Tag Archives: KROQ

In the Self-Obsession Age: Are We Really Oldies?

A few weeks back, a friend of mine sent me a link to a contest for Duran Duran tickets in Washington DC.  At the time, I glanced at her note briefly, and then saved it for later when I had more time. As I looked at it later, two things caught my interest: one, it was a radio call-in contest, and two, the radio station is located here in the greater LA area.

I have a clean record when it comes to radio contests. I haven’t won a single one. Now, I can say that with a chuckle because it’s true, and because I don’t dare take them seriously.  I don’t have hours to listen to the radio each day, and I definitely don’t have time to continuously speed dial, so they’re hit or miss with me. So while it is true that I haven’t won, I also haven’t tried that often!

Mostly, I thought it was interesting that an LA radio station had a contest for Duran Duran tickets to a show that is being held on the other side of the country. I don’t know if this contest included airfare, but I believe it may have. Not a bad deal.  As I looked closer at the contest and thought about the station hosting it though, I started wondering why this particular station was involved.

The station was K-EARTH 101, and as I understand it, they’re one station of an entire group of them from coast to coast. That makes more sense. What threw me initially though, was that I have always known K-EARTH to be an Oldies station.

I realize the term “oldies” can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. In my head, when I say “oldies”, I mean that it’s music my parents listened to. In fact, my mom still has the station programmed as a pre-set in her car stereo.

So then I wondered why on earth (ha!) this station would be having a contest for DD tickets. I mean, it would make no sense, right??  I thought about that for a bit and then something took my attention away until my mom came over last week for Thanksgiving.  She and I were talking, and she gleefully told me that she’d heard about those Duran Duran tickets on K-EARTH. When I mentioned my puzzlement about that stations listeners and why they’d give away Duran Duran tickets on an oldies station, she stopped, looked at me, and smiled. “Why Rhonda, they play your music on that station! They play Duran Duran. I heard Rio the other day!”

After I picked up my head from the table, I openly cringed. Does this really mean what I think it means, I thought to myself. No way!!!  It was an ego-crushing moment, and whats more, I think my mother enjoyed watching my reaction!

So today I did some research on K-EARTH. I needed to know what was going on there, because the last I’d checked, they were playing anything from Elvis Presley to 70’s era Elton John, and the world was happy. Could it really be that oldies now means…well…I can’t even type it. So I went to the internet (because everything you read on the internet must be true, right?). Turns out, K-EARTH has slowly been evolving their format from 50s-60s to 70s-80s, and now people are noticing they are even playing 90s music, and a lot less of the 50s and 60s. And I’ve just been sitting here, happily ignoring progress!

What’s more, one of the blogs I read on the station explained that the “mean audience” for K-EARTH was about ten when Reagan was elected.

That is me. I was actually nine, but I turned ten later that same year.

I was all set to write a blog about how I am not really sure Duran Duran really understands their audience, because on one hand – they are playing all of these festivals to appeal to a younger crowd, but on the other hand they’re offering tickets on an oldies radio station, never ONCE considering that I may in fact be one of the “oldies” to which they are appealing!  It’s been a rough morning.

The fact is, I knew this was happening. I know that in the past they’ve had promotional contests on other stations that I thought seemed a little out of their demographic, only to find out later that no, it’s that I’m still insisting I’m in my 20s when I’m really not. It’s just a brutal truth, and the first person that points out that age is but a number is liable to get punched in the nose.

So instead of the blog I had intended to write, I’m lamenting my age and questioning how this happened. I don’t think I’m particularly vain, until it comes to music, obviously.  I don’t listen to K-EARTH, obviously. I still listen to healthy doses of KROQ, sometimes JACK-FM because they don’t follow “rules” and I can hear anything from AC/DC to Michael Jackson in a single sitting, and even Star 98.7 in slightly smaller chunks of time. But K-EARTH? Good Lord no. They play oldies!

Somehow, I suspect my children say the same thing. About my music.

