Tag Archives: Lori Majewski

2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Alright. It is Tuesday, and I am fired up today, my friends. I have had two travel-mug sized cups of coffee, I’ve listened to the list of nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I am ready to comment. Get yourself a beverage and strap yourselves in, because it’s about to get rocky.

First of all, allow me to rip off the bandaid now. No, Duran Duran wasn’t nominated this year. Let’s all just take a collective, cleansing, breath. I need one, don’t you? While you’re deep breathing, here’s the list:

Pat Benatar

The Doobie Brothers

Motörhead

The Notorious B.I.G.

Soundgarden

T. Rex

Thin Lizzy

Whitney Houston

Depeche Mode

Judas Priest

Kraftwerk

MC5

Nine Inch Nails

Rufus feat. Chaka Khan

Todd Rundgren

Ready?

The fact is, not everyone can get nominated, and not everybody can get in. There are many noteworthy acts on this list, and about half are first time nominees. One of them – the Dave Matthews Band – is not only a first time nominee, but also a first time eligible.

On a purely personal note, I am thrilled that Depeche Mode was nominated, love seeing Kraftwerk on the ballot again, and I’m hoping that Pat Benatar gets in. I’ve already voted, and if you haven’t, DO IT. Just go to Google and type in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

It is very hard to look at this list and not notice the glaring omission. Yes, we ARE that biased. Of course we are. We all know Duran Duran should be on that list. I listened to Feedback this morning in hopes of getting a better understanding of why they’re not. It comes down to two glaring problems in neon lights for Duran Duran.

First of all, there is a nominating committee that gets together on a single day (in person, no call-ins!). This committee is made up of critics and musicians, and they each bring the name of a possible nominee that they feel is worth making the case to include on the ballot. This is also where it gets political. People posture for their chosen favorite, they consider genres, whether the bands/people they choose are enough to get fans interested, and that sort of thing. I’m not going to mince words here though – as long as there are critics deciding who is going to be included on the ballot, the bands who are truly the most “worthy” by the people who listen to them will never really be considered.

I think even our band knows this. Likely, this doesn’t make them nearly as angry and fired up as I am today. They’ve had 40 years to practice tempering themselves. I’ve had…well, nine. (I am a slow learner) While my UK friends will patiently remind me that this is only an “American” thing and that it probably doesn’t matter to Duran Duran – the fact is, the American music scene is the biggest in the world. This is the country that, historically speaking, bands have worked incredibly hard to break. Even The Cure says they’re excited to vote this year, according to Lori. However, none of that matters to me as much as what I’m about to say.

I am sick to death of the inherent sexist BS that pervades music, whether you’re an artist, or you’re a fan like me. Even as the nominees were discussed on Feedback today with Joel Peresman (CEO and president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation), and Alan Light (rock journalist, critic and host of Debatable on SiriusXM radio), the subject of Duran Duran came up. While they refused to comment one way or another if the band had even been mentioned during the behind-closed-door discussion of nominees, Alan Light commented that the band “really isn’t thought of” in the same way as the other bands on the lists. He inferred that the audience was somehow different, and they weren’t really seen as “rock”. Quite frankly – the overall discussion felt very dismissive at times, despite Lori Majewski’s valiant efforts to be heard.

I could…and did…write a lengthy essay on the obvious sexism, before I deleted it all and started over here. FM radio, pop from the 1960’s forward, even the Sgt. Pepper’s album by The Beatles….it all takes part. Suffice to say, we have work to do. Even Duran Duran sees it, that’s why they are so eager to share that they appeal to guys now, as if they never did before! I am one of those little girls who fell in love with Duran Duran. Chances are, if you’re female and reading – you are too. Collectively, we little girls are the band’s biggest supporters, and comprise the sharpest double-edged sword possible.

So that’s where we are, folks. Sure, the Rock Hall had some turn over this year. I won’t say I’m sorry that Jann Wenner has left his post, although he’s still on the Board, I believe. It just isn’t enough. I heard Lori continuing to ask if anything had changed on the Board this year or if the nominating group had changed – unfortunately the answer was no, not much. (one female added. Really? One??)

We have a long way to go before the discussion of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is about the music. Somebody should write a book.

-R

The Sun Always Shines On TV

Living a boy’s adventure tale

Any Mark Ronson fans out there? Well, YouTube hears your pleas, and they have answered with news of a Mark Ronson documentary, to be aired (for free!) on YouTube on October 12. Mark (ha!) your calendars and set aside a couple of hours for viewing! Extra special for DD fans, Simon Le Bon was interviewed for the documentary along with a plethora of other celebrities and music artists, such as Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, and Miley Cyrus. Other friends and family are also featured including Boy George, Charlotte Ronson, Josh Home, Lykke Li, and even Sean Lennon, among many others.

