So, anybody got that trip to Iceland booked yet???
Me neither. *big sigh*
If I rewind back to yesterday
Speaking of sadness, did you know that on this date in 1986, Duran Duran sent out a press release with the announcement that my favorite drummer (and hopefully yours), Roger Taylor, was leaving the band. Headed for greener pastures. “Gentleman farming”, as he later referred to it.
The good news, of course, is that he came back! Only took him what…17 years or so….before he played live shows with Duran Duran again?
Watching slo-mo going frame by frame
Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled he left, but I was overjoy upon the announcement of his return! While I don’t love “celebrating” this day each year, I like reminding myself that things change. “This too shall pass”.
I sure hope so.
It’s been a rough week for me personally, Duranies. Positive thoughts go out to those who need them and a reminder that help, love, and support is here and waiting, whenever and however needed. Cheers.
Happy Easter to those who celebrate, and a wonderful weekend to all.
Wanna see Duran Duran this summer? Well, your options just expanded to include ICELAND.
That’s right! For the first time in fourteen years, according to DDHQ – the band is returning to Iceland. They will be performing at Laugardalshöll in Reykjavík, Iceland on June 25. Tickets go on sale April 24th through tix.is.
It’s funny because a while back, DDHQ asked where we’d want to see a show if money were no problem. The thought of Iceland went through my head – it is a place I’ve always wanted to visit. It’s a dream vacation spot for me, not somewhere I think I have a snowballs’ chance of ever visiting with two kids currently in college and one still at home. Regardless, Duran Duran has now upped the ante by announcing a concert in Reykjavik. Well done, my friends….well done.
While there’s little point of me even whispering the word “Iceland” in my husband’s ear – particularly today, the day after tax day, I can certainly encourage others to make great choices! (My husband took the day off yesterday to file our taxes. He never takes time off unless he has no other choice, and trust me it was not a happy day. That is how much fun we’re not having here…)
However, I am here to convince the rest of you to buy the damn ticket and go!
I am a signal somewhere in your bliss
I took the liberty (ha!) of doing an online search of things to do in Reykjavik during the summer….aside from seeing Duran Duran perform, of course! A list has been compiled, and while I know it would have been smart to link it all in a way where if someone booked something that Daily Duranie would make money off of it, that isn’t the case. The links are purely informational and fun…and I will never retire at this rate. Or travel, apparently!
If you want to stay the night…here’s ten things to see in Iceland!
The midnight sun!!! That alone is worth the trip, in my opinion. On the waterfront in Reykjavik (by the time I get finished with this post I hope to be able to spell “Reykjavik” without having to look!) there is the Solfar Sun Ship sculpture that puts on a fantastic light show.
Nauthólsvík Beach is a geothermal beach created by a large sea wall that allows the (very) cold sea and hot geothermal waters to mix. It is summer, go sunbathe, enjoy the hot tubs and check out the beach.
The Perlan Museum, right in Reykjavik has a planetarium, a man-made ice cave, and looks really cool for an afternoon of exploring.
If you’re staying longer, do me a favor and go visit the West Fjords – a place I’ve always wanted to see!! Waterfalls, wildlife, it looks amazing.
PUFFINS!!! Go to the Westman Islands for this, take a photo of the little guys and send it to me!
If you go early, you can check out Iceland’s National Day of Independence on June 17th. There are parties throughout the country on that day – and what Duranie doesn’t like a party?!?
Speaking of parties, ever heard of the Secret Solstice? Well, this Midnight Sun music festival takes place from June 21-23. Just in time!! If that doesn’t grab you, the nightlife in Reykjavik should! Check it out!
The Blue Lagoon! Wanna soak in a natural, geothermic spa right in the heart of a volcanic landscape? Yes. Yes I do. Duran Duran who??? Oh that’s right…we’re going for the party!!
The Reykjavik Food Walk. What better way to really experience a country than through it’s food? I hear the ice cream is fabulous – and I’m hoping someone checks on that for me! If that doesn’t work for you, do what Amanda and I would do, and check out the local distilleries!!
Glaciers! I’ve never been to a glacier. Most people think you can only see the glaciers during the winter, but this is untrue. If I were going to Iceland, I’d be taking a tour to a glacier for sure!
Nothing I would rather like
I think I’ve given enough suggestions to pack a week’s worth of activities in around the concert. I wish I were going, but I’m going to have to live vicariously through the rest of you, or win the lottery. Quickly.
Happy Monday. Today marks the beginning of Spring Break for us. The youngest and I have this week off of school, and I can spend time thinking and doing something other than teaching. This has been a rough year. A move combined with changing schools twice, I can’t say that fifth grade has been great, but my girl is trying her best, and I think she likes her new school for the most part. Me? I welcome this week with open arms, and a to-do list that is longer than I’ve got hours to complete. I’m sure I’ll blink and it will already be Friday, but the good news is that we’ll only have about five weeks left in the school year. We can make it…probably.
Midnight, I think I’m gonna make it
After working on our various home projects during the day, we sat down to watch SNL on Saturday night. BTS – a K-pop group, was the musical guest.I have to admit that I was curious about them. My husband ran into them waiting for a flight in a Korean airport once – he’d never heard of them, but there were a crowd of girls waiting for other flights that had come running when they saw them. They draw a huge crowd, and the girls who camp out to see their shows or follow them look strangely familiar.
K-pop isn’t something I am deeply involved in. I know what it is (obviously), but I don’t follow much of it. My oldest went to a school of the arts during high school, and one of her closest friends was a girl who came to America to attend the school. Apparently in Vietnam, she was a huge star and part of the K-Pop community. That’s when I first took notice of its apparent popularity.
There’s a lot that can be said about K-pop. People call it “manufactured” and “throw away”. Others complain that it’s not real music. I can understand the criticism. After all, this is a boy band, and no – they don’t seem to perform by playing instruments. They’re good looking, the music is catchy, they do highly choreographed dance moves to every song they perform, they sell out places like the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA and Soldier Field in Chicago, and – the real kicker here – girls love them.
