Tag Archives: MTV

To be a fly on the wall at the Rum Runner

To be a fly on the wall…

On this date in 1986, there was a party. It was a demolition party, held at the Rum Runner in Birmingham. The first scene of the crime, so to speak.

There are plenty of things I am thankful for at this point in my life, trekking the streets in Birmingham among them. I’ve even wandered down around the Cheapside area, where Duran Duran spent time before getting their big break. One thing I couldn’t do was visit the Rum Runner. Sure, I could see where it had once been, but that’s not the same as having gone inside, really. It’s not the same as seeing the mirrored tiles for myself, or smelling (what I can only assume would be) stale cigarette smoke, or just knowing that once upon a time, a band named Duran Duran once occupied the building.

Nostalgic much? Of course! I love that stuff!

There are just times when I wish I could have been a fly on the wall, just to get a small taste of what it was like to see the austere beginnings of this band, prior to Girls on Film and Rio. But on this date especially, I can only wonder what that party was like.

Also on this date, but in 1999, Behind the Music with Duran Duran was first aired.  In my attempt to find the video on YouTube to post here, a few things became clear—namely that it would seem there was more than one version of this made (and even then, I’m really not sure).  In any case, I found one that is Behind the Music Remastered, dated in 2010. I’m assuming that this edition is updated to include the reunion, which would not have happened yet in 1999. In any case, take a gander and see what you think!

-R

Skin Trade, 1987 (and other deep cuts): Do You Remember?

So let’s get right down to it: on this date in 1987, Working for the Skin Trade debuted on MTV. Do you remember?

I know one person out there does for sure.  Patty Palazzo, owner of Punk Masters and one time assistant for someone named John Taylor, likely remembers this without much problem. A year or two ago (maybe even longer?) I interviewed Patty for Daily Duranie. During that interview, we talked about Skin Trade, or rather – her obsession for the song. I haven’t forgotten that little tidbit!

So, in honor of this special day, let’s watch the video!

 

I like the days in history where we have a song, single or video to celebrate – it gives me a chance to watch again. I’m not one of those people who will purposefully get out my collection of Duran videos (I don’t really have much of one) and watch them. There’s not enough time…which is why whenever I’m at Amanda’s house I basically overdose on Duran videos when I have the chance!

The thing is, there are a lot of other songs that I almost never think about because they aren’t singles or on setlists…and some of them don’t even have videos at all.  On Monday morning, DDHQ asked what should have been a simple question: what is your favorite “deep cut” by Duran Duran. Deep cut meant a song that wasn’t a single.

My first thoughts were Late Bar and Secret Oktober, as always. But..DOH!…those were both B sides ON singles. Do they count? I’m always afraid of posting an answer and then realizing that I didn’t answer the question correctly. The last thing I want or need are 50 other fans telling me that I didn’t answer right (and yes, there are always some that take a certain amount of glee in setting someone straight). So I checked out some of the other replies before posting. I decided that no, I probably shouldn’t post those two songs because while technically they weren’t singles, they were B-sides and not even on the albums. sigh So what to choose?

My brain went blank. Amazingly, peacefully, blank. I might not have even been able to remember my name at that point. Seriously. What in the hell was (is…I mean IS) wrong with me?  So, I went album by album in my head. What was on the first album? I thought of those songs. Nothing really jumped out at me. Went on to Rio – what was on there? That’s when I came upon Hold Back the Rain. Always did like that one. Almost never hear it live. Hmm. Then I thought about other albums. Notorious was never one of my big faves (sorry). Big Thing was fine – shoot, now as I’m writing, I’m thinking I should have probably picked Land or Palomino. Wait, are those singles? (No, no they weren’t. I’m an idiot and need a brain transplant.)

So…I could have done that all day, as it turns out. I settled on Hold Back the Rain rather quickly because of two reasons: A. it is a good song and one I really like. B. I was trying to hurry.  But, I did think about Paper Gods. One of my most favorite songs off of that album is a pretty deep cut that you don’t even get unless you buy one of the exclusive versions – Planet Roaring.  That’s another one that I would probably give my eye teeth to hear live. (well, maybe NOT my eye teeth. I’d look strange without them. How about a molar??) The big fan in me wishes they’d play it live. It’s anthemic, it’s easy to sing along with them, and it would get the crowd going…or at least the crowd in the first three or four rows. sigh.  I hate it when my brain knows something my heart wishes to completely disregard.

