Tag Archives: Duranies

The Music is Still Between Us: Durandemonium 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On this date in 2013, Duranies descended upon the fine city of Chicago for Durandemonium.

Held at a small, efficient-yet-boutiquey hotel (that no longer exists under the same name or brand) in downtown Chicago, fans from as far as Canada and the UK came together to celebrate Duran Duran over the course of a weekend. Activities ranged from a first night out at Howl at the Moon, where Duranies were invited onstage for their own rendition of none other than “Hungry Like the Wolf” (If the whole “writing about fandom” thing doesn’t work out – there’s absolutely no future in singing onstage for me), to an author panel and a private screening of Diamond in the Mind in a local Chicago theatre. The celebration culminated with a themed-banquet and after party at what has to be one of the best named alternative-music neighborhood clubs in the country – Late Bar.

It wasn’t just the activities that made the weekend special. It is the friendships that were created. Amanda and I love getting notes from people who went to the convention and still talk about how much fun it was. That’s how Amanda and I feel about the convention we attended in New Orleans in 2003. The activities were great, but the times we remember most were the talking and laughing in small groups. If I could bottle that part of what it takes to make a convention successful, I’d carry it with me forever.

Amanda and I have been approached countless times since that weekend about doing another. In the past we’ve even started the planning, only to be railroaded by one thing or another and forced to put the idea aside. Money is always an issue. Conventions are not cheap. Even our convention in Chicago required several thousands of dollars up front, and as one might imagine – blogging does not pay those kinds of bills. Time is another sticky problem. Planning a convention can take hundreds of man-hours, which are not always readily available. We’ve considered doing an event at a club one evening, and then suggesting a hotel to stay at to make a weekend out of it, so it’s more of a get together than actual convention, but because the two of us live a few states apart, the logistics are a problem. We’re in Duran downtime now though, so perhaps it is time to give it all more consideration.  Personally I think it would be a blast to pick a city, meet up at a hotel, and do a Duranie slumber party!  There’s still our dream of paying the band to come and perform a private gig, too (Who does not dream of that? Right after I win the lottery – I’m on it!)

I’ve had the chance to not only attend, but plan two enjoyable, cathartic events as a fan. Three if you count that one time I flew to Chicago on a whim for a weekend so that I could go to March MaDDness (a one night fan get together) with Amanda in the Foundation Room at the House of Blues. I’ve marveled over this fan community before, but going to a fan event like a convention changed my entire life. I want nothing more than to recreate the same safe space for other fans. So many of us are judged by the t-shirts we wear, music we play and concerts we attend. For me, it was a relief to finally be in a place where I could just be myself with others who understood. That’s what I mean by “safe space”. We’re never all going to agree on the minutia, and we’re not all going to be best friends, or even friendly in some cases. We’re all different. Our fan community is complex. We each have our own favorite memories, band members, songs, albums, or tours. When it all boils down, the music is still between us. The music is the common thread that connects us as fans. I feel like we should celebrate that as often as possible.

-R

 

 

 

There’s nothing gonna ace this

My desk calendar tells me that on this date in 2004, Duran Duran played on Good Morning America. It feels like a million years ago. Andy was still with the band and all seemed well on the outside, even if it may not have been on the inside. I had no inkling of the struggles it took to get the album recorded. I didn’t realize that drama from the past had somehow crept its way back into the studio and beyond, and I sure as heck didn’t know that over the course of the next year or so, Andy would stop performing with the band altogether. I was so naive, I had the audacity to believe that the original five would keep going. It never occurred to me that the relationships were so fragile.  Then again, I didn’t really know much of what had gone on behind the scenes in the 80s, either. I basked in the glory of having the band back together again, and in some small way that is typically unlike me, I appreciate that I had no idea of what was to come.

