Tag Archives: Hungry Like the Wolf

Thank You, You’re Welcome – Part One

The inexplicable decision to record Thank You in the wake of a commercial resurgence continues to perplex me whenever I revisit it. Duran Duran have a few solid covers to their name but few of them made it onto Thank You. If they had either released a covers album on par with David Bowie’s Pin Ups (a tall order for any artist) or put out a new studio album with a few hit singles to maintain their momentum, the 1990s might have gone much differently for the band. What should have Thank You sounded like? That is a question I plan to address in part two of this essay. For now, I am more excited about the idea of younger bands wearing their Duranie influence on their sleeves.


The recent cover of “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Muse is far more significant than has been noted. The 2014 tribute album Making Patterns Rhyme was a beautiful collection of ethereal covers but apart from Warpaint (and veteran Moby), the artist list was more underground and obscure. Muse are playing sold-out arenas right now. They are one of the few rock-n-roll bands who can do that in today’s industry. And they covered “Hungry Like the Wolf” without a hint of hipster irony. If you haven’t heard this slice of sonic gold, check it out here:


Muse joins The Deftones, and Eagles of Death Metal, as contemporary bands willing to fly the Duran Duran flag with sharp covers. The influence of the band can be traced through almost every sub-genre of popular music today and popular culture’s retro fetish has again made Duran Duran fashionable. It gets me excited for what happens tomorrow. Here is my list of twelve dream covers of Duran Duran songs.


1. Peaches – “Girls On Film”


The current live version of the song by Duran is what I’m imagining with a Peaches cover. Her ability to deconstruct gender roles makes this a lyrical feast for her to dine on. Check out how she balances guitars and electronics on “Boys Wanna Be Her” and you hear some of Duran’s DNA percolating beneath its surface.


2. Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) – “First Impression”


OK, we have to get MCR to reunite for this to work but I can see that happening in the not too distant future. Regardless, Gerard Way’s solid solo album would have been a good home for this cover as well. Slathering the lyrics in some teenage angst would give it a stronger narrative punch. I can see the band playing a goth prom with young kids “turning on the animal” and knocking over the lockers as they run out into the night. 


3. The Killers – “Planet Earth”


This seems so obvious it may have already happened and I missed it. The vocal line suits Brandon Flowers perfectly and the rhythm track would be a rollicking fun ride with Ronnie Vanucci Jr. pounding the skins. The influence of Duran Duran is all over Hot Fuss and it’s not like The Killers are making interesting music at this point (Wonderful Wonderful? Umm, no and no.). 


4. Kacey Musgraves – “Lonely In Your Nightmare”


She would own this! Strip it back to an acoustic ballad with a little steel guitar playing behind her. As a country artist, she has confounded expectations at every turn and a Duran Duran cover would be another unexpected move. She could probably sing any Duran song and make it work but these lyrics seem to best suit her style.


5. Let’s Eat Grandma – “Come Undone”


When Let’s Eat Grandma take the stage at Coachella in April, they will convert even more listeners to their unique alchemy of glitchy synths and soaring pop. Covering this song demands a complete re-invention because it is hard to top the original. Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth were born long after the song was a hit so they could shatter it and re-arrange the shards into a beautiful new prism. 


6. Sunflower Bean – “Do You Believe In Shame?”


Julia Cumming’s voice and bass tone are in this song’s sweet spot. Sunflower Bean can shift from Blondie disco-punk to Fleetwood Mac balladry in seconds so they could take this in a few interesting directions. One of Duran Duran’s most beautiful songs, it really deserves to be revived and shared with new listeners.


7. The 1975 – “New Moon On Monday”


I don’t know why but I can see this video already with Matty Healy looking mysterious on crowded London streets. The nonsensical lyrics (A lizard mixture? Help us out, Simon.) are no problem for Healy. He could sing anything and teenagers would go crazy. The 1975 already borrow a lot of their aesthetic from the 1980s so this wouldn’t be a creative leap for them to tackle. 


8. Robyn – “Electric Barbarella”


Nobody makes dance music like Robyn and this song would be the perfect companion to her classic “Dancing With Myself”. Sprinkle a little Swedish electro-pop fairy dust on the song to give it a stronger kick drum that shakes the walls and you have a hit song. Hearing Robyn whisper “princess of my dreams” would leave us begging for more.


9. IDLES – “Wild Boys”


Last year’s Joy As An Act of Resistance won IDLES critical acclaim and a legion of positive-minded punk fans who are ready to kick toxic masculinity in the face. Never an easy vocal for Simon LeBon, IDLES could reimagine it as a working-class anthem for young men trying to do right by this world. 