Perhaps worthy of note to some, I see that this film was made as a Livewire/Eagle Rock Films production, which is the same production company that did A Diamond in the Mind. Here’s the trailer below!

Now, I wouldn’t be me…or Daily Duranie for that matter…if I didn’t note that despite my watching the trailer twice, I didn’t see or hear Simon. (forgive me if I’m wrong!) He might have been in there and I missed it, but I don’t think so. There were a lot of different voices in the audio overlay, but you’d think I’d be able to pick Simon out, right?? I also didn’t see footage of Mark with the band, which on one hand didn’t surprise me, but on the other – I couldn’t help but be the tiniest bit sad. Yeah, I’m picky and want it all. Am I not a Duran Duran fan?? <insert wink here!>

There was, however, one quick flash of Mark with the platinum blonde hair he sported during the production of All You Need is Now, so I’m obviously hoping for a bit more during the film. I guess we’ll see, because I’ve got it on my calendar for viewing this weekend! Regardless, I think it will be very insightful, inspiring, and worthy of a watch or two!

I Dream Myself Alive

I have one piece of non-Duran news to share. A-ha is coming to the US for just two shows in 2020, on September 25 and 26! Both shows happen to be at the Wiltern theatre in Los Angeles, and they will be playing their album, Hunting High And Low in its entirety. The shows go on sale Friday at 10am.

This is worthy news because I know that there must be many DD fans who, like me, fell in love with A-ha at the very first moment they heard “Take on Me”, or saw the iconic video (which remains one of my most favorite). As I understand it, next year will be their 40th anniversary as well, and they’re celebrating by playing their breakthrough album live and even coming to the states to do it! It is one of my very favorite albums of the 80s, and I’ve never seen A-ha live.

It’s funny because today on Feedback, the music talk show that fellow Duran Duran fan Lori Majewski co-hosts alongside Nik Carter on SiriusXM channel 106, the subject of albums you’d most want to hear played live came up. Hunting High and Low is on that list for me, along with several others, of course!

Train of Thought

As a quick aside – Feedback is a great show. If you haven’t heard it, I strongly recommend it! I can appreciate the different points of view, and Lori does a great job of keeping Nik’s ego in check (as she well should!). It is tough being a female in that world, which is a subject that is near and dear to what Amanda and I have been researching and working on for the past few months. It is alarming to hear that even in 2019, women seem to be far and few in between when it comes to discussions on music. I would swear that the only people that listen or call in seem to be male. Yes, I actually do think that’s a bad thing, for a multitude of reasons (another blog, another day). I listen every day, but I’m on the west coast. Calling in doesn’t work for me, as I hear the show about three hours after the fact. That said, I’m an avid tweeter, even though I’m tweeting after they’ve already gone off the air and I’m listening to a replay! Hoping some of my Duranie friends remember to let them know they’re listening.

Back to A-ha…

Love is Reason

The news of their 2020 tour is also worthy of mention because of the timing. What I mean is that these shows go on sale this Friday – October 11th. They’ll likely sell out completely given that they’re the only US dates and the Wiltern isn’t a huge venue. Yet, the shows are nearly an entire year away. I can remember when we used to buy shows that were just weeks away, and then it grew to be where we’d have to pony up for tickets three months out. Even then, I never minded. Lately, I’ve seen pre-sales announced closer to six months out from show dates, and now? This is nearly 12 months away. An entire year.

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I think it is bonkers to plan that far in advance. Essentially we’re giving our money to someone else who can essentially earn interest for nearly twelve months before we even see the concert. While there may not be much I can do to stop this ball from continuing to roll downhill, I can say that it makes me think twice before buying tickets. In the case of my very frugal and pragmatic husband, it stops him dead in his tracks, including this time. There’s no good sense of giving someone your money to sit on for that length of time, and in his head – if that’s what it takes to go to shows, then he guesses it’s time to stop giving money to big acts like this and just go to see local bands who haven’t quite made it yet.

Here I stand

Will I die if I don’t see A-ha before they end their career (could have sworn they announced their retirement once….)? No, probably not. I’d love to see them, but I’ve made peace with knowing that much of what I want isn’t what I necessarily need. A-ha is in the “wish” column, rather than the “must” column, right next to Duran Duran. All of that said, these bands, promoters and/or venues could make it a little easier if they didn’t demand our money so far out in advance. Twelve months seems ridiculous, don’t you think? Maybe I’m just old.

Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!

-R

New Wave: Dare to be Different Review

Have I mentioned how I love summer?  I’m not a fan of being outside or of the bugs and sunburn that follows but I do appreciate having time to do things I want to do but cannot during the school year.  One of the things on my list was to watch New Wave:  Dare to be Different, the documentary about New York’s WLIR radio station that played the heck out of new bands, including a lot of band’s that fell under the New Wave/alternative category.

I didn’t grow up anywhere near New York so I didn’t get to enjoy the radio station for myself.  No, I grew up near Chicago with a strange relationship to radio.  When I was little, I tuned into B96, the local Top 40 station.  By that point in the 1980s, Duran was already huge so they played a lot of them along with the other popular early/mid 80s artists.  More alternative artists were not played, however.  Then, in 1985, I moved further away from the city.  This new town lacked any real radio stations to speak of.  Years later, when I was in high school, I discovered that I could get some Chicago stations very late at night and some of them did, indeed, play more alternative.  Once I had that lifeline, I swear my life turned around.  Anyway, so I can definitely appreciate how a radio station could mean so much to people.

This well-organized documentary definitely gave a history of the radio station and the context with which it was created.  WLIR was born in 1959 in Long Island and changed formats a few times until in 1982, it embraced new wave/alternative.  While the station chose this new direction to stand out, to avoid being lost in the shuffle, it ended up creating something more than a radio station.  The documentary showed how it began a culture of sorts that affected both bands and fans until they lost their FCC license.

I learned a lot by watching this documentary.  One aspect of the station that earned my respect is how the station was able to introduce the New York area to a lot of amazing bands, including Duran Duran.  They did this in a variety of ways, according to the documentary.  First, they embraced imports from the UK.  I loved that radio stations employees would go to the airport to meet the planes that carried records from London.  Clearly, they recognized that the UK was the center of a lot of great, new music then.  Second, they didn’t follow the usual directions from record labels, which wanted to dictate when a single should be released.  Instead, WLIR played songs when they felt like it.  Lastly, they also spent a lot of time just combing through cassettes listening for songs that were gems.  I totally appreciate forward thinking, dedicated people willing to put the time and work into something like new music.

Of course, the fact that this station was willing to play these new bands definitely helped the bands find success.  On top of selling more albums, bands also began playing to bigger and better venues.  One thing that the station did was have what was called, “Screamer of the Week.”  The idea was that fans could vote on which song ranked as best song of the week, which led to heavy rotation.  Apparently, Duran had 13!  When I heard this, I had to smile.  I remember that MTV used to do something similar where people could call in and vote for the favorite video.  One time, I ended up calling like 25 times to ensure that Save a Prayer would win.  Needless to say, my parents were less than thrilled once they received their phone bill.  Oops.

If I didn’t think that this station was cool enough, I loved when I found out that the fans of the station developed a culture.  People’s hairstyle and clothes began to shift to more of the New Wave look.  They began regularly attending clubs that played the music they were hearing on the radio.  Soon enough, other radio stations followed.  Clearly, the “anyone can do it”, punk attitude appealed to more than just listeners in the New York area.

Beyond the great history represented in this documentary and the fabulous music that was played, I have to acknowledge that I enjoyed seeing our friend, Lori Majewski, featured as well as one Mr. Nick Rhodes.  The best part of Nick’s appearance?  I adored the story he told about the first time that the band landed in New York in 1981.  According to Nick, they were super excited until the limo turned away from Manhattan, towards to Long Island.  That said, they spent a lot of money using the vending machines in the Holiday Inn there.  That is a pretty hilarious image!  I wonder what those vending machines sold!

The documentary created a longing for me for other entities that are willing to buck the system.  This station didn’t need to follow format or expectations.  The DJs played what they wanted and weren’t afraid to show what they thought and felt.  For example, one DJ played I Want to be Sedated by the Ramones over and over again after Reagan won a second term as President.  As the documentary ended, I felt a wave of sadness that this type of radio station seems long gone, but I also felt pure joy in just being a part of the generation that appreciated New Wave.  I feel fortunate in that I was a kid in the 80s.

If you have a chance to see this documentary, watch it.  You don’t have to be a native to the New York/Long Island area to enjoy it.  Plus, did I mention that it has great music and Nick Rhodes?  Those are two great reasons, if you ask me!

