It isn’t every day that I feel like I’m on the winning end of something, but today – or last night, rather, I did feel a little uplifted. Eagles of Death Metal returned to Paris, and I must admit it is one show that I wish I could have attended. I’m not even a EODM fan, but their cause matters to me because I love music.
Not all that long ago, I remember sitting at my computer. I’d just finished watching Duran Duran play at the Eiffel Tower, and I was monitoring Twitter while working on a project with my kids for school. I began seeing tweets about something going on in Paris, so I switched on the TV to CNN. It was then that I heard about the attacks at the soccer game and Bataclan, along with other restaurants in Paris. Naturally my thoughts went to Nick, John, Simon, Roger and Dom….which led to the longest half-hour (or so) of my life, as I waited to hear that all was fine. That was a terrible afternoon and evening, even after seeing that all members of Duran Duran were fine. Average, regular people – concert goers like myself or anyone reading, had just gone to see a band play, and didn’t go home.
That night sticks with me. Here I am, sitting at a computer about half the world away – nowhere near Le Bataclan or the terrorist shootings, and I still feel the pain. A certain part of my utopia was crushed that night, because when I go to a concert, I leave the world at the door. That is my time to reflect on nothing but the music, and like anyone else, I treasure that time. I am sure many, if not everyone in attendance to see EODM that night, feel similar.
Then there is EODM. I can’t fathom their pain, or their anxiety about playing live again. To be engrossed in a performance and then look up to see a massacre like that must have felt like something out of a horror movie. But it was of course, all too real. How does one go on from that? I don’t have any clue. But they did.
So last night in Paris, the band played on. There were 2,800 people gathered at The Olympia, including 900 survivors and family members from the attack, which killed 89 “friends of the band” in the club that night. There were counselors present, and from everything I’ve read, it wasn’t about sadness, but about moving on. During their first encore, they played their cover of Save a Prayer. I know that had I been there – it would have been impossible to remain stone-faced and dry-eyed.
It isn’t my interest to comment on gun control, or the laws of other nations on this blog. I leave that stuff at the door here just as I do when going to a concert. Jesse Hughes – the lead singer of EODM, said something that I think sums up my thoughts perfectly. “I don’t really care about guns,” he told CNN. “My weapon is a guitar.”
30th of December, 2015. We’ve got about a day and a half left in this year, give or take depending upon where you are in the world. Speaking for myself, I’m happy to see this one end. I have friends who look at New Years with some sort of wide-eyed optimism for possibilities, and I’m not sure I’m in that camp. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m looking for a do-over, but I do kind of think of January as a sort of reboot. It’s a good time to sort of purge the system, clean the slate, and start over. Before I move forward, I like to close out the year with a good look back.
This is always a sort of strange time of year for me because typically either I’m sick (as I am this year), or my kids are sick…or even the husband (I shudder to think). It all adds up to where I almost never leave the house for that week between Christmas and New Years, and it is typically right about now when I’m starting to get cabin fever….which I am. The idea of going out shopping sounds great in theory, but then I take a deep breath and realize that I shouldn’t be going anywhere just yet. And I’m exhausted just thinking about it…so instead I’ll try to recap some of my better moments of 2015. Granted, I have to actually try to remember all of last year. My memory seems to stop right at April 1st.
January 2015 Katy Kafe
The first thing that comes to mind is the January 2015 Katy Kafe with John Taylor. It isn’t often that I go back an re-read blogs, particular those that were written nearly a year ago…but in searching for something else, I re-read this one. I can remember writing it with absolutely no idea what Paper Gods, or as I fondly call it, #DD14, would have to offer. I wrote about how excited John seemed. How passionate he came across about the new music…and I clearly recall having a sense of real anticipation for the year ahead. It was a good, breakthrough moment to start the year, without a doubt.
“It’s like riding a bike, Rhonda – you don’t forget!” – Amanda (while we were trying to buy pre-sale tickets to the David Lynch Foundation show)
I remember the day that Duran Duran announced that they would appear and play at the David Lynch Foundation Gala at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. To begin with, I nearly choked on my coffee. I just wasn’t expecting that sort of news on that particular day. Then again, I must admit I’m almost never expecting show announcements and they always surprise me! I can remember sending texts to Amanda, full-well knowing she was in class, but I didn’t care. I even sent it with the “bat-code” for CHECK THIS RIGHT NOW. I also remember how overjoyed I was at the very idea that they were going to be coming to LA after so long. I always joke that getting show announcements feels similar to having been running through the desert and you finally see a drinking fountain or a swimming pool. Naturally, I blogged about the hilarity of the pre-sales being one hour after the band announced the date, which you can re-read here. (It’s even new if you haven’t read it before!)
