Tag Archives: Duranies

It’s a very very MAD WORLD.

As promised, today I’m going to give a brief review (with no spoilers!!) of Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein’s new book, Mad World which is out today!

First of all (and most important), I want to disclose that Lori approached Amanda and I several months back about helping them out with promo for Mad World.  While the typical “Are you sure she meant to contact us? I mean…we’re just a couple of fans!!” were made between Amanda and I, we were (and are) extremely honored. I suppose we could act cool, calm, collected and professional and put off an air of “Well of course they’d want our help”…that’s not exactly our style. Amanda and I are simply fans. Like you. We began this blog from that very simple two word fact, and that’s how we’re going to continue, forevermore.  I should also disclose that I received a copy of the book early for review – and that has never happened before, so for us, this is a first, and we are completely honored by the opportunity.  Maybe that’s overreaching on our part, maybe we’ll be slammed for saying so; but for Amanda and I, the way we see it is that someone out there sees the good we’re doing, and we’re very, very proud of that.

However, that won’t stop me from bringing forth an objective review….just so we’re clear about how much I adore this book.

I don’t want to give a lot away about Mad World because I really want everyone to go get their own copy.  But, if you could see mine – you’d see it completely red-lined and highlighted. Yes, I still read as though I’m reading for a college course.  If you take away just one thing from my review – I want our readers to know that reading this book makes the songs sound new again.  Let me try to explain.  Let’s face it: these songs are around thirty years old now.  At one point or another, the songs started fading into the background. I might still listen to the music. I might (I do) still have nearly all of them included on my trusty mp3 player, but I don’t really hear them the way I once did.  I don’t pay attention to every last drum beat, or every single crescendo or synth loop.  I still love the music, but I don’t feel the music as much. It doesn’t completely consume me.  Or at least it didn’t before Mad World.  

Once I started reading though, that all changed. The book is basically divided into chapters that correspond with songs.  So for example there is a chapter called Girls on Film. I’m pretty sure you can guess what and who that’s all about.  Jonathan and Lori give their initial thoughts on the song (and band in a broad sense), then they include the interviews done with the band about that particular song – since this is an oral history. What I really like is the song is discussed in the original historical context – “How was it back in the 80s”, and then they have a section called “That was then, this is now”; and in that section the song is talked about from the present point of view.  So, I found myself listening to the song before reading the chapter, then reading the chapter, and going back to listen to the song again.  I couldn’t help but hear the song differently. It was as though my ears were reinvigorated!

This is not a book that I would critique based on writing style, or how much “dirt” was drummed up about the subject…although I feel that the bands involved seemed to be incredibly forthcoming and honest about their work, which is refreshing.   Of course the writing is good. and I love that Lori and Jonathan are true to themselves. When they are fans, they say so and own it rather than try to play the “We are completely professional and above it all” card.  Their commentaries are rooted in reality, and it is obvious that they enjoyed the work that went into the writing.  However, the real star(s) of the book are the interviews. I learned so much in reading, and it wasn’t the big picture stuff that resonated – it was the little things.  I could really get a sense of the emotionality that some of the artists interviewed continue to carry with them about songs that were written so long ago. I felt some of the heartbreak that others had when they looked back.  I could even hear the anger, despair, distain and even apathy of others for their fellow band members.  Those points in the book make the songs whole.  It’s as though now I’ve got the full story – the 360 degree view.

This isn’t a book that could have been written as successfully even ten years ago.  So many of these people needed to get past their own egos, whether they were overly trumped up, or completely deflated in the years gone by.  It has taken this long for many of them to simply come to terms with what took place, which is why I really believe the interviews worked so well.  In all honesty, I think that I needed to become an adult in order to fully treasure their stories.

Lori and Jonathan say that they wanted Mad World to be a fan friendly book. They have taken the route of going directly TO the fans to answer our questions, and get us involved. I have to give them kudos for doing so, because I believe the evidence is clear: it worked.

