Tag Archives: Duranies

I Know You’re Up To Something

Hello friends! How is Tuesday going for everyone?

Lately, I’ve been having more and more difficulty with blog topics. The mind is blank, and while at one point I could spin a little creativity in a matter of moments, now it takes hours. Far too long, actually.

Somethings got to happen

When this happens, I realize it’s for a reason. I need a break. I took one last year when my family moved, but it wasn’t a REAL break, obviously. I noticed that Amanda was experiencing some stress too, and mentioned to her that I think it’s time. As we know, the band is fairly quiet, and with the holidays coming – I can’t imagine that will change.

So, we’re taking that break. Beginning next week and going through until the first of the year, our schedule here on the site will be changing. There will still be posts, both from Jason on Wednesdays and occasionally from Amanda and I on Fridays as we continue to do reviews (our next one is Violence of Summer next Friday!). Additionally, the Question of the Day will continue, but be scaled back to Tuesdays and Thursdays. Should anything “big” come up, rest assured we’ll be writing about it, whether it is Amanda, Jason, or myself. I am sure that by January, we’ll be chomping at the bit to return to our normal writing schedule.

Somethings got to get me up

I’m looking forward to having a little more time to work on some other projects I have waiting for me, and it seems like this might just be the calm before the storm of 2020. Who knows?

We’re not going away, though! Unlike other websites and blogs, we don’t write once a month, or even quarterly. For Daily Duranie, it is DAILY content. We’re tired! Everyone needs a breather once in a while. That’s all it is, and since the holidays are creeping up, it feels like the right time. We’ll be back during the first week in January, rejuvenated, recharged, and ready…almost (but not quite) like Electric Barbarella.

See what I mean? It is obviously time for a vacation when I write cringy things like that…. wow.

-R

Love or Liberation

I am a music fan. Despite my love and adoration for Duran Duran and other new wave artists of the 1980’s, I still love me some down and dirty guitar. I loudly proclaimed myself as a Duranie during my middle school years, but by college—which for me started in Fall of 1988 and continued until May of 1993—I was listening to anything from AC/DC to Def Leppard, Van Halen to yes, even Poison. The hair bands, the metal, and even classic rock would be on my stereo one minute, and in the next, my devotion for Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Tears for Fears would show as “Gold” or “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” or even “Rio” would begin. I didn’t see why I couldn’t like it all, and I did. The music coming out of my car stereo (I spent a lot of hours commuting to school and work during college) was eclectic, if nothing else.

Life goes on

It is easy to jump in with both feet when Andy Taylor announces a new album. I don’t feel as though I’m disavowing Duran Duran by supporting Andy, by the way. This is an opportunity to be excited by something new! I’m not worried that his music won’t sound like Duran Duran’s. In fact, I sure as hell hope it doesn’t. We’ve waited a long time for Andy to release new music. Surely he won’t create a carbon copy of a band and life he’s already left behind twice.

I know that for some people, Duran Duran is the end-all. It is the one band they follow, it is the one group they care about. It doesn’t matter what a band member does once they leave the group. Many still cannot make peace with why Andy left. Others couldn’t wait for him to get out the door fast enough, and that Dom more than fills his shoes. Then there’sTeam Warren. They insist the band’s best days are behind them, and no one else will measure up. The guitarist debate is one that will never end. Regardless, they are all moving forward on their own. Andy is doing his own thing, as is Warren and even Dom. New music is always a good thing.

On Planet Rock Radio

Andy’s newest tune from his new album debuts today on Planet Rock Radio. Titled, “Love or Liberation”, Gary Stringer is on vocals with Andy (assumably!) on guitar. Those hoping for Andy’s vocals on the album will not be disappointed. According to his pal and collaborator Gary Stringer, “he sings some on his own and we sing some together”. He also says that the album is “ace”!

I haven’t heard the new sing or album yet. The track title “Love or Liberation” is intriguing, and lends itself to all sorts of reflection. I have no idea what Andy may mean by the title. Thoughts of loving something too much so that you’re tightly bound, come to mind.

Later this month, Andy will perform in front of a sold-out crowd at London’s 100 Club. I wish I were going to be there. Since teleporting hasn’t worked out, we have a couple of brave souls willing to write and report for Daily Duranie. Cannot wait to hear the good news from them. In the meantime, I’ll keep on the lookout for Andy’s latest!

-R

Do Crowds Just Make You Feel Lonely?

I was working on something a bit earlier that reminded me of how lucky I am to have found a place in this fan community.

It was a survey, and one of the questions had to do with where I found or created my current friendships. I answered that all of the friends I currently count as “close” are a direct result from Duran Duran.

How do you deal?

My circle of friends is small. It’s always been that way for me. Even back in grade school, I would have three or four good friends that I hung out with. I knew plenty of other people, but I wasn’t close with them. They were acquaintances, no more than friendly faces in the halls, I suppose. I think that when I moved on to college and joined a sorority, it was a culture shock. My house (small by most measures) had about seventy active members. I felt lost much of the time. There were about five of us who were in the same pledge class that grew close, but there was always drama of some sort. I ended up quitting about a year before I graduated, and once that happened – the rest of the sorority membership stopped speaking to me. It was bizarre, but taught me a lot about “friendships”.

Once I graduated, I didn’t keep in touch with anyone from college. A year later, I was married, and moved out of state. My friendships, so to speak, were all work-based. I guess I didn’t mind, although I have to admit that not having friends at my wedding seems weird now that I think about it. Even so, I didn’t mind not having a close friend that wasn’t my husband until I became a mom, and about that time was when AOL was “the new thing”. I joined online mom groups, and communicated with people that way, which really helped! Eventually, we moved back to California and those online friendships drifted. I wonder whatever happened to the women in that group. All of our kids would be Heather’s age now (she’s nearly 23). That is crazy to think about.

