By Nat Mingo
It’s Darkest before the Dawn
Paper Gods will turn five years old this September. We, fans, are on the verge of five years without new music. So, I’m unsurprised that it seems a little bleak in the Duran fandom now. We should be experts at waiting between albums. Years long interludes have always been part of the band’s creative process. I’ve read articles about musicians (young & old) facing the pressures from their labels demanding new chart busting music every year. This phenomenon is universal. Duran has the self-awareness to honor their creative endeavors with the gift of time. This tendency has been documented as the band has switched labels and sought new ways to release their music.
My perspective changed when I compared my career with Duran Duran’s career. Duran began releasing music in 1980. My career began in 1995. Although they started fifteen years before me, we are both veterans of our respective industries. We both continue to work in our fields. There are certain traits that must be used to reach this longevity. Let’s examine some of these traits.
Social media allows the band’s marketing team to release studio photos and monthly interviews. I enjoy the moments when the band reveals their creative process. As a listener/reader of such material, it’s obvious that the band creates music collaboratively. There was a time when Simon was the sole lyricist; now Nick will contribute as well. Roger and John openly speak about how they “groove” with each other and work to intertwine their efforts with Simon’s lyrics and Nick’s contributions. I’m in my twenty-fifth year working within my organization. I’ve attended meetings where someone else has made suggestions on how I should do my job. Anger has sparked within me (sometimes) before I can calmly articulate my process. I am the only one who knows the budget, the time frames, the other individuals, and must perform knowing these restraints. So, I can respect that Duran Duran knows their best working conditions, as I do, and they work accordingly. They can be unbothered with fan opinions.
2020 marks the band’s fortieth anniversary. The band just released a new shirt/hoodie line bearing an old lyric; this release sparked joy for some fans. Many of us are hopeful for more commemorative events. Pop Smoke, Lexii Alijai & Juice Wrld were all upcoming, young artists that died within the last three months. I think it’s wonderful that the band is still making music and I don’t take it for granted. Perhaps part of Duran’s longevity is because the band members know when to step back from creating music and touring. They are sons, husbands, fathers, father-in-laws and grandfathers. They have hobbies and friends. They vacation and spend time with loved ones. I have created boundaries with my job as well. I try not to check email over the weekends or when we have breaks. I communicate with my closest professional circle but I’m radio silent with others when it’s our downtime. I’m a daughter, sister, and Auntie. I have hobbies and friends. I vacation and spend time with my family. As humans, these private interludes can create a peace that will sustain you in the workplace. It’s healthy to nurture personal self-outside of professional self. When I take a day off from my job, they find a replacement. When the band takes time away from making music, we fans, will find and listen to different musicians. Music doesn’t stop.
Several fans have expressed how they enjoy interacting/viewing with the band post-concert. It may be sharing a bar with Simon, seeing Nick stroll through a hotel lobby, watching John collect luggage in an airport or waving at Roger as he enters an awaiting vehicle. I appreciate when fans share these moments through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These moments are precious because the band tours efficiently now. Many of us have Sing Blue Silver items that documented their tour life during that album cycle. Duran Duran now know when to fly in and out of a city, what types of interviews spark concert ticket sales, and what types of concerts generate the most income for themselves. I now know when I can stroll into work with a Starbucks coffee right before work commences. There are days when I’m at work long after hours. There are days when I leave soon after the closing bell. So, we can trust that the band are doing the necessary work now and will when the touring cycle begins again.
After examining the benefits of being a “veteran”, I’m more at relaxed with our (almost) five years wait. The band members have expressed a desire to release more music this year. I can trust their instincts. In the meanwhile, I plan to keep enjoying the other parts of my life and hope for new Duran adventures this year.
Walking in Peace with my headphones on,