Wide-eyed innocence was sort of my theme for the entire Astronaut period. I was new to traveling to see the band, I was new to the fan community (although I’d been a fan for many years), new to message boards, and the group of friends I’d stumbled upon as a result were all brand new to me. At the point of this GMA appearance, I had just recently gotten home from the Friends of Mine convention in New Orleans. I can remember sitting in front of my TV with Gavin on my lap, marveling over some of the women in the front because I’d met them at the convention. Prior to Astronaut, I had never known anyone who had even gone to something like that, much less gotten up so close! When I think back to those Astronaut days, I’m amazed at how naive I was to the entire fandom phenomena. Everything seemed bright, colorful, new, and lovely. I didn’t see much of the insipid bickering, or the jealousy between fans. I hadn’t gone to enough shows or mingled with enough hard-core fans to know that while all is fine and good when the band isn’t around, once they enter the room, the struggle to be seen and acknowledge is so great that we often push one another out-of-the-way just for that tiny bit of validation. In my head, fandom was a utopian paradise, and I wanted to take up residence, permanently.

There are shorter clips of this, but I chose the long one – nearly a full hour – because there are so many short snippets of the crowd.  On this day, it is a breath of fresh air to look back at the memory of what it was like to simply be in love: reinvented, reimagined, reinvigorated, naive LOVE. I particular enjoy the vision of an audience sharing those same feelings.  There is nothing that can ace this.

Yeah, I know the band isn’t nostalgic. Sometimes though, it feels good to look back. It reminds me how I got here, and why I stay.

Take a look. Breathe deeply. Squee if you must…I did 🙂

-R

The Art of Being Impatient

I am a fairly impatient person, by just about any standards. My children, sibling, and parents, in particular, are well-aware of this character flaw. I can remember my dad looking at me and calmly saying “patience, Rhonda” when I was young. Those memories make me smile because I would never use the word “patient” to describe him, but I suppose he was just trying to stop me from making the same mistakes he did.

Sorry, Dad. I try.

I didn’t realize just how impatient I was until I became a blogger. All is fine when you’re writing about something that is constantly making news, but when you’re trying to write a daily blog about a band that has been stuck in the studio for two years and doesn’t really give a lot of updates, it can be a challenge. That wasn’t something I thought about when I came up with the concept for Daily Duranie, mind you! In any case, both Amanda and I grew tired of waiting, and said so on the blog. It felt monotonous, even as the first month away from the road drew to a close, and I knew I was in trouble. It isn’t as though DD comes out with new albums on a yearly basis – and we didn’t really expect otherwise at the time. We just missed them, I suppose, and were fairly vocal (or wordy) about it here. Fellow fans chided us in response, saying that we were being ridiculous, overly negative or yes – extremely impatient.

Maybe so.

When Paper Gods finally neared its release, I was overjoyed. I had things to write about! Once again, blogging became a bit easier, there seemed to be an overabundance of blog-worthy topics to choose from. Life was good, if not easy.

Amanda commented over the weekend about some of the challenges she’s had with blogging during Durantime. I would concur. There are hours when it is still pretty easy and the words flow (like now), and yet I have no doubt that moments will come down the road a bit where I’m struggling to think of something to write. It happens, and it is symbolic of the blessing and curse of a daily blog. I’d like to think that now, seven years in, I am better about how I handle those moments. Time will soon tell.

Today I was looking over Tweetdeck in search of something that might spur my creativity. It is how I begin most days, actually. I saw that more than one person tweeted at Duran Duran, telling them they want them to get back at it in the studio.

I laughed as I saw the tweets. I know this feeling of impatience when it comes to Duran Duran. I’m sure we all do, to some extent. Many of us are likely still feeling the burn in our back pockets from the last tour, but still others are anxious. I dare say we might have awhile. They haven’t been home for even a month yet, and it might be asking a little much for them to be headed back into the studio already. Roger did say that they plan to go in towards the end of the year….for fun…whatever that might mean.

