Tag Archives: Duranies

There’s something you should know

Happy Monday!

Today I’m coming to you from a tiny little RV park in Santa Barbara. We’re in the process of moving some things into storage closer to where we’re going to be living, but the blog must go on! So, I’m writing away at my very serviceable dinette while two of my kids are still sleeping.

I don’t really know what this blog is going to be about today, but I wanted to chime in with my thoughts on Friday’s BBC4 takeover. First of all, a very special thank you to tvcatchup.com. Thanks to that website I was able to tune in at the same time as my friends across the US as well as those across the pond, which made viewing even more fun. I’ve now learned “the secret” for watching UK shows, which I believe will continue to come in handy!

I loved There’s Something You Should Know. Seeing the band in that tiny car, reminiscing their history together, made me smile. (Actually, watching Nick’s face as Simon got in the driver’s seat was pretty damn funny too!) I appreciated the intimacy of the tight quarters, and it felt like I was right there listening. There were many times throughout the program that I felt like I was hearing them talk about my own history with the band, particularly when they talked about the period of the reunion going forward. I texted Amanda, saying “This is when our story began”,  which was very true.

I don’t know how to put my feelings into words. Back when I first discovered Duran Duran, I can distinctly remember my parents talking about them, about being a fan in general, as being a passing phase. Truthfully, when I was in college I don’t know that I really paid a lot of attention beyond getting a silly grin when I’d hear one of their songs on the radio. I mean, I still went to concerts, and I still loved their music, but I didn’t continue putting posters on my wall or giggle with friends about them. But the thing is, and most of you know this as well, I didn’t exactly stay away permanently.  By the time the reunion hit, I’d discovered the Duran Duran forums on their website and felt pretty darn committed. By that time, most everyone around felt like I should have grown out of that fangirl stuff.  As I watched the shows Friday, I was comforted by the thought that I’d been a fan of theirs since nearly the beginning.  It isn’t weird to be a fan at my age, it is incredibly unique and special. How many people can really say that they’re still super into a band that they’ve loved since they were a child?  Not many. That’s really something to be proud of, and celebrate.

Yeah, I’m one of those “teenage girls” that really interfered with their work being accepted by critics. That’s true. But I think I’m beyond the point where I feel as though I should somehow feel badly about that. For one thing, the idea that because a teenage girl likes something means it’s only superficial and not really “worthy” is incredibly stupid. That’s on the critics, because to me it means they obviously didn’t know how to do their job very well. (Seriously, that’s what it comes down to. How hard was it to just put a piece of music on and judge it solely on its own merit? Apparently it was very tough). There have been moments over the past several years where I’ve wondered if the band regretted marketing themselves as heavily to teenage girls, simply because of their poor relationship with critics. Would it have changed their career much had it been done differently? No one knows.

Here’s the thing I do know for sure, and I wish the band would just read my words and accept them: I loved YOUR MUSIC before I ever saw any of you. I would have loved your albums even if there hadn’t been videos, teen magazines, dyed hair, keen fashion sense, yachts, champagne, cheekbones to kill for, or makeup skills I’m still trying to copy to this day. Why? BECAUSE YOUR MUSIC IS WHAT I FELL IN LOVE WITH FIRST.  The magazine covers and your good looks were merely an outstanding bonus. The critics couldn’t have been more wrong, and that’s on them. 

As I watched the shows and chatted with Amanda, I’d see scenes where Roger was walking through Cheapside, or some of the shows from the Astronaut tour, or even the little bit they showed from Paper Gods, and I was so proud. I mean, I’ve been a part of all of that. So have each of you reading. That’s amazing!  How many people can really say that?

Again I answer, not many.  There’s something you should know, right there.

-R

Guest Blog: How I Discovered Duran Duran in 2018!

Truthfully, it isn’t every day that we run into a brand new fan, particularly those that discovered the band in 2018, just a few weeks ago! Today, we are thrilled to share a story that will sound very familiar to most Duranies – once again proving that there is absolutely ZERO age limits on being a fan! Enjoy – R

by Kathy Diaz

Duranies all have stories about how they discovered the band.  Most fans likely found the band back in their teenage years during the early 80’s, when the band began their career and during their golden days of glory. My story is quite different, especially because I didn’t grow up in the 1980’s. I was born in 1986, just months before Duran Duran released their fourth studio album, Notorious. By the time I was born, they already had a steady career, but I didn’t learn about them until much later. I missed their comeback in the charts with “The Wedding Album” in 1993, and even their reunion of their original lineup in 2003. I didn’t even take notice of them when they first released their latest album “Paper Gods” in 2015.  No, it wasn’t until 2018—yes, just this very year—that I found this band and became a fan. 

I always have been a fan of 80’s music, as I grew up listening to Michael Jackson and Madonna. I knew about the existence of a band called Duran Duran, but I never really paid much attention to them before.  Up until this year, the only song I could recognize by Duran Duran was “Ordinary World”.  I probably listened it on the radio when I was a child, but I didn’t know who sang it, or even the name of the song.

