Tag Archives: history

Why Don’t They Drop the Bomb

The annual list of nominees for the rock-n-roll hall of fame came out yesterday and I spent the better part of my day haunted by the idea of the Dave Matthews Band being inducted. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely owned their first two (three if we count Remember Two Things) CDs in college. One of my favorite concert moments ever was seeing Dave, Tim Reynolds, and Jack Johnson singing Jimmy Buffett’s “A Pirate Looks At Forty” as a light rain fell on the lawn at Waikiki Shell in Honolulu, HI. It was magical. Remembering that moment tonight reminded me to stop worrying and love the bomb.

The bomb? Are you high? 

(writer winks at cat)

Simon LeBon famously declared that Duran Duran would be the band to dance to when the bomb drops. And you know what, we will be dancing to “Planet Earth” if that ever happens regardless of whether they are recognized with a picture in a museum in Cleveland, OH. I’ve been to Cleveland. I’m not sure an offer to have coffee with John and hit an art gallery with Nick would lure me back (note: I’m lying, I’d walk there for that). Duran Duran does not need this validation and, in some ways, I hope they never get in. The Hall of Fame is a broken concept because a lot of people have forgotten what rock-n-roll is. 

Iron Maiden. Judas Priest. Motörhead. T. Rex. Kraftwerk. Five of the most influential rock bands of all-time are still awaiting the call. The first induction took place in 1986. In 1986, these bands were either still making important records or influencing everything we heard at the time. The theoretical branches of rock-n-roll stretch in many directions but these five artists are huge parts of the damn tree. 

The Hall of Fame lost the plot years ago and realized their only chance at staying relevant was to deny entry to important bands to sustain interest. Knowing the loyal followings of KISS and Rush, the Hall kept them at bay for years to build hysteria. Are they doing the same with Duran Duran? I doubt it. The institution laughably nominated the Dave Matthews Band in their first year of eligibility. They really are that out of touch with the spirit of rock-n-roll.

Rock-n-roll is a spirit that cannot be seen. It is an attitude, not a guitar. It is the voice of youth, of rebellion, of change. It is not a lifestyle that you can package and hang on a wall no matter how hard Hot Topic tries. The two most disappointing parts of this annual debate are how few women are being recognized by the Hall and how much resistance there is to black music, especially hip hop, by the audience. 

The roots of rock-n-roll are in the Mississippi delta. From the crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to the Riverside Hotel where Ike Turner and his band worked up the first rock-n-roll song (“Rocket 88”), the town of Clarksdale remains ground zero. Listen to the lyrics of Son House and Muddy Waters. They embody the spirit of rock-n-roll with songs about overcoming the institutions that hold you back from your dreams. You can hear the same spirit in the best hip hop artists who used the instruments they had available to them: two turntables and a microphone. 

As for the lack of female artists being recognized, the Hall continues to prove that the patriarchy will never concede their power. If the Dave Matthews Band is eligible, that means that Ani DiFranco, Cyndi Lauper, Liz Phair, Alanis Morrissette, Tori Amos, Tina Turner, Sheryl Crow, Bjork, Mary J. Blige, and Annie Lennox are also eligible. These voices are more important to rock-n-roll than a band that sang “Hike up your skirt a little more and show the world to me.”

Why aren’t I talking about Duran Duran more? That’s my point. I’m more disappointed by artists such as LL Cool J and Alanis Morrissette not being recognized. I could write 5,000 words on how Duran Duran was a subversive reaction to England under Thatcher and was more politically successful than the Sex Pistols (actually, I want to do that, soon). Or, how John Taylor’s bass lines are revered by other musicians and Nick Rhodes is a mainstream Brian Eno. But, it wouldn’t change the minds of those currently running the overpriced museum in Cleveland.  