Show me your secret
Put together by a management group (Big Hit Entertainment) in 2013, the band has already had certified platinum albums in the US. The last time they played shows here, I can remember my local Los Angeles news covering the fans camping out for days in order to secure spots. Like it or not, this manufactured boy band has taken on the world by storm. In four years, they’ve managed to do more than some bands do in a lifetime. However, this is a boy band that actually co-writes and produces their own music. It is a lot less, “stand there, wear that, and sing these words” than some might want to believe.
I wasn’t disgusted when I saw them on Saturday. While I didn’t know their songs at all, I was still impressed. They can dance and they’ve definitely got stage presence. They’re not very much different than N*Sync, New Kids on the Block, the Backstreet Boys, or any other boy band, except that from what I saw on Saturday – it doesn’t seem to matter to fans if they’re singing in English, Korean or anything else. Sure, we can complain that they’re not a real band if they don’t play their own instruments. We can cry foul because they didn’t come about in the same organic sort of way as other bands we might know – but does any of that really matter?
I’m not the only one out there taking notice. Just this morning, Notorious Nik and our friend (and fellow Duranie) Lori Majewski talked about BTS and Kpop’s world takeover. It is perfectly OK not to like their music, and to say they’re not your thing – but give them due credit. Like it or not, they’re selling faster and far more than your favorite band.
Try to remember again and again
It wasn’t so long ago that our band was in the crosshairs of those who came before them, complaining of their lack of substance. How many times did we see Duran Duran reduced to sheer “Bubble gum pop”? How many times did I read of a critic casting Duran Duran aside for one reason or another? Did it really have anything to do with the music, or was it because the girls – girls like me – loved them? If a little tween-aged girl loved Duran Duran, surely that must mean the real men couldn’t. Damn if history doesn’t just continue repeating itself, over and over.
As Lori is fond of quoting, “Men don’t get it, but the little girls understand.” And we did. I’m just wondering if we still do.
I look at those fans – the ones who lined up, days ahead of time – camping out in hopes of being in the audience Saturday night. I think about friends of my daughter, who gleefully put posters of BTS and other K-pop and J-pop groups up on their wall. They’re not so different from me at their age. Hell, I didn’t even camp out for Duran Duran tickets back then. As much as I’d like to point fingers, and suggest that Duran Duran had far more musical merit, and thus was much more worthy of my attention, I can’t. I won’t. When it comes down to it, I don’t think this is about the music at all.
What it is that I recognize
Sure, it is easy to just sit back and say “Nope. It isn’t about any of that. They suck. They look glossy, fake, manufactured and synced to a backing track.” I get it. I felt that way about N*Sync, New Kids on the Block and countless other boy bands. I’d point at Duran Duran, with their obvious musical talent, and righteously mention that they didn’t need to rely on choreography to perform. They could actually play. Yet, ask any critic during the mid-80s and they’d tick off any number of crazy reasons why Duran Duran wouldn’t amount to a single thing. The thing is, to write BTS off is doing virtually the same thing that others did to us in 1980-something (and still do).
Sure, it is your right and mine to say it like we mean it – I’m just suggesting we take a second before taking to social media in an attempt to rid the world of their manufactured uncreative souls. (that’s tongue-in-cheek, people!)
Don’t be angry that a group of seven young men are taking the world by storm. I don’t think any of us need to mourn the idea of real creativity or music. No, BTS doesn’t have to be in our wheel house, and I’ll just forget that I’m not really in their target demographic, anyway. I’ll leave off by asking a simple question – food for thought, if you will. When was the last time Duran Duran was invited on SNL? Now, if you want to be mad about something – be mad at that. Be furious.
Happy Thursday, everyone! Today is a special day as Thank You celebrates its 24th birthday!
In honor of this occasion, I decided to do something I haven’t done in a long time – I played the entire Thank You album. I know, I know – what a shock, right? The things I do for this blog. It’s rough.
Thank You is still playing in the background as I write. I’m on “Thank You” right now, and I have to say, I don’t really understand the fuss. No, the songs aren’t original (although “Drive By” counts as original in my book), and maybe they’re not songs you and I would immediately have suggested they cover, but overall? The album isn’t bad. Musically, I think it’s actually very well done.
Track by Track
A live crowd favorite, the album version is slightly less packed with energy, but still has plenty of punch. I still believe they do it best in front of a live audience, and I can appreciate that even Duran Duran can put a cover in their set list and have fans believe it is their own.
I Wanna Take You Higher
I love the drums on this one. I like that the band took liberties and pushed the tempo, amplifying the song up to a bit more of a rock sound. Say what you will, they made the song work for them – which is exactly what a cover should do. Take the song, spin it on it’s head and see how it shakes out. That’s what Duran Duran did here and it worked. I’d be amiss if I didn’t give a shout to Warren’s guitar solo. It is indeed excellent.
I really don’t know what I can say about this particular song that hasn’t already been said. Like the title – I think it’s just about perfect. Lou Reed had a brilliant song here, and Duran Duran took it up a notch. Oh, and Roger came back to play drums on it. Can’t really complain about that!
Watching the Detectives
What I love most about this song is not the melody, the drums, or even the vocals… I love the tiny little things found underneath. Those little synthesizer chords, the seemingly infinitesimal arpeggio notes, the harmonica, and the small effects here and there are what make this song interesting for me. Oh, and another Roger Taylor appearance. I like it better than the Elvis Costello original.
Lay Lady Lay
I haven’t ever heard anyone comment about the guitar on this – but hello Come Undone part 2. I love the intro with Warren’s guitar, and you can quote me on that. The song is romantic, sultry, and everything I could have wanted. I appreciate the song choice because one might not have ever guessed that Duran Duran could pull off Bob Dylan, and they do it here beautifully.
911 Is a Joke
I know how the community feels about “911 Is a Joke”. Simon is not quite the rapper type, in my opinion. I mean, it was a valiant effort I am sure…but…it does miss the mark. Overall, by principle alone, I don’t love the song. To be fair, I didn’t love the original either. However, and this is a big however, what about the irony??
