Tag Archives: Duranies

When you get that lonely shine in your eye

The other day, Amanda and I were on Skype. We were beginning work on a project and kicking around ideas when the topic turned to our upcoming road trip to San Francisco. We’re both really excited to have plans this summer, even if it’s only for a couple of shows. San Francisco is a city we’ve never been together while “touring”, and it will be great to see fellow Duranies, too.

That got us talking about our friends. Duranie friends, that is. We have a lot of people we know from the blog – people that we might not know well, but that have introduced themselves to us at various shows and things. We also have our core group of friends, which honestly, seems like it’s dwindled over the years. It is that group that I’ve been thinking about more recently.

When I first started out on the message boards, I stumbled upon a group of women that I became pretty attached to. Many of them were on the organizing committee for a convention that I was a part of, and a few others were involved on the board. (Amanda is one of those people, actually!)  They were what I like to call, my people. (We also called ourselves the Gutter Gals at one time, back about thirteen years ago!) I remember feeling like I needed to study up on Duran Duran because these women knew Duran Duran’s history like nobody’s business. I knew only what I’d read. These women had been to shows. Many of them. I think I’d been to about six at the time, and one of them was a festival. I knew next to nothing compared to most of them.

One of them had organized more than one convention, and seemed to know everyone, everywhere. When I looked at her (virtually, of course) and then looked at myself, I felt like I had absolutely nothing in common with her. She seemed hard-edged, and there I was—Miss OC Soccer Mom—trying my best to fit in. Another one was easily likable. She was popular on the boards, friendly to all, and everyone thought she was cool.  She could use humor to diffuse almost any situation, a tool she still uses to this day. I witnessed women tripping over themselves to befriend this person, and when she and I hit it off – calling one another the “other half of our brain”, I thought I’d made a friend for life. Yet, I was really nothing like her, either.  She was young, independent, single, a partier—and everyone loved her.  Still others were quieter, but they knew their Duran-stuff. They had history following the band, whereas I had spent the majority of my life prior on the outside looking in.

As many know, this group of women embraced me, for reasons I still don’t really quite understand. I never felt like I measured up. I don’t have tattoos or a number of piercings. I don’t know the band, haven’t had any body part signed by them, nor have I jumped the stage and been carried off by Dave. I look ridiculous in Doc Marten’s, and I look stupid with burgundy colored hair. The hardest-edged thing about me are probably the toe rings I wear in the summer – and yes, that’s a joke (although the toe rings are not). Rocker-girl or goth enthusiast, I am not. I’m more apt to wear pink than black on any given day. Oh, how I’ve wished I could be one of those women who can pull off black hair, black leather, etc. I’m just the opposite. I’m more like bubble gum, really. I suppose in many ways, it’s why I started this blog. I wanted to prove to myself that I could be like those women in one way or another. For once, I wanted to be on the inside and actually do something. But, as time has gone on, I’ve noticed that most of that original group of women are no longer around.

I probably can’t really call them close friends, anymore. It’s not that I don’t love them, or care about them, but they’ve moved on, and I really haven’t. The most I see or hear from them is on Facebook. They’ve got careers, lives, marriages, and they’ve kind of dropped Duran Duran along the way. I don’t know if the band got “old” (I don’t mean in age), or if they got tired of it all, or if the trend changed—and me being me—I missed my cue to leave and instead, I got more involved. Many of them complain about the band in one way or another, and yet I embrace them tighter. Maybe it’s me, really. (It is probably me.)

I haven’t seen many of them in years, now that I think about it. I don’t travel alone (meaning without the family) much unless it’s for Duran Duran. Then again, I can’t afford to fly these days anyway, so unless the band plays on the west coast (thankfully they are this summer) and I can drive there, I’m sort of stuck. The good news is I’m just about halfway through the whole “paying for two kids in college” thing, so I’m hoping it will get better from here. Point being, I don’t get out much, so I don’t see them often, if at all. Maybe that’s it. Or maybe it’s just that people drift apart, and we weren’t all meant to be friends forever.

The one thing I know for sure, is that without those women, I wouldn’t be writing. The only reason I ever started writing was because I missed being able to tear through album, song, video and show minutia. I loved talking about all of that “little” stuff. I liked examining the human condition and how news would affect the fan community as a group. I used to do that on the message boards, until there stopped being message boards. So, without those women, I don’t think I would have started this blog, and I don’t think I would have gone to the last thirty shows or so. I still love this band, for some crazy reason. I have a blast when I go to the shows. I have spoken to a few from that original group over the years, and the subject of meeting the band always comes up. They don’t understand why we continue to put in so much effort to be completely ignored by Duran Duran.