To round out this happy little blog post, I have to wonder how the band must feel. On one hand, they’re trying their best to get that younger audience, and I still say that at some moments – they do it at the expense of the audience they’ve always had.  But on the other hand, they’re considered an oldies act. Most of their biggest hits are from nearly 40 years ago now. Yet, they have music that is nearly brand new, and its style is current. The more “nostalgic” radio stations have formats that won’t accommodate their new music, and the more current stations won’t play the band because they’re played on those oldies stations. It’s a quandary, and it is one reason why many of us have not heard music from Paper Gods get air time.

In the meantime, I am going to sit back and attempt to come to grips with my place in this world…likely by watching a few Duran Duran videos.

-R

 

 

 

Its a New Religion: Rio and the Self-Titled Debut

I’ve noticed that Amanda has been telling her own stories regarding each album lately, and so I’ve decided to join in.  Perhaps you’ll decide to share your own – and we certainly encourage that!

I’m going to start with the first album…and actually Rio… since that seems to be the best place to begin! This is going to require some memory on my part.  I cannot guarantee I’m going to get the chain of events completely accurate, but it is how I remember it!

As I’ve mentioned previously, the very first time I heard Duran Duran was on KROQ. What you don’t know, is that I stumbled onto the station by accident, really. I’d overheard girls—popular girls— talking about KROQ at school. I had no idea what it was, or why the station was cool, but I was desperate to fit in. If I remember right, I’d heard the call letters way before I knew what the number was. I never actually asked anyone at school because I was too shy to bother. It was just one of those things I kept in the back of my mind, and once I finally saw where the station was located, I ran home to find it.

I remember trying to find 106.7 on the radio dial. Back then, as I’m sure many will remember – the dials were touchy. I didn’t have a digital display telling me what station it was on, I had to go by this orange little hand that would move as I turned the dial on my radio, and it wasn’t completely accurate. So I’d fidget with it, get it to tune in, and then wait to see if I had the right station.  Finally I must have gotten it, because Rodney on the ROQ was on, and he was introducing this band that he swore we’d hear more from.  The band was Duran Duran and the song was Planet Earth.

I liked the song immediately, but at the time I was far more astounded that I was actually listening to the right station, the one everyone else – or at least everyone who I thought mattered – was talking about. I went back to school and reported it to my group of misfit friends. One of the girls in this group knew all about KROQ and Duran Duran. This is where my memory gets wonky, because I can’t remember how long it was between that time and when they really became popular. In my head it wasn’t that long, but I’m not sure.

What I can tell you though is that I didn’t buy a Duran Duran record right away. Instead, I heard them a lot on the radio – but it wasn’t the first album I was hearing. It was Rio, and it hit BIG here. By then, it wasn’t just KROQ playing them – it was every station. I want to say that Marsha – the girl in the group that had already known who Duran Duran was – invited me to go with her to buy their album at the record store.  This was a major thing for me because I didn’t really own much in the way of music beyond KTEL records: a few Shaun Cassidy albums and a copy of Rick Springfield’s Working Class Dog.

We got to the store (Wherehouse records!), and I remember looking at the Duran Duran albums…but here is where my memory fades again. You see, my very first DD album wasn’t their self-titled one. It was Rio. I bought Rio first, only to find out later that there was an earlier album. (which I then bought, of course!) I can’t remember if the first album was there on the shelf with Rio and I just didn’t know what it was (obviously when I’d heard Planet Earth I didn’t know what album that was from or much else about the band). One might wonder why I wouldn’t have bought both if I saw them, and I can only guess:

  1. I must have only seen Rio?
  2. I only had money for one album and had to choose?
  3. (and this is the one I’m leaning towards because of my memory) The stores only HAD Rio at the time because that was the album that was huge on the radio, and it was later that we got the self-titled one with Is There Something I Should Know on it rather than To The Shore)

I know that it wasn’t long after I’d bought Rio that I then either bought the first one or it was given to me for a holiday or birthday or something. I also remember seeing Carnival in the stores around this same time, but…in my frugal thinking back then…I couldn’t understand buying an album that I already had all the songs from. Yes, I’ve spent time kicking myself (at least up until I actually bought Carnival myself).