Seriously people, how ironic is it that Duran Duran, a group of reasonably wealthy (if not filthy rich) WHITE guys decided to cover a song like “911 Is a Joke”?? The band doesn’t take themselves nearly as seriously as we fans take them, that’s all I’m saying. In fact, when the band made their choices of which songs to cover, it was none other than John Taylor who chose this one. “in addition to being a great song, it made him laugh to think of how many people it would piss-off.” (quote from an official “Thank You” press release) If you can’t see the humor and irony – well, are you sure you’ve been following the same band I am?
I think we can sometimes get up in our own heads to the point where we take the band far more seriously than they intend. It is worth taking the time to get past the surface – don’t always assume everything should be taken at face value. This is a band that treasures the ironic. They love the dry humor. As do I.
Bottom line: 911 isn’t likely to make anybody into a Duran Duran fan, but I really don’t think it was ever meant to be taken so darn seriously, anyway. I know so many people who got so stuck on that one song that they gave up on the rest of the album, and news flash – “911 is a Joke” is only ONE song. There’s eleven other songs!
I think that in order to fully appreciate “Success”, one has to know and understand Gary Glitter, and not necessarily the original version by Iggy Pop. A brash, flamboyant UK performer, Gary Glitter had a stunning career. 20 million records sold, 168 weeks spent on the UK music charts, 21 hit singles…. and Duran Duran chose to cover a song that he in turn covered. There’s irony there if you look deep enough., although I’m not sure it was intended. The song is as brash as Gary Glitter’s career…never mind his eventual and spectacular fall from grace and into a prison cell (well AFTER the release of Thank You).
If they really needed to cover The Doors, I’m glad they chose this one. While I’m no big fan of either The Doors or this song, I think that Simon did slip rather well into the existential role of Jim Morrison here. Again, the best parts of this song aren’t the vocals or the melody – they’re the tiny little effects underneath that we rarely take full notice. Nick and Warren did incredibly well adding those nuances.
Ball of Confusion
My, my…how far we’ve come from the days of The Temptations. Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong are the original composers of the song, and judging from the lyrics along with the video I found of it on YouTube…it has evolved substantially over the years and has been covered by a brilliant number of artists along the way. I myself am a Love and Rockets fan, and this song is one of my favorites by that group. I have to admit that despite my bias, I really like this version. It has all the rock edge when needed, but I can also hear the appropriate throwback to the roots of The Temptations with the background vocals.
Must admit, I don’t think I ever saw Duran Duran covering Led Zeppelin coming, which perhaps is the most jarring thing about this album – the song choices themselves. This cover is beautiful in it’s own right, and while it might not be my favorite, I give silent thanks that it isn’t “Stairway to Heaven”.
I really don’t understand the outrage over this one. How dare they rethink one of their own songs? Are you kidding? I applaud it. In my head, it was a genius and ballsy move to take one of their best loved but not necessarily most well-known songs from an era that had long since past and evolve it. Maybe that’s the real problem here though. They sacrificed the sacred cow. The fab five. You tell me.
After listening a few times, I have to think that song choice had everything to do with the lack of love for this album. Fans didn’t know the music well enough, and critics knew it all too well.
Duran Duran didn’t choose to cover Roxy Music, or even Chic. They went with far less obvious influences. In some ways, I think that may have helped them far more than hurting them. Fans didn’t have quite the same sort of affinity for Elvis Costello, for example, than they might have for Nile Rodgers. But, by the same token – they didn’t have a connection with the music either. I struggle with that because you would think that a fan, like myself for instance, would have taken time to listen and bond, just as I might have done with any of their original music. However, I didn’t.
It will be done
Then there are the critics. Self-professed “experts”, they know and often tout their own musical intelligence. I kind of feel as though many of them are too far up their own noses to have been willing to give the album a fair shot. This was Duran Duran, the band causing much ire in the 80s, daring to cover not only The Doors and Led Zeppelin but even Public Enemy? Oh hell no. I’m not saying that some of the reviews and comments weren’t valid, only that it wouldn’t have mattered what they heard – all they needed to know was that it was Duran Duran.
So I ask you fans – give the album a good listen in 2019. It might surprise you, at least a little. It did me.
My friends, think back to the beginnings of the band’s career. For me, 1982 puts me at about eleven or twelve – which was during middle school. As I’ve asserted on any number of occasions, I was a nerd. An awkward, frizzy-haired, clarinet player in the band, potential good student sort of nerd. I was not only a nerd, but I was absolutely an underdog in every sort of way.
Much of sixth grade is murky for me. The memories are dim. I I know that maturity-wise, I was way behind my peers. Boys? They were fine for being friends or even playing kickball, baseball or tetherball, but as actual BOYS? Gross. I didn’t even know how to flirt!
Frog seeks Princess
I can remember sitting in social studies in Ms. Beck’s class though, and getting into the first (of many) arguments with another kid. My face flushed, I argued until the final bell. I grabbed my books and ran out of class, embarrassed because he had been one of the “cute, popular boys”.
Eventually, he asked me to “go around” with him, which was middle-school speak for being his girlfriend. I said yes, and then had no idea how to behave. Hold his hand? As if I liked him??? Ew. Sit next to him at lunch? Uh, I have friends for that. Slow dance with you at a school dance?? Not a single chance, buddy. Keep your hands off of me, or my dad will kill you.
I was not prepared for boys.
Our romance lasted for about three days, two of which included Saturday and Sunday, days where I didn’t see him. After that, he went out with another girl in my class also named “Rhonda”. That romance lasted for a lot longer, lucky for her. The entire memory still makes me chuckle and blush over my own naivety. Poor John. We are still friends on Facebook, and every so often he has to remind me about sixth grade. As if I could really ever forget. (I’ve tried!)
The other part of sixth grade that I do remember though, was music. First, I was a clarinet player. I sat through my regular classes in order to get to band at the end of the day. My real “academic” success, at least that year, was in band. In particular, I hated 6th grade math and science – in fact I got my first “D” notice in math from Mr. Thompson that year, who openly told my father at parent/teacher conferences that I’d probably never amount to much.
(I TAUGHT TWO OUT OF THE THREE OF MY CHILDREN, MR. THOMPSON – AND ONE OF THEM IS NOW MAJORING IN PHYSICS – A SCIENCE NO LESS – AT A UC. HOW’S THAT FOR NOT AMOUNTING TO MUCH???)