First of all, I haven’t been totally ignored, and Daily Duranie hasn’t been ignored. At least for me, it really has been about the expectations I had swirling in the back of my head from day one. This was never about being accepted by the band. I wanted to be accepted by my peers. There have been times when I’ve let the idea of acceptance by the band cloud my judgment, and the outcome has not been good. This is not about them. It’s about me. I wanted to prove I was more than just a housewife. More than just some nerdy kid than never quite grew up. More than solely a mom. I desperately wanted people to like me.

The irony that I have weeks like this, where I openly muse about friends I’ve lost along the way, isn’t lost on me. Speaking out has come to mean standing alone, sometimes. Even so, the nostalgia for that close group of friends I once had, and the journey I’ve been on since, is a little bittersweet.

I’m excited for my upcoming trip, and if you see Amanda and I at a table or at the bar—come say hello. We’d love to make a new friend or two along the way!

-R

A Special Tribute to Ann Le Bon

Some blogs are difficult to compose. Not because I don’t know what to write, or because I can’t think of what to say. Instead, they’re hard because I don’t know how to properly put something into words without sounding too familiar, or on the other hand, too much like a journalist. I’m neither, so….I’m going to try my best.

At some point this morning, DDHQ sent out a note from Simon letting fans know that Ann Le Bon, Simon’s mom, passed away in the night of the 19th of June.  The full note reads (copied and pasted from Duran Duran’s Facebook) as follows:

“Ann Marie Le Bon died willingly & peacefully in the night of June the 19th. She’s the person I’ve known the longest in my life.  We are all very sad.  But she has left us with overwhelming love, which she planted as seed in all of our hearts.”  

I did not ever have the good fortune to meet Ann in person, at least not that I am aware of. I don’t believe Amanda had either. Many of our readers have met her, some even having tea with her at one point or many over the years, and still others found themselves a pen pal in Ann.

As for Amanda and myself, well, we found a reader. Ann read our blog, at least often enough to decide to follow our page on Facebook. Both of us were dumbfounded—truly, we were speechless—the day that we received notification that she’d followed us. I won’t lie, at first I think both Amanda and I felt it might be a fake account, but after really looking at it, we were convinced it really was Simon’s mom, and yes, we were really pleased she thought enough of the blog to follow. Sometimes, not often but a few times over the years, she would post an encouraging comment to the page as well. I am sure she never knew how much we appreciated those, but as I move forward from this point, I’ll never forget her kindness. I’m sure many will point out that our blog was not the only fan page she followed, and that is exactly my point. She cared about the fans.

Ann was unique in that aspect, as Amanda and I have come to find over the years. She wasn’t afraid to open her heart (and home) to fans. Often times, all I need do is make mention that I write a fan blog to someone I’ve just met, whether they work in the industry or not, and I will get the side-eyed looks and stares that tell me I’ve already been labeled a freak. Family members of those in the industry tend to shield themselves from fans, much of the time—and granted—some of that (if not much of that) is out of necessity, but Ann did not operate that way. She loved us, cared about us, and to my knowledge, never mentioned that we fans were strange or odd because our fandom followed us through adulthood. I think she sensed how much we all cared about her son, which in some respects was the common bridge we shared.

As someone who has lost a parent, this is not a club anyone looks forward to joining. I think we all are cognizant on some level that our parents will not be with us on this planet forever, but however long we have them never seems quite long enough. As I said before, I didn’t know Ann personally, but it wasn’t difficult to see how much Simon adores his mum.

Grief is a weird thing. At first (at least for me, and everyone is different), the memories were almost painful. The last thing I wanted was to feel that sting and emptiness that thinking of my dad left me. As time has gone on though, I appreciate the fond memories I have of my dad. They give me comfort when I need, and sometimes—particularly when I am doing something I know he would “bust me” for doing—I can hear his voice booming in my head with a resounding, “Rhonda Lynn!!”

It makes me smile.

I hope the same for Simon and his family. My heart goes out to his entire family.

-R

Happy Birthday Dom!

Any day is a good day when I can wish one of my favorites a very happy birthday!  At 45, he’s still a kid compared to many…but we’ll let that go for now.

I’ve had a special affinity for Dom from almost the moment he started playing with Duran Duran. While it is absolutely true that I idolize Duran Duran – it is hard not to when they are the people in the posters I still have hung on my walls – Dom is a little different.  Let’s face it, for me, Roger Taylor is the fictional, “Knight in Shining Armor.” When I was young, I believed he could do no wrong. I suppose that at least to a certain extent, the same held true for the rest of the band.