-A

Happy Anniversary, Mad World!

Four years ago, I spent my extra time reading a new book that I continue to avidly use as a reference. Mad World, a book written by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein, was released on April 15, 2014. It blows my mind that four years has gone by so quickly.

I know that today is April 16, but I don’t post on Sundays. A day late, but with no less enthusiasm, I wanted to celebrate the anniversary of Mad World.

I am a very avid reader, although lately I’ve found less and less time to dedicate to reading much beyond the current curriculum I’m using to teach my youngest. Over the years, I’ve read books about 1980’s music as quickly as they’ve been released. I tend to read them twice: once at my normal lightning speed, and the next, to savor and digest each word. Don’t ask how many times I’ve read and listened to John Taylor’s autobiography at this point. (Enough to have some sentences memorized. What can I say? I love audiobooks!) Mad World is without question one of the best books about the music that made me into the person, no…into the fan I am. It is by far, my most favorite book about New Wave music. I don’t write those words lightly, and I don’t post them just because I consider Lori a friend.

I didn’t know Lori Majewski before Mad World. She and I are easily as different as Amanda and I, on nearly every level imaginable. Lori is an avid vegan, I am, well…not. (Although I do sneak in a meatless meal to the family—don’t tell them—and even on my own, on occasion!) She has always had appreciation for Red Carpet Massacre, I’ve had to work on my feelings about that album over the years. She’s a John-girl, I’ve been a Roger fan since Planet Earth. Like Amanda, she is far more politically savvy, and definitely more active than I am. Lori is delightfully positive and centered, and me? Well, I’m more of an un-centered, slightly critical, realist. People tend to either like me, or they want me burned at the stake…or both, actually.

Despite…or more likely because of all of those things, I respect Lori. Whereas I have sat and dreamed of what I want to do with my life, she’s done it, and then some. She is unafraid to try, and I am incredibly fearful of failing. Lori is a powerful, positive force to admire. She’s a great listener and advice-giver, too. I consider her a friend and mentor, and someone I obviously don’t mind gushing about on Daily Duranie.

Mad World is an excellent book. Jonathan and Lori devised the book in such a way that they chose a number of bands from the New Wave era, and out of those bands, they chose a song to focus on. They interviewed the artists and bands who wrote (or performed) the songs, and wove those interviews into a very substantial music history of the 80s. Even though I’ve read nearly everything that has been written about 1980’s music, I learned a lot from Mad World.  I continue to pull that book down from my shelf as a resource, noted by the binding that has given way over the years. My copy is well-loved.

Since Mad World, Lori has been working on her own Sirius XM morning radio show with Nik Carter. She’s been featured on more than one documentary about New Wave music, and she’s even broadcasted from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies. I realize this is more gushing than necessary, but I think it’s awesome that someone I know is actually on the radio, and not because he/she won a contest by calling in, but because they host the show!

Jonathan continues to write his Bridget Wilder book series (my nearly ten-year-old daughter gives them a big thumbs-up), along with a plethora of other books that every one should have already read or is reading currently. He is the also a co-writer for Unsane, a movie that I am, honestly, too frightened to even go see. (I don’t do scary movies. It’s a mom-thing and I’m not even kidding about that.)

What I really want though, is a follow-up to Mad World. What I don’t understand, is why publishers aren’t busting down their door(s) to get one. Someone, fix this. Immediately.  In the meantime, I’m going to go back to brainstorming about my own next attempt at a book proposal. As I’m sitting here writing about the fabulous careers of others, I realize that giving up is not an option.

Happy Anniversary, Mad World! I don’t know where the time went, but I’m awfully glad to have the book on my shelf, and great people continuing to inspire me!

-R

Miami and that set list: Maybe it’s time to stop worrying about it?

True confession: I didn’t hear the show from Miami on Saturday night. I was thrilled it was being streamed, but what I forgot in my excitement was that I had somewhere else I had to be – my daughter’s dance show. I probably could have snuck in the first portion of it before we needed to leave, but there just wasn’t time for me to sit, so I missed out. It happens.  I would have loved to hear Lori Majewski and Richard Blade’s pre-show happenings, but it was not to be. I know they did great, though!

I did, however, check in periodically to see what anyone was saying on Twitter. There were a few fans in the audience that sent us pictures and told us it blew their minds – that’s always good to read! Honestly, from the size of the place I would have lost my mind to be included in that audience. I would have needed oxygen, for sure!