So, go on then…what’s your favorite deep cut?  No pressure…we’ve got time…answer in the comments!

-R

My Big Thing Story

Yesterday I blogged about Duran’s Big Thing album as it has recently had an anniversary.  I wanted to take note of when it was made, what singles and videos it had and more.  Today, though, I want to take it personal.  What was my relationship with this album and where is it today?

Before I dive into Big Thing, I wanted to provide a little context, a little backstory.  I had moved with my family in late 1985 from the Chicago suburbs to a small town in Illinois.  A lot of aspects of my life felt wrong then, including my Duran Duran fandom.  I missed my best friend and a fellow Duran fan.  In my new town, no one knew who Duran Duran was and they certainly didn’t care.  I tried desperately to hang onto my fandom but it was tough.  Heck, I even attempted to persuade new acquaintances that they should love Duran like I did.  Thus, I loyally purchased Notorious as soon as it came out, but a lot changed in the two years that followed.

In between the Notorious and Big Thing releases, MTV arrived in my new home town.  My new friends and I were glued to the channel.  We couldn’t get enough, despite our growing annoyance with Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody that played on continuous loop.  One day, I happened to catch a world premiere video.  Of course, the big event was the brand new video for I Don’t Want Your Love.  My reaction?  It felt instantly like Duran.  While the video wasn’t as cool or as exciting as some of their previous ones in exotic locations with story lines, I still liked it.  I even recorded the premiere on my VCR.  Yet, it didn’t catch my attention for long.

By 1988, I was on an island surrounded by people who were not into Duran Duran in any way, shape or form.  My classmates played a lot of hair metal bands.  While I never got into that, my love for Duran had waned.  I couldn’t share it with anyone.  My video watching became a lonely, solitary activity, which was no fun.  I soon realized that it almost made me sad to watch this new Duran video as it reminded me of better, more fun times.  I hoped that MTV would feature Duran like they once did, in order to convince my peers that Duran was the band to love.  Unfortunately, while the video was played a lot, it wasn’t enough.  My new friends weren’t open to the band.

My fandom began to sink as I didn’t even buy the album for a long time.  By the time All She Wants Is was released, the band was out of sight, out of mind, for the most part.  When I heard about the band touring, I didn’t even look at the dates or try to go.  After all, we now lived about an hour and a half from the closest concert venue and I knew that I would have no one to go with.  Emotionally, it became easier to dismiss the tour as something I wasn’t interested in rather than really think about how cool it would be.

Of course, at some point, I did buy the album.  In fact, I bought it used as one of those used cd/book/dvd stores.  Now, of course, I know each and every song, but I wouldn’t say that I ever really bonded with it, not like I have with other albums.  This has nothing to do with the music.  It has more to do with the context of when the album came out and where I was in my life at the time.

That said, there are clearly some quality music on it.  For example, The Edge of America is one of my favorite Duran tracks of all time.  The song captures a lot of what I see and feel from some of my students, a helplessness and anger directed at a country who has done harm too often in its history.  Speaking of history, I’m not sure that this album was a highlight in Duran’s catalog, not because of the music, but because like in my own life, this time period represented more of  Duran’s slide away from being the biggest band in the world (commercially and fame wise).  The tour, for example, was a massive one but had some moments that many fans look at now and question like the decision to feature dancing during All She Wants Is.

In many ways, Big Thing represents a period of real change and adjustment, I think, for both the band’s career and for me personally.  It may not represent the biggest commercial or critical success for the band, but it represents many qualities that I love about Duran.  They were not afraid to try a new direction or be influenced by the musical world at the time.  Their persistence remained despite all who wanted to shut the door on them.  The album was necessary for them to make the albums of the future.  Similarly, I continued to battle and had to push through to find a new me in my new town.

Perhaps, by placing Big Thing in Duran’s history as well as mine own, my appreciation for it will only grow.

-A

Being Hard Isn’t Being Strong

Yesterday was my first day back at work.  As with every other teacher inservice day, the agenda was filled with meeting after meeting.  One meeting involved us getting into small groups and sharing the path each of us took to become a teacher.  One of the specific questions involved childhood and our experiences as kids.  Interestingly enough, before yesterday, I had been thinking about my childhood and how that fits who I am now specifically in regards to my Duran fandom.