After I grew up, my thoughts on that changed, at least somewhat. Even so, I still have their posters, and I think that I’m still a little starstruck. How could I not be? I still sometimes have to pinch myself when I’m at a concert, particularly when I’m near the front, to remind me that yes – this is all real.

Dom joined the band onstage after I was already an adult, and because I met him in person not long after, I don’t really idolize him. At least, not exactly in the same way….or so I keep telling myself.  I mean, there is still plenty of this atrocity going on:

I have to laugh.  I wore my Apple watch that night as a test because I wanted to see what the step meter would do at a concert. (It turns out that I get a week’s worth of steps in…) In other words, I am a total geek. Not that this picture proves otherwise, anyway.

Even though I scream at shows for him (obviously), he seems perfectly normal otherwise. (Yes, HE seems normal. Me? Read on)The thing is, I’ve met Dom before. He’s a nice guy. He’s even done a Q & A for this blog, and I lived to tell about it.

I remember when I emailed him to ask about doing the Q&A. I had to force myself to hit “send” and then nearly ran from the computer. It was a ridiculous display. Thankfully I was here at home and there is no video.

I was amazed by how quickly he responded.

Even so, I’m shy. Super shy.  Not sure if anybody is getting that…. One time, I was sitting at a sidewalk cafe table in Los Angeles at the Ace Hotel and he walked by, going into the hotel. I nearly choked. I didn’t say a single thing. I just watched him walk past. I felt paralyzed in my seat, very much the same way I used to feel when Ken Sears, the object of my middle school crush, would walk by the clarinet section on his way back to the drum section in band. I had it SO BAD for that guy. I think back on those awkward years (yes, years) and I cringe. It took me months to even work up the nerve to say hi to Ken, and by the time I finally got comfortable with him, he moved on to high school. I still had another year in middle school. It was horrible.

So there I was, in my forties and I still couldn’t speak, couldn’t say a thing when Dom walked past. I tweeted about it though…and I still laugh when I think of Amanda looking at me as though I’d grown a third head as I pointed out that Dom had just walked past. I think Amanda was ready to get out of her chair and go grab him herself, and I pleaded with her not to. Yet I tweeted him afterwards, and he responded – probably the only time he has ever responded to me, actually! Needless to say, I felt like an idiot and I’m sure he was amused that I even bothered to tell him how shy I was/am. Yep, I’m socially inept. Love to write, hate to speak in person.

Then there was the time, that same weekend, when I ran into him at a bar. I am pretty sure he went to hug me and I am also pretty sure I dodged it. I don’t even know why. I suppose at the time I was nervously trying to step out-of-the-way of people (it was crowded and that’s my excuse!), and I’m not really a hugger, or at least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.  I wanted to fall into a hole in the ground after that, so yay for me!

I did make up for my idiocy about three years later, when I saw him at Agua Caliente in March. I actually got up off of my bar stool and walked through a crowd of people to say hi to him, and I say “actually” because that is not typical “Rhonda” behavior. I’d cower in a corner and maybe wave, but no way would I risk actually walking. (I’m clumsy and always at risk of falling, so no.)

I did wave. Then before my brain registered, I’d gotten up off of my chair, walked over and waited for him to finish taking pictures. It was an out-of-body thing, I’m pretty certain. I remember saying to him that I wasn’t there for pictures and I didn’t want anything signed. I didn’t even get the full sentence out.

He is a good hugger.

Ken Sears would be proud. Don’t google him, though. He’s just some poor man who likely has nightmares about some frizzy haired girl with a clarinet following him in middle school. I should probably apologize to him.

Moving on…he’s a really nice guy. I still say the band is lucky to have him. He’s down to earth, has an incredible work ethic, and is extremely talented. I’ve met him several times now, and I can’t really say we’re friends, but we’re friendly (or else he’s just really nice about humoring me), and I’m glad he’s a part of this crazy family.

I doubt you’re actually reading, Dom – but if so, happy birthday!! I hope you have a fantastic birthday with your beautiful family. I’ll see you in a few weeks!!

-R

Happy Summer Reading: Careless Memories of Strange Behavior!

It is the first real day of our summer (no school), and I’ve already started a project called “repainting the house”.  This week, its my office. I’m excited because right now, it is lavender, and while that’s a lovely color – particularly for the child who once inhabited this room – it’s a little girly for me. So now it is going to be more of a silvery color called silverberry.

So while I do a little of that each day, I’ve also been downloading books to read. I did precious little “fun” reading during the school year, so I’m catching up this summer!  While I was doing that, I ran across a cute little book I bought several years back called Careless Memories of Strange Behavior: My Notorious Life as a Duran Duran Fan, written by Lyndsey Parker, coincidentally – it was released on this very day in 2012!

