Tag Archives: Music

Deep Listening

How often do you completely unplug from the world, even for a single hour, put on an album and just listen?

Recently, I read an article sent to me by a friend (shout-out to David O) about deep listening to albums. In this case, the article posed a challenge to the reader. Turn off your phone, shut off the voices in your head, and give full attention to not one, but three albums of your choice.

I’m about to get real with y’all on this Monday morning. I struggle with giving anything my full attention these days. I mean, I really and truly grapple with it. The idea of trying to do this for three hours while listening to albums feels very much like challenging myself to run a marathon. My brain can’t do it, much less my body! When I’m sitting on the couch watching a movie, I’m playing with my phone. If I’m not playing some sort of game, I’m crocheting. If I’m outside listening to music, I’m also reading emails, or reading a book. While I’m attempting to sit and listen to music, even on Spotify, my mind is racing in the background, thinking about whatever I should be doing (instead of listening). And those situations are just the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately.

Some of this, I believe, is training. In today’s world, we don’t allow ourselves any sort of time to just be still, unless of course we’re sleeping. (Which, by the way – I often wake up in the middle of the night, immediately thinking of the things I need to do, forgot to do, or don’t want to do) During the day, it’s a constant series of multitasking. What can I take to the laundry room with me as I drop off the clothes into the washer? While coffee is being made, do I have time to clean the chicken coop or collect eggs and get back up to the garage before it is finished? If I sit and listen to an album from a new band for 45 minutes, maybe I can read from a book I’ve been working on at the same time. “Whoosh” on Duran Duran Radio? I’ll listen to that while I’m pulling weeds. Can I run to the grocery store and still make it to school in time for pickup? It was, and still is, a constant series of tasks and time management. Sitting down, doing nothing and listening to music, or watching a movie, for an hour or more? ARE YOU NUTS?

My brain has grown very used to never focusing on one single thing at a time, but at least a few, if not tens of things. In some ways, it’s great, and in others, it’s horrible. Not one single thing ever gets my complete focus…unless I’m at band rehearsal. Oddly, as I was sitting here writing, I realized the one thing that still gets my complete focus is playing music. More on that later.

One might think that in times of a pandemic, I’d learn how to settle down and recenter myself. Maybe I’d slow down and take my time. I’d argue it’s been the opposite. Funny, I thought having my entire family home would be of great relief to me, and I suppose it is in some ways, but in others – there’s never a spare moment until the time my head hits the pillow each night. Having adult children at home doesn’t mean more help. In fact, I’d argue it means having them revert back to being teenagers in a lot of ways – with animals in tow. (I know it could be their own babies, and for my kids and their current situations – I am thankful it is not. They’re not ready. *I* am not ready, for that matter.)

The article couldn’t really have come at a better time for me. I needed the reminder that life can wait, at least occasionally. As I mentioned last week, I’ve begun challenging myself with the prospect of finding new music. I am forcing myself out of the box, I bought the premium Spotify subscription, and the search has begun.

What I’m finding is that while some music belongs in the background, other music takes my full attention. Things I may have written off as pure pop last week or last month may actually have a deeper message. You’d think I would have learned that from our own Paper Gods, but no. No I didn’t. My education continues.

As I wrote a bit earlier, the one thing that I have no trouble giving my full-self to is playing music. I think that is why I found band practice to be such a joy. For two full hours, I thought of nothing but the music on the page. In hindsight, I can remember that blissful feeling I’d have during rehearsal. Never once did I reach for my phone while in that rehearsal space. My full attention would be on playing clarinet. I’d leave the band room feeling completely calm and satiated, almost dreading walking back in the door at home because I knew that all of the same tasks I left (dishes in the sink, cleaning up from dinner, making sure the youngest was on her way to bed) would still be there waiting. Band rehearsal, and of course, practicing when possible, was the one thing I gave myself, and allowed myself to get completely caught up in.

Even when I had to force myself not to give into the urge to stay at home (those first few initial rehearsal sessions were brutal, and it was only the last rehearsal when I really hit my stride, naturally), once I got to the band room and dug in, it was total peace. When I think about it, even though practice was difficult – I felt completely centered, calm, and more “myself” than ever. I didn’t have to think about anything else other than playing the right keys, hitting the correct notes, my timing, counting the measures correctly, listening to the people around me, watching our director, and performing as part of an ensemble. Compared to the daily rigors of life, for me anyway, it was simple. I miss that.