Second, I loved the radio once I figured out what stations I preferred. I would walk into my room and snap on my small, portable AM-FM radio/tape deck combo unit (not quite a boom box just yet), and let the music fill the air. It was during one of those moments that I first heard Duran Duran, in fact.
Soul sister hippy chick
I had very few close friends. While I wasn’t being thrown head first into a trash can every day, I wasn’t one of the popular girls, either. I’d avoid the mean girls like they had the plague, as they’d stand in the middle of the hallway lockers. If they saw me, they’d make fun of anything they could find about me that was “off” that day. (There was generally plenty to choose from. Fashion wasn’t a strong point and my hair was even worse.) So the girls I chose to spend time with were more like me, I guess.
When I marched to school the following morning after hearing Duran Duran on the radio for the first time – I thought I’d rock their little worlds. I had grand visions of my teeny group of friends thinking that I was some sort of secretly cool girl who knew all of the up and coming artists. What I didn’t expect was for my friend Marsha to roll her eyes and announce to all of us that she’d already heard of Duran Duran. I also didn’t expect for her to tell me that I actually already owned one of their songs on one of those K-Tel compilation records my parents bought me for my birthday. That girl knew everything!!!
What did happen though, was that everyone in that group, including me and Marsha, went home and tried to find as much on Duran Duran as they could find. We came back to school armed and ready to discuss the band, sharing pinups, interviews and anything else we’d come across. Eventually, we’d find t-shirts, hats, pins, and anything else that denoted we were fans. Sometimes, other slightly less nerdy girls would notice and comment on how cute the band was (I always enjoyed it when they’d screw up the names of the band members, because then I’d show my expertise by correcting them. Wow, how was I not trash-canned??), or they’d gush over how “cool” the band was. I felt in turn that if the band was cool, I must be semi-ok too. It was the closest I’d ever come to NOT being a nerd.
Where are you
What I don’t think I really paid much attention to until later was that while it was cool for me to like them, it was the opposite for boys. Admittedly, I didn’t care one bit about that back then. Boys? Who needs them?!? They had a plethora of other, more “rock” sounding music to choose from anyway. I never thought twice about it.
So, when my friend David O. from The D Side Podcast (check it out at the link!) discussed his theory in episode 4 that being underdogs kind of brought us to Duran Duran, it got me thinking. On one hand, indeed – I was a geek. It wasn’t just that I was a geek, but for the most part, I was invisible. It wasn’t until I made the local papers because I was the youngest person asked to join the California Junior Philharmonic that other students noticed I was even alive. The only thing aside from being in the paper that even sort of made me cool, was my love for Duran. Being a Duranie made me an instant part of a group. So while I was definitely still an outcast or an underdog – Duran Duran made me a little bit less of one.
On the other hand, I knew plenty of girls who liked Duran Duran that were not geeky at all. They might not have been in the upper echelon of popularity at my school, but they sat firmly on that second rung down the ladder. They were still cool to begin with. Duran Duran just made them all the more edgy.
Shake me up wild girl
The cool girls had more fashion sense in their pinky than I did in my entire body. They wore black eyeliner. I struggled with convincing my mother that it was OK for me to wear tinted lip balm. Their hair mimicked the styles I would see on male or female new wave artists in Tiger Beat or Smash Hits. Mine was this strange concoction of frizz and waves that could only be tamed by cutting the sides short and layering them to hell and back….a style I kept until the second year of high school.
In my head, being a Duran Duran fan made everyone seem cooler. But did it really?
Clearly, the trajectory for boys was different, although I’m the first to admit that in 1980-something, I didn’t even begin to notice. I didn’t care. A boy might have been cool until they mentioned Duran Duran in any sort of sentence that could have been construed as complimentary. Any self-respecting male wouldn’t have been caught dead listening to “Rio, much less “New Moon on Monday” or “Save a Prayer”. Once discovered, the G-word was thrown around liberally, whether the word fit or not. Looking back, I’m ashamed to think about how the boys who really were gay and struggling with their identity must have felt.
I don’t think the idea of gay or straight quite registered with me back then, at least beyond the near-constant name calling I’d hear in the halls. However, I did recognize the differences of black clothing, eyeliner, and sleek hair from the heavy metal, mullet-mania that was taking shape elsewhere around us. In seventh grade, I began to take more notice of the males around me. To me, the boys who liked new wave, and then the even smaller group that would admit to being closet Duranies really were cool – something I still believe to this day. I never saw those guys as underdogs in sixth or seventh grade, because I admired them. They were brave in a way I could never quite live up to myself.
Even so, I knew that the only boys who would even quietly admit under their breath to liking Duran Duran’s music were usually different from the other boys I knew. They were nicer to me, first of all. They didn’t try to snap my bra, or tease me about my hair, or even my body shape. Their interest in me started and ended with music. I was totally on board. Music was one thing I knew I could manage.
The funny thing, at least to me, was that I didn’t fit into THAT crowd either. I didn’t wear black. There was no way I was going to be cutting my hair in some “weird, asymmetrical style” (my dad was such a stickler). Fashion? “You don’t go to school for a fashion show, Rhonda Lynn. You go to learn, and you’ll wear the clothes in your closet.” I looked like Holly Hobby trying to fit in with The Cure. Even so, I liked Duran Duran. I had made it at least partway through the door marked, “You’re not half-bad”.
Someone is perfect for you
My friend David also believes that Duran Duran are underdogs. When I think about it, I agree. Whether due to their own looks, the androgynous fashion, hair and makeup choices of the 1980’s, their fans, or their music, they’ve never been completely accepted. They’re the band that everyone outside of Duranland thinks went away, but has actually been quietly working their asses off. We love them for that, too.
I tend to believe women have a harder time seeing that we might also be drawn to Duran Duran as a result of our geekiness. After all, I’ve met many women in the years I’ve been a fan that exude anything BUT geekiness. They’re far more “in-touch” than I’ve ever been, and I highly doubt they’d agree with David’s assessment that they’ve somehow bonded with the rest of us nerds as a side benefit of being a Duran Duran fan. Being a Duranie included me into a group I might never have found otherwise, and I don’t think I’m alone.
