Tag Archives: John Taylor

Brilliant Minds Podcast with John

Has anyone checked out the Brilliant Minds podcast with John yet?  It is about 27 minutes in length, and I gave it a listen yesterday.  I was green with envy when it was announced that John would be speaking in Stockholm for the Brilliant Minds symposium. He is an engaging speaker and tends to get me thinking, which I appreciate.

I’d searched online for John’s talk, but I hadn’t found anything about it, and then yesterday DDHQ tweeted that his podcast from that same symposium was on Spotify. I don’t believe it is the same as his speech that was delivered there, but I thought it would be worth a listen anyway.

The podcast is basically an interview, with Juliet de Baubigny speaking with John. She is a very successful venture capitalist who has known John and his wife Gela for years,  among many other things. I wasn’t familiar with her at all before the podcast, so I had to google her. Shameful, I know.

Truth be told, they covered many topics that are in John’s book: art, addiction recovery (and living with addiction), his success, and even Gela’s success. While I personally didn’t feel like I learned anything really groundbreaking or new, I also recognize that I’m not your average listener. It’s that “fan” thing again. I can imagine that for those who really don’t know John Taylor, or even those who haven’t read his autobiography four times like I have, they might learn something new about him. I thoroughly enjoyed how introspective John has become about his life and career over the years – and truthfully, he may have always been that way. It just didn’t always come through during interviews in 1985.

John talked about how he’s glad he had all of those crazy times (in regards to partying and living the rock star life) because he knows he had enough fun. (Is enough really ever enough, though??) He also talked about how he was embarrassed about how much money he made back in his twenties, while Gela was very proud of her success later in life.  I don’t deny it was hard work for Duran Duran to actually “make” it, but I wonder if it can really be characterized as the same sort of hard work Pam and Gela experienced? I don’t mean that John didn’t work hard – one look at their schedule back in the day might say otherwise. I think though in some way, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. They are both fruit and grow on a tree, but aside from that, they’re totally different.

I especially enjoyed the discussion of using one’s platform to do good work in the world. We’ve seen that with John, as he has reached out to help addiction recovery programs and help with music programs where he grew up in Birmingham. Even the talks he gives at symposiums such as Brilliant Minds, are direct evidence. I admire John’s ability to see beyond himself. I love that he gives himself grace for his  past, but also uses his experience to help others. A little of that shined through during the interview, and it was an enjoyable listen. During a time when there is very little by way of good news to be found on social media, I appreciate the few rays of sunshine that peek through, such as this podcast. It’s definitely worth the time to listen in!

Check it out: Brilliant Minds Podcast with JT

-R

 

It’s Going to Tempt You

I am not a very spontaneous person.  I’m sure that those of you who are reading this blog post who know me personally might even be laughing at the thought.  Yes, it is true.  Typically, I take a long time to make a decision even when I have thought about my choices over time.  Let me give you an example.  Over the course of my life, I have saved money to buy the latest electronic gadget.  I will then research, decide on the best option, and save money for whatever I want.  Then, I go to the store to finally buy it and I will still stand there and debate the decision to myself once again.  I kid you not.  This indecisiveness happens with work, too.  For instance, it comes each and every time I don’t feel good.  I will literally spend hours going back and forth about calling in sick.  Why do I do this?  I suppose it is insecurity about doing the right thing.  Should I really miss work?  Should I really spend the money?

Funny enough, the one area of my life that tends not to be indecisive is when it comes to my fandom.  Just ask Rhonda.  It does not take me long from reading or hearing about a new show announcement to deciding that we should go.  Typically, if I see a Duran alert about a new show, by the time I am contacting Rhonda, I already have a tentative plan about what we should do in order to go.  Fandom is the one aspect of my life that I truly allow my heart to lead rather than my head.  Of course, this sometimes has gotten me into trouble.    Take the UK tour of 2011.  The shows were announced.  Tickets went on sale within 24 hours of the press release.  If we were going to go, we needed to buy them then, we said.  So we did.  I knew that this tour, which was to take place in May, was pretty awful timing in terms of work but I just went for it.  I assumed that I would get those details figured out later.  Well…a month or so later, I did get it approved but it took a lot of effort by contacting a lot of people to help me.  If I had thought more, I probably shouldn’t have or wouldn’t have gone for this idea, but I didn’t.  It was Duran.  It was Duran on tour in the UK with my friends.  I didn’t think.  I just acted.

