Tag Archives: Duran Duran

Question of the Day: Thursday, July 31, 2014

Yesterday’s winner:  Picture J

JT00J

 

 

 

 

 

The care and feeding of social media

I’ve blogged about the band and social media many, many times. I’ve had fans tell me that I’ve got it wrong – that we fans should be thrilled that Duran Duran are even on social media at all,  and that they really don’t need to do much of anything. They don’t need to respond, follow people, or even come online unless it’s to sell us something. The band already has a loyal, thriving and growing fan base and we should be happy with whatever they choose to do, right?

I’m thrilled to tell you that this is not that blog post again.  🙂

However, let’s pretend we’re not talking about Duran Duran. What if we’re talking about someone who might not have quite the fan base that the band has. What if it’s someone who is working to cultivate that type of loyalty? Would that change our thinking on how he/she should handle social media??

Let’s take two cases in point: Anna Ross and say…Dom Brown. Anna has been on Facebook now for a relatively short time, since June 5th, actually. She already has just over 4000 “likes” to her page, (4140, actually) which is pretty remarkable given the short length of time she’s been involved. Dom, on the other hand, also has about 4000 likes (just a little more than Anna at 4238), but he joined Facebook back in November of 2009.

The other day, Dom noticed that while he has over 7000 followers on Twitter, he has decidedly less on Facebook. Being the smart ass that I am – I chose to point out that he might do better if he took the time to respond once in a while. I figured he wouldn’t ever even take time to read comments, much less respond (which is exactly why I believe I said it in three places. I like pushing my luck.) Turns out, he did see and he did respond. After nearly choking from shock (it is apparently dangerous to eat while checking out Facebook or Twitter…), I responded with “Damn…you replied!”

Well, then. (as my friend Amanda might say.)

Going back to Anna Ross, if you’ve been following her at all on Facebook, she is the exact opposite of Dom. (Sorry Dom, I’m really not picking on you – I’m trying to help, I promise!) She is extremely social, asking her fans questions, asking for pictures of previous gigs she’s done for Duran Duran, responding to comments, and so forth. She’s spent quite a bit of time really engaging the Duran Duran fans she obviously knows we are, letting us talk all about the band and basically letting us get that out of our system before reminding us (very gently and kindly) that while she LOVES talking about them, she’s actually trying to sort this Facebook page out to be her own, to discuss her OWN projects. Fair enough, right?

Once upon a time, I lightly broached the subject of social media with Dom during an interview. I remember his answer: he didn’t mind it, but it wasn’t something he could get into a habit of doing for some reason.  I think, purely as an interested bystander, that much of the problem is not knowing what to talk about, or what to do. Women seem to love Facebook – it’s natural for us to chat with friends and know what to say, although I have plenty of guy friends that do very well with Facebook. I can’t decide how I feel about Twitter. On one hand I think that I see more men regularly participating – but I can’t tell if that’s just because of the group of people I follow or if that’s really the culture of Twitter. I think the less open-endedness of Twitter (merely posting status updates in 140 characters or less) probably helps.

So, after gently pointing out (along with others) that Dom should try talking WITH us, he agreed to start interacting. I don’t think he should be afraid to respond directly to people – most of us won’t bite. (I said most.) He also doesn’t to be a slave to social media. A few minutes at the end of the day, or even once a week to either ask a question of us or respond to a few things asked of him would be a great start. I think that in some ways, seeing how the band interacts with fans has not been a great learning tool. First off, they have “people” who handle the band’s Twitter, although John and Simon have their own accounts. Secondly, we must remember that the band has thousands upon thousands of fans. Twitter and Facebook aren’t going to be handled in the same way by the band as they need to be by those who are trying to grow a fan base. The loyalty and interest is already there for Duran Duran, whereas Dom and Anna are trying to not only create that sense of loyalty in their fans, they’re trying to create an interest for people to see that not only do they have a job to do for Duran Duran, but they have their own creative breadth of work.

I suppose the real test is whether or not Dom really keeps at it. I hope he does, and not just because he’s a favorite of mine. I’d like to see him succeed, and if I can help him – I will. I noticed that someone responded “We’ve heard that before” when he mentioned that he’d really try. Fair enough. I think it’s easy to just put social media on the back burner and pretend it doesn’t matter, especially if it doesn’t come naturally to you, or if you feel like you’re having to “come up” with things to say every day…which is what I suspect might be part of the case here.

On the other hand, I think Anna will not only keep at it – but she’ll continue to grow her fan base exponentially as a result, and we might hear an even larger applause for her each night of the next tour for Duran Duran. I know that even for myself, I didn’t know much about her until she joined Facebook. I had no idea that she was doing her own projects, and so I’m looking forward to hearing her own music, just as I do with Dom.