This time, I’m a little less impatient. I’m thankful that I’m working outside of the home now because I have less time to think, fixate, or what-have-you. I’m also not really writing on a regular basis outside of the blog, although I should be committing more time each week to bonding with a project I’m working on.  Basically, it all just means I’m not obsessing 24/7 about all that is Duran Duran. Overall, I’m glad I’m doing other things. Time goes by fast, and before you know it, we’ll be talking about #DD40 in earnest!

-R

This blog is made from blood, sweat, and tears

Amanda and I don’t use the blog to tout successes very often. We want to write about being fans, and the blogs come from our own experiences. This post is personal, in that aspect.

Not too long ago, I wrote a bit of a review for a musician from Denmark named Michael Kratz. He had released a song back in July that he worked on with Dom. I wrote about it because I am a fan of Dom’s, and kind of forgot about it. Michael contacted me a couple of weeks later to thank me, and then ask if I’d be willing to get another one of his songs early and then blog about it since this new song also featured Dom.

I was overjoyed. I appreciated that Michael really asked for my help and trusted me with his music. I am not an author or a journalist. I am a fan. A blogger. Not many people take that seriously.  I jumped at the opportunity, and listened to the song hundreds of times before writing. (I’ve learned my lesson well, thanks to Duran Duran and our friend Lori Majewski.) I published the blog and hoped it would be taken well.

It’s kind of weird to admit that as a woman in my 40’s, I own a fan blog. Part hobby, part “full-time job that I wish were a paying one”, Amanda and I have operated the blog for seven years now. My own big dream was to have this blog lead to something that I could make into a career. I had no idea how, or what – which has always been my problem – so it is no surprise that Daily Duranie is still very much my “volunteer work”. We pay to host this site, which isn’t super cheap. We travel on our own dime, pay to go to shows, and all that stuff.  I spend a lot of time working on this site. In fact, even right now I should be working on “homeschool” with my youngest, but instead I’m writing and we’ll do school a bit later today than normal. As for money, I don’t want to think about how much we spend right now, because I will truly have a panic attack, so I won’t. Yes, we pay to write about Duran Duran. Does that make us a joke? To some, probably.

I’m pretty unsure of myself on even the best of days. My self-confidence isn’t the greatest. Lately I’ve been battling a case of the insecurities. I read things, and then have a really hard time letting go.  I’ve gotten better about it, but I still have a long way to go.  Additionally, I have a very hard time seeing and admitting to myself the good things the blog has done. It’s easier to see and believe the bad things I read and hear about the blog, and even myself as a person, I guess.

Today though, I received a message that really made a difference.  It turns out that Michael was offered record deals in two countries, and in both cases the label mentioned MY article specifically. The best part is that he wanted me to know, so he messaged me today. I’m still beaming, because it feels good to see wonderful things happen to genuinely hard-working people. I’m sure the blog played no more than the tiniest part in his record deals, but the fact that he wanted me to know warms my heart in a way I really needed.

I know that most people don’t really care about a fan site. Hell, we have a hard time getting anyone—even most of the band’s backing players, to take us seriously enough to even fill out a Q&A so that we can in turn promote them and their own careers—so I get it. By the same token, it is not just fans that read and follow Daily Duranie. We have music producers, other bands, news magazines, radio and TV show hosts, authors, and even record labels following and reading, and I’m proud of that.

Today though, I am so pleased to know that a genuinely kind and incredibly talented person I met as a result of this very blog is in the middle of making his own dreams come true. Michael thanked me for writing, but the truth is, I need to thank him for taking me seriously and trusting me with the product of his own blood, sweat, and tears. That, my friends, is anything but a joke.

-R

Are we ready for a Power Station Revival?

On this date in 1985, Power Station appeared on Miami Vice.

That seems like an eternity ago. I barely remember the episode, but I do remember squealing like a piglet when John and Andy appeared onscreen. I miss moments like that.  I miss that weird “squirmy” feeling I’d get just before the band would appear on TV, or just before MTV would air a video, or….just before the band comes on stage!