For the sake of brevity, I’m shortening the title to Careless Memories while I write a little about it. First of all, it’s not long, and it’s not heavy reading. It’s just the type of book most Duranies will fly through, and its perfect beach reading. It’s cute, and it will make you smile, but it’s not the kind of book where you’ll read an in-depth lyric analysis. In fact, there were several parts of the book (it’s only 41 pages) where I didn’t agree with Parker at all. But that’s the joy of reading. Everyone gets something different out of it. So today, we can celebrate that Careless Memories of Strange Behavior came out five years ago!  Happy Summer Reading!

In the meantime, I have some painting to do…and I’m even going to chat with Amanda over Skype! We have some planning to do for a super fun road trip to San Francisco! That’s less than a month from now, and I can’t wait!  Talk about strange behavior— I certainly hope so!! Hope to see some of you up in the Bay Area!

-R

I’m Not Alone: Embracing the Connection from Fans

In one way or another, I have been studying fandom now for just about nine years. You’d think I’d be an expert by now (or at least have a Master’s degree!), but instead I’ll just say that I have a very good grasp on the complications of fandom. Not an “expert”, not even very knowledgable. I just know about how much I don’t know.  Progress?  I’m not sure.

Every once in a while, something new comes down the old Twitter timeline to grease the wheels. This time, it was something a friend who had recently gone to see New Kids on the Block in concert. I believe it was an excerpt from their tour program (forgive me if that’s incorrect), and it’s certainly worthy of sharing here.

photo courtesy of @expired_data

When I read the statement, I have to admit, I wished that I had been a New Kids fan. I was never into their music, but I have friends who still go to see them. They speak of meet and greets, and fan events like cruises, and even tweeting back and forth with them on Twitter. There seems to be very little barrier (if any), between fan and band, which to me is both incredibly unusual…and honestly…a little other-worldly, given my own experiences as a Duran Duran fan. It’s completely different from what I know.

Maybe some of you would argue otherwise. Perhaps those who really know the band would say they’re just as tuned-in. Maybe not. Maybe Duran Duran is more reserved. Personally, I still revel in the moments when Simon comes to center stage just before they perform during the encore, because he usually speaks from the heart. Sometimes it’s about the fans. I appreciate that moment because it’s heartfelt. I almost always leave a show feeling bittersweet and thankful I’m fan.

There are so many potential discussions to be had here, it’s difficult to know where to begin. I can also see how easily this can slip into “why can’t Duran Duran be this way” territory, which it did the other night when I had some chats about it on Twitter.

There were tweets about the relative absence of Duran Duran members on social media (aside from the DDHQ posts). Some mentioned that sometimes the band just seems very inaccessible, cold, and distant. I had one person even say that sometimes they look down from the stage at the fans as though we’re trying to climb into their lifeboat  just a like a scene from the movie Titanic. Still others think the band is slowly trying to disengage because they are coming closer to their own retirement.

Whether or not any of that is true, I think as fans we tend to expect a lot more than any human can deliver. Also, despite speaking the same basic language, the differences between our cultures and the types of boundaries we maintain are vast. I can cite hundreds, if not thousands of tweets I’ve seen with my own eyes from fans that are miles over the line of what is socially acceptable. While yes, it’s all in good fun when we send them, we don’t know how they’re being taken on the other side. I must count myself in that insanity. I’ve done dumb things over the years just like anyone else. Lastly, the band skyrocketed to fame hard and fast at a very young age. I can’t help but believe that didn’t have some effect.

Comparing Duran Duran to the New Kids on the Block is like comparing an apple and an orange. They’re both fruit – juicy and yummy – but in completely different ways. It is unfair to hold one up to the same standards as the other, so we (I) must resist the urge.

So, let’s focus on the obvious – how cool was that statement??  I think what strikes me most is how well they recognize exactly what fans feel. Not only do they acknowledge how they feel as a band, they seem to realize that fans feel the same way. They share that connection, and one feeds the other. I’ve often wondered if bands out there really get it. NKOTB certainly does.

The last few lines really tug my heartstrings. “That reminder, that ‘somebody out there knows me’ and that ‘I am not alone.'” (Anybody know, are those lyrics?)  That’s how I feel at a show, which is crazy because Duran Duran doesn’t know me, but sometimes it feels like they do.

