Tag Archives: John Taylor

Twenty years ago, John plays his first solo gig

I’m struggling this morning. First of all, it’s Monday. Second, in the past 72 hours I have had a bout of food poisoning, had a massive allergy attack, and I’ve gotten a cold. I’d really just rather be sleeping right now.  Today’s blog will be short and sweet.

On this date in 1997, John Taylor was seriously committing himself to going solo. He played at Radio Antenne Bayerne in Stuttgart, Germany.  It was his very first live show as a solo artist.

Flash forward twenty years (yes, twenty!), and he’s back with Duran Duran, getting ready to hit the road for what seems to be the final leg of the Paper Gods tour.

Time flies when we’re all having fun, I guess!  Today’s date in history is a gentle reminder to trust the process. Just when you think all is lost, maybe it’s not after all!

I’m off to begin the week. Happy Monday, everyone!

-R

 

Ultimate Box Set: Side/Solo Projects Part 5

In the last few weeks, our Saturday polls have focused on side projects.  The idea is to pick 7 songs from various side and solo projects each week until we have asked about all of them.  Then, we will have one final poll to pick the 7 side and solo project songs that Duranies believe should be included on the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set.  So far, we have asked about Power Station, Arcadia, The Devils, TV Mania, Neurotic Outsiders, Dom Brown, and Freebass.

Last week, we started asking about John Taylor’s songs.  Instead of asking about all of John’s songs, I split his long list of songs in half to make it more manageable.  The songs of John’s that people picked last week were:

John Taylor:

  • I Do What I Do
  • Feelings Are Good
  • Always Wrong
  • Anon
  • Don’t Talk Much
  • Losing You
  • Look Homeward Angel
  • Silent Skin
  • Lovers Afternoon

The rest of the possible side/solo project songs are:

Power Station:

  • Some Like It Hot
  • Get It On/Bang a Gong
  • Communication
  • Murderess
  • Harvest for the World
  • Still in Your Heart
  • She Can Rock It

Neurotic Outsiders:

  • Feelings Are Good

Arcadia:

  • Election Day
  • The Promise
  • Goodbye Is Forever
  • The Flame
  • El Diablo
  • Lady Ice
  • Keep Me in the Dark

Dom Brown:

  • Amazing
  • Day Turned Black
  • Crocodile Tears
  • Changing
  • Chocolate Fever

Freebass:

  • Love Is Like Oxygen

This week, then, we will finish voting on John Taylor’s solo songs.  Before you vote, here is a playlist of many of the songs on this poll.  I put as many of John’s songs that I could find on the playlist.  Now, go listen, vote and have fun!  Which of these 7 songs of John’s should be considered for the Ultimate Duran Duran Box Set?

-A

 

Happy Birthday John!

Happy Birthday John!!

So, there are some blogs I feel woefully unqualified to write. A birthday blog for this particular person slides in that general direction from time to time.

First of all, Amanda is the “John-girl” around here. Not that I don’t admire John, but it seems unfair that I get to write for Roger, Dom AND John, you know?  The idea of writing a birthday blog for each member seemed great in year one of the blog. Even years two through five were good. I still had things to say and memories to replay.  But now, I think this is what, year six? I’m going to be honest: I don’t think I know John very well.

Yes, there’s his book. Some might say he wrote a lot in there. (I’m actually one of those people) I felt he exposed himself pretty selflessly.  Even so, I’ve had almost no interactions with him over the years, so I can’t write from personal experience.

I mean, unless you count shows.  John amazes me at shows sometimes, because there I am, one little face in a crowd of thousands, and even when I’ve been back a few rows, sometimes he’ll make eye contact. Unlike with other members of the band – when John is looking at you, you know he’s looking at you.  There was this one time Amanda and I were at the House of Blues in Atlantic City (I hope that’s right. I get this stuff screwed up a lot) and it was during the last leg of Red Carpet Massacre shows here in the US. They were just starting the song Red Carpet Massacre, which happens to be my favorite off of that album. John gets the crowd clapping along, and I started to clap and happened to look up. He caught my eye, and slightly shook his head because, wouldn’t you know it – I was clapping wrong. (I know there’s a lesson for fans in here about paying proper attention at shows…) I watched carefully and started clapping appropriately and received a big grin. It was only later that I was mortified that I had to be taught correctly by John….