One of the things I saw most was that the set list was pretty much the same as shows toward the very end of the Paper Gods tour. Maybe I’m just in a groove, but I’m surprised anyone expected it to change, really. These are just one-off shows here and there, and the idea of the band getting together to hammer out an entirely new set list (with new songs, not just switching the order up) seems lofty at this point. I know what many will say, because I’ve said the words myself, “Other bands do it.”  Yes, they do. But those bands aren’t THIS band.

I tweeted about this yesterday. I’m tired of complaining about the set list, so I’m just not going to anymore. I’m not chiding anyone else for having opinions about it, though – we’re all different. For me, it just got to a point where I needed to make a choice: either keep going to the shows for the pure joy of being there regardless of how many times I’ve heard their hits, or stop going, and shut up. Not everyone is going to agree with my point of view here, and that’s fine. I have seen some people say that they’re not going to any more shows until they switch up the set. I get that. There’s no “wrong” answer.  I know I’m a lot happier these days, and for me that’s all that matters.  I didn’t want any of this to stop being fun, ever.  I get a lot of joy out of seeing Duran Duran. I feel like I have made good friends, and I can’t really think of people I’d rather spend time with for at least part of my New Year celebration. To me, it’s a win the whole way around.

Just a reminder – we are having a meet up the night before the show (12/29) at Hard Rock Live at the Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip!  If you can make it, please join us! Also, if you are interested in being on the guest list for comped tickets to see the comedy show that will take place at Hard Rock Live at 8pm before our Late Bar party starts – let us know at dailyduranie@gmail.com and we’ll add you!

 

-R

 

 

Duran Duran in Miami Tonight!

Who is ready for a little Duran Duran tonight?  As you know, Duran Duran is playing in Miami Beach at the Faena Theatre!  This is a special show for SiriusXM.  As the press release on the band’s official website states, “This very special performance for SiriusXM coincides with 2017’s Art Basel in Miami Beach, the world-renowned premier art show and gathering for Modern and contemporary art.”

While I’m not sure how many Duran Duran fans are present there, many of us will be enjoying the live stream tonight on the Sirius channels, 1st Wave and SiriusPulse.  The best part?  One does not need to be a paid subscriber to Sirius.  You simply need to go for a free 30 day trial, in order to be able to enjoy the show.  Some of you might be wondering where and how you go about doing this.  Start out by going to http://siriusxm.com/freetrial

Then, you just need to fill out your name, email address, etc.  You don’t even need to provide a credit card!  Once you get to Sirius, you can search from one of those channels and you are all set!  The show starts at 8 pm EST with a pre-show with Lori Majewski and Richard Blade.  Apparently, the show will also replay at 12 am EST, in case you had plans during the live show.

I know that Rhonda and I hoped to be able to listen and do some sort of Twitter party.  Unfortunately, Rhonda is busy with an event for one of her kiddos and I’m drowning in grading.  (For the record, I wonder why I assign papers?!  Oh yeah…because writing is super important not just for the disciplines of History and Women’s Studies but also in life.)  Nonetheless, we are disappointed that we couldn’t do more to celebrate this little event.  I plan on tuning in but will not be able to focus as I would like.  Instead, I’ll be forced to multi-task a bit.  That means that my social media presence will be much less than what I would like.

That said, I would love, love, love for people who were lucky enough to be there to send their experiences to us in some way, shape or form.  Tweet at us, email us, send us messages about the show.  I would say the same for anyone who listens and/or participates on social media.  I want to be able to blog about people’s reactions, thoughts, etc. as well as my own tomorrow.  I know that I dn’tt want it just to be my thoughts about the show, especially since my attention will be split.

Until then, I’m off to get as much grading done as possible!

-A

This blog is made from blood, sweat, and tears

Amanda and I don’t use the blog to tout successes very often. We want to write about being fans, and the blogs come from our own experiences. This post is personal, in that aspect.

Not too long ago, I wrote a bit of a review for a musician from Denmark named Michael Kratz. He had released a song back in July that he worked on with Dom. I wrote about it because I am a fan of Dom’s, and kind of forgot about it. Michael contacted me a couple of weeks later to thank me, and then ask if I’d be willing to get another one of his songs early and then blog about it since this new song also featured Dom.

I was overjoyed. I appreciated that Michael really asked for my help and trusted me with his music. I am not an author or a journalist. I am a fan. A blogger. Not many people take that seriously.  I jumped at the opportunity, and listened to the song hundreds of times before writing. (I’ve learned my lesson well, thanks to Duran Duran and our friend Lori Majewski.) I published the blog and hoped it would be taken well.

