Tag Archives: Guest Blog

Guest Blog: Talk About…POP, POP, POP Figures

By Nat Mingo


November has been eventful already. The Midwest has plunged into its January temperatures and I am wearing my winter jacket a lot. I’ve got several work related projects to complete. I was really looking forward to the annual DD calendar launch, which frequently occurs at the end of November as well. Therefore, I was elated to hear an “official” announcement that the Funko POP Company is releasing a Duran Duran set. It’s two of my favorite things being combined into an awesome, new creation like Ben & Jerry’s
cookie dough ice cream or Starbucks holiday egg nog latte. Who doesn’t love a good mashup?


Some of you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal with these Funko POP figurines?” Please let me explain. My brother-in-law (BIL) introduced me to these toys. He has been collecting the POP figures for years. He even gifted his groomsmen with them. Now when I visit my sister and BIL, I have the opportunity to spend time with his massive collection. Part of the appeal is that the Funko Company has now obtained the licensing rights for many POP culture entities. I highly recommend watching the first half of the documentary, “Making Fun-the Story of Funko” to view the company’s origins. There are sport Funko POPs, movie Funko POPs, music Funko POPs, television Funko POPs. I recently saw that they have a new historical American moments Funko POPs (oh, be still, my history- loving heart). Thanks to BIL, I regularly traverse the toy aisles to view the latest figures. I spent a year, amassing the full Marvel Avengers figurines and several Star Wars “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” figures. I had the Avenger POPs in my classroom for a spell which delighted my students. But alas, the kids and I were distracted by these items and I brought them home. I have since vowedto limit my POP purchases to special purchases. The upcoming Duran Duran figures certainly qualify.

I’m excited about the Duran POPs because they are well designed. The Funko POP figurines have a distinctive style. Unfortunately, some figures look a little generic. The face doesn’t closely resemble the person so the clothing has to compensate. The facial shape is part of the product’s allure; you know a Funko POP when you
see one. When you examine the Duran figures, I LOVE that each band member is distinct. The hairstyles are the best I’ve seen on a Funko figure. You can almost imagine running your fingers through the hair of the John, Nick and Simon figures. The clothing choices are impeccable because they are so detailed. In real life, most of the band members are dark haired and dark eyed so a poorly designed POP would make the figures identical. This didn’t happen. Also, the poses are substantial. I have bought some female POP characters which had very narrow feet. The figures don’t stand up well. The Duran POPs look like they will be “standable”.


As mentioned earlier, part of the Funko POP’s appeal is nostalgia. The Duran set captured the early days of the band. This was a wise choice. The era of the band’s history does include Andy; I appreciate being able to purchase his POP toy. Andy played an important role in the band’s early career. When I saw the Duran figures, I immediately starting thinking about my Duran Duran artifacts from that period. Hopefully, if this set sells well, there is the potential for future Duran sets. My BIL bought my sister several versions of Michael Jackson
and Prince POPs. I would purchase a “Reflex” or “Save A Prayer” set of figures, a “Notorious” or “All You Need Is Now” set of figures or set based on the Scavullo posters from the Sing Blue Silver period. The possibilities are numerous.

I hope I’ve explained the Funko POP phenomenon appropriately. I suspect the Duran set will make it onto several people’s holiday wish lists. The Funko POPs are limited editions; they make so many figures now that once they are sold, they are gone. EBay is full of inflated, “retired” POPs. So let’s RUN and purchase the Duran Duran figures. They are scheduled to be released on December 15th . I’m already plotting where I will place these valuable items and perhaps I will blog on this topic again…

Gratefully,
Nat

Nathalie is a daughter, sister, Auntie, educator, reader, dreamer, Christian, Midwestern, Sci-Fi & Superhero Nerdette  whose favorite band is Duran Duran. She owns multiple copies of most DD albums.  She collects band t-shirts and proudly wears them in her everyday life. 

Guest Blog: Warren vs. the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Debate

By Bart Van Bemmel

Let’s do a little experiment… 

Go get all your Duran records and sprawl  them out on the floor.  I know you’re ranking them  — it’s hard not to.  I do it too.  Maybe you’re one of those fans that doesn’t count anything that John Taylor didn’t play on, yet it was somehow okay if Roger and Andy didn’t.  Or, maybe that’s a whole other blog post.  But I can tell you’re already frustrated because your order may have changed since last week — mine does all the time.  Where to put All You Need is Now… This might take another glass of Malbec.  Okay, now I want you to grab Duran DuranRioSeven and the Ragged Tiger, and Astronaut.  Now, as for the rest — pretend they never existed.  POOF — gone!  Would you be okay with that?  This could very well mean that there goes the soundtrack of your life.  And there also goes Duran Duran’s career.  And with that folks, is my argument that WHEN Duran gets immortalized in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that Warren Cuccurullo goes in with them.  I’m not sure my argument can be defeated.  Come at me.  I know, I know.  Duran isn’t even on the ballot yet, but one day they will be.  And with Duran’s 40th Anniversary coming up — we’re all crossing fingers.  But this issue for some reason has been eating at me for a while.  Warren better get the call.

The second British invasion may have been led by the original members of Duran in all those Sri Lanka videos that dominated MTV, but there’s no denying Warren Cuccurullo’s crucial and powerful impact on Duran’s career.  Through the highest of times to the leaner years, Warren Cuccurullo helped steer this mighty ship.  From his work on seven studio albums, countless hits, tours, MTV Unplugged, TV appearances, and more — his tenure in the band was much longer than Andy Taylor’s.  The band also produced more hits and released more singles during Warren’s Era.  However, this isn’t about Andy vs. Warren, this is about what’s right.  Cuccurullo helped successfully navigate the band through the Grunge Era undertow that killed countless bands of the 80’s.  It was Warren’s songwriting and producing that help resurrect the band to land them their biggest selling album and tour to date with The Wedding Album.  There’s a reason on their past Paper Gods Tour that several Wedding Album songs made it into the set: Ordinary WorldCome UndoneToo Much Information, and Love Voodoo (OW and Come Undone are always mainstays).  And so, we have reached my second argument in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame vs. Warren Cuccurullo debate.  Would Duran be here today — with their most recent album landing in the top ten on Billboard, without the hit song Ordinary World?  The answer is NO.  According to the band’s Songbook performance, even their record label was gun shy about spending money on the band at this point in their career until they heard this song.  As for the music video — it’s known as one of their most iconic to date.  I should probably also mention Ordinary World also won the prestigious Ivor Novello songwriting award.  Duran of course went on to have even more hits after this with Warren — not to mention the first band to ever release a digital downloadable single with Electric Barbarella.