It all started a couple of weeks ago, when I was searching for new music for my Spotify playlists.  I stumbled upon a YouTube channel that makes lists of songs by the year. I was watched the playlist for “Top Songs of 1982” that I came across  “Hungry Like the Wolf”. I was immediately impressed.  The song, video, and  lead singer—whose name I later learned to be Simon Le Bon—all stuck with me.  A normal person would have looked for the song, downloaded it and that was the end of it.  Not me. I had to look up the video of “Hungry Like the Wolf” again.  After I finished watching it,  I knew I was completely hooked. It was like love at first sight. 

I spent the rest of the night watching some of their other music videos and I was in awe with “Save a Prayer”, “Rio”,  “Is There Something I Should Know”, and “Wild Boys”. I kept asking myself: “How I didn’t discover this band before?” “Where was I living, under a rock?!?” Apparently! After this discovery, I knew I would never be the same again.

During the following days, I indulged myself in a Duran Duran marathon from morning-to-night. I figured that since I was on vacation from work, I had the time to do it. I spent those days listening to their songs, watching their music videos, and looking for any information I could. I quickly learned the history of the band, the names and backgrounds of each member, and anything else I could find on the internet. Their songs give me a warm feeling. I could be feeling down, or stressed, but when I am listening to their songs, I feel happy, calm and joyful. It is rare for a band to have this effect on me.

I felt alone in this new obsession because I didn’t know anyone who were also a fan of this band, so I decided to search in Facebook for Duran Duran groups. I found two amazing groups full of Duranies who gave me a warm welcome to their inner circle, even though I was kind of an outsider since I had just become a fan only weeks ago and they all had been fans for almost four decades.

Then, some moments of frustration came. I found out they played in my country, Puerto Rico just 2 years ago. Before that, they played here other 3 times. I was so distracted by other things that I didn’t discover them in time to go to any of those shows. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and slap myself in the face for not paying attention before.  I am thankful that they are still together and making music,  but it also makes me a bit sad that I had to discover them in a dry period when there is no news on new albums or tour. I don’t know why I had to discover them now, was it fate or just coincidence?

All I know, is that this band is giving me joy and happiness with their music. That is something I thought only could happen when you were a teenager. I believed my years of “fangirling” for a band were over long ago. I didn’t ask for this, but Duran Duran just came into my life, changed it and I didn’t expect it at all. 

I still have a lot to catch up on, but I feel happy to be part of this fandom. I so look forward to what Duran Duran has in store for the future. Hopefully one day, not too far in the future, I will finally see them live for the first time. Until then, I will enjoy this new interest as much as I can, however possible.

Kathy Diaz is a newbie Duranie. She lives in Puerto Rico where she works as an Elementary School Teacher. She is also fan of Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and basically everything and anything that is British. You can follow her on Twitter: @KathyDi86 

Calling All Duranies! Ian Little needs your help!!

Anyone ever hear of Ian Little?  Think back to a little album that rocked our worlds back in November of 1983, titled Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  Mr. Little co-produced the album, and in doing so — changed everything I thought I knew about music.

It isn’t every day that I run into a hero of mine, and I don’t JUST mean John, Simon, Nick, or Roger. Today, I ran across a retweet from a friend, and in responding to that tweet, I found myself in a position to trade messages and help someone else with a project.

Ian is currently working on a new DD project, and he needs our help to get the word out. He is writing an e-book based on his experience producing Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  He’s looking for Duranies—yes, real fans like you and me—to email him in support of this new project! Please read the description Mr. Little sent (see below) for a bit more information:

“I am writing an e-book – which I will also produce in a limited edition of physical copies signed and numbered by me – telling my story of the production of 7&TRT. It will contain stuff previously unknown to the public or even the most devoted fans and explain what it was like to live with the band for almost a year. During that time I helped them write the songs for the album in the South of France and then went to Montserrat then Sydney to produce the album alongside Alex Sadkin who is sadly no longer with us. 
I know it will be a great read for anyone with a passion for the band and the way records were made in the ‘80s. as I say it will contain material never before made public (nothing bad about the lads!), intimate moments, inside stories and things that only those involved in the creation of that classic album know.
If that sounds like something you’d enjoy reading let’s hope enough people respond to make it a reality!
So, how do we get involved? It is easy! All you need to do is send an email to Ian Little at musiceel@gmail.com and put DD Project in the subject line. Tweet the news on Twitter, post about it on Facebook, use smoke signals, post messages by skywriter, and spread the word!
Our goal is to get 1,000 Duran fans to respond. According to Ian, he is far from that goal at the moment. It is mind-blowing that a band like Duran Duran can sell out arenas all over the world and yet there is trouble getting 1,000 fans to send Ian an email about a brand-new DD project. Get on it, people!
The best part of this little story for today? Well, when I first heard about the project and sent an email to Ian, I told him I was concerned that it might be a scam. Call me crazy, but the idea of communicating directly with the co-producer of Seven and the Ragged Tiger seemed just on the other side of Crazytown. Turns out that yes, it really is Ian Little, and yes, he really did respond to me.
Yes, I did have a fangirl moment, thanks for asking. My defense is simply that he is partially responsible for my favorite song ever (ITSISK).  I couldn’t help myself.  And then he gave me a little inside secret on the writing of that song—and someday, I’ll share!
So, if you haven’t already clicked on the link and emailed Ian Little with your enthusiastic support, get on it!  Here’s the link again, just in case!
What are you still doing here reading? GO do your thing, Duranies!
-R

Happy birthday John! (2018)

It’s a busy birthday month, isn’t it? Another quick observation – it is pretty bad when one has to begin putting the year into the happy birthday title. Is it a sign I’ve been blogging too long?