I also buy into David’s theory that, had the band made it in the same way as some others (like U2) – with the same sort of critical success, they might have hung it up already, out of boredom. Maybe fans would have done the same. Instead, there’s been a sort of “fuck you, we’re still here” attitude that has settled in. I admire that in-your-face tenacity. Not only do they tell us not to count them out, they show us.
Here’s looking at you
I like the idea that when it comes down to it – we’re all the same and have bonded together over this band, whether we’re male or female. I appreciate that when I chat with David or anyone else about Duran Duran – they don’t automatically assume that my experience and knowledge is different or less worthy because I’m female (or vice-versa). Perhaps our perspectives are different, but the end result is the same. We’re all fans, gathered together for the love of Duran Duran.
Hold on, before you click the red “x” in the corner – I know this isn’t breaking news. No, it’s not earth shattering, or really even all that important in the grand scheme of things. Even so, it’s the one song that I don’t ever seem to get tired of.
“Hungry Like the Wolf”? 200% over it. I’m convinced it will outlive the human race. “A View to a Kill”? That’s my cue for Kodak moments – as in, I take pictures. “Come Undone”? It’s fine, but I wouldn’t miss seeing them play it live.
“Rio”? LOVE IT. Can’t imagine a show without it!
I’ve seen you on the beach, and I’ve seen you on TV
I don’t know exactly what it is about that one song. For me, it is pretty much the epitome of Duran Duran. Perhaps it is because Rio was the first Duran Duran album I purchased. Maybe it is because it is likely one of the first videos I ever saw. I have vivid recollection of my friend Marsha calling me on the phone after she saw it for the first time. (Of course she was first. She had her finger on the pulse of anything Duran-related the entire time we were in middle school!) I can remember her cracking up at the idea of Simon falling off of the dock. I remember her description of Nick. “Rhonda, if I didn’t know better, I’d think he was seasick.” Little did she know then that yes, he was! I also recall her explanation of the neon-colored drinks in the champagne glasses – for whatever reason, those always interested me. I couldn’t wait to see the video for myself. It did not disappoint. To this day, when I think of the song and/or video, I think of those drinks!
Growing up in California, we had plenty of beaches around us, but none looked this tropical (and the water definitely was not that clear!). I was captivated by the entire vibe of the song and video. It seemed about as far away from my life as I could get. At the point Rio was released, I don’t think I’d even been on an airplane before. I’d never traveled outside of the state! Antigua?? I thought to myself….what is that?? The imagery stuck with me though. I always felt that it was summer, encapsulated in song.
In the years since, I’ve caught on to the idea that the video isn’t all about glitz and glamour. In fact, the guys look like they trip all over themselves trying to be cool rock stars and get the girl, when in fact they mostly just look like nerds. I never quite picked up on that until adulthood though, and I tend to believe it is because I was so awkward and nerdy myself, that it all seemed normal! <big cheesy grin right here>
Like a birthday or a pretty view
When I was finally able to go to Antigua myself as an adult with three kids and a husband, I insisted that we go to Miller’s Beach – which is where some of the scenes were filmed. Absolutely stunning. You’d swear it wasn’t real, the water is so clear and perfect – and the weather is gorgeous. Naturally, my kids barely remember being there. Our youngest was only about three when we went – the only thing she remembers was having a fresh coconut to drink and deciding it was “awful”. For me though, it was extra special knowing what had been filmed there!
Our Day in Duran History spreadsheet tells me that on this day in 1983, the single “Rio” peaked at #14. I have several thoughts about that which include the following:
Only 14?? Really??
1983? That was 36 years ago!!!
Where did those 36 years vanish off to?
How did Simon get so tan??
Why haven’t I ever tried playing the solo from Rio before? (Seriously! Here I am – clarinet player/sax player – and I’ve never ONCE tried it. What?!?)
What was in those glasses that Simon drank underwater anyway? Don’t just say food coloring. That’s boring.
She dances on the sand
I know that everyone has “that” song or “those songs” on the set list that they can’t imagine ever being removed. That’s the problem, because I think between all of us – there’s literally no chance of their set list ever changing if they were to take advice from fans. That said, Rio is mine. I can’t imagine not hearing it in a set. Many fans would probably love to see them can it for a while, but I would be sad. I wouldn’t vow to come after them with torches blazing, but I really can’t imagine it not being in their set at all. To me, it is a closer like no other. It ends the party with…what else but a party!
Since I’ve gushed about “Rio” so much, I’m going to watch the video again. It is warming up here in Atascadero. I’ve moved the chickens into their coop (Finally. OMG they are enormous and WAY past the time for being moved out of the house!!), and I heard a crazy rumor that our temperatures are supposed to start soaring next week. It’s time for a brief, visual vacation! Enjoy
Hello Monday! I solemnly swear this is not an April Fools post.
(I must admit considering the possibilities of writing a piece on the gem-like qualities of “Read My Lips”. However, I decided that today required something a little different. I’ll leave that other task to those slightly more inspired!)
Instead, this is a post that I have been itching to write since Friday. My heroes inducted heroes of their own into the Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame. Distance, and lack of invitation or tickets kept me from being there myself (of course!). I just waited patiently, curious about what John and Simon would say about Roxy Music.
Sitting here at home, social media was abuzz with activity. Duran Duran fans flitted from one platform to another, building their arguments for why Duran Duran should already be inducted. I saw many suggest that it was even insulting to John and Simon for needing to lend their kind words to such a ceremony. Was that really the case? I thought about that a lot over the weekend.
Echoes growing in the heart of twilight
Much has been written and said about the Hall of Fame over the years. Read any article about the nominees of any given year and you will find a plethora of opinionated fans responding below. Words such as “politics”, “overrated”, “underrated”, “joke”, “overlooked” and “ignored” dot the comments like punctuation in a grand essay on the history of rock music.
It would also be true that Amanda and I – perhaps more me than Amanda – have lent our voices to the side that says none of it matters. And really, the Hall of Fame doesn’t “matter”. It is no different than any other sort of recognition in that sense. The notation is wonderful to have, but it certainly isn’t the kind of thing one should campaign to receive.