Hearing a snippet of Pressure Off for the very first time
In all fairness, I can’t seem to remember when this happened. Was it before or after David Lynch? I’m thinking before. I know they had announced “Pressure Off” being the single by then, but even as I tried to search our archives, I couldn’t find mention of it. Probably because we were on Spring Break at the time. No matter, I remember listening/watching to a horribly distorted snippet of the song that one of the radio DJ’s who attended some sort of party that Warner put on up in Northern California – this was right after it was announced that DD had signed with Warner for this album. I must have watched that snippet (and searched for other longer versions) 50,000 times. I can remember listening quizzically – as though that single 30 second “snapshot” was going to give me all of the answers I was seeking about #DD14. The one thing I do remember feeling though, was hope. I liked the tiny bit I’d heard.
I know that not long after that snippet made its way through the internet, Roger commented in a Katy Kafe that he really didn’t like that it had been posted because the production couldn’t really be heard. Gotta tell you, Roger – with all due respect – it didn’t matter. Here’s the thing: and I’m speaking purely from the point of view as a fan – when fans find things like that online – just tiny little slices of new music and so forth, it’s really not about getting a full taste of the production quality. It’s about just hearing the tune, so to speak. I don’t think anyone truly watched that video with the idea that they’d judge the whole album by what was seen. It was more about satisfying the urge. Imagine being thirsty – I mean REALLY thirsty. You don’t sit down and think about what you want to drink. You just need some water, and you guzzle it. Quickly. And then you refill the glass.
The David Lynch Foundation Gala
We were expecting one song but ended up with three, and had a fantastic time with friends both old and new. One of the best nights I’d had in a very long time, and of course we tweeted, blogged, and Instagrammed our way through. Plenty of people chuckled at the idea that Amanda would travel all the way to California for a single song, and I say to them that they just don’t get it. The band was a great backdrop, and sure – they were definitely a motivating factor, but it still comes down to friendship. Amanda and I hadn’t seen one another since the previous summer, and it was time. There are also those photos with John, Dom & Simon, too. Of course then we wondered just how much longer it would be before we’d see them again.
Pre-Sales (for the US shows in the Fall)
Yes, I know…pre-sales are both the joy and stress of being a fan. That said, there was something that felt very good about getting online, blood surging through my clogged arteries as I had Amanda on speaker phone that morning in May, both of us working to get the best tickets possible for the shows coming up in October. It felt good. It felt right…and despite that moment when she couldn’t get the darn website to take her credit card expiration date…we survived….and to think we hadn’t even heard the entire album yet.
Listening to Paper Gods
It felt so good to finally have the album in my hand. I relished in taking the time to really look at the icons and the artwork. I read over the liner notes, and then played the album itself non-stop for weeks (from start to finish each time, thank you!). After three years, many of the songs being released early, it finally felt like we’d made it. I remember the exact moment I finally “got” the album – not just hearing it but actually GETTING it. I called Amanda, triumphantly acknowledging that the album wasn’t just about the BAND….it was about fans as well. The album, as a whole (not counting the bonus songs) very much listens as a musical journey throughout the band’s career. There’s a reason why Simon suggests we listen to the album as a whole, all the way through, at least once. Pure, unadulterated joy…and profound respect are feelings I can easily assign to Paper Gods.
The US Fall tour
Rather than just pick one show – I’m choosing to just say all of them. After three years, seeing the band was one of the best parts of this entire year. From standing there in second row center at the Hollywood Bowl to leaning my elbows on the stage at Agua Caliente – I don’t think I will ever be able to top those moments as a music lover. What more could I really ever ask for? I’m really not sure. I just know that the band exceeded my expectations, and whatever I enjoy from here on out is bonus.
There were so many other little moments I could have mentioned, but these were the big Duran Duran moments for me this year. I also want to make mention that while I didn’t include the moment I read that all of the band members were fine and safe after the Paris terrorist attacks – on a very personal level, I don’t think I’ve ever been so thankful. It didn’t seem right to include that in this list, nor did it seem right to include my pride in their decision to donate the their proceeds from EODM’s version of Save a Prayer to charity, but they are not forgotten. I will never forget that so many music lovers, like myself, did not come home from the simple act of going to a concert.