What do you say?

Anyway, that move back to California and to a new community allowed isolation to set in firmly. While I don’t think I noticed at first – I’m pretty content being alone – eventually I did. I joined a MOMS Club, tried different things, but nothing really stuck. Heather went to school, Gavin started preschool, I volunteered a lot, but I didn’t have a super close friend for a long time. I waved to other moms at school, went back home and did laundry. I became a Girl Scout leader, and tried to befriend my co-leaders, but not even that felt natural. I didn’t know anyone who was really like me.

It wasn’t until the reunion that I really got involved in this fan community. I don’t know how I missed it before. Regardless, I do believe in destiny to some extent, and I also believe that life has this crazy way of showing you what you need, as long as you listen. I found a group of friends here. There aren’t that many – I mean, yes, I know a lot of people. I know OF a lot more. But my truest friends—the people who know me, recognize that I’m a bit of a hot head and like me anyway—are remarkably few. I can count them on about one hand.

Last year, we moved away from the neighborhood and area that I called home for 21 years. The only part of the move that was difficult for me was saying goodbye to my coworkers and quitting my job. I didn’t ever fall in with the group of neighborhood women down in our cul-de-sac that planned playdates and went to dinner once a month or did group dates with their husbands. I just never felt like part of that crowd, so moving didn’t bother me.

You might find something to last

Despite the ease in moving, I find myself in the sort-of familiar position of isolation. My youngest goes to school, and our neighborhood is made up of retirees for the most part. There are younger people here, but finding them takes effort. So, I did something I swore I’d never do again, and that’s volunteer for the PTO. (Parent Teacher Organization – not sure if they have these in the UK or elsewhere, but basically they help the school staff in a variety of ways!) Our PTO was incredibly cliquey back in my old neighborhood and once I got out, I insisted I’d never go back. I went to a meeting last week at our new school though. We’ll see….

Then there are my Duran friends. These are friendships I treasure. No, I don’t see them that often, but to think that the only reason I met any of them was as a result of this band. Well, it’s a gift, really. Say what you will about fandom, or about traveling to see a band, but it’s given me some fantastic memories, and friends I treasure. I don’t ever feel isolated when I’m online talking about Duran Duran, that is for sure.

-R

2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Alright. It is Tuesday, and I am fired up today, my friends. I have had two travel-mug sized cups of coffee, I’ve listened to the list of nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I am ready to comment. Get yourself a beverage and strap yourselves in, because it’s about to get rocky.

First of all, allow me to rip off the bandaid now. No, Duran Duran wasn’t nominated this year. Let’s all just take a collective, cleansing, breath. I need one, don’t you? While you’re deep breathing, here’s the list:

Pat Benatar

The Doobie Brothers

Motörhead

The Notorious B.I.G.

Soundgarden

T. Rex

Thin Lizzy

Whitney Houston

Depeche Mode

Judas Priest

Kraftwerk

MC5

Nine Inch Nails

Rufus feat. Chaka Khan

Todd Rundgren

Ready?

The fact is, not everyone can get nominated, and not everybody can get in. There are many noteworthy acts on this list, and about half are first time nominees. One of them – the Dave Matthews Band – is not only a first time nominee, but also a first time eligible.

On a purely personal note, I am thrilled that Depeche Mode was nominated, love seeing Kraftwerk on the ballot again, and I’m hoping that Pat Benatar gets in. I’ve already voted, and if you haven’t, DO IT. Just go to Google and type in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

It is very hard to look at this list and not notice the glaring omission. Yes, we ARE that biased. Of course we are. We all know Duran Duran should be on that list. I listened to Feedback this morning in hopes of getting a better understanding of why they’re not. It comes down to two glaring problems in neon lights for Duran Duran.

First of all, there is a nominating committee that gets together on a single day (in person, no call-ins!). This committee is made up of critics and musicians, and they each bring the name of a possible nominee that they feel is worth making the case to include on the ballot. This is also where it gets political. People posture for their chosen favorite, they consider genres, whether the bands/people they choose are enough to get fans interested, and that sort of thing. I’m not going to mince words here though – as long as there are critics deciding who is going to be included on the ballot, the bands who are truly the most “worthy” by the people who listen to them will never really be considered.

I think even our band knows this. Likely, this doesn’t make them nearly as angry and fired up as I am today. They’ve had 40 years to practice tempering themselves. I’ve had…well, nine. (I am a slow learner) While my UK friends will patiently remind me that this is only an “American” thing and that it probably doesn’t matter to Duran Duran – the fact is, the American music scene is the biggest in the world. This is the country that, historically speaking, bands have worked incredibly hard to break. Even The Cure says they’re excited to vote this year, according to Lori. However, none of that matters to me as much as what I’m about to say.

I am sick to death of the inherent sexist BS that pervades music, whether you’re an artist, or you’re a fan like me. Even as the nominees were discussed on Feedback today with Joel Peresman (CEO and president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation), and Alan Light (rock journalist, critic and host of Debatable on SiriusXM radio), the subject of Duran Duran came up. While they refused to comment one way or another if the band had even been mentioned during the behind-closed-door discussion of nominees, Alan Light commented that the band “really isn’t thought of” in the same way as the other bands on the lists. He inferred that the audience was somehow different, and they weren’t really seen as “rock”. Quite frankly – the overall discussion felt very dismissive at times, despite Lori Majewski’s valiant efforts to be heard.