I am an 80s kid. I was born in November of 1970 and so when the year 1980 rolled around, I was 9 years old. My formative years were spent in the 80s, and when I think about the music I love, New Wave from 80s is the first to come to mind. It is a vital portion of my personal soundtrack, my playlist.  Mad World fills in the gaps, the things I pondered while laying on my not-quite-orange but also not-quite-brown shag bedroom carpet listening to my stereo and staring at my green walls peppered with pinups of Duran Duran when I was a kid.  Definitely worth the read.

Amanda and I plan to do more with Mad World in the coming weeks – so watch this space!

-R

To order your copy: Mad World 

Today in Duran History – Glasgow and a bit of Mad World

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

On today’s date in 2004, Duran Duran played the SECC in Glasgow.

Do you want to know what I remember about Glasgow, and the SECC in particular?  It was bloody FREEZING in there.  I remember sitting and waiting for a show in December of 2011, complete with my down ski parka on…continuing to shiver.  I don’t think I completely thawed out again until I touched down back in California, a day and a half later.  Naturally, that was in the month of December…and this show took place in April.  So there’s that, right?  Who was there in 2004??

Also, today is officially MAD WORLD day!  That’s right, the release of Mad World – the book that all New Wave 80s music lovers should have, hold and caress fondly (but never nostalgically….no. We can’t have that…because we, my friends…are not old. We’re not nostalgic. We just know good music.), has been released today!!  If you haven’t already pre-ordered your copy and you’re not waiting by your front door to tackle the mailman or UPS guy, I urge you to rectify the situation immediately and order it from Amazon!!  Why, you ask?  I’m reviewing it.  Later today.

In the meantime, check out the Reddit AMA with Lori & Jonathan: Mad World Reddit

Need a link to grab the book?  Fear not, my friends.  I’ve got you covered: Mad World.

-R

Today in Duran History – John Taylor in Tokyo

On this date in 2001, John Taylor did promo work in Tokyo…and since I don’t have any other exciting information to add to that (if anyone else does, send it in!), I’ll also add that on this date in 2011, the band played the Fox Theater in Pomona California as part of their All You Need is Now Tour!  I was there for this one, and I can say – it was a great show.  They played Friends of Mine on this night and nearly brought the house down when it played.

Lastly, I have it on good authority from DDHQ that The Reflex has an anniversary coming up.  #30 is coming up on Wednesday.  If you’re on Twitter, they’ve been using the hash tag #DDReflex8414 to celebrate.

Busy week ahead – my kids are on Spring Break, so a very Happy Monday to you and yours!  If you caught the blog earlier, you may have noticed that I had the wrong month’s worth of dates today.

All I will say is that it’s Monday and my children are home on break.  I think that explains it all.

-R

Today in Duran History – New Orleans

On today’s date in 1989, Duran Duran played at Saenger Theater in New Orleans.  Were you there??

I remember New Orleans…I’ve been there twice now, and both times were because of Duran Duran.  The first time was for a fan convention in 2004 (can you believe that in September of this year it will have been TEN YEARS since Friends of Mine in New Orleans?!?), and the second time was for the VooDoo Festival in 2006….or as I like to call it “The Day I Discovered What It Is Really Like to Have Your Face Smooshed Into a Hairy Man’s SWEATY Armpit…All For The Love Of A Band.”  😀  Good times.

*shudders*

-R

 

Duran Duran and Mr. Hudson

That title sounds like a movie in the making…

Did anyone see that the band is in the studio working with Mr. Hudson?  I won’t lie, I didn’t know much about Mr. Hudson, other than he’s worked with Kanye West – in fact he was signed to Kanye’s label and his recent effort, Straight No Chaser was recorded with Kanye West as the Executive Producer, so I took to Spotify to check out his work. I’ve heard a couple of his songs before, but as is typical for me, I’d never really listened. One thing I immediately detect is a sort of shout out to the 80’s.  Not cheesy 80’s, mind you – not throwaway top 40’s pop from the 80’s (thank goodness) – but some of those elements you might hear from Duran Duran, Missing Persons, Joy Division, New Order, ABC…(I could go on and on really).  The arrangements might not be entirely obvious, but you can certainly hear the influences of bands we know and love in the background, despite the fact that the music as a whole is solidly modern.  While I might not be a fan of some of the more urban sounds he seems to favor – I’m hopeful that he’ll work with to maintain respect for the sound we know, recognize, and love.

