Tag Archives: Duranies

Duran Duran Ticket Presale Frenzy!

Got Duran Duran tickets?  Happy Presale Monday?!?

As the title suggests, it was a frenzy of activity this morning as a multitude of messages were exchanged between friends prior to the presale.

Duran Duran Ticket Presale – words that create both joy and panic (alternately) in the hearts and minds of every Duranie who has been around for a while.  Fans are overjoyed to finally have tour dates, and downright panicky when it comes to buying them.  Things go wrong, systems crash, and Duranies are not very forgiving as a rule, so ticket systems MUST work properly.

This time, Crowdsurge handled presales and VIP packages for DDM members, and aside from a brief moment which I will describe later in more amusing detail, all went well. Checking around the Duran community, it would appear that most were pleased with the experience, particularly in the ability to actually know what seats they were buying (although the same can be said for past experiences with Artist Arena).  I will say that later on, I went into DDM to see what I might find available for tickets, and the system seemed very smooth.  The only constructive criticism I might give would be that it would help so much more to have maps available for ALL shows (the Cal Coast Credit Union venue at SDSU comes to mind), and that Artist Arena had a great interactive map system that I think would be the perfect end cap to presale experiences with Crowdsurge.

The comments I’ve seen about the VIP presales thus far have been that the platinum packages run out VERY quickly.  I can’t say I’m entirely surprised – it isn’t as though there are thousands available, and there really are not many Duranies out there that can turn down a guaranteed front row seat. I know that as late as an hour into presales for shows that had presales today I was able to pull up at least single VIP tickets (mostly Bronze)…so my advice is simple: act fast if you want the most expensive VIP packages.  The other comment I’ve seen is that once the tickets are in your cart, people aren’t seeing that at the bottom of the screen there is a “radio” button for “remove and search again”.  Remain calm, take a deep breath and look carefully. Another interesting point is that once you have tickets in your cart, you have up to ten minutes to finish your transaction or else the tickets are released back into the pool.  This is key. Read on:

In my experience, Duran Duran ticket presales work kind of like this: everyone hits refresh until finally, blessedly – the tickets go live. Then you rush to get tickets into your cart. You search for the show, click “buy VIP”, then you see what’s available. What?!? No Platinum?! There’s cursing, grumbling, hitting “refresh”… and the next thing I know I’m reading how there are no tickets available at all and it’s only been two minutes into the presale. It’s hideous when it happens to you. Best thing you can do is slow down, take a deep cleansing breath, and wait. In eight minutes, (10 minutes after presales start for that particular show) tickets will be released from carts, and then you can try again.  Keep trying. You never know. Don’t give up.

So, wanna read something amusing? Let me go ahead and replay the scenario from this morning’s presale activities.  I had just gotten home from a quick run to Target and Amanda tweets that she’s trying to call me to clarify a couple of things before presale panic sets in. We quickly discuss things and I decide I’m gonna stay on the phone with her during the process…because you know…we’re a team:

Amanda: We’re two minutes out from start time and I’m hitting refresh now.

Rhonda: (hears Amanda saying ‘refresh, refresh, refresh’) I’m feeling nauseous now.

Amanda: (I know she says something here about how she’s nauseated too, but I can’t remember the exact words) Oh God, I’m in.

(complete silence)

Amanda: OH MY GOD. FRONT ROW, SEATS 7 & 8!!!!!

Rhonda: SCREAMS (clicks to twitter and begins typing) “FRONT ROW BABY”….

Amanda: Oh no. No!!!

Rhonda: (silently hits “delete tweet” and says nothing about it at all to Amanda) What?

Amanda: I can’t get the drop down to work. It only shows expiration dates up to _____ and I need it to get to October!!!

Rhonda: (silent…because well, I was thinking!! At the time I had gone through each of the credit cards I have, noting that all of the expiration dates were in the Fall months which apparently wouldn’t work.

Amanda: Walk me through this, Rhonda. What do I do?

Rhonda: (in my head at the time I was thinking that we’d lost our chance at front row, that she’d have to throw them back and start over. That’s what I probably would have done most of the time, except that this was FRONT EFFING ROW… which is why Amanda handles presales and I book hotels.)  I asked her about using other cards, but that idea was nixed. I commented that I didn’t know the system at Crowdsurge so I felt like my hands were tied.

Amanda: Wait. I can use paypal. It’s not ideal but….(I hear furious clicking on her end and I start to breathe again) DAMN IT…my Paypal password isn’t working!!!

Rhonda: (at this point, I’m starting to believe that this is our worst presale nightmare coming home to roost.) What? Your password doesn’t work? (I begin to start considering what small child I can sacrifice in order to please the ticket Gods…)

Amanda: Oh wait. It worked!  I’m in and we are confirmed for Agua Caliente.

Rhonda: (I don’t immediately answer because my brain is trying to process what she just said).  Ok. You mean that I can go ahead and tweet that we’re in front row?!? (begins typing) “FRONT ROW BABY!!!”

It was only later that I realized that this will be my very first seated front row show…and that I can’t get kicked out this time because the seat is actually mine!  🙂

Interestingly enough, I don’t know how many fans caught it because we missed it the first time, but when you put tickets into your cart for purchase, there is an offer to preorder a “Deluxe Fan edition” of Paper Gods, which will be delivered on or before September 18, 2015 for those of us here in the US. I actually went back to Crowdsurge and went through the ticket buying process so that I could buy myself a copy. (I discarded the tickets; however, because I’d actually like to stay married for a while longer.) It is on sale for $18.99 and then they tack on a couple bucks extra for shipping. Not sure what it includes, but….what the hell.  I’m already pretty sure I’ll end up with three or four copies of this album by the time it’s all said and done, which is exactly why no one has to worry about doing promo directed at fans, am I right?? Double-edged sword, really.

So, I’m going to go and attempt to recover from Duran Duran Ticket presales today…and also try to absorb all of the information that has come out today about the band, the album, etc.  In a single week we went from a small trickle in the DD info stream to a bloody flood.  This, I can work with, folks!  Expect to see blogs each day covering some aspect of the band’s upcoming album, Paper Gods!