I could…and did…write a lengthy essay on the obvious sexism, before I deleted it all and started over here. FM radio, pop from the 1960’s forward, even the Sgt. Pepper’s album by The Beatles….it all takes part. Suffice to say, we have work to do. Even Duran Duran sees it, that’s why they are so eager to share that they appeal to guys now, as if they never did before! I am one of those little girls who fell in love with Duran Duran. Chances are, if you’re female and reading – you are too. Collectively, we little girls are the band’s biggest supporters, and comprise the sharpest double-edged sword possible.

So that’s where we are, folks. Sure, the Rock Hall had some turn over this year. I won’t say I’m sorry that Jann Wenner has left his post, although he’s still on the Board, I believe. It just isn’t enough. I heard Lori continuing to ask if anything had changed on the Board this year or if the nominating group had changed – unfortunately the answer was no, not much. (one female added. Really? One??)

We have a long way to go before the discussion of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is about the music. Somebody should write a book.

-R

Happy 22, Medazzaland!

Medazzaland is 22, today. For some reason, that number doesn’t bother me nearly as much as hearing, for instance, that Astronaut is 15…or that I’m about to turn 49 in a few weeks. Let’s just not talk about any of that, though.

They’ll say we’ll get over it

As I waxed nostalgic earlier to a friend, I can remember when Duran Duran appeared on the Rosie O’Donnell show in 1997. They were promoting Medazzaland, and I was folding laundry while my oldest was bouncing away in her little chair. I can remember hoping she’d stay quiet long enough for me to listen to the interview and see them perform!

I hadn’t bought Medazzaland yet. In fact, I don’t think I even knew they had an album coming out until I watched the show that day, which, when I think back on it – is pretty alarming. It also explains my headspace at the time. I was definitely in the full throes of postpartum depression. Motherhood was proving to be a far bigger challenge than just diapers, laundry and bottles.

Why do we still face the music?

Seeing Simon, Nick and Warren that day made me smile for what might have been the first time in months, but I also felt pretty wistful. Admittedly, they didn’t feel like the Duran Duran I’d known. It was kind of like running into people at your high school reunion. Everyone wears these name tags with their maiden names on them, along with senior pictures to remind everyone of what they once looked like – but you don’t really recognize them. You don’t KNOW them anymore. That’s kind of how I felt with Duran Duran back then. I mean, by the time Medazzaland was released in 1997, Rio had already been out for fifteen years. So yes, I guess I did struggle with that a little bit.

I’d never heard “Electric Barbarella” until that day on the show, and I can remember thinking that the tune was catchy, so I decided that I’d go get the CD when I had a chance. As different as they were, there were still hints of sounds I recognized. (No, it wasn’t all about Simon)

Not long after the Rosie appearance, I bought the CD. I can remember running into the music store and buying it while my husband and Heather happily waited in the car. It was a shock to hear Medazzaland for the first time, as my husband scanned through the songs – only hearing the first 30 seconds or so of each before moving on. I just didn’t know this band anymore, and I think that was a real shock to my system. I’m not writing this as a topic of argument, I’m just explaining how it felt to me at the time, in 1997. Things change.

Now and then you’ll get the strangest notion

There are a good many people out there who claim to love Medazzaland now, 22 years after it’s initial release, but I can remember talking to many of those same people online in the year 2002-2003 or so. There were not nearly as many well-wishers then. Music has a tendency to grow on your ears and your heart, I suppose. I’m still not sure that I love the album as much as I love others, but I recognize its importance in the overall catalog.

Medazzaland kind of allowed Nick, Simon and even Warren to spread their wings and experiment with their sound as a trio for the first time. John was gone. Andy and Roger had been gone for quite a while by then. This trio was the new Duran Duran (or Duranduran if you prefer), and they were making a-go of it. In a lot of ways, this was a brand-new band. I would imagine that it was on this album that Warren really grew more comfortable because he’d already had the success of Ordinary World and Come Undone, and John wasn’t around to side with Simon. So he and Nick grew closer, worked together far more extensively, and the music evolved as result.

Wild ambition can you really blame us

This is why they took the cover of Rio and “redesigned” it. It wasn’t just happenstance they chose that image to graffiti for the cover. They were making a statement that this was a new era. This was not the band who created Rio, this was new. They wanted to be known for who they were at that moment, not for the Fab Five, Rio, or Sing Blue Silver. There is no clearer proof than on the album closer, “Undergoing Treatment”. Read the lyrics. In fact, read them all. The story is right there, laid out in the words, and playing in the music. The problem, of course, is that you can try to outrun it….but you can’t hide from your past. It tends to follow.

Like it, love it, or something else entirely, Medazzaland was a tidal change for Duran Duran. Creatively, they pushed the envelope and broke out of boxes that critics and, yes, even fans, had insisted they stay in. Funny thing about time, too. It softens the hard edges, makes the black and white seem a bit less so. I listen to the album today, and much of it feels and sounds very much like the band I know. Call it wisdom, call it old age, even. Pop Trash, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre, All You Need is Now and Paper Gods all came later, and on each album there are the remnants and evolutions of sounds from Medazzaland. That’s success in my book.

Can you give a little more?

The defiance the band found in Medazzaland is still present in their music today. It gives their sound this fiery edge that I’ll hear every once in a while, which I appreciate. The difference, at least one that I hear, is along with that defiance, there is also pride. Shouldn’t they be, though? After all, they’ve been in this business for forty years. They’ve undergone enough personnel changes to have created four or even five different bands. They’ve come full circle, and then some.

Happy anniversary, Medazzaland!