As I told my colleagues yesterday, I spent my formative years in two very different places.  I was born on the south side of Chicago and spent the first half of my childhood in the south suburbs.  Most of my classmates were African-Americans who like my family were part of the lower middle class.  Like many of you reading, during this time, I witnessed the explosion of MTV and found myself falling for five British guys with catchy pop tunes and fascinating, beautiful storyline-filled videos.  Despite it being the early 80s, Duran Duran was not popular in my neighborhood or in my school.  Michael Jackson was the be all and end all to most of my peers.  (For the record, I liked Michael but not like I loved Duran!)

I remember sitting at the cafeteria next to my friend, who was the only other Duranie I knew, across from very serious Michael Jackson fans.  We debated everything (or so it seemed from an elementary school position).  I can recall talking about the differences in videos from Michael’s Billie Jean to Duran’s Hungry like the Wolf.  Billie Jean was better, according to my classmates, because Michael “danced”.  While I couldn’t disagree with that fact, I focused on the more intense storyline and the exotic location of HLTW.  These (mostly male) classmates could care less about the storyline.  To them, Michael’s commercial success combined with awards received proved he was better.  I tried, unsuccessfully, to show that Duran was more compassionate by being on Band-Aid, months before Michael joined with others to do We Are the World.

Part of me loved these debates as it was thrilling to demonstrate my passion.  I also felt confident that I had enough information to really argue my point.  In reality, I desperately wanted to prove why Duran was better.  Looking back, I know that part of this desperation was that I believed I was judged by my likes.  If my friends didn’t like Duran and didn’t think they were cool, then would they still like me, I wondered insecurely.  I also really liked the idea that I could be SO convincing to increase Duran’s fan base all by my little self.  I wanted to feel powerful and to be looked up to.  I’m sure some of that feeling comes from being the youngest of three children and having brilliant older siblings that I never felt I could live up to.  Overall, though, the goal was to keep or make friends, something that never has come easy for me.

The lunchtime debate didn’t not last much past the release of the videos for Thriller and Wild Boys as I moved about 70 miles away to a small town.  Before I even stepped foot into my new bedroom, I already despised the town.  MTV was not available and there was no Top 40 radio.  My family moved into our new house on a hot August day with the idea being that my room would be all set before I would enter one of the town’s elementary schools.  As the movers pulled away from the curb, a girl about my age stopped her bike in my driveway, introducing herself.  Having hope for the first time that the town might not be as bad as I feared, I greeted her and began to ask about what liked.  My hope was dashed quickly as I found out that not only wasn’t she a Duran fan, she had never even heard of the band!  I was outraged!

Needless to say, I spent a few years feeling pretty alone.  Initially, I tried to engage in debates similar to the ones I had in the suburbs.  For whatever reason, these heated discussions turned negative and personal very quickly.  Soon enough, Duran was used to make fun of me.  The year was 1985 and I was all about John Taylor’s Power Station look.  I wore a lot of black and red as well as those black jelly bracelets that he sported at the time.  Unfortunately, kids in that town did not appreciate my fashion style and frankly dismissed Duran as a “bunch of homos”.

Now, I find myself still responding as I did as a kid.  On one hand, part of me wants to openly share my fandom and my love for Duran.  I want to prove them and my love of them worthy to everyone I can.  Part of the reason is because of the passion I feel for the band.  The other part has to do with me protecting myself and feeling good about myself.  If I can convince others that what I like is great, then they will be with me.  They will be an ally.  This would also make me feel really good and cool and who doesn’t like that?  They will want to be friends, perhaps.  The protective side knows that even if they don’t want to be friends, they at least won’t make fun of me.  It is hard to make fun of someone who shares your interests, right?  Strangely, adult Amanda still worries about this kind of thing, which is a big part of the reason that I seem so private.  The less people know, the less people can make fun of me for, the less I can be rejected for.

Sometimes, the fear is so strong that I just hide my interests including this fandom or elements of my fandom.  I’ll give an example that once again circles back to work.  Today, we are going on a community scavenger hunt.  The directions include a statement about wearing something comfortable.  My initial thought about what is comfortable is a Duran t-shirt.  The kids are not there yet.  I don’t need to look “professional”.  Lots of people, including my boss, know that I am a big fan.  Other colleagues wear t-shirts advertising their interests.  Yet, I struggled to put the t-shirt advertising my interest on today but I did it.  I wore the shirt.

It is funny how a simple discussion at work brought up a lot of realizations on my part.   Moving forward, I would like to be able to embrace my fandom–not to increase my coolness factor or to protect myself from attack but because it is a part of who I am.  I want to be authentic and confident enough about what I like and who I am.

