Tag Archives: Fab Five

To be a Fly on the Wall

Imagine yourself, invisible to those around you, sitting in a studio. Or a hotel room. Or someone’s home. You can see and hear everything around you, but they can’t see you.

Now, imagine that scenario on this date in 1986,  as John Taylor and got together in London to discuss “the next Duran Duran album”.  Keep in mind, this is after Roger and Andy had left the band. Simon, Nick, and John were left to figure out the next step for what was arguably (at the time) the biggest band in the world. Where to go from there?

I don’t think I would have envied their positioning. After all, the higher you climb, the farther the potential fall. At this point in 1986, I was 15 years old. The idea of Duran Duran ceasing to exist, or the idea of “new” people ever being in that band were unfathomable to me as a fan. I am quite certain I wasn’t alone. What to do when two of the original members (as the fans knew) left?  Bring in new people? Continue as a threesome? How would Duran Duran look and sound?  Would the fans still respond?

Important questions, to be sure, and I’m not as certain that the answers were all that clear. Can you imagine what it must have felt like to consider moving forward? Sure, there was probably quite a bit of ego and bravado at the time, given their previous success. I’m also certain that at least in part, they wanted to prove to Andy and Roger that they really could go on without them – and that is likely what motivated and drove them to keep going. Even so, I have to wonder what that first meeting to discuss the next album was like.

We could likely debate all day about the outcome. Notorious, the band’s fourth FULL album (Arena was released in 1984 but was not a full-length studio album), and was their answer to how they would move forward. I can remember hearing the album for first time, just after I turned 16, and saying that they didn’t sound the same. It was just different without Andy and Roger, and to be honest – at the time I wasn’t sure I liked it. Their sound had matured more than my musical tastes at the time, I think. Like many of their albums since, it took me a long time to come to terms and have an appreciation. That’s not a critique of the album, but rather my more-ridiculous musical interests of the time.

Even so, I have often wondered what it would have been like during that initial planning, and certainly not just for Notorious!

-R

Happy 58th Birthday, Roger!

My favorite original member of Duran Duran has a birthday today.  That alone makes me smile! I love the days when I can gush unabashedly, particularly when the person involved is my favorite.

I have been a Roger-girl from as close to day one of my fandom as possible. The Planet Earth video certainly may have had something to do with it, as would any of the band pictures they’ve ever taken. I liked that he seemed quiet and shy, because I was too. I felt like I was able to relate to him, even though I knew (even as an adolescent) that I was way the hell out of his league. I think that is what made Roger “safe” for me as a crush: there was little chance of being rejected because he didn’t even know I existed, unlike the boys at school who would openly call me “ugly” or gag when I would walk by. (Oh yes, it happened, far more than often than I care admit) If nothing else, Roger was safe to crush on purely because there was zero chance I’d ever meet him.

Like many, I was sad for me, happy for him when he got married, and far more so when it was announced he’d left the band in 1986. I always wondered what happened to him. I’d heard so many rumors, ranging from a breakdown to retirement – I just wanted to know what happened. Of course, we all had the chance to see who Roger had become once they did the reunion tour in 2003.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was a little surprised. I don’t know what I was expecting now that I think about it. I suppose he wasn’t nearly as shy as I’d remembered. Still every bit as handsome, though. And then there was that one time I actually spoke to him at Virgin Megastore in Hollywood. According to my oldest, I did everything but propose marriage – but she also has her mother’s gift of EXTREME EXAGGERATION. I just told him I was glad he came back, that he was always my favorite, and then I thanked him for doing the signing because I didn’t think I would have ever had the chance to meet him otherwise. He gave me a huge smile and said thank you for being so sweet, and then I floated away and couldn’t feel my body for two days.

I’ve run into him very sparingly since then, never for meaningful conversation, but I have managed to make him laugh a few times. I’m still a little intimidated by him because…well, he was the equivalent of my Prince Charming in 1980-something. The pedestal he once stood on has long since been knocked over and I’m well-aware of his humanity by now, but there’s something about running into a one-time crush that sticks with me. I think it might be my inner-teenager speaking to me!

These days, Roger is married to the devastatingly beautiful Gisela, and has a gorgeous family. He seems happier and healthier than ever, for which I am thankful. I’ve forgiven him (ha!) for carelessly tossing our Daily Duranie wristband aside all those years ago at Spy Bar. (even though we were able to get Nile and John Taylor to put it on without a problem) I get it. He couldn’t even see us, much less care about what we had thrown to him at the time. I still haven’t ever gotten his sticks at a show. There was that one time he tried to throw them my way, but…it wasn’t meant to happen.  Maybe someday the opportunity will strike, and if not, that’s OK too. I have a feeling I’ll still manage to survive.