Maybe.

Or it just means we love this band a lot. There’s that, too.

Yes, there is a birthday boy amongst us. Or across the continent and ocean from some of us, anyway.  Happy birthday John! I am really the wrong person to be writing this blog today, as I have almost no exciting stories or anecdotes to share. I have never really met John, beyond raising my voice enough to tell him at a crowded table that Astronaut was a beautiful album. I did that at a signing in Hollywood once. But honestly that’s about it. I did see him walk out of a building and take a picture with Amanda – that was so exciting I remained rooted to my spot, standing off to the side, almost dumbstruck.

I’m REALLY good at the whole “meeting the band” thing. Can’t you tell??

Oh, there was that time I stuck my tongue out at him while he was onstage. Yeah, I did that. (I’m here to say that should you ever think that maybe the band can see you – EVEN if you’re in 9th row and it seems unlikely – if they’re looking right at you, they probably can and do see you. Trust me on that.)

So far here, I’ve established that I really don’t know him, and that I’ve already sort of insulted him (although I was just goofing around and he did it right back). Awesome start.

Despite not knowing him personally, there are few people who inspire me more than John. He has had real struggle in his life, just as any of us have in one way or another, and he’s turned it into something positive. I like that John seems to be a thinking person. He’s not all fun and games, or shallow. He seems to like to get into the real “meat” of it, and in some ways he reminds me of himself because he doesn’t seem to do things halfway. It’s either all or nothing, which is very much how I am.  Not that I’m claiming to be like him, just that I can identify.

He also reminds me a bit of myself because, during the very few times I’ve actually seen him offstage (and now that I sit here I can really only remember one time) – he doesn’t seem to like crowds. Or mingling.  When I’ve gone to wait for the band outside a stage entrance (yeah, I’ve done it once or twice!), I usually miss John completely because he’s already taken off. (and if I were ever in a band, that’s exactly how I would be)

The thing is, I may not always love the things that John says, or agree with every one of his statements, but I have a great deal of love and respect for him. I can appreciate that he’s a human being, not a robot, not able to commit to being everything for everyone. I love the saying “Expectations are future resentments”, which he talked about in his book. He’s right, and I’ve tried very hard to put that idea into practice. Life goes a lot better for me when I remain open to possibilities of things not happening quite as I expected.

(looks around while sitting on a balcony in Santa Barbara…yep, I definitely did not see this coming, and I’m totally OK with that!)

So for as much as I say I don’t know John personally, I feel like out of the entire band, he’s the one I tend to identify most with these days. I look forward to his Katy Kafe’s, and I enjoy hearing what he has to say…which reminds me that I need to go to YouTube in search of the speech he gave at the Brilliant Minds Symposium in Stockholm…

The happiest of birthdays to you, John. You’re a brilliant example of the saying “Not just a pretty face”, because there is one hell of a lot of substance going on in that brain of yours, and I appreciate that even after all of this time, I am learning from your examples. No, I don’t think you’re infallible and I try very hard not to put you on too high of a pedestal (expectations and all, right?), but you are by far one of the better humans I’ve never really met.  😀  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

-R

Duran Duran Playlist for Newbies!

Today, I’m writing from a Starbucks on State Street in Santa Barbara. I woke up at the unkind hour of 4am, and accompanied my husband Walt up here for the week. He’s working, and I’m…well…I’m not really sure. I’m looking around, trying to decide if I mind how compact and busy Santa Barbara is, or if I prefer to be farther north with more land and fewer people. (I am leaning towards the latter) For this morning though, I’ve made this Starbucks my mobile Daily Duranie office!

Last week, I participated in a fun survey, courtesy of GuyFansofDuran on Twitter (@BoysMakeNoise). The question was simple: If you had to create a comprehensive mix tape/playlist for someone who had never heard of Duran Duran, what songs would you pick?

In order to make it easy and give everyone a good starting point, he did one survey per album. All one needed to do was pick the song they felt best represented the album (or whatever song they wanted). At the very end, he did a survey to choose one B-side, and as a bonus track (there are ALWAYS bonus tracks!), we could write in an additional B-side.

The votes were counted, and after each survey ended, the results would be posted for discussion and fodder. More often than not, I wasn’t surprised by the result, but saddened that my choices never quite made it to the top. I didn’t start questioning my own choices and/or sanity until later in the week, beginning with the winner for The Wedding Album – “Femme Fatale”.