Now it’s time to see the potential Rock and Roll Hall of Fame side of things. 

Duran Duran was known as the second coming of the Beatles — the Fab Five.  That means Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor, John Taylor, and Andy Taylor.  All instant heart throbs, icons, and musical prodigies.  Sorry, but Warren Cuccurullo wasn’t in the band back then during that initial chaos and debauchery.  With one member you have to have the other.  Imagine if the Beatles replaced Ringo or George?  Wait — Duran are guilty as charged.  So let’s face it, people.  When we think of Duran — we think of them in those fancy suits on that sailboat singing Rio.  Or — that ginormous tidal wave crashing down over the audience in the Reflex video.  Plus, Warren was a glorified hired gun until he became an official member after the Big Thing Tour.  So, this means mega hits such as NotoriousSkin Trade, I Don’t Want Your Love, and All She Wants Is will not be credited to him.  You could say we can be naive to think he didn’t have a hand in the arrangements of these songs, but we’re checking the songwriting credits.  And not to stick the knife in deeper or anything, but even Funko is about to release toys of the original band.  Warren didn’t make the cut as a Pop figure.  So thank you Warren for your time, but this case is closed.  You’re not getting in to the Rock Hall.

If the Rock Hall doesn’t recognize Warren Cuccurullo’s tenure in Duran, then why did Vivian Campbell from Def Leppard also get inducted?  I mean no absolutely disrespect towards Viv or Lep (big fan over here), but his impact on that band was nowhere near what Warren’s was with Duran.  Leppard rarely even puts a Vivian Era song in their regular tours, whereas half of Duran’s set list is from the Warren Era.  Many haters disagreed with Viv getting in (for the record — I thought he more than deserved to be there).  And now throw in Pete Willis from Def Leppard.  He got in and only played on two and half of Leppard’s albums.  But the bottom line here is will the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognize Warren Cuccurullo as a member of Duran Duran if and when they get inducted?  Jon Bon Jovi wrote a letter to the powers that be at the Rock Hall about the importance of Hugh McDonald that replaced Alec John Such on bass throughout Jovi’s entire career.  McDonald got in.  Will Simon, John, and Nick have to write their own letters?  Will they even want to is something else entirely.  Or maybe the Rock Hall will already consider Warren a lock.   Warren’s personal views on life and his choices off the stage have nothing to do with the music.  If we were to do this then most of the rock stars who have been inducted already shouldn’t be there.

And so, I will leave you with this.  I play in the touring Duran Duran tribute band — Wild Boys: The Duran Duran Experience.  I don’t play Andy or Warren, I portray Dom Brown on guitar.  We’re the only tribute that has the Dom role and we stand by it for countless reasons.  By presenting ourselves as the Duran of today means we can play their entire catalogue, as well as their continuing on-going legacy that they create (from Planet Earth to Pressure Off).  And I can tell you right now that if we didn’t include the countless Warren Era hits in our show then we would be fact checked and discredited as a Duran tribute in every shape and form.  To push this fact even further — our most requested song to play is Serious off Liberty.  So if we were to go back to our original experiment of throwing out the Warren Era records, I think I just proved my point again.

So where do you stand on this case?  Does Warren deserve to be in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Duran Duran?  I’m so looking forward to your thoughts in the comments!

For those who do not know Bart, here is his biography from the Wild Boys website!


Playing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on VH-1 is something an artist can only dream about. Well, that dream has already become a reality for former Dallas singer/songwriter Bart Van Bemmel. Bart’s song Something (Afterglow) took home first prize in the VH-1’s “Rock Across America” Songwriting Contestwhere he and his band got to share the stage with rock legend John Fogerty.  Soon Bart and his band would go on to work with Grammy nominated engineer/producer Chris Bell (Destiny’s Child, Fuel, Polyphonic Spree, Erykah Badu, Kenny Wayne Sheppard), Billboard Award-winner Redbeard (Nationally syndicated show In the Studio), and producer Alex Gerst (Ellie Goulding).  ​

But we have to go back to the beginning.  Once Bart saw Duran Duran’s video for PLANET EARTH on MTV – it would forever change his life. It was Duran’s New Romantic sound that made him want to start playing music. As he grew older – Bart meticulously studied Duran’s sonic rock and funk stylings as he did his best to nail their sounds. As luck would have it – just a few years ago, Duran Duran guitarist Dom Brown shared his guitar rig rundown with Bart to help assist him with his mission to conquer all things Duran. ​

By the time Van Bemmel was 15 years old he and his band were playing clubs, getting their demo on Texas Q102, and winning Z-Rock’s Battle of the Bands where they won a slot opening for Sony recording artists Dirty Looks. As he continued in high school – his band went on to open for several national recording artists from Sony, Atlantic, MCA, and more – eventually catching the eye of producer Tim Miner (Paula Abdul/Steve Perry from Journey) making demos for him and Eric Andersonfrom Sony Records.​

As the years passed some of Bart’s songs would ed up landing him invites to play several festivals in Texas and on the East Coast including SXSW, the Dallas Music Festival; Mainstream radio airplay in Texas/New York/Canada; Securing top spots in songwriting contests – including runner-up in the final round of the We are Listening Singer/Songwriter Awards where the songs were reviewed by judges including: KK (Producer-Dido/Nelly Furtado), Steve Williams (Producer-Sting/Seal/Eric Clapton), and Carly Vermes (Music Supervisor-Paramount pictures); Landing second place in the John Varvatos Free the Noise on SPIN Earth contest, and more.