No matter what, no one else ever seemed to quite belong behind that drum set in the way he does, and I’m hoping he sticks with it for the long haul. He’s a part of this crazy family whether he likes it or not!

Happy 58th Birthday Roger! Here is hoping for many more healthy and happy years ahead!

-R

 

What Happens Tomorrow on GMA, 2005

Did you know that on this day in 2005, Duran Duran performed “What Happens Tomorrow” on Good Morning America?

I’m sure many of you were there. I was not…but I remember racing home from dropping the kids at school in order to see the band perform!

I always say it, but I just can’t get over this being thirteen years ago. Are we sure?!? The band looks good, don’t they? I must admit, I liked them in suits onstage. They looked sharp…and I was a big fan of John’s dark hair, too. Then there’s Andy. I’d nearly forgotten that he was with them at this time. There’s this odd sense of wistfulness when I watch them perform, probably because I know what comes later, and I see people in the audience that are no longer around.

If you watch the whole performance, you’ll see at one point that Simon makes his way over to Andy to sing with him in the same way he does with John. Andy doesn’t even turn towards him, and Simon is kind of left hanging. I don’t think I ever noticed it until I watched today.  I don’t know if that was by accident, on purpose, or an indication of the turmoil within.

Then there is the audience. I see several people I recognize – and it’s not hard to remember that during this time, Duranies were still basking in the afterglow of the original line up being together and touring. I love seeing the joy on the faces of fans during this period of time. For those who, like me, never thought the “Fab Five” would reunite – the period of 2001 through 2005 went by like a flash. A perfect moment designed to give us what we’d wanted, what many of us never had the chance to experience before, but not meant to last.  I’m glad I savored each moment I had.

We’ve come a long way since 2005, and yet sometimes, it feels like it was just yesterday. Life is crazy that way.

-R

Niavete falls from our eyes

Prospective is an amazing, wondrous thing. Sometimes, a little time and distance shines just the right kind of light on things. Today, I drove my oldest – Heather – to the airport. She flew out to see my sister for about a week. I remember the last time Heather flew anywhere alone. It was also to go see my sister, and it was the first time she’d ever gone anywhere alone. I was a nervous wreck that day. Heather has changed a lot in the past several years. She’s dangerously close to turning 21. “It’s twenty days away, Mom…but who is counting?”  She is a junior in college, lives pretty much on her own, and is anxious to discover where she’s going after she graduates. When I think back on that first trip on her own now, I realize that she really was young then, but she still managed. I can remember her excitement about being with my sister, away from home, and feeling just a little more grown up when she got home. This time, she’s looking for the place she’s going to live after college. She’s wondering what is going to come next. She’s excited, but in a very different way this time. She knows what Chicago is like (Although I cannot wait to hear about how freaking cold my California kid thinks it is when she gets there!), and her entire perspective might change a bit.

As I drove home from the airport, thinking about all of that, I did something I haven’t done in probably eight or nine years. I put in the CD from the very first time the reunited Duran Duran played at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa. The year was of course 2003, and I was in the audience. It was not only the first time they played the Pacific Amphitheater, it was also the first time I ever saw all five original members.

The first thought that went through my head as I listened was that I wish I could bottle up the enthusiasm of the crowd from that night. The roar of fans up on their feet, cheering their hearts out for this band that most, if not everyone in the audience that night, grew up listening to, was like a tidal wave of sound. There was no way not to get caught up in it, and I did as I listened and relived that night.

So much has changed for me since that night. If memory serves, I was in the 16th row. I can remember that (oddly) because I stood there before the show began, watching all of the people in front of me as they would rush up to other fans, hugging, laughing, and yes, even some were crying and cheering as they bounced in the revelry. There was so much excitement and pure joy in the air, and yet I didn’t know a single soul in the amphitheater besides my husband. I wanted to know how they all knew one another, and most of all, I wanted in. I wanted to be a part of whatever group that was. Even though I had already found duranduran.com by then, I wasn’t a vocal member of the message board community. No one knew me, and I hadn’t quite found my place yet.