I also checked out Google to gain understanding of where he’s from, what he’s been up to, etc.  He’s from Birmingham (that can’t hurt!), and he’s toured with everyone from Amy Winehouse to Jay-Z.  As I mentioned, he was signed to Kanye’s label, and has worked with Kanye, Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus…and even dub step artist Caspa.

It will be very interesting to hear the final product, but I suspect that the band is looking to breath some modernity into the musical space that they own. As the band has often said, they want to keep looking forward.  I like that Mr. Hudson seems to be able to span the distance between the best that the 80s had to offer and some of the more urban, modern sounds of today.  If he can do that without destroying the band’s musical identity for their fans – then we’re on to something.

If you’re like me and aren’t entirely familiar with Mr. Hudson’s music  (I think I’d only heard Supernova and maybe a couple other songs of his???) – you should check him out, you might just be surprised.

Today in Duran History – France

Happy April, everyone!  On today’s date in 1987 the band played at Espace Foire in Lilles, France.

Could there really be a less exciting note for April Fools?  Probably not….at least for me, since there really isn’t one single thing that I can draw upon from that date in history note to comment.

I did think about announcing that the band has set a release date for the new album – February 29, 2015.  But then I thought that might actually encourage them.  Can’t have that.

Then I thought about announcing my retirement.  But…that seems overdone, and quite frankly I can’t have all of you applauding like that. It’s not necessary.

I considered posting photoshopped pictures of the band,  but then Simon took my idea and actually shaved his beard off.   Damn.

I thought about temporarily converting the blog to be a worship site for another celebrity – but then I remembered that A. I don’t have time for all that; and B. I couldn’t come up with a good celebrity to follow that I could actually tolerate.

What’s really bad is that Amanda and I discussed plans for this several times over the year, and I think it’s fair to say that neither one of us thought to actually write anything down. So now, on “crunch day”, I can’t remember a single thing we’d discussed. Let’s all give a slow clap to my fading memory. It’s OK…I won’t even remember it in a minute.

So until next April Fools…you get a free pass from Daily Duranie.  But I can’t guarantee that next year you won’t find an entire album of “Fool” photos of the band, or a fake tour schedule…or even a fake set list written on a napkin. (Oh wait. We did that already.  Damn!)

-R

Today in Duran History – Jimmy Fallon

On today’s date in 2011…which feels like a lifetime ago right now even though it’s only been a mere three years… the band appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s late night TV show.  Guess what song they played??

Come on now…any and all of our readers should be able to guess this song.  I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count!

Hungry Like the Wolf.

Hello Monday!!  Have a great week, everyone!

-R

Today’s Date in Duran History – Thank You

On today’s date in 1995, Thank You was released in the UK.

Opinions about this particular album vary widely among fans. Some dislike it, others embraced the work.  One very good thing (in my humble opinion) the album did for the band was bring Roger Taylor back into the fray – albeit temporarily – for work on Perfect Day as well as Watching the Detectives. Roger also appeared in the video for Perfect Day.  How can that be bad?!?  (answer: it can’t!)

-R

Today’s Date in Duran History – Simon, Simon, Simon…and Dom

Some bands have large fan bases that are happy to get new music. They pay to go to shows, they have fun, and that’s about the size of the fan/band relationship. Then there’s Duran Duran. They have people like me…who are intense (let’s not call it an obsession), long-time fans.  Some of us even blog.

Aren’t they lucky?!?

Originally, I had a “Date in Duran history” all planned out for today, but during some research, I realized we had the date wrong on our calendar. There is a method to what might seem like madness here at Daily Duranie, and so rather than re-run a historical point that we did for this date last year, I came up with my own! The trouble is, it isn’t quite history yet. However, I break rules all the time, and today will be no exception.