Speaking of Power Station, though, reminds me of a rumor I just read yesterday. According to HRH Magazine, Andy Taylor is looking to “revive The Power Station from the depths of a wall but perfectly formed Ibizan recording studio.” The magazine was granted “exclusive access and they heard “two belting new tunes”.

Say what? Power Station???

So many thoughts swirling about. First of all, I have to wonder if this revival is for real, or just a bogus rumor, magazine or not. For all we really know, the belting tunes could have been anything. It doesn’t really say what the songs were or give any sort of detail. Since Andy himself wasn’t quoted in the blurb I saw, it could be that he simply said he’d once considered reviving the band, and the magazine – being a magazine and all, took off with it. We’ve seen similar things happen with Duran Duran. (Anyone remember a rumor about AT joining back up with the band for their 40th??) I don’t really know, but call me a skeptic.

Secondly, half of Power Station is deceased. I’d love to sugar coat that fact, but it’s reality. So who is in the band? John and Andy?? John didn’t even participate in the last go-round, so I have to admit if I were a betting person, my money would be on the space marked  “he’s not involved”. So who has Andy lined up for this revival?

If this rumor is really true, and I’m not entirely convinced of its validity, I think the timing is interesting. As we all know, Duran Duran’s 40th anniversary is coming up. What better timing for a previous side project to reappear? Not that I think a brand-new Power Station would steal Duran’s thunder. In fact, I think it might profit from it. Timing is everything.

I have to wonder though, do we really need a Power Station revival?  For me personally, my interest waned quite a bit after their first album. It felt like a one-off to me, and there’s no shame in that. I don’t know what value it might really have after all of this time. Maybe I’d feel differently if the original band were still intact. Then again, one could (and should) point out that Duran Duran still have plenty to say 40 years later, and it is not their original line-up that I hear on their albums. Fair enough. I’d be more likely to agree if Power Station had done more than two fairly incongruous albums over the years. Even as I write though, I’m wondering if I’m being entirely fair. I suppose in many ways I’m hedging my bets so that I’m not disappointed in the long run.

Discuss!

-R

 

A terrible day for music fans: Las Vegas

I didn’t sleep last night. I’m sure I am not the only one. I had just settled into bed and turned on our TV at 11 o’clock to catch the news, when the reports of a mass-shooting in Las Vegas took over the normal newscast. I immediately checked Twitter (frankly, social media reacts much faster than even television news in Los Angeles), and saw that chaos had overtaken the Strip, if not the city.

I sat up for hours, unable to sleep. I watched the initial iPhone videos that came over Twitter. I could hear the seemingly incessant gunfire exploding over the crowd of music lovers enjoying Jason Aldean’s set at the Route 91Harvest Music Festival. I was honestly shocked by how long it took people to realize what was happening – probably because when one attends a concert, the last damn worry should be whether or not you’re going to die in the process.  That was pretty much the only thing I considered as the news unfolded. I could barely remember which of my friends lived there, or who could possibly be affected. All that continued running through my head as if on a treadmill, was the thought that no one should ever have to lose their life at a concert.

It isn’t my intention to turn Daily Duranie into a gun-debate. I’m going to leave that to social media to hammer out. In the meantime, I’m going to mourn the people who matter.  Mandalay Bay is my favorite hotel in Las Vegas, and concerts are my refuge. Again, I am sure I am not alone. I’ve spent a lot of time in Las Vegas seeing my favorite band over the years, and seeing images from last night gives me chills to the core. I am a music lover. The people who attended this festival are music lovers. Getting home safely at the end of the night or weekend just doesn’t seem like something that should ever be in question.

