Tag Archives: Duranies

The care and feeding of social media

I’ve blogged about the band and social media many, many times. I’ve had fans tell me that I’ve got it wrong – that we fans should be thrilled that Duran Duran are even on social media at all,  and that they really don’t need to do much of anything. They don’t need to respond, follow people, or even come online unless it’s to sell us something. The band already has a loyal, thriving and growing fan base and we should be happy with whatever they choose to do, right?

I’m thrilled to tell you that this is not that blog post again.  🙂

However, let’s pretend we’re not talking about Duran Duran. What if we’re talking about someone who might not have quite the fan base that the band has. What if it’s someone who is working to cultivate that type of loyalty? Would that change our thinking on how he/she should handle social media??

Let’s take two cases in point: Anna Ross and say…Dom Brown. Anna has been on Facebook now for a relatively short time, since June 5th, actually. She already has just over 4000 “likes” to her page, (4140, actually) which is pretty remarkable given the short length of time she’s been involved. Dom, on the other hand, also has about 4000 likes (just a little more than Anna at 4238), but he joined Facebook back in November of 2009.

The other day, Dom noticed that while he has over 7000 followers on Twitter, he has decidedly less on Facebook. Being the smart ass that I am – I chose to point out that he might do better if he took the time to respond once in a while. I figured he wouldn’t ever even take time to read comments, much less respond (which is exactly why I believe I said it in three places. I like pushing my luck.) Turns out, he did see and he did respond. After nearly choking from shock (it is apparently dangerous to eat while checking out Facebook or Twitter…), I responded with “Damn…you replied!”

Well, then. (as my friend Amanda might say.)

Going back to Anna Ross, if you’ve been following her at all on Facebook, she is the exact opposite of Dom. (Sorry Dom, I’m really not picking on you – I’m trying to help, I promise!) She is extremely social, asking her fans questions, asking for pictures of previous gigs she’s done for Duran Duran, responding to comments, and so forth. She’s spent quite a bit of time really engaging the Duran Duran fans she obviously knows we are, letting us talk all about the band and basically letting us get that out of our system before reminding us (very gently and kindly) that while she LOVES talking about them, she’s actually trying to sort this Facebook page out to be her own, to discuss her OWN projects. Fair enough, right?

Once upon a time, I lightly broached the subject of social media with Dom during an interview. I remember his answer: he didn’t mind it, but it wasn’t something he could get into a habit of doing for some reason.  I think, purely as an interested bystander, that much of the problem is not knowing what to talk about, or what to do. Women seem to love Facebook – it’s natural for us to chat with friends and know what to say, although I have plenty of guy friends that do very well with Facebook. I can’t decide how I feel about Twitter. On one hand I think that I see more men regularly participating – but I can’t tell if that’s just because of the group of people I follow or if that’s really the culture of Twitter. I think the less open-endedness of Twitter (merely posting status updates in 140 characters or less) probably helps.

So, after gently pointing out (along with others) that Dom should try talking WITH us, he agreed to start interacting. I don’t think he should be afraid to respond directly to people – most of us won’t bite. (I said most.) He also doesn’t to be a slave to social media. A few minutes at the end of the day, or even once a week to either ask a question of us or respond to a few things asked of him would be a great start. I think that in some ways, seeing how the band interacts with fans has not been a great learning tool. First off, they have “people” who handle the band’s Twitter, although John and Simon have their own accounts. Secondly, we must remember that the band has thousands upon thousands of fans. Twitter and Facebook aren’t going to be handled in the same way by the band as they need to be by those who are trying to grow a fan base. The loyalty and interest is already there for Duran Duran, whereas Dom and Anna are trying to not only create that sense of loyalty in their fans, they’re trying to create an interest for people to see that not only do they have a job to do for Duran Duran, but they have their own creative breadth of work.

I suppose the real test is whether or not Dom really keeps at it. I hope he does, and not just because he’s a favorite of mine. I’d like to see him succeed, and if I can help him – I will. I noticed that someone responded “We’ve heard that before” when he mentioned that he’d really try. Fair enough. I think it’s easy to just put social media on the back burner and pretend it doesn’t matter, especially if it doesn’t come naturally to you, or if you feel like you’re having to “come up” with things to say every day…which is what I suspect might be part of the case here.