Whether or not a band or artist has been inducted into the Hall of Fame does little to vindicate, or validate. My opinion is simply that the band’s history – in this case I mean Duran Duran’s – speaks for itself. An induction into the Hall of Fame isn’t going to suddenly convince anyone of their greatness. By the same token, I am not saying they aren’t worthy of such an honor. I just don’t happen to believe they need me, or anyone else, to beg or campaign their peers to bestow such a distinction.
Awaken all those whispers
Getting back to Friday night – it was a different story. John and Simon were asked to induct a band that is as important to them as Duran Duran is to me – or likely anyone else reading. Roxy Music was their inspiration, and a driving force behind their career. While my “career” as a blogger is “slightly” less fortuitous, I am indeed a fan. Duran Duran is 100% my inspiration. Obviously. So, I can fully imagine their joy, admiration, respect, and honor in taking the stage for Roxy Music. Even as I strained to hear their speech on a YouTube video, it was plain to see their pride. My emotions swelled. After all, my heroes were inducting their own heroes. The thunderous applause when they took the stage was all I needed to remind myself of one thing – Duran Duran is loved by many.
I also felt something very different while listening to John’s tale of waiting backstage at the Odeon. He and Nick were there in 1974 (I was four years old at the time – which makes me laugh!!), listening to Roxy Music’s soundcheck. It was as though I were listening to a friend tell a story about fandom. In fact, I am nearly certain we’ve all done similar things over the years. Who wouldn’t have run to the back of a venue if one could hear Duran Duran soundcheck? For example, I remember waiting in 95-degree heat outside of the backlot venue for Jimmy Kimmel Live. I could hear Duran Duran play “You Kill Me with Silence” live for the first time. Adrenaline coursed through my veins because in a few hours, I knew I’d be in front of them for the first time in a couple of years. So exciting!
John spoke about seeing the black Mercedes pulling up, band members rushing out, piling into the car and speeding away. More than once I’ve been amongst the gathering of fans at the back entrance of a venue, waiting to see the band emerge. The thrill is intoxicating, and John communicated those feelings like…well…like any other fan I’ve ever met.
This brings me to one thing I feel most confident in saying about John. He knows what being a fan is like. I don’t think he’s entirely forgotten what it feels like to be one of us. During the four and a half minutes or so that he spoke (their entire speech was just under nine minutes I believe), he conveyed the feelings I have whenever I see Duran Duran. A thrilling mixture of pride and joy, adrenaline and emotion, inspiration and comfort flow through me – every single time. Seeing John and Simon speak of the very same things that have kept me engaged with Duran Duran over the years reminded me once again, we really are not so different.
All these faces look the same to me
John and Simon were not two men forced to eat a generous slice of humble pie while inducting Roxy Music into a club that has not accepted them. No, these were two men overjoyed by being able to recognize the band that made Duran Duran what it is today. These were two fans inducting their heroes. To say otherwise completely defeats the messages that John and Simon were trying to communicate. Everything they said, all of the body language present that night indicates just the opposite: they were proud to be there.
I was proud to watch them, if even after the fact. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to induct their heroes. Oddly, I almost think it is more of an honor to be the one inducting than it is to be the one inducted. After all, how many people get the opportunity to gush over the career of a hero?
Well, besides this blog, anyway…and to have the heroes actually listen? I cannot imagine ever being quite so lucky to have the honor.
I must be chasing after rainbows
So, to my fellow fans commiserating over Duran’s obvious absence in the Hall of Fame – it was no insult for them to be there that night. Never think that. Instead, I earnestly recommend focusing on the obvious pride they took while inducting Roxy Music. Sometimes, the real rewards don’t come packaged in a trophy or plaque, or in ways we might easily notice. Taking those accolades from the band purely because we fans don’t like the box is unfair. It does a great disservice to the very people we admire most.
Today is March 28. On this date back in 2001, I went to see Duran Duran in Anaheim. Granted, it probably wasn’t a monumental show to anyone but me. Regardless, every single year I think about that night, and how it completely changed me.
I know that for many of you reading – you’ve seen this story and are sick of it. I get it. The reason I take the time to write about it each year though, is because I think it illustrates just how one single show, event, etc, can change your life. (So buy the tickets!)
Had I not been in the audience at the House of Blues that night, there’s no way this blog would exist. I would have never met Amanda, Jessica, Lisa, Suzie, or Lori. Prior to that night, I’d tucked away memories of being a Duranie right along next to those marked “high school” or “middle school”. Sure, I still loved their music, but rather than having the songs be a vibrant part of my life – they were special memories.
To feel it once again
I still loved them. I mean, whenever I’d hear they were going to be on a talk show in support of an album, I’d be sure to tune in. Most of those shows were during the day, and I was a stay-at-home mom anyway so it worked well. I didn’t deliberately keep Duran Duran a secret, but I also didn’t think to talk about them much. My knowledge of them was rather limited to whatever I’d heard on the radio or read in a book or magazine. It was the kind of thing where I’d say “Yeah, I really loved them back in junior high and high school.” No more, no less.
But then Walt insisted on buying these tickets to see them at the House of Blues. I thought they were a fortune at $65.00 a piece. (Seriously? Someone slap me!) To say I wasn’t excited was an understatement. I tried to talk him out of going several times, even complaining about how we didn’t have a sitter. (Obviously we found one) But the night arrived, and my husband was hell bent that we were going.
It’s just Duran Duran…
I can remember arriving at the venue. It was in Downtown Disney at the time, and we walked up to see a line of people waiting to get in. It was only about 5pm, maybe 6 at the latest, and I was appalled.
“Waiting to get in as though it’s still 1985??? REALLY?!? There’s no way I’m waiting in that. I don’t care how far back we are. How dumb!!”
We went and had dinner at the House of Blues. We found out through our waitress that since we ate there, we’d get in early. I waved her off, laughing.
“It’s just Duran Duran!”
(Famous last words)
We finished dinner and walked right into the music hall, where I announced that we would just stand by the bar. Walt was floored.
“Really? Are you sure??” He shrugged and went to go get us drinks.
