Tag Archives: Duranies

Today in Duran History – Uruguay

On todays date in 1993, Duran Duran played in Montevideo, Uruguay.  Not a country I hear about them hitting on tour very often, I must say.

And since I’m a little bored this morning….I will share a scenario here that was posted on our FB page by Miss Amanda over the weekend.  If you care to reply (and you should), please send us a comment!

You are stuck in an elevator with a rock star.  Who would you want it to be??

The way I see this, there are two ways to answer this question. Either you go for the knee jerk answer, in which you don’t even consider the circumstances and you say the first person to pop into your head.  I’ll bet that’s how most people would answer, and I think that’s great.  Then there’s me.  Do I actually think about what fun this could be?  No. Of course not. The very first thing I think of in this delightful fantasy situation is my anxiety.  I’m not fond of elevators. Too closed in, and the thought of being pulled up and lowered by cables kind of bothers me a bit.  Don’t get me wrong – I use them and everything, but I try not to think about it much. So the idea of being stuck in one is not at all amusing, and no, I really don’t care who it is beside me at the time (I just pray the elevator is not full).  I can just imagine getting onto an elevator only to find a band member standing there – or being in one only to have the doors open with one of them about to enter.  Awkward.  I mean, it would probably be the ONE time I’m wearing a DD t-shirt, or carrying one of my VIP bags or something.  And then to end up stuck?!?  I can just see it – I’d roll my eyes, shake my head and mumble something about it being my luck.  I’ll bet many of you would consider it good luck though.  Not me. I’d likely call those minutes among the most awkward of my life.  What would I say?  Probably nothing at first. I’d be standing there thinking about what to say.  LOL Better sound smart, Rhonda!!  You can only stand there quiet for so long though before acknowledging the situation, right??  So the question comes down to who it is beside me in that elevator.  Who would I not mind being stuck with?  Who would I most want to speak with?

Let’s just go with the knee jerk here and say Nick Rhodes.  Yeah, I know you thought I was going to say Dom.  😉

-R

Today in Duran History – Argentina

On today’s date just a mere two years ago, Duran Duran played at Luna Park in Argentina.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but even though I know this was just two years ago at this point – it seems like so long ago now.  While I might be ready to consider the idea of going to some shows again, I suspect that the band has other plans given that there’s no end date in sight for the new album to be released…may as well get comfortable in those easy-chairs, I suppose!  🙂

-R

Today in Duran History – Tokyo

Way back in the dark ages…we’re talking 1982 people…Duran Duran played at Shibuya Kokaido in Tokyo.  I can honestly say that not only do I not remember this show (I definitely wasn’t there!), I really think that at that point in my life, my world began and ended at Sunflower Intermediate School in Glendora, California (a school that has since been closed).  I was eleven years old, and while I know I could have picked Japan and even Tokyo out on a map, overall the world felt an awful lot bigger to me then than it does these days.  I don’t know that I even dreamed about seeing the word beyond the US at that time.  There are moments when it is hard to believe there was once a time when the internet didn’t exist and we were forced to rely on radio, TV & magazines for our Duran Duran news.

Dark ages indeed!!

-R

Today in Duran History – Wembley 2004

On today’s date in 2004, Duran Duran played Wembley Arena in London, UK.  They played Wembley Arena five nights during this period in 2004: April 13, April 14, April 24 and then April 30 and May 1st.  I hear they sold the place out….

As you might recall, the band released a little DVD aptly named Live from London, which was recorded at Wembley during these shows… and if memory serves, there may have been a few theatre screenings of this DVD scattered across the US to celebrate it’s release.  Duran Duran on a big screen?  YES.

We should really do all that again, don’t you think??

-R

Today in Duran History – Happy Birthday Amanda!!

On this day in (a year I won’t mention today)…Amanda Pustz of Daily Duranie was born.  😀  Happy Birthday Amanda!!!

Let’s take a look at some special Amanda/Rhonda memories over the years, shall we?  In September of this year, I will mark 10 years as having known Amanda. Prior to our meeting in person at a DD fan convention, I did run into her posts from time to time on the DDF message board – but it was only after we met that I think she became more involved on the message boards and online communities for Duran Duran.  One might say that I was a bad influence.  However, I present the following as evidence in the contrary:

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Quick question: which one of us is holding the vodka bottle?

I thought so.