-R

Is That Good Enough For You?

Turns on the animal

Sometimes I wake up, go through my morning and cannot figure out what to write about for this blog. I’ve written about this very thing before, but the ending is different this time so stick with me!

So today, like pretty much every day, I went through the motions of taking a shower, getting ready, then coming out and feeding the pets. First the cats, then I walk outside (it was 39 degrees F this morning, which was wonderfully brisk!) and take care of the chickens. Then I come back in, get coffee going, make sure the youngest is up, downstairs and eating breakfast. We leave the house at 7:40 and that’s when I turn on Feedback.

Sees the possibility

I know I’ve talked a lot about Feedback lately. Truthfully it’s because I finally have a vehicle that has satellite radio. I’ve listened on and off to Lori’s show(s) since she first announced being on Feedback, but nowadays – I can listen regularly. So, I try to listen every day. I might not get an entire show in, but I hear at least half. Sometimes I laugh, other times I’m yelling at Nik (oh yes), and still other times, I’m inspired. Today was that day.

This morning, they had Sarfraz Manzoor on, who is the author of Greetings from ‘Bury Park. His story was the inspiration for the recent movie Blinded by the Light. Ultimately, the movie is about being a fan of Bruce Springsteen.

He’s got the answer

One of the topics they discussed was how it felt to have Springsteen give backing to the movie. They talked about how Bruce showed up to the premier and then the afterparty…and Sarfraz said something so poignant, I’ll never forget it.

“Imagine you create something that’s really personal to you, and then he… the person it is partly about, graces your premiere and says ‘I give my approval to it.’ You know what I mean? It’s not the same as me going to a concert or seeing him on Broadway. It’s him coming to our party. And then he played!”

He goes on to explain that even crazier, after the “whole photography thing”, Sarfraz expected Bruce would go home. So he asks him, and Bruce answers, “I’m going to watch the movie with you.” And so Springsteen sat two rows in front of Manzoor and throughout the movie there is a silhouette of him, meanwhile the movie is going on and it’s about his (Manzoor’s) dad and all of these things…and he can see Bruce watching the film.

Stuff directly out of my wildest, craziest dreams…right there.

Doesn’t go away

Now, Lori and Manzoor (Nik too, although he was quiet and Lori took the lead here) go on to talk about the discomfort with how some characters in the movie love the Pet Shop Boys and think Bruce is over, and yet Springsteen was having to sit there and watch that in the film….but to me, that’s not really that important. (sorry Bruce, no offense)

No, I’m stuck back thinking about how it might have really felt to have that approval.

Here’s the thing – I’ve already admitted here that I seek approval, so this is totally in my wheelhouse, but can you imagine?

Several years ago now, I can remember chatting with someone online. At the time, Amanda and I were really hoping to have some sort of tangible acknowledgement from the band. Something beyond a follow on Twitter or a link on their site. Bear with me here, because this is tough to admit and write, but it’s true. At the time, I desperately wanted that approval. I wanted that validation, or so I thought. No matter what I said, how I responded, I don’t think I made my point clearly. This person’s response, and rightfully so, was that I needed to be OK with what I was writing completely on my own. I didn’t need the band to approve it. In hindsight, that person was right.

Don’t want illusion

It has taken me a long, long, time to come to terms with that. Did I think it would change my life or be an experience so profound that it might spark something in me? I don’t know for sure. I think it was definitely about validation though, at least for me. Approval and validation weren’t coming from any other places at the time for me, least of all from myself. So, I’d hoped to find that here. Perhaps that is saying far too much about myself, but I know that I’m a work in progress. If sharing some of my biggest flaws help someone else – so be it.

Since I’m in that introspective space, I’ll go one farther and say that part of my initial motivation for trying to write a manuscript and get a book deal was the band. It was as though I needed to get through all of that surface crap to really dive deep and find my own motivation. In a lot of ways, I wonder if that very thing isn’t part of what kept us from getting our projects published. I don’t suppose I’ll ever be sure, but I do know that I’ve changed along the way. The project Amanda and I are working on now is very different. Still about fandom, still about music, but Duran Duran isn’t my motivation. They, or at least the experience I’ve had as a fan over the years, is my inspiration, but it isn’t what is motivating me to write. No, that’s coming 100% from me.

Power glory ride

So when I say that I can’t really imagine what it must have been like for Sarfraz to have his hero show up and support his work, I mean it. I can’t. The emotion in his voice as he told the story was palatable. I mean, what fan wouldn’t want an ending like that? Is that enough to drive me, though? I don’t think it was enough for Sarfraz Manzoor, either. The approval from Bruce was just an amazing side benefit that was so big, he likely could not have dreamt it.

No, it’s not. While having the band’s approval and support would be otherworldly and of course, very welcome – that’s not why I keep writing. For me, this is personal.

Recently, I explained it to my husband. Some people do decathlons. It is a goal, and they train every single day to get there. Some people never even cross the finish line, but they are determined to keep trying and don’t give up. Other people start bands, or write screenplays. What about athletes who train for the Olympics? Many people never even get there, but they keep trying for as long as they can. For me, writing a non-fiction book that gets a publishing deal is my thing. That is my dream and I don’t want to give up. Writing this blog every day is part of that dream, too. It is almost like my brainstorm board, or my chalkboard. It keeps me thinking, dreaming, and working.