There’s that other time at the Sears Center when I tested the line of sight from the stage because I wasn’t quite convinced John could really see all the way to the ninth row. Amanda and I were having the time of our lives that night, dancing and singing to every song as though we’d never gone to a Duran Duran concert before. We were having a blast. I think the band began Electric Barbarella, and I pulled a face. In fairness, it isn’t my favorite song and hey, who can really see us in the ninth row anyway??

Well, I look up, and John Taylor is laughing and looking our way. I don’t think much of it because, seriously, there are eight rows of wonderful people in front of me. He wasn’t looking at us. But then he kind of kept looking and seemed to be at least chuckling, so I did what any normal fan would not do, and stuck my tongue out playfully. I figured that no response would tell me that of course he wasn’t looking at us. Well, he returned the favor.  I laughed. Because really, what could I do?? He caught me fair and square!

Oh, and then there’s Valley Center in 2011. This was just as they were getting themselves back into touring mode after having canceled their UK tour that spring. It was the first show I was going to see them at, and I was pretty emotional that night because for a while there, I really had my doubts about whether Simon would ever really be able to sing the same again. I was worried. Nothing more, nothing less. So that night was different because of my emotions, because Amanda wasn’t with me…and because I also had my less-than-emotional husband with me, and we were in the second row.

By that time, I am pretty sure everyone knew I didn’t love Hungry Like the Wolf…but when they started playing it that night, I know I rolled my eyes, and didn’t really dance much. Well, I was right there in row TWO, and who should come bounding over to Dom’s side of the stage but John. AND Dom. AND Simon. Yes, it was choreographed that way at the time, but during the “Do do do” section of the song (you all know what I mean), John looks down at me, grins like a damn Cheshire cat and sings the line right at me, grinning the entire time.

Ok then, John. Even my husband, who typically doesn’t notice much, noticed. And so did Dom, who openly laughed. There was no way I was going to get away without singing. And let’s face it, John didn’t know that I was sick to death of that song at the time. I’m sure he doesn’t read the blog. He just knew that I was at his show and wasn’t singing along…and he was going to fix it. So he did.

I make sure to sing EVERY song (and clap correctly) when I go to shows now. Lesson learned, point taken.

I don’t know. Fans have often said to me that John doesn’t seem to interact much from the stage. Pretty much everyone complains about his absence from social media, although everyone and their brother seems to think they know exactly why he left. Even with his book, and his book tour, the shows and the things he goes out of his way to do for various charities – and the meet and greets he does for those types of organizations, people say he doesn’t interact. I’ve even said I don’t know him.

The thing is, I think with John, we really do kind of know who he wants us to know. Not everyone is comfortable with that “in your face” constantly kind of atmosphere that goes along with celebrity. John reminds me just a little of myself, in that when I go “on tour” with Amanda, by the time we’ve had a meet up or hung out with people all weekend, or even just all night, I’m ready for some downtime. By the end of a weekend with friends, I’m happy to retreat back into obscurity. It is hard to be “ON” all of the time, and I’m no celebrity. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be in the band and never get away from it.

I think that’s why the boundaries are there, and why someone like John has learned to keep them rock solid. Sure, I miss him on social media, so much so that when DDHQ does tweet a picture or a video or something from him, I love it. It’s not the same as when he’d tweet us directly or whatever, but it’s probably healthier for him, and I respect that.

I look forward to seeing him onstage in a few weeks. Hopefully I will have my clapping and singing up to snuff!  Happy birthday John!!

-R

June 2017 Katy Kafe with John Taylor!

I marvel every single time I type the word “June.” I’m not sure if it’s just me, living in the land of denial that my son graduates from high school on Saturday, or if it is really that I’m shocked time goes by so fast. I would swear it was just March a few days ago.  Either way, it is June, and it is time for the June 2017 Katy Kafe!

By now, our readers know the drill – these are the highlights, not a full transcription. If you really want to hear the whole Kafe, get yourself a membership to DDM. Even on a “paying for college” budget – I manage to put together enough money for my renewal each year, so it can be done!