10. Garbage – “Pop Trash Movie”


OK, Garbage probably don’t need to cover Duran Duran but their recent version of Bowie’s “Starman” was a sheer delight. The only band on this list to have also done a Bond cover, Shirley Manson would bring this song to life. Manson would sell the narrative, too. She knows exactly what this song is trying to say and she could deliver it with more force than Duran Duran. 


11. St. Vincent – “Too Much Information”


Annie Clark’s immense guitar skills and anti-establishment attitude would suit this better than Duran Duran. No soda company will ever sponsor a St. Vincent tour. She would turn it inside out with a less linear version, I believe. Her and Dua Lipa covering this at this year’s Grammy Awards would have been a joy to see. 


12. Pale Waves – “Night Boat”


Pale Waves straddle the border between dark pop and dreamy gothic atmosphere which makes “New Religion” the perfect tune for them. They would slow it down to a glacial pace, perhaps, and take it from Birmingham to Manchester where the heavy clouds of Joy Division could strip it of any color. Pale Waves are finding success injecting irresistible pop songs with darker, more artistic tones. Sound familiar?

Jason Lent Guest Blogger thumbnail

Jason Lent (Velvet Rebel Music) discovered Duran Duran on MTV in 1983 and a lifelong musical love affair was born. In 2010, he left a job in Hawaii to tour with Cowboy Junkies as a music writer and his work has appeared in various online music outlets. He currently resides in Las Vegas managing a music venue while trying to learn John Taylor’s bass line from Rio.

Muse is Hungry LIke the Wolf

Give me a sign

Has anyone noticed that DDHQ has been promoting a cover of Hungry Like the Wolf performed by Muse lately? I did – and filed the information in my head for later.

Today was that day, my friends. I had to mentally prepare myself. I would not only be listening to Hungry Like the Wolf, but sitting through an actual cover of it. Doesn’t everyone do that???

In touch with the ground

In full disclosure, I’ve liked Muse for a long time. They’ve been on my radar since the soundtrack for the first Twilight was released with “Supermassive Black Hole”. (Yes, I did actually read the books and go to the movies with my oldest. I’m a mom. It’s what we do.) I was a little surprised they decided to do a cover of a Duran Duran song, much less HLTW. It seems to be one that many bands choose for their cover. I was curious to see what Muse would do with it.

Covers usually take one of two basic routes: either they are rearranged to the point where they are almost unrecognizable, or they hold true to the spirit of the original. Maybe they have a little flair here and there, but the spirit of the song holds on faithfully. I really wasn’t sure which way Muse would go. I figured it would be a little different, yet recognizable.

I’m on the hunt

Clearly, DDHQ has been promoting the song to some extent – so I wanted to hear what it had to offer! I sat down with my coffee this morning, and clicked play, hoping I wouldn’t be completely disappointed or put off. (one never knows!)

Here is the link if you want to see and hear it for yourself! Muse is Hungry Like the Wolf.

The first thing I can tell you is that Muse held true to Duran Duran. I don’t even know if they changed a single drum beat, which surprised me. Obviously, I could tell it was Muse playing the song, but I don’t think they took much in the way of poetic license with the arrangement or even the rhythm. It sounded like Muse playing Duran Duran, and while that was comforting, it was also strange.

I think that bands are in a no-win situation with covers much of the time. If they take too much liberty – fans will hate it because the original is what they fell in love with, or what they know. If they don’t take enough, then they’ve got yahoos like me saying “Hey, how come you didn’t get more creative with it?”

Straddle the line

In my own defense, I like to see a band choose a song that inspires them, and pushes them to do more with it. Take the song to a different level, or a different place. Explore the sound, create a new environment – that sort of thing. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I want to hear HLTW sound like a ballad, but I want to hear them create something fresh.

In my opinion, the song was good. They didn’t perform it to make fun of it or to change it from pop to classical jazz. They wanted to perform in tribute to a band that they apparently respect and admire, and they were absolutely successful in doing so. I think Muse could have done more with it on a creative level, to be sure, but they chose not to – and I have to respect that because the song was performed incredibly well. Obviously they felt it is amazing as is, and you know, that speaks to Duran Duran’s own songwriting genius. I can’t argue with that!

Discord & Rhyme (my favorite line!!)

I did rather enjoy the end of it, as Matt Bellamy began to launch into a very familiar guitar riff/solo that Dom likes to do during the live shows…and I thought it was an interesting spin to have that part end the song rather than act as the bridge. So in that aspect, they did assert some creativity with the arrangement.

Overall, I enjoyed it, and I still say that “Hungry Like the Wolf” is indeed the song that will outlive all of us.

-R

It’s November: time for Peanuts, and even Election Day!

…and it’s November already.  Part of me is happy to be nearly finished with 2018, and another part of me is standing here saying, “Wait, what just happened to the entire YEAR?”