Even though Van Bemmel is no longer chasing elusive record deals, he’s switched over to the film business where he has two feature films in development with named talent attaching. ​

But in the meantime – Van Bemmel will never forget his roots in music – which is why he joined Wild Boys. Because each time he and his bandmates play Duran Duran — he doesn’t know who has the better experience: himself or the fans.

Guest Blog: Lake Tahoe Review

By Shonda Talerico Dudlicek

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know the words?

It was the last night in the city and everyone came to party. And it was a full moon and Friday the 13th.

It was enough of a weird combination to prompt Nick to “grope” Simon at the end of the show, for Simon to forget the next line in “The Reflex” and say: “I don’t know the fucking words,” and for Simon to miss catching his tambourine, only to see it bounce out into the audience, never to return. 

Duran Duran played the final evening of the summer series at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys and they were clearly in the mood for fun. Sure, Simon declared we were the best audience on this tour. I’ve seen them enough times to know this is a common refrain. But this performance brought out the best of our band.

Songs strayed from recent lineups and well-rehearsed beats, with touches of remixes that reminded me of the old 12-inch singles.  

And why not add those riffs to songs that we’ve memorized? Duran Duran was notorious for releasing album after album of remixes after remixes. Let’s hear some of them! John gave us some funkier bass lines on “Planet Earth”, and Dom threw in some even-more-Andy-like guitar licks on “Sunrise.”

Which is to say that the last few times I’ve seen them on the never-ending “Paper Gods” tour – New Orleans 2019, Las Vegas 2017, Atlanta 2017 and Minneapolis 2016 – the shows seemed more rehearsed with precise timing. Who amongst us doesn’t yell out “Switch it on!” during “Planet Earth” or “1-2-3-4” or “Uno, dos, tres, quatro!” during “Rio?” We’ve got “Arena” and “Sing Blue Silver” etched into our brains, so our responses are Pavlovian.

But first, the negatives I must get out of the way that really have nothing to do with the band, and more with the venue. 

Harveys posted online a few days before the show about the bag policy. Only clear bags and clutch-sized bags would be permitted. My trusty crossbody concert purse – the one I use to tie my concert tees to the strap, in which I can easily slip my Hasselblad zoom lens attachment in a side pocket so I can clip it to my cell phone for those breathtaking close-ups – was banished to the car. I had to stuff my wallet, ticket and phone into pockets of my jeans that were now constantly pulled down by the extra weight. 

I was really ticked about leaving my camera attachment behind, especially when I rely on it for concerts and was depending on it for photos for this guest blog.

But I was pleasantly surprised to see Duran Duran take the stage only 20 minutes late, an improvement from so many shows. No opening act, no booing from impatient fans, which especially wounds my soul.

The band jumped right in with “Hungry Like the Wolf,” a song traditionally farther down the lineup or even at times as an encore. It was a great burst of energy that other shows lacked that began with the choir opening and “New Religion” and the title track from “Paper Gods.” The first New Orleans show had a fan pass out after three hours of waiting, and those of us around her tried to get security’s attention at the Fillmore just as Simon took the stage. Kinda cast a somber note on that show.

In Lake Tahoe, we were treated to all the concert favorites you’d expect (see the set list). “A View to a Kill” and “Wild Boys” seem to strain Simon’s voice with each passing year. But after these songs, Simon’s voice always springs back to life. I’ve been at shows when he was fighting some malady and his voice wasn’t as strong or maybe be moved around less. But tonight, Simon was the host, and he was clearly out to show us a good time. 

There were a few odd moments: Simon brought up a fan who held up a YES sign in reply to “Is anybody hungry” at previous shows and had her sing part of “The Reflex,” Simon recited the poem “The Thread” with no explanation before launching into “Ordinary World” and ended another song with three simple words: “Little Red Corvette.” Why? It just ended there. Making a statement? They performed “Purple Rain” at a show in Minneapolis a few months after Prince’s death, which made sense, but this did not.  

“The Reflex” had playful banter with Simon striding back to Nick’s kingdom and when Simon asked “Why?” Nick replied, “Because it’s Friday the 13th!” The crowd went absolutely wild.   

Pensive John on the bass during “The Chauffeur.”

The last couple shows Duran Duran trotted out some deep cuts, gems like “The Seventh Stranger,” “Friends of Mine” (the last two I saw in New Orleans and the former brought me to tears) and “Anyone Out There.” Not tonight, which was a little disappointing, but we were treated to “The Chauffeur,” which had been shelved for my last few shows, and “Planet Earth,” both huge favorites of mine. They ditched the “Space Oddity” add-on and the NASA graphics post-July were absent. These both have run their course. But I would have liked a song or two from “All You Need is Now,” one of my favorite albums from start to finish and a memorable tour.

Simon has a spanking good time during encore “White Lines.”

Some veterans of the “Paper Gods” tour may tire of “Pressure Off” and “White Lines,” but honestly, the energy both tracks evoke from the band are throwbacks to when we were younger. The band just crackles with both performances. And the dreamy scenes with the stark B&W video of the band in “Pressure Off” is a highlight of every show for me. Yes, “White Lines” is a cover and yes, with only 17 songs Duran Duran could choose so many others. But the band genuinely has so much fun performing this one.

“Wild Boys” encore is always a crowd favorite.

The band took a brief break after “Girls on Film,” which made me worry we wouldn’t get a full encore. Don’t you always think that? “Oh no, what haven’t they played?” “What might they skip?” Instead we were treated to four songs instead of three: “The Universe Alone”/”Save a Prayer,” “Wild Boys” (with lots of extra guitar riffs from Dom) “White Lines” and “Rio.”