There are some Kafes that you know right away are going to go well because everyone is in the right mood…and there are the ones when Simon is clearly tired and not really into having it right way. Guess which category this one fit into???
As always, I listened carefully, tried to take notes (while not at all panicking about the amount of shopping, wrapping, cleaning and cooking I still need to do here before Thursday….), and compiled it all into the highlights, written here for your pleasure. Enjoy!
I don’t know about everyone else, but by the time we’re in December, I’ve forgotten what the band did back in January or February. Turns out, they’ve done a lot this year. (Never mind putting out that little Paper Gods album…) Katy talks about the UK tour with Simon as he explains that he’s a “bit knackered”, but says that each show the UK tour got better and better, and then he mentions how the tour ended with a very small show for Warner in front of about 120 people in a small pub. Katy makes the point that the two experiences – the War Child show (I’d completely forgotten about this, and it feels so long ago now that I’d truly thought it happened LAST year. Then again, their performance for the Lynch Foundation feels like a lifetime ago and that happened in April. Maybe it’s just me!) and the pub were like two bookends for all of the great shows, appearances, etc that happened in between. Not sure if Simon really caught on to what she was saying but…I got it, Katy!
Favorite Album of 2015
After a brief discussion, Simon settles on Tame Impala. The funny thing is that the cover Simon describes (because he can’t remember the name) is a “funny green cover.” The only thing coming close to that is their live versions album, made in 2014. I have no idea if this is what he meant – or if he’s confusing album covers, or if he really means Currents from this year. Who knows?!? (Listen people, I try…..)
Favorite Movie of 2015
Continuing on this theme…Simon’s favorite movie of 2015 is Whiplash, which actually came out in 2014. Simon doesn’t care though, because his attitude is that it’s the favorite movie he’s seen THIS year. Good on you, Simon!
As a side note – Simon and Yasmin will be celebrating their 30th anniversary on the 27th. Happy Anniversary!!
Favorite Book of 2015
Simon had absolutely no trouble answering this one, saying that Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James was by far his favorite book of the year. At 800 pages, it’s no short story, and Simon decided to listen to the audiobook of this one. Each section of the book is written from a different prospective – in a different characters voice – so the audiobook really brought that to light.
Favorite Television of 2015
Simon mentions a few: True Detectives (with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson), Broadchurch (UK show) and the second season of Fargo.
Favorite Moment(s) of 2015
His favorite show (or part thereof) was walking out on to the stage at Red Rocks. He speaks of how this was like a spaceship and the beginning of the whole thing for them. Then he mentions a few other moments, such as playing at the Ambassador’s mansion in the UK, the FOLD festival, having Nile come out on stage at the Hollywood Bowl, and Lindsay Lohan at the O2, calling the year “incredible” and “Busy! Very, very busy!” They talk a little bit about the upcoming shows for 2016, including the two legs of US dates and how he doesn’t get into planning the tour itself, that his job is just to show up and get onstage…but that Nick is a “micromanager” (those are HIS WORDS, not mine!) and that he likes to get into planning where and when the dates happen.
(so apparently Amanda and I have Nick to thank for having the dates work so perfectly with our schedules. Amazing. And now we just need to sell some major organs so that we’re able to get to at least some of the dates!! 😀)
The Kafe wrapped up with Simon’s hopes for 2016. He is hoping for some world stability, and then mentioned that they are taking the proceeds from the Eagles of Death Metal version of Save a Prayer and creating some sort of foundation with EODM that works for tolerance and peace through music. It sounds like a lovely way to make something positive come out of something absolutely terrible. The Kafe ended on a much more energetic note than it began, and was a great wrap-up of a very busy year
Don’t tell Simon I told you, but he’s a fan of socks and underpants as Christmas gifts. (he may have also mentioned chocolates, cigars, wine and beer!)
Today is December 3rd. I don’t know what happened, but I missed the posting of the November 2015 Katy Kafe. I’m expecting a pink slip at any point from Amanda…but until then….enjoy the highlights!!
(Remember, this isn’t word for word. I’m lucky if I even got quotes right this time because I was lightning fast with my writing. If you want to hear the whole thing, cough up your $35.00 and join the paid fan community at DDM!!)