I’m feeling optimistic about 2019, but we’ve got to finish out 2018 first, I suppose. I’ve got just the thing to begin the month on the right note, too!

 

Who doesn’t love Duran Duran?!?  Take that band, and combine them with one of my favorite set of cartoon characters – and you’ve got the Peanuts gang singing “Hungry Like the Wolf”.

Doo do doo do….

Yeah, it’s that song again. That Pavlovian bell of iconic laughter at the beginning, along with the rest of the tune, will outlive all of us. This song will end up being totally synonymous with the 1980s – not that it isn’t already (but I think this will be the big one!).  My great-grandchildren will hear it and immediately be reminded of a crazy old lady in their family who actually blogged every day about this band.  Insanity!!

The video is super cute though, and so much more clever than just writing every single day. I love seeing Pig Pen on the drums, synced with the song, followed by the gang singing my favorite part,  “doo do doo do, do doo do, do doo do, do doo do, doo do.” Impressive!

Here we are, on the cusp of the holiday season. I saw a meme last night that said something about how at the strike of twelve, jack-o-lanterns would disappear and holiday music would begin playing. Last night I was watching TV in between trick-or-treaters, and I saw holiday commercials on TV already.  My glass very nearly left my hand and hurled itself towards the television. I’m definitely not ready, are you??

Vegas in February!

I’ll tell you what I am ready for though! I’m ready to start planning for a mini-Duranie convention in Vegas! We’ve got one more week until the US election day. After she gets some much needed rest, Amanda and I will begin working to put something solid together.  What you need to know, if you’re at all interested in a party – is that our festivities are going to begin on Thursday night! So plan on getting to Vegas a night early!

Speaking of Election Day, let’s set the tone properly, shall we?

 

US people, do your part and VOTE on Tuesday !!!

-R

More about those Duran Fragrances!

Yes, you too can smell like they sound, Duranies.

I have always wanted to use that line on someone! Who knew that if I just waited long enough….my perfect opportunity would arrive! 

Honestly, I’m not sure that’s even a compliment or what it would smell like, but today Duran Duran, in conjunction with D.S. and Durga, have released four Duran-inspired fragrances, available exclusively at Liberty London.

The most curious part of the equation here is that the band approached the fragrance house. (which is located not in England…but in Brooklyn. Brooklyn, New York.)  Who would have guessed that the band would ever be into the idea of putting their name on a fragrance bottle?!?

According to the press release, available to read on DD’s website here, Simon worked with David Moltz (the perfumer) to create each scent – there are four – each named after a song in a different eras/decades of the band’s career. Yes, there really IS a 40th-anniversary connection here, subtle as it may be.

Simon says the scents are “brave, original, cut to the heart and ring like glass”. Is he right? Inquiring minds want to know!

Here are the notes from each fragrance, taken from duranduran.com:

FRAGRANCES

(notes from perfumer David Moltz)

HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF, 1982. smells like it sounds

“I insisted on this song from the 80’s (although there were so many that would have worked!) The fragrance is animalic and captures some of the scenes in the video – the market, the jungle at night. It is furry, wolfy and badass!”

Notes include leather, atlas cedar, cade, sandalwood and patchouli.

COME UNDONE, 1993. immaculate dream made breath & skin

“A sexy song and a sexy scent! It smells of body secretions – musks, hot breath and possibly illegal substances…….!”

Notes include oil of saffron, coca leaf, geraniol and tonka.

SKIN DIVERS, 2007. love in an aquatic landscape

“Using Calone (a molecule created in the 1990’s) to help convey a drenched love affair.”

Notes include seaweed, blue water, ylang ylang, vetiver and bergamot citrus.

YOU KILL ME WITH SILENCE, 2015. cold, silent northern woods in torment, smoke and ice

“A cold and smokey Arctic wood fragrance. It uses Nootka tree and wintergreen extract to achieve a bitter woody note that conjures the feeling of being frozen out by a loved one in a fight – like in the song.”

Notes include smoke, cistus, ice and incense.

Before anybody grabs their plastic and heads out the door – the prices aren’t for the faint of heart. Wanna smell like a VIP? It’s gonna cost ya. The fragrances (like everything else DD seems to release these days, are a “limited edition” at 500 pieces), are priced at £68 each for a 10 mL oil-based rollerball bottle. Let me do the math for you, that equates to $89.30 USD.  As my dear accountant friend and fellow Duran fan Jeff said today on Twitter, ” I can tell you that amounts to a cost of £28,800 per gallon, or $37,713 per gallon.”

Who wants to go in on a gallon or two with me??

I’m kidding.

I am wondering though, about those folks who have called Duran out on the proverbial carpet for “selling out” in the past. Is this just more of the same, or something different?

-R

DD on TV – 36 years ago today!