-A

August Katy Kafe with Nick!

Duran Duran Appreciation Day was a little extra special this year.  Not only did fans show how much love there is for the band all over social media, but DDHQ posted a new Katy Kafe.  This one featured Nick!  His presence in the Kafe was VERY welcomed by many as the concern for him has been growing since his departure from the tour in early July.  I have heard many fans ask questions anxiously of anyone and everyone who might know something, anything about what is going on with him.  This questioning, generally, has been done out of love and concern as it is hard for people to sit back and be patient when worried.  Others have attempted to reassure by stating that no news is good news and that Nick is where he needs to be.  The real reassurance came this week, though, when fans could actually hear Nick’s voice for themselves in the latest Kafe.  Hearing his voice put a smile on my face, too!  Soon enough, I was itching to capture the highlights here on the blog.  Of course, if you want to hear it all (and I know you DO!!!) and without my commentary, then make sure you are a member of DuranDuranMusic.com.

Update on Nick’s absence:

Nick reminded everyone that he had to leave the tour to return to England to deal with a family matter and that this was the first time that he had to miss dates.  He is a little concerned that if he doesn’t return soon that Simon will take over the lead for the most times on stage with Duran Duran.  He described it as “relinquishing his crown,” which I thought was super cute!  Then, he apologized for not being at the shows but thrilled that MNDR could stand in for him.  He misses everyone but isn’t sure when he will return.  He felt strongly that the show was in a good place with the lights, the production, the setlist, etc. so he really didn’t want to cancel dates.  (As someone who attended shows, I’m couldn’t be more pleased that they didn’t cancel!)

Bloom Twins:

Nick is writing and producing their album with them and has been over the last 9 months.  The plan is for him to finish when they resume working in September.  He has been enjoying working with them because they are young and open.  Clearly, the implication is that they aren’t jaded about the business like others who are older or more experienced might be.  This is the first band Nick has worked with like this since the Dandy Warhols.   Speaking of projects that he has been working on, he and John hope that the writing for the musical is done this year as well.  (So do I!!)  Interestingly enough, Nick says that the Bloom Twins work really quickly, the opposite of Duran Duran.

MTV Anniversary:

August 1st marked MTV’s 35th anniversary.  Nick talked about how awesome the channel was when it first started.  The channel was started by “young, vibrant, passionate” people who really had a pulse on what was happening.  Whenever Duran showed up, MTV just went with whatever idea Duran came with.  For example, Duran brought Andy Warhol with them one day and that was cool with MTV.  Later, though, the channel shifted to be less flexible and even later became “game show” like.  (Like with so many other things in my life, I find myself wishing that I could have been there to witness those experiences Nick talked about with MTV in person.)  Nick and Katy discussed the possibility of MTV rebooting to once again show videos.  Both didn’t think that was going to work despite Nick’s obvious sadness over the loss of what MTV was.  (I feel his pain as I’m sure most of the people reading this do, too.)

BBC Music Day:

Duran participated in this by playing a show from the Eden Project, which is an attraction focused on plants from different environments, that was then broadcasted for people in the UK to see.  (It is on YouTube now, if you want to watch it for yourself.)  Nick hasn’t seen the broadcast and isn’t very good about watching his own shows.  He does like that the band was able to participate in something new, though.

Appreciation:

Nick sent his appreciation to everyone who has come to see the band on the Paper Gods tour, to all the fans who have been with them “forever” and to all the new fans.  He describes it as “quite a journey.”

2017 Dates??:

When discussing possible dates for 2017, the Far East, Australia and South America were all places mentioned that they need to get to since they haven’t been there yet during this tour.  I’m sure that would make MANY fans very happy!!!

Overall, we didn’t get much in terms of scoops or new information about what is going on behind the scenes.  That said, I, for one, was very glad to hear Nick’s voice and to know that he isn’t giving up his day job anytime soon!  That is something we can all appreciate!

-A

Duran Duran Awarded MTV EMA

Duran Duran was awarded an MTV EMA last night in Milan, Italy. The award was given in the new category of “Video Visionary”, and Duran Duran were the first recipients.