It’s kind of weird to admit that as a woman in my 40’s, I own a fan blog. Part hobby, part “full-time job that I wish were a paying one”, Amanda and I have operated the blog for seven years now. My own big dream was to have this blog lead to something that I could make into a career. I had no idea how, or what – which has always been my problem – so it is no surprise that Daily Duranie is still very much my “volunteer work”. We pay to host this site, which isn’t super cheap. We travel on our own dime, pay to go to shows, and all that stuff.  I spend a lot of time working on this site. In fact, even right now I should be working on “homeschool” with my youngest, but instead I’m writing and we’ll do school a bit later today than normal. As for money, I don’t want to think about how much we spend right now, because I will truly have a panic attack, so I won’t. Yes, we pay to write about Duran Duran. Does that make us a joke? To some, probably.

I’m pretty unsure of myself on even the best of days. My self-confidence isn’t the greatest. Lately I’ve been battling a case of the insecurities. I read things, and then have a really hard time letting go.  I’ve gotten better about it, but I still have a long way to go.  Additionally, I have a very hard time seeing and admitting to myself the good things the blog has done. It’s easier to see and believe the bad things I read and hear about the blog, and even myself as a person, I guess.

Today though, I received a message that really made a difference.  It turns out that Michael was offered record deals in two countries, and in both cases the label mentioned MY article specifically. The best part is that he wanted me to know, so he messaged me today. I’m still beaming, because it feels good to see wonderful things happen to genuinely hard-working people. I’m sure the blog played no more than the tiniest part in his record deals, but the fact that he wanted me to know warms my heart in a way I really needed.

I know that most people don’t really care about a fan site. Hell, we have a hard time getting anyone—even most of the band’s backing players, to take us seriously enough to even fill out a Q&A so that we can in turn promote them and their own careers—so I get it. By the same token, it is not just fans that read and follow Daily Duranie. We have music producers, other bands, news magazines, radio and TV show hosts, authors, and even record labels following and reading, and I’m proud of that.

Today though, I am so pleased to know that a genuinely kind and incredibly talented person I met as a result of this very blog is in the middle of making his own dreams come true. Michael thanked me for writing, but the truth is, I need to thank him for taking me seriously and trusting me with the product of his own blood, sweat, and tears. That, my friends, is anything but a joke.

-R

All Over You As They Say: Tomorrow is Election Day!

Tomorrow marks a day I have been awaiting for over 500 days now.  It is Election Day, and that means the end is nigh. No, I don’t mean the end of the United States or the world… I mean Decision 2016 will finally come to an end. I don’t know what will happen in the days following, but I do know that the political ads on television, radio, and other media will finally end. That alone is worth celebrating. For what has seriously been over a year now, celebrities of all kinds have voiced their feelings, concerns, and even a certain amount of vitriol on every type of social media. Musicians, including but certainly not limited to Duran Duran, have used their own on stage soap boxes to comment on our election, regardless of where they’re from, or their right to vote (or not) in our elections.

I have no shame in writing that the idea for this blog came from Lori Majewski. She asked on Facebook if fans mind seeing musicians making political comment. The answers and opinions were widely varied, as you might have expected.

As I’ve commented before, my views are unlike many other DD fans. I vote as a Libertarian these days, because I lean conservative when it comes to fiscal (money) issues, but I am also socially liberal. I am not here to tell you how to vote – only to admit how I vote so that no false assumptions are made as I continue writing.

I pondered Lori’s question as I read some of the replies posted. On one hand, I really believe music and politics go hand in hand. Throughout history, music has been used within cultures to describe, create, and foster social change. That doesn’t happen without people willing to put their opinions out there. Punk didn’t just “happen”. Gospel music didn’t just come out of nowhere. Someone had to come up with the words, thoughts and feelings.

I believe music has the potential to change people. It is what I believe to be the great common denominator. Music brings people together, and it is the essence of what is truly good. Even when the message isn’t one I necessarily agree with, I recognize that there are many others out there who probably need that message communicated.

Additionally, music has been used to make people aware. I think about Bandaid, USA for Africa, LiveAid, FarmAid, even Rock the Vote.  So in one sense, yes it’s OK with me if a musician I admire makes political comment. I expect it!