Did you know that on this date in 1982, Duran Duran made their first appearance on American television?!?

It’s true. They appeared on a popular Philadelphia show called “Dancin’ On Air”, where they lip synched “Rio” along with the song that will outlive us all…”Hungry Like the Wolf”!

I wasn’t even twelve when this happened, but then again, I simply refuse to believe that we’re really starting to celebrate their 40th anniversary. That can’t be possible!

I know the band claims to not be fond of looking back. If I’m going to be honest – I don’t necessarily enjoy counting the amount of years we’re looking back either. I know I’m not alone when I say that I can barely remember a time when Duran Duran wasn’t in my life. I can’t even say that about my own husband! It’s bizarre and strangely comforting all at once.

All of that is even more heartwarming when I consider that tomorrow night, I expect that nearly every Duran-fan in the UK will be sitting in front of their televisions as the band takes over BBC4 for the evening. I’m envious, and only a little annoyed that the entire world can’t participate. Licensing fees, country boundaries…too much red-tape for this girl. I hope everyone who is able to see the programs enjoys them.

On a similar note, I’ve noticed that in the lead-up for tomorrow night, the hashtag #DD40 has begun to be seen and used by folks other than the Duranies who started it. This is exciting!  While I know the band is somewhat reluctant about the whole thing—those of us who will use any excuse to turn something into a massive extended party are thrilled to see it. May the festivities continue!

I also wanted to once again mention that due to family circumstances beyond my immediate control, I can’t commit to Durandemonium in August. A few people have asked and I wanted to make sure everyone understands. It is a huge undertaking to coordinate a successful convention, and I’m finding that it is equally stressful and time-consuming to prepare for a move. I just can’t manage both, and it turns out that my husband really is expecting us to move north with him. Imagine that! The good news is that after a week of house hunting, we have a good idea of where we want to move. We’re going to be trading the OC beaches, traffic, and small backyards for acreage, cleaner air and trees!  If all turns out as we hope, I won’t be more than ten minutes down the road from the California Mid State Fair in Paso Robles, where Duran performed a couple of years ago. Amanda remembers it for cows alongside the amphitheater. I remember because it was where Simon came to the front of the stage pretending to have a big mouthful of water to spit on us, and then didn’t (the first time anyway). I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder at a show.

Anyway, once this crazy move is done, then I can go back to planning a big Duranie party to celebrate the 40th. That seems reasonable, doesn’t it?

In the meantime, enjoy your night of television tomorrow, UK Duranies!

-R

Guest Blog: How I Discovered Duran Duran in 2018!

Truthfully, it isn’t every day that we run into a brand new fan, particularly those that discovered the band in 2018, just a few weeks ago! Today, we are thrilled to share a story that will sound very familiar to most Duranies – once again proving that there is absolutely ZERO age limits on being a fan! Enjoy – R

by Kathy Diaz

Duranies all have stories about how they discovered the band.  Most fans likely found the band back in their teenage years during the early 80’s, when the band began their career and during their golden days of glory. My story is quite different, especially because I didn’t grow up in the 1980’s. I was born in 1986, just months before Duran Duran released their fourth studio album, Notorious. By the time I was born, they already had a steady career, but I didn’t learn about them until much later. I missed their comeback in the charts with “The Wedding Album” in 1993, and even their reunion of their original lineup in 2003. I didn’t even take notice of them when they first released their latest album “Paper Gods” in 2015.  No, it wasn’t until 2018—yes, just this very year—that I found this band and became a fan. 

I always have been a fan of 80’s music, as I grew up listening to Michael Jackson and Madonna. I knew about the existence of a band called Duran Duran, but I never really paid much attention to them before.  Up until this year, the only song I could recognize by Duran Duran was “Ordinary World”.  I probably listened it on the radio when I was a child, but I didn’t know who sang it, or even the name of the song.

It all started a couple of weeks ago, when I was searching for new music for my Spotify playlists.  I stumbled upon a YouTube channel that makes lists of songs by the year. I was watched the playlist for “Top Songs of 1982” that I came across  “Hungry Like the Wolf”. I was immediately impressed.  The song, video, and  lead singer—whose name I later learned to be Simon Le Bon—all stuck with me.  A normal person would have looked for the song, downloaded it and that was the end of it.  Not me. I had to look up the video of “Hungry Like the Wolf” again.  After I finished watching it,  I knew I was completely hooked. It was like love at first sight. 

I spent the rest of the night watching some of their other music videos and I was in awe with “Save a Prayer”, “Rio”,  “Is There Something I Should Know”, and “Wild Boys”. I kept asking myself: “How I didn’t discover this band before?” “Where was I living, under a rock?!?” Apparently! After this discovery, I knew I would never be the same again.