Do I regret the decision to go to the UK for this tour?  No.  Not one little bit.  Did it suck that I had to push hard to get to go, to get approval from work?  Absolutely.  Did I ever give up?  Strangely enough, I didn’t.  Maybe, I should have.  Some might have taken it as a sign that I shouldn’t go, that it wasn’t meant to be.  Still, I pushed.  Now, we know that those UK shows in May of 2011 did not happen.  Strangely enough, I still don’t regret going even with the extreme effort with work.  I learned a lot about myself, fandom, Duran Duran and friendships during that trip.

Of course, over the course of my fandom, I have gone to other events that I should not have due to my crappy schedule.  The best example of this is when I went to John Taylor’s book reading and signing in Chicago in late October 2012.  Not only was that night a “school night” meaning that I had to work the next day but it was also days away from Election Day.  This meant that I was working about 80 hours a week between teaching and campaigning.  I knew that the responsible thing would have been to stay at home, get more work done, go to sleep at a decent hour, etc. but I didn’t.  I couldn’t.  This was John Taylor.  Was it crazy of me?  Absolutely.  I remember standing in line to get my book signed and answering call after call about the campaign.  Then, I ended up with like 3 hours of sleep, if that.  Yet, it was amazing night that was worth the multi-tasking and the sleep deprivation.

Now, I face a similar situation.  It, unfortunately, isn’t with Duran Duran or John Taylor but with the Killers.  If you have read this blog for awhile, you probably know that both Rhonda and I love the Killers.  I would definitely pick them for my second favorite band and I have been lucky enough to see them live a number of times.  Well, a few days ago I saw an event on Facebook stating that they are playing in nearby Milwaukee on September 4th.  Sometimes, I think there is a conspiracy against me.  What date is September 4th?  It is literally the first day of school with students.  On that date, 9th graders come to learn their way around the building as they walk through their schedules and meet their teachers.  It is not a regular day of school but it is tiring as there is lots to do to get ready.  The next day, the 5th, will mark the first normal day of school in which all students come and attend class during regular hours.  Ugh.  What a terrible date for a concert!

So, once I saw the event, I shared it and began debating to go or not to go.  It is right in the beginning of the year,

which means that I am already super exhausted.  That said, I also can and will be prepared so that I can leave right at the end of the day.  Should I let work dictate my life?  Should I be good and stay home?  Double ugh.  Again, I waffle.  Yesterday, though, this changed.  I found myself with a presale code for this concert.  At that moment, I did not stop and debate.  I used the code and within minutes I had tickets purchased.  Oh boy.  Will I regret this decision?  Maybe, I will when I am driving home afterwards, exhausted and begging for sleep.  Perhaps, the next day will be so painful that I will kick myself over and over again.  On the other hand, I did not second guess my decisions in those other examples.  Besides, it is a concert.  It is about seeing a fabulous band live.  How could that decision be wrong?  Now, to find someone crazy enough to go with me…

-A

John Taylor’s “All Love” Playlist!

Have you listened to JT’s “All Love” Playlist on Spotify yet?  No judgment if you haven’t, only encouragement. “Try it, you’ll like it!”

It took me a couple of weeks to finally hit “shuffle”, but I caught a tweet from Duran Duran saying he’d updated the play list and figured I’d give it a try. I don’t really know why it took me so long.  I suppose, if I were to be honest, I was a little apprehensive, and admittedly – I’m stuck in a rut.