The one thing I’d say to Duran Duran, if possible, is that whenever I’m on social media and get into this kind of discussion with fans, invariably someone will interject and say that the interpersonal connection doesn’t matter. It’s only about the music. I can count on someone tweeting me to say that every single time. In some ways, it feels a little like a dismissive statement, in other ways, it feels like they’re trying to tell me that since I’m not “all about the music”, I’m less-than.  While I cannot deny that for some fans, it may really be all about the music… maybe they go to concerts, buy albums and go home. I don’t hear from them about my blogs, or see them online very often, if at all. I’m here to tell you that for the vast majority of Duran Duran fans that I have ever run into, it is NOT JUST ABOUT THE MUSIC. Music plays a huge part, but there’s a little something more there than just liking some songs or a few albums over the years.

I like a lot of different bands. I sing along to many different songs on the radio, and buy hundreds of albums. I love music in general. But there are remarkably few bands that I spend real time on. I mean REAL time. Forget the money, I’m talking time that could (and probably should in my case) be spent elsewhere. My friends come from this community. My travels are at least in part due to this band. I wouldn’t spend that time if I didn’t like, if not adore, the people I was supporting. I’d just sing along on the radio or buy an album and be done with it. That isn’t what is going on for me (and thousands of others) with Duran Duran. You don’t spend thirty or forty years on a band if you don’t feel some sort of connection with them. You just don’t.

Sure, you can pay someone to do all that work for you. The tweeting, the fan gatherings, the contests. Every band does that, and by all means it is a vital and necessary part of PR that no one has the time or passion to do on their own. I will just say that the few times John even goes to the trouble of sending a video that gets posted, or when Nick takes a picture pointing out Late Bar on a sign…or when Simon takes a picture from his hotel room just to share what he’s seeing, those moments are golden. Why? Because it’s an acknowledgment that we exist. That they know we’re out here, still paying attention, still supporting, still being fans…and maybe, just maybe, we actually matter to them even a fraction as much as they matter to us. It’s about the connection. Despite what some try to tell me, I know enough to realize that yes, it really does matter.

I applaud the members of New Kids on the Block for not only getting the message, but embracing it. By far, this is the most lovely thing I’ve ever read from a band to its fans.

-R

 

 

Away from here

I try not to get political here on the blog because it’s kind of my escape. But then again, I’m not really sure if the word “escape” is appropriate here. For me, Duran Duran is just a part of everything else. I met my best friend at a fan convention. I write because I’m fascinated about fandom. I listen to Duran Duran music when I’m driving my kids around. I found some of my favorite people on earth because of Duran Duran. So I don’t know if I’d call the band my escape, or a just a really good and happy part of my life at this point. Whatever the case, I try to leave the stress at the proverbial “door” when I start writing, and enjoy the peace.

With that in mind, the solace of the blog has become somewhat more of a comfort in the past year. The world outside is pretty darn nasty right now. I can’t speak for what is going on in other countries of the world, but being American, I can absolutely speak to what I’m seeing and reading here. I don’t like it.

I’m not here to say who is right, who is wrong, or to judge anybody for what they believe. That’s what Twitter and social media is for. <insert big grin here>  My opinion is simply that regardless of who you voted for last November, I think it’s fair to say that our country is a mess. I don’t think anyone openly wanted to see something like what appears to be happening here unfold. I tread carefully here with my words because no one has been impeached, and I think we’re only at the very beginning of what might be a very long and dirty process. Despite what might seem to be the truth right now, there’s really no way of knowing what will happen in the months to come, and that’s no fake news. I worry a lot about what might come of it all in the end. But, I’m not really here to talk about American politics, thankfully.

It is during these times when I am most thankful for the fandom I’ve embraced, and the friends I’ve made along the way. It is so good to share even a few lighthearted laughs and tweets with people. I love that I can go online (at the moment, Twitter is that place for me), no matter what time of day, and see at least a few tweets about Duran Duran. Whether it’s someone reminding me of meaningful lyrics, or a picture, or even a memory from last summer’s tour, those simple tweets make me see that the sun really is still shining. While the rest of the world is surging to and fro similar to a washing machine, the simplest of things stay true. The music doesn’t change. Duran Duran is still Duran Duran. Thankfully.

-R

What WON’T the band do for their 40th anniversary?

I’ve noticed a lot of people working on surveys and things, putting together a wish list for Duran Duran’s 40th anniversary. I suspect the intention is that if fans work together to come up with a cohesive list, then perhaps the band will take a look and perhaps see their way clear to incorporating some of the ideas into their celebration plans. Maybe.

Amanda and I haven’t really done much of that here on the blog. I suspect part of the reason is that we’ve been around for six years, and during that time – while we’ve gotten support from DDHQ – I think we’ve come to realize they’re not going to take us seriously when it comes to the business of the band, and quite frankly – they’re probably smarter that way.  That doesn’t stop either of us from looking side-eyed at some of the things that have been done over the years, but you know, it’s much easier to quarterback from the sidelines than it is to actually be in the game. I don’t think we were always quite that accepting, but you know, Amanda and I have changed a little bit over the years.  Now we’re just having fun with it all.