During the following days, I indulged myself in a Duran Duran marathon from morning-to-night. I figured that since I was on vacation from work, I had the time to do it. I spent those days listening to their songs, watching their music videos, and looking for any information I could. I quickly learned the history of the band, the names and backgrounds of each member, and anything else I could find on the internet. Their songs give me a warm feeling. I could be feeling down, or stressed, but when I am listening to their songs, I feel happy, calm and joyful. It is rare for a band to have this effect on me.

I felt alone in this new obsession because I didn’t know anyone who were also a fan of this band, so I decided to search in Facebook for Duran Duran groups. I found two amazing groups full of Duranies who gave me a warm welcome to their inner circle, even though I was kind of an outsider since I had just become a fan only weeks ago and they all had been fans for almost four decades.

Then, some moments of frustration came. I found out they played in my country, Puerto Rico just 2 years ago. Before that, they played here other 3 times. I was so distracted by other things that I didn’t discover them in time to go to any of those shows. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and slap myself in the face for not paying attention before.  I am thankful that they are still together and making music,  but it also makes me a bit sad that I had to discover them in a dry period when there is no news on new albums or tour. I don’t know why I had to discover them now, was it fate or just coincidence?

All I know, is that this band is giving me joy and happiness with their music. That is something I thought only could happen when you were a teenager. I believed my years of “fangirling” for a band were over long ago. I didn’t ask for this, but Duran Duran just came into my life, changed it and I didn’t expect it at all. 

I still have a lot to catch up on, but I feel happy to be part of this fandom. I so look forward to what Duran Duran has in store for the future. Hopefully one day, not too far in the future, I will finally see them live for the first time. Until then, I will enjoy this new interest as much as I can, however possible.

Kathy Diaz is a newbie Duranie. She lives in Puerto Rico where she works as an Elementary School Teacher. She is also fan of Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and basically everything and anything that is British. You can follow her on Twitter: @KathyDi86 

My biggest personal moment (2018 edition)

DDHQ asked a very interesting question this morning. “What is your biggest personal moment with Duran Duran?”

Rather than try to think about the most mindblowingly huge moment I’ve ever had with Duran Duran, I decided to read through the responses. I wasn’t quite sure what I would read, but I was curious.

So many people attribute things like marriages, births and yes, even divorces to the band. Others wrote about meeting their best friend, or seeing the band live for the very first time. Quite a few wrote about meeting the band, and some have even had opportunities to interview one or more of them. Still others recalled career changes, or major directional changes in life. I sat back, kind of overwhelmed, really.

What would be my own answer?

I’m not exactly sure I have one. I mean, there was that time I regained consciousness hearing Hungry Like the Wolf in the background. That memory always comes to mind first with questions like this because I was giving birth to my youngest, and I’d flatlined on the table – which is absolutely RIDICULOUS (but it’s a true story), and that damn song, combined with a baby – MY baby – crying, is what I first heard when the medicine they’d given me to counteract whatever the hell was going on with my heart at the time finally took hold. No, I can’t even have a baby without a little drama.  But really, was that a huge moment?

Yeah, I guess it was. For me, anyway. (I have a very dry, slightly inappropriate, and always sarcastic sense of humor that doesn’t always come across well in print unless you know me personally. Read that here.)  But the band wasn’t even there!! (Thank goodness, actually.)

What else do I have? I did meet Amanda because of Duran Duran. There’s that. She’s very important to me, obviously. I can honestly and truly say that if it weren’t for her, and my loyalty to her, this blog wouldn’t still exist, not to mention that our friendship keeps me going. She and I met at the Duran Duran fans convention in New Orleans back in 2004. I’ve known her for nearly fourteen years now!

I saw the original lineup for the first time back in 2003. You’d think that seeing all five of them together would have completely changed me – I mean, they were a huge part of my childhood, and apparently much of my adulthood, as it turns out. But in those moments as I stood back in like, the 16th row or something, all I could think about was how “out of it” I really was. I saw all of these people hugging one another and talking before the show. It was the first time I’d ever really paid attention or seen anything like that. I wanted to know how they knew one another. “Do fan clubs still exist?” I thought to myself as I waited for the band to take the stage.  I wanted to be a part of something like that. Even so, was this one of my biggest moments? Probably not.

No, if I really had to pinpoint a moment – it would have to be the show I saw at the House of Blues a couple of years prior. I know that Amanda and I have written about our biggest moments before, and perhaps my answers have been different each time (would not surprise me), but as I answer this now with a bit more wisdom and history behind me – it was that show which changed everything.

I’d gone about ten years in between Duran Duran shows, I believe. I’d graduated college, gotten married, moved to and from Illinois, and had two children during that time. (I’m tired just from writing all of that!) My ears would perk up any time I’d hear their name, or a song came on the radio – but in a lot of ways I felt like I’d moved on. Also – becoming a wife and mom changed me. I’d kind of forgotten who I was in all of that, and instead, I was just a shell of a person.