On the other hand, I think Anna will not only keep at it – but she’ll continue to grow her fan base exponentially as a result, and we might hear an even larger applause for her each night of the next tour for Duran Duran. I know that even for myself, I didn’t know much about her until she joined Facebook. I had no idea that she was doing her own projects, and so I’m looking forward to hearing her own music, just as I do with Dom.

Like it or not, social media IS a habit that one has to get used to.  I think my advice, to Dom and others, is to just talk to us. Talk as if you’re talking to friends. 4000 of your good friends that, if given the opportunity, will bombard you with questions and ask you umpteen times if you’ll come play a blues show in Los Angeles, or if you’re still really involved on the next Duran Duran album.  I mean, there’s only 4000 of us, right? How bad could it possibly be???

All joking aside, it IS true. Social media isn’t difficult. It’s not rocket science. In order for it to be successful though, you DO have to be social. You can’t just post dates for gigs and maybe an occasional “this is what I’m doing right now” tweet every couple of months, and expect to cultivate a Facebook following. That just isn’t how it all works, but again – no one expects slavery to the system. Spend the time you can with us, and even an occasional “Hi, how are you?” is a genuine way to get to know the people who love your music enough to follow. I speak for all fans when I say that getting a response from someone I’ve seen onstage for years brings a smile to my face even when I’m having a really lousy day, and it makes me even more excited to buy the next album and go to the next shows.  It’s such a simple, yet effective thing.  Use it!

-R

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Today in Duran History – Blame the Machines!

On today’s date in 2010, Mark Ronson became the hero of all Duranies…very nearly our own patron saint! Why is that you ask?  Was this the date he began working with the band? (Nope!) Did they ever name him as the fifth member?? (No. No they did not.) No…Mark did something that will endear him to us forevermore.  He gave us the gift of playing 30 seconds of “Blame the Machines” during his show on East Village Radio.

Do you hear trumpets of triumph or angels singing…or is that just me?

I remember back when we used to get snippets…..*sigh*  In fact if the band wants to send us a gift of a snippet right now as you read this, I am safely out of town…probably without cell service because I’m camping. On vacation for the next several days, in fact.  I might never even know!!!  *gasp*

However, in case that never happens…we have the fond memory of Mark playing brand new, unreleased Duran Duran on his radio show. At least somebody was looking out for the fans….

-R

Today in Duran History – AOL & John Taylor

On today’s date in 1997, John Taylor held an AOL online chat.  Now, I am almost certain some of you readers had to have been present for that – so ‘fess up!

I can’t even imagine what that must have been like, both for John as well as the fans. I know from speaking with Patty Palazzo that at the time, John utilized a “grass roots” marketing approach to his solo career, which really worked. He connected with fans and used basic word of mouth to market himself – and while it’s true that a good many fans never bothered to expose themselves to his work, I’ve YET to run across a fan who was truly a part of that moment (going to shows, taking part on Trust the Process, and maybe even meeting John himself) that doesn’t look back on that time with extreme fondness.  Maybe it really isn’t just about the music.  Imagine that.

-R

Today in Duran History – Nagoya, Japan

On today’s date in 2003, Duran Duran played at Century Hall in Nagoya, Japan.  Fans will remember that these shows in Japan were the first shows of the band’s reunion, and this show at Century Hall was #3. Many fans and Duranies traveled from all over the world, including the US, to go to see these first shows with the Fab Five back together again.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any clips from this particular show (plenty from Budokan, though, which leads me to believe that: A. they were able to get cameras into the Budokan but not others. or B. They had finally recovered their senses enough from seeing the other shows that they could take video of this one!!)…but I do have the set list!

Friends of Mine
Hungry Like the Wolf
Planet Earth
Come Undone
What Happens Tomorrow
New Religion
Virus
White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)
(Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel cover)
Night Boat
Still Breathing
Is There Something I Should Know?
Save a Prayer
Ordinary World
A View to a Kill
(Reach Up for the) Sunrise
Notorious
The Wild Boys
Careless Memories
The Reflex

Encore:
Girls on Film
Rio

The Chauffeur – Warpaint (Making Patterns Rhyme Cover Album)

I love the days when Manimal releases a new song from the Making Patterns Rhyme album, because it’s like getting brand new music! Today is certainly no exception. I suspect that many fans will find this new single easy on the palate, and perhaps even something that they’ll add to their playlists.

When I first hit ‘play’, I won’t lie – at first I found myself the teensiest bit underwhelmed. It’s not that the song isn’t beautiful or that the vocals left me cold. I liked the sound, but I felt like they could have pushed that envelope a bit further. It sounded too much like what Duran Duran had done. I wanted more. I wanted to hear what Warpaint could really do with it on their own.

