45 pm my time, attempting to whip up a blog in a single bound.

There’s an all night party

The line-up for KAABOO Del Mar (That’s a teeny bit north of San Diego) was announced today, which takes place September 13-15, 2019. Interestingly enough, a band you and I know and love is on the schedule. That’s right, Duran Duran is playing, and now we all get to decide if we’re headed to Del Mar in September!

One question I saw many times today, and even uttered to myself at one point was, “Why do they insist on playing festivals?”

There’s a hole in the wall next to you

As I said, I’ve asked myself this a few times. I think the answer(s) are simple: Money and exposure.

To begin with, a festival is “easy” because the band shows up with their gear. The festival organizers have already paid for the venue, the infrastructure, and the personnel on their end. The band (and I’m oversimplifying this every which way because this is a blog, not a dissertation) shows up and plays, and assumably they get paid (and I hope they get paid well) This is also a good reason for doing corporate gigs, as much as some fans despise the idea.

The bodies move like flies on a wall

On the other hand, festivals are kind of a “newish” thing in the Duran Duran arsenal of tricks. This is a band who likes to control their production, right down to the length of time they take the stage. I would imagine that festivals are pretty much the opposite. It has forced them to give up a little bit of that control in favor of learning how to play “on the fly”, with whatever circumstances are being thrown their way, if even just by the smallest bit.

As such, festivals are a new way for the band to reach people who might not normally attend their shows. It is probably a great way for the band to test unsafe waters. I mean, after all – I think fans are for the most part, a friendly crowd. If a song doesn’t play that well, perhaps we are more likely to forgive than a crowd of tens of thousands?? I would imagine the focus has to be 100%, and that takes honing the craft.

You want to run, but there’s no space at all

Festivals are likely a great way for the band to remain tuned-in and practiced. While I am sure there are fans saying “But why not just play in front of us?” I think the answer is simply that NOT playing in front of a friendly crowd is a great way to train. Sure, we can be hard on them. But we’re also very biased. A crowd that wouldn’t find themselves at a Duran Duran show is one that has to be won over, song by song.

I still hate festivals. This hasn’t changed since Voodoo or even Coachella, and it probably won’t change now. As alarming as it is to me – I’ve somehow gotten even OLDER since that time they played in the desert!! That doesn’t bode well for standing all-day sandwiched tightly within a potentially unruly, decades younger crowd, fueled by healthy (and unhealthy) doses of alcohol and other substances. I admire those than are not just willing, but ready to do it. I’ll wait until the kinder, gentler venues come along.

They’re madly searching for the door in your room

Now if I could only answer the more hotly debated topic of why the band continues to play more US shows. I tried answering this once, barely made it out alive, and have since chosen to leave it to the experts. It isn’t so much about finding a reason, as it is about finding one that many will accept. I’ll leave it for others to wrangle.

-R


I’ve Got This Thing About You

A careless smile

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?

-R

March 2019 Katy Kafe with Simon

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!

The set

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.

-R

A Matter of Feeling (and perspective)

How do you feel

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.

Acquaintances smile

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.

Perspective is good. Miss you, my friend.

-R

Thank You, You’re Welcome – Part One

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 Guest Blogger thumbnail

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.

To Whom It May Concern

Happy Thursday everyone!!

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>

  1. 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.
  2. 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…….
  3. 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.
  4. 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….)
  5. NO FESTIVALS. <big giant grin here>
  6. 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….
  7. 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.)
  8. 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…
  9. 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.
  10. 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,

Rhonda

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.

-R