To be honest, I never even considered “Femme Fatale” as a possibility to win, particularly since it shares album space with “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone”. I narrowed my eyes a bit when I read the results, wondering if I’d either lost more of my vision that day, or that I’d woken up in an alternate universe. I even checked to make sure that Ordinary World and Come Undone were in fact included in the choices for the survey. I did not choose any of those songs, but I’ve been in the fan community long enough to know that many others would – and to think that neither of those songs won – well, that blew my mind. But hey, whatever, right? It’s all just for fun.

Similar things happened for Big Thing, and then again for Rio, to the point that @BoysMakeNoise decided to clear the results and try again. Apparently, either as an attempt at a joke…or to pad the ballot box, someone had figured out how to foil the system. My feeling is, if you’re going to make a joke – go full throttle! Don’t stop at “Femme Fatale”, go “Shotgun”!!  Make me crazy and pick “Can You Deal with It” off of Liberty. Then again, maybe you did.

Eventually, a mixtape did result from the redone surveys, and it was a fun experiment to see what the community came up with. The mixtape was put together on YouTube, and I have the link here. If you’re a Spotify fan though, here is YOUR link!  What do you think?  What would you choose??

-R

1980s Teen magazines and legitimizing Duran Duran

How many of us, back in the day, faithfully read any circa-1980s teen magazine with Duran Duran on the cover?  Each week, I’d accompany my mom to the grocery store. I’d go up and down the aisles with her until she’d reach the produce section. In our neighborhood grocery store, the magazine aisle served as a type of border to the apples and oranges. I’d vanish down the aisle, and take care to look at each magazine, reassuring myself that I hadn’t missed anything. Some weeks, I’d come up with a few magazines, having to choose (because there was no way my mom was paying for all of them), and others, I’d come out empty-handed. Many times, I’d have read the articles before I’d even left the store, but I still had those pin-ups to hang!

When I think back to that time period, I don’t remember the magazines mentioning much about the music. It was always the fashion, the lifestyle, the idea of being a celebrity, the idea of marrying a celebrity. Those magazines were selling a fantasy life (in many respects) to teens and preteens like me. Nothing ever went wrong for anyone, their lives were sunny and perfect in every way. Wide-eyed, bushy-tailed, happy, filthy rich, and way the heck out of my league. Even if a celebrity or band member had sadness in their lives, it was always written in a way that tied up the loose ends:  tears and despair, with a big red happy bow on the end. Then it was back to sunny, carefree days of champagne wishes and caviar dreams, right? Every article was written with a dreamy, “don’t you wish you could have him?” voice. I bought it all, hook, line, and sinker. But the music? The real reason for this band being in our record collection? Very little was ever really said.

I think about this today because one of my friends on Twitter (@guyfansofDuran, I’m talking to you, here) mentioned something today about Star Hits, a magazine that he characterized as being the kindest to the band, commenting that even that magazine never really reviewed the show, just included pictures of the guys. Not finding fault with fans, he was merely commenting on the state of the media itself back then, and he’s right.

What is sad is that I don’t think I ever really even thought about there being a problem with that during my trips to the grocery store. It never occurred to me as I was hanging up poster after poster of Roger on my wall, that someday, I would acknowledge that I was a part of the problem.

I suppose I was, in some sense.

I never demanded that those magazines review their shows. I never sent an angry letter, or muttered a cross word about their coverage, or lack thereof. I bought the magazines because they had pretty pictures and sometimes even had interviews. They didn’t talk about their music, they asked about John’s favorite car, the name of Nick’s cat, their moms, and their favorite vacation spots. I don’t think the magazines covered much of their musical career, so to speak, beyond asking whether or not they were working on a new album at the time.

I never even thought about reviews of their shows back then. I was on a relentless hunt for their posters, though. In 1983, 84 and most of 85, I didn’t think about going to their concerts beyond that first time when I asked my mom about going to see them at the LA Forum. That didn’t go over any better than a lead balloon in my house, so after that I didn’t even try. I did what I was able, which was collect their albums, buy my weight in teen magazines,  wallpaper my room with their posters, and wear whatever band t-shirts I could find and convince my parents to buy. It didn’t occur to me that I had any other choice, or that I should aspire to know more about their musical process.

It is difficult to sit here and write this blog, mostly because I want to be able to stand up and say that while sure, I noticed the band was good looking—I was in it purely for the music. It is somewhat embarrassing for me to admit that I wasn’t. I’d love to say I was “above all that silly teen stuff”.  Nope. Though it was their music that I couldn’t get out of my head after I first heard it on KROQ, I would be lying if I said that I never bothered with their appearance. You bet I did. I fawned over their posters, and sighed audibly when I would watch their videos.

Even more painful, here in retrospect, is the knowledge that the only reason those teen magazines didn’t go into a lot of detail about the music, or do reviews much beyond printing a limited number of performance pictures, is because their audience was primarily female. Young females, under 18. At the time though? I never thought twice about it.