I thought about how excited I was to see Andy on stage that night. I haven’t allowed myself to even really think about his absence in the years since. I listened to his guitar as the sound washed over me in the car. All I can really say is that there was something certainly very special about the fab five. It was like this shining, perfect, moment that wasn’t ever really meant to last. I’d forgotten how differently he plays, the solo in White Lines coming to mind, but even Hungry Like the Wolf has a different feel in parts. It isn’t necessarily better, just different, and I’d forgotten.

Then there were the songs that we don’t hear much anymore. Friends of Mine, Nightboat, New Religion, What Happens Tomorrow, Virus… I know the band likes the backbone of their set list the way it is, but to hear some of those songs again just made me sit back and really listen. The way the crowd responded to every song blew me away, and yet I was a part of that audience.

In a lot of ways, I wish it could all be like it was then. I screamed and cheered no matter what they played because at the time, everything I heard was brand new, as though I’d never heard it live before.  I can remember feeling out of breath after every single song because I danced like crazy. I jumped, I screamed, I nearly felt faint, and when the concert was over, I felt completely spent. I have seen Duran Duran about fifty times since that fateful show in 2003. Sometimes, even I want to slap myself when I think about that. But, the one thing that hasn’t changed is my love for this band, and even the community that surrounds it.

I am so grateful, and moreover, my heart feels gratitude that I’ve experienced 95% of it as an adult. Sure, I was a petulant ten or eleven year old when I discovered the band. My walls were painted in a beautiful coat of Duran Duran posters and pinups, and I bled Seven and the Ragged Tiger just like most of the rest of you reading. But, it wasn’t until adulthood that I really began traveling, seeing the band, meeting friends, and of course—starting Daily Duranie. I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Sometimes though, I do have moments where I wish I could go back to the beginning, forgetting what I’ve seen and what I know.  Instead,  draping myself with the innocent infatuation I once felt for them,  and allowing the music to fully wash over and consume me.  I want to feel that same wild abandon I once had, not a care in the world beyond that very note or measure.  Listening to this Encore CD in the car reminded me of both how wonderful, and how lonely that time was for me. I still wouldn’t want to go back.

-R

 

 

Do you remember Decade? Released on this date in 1989!

On this date in 1989, Decade was released. I remember that album, except I had it on cassette. I say “had” because that cassette tape met a very untimely (and sad) death on the 15 freeway in California, going towards Las Vegas.

When Decade was released, I wasn’t sure I really wanted it. In my opinion, I already had all of the songs, so why bother?  It was just a compilation of their greatest hits, right? At this point, I was a sophomore in college, and spending money on something like this was an “extra”. I decided to just buy the cassette, since CD’s were a lot more expensive at the time. I kept it in my car, and whenever I wanted to listen to Duran Duran, I’d play it. I remember preferring to only hear the front side, since the backside seemed to favor the period post-Roger and Andy. I couldn’t have that!

Fast forward to mid-November 1993. My then-boyfriend and I were headed to Vegas with his coworkers. We’d taken separate cars and were stuck in traffic on the I-15. His friends didn’t think to bring music, since radio would run out early into the trip. Walt decided it was a good idea to hand my precious cassette to them through the car windows. I protested. Loudly. He ignored me, and as he attempted to pass it, his friend John let it slip through his fingers. I turned around to watch it bounce on the pavement just as a semi-truck ran it over. It was a very long drive to Vegas, and no, there were no offers to replace the cassette.

That, in a nutshell, is why Walt is not allowed to touch my music.

I eventually did get Decade on vinyl, and it is an ongoing joke that I don’t find the least bit funny. My poor cassette.

So, never try to pass music in between cars. Although these days, who carries cassettes around?!?

-R

Live From London, 2005. Do you remember?

On this date in 2005, the concert film, Live from London, was released.  This was filmed during the series of the five sold out shows at Wembley Arena in April of 2004.

I remember a couple of very basic things about this DVD.  First of all, I haven’t watched the video in a very long time. After Diamond in the Mind was released, I suspect I just sat this one aside.  Second, the deluxe version came with 3D glasses. While a bit blasé at this point, I thought it was super cool at the time. Don’t ask me what songs could be viewed with the glasses, which only serves to reiterate my first point.

The manga video for “Ordinary World” was also included, and I also remember that with the deluxe version I have, there were quite a bit of extras, such as interviews. I love having those, maybe even a bit more than the concert itself.