I really can’t remember what I was like back when my two oldest were very small, but I think about myself as though I must have been on autopilot. I fed them, clothed them, cleaned the house, and made dinner. I drove them to and from school, did my chores, and in some sort of a last-ditch effort to find some sort of fun out of all of the drudgery (and yes, with parenting there can be a lot of drudgery, particularly if you’re isolated as a stay-at-home parent. Not everyone is cut out for that, even if you WANT to be), I joined the MOMS Club.

I feel like maybe a lot of people are not familiar with MOMS Club, so let me explain. It is an international support group for moms, specifically stay-at-home moms, particularly due to the isolation thing I mentioned above. The idea is that a lot of clubs or groups don’t allow moms to bring their kids along – which makes being involved very difficult. So the MOMS Club solves that by insisting that every single event on the calendar (planned by local chapters) be kid friendly.

That’s all fine and good, but sometimes, moms just want to get out. Where’s THAT group??

After a while, not even MOMS Club sufficed. I think it boiled down to the fact that I wasn’t necessarily very happy. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my kids. I loved being a mom…it just wasn’t enough. But, if you talk to me (even now) for any length of time, it will become very apparent that I wish that I’d given myself the chance to have a real career. I still do – and that’s one of my deepest, darkest secrets.

Now, if you’re wondering how that has anything to do with Duran Duran, stay with me.

It was during this period of time that I went to that Duran Duran show at the House of Blues in 2001. I didn’t even want to go at first, but my husband convinced me. (I didn’t want to spend the $65 a ticket. I laugh about that now. If only I knew what I would spend on tickets several years later….)  I didn’t even want to stand in line for a good spot that night, opting to go eat before the show. I stood near the steps in the back, figuring that I’d head to the bar during the show. I mean, it was just Simon and Nick at the time, with Warren I guess, but I didn’t care. I figured I’d see them, lament over how they weren’t the same, and then go home.

Instead, something very bizarre happened to me that night. Simon came out on stage, grabbed the microphone, and I had an out-of-body experience. It was like something woke up in me and I was getting a glimpse of myself back at 13. I liked it. I can barely remember much of the show, but I can tell you that I have never felt anything like it. I came home, found duranduran.com, read the message boards, and never looked back.

I met Amanda in 2004. We immediately joked about writing a book. We’ve written a few manuscripts and we haven’t stopped – someday, something will get published, or we’ll die trying. I do have a job now – one that I love, but it’s not really a true “career” since it’s just part-time. I also have this blog, which has kept me alive (and I mean that in the truest sense of the word).  I’m still working on the career thing, but I feel like I actually have a life now, which is a start.

Yes, I’ve met the band. I’ve gone places, seen great shows, done amazing things, and have great friends and memories. But none of that would have happened without that show in 2001 at the House of Blues in Anaheim. I am forever grateful.

-R

March 2018 Katy Kafe with Simon

Before I dive into the highlights and my thoughts regarding this month’s Katy Kafe, I want to thank everyone for the thoughts and well-wishes for my dad.  All of the comments have helped me to keep going in order to be there for him and my mom.  Again, I thank you.  Now, on to the Katy Kafe…

This particular one features Simon answering fan questions, twenty of them in fact!  As always, this is not a word-for-transcript.  Instead, I’m just sharing the highlights along with some of my commentary.  If you want it all (and I know you do), get yourself over to DuranDuranMusic to listen for yourself!  This means that I am not going to cover every question but  will pick out the most interesting to me.  I’m also going to divide them into band related questions and Simon only questions.

Duran Related Questions:

Question:  Does Simon write lyrics all the time or just when an album is coming up?

Simon stated that he does often write down phrases that could work as song lyrics all the time but tends to do more when an album is coming up.  It just happens naturally.  One aspect of songwriting that he focused on was on titles.  He mentioned an artist who had a friend name one of his pieces, which he thought was so fascinating.  At times, being given a title has worked for him like Rio, A View to a Kill, Girl Panic, and Electric Barbarella.  (Note to self:  That could make for an interesting daily question. Which title is better?  Or what is a title that would make for an interesting Duran song.)

Question:  Why is Last Chance on the Stairway not played live?

Simon focused on the middle part of the song that features a vibraphone that he would have to relearn.  I suspect some fans would love for him to do just that in order to hear it live!

Question:  Which DD song from the 80s should get a 2018 make-over?

He suggested Late Bar or My Own Way but commented about how fans really aren’t that keen with changing songs.  (I have to admit that is true.  I remember freaking out a little with the changes done to Too Much Information live in 2015.  To my credit, I actually liked it a lot once I got used to it.)  Katy and Simon focused on changes to Hungry Like the Wolf in 1993.  Simon wants to know which is better:  album version or the live 1993 version of that song.  Answer on Twitter via #AskSimonMarch.