Now, I’ll share with you that no, my husband still doesn’t get it. He won’t ever get it because he is pragmatic, and doesn’t operate based on emotion. He’s very black and white. Writing makes zero dollars unless you are published and the book does well. Not just one tough thing, but two impossibly high hurdles in my way, I guess. As he pointed out to me, writing is actually costing money right now since we pay for hosting, research materials (research books are not cheap!), and all that good stuff. It’s menial, but it adds up. You can’t be a writer as a career if you never get anything published, or so he says. I could have continued arguing with him about that, but I decided to just let it go.

Won’t give up

This was my own light bulb moment, mainly because I answered my own “Why do you keep writing?” question. It’s not about the money (ha ha ha), or the fame (still laughing). It’s about reaching the finish line and doing it on my own steam. I just want to see it happen. For myself.

In a lot of ways, to circle this back towards Duran Duran, if I may – I think this is why Amanda and I have never tried all that hard to meet the band. I mean, yeah – both of us have gone to album signings and that was lovely and all – but I mean really meet them. Let’s face it, we’ve been doing this – the blog – for long enough now that if we really wanted to shove the issue, we could find a way. Many others of you have, and it is because it was worth it to you to do so. I get it.

I think about how even at the last show at Agua Caliente, I ran into people who went outside to see them pack up and leave. Where was I at the time? Oh, I was at the bar. Dancing to Duran Duran. What’s worse, I didn’t even feel a twinge of anything about not being there. I was doing what I wanted.

For me, the reasons for operating the website, posting the blogs and writing about fandom have far more to do with my innermost thoughts than they do about seeking approval from Duran Duran. That’s “the place” in my heart that motivates me and keeps me going day to day. The band, and this fandom, serves as my inspiration.

-R

Paper Gods 2.0

As the curtain (finally) comes down on the Paper Gods era, we turn our attention to what lies ahead. While I saw more Duran Duran shows then ever before during the Paper Gods tour, it was more a matter of geography than passion for the new material. Their booking agent seems to have a thing for Las Vegas! While I’m not terribly sad about Paper Gods being shelved for a bit on the set lists, I did eventually realize that the album is stronger than I give it credit for.  

Duran Duran, while incredibly successful in terms of hit singles, are an album band by nature. The balance of pop and art that infuses their best albums creates a journey for the listener that demands proper sequencing. The first three albums were masterclasses in how to sequence an album with a lot of hooks early and then slowly working in the moody, darker aspects of the band’s character. By the time you reached “The Chauffeur” or “The Seventh Stranger”, you had been changed by the songs that brought you there. Paper Gods never found that flow.

Maybe it is the changing ways in which people consume music. Listening to an album might be a lost art as far as a major label is concerned. Warner Brothers might have had Spotify and i-Tunes in mind when assembling Paper Gods. Or maybe it was the band? Regardless, the way Paper Gods unfolds when heard as an album has never felt right to me. Through the magic of computers, I have tried to remedy that, at least digitally. Not much can be done with the slab of wax on my turntable.

Here is one fan’s re-imagining of the album. Let’s call it Paper Gods 2.0.

1. Planet Roaring

2. Change the Skyline

3. Pressure Off

4. Valentine Stones

5. Sunset Garage

6. What Are the Chances?

7. Northern Lights

8. Danceophobia

9. Cinderella RIde

10. You Kill Me With Silence

11. On Evil Beach

12. Paper Gods

I originally loved “Paper Gods” as an opener, and enjoyed it live, but the album never builds upon the themes put forth by it. As a statement of purpose, I’m all onboard especially if it’s a commentary on today’s vapid pop music. But then the album veered into that world with the screeching “Last Night In the City” which I’ve omitted from my 2.0 version. There are some brilliant remixes of it but the album version haunts me. 

So, let’s open Paper Gods with “Planet Roaring”, one of the better Duran Duran anthems of the century. Seriously, how did this get relegated to a bonus track? Lyrically, it works as a welcome to the fans who have been with them since “Planet Earth”. The first five songs demand we move our feet especially the Motown-meets-Spice Girls sweetness of “Sunset Garage”. As a vinyl listener, I imagine “What Are The Chances?” ending side one, much like “My Antartica” does on Liberty

I sense that “Danceophobia” has a lot of detractors but it is senseless fun. “Face For Today” could slide in the spot and the momentum would not be lost. After “Cinderella Ride”, the album gets a little more artsy but the more dedicated fans live for these tracks. As a closer, “Paper Gods” can be seen as a sly commentary on the mainstream critics who love to label the band as “paper thin” and all about the “head shots”. Four decades into their career, the band have proven to be more than just paper gods and, with a little tinkering around on the sequencing, Paper Gods ultimately proves another successful chapter in their evolution. 

So if we sometimes fight

Doesn’t mean we’ve got problems

Things have been rough recently. I’m not writing this post in order to share my private life, as much as I’m writing to show that yeah, we all have problems. It isn’t easy.

Most of our readers know that I have been a stay-at-home mom for nearly twenty-three years, not counting the two school years I worked part time in the office of the learning center my kids attended. It boggles my mind to think about how long it’s been since I worked full-time. Even then, it wasn’t a “career”, really — I worked as a staffing coordinator at a temporary employment service. Honestly, I felt more like a warm-body that filled a seat more than anything else, which made the decision to stay home very easy. My boss at the time had zero respect for things like childcare or traditional working hours, and with my husband’s very long hours back then, there was no way I could keep working. My pay rate was a joke, and so it just made sense for me to quit. I didn’t think twice about it, and practically skipped out to the car when my doctor told me I’d have to stop working and go on bedrest for the final six weeks of my pregnancy.