At first, I can tell you that I liked Rio far more than I did the first album. To me, the first album was “weird”.  I liked some of the songs on it – like Planet Earth and ITSISK, but I wasn’t a big fan of GOF. What’s more, later on I discovered that one of my KTEL records had GOF on it. It was actually a song on the B side that I tended to skip!!  (Ha, that’s a true confession!)  Clearly, in the years since that initial purchase I’ve changed my mind! But yes, it was probably Rio (and HLTW if I’m being honest) that made me fall for Duran Duran.

My favorite song on Rio was New Religion, although Rio ran a close second along with yes, HLTW.  When I went back and got the self-titled album, I can remember being incredulous that it came out before Rio because it wasn’t until after Rio came out that we heard ITSISK. I just wasn’t aware of the chain of events, I guess.

So, my favorite song on the first album was – yes – ITSISK. I wasn’t aware until years later that the real first album didn’t even have that on it, it was just pressed that way for the US. Live and learn, I suppose.

Someday I’ll have to tell you about the first time I saw their videos with my friend Marsha.

-R

 

Look What You’ve Done: Why Am I A Fan?

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I became a Duran Duran fan lately.    Not just that I heard a song and fell in love with it, but what really drove me into fandom? Almost more importantly, why have I stayed?

When Amanda and I were writing our manuscript, we tried to answer that question.  We answered it by citing the band’s history and writing about all of the things that most of you know that made the band different, unique, and wonderful.  Not necessarily the wrong answer, but probably not the entire story, either.  We’ve been told that we need to dig deeper and really answer that question for ourselves. Rather than use the band’s history to hide behind, we should probably examine our own.

I can’t speak for Amanda, obviously. I only know my own history.  She and I didn’t meet until the “second-half” of my fandom got started in 2004.  Prior to that, particularly when I was in middle school, it was a very different tale.

I remember hearing Duran Duran for the first time on KROQ, although truth be told, I had obviously heard them several times prior because one of their songs had been included on a particular K-Tel compilation of mine.  The backstory is that I had either asked for records without being terribly specific, or my parents, at a loss for what to buy me for my birthday and Christmas, were fond of getting compilations—records that had recordings from a variety of different artists and put together in “themed” albums. I had one 80s themed compilation that included Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film” on the B side. I didn’t even notice that until much later on! It wasn’t until I heard KROQ play “Planet Earth” that I began to take notice.

The funny thing, or…maybe not so funny…is that I am not entirely sure it was really the band that stirred my interest initially.  I mean, yes, when I heard “Planet Earth” for the first time, I did like the song. Enough that I remember going to school that very next day intending to tell my friends.  I excitedly told them about this new band I heard, and one of them—the bossiest one of the group— already knew all about them.

At first, I was totally deflated because I thought I was going to bring something brand new to the discussion.  Very quickly though, I realized that this could be the “thing” that united us.  We were a group of misfits that didn’t necessarily fit in anywhere else.  Before any one asks, yes – I was that aware.  I think most of us who don’t quite fit in are generally pretty aware of the situation!

As I go through the semi-painful process of remembering the less-fanciful parts of my childhood, I’m realizing I spent much of it alone. I was one of those kids (and really, one of those adults) that didn’t really get along easily with a lot of people, particularly other girls.  Even in kindergarten, for a variety of reasons, kids singled me out. That continued into elementary school when boys started categorizing girls into “dogs” (ugly girls) and “foxes.” (cute girls)  I’ll give you two guesses where I fell, and it wasn’t pretty.

Then there were the times my teachers would want us to pick partners for projects or PE.  I HATED those exercises, because I’d immediately be on edge. I’d hope someone would grab my arm or something to partner up, but when that inevitably wouldn’t happen, I’d panic and try to find a friend, only to see that they’d already paired up.  Without fail, I’d be the last to not have a partner, and my teacher would have to take pity and “assign” someone to me, which typically annoyed the other kid involved. I personally believe there’s got to be a certain type of hell for teachers that pose those situations for kids.

