Tag Archives: John Taylor

So Red The Rose: Arcadia or Power Station?

I don’t think I’ve spent much time writing about Arcadia or Power Station. I suppose to begin with, this site is dedicated to being a Duran Duran fan, so there is that. On the other hand though, Arcadia, Power Station, et al, have all been stops along my way. On this date in 2010, So Red the Rose was remastered and released. So, it seems appropriate to write a little about Arcadia today.

On the purely frivolous side, I loved Simon’s look during this period. Nick’s hair, longer than mine has probably ever been, was beautiful too.  It was as though they took whatever they’d done in Duran Duran and turned it up a notch with just a tinge more darkness. I loved it.  Their style was part of their branding, and I loved the whole package. The videos? I still watch them whenever I get a chance.

For me, Power Station was all about the music. It’s not that I wasn’t a John-fan or an Andy-fan, but I don’t know that I would say style was as much the focus as the music.  Many people describe Arcadia as an art project. Well, Power Station was a rock band. I embraced that.

This is the point where the discussion gets trickier (for me). Arcadia checked all the same boxes for me as Duran Duran. I loved the feel of the music, it was unique and different and nothing like anything else I heard on the radio. It was recognizable and comfortable to me because of Simon’s voice, but I cannot lie – I dearly missed John and Andy.

On the same token, I enjoyed Power Station. In the same way that I dearly loved AC/DC…Led Zeppelin….and just about any hard rock band of that era, hearing Andy and John lay it all out on the line in a way that Duran’s music did not allow was fantastic. But I missed the keyboards.

It was as though Power Station and Arcadia were the results of a very involved surgery to separate conjoined twins. Each could survive without the other, but should they? They weren’t quite the same on their own. Both bands were great, don’t get me wrong. I loved them both for their individuality, but if I could have smooshed them together to create one band, I think it might have been perfect.

Oh wait.

I see the debate anytime the subject of one or another comes up.  It always starts out by asking, “Which was your favorite?” For me, it depended on my mood and it still does. Yes, Roger was my favorite, and so you’d think I would have given the edge to Arcadia. Some days, I did. On other days though, I longed for that seemingly reckless guitar and deep bass groove. I never really had a favorite between the two of them. Sure, I loved the video for Election Day (who doesn’t?!?), but I also really liked Some Like it Hot. That guitar solo? Yes, please!  Invariably the discussion dissolves into who “left” the band and why, as though those facts alone should determine allegiance. It is just music.

In a nutshell, the Arcadia/Power Station debate is a very good metaphor for my own musical tastes, even today. On one hand, there is nothing like a great Duran Duran concert.  On the other, I really just want to stand in front of Dom while he’s playing his own music. I love Duran Duran. I also like Metallica. It’s not necessarily this OR that, but both…and why not?

So let’s watch some videos!

 

 

Enjoy!

-R

 

 

 

March 2017 Katy Kafe with Simon!

I am late. Ridiculously late. Not one, not five…but TEN days late…..for posting the highlights of the most recent Katy Kafe with Simon.

This is the kind of thing that happens when someone is working and misses a tweet or post from Katy, announcing that the most recent Kafe is up and ready for listening. Thanks to Debbie on Twitter!  When it appeared that I was going to ignore the Kafe completely, she sent a note asking about it. I saw the message yesterday while welcoming my students on to campus yesterday, and made a note to figure out what she was talking about!

I think this might have been the first time I truly missed a Kafe completely, and I’m sorry.  But, without further delay – here are my highlights.  You all know the disclaimer I’m about to write, but I will say it anyway:

These are my notes from the Katy Kafe, it is not a full-transcript of what was said. Often, I interject with my own opinion, and therefore, if you really want the full Kafe, you’ll need to purchase a membership to Duranduranmusic.com.  

Simon on Coffee

Over the past couple of years, Simon has talked about coffee quite a bit in the Kafe. He is down to six cups a day (down from 12, which he claims “…is apparently not good for you.” I don’t even know how to respond to that, Simon…except that you never fail to make me laugh. If I drank six cups a day, my heart rate would be about 175 and I’d end up in the hospital. My “ticker” already likes to go faster than normal as it is!)  But now, he drinks Bullet Coffee.

This is not really a “new” thing, because I remember seeing this little concoction mentioned by many of my friends on Facebook two years ago or more.  Alas, we’ll play along… Simon describes that basically, you brew coffee as normal, then put it into a blender (or bullet blender, as the case may be!) along with some coconut oil (he calls it wax, which does nothing to sell me on it, but he’s right – that’s what it looks and feels like) and some butter (not just regular butter, either butter from grass-fed cows, or Irish butter – maybe they don’t call it that in England?? – or as Simon mentions, goat butter). You blend it, and apparently it tastes good, and puts your body into ketosis, or fat-burning mode. Simon says he likes to drink it before he trains.