I suppose I could say that it wasn’t my fault. I was a product of the times. I didn’t know I could be interested in the music (make no mistake, I was interested. My point here is that the magazines didn’t believe that girls could be) because magazines like Star Hits, Teen Beat and others taught me I needed to be more concerned with the fantasy-life, fairy-tale, starry-eyed dream aspect. I needed to worry more about how to find and marry one of those band members, and less about the artistry or technical merit of their music. I could say all of that. But is it true?

I am just not so sure it is that simple. Nor do I think it needs to be.

I wish that I’d known magazines other than Spin and Rolling Stone that would have covered more about the music back then. I have no doubt whatsoever that I would have read them and learned everything I could. That doesn’t mean though, that I’d have given away my Tiger Beat collection. As embarrassing as it might be to admit, I’m not sorry that I plastered my walls in Duran Duran. That was a legitimate part of my childhood (and honestly part of my adulthood). I have very happy memories of organizing those posters and giggling over the articles with my friends at school.

Part of fighting sexism is being proud of who you are as a person. I am as proud of being a female, teen Duranie as I am of being one-half of the Daily Duranie now that I am growing ever closer to the half-century mark. Consider that done.

I do have to wonder how it all might have been different had the band been taken seriously from the beginning. It took the David Kershenbaum mixes to get them any sort of regular radio play here in the US, and that happened in 1982. The pinups came a few months later here in the states. It was never only the music or only their looks that made them into the biggest band in the world. They had it all, combined with luck and timing.

Sure, the teen magazines never did much to legitimize them, musically speaking. I’m not sure that any critic would have taken the words to heart even if they had. However, those teen magazines opened up a whole new world to kids like me. I don’t know how long or how closely I would have followed Duran Duran had it not been for 16, Bop!, Teen Beat and many others I’ve since forgotten. They were my window into their world.

Yep I was definitely part of the problem.

I’ve decided that I’m not sorry.

-R

Duran Duran Bootlegs

I’m officially on summer break now, or as I call it, “Retirement 2.0”.  While I’m supposedly enjoying my time off, I’m also cleaning out, organizing, and packing up the house. I’m not sure how successful the tasks are going so far, because my house still looks pretty much the same, but currently in my garage I have about thirty-two black and yellow large bins from Costco that are stacked four high and about four deep. Moving has been wonderfully cleansing so far, and I’m not even done yet.

While I’m at home, my husband Walt lives in Santa Barbara during the week. Often, I will get texts from him exploring new places, and I won’t lie – I’m a little envious as I’m cleaning out the closet, packing up my office, or weeding in the backyard. This past Monday though, I got a very curious picture from him.

He had been wandering around State Street during lunch, and found himself in a record store. He is apparently far better trained than I realized, because he immediately looked for any DD vinyl. When that didn’t pan out (I already have everything they had in stock), he looked at their CD’s and DVD’s. Hitting the jackpot, he texted me this picture:

Now, curiously enough, I didn’t recognize these DVD’s. Upon closer inspection, Boys on Film was filmed from an MTV appearance at New Year’s Eve Rock and Roll Ball at the Palladium in NYC 1982 (12/31/82). Then there’s Duran Duran Coachella, filmed in 2011. Lastly, there is Duran Duran San Francisco 2016, which was filmed at the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. All of them must be bootlegs.

I didn’t ask, but Walt dutifully bought all of them anyway. They all have varying copyrights and addresses – two of them are archives (one says The Archivists Society and the other is Duran Archives, each has a different UK address), and the other is from Duran Films in New York City. I haven’t watched them yet (that is today’s assignment), but I can hardly wait to see the quality of what I am fully expecting to be shoddy iPhone video. We will see.

It turns out that only after he’d already bought these, he saw even more of these DD concert bootlegs for sale. It’s almost unnerving. I mean, Duran Duran has no control over what is being filmed and later sold, and naturally – none if this is new or even news. I just haven’t seen so much of it gathered in one actual brick and mortar store before. (I don’t get out much, apparently!)

He also picked up a CD for me, which might even be worse than the DVD’s. It’s called Duran Duran Ultra Rare Trax.  Let me just say, the trax are not rare…and the only thing “ultra” going on here are the ultra-tacky descriptions of the songs compiled on this clearly homemade CD.  Below is just a sampling of the titles and descriptions:

  • Notorious (Disconet): Title track from their 1986 LP. Pushed forward their chic influences to the fore. Cutting funk guitars and slap bass supply the backdrop to a fine Disconet Mix.
  • I Don’t Want Your Love (Prime Cuts): The Prime Cuts people get to work on this Duran Favourite, with its excellent back track it rolls on and over. Another Prime Cut.
  • Save A Prayer (DMC): A nice up-tempo dance version of this usually classic ballad. The Earliest Duran number we could find a dance version of.         (I don’t think they looked very hard, just saying.)
  • A View to a Kill (Art of Mix) 007 meets POP! Duran go big screen. A great track given the Art of Noise treatment.
  • Duran (Megamix) The first time ever DMC mix available for the first time on CD format. Previously a cassette 1984 release. Coupling together some Duran classics – Is There Something I Should know, Planet Earth, Girls on Film, Rio, among others.