Little did I realize what I was going to be giving up. At first, I don’t think I noticed the differences. It didn’t bother me that we were down to one salary, nor did it bug me that I’d be the one cooking and cleaning. I did that even when I was working, although with one and then two kids, I started feeling less like an equal and more like the unpaid help. My schedule became completely dependent on his. What time was he coming home? When did he get paid next? Where was he going on his next business trip, and when?

Doesn’t have to be serious

Staying at home is incredibly isolating. Most of my college friends sunk their teeth into their careers, while I was folding a never-ending pile of laundry. My sister-in-laws both worked outside of the home even after they had children. In my family, they were both considered intelligent go-getters. Me? I’m wasn’t quite bright enough to have a real career. After all, I went to school for a “liberal arts” degree, not science or engineering, or even marketing! The horror!!! Then there are the snide, sideways comments from family members about how I use his money and “have all the fun” while he works so hard.

We’ve all had problems, right?? And then….

That’s about when I got back into Duran Duran, met new friends, and organized a convention. Truthfully, and I’ve said this before – I think it saved my life, and most certainly our marriage on some level. I had my own things to talk about, to plan for, and to do. At first, my husband didn’t mind so much. I think in a lot of ways it all amused him, at least up until I started traveling for shows. Then, I’ll admit it became a little more annoying to him, purely because it was inconvenient. Suddenly I was asking for him to take care of the house and kids once, maybe twice a year over a long weekend. He would grumble about it, but most of the time it didn’t cause trouble.

Then I started blogging, and Amanda and I started trying to write. We took longer trips – and although the blog doesn’t always take long to write, we have a goal of getting something published, and so far, we haven’t hit on just the right formula for a publisher. Much of this has to do with the fact that we’re writing non-fiction, which is even tougher to get published than fictional work. There are fewer publishers, and because the market is smaller, it is just tougher to find a home for work like that. There are some other nuances to it all, but basically – it’s a science, and we are working on finding the right formula!

Ain’t always black and white

My husband is at the point now where he’s asked me to stop. He’s tired of the traveling (in fact he imposed a “moratorium” on flying to Duran Duran shows, which is why I’ve only gone to shows that are within driving distance for the last few years), and he’s even more tired of the blog and the writing. On one hand, he says he wants me to be happy, but on the other, he says it’s time for me to quit.

In his head, he feels like we’ve tried getting something published a few times and it hasn’t worked. Therefore it must just be that our writing isn’t very good or that we’re just not meant to do it. He doesn’t understand that being an author means you’re turned down far more often than you are accepted…and when I’ve tried explaining that, I’ve gotten nowhere fast. That’s all part of being an author, and why would my husband, the one person who is supposed to support my dreams – want to take that from me? I don’t have the answers. And then of course, there’s the Duran Duran thing.

It’s a problem, as I’m sure many of you can imagine. He doesn’t understand it, despite being married to me for 24 years now. To be fair, he didn’t know how big of a fan I was when we met, or even after we were married. It wasn’t until 2003 that I really wanted to get involved in the fan community. For my part, I suppose I did expect that he would be OK with me having friends all over the country, or being willing to let me go for girls’ weekends or do road trips without him. We never really talked about that aspect—it just happened. I don’t think it occurred to him that having this extra stuff, or my own “thing”, gave me some fulfillment I was lacking. Then again, my husband is pretty black and white about things. To him, it’s not necessary, so it doesn’t matter.

That’s just the way it is

Relationships are about give and take. Fandom is something that you either understand and support, or you don’t. Finding that happy medium is always a struggle. Despite the flow of happiness that I strive to outwardly display through my blog posts, I think it’s good to admit that it doesn’t always come easily. It isn’t just YOU who has a hard time with your husband (or wife, or partner, or even your job!) understanding how you feel about the band or why you do the things you do. We all have that issue from time to time. I think that’s why when it does all work out on occasion, it’s worth celebrating.

-R

John Taylor on Let There Be Talk Podcast

I’m late, I’m late…I know… My tardy excuse today is that I was listening to the “Let There Be Talk” podcast with Dean Delray as he interviewed John Taylor. Yesterday, I scanned through it, picking up on bits and pieces, but today I forced myself to sit down and listen to the entire thing (at over an hour and a half – it’s a monster).

If you haven’t listened, or feel like you need a fairly comprehensive (but elementary) education on Duran Duran’s history, this may be the podcast for you. Likewise, if you are more of an auditory learner, give it a good listen. Make sure to have beverages and other sustenance available because it is hella-long. Here’s the link: Let There Be Talk featuring John Taylor.

Hard rock, The Viper Room, and plenty of gushing

Here’s the real deal: Dean Delray is very obviously someone who comes from more of a rock background, and by “rock”, I mean hard rock. Van Halen. Black Sabbath (whom he mentioned during the first MINUTE John was on the podcast), Guns ’n’ Roses… you get the idea. He has a voice that sounds like he smoked for 40 years and hung out at the Viper Room as a regular for at least 10, but who really knows.

He is what I would call a man’s man (more on that in a bit), and although he does a fair job of gushing (and yes, I do mean gushing) over Duran Duran and John Taylor (not that they don’t deserve it)…I would venture to guess the guy has spent next to no time ever really listening to their albums, or reading about their history. He knows the highlights, which to be fair is more than I can say about MANY of the people who have interviewed the band over the years. The problem is that Dean was going to attempt to chat with John for 90 minutes. Where does one go, conversationally, when you only know a smidgeon of what they’ve done??? That said…let’s just get on with the highlights before I get into more trouble.

I appreciated that the conversation opens with a discussion of the post-punk era. That lasted for approximately 15 precious seconds, when the conversation takes a strange turn. Delray brings up Black Sabbath – which caused my eyes to nearly roll back into my head. Is there really any other band that sums up the antithesis of what Duran Duran really IS at their core, than Black Sabbath? Obviously Delray was reaching for something to connect with John because Sabbath is also from the Midlands. I get it, but I don’t like where he was trying to go.