Each June, it is either Nick or John that joins Katy in the Kafe because, as we all know, they each have a birthday this month. This year, it is John’s turn and Katy wastes no time getting down to business. JT just returned from a trip to Arizona for a family wedding and is relaxing at home in LA.

Memories of the Glass Spider Tour with Bowie

After some discussion of various places they played on this tour, (You can check out the real dates here) John says the experience was priceless. Interestingly enough, Duran Duran and David Bowie never appeared onstage together. The closest was one time when the band was playing Bang A Gong, and David was watching off to the side of the stage.

Wrapping Up Paper Gods

At this moment, it would appear that the Singapore Gran Prix dates are the final ones for Paper Gods. The band wanted to go to South Korea, Japan and of course Australia, but the right opportunity has not presented itself. They are still really trying, but it sounds to me as though this is not going to happen. I know many fans are still holding out hopes for DD to join Chic in Australia, but from the way John spoke, it does not sound likely at this point. He mentioned possibly going out next year, but Nick is less inclined to go from touring, to studio and then back to touring again. As John explained, it’s difficult to be in the studio when you’re constantly tired from touring. I don’t know exactly what kept them from getting to Australia and the Far East this time around, but John says it’s very complicated, and given that I’ve never managed a tour (not many of us have), I’m going to take his word for it!

The upcoming west coast and Canada dates are hallmarked by one very special date in Hawaii – it is somewhere the band has never played, and they are very excited to get there. A night of paradise in paradise. I like the way that sounds! Wish I could be there, but I also wanted to stay married. Go figure.

40th Anniversary Plans

I wish I could say that these “plans” are taking shape. All I gleaned from this Katy Kafe was that they have a whole lot of ideas. It very much reminds me of the Kafes as an album is beginning to be made and LOTS of ideas are thrown out, but we never really know what is going to stick (or was stuck) until we fans get the album in our hands. I suspect the same will hold true for the 40th anniversary.

They do plan to get back into the studio in London before the end of the year, and this does coincide with the 40th anniversary (those are John’s words, not my assumptions). Katy asked if they’d be working on new music or perhaps re-examining old music. John seemed to indicate some of each. “There’s lots of talk and plans. We have to just get to it” (meaning the unreleased material)  He specifically spoke about Reportage, which should thrill some people out there (myself included) For those who are unaware, Reportage is the album they recorded with Andy prior to his leaving – and ended up being shelved. (They released Red Carpet Massacre instead) John says they are “keen to get that (Reportage) out”

He reiterated that the 40th Anniversary celebration is going to roll out over the course of three years, and culminate in the summer of 2020. Get your credit cards and bank accounts ready, folks. This is what we’ve trained for.

Nick & John’s TSP

As I suspected, this has everything to do with the musical that they’ve been working on. Nothing thrills me more to use the word “musical” in a sentence with Nick and John. Yes, it’s true – I am a musical theatre mom, and I can hardly wait to see what they’ve got planned. If they need a choreographer, I know some people. One may or may not be my daughter. She’s good. (Yes, I just plugged my kid. No, I have zero shame.)  So, my suspicion is that those people who were in the studio with them might just be working on a demo soundtrack.

John would love for this to end up being part of the 40th anniversary celebration, and he says it just might be – but he doesn’t want to say more than that.  I could hardly stop myself from jumping out of my chair at those words. LOVE IT. He says he’s really getting into musical theatre – and planned to watch the Tony awards on Sunday night (which was the day this Kafe was taped).

About Those Pre-show Playlists

John explains that because he makes his living in music, it is crucial that he remain on the lookout for music that interests, excites and inspires him. His playlists are mixes of music he’s curious about along with music that he’s discovered that maybe he was unaware of before. He uses the example of Cream, which was a 60s/70s group with Eric Clapton. He’d never really listened to them before, heard them somewhere and has really been listening now because they were the precursor to so many other bands – they were pre-Led Zeppelin, for instance.