It is getting to the point where it is harder and harder to leave the house without a contingency plan in place for the worst case scenario. I actually think twice before going anywhere. This Friday, I’m going with my husband to see Coldplay at the Rose Bowl. At one point, I might have grumbled about the seemingly crazy rules about purses and bags. Now? I’m not bringing anything but my ID, and I hope they search the hell out of the crowd. I don’t even LIKE Coldplay that much! I’m just doing my wifely duty. I very much dislike that I’m second-guessing whether or not I should even go.

I remember writing after the massacre at Le Bataclan and throughout Paris. I have never, ever been more freaked out than I was that afternoon, purely because the band had performed in Paris earlier that day. I’m somewhat embarrassed to say I was “that person” who begged Dom to tweet just to say he was safe. He was the only one I knew that might check Twitter, and I had to at least try.  It was ridiculous on one hand because I don’t even know these people that well, and on the other, they’re my favorite band. I’ve known them  since childhood, dammit! (Again, I KNOW I’m not alone.) The lump in my throat was significant that day. I could feel the panic rising as each moment went by without an update from a band member, or Katy, or even DDHQ. I never want to have that feeling, ever again. Yet, here we are.

My heart goes out to those who have lost family members. I feel for the people who live in Las Vegas and have to pass by the venue. I’m sorry for those who lost their lives, or who were hurt—emotionally and physically. I hate writing these types of blogs. There aren’t words, and I have no reasons. I’m not particularly good with platitudes. I’m sad today, and I’ve hugged my youngest a lot more than normal. My other two are away at school, so the little one is getting all of the hugs.

I also wanted to apologize for the semi-superfluous post that originally went out this morning, given the circumstances. I had written today’s blog ahead of time, and it wasn’t until it was far too late that I recognized it would post before I was able to stop it.  I’m sorry if it appeared that Amanda and I didn’t care as a result. We very much do.

As I tried to find the right words to close this post, I got word that Tom Petty has passed. He was only 66. What a terrible day for music fans.

-R

Remember TOKiMONSTA? Here’s why she is a miracle.

I love the internet. I was set to write a simple blog about how two years ago, I was driving north on Interstate 5 in California, headed to Berkeley. Paper Gods was still new, the touring cycle had just begun, and I was freaking excited to be on the road. I knew what I was going to write, the words were readily available in my head, and then I opened my browser to get to Daily Duranie.

Lately, I’ve noticed Daily Duranie has been taking longer to load (on my laptop at home). This is not a site problem, it is a “my laptop is nearly eight years old now and that means it is a complete DINOSAUR” problem. Impatient as usual, I opened Tweetdeck to see if it load properly, which it did. I scanned my timeline and saw something that caught my eye, which led me to an article on Pitchfork about TOKiMONSTA.

For those who don’t recognize the name, TOKiMONSTA was the opening act who toured with Duran Duran last summer in the US. Her real name is Jennifer Lee. Amanda and I sat and watched her a few times at the shows we attended, and while her music is very different from Duran Duran, we liked it. I can remember one show where MNDR came out onstage and sang one of her songs, which I thought was really cool.  I didn’t mind sitting and listening when she came out on stage, and I can remember making a mental note to buy some of her music when I got home. I never did, mainly because life smacked me directly in the face once I got home last summer and I completely forgot about all else in the process. Sound familiar?

So what drove me to click on the Pitchfork article then? Well, it turns out that not long before she toured with Duran last year, Jennifer had brain surgery for a very rare brain disease called Moyamoya. After her surgery, she lost the abilities to walk and talk, and couldn’t even hear music (to her it sounded like noise). So the young woman I saw on stage last summer was a walking, talking, miracle of a DJ.

Somehow, reading the article made me think back on last summer a bit.

I remember how Amanda and I watched her last summer and agreed that she was very quiet. Her music was fine, but she just didn’t address the audience too much beyond that. Reading that article today reflected a completely different side to her sets that I didn’t know existed. Those shows were a triumph for her in every way, which in turn reminds me that we never know for sure what’s really going on backstage.  Amanda and I comment all the time that we fans tend to forget that John, Roger, Nick and Simon are human. They’re not circus animals, they’re people. Turns out, that sentiment might be widespread.