I don’t spend a lot of time listening to music these days, and even less trying to find new music I enjoy. With at least two of my three kids here, along with my husband, it is never quiet. Someone always wants me for something, and I find that if I’ve got earbuds in, I’m constantly having to hit “pause” and pull them out anyway. As the years have dragged on, I’ve noticed I spend far less time listening to music. Whenever we’ve got something on in the background, it’s normally not a very recent release. I hang my head in shame. I think I get my best new music recommendations from my daughter Heather, because as a choreographer, she really does need to know what’s out there.

When did I have to actually start working at finding new music? it used to be so easy. I think the rut creeps up on so slowly, we don’t even notice. My kids call my music the “Oldies”, and that makes me cringe because, of course it is NOT. “It’s New Wave. NEW Wave, kids”, is my typical reply.

Yeah, I’m not buying it either, and wow I sound like an old person. EEK!

I’m at the point in my life where I care very little about someone’s image, and a whole lot more about their talent. It takes a lot to make me buy music these days, and not much out there seems worth my dime. So I fall back to what I know, because in the ten minutes I might have to actually listen to something throughout the day before I’m interrupted, I want to hear what I know I’m going to like. I hate the idea that I have to TRY to like something. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I’m not looking for instant “love”, I just don’t want to feel as though I’m having to find artistic merit within the sound of nails going down a chalkboard.

Yep, still sounding a lot more “Get off my lawn” than I’d like to admit, I’m afraid.

So, when I finally did hit “shuffle” on his playlist as I was cleaning downstairs, I decided I wouldn’t look at what was playing, or what was coming up. My job was simply to listen and enjoy. I won’t lie, occasionally I found myself rushing to my phone to click “next”. More often than not though, I liked what I heard. Sometimes, I liked it enough to go see who the artist was and make a note to check out more of their music! Not only that, but John’s playlist surprised me. He certainly didn’t bind himself to only one genre. I heard everything from Phillip Glass, who is arguably one of the finest composers of our time, to Kanye. Ariana Grande to MNDR and TOKiMONSTA. Bowie to Chic, and of course Duran Duran.  I heard plenty that I liked, and even more that I loved.  I shouldn’t be surprised, but I kind of am!

John isn’t afraid to challenge us to expand our musical horizons. I can appreciate that, and goodness knows I need the kick in the pants. I’m finding that it takes real work to stay wired in to what is relevant. I remember something that Nick said in a Katy Kafe a few years back, and it really stuck with me. He was talking about how difficult it really is to get music heard these days. He described it as the internet being this fat pipe of information, and so everything comes at us as though it’s a fire hose. It is difficult for any one thing to catch on and be noticed. I feel it. Spotify is so overwhelming with many choices. I rarely know where to start.

Over the years, John has fed me more than one new artist to check out that I’ve ended up really enjoying. From this playlist, I’ve discovered Charlotte Gainsbourg most notably, among a few others. She’s someone I probably should have known about and just didn’t. So while sure, a part of me is like “Soulja Boy?  Kanye?? Really??? Hard pass, John.” I know I need to at least try before I scoff too much. So I do, and now I’m glad I did.

Thank goodness John does his homework and is willing to share. I might be a slacker, but even I know what’s good for me!

Check out his “All Love” playlist on Spotify!  (Link is in the words)

-R

Lovebox Festival, 2010 with Mark Ronson

Lately, I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic. During my spare time, I have been on YouTube, watching snippets of video from DD shows I went to, or videos I haven’t seen in a while, like “Nightboat”, “Careless Memories”, or even “Falling Down”.  Nearly every day I check our history spreadsheet to see if anything noteworthy pops up that I should share, but it is rare that I’ll sit down and watch videos, much less go in search of them. I guess for me, they might be a needed source of comfort. Or else, I’m just super bored with packing and cleaning. There might be a bit of that, too!