-R

 

Here Comes the News

While I don’t have a lot beyond Duran Duran news crumbs to share today…I’ll do what I can!!

New Gold Membership Merchandise Package at DDM

Yesterday, DuranDuranMusic, the paid fan community for Duran Duran, announced a new “Gold” package membership. At $79.99 for the year, the package includes all of the exclusives from the Silver level ($35.00 a year) below:

  • Full Access to the Duran Duran VIP community
  • Access to Presale Tickets, tour and show updates, set lists etc. when band is on tour
  • VIP Ticket Packages (including amazing seats, exclusive items) when band is on tour
  • Exclusive Content JUST for community members including a monthly band audio interview
  • Monthly Contests to win personal items, signed merch, Meet & Greets when band is on tour and more
  • FAN2FAN Features (Personalize and customize your fan site, create your own fan blogs, journals, and photo albums that you can share with other members, participate in forums, and private messaging)
  • Communicate and share with other Members

Plus the exclusive merchandise “Gold membership” bundle listed below:

  • An exclusive NEW custom designed T-shirt featuring a silver foil design
  • Logo’d lightweight, digitally powered 1800mAh Power Bank for cell phones and digital products (Note: Phone not included)
  • Custom Giant Telescoping Umbrella with new silver DD logo
  • Laser Engraved Logo’d Keychain Bottle Opener
  • Fridge magnet with new DD logo
  • Logo’d Micro Sticky Pad for those “important” notes
  • Grip “Roller Plus” Pen with DD logo
  • Reproduction of Simon’s handwritten lyrics to “Pressure Off” (Not pictured)

This brought me to a quandary. Do I wait until August, when my membership expires, or do I get it now? Truth be told, I’ve never done anything other than Silver level membership (my partner-in-crime bought gold last time, see her review.) Why now, you ask?  I wanted that umbrella. Yes, I live in So CA. Yes, I know the chances of my using it (here) are slim..but I wanted it anyway.  I also figure that chances are, I’ll have learned the lyrics to Pressure Off before the band even releases the single, with this package!  (I kid, I kid!!)

DDM clarifies that if your renewal isn’t up for several months, you can go ahead and renew now, and they’ll add another 12 months to your existing membership date – so in my case, I won’t be up for renewal until August of 2016. That seems fair, but what about the people who have already renewed this year at Silver because there wasn’t a new Gold package? You can either renew again and yes, they really will extend your membership renewal date out another 12 months, OR you can long in to DDM and there is apparently supposed to be a link you can click on to receive only the merchandise upgrade to your existing membership.

There has been a little confusion on the part of members about memberships renewed earlier this year, so don’t be afraid to ask DDM for answers to clarify; although sadly, I’ve also been told that the responses from DDM have been incredibly rude at best. That’s unfortunate given that fans are truly the site’s bread and butter, and it is just a part of customer service. I really wish the folks in charge of the fan community would just LEARN that and put it into practice, and if they can’t be bothered – hire people who WILL. It continually looks bad for the band when the people in charge of their fan club are rude to the very people the club is meant to attract: FANS.

Bottom line on renewals: they aren’t adding extra months to an existing membership, but they’re also not going to change my membership renewal date to June because I happened to renew now instead of waiting until August, either. Fair enough. Sold!  I’ll let you all know what I think of the merchandise once I receive it…hopefully I will get it faster than that 4-6 weeks mentioned, but we’ll see!

Still In The Mix

Have you been wondering what Duran Duran are up to?  Well, it turns out that they’re still working with Spike Stent in the studio, mixing the new album. I’m not sure if they are only working on Pressure Off, or if it’s all of DD14…or something else entirely, but they’re definitely working. AND…if you were wondering if Nick is still The Controller…I think this photo and the caption (from DDHQ on FB) speaks volumes.

"Spike Stent is a very patient man" - Nick Rhodes
“Spike Stent is a very patient man” – Nick Rhodes

The appearance of this photo on Facebook stirred some comments because many (including myself) had thought that the album had already been finished – including mixing – but you know, things change. We’re still closer now than we were a year ago, and surely live dates will be coming.

Along those same lines, there has been a kerfuffle of activity on Twitter today with regard to the single, “Pressure Off”.  As many may have noticed, all signs of said single have vanished from the stratosphere we know as “The Internet”.  Unless you managed to rip a copy of one of the less-than-clear files roaming YouTube and the like back in March – I doubt you’ll find hide nor hair of the song online. So, we all continue to wait in anticipation for the single to be released sometime in July. However, on a recent Katy Kafe, mention was made that perhaps maybe there would be a taste of the song for fans to hear sometime “soonish”.  Not much has been mentioned since the Kafe, but today a fan asked about the possibility of such an appearance, and they were told “Well maybe. but definitely THIS MONTH” by DDHQ.  Listen Duranies, you can take that comment however you want, and wish for whatever you’d like; but I’m going to point out that it is now June 2nd. July is less than 30 days away right now…so when they say THIS MONTH….I think we can count on hearing that single in another month, you know?

Residency?

Lastly, I’ve been catching up on my reading…and with the summer festivals nearly upon us, #Duranlive is coming. Yesterday I caught up with an interview on DTLV with John Taylor done in promotion for their upcoming performance at the Life Is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas. (Incidentally, despite the corny title, “Duran Duran is Still Hungry” the article is very good.) John discusses the idea of doing a residency in Vegas. He likes the idea of the venue building the room around them, and being able to “really experiment” with the performance.

This is something Amanda and I have been talking about for years, actually.  We would love to see them settle somewhere and do a residency. Yes, I’m aware they did one in NYC a few years back. It would be nice to have them acknowledge that the rest of the country matters – or even their OWN country for a change, don’t you agree?  No matter where they chose to do one, it may give fans an opportunity to travel, see the band for a show or three, AND see the city.  It would cut travel for the band, and maybe even give them the chance to experiment with different set lists and even entire performances.  It might even be a great way to introduce a musical written and produced by Nick Rhodes and John Taylor….just thinking “out loud” here…

DDHQ says to be on the lookout for more press now that the Summer festivals are nearly upon us, so keep those eyes open!

