Yesterday’s winner: Picture E
This one is for the win of favorite picture of present day Simon!
This week, I saw a number of friends of mine discussing Motley Crue and their big announcement that they were going to do one final tour leading to the band’s retirement. Now, initially, I just blew past those posts, tweets, comments, etc. as it didn’t affect me in the least since I was never a fan. I knew that I wouldn’t attend whether it was their last tour, their first tour or their biggest tour. Nope, it wasn’t for me. Then, I put Duran Duran in their place. Now, I know that there are a lot of fans out there who don’t want to think about the end of Duran Duran. I know that for some people the mere mentioning that there will be an end someday upsets them. In fact, it upsets some SO much that I’m sure that there will be angry comments in response to this blog. I’m asking you, then, if this describes you to simply stop reading. I won’t be hurt or upset. I get it. I know talking or thinking about the end can be extremely upsetting and that denial is much preferred. I understand that. I would love to live in that utopia in which the band will always be around, but reality asks me to think about it some, in order to prepare myself. Anyway, seeing this about Motley Crue made me wonder. Is it good to announce the final tour? Is it good for the band? Is it good for the fans? Will it change how the fans respond? Would the results be the same if it was Duran Duran instead (again…not that I’m saying Duran is quitting or that their next tour will be their last.)
Is it good for a band to announce a final tour? Well, I would expect that this kind of announcement might create greater ticket sales. Since this would be people’s last chance, they might be willing to go out of their way to spend money or more money than they would normally. They might be willing to free up some time in their schedules than they would for just a normal show. I can only speak for myself, but if it was Duran’s final tour, I know that I would truly want to do as many shows as I possibly could. I won’t lie. I would stretch my budget. I would find the time, miss work, etc. I would do all that I could to go to as much as I could. I would have to think long and hard about ways to make it happen in order to go to as many as I could. What part of my savings would be tapped? Would I opt to do less or no VIPs, if it meant more shows? What would I do in terms of work? Perhaps, Motley Crue’s diehard fans have been responding in the same way. Thus, announcing the final might be good for the band, in terms of sales. It might also be good for them, emotionally. They would approach the tour differently and would know that there is closure when it is done. They might decide to deal with the fans while on tour, differently, too, knowing it is the last. Of course, it could be hard on them, too. The emotional intensity of it and the high expectations could either make the tour less fun or could make it harder at the end to quit, especially if the tour ends up being bigger/better than the previous one(s).
What about the fans? Would it be good for us to know if a tour was Duran’s last? On one hand, it would be good to know in order to do as much as one can, in terms of attending a show or shows. There would be no more, “Well, there is always next tour. Next tour, I’ll do a show. It just didn’t work out.” People couldn’t do that, if it was the last. In this sense, knowing might cause people to change how they approach shows, traveling, etc. Perhaps, then, people will do what they need to do to make it work or won’t have any regrets afterwards. I would want that. I would hate finding out later that I could have made things work if I had pushed but didn’t, when it was the last opportunity. Right now, there are shows and experiences that I could have made possible in the past, if I had just pushed a little bit here or there, that I regret now. Luckily though, those shows weren’t their last. I had opportunities after those shows missed. If missing those random shows bum me out some, I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have missed shows, when I didn’t need to during the last tour. Heartbreaking, beyond belief, I suspect.
On the same token, what if your desire to get to this final tour doesn’t match your reality? What if there is no way to get to a show–no matter how much you try, no matter how much sacrifices you make. That has to be a terrible feeling! I know that there are still Duranies out there who have yet to see them. While I’m sure that knowing it was the final tour might push some to do something crazy to get to a show, which might be a great thing on multiple levels, it might be heartbreaking to those who truly can’t. Likewise, I can’t imagine the level of stress and anxiety Rhonda and I would experience trying to figure out what we can truly do. I don’t know that I would survive those presales, either. Just thinking about it is causing me have knots in my stomach, feel a little shaky and have my head start to hurt. Maybe, it wouldn’t be good to know, after all. Then, again, I think it would be really, really special to be there for their final song of their final show.
What do you guys think? Better to know or not to know? If you are a Crue fan, are you glad to know? Will this affect your plans to go see them?
I have had about 5 different ideas about what to blog about today. A couple of those ideas are good ones that I might address this weekend or next, but I couldn’t approach those today. They are too much, too serious. Another idea focused on how crappy January has been and how I’m so glad that January is finally coming to an end but no one wants to hear me complain. Thus, I had to come up with a completely different idea. I realized one big thing tonight after finding out that my dental “insurance” sucks beyond belief, which is that I could go on and on and complain, fret about my lack of future touring money or I could fight. Now, I can’t fight my bills (at least not directly) but I can and should fight other aspects of my life. In order to do that, I need some motivation, some inspiration. Then, it dawned on me. Music can do that. It can provide some motivation and some inspiration. Maybe, others also need some feisty Duran in their lives on this final day of January. Therefore, I decided to pick out some great Duran clips to watch to do just that–to get us to fight, to get us motivated, to get us feeling feisty. Here are the clips that I came up with:
Wild Boys seemed fitting. While I love the way they have been doing this song, this intro is still dang cool.