Keeping in mind that this Kafe is from November 18th, it is no surprise that Katy opened with the subject of Le Bataclan and Eagles of Death Metal in Paris. Katy describes the gig as sacred space – which is completely accurate, in my mind. That’s exactly how I (and many music fans) feel about the concert experience. Real life, politics, etc should stay on the outside of those walls. John talks about how it “broke a boundary.” I couldn’t agree more. He continues by saying, “We really love those guys. We wouldn’t wish this on anyone.” (I appreciated that John said he didn’t feel especially equipped to really say much about the events in question because, let’s face it, how many of us really DO feel equipped? I’m still trying to process Paris, along with the atrocity that my community is digesting from yesterday. I grew up near San Bernardino, and I currently live about 30 miles from there. To say it is unreal would be an understatement. John’s humanity is genuine, and I think most fans are drawn to that about this band in general.) The subject of “Save a Prayer” is brought up, as it was the last song that Jesse Hughes’ girlfriend put up on Periscope of the show – and John admits that being tied to the horror of what happened that night in such a way feels weird. He expands by saying that the idea of a song being reinvigorated by a newer band is something any band would want, but having it happen in this way, in this sense, is not what they were thinking. He feels it’s important for Eagles of Death Metal to continue and that this is an opportunity for them to be a force of positivity. I think that’s something we can all agree on. I hope they can find the strength and courage to continue because this tragedy happened TO them in a way it didn’t happen to U2, or Duran Duran, or anyone else for that matter. Their voice is an important call to action for the rest of us who very much love music and feel, rightly so, that a sacred space (to use Katy’s words) was breached that night – and we’re not going to let it consume us. Instead, we are going to let that act give us energy and power to keep going (anytime the Eagles of Death Metal are ready to get started – I’m ready to applaud them right here on this blog).
At the time of the Kafe, the band hadn’t yet began their tour, but Seal had just been announced as one of the opening acts (The Bloom Twins being the other). John explains that they first played a gig with Seal at the KROQ Acoustic Christmas in 1992. He calls Seal “a class act”. He continues on by saying that they first caught on to the idea when Nile toured with him this past October in the US. The idea that Nile had hit songs wasn’t lost on John, as he described the experience as being an “eye opener.” (Having been at a few of those shows, I have to chime in and say that while I really didn’t give much thought to the idea that Nile had hits – of course he does!! – the fact is, Nile Rodgers is a legend and to see Chic live was a dream come true for me and likely many others. Who didn’t come away from their sets on cloud nine and totally ready for Duran? In the sense that an opening act is supposed to warm up the crowd – I think Chic and Nile did that in spades.)
US Tour (October)
In a word, John called them “AMAZING”. He said that they were among their best shows ever with some of the best crowds. He admits that it had been a few years (Entirely too long, I might add!!!) and they weren’t sure what kind of reception they’d get. (I am always surprised when they say this because what did they really think? Did they really think that only 20 of us would show and throw things at them?? Never!) He talks about the “love in the room” – of which yes, there was a lot of that. John also says that he felt a change from the last tour, that it felt different – but it was “all great”, adding that Nile seemed to set the tone and that each show left them satisfied. (The fans though? We’re never satisfied for long, are we??)
What will 2016 bring? Well, John was quick to make my entire week by saying that they are working on an American tour that looks (keep in mind this was recorded on November 18 and things may have changed in the past two weeks!!) like it will happen in two parts: an indoor section that will be happening in the spring (define spring for me, John.) and an outdoor section in August. (I am sweating just thinking about where they might play….) He continues to make me bounce in my chair by saying the words, “we are keen to get these on sale, so an announcement should come shortly!” I know that there are many of you out there groaning at the very thought that the band would return to America – so let me assure you he also mentioned Europe and naturally Italy for the summer, they want to go back to Japan, and of course Australia and South America, too. Katy asks specifically about India as it was somewhere Nick had mentioned, but John seemed iffy at best as to whether playing there was a possibility. So, Santa might be bringing all of us a list of tour dates….and pre-sales…this holiday season. Ho ho ho….
Goals for Paper Gods
Katy brings up an interview that John did for press in Liverpool where he mentioned that their first goal with the album was to hit the bullseye with fans. She mentions that it would seem that it’s spreading beyond that bullseye now. John says that they “set a high bar” with the album, noting that bands don’t spend two years recording to “put something out and just see what happens.”