Today I noticed that on this date in history, back in 2010, Mark Ronson played the Lovebox Festival. I realize that might not be so special, but his guests definitely were!  Mark invited Simon and Nick on stage to perform “Record Collection” from Mark’s album with Business Int’l, and then John and Roger crashed the party to play “Planet Earth”.

I am one of those pesky Duran Duran fans that loves Mark Ronson, and I especially adore Record Collection. It is an album that I have to be in the right mood to play, but when I put it on, I’m never disappointed.  I was thrilled to see Simon and Nick performing it with him and yeah, it was another one of those times where I kicked myself for not being there in person.

Sorry for the video quality – I didn’t take it!  I recognized the video owner’s name, and she is a huge DD fan. I can understand her jubilance!  Check out Mark, who can be seen in the back sporting what I believe should be a very recognizable outfit to any Duran Duran fan who has spent any kind of time watching old music videos lately!

The next video, of course, is “Planet Earth”. You may have heard that one before.

Now, this video isn’t necessarily the greatest either, some of it taken from the audience with hands and arms in the way. I love that the camera scans the stage, and if you look closely, you may just see MNDR on stage – she too was involved as part of The Business Int’l for the Record Collection album.

I loved watching these again. It is difficult to believe this happened eight years ago today. I don’t know about anyone else but it only feels like a few years ago at most. Crazy, right?

-R

Juicy Stories on TV

In my continuing quest to keep moving forward, I decided to see what else has been going on or connected to Duran Duran this week besides the big story.  Typically, when I see something Duran related and lack time or energy, I just save it to refer back to it.  So, that is where I started this afternoon.  What the heck did I save?  Ah, yes.  My friend shared an article from deadlines.com about a TV show in development.  What is the TV show called Juicy Stories about?  This is how the website describes it:

Juicy Stories is the story of how two women in their 20s created the iconic “Juicy” tracksuit and turned their $200 investment into a billion-dollar business — and a life-long friendship. Inspired by the lives of Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, Juicy Stories tells the tale of two women who made clothes, made mistakes, made babies — and made one of the most iconic brands of the 1990s, Juicy Couture. These “Juicy Stories” — both aspirational and sensational — flash back to Los Angeles in the 1990s and are narrated on camera and in the present by the real Pam (Lawfor) and Gela (Serafino), still business partners and best friends.

For those people lost, Gela Nash-Taylor is John Taylor’s wife.  According to the article, which you can read here, the show was inspired by the memoir, The Glitter Plan, written by Pam Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor.  (Fun fact:  Rhonda blogged about that memoir here.)  Now, I admit that I know very little about the history of Juicy Couture and, unlike Rhonda, I did not read the book.  That said, I can appreciate the idea of celebrating both female friendship, which is clearly an important piece of the story, as well as successful women.  It sounds like the show will feature mostly women, which I can applaud.

But on to the important stuff!  If this is about the story of Juicy, will John Taylor also be there?  Indeed, Gela’s husband will also be a character on the show.  In fact, he is described in this way, “Gela’s sexy, charismatic, actor/musician husband.”  What is interesting or perplexing or curious, depending on how you look at it, the characters playing Gela and Pam will be called “Gela” and “Pam.”  Yet, the John character will be called, “Drew.”  Huh?  I wonder why.  I think that is weird.  So, who is the guy who will be playing John/Drew?  His name is Tanner Stine who is also in Impulse, Here & Now and Zac and Mia.  I won’t lie.  My knowledge on actors is way limited so I have no idea if this guy can act well or not.  He looks like this, though:

Does this guy seem like someone who could pull off playing John Taylor?  Here is a video of the show, Impulse, in which he plays Clay.

I have to admit that I’m not sure.  First of all, he is really young.  Second, he has really blue eyes, which does not match at all.  Yet, in fairness, I’ll admit that I have a hard time imagining anyone being good enough to play John Taylor.  I’m a bit biased.