John says, tentatively, that there isn’t a whole lot of new live music he’s really into (for the summer), but that there’s a few festivals he wishes he could go to, but they don’t coincide with DD’s touring. I got the feeling that John didn’t want to go into what he doesn’t like, rather choosing to focus on the positives, so he didn’t really say much. Katy responded exactly as I would have (given the opportunity), as she said that she’s beginning to find the whole “new music discovery” thing to take effort these days, whereas she might not have said the same five years ago. She explained that every now and then she turns on a station like Z100 (I am assuming this is top 40) and she won’t like what she hears (Oh, I feel you Katy) and she’ll wonder if she’s just getting old. (Same here) She said that she’s looking forward to when her kids are older and can introduce her to some new music.

I have to say that yes, as a parent of older kids – it’s been really nice having them to point out new music. Saves me a little trouble, but by the same token I’ve learned that my kids have wildly different tastes from me. Not that this is a bad thing – I’ve learned to have an appreciation for anything from dubstep to EDM from Gavin (and now he’s into a lot of really hard rock and even metal – NOT hair bands but true metal from the 80s, which is amusing), and Heather tends to like a much wider variety, probably because she uses so many different types of music for dance. I agree with what John says about it taking work, but that if you’re willing to put the work in to finding it – there’s a lot of great music out there. My issue is time. I want more of it. 🙂

I am really kind of sick of 80s music, I mean – it’s great and all but there’s a lot more to the world, and yet to set out to discover something new takes time. I feel like I’ve spent quite a bit of time on older music – The Beatles and the first British Invasion, for instance, and now I’m looking for something different.  The “new” music of today does very little to excite me, but I feel like I’ve just got to keep looking.

Thankfully, The Killers are releasing a new single tomorrow and a new album in September, but this is a Duran Duran fan blog….

This wraps up the June 2017 Katy Kafe! John will be back in the UK for his birthday on June 20th, and back in the Kafe in Autumn. Let’s hope he’ll have more news about this 40th Anniversary by then!

-R

These Beautiful Colours – It’s All About Happy

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve had it. It’s Monday, and I’m already done.

I’d really like a day, heck, I’ll even take a MORNING, where there’s at least a little peace. Life is busy. My schedule is crazy and changing every single week because of various things going on. I never know where I’m supposed to be (and when). I have things written on my huge master calendar at home, in my phone, and even on a calendar I keep near my desk, and yet I still forget things. I’ve even had to turn down a couple of really fun and quite frankly, once in a lifetime type of opportunities for various reasons – all of which have to do with being an adult and putting my own feelings aside. On one hand I feel like I did the right thing, and on the other I wish I could just seize the day and take a chance for a change. Isn’t that just like being an adult???

I’m not even mentioning the world. I don’t really need to do that, as I’m sure all of you have heard the news each day. I don’t want this blog to turn into a political forum, but I will say this much – peace would be good right about now. It’s pretty bad when I am thinking about stocking up my trailer (camping caravan), throwing my phone in the garbage and heading north to pine trees, blue skies, and no internet connection.

There are moments when I see all that is happening here at home and abroad, and wonder if the “good old days” are totally behind us now. Sometimes I think that’s what the media wants us to believe. Sometimes, I even think that’s what we want one another to feel.  But then, there’s Duran Duran. The bright light.

The band tweeted this picture this morning from a show they did for a Princeton University class reunion this weekend. (Never before did I wish I went to an Ivy…) Dom retweeted it saying that he loves the colors. At first all I could think about was that in a month from today, I’ll be picking Amanda up at the airport and we’ll be headed to San Francisco. That thought alone made me smile. I can’t wait to see Amanda, our friends, and yes – the band.

Dom says he loves these colors. To me, they are joy and happiness.

I am no different from any other fan. I’m excited to go see the band in July. On one hand, I feel like I’m going to be seeing old friends that weekend, and on the other, I sound like a hopelessly deluded fan. They don’t know me. I only know them from their posters. Yet it all feels so familiar after thirty—nearly forty—years.  I can’t help but feel that way. Yes, I hope to at least make eye contact long enough to say hi and let them know they were missed, and I’m glad they’re back.