If you had to name one band that was DD’s polar opposite…

And hey, were John and Nick ever fans of Black Sabbath? I nearly spat coffee at my screen as John commented that no, he was never really into Sabbath, but he and Nick went to a show where they were playing, and knew to get out while they could. Again I ask, is there really any other band that is quite the polar opposite of Duran Duran? Probably not. I mean, Duran Duran is light, love, joy. Black Sabbath (and yes I actually *do* know their music well, thankyouverymuch) is more darkness, anger, and some control issues mixed in for good measure.

Rest assured, the train was brought back onto the right track as they continued to discuss where Duran Duran fit into this post-punk movement. John discussed how he switched from guitar to bass, and why he aspired to the sounds from black American bands like Chic. He talked about the funky power trio being at their core and how those rhythm sounds (as well as the bass) spoke to him. John also said that time really belonged to rhythm sections, as opposed to punk which belonged to guitar.

Delray then mentioned that in the 80s, Duran Duran were everywhere. DJ’s would play them, then follow with Van Halen and Prince. The common thread was that the 80s were a dance scene – bands wanted to be able to crossover and create songs that could be danced to, like “Jump” from Van Halen.

Dance, dance, dance

Funny, I just had this same conversation with my youngest as she prepares to go to her very first school dance on Friday. She’s only in 6th grade (she’s 11), and the dance is being billed as a dance/social with a carnival theme. Rather than just music and kids dancing – nowadays parents try to add in other activities. I talked about how at my middle school dances, girls (primarily, but not always) formed circles on the dance floor while we danced to the popular music of the day. She asked me what was popular then, and with profound joy (seriously, way too much joy, I think…) I pointed at our car stereo, which was tuned to SiriusXM 1stWave. “Anything they play on this channel is what Mom would dance to, including Duran Duran.” As we talked further, we agreed that kids don’t seem to have a lot of bands to dance to. It’s EDM, or like where we live – country. It’s not the same now. They have to play carnival games instead, I guess.

“What we lacked in know-how, we made up for in cajones.” – John, on “Let There Be Talk”

Simon, before…and after

They spend some time chatting about life before Simon. (Seems like that could be a fitting title for an autobiography) John gave a rudimentary timeline of the singers who held the mic before Simon came gliding in with his suave attitude, pink leopard pants, and book of lyrics. Sometimes, I wonder if the book of lyrics wasn’t more of a driving force behind Simon’s induction into Duran Duran than anyone wants to say….hmm…(thank goodness he’s still there though, am I right??) He mentionedTin-Tin Duffy and his band the Lilac Time, then talked a little more about Andy Wickett, and explained the course of events that brought him into Duran Duran. He said that Andy was a phenomenal singer, but that it just didn’t work out for him as a front man.

Simon joined the group by listening to what became Sound of Thunder a couple of times, flipping though that now infamous book of lyrics, and settling upon words that fit the music. The uniqueness of Duran Duran maintains that basic approach to this day, but back then it was John, Nick, Roger and Andy who wrote the music. Simon wrote the lyrics. All five members were equal.

Doesn’t it suck to be a boyband?

Just the topic is enough to set me off. Dean Delray doesn’t realize the minefield he stepped into as he asks the next question.

“There was a time when of course you become the teen idols. You’re fucking everywhere…Teen BeatTiger BeatDream Magazine (is that even a thing?)….any kinds of those. But at the same time it was really helping you, it was cursing you maybe in a legitimate music world. People thinking they’re just a boy band, even back then because we have boy bands all the way to now. Uh…did you feel that way, like ‘fuck this is great but it sucks at the same time’?”

John kind of pauses, which I appreciated…and I’m going to assume that he needed to collect his thoughts before answering. I know I needed to collect my jaw as it hit the ground while I was listening. He then says “uhhhh….I don’t remember thinking it sucks.”

For me, that was all that was needed. However, for the people in the back, or for those who, like Delray, believe it was a double-edged sword…John continues to explain that he didn’t mind being the pinup and in fact points out that his fans had his poster pinned up in their room to Gela (this made me chuckle) whenever possible. Amusing. If I were his wife, I’d probably put up with that exactly one time before throttling him. (typed with a grin)

“Life is foreplay for when the lights go down.” – JT


Videos

Like most who interview Duran Duran, Dean Delray doesn’t really get the videos. He knows they’re works of art “They’re 35mm films, dude, not videos!”, but he also thinks they cost millions. “Planet Earth cost about $10,000 US”, John corrects.

John gives Dean the quick rundown on why Duran Duran relied on videos, explaining that Rio was charting in Australia, about as far away as one could get from the UK, and yet they couldn’t affordably travel there to play, so their managers suggested they make videos. He described going into the studio to make Planet Earth and meeting Russel Mulcahey, and then talking about how it wasn’t until the mid-80s that videos became a multi-million dollar business. It remained pretty clear that Delray just didn’t get it as he finished the conversation on videos by saying “That thing you did on the yacht was great!” He expanded by talking about how they looked rich, living the good life and trails off just as John says that they were really “just goofballs” on the video.

Exactly. Sure, it took place on a yacht, but the moral of that video is that you can put the goofballs in nice clothes, allow them to drink champagne, and let them sail on a yacht…but they’re still going to fall all over themselves in front of a girl and throw the guitarist overboard!