Now, I admit that this isn’t typically a show I would turn in to, despite the female focus, but I probably will just to see how this guy does.  I am curious to see how John will be written and portrayed.  There does not appear to be a date for a premiere and the show is only in development so my guess is that we will have to wait awhile.  Hopefully, it will be worth the wait.

-A

What is definitive Duran Duran?

Happy Wednesday! I’m sorry for my unexpected absence yesterday. We were having carpeting installed, and we had to disconnect the octopus of wires behind a desk. Unfortunately, that also disconnected our WiFi and disrupted our internet connection until it was far too late in the day for blogging.

I’m also late today, because of a meaningful, deep, philosophical discussion regarding the merits of the song “Drive By”.

Only a fellow Duran fan understands enough to talk about the space a specific song or album occupies. It is rare to find someone who understands and is able to relate such a song to the bigger picture is a gift.

The conversation was simply about why I believe “Drive By” is a definitive Duran Duran song of the Simon-Nick-John-Warren period. Actually, I think its one of the more definitive songs of their career. “Drive By” is definitive of their career during the mid-90s, but does it’s statement go even farther than that?

Let’s consider the period of time. John, Simon, Nick and Warren were defining themselves as another iteration of Duran Duran. This was an era of rediscovery, reinvention, and to some extent – forgetting who and what they once were (as a group). So “Drive By”, a deconstructed, even “now separated, once-conjoined twin” of “The Chauffeur”, is a spectacular example of this period of Duran’s career.

I can point to the cover of “Medazzaland” as another example, granted in a slightly different period. The graffiti-laden image of “Rio” weighs heavily in my mind. I often wonder if they weren’t really trying to bury that bright and glossy 80s magazine pin-up image of the fab five. Let’s face it, there was quite a bit to run from at that point. Maybe they were really over the idea of fans swarming their limos, even if by necessity. Perhaps they were anxious to be accepted as serious musicians. Maybe they were  over being the pin-up dreams of fresh-faced, dewy-eyed teenage girls?  Maybe they saw this new iteration of Duran Duran as being the “anti”1980s Duran Duran?  It isn’t difficult to imagine what they might have been thinking of when picking a cover for “Medazzaland”.

Rather than examining the song, or any one song, under the Duran Duran microscope, lately I’ve been thinking about the broader context. I’ve considered the changes in their sound over the years,  such as the rearranged, heavy jazz sounding brass and horn version of “Hungry Like the Wolf” or “Burning the Ground” – the remix to put a final period on 80s era Duran Duran.  I’ve pondered the more obvious, recent style changes, like the full, production-heavy pop sound on Astronaut compared to the deep urban groove of Red Carpet Massacre, or retro sounding All You Need is Now, along with Paper Gods.  Individually, each seeming to be a stroll down a different musical lane, but collectively – what do they really say about this band?

To some extent, I tend to believe the band has spent a great deal of time and energy running from what they (and critics) believed they were in 1984. We can say they’re not comfortable sitting upon their laurels, and we can claim that they are not easily satiated, creativity speaking, and I don’t think we’d be wrong. However,  I don’t think it hurts anyone to examine the deeper motivation of what might drive them.

Recently, during the BBC takeover night of DD television a couple of weeks back, John admitted that the critical comments from music journalists back in the day have bothered him up until very recently. This was not a surprise to me, other than being shocked at his utterance of the words out loud for all to hear. Amanda and I have been talking about that for years now – we’ve written about it many times on the blog, and I think we both cheered when we heard John say the words. Of course it bothered them. I get it! I very much appreciate his honesty and vulnerability. Accepting, and even respecting that one nugget of truth gave me such a different perspective on their career. It is like finally having the big picture come into focus. I just love them.

This is a band with an image based on the proverbial double-edged sword. On one side, they were incredibly successful because they appealed to teenage girls. They never said no to being the – poster boys of the 1980’s. In fact, they welcomed it, and we welcomed them! On the other side of that sword though, somewhere down deep, they secretly aspired to reach the recognition, acclaim and respect that comes from critics and other musicians. Screaming girls are wonderful, but perhaps having respect mattered too. Could we really blame them?