 

 

But…rather than embarrass Amanda (primarily because she will get me back in spades…and who really wants that?!?), I decided to pick out a few of my better memories with a few stories that go along with them:  (They aren’t in order. I’m not the organized one out of the two of us…)

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This is on Bourbon street in New Orleans. The date is right, so we were there for the Voodoo Festival Let’s see if anyone can guess what we’re yelling. (I’ll never tell…)

 

Below is from the same weekend. Club Ampersand – where a fan get together had been planned by DDM.  It was a fascinating beginning to the weekend, I must say.

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We made it to the star in LA and took photos. This isn’t just about it being Duran Duran, this is a memory that (for me) showcases how long we’ve worked together on our manuscript, this blog…and bigger dreams.

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Naturally, I can’t ever forget the trips we made to the UK. Who ever thought we’d go?? Twice?? In a single year?? Thankfully, I have a fantastic traveling partner.

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Success!!! This is a photo of us in Brighton Centre – I won’t ever forget that night, and I’m sure Amanda won’t either.

 

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And then there’s the night we finally found ourselves in front row!!

 

 

 

And lastly (for now), there’s Durandemonium. There is no way I would have ever attempted such a thing without her – and I can really say that had she not been there pulling me along – it likely wouldn’t have ever happened.  And now we’re planning another!

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We try to remind everyone that while the music is what brought us here, it really is the friendships that keep us coming back for more. Maybe I’m just a big sap, but as I was driving home in particularly nasty traffic last Friday afternoon, it occurred to me that if the band REALLY needs motivation to continue, or inspiration to write – they really need not look further than the real friendships that they, in an indirect sort of way, have helped to create.

Amanda, I hope you have a wonderful birthday – and next year, I hope we’re celebrating the release of some really fantastic music to add to the soundtrack of our friendship at the same time we’re celebrating your birthday!!!

-R

Careless Memories of a Mad World, LA style!

Yesterday afternoon, I packed up my Mad World book, picked up my own chauffeur from work (my husband!), some Daily Duranie wristbands (do you have yours yet?!?), my camera and made my way up to the Sunset Strip to one of my favorite bookstores: Book Soup!  My mission was to have my book signed by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein, authors of Mad World.  I’d never been to a book signing that had a DJ along for the ride, spinning tunes as we stood in line.  My husband Walt commented as we stood in line hearing Echo and The Bunnymen that it felt like we’d been propelled back in time to the early 80s. Observant, that husband of mine…. I loved the music, and yes, I did stay long enough to catch the familiar chords of Girls on Film flowing in the air.  But back to that signing…

Book Soup is not a huge bookstore. It is this fabulous, homey feeling bookstore in the heart of the Strip. Situated just up the street from the likes of the Key Club, Viper Room and The Whisky among others, it’s in an unlikely spot, which is very much part of it’s charm. It reminds me of the independent bookstores I’d find on the main street of Glendora or Covina – my home town(s).  Not only can one find books in Book Soup, but there’s vinyl as well – bonus!!

As I arrived last night and stepped into the store, there was no way you couldn’t be immediately swept away back to the 80’s. Kajagoogoo was playing, and no – I can’t listen to “Too Shy” without thinking of Nick Rhodes. I’m forever cursed. Thanks Nick. I wound my way to the line snaking around the perimeter of one side of the store, and as I stood in line, I dared myself to think back to what it was like listening to these songs in the 80s.  I was pretty young back then, and if I only knew where it all might lead me… (and if I could figure that out now, well, maybe I’d actually be making a decent living!!) I just remember a time when I could turn on the radio and song after song would carry me away from my teenage problems to a world of daydreams.  Nowadays I struggle to find a regular radio station that I can actually stand to listen to more than a song or two. The joys of aging, I suppose.

I looked up as I stood in line and caught the wandering eye of Lori Majewski,  as she glanced to see how far back the line began. She  waved. I started to wave back but then thought to myself, wait a minute. She couldn’t possibly recognize you, Rhonda. She doesn’t even KNOW you. Now you’re waving like an idiot. Awesome. So I looked around, only to find that no one else was looking up.  She was waving my way after all.  Great job, self-confidence.  *begin slow clap here*  I swear it was it was my own personal Ducky moment from Pretty in Pink.  (watch the end of the movie if you don’t know what I mean…and why on earth do you not know what I mean?!?)