At this point – I might have shut the song off to write a short blog because I thought I’d gotten a good idea of what they’d done. This time though, I left the song playing as I went on to tackle the next morning task on my list. I’m glad I did, because as they say – “the best was yet to come”. The further it got into the song, the more that Warpaint played with the melody – not taking away from the original, but adding more to the sound. The vocals grew more haunting, more ethereal; the music more deconstructed, so to speak. They explored the sounds in a way that Duran Duran hadn’t, and I loved it! The last 30 seconds or so of the song are worth waiting for – and you’ll want to play the song over and over again because it really is that good. They took the beauty of the original and added their own color to the artistic palate.  Rather than just being comfortable with letting the original melody stand on it’s own, they explored a bit with the sound combinations, and in many ways – Warpaint improved upon the original. I suspect this one sentence may get me into trouble with my fellow Duranies, but it’s the truth – and it pays the highest compliment possible to Duran Duran.

Additionally, I’m taking a second to gush over the artwork that our very own Patty Palazzo has created for the project.  In each case, she has taken an image from the original song (most from videos, with the obvious exceptions of the songs that did not have videos) and updated it as the artwork for the cover version.  It’s kind of like taking a bit of the old to send off the new, and I love that simple, yet effective theme.  I really like the specific images Patty has chosen – they ‘re iconic for us, and explanative of the cover version as well.

Take a listen and let me know what you think! -R

Covers, Covers, we got your covers!!

Second “real” blog post in two days.  You’d think I was gearing back up for an album or something…

I think most Duranies are aware of the Making Patterns Rhyme tribute album that Manimal records is producing, and if you’re not familiar with the yet-to-be-released full album, surely you’ve heard Moby’s Rio and Belief’s Sound of Thunder.   If not – go check them out, the links are there for your convenience!

Yesterday, John Taylor asked DDHQ to ask about your favorite Duran Duran cover song.  I almost tweeted back that I was going to sit down with some popcorn and drinks, and let the games begin.  I knew that I’d be reading a litany of “You can’t do Duran Duran better than Duran Duran”, but I was curious to see what other answers might come up.

Personally, I haven’t paid a ton of attention to covers over the years. I knew they were out there – but I didn’t really care. I didn’t hate them, but I didn’t really feel the need to hear them, either. I was so busy just enjoying Duran Duran that I didn’t think I needed to pay attention. I knew Reel Big Fish had done Hungry Like the Wolf, and I remember Hole’s version on The Chauffeur…and I can’t really forget the medley of DD songs that Rockapella performed  (I have it on my iPad somewhere…), but I didn’t take the time to really search or listen beyond that.  Somehow, I suspect I’m not alone.

So, when John Taylor asked about our favorite covers yesterday, I really thought about the question, and more importantly, why he might be asking. There were definitely an overwhelming number of  those “it’s nothing if it’s not Duran Duran” type-replies, and I suspect that John knew he’d see that. So, why ask?  I’m sure he was curious what we have heard. After all, not every single Duran Duran cover has been promoted by the band. (and from the research I’ve done in the past couple of days, I can understand why…) I think asking that sort of question gives him a reasonable gauge of what we’ve exposed ourselves to hearing.  I also think he wanted to somehow indicate that while he appreciates loyalty to the band and all – he fully expects that we might occasionally hear, and enjoy a cover of their music…and that it’s OK.  Additionally, just talking about covers gets fans thinking about covers, and maybe, just maybe…it gets us listening and exposing our ears to what is out there.

My own response, and theory to what is going on here with the complete dismay, dislike, and venom (I could go on…) for the covers of Rio and Sound of Thunder (not as much so for the LUXXURY version of Girls on Film…) is that quite simply: I don’t think fans are used to hearing them much.  We haven’t taken the time to expose ourselves. It takes time to accept that it’s OK that it’s not Simon singing the vocals, John on bass, Nick…Roger…etc, and the only way you grow to accept it is to force yourself to keep listening.  Eventually you realize that no, the world does NOT come to an end because someone covered a Duran Duran song. Even better, you start recognizing that yes, there are people out there who have a tremendous gift and can continue to be creative with what is already an amazing song. Then the pendulum starts to swing to the point where you want to see just how far someone can go with the original song.  How far can it be taken before it’s not really Rio, or Hungry Like the Wolf or The Chauffeur?  Where are the boundaries?? Sure, this might not be the case for everyone, but I really kind of think it’s the case for many.  I know because I was there, and I’m betting I’m not alone. This was definitely me several years back.  I though I was being the good little fan by saying nothing was as good as the original.  I missed out on some really great music in the process.