That isn’t to say the band’s career has been a giant folly, or that they were wrong to explore. Not in the least, and I want to be clear on that. In my mind, the fans are the ones who have made out the best on this deal. This band is still hungry. They are still in search of whatever is out there. With each new album comes a newly discovered Duran Duran. I just happen to believe the motivation to do so comes from something a bit more definitive.

-R

Front Row Podcast and Friendship

Do you listen to a lot of podcasts?  I don’t but I have many friends who love them.  That said, I’m always open to listening to one if it features members of Duran Duran.  Last week, the BBC Podcast called, Front Row, included a ten minute (or so) segment with John and Roger Taylor.  Of course, the purpose was to advertise the two TV specials, Something You Should Know and Boys on Film, that aired on Friday.  Whenever something airs outside of the U.S., I always worry that I won’t be able to see/hear it.  Luckily, though, a friend ensured that Rhonda and I could!

The Front Row podcast began by sharing the fact that the famous author, Neil Gaiman, first published work was, indeed, a biography of Duran Duran.  (That book costs a lot of money to buy, BTW.  Right now, you could buy a copy on Amazon for a cheap $157.)  Anyway, the podcast continued by discussing some of the highlights and lowlights of Duran’s career to introduce Roger and John.  The conversation, much like the documentary, runs in chronological order of the band’s career, obviously starting in the 1970s.  Interestingly enough, in describing punk, John talked about how the youth of that time were rebelling against their parents, the war generation.  That sort of made me sad as the World War II generation accomplished a lot like defeating fascism.  Nonetheless, I understood what he was saying.  Roger followed up talking about how all the family in his family held manual labor jobs.  In looking at his life, he acknowledged that just a couple of changes in his life or the band’s and he, too, could have been a manual laborer.  He’s really right.  Little moments and choices add to one’s life and any changes could make a big difference.

From there, they go on to discuss other topics, including the influence of glam and technology, the affects of having female teen fans, creating the James Bond theme song for A View to a Kill, the split in the mid-1980s, and advice for the young.  Which topic do you think caught most of my attention?  Yep.  I was most interested in what they would have to say about having female teen fans.  The interviewer directly asked if having female teen fans hurt the band when it came to the critics?  Roger acknowledged that it did.  He commented that it put them in a box with critics which resulted in having the music overlooked.  I don’t disagree with him at all.  That said, I wanted more.  Maybe I felt compelled to go deeper so I yelled  out in my living room the following (like Roger could hear me):  “Why is that Roger?  Why does having female teen fans mean that the music would be overlooked?  What would critics assume?”  So, what did  I mean about all of that?  Simple.  If a band has a lot of female teen fans, the assumption was that the band could not really play.  The only reason that female teens would like a band is because they were cute, not that they were talented musicians.  The implication, of course, was that female teens couldn’t judge music.  They weren’t smart enough, according to (probably) male critics.  Obviously, I think those assumptions are a bunch of bull.  I’m not sorry that I was a part of that group of fans, but I am sorry that sexism towards their female following hurt the band with the critics.

Overall, I enjoyed the podcast even though I wished it was longer and that I might have chosen a few different questions.  For example, I don’t think I would have asked about A View to a Kill because I have heard/read a lot about that.  I appreciate the discussion of the band’s origins but I would love to hear them analyze the reunion, for example, or the music industry.  All of that said, I completely appreciate our friend, Debbie, sending the podcast to us.  It means the world to us to know that there are people who know/understand how much we love Duran and want to be able to enjoy all media about the band.  It reminds me of what is really great about fandom when fans look out for each other.  Thanks again, Debbie, for both the podcast as well as the reminder.

I loved having new Duran stuff to write and talk about this weekend. Definitely added some joy when it was most needed.