Like it or not, social media IS a habit that one has to get used to.  I think my advice, to Dom and others, is to just talk to us. Talk as if you’re talking to friends. 4000 of your good friends that, if given the opportunity, will bombard you with questions and ask you umpteen times if you’ll come play a blues show in Los Angeles, or if you’re still really involved on the next Duran Duran album.  I mean, there’s only 4000 of us, right? How bad could it possibly be???

All joking aside, it IS true. Social media isn’t difficult. It’s not rocket science. In order for it to be successful though, you DO have to be social. You can’t just post dates for gigs and maybe an occasional “this is what I’m doing right now” tweet every couple of months, and expect to cultivate a Facebook following. That just isn’t how it all works, but again – no one expects slavery to the system. Spend the time you can with us, and even an occasional “Hi, how are you?” is a genuine way to get to know the people who love your music enough to follow. I speak for all fans when I say that getting a response from someone I’ve seen onstage for years brings a smile to my face even when I’m having a really lousy day, and it makes me even more excited to buy the next album and go to the next shows.  It’s such a simple, yet effective thing.  Use it!

-R

Follow Dom on Facebook

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Follow Anna on Facebook

Follow Anna on Twitter

 

 

Question of the Day: Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Yesterday’s winner:  Picture H

JT00H

 

 

 

 

 

Question of the Day: Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Yesterday’s winner:  Picture E

JT00E

Going on together, many journeys to arrive

I think it’s time I start writing real blogs again, don’t you?

Today marks “Work day one” of being back from vacation. It was a nice trip  – we just went camping, which I realize to many of you probably sounds like a death sentence, but we have a trailer, and honestly if you want to get away – it’s a good way to do it unless you have the resources to fly away to an island away from people.  We drove to Morro Bay, which is about an hour south of Big Sur, CA  for a few days, and then up north of San Francisco.  Our trip included visits to some universities because our oldest daughter – Heather, has just begun her applications to college. We even took a tour of the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, California. (Oh yes, we can be tourists like the best of them!) It was a fun trip, and perhaps one of the last we’ll take as a whole family given that next year, Heather will likely be packing up for school unless she decides to go somewhere close to home.  Hard to believe. but I have an entire year to bore you on that subject!

I am thrilled to see that news is finally starting to trickle on a semi-regular basis from the band. It feels like we might be coming out of a very long drought, and it’s nice to feel like I might be able to start really blogging again with purpose.  I know Amanda feels the same.

Daily Duranie has been a place to convene and discuss, and this is something I value about what we’ve created. It stands to reason that during a time where there was little to talk about, the blog quieted, and I’m sure it’s been noted that our posts in recent months were little more than expanded “Day in Duran History” posts.  We simply felt that while we were waiting for new news, it was time to take a bit of a hiatus rather than force words where there were likely none to be found.

In my attempts to reacquaint myself with reality, I finally listened to Simon’s Katy Kafé from last week. It was nice to hear that things are finally moving towards an end in recording – I’m excited to hear what they’ve worked on. One thing that I’ve really missed since the mass exodus of message boards is having a place to really talk about the music and what might be coming out of that studio.

There seem to be two types of people in this world: those that will speculate, and those that prefer to say, read or think nothing until they hear. I am likely to be found in that first group, much to the chagrin of the band, I’m sure. When I listened to the Kafe, I couldn’t help but notice Simon’s unwillingness to really say what the album sounds like – and I can’t really blame him. As much as I’d like to have something to chew on and think about while we wait, I haven’t forgotten some of the speculation in the past.

Let’s take Red Carpet Massacre, for example. I remember the endless flow of news we were getting from the studio. They were working with Timbaland, they were working with Timberlake, Nick said they were in grooooveland…(I still smile at that one), there was even a rumor at one point that they were working with Kanye. It seemed that with each video or news byte, there was more and more groaning from fans. In a lot of ways, I think I had my mind made up about the album before I heard it. I felt like I knew what it was going to sound like…I feared it. I don’t think that speculation from the fans, including myself, helped.

On the other hand, what about All You Need is Now? We knew they had been working with Mark Ronson, and based on things that Mark had said in interviews – he made it clear that he wanted to do a follow up to Rio. I panned that comment, months before the album ever dropped, because I felt that was setting the bar incredibly high. Did we really hold Rio to be the pinnacle of the band’s career? I think many fans and the public probably do…and I’m still hoping that the best is yet to come. Even so, I couldn’t help but wonder what the album would sound like, and even the thought of trying to make a return to the musical space that I still feel the band owns made me excited for the outcome, but still apprehensive. I didn’t want to be disappointed. Instead, that album quickly took hold of my heart and still gets regular play in my car. I wasn’t wrong to wait for them.