They speak briefly of Sing Blue Silver, and it is just about at this point when I begin to wonder if John knew he was going to be teaching Duran Duran 101 before doing the podcast. His reward for providing that knowledge is Delray’s reply “That thing is so great!”

Oh come on….you know you’re thinking the same thing I am. Did he really know what Sing Blue Silver was?

Power Station and an evolving Duran Duran

So here’s the thing, John gives a full narrative on how Power Station came to be. The two main highlights here are:

Had Robert Palmer agreed to tour with Power Station, John feels (in hindsight, mind you), that they would have continued on, but they wouldn’t have been as important as Duran Duran.

John has so much respect for Nile, it is truly inspiring. They talk about Nile and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Chic has been nominated eleven times. ELEVEN…and even then, only Nile has been honored with an award of excellence as a guitarist. John says he (Rodgers) wears that (the knowledge) very well, that if it were him, he’d be bitter.

As many probably recognize, it was during this period that Duran Duran really evolved from a five piece to a three piece band. Dean asks about the money and the fame. Rather than succumb to discussing what had been lost along the way, John turns it around.

“A run like that, sooner or later, has to end. The momentum of what you’ve done carries you. Objectivity of your work, it has it’s place.” He continues by saying, “Treat audiences and your band mates with respect, and you can have a career.”

Delray asked about Neurotic Outsiders, a project that – out of everything – he seemed the most familiar with. He cites the Viper Room and knows the people in the band. John explains that it was a good space for him to work through the burnout he’d had (for him, it was the second time he experienced burnout with Duran Duran), and to work on staying sober and being a decent parent. This was a way for him to still have fun, by playing a residency on Monday’s at the Viper Room.

New album and closing thoughts

They closed with a bit of news on the coming album – which I shared yesterday. I also took special note of a date that John mentioned while talking about Simon’s history with the band. As they chatted about the band’s beginnings, John commented that on July 1, 2020 – it will be the 40th anniversary for the current lineup. I know this has always been a sticking point for fans, many of whom claim that the band has somehow “missed” their own anniversary in 2018.

I’m the last person to tell Duran Duran what date should be celebrated, or how they should do so. My job is to applaud it. In the case of the date though, it would appear that they want to celebrate the time when Simon was in fact part of the band. This makes sense. After all, the Duran Duran we all tend to think of actually involves Simon! So, stop with the “they forgot to celebrate their anniversary” nonsense. They didn’t. Sure, they celebrated the inception of the band back when they did the 78-03 tour. That’s called “marketing”. It’s a thing, and it isn’t an affront to anyone. It also isn’t “confusing”….it was about selling tickets and hyping up their reunion as the original five. They came up with a slick way to make it all seem a lot less contrived than saying “Hey, we need to hit the road to see if anyone will even buy tickets to come see us.” There’s nothing wrong with that.

This band isn’t one for looking back – listen to any interview over the years, and they’ll tell you that themselves. We fans have made far more out of this 40th anniversary than anyone else likely intended, including the band and management. The sights are set incredibly high, and the expectations are out of this world. No matter what the band does at this point, it may not be enough to pacify. This is unfortunate. Listen to the podcast. The one thing John says that is key for Duranies in resetting their expectations, is that the band talked a lot about what to do (if anything) about the 40th anniversary. The one thing they agreed upon, was that the best way to celebrate their career next year was with new music.

Sounds great to me, John!

Wow, after that post, I need a break! Good thing today is my “Friday” for blogging! Happy Weekend, everyone!

-R

Meet Bridey Heidel – Tahoe’s Own “Yes” Girl!

Hi everyone! Happy Friday to you! Today, we have a treat that we’re very excited to share. During the recent West Coast mini tour, we heard a little bit about a teacher from Lake Tahoe. The entire Tahoe community, as well as many within the Duraniverse, seemed to be staging a concerted effort to arrange a meeting between 9th grade English teacher Bridey Heidel, and Duran Duran. We were intrigued. Many people obviously want to meet the band, but what made Bridey’s story so different?

In Bridey’s case, her campaign to meet the band didn’t stop with a few well-coordinated tweets. She had been interviewed by her local paper, and it turns out – there was quite a back story. While we very much want everyone to take the time to read the original story, which we linked above, the snapshot is simply that Bridey’s childhood wasn’t the easiest. She switched schools 26 times before graduating from high school, living anywhere from motels, to cars, to couches. The fact that she is not only a teacher, but teaching at the high school from where she graduated, is indeed a triumph, not to mention that her dream to meet Duran Duran did come true! Here’s a link to that final newspaper article about their meeting.

We don’t do a ton of interviews for Daily Duranie, simply because logistically – it’s tough. Additionally, Amanda and I haven’t invested in the type of equipment we need to do these types of interviews professionally and seamlessly. In this case though, we are so glad we did it anyway.

One thing we’ve realized, and is probably the “real” secret behind the longevity of this blog, is that we continue learning. We get far more out of writing and blogging than people will ever know. The lessons we learn from fans we meet, and the people we have come to know along the way – like Bridey – are so affirming, we can’t imagine not writing, or doing Daily Duranie.

When we reached out to Bridey a few days ago, we didn’t understand the full extent of her story, but something about what we’d read and seen intrigued us. How many people get local paper support behind a campaign to meet the band? We just don’t know of a lot of people that go to that much effort. (including ourselves, but that is neither here nor there!) It turns out, the lesson was so much bigger than the dream of meeting Simon Le Bon, or even Duran Duran. We hope you all appreciate listening as much as we did.

I need to apologize, because our microphones, and even the video seem to cut out on occasion (that’s a problem with Skype), amounting to some sound and video problems.

-R