“I think people sometimes forget that artists are human. We all go through really terrible things and face hardships. Being able to play Coachella three months after having the surgery was very significant to me. If I can do something like this, anyone can.” – Jennifer Lee (TOKiMONSTA)

Lune Rouge, the soon-to-be-released third album by TOKiMONSTA, is filled with songs written after her recovery. It is one I am making a note to purchase.

-R

Too Much is Never Enough

So last night, Duran Duran played Budokan in Tokyo. For a place that the band seems to really enjoy visiting, like so many other areas of the world, they do not seem to visit Japan very often. I think the last appearance there was in 2010 for a conference (I believe this may have been a private gig, but I’m not positive), and before then they played Tokyo in 2009. (Yes, I looked this up because there is absolutely no way I would ever remember this kind of thing. My brain is full.)  The band seems happy to be in Japan again, with Dom commenting last night that it was a dream of his to play Budokan.

During their time there, I’ve seen a few comments here and there from some of our Australian fellow fans. Suffice to say no one is happy that the band is not making the trek to Australia and/or New Zealand while in that area of the world. What boggles my mind though, is the anger towards America, and American fans as a result. In fact, I’ve seen other fans comment in response that the band must be tired ending the tour as a direct result of how much time they’ve spent in America.

That’s right. It’s America’s fault for continuing to line their pockets and fill whatever venues they need filled for shows. It is absolutely the fault of the U.S. for being just over 1 million square miles, or about 2.6 million square km larger than Australia, not to mention Japan and even Europe, with dozens of large cities that are not closely connected. It is also America’s fault that the worldwide media/entertainment industry is headquartered there, and the US dollar seems to still matter on a global level. Naturally, there are also comments about how DDHQ is located in New York, of all places. Surely that must be the reason for the obvious favoritism, on top of everything else. Those damn Americans!

Of course I’m being facetious, but I’m also frustrated. We hear about how terrible we are, and how unfair it is that the band  chooses to be here after every single tour is announced. It is to the point where I nearly wince when the band announces U.S. shows.

If we’re going to point fingers, look at the promoters in whatever country we’re talking about. Simon and John, for instance, do not sit down, spin a globe and decide where to go based on where it stops. There’s no grand scheme here to leave out entire continents. It comes down to dollars, timing, and the willingness of promoters to book them. I can’t answer why promoters aren’t knocking down their doors to book them in places like Australia, or most of Europe. I think the markets in those places of the world must be very different. Bottom line is that it is not 1985. The world has changed, the music industry has changed, and, like it or not—the band has changed too. While we still think they’re the biggest and best band in the world, it would seem that concert and tour promoters do not. Right or wrong, it is the way it is.

I’m sorry that Duran Duran didn’t tour everywhere.I am very empathetic to other Duranies, and yes, it IS unfair. While I’m frustrated at the moment, I also care about fans in general. On the other hand, I can’t help but be thankful that the band comes here so often because yes, I love them too.  In some ways, I feel as though I should apologize for their frequent visits here, which is ridiculous because I have no control over what they do. Sometimes I think people would appreciate it if Amanda and I came out and told the band that they shouldn’t visit the U.S and spend the time elsewhere.

First of all, the band isn’t going to listen to us because—and I’m thankful for this—I am not a tour promoter or a band manager. I’m a mom, blogger, and fan. Secondly, it isn’t because they toured  America more than once that they didn’t visit Europe, or Australia, or even why they didn’t do more dedicated shows in South America.  I know it is convenient to just blame those “damn Americans” but let’s get real for just a minute before everyone goes back to hating. The band is able to book a plethora of shows here and have them well attended enough to pay their bills AND make a profit.  They can play a variety of different places over an extended period of time, and since the U.S. is one large country, I suspect the logistics with paperwork and so forth is a bit easier, too. All of it adds up to money and turning a profit. Like it or not, the band makes their living that way, as do the hundreds of people who work for them in one way or another.