-R

Mine, Immaculate Dream

I remember when Duran Duran first joined Twitter. There was a learning curve involved of course, because we were all trying to figure out Twitter.  It really made no sense to me until I relaxed a little and just tweeted whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Then I learned that it was far more fun to tweet WITH people rather than AT them, and now Twitter is far more like a running conversation than posting 140-character status updates like “I am going to fold laundry now.” (although I still post a fair number of those)

I also remember when Simon and John started tweeting. At first I thought it was nothing short of miraculous. I remember how insane my timeline would get whenever John jumped online and had what we all learned to coin, a “Tweetfest”. Just a shout-out, an RT, a mere mention would send a fan’s heart soaring. I remember seeing the hundreds, if not thousands of requests for follows, and that prompted me to write a post about not following fans. At the time, I was convinced that following a fan like that would do nothing but promote more nastiness between fans. The competitiveness between DD fans was still palpable at the time, the idea of actually communicating directly with the band was still new enough, that it seemed like a recipe ripe for disaster.

I’ve thought about reasons why a band from the 80s may or may not be involved on Twitter. We’ve talked about how for many of us, bands like Duran Duran are a complete enigma. We knew they existed, but never once thought we could actually speak with them. So many of those bands have dropped off of the face of music now, the few that are left are very much treasured.

Lately, I’ve gotten somewhat involved in the Spandau Ballet fan community. Their community seems to be so much more at peace than Duran’s has been in the past, which interests me…mainly because I just can’t figure out what makes it that much different. I’m sure many of you will have some idea that you’ll happily pass on, so I’ll wait and read your comments. In any case, this past week, the members of Spandau Ballet have been following fans. They’ve openly been coming onto Twitter and spending time tweeting fans and even following them. There has been no bloodshed from fans, nor signs of exasperation coming from the band. Aside from fans asking to be followed (which was encouraged), I’ve seen very little uproar, and the best part is that the fans have encouraged one another.  I continually see “OMG, _______________ is following me!!!” posts on Facebook with a chorus of “Congratulations!” comments  following.

Truly, I don’t feel comfortable saying that this is the way all bands should handle social media with fans, mainly because it’s really difficult for me to see beyond my own fandom. Not everyone can feel comfortable reaching out; indeed, not everyone should. I only know that as a fan, I love seeing these bands and artists I grew up idolizing making the effort to get to know their fans…and they all seem to do it in their own way. It is a good time to be a fan.

-R

Her Name is Still Rio.

Who wants another remaster of Rio?  Anyone??  Buehler??

Recently, Duran Duran announced that the band was about to set sail with another remaster of everyone’s favorite album….Rio. As explained through the band’s Facebook page:

The only difference between this and the 2009 Special Edition (which is no longer available) is that this is in a digipak and not in booklet form. So it is a sort of repackage/reissue of that release.

That said, many in the community are wondering pretty loudly as to why this release is so necessary. The overwhelming majority of comments I’ve seen have had this sentiment, “With all due respect, how about stopping the reissues and finishing the new album?”

Fair enough. I suppose that upon first glance it does seem a little…well, overdone at this point. After all, it’s been wisely pointed out by more than one fan that Liberty, The Wedding Album, Thank You, Medazzaland and Pop Trash have yet to receive this kind of treatment. Is it really smart to reissue Rio again?

Originally Rio was owned/distributed/etc. by EMI – a label that is no longer in existence. The 2009 remastering was also done by EMI (with very little input from the band, as I seem to recall).  The remasters of Rio, along with the others done by EMI, did not continue to be printed after EMI was sold off.

So where did that portion of Duran’s catalog end up?  At Warner. For the first time in many years, the band has been reunited with their catalog, which is something John in particular has mentioned.  I don’t think it’s really much of a surprise to see that Rio is being reissued once again. The album continues to sell well for the band because it is the music that made them most popular, so why not reissue it under the Warner label?  Warner didn’t buy the catalog for it to sit somewhere and just collect dust, after all.

Also, Isn’t it the least bit interesting that this summer, Duran Duran will play festivals, introducing that music to people who, unlike the rest of us, might not have been around to hear it in the 80s? Even if they never play a single new song from the “yet-to-be-named-publicly” album that we call DD14 at any of these festivals, they will expose new audiences to songs like Rio and Save a Prayer…and those songs can be found where?? On a fantastic remastered digipack of Rio. This reminds me a little of the summer TV reruns, “If you’ve never seen it, it’s new to you!” ….”If you’ve never heard it, it’s new to you!”  Say what you will about reissues, if they’re trying to find a new audience, it’s not a bad way to go.

Furthermore, if you were a band from the 80s that is looking to reinvigorate your fan base and bring in some new lifeblood…why wouldn’t you play festivals known for attracting young people, and reissue your biggest selling album at the same time?  You play some festivals, get people interested and talking about you, make some sales on an older, yet still very viable release, and then release your brand new album…which is reportedly meant for a much wider audience than their current fan base.  (I’ve had people ask where I’m getting that – listen to the final 20th Anniversary Katy Kafe with Simon. They talk quite a bit about it, and yes, it really DOES make sense!) Those same people who bought your older music, thinking they’ve found a new band, will then hear new music and make those purchases. It happens all the time with plenty of bands, and it is a proven marketing method. Whether it will work as well for Duran Duran or not is yet to be seen, but I’m very curious to see if it will.

I know that there are many in the community that scoff at the idea of Duran Duran’s attempts to bring in new vitality to their long time fan base. I can understand why. We all were witness to what happened with some of their previous attempts, and I think to a certain degree, we’re selfish as all get out. We don’t necessarily want to share the band with new generations of fans. We’ve loved them since Day One, and dammit they’re OURS. Those are honest feelings, and I get it. I don’t know if the band or label really gets that, but I’m not sure it’s necessarily important that they do. Is it really healthy though to expect the band to cater solely to their long time fans and NOT grow their fan base? Is it really smart for them not to try? I don’t think so.