In many of my blogs, I try to remind the world that to the band, our relationship is probably more transactional than anything else. Very few of us have a real person-to-person connection with them. Yes, it would be nice if it were more than that after all this time, but realistically – how can they really know thousands upon thousands of people?? I’m even shocked when Simon says he recognizes faces in the crowd.  Even so, as I sit here writing this—I’m thinking of how lucky I am to be able to still go and see the band I grew up idolizing, and sure—a big part of me wants to pretend that when they see me standing in the audience, they recognize my face. Who doesn’t?

It is very hard not to feel like there’s some sort of relationship there, just based solely on the amount of time I’ve invested. Of course there really isn’t—I don’t know John, Nick, Simon or Roger—but as a fan, there’s all the loyalty in the world there. Of course, then there’s Dom. I’ve met him more than once. I’ve spoken to him while on a plane and traded emails a few times. Yet every time I see him up close enough to say hi, I’m pleasantly surprised he addresses me by name. I don’t really know why that surprises me so much, because if he were anyone else – any other guy for example – it’d be normal! There are many people I’ve met one time, and then seen again two or three years later, and we all manage to know and remember one another’s name. Yet with him, it’s different. I both love and kind of hate that all at the same time, I must admit.

I just think now, more than ever, if you get a chance to be close enough to say hi, give/receive a hug, or whatever – it’s important to let them know we care. There’s a lot of bad going on in this world. Even if, like 99% of us, you only know them for being Duran Duran, I think right now, it’s good to let them know how much they’re loved.  Love is a very good thing. We’re lucky to have this relationship, however confusing, messy, and undefined it may be. Not everyone does…and these moments are what carry me from one show to the next. The memories of a hug, a hand squeeze, or even a wink from the stage remind me that all is not so bad. So in the moments when I’m struggling to remember what paperwork I was supposed to bring to a doctor’s appointment, or that I need to contact the registrar at Gavin’s school about his high school transcripts, I try to think about those happy times. It helps.

I’m also really excited that for at least a couple of days – I’ll be nothing BUT happy. So the more I looked at the photo, the more I realized that yes, for me – the colors are happy. I need happy. Don’t we all?

-R

What WON’T the band do for their 40th anniversary?

I’ve noticed a lot of people working on surveys and things, putting together a wish list for Duran Duran’s 40th anniversary. I suspect the intention is that if fans work together to come up with a cohesive list, then perhaps the band will take a look and perhaps see their way clear to incorporating some of the ideas into their celebration plans. Maybe.

Amanda and I haven’t really done much of that here on the blog. I suspect part of the reason is that we’ve been around for six years, and during that time – while we’ve gotten support from DDHQ – I think we’ve come to realize they’re not going to take us seriously when it comes to the business of the band, and quite frankly – they’re probably smarter that way.  That doesn’t stop either of us from looking side-eyed at some of the things that have been done over the years, but you know, it’s much easier to quarterback from the sidelines than it is to actually be in the game. I don’t think we were always quite that accepting, but you know, Amanda and I have changed a little bit over the years.  Now we’re just having fun with it all.

That doesn’t mean we don’t throw some ideas out there every once in a while for fun though, and today will be no exception as I put together a short list of things the band will (probably) NOT do during #DD40!

Play a cruise!

I dearly love every human being who has suggested that Duran Duran basically put themselves on a cruise ship with what, 3-4,000 of their most rabid fans. How could that possibly go wrong??

Let’s just think about that for a minute: sun, water, several bars, thousands of fans who may or may not have partaken in said alcohol….and nowhere the band can really go to hide. Or run. Outstanding!

Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that won’t be happening. Again, love the enthusiasm, but probably not for their 40th anniversary.

Play shows with Dom, Andy and Warren…at the same time!

Again, love the enthusiasm for their 40th anniversary.  Honestly, I think about the possibility of this purely for the entertainment value.  Can you imagine all three of them on stage? Together? Two of them have enormous egos…the third might be trampled in the process. All together onstage for the same shows, same songs?  My money is on a firm “no”.

For that matter, why don’t we bring back everyone who has ever played with the band to play onstage? Andy Hamilton, all of the backup singers, Sterling, Steve Ferrone, Joe Travers…is there a stage large enough???

More travel packages!