In a statement released by the band prior to the ceremony, Duran Duran embraced the award with pride, “It is no coincidence that our rise was paralleled by the growth and ultimate world domination of MTV. The birth of music videos as a way to simultaneously bring our music to a global audience revolutionized the business. We took this new short form of film making and tried to make it our own. We have had some incredible experiences over the years making our videos. We have worked with some of the most talented directors in the world – without whom we would not be honored here today. We are really proud to be the recipients of this new award. Thank you MTV.”

In August of 1981, as MTV was first broadcast, I wasn’t even quite yet a teenager. I’d already heard Duran Duran on my local KROQ radio station and first fell in love with them because of their music. I can’t remember the exact year MTV was actually broadcast in my small(ish) town of Covina, California (and it very well could have been that same year)- but I do know that when it began, Duran Duran were on heavy rotation, and I spent much of my time watching the channel, waiting for videos by Duran Duran and other bands I enjoyed to be shown. MTV continued to open a door to an entirely whole new world of escapism to me, Little Miss Sheltered Teenager. It wasn’t just about the music, it was the entire art – music and visual – brought to life, and I loved every minute.

Later, as tastes changed, and the MTV programming took a turn for the worse, and then coasted down into even much worse, I stopped watching. I prefer not to even give the network a passing glimpse now – an empty shell of what it once was. As much as I am immensely proud that Duran Duran was recognized last night, I am somewhat amused that MTV continues to have awards shows, given that they dropped the “Music” from the name years ago and the fact that they no longer even play music videos. How do they even have enough credibility to honor anyone?!?  Perhaps that’s actually the point. Even more frightening, many of the acts they awarded last night are completely unaware that the channel ever played an integral part in music history, unless they’ve bothered to pick up a music history book along the way.  That’s alarming.

I didn’t watch the highlights show that was on MTV here in the US last night. I DVR’ed it, figuring that if I heard the band made an appearance on the air – I’d watch. Sadly, even with a two-hour “highlights” show and the first award given out in a brand new category, MTV didn’t find Duran Duran to be relevant enough to be televised, at least not here. However, I did find that it had been televised in other countries, so I am including a clip here that I found on Facebook (thank you to the Duran Duran Argentina board)

 

 

I am so incredibly proud of Duran Duran, and not for just the obvious things. They continue to have a fantastic career and they keep pushing themselves to do more, even when I suppose they could just stop and rest on their laurels (please don’t!). I don’t think I’m unlike any other fan out there when I wish rather loudly that they were more respected by their peers.  I was one of those teenage fans who screamed for them and hung their posters lovingly on the walls of my bedroom. I also scoured their albums, knew each of their songs note-by-note, and still work to learn as much about their recording process and production as possible. Yes, I was a fangirl. To a large extent, I suppose I still am, among many other titles I also own with pride. To equate an entire fan base as well as a band with not really mattering simply because they had a large female following continues to be an insult that myself and many others like me will keep fighting, because it simply is not true.

Eventually, Duran Duran WILL be respected purely because they cannot be ignored. History will lean heavily on the side of the band. In time that is far too long for my taste, music books will be written about the mark this band left, and continues to leave, on rock and pop history. Until then, they have the outpouring of pride, love, and affection from all of us who have stood beside them for the past thirty-plus years. Well done on your MTV EMA, boys. Very well done.

-R

Thud(s) Heard Around the World

Mysterious thudding noises can be heard all over the world today as Duranies get their first full views of the official video for Duran Duran’s latest single, “Pressure Off”.

Let me be clear: if seeing John Taylor mouth a delightfully colorful two-word phrase to someone off-screen doesn’t rock you, and seeing Roger twirl his stick doesn’t send your blood pressure soaring a bit; or if eyeballing Nick in more eyeliner than most of us have ever worn in our entire lives doesn’t stop you dead in your tracks, and seeing Simon’s sultry, all-knowing smirks and grins don’t make you fall over…SURELY seeing John Taylor slowly unzip the arm to his jacket will do the trick!

And, if none of that particularly fascinates you, the design elements most assuredly will – and I promise we’ll talk about all of that. Tomorrow.

Haven’t seen it yet? Allow me to link you up!

As I mentioned earlier on Facebook, the first five to ten seconds of the video made the wait all worthwhile (for me, anyway).  Having done the majority of my growing up in the video-MTV-age, I can remember the anticipation I would have when a new video would be announced for one of my favorite bands.

“Coming up, the ‘World-Premier’ of Duran Duran’s video for Wild Boys!”