So here we sit, waiting for the album we’re still hash tagging #DD14. It has a yet-to-be-shared, five-syllable title that doesn’t have a spelling but somehow describes where they are musically (I am terrible at these sorts of Jeopardy questions!), and Simon says that ONE aspect of the record is that it is “club” sounding, and it’s definitely a departure from All You Need is Now, which was much more 80s sounding. I won’t lie, I’m wondering if I’ll like it, and I think many other fans feel the same.

Mr. Hudson had a “massive” influence on them. Mr. Hudson is pretty modern sounding in his own right – but even so, on some of his songs I still hear the influence of the music I grew up with. I hold hope that he helped the band remain true to themselves and not try to be something they clearly are not. Club music can be a lot of different sounds. Will it be like Red Carpet Massacre, which has been described as “urban club-music” or maybe more like Notorious? Will I like it? Will I love it as much as I loved All You Need is Now? Will I find a renewed sense of fandom in the music as I have in the past? I have no idea, and I’m certainly not making any claims to know more than any other fan.

I don’t have an inkling as to what we’ll eventually hear. I only know that once again, we sit at what I like to think of as the “entrance” to a new period of Duran music….waiting for the gates to open so that we can flood in, and even at the age of 43, probably 44 by the time the album drops, I’m still nervous-excited. There’s something to be said for a band that can still make me feel that way.

-R

Today in Duran History – Cadiz, Spain

On today’s date in 1989, Duran Duran played at the Puerto Reel festival in Cadiz, Spain.  This was one of several festivals that the band played during this summer.

Not that I would ever dare suggest one buy a bootleg, but in my search for information regarding this appearance, I saw that there is actually a bootleg of this gig.  Live and learn!

-R

 

Book Club: Mad World (Animotion, Band-Aid and Afterword)

This is our final book club for the book, Mad World.  We will finish by discussing the last three chapters on Animotion, Band-Aid and the Afterword by Moby.  Perhaps, we will also include a little bit of what we learned along the way.  I hope you throughly enjoyed the book and the book club as much as we did!  Jump in and join us!

Animotion:

Amanda:

Truly, this was an unbelievable chapter and story to read.  As I read it,  I almost thought that I should be keeping a chart about who did what, when, why, etc.  There were so many statements and moves made that affected Animotion that it was hard to keep track.  Clearly, VERY clearly, the band members, themselves, did not have control over their band.  Much like the lyrics to the song, there is a desperation underlying all of the agreements and moves made by the individual members.  They seemed to want to succeed so badly and the little taste that they had made them want more.  This desire was so strong that they made some questionable decisions.  Unfortunately, those decisions didn’t seem to put them in a better spot in the long run.

Before I dive into the chaos that was the Animotion story, I have to acknowledge what I knew before hand.  I knew that Michael Des Barres co-wrote this song and that it did very, very well for him.  In fact, before Power Station, this seemed to be his big claim to fame.  I never once thought about the actual band who performed the song.  I was just happy that Michael experienced such success and I guess I assumed that the band must have as well.  How naive am I?!  The band’s story shows or reminds that one should never ever assume when it comes to the music business.

Right away into Animotion’s story, I know that this wasn’t going to go well when the song, “Obsession,” sounded nothing like the rest of the album and didn’t match the sound they were going for.  It seems to me that it never ends well when ONE song or ONE album goes against the rest of an artist’s catalog.  When the band heard the song, one member loved it and thought it was the direction they should be going and the other wasn’t so sure.  Perhaps, part of the problem was that the band wasn’t really on the same page to begin with and weren’t comfortable with each other.  Yet, of course,  reservations were pushed aside as the song moved up the charts.

After that, behind-the-scenes became complete chaos.  There was the producer trying to run the show and get in between band members.  Then, the record label pushed new songs at them and when the next one didn’t do as well, the label backed off support.  A new A&R man comes in filled with hate over everything they had done before.  Likewise, new managers determined that key members needed to go and be replaced by Cynthia Rhodes.   It seems to me that member, Astrid Plane, summed it up best on page 307 about what it was like to be them then, “You were nothing.  You were an item that was going to be on a shelf to be sold, and if they felt like you weren’t sales-worthy, then [they’d] toss you in the trash.”  I am left just shaking my head at how horrible and upsetting their story really was.  I wouldn’t want any other band or artist to experience something like this, but I suspect their story really isn’t all that unique.