JT doesn’t want to say what his goals are for the album, but that they all have “big dreams for it.” Round one was to get the fans to really love it. He recalls getting a text from Katy on the day that they released What Are the Chances (I want to clarify that while it wasn’t completely clear in the Kafe – I believe he’s meaning the day that we first heard WATC, prior to the release of the album, and NOT when they announced it would be the next single.). She apparently had told JT that fans were going nuts for the song and that it “hit fans right between the eyes.” John says that he sat back and just said a triumphant “YES!”
The goal now is to broaden that appeal, which takes time and getting exposure in ways they might not think. He and the other members of Duran Duran very much want to get this album heard by the people. “The Pressure Off experiment has run its course, and we’re happy with how it’s done but Round two is seeing where What Are the Chances takes us.” (I wish someone would ask the band about radio. I have NEVER heard Pressure Off or What Are the Chances” on regular old land-based radio…and I struggle with understanding how important, or not important, getting it heard on the radio really is. Things have obviously changed since I was a kid! Should I worry that I never hear it? Fans like myself whisper about this from time to time in emails and I see it brought up on Twitter, but I really never know what to say. Does it matter, and if it doesn’t – how else does a band go about getting exposure these days? Print and TV media can’t seriously be the end all, can it??)
John then launches into a story that I think is worth including because, to be fair – is exactly how I felt when I first saw Paper Gods on iTunes. He explains that when the album came out, he was shocked to see it classified as pop, saying that he hadn’t felt like he’d been a pop musician in the past 25 years or so. He took a look at the other artists in that category – none of them were much over the age of 25 or so – and he wondered how they’d ever be able to compete with those kids. John uses the word “fucked”, which is more than appropriate and I concur!! He specifically mentions Ariana Grande, for instance, saying that he felt they’d made a very progressive record he very much hopes to get heard by the masses – but probably NOT by listeners of Ariana Grande. (It is in this particular moment when I feel both complete dismay AND vindication to some extent. It wasn’t just me who was completely confused by Paper Gods being classified as Pop, and I wasn’t the only one thinking that there was no way they could ever compete with the likes of Justin Bieber…and honestly, would they even WANT to??? I love Duran Duran, obviously…but be honest here…no kid who listens to Justin or Ariana is likely to give Duran Duran a chance, primarily because it is THEIR PARENTS who grew up with the band.) So the question becomes – how will it all pan out? Katy assures him that it has gotten fantastic reviews and that it’s particularly gratifying to her to see the great reception, and that it’s genuine. He and Katy are both right about one thing: fans love this album. We’ll fight to the death for it. We soldier on. The album, and most certainly this band, is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears (and there have been plenty!) we can muster.
I know it’s been a few days since it was announced, but I had to comment on the GOOD that came out of the campaign to get the Eagles of Death Metal’s version of Save a Prayer to number one in the UK. The results were tweeted out on Friday afternoon, and while the song missed the mark in the UK – it went straight to number one in several other areas of the world, which was wonderful to see.
I know that I tweeted out the link several times, wrote a blog or two about it, and just enjoyed the feeling of goodness that washed over me while doing it. Focusing on something else other than the evil and anxiety that seems to dominate the news these days was a welcome relief. Rather than continuing to feel pretty damn helpless over what might happen next, I guess I centered my thinking on living. On music. On Save a Prayer. Felt appropriate given the people who were in the Bataclan that night, just LIVING.
I suppose one could look at the charts and think it was a colossal failure, at least in the UK where the actual campaign to get Save a Prayer on the charts took place. The US looks pretty dismal too, sitting at #220. I don’t really see it that way, though. Two bands came together over a single cause. Save a Prayer – a song that is imprinted the souls of most of us who grew up being fans of Duran Duran has now come to mean something far bigger. All due to a single person deciding to make the music matter more than the evil that dared to destroy it. One Facebook page, one Twitter account, inspired countless people to put down whatever it was they were doing at the time and buy a song. I can’t call that a failure, no matter what the numbers say.
Every once in a while I get a glimpse of what magic can happen when people are pushed to the brink and realize that the only real way out is to work together. JM – the person behind Eagles of Death Metal for No.1 on Facebook, inspired an incredible amount of people this past week. That’s the real “win”, and in my mind there are no failures or shame in what was accomplished. Well done.
I will echo JM’s sentiments: to those who went out that night in Paris to have a good time and never came home. I will continue keep those people and their loved ones in my thoughts.