…I’d go CRAZY to hear those words! I’d sit through HOURS of videos (so it would seem) just to watch one-three or four-minute video. Back then, I didn’t necessarily have a VHS machine ready to tape (I was just as unprepared back then as I am now) and so as soon as the video would be over, I’d be both elated, and really pissed off at the same time, because I’d want to see the video again. And again. And AGAIN!

Sound familiar?

Last night, while the rest of you were likely watching TV, or doing whatever it is that you do in the evenings, I had tweeted DDHQ (more than once, but who is really counting??) “innocently suggesting” that since the video for Jools Holland wasn’t working in the US at the time, they could make it “right” by throwing the video for Pressure Off up on YouTube. I didn’t realize at the time that the video would be making its debut today, and let’s face it… I was also being a major pain in the ass. (I consider it one of my “many” gifts. You’re welcome, DDHQ!) Of course I knew they weren’t going to put it up online, but I also knew they’d been tweeting teasers for the video all day, so why not bug them about it? I am certain this admission will send waves of shock and awe throughout the fan base, but my tweets to DDHQ last night went unanswered. So sad. (cue sad violin here)

In the 80’s, videos were a small vehicle for a fan to actually SEE bands they liked. Not everyone went to concerts, but nearly everyone I knew would spend hours watching videos, whether those were on MTV or some local video show.  I’d run home from school, bust through the front door, throw my books down on the couch and turn on the TV in time to see MV3 (which later became VideoOne) with Richard Blade. After that was over, I’d watch Mundo Music – which was obviously in Spanish no less, but I didn’t care. (I’d like to believe it helped me learn Spanish. However, I suspect my high school Spanish teacher, Mr. Recio, would disagree. Vehemently.) Then I’d switch over to watch MTV, until my mom would come home and announce that I’d done “nothing” all afternoon. (Not true! I watched videos!!) Music videos, along with music in general, was my entire life outside of school. I knew the bands, I knew their music, and most of all – I knew their videos. To this day, when I hear a song from back then, I can often times picture the video before I can even remember the name of the band. I’m funny at parties when we play those 80’s music trivia games I guess…

Nowadays though, it’s different. The excitement has changed. Don’t get me wrong, when Duran Duran announces a new video I obviously take notice. Most fans do. But it’s different now. It’s not as though I’m watching on MTV, for one thing. It’s YouTube, it’s a little smaller of a screen, and I don’t have to sit through five videos I don’t necessarily care as much about in order to see the one video I’ve been waiting for. I can also play the videos over and over again without delay. (Do not think for one second I only watched Pressure Off once, for example!) In some ways, I wonder if that feeling of “It’ll always be there to watch however often I want” hasn’t hurt music in general. I mean, if it’s always gonna be there, the sense of urgency is sort of missing. The “special-ness” of being able to watch is really gone. I miss that.

Don’t get me wrong, tweeting about a Duran Duran video, seeing people’s comments on Facebook, and of course blogging here about it are all really fun. That part of it adds a dimension to fandom that didn’t exist in the same way for me back in the 80’s. The closest I’d get to chatting with a fellow fan over a video was when I’d call my friend Marsha while watching a Duran Duran video – and that would only happen if my mom wasn’t paying attention, because if she was, I’d hear, “Rhonda Lynn, why on earth are you sitting there talking on the phone when you’re watching TV? You can’t do both at the same time!” (cue loud, dejected teenage sigh) Nowadays, there’s a certain level of excitement that goes along with seeing GIFs tweeted or posted of JT unzipping his jacket arm, and those dizzying moments shouldn’t be denied!! It’s just different now. I think back in the day, there was an importance placed upon doing the best video, the most different video, even (especially) the sexiest video. But now? It’s kind of all been done, I suppose. So we’ve got a very stark, very bold video of the band playing Pressure Off, and yet fans are losing their minds and virtual thuds are happening all over the internet today. Can’t be all bad, right?!?

It’s just that sometimes, the “ease” of technology; maybe it’s really the “instant gratification” that technology fosters, seems to have done more damage than good when it comes to being a fan. Everything is always available: twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, there’s so much of “everything”…it’s pretty damn gluttonous. As exciting as it still is to see a video, it’s just different.

When I think about it, maybe that’s the real reason behind the band not being on Twitter or Facebook like they once were…too much really can end up being too much. Sometimes it’s good to want things, or people and be made to be patient. The art of anticipation, no?