I get it. America is the scapegoat, and if fans really feel like they need to blame someone or somewhere, we’re an easy target. I just wish fans spent a little more time thinking about why Duran Duran might continue touring here, rather than just blaming America for all the places the band has missed.

-R

 

“What Did I…” (Feat. Dom Brown): Authentically Michael Kratz!

Amanda and I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful fellow fans, and people we would have likely never crossed paths with otherwise. Recently, another such moment occurred when Amanda texted me while I was camping in the middle of a forest in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington (shout out for wi-fi!), letting me know that Dom was a featured guitar player for a new song by someone named Michael Kratz out of Denmark. I diligently downloaded the song when I got home, and enjoyed the slight flashback to the 80s in the process. I blogged about it, and assumed that would be the end of the story, right?

Wrong.

A few weeks later, I got an email from Michael himself, thanking me for writing about it, and offering me the chance to get an early copy of another unreleased song that also features Dom.

First of all, I have to tell you that Michael is the real deal. He’s a very nice guy, with a fantastic career to boot. I don’t know why I hadn’t heard of him prior to August of this year, but like most other things in life—the more you know, the more you recognize you really don’t know.  Secondly, Michael Kratz is a Duranie. Who knew?!? (turns out, a lot of Duran fans did. I’m just a bit late to the party, as usual!)  I promptly asked Michael if he’d be willing to do a short Q&A for me since I know next to nothing about him, to which he agreed, and it wasn’t long after that I had new music and a Q&A in my inbox greeting me.

If I had to sum up Michael in one word,  it would be “authentic”. He is genuine in every sense, including his approach to music, which he describes as “old school”.  His sound gives a loud shout out to the 1980’s, and Michael embraces this.

“I think my sound is pretty old-school. After many years in the music business I figured out, that I must be honest to myself and my roots. I have released several albums with different bands, but it was difficult for me to relate to the way the music was produced.”

He likes to call his brand of music West Coast, and if you think back to bands like Toto, Michael McDonald, Richard Marx, Marc Jordan…and I’d even add a bit of Cutting Crew to that list…his music fits in very well in that lineup.  Rather than try to be something he’s not, he found a producer, namely Kasper Viinburg (and his father Ole Viinburg) who understood and appreciated the sound he was trying to attain. I think any of us who have been around for the entire evolution of Duran Duran recognize how difficult it can be to find a producer that is equal parts of push and pull (pushing to reach new levels, pulling the authentic, real sound out).

Having grown up on the west coast, I certainly heard a lot of that music on the radio.  If you take a look at my iTunes, you’ll see quite a bit of that in my library as evidence. It isn’t a stretch for me to listen to “What Did I…”.  As I listen to the opening notes, I can’t help  but think of Richard Marx, in the same way that I thought of Toto or Michael McDonald when I heard “Never Take Us Alive”.  While sure, the sound isn’t necessarily pulse-pounding, state-of-the-art EDM, it is clear, authentic, and real, which I appreciate.  Dom’s guitar gives the melody a modern edge without completely blowing the song out of the water. There’s something to be said in this day and age for music that holds true to the roots of the writer while seeking to be contemporary. “What Did I…” hits all of those notes. A little something more I picked up on after listening several times— Dom’s blues influence is evident. I challenge anyone to give this a listen, and then take “Please, Please” from Dom’s Blue to Brown for a spin. The similarities are there for the taking.

