Tag Archives: John Taylor

Eight Years of Daily Duranie!!

On September 13 of 2010, I sat down and wrote my first blog. I can remember taking a deep breath before hitting “publish”. I had no idea what I was doing, and no real concern about the quality of my work. Ignorance is bliss!

Eight year later, I’m still writing. I try not to compare my work to others and just let the words speak for themselves. I don’t live with a thesaurus at my fingertips, and while my writing might not be the most technically sound – the feeling is all there. I still love blogging, and it gives my life direction when I don’t know what way I am headed. (Kind of like right now!)

Blogging also gives me a few moments each day to take stock in my own thoughts and feelings. Lately, I have put a lot of my own dreams and desires on the back burner. My family needs most of my support and attention, and that will probably continue for a while longer as we sell this house (anyone want to move to Orange County??) and move to the next yet-to-be-determined place. The process is exhausting, and I really do feel like I’ve had to put everything I want to do aside. I never expected it would take this long, but here we are. Life has its own idea of the way things are going to go, I guess. Blogging keeps me semi-connected, at least. I haven’t even talked to Amanda since the beginning of summer, but I feel like I at least have some vague idea of what is going on with her because I read her blogs. I don’t love that I feel so removed and remote, but I believe that our friendship will bridge the gap and we’ll catch back up again.

I wish I could say that after eight years, I’ve had some huge epiphany, or that I have amazing stories to share. Instead, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I started blogging because wanted to be liked. I wanted to feel like I was part of a group. I wanted to be one of those people that others would come up to and say hello when we saw one another at gigs. Simple things, really. For a self-admitted outcast, it has been really cool.

I know that I don’t have amazing Duran Duran stories. Aside from a couple of things I’ve already shared too many times, I’m just your average fan. I don’t know more than anybody else and I’ve certainly not done more than most of you reading. Once in a while something will happen and I’ll be reminded that maybe, just maybe, the band recognizes me from somewhere – and that’s pretty neat. I don’t need to confirm that the reason they might recognize my face is because I’ve been to an obscene amount of shows during the past eight years (my husband reminds me about that all the time anyway).  I can pretend it MUST be due to this blog, right?  I don’t go backstage or hang out with anyone exciting on a regular basis.  I go to the shows I’m able, and then afterward, Amanda and I scramble to find something to do. We’re always better when we’ve got a plan, right Amanda? We spend a lot of time making ourselves laugh and being idiots when we’re together. It’s not a bad gig, really, despite the lack of pay. I don’t mind that I’m not personal friends with band members, although any time they’re ready to hang with the commoners, they can drop us a line. I really do thank them for being such an effective muse over the years. I have no doubt that it will continue.

I don’t know offhand when the band will tour again. I only know that we’re going to keep blogging, and we’re going to keep laughing.

I really do wish Amanda and I were together to toast to our eight years of insanity, but we’re not so I have a message for my partner-in-crime: We did this together, and I hope you are as proud of it as I am. As I head out to drop my girl off at school, I’m going to be thinking about Daily Duranie, and everything we’ve done together, Amanda. It has been a wild ride, and I’m so thankful I’ve had you to bounce things off of along the way. I am hoping we can get back to that very soon. In the meantime, I know you are doing what you feel you must, I support you 100%, and I’m doing what I have to do to get my family settled again. Love you lots!

Eight years and counting!!

-R

Have you watched the 360 Lyric video for “Pressure Off” yet?

I don’t really understand lyric videos.

I mean, I get why they’re done. Learning the words to a new favorite song is pretty important to those of us who are fans. I can remember listening to the same song over and over, and the feeling of triumph when I’d finally be able to sing each word. I can even remember hitting rewind and play for what felt like hours on end, just so I could hear a specific word. Sitting with a lyric sheet in front of my stereo was commonplace for me in the 80s.

A lot of that still holds true today. I like knowing the words. If a lyric sheet isn’t included with an album, I’ll go find lyrics online and learn them. God forbid I go to a show and not be able to sing along!

I’m confused about lyric videos because honestly, they seem like a gimmicky waste of money. Do people really watch them over and over? I ask because on this date in 2015, Duran Duran released a lyric video to “Pressure Off”.

This isn’t your average lyric video, though. “Pressure Off” is done in 360-vision. The way it works best is if you watch on your mobile phone. Hold up your mobile phone, making sure it is in full screen mode, as you turn around, the video gives the feeling that you are in the center of the video. It is interactive, and the effect is kind of cool. The lyrics slide by thanks to computerized animation, and the viewer is treated to seeing still shots of the band alongside the iconic “stickers” from the front of Paper Gods.

It took me a long time after it was released to get the full effect because I didn’t stop to check it out on my phone (although I understood the point).  When I finally remembered to do it, I thought the video was cute and worth a view, but it seems like a lot of work to put something like that together all for the sake of putting the lyrics out there.

Obviously, there must be more to these videos than just “Hey, watch this and learn the words!” I’m guessing somehow, they make the band money. Why only have one video for a single when you can have two? I still don’t really get it, but I suspect I’m on the right track. Having two videos up for viewing might boost chart progress and get the song “out there”.