So, middle school comes around, and Duran Duran shows up on my horizon. I embraced the band as though it were a lifeline, and to be fair, at the time I think they probably were. This band was the ONE thing that bonded me to other kids my age. Yes, I played clarinet, and yeah, I was in band.  At our school, we didn’t really have time to chat with other band members, and it wasn’t like high school where we spent much time outside of class together. After school I practiced music and did homework alone, until Duran Duran came along. So you bet I grabbed onto that one, tiny little thing—liking a band—and ran with it.

Not much time went by before Duran Duran was everywhere. All over record stores, on the radio, in magazine stands—and their pinups were all over my bedroom.  I lived and breathed them right along with my friends from school. I may not have had the coolest haircuts, or wore the latest styles, but I was a fan of Duran Duran. As my group of friends later discovered , we were among the first to fall in love with them.  We were still total outcasts, and the popular girls still gave us disdainful looks in the hall.  Even so, we had something that brought us together with other groups—outcasts and otherwise.  For me, it was the first time in my life that I finally felt included.

I think that’s part of the reason why I am still a fan today.  I don’t have a job that I report to, and I am not one of those women who hangs out with other women. (I never really did learn how to function well with other women in a group.) I spend most of my day alone. This band is my source of inclusion.

I’m still working on writing my history and digging deep to find the reasons why I’m a fan. I suspect that will take some time. I’m only just beginning to scratch at the surface.  I challenge you to do the same.  Why are you really a fan?  Go beyond the music and really think about who you were and your life circumstances when you first heard them. What drove you into fandom?

-R

I’ve Seen the Future, I can’t afford it

I began my training for the next tour last night. I went to go see ABC in a tiny venue out in Riverside, about 45 minutes from my house. To be fair, I really had no expectations of the show. While I liked ABC well enough, I wouldn’t say they were a favorite of mine, but instead one of many New Wave bands I love.  When the show was announced, I knew seeing Martin Fry in a venue of 200 people was definitely worth the drive on a Wednesday night.

It was a GA show in a tiny restaurant that has an area that doubles as a bar/small venue…with one of the best sound systems I’ve ever heard. My husband and I made no attempt to get to the venue early to be among the first in line, as we were coming directly from Back-To-School night for our youngest. We figured we’d secure places by the bar and just be happy to be there.  When we arrived, there was quite a line filled with 40 (and 50)-somethings ready to have a party. I couldn’t get over the amount of women who had absolutely no idea that they (and their bodies) were no longer in their twenties. I’ve seen some questionable attire at Duran shows before, but I have to say, this crowd topped whatever I’d seen prior.  We got in line, and before long were in the venue, hanging out in the bar with drinks in hand. Richard Blade was the DJ (and worth the price of admission on his own) pre and post show, and he was already onstage doing a few contests for tickets to the Depeche Mode convention here in So CA in November.

It wasn’t long before the opening act came on stage. This was Matt Backer, who is also the guitarist for ABC.  Matt plays rock & blues, in a similar vein to Dom’s solo music, or even some of the music he plays in Blue to Brown.  I heard a few 12-bar blues progression songs, but then he’d turn around play something that I can only characterize as a mixture of say, “pick your favorite Pearl Jam song and ‘I am The Walrus’ by The Beatles”.  His closing number (and I’m sorry but I never did catch the name) sounded like a direct rip-off of “Addicted to Love”.  I didn’t think it sucked, but on the same token I didn’t think his music was all that innovative or original either.

