Tag Archives: Music

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

 

 

Guest Blog: How I Discovered Duran Duran in 2018!

Truthfully, it isn’t every day that we run into a brand new fan, particularly those that discovered the band in 2018, just a few weeks ago! Today, we are thrilled to share a story that will sound very familiar to most Duranies – once again proving that there is absolutely ZERO age limits on being a fan! Enjoy – R

by Kathy Diaz

Duranies all have stories about how they discovered the band.  Most fans likely found the band back in their teenage years during the early 80’s, when the band began their career and during their golden days of glory. My story is quite different, especially because I didn’t grow up in the 1980’s. I was born in 1986, just months before Duran Duran released their fourth studio album, Notorious. By the time I was born, they already had a steady career, but I didn’t learn about them until much later. I missed their comeback in the charts with “The Wedding Album” in 1993, and even their reunion of their original lineup in 2003. I didn’t even take notice of them when they first released their latest album “Paper Gods” in 2015.  No, it wasn’t until 2018—yes, just this very year—that I found this band and became a fan. 

I always have been a fan of 80’s music, as I grew up listening to Michael Jackson and Madonna. I knew about the existence of a band called Duran Duran, but I never really paid much attention to them before.  Up until this year, the only song I could recognize by Duran Duran was “Ordinary World”.  I probably listened it on the radio when I was a child, but I didn’t know who sang it, or even the name of the song.

It all started a couple of weeks ago, when I was searching for new music for my Spotify playlists.  I stumbled upon a YouTube channel that makes lists of songs by the year. I was watched the playlist for “Top Songs of 1982” that I came across  “Hungry Like the Wolf”. I was immediately impressed.  The song, video, and  lead singer—whose name I later learned to be Simon Le Bon—all stuck with me.  A normal person would have looked for the song, downloaded it and that was the end of it.  Not me. I had to look up the video of “Hungry Like the Wolf” again.  After I finished watching it,  I knew I was completely hooked. It was like love at first sight. 

I spent the rest of the night watching some of their other music videos and I was in awe with “Save a Prayer”, “Rio”,  “Is There Something I Should Know”, and “Wild Boys”. I kept asking myself: “How I didn’t discover this band before?” “Where was I living, under a rock?!?” Apparently! After this discovery, I knew I would never be the same again.

During the following days, I indulged myself in a Duran Duran marathon from morning-to-night. I figured that since I was on vacation from work, I had the time to do it. I spent those days listening to their songs, watching their music videos, and looking for any information I could. I quickly learned the history of the band, the names and backgrounds of each member, and anything else I could find on the internet. Their songs give me a warm feeling. I could be feeling down, or stressed, but when I am listening to their songs, I feel happy, calm and joyful. It is rare for a band to have this effect on me.

I felt alone in this new obsession because I didn’t know anyone who were also a fan of this band, so I decided to search in Facebook for Duran Duran groups. I found two amazing groups full of Duranies who gave me a warm welcome to their inner circle, even though I was kind of an outsider since I had just become a fan only weeks ago and they all had been fans for almost four decades.

Then, some moments of frustration came. I found out they played in my country, Puerto Rico just 2 years ago. Before that, they played here other 3 times. I was so distracted by other things that I didn’t discover them in time to go to any of those shows. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and slap myself in the face for not paying attention before.  I am thankful that they are still together and making music,  but it also makes me a bit sad that I had to discover them in a dry period when there is no news on new albums or tour. I don’t know why I had to discover them now, was it fate or just coincidence?

All I know, is that this band is giving me joy and happiness with their music. That is something I thought only could happen when you were a teenager. I believed my years of “fangirling” for a band were over long ago. I didn’t ask for this, but Duran Duran just came into my life, changed it and I didn’t expect it at all. 

I still have a lot to catch up on, but I feel happy to be part of this fandom. I so look forward to what Duran Duran has in store for the future. Hopefully one day, not too far in the future, I will finally see them live for the first time. Until then, I will enjoy this new interest as much as I can, however possible.

Kathy Diaz is a newbie Duranie. She lives in Puerto Rico where she works as an Elementary School Teacher. She is also fan of Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and basically everything and anything that is British. You can follow her on Twitter: @KathyDi86 

Its Time to Take the Pressure Off

This morning, Duran Duran asked what one song energizes and gets fans going.  I stopped and thought a bit. I think this question might have been far too difficult for a Monday morning, at least for me.