However, there is also a part of me that dreads seeing it. This comes into play when I see celebrity after celebrity trying to tell me, the voter, what is the “right” way to think or feel. I really dislike the parade of musicians and celebrities that come out in favor of one side (and in the US – I don’t think it’s any shock that they’re mostly Democrat). They use their celebrity draw to influence the vote. I’m equally bothered, if not more so, when the musician or celebrity isn’t even from this country. Should they even have an opinion? I suppose it’s a slippery slope. Yes, of course everyone is entitled to their opinion. It would be wrong of me to insist that they never voice it. But, I’m still bothered by it, whether or not I happen to agree with their stance. As I said—it’s a slippery slope.

For me personally, it is rare that I find a celebrity or musician who I identify with politically. I’ve gotten used to the fact that I disagree with not only most of my friends, but also a lot of the musicians I admire. I think there is a real risk of turning people off when you wear your politics on your sleeve, but more and more often—I’m finding that it doesn’t matter. This particular election cycle has been ugly. I’ve seen celebrities fire right back at hate and anger with their own hate and anger, whether they’re talking to someone who was once a fan or not. It is a little jarring to see a celebrity tell someone to F*** off on social media, because that someone was rude, and there is plenty of that going on anymore. It’s like we forgot how to be kind to one another, regardless of what “side” we’re on.  In our own community there has been a little of that, which has been equally disturbing.

I don’t think it’s a secret that Katy is outspoken with regard to her feelings for Trump. She has her own Twitter account and is not afraid to use it. Some fans haven’t always appreciated her candor, and voiced that opinion in return. She has since changed her account name (can’t blame her), but some fans really believe that people like Katy should keep their opinions to themselves because they represent the band. I have to wonder if it’s really that people believe that political views from people like her should be kept private, or if it’s really just that fans don’t like the message she’s conveying, so therefore it shouldn’t be said.

Ultimately, I am more concerned about the state of my country after election day. Tomorrow, someone is going to be elected the next US  President. Immediately following, we’re going to have to undo a lot of damage left in the wake. I’ve seen many of my friends say that they’re not sure we’re going to go back to being nice to one another. Many others say that they don’t really want to just be nice again, because they feel very strongly about the positions one candidate seems to convey – and if someone agrees with him even enough to vote that way, they want no part of that person. I have seen the other side say nearly the exact same thing, that there’s no going back.

I think that attitude is just sad. The candidate is one person, regardless of whether or not you agree with those views. I voted for neither of the main candidates. I usually don’t. If I said I wasn’t going to keep talking to people based on the way they voted, I’d be out of friends by now! The people who are voting come from several million different walks of life, with millions of difference circumstances. It isn’t all black and white. The last thing we should be doing is ignoring one another and assuming it will all go away with election day. That’s the thing with music. It speaks when some of us just cannot find words. Maybe it is time we start listening.

-R

Before I forget – thank you for all of the lovely birthday wishes left for me on Facebook and Twitter. It has been a strange birthday this year – my daughter is at school and there’s been no time to really celebrate, so your message brightened up my day and I truly appreciate them. Thank you!!

How Important is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Anyway?

How important is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame anyway?

As I read through this year’s list of nominees, this question swirled in my head. Sure, Chic is on the list. Again. For the 11th time, they appear on the list. Then there’s Depeche Mode, Yes, Janet Jackson, The Cars…..Tupac Shakur, Pearl Jam, Chaka Khan, ELO (Electric Light Orchestra), Journey, The Zombies, Bad Brains, J. Geils Band, Joan Baez, Kraftwerk, MC5, Joe Tex, and Steppenwolf.  I think I’ve gotten them all.

It seems like every single year I write something about the Hall of Fame. Quite frankly, I detest it. I dislike it to the point where it really isn’t worth my time—yet here I am, writing about it again.

It seems to me that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the one accolade everyone loves to hate. The process, in my mind, is absurd. The nominating committee of the RRHOF Foundation gets together and comes up with a list of nominees. The list is publicized, and then some 600-historians and members of the music industry vote upon the all-powerful although in the past few years (since 2012) they’ve bestowed that same glorious right to vote upon the public, so our collective opinion is also taken into account. The top five vote- getters are then inducted.

First of all, the nominees, or at least a reasonable percentage of them—are questionable. I could sit and name names, but the reality is, those that I may find odd are the same bands and artists that someone else probably sees as shoe-ins. So, I’m just going to leave it that I find a lot of the nominees to be questionable, and the inductees typically make me roll my eyes.

Secondly, Chic has been nominated ELEVEN DAMN TIMES. Come on now. That alone tells me something is screwy about the process. Yes, Chic is disco. Yes, Americans (in particular) have forgotten just how much disco-elements we use in our music even today. Even so, eleven times?  Unbelievable.