This is one idea that I could see the band instituting in part, but I’m going to gamble and say they won’t do it again, even for their 40th anniversary. Back before Astronaut was released, the band did a few very special travel packages that were in extremely limited quantity. Fans paid a tidy sum for a ticket to a specific show, accommodations, special merchandise, concierge service, and a cocktail party with all five band members in attendance. I have a good friend that bought a travel package, and by her account it was extremely well-organized and thought out, and I think it’s fair to say it was a very positive experience for her. The travel packages went from these extravagant luxuries down to a ticket and a quick meet and greet, and then they morphed into meet and greets given at random to VIP ticket buyers, and now none of the VIP packages come with anything other than the ticket, merchandise and possible cocktail parties in some cities (without the band in attendance).

I know the demand for these travel packages (and meet and greets) still exists, but I think the band hated them for the most part.  I can imagine the thought of going into a room filled with Duranies can be a bit overwhelming. I can’t blame them even if I might wish I’d been able to take advantage when meet and greets or travel packages were offered.

Play individual albums in their entirety!

The one suggestion I’ve seen over and over again is to play Rio, or any of their albums – entirely live for their 40th anniversary. It’s the one suggestion that I am positive most Duran fans want (even if there is discussion over which album they’d most like to see done that way), and it is the one suggestion that the band just doesn’t seem to get.

Just last week, Lori Majewski had John Taylor call in on her radio show, and she mentioned playing Rio live. John thinks we’d be bored (sometimes, I really don’t think they know their fans) because we’d already know the set list.

Ok, John. I get you. I’d just invite you to take a good look at your set list for the past few years as you’ve been touring Paper Gods, and then tell me again that fans get bored when they know the set list. The fact is, to have an entire album played live is a completely different experience than many of us have had before – Red Carpet Massacre aside.  For that matter, you could mix it up and that way, you’re not playing the same album over and over, and if fans like me want to see them all—they’re gonna have to take a leave of absence from their lives and travel to different shows to do it.

Even so, I think it’s safe to assume the band isn’t going to listen to reason on this one. They’re gonna play the hits, and we’re going to like it.

My heart is still hoping for Late Bar…but my head knows we’re getting Hungry Like the Wolf.

Intimate shows of 3,000 or less!

Let’s be real. Again, this one is a gamble, but I’m thinking money-wise, touring the 40th anniversary would be a cash cow. Why on earth would they only want to play in small venues when they can play arenas and bring in more money?

Personally, I’d love to see them play in smaller theaters so that long time fans have the opportunity to get up close and celebrate with this band. I’d like to see fans acknowledged for the time and energy we’ve given over the years. Who wouldn’t? That said, the lure for a huge “comeback” anniversary tour (no, they never left but the rest of the country, world, so forth probably doesn’t know that) is ever looming.

I’m just hoping they don’t decide to do that “Verified Fan” thing through Ticketmaster…

There are a lot of things I’d like to see the band do for their 40th anniversary. Mostly, I’m at a point where I’m just happy to see they’re still around fighting the good fight.  I’m looking forward to reading what they’ve got planned, and I’m hoping that I can take an active part in some of it along the way!

-R

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

 

 

Songs for Intellectuals

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, an intellectual is:  1.  of or relating to the intellect or its use rather than by emotion or experience or 2. given to study, reflection and speculation.  The other day, John Taylor mentioned this term in the band’s oral history of the Rio album.  In that oral history, he stated that The Chauffeur is that album’s song for intellectuals.  He also mentioned about how a friend of his said that every album needs a song for those thinking people.

Anyone who knows me is not surprised to find out that this got me thinking.  (How intellectual of me!)  I cannot deny that I like to think, study, reflect, analyze or however you want to say it.  My parents are to blame as I grew up in a household in which vacations meant museum visits, dinner discussions included current events and basic knowledge, and daily activities involved reading or looking up information.  Therefore, this thinking, speculating thing is part of my DNA.  Intellectual might be going a bit far but I do like to think.