Speaking of “Save a Prayer,” Simon added a nice touch: “Is there anyone in the audience who doesn’t know the words to ‘Save a Prayer?’ Yeah, well, you’re standing next to someone who does. So we want you guys to sing the whole song with us.”

Having fun at the end of the show and the four-song encore.

And that we did, from the days of holding up lighters to waving cell phones. From old school to today, Duran Duran brings the joy, the party, the emotion. Impossibly so, they get even better with age. They never sounded stronger and the frequent grins from Nick show this was more than just another gig. We all felt and embraced it. 

Yes, that’s the usually reserved Mr. Rhodes “groping” Simon after “Rio.”

Set list for Lake Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada:

“Hungry Like the Wolf”
“I Don’t Want Your Love”
“A View to a Kill”
“Come Undone”
“The Reflex”
“Last Night in the City”
“The Chauffeur”
“Ordinary World”
“Notorious”
“Pressure Off”
“Planet Earth”
“Sunrise”/”New Moon on Monday”
“Girls on Film”
“The Universe Alone”/”Save a Prayer”
“Wild Boys”
“White Lines”
“Rio”

Shonda Talerico Dudlicek is a Duranie all the way from junior high in 1982 when she first heard “Hungry Like the Wolf” on B96 in Chicago. She even dyed her hair various shades of red to keep up with the ever-changing hues of her favorite keyboardist. She was reprimanded for covering her school uniform with homemade DD buttons. She’s never seen the original lineup live, but saw Power Station in 1985 and the Strange Behaviour tour in 1987 … then enjoyed her middle-aged renaissance with the “Astronaut” tour. Lake Tahoe marks her 16th Duran Duran concert – she thinks, because every time she counts, she remembers yet another show. A journalist/writing instructor by trade, she’s never met or interviewed the band and admits that it’s probably for the best because she would likely faint. 

A Durandipitous Sunday Night

It is rare when Jason submits an article to Daily Duranie without a title…and when he does, I take full advantage. “Durandipitous” is my newest word creation. It’s not a word, you say? It is now. -R

I wasn’t going to go. The amount of Duran Duran shows coming through Vegas since Paper Gods was released had worn me down. It’s an emotional experience to dig deep into my soul and light the fuse of nostalgia. And tickets are getting out of hand in Sin City. The last pair of dates left a sour taste in my mouth with two predictable and pretty much identical set lists. I could miss this weekend and hold out for a new album and tour while saving up to someday get a seat up front. 


A visit to Jeff and Jason’s pop-up shop on Friday got my juices flowing. Then, the Duranies met up that night at a Tiki bar and the cocktails started to flow. I met Larry, who first saw Duran Duran in Miami, FL on the Big Thing tour. Same as me! If nothing else, the Daily Duranie party on Sunday was a must for me. There is something special about the Duran community these days. We are survivors, and the band’s continued success is our sweet reward. 
Playing StubHub bingo, I hit refresh about 5,733 times throughout the meet-up to no avail. If I was going to clean out my PayPal fun money for a ticket, it wasn’t going to be a standing room, obstructed view night. Honestly, seeing the passion and swapping stories about Duran was all I needed. Instead, there I was, watching everyone go into the show, ready to head home. Then, a Paper Goddess walked up and granted me a miracle. I was in. Not only that, I was sitting next to the curators of the pop-up shop and two of the most inspiring fans I know: Jeff and Jason. This was Durandipity! 


Opening with “Hungry Like the Wolf” is a masterful stroke. As much as I love a moody, art-pop opener like “Paper Gods”, the energy of a major single sets fire to the room. The casual fans are instantly on their feet, which is essential to a good show. I’m not sure if “I Don’t Want Your Love” counts as a major hit, but nobody sat down after the opener, and the energy was building.  While “A View To A Kill” isn’t Simon’s strongest vocal, he sells it like an exuberant uncle playing James Bond at Halloween. 


If I came for one song, it was “Anyone Out There”, which had surfaced at some recent shows. The excitement of hearing that turned out to be just the start. I never expected to hear “Astronaut”, but the opening synth of “The Chauffeur” is when I officially lost my mind. It is the one classic that I never heard live, and I had not seen it on many set lists. The video cut out a few times so maybe the video engineer was even caught off guard. It didn’t matter, the pocket of Duranies that I saw the show with were singing at the top of their lungs and there were hugs and hi-fives all around. Next to “The Seventh Stranger” earlier this year, it is probably my favorite live Duran moment so far. 


The surprises continued with a rocking “(Reach Up For the) Sunrise” with the “New Moon On Monday” snippet, but the “Planet Earth” mash-up with David Bowie stole my heart. As a music critic, my fandom often finds itself in conflict with the more honest and rationale side of my brain. This Duran Duran show more than satisfied both sides of my being. The band sounded energized, playing with a little swagger instead of going through the motions and the set list was a gift to fans. What a night!


The recent NASA show obviously served as an impetus for this short run of shows, but the thematic arc of the set represented more than that for me. As cartoon spaceman flew around the screens above the band, I kept picturing MTV moon men; the award given at the Video Music Awards in the 1980s. Perhaps they still give them away but I can’t be bothered to go see what MTV is up to in 2019. Still regarded as a video band by many, the band have proven to be so much more and all the moon man imagery of this tour playfully pokes anyone who would disagree. 


It’s hard to choose a favorite set list from a band but Sunday night in Las Vegas is probably it for me. It delivered surprises and the band seemed to have an extra gear that, honestly, isn’t there every show. When a set list changes night to night, musicians cannot lapse into muscle memory and it leads to a better performance. I see enough shows to feel confident in that assessment. I count myself lucky to have been there singing “The Chauffeur” on Sunday night and even luckier to have found a tribe of so many amazing Duranies, especially one Paper Goddess who made it all possible. Thank you. 