I’d like to drink it before I go to the doctor for my monthly “how high is your pulse and blood pressure today, Rhonda?” check-ins. Except I would do it just to see the reaction from the nurse and my doctor. Yes, I’m that kind of patient. Moving on…

Simon on the David Bowie Tribute Performance

For those wondering how Simon’s performance of “Let’s Dance” (which was fantastic, BTW) came about, it turns out that Sterling originally contacted Nick to play.  Sterling plays drums in Bowie’s stage band, and the tribute involved other artists coming on stage to perform with the band. Nick mentioned it to Simon, who was interested in singing. The organizers decided to have Simon perform “Let’s Dance”, (not one of Simon’s favorite Bowie songs). This made sense to Simon though, because it was from the same time frame as Duran Duran’s height in popularity (The Reflex), and the song itself suited him very well.

Simon describes the song as not being easy to sing, due to the massive gaps in singing – the timing has to be just right to keep the song flowing. As we all know (and you can see below), he did a great job with it.

 

After the show, the performers went to hotel that I didn’t catch the name of (sorry, I was busy multitasking by making breakfast for my youngest!), and stayed up very, very, late. He follows up by saying that he is “really good at metabolizing booze”.

BEST. QUOTE. EVER.  Oh, Simon. 

Simon on Music (Italy)!

Originally, the offer to do this show came through an Italian promoter who had never worked with Duran Duran. (The funny thing about this little segue was that Simon originally used the term “agent”…and then said, “I’m not really good about business things like this – ‘job titles’ and that sort of thing!” )

Simon rarely does solo performances, preferring to spend his time working on Duran Duran things and “being exclusive”, but this time, he decided to do it.

“Broken Dream” is a song that Simon completely reimagined. He sings it lower than the original, because his natural register is much lower than what he often does in Duran Duran. He had thought about the musical arrangement, wanting to go with a modern-sounding orchestra and organ accompaniment. The finished product, which I linked below, isn’t exactly as he had originally imagined, but after listening to it, Simon felt it really worked.

As a personal note, I thought it was easily one of Simon’s best vocal performances I’ve ever heard. If you haven’t watched it, you should. 

 

Simon said that learning the words was the toughest part, because for him, a great performance means completely relaxing so that he completely opens up vocally.

Katy said that she really loved his performance, proclaiming it better than the original, and commented on his suit (Sir Tom Baker), and his hair.

Simon on the Upcoming Tour Dates

This short tour began with the band wanting to do dates in South America since it had been a long time. However, the band felt they needed to do something different from just showing up and playing “the same thing”.  He made the point that Lalapalooza gives them access to an entirely new audience.  This does make sense, although as a fan I have to wonder why going and playing shows for their South American Duranies doesn’t seem to be enough.  My guess is that in order to justify the trip, business-wise (and I don’t know to whom) – they need to prove they would be gaining audience numbers. I’m not sure, but I do know that South America is thrilled they’re making their way to see them!

Katy pressed Simon on the possibility of upcoming Australian dates, to which Simon said that dates are coming for both there and the Far East, but they are not yet confirmed.  He mentioned Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore before saying he really didn’t know. I guess we’ll all find out soon!

Simon on the band’s big 4-0

The Kafe ended on a positive note, as Katy asked about any plans the band may have for their 40th birthday next year. Simon commented that this, even with the few dates they’ve got coming up, is their bit of time off before beginning to celebrate.  He continued on saying that while he didn’t join the band until the 80s, they’re celebrating the beginnings of John and Nick getting the band together and that it’s bound to be a “busy, fun, year” filled with tours and “lots of stuff”!

(I hope everyone’s bank accounts and credit cards are ready. Mine, however, are not. EEK!)

So sorry it was so late!!

-R

 

London Bass Guitar Show 2014

Remember way back when it seemed like every day was filled with something “Duran” to write about??

Ok, maybe that’s just me.

In 2014 though, John was still out and about on occasion to talk about his autobiography, In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran. If you haven’t picked it up yet – you really should, and since I’m giving him a plug, I’d go for the audiobook.  He reads it.  Who wouldn’t want John Taylor reading to them???

I digress.