Rhonda:

Unlike Amanda, I was pretty naive about who wrote “Obsession”.  Of course I know the song – it’s difficult to claim yourself as New Wave fan without acknowledging the song (purely as an aside, my younger sister continues to sing this song to me at the oddest moments, whenever the timing makes sense…to remind me of my Duran Duran fandom. Thanks, Robin.), but I really never thought about who wrote it.  I guess you could even say that I didn’t care, because I really didn’t.  I just knew the song to be one of those overplayed-to-death songs from the radio.  I don’t know that I ever really think about that kind of thing as a music consumer. (except when it comes to Duran Duran and their various guitar players over the years) I was shocked when I read this chapter though. If there was ever any question about how the industry REALLY works – how incredibly unfair it can really be, or how it will chew you up, spit you out and then come back later for more – this is the chapter to read.  

Animotion was never one of my favorite bands from this era, and I wholly admit that this particular song had everything to do with that. I suppress a bit of a chuckle when I find that this song wasn’t even their typical sound. It sounds nothing like their music at all, actually. That’s a real problem for this band – because if you’ve got an audience wanting to hear more like “Obsession”, and you’re used to writing something much more similar to say, early Police or Fleetwood Mac, that audience is never going to follow you.  Instead, you’ve got a band here who literally floated to the top of the charts on a song that they didn’t write – therefore making nearly NO money on the song (even to this day, it’s the writer of the song – Michael Des Barres – who continues to see handsome royalty checks on this one), and there’s not any way to bring those fans of this song to their back catalog.  It is really THAT different.  I read stories all the time about bands who are/were famous and yet haven’t a penny to their name(s), and mostly I want to scoff and laugh because really – is that possible?  The answer is yes. Yes it is.  If you can’t/didn’t write your own music, I’m not entirely sure that you want to “just” be the performer, and especially not after reading this chapter. 

I’d like to share a quote from Bill Wadhams, followed by a quote from Michael Des Barres.  It’s easy to see that they are two sides of the same coin – two products of the machine.  

Wadhams says, “I go on YouTube and see Michaels Des Barres performing at SXSW, and he prefaces ‘Obsession’ by saying, ‘This is a song that I wrote that made me a bloody fortune.’ The year that ‘Obsession’ [was a hit for Animotion], each member of the band made about $50,000; the next year, just about nothing.  Whether it’s fair or not, it doesn’t matter because I don’t know that Michael Des Barres ever sang a song that was an international hit. I wonder whether he would trade having been the singer of the hit song for the money, if he would’ve been able to walk out on stage, sing ‘Obsession’, and have people go, ‘That’s the voice, that’s the hit that we love.’ (308)

Des Barres says, “It’s put my kid through college, [supported] two wives, and more besides. One song enters the lexicon of American consciousness, and it will take care of you for the rest of your life.”  (308)

Astrid Plane, singer for Animotion, finishes the chapter by adding, “We are still in debt to the record company to this day.” (308) 

Band-Aid:

Amanda:

Lori Majewski’s introduction in this chapter instantly brought me back to my elementary school lunch hour.  Why?  Simple.  I, too, experienced endless debates between Band-Aid and USA for Africa. While her debates might have been about which had bigger stars, mine focused on who was first.  No matter how many times and how many ways I tried to explain that Band-Aid was first, that they had started it, my classmates didn’t believe me.  This was obviously long before the internet so I couldn’t prove it to them but I so wanted to.  In reality, below the surface of the debate, it was more about which was better:  New Wave or Motown?  Duran Duran or Michael Jackson?  You see, unlike so many in 1984, I lived in an area where it wasn’t cool to be a Duran Duran fan.  Michael Jackson was the one and only king there.  Even now, I have to admit to loving the comments Nick Rhodes made in this chapter about the differences between Band-Aid and USA for Africa.  He seemed to be spot on, to me!

While I knew the story behind the song and how quickly it was put together, reading Midge Ure tell about it makes it all the more real.  They truly put the song together so quickly from writing to recording to getting it airplay.  He tells how easily it could have been horrible and that “it wasn’t that bad”.  I don’t know about the rest of you but I can’t imagine a holiday season going by without listening to the song and hearing it played somewhere.  It lives on.

Of course, the real story of Band-Aid isn’t so much the song itself or the bands involved, but what was pointed out in the introduction.  It marked the end of the party.  The first half of the 1980s, the New Wave era, ended with this song  and what followed with Live Aid and other charity events.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I wish the New Wave era, musically, continued forever as I loved it so.  Yet, I know that, sometimes, it is good for something to be shorter lived.  It wasn’t around long enough to get completely run down and sucky.  I still have mixed emotion about the worldly awareness that followed.  While I’m a political person, I have never chosen music that is overtly political.  I like artists to be smart, thinking and feeling people but not preachy.  Did Band-Aid change people and the industry to become preachy?  Maybe.  It is hard to say but things definitely did change after that.