That doesn’t mean we don’t throw some ideas out there every once in a while for fun though, and today will be no exception as I put together a short list of things the band will (probably) NOT do during #DD40!

Play a cruise!

I dearly love every human being who has suggested that Duran Duran basically put themselves on a cruise ship with what, 3-4,000 of their most rabid fans. How could that possibly go wrong??

Let’s just think about that for a minute: sun, water, several bars, thousands of fans who may or may not have partaken in said alcohol….and nowhere the band can really go to hide. Or run. Outstanding!

Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that won’t be happening. Again, love the enthusiasm, but probably not for their 40th anniversary.

Play shows with Dom, Andy and Warren…at the same time!

Again, love the enthusiasm for their 40th anniversary.  Honestly, I think about the possibility of this purely for the entertainment value.  Can you imagine all three of them on stage? Together? Two of them have enormous egos…the third might be trampled in the process. All together onstage for the same shows, same songs?  My money is on a firm “no”.

For that matter, why don’t we bring back everyone who has ever played with the band to play onstage? Andy Hamilton, all of the backup singers, Sterling, Steve Ferrone, Joe Travers…is there a stage large enough???

More travel packages!

This is one idea that I could see the band instituting in part, but I’m going to gamble and say they won’t do it again, even for their 40th anniversary. Back before Astronaut was released, the band did a few very special travel packages that were in extremely limited quantity. Fans paid a tidy sum for a ticket to a specific show, accommodations, special merchandise, concierge service, and a cocktail party with all five band members in attendance. I have a good friend that bought a travel package, and by her account it was extremely well-organized and thought out, and I think it’s fair to say it was a very positive experience for her. The travel packages went from these extravagant luxuries down to a ticket and a quick meet and greet, and then they morphed into meet and greets given at random to VIP ticket buyers, and now none of the VIP packages come with anything other than the ticket, merchandise and possible cocktail parties in some cities (without the band in attendance).

I know the demand for these travel packages (and meet and greets) still exists, but I think the band hated them for the most part.  I can imagine the thought of going into a room filled with Duranies can be a bit overwhelming. I can’t blame them even if I might wish I’d been able to take advantage when meet and greets or travel packages were offered.

Play individual albums in their entirety!

The one suggestion I’ve seen over and over again is to play Rio, or any of their albums – entirely live for their 40th anniversary. It’s the one suggestion that I am positive most Duran fans want (even if there is discussion over which album they’d most like to see done that way), and it is the one suggestion that the band just doesn’t seem to get.

Just last week, Lori Majewski had John Taylor call in on her radio show, and she mentioned playing Rio live. John thinks we’d be bored (sometimes, I really don’t think they know their fans) because we’d already know the set list.

Ok, John. I get you. I’d just invite you to take a good look at your set list for the past few years as you’ve been touring Paper Gods, and then tell me again that fans get bored when they know the set list. The fact is, to have an entire album played live is a completely different experience than many of us have had before – Red Carpet Massacre aside.  For that matter, you could mix it up and that way, you’re not playing the same album over and over, and if fans like me want to see them all—they’re gonna have to take a leave of absence from their lives and travel to different shows to do it.

Even so, I think it’s safe to assume the band isn’t going to listen to reason on this one. They’re gonna play the hits, and we’re going to like it.

My heart is still hoping for Late Bar…but my head knows we’re getting Hungry Like the Wolf.

Intimate shows of 3,000 or less!

Let’s be real. Again, this one is a gamble, but I’m thinking money-wise, touring the 40th anniversary would be a cash cow. Why on earth would they only want to play in small venues when they can play arenas and bring in more money?

Personally, I’d love to see them play in smaller theaters so that long time fans have the opportunity to get up close and celebrate with this band. I’d like to see fans acknowledged for the time and energy we’ve given over the years. Who wouldn’t? That said, the lure for a huge “comeback” anniversary tour (no, they never left but the rest of the country, world, so forth probably doesn’t know that) is ever looming.

I’m just hoping they don’t decide to do that “Verified Fan” thing through Ticketmaster…

There are a lot of things I’d like to see the band do for their 40th anniversary. Mostly, I’m at a point where I’m just happy to see they’re still around fighting the good fight.  I’m looking forward to reading what they’ve got planned, and I’m hoping that I can take an active part in some of it along the way!

-R

Happy 35th Anniversary, Hungry Like the Wolf!

May the Fourth be with you.

(I am so sorry. I just had to do it.)

Is anybody HUNGRY???