I have yet to take up the full three-hour listening challenge as described in the LA Times article, but I might -just as soon as I find the three empty hours in my daily schedule. Maybe it is better to just take an hour. A single album, even! Could you do it? If you try it, let me know how it goes, and what you listened to!

-R

Continuing to Trust the Process

Two things today:

First off, if you’re not already watching John’s bass tutorials on Wednesday, you should. They’re fairly short – this last one clocking in at a teensy bit over seven minutes – and they are highly entertaining, particularly if, like me, you’ve always wanted a birds eye view of what the song evolutionary process is really like!

Yesterday, John went into a little depth about Girls on Film, diving in and explaining everything from the beginning groove to finished bass line product. Dissecting the song to this level, down to the beginning thoughts of using octave intervals as the bass line, made my ears happy. I loved hearing the differences over the course of the process, and yes – one can see how you really do have to “Trust the Process” when it comes to songwriting. I can hardly wait for more!

Along those same lines, I tuned back in to listen to John welcome Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles) to a Q&A session. I must admit that while I’ve enjoyed a few of their (The Bangles) songs over the years, I’ve never been a die hard fan. Listening to Susanna talk about her career was fresh and new to me. She seems delightful and kind, not at all “Hollywood Fake-y”, which I appreciated. Somewhere deep and hidden within the cobwebbed caverns of my brain, I vaguely recalled hearing that Prince had written “Manic Monday” for them. Listening to Susanna explain how she drove herself down to Prince’s studio to get it, and then what it felt like to hear it for the first time, gave new life to a fun and easy song I never minded hearing on the radio. Good old pop music, right?

The best part of John’s Q&A sessions is that so far, they’ve encouraged me to seek new music. Last week, after he chatted with Dave from Chromeo, I spent some quality time with Spotify and their catalog, enjoying a lot of what I heard. Later today, it’s time for some of Susanna’s music. She’s even writing a novel, which I’m looking forward to reading when it comes out. My point of course is that it’s never too late to find new music that makes your ears and heart happy.

Which brings me to item number two: what have you been doing to occupy your time during this pandemic? Have you been seeking creative outlets? Arguing politics? Relentless social media posts? Cleaning? Cooking? Eating?? Finding new music, perhaps??

That last one has taken up residency on my to-do list as of late. I’ve been spending increasing amounts of time on Spotify, scrolling through my curated playlists that Spotify throws together, based on my listening habits. (good luck with THAT, Spotify!) I’m discovering new bands I’ve never heard of, older bands I’ve still never heard of, and music I somehow completely missed along the way. I’ve also downloaded the app “Readly”, and have been spending an ungodly amount of time reading music magazines, when I should be cleaning this house. Shhhhhh

The fact is, I’ve gotten supremely lazy with my listening. Instead of working to find something new, I stick with what I know. Books I’m currently reading and articles I’ve read this week tell me that at my age (which is far from old, but also kind of far from young), this is normal behavior. It takes work to find new music. It’s EASY to stick to things we know, and if you don’t want to spend a lot of time searching – what do you do? You find that old playlist that has gotten WAY too much of your tine lately, hit “play”, and move on…am I right? You know what you like!

Well, I do that too. I know what I like. I also know that for several years now, I’ve stopped listening. I play new DD albums when one comes out. Pop the CD into my car stereo, and leave it there for months. (Okay, years) Listen to it over, and over again. I get so sick of it (yes, I really do), that I eventually stop listening to all of their music, and switch to First Wave on SiriusXM. That’s all fine and good, except that on First Wave, I usually hear nothing new. I’m digging my own grave here. So, I decided enough was enough, and have forced myself out of the box. Or coffin.

After nearly 50 years of listening to everything from “Patty Cake” to “Don’t Start Now” (Dua Lipa), at the very least, I know what has pleased my ears in the past. That’s something to start from! Team that with being a musician myself, and I’ve got zero excuses. So now it’s just a matter of training myself to try so that it feels normal to me, rather than some strange, foreign exercise. I’m not quite there yet.

With that, I am wickedly tardy and must be on my way….this house isn’t going to clean itself!