So, if you haven’t watched the 360 lyric video for “Pressure Off” yet, why not watch it?  Take a gander. Spin in circles. Follow Simon, John, Nick & Roger and get a little dizzy in the process! Remember that to see it in 360, you’ve got to watch it on your mobile phone using the YouTube app. (Link is above)

-R

 

Everybody, Everywhere, Feel It In The Air

Do you know what Duran Duran was doing on this date in 2015?  They were filming the video for “Pressure Off” at Black Island Studios in London!

The video for “Pressure Off” is stylistic and modern, filmed in black and white. I like its simplicity and the stark black and white look. Nick’s thick black eyeliner, that damn leather jacket John’s wearing as he slowly unzips the sleeve, Simon’s mirrored aviator shades, and Roger’s super white grin at the end are huge checkmarks in my “Yes!” column. Combine those scenes with appearances by Nile and Janelle Monae in what I think has to be the most effective use of guest artists in a video, and “Pressure Off” is a big winner.

I love the whimsical side of the video, too. I am absolutely not the only Duranie to laugh at John mouthing the good old “F**k you” at the very beginning. That was my first indicator that this video lived up to it’s name! The magic of editing helped us see John upside down, and the weightless jumps into space for Nick and Simon (thank you, slo-mo). The carefree jumping paired with Nick’s seriousness makes me laugh.  At one point, John even throws his guitar, and it seems to just hang in the air. There are times I’d like to throw this laptop in the same way. actually.  The smiles and camera stare-downs also remind me that this band has a great sense of humor. I miss it!

I like the way the video is black and white, and yet the live performance of this song on tour was quite the opposite. The band wore vibrant colors in one way or another, and the confetti cannon spread a rainbow of joy throughout the venue. I’m sure the intention wasn’t to be the opposite of the video, but it is something I’ve thought about. Either way, I can’t help but smile and feel jubilant. (the edge goes to the live show for that, but even the video makes me happy)

Rather that read my gushing, why don’t you take another look? It had been a while since I watched it last, and I have to admit that seeing it today made me a little less weary of getting back into homeschool mode…

…speaking of which, I’ve got some teaching to do. Have a great Tuesday everyone!

 

-R

End of the Week Recap

I’m so sorry that I did not get a blog written yesterday.  I thought that I would have time but other duties got in the way.  Typically, if I know that Fridays will be difficult to find time, I write the blog post on Thursday night.  This week, I didn’t think I would need to do that because I did not have to go to work on Friday.  This led me to sleep in, believing that the afternoon would be open.  Unfortunately, a campaign task that I figured would be easy to get done literally sucked up my entire afternoon.  I was not pleased.  By the time I could blog, it was late and I was seriously crabby.  Not a good mood to blog.  Today, though, I’m here with a better frame of mind. (I hope! Ha!)

As I suffered through my week’s long “professional development” at work, I noticed that there were quite a few little Duran alerts that I wanted to acknowledge.

Cold War Premiere:

This week, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor, attended the premiere of the film, Cold War, in London, according to Duran’s Twitter.  While I love knowing what they are up to, I also appreciate that by sharing this I learn about an upcoming film.  People should feel free to ask me about the latest political moves and people in the U.S.  I’m feel like I pay enough attention to be good on that front!  I also feel pretty solid with my knowledge on Duran but the latest pop culture like movies or TV shows?  Not so much but I do like when someone sharing something about a upcoming movie that interests me.  According to IMDB, the plot is as follows:  “A passionate love story between two people of different backgrounds and temperaments, who are fatefully mismatched, set against the background of the Cold War in the 1950s in Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris.”  It sounds fascinating to me, mostly because of the historical context.

Simon and Sunseeker:

Simon will be a special guest at the Soton Boat Show on Friday, September 14th, according to a tweet from Sunseeker International.  What is this, you might ask.  (I did.)  This is what I learned.  According to the website, “TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show, Britain’s biggest and best festival of boating, showcases a plethora of beautifully designed boats and products from over 600 global marine brands.”  Its purpose is to celebrate boating in Britain.  I am not surprised that Simon will be attending.  It sounds like something right up his alley!

In2ruders:

Nick has been involved with another movie beyond attending premieres with John.  According to the tweet, Nick scored the soundtrack to the movie, In2ruders.  If that was not enough to catch your attention, his daughter, Tatjana, edited it and it stars the Bloom Twins.  Want to see the first teaser?!  You know you do!

After watching the teaser, I have to admit that I’m more intrigued with the idea of it being about the “dark side of the music industry”.  Fascinating!

Pressure Off Remixes:

If all that was not enough, Rhonda alerted me to some Pressure Off Remixes that are out there.  According to the thread, which you can read here, they were commissioned and never used.  I have to wonder why they were not used.  A lot of people really dig remixes.  Here they are:

What do you think of these remixes?  Do you have a favorite?  How do they compare to the original/album version?

-A

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