Just a day or two ago, I may have casually mentioned that I was nearing the point of resorting to posting videos of Simon’s more “signature” dance moves over the years, using them of course as points of discussion…along with maybe some voting and judgment. (I call it “commentary”) Today I stumbled upon the following video link (linked because of these called “copyrights” that YouTube, and probably the band…insists we follow…imagine that!):

Simon’s short and sweet DD14 update!

So they’re in the “refinement” stage. You know what *I’d* like to know…if I were well, able to ask?? What do they ultimately end up doing with all of the material they scrap? Do they keep it in case they want to return to it at a later point, perhaps for another album or something? I can see a case being made either way. Maybe they want fresh material for each album, and maybe they figure that going back to look at earlier work isn’t exactly the same as starting fresh. But on the other hand, that’s so much creativity. Maybe keeping it all for future reference gets the juices flowing when they need ideas? If “someone” knows, I’d love to hear the answer and reasoning!

Can you imagine the amount of material they’ve scrapped over the years? I’d love to be let loose in that vault (of course that’s assuming they actually keep all of that somewhere)!

But of course, Simon was VERY quick to say he won’t give titles or any information and that we’re going to have to wait. Here’s the thing: I can understand the “No Spoiler” rule. There is something special about hearing a finished song or album for the first time without preconceived notion. Admittedly, it’s been a long time since that last happened for me. Like since hearing some of All You Need is Now. I am very much looking forward to the feeling that comes with hearing brand new music for the first time. Anticipation can be a wonderful thing. That said, hearing absolutely nothing from the band for months on end – or only hearing the things none of us really want to hear, such as: “We’re not going to tour anytime soon – we don’t NEED to tour” or “We’re not sure when the album is coming out, but it probably won’t be until at least 2015.” can be pretty disheartening. So Simon, it’s OK that you won’t share titles or information. I respect that (and I might not necessarily start posting those dance videos. Yet.) But sending us little clips now and again to let those of us who are not in the UK know that yes, you’re still alive and working, and maybe just telling us where you’re at in the whole process, isn’t so bad. It keeps that connection established from the last album going. Many of us have never even been in a studio, and  hearing about the actual process is interesting. It’s funny when you think about it – a lot of fans have been around for over thirty years now and yet there really aren’t many who know much about recording an album or all of the tedious work that goes into the effort. I know it’s commonplace to the band, but for us – the people who care – it’s kind of an intriguing mystery.

If Simon’s little video weren’t enough, I was pretty surprised yesterday afternoon as I checked into Facebook and Twitter between naps (I’m getting over a bad cold and the couch has been my friend this week) to see that Dom Brown is actually alive, and not just an enigma that briefly appears to announce his next gig date on Twitter or Facebook. No, no. Dom showed up yesterday to mention that his wife (I applaud Martha!) has been getting on his case lately (I believe the words “kicking my butt” were used – which makes me like her even more!) to engage on Facebook and Twitter more regularly.

Men are funny. I think they can be far more utilitarian in nature than women. We women tend to be (just a weensy bit) more emotional. We talk. For example, some of the shortest emails I EVER get are from my husband. I will send long, flowing emails to him and I’ll typically get a one or two word reply. (My reply: Really?? You were somehow able to extrapolate ONE thing out of that long email that needed a comment – and a one word comment at that?!) I think that many males, and celebrities are not entirely immune to this and  think that Twitter and Facebook are utilitarian devices only. They are to announce whatever important “thing” is going on – and briefly so. The idea of getting on there to actually chat and get to know people is probably mind boggling. “Why waste that kind of time” That’s why so many resort to only posting their latest sales pitch, their latest gig…and then they run. Fast.