-R

You Can Put Me Straight

Is anybody else out there pulling their hair out over homeschooling?? It is Monday. I’ll just leave it at that and move on….

On Saturday evening, I watched the mainstream network broadcast of “One World Together at Home”. I can’t say I was excited, or even looking forward to the broadcast – I just caught it because there wasn’t much else on. The show was, at times, fun to watch.

Hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and Stephen Colbert had the honors of working from their individual homes and announcing the people as they appeared. They told a few jokes and tried to keep the energy light. There were some fairly serious topics that the program focused on, which really brought the entertainment factor down, in my opinion. I wish there had been more focus on an evening of music keeping us going and less of one where every single song chosen was a reminder of the times.

Even so, I appreciated seeing each artist without the lights, makeup, hair, glitz, and glam that so many programs focus on. The entertainment was based almost solely on what each artist was able to do without the help of special effects, dancers, autotune, or even mic pop-filters, in some cases! While sure, it was obvious that the performances had been pre-recorded, in a time of social distancing and staying at home, there’s only so much that can be done by way of smoke and mirrors to enhance what was already there.

What I did find profoundly obvious though, was how few artists were featured in the broadcast. Only the very biggest of names were shown, with some notable exceptions. (on what planet would Billie Eilish be a bigger name than The Killers? Hint: you’re living on it!) Several celebrities from TV and movies were also on the broadcast, and had they been omitted, there might have been more room for music, something I would have appreciated.

From The Rolling Stones (through the wonders of video and technology, they were able to play together, even in different places!), to Elton John (had to applaud the recording/stage habit of not pronouncing the “S” in “I’m Still Standing” along with the few missed piano notes I heard), it was easy to see and connect with the humanity. Even John Legend was edited a bit out of the broadcast during “The Prayer”, the song he did with Lady Gaga, Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion and Lang Lang because (not unlike Simon), he hit a bum note. We’re not perfect beings. I liked knowing that these celebrities and artists are more similar to me than not. The mistakes just make us all human.

Overall, I enjoyed the show. I wish there had been more emphasis on the music and MUCH less on the pandemic, staying home, and how long it may be before we see a vaccine – most of us are faced with those reports nearly every hour of every day. The point of honoring the health workers on the front lines wasn’t lost on me, but the same could have been done without the relentless reminders.

I can’t help but wonder how this period of time will change our expectations? Will the general public continue to accept less-than-perfection? What about celebrities and artists? More broadly, how will all of this change music and art? Will music get back to basics? Acoustics over auto-tune? Hmm…perhaps that’s asking too much!

-R

Going to Who Knows Where

If you were online at all yesterday, particularly on Twitter – you may have caught a tweet or two regarding our Zoom video party. Amanda spent some quality time with a small crowd of fellow Duranies as they watched videos and chatted. Technical difficulties kept me from participating on Zoom, but instead I offered to chat on Twitter with a few stragglers who like me, were unable to get into the Zoom meeting.

While it didn’t work out the way we’d hoped, it seemed as though everyone had a good time and perhaps brightened up the afternoon/evening. If we do this again, there are a few changes we’ll make to increase the likelihood of it all working!

On a personal note, I’m finding it more and more difficult to write. Time isn’t the issue, but instead – it’s sheer lack of creativity on my part. Times are weird, and try as I might, I have no problem admitting that right now, Duran Duran is not on top of the list of things I think about each day. Daydreaming about concerts or even reminiscing about times gone past does very little to spark my interest. While I am not worried about the virus, I find that its everything else that keeps me up at night. Right now, the world seems to look a lot more like muted shades of grey than the gorgeous rainbow it once was.

At 2am, when I typically wake up with my neck aching from stiffening up with stress, I think about my youngest and how this is going to affect her in the years to come. I am sure other parents out there understand. It is difficult not to think about how long this could possibly go on, and that it has likely changed the course of our lives forever.

Then there’s Gavin. He works at Target and is in contact with the public. Sure, he douses himself with sanitizer on a regular basis at work, and can tell me everything I ever needed to know about the differences between cleanser, sanitizer and disinfectant, but his life? Is this it? Online college classes are fine for most of the academics, but what if you’re taking automotive or cooking?

My oldest, on the other hand, is still working. The one kid I was most concerned about because of the nature of her job – is still working. Who knew? She teaches in our garage using Zoom, my husband works in his office, also on Zoom, and Jeremy – the significant other of my oldest – is working from here too. They all seem fine, I guess.