Question:  What was Simon’s favorite DD video to shoot?

Simon really like the ones filmed in Sri Lanka because it was so amazing being there.  He enjoyed the action shots from Hungry but loved the relaxed feel of Save a Prayer and how there was more band in that one.

Question:  What was the inspiration for Cinderella Ride?

Simon talked about someone who helps the sick and the poor, especially in the back streets of London.  (Now I’ll have to relisten to it through that lens!)

Question:  When does the band celebrate the 40th anniversary?

Simon thinks that July 16, 2020 would be a good day as it will be the 40th anniversary of him being on stage with the band for the first time!  (NOTED!  I will keep that date open!)

Question:  Which song would you never get tired of performing?

Simon said that the song has to be something that he could sing in a wheelchair like Come Undone or Secret Oktober. (!!!)

Question:  What does it feel like to be a band that is so loved by many for so long?

Simon loves the music and the guys in the band.  “We look out for each other,” he stated.  Being a part of Duran has made him feel “useful.”  (I get that.)

Simon Only Questions:

Question:  Has the SYN track, “Closer to Your Bed” ever been released?  If so, where can people hear it?

Simon does not think that it has but maybe it should be.  He went on to share that when he was 12, he made a 4 track record when he was part of the church choir.  His old choir master has a clean copy and thinks it should be released.  Simon is considering doing that as a fundraiser in which the proceeds would go to the church choir.  Would people be interested in buying a copy?  If so, tell him again on Twitter with the hashtag #AskSimonMarch.

Question:  Who should play him in a movie?

Simon suggested Aaron Johnson, Ryan Gosling, or even Margot Robbie.

Question:  If he could take out a giant billboard, what would it say?

Be nice.  (Aww…)

Katy must have said a number of times that this is one of the best Kafes they have ever done.  I cannot disagree.  As I stated earlier, I didn’t include everything because there was so much.  Some of the questions I didn’t cover here:  One thing Simon has tried but wouldn’t do again, which 80s peer is he still in contact with, whether or not the duet with Isabelle Adjani would ever be released, who should cover a Duran song and which song, and more.  I, for one, applaud the questions as they were super interesting and loved hearing Simon’s responses.  I look forward to more Kafes like this one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-A

Rio goes gold, 1983

Do you know what happened on this date in 1983?

Rio went Gold.

That means by this date in 1983, that little album with the recognizably Nagel cover had sold 500,000 copies. 500,000 people or so, snatched up that vinyl, or cassette. (did they have 8-track too??) I still have my original copy and remember buying it. Do you?

I’m a little surprised that my copy still works. I would have thought that with the number of times I played it – over and over again – that by now the grooves would have widened and been completely worn out. I loved that album from the very moment I heard the opening “backwards sounding” rush of notes all coming together to transport me away to a completely different world. Escapism at its best.

To this day, some of my favorite songs and videos are from that album. So for this Throwback Thursday, I’m going to spend some time gleefully skipping down a memory lane dipped in gold!

I couldn’t find a full-length clip of Last Chance on the Stairway (dammit, why hasn’t someone else done it for me?!) but I did find a couple of the electroset version they did….and this is the longest:

Happy listening and viewing!

-R

 

PS – Happy March!!!

 

 

When all around you earth turns to fire

When it rains, sometimes, it pours.

Last week was a rough week here. First, this very website went down – and not even with a blaze of glory, but with a White Screen of Death (for those unfamiliar). As that was being fixed (no seriously, AS it was being sorted through a flurry of texts), the family truck dies. That was a little closer to a blaze of glory. In fact, it’s still being worked on, and if you’re at all familiar with how much mechanics charge per hour, your jaw has hit your desk or floor. Mine did too when they gave us the estimate.Those two things happened on Sunday. (It was a long week!)

On Monday, our trailer, which was being towed at the time by our now “out-of-commission” truck, had to be retrieved. Another day, another rental car, or truck in this case. I think that was the day we found out just how far this little fix-it job was going to set us back.

On Tuesday night, our microwave died. I don’t know about the rest of you – but we rely on that little appliance a lot. I can deal without a truck (sort of), but the microwave? Come on now.

On Wednesday morning, I came downstairs to find a small mess around and near my coffee maker. I assumed that when I poured the water in to the machine the night before, I missed and didn’t notice. Nope. The coffee maker has a leak. Seriously???