Once Matt Backer’s band left the stage, it was time for ABC. Martin Fry looked every bit the gentleman as he came out on stage in his suit and tie, and he seemed very pleased to be there. His hair is a little more reddish than I remember, but otherwise there was no mistaking him. His voice is as strong as it ever was, and it was a lot of fun singing along with him.  While his show isn’t quite as energetic as say, Duran Duran’s…it still fulfilled my New Wave fantasies.  I mean, who would have thought I’d ever have a chance to see Martin Fry live?!? I believe we heard all of the main ABC hits, such as “Poison Arrow”, “Millionaire” (I’d forgotten about that one and it was fantastic hearing it live!!), “Be Near”, “Look of Love”, “Smokey Sings”, and the list goes on.  It wasn’t the longest set ever, but it was a quality show in every way. Martin looked pretty spent when he was done, and I came away from the show thinking that I was pretty lucky to have had the chance to check THAT box on the bucket-list.

Truthfully though, the real fun of the night for me came AFTER the show.  Richard Blade came back out to DJ, and I went straight to New Wave heaven. I danced to everything from “Girls on Film” (that was before ABC came out) to TransX “Living on Video” (one of my secret, guilty favorites of the 80s).  Many of my friends know, but I met my husband at Fashions on the Redondo Beach Pier in March of 1992. Richard Blade used to guest DJ there for KROQ nights on Friday or Saturday, and that particular night was the 10th anniversary of KROQ being there. I stood in line outside with a friend of mine talking with one of his friends until we got in the club, and at that point I was introduced to my-now husband. Since that night, we’ve always attributed (or blamed, depending upon how we’re feeling at the time!) our meeting to Richard Blade, so last night was a chance for us to have fun and remember why it was that we actually got married and have three kids and a crazy, stressful life.  We left the club after 1am, came home…and now I’m paying for dancing and being out late, but it was worth it.

Silhouette of Richard Blade doing what he does best - spinning 80s music!
Silhouette of Richard Blade doing what he does best – spinning 80s music!

I think last night just reminded me how lucky I was to have grown up and become an adult in the 80s/90s. We had great music, fun clubs to go to, fantastic DJs….and our world felt a lot safer then than it does right now.  I guess I escaped the rigors of life a bit as I danced on that floor, and I have to say, I’m ready to do it again…just as soon as my medication kicks in and my knee forgets that it’s in it’s 40’s.

-R

 

 

 

Today in Duran History – Loveline

On today’s date in 1998, John Taylor appeared on KROQ’s Loveline.  What is “Loveline”, you ask??  Well…let me enlighten you!

To give some background, KROQ is an LA-area radio station, known for (at least back in the 80s and 90s) playing Alternative music.  In the 80s that meant New Wave. I’m very proud to say that KROQ introduced me to Duran Duran’s music. In the 90s, Alternative meant a lot of bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam…at least until mainstream radio got hold of ’em.

Back in 1983, Loveline was a Sunday night dating/relationship advice show on the station. It was hosted by DJs “Poorman” , Swedish Egil, and for a short time, Scott Mason (whom I barely remember).  The show began seriously, but over time – a really short time – it became a show that taught me (keep in mind that in 1983 I would have been 12 or 13 years old), all about sexual transmitted diseases, some of the strangest sexual positions and fetishes I’d ever heard of…and a plethora of other delights that, had my father been aware I was listening…he would not have been pleased.  (Thank you to my ever-trusty Walkman radio)

The show was wildly popular here in the LA area. I can remember going to school on Monday morning and exchanging chuckles and stories with my friends – who were also listening with contraband Walkman radios in bed at night.  We sure learned a lot from that show, I must say!  In 1984, the show began talking to Dr. Drew Pinsky – who was a 4th year medical student at USC at the time, and ended up with his own fan base from doing the show.  Now he’s known as Dr. Drew and has his own show on HLN, I believe. (and what’s really funny, at least to me – is that back when I listened to the show, I thought he was a grown up even then…and the man honestly hasn’t aged a bit since those days. I, however, have aged 30 years. How does that happen?!?)

The show was syndicated nationally beginning in 1985. At one point, MTV picked it up as a television program, following the same general format but with different hosts and a live audience.

And…because my research skills are impeccable…I found the actual tape of John Taylor on Loveline.  The link is below!

Loveline with John Taylor 5/14/1998

-R