The thing is, none of us are. Sure, life is continuing I suppose, but it’s a mere shell of what it once was. We get up, “go” to work, eat dinner, watch TV, go to bed. My days are still pretty much the same as always too. I get up, do morning animal chores, write the blog, do household chores, make dinner, clean up from dinner, go to bed. But there’s not a lot else. All of the colorful things that make life fun and/or interesting are sort of missing right now. I’m trying to find them. I would imagine the longer this goes on, the more used to it I will become, and then maybe I’ll start seeing the world filled with beautiful color again.

-R

You’ll Come Out of it All in Time

I’m getting later and later with this…

I have to say, I’m sick of my house. Tired of the whole thing, including cooking. Never have I been so happy as to have room to walk around outside in my “yard”. That said, the other day I was outside, and a text came through from my neighbor. She was very concerned as to why Walt and I were outside.

For the record, we were checking on our apple and fruit tree orchards, feeding our chickens, and doing all the things that need done. Those things don’t stop because of a pandemic. I felt kind of strange when she asked though, because as the texts went on, she shared her concerns that Walt and I weren’t following the rules or distancing ourselves. Anyone who knows me, should already see where this was going – I value my privacy, and I don’t like having to explain myself, or defend my choices. I haven’t left my gate since Sunday of last week – and that was only to go and pick up groceries to last for several weeks. It was an awkward conversation that I managed to keep friendly, and oddly – not long after that text exchange, I saw her husband outside, working hard to clear a dead tree that had fallen during a winter storm.

Meanwhile, the news is enough to drive my anxiety to new, dizzying heights. I’ve found that I can only listen for a short time, before needing to change the channel or find a distraction. It is hard to imagine our world ever returning to normal. The longer it goes on, the more I wonder what “normal” may look like when the time comes.

I find a bit of comfort in the small things, when I stop and think about it. Music still works, thank goodness. The internet helps me remember that there ARE other people here besides my family. Being able to sit for five minutes and do something other than watch the news is good…but don’t ask if I’ve taken any time to practice my clarinet lately. I don’t know why, but I don’t have the heart to even pick it up right now. I’ll get there (probably when I find out we’re rehearsing again and realize I’m screwed unless I buckle down…) but at this moment, I don’t know what is wrong with me. As I am writing this, I just got another email from my band, reminding us that rehearsal is cancelled tonight. As I read the email, all I felt was sadness. I miss playing, and picking up the instrument to play on my own just isn’t the same. I dearly, dearly loved being in a band again. There’s not any way I can explain it other than to compare it to seeing Duran Duran in 2001.

That night, which now that I think about it was 19 years ago this month, I felt myself come alive. That show reminded me of something I’d misplaced, yet didn’t know was missing until I had it again. That’s exactly how I feel about band. The sting I currently feel is particularly pointed because we were getting very good. We had a thriving clarinet section for the first time in many years (or so I’m told). I knew exactly how to play the pieces we were given, and my confidence was growing each week. Until of course, it all came to an abrupt end.

Just as Duran Duran has concerts scheduled for the coming weeks and months, I do too. My community band is currently set to play a concert on Mothers Day, and we have an entire summer of weekly (yes, weekly) concerts-in-the-park coming up. I was looking forward to them. I liked the challenge of perfecting an entirely different two hour concert of music each week. So to have all of those things just stop….well, it’s a bit much. Every single one of us has lives that, for a large part, came to an immediate stop. There’s no reboot button in sight.

Overall, it is hard to look away. Sometimes I want to stop reading and watching the news – and I do stop – but inevitably after a day or two, I feel like the whole world could have disintegrated and I wouldn’t know, so I check again. Sadly, the news is never better. I can hardly wait until its good news. Will it ever be good news again? I know that at some point, it has to be. Yet sometimes, in those quiet moments at 2 am where everyone but the worriers are sleeping, I wonder.

I think it’s normal, under these circumstances, to have bad days. Maybe this is one of mine. I’m not sure. I just know I’m very, very tired. Not sick, mind you – but tired.

-R

I Still Like the Fairy Tale

A few years back, I wrote a blog about Slow Food. It was kind of an odd topic, given that this is a blog about being a Duran Duran fan. While you can read the blog here, it was about the convenience factor of MP3’s versus vinyl. I thought about that post as I wrote this one today.