-R

 

Guest Blog – Duranie Positivity Challenge

By PamG

There’s one of those challenges/memes/chain letters/trends going around Facebook lately that asks you to post several positive things every day for a certain number of days, and then tag a few of your Facebook friends to do the same. I’ve seen quite a few variations of it, but the gist is the same.

I’m in the middle of this challenge on Facebook now. It got me to thinking: If I had to do this challenge and keep it Duran related, could I do it? Could I limit myself to just three things every day? Could I do it for seven days in a row? Heck, I know ladies behind the Daily Duranie website can do it because they’ve been essentially doing that every day! The website itself is a daily source for reminders of all the positive things that the band brings to our lives. I think I’m up for the challenge.

So here is my list of just three ways Duran Duran has brought positivity into my life.

  1. They still love to perform live. Whether you see them performing in a video, on TV, or live in person, you can tell that they aren’t just going through the motions. For a band to continue to tour like they do, they really have to love it.* I’ve heard many artists say they really feed off the energy from the crowd, and to me there’s no doubt that Duran is no exception. Maybe it’s because they have such a loyal fan base. Maybe it’s because they’ve been together so long. I’m not sure it matters. I think the audience brings so much enthusiasm to the shows that the band can’t help but feed off of us. And they reflect it right back to us. I’ve been to a lot of non-Duran concerts in my life, and by far the most engaging have been Duran shows. Whether it’s Simon demanding that the audience sing louder or John’s invitation to clap along during “Planet Earth,” they certainly pull the audience into the performance. They are seasoned professional musicians who know how to work a crowd, and I love every minute of it.
  • I bet there are some occasions where the live show has been less than stellar for a variety of reasons. Hey, they’re human. No, really, they are. I know we’ve all had “off” days at our jobs, right?
  1. They still make amazing videos. I don’t need to tell you about their historic video collection. When they released the video for Girl Panic in 2011, I was mesmerized. To me, all the parts fit together in this one: the role reversals, the black & white vs. color visual explosion, the interviews, the Swarovsky crystals, the wink-wink moments (“I am not a member of Duran Duran”), all of it. I’m not sure who gets the credit for the concepts, but my praise goes to Jonas Akerlund for directing such a classic and beautiful Duran video. I wonder what hypnotic video we will get for something from the new album?
  1. They don’t seem to hate photo shoots. We know that their good looks helped them rise to MTV fame in the 1980s. And along with that “pretty boy” image came many, many photo shoots throughout their career. We saw a glimpse of one of those photo shoots during “Sing Blue Silver.” And even recently they’ve shared some photos from an InStyle magazine photo shoot, in advance of the big Fashion Rocks show on September 9. From all of us who grew up with bedroom walls filled with Duran Duran posters and carefully torn-out magazine pages, as well as the those of us who have photos of band on our screen savers or phone wallpapers, thank you.

If you’re like me, I’m sure you could come up with three (thousand) more sources of positivity for you. How does Duran Duran bring positivity to your life? Tell us in the comments!

PamGPamG has been a Duranie since the early days of MTV. In addition to all-things Duran, she also enjoys music documentaries, pop culture trivia, and live concerts of any kind. Her Duran dream would be to journey across the pond and see the band play throughout Europe. After waiting over 25 years to see Duran Duran live, she saw her first show in 2011 and it changed her life.

Today in Duran History – MTV and East Rutherford, NJ.

On today’s date in 1985, Power Station played the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  Funny aside about this show: during the encore, a man shows up on stage, sweeping. John goes over to confront the man and the guy turns to the audience and grins.  The “sweeper” is none other than Nick Rhodes!  He decides to “play” the encore with the band while jamming on his…you guessed it….broom.  There is also a rather well-known rumor that Simon and Roger also attended this show, thus creating a temporary five-some again, but this rumor is false.  (Thanks to Duran Duran’s wiki for this tidbit!)

ALSO on on this date in 2003, Duran Duran FINALLY received the MTV Lifetime Achievement award.  While I still think this felt very “thrown together at the very last second”…. we’ll take it, and we’ll celebrate!  Let’s watch it happen again, shall we??

-R

 

 

Guest Blog: The Notorious Mr. Nile Rodgers

By PamG

As most of us in Duranland know, the band has recently worked with the legendary Nile Rodgers for the new album. This news really made me happy. I mean, really, really happy. Not only does it signal forward progress on the new album, but I’m also hoping it means he’s bringing back some funk on the long-awaited album. And since reading his memoir Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny, I am even more interested in what happens next.