What else says feisty to me? How about when Duran discusses the world? I like how they do it. A couple of good examples.
Too Much Information
Finest Hour. I definitely understand the feeling of taking back and fighting for what I believe. I’m right there, right now.
What about how they deal with the less-than-fun aspects to their careers? Here is Notorious and their response to their critics in the media (at least that is what I have always heard that this song was about).
So, fellow Duranies, what am I forgetting? What songs should I have included? Any interviews that you want to post that fits the bill? I know that I still need more to keep my new focus going.
Today I’m reviewing Tiger Tiger – an instrumental off of Seven and the Ragged Tiger. I think this might actually be the very first song that we’ve reviewed where there are absolutely no vocals of any kind, so hey – something new!
Musicality/Instrumentation: There are certain songs that give me immediate, inescapable chills, and this one is on that extremely short list for me. I simply cannot listen to this song without having them, and I can’t listen to this song without visualizing the beginning to Sing Blue Silver. (and if you’ve never seen Sing Blue Silver I want you to go to Amazon right now…right this very second in fact…and order the DVD. It’s worth the money, and every Duranie should have this in their collection. ) I love the opening – it sounds like an orchestra warming up (although I doubt that’s what it is) and then is silenced with the opening keyboard notes. That leads into the familiar notes where I see a convoy of semitrucks on the highway in my minds eye, along with hearing the beginning of the well-known keyboard melody. Now, what I truly love about this song is the soprano saxophone, played by Andy Hamilton – which certainly becomes the entire melody line for the song, backed up by synthesizer. I really appreciate that the band took the initiative to have the lead instrument in the song be the saxophone – an instrument that really is not in the actual band line-up, although to be sure it is included in a good many songs in the band catalog. Even in my youth, I grew to love Tiger Tiger on this album, likely because of the saxophone – but also because of the simplicity of the song itself. It is a head-clearing few moments for me as I listen. At 3 minutes and 19 seconds in length, the song is not incredibly long, but it flows beautifully and takes you on a short musical journey.
Vocals: No vocals here…so Simon gets a free pass…this week. 🙂
Lyrics: This song is so good it didn’t even NEED lyrics!
Overall: This song gets everything right in the way that the rest of this album falls short. The production isn’t messy, it’s not overdone – and while there is a lot going on in background tracking and melody lines, it sounds simple, yet finished. I love that there are no lyrics – because it allows the listener and the music to just BE..and on an album like Seven and the Ragged Tiger, where there is just layering upon layering, it’s really nice to have a song just take you away to a daydream. For me, the beauty in this song is it’s simplicity. Not only does it showcase the musical chops of Andy Hamilton and Nick, it also proves what Ian Little and Alex Sadkin are indeed capable of producing. By far one of the best tracks off of this album, if not *the* best track. second-to-last song, although I can see why it works there as well. I really cannot think of a single thing that could have been done to make this song better, music like this is why I became a fan in the first place.
Cocktail Rating: Five very well-deserved cocktails!
Today marks the beginning of semester finals for my oldest. She is a junior in high school this year (which means she is in 11th grade and will graduate from high school next year), and as she has been reminded over and over by various teachers and school counselors this year – this year’s grades matter most. Not at all coincidentally I am sure – this has also been the toughest year for her academically. I remember my own junior year of high school, and I don’t remember it being this stressful. Not at all. I went to school, did my work, played the football games (marching band), had a lot of fun, and my grades were fine. It was relatively easy with a few hair-raising moments in between. I wasn’t a straight A-student, but I did well, and I certainly did not burn the midnight oil while doing so.
For my daughter, and probably most high school kids these days, that would not be an accurate description of her high school experience. She has had several “almost” all-nighters, she bites her nails to the “quick” worrying about tests, essays, etc. She is involved on campus in the theater company for the high school – and the teacher who is the director of the company openly tells them that he “owns” them until June. He did not give them time off to study for finals (they practice every day from 2:30 to 4:50 pm), and it’s openly known policy that they don’t dare miss a single rehearsal for any reason, at any time. So they don’t. In the meantime, the kids struggle to keep their grades above water, and like every other high school in America, they’re told that they MUST take AP (Advanced Placement) courses in order to even be considered for college. Those courses are tough, even for me as an adult – and I certainly don’t have a zillion other extracurriculars going on. The pressure is enormous. There isn’t even time left to search for colleges, much less decide where to visit and apply, which is why she has left the initial search for me so that she has less to weed out later.