What is an album, anyway?

I don’t quite remember the date I wrote that blog (I should have looked and didn’t), but here we are in 2020, and while vinyl has enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence, it isn’t as though one can carry vinyl along with them and play them. Streaming has become much more popular since the time I wrote that post. Using my own kids as the example, they almost never buy music.

Read that last sentence again. My three kids (I have a 23-year old daughter, a 20-year old son, and my youngest girl is 11) almost never buy music. They all stream. No one buys a thing, besides the premium subscriptions to whatever streaming service used, of course. I try not to think about that very often, because it makes my heart and head hurt. No liner notes? What about the album covers? No comforting hiss as the needle connects with the vinyl groove?? What?? Everything is played on a phone or a computer, streamed through a Sonos speaker (an obvious plug for my husband’s company!), or whatever-you-prefer.

Essentially, this means that for the sake of argument, kids today don’t really know what it means to have a cohesive, seamless album. To them, it is a collection of songs, and that’s at BEST. Many times, it isn’t even that. It’s one song. Maybe they put it into a playlist, maybe they just do a shuffle of a variety of artists/bands they like.

What do you mean, a collection of songs?

This is incredibly different this is from my own listening habits. Even when I stream, it is rare that I don’t listen to a full album at a time. I don’t like the idea of jumping around, particularly when we’re talking about *gasp* listening to more than one artist at a time. I like hearing a full album from one artist – start to finish – and then moving on. Maybe I’ve just got a raging case of OCD!

The thing is, I believe each album tells a story. It’s up to the listener to get it – but it’s there to consume. At the very least, each album is a snapshot of that period in time. I like that. To me, Paper Gods, for example, is a tale of the band’s career from their beginnings to 2015. Seven and the Ragged Tiger as another example, is about dealing with fame and success. When I listen to those albums (and the others as well), I think about the lyrics, the music, and what the band may have been trying to communicate at the time. For me, that’s a huge part of the listening experience.

As much as I feel like my way – consuming the album as the artist intended – is right, there are many other people who like the idea of an album just being a collection of songs. Sometimes, the song order needs a good tweaking. Maybe the album order really has no purpose other than how it ended up on the record! Perhaps the album order isn’t as much about telling a story as placement for commercial purpose. I’m sure that somewhere, there’s a study proving that most people only listen to the first 3 songs on each side of an album, and that the front (A) side is listened to twice as often as the B side. I’m not surprised.

I want the fairy tale

My problem, is that I still want to believe in the fairy tale. I want to believe that every album has a story, that the band still loves making music for the artful sake of it. Tours are done because they enjoy playing live, and that they do the meet and greets with fans because they like them. I want to still believe they play where they want, and that business has little to do with it. How cute, right?

Cognitively though, I know that money drives most every decision they make, because it must. Someone has to be thinking about the bottom line, am I right? Writing this blog for close to a decade hasn’t always made it easy to believe in the romance of fandom. I know, for example, that after forty years, a lot of this is just the “grind” to them. They didn’t sell-out, they’ve been doing business! A band does things like put out five versions of an album, or releases concert dates like a coffee drip because it makes them money. They don’t announce dates because they want the same diehard fans to be able to travel from show-to-show. In actuality, they don’t care who is the seats as long as there’s a warm body in them. Even so, from time to time, I still want that fandom fairy tale. No, I don’t just want it, I need it. So for me, the album becomes a story that only a fan would completely understand.

With all of that in mind, there’s nothing wrong with seeing an album as a simple collection of songs. After all, once the band has finished their writing, recording, engineering and mixing, and the album has been mastered and finally released – it is no longer theirs. It is their gift, or their work, for those who wish to consume it. Their blood, sweat, laughter, and tears ends up in our ears, to have and hold. To listen, reimagine, and rearrange. It then becomes our own story, the way we wish to hear it. I can’t fault anyone for going the extra mile between skipping a song – which lets face it – we all tend to do from time to time, and rearranging an album. The way you listen to Duran Duran isn’t a determining factor of fandom.

I do wonder though, how many people out there really listen to an album as it is originally released, and how many like to change it up? I don’t mean putting entire albums into a massive playlist and hitting ‘shuffle’, I mean single albums. Do you listen to them ‘as is’, or have you created your own version? Why or why not? Drop me a line and let me know!