Possibilities abound. I think first to the live shows. Should I choose “[Reach up for the] Sunrise”, because at every show when it’s played I feel as though I’ve caught a second wind? What about “Careless Memories”? Although they’ve neglected it lately, when that song starts, it feels like a train – you either get on board with it or get run over. I love it! How about “All You Need is Now”? I adore that song, but does it really energize me or just send me back in time? “Pressure Off” is pretty darn good too – I mean, that tune just keeps me in the moment, and sometimes, that is exactly what I need. Then of course there’s “Rio”. How can I not dance to that?  It reminds me of sun, sand, and everything I love about the beach and summer. I can’t forget “Hungry Like the Wolf”. When I’m in that audience and I hear the first chords, I know what is going to happen next. John and Dom are going to come front and center, and I’m going to dance (and sing) whether I like it or not. Does it make me move? Um, yeah it does!

I also think about here at home. What do I put on when I’m cleaning, or more likely these days, packing? “Is there Something I Should Know” gets my happy feet moving. It is my favorite song for a reason. “Late Bar” is another, although I tend to sing that one at the top of my lungs, which is not necessarily quite as welcomed by my family as one might think!  I’ll even put on “Big Thing”, or “Red Carpet Massacre” from time to time, just to get myself up and going. I am not an energizer bunny – I need something!

Then there is the car. I leave for work just before 7 am, and I don’t know about the rest of you out there,  but I’d love my job a lot more if it started at like, 10 am! I’m up by no later than 5:30, and although I’m awake for my drive, sometimes I need more than just my trusty travel mug of coffee to get me in good spirits for the day. No, I’m not talking about adding vodka to it!! (although there are days…and then there are DAYS…) I’ll start to see my youngest nearly curling up in a fetal position for the drive, and I know I’d better get some tunes on the stereo.

When I think about it, there is at least one song on every single album that is my go-to shot for energizing. “Friends of Mine”, “Rio”,  “New Moon on Monday”, “Notorious”, “Big Thing”, “Violence of Summer”, “All Along the Water”, “Too Much Information”, “White Lines”, “Big Bang Generation”,  “Electric Barbarella”, “Last Day on Earth”, “Sunrise”,  “Red Carpet Massacre”, “All You Need is Now”, “Other Peoples Lives”, “Pressure Off”, “Last Night in the City” and yes, even “Danceophobia” (we all have our weak moments!!)—it is a playlist to wake me up, keep me going, and make me smile, even during the times when I’d rather just curl up somewhere and cry.

I guess the real question is what I listen to first, and given that the playlist I just compiled won’t quite fit into a tweet, I must choose one. So for today, I’ve got to go with “Pressure Off”. When I think back on the past few years – it is the song I listen to most often, and it  works exactly as I think Simon and the band intended. It reminds me to breathe. I’ve needed that a lot lately, along with something to energize me! I’m off to do more packing, and just GUESS what song I’m putting on first!?

-R

World in My Eyes by Richard Blade

I haven’t given a book recommendation in a long time, but I’m about to offer up a good one!  As most know, I grew up in Southern California, probably about an hour from where I live now. If you really want to look it up on a map, the name of the town is Glendora. I lived in the far-less-than-wealthy, southerly section of the town.

At some point during the summer between fifth and sixthgrades for me (1981), I discovered KROQ 106.7. I don’t really remember much about how that happened, except that it might have been my friend Kristy who kind of led the way.

I had an old clock radio in my bedroom starting in fifth grade.  When I got it, I had no idea about radio stations – so I just turned the dial until I found one that came in clearly playing music. Nearly every morning I’d be woken up hearing “My Sharona” by the Knack. I still twitch funny when that song comes on the radio! Even so, I left the radio untouched because I had so much trouble finding a station that came in, let alone one with music I recognized.

During that summer between fifth and sixth grades though, I started becoming more interested in music.  I asked my friends, and Kristy piped up with “Listen to K-West!”  I didn’t know what K-West was, but I figured she’d know, and so when I went home, I fiddled with my clock radio, adjusting it to the 106-area. It was so hard to fix the dial to get something to actually come in, back then. Move the knob a teensy bit too much and it would be static or you’d not get the button exactly on the right station. It would appear to be on 106, for example, but it would actually be 105 or even 107-something. Annoying.