I made the comment yesterday that part of the problem is that I don’t think fans have been exposed to many covers and that someone…maybe even a fan blog (because I’m a smart ass that way) should start posting some and getting people to listen.  I’ll say this much: after you hear some really bad covers, you start listening to the covers that might be way out there but still very creative much, much differently.  I can almost promise that.

So each week I’m going to take Wednesdays (since this is what day this is) and post some covers and a short little review of them.  It’s going to be YOUR job, as good readers, to listen and post whatever you think.  You are probably going to hate most of them at first. I get that. I’ll keep reminding you that they’re not as terrible (most of the time) as you think, and that no – Simon will not hate you for listening to them.  That I can pretty much promise.  Eventually you might just find something you like, and by that time, hopefully this damn #DD14 album will be READY TO PLAY!!!  (that was for you, John Taylor and Co….)  What I’m going to try to do is pick a song and then find a few covers of that song to post.  I might not ever find them all – in which case if you know of one to share, please do. Send a link, email us…and we’ll post it!

The question is where to begin. So this week let’s try Ordinary World. There are a TON of covers of this song, so I picked my favorites. If you have others that you want me to hear, send ’em!! Link is in the title:artist name. Short review is below each.

Ordinary World: Aurora

So this cover is different. The melody is definitely secondary to the rhythm track – in an attempt to make it danceable, and it has a much more atmospheric, spacey sound in parts. It’s also sped way, way up from the original.  That said, it’s completely recognizable…and the lead singer is apparently Robert Pattinson’s (of Twilight fame) older sister.  She has a beautiful voice.  Funny how I never thought much about females taking on Duran’s tunes before…but as you’re going to see over the next several weeks, MANY of the most beautiful covers out there are done by females!

Ordinary World: Gregorian

Very interesting, this Gregorian. (really…I’ve studied real Gregorian chant, and it’s not quite to that point) The music is somewhat subdued, and of course the voices are meant to stand out on their own.  For me, this doesn’t really quite do it…but you know, it IS beautiful in it’s own right. I just keep thinking it feels a bit too much like karaoke.

Ordinary World: Joy Williams

This is my favorite cover of this song (that I’ve found so far).  Haunting, emotional…it’s as though all of the sorrow that could be found in this song is packed into her vocals. No guitar, just piano…and it’s stunning in every single way.

Ordinary World: Red

Love the strings on this one and the additional synth sounds make it interesting and their own. The song is executed in much of the same style as Duran Duran, but it’s definitely their own spin on it musically with a little more of a rock anthem type of sound to it.

Ordinary World: Ainjel Emme

Another female artist.  This time, it’s just guitar and vocals.  Her vocals are stunning, and the guitar is acoustic – very pretty.  My only constructive criticism is that she does very little to make the song her own, and I’d like to hear what she could do to take the song to a different place.

Ordinary World: Rust

Wow. This is a much harder rock version. They kept the melody, the guitar solo…probably kept most of the synth that we know…and added a whole new element. Truthfully out of the covers I chose to include, this is probably the farthest from the original – but it’s interesting.  The hard rock gives the song a great gritty texture to it for those moments where I’m really just majorly pissed off AND sad at the same time!

That’s six different versions of Ordinary World. I know there are a ton more out there that I didn’t even include (I could be here for days…listening and writing away….), but it’s a start. Take a listen. Get your ears used to hearing other people performing Duran’s music. It won’t kill you. In fact, I think it broadens the horizons a bit.

-R

 

 

 

 

Never a Dull Moment – Simon’s Surprise May Katy Kafe!

I spied news that Simon decided it was time for an impromptu Katy Kafé yesterday, and I could have written right then exactly how it was going to go.  He had plenty to say, and Katy’s goal was to basically try and funnel the energy in the right direction.  I could hear the energy emanating from my computer speakers as he began the Kafe with all sorts of talk about pugs.  Yes, pugs…as in dogs. He goes on a full tangent coming up with every possible tagline for pug licking. Not that I wasn’t following along well, but I really wasn’t following.  Next time I’m going to need more caffeine before listening to a Kafe.  Or something.