Selling music is a business. The band has to make money or else it’s really just a very expensive hobby. Duran Duran, while they say they’re not in it for the money, they are definitely accustomed to living a certain type of lifestyle that is beyond the reach of most. They want to see their music reach as many people as possible…and last I checked, the population of 40-somethings in the world isn’t necessarily growing. It isn’t as though we’re all going to bring a friend who has never heard Duran Duran to their next shows and suddenly convert them. No…it’s younger people coming up in the world that they’ve got to expand and reach to find. Like it or not, that’s the reality. If they want to sell their album beyond the 300,000 or so copies that they might be able to sell to their fan base in varying forms…they’d better come up with some music that has a snowball’s chance in hell of being played by people who aren’t already their fans. Again, like it or not, that’s the cold, stark truth.

While sure, I sit back and wonder aloud here on the blog about whether they’re going to alienate long time fans in the process, there is a huge part of me that wants to see them do well. Why wouldn’t I? I’m a FAN and I support this band. Isn’t that the point? I’d love to see the album take the world by storm, all the while knowing that I’ve been around to watch the entire plot unfold. I haven’t heard the album yet, I don’t really know what they’ve got up their sleeve(s), but I’m trying to keep an open mind. It really is what we should all be doing, and yes, it can sometimes be difficult.

I think that as long time fans, Duranies, die hards….whatever you’d like to call us, we have a habit of being overly cynical. I certainly fall into that ditch on occasion, without question! We think we’ve seen it all and we think we know the band’s career better than they might – because you know, we’re objective. <wink, wink> There are a good number of fans out there that believe the band has already reached the apex of what they can hope to achieve. I’ve witnessed the discussion, I’ve heard the chuckles when the idea of reaching beyond the fan base and finding a younger audience is mentioned, and I’ve read the comments of, “good luck with that. Hope you don’t end up losing your entire fan base in the process.” I’m ever-so cautiously thinking that maybe we shouldn’t all be quite so sure. This is a band that I wouldn’t necessarily count out, and wouldn’t it be AMAZING to see them take off like a rocket or hear them on the radio again? It’s not wrong to hope for that, or at least be open to the possibility. After all, I still love them, and I want to see them do well with music that they are really and truly proud of creating. Don’t you?

-R

The Story of Two Little CD Inserts, Part 2

Amanda is such a good creative writer…I am not even going to try to follow in her footsteps…

On our little road trip to see Duran Duran play at the Lynch Foundation show in Los Angeles, Amanda and I were able to get our CD inserts signed by Dom Brown. If I remember correctly, Amanda and I had gotten those signed All You Need is Now CD’s because a certain number of the preordered ones were signed by the band…but of course by “band” I mean only the four original members, Dom not included. I wasn’t expecting otherwise, but I had always felt that if given the opportunity, I wanted to get his signature…on the front.

Dom has a right to be on that front cover. He has co-writing credit on most of the album, and when I listen to the songs, particularly Mediterranea, Girl Panic, and even Being Followed, I can hear his influence.  He was as much a part of that songwriting team as anyone else on the album, which is indicated by his name in the credits. Therefore, I wanted his signature. This isn’t about Dom being my favorite, or some flat-out effort to rewrite history.  Having the four original members signatures for this particular album only tells a portion of the story. While I realize that might not matter to everyone, it mattered to me….enough to carry the blasted thing around with me everywhere I traveled since the CD arrived in my mail back in 2011.

I remember packing it when we went to England in May of 2011. It didn’t seem right to pull it out of my purse as I waited with other fans in front of the studio, hoping for good news on Simon and then ask Dom to sign it when I saw him. (To be honest, he blew right past me and the 10-15 or so other fans waiting that day, I don’t think he even realized any of us were standing there.) The mood that day just wasn’t right, and so it stayed tucked away as I fought through my own emotions while waiting to hear that the entire tour had been canceled. I didn’t have the opportunity to see the band again on that trip, so it remained unsigned.

I dutifully packed it in my carry-on for our next trip to England in late November. I’d left it at home when I had gone to see the band in Valley Center and Pomona, CA. My husband was with on both occasions, and I didn’t think they were the right times to try and find Dom. Besides, it didn’t seem right without my partner-in-crime, so I waited. I also left the insert at home when I met up with Amanda on a very short trip to Chicago, figuring I wouldn’t have time. So, I lovingly carried that insert across the ocean once again, hoping it wouldn’t get wrinkled or lost on the way. Amanda reminded me to have it in my purse every single night we saw the band, but once again our plan was foiled by bad luck and timing. Back home we went, mission impossible.

By the time we took another road trip here in the US to see the band in the Southeast in August of 2012, I’d pretty much forgotten about the insert. While Amanda writes beautifully about the inserts being displayed lovingly in her home, that really isn’t the case at my house.  My husband is pretty adamant about my Duranie “paraphernalia” being confined to my “own” areas, and well, there really aren’t any here. No desk, no office…I have a kitchen table to work at when no one is home, and a small walk-in closet. I have learned not to complain because there is no point, and so my treasured items are kept (still lovingly even if not quite seen) in bins in my closet where I can find them when wanted. In any case, out of sight, out of mind, and Amanda reminded me to pack it. I laughed ruefully at the time, because I felt like it was at the point where my bringing it was surely the kiss of death – as long as Ms. Bad Luck is present or is prepared with something to be signed, we would never run into Dom outside of seeing him onstage. That luck held true for that road trip/tour as well. It was a great time, a wonderful set of shows, and aside from a short moment where I made eye contact and waved at Dom as he got into a van, he clearly recognized me from being the girl from the front row screaming at him earlier that evening, that was it. And it was enough…or so I told myself.

I’ve learned that my memories and experiences are most valuable without having any other expectations. I have horrible luck when it comes to running into the band, I’m not the kind of person who stops traffic or draws instant attention to herself upon entering a room, and I’m not the type to talk myself into places most fans normally wouldn’t be invited. I used to feel badly about that, wondering why I wasn’t quite born a bombshell; but nowadays, I’ve settled into just enjoying the experiences and not worrying about much else. So, that insert stayed packed away in it’s bin of memories, along with my other treasured Duran items until April of 2015.