It goes on from there. Writing is clearly not this bootlegger’s forte. I can hardly wait to listen, though.

I’m not one to encourage bootlegging, but I have to admit I’m more than a little amused to sit down and watch some fairly recent Duran Duran shows. I can’t think of a better way to spend my break – particularly since the alternative involves more packing!

Is there a place for bootlegs in the industry? On one hand, the band seems to have no control over what is filmed and sold – and the economic impact to them is pretty clear. I mean, it is their music and their image, and it seems wrong that they shouldn’t get some royalty from that. On the other though, there are people out there may actually want videos from shows they attended, or maybe even for those who can’t get themselves to places in the world where the band has played.

What about unreleased music? I own Duran Goes Dutch, which is a fairly rare and collectible vinyl that isn’t official at all. The music is rare because the songs are arranged very differently. The band didn’t necessarily take advantage to press that vinyl, but someone else did. Fans like me have benefitted from being able to own the record. I’ve also read that bands, perhaps not Duran Duran – I really can’t say, have bootlegged their own material at times because their label wouldn’t commit resources to doing so for various reasons. It’s a sticky situation, not nearly as black and white as it may seem, and I definitely am not claiming to know the ins and outs. The issue is certainly worthy of discussion.

I’m going to sit and think about all of this while I watch my new videos today!

-R

 

The Next Line: Should a band move on?

Duran Duran is my most favorite band. But there are other bands I also love and adore, and like more than a few Duranies out there – Spandau Ballet is on that list.

Up until a few years ago, I’d never seen Spandau live. I’d always wanted to, but timing (I grew up just a couple of years too late), and their own break-up made that pretty impossible until 2015. But the wait was worth it. I didn’t go all-out for tickets in the same way many of my friends did, traveling all over the country to see them, but I did see them a few times that year. And each time I saw them, the show seemed tighter, the band seemed more on fire, and I was thoroughly convinced that it wouldn’t be the last I’d see of them onstage together.

The end of the tour arrived, and not terribly long after, Spandau announced that Tony Hadley, their lead singer, would not return. He had his own plans for a solo career, and he was apparently satisfied with what he’d accomplished with Spandau Ballet. All good things must come to an end; out with the old, in with the new, and so on, right?

But what about the band? Many long time Spandau fans felt like Tony’s departure meant the band should also come to an end. I can’t tell you how many times I read that Tony’s voice is what made the band Spandau Ballet.

Actually, yes I can give an approximation of how many times I read that – just imagine the same happening in Duran Duran, and you’ll know exactly how often it’s been written.

I understand where those fans are coming from. There’s no denying that Tony’s voice is important to the sound we recognize as Spandau Ballet. If it were Simon and Duran Duran we were talking about, the very same could be said, and we’d all nod our heads in agreement. Yes, I’d also argue that the guitar, drums, bass and even sax are important parts, but the voice is the voice.

But there is another side to this story, and that’s of the band. Those other guys. There are many who feel like they’re worthy of some importance. I am firmly in that camp, whether we are talking about Spandau, or even Duran Duran. (yes, I said it) Is it fair for one person to call the shots for the entire group? Is it right that one individual decides the destiny for everyone else? Spandau vowed that this wouldn’t break them, and that they would return.  While I knew that in the moment they probably did mean every last word – I wasn’t so sure The Next Line would actually come to them . It’s one thing to be indignant and insist a group can move on, it’s another to actually do it.  I was supportive, but silently doubtful.  Let’s just say I was thankful I saw them live when I did, just in case.

All was fairly quiet until yesterday, when a curious email hit my inbox. Spandau Ballet sent an email….and yes my friends, they are about to write The Next Line. I silently cheered at my desk. They have a new, yet to be announced lead singer, and they are not only announcing their return, they’re playing a show in London at the Subterania on June 6th. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10am GMT. They will sell out in a flash, and I desperately wish I could be there.

As any fan might, I wanted to see the reaction from social media. That’s the difference between today and thirty or even forty years ago – within a couple of clicks I can see fan reaction. Suffice to say, all was not well. There were fans, like myself, who were excited to see the band go on. However, many were not. Some say that because Tony has left, Spandau Ballet as we’ve all come to know it, no longer exists. Rename, reframe, and move on if they care to do so, but using the same name isn’t right. Many others think that no matter what the band does, it won’t be the same and that they should just quit.  Apparently for those people, Tony was the band.

I don’t know what Spandau will sound like. I’m assuming it will be very different with someone else at the microphone. Even in the case of Duran Duran – band members have changed, but Simon has always been the singer – changes still come with every album.  Some, I’ve loved, others, I have not. There’s no argument from me that a new lead singer will take getting used to, only that I really believe  they have the right to try.