As typical, I am going to attempt to decipher the news of the day. This is not going to be word for word, and as always – to really understand Simon, or at least so that you can be as thoroughly entertained as possible, you should get a DDM membership so that you can hear the Kafé in all of it’s glory. It was a very short Kafe, given that it was impromptu and all, nevertheless, we did get a scoop of sorts. No song titles, no snippets…but I think they might know just how long the album is going to be, and it sounds like they’ve settled on the tracks they’re going to use.

As of yesterday, it sounds like Simon would like the album to have eleven (11) tracks.  When asked why eleven, Simon said that it was because he couldn’t get it down to ten.  If only WordPress allowed emoticons…

At any rate, Simon then said that they could put out a 16 track album, but they’re not, and that sometimes less is really more.  I’ll be completely blunt: “more” for me at this point would mean getting us a song to hear soon, and then maybe spreading out the introduction of the entire album over the course of say…a few months.  How, you ask? Simple! By “releasing” a single song track a week or so, because it would create buzz and MORE buzz each time something was released and spread to the fan community and public over Twitter and Facebook. This isn’t a new idea, nor is it MY idea…but it’s a really good one. Rather than have two weeks, or even less, of a lot of “chatter” on social media, by slowing the release of the record to a song every week or so, you’re extending the life of the PR and social media chatter. Why? Each time something new is released, Duran Duran has the chance to be trending, and the music has an opportunity of being heard.  When you release everything all at once, really great songs get buried, and let’s be honest: people do not buy music by the album any longer.  Sales show that, and while I’m fully aware most Duran fans would buy the whole album – I hate to say it – we are not the the center of the universe.  Maybe the most important part, yes…. but surely not the center.  (That’s sarcasm)  Oh, and touring. Yes, “more” for me means touring.  Soon.  (I’m allowed to wish. I don’t care if the rest of you aren’t ready for them yet. I’m a fan, and I am ready!)

So what else did Simon say?  They were working in the studio with Mr. Hudson – and I believe that Simon and Katy spoke just yesterday so that means Mr. Hudson must be making a reasonably sized contribution to the album.  I can hardly wait to hear what they’ve

The reason for the impromptu Kafé was Simon wanted to share the events of the past couple of weeks with the fan community.  As we all know, Simon went to Ibiza last week to surprise Nile Rodgers at the IMS (International Music Summit) dinner. He presented Nile with the Legends award, and afterward jammed with Nona Hendryx, Nile Rodgers and George Clinton.

Then, a couple of nights ago he went and saw Caetano Veloso, one of the greatest Brazilian artists, at the Barbican Center.  Warren Cuccurullo turned him on to Brazilian music back in 1989 when they were staying in the South of France.

No song titles or other huge scoops…but it certainly sounds like they’re working, and with any luck the road to having a finished album before us is growing shorter!

-R

 

DD Tribute Album (Making Patterns Rhyme) Taster – Rio (Moby)

I have been sitting back and waiting patiently for the first single from Making Patterns Rhyme to emerge, and today we received a taster of Moby’s cover of “Rio”. It’s not the entire song, but it’s a minute and a half of something that is incredibly different from what fans know to be Rio, and for that, I need to applaud Moby.

Personally, I think the first clue that this cover was not going to be a rehash of “Rio” came from the fact that this is a COVER album. When I first heard of this tribute being created, I knew this would go one of two ways: either the songs would sound very similar to the originals  and fans would hate them…or they’d sound very different from the originals, and fans would hate them.  Why?

Well, that’s really the easy question to answer. The fans of which I am speaking (and they’re not difficult to find – just look at Duran Duran’s Facebook page today and find the post of Moby’s Rio cover.  Check out the comments. They’re scathing.) are diehard fans. To them, Rio is the Holy Grail. I knew this was going to be a hard sell for many a Duran fan out there, and while I can understand why – I think you have to go into each song (and no, you absolutely might not like them all, and that’s OK!) with a pretty clear head and heart. Listen to each song on it’s own merits – not those of Duran Duran. It isn’t easy to listen to a song that you have adored for thirty years be completely redone into something that isn’t automatically recognizable, and I understand how fans feel in that regard. The knee jerk reaction is to automatically say you can’t stand it, shut it off, and then listen to the original as some sort of “cleanse”. I’ve had those moments myself. Not necessarily for this particular cover…but for others, absolutely.