Guest Blog: The Awesome NASA T-Shirts

We love when friends send us guest blogs out of the blue! While obviously we love having this place to share all of our Duranie thoughts and ideas, we also welcome other Duranies to do the same! Here’s one from our friend, Nat, about the cool merch connected to Tuesday’s special show! -A&R

I try to attend as many Duran concerts as possible. Like many others, I was unable to attend the NASA show this week. I’m grateful for social media because so many generous people shared their videos and images of this special event. In the “old days”, I would’ve parked myself in front of the television, waiting for MTV to air a blurb and pressing “record” on the family VCR. So while I was not physically present for this concert, I got to see many of its highlights. The
band obviously enjoyed the experience as their social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram) shared several “behind the scenes” photos. The band, their family members and friends widely grinned in these photos. I confess that one of my favorite social media posts was of the merchandise table. As a band t-shirt junkie, I was thrilled to see the NASA themed merchandise and I’m incredibly excited that we can purchase some items online through the band’s website.

I usually buy a shirt at Duran concerts for a few reasons. I get my item faster at shows. In February, I made a rookie mistake in Vegas. I’ve been lusting after the white, lightweight hoodie with the tiger on the front for a while. I spied it at the 1st of the Vegas shows but was put off by the long merchandise line. “I will get it tomorrow” I thought. Unfortunately, the next night was the last concert of the touring leg and my shirt was sold out! I haven’t bought it yet
online. So, I regret this oversight still. After I buy Duran items from the official webstore, I begin my long wait for it to arrive to the States. I feel very much like Cookie Monster did in his Siri commercial waiting for his cookies to bake; Google this commercial for a serious belly laugh. I did buy two NASA shirts this week so my sojourn has begun again. I’m consoled by the fan community discount that was useful for this purchase.

Concert shirts are great commemorative items. I’ve purchased multiple VIP tickets for the same touring cycle. Nowadays, the VIP ticket includes some related merchandise. Some VIP items
have been handy. I use the steel, travel mug on days when I need a morning smile. I sport the new headphones on my social media avatars because they are fierce! Others VIP items have
stored away for posterity (yes-the laminates). But the t-shirts, I always use; I’m wearing the black, red & silver 2011 VIP shirt as I type this blog. I bought the Madison Square Garden shirt
after the concert in true New York fashion. I look forward to wearing these NASA shirts to remind me of this special event.

Duran Duran has always been concerned about the visual details. When you look at the NASA concert footage, the video monitor images, behind the band, are evidence of this tendency. Whomever is designing these background images deserves a pay raise. These visuals have become much stronger and enhance the band’s songs. The NASA shirts are well designed like these visuals. Of course, the hugely talented yet humble Patty Palazzo designed them. I feel like I will own “designer” shirts that I obtained at a reasonable price. The front of the shirts have some classic astronaut images and she placed the band’s name on the back of the shirt, using the
NASA font. This detail adds a “peek-a-boo” element that I like. From the front, it looks like a cool, regular shirt but when you turn around, the viewer realizes that this shirt is a limited edition. (If you haven’t seen the video talking about how the shirts are interactive, check it out here.) I’m already accessorizing these shirts in my head; I’m thinking joggers, kicks, baseball cap and big hoop earrings for a great summertime look.

I’m not desolate (anymore) about my non-attendance at this concert. More images and videos from this show are still being posted. Relevant interviews accompanied this show and it sounds
like new music and concerts are in our future. In the meantime, I will enjoy wearing my newNASA shirts…when they arrive…by mail…from the UK. Are they here yet?

-Nat

Nathalie is a daughter, sister, Auntie, educator, reader, dreamer, Christian, Midwestern, Sci-Fi & Superhero Nerdette  whose favorite band is Duran Duran. She owns multiple copies of most DD albums.  She collects band t-shirts and proudly wears them in her everyday life. 

Guest Blog: The Gift of the Duran Duran Calendar

I feel like Christmas has come a little early here at the Daily Duranie.  First, we find out that the band is back in the studio.  Then, we received another fabulous guest blogs by one of our favorite people, Nat!  She reminds us all of enjoying and appreciating the little things, even in fandom.  It is a good read.  Enjoy!  -A&R

The holiday season is upon us! I just celebrated Thanksgiving with my family and decorated my home for Christmas. My merry tree is decorated. I’m obsessing over the scent of pine and the taste of egg nog. The shopping frenzy of Black Thursday-Friday is over. While I am loving the twinkly lights and the hopefulness of this season, it can be a difficult time to navigate for me. Gift exchanges are popular now. Years ago, I read Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages” and realized that receiving gifts is important to me. So, how do I express love to others using a physical item? My toddler niece is too young to have a list of desired items yet. So, do I purchase needed items like leggings or something impractical like a Disney Princess something? What to get my mom who has everything she wants or needs? Fortunately, one gift I do not need to think about is my annual gift to myself-the Duran Duran calendar.

Every year, around mid-late November, I look forward to DDHQ’s announcement that a calendar will be issued. Yes, folks, there is a 2019 edition available now on the band’s website. As I bought mine, I pondered my annual tradition. Why is this item important to me? I know I value the calendar because I don’t entrust my family to buy it for me. Timeliness is not their forte and I want my calendar in my hands by January first. It’s just a calendar in a world of calendars so what makes the Duran Duran one special?

It’s a work of art. I bought my first Duran Duran calendar in 1984. It reflects that Seven and the Ragged Tiger vibe. Just gazing at its cover brings forth memories of random “Sing Blue Silver” lines. Every year, the calendar has distinct visual elements. Some years, the band elects to use concert photographs. Other times, the band members are carefully posed. One of my favorite calendar photos is of John in a light colored suit, walking down a street. It’s a stunning photograph that could hang on a gallery wall.