-A

Duran Duran performs at Cannes Lions

Where in the world is Duran Duran?

Well, I can’t tell you where they are at this very minute – but I can tell you where they were last night! That lucky band performed in Cannes, France at the International Festival of Creativity for the Cannes Lions.

According to their website, the Cannes Lions are the most established and coveted awards for the creative and marketing communications industry. There’s an entire festival built around the awards, including performances and appearances by bands, artists and notable figures.   So, last night Duran Duran performed, apparently intended to be a secret for the attendees until the last possible minute, and today Simon appeared on a panel about saving the worlds oceans.

It wasn’t until Anna had posted something about performing in Cannes that I wondered about the band being there, and sure enough – pictures started showing up on social media this morning. Sometimes, I feel so far removed from the happenings with this band, it just makes it tough to stay engaged. I can’t imagine I’m the only one feeling that way…and I don’t mean that because I live in California and these things are taking place elsewhere I don’t pay attention. I mean that because I really don’t know what they’re working on, and so much of it is kept quiet, I tend to drift off and not always pay rapt attention, figuring they’re not doing much of anything (at least that I’m able to write about!).

I love that John and Simon do these panels, I really do. It is wonderful to see their passions beyond Duran Duran, and in both cases – I wish I’d been able to be there.

If all of that weren’t enough Duran-love for you, John left us all a gift of his own on Spotify. It is the JT “All love” playlist, and I really think it’s worth the time to download Spotify if you don’t already have it. He added more to it today, after he spent time wandering around the Christian Marclay exhibit in Cannes. Check out the playlist here!

Well, that’s a wrap for me this week! I’m off to do some more driving around and house hunting!

-R

 

 

Happy birthday John! (2018)

It’s a busy birthday month, isn’t it? Another quick observation – it is pretty bad when one has to begin putting the year into the happy birthday title. Is it a sign I’ve been blogging too long?

Maybe.

Or it just means we love this band a lot. There’s that, too.

Yes, there is a birthday boy amongst us. Or across the continent and ocean from some of us, anyway.  Happy birthday John! I am really the wrong person to be writing this blog today, as I have almost no exciting stories or anecdotes to share. I have never really met John, beyond raising my voice enough to tell him at a crowded table that Astronaut was a beautiful album. I did that at a signing in Hollywood once. But honestly that’s about it. I did see him walk out of a building and take a picture with Amanda – that was so exciting I remained rooted to my spot, standing off to the side, almost dumbstruck.

I’m REALLY good at the whole “meeting the band” thing. Can’t you tell??

Oh, there was that time I stuck my tongue out at him while he was onstage. Yeah, I did that. (I’m here to say that should you ever think that maybe the band can see you – EVEN if you’re in 9th row and it seems unlikely – if they’re looking right at you, they probably can and do see you. Trust me on that.)

So far here, I’ve established that I really don’t know him, and that I’ve already sort of insulted him (although I was just goofing around and he did it right back). Awesome start.

Despite not knowing him personally, there are few people who inspire me more than John. He has had real struggle in his life, just as any of us have in one way or another, and he’s turned it into something positive. I like that John seems to be a thinking person. He’s not all fun and games, or shallow. He seems to like to get into the real “meat” of it, and in some ways he reminds me of himself because he doesn’t seem to do things halfway. It’s either all or nothing, which is very much how I am.  Not that I’m claiming to be like him, just that I can identify.

He also reminds me a bit of myself because, during the very few times I’ve actually seen him offstage (and now that I sit here I can really only remember one time) – he doesn’t seem to like crowds. Or mingling.  When I’ve gone to wait for the band outside a stage entrance (yeah, I’ve done it once or twice!), I usually miss John completely because he’s already taken off. (and if I were ever in a band, that’s exactly how I would be)

The thing is, I may not always love the things that John says, or agree with every one of his statements, but I have a great deal of love and respect for him. I can appreciate that he’s a human being, not a robot, not able to commit to being everything for everyone. I love the saying “Expectations are future resentments”, which he talked about in his book. He’s right, and I’ve tried very hard to put that idea into practice. Life goes a lot better for me when I remain open to possibilities of things not happening quite as I expected.

