Tag Archives: Nick Rhodes

My thoughts on Medazzaland as it turns twenty

It is hard for me to imagine that Medazzaland has been a part of my life for twenty years. Coincidentally, twenty years ago last month, my husband and I moved back to California after living in Illinois for two and a half years.

We made the move not long after we were married in 1995, due to a job offer for my husband. When Walt’s company decided to sell his division, we moved back to California, now as a family of three.  We’d been back here and living out of boxes for a few weeks when Medazzaland was released, and I came out of my moving and motherhood fog just long enough to drive to Wherehouse Music to get a copy.  I remember unwrapping the CD and putting it in the car stereo. Walt wanted to scan through each song rather than hearing them play, which made the experience less-than-optimal for me, but I was so shocked after the first couple of songs, I didn’t know what to think.

I suppose I didn’t know what to expect going in. I knew it would be different, as they all are from one another, and I hadn’t been keeping up with the band in the same way I might now, so I was probably even more shocked. I probably was hoping for something that sounded closer to any one of the first three albums, which I admit severely undercuts the creativity of this band, but at the time, I didn’t think about any of that. I just knew what I expected to hear when I said “Duran Duran”.

I was looking for anything that made me feel like the old me. I was a new mom, dealing with a baby and postpartum depression, living with my in laws while we waited for our house to sell in Illinois so that we could buy one here. So just imagine someone trying to get a firm grip on some semblance or reminder of who they were – maybe hoping for a bit of Rio and instead – you’ve got Nick speaking the words to “Medazzaland”.

It was a bit of a shock, to say the least.

Sure, I took a deep breath when I heard “Big Bang Generation”. It’s still one of my favorites off of the album, and I won’t lie – those bright, stacked harmonies and melodious chords were exactly what I thought should be on the album. “Electric Barbarella” felt along the same lines. I started feeling better about the album, and then “Silva Halo” happened. The tempo alone made me uncomfortable. I didn’t declare it as genius, I’ll tell you that. I looked at Walt, he looked at me, and I was speechless. I felt completely left behind. I didn’t understand how the same band who wrote (yes) “Hungry Like the Wolf”, could write something like “Silva Halo” and believe it was good enough to put on an album. (How’s that for some Monday morning truth??)

That’s just the point though, isn’t it? This was not the same band. The band we have right now isn’t the same band who wrote Rio, either. It wasn’t as though they had Roger, Andy or even much of John in the studio writing and recording Medazzaland. This was a Duran Duran of (mainly) two original members, along with Warren – who may be a fabulously innovative guitar player in his own right, but he is also incredibly different from the original member. Of course they are going to create very different music, although I didn’t acknowledge that at the time. My problem was that I didn’t like a lot of it, which blew me away.

Yep, I could pretend that I was one of those enlightened fans who just “got” everything they did. I could say that I loved the way the band reinvented itself, and how they embraced innovation and experimental music. I’d certainly sound cooler if I did. But I didn’t. I listened to Medazzaland in its entirety exactly ONE time before I packed it away, never to get it out again until the reunion

No, that didn’t make me a good fan. Just the opposite, really, and I have to own that. I assumed that because I didn’t like that album on the first listen, that I had somehow grown out of being a Duran Duran fan. That was a hard, sad lesson for me. I saw my fandom, although I didn’t have a name for it at the time, as the one lifeline I really had back to a time before my life became a whirlwind of baby clothes, bottles and diapers. Once that was gone, I wasn’t really sure what I had left. I’d love to say I had other stuff going on for me at the time, but I really didn’t. I had a baby, a husband, and a life I really didn’t recognize. It was a very weird time. While it really had nothing to do with Duran Duran, in some ways now looking back, I can see that my initial reaction to that album had everything to do with me and what I was going through on my own. It’s kind of amazing to consider just how much life experiences shape our listening.

I don’t think I gave that album a fair shot until recently. I can’t pinpoint the year, exactly – but it was after I started writing this blog. I finally pulled out the original CD and played it again. It wasn’t nearly as strange-sounding as I remembered. I suppose I hear it with very different ears now. There’s still a fair amount of discomfort with songs like “Silva Halo”, “Buried in the Sand”, and even “Undergoing Treatment”. I hear a lot of sadness and pain in Simon’s singing. I also hear the ingenuity and experimentation loved by Nick and Warren. As Simon said, it was a difficult time for the band. It is clear, as I listen to the album again, that while the three may have been in the same physical space while recording – the disconnection is evident.  Nathan Stack surmised that Medazzaland “…is about humans trying to understand and connect with one another — sometimes tenuously succeeding, other times failing.” (www.duranduran.com Medazzaland October 2017)  His words read prophetic, if not for being twenty years post release.

In hindsight, I can say that it oddly represents a very difficult time in my life, too. I felt so disconnected to the world, you’d think that this album would have been my lifeline, and yet it just wasn’t. Simon says the album is like “Marmite”, you either love it or hate it. I just don’t think I was ready to hear the stories that this album was trying to share at the time.