Instead of knocking on the door of an institution that lost sight of why rock-n-roll is important to each new generation, we should be celebrating Duran Duran’s annual snub as a call-to-arms. With each new album and sold-out tour, Duran Duran are laughing at the Hall of Fame. It has reached a point that the Hall cannot admit they were wrong. Had the band stopped after The Wedding Album, the Hall would probably have inducted them when the band was hanging with Justin Timberlake; if only to seem relevant to the Timberlake demographic. But they didn’t and we should not think about being nominated ever again. Someday, the bomb really will drop and we still have Duran Duran booked as the house band. I’ll take that over a statue in Cleveland.

Private shows, public gigs and reunion talks, oh my!

August 29th. You’d think that this date would be fairly quiet. It’s at the end of August.  It’s still summer and hot. It turns out that historically, the band always seem to be doing something on this date!

Just one year ago in 2017, the band played at the Salata Open Air in Zagreb, Croatia on this date. I had quite a few friends travel to Croatia for the show, and I can remember being very envious of their travels. Chances are, I missed out on something…

Anybody have the all-music issue of Vanity Fair from 2003? Simon was featured in it! His issue was released on this date. I own this magazine, although right now it is safely (I hope!) in storage, somewhere.

August 29th was busy in the year 2000 for Duran Duran.  Not only did the band play at the House of Blues in Hollywood on this date, but Nick and Simon visited John at his home to discuss a possible reunion.  Think about that for a second. They spent the day at John’s, talking about how it might be good to get the band back together. I’d have to think both Nick and Simon were at least a little optimistic about the idea.  Then that night, they go play a show at the HOB with Warren. I wonder if the thoughts of reuniting entered their minds at all during the show, or if playing the gig solidified whatever they might have been considering for the reunion. I have to wonder what may have been going through their heads that night as they performed and interacted with Warren. Did they know they weren’t going to include him?   Fascinating…

They’ve also played private gigs (they performed in Russia on this date in 2014), and a few other shows here and there.  So while we might think August to be a slow month, it turns out that might not always be so!

Did you see the bear that #FiveAlive Rescue named after (and by) Simon? His name is LeBON. He’s cute!! (The BEAR, Simon. The BEAR! I mean, you’re fine and all…..but its about the bear!!!)  Duran Duran has partnered with Five Alive rescue to secure donations for Animals Asia, which is a wonderful cause. If you click on the picture below, you’ll be taken to the donation site. Every bit helps!

click on the picture to donate to #FiveAlive rescue in honor of DD!

I’ve caused enough trouble for one day. Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

-R

 

Classic Pop: Welcome and Conquering Planet Earth

Guess what came in the mail?!  That’s right.  My copy of the Classic Pop:  Duran Duran 40th Anniversary Edition magazine.  Right away, I can see that there is a LOT here as it is really over 100 pages.  Clearly, I won’t be able to read it all at once, not if I want to really take it in.  So, I will simply read one article at a time and discuss it then talk about the magazine as a whole.  After all, I can tell that the creators took time to worry about the details.  This can be easily seen because as soon as you open the magazine there are pictures of various album and single covers.  It reminds me, as a fan, about how much the band really has done.

Welcome:

I loved reading the welcome written by the editor.  Said to say that it is rare to read glowing words about Duran Duran outside of places like our blog or other fan creations.  Yet, this intro was all that and more.  Clearly, the editor views Duran as a band who has had adversity but has worked hard to be successful.  “They’ve marked out by a peerless flair for melodic songwriting as well as a remarkable resilience, digging in and clinging to their dreams when the naysayers foolishly try to write them off.”  Exactly.  Then, before the first article, the magazine acknowledges the graphic design and art used for the album and single covers.  I approve.

Conquering Planet Earth:

Initially, I assumed that this first big article would just be about the very early days but it goes all the way up through the 1980s.  Before I read the article, I did glance at the photos.  I assumed I had seen most of the Duran pictures before but I swear some of these images were new to me.  I love that!