-R

Happy Halloween 2019!

I don’t know if there will be many treats for me this Halloween! So far, it’s been all tricks here at my house today! I’ve been working non-stop on doing some website housekeeping today, unfortunately to no avail. I’m going to be continuing to work on that this afternoon until my little pumpkin gets out of school a bit later. ( I suppose she is neither little, nor would she be amused by that term of endearment at this stage!)

Halloween has never been one of my favorite holidays , but I didn’t mind the trick or treat portion of the day! (I can hear Nick’s shocked gasp right about now…) Not a big fan of scary movies or any of that, and since I’m now a parent, I struggle just to find time to get it all done. It’s the kids holiday, not really mine, I guess. Case in point, I was sewing a costume for the aforementioned “pumpkin” just last night. She decided to go as a character from one of her favorite anime once she discovered that her school allows them to come in costume, which meant I had less than a week to pull something together.

Did I mention that sewing isn’t one of my better talents?

As a quick aside, I saw a T-Rex, Mario, Santa, and some Elves…and Deku (that’d be MY kid) this morning at the school drop-off. The kids refuse to wear their orange and blue school colors for spirit day, but they’ll sure as heck come in costume on Halloween. Sure, ok…I get it.

I think I’m struggling to get into the spirit of it all this year, which now that it is actually *the* day, I suppose it’s a bit late…but I’m going to try by referring to the Master himself, Mr. Nick Rhodes.

I ask you, has there really ever been a more dignified vampire?

Probably not.

Duranduran.com describes Nick’s playlist this year as “esoteric”…which makes me laugh. I’m just going to copy them here for all to enjoy! The best part of this list is that there are videos to match!

Midnight Star – Freak-A-Zoid

CJ & Co – The Devil’s Gun

Cameo – Rigor Mortis

Hot Blood – Soul Dracula

Souls Unlimited – The Raving Vampire 

James Brown – Hell

Billy Preston – Creature Feature

Lee Perry & the Full Experience – Disco Devil 

The Pop Group – She is Beyond Good and Evil

Brian Auger and The Trinity – Black Cat

The Temptations – Witchcraft (For Your Love) 

Dusty Springfield – Spooky

R Dean Taylor – There’s a Ghost in my House

If that’s not enough for you, and you’re looking for a little more Duran this evening…I give you Roger’s playlist, the full list available on Spotify, or you could certainly recreate it elsewhere!

That’s it for me today. I’m back to website maintenance! We’ll chat again next Monday!

-R

Headline Shows and Hall of Fame

Welcome to another fun-filled work week! today, I have two main topics for discussion: Andy Taylor, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Andy, Andy, Andy!

For those who haven’t been paying attention, I am here to catch you up a bit. Not long ago, out of a heavy fog over the horizon, stepped Andy Taylor, guitar in hand. During the weeks since, he has been fairly active on social media, catching us up on his career, and little bits and pieces of his life (his grandson is clearly the apple of his eye!).

Andy has been working occasionally with Reef. Andy cites meeting Reef vocalist Gary Stringer as he (Gary) agreed to do vocals for Andy’s upcoming album. In turn, Andy stepped on stage at Glastonbury with them, and has now announced another show. This time, he’ll be doing a full-set with the band on November 7th during Hard Rock Hell in Great Yarmouth. Reef is a hard rocking band, and it isn’t exactly a surprise (although very welcome!) to see and hear Andy performing with them.

If that weren’t enough, Andy has announced his own solo headlining show – his first in 30 years! Serving as today’s reason I continue to kick myself for not living in the UK, he will be performing at the 100 Club in London on November 27th. Gary Stringer (Reef) will be on vocals, along with a whole new band to back Andy. The show is in support of his soon-to-be-released album on BMG Records. Let’s hope there are more to follow! Tickets will be available on Live Nation at 10am on Friday morning (that’s 10am UK time!)

Should any of our readers be attending his gig, we would be overjoyed to have someone willing to write up a quick review for us here at Daily Duranie. Send us an email if you plan to go!

One window closes, and a Hall opens up…

While I recognize that for fans outside of the US, chats of Hall of Fame might seem silly, I would simply remind that America has it’s own history with rock and roll. As such – the Hall of Fame is at least noteworthy on a blog owned and operated by Americans.