As I recovered from that moment (there are just times when I’m glad the band ISN’T there, you know??), I saw Patty Palazzo walk past me – and so I did what any normal person might do any Duranie might do, I got out of line to go say hi! I’d never met Patty before, but I have exchanged emails a few times….and actually, we’d agreed to talk that night about setting up an interview for the blog!! (I’m so excited about this news that I might burst! No really. I just ate carrot cake. I might honestly burst.) I don’t know where my courage came from because I am really not this brave ever, but I walked up and said hello, and even dared to hug her.  *gasp* I don’t know WHERE that came from, because my friends – Rhonda is not a hugger. I like personal space. I am not touchy-feely.  But I hugged Patty last night, and I’m pretty sure I violated her personal space.  Maybe this is why I’ve never really gotten anywhere near the band…I’m a closet hugger!!! *gasp* This is really why I should never be allowed to go to events like this unattended. (meaning without Amanda) I even got Patty and a few new friends to wear our Daily Duranie wristbands! Amanda should be so proud…because I had those darn wristbands in my bag, and I kept thinking to myself: do I dare hand them out? Really? Should I? Will I look as super cool as I do right now if I hand them out?

(The answer is no. No Rhonda…you never looked super cool to begin with, so…you’re safe. Go with it.) So I did! Never mind that it took my darling husband three or four tries to get a decent photo…

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Before I knew it, we were up to the front and Jonathan Bernstein was doing everything possible to make sure I knew it was time to hand over my book. I was too mesmerized by the process to see that he was practically grabbing my book out of my hands. (so sorry!) The next thing I knew, I was being introduced to Lori Majewski by Patty, and we’d set up a time to get together for something I’m not going to talk about just yet…you’ll have to just watch this space! (Again, I’m really thinking I might burst. Remind me that carrot cake is never an acceptable breakfast substitute…)

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It’s blurry (sorry Jonathan…I hope your photographer was better than mine!)…but it is a very cool memory.  Admittedly I am fangirling just a bit over meeting Lori. Back in the day, before writing Mad World, before Teen People, she was the editor of a Duran fanzine. How cool is that?? I don’t know where in the hell I was back then, but I intend to ask her all about that…when we meet up for that thing I’m not going to talk about just yet!

If that weren’t enough, and it’s really not EVER enough (I believe there’s a John Taylor quote to be had somewhere in there), after I had my books signed I had the chance to run into Duranie friends.  I know that I’ve lamented here about how much I miss the band, and I do. Maybe that’s overly sentimental, but I miss seeing them play and I especially miss that sense of “one-ness” that we all feel with them when the show is going right. We’re all in that same place together feeling the same thing. It’s a remarkably cool feeling that I hope all fans get to experience at one time or another. However, it’s in moments like some that I had last night that I remember how much I miss my friends from afar. Friends from the UK, Europe, the midwest, east, northwest…southeast…I’ve been very lucky to have made real friends in a multitude of places, and last night I had just the smallest taste of getting to see some of them again. We don’t gather very often, and it was really nice to catch up with a few of them. Friendships are the one collective “thing” about being a Duranie I treasure most. Well, there is the music too…I mean, duh… (can’t really forget to mention the band, can I??), but I love seeing friends from all over.

The night ended relatively early for us, as we had to get back home, but it was really a great night and I’m glad I went to the signing. If you haven’t gotten your copy of Mad World yet, do yourself a favor and look for it on Amazon. I have read the entire thing once and am going back through it a second time.  Jonathan and Lori did a fantastic job interviewing all of the bands, and there is just so much information in there – things we never would have ever known about the music we grew up with.  It is genuinely worth the read.  You should see my book, I was telling Jonathan last night as we left that my book is all marked up, highlighted, red-lined, complete with notes in the margin!  (Note to self: next time, bring a book that is not already marked up with your notes in it…)

-R

 

 

 

John Frusciante and Duran Duran – a Red Hot Match up??

As many now know, it was announced last night that John Frusciante will be making a guest appearance on the next Duran Duran album.  News had initially been leaked early Monday morning (US time) through Guitar Magazine.  At that time, the news was largely dismissed as rumor, given that Duran Duran management (or as we lovingly refer to them – DDHQ) had not confirmed.

Let me kindly repost the statement, copied directly from Duranduran.com:

April 23rd, 2014

We were holding this exciting news because we were hoping to give you full details when we announced, but as word has leaked out, catching us rather off guard, we wanted to confirm… yes it’s true, the extraordinarily talented John Frusciante has indeed been doing some work from his home base in California on our new album. The tracks have been going back and forth via the internet, and we are thrilled with the results. We are all such big fans of John’s work and are honoured to have him adding his magic to the record! There are no current plans for John to tour with us, but his guitars sound incredible on the tracks.