As for the name of the band, that’s a legal thing, worked out amongst the members.  Tony continues to have Spandau Ballet songs in his set, although they’ve been totally rearranged so that the highlight is completely and totally on his voice. He doesn’t tour as Tony Hadley, ex-Spandau Ballet or whatever-you-will, he just tours as himself with a backing band. I think it’s bizarre (and not entirely successful, in my own opinion) to hear Tony singing, but to have other people playing a different arrangement of the songs I grew up with. He’s covering Spandau, so to speak. I think it sounds a little weird, but it is his right to move on.

Can you imagine if it were Duran Duran?  Spandau Ballet fans are easily as ardent as Duran fans. They are certainly as opinionated, and possibly as stubborn. I cringe and shudder to think what might be said if Simon were to go it alone and leave the band. I’m sure many are saying that the band would hang it up. Maybe they would. It is certainly their right to do so. But it would also be their right to try.  Wouldn’t we owe it to them, at least in some sense, to applaud their strength and fortitude to have a go at it?  We might not like it (but hell, as I said above, there have been entire albums I haven’t necessarily loved and yet I survived!), but I still applaud their willingness to keep going. That’s the creative process at work.

As a fan, it is difficult to see past the emotionality, but we should try. The band name brings out certain feelings and memories. To the band themselves – it’s more than that. In the eyes of the courts, Spandau Ballet is a partnership, a legal entity. The business is entwined with the time and energy spent together.  In the midst of the drama, I suspect the arrangements and legalities become more about the pieces of paper indicating who is entitled to what and so forth moving forward, than history and emotions. Someone said that dissolving a band partnership is like a divorce, and I don’t doubt that. In this case, the vocalist starts over, single and free with a solo career, the band keeps the name and marries a new lead singer. Fans are caught in the middle, just like the children. We’re pissed that our family name is continuing to be used by someone we don’t even know or recognize. It’s hard.

Ultimately, Spandau is trying to move on. I can’t blame them.  I wish them nothing but success. I suspect it must really be difficult to be in their shoes right now, and I applaud their bravery. I wish fans would think about that a little more before being so quick to tell them to hang it up. For us, it’s about music we love. For the band, it’s their career.  Why shouldn’t they keep trying? I’m going to keep cheering them on, even though I would love to be there in person to witness The Next Line at that first London show.

Here’s to possibilities and not giving up! Cheers!

-R

 

Got any plans for Summer of 2020?

I woke up worrying about the blog today. I don’t even know why. I think this might be a sign or symptom of the amount of stress I’m carrying around these days. Moving is hard. I keep telling my husband that it would be far more motivating if I knew where we were going, like maybe if we’d already bought a house or actually knew what city we were going to end up in. Right now, all I’ve got is a short list of houses I really like in a very wide area going from Camarillo to the south (of Santa Barbara) alllllll the way up to Atascadero and South Paso Robles to the north. (yes, those places are far from Santa Barbara. It’s a long story. Just go with it for now.) Meanwhile, there’s still this  “Boston” possibility hanging in the air. Walt is going out there in a couple of weeks, and at the moment it’s possible that I’ll go along with him. That could change though because the timing is, of course, really bad with family graduations, birthdays, and moves home from college. I find myself asking (very loudly) when am I ever going to find the time to go house hunting anywhere. Thank goodness for Zillow.

No one really answers back. That’s probably best given that most of the time I’m alone while asking.

My last day at work is next Thursday. It’s the little one’s last week at school for summer. I still don’t know where she’ll go to school after what I think might be the shortest summer of my life…and then this morning I woke up worrying about the blog.

The blog is fine. It really is. I’ve felt as though I’ve neglected it a bit lately, right along with my writing. I don’t know when I’m going to find time to actually write this summer. It’s a small price to pay, I suppose, but writing keeps me sane. Blogging will at least continue, book writing may not for a bit. I am worrying for no reason about things I can’t even deal with right now.

I had big Daily Duranie plans for the summer, including a convention that I’m going to have to push out until I’m moved (I can’t plan a convention when I don’t even know where I’m going to be traveling from to get there. Bad timing – so once I know when and where I’m going, I can figure out the rest. I’m disappointed, but I just can’t do it all), and a visit with Amanda. I need to hang out with my best friend. I miss her. One way or another that has to happen. Then there’s a girls trip with Amanda and our other two friends. We need a getaway. I’m still trying to figure out how I can squeeze that in, because we are way overdue for a catch-up. I’m hoping the answers will reveal themselves soon. I don’t do very well without some basic plan, and I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants now since December. I hate it.

Amanda and I did chat on the phone last week. That might not seem like a big deal to you, but I think I can count on one hand the amount of times we’ve done so since January. Times have indeed been tough. I welcomed her phone call though, and it was good to hear her voice. She gave me a little shred of hope that life WILL return to some sort of normalcy, because she asked me one question that snapped me back into my typical, Duranie-self.

“Got any plans for summer of 2020?”

Wow. I can’t even plan for next month, right now.  It is a very strange feeling, after living in the same place for twenty years, to know that in 2020, I have no idea where I’ll be living. Where will I be when Amanda and I are planning and plotting? Forget all of that, where is my family going to spend Christmas this year? It is SO weird to know it’s probably not going to be in this house. (For that matter, we just got rid of our 9-ft tall artificial Christmas tree, so….) So no, Amanda, I don’t have plans for 2020. I’m sure I’m about to make some, though!