Amanda and I had talked about taking those inserts with us for what I internally felt was probably a pointless trip (for them) to Los Angeles. Don’t get me wrong, I was looking forward to seeing the band. I felt like I was about to reach the mirage in the Mojave…I was starving for a show, like many, and this was going to help keep me going until the next tour. I just didn’t think we had a chance in hell at seeing any of the band. In fact, I was SO sure that I didn’t bother to pull the bin out of my closet and dig through it to find the insert until we pulled out of my driveway on the way to Los Angeles. Amanda turned to me and asked if I had my CD insert, and I rolled my eyes, because in my mind at this point, the point was futile. I pulled back into the driveway and dashed upstairs to grab it, knowing that there was really no point, but as Amanda said “If you don’t at least try, it’ll be the one time you’ll be sorry.”

Ok. I’ll play along. SURE. 

As you all know now, we did run into him. Heck, I was practically presented to him! (had my friend Shelly not grabbed my arm or poked him that night to get his attention, I would have probably never said a word.) I was worried he wouldn’t know who I was, even after sitting across from him on a plane, standing in front of him at shows, having him wave to me more than once…AND doing an interview with him for this very blog. I figure that he meets hundreds if not thousands of people, and I’m just another face in a sea of many. Why would he remember? But he did. Maybe it was that shock that stopped me from remembering that I actually HAD the insert with me at that very moment, but it wasn’t until almost the end of the evening that Amanda suddenly sat up ramrod straight in her chair and exclaimed, “The inserts! We need to go talk to him again, Rhonda.”

Crap. Really??

I was really good right then. I’d had my (500) photos with him. I’d gotten a hug without even asking. I’d told him that I thought he’d really improved at Ordinary World. (Yes, I really did say that to him. Out of every other dumbass thing I could have EVER said to him – I told him that when he first started with Duran Duran I thought he played Ordinary World kind of “muddy”. Because that’s exactly the kind of thing you’d want to tell your favorite, right?? Remind me to never try and speak to anyone ever again.) So what more could I want? I was willing to sacrifice the insert and just forget the entire thing. Why press my luck? Not Amanda. We were getting the damn thing signed and she marched purposefully over to where he was standing.

I followed behind, somewhat timidly, as we interrupted yet another conversation between him and someone I’m sure he’d rather speak with. Amanda tells him that we’re back, and I immediately apologize for bothering him, “I am so, so sorry” and he smiles. For the sake of my own ego, I’m going to pretend that smile was an indication that we weren’t bothering him and instead he completely delighted by our presence in his personal space. Again. Amanda tells him, and I still laugh when I think about her words, “We have some tasks for you!” He looks at her, obviously a little concerned by what she might be about to ask, and then looks over at me. I could see he was hoping I’d shed some light. I chuckled and said, “Nothing bad, Dom.”  Amanda continues, explaining that we have been trying to get him to sign our CD inserts since AYNIN came out, and she hands him a silver pen. He hands me his wine to hold and tries to flip the insert to the middle so that he can sign it. That is when I finally find my (normal) voice. “Oh no you will NOT”, I begin, “I want you to sign the front, Dom. Please.” He looks at me and says, “But where…what about Simon?” I immediately respond with, “I don’t care about Simon. Simon isn’t my favorite in the band, Dom.” (I hear gasping around the world from you Simon-girls. It’s not that Simon is unimportant, it’s that I wanted Dom to know I felt he was just AS important.)

He looks over at me quizzically and words begin to come out of my mouth without my brain’s permission. “YOU are my favorite, Dom.”  (Who really says that to people? Someone like me, that’s whom.  Brilliant. For the sake of all that is holy OR unholy, I shouldn’t be allowed out in public ever again.) That’s when Dom smiles and nudges me with his arm. Never mind that I could have fallen over with a feather at that point, I force myself to stay upright and continue to breathe (breathing is important, you know). He signs our inserts and I floated right out of the bar, at the insistence of the bouncer who was telling us it was closing time, on Cloud Nine.

Is there really a moral to this story? Probably. The most important being that you shouldn’t ever give up. I mean, unless you’re me. In which case…sometimes being cynical will save you from having the opportunity to say things like, “Now, do you who I am?” or “When you first started with the band, I always kind of thought your solo in Ordinary World had a muddy feel to it.” or….”YOU are my favorite, Dom.” So there IS that…but for the rest of you, I don’t think you should give up. You never know when you’re finally going to get that moment to cozy up to Dom Brown for a picture (Or 500, as the case might have been for us that night….because of poor lighting and a jet-lagged Dom!), get something signed, or… finally meeting Simon LeBon at a taco shack in the middle of a Los Angeles city block!

-RCD insert

The Shortcomings of Being a Die-hard

It is time for another confessional, don’t you think?  As if you readers haven’t read enough of my shortcomings….I still have more to share!

Lately, I’ve been struggling with something, and I’m wondering if I’m the only die-hard fan out there feeling this way, so I’m putting it out there.

I am excited to see the band has shows scheduled, I really am. I’m also excited to hear that the band seems to feel so positive about their upcoming album – after all, we take our cues from them. I trust that they really do love the work they’ve done, and from the teeny tiny little bit of Pressure Off that I heard (that has now seemingly vanished from the internet…), I am anxious to hear it all myself. I’m excited to support the album. It’s been a long, long time, and I’m ready to have the band back out there. The shows they’ve scheduled thus far have all been festivals, and it sounds as though they would prefer to play festivals than dedicated “only Duran Duran” shows right now. I can’t really blame them, it is an excellent way to expose oceans of people who may not already count Duran Duran among their favorite bands to their music. They’re playing these festivals to gain possible new fans, not necessarily to retain the people who have been around for thirty-five years or more. I know all of this in my head, and believe me, I recite those words to myself often. I tend to write them here a lot too, as a reminder.

However, there is also this small(ish) part of me that niggles at me in the dark crevices of my mind. It puts little doubts in my head. I can hear it saying things like, “Do they even care about their long time fans?” or  “What about us? What about playing to the people who have supported them when no one else bothered?”or  “Aren’t we enough?”