It’s a time capsule. Sometimes, the calendar’s visual style mirrors the most recent record that the band recorded. This makes the calendar feel like an extension of the record. As mentioned above, when concert photographs are used, the calendar serves as a tour memento. The monthly photo selection reflects the band member’s birthdays. Simon is always featured in October, just as April belongs to Roger. I look forward to seeing who won June? Is there a pattern? Say, does Nick gets June in 2004 so John gets June in 2005? Does the “loser” automatically get the month of July? Hmmmmm…

It’s a practical tool. Okay, I’ve just spent two paragraphs lavishing about a CALENDAR! At first, I would never write on my calendar. During an “It’s time to lose some weight, Nat” period, I would record my exercise minutes on the DD calendar. The calendar layouts change each year.

Some years are more conducive to recording important events. I’ve struggled with a few layouts because they were so impractical. Yet, even the impracticalness, made that year’s calendar unique. I look forward to the first day of each month to see what the next month will bring. I don’t peek-LOL. It’s amusing when I use the calendar when booking appointments. “Excuse me, Roger, I’m talking to my dentist. Yes, I’m available on 3rd at 5:00 p.m.” I love it when the band uses some European elements and/or words. They are being inclusive to the fan base. Plus, I get to dust off my high school French.

It’s become a tradition (for me). There have been a few years when the band didn’t produce an official calendar. In response, I did what fans do- I pouted for a few seconds! Some awesome graphic designers shared fan-created calendars with me. It’s not the same. It’s flimsy when compared to the heft of an official calendar. When purchasing the annual calendar, at times, I buy another DD item. Other times, just a calendar purchase is enough. Just like a child on Christmas morning, I look forward to this special piece of mail from the U.K. The annual Duran Duran calendar is a gift to me, from me. I will keep buying if they keep producing. Deal!

Enjoy your time with loved ones and don’t forget to treat yourself,

Nat

Nathalie is a daughter, sister, Auntie, educator, reader, dreamer, Christian, Midwestern, Sci-Fi & Superhero Nerdette  whose favorite band is Duran Duran. She owns multiple copies of most DD albums.  She collects band t-shirts and proudly wears them in her everyday life. 

Blog Pick from 2012-2013: Rolling Stone Interview Part 3

When I think back to 2012-2013, two big Duran related events stand out to me.  First, John Taylor’s autobiography came out in the fall of 2012.  This meant lots of posts about the book itself as well as many about events surrounding the release.  Second, Rhonda and I were deep into planning for Durandemonium, a Duran fan convention we organized.  I could have chosen from a million posts about either of those events.  Yet, I picked something completely different but one that reminded me of a truth about blogging that we have learned.  Sometimes, blogs that we think are going to be ignored get a LOT of attention.  Other times, blogs that we thought were awesome for whatever reason were kinda ignored.  Controversial or potentially controversial blogs definitely fit into that category.  Likewise, blogs that are supposed to be funny also can fall into the same trap.  

In the spring of 2013, a friend of ours and frequent guest blogger approached us with a crazy idea.  What was it?  He wanted to write a guest blog from the future.  This blog post would focus on a future interview with Rolling Stone magazine in which he asked about his experiences with the Daily Duranie.  Obviously, this was written to be funny, to tease us a bit, to be a little ridiculous.  Rhonda and I couldn’t just let his fake interview go, we had to respond.  First, Rhonda wrote a new interview and then I followed up.  My follow-up is below.  I distinctly remember writing this in a coffee shop near Chicago as I was there visiting with friends.  I’m certain that the other customers must have thought I was insane as I often laughed out loud to myself while writing.  I love when we are able to use our sense of humor as this series did.  Beyond that, it also allowed some Duran inside jokes within the interview.  So fun!  If you would like to start with part 1, go here.  If you want to read Rhonda’s, go here.  My part of the series is below.

-A

“ROLLING STONE” 2022 INTERVIEW PART 3

Another day, another soundtrack suggestion for this epic masterpiece…this time, turn on “Undergoing Treatment”.  Cheers!!


We are undergoing treatment
Watching others on the net
Studying our worst actions
They say we’ll get over it
Disappear like disco
To the sight of our few pageviews
Resign to the outer circle
If you see us standing by the stage door
Don’t ever give us an autograph
If you ever catch us in the hotel lobby
Don’t even stop for a photographWe are undergoing treatment
‘Til our fandom bites the dust
Laid out on Blogger
They crave our loyalty
Ignored by the idols
Exasperated Estrogen
But why do we still face the music?If you see us texting about Pippin’s
Don’t ever ask us…

Now and then we get the strangest notion
That there’s someone reading
But it keeps we guessing
Wild ambition can you really blame us?
Can you entertain us?
Can you give a little more?

If you see us standing by the stage door
Don’t ever giving us for an autograph
If you ever catch us in the hotel lobby
Don’t even stop for a photograph

We are undergoing treatment
But will the doctors ever cure
These delusions of grandeur?


The following is an excerpt from an interview in “Rolling Stone”**
July 2022

Rolling Stone:  This is the third in a three part series featuring interviews with the present and past members of Daily Duranie, one of the world’s longest and most successful fan blogs that is over a decade old and has seen millions of hits from every corner of the globe.  In May, we spoke with C.K. Shortell, a former member of the blog, and last month, we spoke with founding member, Rhonda.  This month, for our final installment, we ask Amanda to fill in the gaps to get a complete picture of this very successful online monster of a blog.  Amanda, of course, is known to be the organizer, the keeper of the dates/time/daily questions of the blog.
RS:  Thank you for speaking with us.  I know this isn’t your most comfortable of venues.  
AP:  True.  Interestingly enough, I have never had a problem speaking in front of teenagers or in front of political volunteers.  Yet, this setting makes me want to hide in a dark corner somewhere.  
RS:  Yet, you felt like you had to do this interview.
AP:  Of course, when Rhonda and I decide on a course of action, we follow through.  Oh, do we follow through.  (rolls eyes)  The blog is evidence of that, isn’t it?  Ten plus years and it is still going strong.
RS:  That’s true.  You and Rhonda have always been described as committed.
AP:  (snorts)  Committed.  Yeah…as in mental hospital, certifiable, committed.  We could have starred in that Falling Down video that people still don’t seem to get. 
  