On that day, something did come in, and it was music I really liked. I had no idea what it was, but I stuck with it. I carefully placed the radio back on my dresser and didn’t touch it, assuming I was on K-West, and that Kristy was right. I never listened for that long, just when I was waking up in the morning. At that point, I wasn’t spending a lot of time in my room listening to music yet. I must have had that clock radio set to that station for a good year before I realized what channel it was. Richard started working at KROQ in 1982, and it is just about that time when I remember hearing his voice on the air. My memory might be a bit faded and mixed up (I’ll admit having to come back and edit this post well after I first wrote it!), but I can remember Richard giving out the call sign for the station like it was yesterday!

From that time on, Richard Blade was a constant part of my life. I listened to him nearly every morning, and he had everything to do with helping me shape my musical tastes. If radio weren’t enough, I watched him on MV3 which became Video One, and later on, once I was 18, if he guest DJ’ed at clubs in Los Angeles, I went. (The Palace in Hollywood, and Fashions on the Redondo Beach Pier to name a couple!)

Most readers might also know that I hold Richard Blade responsible for me meeting my husband. Richard was a near-constant figure at Fashions for years. On his fifth anniversary, I went to the club and met Walt. Sometimes I want to thank Richard for that, and other times—well, being married has its challenges, doesn’t it?! Even so, I have a beautiful family, and my children might not be here had it not been for Richard Blade, which is wild when I think about it! I don’t know that I would have ever known Duran Duran beyond being an obscure band from the UK, and I definitely wouldn’t have had my eyes opened to alternative music. Who knew a DJ could subtly influence the direction of my life?

Since those days, I guess I’ve followed Richard.  If he’s DJ’ing somewhere, Walt and I try to go whenever we’re able. He plays the music my husband and I listen to, and the weirdest thing happens when we are dancing (and yes, he and I LOVE to dance. It is what brought us together to begin with). I forget about the tough stuff, and we both get transported back to those beginning days downstairs at Fashions. It is like we remember what is really important, and get back to the basics if only for a few hours. Those hours have somehow saved our relationship over the nearly twenty-six years we’ve been together! We’ve had the opportunity to meet Richard a few times, have had a photo or two with him, and now my friend Steven works with him quite often, which is really cool to see.

When Richard announced his autobiography, World In My Eyes, I was excited to get my hands on it. Richard markets the book by saying that we’ll read about the bands we all know – including Duran Duran – but the truth is, at least for me, I wanted to read his story. It’s not his knowing Duran Duran or Depeche Mode that makes the book interesting – although for many, I understand it’s a true selling point. I haven’t even downloaded his interviews with some of the bands I know, I’ve been too busy reading! I’m not even halfway through it yet and I can honestly say – the man has LIVED. It is no wonder why he’s so successful, or why he’s been a constant source of inspiration and learning to me personally. He has had a life well-lived.

The book is outstanding so far, and I have just barely gotten to the point where he moves to California. It is easy to fangirl Richard Blade, and I don’t want to seem too gushy. To many in my generation, he is (in a very vague sense) our Dick Clark. We can leave American Top 40 to Ryan Seacrest—we don’t need him. But Richard Blade? He taught me nearly everything I know about New Wave and 80’s music. He’s open, honest, and cares about people and living things. He has no problem arguing his feelings and concerns, and while I might not always agree, I fully respect him.

Richard is the real deal, and I want to congratulate him on such a wonderfully written representation of his life. I know the diligence required with writing a manuscript, much less an autobiography. It isn’t enough to just want to do it, you have to want to do it more than anything. Richard wrote every single word, no ghost-writers involved, which is rare!

I have no problem highly recommending World in My Eyes. As I said, I haven’t even gotten halfway through it, and I would easily put this on the same shelf with Mad World. We are so lucky to have books about our music and the people who influenced us. I hope everyone grabs a copy. With the holidays coming, I think it would make a great present for anyone who loves music, Duran Duran and New Wave/80s alternative, or knows of Richard Blade! At over 500 pages, it’s the best $20 I’ve spent in a long time.

(And no, I wasn’t asked to write about his book, and I’m certainly not being paid to do so – this is all straight from me)

I can’t wait to get back to reading – so I’ve got to wrap this up for now.

-R

*edited because as I could have predicted this morning when I first wrote it – I got the dates all wrong. 🙂