As a child of the ‘80s, I had mostly known Nile as that guy who did the awesome remix for The Reflex and performed with Madonna during Live Aid. Oh, and he had something to do with David Bowie’s Let’s Dance album too, since his name kept coming up during whenever Bowie was nominated for Grammy or VMA awards for it. Over the years, I came to realize that he played a very large role in the music that shaped my adolescence.

When I learned that he had penned his memoir, I knew I had to read it. I didn’t know much about the man, but I assumed he’d have a lot of tales of the 1980s music scene, and of course I was hoping for some new salacious tales about Duran. So if nothing else it might be a good source of gossip and backroom Studio 54 stories.

Little did I know how moved I would be by his life story. For this white girl who grew up in the suburbs, his background was nearly 180 degrees away from my middle-class experience. That wasn’t too surprising. And frankly those are the kinds of memoirs I enjoy reading. Sure, I expected there to be tales of drug use and abuse; that was a pretty safe bet with anyone who was in that music scene. And there was a rags-to-riches story too. But what hit me was how much Nile had survived before the tender age of ten: he was born to a teenage mother, witnessed rampant drug use in and around his home which was constantly on the move, and was sent to live in a convalescent home for his severe asthma. And this was only Chapter 2. This man was a survivor.

Don’t get me wrong: his brutally honest narrative is not a drab, sad tale. Even as he tells the tales of the ups and downs of his life so far, he does it with some humor too. And from the many interviews I’ve watched in recent years, it just seems that it’s part of his survival tactic. Mr. Rodgers’ memoir was published in 2011, not long after he was diagnosed with cancer. He addresses the diagnosis in his epilogue, but continues to publicly share his story on his blog “Walking on Planet C” (http://www.nilerodgers.com/blogs) and his Twitter account (https://twitter.com/nilerodgers). He recently shared that he is now cancer-free, and I wish him good health for many years to come.

Photo: Nile Rodgers Facebook page August 23, 2014
Photo: Nile Rodgers Facebook page August 23, 2014

Are there spicy tales about Duran in Le Freak? Yup. He speaks to some of his collaborations with them, both in and out of the studio. As expected, Nile also shares stories of other collaborations from the 1970s and 1980s, including Madonna, David Bowie, Donna Summer, Mick Jagger, and Michael Jackson, just to name a few. For a kid like me who grew up on MTV, this book is rich with tabloid-like tales that are like bedtime stories to me.

But in addition to the behind-the-scenes tales, I found myself drawn into the story of his musical collaboration and inspiring friendship with Bernard Edwards. When describing the first time they played together, Nile describes a musical telepathic connection. They follow their musical passions and form the band Chic. It didn’t take long for the disco world to become their oyster. But it’s Nile’s tale of their friendship—including when they drifted apart—that impacted me most. Reading the passage about their last moments together was both chilling and tear-jerking.

What will come of his collaboration with Duran on this next album? Time will only tell. But no matter what, I will be forever grateful for his remix of The Reflex. That record changed my life. Not only is it one of my favorite Duran songs, it was the first 12” record that I ever bought, and it opened my musical ears to the world of remixes. In the latter half of the 1980s I spent countless hours in record stores (remember those?). I still have vivid memories of heading straight to the “E” section of the store, backing up one row to the end of the “Ds”, and then filing through the Duran section for any 12” records that I hadn’t found before. Of all the vinyl I used to own, the Duran 12” singles are among the very small collection I have retained. It is rumored that The Reflex wasn’t even considered as a single off of Seven and The Ragged Tiger until Nile’s remix happened. On behalf of many Duranies, thank you Mr. Rodgers!

Photo: Duran Duran Facebook Page August 21, 2014
Photo: Duran Duran Facebook Page August 21, 2014

I recommend Nile Rodgers’ memoir for anyone who is interested in a story of how music can change the trajectory of a person’s life. Or if you want to read one man’s story of survival. Or even if you just want the behind-the-scenes stories of some of your favorite ‘80s darlings. And of course, it’s also for anyone (like me) who is still hungry for more Duran while we wait for #DD14.

 

PamGPamG has been a Duranie since the early days of MTV. In addition to all-things Duran, she also enjoys music documentaries, pop culture trivia, and live concerts of any kind. Her Duran dream would be to journey across the pond and see the band play throughout Europe. After waiting over 25 years to see Duran Duran live, she saw her first show in 2011 and it changed her life.