More than just about anything else, I remember what it was like to be a fan at this point in 2005. I’d already seen the band in Chicago earlier that year, as well as gone to Vegas to see them perform in Andre Agassi’s Grand Slam for Children at the MGM Grand. I was still a neophyte when it came to the fan community, though. I had a very small group of friends, and was incredibly naive about the way things work. To me, the song “Everything is Awesome”, while not a favorite, is pretty appropriate to describe my feeling in 2005. The weekend I spent in Las Vegas for the Agassi show served as the beginning of my eyes really being opened to typical Duranie behavior, but even that was minuscule to what I would witness in coming years, both good and bad.

When I think back on the Live from London DVD, I can’t really say I’d be willing to go back. I see a lot of Duranies proclaiming 2005 to be a great time to be a Duranie, and it was. I had a lot of fun, and I appreciate the memory of everything feeling bright, fresh, and new. I couldn’t be standing where I am right now without those experiences. At the same time, I appreciate the present. While fandom is different now, I have seen too much to go back. I think that’s where I might be different from a lot of fans—I like seeing the fan community from this angle. Sure, there are a lot of cracks. It’s not all shiny or pristine, but that’s OK. I’ll describe it this way: diamonds are beautiful. When they are cut precisely and have zero flaws, they are sparkly and reflect the light perfectly. They are also incredibly boring to study under a microscope when they’re like that – which is almost never, I might add. There’s nothing much to see. A diamond with imperfections is still stunningly beautiful – but under a microscope they are far more interesting to look at, study, and learn from.

I’m going to go look for my Live from London DVD. It’s time for a refresher!

-R

Limited Edition Double Vinyl of Astronaut released, 2004.

How many different versions of Astronaut do you own? I can’t even answer that myself – a lot of them are packed away, but I know I must have a few. I’ve got a couple of copies of the regular CD that I bought at midnight at Virgin Records in Hollywood.  I also remember buying this special CD – it was a dual sided CD if I remember right (did those ever really catch on??)—and it had 7.1 surround sound. I can’t remember what was on the other side, though. Was it a DVD?? I really need to go find it and look.  Anyway, I liked that CD because I could actually hear Andy’s guitar (which is another blog for another day), and because it was unlike anything I’d seen before.

But on this date back in 2004, Duran Duran released the limited edition double vinyl of Astronaut. I have a copy, and it is signed by all five members.  I’m particularly proud of it because it’s the one thing I have signed by the original five members of Duran Duran, and for a long time – it was the only thing I had signed, period. I can remember periodically sitting and staring at that vinyl from time to time. It was one of those moments where afterwards, you wonder if it really did happen. I can tell you that back when I was just a kid listening to Rio, never did it occur to me that one day I’d actually meet them. That just seemed like something out of a fairy tale, and admittedly it felt a little that way when it happened.

Seems like a great day to take out that double vinyl album and spend a little time thinking back on 2004. For me, Astronaut helped to mark the beginning of the community aspect of fandom.  I had just gone to my first convention, and everything felt bright and new.  Astronaut was a new beginning for Duran Duran, and I’m happy to spend a little time thinking back on that time today.

-R

Sets You on a Path: The Reunion

Today is easily one of my favorite dates to celebrate. On August 29th of the year 2000, Simon and Nick visited John at his house in Los Angeles.

What could they possibly have talked about?

Getting the band back together!! The reunion they said would never happen….

That’s right. It all began with a chat around the pool. (well, that’s how I picture it in my head, anyway) And if it weren’t for that day, and the reunion that followed, seventeen years ago now, none of this – the albums, the touring, the message boards, DDM, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre, All You Need is Now, Paper Gods…and this blog….probably would not have happened.

I just don’t know if I would have kept going to shows. Maybe I would have for a while, but life gets in the way. I know how I am with other bands. If it’s not “easy”, I don’t bother. Would that have become the way with Duran Duran? Probably. After all, I hadn’t gone to very many shows before the reunion, although it was one of their gigs at the House of Blues in Anaheim that really got me back into the band, and that was before the reunion was announced. Even so, I’m not sure that I would have been inspired to keep reading message boards or meet people had the reunion not been announced. I don’t know that I would have gotten involved with planning a convention, or that I’d have ever met Amanda as a result.

It’s wild to consider that just one conversation at someone’s house changed everything. But it did.  And while the reunion may have been one fleeting moment in my life, I’m grateful. And happier. I found a part of myself I’d been missing. That “something” wasn’t really Duran Duran. They were just the catalyst to get me looking for it, and I’m thankful. I really am.