Later on that day, I also found out that my last living uncle on my dad’s side passed away. My uncle Joe was 92 and had lived a long, full life. Like my father, he was Sicilian, and the family tales of his possible-Mafia involvement were semi-legendary. We never knew for sure, because he kept those cards very close to his chest (and I appreciate that simply because I didn’t want to be involved). However, I will say one thing about my uncle: he was the one person (after my dad died), I could call if I needed help. I knew and trusted that about him, even if I did not see him regularly. He lived in Florida and each year we exchanged Christmas cards. He’d tell me he was coming out that summer, and I’d smile, knowing that there was no way he’d make it. He meant well, and most of all – he was the last vestige of family I had left on my dad’s side. I will miss having that little bit of comfort. I think I’m still coming to terms with what it means and how I feel, particularly because I didn’t have time to really process it because of what I’m about to share next.

Next was Thursday. The piece de resistance to the week was coming home to find Walt’s rental car sitting next to the curb. As soon as I pulled into the driveway, I knew. I always do. I gathered my things, took a deep breath, ushered my youngest into the house and asked, “Were you laid off?”, already knowing what the answer would be.  “Yep.” , was the reply, coming from the kitchen.

Awesome

In the US – we say “laid off”, elsewhere you might call it “being made redundant.” In other words, he is now unemployed, which is a disaster with two kids in college who both need their tuitions paid this month.

What a WEEK.

So forgive me again for waxing nostalgic, as I take a minute or more to remember back to a much happier time. On this date in 2011, I saw Duran Duran in Glasgow, Scotland.

I don’t know that I’d say I’ve done a lot of traveling outside of the US. I feel lucky to be able to say I’ve done a little, that trip to Glasgow being a highlight. Many American people that I know or grew up with have never been outside of the country at all. To give the tiniest bit of insight, I think my parents were pretty average people. My dad had a white-collar job, but it wasn’t terribly high paying, and my mom was a secretary once she went back to work when I was about ten. We had most things we needed, but very few things that we really wanted, I think.

Vacations were a luxury, and the most we ever did for a family vacation was go camping – and that didn’t happen until I was in high school. Until then, my parents would take a two-week vacation from work each summer, but we didn’t really go anywhere, and that was not unusual for the parents of my friends, either. I flew on a plane with my parents exactly once, and that was to go up to the bay area to see family one Thanksgiving.  My dad considered flying to be a luxury, and not one we could readily afford. I had aunts, uncles and cousins – siblings of my father and their children, as well as the same on my mom’s side – that I never met because they lived across the country from us. I didn’t travel outside of California until I took a special trip to Washington DC in 8th grade, and after that I didn’t go on a plane again until I was well into college.

The idea of traveling to see a band is still pretty “out there” to many people, I guess. My friends from high school are surprised when they see my posts, not because I go to see a band (they’re used to that part now!) but because I’ve gone some crazy places to do it. One of my friends commented that the farthest she’s gone from home has been to Arizona, which is where she lives now. That’s pretty shocking to ME. There’s an entire world out there to explore, and yet a lot of the people I know would be satisfied to just see the capital of our country. That is why when I say the US is a big place and many people don’t travel outside of their general area, I say it with confidence.

So for more, one of the shows I’m most excited to be able to say I attended, was Glasgow. We weren’t even really supposed to be there! It wasn’t a part of our original plan at all, but when these tickets came up, Amanda and I agreed we should just do it. We took a train from Birmingham into Glasgow, which in and of itself was a fantastic trip. Then we stayed with Amanda’s friend in Edinburgh, and even spent time in that city before going to Glasgow for the show. I loved every minute of it. The winter markets, seeing ice and snow on the ground (yes, I’m from California and to me that’s a novelty!), going to a Scotch club and just walking around – memories I will keep forever.

And then there was the show.

It was our last show on that little mini-tour, and while I know the band likely had no idea who we were (Except for Dom – by then he was probably concerned I’d never go home!), I would swear they played with extra energy that night. Hungry Like the Wolf was ridiculous, as John and Dom came right to center stage and played off of one another. Amanda and I nearly had strokes! I reveled in the show, turning around to watch the crowd clap and respond. To say I enjoyed myself would be an understatement. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to top the experience I had at that Glasgow show.

So, when things are down, like right now, I tend to think about those moments. I don’t know if anything like that can ever happen again. I’d like to think so because otherwise, it’s all pretty hopeless, but you never know. I treasure the memories.

The other day I was chatting with someone online, and they mentioned that the nicest people they knew from the US were those who had traveled abroad. I understand what they meant by this. It is very easy to remain complacent and somewhat naive about the world we live in when we aren’t able to see HOW one another actually lives, There are a plethora of reasons for this, but I think when we rely solely on media for our information, it is very easy to make assumptions without verifying using our own eyes and experiences. My own eyes were opened much wider after my first visit abroad, and every time I get the chance to go somewhere new, I learn more.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m hoping for a better week!

-R