Tag Archives: Lyndsey Parker

Must Read: Duran Duran Article

It is a quiet time in Duranland as it will be months before Duran Duran is set to play in Cancun and even longer before those festivals in South America.  No new music is on the horizon.  Fans often get anxious for any news or talking points on the band.  (Maybe, that’s just me since I want to have something to blog about!)  Luckily, an article about Duran Duran popped up that is worthy of a read and worthy of a response.  That article written by Duran Duran fan, Lyndsey Parker, and can be and should be read here.

As soon as I read it, I knew that I had to blog about it.  The premise of the article is that Duran Duran has always been a fabulous band even when the band was criticized, demeaned, and put down in the 80s.  Before I even started reading the article, I found myself nodding in agreement.  Of course, they were great!  Duh!  That said, I always appreciate anyone willing to take the time to prove that.

The article begins by stating how they had all of the ingredients of being a cool and well-respected band when the band formed.  After all, they had great influences and worked with amazing people.  Then, a John Taylor quote pops up stating that something went “wrong”.  I never heard or read that quote before and it definitely caught my attention.  Then, of course, the author explains what went wrong or why Duran didn’t get the credit they deserved.

The obvious answer has to do with the marketing to teens, especially to teen girls.  Once that happened, it seemed like every other  move the band made fed into this negative image that music journalists and critics had for the band.  Of course, this is something that Rhonda and I have discussed on here many, many times.  Be careful for what you wish for, I guess.  In this case, while looking good, having an attractive image, being willing to appear on teen magazines, etc. helped to sell a ton of albums and got the band thousands of female fans from around the world, it also meant that the band wouldn’t get the credit they deserve.  I appreciated the quote at the end of this section of the article, one in which Simon discussed how the music industry was run by men but how girls liked Duran.

I couldn’t agree more with Simon there.  The problem isn’t really that the band allowed themselves to be marketed to teen girls.  The problem is the disrespect and dismissal of females, especially young females as men assume that girls cannot determine quality music.  It seems to me to be an obvious case of sexism, which sounds weird to say when describing a male band’s career success.  Basically, I believe that if Duran had a male audience, they would have received critical acclaim.  Instead, they got treated like women and girls often are.  Thus, it isn’t that the band made a wrong career move but that society, in this case, sucks.

Then, Ms. Parker’s article explains how wrong the critics were for dismissing the band.  She didn’t dive into my sexism theory but instead proved how amazing Duran’s career has been from the very first album through the most recent.  For Duranies, her arguments weren’t new but always welcomed.  Not only does she describe the quality of their music, including the fabulous skills that each member brings to the table, but she also applauds their career moves that challenged their status quo.  She lists both side projects and even musical changes between albums.  The risks, many unnecessary, should be cheered rather than jeered, according to the article.  I have to agree.

Many long lasting bands find a formula that works for them and repeat it over and over.  Some bands that come to mind include U2 and Depeche Mode.  When a new album of theirs comes out, fans generally know what to expect.  That is not the case with Duran.  Sometimes, they hit and other times they make more of a miss and Ms. Parker isn’t afraid to point that out, either, which I appreciated.  I agree with all of that.  Duran’s risks should be praised.  They refuse to stay in a corner that is comfortable but instead choose to push themselves.  To me, that is the sign of a real artist.  Artists are willing to try something new and fail.

All in all, this article really explained a lot about why people dismissed Duran and why they shouldn’t have.  In my opinion, it is a must read article for any Duran fan but also one that non-Duran fans need to read.

-A

Duran Duran – “The Brand” and More!

Did anyone see/read any good Duran Duran interviews lately?  I was surprised to see a new interview catch my attention as I figured that time for Duran interviews had past since the album had been released over a month ago.  Yet, this interview, entitled The Pressure’s Off, popped up this week.  If you haven’t seen or read it, I suggest that you do so!  It has both a video and a written article and is written by author of Careless Memories of Strange Behavior:  My Life as a Notorious Duran Duran Fan, Lyndsey Parker.  Somehow, I always feel better knowing that an article is written by a fan.  I guess I figure that the band will get more respect that way.  Well, this article/interview/video did not disappoint!  In fact, it gave me much to think about!

The Duran Duran Brand:

John started the interview off with talking about the Duran Duran Brand, or the classic Duran Duran sound that we all know and love.  He doesn’t define it, specifically, but I think that every fan (or almost every fan) knows it when s/he hears it.  John describes it as the classic Duran sound.  He goes on to explain that All You Need Is Now captured the Rio sound and mood, which is probably why it was so easy for all of us to digest.  It was THE classic Duran Duran sound or BRAND.  It didn’t challenge any of us.  It felt normal.  Comfortable.  Familiar–like an old friend.  He compares that to Red Carpet Massacre which he described as “electro” and containing really none of the classic Duran sound.  A little light bulb went off in my head when I heard that!  It makes total sense to me and also why for many of us, Red Carpet Massacre felt so foreign, so unlike Duran.  In fact, I want to memorize the link to this interview to play whenever the discussion of RCM comes up.  I just want to post it and go:  THIS!!!  Anyway, he finishes that discussion with the idea that Paper Gods is a mixture.  This also rings completely true to me.  It is contemporary but it also has the classic Duran sound in it.  Now, I understand why the album takes awhile to know and love.  For longtime fans hoping to hear ONLY the classic Duran brand, the album will seem weird.  Yet, if you listen close, you can hear the known Duran WITH the new.  I think it is impressive that they were able to merge both with this album as I have to figure that it would be far easier to go in one direction or the other, but to keep what makes you YOU while also embracing change is something to admire.