Admittedly, it could be that female fans might be intimidating, downright scary at times…maybe we even “threaten” relationships in that if a wife/girlfriend/significant other sees tweeting or communicating with one specific person going on, she’s undoubtedly going to be concerned. Fair enough. I’m also married. I know how that can be, and I can’t promise that every female fan out there is going to be respectful. For that matter, even I can be cheeky – because it’s fun, and because I don’t actually take it seriously.  Others might, I suppose. But for the most part, I don’t think many of us are out to ruin someone’s life. My point is that we’re not that scary. While yes, there’s always a risk of running into a crazy person here or there, we as fans run that exact same risk, whether it’s with a band member or it’s other fans. You learn rather quickly how to deflect, avoid, and block. My question is how can Twitter be any more frightening than running into the same fans over and over on tour, at the studio, or anywhere else?? At least on Twitter and Facebook you can essentially block the people that scare you. In person, you really can’t.

I guess I’m in the camp that believes it’s important to engage with fans however you can and are comfortable. That last part is key – and I want to make sure that the people who are bound to reply to this post read that last part again. I’m not accusing anyone of misusing Twitter – because I think that everyone has to decide for themselves how to handle social media of any kind. Maybe that’s a departure from how I’ve felt in the past, and I’m OK admitting that.  So what do I mean by “comfortable”? If you’re only comfortable announcing your gigs – then hey, that’s fine. If you’re only comfortable keeping Twitter as a sales tool, then that’s what you have to do. If you’re the type that only uses Twitter to make statements and isn’t entirely interested in the back and forth type of communication that can happen – then that’s how you’ve got to keep it. That might not be ideal, but as I said, we all have our own areas of comfort.

Another issue I see: I don’t think that there’s anything necessarily wrong with replying directly to a fan, even a female fan, if you want; but I also know that not every musician or celebrity is comfortable doing so. I can’t decide if it’s because they’re worried about calling attention to a particular fan, or if it’s because they don’t want to see the “Please RT meeeeee!!!” tweets over and over. The same goes for following fans, I suppose. Once you’ve opened that door, it’s hard to explain why some are allowed through and others are not. I’m not sure that there’s a need to explain actions like that to anyone though. I certainly don’t substantiate the reasons why I’m friends with some people and not with others, but that’s just me. I can’t necessarily say where the line should be drawn – I only know how I handle it for myself. It’s tough thing to find fault with no matter what someone does, and each person has to find their own comfort zone. I have no way of knowing what it’s really like to be a well-known musician, rock star or celebrity because I’m just me: Rhonda from Southern California. I tend to treat people, my friends – whether they are male, female, rockstar or celebrity, pretty much the same. If I follow you on Twitter, I’m going to comment to you as though I think you’re reading, and I’m going to pal around with you as though we’re at least friendly if not actually friends. If that makes me odd, well…then I’m odd, and I embrace the description. I just figure that at the end of the day, we’re all just people anyway.

That’s the longest blog I’ve written in a long time.  Just imagine how it’ll be once the band actually DOES start announcing titles.  I’d better rest my fingers now while I can!

-R

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Date in Duran History – Ellen

Remember when the band did promotion and we would anxiously set our DVR’s or wait for postings of their interviews and performances on YouTube?? Remember hearing that they were playing on a TV talk show, so you’d manage to get down to the studio where they were filming and wait in line so you’d have just the perfect viewing spot? I look forward to getting the last minute notices that they’re going to be on one show or another again…even if most of the time, I can’t run off to be there. I don’t mind catching them on YouTube or even on my DVR. It’s just about seeing them and hearing them again, you know?

While nearly all of the late night talk shows have now left LA almost guaranteeing that the band won’t have to come to La-La-Land and stay for any great length of time (something I’m sure that most of them applaud)…there are a couple of holdouts (Jimmy Kimmel and the fairly new Arsenio Hall show), and there’s still the Ellen show, which is shown here in the middle of the day. I applaud that, since of course, I still live in So Cal along with a reasonable handful of other Duranies. On this date in 2011, Duran Duran appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show, promoting All You Need is Now. I was not there that day, but I remember the date. For some reason, this appearance feels particularly long ago to me…. Anyone else there that day??

-R