She went on to tell me about the Katy Kafe with John Taylor and how he gave a full laundry list of ideas they had for celebrating their 40th and so on. I hadn’t even had time to listen to the Kafe at that point last week, so I welcomed her explanation of how it all went down. John talked about having some sort of show in Birmingham, and that was as far as she got before I stopped her. “We are going!”

Sure, John might have lofty ideas. Chances are, nothing he wants to do will actually come to full fruition. That isn’t really the point though, at least not for me. I need something. I need something to give me some motivation to get through what I think has to be one of the most stressful life events: moving.

The weekend before last, Walt and I took every single box down out of our attic. Turns out that he wasn’t lying when he said I was a packrat. Somehow, I’d saved nearly every single thing my kids touched as babies (and what’s weird is that I know I’ve given away a ton of stuff to charity over the years!). I went through box after box, blinking back tears on occasion. It was awful. I’m beginning to come to the realization that not only are we moving, but we’re closing a chapter on the childhoods of my two oldest kids. I am not a fan.  I’m overly emotional at times, downright sentimental at others, and suffering from hot flashes at the same time. God, I love middle age.

So for me, even the possibility of going to London, Birmingham or pretty much anywhere during the summer of 2020 is incentive for me to get my act together, get this house moved and my family settled. I have two years to make it all happen. I want to see friends, I want to go back to places I enjoy. I want to actually live. Right now, I feel like I’m just closing up shop to move on. I’m looking forward to getting past it.

Yes, I know how quickly other fans want to pee in my bowl of cornflakes (I hate cold cereal anyway), but you know – it’s OK to let fans just have some hope. Why not? Is it really hurting anyone?  The same goes with the band recording a new album – does it really hurt anyone to have hope that they’ll record again? I mean, as a fan, why wouldn’t you want to believe that they’re not completely finished?  It’s the one thing I’ve never really understood about people. Hope is a powerful motivator, and you know – I need it. So I’m tucking it into my pocket, and grabbing another box to fill.

-R

During This Deafening Silence

Sorry for my absence last week!  My husband was laid off late last year, and spent five incredibly long months looking for a new job. Some people find jobs quickly, but in the tech industry, his work is far more specialized and it just takes longer.  Unfortunately in his business, reorganizations and layoffs are normal. For the past twenty years, we have been lucky. His job changes—we think there have been at least seven—never required a move, and we’ve lived in the same house in So Cal. Two of our three children were born nearby, and for all of them, this house is “home”.

My husband started a brand new job this morning in Santa Barbara, which is about 150 miles from our current home. Over the summer (I sincerely hope it’s over the summer!), we will be moving because the commute from the OC to Santa Barbara is insanity, obviously.  He drove up this morning, leaving our house just after five (that is AM, thank you). He just texted me at about 8:45 my time to let me know he’d gotten there. That’s an hour longer than it should have taken him, thanks to typical Los Angeles traffic. There’s no way he’s going to be able to keep up that pace for long, not that we ever thought otherwise.

So, last week, I began the slow and steady process of packing, getting the house ready to sell, and moving. The funny part is that I still am not sure where we’re moving quite yet. It could be north of Santa Barbara, but it could also be the Boston area since a good portion of his team are located there. I just love surprises and not having any idea of where we’re going. (This is such a lie I can’t even type it without laughing)

I do find the timing and the uncertainty amusing. After all, we’re in-between albums, aren’t we? None of us have any idea when a new album will drop…or IF a new album will drop. (To clarify, I have no reason to suspect they wouldn’t go back to the studio!) We don’t know if that band will ever tour again, although right now I feel pretty positive they will. (No hate mail, please) I’m just glad that if my life is about to be turned upside down, we’re doing it now…and I’m willing to bet that on the next Duran Duran album, there will be at least one song that I’ll identify with that describes this period of my life, because THAT is how good this band is. They get it right even when they have no idea who I am, or what I’m about, or going through.

Each of us have our own lives going on during the time when Duran Duran are killing us with silence. I tend to think in terms of “pre <insert album title here>”, “post <insert album title here>”, or even “in-between titles”. I’ll probably always remember this time in between as the period where my life closed one chapter and began another (and yeah, that’s pretty poetic). The joys of moving.

I listened to Paper Gods today as I was driving home from dropping Gavin back off at his UC Riverside dorm. It’s an hour from our current house, which isn’t awful as long as there isn’t traffic. I hadn’t listened to PG in a while just because I was trying to give it a bit of a rest after having it playing on repeat for over a year. I can still remember how it felt to stand in the audience at the Hollywood Bowl and seeing them play the set live for the first time. I don’t know if the album really is a favorite of mine – I found that it took me quite some time to really bond with it in any sort of way – but I will say that the tour was a lot of fun. Those memories will stick with me in the same way that the memories I have of this house will linger with me forever.

-R