(I should be taken out back and beaten at this point. I blame Simon. He made me do it. All those shows…I’ve clearly been brainwashed.)

OK, let’s get serious here. On this date in 1982, “Hungry Like the Wolf” came bounding into our lives, and clawed its way into the depths of our hearts. It continues to be one of the small group of songs I hear on the radio anytime they play Duran Duran. (Girls on Film, Planet Earth, Rio, ITSISK, Save a Prayer, Come Undone, and Ordinary World make up the majority of the DD songs I hear on mainstream radio) It has been thirty-five years, and its notoriety is still going strong. The song will likely still be played on the radio well after I leave this earth, and will outlive all of us.

Let’s get something straight: I don’t hate the song. Hate is a strong word. It’s unfair to assume that just because I hang my head in defeat at a show every single time the opening drum beat sounds, that I must hate it. I do not. I sing the “doo doo do-do, doo do-do, doo do-do, doo do-do, do-do” with the band every time I’m in front of them at a show. I try not to roll my eyes or laugh at Nick as he peers down over his keyboards at us (I swear he’s just daring me). I behave, and I am a good sport. Mostly.

After all, “Hungry Like the Wolf” is at least part of what got us here, isn’t it?  I mean, many of us knew of the band before that song came along, but many others of us did not. That song helped break America, so I can’t hate it, and I don’t. I still love the video, for instance. I mean, who does NOT love the video??? John Taylor, running through a street looking for Simon – who OF COURSE – is nowhere to be found because he’s in hot pursuit of a woman. Always a troublemaker, that Simon. <insert wink here> The video certainly didn’t make me swear off the band, that is for sure.

So yes, even I look back fondly at this day, thirty-five years ago. While I’ve grown cough, cough….tired….of this song taking up valuable real estate in the set list, I get it.

I play along, and yes, I ENJOY IT.  Happy Anniversary, “Hungry Like the Wolf”!

Let’s just watch the video again. Maybe I missed something the first 15,834,734 times I watched it!

I Knew When I First Saw You on the Showroom Floor

I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading recently.  I just finished Electric Ladyland last night, which is about women and rock.  While reading, I found a quote that I couldn’t get out of my head. I sent it on to Amanda because we’re working on something and I thought it would be of benefit to her, too. I’m going to share it here as well, because I’m curious about what our readers might think.

“Even after I realized women were barred from any active participation in rock music, it took me a while to see that we weren’t even considered a real part of the listening audience.  It was clear that the concerts were directed only to men and the women were not considered people, but more on the level of exotic domestic animals that come with their masters or come to find masters. Only men are assumed smart enough to understand the intricacies of the music.” –Susan Hiwatt, “Cock Rock”, an essay from Twenty-Minute Fandangos and Forever Changes

First of all, before the roaring chorus of “No way!!” begins, I feel as though context may be important.  I found this quote in Electric Ladyland, but it came from the essay cited above. Electric Ladyland examines the role of women in music, whether as musicians, writers, or groupies (anyone want to guess why I was reading?).  More specifically, the book targets the years of 1960 through the 1970’s. Anyone who has properly studied that time in history knows how much change occurred during that nearly twenty year period (1960-1979ish).  The quote came from something written in 1971, but I’m wondering how much of it still hold true today, and for the sake of argument, we can take Duran Duran for an example.

I don’t necessarily think that Duran Duran bars women from active participation, per se. I mean, I’ve been to concerts. So have many of our readers. It’s pretty clear they’re on board with the whole “there are women in our audience” thing.

That said, let’s take a few things into consideration. The band itself has never really gotten respect from critics and the like. Part of that reason is because of their following. And who made up most of their following?  Us. Women. Girls. Teenyboppers. Even today, when the band talks about their audience in interviews, they are certain to bring up the fact that their audience has broadened to include men. The point is, if it didn’t matter, I don’t think they’d bring it up.

Let’s talk about the concert itself since that’s something mentioned in the quote I shared. If you spend any time at all looking at the video screens behind the band, the images are mainly of women. Not ALL, but most. This has always amused me, because if the audience is primarily women, and we’re watching the show, which includes the screens…who are those images for, then?  Sure, we can and should argue that girls/women/models/etc has always been a part of Duran Duran’s entire visual package. Even so, there’s part of me that wonders, if the women in the audience cannot tear their eyes away from Simon for even a second to see the screens behind them, who is watching those screens?  Their dates?? Maybe. So while I wouldn’t argue the entire concert is directed towards men (hardly!), I do think there are images there designed for them. Not a bad thing, I’m definitely not condemning the band for them, I’m acknowledging what they’re designed to do.