Hoping to have more news for you soon.

– Simon, John, Nick & Roger”

Naturally, that news took many of us…many of us who are fans and supporters of Dom Brown, by surprise.  Would he appear on the album at all?  Would Dom tour with the band?  Thankfully, while I was in the midst of a book signing in LA (another blog, another time), @durantigger dared to ask the question to DDHQ and they responded quickly saying that Dom would appear on the album…and from what I know, he will also be touring.  

When news of John Frusciante guesting on the album first broke, I took to Spotify to really listen to his work.  I know the music of the Red Hot Chili Peppers , but had I really listened to the guitar enough to draw any sort of conclusion?  Probably not. Then I listened to John’s solo work from Enclosure, a very recently released album.  It is incredibly different from his work in Red Hot Chili Peppers. Truly, the styling could not be more different.  Clearly he is a very talented and versatile guitarist, but whether or not his work will properly mesh with that of the band is yet to be heard (by fans). It is clear that most fans are thrilled with the news, with very few dissenting opinions.  

As I type this, I know what many of our readers are waiting to read. They’re hoping for some drama, some reaction from me on a personal level.  The fact is, I can’t comment or react to something I haven’t heard.  I won’t comment on their choice to work with someone in addition to Dom Brown, because truthfully, it is not my band. I’m just a listener.  I don’t have any idea what the band is thinking.  I never do. I know that I’m ready for some new music, and I’m hoping that at some point before I lose my hearing to old age, we’ll get some. I know that the band threw out a years worth of material to start anew here, and that it’s all part of the creative process. I also know that before this process ends for them, it is entirely possible that they change their minds again and start over. You never know, and I’m just not going to react to something until I’ve heard it.  And then…you’ll get my opinion on whether or not this worked.

-R

 

Today in Duran History

On today’s date in 1993, Duran Duran played the Durban Expo Centre in Durban, South Africa.  This is not an area of the world where the band tours often…so I have to ask, did any of our readers attend??

Also on this date in 1984, The Reflex reached it’s peak of #1 in the US!!  Not too shabby for a little band from Birmingham….

Happy Monday, everyone!

-R

If Notorious and Big Thing Could Talk…

by C.K. Shortell

Sometimes, I think Duran Duran albums talk to each other. Specifically, they talk to their predecessor. I remember the first time I listened to The Wedding Album and hearing the line “You rescued me from liberty” in Love Voodoo, and wondering if I was reading too much into the lyric to wonder if Simon wasn’t taking a shot at the last album.  Or the beginning of “Hold Me,” when he starts with “This time…” — somehow I got into my head that “Hold Me” was one of the first songs written for Notorious and that line/ad lib was basically Simon’s way of expressing the uncharted territory the band was in, now down to a trio.  Additionally… all the lyrics to “Still Breathing,” which I took as a declaration against the previous lineup of the band. I can’t prove any of this, it’s just in my head when I listen to these songs and albums.

This topic circles in my head for a few reasons. First, we are between albums. Speculation abounds about the sound of DD14. We know the band never does the same thing twice. We also know that, on AYNIN, they finally felt comfortable “reclaiming” some of that old ground/sound. So what will happen on the next album? In what way will it be a reaction to what they did on AYNIN?

Additionally, Notorious, the album, has been in heavy circulation on my iPod for the last few months. I think there are a lot of parallels between Notorious and All You Need Is Now. Both feature very strong title tracks that will likely be a staple of the band’s live set as long as they continue to tour (I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to say that the song AYNIN will continue to be featured, but you never know).   Both were heavily anticipated after a pause in the band’s career in which it was uncertain what direction they would take. Both were heavily influenced/co-written by the album’s producer, and both featured a mix of guest musicians on other tracks (and in the case of Notorious, it remains the only Duran album that features the work of both Andy and Warren).

Why do I bring up these parallels? I am trying to draw conclusions about DD14, and I think we might gain insight by understanding the relationship between Notorious and its follow-up, Big Thing.