RS:  Is this why you walked away from it for awhile because you thought you were too committed or that people might think you were crazy?

AP:  (laughs hysterically)  People have known I was crazy for years!  They certainly knew that Rhonda and I were flew to the UK twice in a year.  Heck, they knew it when we praised TV Mania back in 2013.  No, the reasons I left were much more serious than that!
RS:  Rhonda claimed that the reasons you left were for “differences” and how politics always got you.
AP:  Sure, I’m sure that she is partly correct.  Yet, she forgets what life was like then.  This was when the only people who really recognized our hard work were some dedicated readers, mostly friends.  We weren’t making any money from it and the band certainly didn’t acknowledge us then.  Remember we couldn’t even get a picture with the band!!  One single picture!?!  Even when we got front row, it was because we waited for hours in line!  We wrote a blog EVERY SINGLE DAY and got nothing.  I could get pictures, as in plural, with the freaking President of the United States but nothing with that band.  Add on the fact that we were making no money doing the blog, at that point, and I was so tired of that.  Years of teaching and years of volunteering for political campaigns combined with this daily grind got to me.  I wanted a real income and I wanted recognition.  That isn’t too hard to understand, is it?
RS:  It isn’t.  The Clinton Global Initiative gave you the income and the recognition?  
AP:  It definitely did!  When President Hillary Clinton called to offer me the position, how could I turn that down?  When the President recognizes your work and requests your services, you don’t feel like you have much choice.
RS:  It sounds like you left without thinking twice. 
AP:  Oh no, it was still an incredibly tough moment.  (wipes tears)  I didn’t want to leave the blog.  It had been a significant part of my life for so long that I couldn’t just walk away without feeling a serious loss.  I would have stayed if I had gotten the recognition for the blog…not to mention those fan events like the conventions or for the books.  Yet, I felt like it had run its course.  I had wanted to get out for a long time.  I wanted to do something for myself for a change.  But, I worried about my friendship with Rhonda when I left and I worried about what was going to happen to the blog.
RS:  You and Rhonda are fine now, though, right?
AP:  Yes, of course.  We love each other like sisters and we still can have such a blast together.  I never laugh at much as I do when I am with her.  Yet, when I rejoined the blog, I realized that our relationship suffered when I walked away.  We had to work on it.  I didn’t really get it even though I should have.  All of the blogs featuring the lyrics to “Buried in the Sand” should have clued me in but it didn’t.  When we talked about getting back together over lunch, I wanted to just go on the road, read some fan favorites but Rhonda insisted on writing new material.  Yet, as Rhonda would say, I was ready.
RS:  What were you worried about with the blog when you were gone?
AP:  Well, @Rhondaslap should be a clear example to show how things moved in a very different direction once I left.  Rhonda and I took pride in our maturity, our intellect, our sense of humor.  Yet, once that twitter handle appeared, I knew things were going to be very different.  Can you believe that someone asked me once if I would consider doing a twitter handle like that?!  I calmly explained that was one reason Chris was no longer a blogger with us.  Although, I think I really knew at that 2013 convention that Chris was after my job.  He went out of his way to make an impact with hours and hours of songs that have truly gripped me in emotional intensity.  I mean, come on, he played ZOOM freaking IN.  Enough said.  The only other songs that he could have added to make more of an impact would have been Come Undone and Hungry Like the Wolf.  
RS:  Are you surprised that Rhonda blamed the band for the change in direction for the blog?
AP:  Of course not!  (laughs)  Truly, if we can blame the band, we will!  In all seriousness, it didn’t help when the band decided that social networking wasn’t their thing.  I wanted to be understanding, and I was for a long time but years after years of watching the fans go after each other in between albums was too hard.  Duran downtime is a killer, truly.
RS:  Did you feel badly that your return the fold resulted in C.K.’s departure?
AP:  I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed and upset.  C.K. handled it like a gentleman no matter what his personal feelings were.  Yet, I definitely worried about the C.K. readers out there.  I know how personal one’s favorite blogger is for the readers.  I swear they will be debating which one of us is the best until the cows come home.  Yet, I definitely wanted us to return to the original lineup.  As you know when we first got back together, we wrote blogs that we thought fit with the older material.  There was nothing better than being with Rhonda.  It felt so nice.  Yet, it didn’t have the same level of success as our older work.  When that didn’t get the attention we thought it would, we brought in a popular publisher that took us in a completely different direction to get us more hits.  This publisher didn’t work like we typically did.  I had to explain to him what sentences were!  What was worse is that our readers didn’t get it.  Luckily, we got a different publisher, a true fan, who could remind us again about what we do best.  With that, the readers returned.
RS:  What’s next for you, Amanda?  Rhonda talked about a side project.
AP:  Well, I guess I wouldn’t blame her.  She has been holding down the fort here for a long time.  Projects outside of the blog only work to help us grow, I think.  That said, my plan is simple, we’re gonna take it back, take back the life we want to lead.  We’re going to make this stand the Finest Hour that we see. 

– A & R, C.K. Shortell

Amanda and I would like to thank C.K. Shortell for sending us one of the funniest blogs we’ve ever (not) written…let this be a lesson to you, C.K….we will take your work and create a monster every time!  

And for the rest of you, once again we feel compelled to remind – all characters and events portrayed in the above blog are fictitious…not to mention that it was a JOKE. Any resemblance to real persons or organizations, living or dead…or even undead, is purely coincidental.  