On this date in 2014, John Taylor found himself at the London Bass Show. If I remember correctly, there were a few Duranies there, and I seem to recall that John explained to them that the new album (Paper Gods) wasn’t finished yet, and that it would be quite some time before they’d be back touring again.

Admittedly, that was not easy news to hear, and we (Daily Duranie) were less than enthused.  That said, we survived.

Barely.

In any case, do you remember the London Bass Show?  Share your memories in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter, and have a great weekend, because today is my “Friday”!

-R

Experience, Strength and Hope Award 2013

Sorry for the late blog today, I needed to attend to some real-life issues at home.

In the interest of time, I will keep today’s post short and sweet, but momentous. On this date in 2013, John Taylor received the Experience, Strength and Hope Award from Writers in Treatment.

I remember covering this special recognition on our blog – you can read more about it here.

I think this date in history is one to truly celebrate. Since completing his own rehab, John Taylor has gone out of his way to help other people through addiction. I have personally spoken to people who have been inspired by John. He encouraged and supported them while they worked incredibly hard to overcome their illnesses. John is definitely not someone who just spouts words, but works tirelessly to “walk the walk”.  I applaud that however and whenever possible.

I wasn’t surprised to hear that John was being honored with this recognition, nor am I ever surprised to hear that he continues to  work with groups like Road Recovery.  While I do not know John personally, I know enough to realize he is a man with integrity, kindness, and compassion. These are traits that can be difficult to find these days, and yes – I suppose in particular it might be difficult to find a rock star that is quite so self-aware.  John probably wouldn’t characterize himself as perfect…but he is likely closer than most! 😀  My pride as a fan is shared by  many, I am sure.

So while I would jump up and down with excitement at the memory of any award Duran Duran has won, I am especially proud to unearth this memory from the past.  When I think about what we all could have lost, I am grateful that John was able to get help, recover, and be here on this planet with us today. The music would never be the same without him.

-R

 

 

 

Musical Offer!

Duran Duran’s social media posted this picture yesterday:

Photo from Duran Duran’s Twitter Account

The tweet that went along with the photo was, “Happy Friday!  Nick and John in the studio in London”  After I saw the photo, I texted Rhonda to ask, “Know why they are in the studio?” as I figured that I missed some statement due to my insane schedule.  Rhonda said that she figured that they were working on the little musical those two are writing.  After all, Nick mentioned their goal to finish a second draft before shows started, which made sense to me.  This got me thinking.  Dangerous, I know.  Here’s the conclusion I came up with…  (Just a heads up…what you are about to read is supposed to be funny, a joke.  No hate mail.  Thankyouverymuch.)

Dear Nick and John,

It has come to my attention that you two have been working on a Broadway musical.  In fact, based on the most recent Katy Kafe, which took place in January 2017, the first draft of this musical is done.  You have finished writing it.  Now, you are working on perfecting your ideas by completing a second draft.  Obviously, your fans are thrilled to hear of the progress of this exciting project.  More than that, we are all anxious to be able to see and hear the musical ourselves in person.  Yet, we recognize that the process is lengthy and that there are many steps in between idea to completion.

One of the many steps that needs to be completed is to play the musical for a selected audience in order to receive necessary feedback of a project of this size.  After all, the intention of the musical is to be actually seen and heard by an audience, by people.  You would need to know what people think about it, right?  

Therefore, I am writing to you to offer Rhonda and myself as your guinea pigs, so to speak.  We are putting ourselves out there as a potential focus group.  You can then plan to play your musical for us and we would be pleased to provide some feedback, offering both much praise (we are sure!) and any potential suggestions for changes, adjustments, etc.  

The perfect time for this feedback session to happen would be in March, specifically surrounding the weekend of the shows at Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage, California as we will all be in the same place at the same time.  In fact, my flight will arrive in Los Angeles late on Thursday, March 16th.  We could then schedule a listening session for that Friday, March 17th before the show.  We would be available all day for such purposes.  Of course, during the day on Saturday and Sunday would work as well since my return flight does not take place until Monday morning.  

In conclusion, both Rhonda and I myself wish you the best of luck in completing that second draft and hope that you will consider our offer to listen and give necessary feedback in order to reach your end goal with the musical successfully.  You can reach us here through our social media as well as through our email.   We look forward to hearing from you.  

Sincerely,
Amanda and Rhonda

If you are still reading, hopefully you understand that we don’t really expect this letter to be read or responded to (although we would be open if we did get a response!).  I wrote it just for fun.  That said, how cool would it be to get to hear this musical while they are in the process of writing it!?!