As a parent, there are two sides to this nightmare. (and really, should it BE a nightmare? This is supposed to be FUN for her!) On one hand, I push my daughter to do well. I know that in order to get into college AND get precious scholarship money (that we need) for her to be able to attend without taking out several hundred thousand dollars in loans (I wish I were kidding) – she has to have outstanding grades. She is not a straight A student – and to even keep the 3.7 she has currently, it is almost impossible. It just doesn’t come naturally to her as it may for others. I see many of my mom-friends talk about their 4.0+ kids and how they’ve gotten into prestigious schools with full scholarships, and I just wince…the peer-pressure alone is enough to break someone. On the other hand, I have started really asking myself if it’s all REALLY worth it. I mean, do I really want my daughter to stress herself out to the point of having anxiety issues all because she wants to go to college? Is it really worth it? What happened to working hard, doing well and keeping it all healthy? What happened to enjoying life? Are we losing sight of what it all really means to live without burn-out by 25?
This brings me, of course, to the band. I know I’m not the only fan who has read more than one interview from them as they looked back on their time at the top of the charts. As successful as they were, there was enormous pressure to continue that success and keep going. I don’t think the band would disagree with me when I say that I’ll bet at one point or another, the whole process stopped being about creating music they really loved and enjoyed and started being about topping whatever they had done last. It is a vicious cycle – kind of like the roundabout that doesn’t stop, huh?
As a mom, I continually fight the urge to lecture her about grades and buckling down (this semester has really been bad for her, and I think we’re about to see a big dip in the GPA – grade point average – as a result), knowing that somewhere out there, resides a school that would love to have my daughter. Not just because she’s a good student (which she is), but because she is vibrant, vivacious, smart, a natural leader, incredibly talented, and would be a great fit for that particular school environment. I hope that I won’t be serving mac & cheese to my family for the next seven + years as we pay for that great college experience, too…. I think it’s safe to say that she probably won’t be attending Harvard or Yale, but instead a much smaller school – and likely one not many may recognize in name. (Just yesterday I came across a small college called Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. That was a new one on me!) It will be the right place for her to grow and mature, and the experience she receives will take her much farther than having a prestigious name printed on her diploma ever could. If I could only keep reminding myself that in the coming months….
I hope the band feels the same about DD14: they’re fighting that pressure and the urge to try that “magical formula” (not that one actually exists, of course) for instant hits, hoping to outdo everything they’ve accomplished prior; but instead they are writing from the heart and soul, knowing that authenticity counts for so much more. I really believe that if they love what they’ve written: it comes through in the music, and the fans follow.
I haven’t blogged about Direct to Fan marketing lately since the band is still in the studio (quiet as can be)…but I ran across something today in my mail that intrigued me enough to throw it out here on the blog, just in case anyone is reading!
We all watch videos on YouTube. In this day and age, I don’t really see how one can escape YouTube – we go there to listen to songs, see clips from various shows and TV, and yes, even the occasional music video. There’s a whole royalty payout system that goes on (or doesn’t go on, depending upon who you talk to), over there that I don’t really understand the full mechanics of – but in any case, it prompted a few folks to come up with a platform they call Audiam. Ultimately, Audiam seeks to help artists receive royalties from YouTube, as well as introduce new methods for exposure.
One such way they want to increase exposure for bands is by having the band encourage fans to take their music and create their own videos. The way it works is the band chooses one song and tells their fan base to make videos for it. That seems, well…like something that has been done before, but what’s different is that this time, the fan gets paid. *blinks* Wait a second, why on earth would a band want their fans to get paid for using THEIR music?!? Good question.
Here’s the scenario: Duran Duran comes out with their new album. They want videos for their music – so maybe the band decides to do a video of one of their songs, but there’s another song that they’d really love to use in order to gain more exposure. So they announce that they want fans to create their own video to the song. Granted, fans are going to get paid for these videos being viewed, but for the band – it’s about exposure. Maybe 10 fans who wouldn’t normally use Duran’s music decide that they want to create a video. They each upload that video and it gets viewed 1000 times. That’s 10,000 views the band didn’t have before, and if the band does it right, they can even have the fans direct viewers back to the original piece of music or another video of theirs from the fan-made video. It’s about numbers, and it’s very similar to doing an ad-campaign. For free.
The band has done a similar thing before when they did the Genero video contest for AYNIN, and TV Mania even allowed fans to create franchises and then submit videos and music in a contest. (Hey, did that contest ever end?!) This is simply another version of the same sort of promotion, once again creating a sort of “We’re all in this together” feel.
While I’m not at all sure of the economic viability in such a platform – for the artists or the company itself, it does seem that more and more these days, fans are being put in the drivers seat as opposed to being the passive passenger…or purchaser. There are still any number of annoying obstacles in the way for bands these days, as they stumble to figure out how to use many of these new platforms to benefit their bottom line and increase their exposure. I don’t envy those who make their living trying to figure out the answer to getting paid (from streaming, YouTube, etc.) or learning how to maximize the possible benefits to social networking. I see enough on SEO as it is – being told that we need links everywhere and so forth. My personal opinion is that while all of this is fine and good, the personal connection has to be there. People are far more willing to go out of their way for people/bands they like and who they feel respect them in return. The ONE thing I learned in sales was that people buy from people that they know, like and trust. It is just not possible for one band to know every single one of their fans…but they can certainly put themselves out there to try once in a while. It’s a good system for the people who are smart enough and sincere enough to put the time in to make it work.