Before I go much further, I should probably explain: I hate festivals. I recognize that “hate” is a strong word, and there is a part of me that feels badly about typing that, but I DO very much hate them. I don’t love standing in a punishing throng of people, waiting all day for a band that won’t perform until a good 12-15 hours later. I don’t enjoy fighting kids who are honestly now half my age or even less for spots near the barricades. It isn’t fun being pushed and shoved around just because I want to see Duran Duran. My knees are not what they used to be, and my tolerance for heat/sunshine, a lack of clean restrooms is FAR less now than it was even ten years ago. I don’t enjoy festivals in the same way I don’t enjoy tent camping. It’s like roughing it vs. staying a clean hotel.  I’m over the idea of sleeping on the ground, dealing with rocks in the back, bugs and dirt. It’s the kind of thing I did in my 20’s (and 30’s…) with vigor, and I’m leaving it behind.  The same can be said for festivals…hence the niggling worry in the back of my head.

Of course the answer to whether or not we, the diehards, are enough is no, not when it comes to sales. We’re not “enough”, sadly.  If you look at the numbers of their last album(s)…I think that point becomes abundantly clear, and this band certainly has the right to make an obscene money from their art. (hell, don’t you wish you could do the same?) I wish we were enough. Try as we might, even as some of us have upwards of five or six different versions of their last album – it’s still not enough. If they really want to expose the people to their music, they’ve got to look past all of us and get to the people who haven’t already committed much of their lives to being fans of the band. (That last sentence sounded so much better in my head…because on the screen it makes us all sound psycho.)

As for the other questions, of COURSE I know they care. Every single time I’ve worried that maybe they’ve decided “out with the old, in with the new”, one of them will say or do something to make me see that of course they care.  This is all just part of the business of being a band, and when I think about it analytically or logically with my head instead of my (slightly oversized when it comes to this band) heart,  I know that to feel otherwise is silly.  I mentioned the slight misgivings I had about some of these festivals yesterday with some other fans who, like me, have decided not to jump for tickets just yet.  Her response was that she knew where I was coming from. She just hopes the band loves (us) die-hards as much as we love them.

Isn’t that really the question we all, or most of us have?  I think it’s come up a LOT in our fandom. In fact, that’s very much a part of the reason we started the blog to begin with. It’s hard to know where we really fit in to their picture.  As much as Amanda and I wanted to begin a dialogue with fellow fans, we also hoped that somehow, someway, our message – the collective message from the fans – would reach the band and they’d hear us. A lofty, ridiculous goal from two “commoners” who don’t even live on the same continent as the band in question. We’re dreamers in our own way, I guess.  As much as we know that the band probably couldn’t care less about what a couple of fans have to say…we hope they do, enough to put ourselves out there, hoping for some sort of affirmation from fans and band alike. Validation is a very big issue in our community, and this fact is proven every single time a band member tweets or posts and we all run to be acknowledged; or when the band makes an appearance and photos are taken with fans, or when jealousy erupts because one fan gets (seemingly) more attention than another fan from a band member. That validation is what many fans vie for, and it is a precious commodity.  Does the band love (us) die-hards as much as we love them?? It’s a constant question hidden in every online and in-person exchange.

This blog is difficult to write, really. I know I’m opening myself up for ridicule and probably a few well-intentioned folks are going to tell me I’m being negative. I’m really not being negative as much as I’m admitting that I have shortcomings like anyone else. I don’t necessarily know how important long time fans are to the band at this point. I mean, I know we’re important because we’re a part of their history. That’s just it though – collectively we’re the ones who have helped bring them to this point. But from here? Do we really still matter so much, especially when they’re trying to market their music to a much younger generation?  I can’t speak for the rest of you, but it’s awfully hard to hear the band talk about how All You Need is Now was great, but that album was really just for fans, and now this new album is for OTHER people.  Why does it have to be that way? My head understands the point completely. They need the new album to have a much farther reach. My heart? It says “ouch”, because AYNIN meant the world to me as a fan. Is it really the fault of the album’s material that it didn’t do well, or is it really that the album wasn’t promoted due to a lack of power and money from a major label?

I’d like to think the diehards still matter. That’s why Amanda and I work so hard to keep the fan community talking about the band, keeping everyone up to date with what’s going on, planning events to cultivate friendships and community, and so forth. We have strength not only in numbers, but in passion. We think fans, even those of us who have been around a few decades, still matter…and that we’ve got some power left in us to keep this ball rolling. I’ve said this before: fans are ready to stand on the rooftops and shout, they just need a bit guidance in knowing what to say. They (we) need a little validating, and a little love. Is that really so ridiculous of an idea?  Balancing the plan of exposing music to potential new fans (that join the fold of diehards) with enriching relationships with existing fans is the way to go.

Do I really think the band is leaving diehard fans behind? No, of course not.  Festivals are likely not to make up their entire tour. I have great hope that the band will do shows that we can all attend and enjoy. This is only the beginning – touring is a marathon, not a sprint. Those thoughts, however, don’t always stop me from occasionally having low points where I have doubts…and today I’m wondering if there’s anybody else out there fighting those same worries.

-R

Clever Words

I’m sitting here writing as I listen to Brandon Flowers’ new album, The Desired Effect. Yes, I realize I’m writing for Daily Duranie, and so this choice in music while writing might seem off. Fair enough. The funny thing is that while listening, I was reading some of the reviews of his work, and that gave me the idea for this post.

Before I forget…so far, I really like the album…and if you’re a fan of The Killers, or Brandon himself…or you’re just dying for new music, I think you should check it out.

I don’t know if I’m really that unusual by reading a lot of music reviews when one of my favorite bands come out with a new album. I like reading what others think about the music. Granted, over the years reading those reviews has sometimes made me want to scream, but I still read. This morning, I read a particular review on Consequence of Sound that really set poorly with me. It really wasn’t that the reviewer gave The Desired Effect a “C+” because a review is merely an opinion, and not everyone is going to love everything that I might. The real problem was that the review had precious little to do with the album in question, and far too much about Brandon himself. I came away questioning whether she really reviewed the music or if she was reviewing Brandon’s personality, particularly his opinion of Kanye West. (Which I happen to share. Proudly.)