-A

A Little Ray of Comfort: John Taylor Actor

I have been staring at a blank blog post for awhile now.  I recognize that it is time to get a blog out there to the Duran world, especially since I didn’t get a blog done yesterday.  I apologize for that.  Needless to say this past week has been brutal as I recovered from a long road trip to Washington DC (about 15 hours one way) and having to grade all of my finals.  Today is the first day that I thought I could pause in about two weeks.  It was very needed.  So the question is how can I use this blog and Duran Duran to help me with this day of rest and recovery?  The plan, I think, is to watch some Duran related material to get a little escape from a world that is far too scary for my liking.

I think I’ll continue the theme that Rhonda has started this week with a little John Taylor as actor.  She blogged about probably my two favorites, Strange Frequency and Sugar Town.  Yet, there is far more that I could pop into the DVD player or check out on YouTube.  In fact, if you look at JT’s acting career on a website like IMDb, you will notice that his acting career started really in 1985 with his guest appearance on Miami Vice and as the hacker in the cable TV show, Timeslip.  While I couldn’t find a good clip of Miami Vice, I could find a clip of Timeslip.  Notice that John does not have any lines!

Of course, he didn’t really get into acting until the late 1990s with Sugar Town.  Here is a video with some of John’s scenes put to John’s song, “Fields of Eden”.  If you haven’t seen this one and are a John Taylor fan, you really must!

The year 2000 saw a few films with John, including The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas as Keith Rockhard and A Diva’s Christmas Carol as the Ghost of Christmas Present.  That said, my favorite is Four Dogs Playing Poker where he plays Dick, a hit man, who works side-by-side with Steve Jones.  He isn’t a very nice guy here, that’s for sure!

Of course, John did a couple of sitcoms, too, in the 2000s.  First, he was a handyman in That 80s Show.  The full episode is below.  John appears around 5:30.

Then, he was on Samantha Who, which is a delightfully fun exploration of fandom.

Needless to say, I have many choices of what to watch to distract me from real life.  What do you think I should watch?  If you have seen John’s acting, which do you like best?  If you haven’t. which one would you like to see most?

-A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of John Taylor, Do You Remember Sugartown?

Funny thing about that John Taylor…he continues to be the topic of my blogs this week!

I wrote about Strange Frequency earlier in the week, and in one of the comments, someone mentioned something about Sugartown.

Well, on this date in 1999, Sugartown premiered at the Sundance Festival in Utah.  If you haven’t seen this one, you might just want to give it a shot. Out of all of John’s acting work that I’ve seen (not sure if I missed anything along the way), this is the one I enjoy most.

The setting is Hollywood, and the storyline is about the industry: music, entertainment…and the people within, focusing on the stereotypical headlines we see in the papers. Rock star with love child he didn’t know about, aging actresses trying to get decent roles, a manager that wants the rock stars to sleep with her before she helps them out, etc. etc. While the storylines are a bit cliché, it wasn’t a bad movie. (and that’s probably the end of my career as a film reviewer…)

So, do you remember Sugar Town?

Who wants more shows?!? DD Announces Four More 2017 Dates! (US)

If  Duran Duran fans didn’t already have plans for 2017, the band is doing their part by announcing four more US dates to take place during March and April.

March 21, 2017: Dallas, TX Music Hall at Fair Park

March 22, 2017: Sugar Land (Houston, TX area) Smart Financial Center at Sugar Land

April 5, 2017 Hollywood, FL (Miami area) Seminole Hard Rock Casino

April 8, Atlanta, GA Chastain Park

Oh, to only be a fly on the wall at the band’s management office….

Why more US shows?  What made these cities stand out as places to visit? Why do the dates surround those in South America instead of say – beginning here, moving on to South America and then the rest of the world, which we are ALL aware they have sorely missed thus far?   Why didn’t they ever plan a European tour to support this album?  Where are those Australian dates and why is it taking so long to even announce them?

These are only a few of the questions that I’ve seen posted and directed at Duran Duran on every sort of social media. I don’t have answers. I can guess that touring in the US pays the bills, although I don’t know why that would be more so than other places – particularly when the band points out that audiences in South America are among their best in the world.  I can also imagine that logistically, touring here might be easier?  We are 50 contiguous states on a large continent with many large cities to visit and arenas to play.  Even with that in mind, it does seem like it has taken quite a long time for the band to even announce other dates in other countries.