Thirdly, I’d argue that outside of the US, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame means nothing.  Just yesterday, one of my friends commented that they never hear about the RRHOF, and they live in the UK.  I have no doubt that’s true. Many (including myself) say that the heart of the music industry is here in America, which is probably why the Hall of Fame works here – but the rest of the world doesn’t care. I can’t blame them, because really, is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that important anyway?

I doubt it. Each year when Nile, as the sole surviving member of Chic is nominated, he graciously tweets something about being happy to be on that list, but he also mentions how many times he’s been on it. In my head, it’s becoming a terrible joke. What makes him any less deserving than Green Day—a band that has been around for a fraction of the time—but was inducted in 2015, the very FIRST year they were even eligible?  Absolutely nothing but votes.

Who votes? Who decides? The RRHOF description of their voters is remarkably vague. “some 600 historians and members of the music industry, including those who have previously been inducted.” Then there’s the public, of course. Fans are going to vote for their favorites regardless of whether they’re the most deserving. In the same way I voted umpteen times for Duran Duran to win the MTV EMA this year or “Best World Stage” without watching the other nominees to see if their performance really was the best, fans are going to get out the vote for their favorite, and I can’t blame them. But, that does not equate (in my mind) to being deserving of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Ultimately what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame comes down to is a glorified popularity contest.  The only people I ever see commenting on its importance are those who make a living commenting on such things (the aforementioned music historians), those who have been inducted, or perhaps fans.  As many Duranies mention, in any interview where the band has been asked, they carefully word their answer about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  The band recognizes that the process is entirely political and not at all indicative of any success the band may have had, their continued relevance, or inspiration they may have given to other bands along the way.  It is difficult for me to argue the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in any other light, because I too, see the nominating process and the joke it has become.

Each year I read the list of names, and while of course, there are several on there that should and deserve to be there, there are just as many that I seriously question. Even bands I adore, like Depeche Mode or The Cars, I really have to wonder about. What makes them any more deserving?

Most awards come down to popularity. I’m well-aware that the MTV EMA’s are also awarded based on vote. Is it any different? In some respects, yes I think it is. The EMA’s are not trying to decide the most important acts of our time based on the previous twenty-five years (or more) of work. They reflect a single year, and in many aspects they reflect a single song and how it was received by the public.

Ultimately, this post isn’t going to convince anyone of anything. It’s simply a conversation starter in the same way that morning talk shows might spark discussion. Speaking of which, in case you haven’t heard, Lori Majewski (author of Mad World and fellow Duranie who once  was the editor of her own fanzine named Too Much Information: the Definitive Duranzine ) along with co-host Nik Carter have their  own brand new music talk show called Feedback on Sirius Channel VOLUME. It airs 7-10 AM EST live in all time zones and then repeats as soon as it ends, and is also available on demand. We wish Lori the very best!

-R

 

Touring is not a sprint, it is a marathon!

So here it is, our final video blog of the 2016 Paper Gods tour.  If we had to sum up the tour in a single sentence (or title), we’d say that touring is not a sprint, it is a marathon!  We tried to cover and condense all of our thoughts into a single video. At just over a half-hour, we’re recommending food and beverage before viewing. You’re welcome.

We have so many feelings and thoughts about this tour, it was hard to know where to begin.  As the exhaustion becomes readily apparent, the emotion also flows easily through our words. We love this band, and to quote Lori Majewski – we love them so much it hurts.

While neither of us are emotionally ready for this to end, we know that it must. So, I will drive Amanda to the airport today, and then spend a couple of weeks camping with my family (I have a few guest blogs to share with you in my absence). I hope that those of you who still have shows left will thoroughly enjoy them. I know that I did.

Life is so weird. I really believed that this trip would be my last for Duran Duran. I also think that’s where I went wrong in my thinking. After all, the trips aren’t just about the band. They’re about seeing many of you along the way. I spent a lot of time on this tour laughing, talking and just being thankful that my life crossed paths with so many of you in the process. For me, touring is my happy place. It is not only my escape, but it is my bliss, and I don’t know why I would want to ever stop doing that unless I had no other choice.

So, I’m off to drop Amanda at the airport and resume regular life. I’m amazed at just how quickly things pile up around here when I’m not around to do chores, so I’ll be doing much of that along with packing up so that we can get out of here early Saturday morning. I’ll be taking a lot of you along with me though, in my memories of what has got to be the best July I’ve ever experienced. Love to you all.

-R