In my 45 years on this planet, I’ve become quite the cynic. Though, I don’t think I’ve ever been characterized as an optimist, to be fair, It is also true to say I tend to think the worst of situations (and people) as a knee jerk reaction a lot of the time. Seems silly to apologize for something that is as integral to who I am as my love for music, so I’ll just admit it’s something I continue to work on (and I often fail). However, even cynical-old-me takes notice of what happens every single time we find ourselves climbing out of the darkness of whatever tragedy has hit most recently. I’m writing of those tiny glimmers of good or the shining moments that tend to remind us that not everyone is bad, the world isn’t a horrible place, and yes, there might just be some hope left.
This week, I’ve taken notice of quite a few of these posts on Twitter and Facebook:
The funny thing is that I remember seeing a tweet from Dom a couple of weeks ago as Duran Duran was about to perform on TFI Friday Live. He tweeted they were about to perform with Eagles of Death Metal and Josh Homme (Who, at least at one point in time not that long ago, was one of Dom’s favorite guitarists). Dom went on to say that EODM had done a “great cover of Save a Prayer recently.” I kept that in the back of my mind as I went about my day and later watched the performance, which I enjoyed. I made a mental note to download their album (EODM) later when I had a chance. I didn’t think much more of it until last Friday of course, and we all know how irony works…
Once again, even through all of this pain and anxiety many of us are feeling, music works to bring people together. That feeling is pure, and it feels good to buy a song that somehow has just a little bit more meaning today than it might have two weeks ago. I also kind of feel as though the two bands: Eagles of Death Metal and Duran Duran, have a bit of a kinship now.
Quite noticeably, Duran Duran very quickly began promoting the efforts to get the Eagles of Death Metal cover of Save a Prayer to number one on their own social media. I know there were many that pointed out, almost immediately, that Duran Duran stood to gain the most out of this campaign. Yes, I’ll admit the thought crossed my mind as well. I pushed the thought aside and chose to wait and see how Duran Duran might respond. It is sometimes easy for the cynic in me to assume that it’s all about the money. On this one occasion, I wanted to believe there was more than just a few bucks (or quid as the case may be) on the line. I’m glad I waited.
Even as I’d cast aside the niggling little thoughts in my head about who really stood to profit from this venture – I felt that even IF Duran Duran profited in the end, there was still a lot to be said for this campaign to get Save a Prayer to number one. I don’t know how to express succinctly it in words except to write that at least for me, it was about more than just the song. More than just Duran Duran, and more than just the Eagles of Death Metal. I guess that for me, it was about people from all over taking what was truly a horrible nightmare that I can’t even begin to imagine, working through pain, sorrow, loss and who knows what else – and using that energy to do something good.
Can any of us really imagine what it must have been like to be the band (EODM) that night, up on the stage at the Bataclan? I’ve thought about that a lot. There they were, experiencing so much joy in one moment, and complete horror in the next. The band even lost their merchandise manager that night. No, it wasn’t one of the band members (thank goodness), but Nick Alexander was someone’s child, someone’s boyfriend, and the friend of many. I can’t even begin to know how those people must feel. So their fans took Save a Prayer to heart. It has become a sort of “you can wound us but you will not destroy us” type of anthem for them. They’ve vigorously campaigned on social media for people all over the world to buy it to show support. I don’t know, maybe I’m really living in Fantasyland, but for me, the positive energy speaks volumes. This coming from me, the cynic, no less.
It wasn’t long of course before Simon himself addressed the niggling concerns of profits from downloads of Eagles of Death Metal’s Save a Prayer, saying that the band would donate their profits to charity. As of this writing, Duran Duran hasn’t determined what that charity will be, only that they are considering those that are “peaceful, effective, and unifying.” As a fan, I can’t really ask for more than that. Maybe others disagree, but I still believe the good that the cause itself is doing (unifying music lovers from both bands at this point and getting our minds on something good coming out of the sadness and shock from last week that seems to grow worse with each passing day) is far greater than whatever concerns might be had about who really stands to gain.
For the record, I did buy the cover, as well as the album. I don’t live in the UK, and obviously the sale doesn’t count for the UK charts as result, but that really isn’t the point for me. For one, I think the Eagles of Death Metal did a great job on the song. Secondly, Dom did a good job of pointing it out because I wouldn’t have known about the cover otherwise. (and quite frankly the man has great taste in music which is why I bought their album and might even go back for more.) Thirdly, I wanted to make some show of support, somehow.