The beginning part of the article focuses on the formation of the band and the Birmingham scene.  Nick is quoted in the article talking about how the Rum Runner was “more real” in comparison to the London scene due to the Berrow brothers bringing music from the States and with the look of the club with mirror tiles and neon.  That said, I’m not sure that they got the history totally right.  I think the list of people is accurate but I’m not sure things happened in the order that they are listed, specifically around the topic of lead singer.  For example, it sounds like Andy was in the band a long time before Simon and I don’t think that is true.

One aspect of the article that I found interesting was how the videos were described.  First, it implied that the reason to use video was because the band had five good looking guys.  While that is true. they also could send videos to places that were hard to get to like Australia, which the article leaves out.  That said, they  do state that the Girls on Film video might have objectified women but other videos objectified them like the Rio video.  Hmm…

Of course, the band’s success was featured as well.  The author commented that the band members’ private lives were quickly impacted by all of the fans and attention.  Now, artists would be able to post a picture or tweet to appease their fans but then they couldn’t, resulting in fans following the band everywhere, claims the author.  Interesting.  I don’t know if I agree with that idea.  Would a picture or a tweet really satisfy fans then?  I think a lot of fans would have just wanted more and more and more.  What do the rest of you think?  Would that have eased the frenzy?

Overall, I think the article did a nice job summarizing the 1980s.  I appreciate that it included some of the late 80s as too often that part of Duran’s history gets ignored or glossed over.  I also liked that the interpretation on issues like fame made me think.  Lastly, the little touches made it extra special.  For example, the article covered four tracks more deeply to show the range of Duran’s work.  I liked that and the fun little facts written in tiny writing on the side.  The magazine did not waste space!

Now, I cannot wait to have a chance to dive deep into the rest!

-A

Happy Birthday, Anniversary, and thinking back to Ravinia!

Today is a very busy day in Duran history. The band must really LIKE July 9th or something, I have to say.  There’s a birthday, a big anniversary, and several “they played here on this date” mentions. So let’s get to them!

Happy Birthday Julian!

Roger’s son was born on this date in 2011. He’s seven today!  That seems impossible because I am still convinced that Elliot should still be twelve! A very happy birthday to Julian!

Duranlive #1

What date do we really celebrate as “Day One” for this band? Is it the date they first rehearsed together as a five-piece? Is it the date that John and Nick agreed to start a band? Is it the first time the played with Simon as the singer?

I’ll let all of you hammer that one out, but in the meantime, I’m going to celebrate that on this very date in 1980, Duran Duran played at the Rum Runner, and it was the first gig with the classic lineup.  Thirty-eight years and counting.

Not that I’m counting. In fact, I’d rather not at this point. How about we all agree to forget the number and just wish one another a heartfelt “Happy Anniversary!” Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea that we’ve all been on this career-long journey with the band that has lasted the better part of 40 years. I don’t love the idea that somehow, I’m older than 40 now. Nope. Not gonna do it.

Two years ago today…

I saw Duran Duran at Ravinia, just outside of Chicago in Illinois. I vacillate between disbelief that it was only two years ago, and shock that it’s already been two years.

I’m ready for more shows, but I’m also willing to wait. Money…time…all that good stuff that I have none of.

Speaking of which, I’m off!

-R

 

Duran Duran History – Madrid

Duran Duran history for March 11 – on this date in 1993, Duran Duran performed at Die Mauer in Madrid Spain.  This date was included during the Dilate Your Mind tour of Europe, in support of The Wedding Album. Additionally, there is also a bootleg of this show that is floating around somewhere, titled Die Mauer, Madrid 11-3-1993.  

-R

 

Today in Duran History – Marvin Gaye

On today’s date in 1984, Duran Duran played at the Capitol Center in Largo, Maryland and dedicated Save A Prayer in memory of Marvin Gaye, who had been shot and murdered by his own father the day before.

Save a Prayer is a song that many Duranies have equated with uplifting spirits in times of sadness or crisis. There are a few DD songs that tend to be on the short list for those moments, and the band has been very kind in dedicating performances of their songs when appropriate.  Sometimes it’s the simple acknowledgment of grief that helps us get through the toughest of times.

-R