The Fans:

It is always music to my ears when any member says something about how important the FANS are.  John commented about how important it was to them for the fans to love this album.  Sometimes, I think the fans feel overlooked as Duran, at times, seems only focused on finding new fans.  While I think most of us understand why new fans are important, it is still so nice to know that we MATTER to them.  I thought Simon’s point about the fans was really interesting.  He commented about how it gives fans’ validity when other people start liking what you have been into.  I never really think about that.  I’m so used to people (read:  non-fans) mocking my love of Duran, either subtly or overtly, that I wouldn’t know what to do if “regular” people started liking them!  It would probably freak me out!  That said, I wonder if the mocking would cease, at least to some extent.  Would I have to explain myself less?  No matter, I do thank Simon for acknowledging the dedicated fan base who have been there through “good times and bad”.  Here’s the thing, Simon.  We always will be here.  You are stuck with us!

Criticism and Female Fans:

In the beginning of the segment of the interview, John and Simon talk about how they were hit hard by the critics but that they have learned to ignore.  (That is a hard skill to learn.  We struggle on the blog–not with disagreement or constructive criticism but disrespectful statements.  While I wish that people would stop and ask themselves if what they say might be hurtful before posting, I know that we have to toughen up because people won’t do that.)  What I found more interesting on this part was Simon’s discussion of having female fans.  This is a subject that we have talked a lot about on the blog over the years (YEARS?!  EEK!).  There definitely is sexist stereotype out there that females don’t really know or understand music or have good taste, which means that any band that has a female following must be unworthy, musically.  Obviously, Duran Duran is finally showing people how wrong that belief is.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame:

The interview ends with a brief discussion of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.  It is clear that for both John and Simon, there are more important things to them that being inducted.  Simon mentions, once again, that the fans are more important and the only thing he needs to feel validated.  John said that he is happy in the seat he is sitting in right now.  I definitely admire their attitudes.  I think we would all like to be so settled in what we do.

Obviously, I didn’t discuss each statement made in this interview.  I just picked out the highlights or the highlights as I saw them right now.  If I watched this interview again tomorrow, I would probably pick out different things to discuss.  That’s how good it is!  I think you all should watch/read the interview and let me know what hit you as interesting and why!

-A

 

It was 30 years ago today…

All morning I’ve seen tweets and Facebook messages referring to Live Aid because today is the thirtieth anniversary. Thirty YEARS ago. Is that even possible??

I suppose in some ways, yes, it does feel like it’s been thirty years. It really kind of feels like a lifetime ago in some respects. The year was 1985. It was the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school. I spent the day running between the backyard of my home, where I was trying to perfect my tan (back then, I didn’t think twice about skin cancer) and my living room, where I had the TV turned up loud enough so I could hear who was playing.  I didn’t want to miss Duran Duran.

Historically, there had never been a show like it. Live Aid was about something much bigger than the music. I don’t believe there has been a show like it since. Whether it’s chalked up to the music of the time, the world, or just that particular generation, Live Aid was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of gig. For the lion’s share, most bands look back on Live Aid as this sort of strange, surreal experience; but many also seem to have found a sense of pride in having been a part of something so beyond themselves. I don’t get the sense that it was an experience that any of them were able to fully appreciate at the time, with comments regarding firm set-limits to testimonials describing the glitterati-enlaced talent waiting and mingling backstage. Even as a fan, to read oral-histories such as the one Lyndsey Parker penned for Yahoo! Music can feel a bit surreal.

For me, Live Aid represents an end to my glory days as an 80s music loving teen. Music was forever changed. Duran Duran didn’t play another show as the Fab Five until 2003. Like John Taylor, I rather miss the days where music was about living life to excess: hedonism and narcissistic as it may have been. After Live Aid, it stopped being about having fun for the sake of having fun. All of the sudden it became about “the greater good” to a large extent. While I am not one to mock the trials and tribulations of the world…there is something to be said for escapism. That’s probably why to this day I still look to Duran Duran for my escape and fun.

And Martha (Quinn)? Believe me, we ALL heard that bum note. For the Duranies out there, it was the final punctuation mark on a remarkable moment in our lives. Of course we forgave Simon, and at the time I don’t think many of us realized the eventual significance of the moment..but it stood as that final capstone for so many years, it is difficult not to equate one with the other. I don’t think the band has necessarily perpetuated the memory of that note as much as it’s been in the lore and/or canon of this fandom ever sense. That note came to be known as marking an end, and a new beginning.

-R