In the most recent Katy Kafe, Nick mentioned that they are looking at the Septemberish time frame for Australia, and that they are hoping to get to other places (Japan, etc) in that area of the world. This is much of the same thing that has been said since Paper Gods was first released in 2015 and the band discussed places they’d like to tour. Each time the subject comes up during a Kafe, it seems as though the time frame continues to be set out farther and farther – the idea becoming more like a dream than an eventuality. One can only assume that the costs of touring are astronomical, and that the band must have to front much of that cost, so even the very best tours that would pack a huge bang for the buck must be planned with precision and care.

I have no doubt that many fans, throughout the world, are getting frustrated. I’ve seen the words, “since you’ve forgotten your fans in _______________” included in many a comment on any post the band has made lately.  I know a lot of people are angry about the additional US dates, and while sure I’m thrilled to hear they are visiting, it does make one wonder about the business of touring.

This time, at least for the dates they are doing in Rancho Mirage, the shows are in a much smaller venue than those I saw last year. Yes, arenas are great, but I am ready for some smaller, more intimate gatherings. It would seem that these newly announced shows are a reasonable balance. Although I have not seen them at all of the venues announced, I did see them at Chastain Park in Atlanta for the All You Need is Now Tour.  The amphitheater seats 6,900 and is nicely sized.  When the band is touring on their own, this size of venue feels comfortable and appropriately welcoming in most cases.  Sure, I’d love to have them play for me and a few hundred of my close friends in my backyard….but I’ll take the shows with a few thousand or so any day and be happy!

There is a lot coming up in the world of Duran. 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the formation of the band, John and Nick are working on a musical…there’s been talk about the band going back into the studio, although no time frame has been suggested.  It is hard to say how to this will fit into the journey, all we can do is buckle up for the ride ahead!

-R

OK, JT fans, do you remember Strange Frequency?

Strange Frequency – a show I had never even heard of until Amanda enlightened me. Admittedly, I have never been the kind of fan to know absolutely everything about what each band member has done.  I might write this blog, but many of you – if not all of you, know far more about this band and the people in it than I ever will. Back then (this movie came out in 2001), I had enough difficulty finding time to pay attention to the band, much less know what past members were up to. I admit my failings and pay my penance regularly!

However, when opportunity provides, I have tried to play catch up. I own copies of John’s solo and side projects. I have seen John’s acting work, including this lovely item we are celebrating today.

Strange Frequency made its debut on VH1 on today’s date in 2001. I have to admit, I would have thought the show was far older. I suppose that 2001 is sixteen years ago, and yet my brain still thinks it was just a few years back. This is an ongoing problem.

So, getting back to the series on VH1, hosted by Roger Daltry (The Who), the program was a horror/drama show, in the same sort of vein as The Twilight Zone. In this case, each story related to music in some way. Aptly, every episode was named after a song, and the one that featured John Taylor was titled “Room Service“. 

In this episode, John Taylor plays a rock star named Jimmy Blitz, who likes to trash hotel rooms. He meets his match, however, when he stays in a hotel room cleaned by the lovely Marge. No matter what Jimmy might do to trash the room, Marge is able to clean and repair in record time. The show is worth watching simply for gazing at his beautifully applied eyeliner, but I digress.

If you haven’t had the chance to check out Strange Frequency, particularly the episode with John – you should. It’s amusing to see Jimmy come undone (ha ha ha) when he tries to match wits with Marge.

“Too much is never enough!!” – Jimmy Blitz, “Room Service”

-R

John Taylor left DD (NOT NOW…back in 1997!) Do you remember?

I knew the title would freak people out, which is why I did a bit of last-minute editing.

Do you remember 1997? On this date in 1997, John Taylor broke the hearts of Duran fans worldwide by announcing that he was leaving Duran Duran.

Where did this happen?  Interestingly enough, it happened at DuranCon, which took place in Santa Monica, California. That’s right, he announced his departure directly to fans at a fan convention. Gotta admit – I appreciate that the news didn’t come through filtered management after many months of gossip and guesswork. (although chances are, all of that gossip was probably happening – but without the internet, I didn’t notice.) Say what you will about the rest of John’s absence from the band, I respect that he thought enough of the fans to tell them.

I wasn’t there for DuranCon, even though it happened here in California. At the time (naturally), I was living in Illinois, waiting very impatiently for my oldest to finally decide it was time to make her entrance into this world. (and yes, she was late. Nine days late, actually!) So, if you were there, feel free to share your personal experience.

In the meantime, I’ll just be thankful that John is back with the band – I only saw Duran Duran one time without him, and I have to say, it wasn’t the same for me. I’m going out on a limb and saying that I’m pretty sure Amanda would agree with me on that.  😉

Happy Weekend – stay safe!

-R