Guest Blog: Simon Le Bon Interview on Hawaii Public Radio

By The ’80s SLB Fan

On the morning of July 14, 2017, I checked out a Tweet from Duran Duran regarding an interview with legendary Duran Duran frontman, Simon Le Bon on Hawai’i Public Radio with host Dave Lawrence.  Duran Duran performed on July 16, 2017, in Honolulu, Hawai’i, and this was their very first concert performance in their entire music career in the Aloha state.  So I went ahead and click the link from Duran Duran’s Tweet in order for me to listen to my big ’80s crush’s voice on the interview.  I felt so excited.  I could not wait to listen to his voice!

Simon Le Bon discussed his music and acting during his youth, as well as his start with songwriting before he joined Duran Duran.  What really struck me (or I should say, ‘what really surprised me’) while listening to his interview about his youth are as follows:

Simon Le Bon’s Influence In Classical Music During His Childhood

Simon Le Bon started listening to classical music during his childhood in which he got influenced by his mother who liked to listen to that genre.  I remember my childhood in the ’80s when I started listening to classical music on the radio.  I got influenced by classical music from my father who, still to this present day, is a super fan of classical music from instrumental to opera.  I have no clue if Simon really loves listening to classical music these days, but I love classical music!  Every time I drive in my car or do house chores at home, I tune in to classical music on either FM or Internet radio.  Classical music is part of my blood and family history.  My grandparents from my father’s side, whom I never met, loved listening to classical music.  Even my uncle, my father’s older brother, loved listening to it.  Among my five older siblings, I am the only one who loves listening to classical music, and they do not.  Whether listening to any kind of music or learning how to play a musical instrument or learning how to sing, classical music is THE very first step in learning music.

Simon Le Bon Studied Playing The Violin During His Youth? Huh?

REALLY!!? NO WAY!!! I didn’t know he studied how to play the violin during his youth.  I thought he studied piano lessons during his youth, which is true as he did mention that during the interview.  However, I was so surprised when he included the word ‘violin’.  I hope Simon did not make this up.  I am just curious to find out how old he was when he started playing the violin and how many years he played that musical instrument.  I wanted to start studying the violin when I was either 8 or 9 years old, but I was not able to start taking violin lessons due to transportation & schedule issues.  My mother could not drive, and my father was working a 9-to-5 corporate executive job plus business meetings Mondays through Fridays.  I started studying the violin when I was 15 years old, and at the same time, I took orchestra class in my junior year in high school.  I had to take private violin lessons, take a trip with my fellow orchestra classmates to compete for high school orchestra competitions, perform during recitals and school events.  I played the violin for less than 2 years until I graduated high school in 1998.  That same year after I graduated high school, I stopped playing the violin when I started my freshman year in college.  Also, I learned from my father that my uncle took violin lessons when he was in grade school, but it did not last long for him either.

Simon Le Bon’s Influence In Singing

During the interview, Simon Le Bon discussed his influence in singing during his childhood, about his involvement in the choir, and about his amazing choirmaster.  Simon mentioned that his choirmaster taught him how to read music properly, how to learn the theory of harmony, and how to listen to his ears.  Simon fell in love with music, and it just came naturally for him.  I started listening to music on the radio and watching music videos when I was very young about 2 or 3 years old.  Even before I started attending preschool, I started singing in tune.  I even started picking up the microphone and started singing with the Karaoke machine in front of my family and relatives. Oh, dear! I remember having my family’s first Karaoke event in 1985, the year of Africa USA and Live Aid!  Even when I entered Kindergarten in 1986, I sang in music class in tune, while most of my classmates sang horribly and out of tune.  I was so involved in singing in music class from grade school up to my freshman year in high school that I joined the choir.  I didn’t take any voice lessons during my youth.  However, I ended up taking voice lessons during my junior year in college.  

My Opinion & What I’ve Learned So Far During Simon Le Bon’s Interview On Hawai’i Public Radio

In my opinion, I think the legendary Duran Duran frontman and myself have something in common when it comes to childhood influence in music.  The only difference is Simon Le Bon has a lot of experience, and he’s been performing professionally for a very long time.  During his youth, he got influenced by music, he started acting and became a thespian, and he even started writing poems and songs.  Songwriting is not my interest and skill.  And can you believe he even studied how to play the flute and a guitar when he was young?  Wow!  That’s what I really love about Simon Le Bon.  He is a super multi-talented individual.  I think talent not only comes naturally in a person, but it comes from a person’s heart. His mother was responsible for providing music.  She even strongly encouraged Simon to sing and join the choir.  Having very strong support from a talented individual’s parents is extremely important.  I think his mother deserves huge respect and honor for supporting his gifted talent.  In my side, I feel I did not receive enough strong support from my parents for my talents.  Even though my mother heard my singing abilities when I was young, still she did not do something to help me develop my talents more and encourage me to join a talent show or choir.  I just wish that my parents were so supportive of my talents just like Simon Le Bon’s mother.  I will discuss my other talents aside from my music talents on a later blog.  I hope that Simon Le Bon will read this blog and appreciate it, and I just want to say to him how I admire his special talent so much.  I also hope that I will meet him some day, and I really want to thank him so much for being truly Simon Le Bon.

The ’80s SLB Fan was born in the early 1980s and is considered to be part of “Children of the ’80s” and “Generation Y2K” movement.  Around 1983, she started listening to Duran Duran’s “Is There Something I Should Know?” on the radio when she was 2 years old.  That same year, she heard the beautiful singing voice of Duran Duran’s frontman, Simon Le Bon for the first time.  It took this girl several years until she was 19 while attending college which she ended up having a HUGE ’80s crush on Simon Le Bon.  She is residing in Las Vegas, Nevada, and she is an actor, extra, model, and novice voice actor (known as voiceover). She grew up in a family who loves music, and her top favorite musical genres are classical music, EDM, and ’80s music.  She official became a Duranie in 2000.  Visit The ’80s SLB Fan’s blog site at the80sslbfanblog.wordpress.com, where you’ll find her blogs dedicated to Simon Le Bon.