After reading the review, I read the comments. I knew there would be some scathing replies by fans, because let’s be honest, no one likes reading reviews that trash a favorite band or singer. Sure enough, there was more than one comment in favor of Brandon, but most, if not all of the comments were written by people who found the same issues with the review that I had. A few even agreed that she was entitled to her opinions, but that they wished she’d back up the grade she gave the album with reasons – and I had to agree, she certainly didn’t give any reasons for the grade.  Instead, she wrote about Brandon’s tendency to have diarrhea of the mouth (her words, not mine) and the fact that he’s Mormon, which seemed out of place to me in an album review.  I was genuinely surprised by the lack of venom, and there wasn’t a single calling for this woman’s head, which was refreshing.  She didn’t feel the need to come back and answer the comments, nor did she run to call the fans and others who found fault “crazy”.

As I typed out a well-worded comment that I am sure will never be read by the reviewer, it struck me that very soon, I’ll probably be getting just as disgusted by reviews of Duran Duran’s new album. I can remember many times in recent memory where a show or even an album was reviewed less-than-favorably, and the Duranies came out in droves in defense of the band.

We fans are a loyal lot. We might really get down on the band for Durantime, and we might really be vocal about some of the things we don’t like from time to time (and I’m “speaking” collectively, not just about Daily Duranie!), but when push comes to shove – nobody had better screw with our band. (See that ownership?!?) The trouble is, Duran fans have been characterized as having a bit of a mob-mentality over the years. It’s not enough to simply disagree with someone’s opinion, we tend to want to tear them limb from limb for daring to cross Duran Duran. Instead of making our point(s) concise and clear, and sounding like intelligent people, sometimes Duranies come off sounding exactly as the world likes to characterize us, as “psycho fans”.  Yes, we’re loyal…to a fault, really.

With that loyalty and “ownership” comes great responsibility.  We must work to show the world that not only are we fans of the band, we’re also intelligent and understand music. We must illustrate that we not only know what we love(d) about the 80’s (Like it or not, reviewers and critics will ALWAYS be quick to remind us that the band were has-been pinups of the 80s, because that’s how they discount them), but we know what we like about current music…and before someone tells me there’s “nothing”  If we really want to support the band and respond appropriately to critics, we have to get past the “I love you’s”, not be completely stuck in the 80’s, and explain what it really is about their music that makes it worthy and relevant. Hopefully in a few short months, we’ll all hear the new album and know how to put the answers to those questions in words.  In other words, we might have to leave some of our more gushy fandom at the door.  We can’t seek “blood”…. we must seek to first understand, and then educate. This band has been around for  nearly 37 years at this point. Many of us have been fans for nearly all of that time, we aren’t wrong about our excitement and passion for this band. Their longevity proves that over and over again, before any of us even bothers to wield our fingers over our keyboards as possible weaponry.

-R

The real power of a fan community

I know I haven’t written much this week, but I’ve been fighting a horrendous throat infection. So, that’s my excuse this time.

Earlier, I was thinking back to Simon’s Katy Kafe last week for her anniversary.  Simon had made the comment that he really wanted the fans to take this album and really kind of make it their own. Their own project to get out to listeners – both new and “old” fans alike.  Katy had responded saying that she thinks that a lot of the fans she communicates with already feel that way about the band, that there really is a sense of ownership that comes with longevity.  I’ve written about that many times here on the blog, and so I definitely subscribe to that theory.

To that end of things,  I suppose that writing this blog is a sort of way that Amanda and I have tried to steer the ship (the ship being energy from fans) and use that energy or power or whatever you might wish to call it, for good.

We saw that there was at least to some limited degree, a disconnect between the fans and the band. It was as though they weren’t really hearing us – or maybe they didn’t even realize some of us were out here. I’m not sure.  So we started the blog, and then realized that we could even work to strengthen ties between all of us by getting together, doing pre-show parties and meet-ups and even a convention. None of those things are necessarily easy to put together, but we certainly feel they’ve had a positive effect on the community.  And now we’re coming to the beginnings of another album “cycle”, so to speak…and Simon is hoping we are all going to commit the band’s new baby to our own hearts and really get it out there for all to hear.

I know this fan community well enough to know that we’re all waiting and hoping the album is going to be as fantastic as we’ve all heard. And I also know that at least a few of us have had ideas on how to get the fan community excited so that we CAN be the ones to reach out. The label can certainly work to find new fans – the type of promo that they typically do can be extremely effective in that department. I’d just hate to see the fans, the ones who have stood by this band through thick and thin, to be forgotten in all of that mix.  There is a special bond that has been created between Duran Duran and their fans after thirty-some years, and if there is a way to cultivate and strengthen that relationship, at the same time exciting the fan community at large – I would hope that the band, their management and Warner Bros would take advantage.  What can all of that do for them? My theory is that if the label focus on getting the new album to people beyond the fan base…then others are able to focus on getting and keeping the fans excited. That way no one is lost in that shuffle, and we’re all working together to see this album make a huge splash. It can happen.

I just hope it is known that there are a couple of fans totally committed and ready to get this party started when the time is right.

-R

 

Pressure Is OFF now…until Summer!

It’s looking like a mid-summer release for “Pressure Off”, at least at the moment, much to the dismay of fans ’round the globe. Not only did Nick Rhodes mention a July release during his interview with The Daily Mail, but in the most recent DDBlast it would appear that even DDHQ is on the summer bandwagon for the first single off of the band’s new album.

This would not matter nearly as much had fans not already heard from the <incredibly inaccurate> grapevine that the single would in fact be out in May. Many were bouncing around the internet, openly tagging May as the month we would finally hear new music, but alas… We are going to have to continue to be patient and know that on the other side, it is going to be worth the wait.

I would venture to guess that at this point, I am not the only fan on the planet that is tired of the roundabout this band seems to keep us on. I’ve seen more than my fair share of fans worry “out loud” in comments online that they’re tired of waiting, or that they’re tired of being strung along. We don’t know why they’ve decided to wait a little longer. Maybe they’re waiting to do promo closer to the album release. Maybe they’re waiting so that the single release will better coincide with other events…and maybe I’m just making aimless guesses so that people see that it really might not be the fault of the band.