So, what did I think John’s statement regarding The Chauffeur?  What did I think about this idea that every album needs a song for intellectuals?  First, if there is a song for intellectuals on Rio, I agree that it must be The Chauffeur.  While I think the lyrics on many of the songs on that album are fascinating and make me think, the lyrics for The Chauffeur are definitely more poetic than the rest.  Because of this, one might spend more time thinking about what Simon is trying to say and why.  Those lyrics are definitely less straight forward than say Save a Prayer.  Second, do I think that every album needs a song for intellectuals?  Need is obviously the key word there.  Would an album be less good, have less quality without a thinking person’s song?  I’m not sure about that.  Would Rio not be as good if say the song, “Like an Angel” was included instead of The Chauffeur?  The quality might decline a little but that is based on the quality of the song as opposed to intellectual vs. not.  That said, I do love, love, love the songs that make me think.  It is one thing that I really do appreciate about Duran.  While Duran is a lot of fun on the surface, there is a lot more going on than meets the eye.  They often make me think with almost every song, video, etc. they do.

If Duran really has followed this philosophy, can we pick out the intellectual song in each album?  When did they start this?  Are there some albums that might have more than one?

Does the first album have one?  If so, I might have to say that Friends of Mine might be more intellectual than the rest.  Yet, at the same time, it fits with the rest of the album.  It doesn’t stand out in the way The Chauffeur does on Rio.  Hmm…What about Seven and the Ragged Tiger?  Is there one on there?  A lot of the lyrics do make me think as they are not obvious about what they are about.  If that is the criteria, then, maybe The Reflex?  Union of the Snake?  Again, I’m not sure those really fit the idea that they are for intellectuals.  What about Notorious?  Winter Marches On?  Ugh.  I think I suck at trying to figure this out!!!

Maybe, I’ll have better luck in the late 80s/90s albums?  I think The Edge of America might fit in the criteria for intellectual song.  What does the edge mean?  Why is there is anger?  The lyrics are not that poetic or obscure.  Yet, the song makes me think.  Nothing pops out for me for Liberty.  The Wedding Album’s intellectual song could be Too Much Information as it might make people consider the role of media.  Breath After Breath is very much a different type of song.  Could that be it?  Could they both be??  Medazzaland might have a bunch since the entire album feels very different.  In fact, it might be easier to pick the songs that are more obvious than the opposite.  I’m not sure about Pop Trash.  Ugh.

Post reunion albums are not really any easier to determine the intellectual songs for.  For Astronaut, I might pick Finest Hour.  While the lyrics could be applied to many situations, it has a connection to Churchill and his speech during World War II.  It makes my historian brain think then.  Red Carpet Massacre is interesting.  There are definitely non-intellectual songs on that album, including the ones produced by Timbaland.  That said, there are songs, like Red Carpet Massacre, that seem to be about one thing but could be about something else.  I bet All You Need Is Now has two:  The Man Who Stole a Leopard and Before the Rain.  For Paper Gods, is it the title track?  Only in Dreams?  Both?

Clearly, the answers are not obvious AT ALL.  I made some guesses but I really have no idea if any of songs I considered are ones that the band would consider.  Maybe, all of you have different ideas about which songs are the ones for intellectuals.  Perhaps, what we should do is figure out actual criteria and then consider each album.  What do all of you think?!  Come on, intellectuals, let me hear from you!

-A

On a different note, I want to wish all mother’s a Happy Mother’s Day!

35 Years and Counting: RIO!

Can you believe it? Thirty-five wild and crazy years ago today, Rio came into our world.

I bought Rio when it came out, and for a brief time thought it was Duran Duran’s first album. I was very confused, apparently. The thing is – I’d heard Planet Earth, and I had a K-Tel record with Girls on Film, but I hadn’t heard those songs on the radio much. But Rio? Please.

Truth be told, Rio was released a full year before I believe it really took off here in America. It’s first release here fell flat, not doing particularly well. Capitol Records hired David Kershenbaum to do a dance-remix of several songs off the album (released as Carnival).  Those remixes are a little more guitar-heavy, a little less synth, a little more bass in sound. Eventually, Capitol had Kershenbaum go back and remix most of the rest of the album and then re-released it in America, promoting it as a dance album. That’s when sales started to pick up steam and the band began to climb the charts.