I don’t know how to explain it, but I feel so far away from my friends right now. Here I am, in sunny Southern California with a population of “ridiculous”, and yet I feel really alone, particularly when it comes to my fandom. I guess buying the song, at least for me, made me feel just a tiny bit closer to people I love and care about. The rest of the states, the UK, South America – there are a lot of people I wish I could hug right now. Silly? Maybe. I guess there IS still a bit of sap and kindness left in my hard heart. Dammit!! No matter, I want to encourage everyone to buy it. I believe the song is only $1.29 here in the states, it definitely doesn’t suck, and you know – let’s just make something good come out of this disgusting, appalling, tragedy. So it might not hit the charts here in the states, that’s really beyond the point for me personally. I don’t know about anyone else, but every single morning it feels like the news just gets worse and worse, and it’s time to let a little light come out of the darkness, you know?
I just wanted to say publicly how much I value Simon, and Duran Duran of course, choosing to address both the social media campaign and the concerns about who would really stand to gain. I love Duran Duran. I am incredibly proud to be a fan, and I didn’t really think I could possibly love them more than I did last week or last month. It turns out, I was wrong.
I think I’ve been watching the news non-stop since Friday afternoon. I’m a news-junkie to begin with, but this weekend I haven’t been far from the TV or my phone, as I monitor news from Paris.
I am still wrestling with what happened on Friday and how. I remember half-listening to the TV as I worked on a display for a history festival at my kids’ school on Tuesday. (I am actually using my gemology degree to teach kids!) All of the sudden, the news broke in regarding Paris and I walked to the center of our living room so I could better hear what was going on. Of course, the very first thoughts that went through my mind were:
Duran Duran just performed in Paris.
I need to get in touch with Amanda.
Please let it be that the band has already left Paris.
It seemed with every passing second, my stomach sunk lower and lower. Talk of a bomb at a football game, a hostage situation at a concert, gunfire at restaurants and bars. All in Paris, and nothing from DDHQ to indicate whether the band was still in the city. In between frantic texts with Amanda, I tried telling myself that of course the band was gone, that there’s no way they could be anywhere near all of this. I tweeted Dom and DDHQ – as if they were actually going to answer me. (because seriously, who in the hell cares? I’m just another fan…but I had to at least try.)
Of course, we all know how it ended. Dom did tweet, to which I responded telling him that I’d hug both him and Martha if I could. As relieved as I still am, I can’t get the idea of those people being gunned down in the Bataclan out of my head, no matter how hard I try. The attacks in Paris, Beirut, and the hundreds of places it has occurred over the years are all horrific and have left their mark on me as a human, but the Bataclan sticks out for me because going to a concert is something many if not all of us have done. Just another night out, just another gig. Except of course it wasn’t.
I highly doubt I’m alone in saying that I think a lot about those people in that theater. It’s not as though I was even there that night. I was thousands of miles away, here in my own home. I’ve never seen the Eagles of Death Metal live. I don’t really know their music that well, but I still identify with those concert goers. I love music. I live for live shows. I don’t care what kind of music it is – classical or rock, jazz or blues – something magical happens when you watch a musician play, and I live for that.
When I sit and think about how I feel when I’m at a show, the word that comes to mind is “free”. I’ve written that I feel most like myself at a Duran show. It’s the one place I can leave reality behind for two hours, and just enjoy myself. I treasure that time. I give up a lot in order to have that time. I’m sure the people in attendance on Friday night in Paris felt similar. I don’t think the choice to attack that theater was pure coincidence or random – the terrorists struck where people were just doing normal things. It’s hard to get that thought out of my head – that this could happen anytime, anywhere. No warning.
I live in earthquake country, and as a result, I’ve been through a few during my life. Everyone who is not from California likes to tell me that they could “never live here” because the quakes are random and come without warning. This is true. I used to be so afraid of them when I was little that I wouldn’t/couldn’t sleep at night, and my dad would patiently sit with me and give the same speech over and over, “We can’t live in fear of them, Rhonda. You have to just go about your day because you can’t fear for things you don’t know are ever going to come – you’ll waste your whole life worrying.” He was right, of course. I’m still a worrier, and things still do not roll off my back, but he was right and I still hear his voice in my head telling me that I’m going to worry my life away.