Thank you for the fine times
I stood there for a while and surveyed the scene. The floor continued to fill up steadily, but I was insistent that I didn’t need to be in that mess. I could hear them just fine from the back. My thinking was that John, Roger and Andy weren’t even in the band, and I had no idea who in the heck was even playing drums or bass these days. Simon and Nick? Warren? I shrugged to myself. They weren’t my favorites, who cares?!? I just hoped that they’d sound like what I remembered.
I’m not exactly sure when I finally made my way over to about the top of the stairs (going down to the floor), but I suspect it was because Walt insisted. I don’t remember much about him being beside me after that, either – which is pretty funny, and telling.
The band took the stage (although if I remember right, they were way late to do so), and from the second Simon opened his mouth to sing – I was lost to the rest of the world. I was there. In the same room. With Simon! Breathing the same freaking AIR.
Do you remember
Not going to lie, aside from Simon introducing a song at one point by saying it was off of their Pop Trash album (I couldn’t even tell you what song it was – and I didn’t even OWN the album), I have no idea what they played that night. I just know that I was transported somewhere else. I felt like I’d stepped back in time and was reintroduced to someone I’d left behind many years back—me.
Junior high, or middle school, were tough years. Puberty, hormones, just an overall feeling that wavered between being thankful I had friends to feeling awkward and completely alone. Duran Duran had been my saving grace, then. It was the one thing that made me feel “cool” (and I definitely was not). I was included in a group of friends who loved the band as much as I did, and that’s how I managed middle school.
While I hadn’t really discovered boys yet – I discovered Duran Duran. They were safe. They couldn’t reject me, and they didn’t know I was a nerdy kid with frizzy hair that didn’t know the first thing about fashion. I could put posters all over my room, retreat into the safety and warmth of my room, and daydream about meeting them. I was convinced that Roger would fall for me, and that I’d become best friends with the rest of them. Ah, the innocence and naivety of the tween years.
Would never seem to end
High school began much of the same way. I was still a total nerd with frizzy hair, but I’d gotten into marching band. In high school, marching band became my haven (although even there, I was one of the nerdy ones). I had no idea how to flirt with the boys, was disgusted by the girls who did, and instead of learning – I did the opposite by befriending them all. One of my friends would giggle and act like an idiot at our local pizza parlor hangout, whispering about her then-boyfriend with our other friends in a corner. Me? I’d sit with him and the other guys at a table, and we’d talk like normal people. I couldn’t ever understand why the boys would always fall for girls like my friend, and never ones like me, though.
Naturally, that changed during my high school years. I had boyfriends. I suppose I finally learned how to flirt without feeling like I’d lost IQ points in the process. My hair stopped being so frizzy. While I never quite became a fashionista, I did settle into my own style and owned it. Sort of.
College was more of the same. I gained and lost friends, all the while learning who I really was. I changed a lot, and not necessarily for the better. By then, Duran Duran had been all but completely shelved. My posters gone, my childhood bedroom became someone else’s as my parents moved out of the area and I lived at school. I just don’t think I ever noticed just how much of myself I was leaving behind in the process.
To feel it once again
I didn’t recognize how different I was until I saw Duran Duran that night in 2001. I’d been functioning for so long, I didn’t see it.
That’s just it though. I functioned. Something was always missing. I lived, but not fully. I loved being a mom, but secretly I wondered if that was really all there was left for me. Rather than search or start asking questions, I just settled into what I had. This reads so pathetically as I’m typing it – but it’s exactly how I felt at the time.
Going to that show on March 28, 2001 opened up a door. In some ways, it feels a little like an escape hatch! I became reacquainted with this inner-Duranie that I thought was gone forever. I really like her, too. There’s a fierceness, a sense of bravery, and even a bit of fiery independence somewhere inside of me that peeks out every now and then, at her insistence. She’s not willing to just settle, no matter how often I try to stuff her back into the box and explain that I can’t just restart my entire adult life over again to suit her.
At your liberty
I think that’s a lot of the reason why I keep writing this blog. Sure, sometimes finding topics of interest is tough. I’ve been writing for eight years, and the words don’t always just float ever so gracefully to the surface. While this blog serves as a sort of tribute to being a fan, it also gives a little justice to the inner-Duranie each day.
On March 20 of 2005, I flew home from Chicago’s O’Hare airport after a fun-filled weekend that surpassed my wildest expectations.
I can hardly believe that was fourteen years ago. In some ways, it feels like last year, and in others – wow. That was even pre-Daily Duranie!
A lot has changed since then. For one, I have actually been in the front row. The one thing I kind of thought I’d never experience, and I can say I’ve been there multiple times now. I also run this blog, I’ve set two kids out on their own, moved my entire house, and the list goes on. Things don’t stay the same forever, I guess.
Staying up with the moon
The night before I flew home, I went to the Milwaukee show at the Riverside theater. I can barely remember any of the venue names I’ve been to – but I remember that one. I think Amanda, our friend Lisa, and I were back in the 9th row or so, and we were wearing these light-up horns a friend had sent us all the way from New Zealand. (ah, our dear friend Froggy.) We even got a wave from Roger at one point because Dave had pointed us out to him. I nearly died.
I have to chuckle a bit because I didn’t even know who Dom was at that point. He was just some substitute guitar player standing in the shadows, doing his job!
We waited outside of the theater door that night after the show, kind of on the driveway, hoping that the band’s cars would go past as they left so we could wave. Luckily, they did. Again, I nearly died as they waved to us in passing. Then we did the unthinkable. We ran to Amanda’s car, hopped in and tried to follow the caravan of Ford Econoline vans back to Chicago.
I got a lot to lose
We had a suspicion of where they were staying. Banking on that, we casually walked into the hotel, asked where the bar might be, and headed there. It was quiet and there weren’t a lot of fans sitting on the floral couches dotting the spacious, bright room, but there were some.
We did what we tend to always do: sit on the outskirts and watch. We saw Simon and Nick, but we didn’t ever approach either of them. Far too risky for us at the time. (and I laugh because I’m not entirely sure we’d do any differently today!) I don’t really know what we were doing in that lobby bar area that night – I guess we just wanted to see what might happen? It wasn’t wild or crazy or much of anything. There were just some people talking. It was a far cry from some of the scenes I’ve been in since that night, I’ll say that much.