I’ve always viewed Notorious as being a very solid, “orderly” album, with perfect alignment between the A and B sides, the Hitchcock theme, and the neatly packaged video that tied back to the album artwork. Big Thing is the exact opposite. It’s noisy, disorganized, loud (at least the first half), moody (the second half) and unconventional. Notorious features a virtual all-star cast of guest musicians, including Nile Rodgers, Andy, Warren, and Steve Ferrone, not to mention the album cover featuring super model Christy Turlington. Big Thing boasts no such lineup—it is the truly the first (and ultimately only, as it would turn out) Taylor-Rhodes-LeBon collaboration, with Warren sprinkled in, albeit in a non-writing role.  On Notorious, the songs tend to follow the standard verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus/outro format, which the exception of Winter Marches On. On Big Thing, it’s the exception when a song follows that format. Notorious is defined by its title track; the song Big Thing mocks itself and the music industry in general, and is probably one of the more forgettable songs on the record.

When John, Nick, and Simon hosted an hour-long countdown of their favorite Duran videos on MTV in 1988, they commented that on Notorious, they were very polite to each other and trying to figure out how to function as a band. Not so during the Big Thing sessions, where “we were all screaming at each other.” This is not surprising. The trio had weathered the uncertainty of the Notorious era; they had put out an album and toured and had success despite the loss of Andy and Roger (of course, they were no longer the biggest band in the world, but at least they knew there was still an audience for their music, albeit a smaller one than before).

So, with that out of the way, they pushed themselves creatively on Big Thing. What resulted was an album of disparate sides: the first consisting mostly of noisy, dance “house” music, and the second slower, moody ballads. Side one featured the hit single “I Don’t Want Your Love,” that is possibly the band’s most underrated and forgotten hit (and one of my personal favorites), and the follow-up single “All She Wants Is” which didn’t chart as well, but did see a lot of club play. The B-side is built around the lush anthem “Land,” one of the longer Duran songs in the catalogue that clocks in at just over six minutes. Preceding it are the haunting “Do You Believe in Shame?” and airy “Palomino.” I remember first listening to Big Thing and strongly disliking the second side, and then about a week later I had a strange tune stuck in my head…and it turned out to be “Palomino.”

Conversely, I did love “Edge of America” the minute I heard it, and still do to this day. And I always have considered “Edge of America” and “Lake Shore Driving” to be one song, even if they have different titles and are on separate tracks. It’s an unconventional way to end Big Thing but it works, as the Nick’s synths and Warren’s guitar bring the proceedings full circle to how the album started.

There are many other details about Big Thing that we could cover (the two different producers, the controversy over the mixes of “Drug” that highly annoyed John, etc.) but those can be left to another blog. The question is, how can Big Thing’s differences from Notorious inform us as to DD14’s differences from AYNIN?

For starters, I suspect that there will be more of a balance between ballads and dance songs on DD14. AYNIN was heavily skewed toward upbeat music (much like Notorious) with several well-placed slower songs to even out the album’s pacing. I think it’s natural for the band to be inclined to write some more moody material after an album as upbeat as AYNIN.

And speaking of the band…by all accounts, it’s just them, just like it was on Big Thing. Or at least it’s more of “just them” than the AYNIN sessions, which included Mark Ronson, Ana Matronic, Kelis, Owen Pallett, and Nick Hodgson, as well as newscaster Nina Hossain. There was a report that Ronson worked with them initially but every quote I’ve read since indicates that it’s just the five (Rhonda says four…because we certainly don’t hear much of Dom being there lately. Just saying..) of them in the studio.

Is this a good thing or not? I think time will tell. Duran has made some tremendous music when they close ranks and keep it “in house”—see Big Thing and The Wedding Album and Astronaut, at least as originally conceived. But therein lies my concern: Duran Duran also seems to make ill advised decisions when there is no outside producer to referee things. (I’m convinced that Ronson or even Timbaland—yes, Timbaland—or any of us, for that matter—would have told them to keep “Beautiful Colours” and “Salt in the Rainbow” on the Astronaut album.  As it was, they went through three producers on that one.)

Do you think I’m reading too much into the relationship between Notorious and Big Thing to infer anything from AYNIN and DD14? And are you worried about the apparent lack of an outside producer tied to this project?

438d2-ckshortellC.K. Shortell is a lifelong Duran Duran fan who lives in the northeast with his wife and two sons, one of whom loves watching concert footage of the band.  When he’s not struggling to explain to a two year old why the guitarist always looks different or just what exactly Nick is doing, C.K. is constantly reminding co-workers and friends that the band never broke up.