Maybe I’m crazy, but I don’t want to hear Moby be Duran Duran, because that’s just some sort of twisted karaoke. I want to hear Moby’s interpretation of Rio.

Moby’s version is nothing like the original, except in spirit, and I’m honestly a little surprised that fans can’t at least hear that. I would say that one need not look further for artistic inspiration than to the graphic design for the cover. (Beautifully created by none other than Patty Palazzo – and I mean it from the heart when I say it’s brilliant. That one image is exactly how I hear the song.) When I listen to the song, rather than the song actually reminding me of the way Duran Duran recorded the song, it reminds me of the ocean itself. I like that the cover is softer, dreamy…lazy like a summer day. Do I love it as much as the original? I have to be honest – for me it’s a completely different song altogether. It’s not really something I can compare. I can say though that I have played it more than once, and with each listen I like it more. I would have been very disappointed if it had sounded like the original, because that just isn’t the point of a cover at all.  (This reminds me of the discussion I saw among Tears for Fears fans when Lorde did a cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”.  Fans were ready to start burning effigies of her because she dared to try something new and made the song dark and haunting.)

I suspect that the intention with this tribute album was to have the artists completely reinterpret the originals, and I’m betting that Manimal Records doesn’t really care what the diehard Duranies really think of the finished product(s), nor should they. We’re not necessarily the audience they’re going after, and that’s OK. The trouble for fans is that it’s really not 1983 or 1984, and times have changed. If Moby came out with Rio, Karaoke style – who’d play it today? No one. So this is his 2014 interpretation. You don’t have to love it, hell…you don’t even have to like it, but you should at least respect the space from which it’s been done.

I did go through and read the comments on Facebook. As I said before, they’re scathing, and I have to wonder what people may have thought they were going to hear. I think some were aghast that someone would dare to cover a Duran Duran song to begin with, and plenty of others said that while they’re fans of Moby – they think this is terrible.

Wanna hear it for yourself?  Here ya go…the full version!

-R

 

Today in Duran History – Boca Raton, FL

On today’s date in 2008, Duran Duran played at the Mizner Park Amphitheater in Boca Raton, FL.

I decided that since this show was relatively recent (as opposed to say, back in the early 80s), I would attempt to find the set list.  Well, I did one better.  I found a review of the show AND the set list, which you can read for yourself here.   Happy reading!

Let me know what you think of the review, especially if you were there that night. Drop us a line in our comments below!

-R

May Katy Kafé with Nick Rhodes!

I have been waiting with trepidation since Katy Krassner excitedly tweeted yesterday that she was able to get Nick to give ONE incredible possible song title for this month’s Kafe.  This is huge, huge news that comes in the middle of a desert of very, very little in the past year or so.  We hear things every once in a bit, but this…this is solid, exciting news for #DD14.

As always, I took copious notes and gave the Kafe my rapt attention amongst getting my youngest ready for school, giving attention to my son – who is in the middle of major school projects and so forth. That said, I am pretty sure I missed things, and this is by no means going to be a word-for-word reiteration of the Kafe. I always, always recommend that you go straight to DDM to hear it for yourself, as these are just the highlights.

Album News:

Nick is in the studio today, working with Mr. Hudson.  They have already done two songs, and this would be the third.  As Nick put it – they finally “cracked the lyric on a ballad” (that is going to be central to this album) that they’d had on their plates for a year.  That should really tell all of us something – they are working HARD on this album.  He says that Mr. Hudson comes to them with great energy, lots of ideas, and that he has a great musical ear.  He is very diverse (as I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog that you can read here.) and he reminds me a bit of Mark.

Speaking of Mark, and I know plenty of you out there ARE wondering about his involvement on this album – he was with the band in the very beginning and then came back to the studio a couple of weeks ago to see how things were going. He did not, however, actually do any producing for them at the time – Nick was very careful to articulate that they WANT to work with him again, and are hoping to carve time out in July.  Mark is a busy guy though, and it’s tough to get on his schedule.  Katy asked Nick if anything from that initial work with Mark (at the beginning of the album process) has survived. Nick said that two songs have survived, and one of them is a piece that Mark worked on.  Again, this says they’ve really scrapped most of that early work entirely.  The process is an evolution, certainly. They went into this project wanting to reinvent a bit, reinvigorate…and that process took longer than usual.