No, it’s likely not their fault, but yes…we’re impatiently ready to hear what they’ve been working on for the past three years.  I can only give a toothy smile and say that we’re listening and cannot wait to hear the final result!

Slightly more curious to me is the question of momentum. Did it make sense to have the band appear at that listening party of sorts at a winery? Your guess is as good as mine…and we can only hope that all answers will be revealed in time. I know I’m looking forward to watching it all unfold in the coming months.

I’m sure that many, if not most fans will be openly forgiving and still pledging their undying love and devotion for this band no matter whether the single is truly dropped in July of 2015 or July of 2020. Durantime? Sure…I think we all get it by now, even if we’re scratching our heads and wondering what is really going on with that hamster behind the wheel at times!

-R

Oh no, not again!

This is not my day to blog…but I find myself with something to say, and so I’m going to dash it off here before I forget or lose my way.

First of all, this blog is a spoiler for fans of Grey’s Anatomy. Specifically, if you are in the UK or other parts of the world and are not completely up to date with the show…I beg you to read no further. Look away…and do not email me if you choose not to heed my warning. Otherwise, this blog has very little to do with Grey’s Anatomy and more to do with being a fan in general.  🙂

I can’t speak for the rest of you, but I’ve been a Duranie since I was about ten years old. I’m 44 now, and I can do math well enough to know that means I’ve been a fan for a long-ass time. (34 years and counting) Again, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have a difficult time remembering days when I wasn’t a fan of this band. They are so completely interwoven with my life that my memories are entwined with whatever songs and albums were out at the time. I can remember that Red Carpet Massacre was out and they were touring while my youngest was born, Rio coincides with memories of sleepovers I had at my best friend’s house in middle school. We would watch Friday Night Videos and it is impossible for me to see Hungry Like the Wolf without thinking of how we’d laugh until my belly hurt those nights.  I can’t think of Astronaut without remembering the convention in New Orleans…and the list goes on.

The point is, Duran Duran is a part of our lives. Being a fan of Duran Duran is one slice of who we are.  After being a part of our lives for so long, it is nearly impossible to imagine life without them. With that familiarity and longevity often comes a sense of <likely misguided> ownership, and it isn’t just with Duran Duran fans.

I have watched Grey’s Anatomy since the very first day it was on TV. I haven’t missed a single episode. I’ve seen the characters develop over the years, and I can’t really imagine a Thursday night without watching. I’ve sat and cheered on Meredith, watched her lose friends, parents, gain family she didn’t know she had…and even fall in love, which for her character, seemed more and more unlikely the more we grew to “know” her. Grey’s Anatomy is nearing the end of their 11th season on the air, and this season has thrown fans through a loop, to say the least. Recently (and this is the part where, if you haven’t already stopped reading, my friends from the UK and beyond – YOU SHOULD), a beloved character has been written out of the show. This has happened before on the show, and it’s always stung a bit, but this time, it was horrible. I definitely didn’t see it coming. As I mentioned before, we saw Meredith fall in love with Derek – a one-time teacher/superior/mentor to her. They managed to get married on their own terms, adopt, have a baby of their own, survive a horrible plane crash, deal with Alzheimers….and I could go on. (It’s a drama, people.) Unfortunately, Derek, played by Patrick Dempsey, a favorite of mine since my teen years…was killed off. In one of the few episodes written by creator Shonda Rhimes as of late, she wrote him out of the show by having him in a horrible car accident, sent to a hospital in the middle of nowhere that did not have proper training, and he was eventually pronounced brain-dead.  The irony of course being that his character was an accomplished neurosurgeon on the show. As I said, fans didn’t see it coming, and hell hath NO fury like scorned fans.

I was one of those fans. I felt as though I’d given this show so much time, watched them build this show around the two of them, and then Shonda destroyed it all.  I felt like I’d been slapped, to be honest. I found myself saying, “Can’t we have ONE happy ending on this stupid show? Just ONE?!?” So many people had already been killed off, and we’re not talking about little-known characters on the show, I mean very central roles. People that convinced the viewing audience to love and cheer for them. Over and over.

There were literally thousands of Facebook posts filled with vitriolic criticism and anger towards Shonda Rhimes after the show aired. There has even been some sort of petition filed through change.org….which is laughable. It’s Shonda’s show. She is the creator, she really has the right to make the decisions even if the audience hates them.

Just as we feel a sense of ownership over the band at times – fans feel that way about television shows. It’s difficult to feel like you’ve put your heart and soul into something only to feel as though you’ve been backhanded when the show, or music…takes on a completely different direction.

I can’t help but remember when Red Carpet Massacre was released. I’ve never seen the fans in such an uproar (sans the time…times…when beloved band members have left the group). At first it was all negative, but little by little a few loud voices in support of the album tried to cut through. I can’t tell you how many times posters would remind others that this was THE BAND’S album, and that they could do whatever they wanted with their music. And they can. Very true.

The fact is, just as it is Shonda’s show to do with as she pleases, the band belongs to Simon, Nick, John and Roger. They own the right to do what they wish. It’s a hard fact to face sometimes as a fan – the music may be written for our consumption, just as a TV show is filmed for an audience to view, but that’s really where it ends for fans. We can express our unhappiness, and we can even choose to stop caring, stop watching, stop consuming…and perhaps that will be reflected in terms of sales, but the creative decision-making lies with the band, not us. Monday morning quarterbacking, such as it is, is merely a fan hobby that some of us (points at self) take a bit seriously at times.

I honestly doubt Shonda Rhimes cares much about whether fans approve of her decision to kill off Derek, as wild as that idea might seem to longtime viewers. The idea that a show or an album is written with the fans in mind is probably a way over-the-top romanticized idea that a fan came up with along the way.  Some may argue that fans have changed the course of a TV show, and that may be true. I know of shows that were up for cancellation that ended up being renewed based on fan efforts. Perhaps we have had some effect on the band from time to time, but the creative direction?  That decision lies with the creators, and we can and should exercise our right to buy and/or consume.

Food for thought.

-R