Suddenly Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf were everywhere, and Is There Something I Should Know wasn’t far behind…which is why I thought it was the next album, rather than being the first.  But then again, my UK friends will remind me that it was NOT the first, because on their version of the first album – ITSISK is nowhere to be found, and they are correct.  It’s just on our altered US versions that there’s no To The Shore, with ITSISK instead. (my head is spinning even as I recall this from memory)

Honestly, if you want my most vivid memories from Rio, they would be my realizing that I had the order of their albums wrong….and that champagne stuff Simon drank while in the ocean.  To this very day, every single time I think of Rio, that vision comes to mind. Not the fake crab on Roger, not pallid-looking Nick in the galley, definitely not a daydreamy John Taylor on the sand or even Andy being thrown overboard…but Simon, drinking out of a champagne glass in the ocean.

I just don’t know.

Despite testing the waters with Planet Earth and even Girls on Film before the Rio album – it was truly this album that set my world on fire. I think that the band continues to be judged for Rio, without a lot of regard for anything else they’ve done (perhaps with a few exceptions), and many believe it to be the pinnacle of their career.

I love Rio. I also appreciate and love everything Duran Duran has done (yes, even RCM. Ok?!?), because at this point, nearly forty years into our journey – it really IS about the whole journey. It has been a crazy, wicked, wild, ride, and I’m ready for more.

I am writing this and I haven’t had any time yet this morning to actually listen to the oral history. I’m hoping to get a chance later today….but I might just have to let Amanda be the one to comment on it due to a lack of time on my part. Or else, I’ll comment later. I am really looking forward to hearing it though, because it’s not that often we get the opportunity to look back at something with the band and get their point of view.

It’s a special day in Duranland, and I’m thankful to be able to be here and experience it with everyone else. Happy 35th Birthday, Rio!

-R

Where does the time go? Come Undone peaks at #7 in 1993.

Well, my spring break has come and gone, and this week it is about getting back into the normal groove. I’m being shaken (with a vengeance) back into reality this week at work because I will be the only admin in the building, which means my downtime will be non-existent. Amanda will be proud, I haven’t even looked at my email yet!! From now until the end of May, which is when my job goes on hiatus (until Septemberish), work and life is jam-packed.  In between teaching lessons, I am taking a last few cleansing breaths before it all begins in the morning.

It’s almost a good thing the band seems quiet right now, I guess…although rest assured I’d much rather be thinking, talking, and planning Duran Duran things. I’m anxious for school to end and summer to begin on one hand, and on the other, I guess I’m coming to terms with the idea that my son Gavin will be graduating and I will no longer be teaching him. In some ways that feels liberating, and in others, I’m sad.

Things are definitely changing here at Casa Rivera. Over my spring break, I had a full list of things to do, many of which didn’t happen—but one thing I did actually finish was moving my youngest upstairs.  My oldest is in an apartment near her school, and so I attempted to clear out her bedroom completely (not an easy feat – my home is her storage unit, apparently!) and then move the little one up there. Up until this weekend, we’d converted our den into a tiny bedroom for her rather than force the girls to share. They are 11 years apart (yes, we plan wonderfully!) so sharing didn’t seem like the best option for anyone. Last night, as I finished sweeping out the downstairs room (which is soon to become my office, yay!), I commented that it’s weird, first we worked to fill the rooms, and now I’m working to empty them. Gavin’s room is next, I suppose, as he’ll be moving to his college in September. Where does the time go?

That sort of fits the theme going forward for the next few years. Where does the time really go?? I suspect the band is going to be a bit more nostalgic than maybe we’re used to, as they celebrate their 40th anniversary. In the podcast interview with Joss Paterson (I believe you can find it on iTunes) John mentioned that they plan to start celebrating that next year, and then kind of rolling it over for the next three years because the genesis (to use John’s words) of the band was in 1978, but it went through changes initially, and then Simon joined in 1980. I don’t really know what the band has planned as far as celebrating goes, but I am sure we’ll all enjoy a look back. As fans of this band, we have a collective history that each of us have had some small part in shaping to get where we are.

With that in mind, I’m here to remind you that on this date in 1993, Come Undone peaked at #7 in the US. Feels like yesterday!

-R