During the last few days, I’ve seen the reports of U2 having to cancel their show in Paris, and the Foo Fighters canceling their tour. I saw Madonna stop her entire concert one night to say a few words about the attacks in Paris and specifically about the Bataclan. It would be a mistake to assume that just because we may not be fans of Eagles of Death Metal or since we were not personally there that night that this attack didn’t affect each and every one of us. Of course it did. We’re music fans. We are people. John Taylor himself once said that concerts are like group therapy sessions (I am paraphrasing from a sound byte many years ago). Music heals, and yet on Friday night – that is exactly the opposite of what happened to those people in that venue. But we cannot let evil win. We cannot live in fear.
I’m still struggling. There’s a part of me that very much wishes I were going to the Duran Duran shows in the UK just so I could see the band in person, for myself, and feel good that they’re OK. Then there’s another part of me that wants to keep my children here at home with me and never leave the house again. Fear can be pretty powerful. Last night my husband and I made last-minute plans to go to Vegas next week for a few nights. It’s a long, crazy story (aren’t they all?), but we’re going. I’ve been wanting to see the Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil show for years now – but every time we’ve gone, I’ve either been denied due to timing or circumstance. So last night, I bought tickets. Just before I hit the “buy now” button, I paused. Did I want to risk being in a big crowd right now, and for that matter – is it safe going to Vegas at all? I heard my dad’s booming voice in my head telling me to knock it off, stop worrying, and go.
Yesterday, Duran Duran played in Paris. They were there for the 24 Hours of Reality and Live Earth: The World Is Watching global event to draw attention to the issue of climate change. They played one song, shown below, around 6 pm local time.
I thought it was a fitting choice, at the time, to draw attention to the song (assuming it really is the next single off their album, Paper Gods) and because the lyrics seemed fitting. We should not take the planet for granted. I like that.
In a few hours time, though, the song and their presence there took on a whole new meaning as terrorism ripped through the city, killing well over a hundred people and injuring many more, leaving a city, a nation and a world in shock. When Rhonda texted me to alert me of the news, it did not take long for me to connect the dots. Terrorism in Paris? Duran Duran was in Paris! My first thought turned to the band and their safety. Many Duranies on social media echoed my thoughts and my fear. The hours of not knowing seemed an eternity as Rhonda passed information on through text messages as I tried to pay attention in my meetings at work. I kept wondering if it was better for me to be busy, to be unable to turn to the 24 hour news cycle or if it would be better if I could attempt to gleam some nugget of news to reassure myself that it wasn’t as bad as it sounded. Thankfully, at about 5:30 my time, Dom tweeted that he had safely returned to London and he believed all of Duran was safe. Soon after that, DDHQ sent a tweet stating, “All safe.” Despite being surrounded by colleagues, I couldn’t stop myself from letting out a few tears.
Not surprisingly, after leaving my colleagues, the first phone call I made was to Rhonda. We had been sending text messages back and forth but it wasn’t the same as hearing her voice. Of course, being together in person, would have been better but we did what we could to at least offer comfort to the other and send our love. After all, times like these, is when you are reminded not to take your loved ones for granted. We both recognized that we could have lost any or all of the band and their crew. It could have been them playing the concert in which terrorists entered the venue, took hostages and killed many as opposed to the band, Eagles of Death Metal. It could have been our fan base getting conflicting reports about whether or not the band members were present and accounted for. It could have been friends of ours at that concert hall. It could have been us. My heart goes out to Eagles of Death Metal, including the band, their crew, their families and their fans. I know that Duran is thinking about them, especially since they had recently seen and performed Save a Prayer together on the show, TFI Friday, as EODM had covered the song previously.
As I sit in my living room on the morning after, I find myself thinking about the lyrics to What Are the Chances and how those lyrics were more than fitting yesterday and not just because of climate change and the health of the planet. Like the song says, “The world does not explain” and “We are lost in the flow and looking for answers”. Those lines ring true today in a way that they didn’t yesterday at this time. We don’t really have good answers and we are looking for them, for an explanation. What we do know is that we can’t take anything or anyone for granted. This past week really taught me this from having this VERY close call for a band that has such a large hold of my heart. This past week also saw my beloved mother finish the last of her treatments for breast cancer after suffering through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I hope it was just a very close call for her, too, and that through her fighting, she defeated cancer once and for all.
Thus, on a day like today, when the world stands and mourns with Paris, do yourself a favor. Don’t take anyone for granted. Tell those you love that you love them and, if you are lucky enough, to be geographically near them, give them a hug, too.
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!