(looks around while sitting on a balcony in Santa Barbara…yep, I definitely did not see this coming, and I’m totally OK with that!)

So for as much as I say I don’t know John personally, I feel like out of the entire band, he’s the one I tend to identify most with these days. I look forward to his Katy Kafe’s, and I enjoy hearing what he has to say…which reminds me that I need to go to YouTube in search of the speech he gave at the Brilliant Minds Symposium in Stockholm…

The happiest of birthdays to you, John. You’re a brilliant example of the saying “Not just a pretty face”, because there is one hell of a lot of substance going on in that brain of yours, and I appreciate that even after all of this time, I am learning from your examples. No, I don’t think you’re infallible and I try very hard not to put you on too high of a pedestal (expectations and all, right?), but you are by far one of the better humans I’ve never really met.  😀  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

-R

Rob Fincham of The Purple Lights in the studio with Nick & John!

Alright, music fans – have you ever heard of The Purple Lights?

In full disclosure, I had not. I really do try to keep myself up to date and educated. However, as it was once described—the internet is a super fat pipe, and I am but a single, very thin, straw. I miss a lot. I would need to make it my career in order to even have the time to begin scratching the surface. Sounds like a great job, but not one that I am meant to do, I’m afraid.

I am more than willing to be enlightened, particularly when said group tweets out a photo in the studio with Duran Duran. Off to the internet I go, in search of knowledge and hopefully a track or two! My first stop is Soundcloud, which has a few tracks. I tentatively hit play and prepare myself.

Here’s the thing: I’ve learned a few things about myself since beginning the blog nearly eight years ago. One of those things is that I tend to be the cynic between the two of us, and if someone is going to give a bad review—it’s probably going to be me. I’m blunt to a fault, and I sometimes react with a knee jerk rather than be contemplative. So, I’ve learned that sometimes, it really IS better to sleep on things (and maybe even a few times!!) before publishing. Imagine that! Live and learn.

Every time Duran announces studio time or collaboration with someone, I worry. Is the sound going to be something I can actually champion? In my position, it is very easy to fall victim to being so overly critical that it does zero good for anyone. Overthinking, judgmental…maybe even a bit unfair at times. I’ve done it all and then some. It’s fine to have an opinion, and it is fine not to like all of the choices, but by the same token, I need to give it all a chance and not react before I think. Easier said than done.

So I listen to the first song on Soundcloud. “Not Alone”. The music is great. It’s got a real groove to it, which isn’t too surprising since they call their brand of music, “Groove Rock”.  I hear everything from pop, heavy or even acid rock to reggae influencing their music, and I like it.   I can’t wrap my head completely around who The Purple Lights remind me of, but they definitely remind me of something I’ve heard before. Maybe a bit of Hot Hot Heat?  Interestingly enough, I also hear a bit of early Killers in there somewhere too. I like it. Modern, but approachable, and the music is outstanding. Musicianship matters!! I’m definitely on board with this.

Of course, we have no idea why Rob from The Purple Lights was in the studio with Nick and John. Could it have been about the musical? New album? Something else?? We never know for sure. We also never quite know if it’s going to go anywhere. It’s the joy of the process, right??

No matter, it’s beginning of what is sure to be a year or more of pictures or inexplicable pictures being tweeted that include people I’ve never heard of in them. I’ll I scratch my head in wonder, and head to my trusty Google search bar. It’s the one thing I can count on for sure from Duran Duran—with every single album, I learn something new. I can appreciate their drive to expose themselves (and in turn, their fans) to new musical direction.

Nick with Rob (The Purple Lights) Fincham and John, courtesy @ThePurpleLights Twitter

 

Can’t wait to see where this goes!

-R