Rhonda:

The holiday season just isn’t so without this song.  Like Amanda, I wish the New Wave age had gone on longer – I didn’t graduate from high school until 1988 and it could have easily continued that long without complaint from me. I will never forget hearing the song for the first time, or the glee I get each and every time I hear it on the radio during the season.  This single song sums up much of my entire music experience during my formative years.  To this day I smile every time I hear Simon sing his lines, and while I know the song is for charity and it’s purpose was to galvanize the community into support for Africa – to me it’s about so much more. It’s a musical era. It’s my history. It’s the capstone of New Wave, and it was a song ever created for a charity (sometimes I wonder just how much of that message gets lost amongst the noise).  

I don’t know if I like what happened following the release of this record so much.  For me, music changed after that. I won’t even mention the US answer to this song, suffice to say that there have been many attempts to copy what this song tried to do. There is something really kind about “Do They Know it’s Christmas”, and I think that feeling was completely lost after that with “other” attempts. It became production and big industry business. Maybe that’s why I’ve always stuck to British bands….

After that record though, music started having some sort of a conscious, and bands tended to forget that the purpose was to entertain, not preach.   And of course, New Wave as I knew it really ended.  But at the time, when this record came out – I had no idea. I listened to it nearly non-stop during that 1984 holiday season. Ignorance was bliss, and trust me – I was indeed full of bliss that holiday. 

Afterword:

Amanda:

Moby does a good job in expressing how New Wave was different–international, gentle, escapist.  I felt all those same things.  I felt that way living in the Chicago suburbs and later even more so when I moved to small town, Illinois.  I longed for anything that wasn’t small town American focused, jean wearing, beer guzzling, hard rock that was all the rage by the time I found myself transported to what seemed like another planet.  I still miss it but there was a desperation then in my youth that led me to reject anything and everything popular for a good number of years.

This book brought me back to my childhood and the music I loved so much.  It reminded me why I fell in love with it and truly what was so good about it.  I loved the imagination and the creativity that everyone seemed to bring.  There was uniqueness in every artist despite having common influences.  As the kid, the music seemed carefree and fun.  Of course, the book also shed light on the stories behind  the music and many of those stories revealed the good, the bad and the ugly.  I learned how quickly some songs were written.  I also learned how easily band members can grow apart even when they were the best of friends.  The music industry might have been kinder then, in general, but still was a thorn in people’s sides too often.  Yet, despite everything that happened to each of these bands, their music remains.  Like Moby, I’m definitely thankful.  I’m also ready for the sequel!

Rhonda:

I don’t think I grew up in a particularly small town, but even so, New Wave was my escape from reality. I was a typical junior high school band nerd. My friends were either band members, or they were also nerds. We didn’t know how to dress, make-up was still a mystery, and awkwardness was probably my FIRST name at the time. The popular girls at my school loved to pick on me, and music was how I escaped the ridicule. I think to some extent, it still is.  Back then I’d come home from school, and the first thing I’d do was turn on the TV in search of music video, or I’d run to my bedroom, flop on my bed and hit my stereo. I didn’t want to hear or see pop – I wanted bands like Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, INXS, Depeche Mode or nearly any other band mentioned in this book. (coincidence? Probably not!) I didn’t have an allowance, and money wasn’t “free-flowing” in my parents house, so I can remember waiting for KROQ to play certain songs so that I could tape them from radio.  The audio quality would be terrible (back then I literally had to take my tape recorder and face it towards one of my radio speakers to make it work, and I nearly cried with joy the day my parents finally bought me a “boom box”…good Lord…) I always loved the boys who were less football, more introspective, and if they played in a band – all the better.  So when I read Moby’s afterword, I find myself nodding in agreement. His story really isn’t much different from my own.  New Wave WAS my adolescence and it did make life bearable. I don’t know what I would have done without it. 

Like Amanda, I’m ready for the sequel. This book was everything I’d hoped, and much, much more.  If you haven’t grabbed your copy yet, I urge you to give it a try. I loved this book so much it’s earmarked and red-lined, with notes in the margins and sadly, a few pages have even come out of the binding at this point. I daresay it’s been well-consumed.

-A & R

Question of the Day: Monday, July 28, 2014

Yesterday’s winner:  Picture C

JT00C