Over the years, Amanda and I have been contacted more than a few times to throw support behind public (but fan-organized) efforts to get Duran Duran nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

On one hand, we’ve always been supportive. Of course we’d like to see the band recognized for their career! Who wouldn’t? That said, we’ve never publicly gotten involved with such efforts beyond mentioning them here and occasionally tweeting about it here or there. We’d been told many times that the band recognized the politics behind the organization (Hall of Fame), and as such – it hardly seemed worth the effort. Sure, of course they’d like to be recognized. I can’t imagine they would have turned down the offer to be inducted, had it been extended. That said, there were some organizational roadblocks in their way, and it likely seemed that there were better ways to spend their time. We understood those concerns and issues, and chose to follow the band’s lead. After all, if they didn’t see the need – who were we to say otherwise?

That party line held for a long time, up until last year when Duran Duran were invited to induct Roxy Music into the Hall of Fame. What most fans may be unaware of is that nominated bands/artists who are chosen to be inducted do not necessarily have a choice of who actually inducts them. As I understand, bands such as Roxy Music give some suggestions for whom they’d like to have induct them, and then from there – the board and organizers of the HoF make the final decisions based on a variety of criteria, including what might make the biggest ratings grab.

For Duran Duran to even be given “stage time” at the induction was a huge stride. In the past, such a thing probably would not have happened, for a variety of reasons…not the least of which being the man in charge.

Jann Wenner is the current chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The HoF was invented in the 80s alongside Ahmet Ertegun (Atlantic Records), and Seymour Stein (Sire Records). Jann is the co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine, and set the tone for the types of bands and acts who were nominated and inducted…to say the least. Wenner’s own heyday took place during the 70s. The Hall of Fame hasn’t necessarily championed the cause of many black acts over the years, although some have certainly been included, pushed through by Ertegun. Stories of ballots being destroyed by Wenner, and rallying for favorites are not unusual.

Unfortunately, these tales have done little to prove that the Hall of Fame is anything more than a ridiculous popularity contest. However, last week it was announced that Wenner would be stepping down. During the past years, he has withdrawn from public eye, given up day-to-day operation of his precious magazine, and seems to be retiring.

Equally interesting is the replacement for Wenner as Chairman of the HoF, John Sykes. For his place in the music world, Sykes helps run iHeart Radio, but more importantly to Duran fans – he helped to invent MTV and VH1. He seems to be well liked, and with any hope he will right some of the wrongs that took place during Wenner’s tenure.

While I do believe it is time for bands like Duran Duran to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, make no mistake – there are many other bands and artists that should already be in there. Even though there might be an open door, there’s a long line to get in.

-R

It’s the Learning of this Journey

Happy Monday! I trust everyone had a lovely weekend? Mine was spent digging!! In the continuing saga of becoming a farm family – we are building some basic infrastructure around here, including a chicken coop and run (outdoor pen area). In order to build one that will withstand and prevent potential predators – a narrow one-foot deep ditch had to be dug around the entire coop and run. We’ll bury hardware cloth (think heavy duty wire fencing) to stop animals from digging their way in. I didn’t need a gym or additional workout this weekend, that is for sure. Our soil is great, until we hit the bedrocks about six inches down. Suffice to say I’m glad the rest of our supplies don’t get here until Friday. By then I will have given my back a chance to recuperate!

Going to who knows where

Despite the hard work and a bit of rain on Saturday, we’ve been enjoying some beautiful weather, and gave ourselves a little time on Saturday night to thumb through some old vinyl. My evening was spent retracing some of my steps through music. We started by listening to Shaun Cassidy! I chuckled when Walt brought out the short stack of Shaun’s albums – I don’t think I’ve listened to them since about 1980! They had that classic 1970’s “pop” vibe to them – I don’t know how to describe it except to say that if you’ve ever heard smooth 1970’s rock – it was kind of like that, with a definite bubble gum edge (or lack thereof) to it. Listening now, I really don’t know how I ever got into it back then.