This silly band. They don’t know me much beyond the words I write here and my face in their audience. Yet, in some odd way, I will always feel as though my life is weirdly entwined with their professional one. One day in August of 2000 set me on a path, and while yes I’m nearly quoting “What are the Chances”….it is incredibly fitting.

So while I head off to work today – I’ll be thinking about that band a little. It’s a good day.

-R

What’s Your Favorite Live Recording of a DD song?

DDHQ asked for our favorite live recording of a Duran Duran song this morning. At first, I stumbled over the words. It’s Monday, I’m already tired (not really a great sign for the week ahead) and I can’t seem to make much sense out of anything yet. Live songs? Do they record anything? Seriously – it’s been that sort of morning so far.

But then, as I went about my normal tasks of feeding the animals and complaining about dishes being left in the sink, I remembered a show!  Costa Mesa, 2003. The entire show was recorded and I ordered the CD.  The Encore Series was the name.

Granted, I am pretty sure I’ve seen better shows since then. Or maybe it’s just that my seats have improved significantly in the years since, I don’t know. The fact remains that when I think about all of the shows I’ve seen over the years – that one is a definite standout, and not because it positively ticks off all of the boxes on Amanda’s Concert Rubric. Simply put, it was the very first time I’d ever seen Duran Duran – all FIVE original members of Duran Duran – on the same stage.

I don’t even remember a lot from that show, to be honest. I got there, winced at how far back our seats were from the stage (I went with my husband and I think we were about 23 rows back and off to John’s side), and once the band took the stage, I stood there pinching myself to make sure that what I was seeing really wasn’t just my overactive imagination working overtime. I remember watching as someone decided to jump up onto the stage and nearly tackle Simon as he sidestepped and allowed Dave, the band’s security, to grab her. (I won’t give away her name, but I’m pretty sure I’m friends with this woman to this day. I nearly died the day I found out she was the culprit!) I also remember Roger stepping away from his drums at the end of their set, tongue wagging as though he’d run a marathon or two. But mostly, I just remember standing there thinking about how lucky I was to be there, and how thankful I was to still be a fan so that I could finally see them all together on stage.

I am one of those people who cannot stand it when we ask a “This or That” question here on the blog and people vote by saying “both!” It’s freaking annoying (to me).  I usually grit my teeth and say “make a choice, dammit!” Probably not the nicest thing to cross my mind, but I’m being honest here.  Now it’s my turn to choose. This show, which is definitely my favorite live recording of them, wasn’t about what they played or how long they were on stage or even about how many songs they played. It was that they were there in front of me. They showed up. They were together, and I had this feeling I was at the beginning of a wild, new ride. Even so, for the sake of participation, my favorite from that set has to be Virus.  No, not a song from their back catalog, not New Religion (which is a very close second), but Virus, because I loved it.  The song had the hard edge I was looking for, I could hear all five members working together, and to this day I’m giddy when it comes up on my phone.

Thanks to DDHQ for that question today – it gave me a chance to think about that fantastic show!

-R

 

 

Do you remember the website for Something You Should Know?

During the frenzy of 2005, something else was going on besides just Astronaut tour dates. Something You Should Know was coming our way.

A director saw a story that needed to be told, and had spent time going around the country interviewing fans for a documentary named Something You Should Know.  M. Douglas wanted to tell the story of Duranies, explain why we were fans, and what kinds of things we would do to express our fandom. Many of my friends were among those he had interviewed for this documentary, and they were excited to know that at some point in the future, their tales might have ended up on a big screen.

The timing could not have been more perfect for such a venture. After a long hibernation for many, the re-emergence of the Fab Five with the Astronaut album provided just the enticement to come out of the shadows.  It seemed like I was running into fans nearly everywhere I went, and it made the journey that much more exciting. Like many of you, I sat waiting for the announcement that he documentary would be released. On this date in 2005, the website for Something You Should Know was launched.

While the documentary itself did not turn out quite as I had imagined – the storyline seeming to sensationalize the “slightly bizarre” behavior of fans rather than tell more of an honest story, I can remember being very excited to hear that someone even thought there was a point to fandom at all.  The irony (for me), is that now having been rejected a few times for trying to tell the honest story of fandom – I can see why it was easier to sell the sensationalized stories. I could easily step up on my soapbox and lecture why this is so wrong, but I’ll refrain.

You’re welcome. Happy Valentines Day!

This is one of those times where, as I’m writing, I’m thinking about how this feels like this happened so long ago.  A LOT of life has gone on since the website for Something You Should Know was launched. Even so, I remember…do you?

-R