Now, about that whole exotic domesticated animal thing. I’m not gonna lie – anytime I read words like that I think of “The Man Who Stole a Leopard”, which I feel is symbolism for a lot of different things.  But, when I get past that thought, I would agree that it’s difficult for me to see a Duran Duran concert in that same light. But isn’t that part of the reason why critics had such trouble giving Duran Duran even an ounce of credit back in the 80s?  The band wasn’t playing just for guys, or just for girls for that matter. They were meant for everyone.

On the other hand, I feel like there are a plethora of other examples, particularly in hard rock, where women are merely the eye candy for the evening. The music is meant for men, and they can bring their women along with them for the evening. Or women can show up on their own and then go looking for men! While I’m not saying that can’t happen at a Duran Duran concert, I’m also saying that they’re not the first band that pops into my mind when that scenario is discussed.

What about Duran Duran’s videos? This is another area that I think we have to at least acknowledge packaging.  Let’s be honest: many of their videos have beautiful women in them. Girls on Film, Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf, Falling Down, Girl Panic, New Moon on Monday, Careless Memories…I could go on and on.  They don’t just put women in their videos for their own benefit. They’re there to attract the audience the label (and maybe even the band) would like to have: men. Now why is that?  Why are men so important, and why is it that even when a band has millions upon millions of ardent female fans, why are they never given credit?

It’s not just Duran Duran in that boat, and it’s not just the 80’s we’re talking about here. The Beatles, Bay City Rollers, New Kids on the Block, N*Sync, Backstreet Boys, and yes, One Direction. By any account, all of those bands were (and still are) very successful. Millions of fans, sold-out tours,  and #1 records to go all around. In every example given, women make up the majority of their fans, and in every case the critical acclaim has never quite been there. (with the possible exception of The Beatles, where the majority of their critical success came after the band broke up). I just don’t think that’s   purely coincidence.

“Only men are assumed smart enough to understand the intricacies of the music.” 

If I am to understand that quote correctly, if men like the music – I think of Bruce Springsteen, U2, The Rolling Stones, The Police, etc – it’s because the music is genuinely good, men get that, and that is why they choose those bands to follow.  If an audience is made up of women and girls, it is because those women don’t really get the music. I mean, how could they – they’re too busy looking at the band to hear much else, and they don’t really understand music anyway. Ah. I see.

I can remember sharing my thoughts about various songs the band has done over the years. Amanda and I have done many reviews on the blog or even on YouTube. I never failed to be amused by some of the comments we received, some of which came incredibly close to a virtual pat on the head, explaining that while we’re cute, we don’t understand music.

Outraged, I’d write back, sharing my education with them. I would punch at the keys on my computer as though each one was hurting the (typically) male who dared question my intelligence. But then one day, I got smart and stopped responding. I don’t need to bother. I know what I know. I am confident that for the most part, the men (and some women) who choose to belittle whatever Amanda and I are doing at the time, aren’t going to ever be convinced of why or how we do it. We run into that kind of judgment all the time, whether it’s someone criticizing why we go to shows, why we blog, or why we’ve written manuscripts. We can’t win those individual battles on our own, but together, we can win the war.

It just doesn’t have to be this way.  I’m interested in reading your thoughts and ideas!

-R

On this date in 2016, the Belasco Theater, Los Angeles.

It is hard for me to believe that on this very day last year I was waiting in line to get into the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles. I remember it was a warm day, and my husband went with me to see the show. We came prepared to be in the line all day – and even brought chairs. It was the most “prepared” I’ve ever been for a GA line, and the funny thing is that I spent almost zero time IN the chair.

One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that the GA line, at least for me, is becoming less and less of a chore and more like a reunion.  That entire day was spent walking up and down the line, spotting faces I hadn’t seen in a few years, and then talking with them. The time flew by, and I could hardly believe it when Walt told me we needed to pack up the chairs and stuff and get it back to the car.

As much as I hate the idea of GA, these days, I feel like I know so many other Duranies – it is like sitting around and chatting all day, with no place else to be, and then getting into the theater and talking more before the band comes on stage. I don’t hate that. I also haven’t noticed the same pushing and shoving that I used to experience at one point. Either we’ve gotten to the point where we understand one another and don’t bother, or, we’re a kinder, gentler set of die-hard fans these days. Sure, every show has its resident idiot that thinks they need to shove or just behave out of line, but for the most part, we’re a tame crowd.

In July, I will head up to the San Francisco bay area to see two more GA shows. I’m curious to see if I’ll still be feeling the same sort of love there as I did last year. I hope so – I’ll be there with Amanda and our two roomies from Rancho Mirage. I can’t wait for another road trip!

So, were you at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles last year?

-R