No offense to Shaun, of course. He is a lovely, kindhearted man – I follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. Once, he commended me on having a mint, unopened copy of his Born Late album. Unfortunately, he also suggested that perhaps I shouldn’t bank on it funding my retirement. Well alright then. There goes that idea! Back to Duran Duran blogging I go then…

Not knowing where you’re rolling

We moved on to Rick Springfield from there. Decidedly rock, I had no problem understanding why I liked him – because I still do. Rick was a huge step from Shaun, really. Where “Da Doo Run Run Run” didn’t have a hard edge to be felt – Rick kept the rock vibe moving. Even at the age of 69 (that can’t be right. It just can’t), Rick can tear up a room with his music, and back in 1979 or 1980, it wasn’t much different. I can’t remember what drew me away from Shaun or towards Rick Springfield – only that it happened. I distinctly remember taking down the Shaun Cassidy pin-up from my door and putting up Rick Springfield.

While my love for Rick didn’t last long (after all, “Jessie’s Girl” came out in 1981 and I believe that was about the same time I heard “Planet Earth” for the first time), I still remember getting into TV soap operas purely because of Rick playing “Dr. Noah Drake” on General Hospital. The summer of 1981 was all about General Hospital for me! Forget Luke and Laura (my apologies to those not from the states that don’t know what I’m talking about) – I was there for Dr. Drake! Age difference? What age difference???

Yes, the age difference between Rick and I is about 19 years. Isn’t it strange how in 1981, I didn’t even think about that? The guy is literally six years younger than my mother! <insert shock and horror here>

Being what makes you breathe is enough

Hearing Rick’s albums versus Shaun’s made me consider the entire journey. I began with 1970’s smooth bubble gum pop and ended up in New Wave/1980’s alternative. I’m not quite sure I’ve ever really left, to be honest.

Each year during award shows, I’ll see a friend or two who clearly pride themselves heavily on enjoying the latest artists, basically chastise those who find today’s music (or much of it) abysmal. Here’s the thing: IT DOESN’T MATTER. I am not in a race with my kids to see which of us has the broadest tastes, nor am I trying to remain relevant. I’m relevant just continuing to breathe and take up space!

The fact is, I like my music. I’m proud of what I listen to – whether it is Rick Springfield, Pink Floyd, Shaun Cassidy, Led Zeppelin, Duran Duran, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Def Leppard, The Killers or even Lykke Li. I like it all. But, I cut my musical teeth, so to speak, on the music I grew up with. I have a special place in my heart for the sounds that got me through middle school, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. I still laugh at the trajectory that got me from Disney records to Duran Duran, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

-R

Duran Duran Appreciation Day 2018 is tomorrow!

Sadly, I am going to miss Duran Duran Appreciation Day festivities this year.  As I lamented earlier in the week on social media – this is the year where nothing goes quite as planned. Instead, I’ll be driving back to the OC from a quick trip north. It can’t really be helped, but that doesn’t mean I’m not sad about missing out.

It’s weird to me, because if all had gone as originally planned, I would be in Las Vegas right now, preparing for our convention. I hate thinking about that because I really wanted to do it, and while I know there’s no way I could have actually pulled it off, I sure wish we were there! I’m hoping for better DDAD showings in the future from Daily Duranie, that is for sure. We need a real party!

We do appreciate Duran Duran. More than they know, really. We write about them nearly every day in one capacity or another. I love that there’s a holiday for them, though! I know that our goals with writing the blog has changed over the years. It is an elastic sort of thing, I suppose. Right now, I use the blog as a sort of escape, but also as a way to solidify myself. I sometimes still have to figure out how to  allow myself “space” to be a fan, and I use the blog as a place to grapple with it, oddly enough!

Most of us can say that the band has been there through some of the most difficult times in our lives. The music guides us through, gives us the gentle shove when we need it, and even some hope that things will get better. I know it’s helped me. Right now, as I start really saying goodbye to the only house my kids have known, the place we held so many birthdays, holidays and family get-togethers, along with all of the memories held within (my darling son once took his teeth and ran them the entire way down our wooden stair railing – the grooves are still there. Yes, he’s still alive to tell about it!), I listen to the band a lot. Moving is rough, life can be crushingly painful, but music helps.

I hope everyone is able to take time and enjoy that they’re fans of a band that is still out there creating, even in 2018!  We are so lucky to still have them out there, writing, recording and performing – and even communicating with us on occasion. That’s definitely worth celebrating!

Happy Duran Duran Appreciation Day, everyone! Have a wonderful day tomorrow!

-R