For me though, sitting there that night, observing the situation – was one night of many where I kind of think I just desperately wanted to see how “real” that band really was. I mean, prior to then I’d only ever seen them on a stage or on TV. They weren’t real to me in the same sense that a friend might be. As naive or as immature as it might sound, I think seeing them off-stage, away from the lights and fans, gave me a glimpse of something or someone I wanted to know really existed. I had absolutely zero intentions of actually speaking to them or drawing attention to myself. I just wanted to convince myself that yes, they really were human. For so long before that, they were just posters on my wall, or people on my television.
There is nothing better than being with you
In many ways, they are still those same people for me. The mystery hasn’t really disappeared. Going to Birmingham and seeing where they started helped raise the curtain a bit. Being around and involved in the community for so many years has done it’s bit too. Even so, when they come out on stage and start playing, the feelings of excitement and wonder are still there for me. I might not wear the light-up horns these days, or follow the band’s vehicles across state lines, but there’s still a fair amount of naivety and wonder left in me. How about you?
Every once in a while, it is good to gain new perspective. I used to do this pretty frequently when I lived in Orange County by going to see other bands – essentially cheating on Duran Duran when they weren’t looking – right?? Since moving up to the central coast, it is a bit more challenging, particularly in my small town. While I have definitely gone to see live music, they are typically unknown bands, and more often than not – the style they play is a little less rock and a little more folksy in nature. Not my favorite, but…when you’re desperate…
However, on Saturday night, I saw Rick Springfield. I think I might still be a little giddy from the evening! He played at Rava Winery in Paso Robles, which is a gorgeous setting. If you’re ever in Paso, it is worth the drive to go and taste there just for the peace and beauty alone. Known for their sparkling wines, Rava also hosts quite a few bands and artists each year, Rick being one of them. He was doing his “Stripped” show. (get your minds out of the gutter – he was fully clothed, told stories, and played without a backing band)
I bought these tickets not long after moving into the house, and couldn’t wait to see him once I realized just how small of a setting it would be (think ballroom rather than theater). On Saturday, our seats were about in the middle, and in fact – I’ve been much farther back with VIP seats for Duran Duran than I was that night with our regular “no frills” tickets. The venue is just that small, really.
I have no real experience seeing Rick Springfield, but I had an angel on my shoulder that night. My dear friend Laurie, who was killed in a car accident several years ago, was a huge fan. She was easily as much of a Rick fan as I any of us are of Duran Duran. In fact, she was such a pillar in his fan community, that Rick sent a huge spray of flowers for her funeral. I have no doubt that Laurie was there with me that night, as I stood up with other (far more intense) Rick fans around me and sang the words to his music with him.
Speaking of those Rick fans – prior to the show, there were food trucks and tables to buy glasses and bottles of wine outside in their patio and garden before the show. As I walked around, I did some people watching. I overheard people talking about traveling from show to show on the tour, the VIP packages, and basically all of the same things we tend to chat about with one another before the DD shows. I saw fans greeting one another exclaiming how surprised they were to see each other, “I didn’t know you were coming to THIS show. How did you get here so fast?!?” I couldn’t help but smile, knowing that the basic “fan” stuff is pretty universal.
After we took our seats, two women sat down next to me on my left. They immediately apologized (in advance) for screaming or standing up and dancing. I replied that they didn’t need to say sorry, that I’d be doing it right along with them. We talked a little bit about being fans, and then I mentioned that I’m a huge Duran Duran fan and even write a blog about them. The woman next to me poked her friend and said “That’s her favorite band!”
Try to explain it
I laughed because we (Duranies) are EVERYWHERE. My husband, who had been watching this scene unfold, nearly rolled his eyeballs right out of his head. I could almost hear the “Good lord, I cannot take you anywhere without Duran Duran coming up in the conversation…”
He’s right. He can’t.
At that point, Rick took the stage. I have to admit that as excited as I was to see him, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I know some of his music, but most of it is earlier – not the more recent stuff – and although I’ve read his autobiography, I just didn’t know what he’d be like on stage telling stories.
My fears were completely unfounded. He is fantastic live. Not only did I enjoy the entire set he played – the stories were what made the show. The reality is, Rick was my crush just before Duran Duran. I started watching General Hospital because he was on it. So seeing him live and in person in front of me was kind of like traveling back to my tween years. Awkward, kind of goofy, and pretty damn giddy. The only thing really missing was my friend Laurie. Just prior to the accident, we’d met for lunch with our other friends, and we’d agreed that the next time Rick toured – I’d go with her.
Nothing really gets them that high
This was not the first time he’d been in my area since that last lunch together, but it was really the first time I felt like I could be there and enjoy it without her. And…I did. That doesn’t mean I didn’t think about her as I sang “Jessie’s Girl” or stood and cheered during “Human Touch”, or my very favorite, “I’ve Done Everything for You”. It was hard not to, but rather than sadness, there was joy. Total joy, the way I know she would have wanted.
One of the things Laurie and I spoke about often before she died was that we were going to stop feeling bad about buying the concert tickets. Laurie wasn’t married and didn’t have children, but she still felt some of the same misgivings I did about being so thick in fandom at our age (which at the time, was right around 40). She was one of my very few friends outside of the DD community who really “got” it, and I remember that last lunch, she looked at me and said “You know, we have no idea how long we’ve got. You’ve got to just LIVE. Buy the tickets. We have to stop worrying about what other (assholes – Laurie had quite the mouth, even worse than my own!) think. Have fun, because who knows when our last time will really be.”
It was a matter of days before Laurie was gone. She wasn’t wrong that day and I’ve never forgotten what we talked about over margaritas that afternoon.
Emotion’s a game
It is hard for me to live up to her words at times. I do spend less time apologizing for being a fan, and more time rejoicing that I am a small part of this wonderful community of people. Although, I still let a lot of other things play on my mind, and guilt me out of taking risks that might make me happier in the long run. I’d say I was trying to find balance, but the reality is that I’m always worried about upsetting something or someone.
Perspective is good. Miss you, my friend.
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!