The one point that Katy made is that we fans always think the albums come in Durantime (very true!)…but one thing that the band hasn’t really articulated before is that they try to let the album develop…develop it’s own personality, and sometimes that just takes time.  This is a band, as we well know, that wants to constantly cover new ground “sonically”. They don’t want to rehash the same thing over and over again.  Nick makes the point later in the Kafe that they never wanted the music to become cliché or do something completely formulaic.  In fact, the band’s “formula”, so to speak, is to smash it all and rebuild with each new album.  They try to keep some of the same elements that make up the “Duran Duran Sound” (Simon’s voice, for instance), but it’s a fine balance.  He continues by saying that back in the 80s, that they really didn’t have the luxury to sit back and allow the albums to develop themselves in the same way they did with this one – there was no time to just sit and think.  However, even though they take the time to explore and record more thoroughly nowadays, they also have to know when they’ve found what they’re looking for.  Since they’ve been working now for over thirty years, it is more of a challenge to find that unchartered territory – the areas that they want to explore.  They have to dig a little deeper to find it.  As Nick said, “more things have been said now”.  He uses synthesizers as an example.  Back then, synthesizers hadn’t been used all that often – so there was a ton of new real estate to seek out, but nowadays, there are entire albums written with just synthesizers and rhythm units.  Nick seemed very proud to say though that they’ve “seen the light” and that they seem to be through the tough part of the process, which is great to hear.  He also said that there are a couple things on this album that the band has never done before, which is very exciting to hear.

Basically, the very things that we love about this band – the risk taking, the fact that no two albums ever sound exactly the same, the innovation – those are the reasons why this album has taken so long, and in fairness to Nick (and the rest of the band), he openly admits it’s taken longer this time.  But I suppose we can forgive that, right??

So about that possible song title… Katy asked him if he’d throw us one, and at first Nick hedged, saying that he could get into trouble.  Katy reminded him that none of them listen to the Katy Kafés, and Nick said “Well, there is one early one…Valentine’s Stone.”

I’m just waiting for you all to catch your breath on that one.  Are we all good? Still with me here??

Nick says he’s not sure if that one will even be on the album – but it’s a title.  Naturally the first thing *I* thought of when hearing it was The Reflex.  Can’t help it, my head went there. You know…”dancing on the Valentine…”

I was so excited about getting that darn title yesterday. I’ve been chomping at the proverbial bit for months, hoping to get a teensy tidbit. Now we’ve got one, and I’m sitting here trying to think of something witty and thoughtful to say.  It’s just great to hear that we’re at the stage where we’re getting something of substance from that studio!

Diamond in the Mind Vinyl:

Nick is very proud of this vinyl. Like me, he feels that music is best heard on vinyl, and so they’ve wanted to put as much out on a vinyl version as possible.  This is the first live album they’ve produced on vinyl since Arena.  He is particularly proud of the artwork, which includes a diamond dusted cover.  This is very exciting and sounds like it is going to be stunning! They worked with Rory McCartney on this project, and I hear that there is soon to be a Fan Community (DDM) Q&A from Rory on the website soon…she said it was very creative!

Careless Memories photo book:

While the exhibit for this took place WAYYYYY back in November of last year, the book itself has taken longer than they’d hoped to complete.  Nick apologized to anyone who had ordered an advance copy, but the good news is that the finished product is being printed any day now and will be ready to ship SOON. They worked with John Warwicker, who was also the Creative Director for Astronaut – and the completed product is a sight to behold, according to Nick.  There are quotes from the band in the book, and MOST importantly (in my opinion), is that Andy IS included in the book.  He was included in the quotes, and I’m thrilled to be able to pass on that tidbit to all of you.  From the first moment of reading about this book coming to fruition, I felt that Andy should absolutely be involved. He was in the band at the time, and it would have been a mistake to not include him.  It’s great news that his memories are also to be found within the pages.

Birthdays and DD Appreciation day in August:

Nick’s birthday is June 8th, which falls on a Sunday this year. Apparently his idea of celebrating this year is going for a walk! He’s looking forward to a low key birthday this year…and even though Katy prompted him to “maybe get a twitter” for next year’s birthday, Nick said he was “Not going to promise that one, sorry!”  (I think we’ve got a ways to go before ever seeing Nick on Twitter, folks…)

Before parting ways, Katy commented that we’d hear from Nick in August for Duran Duran Appreciation Day and Nick mentioned that they had an offering for that special day.  Hmmm….talk about creating speculation, I wonder what THAT might be???

-R