Overall, I’m thrilled to help out a fellow Duranie. There’s a part of me that finds a certain poetic justice in the fact that once again, it’s Duran Duran’s music that brings people together. I may have never heard of Michael had Dom never recorded with him. Yet here I am, writing about how like many of us, Michael recorded Sing Blue Silver from TV back in 1985, and he rewound and played “Save a Prayer” over and over again because he loved the song so much. Who hasn’t done that with their own favorite song or band member?  Michael has also had the chance to see the band quite a bit over the years, although because he’s a musician in his own right, he’s missed opportunities. Michael cites a story that only seems familiar to me because my overall luck has been similar.

“Back in 2008 when DD played in Odense (DK), I was playing in a venue right next to the stage. I got to see the support act (Saybia) and 10 minutes before DD should enter the stage I had to leave for my own soundcheck. So while tuning my drums I could hear the band’s starter, The Valley, and I couldn’t go out to see them. That was a bad day!”

While we’re on common ground as far as being fans goes, I can’t say I’ve ever missed a DD concert because a gig of my own was happening at the same time! Then there’s meeting and recording with a fellow musician who just happens to tour with Duran Duran…

“I just wrote him [Dom Brown] an email one Sunday afternoon.  I sent him some tracks and we talked about styles etc. and agreed to meet in October last year. My producer and I stayed with Dom at his studio for two days and we did two songs (“Never Take Us Alive” and “What Did I ..?”. He is very nice and it was very easy to work with him.”

Michael Kratz is one hard-working musician. “What Did I…” is due out tomorrow, so grab your copy!  His new album, Live Your Life, which includes “What Did I…”, is due out October 26. In addition to Dom, Michael worked Steve Lukather of Toto, Michael Landau (Michael Jackson, Richard Marx), and David Garfield (George Benson).  He describes the album as ranging from the classic pop/rock vibe heard in “What Did I…” to a more modern Brit-pop, which intrigues me.  He also has re-recorded his first album, Cross that Line, which was just released, and then on November 30, he will release a double live-album that was recorded in February of 2017.

If being hard-working in the studio isn’t enough, Michael is also easy to connect with online. He’s no slouch to social media, and MANY Duranies have already found him on Facebook as well. (I dare say that I know of a guitar player that could learn a little something about self-promotion from him)

I want to thank Michael for pushing me to get back in touch with my own roots. Since first hearing his music, I find myself gravitating to my old Cutting Crew and Toto albums, which has been a refreshing change of pace. There’s something about the authenticity in the music that I’ve been enjoying, and it’s good to hear someone like Michael staying true to himself. The fact that he’s also a Duranie is a bonus! I look forward to staying in touch and keeping up-to-date with what he’s working on.

“What Did I…” and “Never Take Us Alive” are available on all digital platforms worldwide (“What Did I…” drops tomorrow!), and they’re also available as CD’s from Michael’s website http://www.michaelkratz.net.

If you want to connect with Michael Kratz (and I really think you should!), check him out:

Michael on Facebook

Michael on Twitter

Michael on Instagram

-R

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Seventh Birthday, Daily Duranie!

SEVEN YEARS LATER…..

We are still here, blogging away!  Who would have ever thought?  Certainly not me, as the crazy person who came up with this idea, and most definitely not Amanda!  But yes, today is our seventh birthday.  We chose to commemorate the occasion with a video.

Amanda and I like to ask ourselves where we’re headed every so often. (Not entirely unlike when we’re at a gig and Simon asks “Do you know where we are?”  Although, we usually answer with a loud, resounding, “No!”, oddly enough.) Our answers to that question have either been “We really aren’t sure.” or we’ve had some brilliant pie-in-the-sky response. This year though, it would seem that both of us are pretty down to earth about what we want and expect. We don’t really know what the future holds.  We’re open to some ideas, but the reality is – we’re just blogging, and that comes down to the two of us. We’re not looking to change the world. We just work hard, try to stay out of the drama, and focus on what the two of us are doing.

We thank our readers for sticking with us over the years. We also want to thank the band. I won’t say it’s your fault we did this, but ya know….had it not been for you….Amanda and I would have never met to begin with.  Just saying.

-R