I think that might be the silver lining. The music doesn’t cease to exist after a couple of decades. The songs are still there, ready to sing their tale and share their messages whenever we are ready to hear them with fresh ears.

On another note, I’ve really been back in California twenty years now…and more importantly…my daughter is about to turn 21 in a few months??

-R

There’s nothing gonna ace this

My desk calendar tells me that on this date in 2004, Duran Duran played on Good Morning America. It feels like a million years ago. Andy was still with the band and all seemed well on the outside, even if it may not have been on the inside. I had no inkling of the struggles it took to get the album recorded. I didn’t realize that drama from the past had somehow crept its way back into the studio and beyond, and I sure as heck didn’t know that over the course of the next year or so, Andy would stop performing with the band altogether. I was so naive, I had the audacity to believe that the original five would keep going. It never occurred to me that the relationships were so fragile.  Then again, I didn’t really know much of what had gone on behind the scenes in the 80s, either. I basked in the glory of having the band back together again, and in some small way that is typically unlike me, I appreciate that I had no idea of what was to come.

Wide-eyed innocence was sort of my theme for the entire Astronaut period. I was new to traveling to see the band, I was new to the fan community (although I’d been a fan for many years), new to message boards, and the group of friends I’d stumbled upon as a result were all brand new to me. At the point of this GMA appearance, I had just recently gotten home from the Friends of Mine convention in New Orleans. I can remember sitting in front of my TV with Gavin on my lap, marveling over some of the women in the front because I’d met them at the convention. Prior to Astronaut, I had never known anyone who had even gone to something like that, much less gotten up so close! When I think back to those Astronaut days, I’m amazed at how naive I was to the entire fandom phenomena. Everything seemed bright, colorful, new, and lovely. I didn’t see much of the insipid bickering, or the jealousy between fans. I hadn’t gone to enough shows or mingled with enough hard-core fans to know that while all is fine and good when the band isn’t around, once they enter the room, the struggle to be seen and acknowledge is so great that we often push one another out-of-the-way just for that tiny bit of validation. In my head, fandom was a utopian paradise, and I wanted to take up residence, permanently.

There are shorter clips of this, but I chose the long one – nearly a full hour – because there are so many short snippets of the crowd.  On this day, it is a breath of fresh air to look back at the memory of what it was like to simply be in love: reinvented, reimagined, reinvigorated, naive LOVE. I particular enjoy the vision of an audience sharing those same feelings.  There is nothing that can ace this.

Yeah, I know the band isn’t nostalgic. Sometimes though, it feels good to look back. It reminds me how I got here, and why I stay.

Take a look. Breathe deeply. Squee if you must…I did 🙂

-R

2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Well, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees are out, and you-know-who was notoriously left off the list. Again.

I’ve learned never to assume anything when it comes to writing this blog, but I have to think that many fans, but perhaps not all, would have liked seeing them included on the list of nominees. Am I right, or no? On the other hand, Duran Duran (notably Simon and John) have openly said during interviews that it’s a non-issue for them. They don’t care. They see it (the Hall of Fame) as a political vehicle and therefore it’s not worth their time. Whether or not this is truth or a carefully worded reply meant to hide disappointment, I can’t say.

Even so, there are groups of fans out there that try to rally support for their inclusion each year. In the past, we (Daily Duranie) have stayed out of the argument beyond echoing what the band has openly said themselves. It caused a few people, including those petitioning to have the band included, to block and unfriend us. Our official position was simple – if the band didn’t even want it, we felt like we shouldn’t push it. Some didn’t like that, and I can understand and accept their fury. I also need to call out what I see as industry-driven BS, as you’ll read below.

Before I go any further, here’s the list of 19 nominees for 2018:

Bon Jovi

Depeche Mode

Dire Straits

Eurythmics

J. Geils Band

Judas Priest

Kate Bush

Link Wray

LL Cool J

MC5

Moody Blues

Nina Simone

Radiohead

Rage Against the Machine

Rufus feat. Chaka Khan

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

The Cars

The Meters

The Zombies

The very idea that Duran Duran continues to be omitted from the list of nominees each year is gross. We’re not talking about a band that never graced a top ten list, or never did much beyond release a few unknown albums. At one point, Duran Duran was the biggest band in the world. They are video vanguards, lifetime achievers, and continue to influence younger generations of musicians and performers. They didn’t just embody the style of 1980 and beyond…they created and drove it.  They’re still creating, nearly 40 years later.

Yet with each passing year, they’re not even given a mention beyond a couple of tweets from well-meaning fans. Not only is the Hall of Fame dismissing the band and their career, but they are also smugly discounting the thousands of fans who have stood by them for the last four decades. The old men might not get it, but the little girls completely understand, and always have.

Last weekend, I finally sat down and watched the induction ceremony for 2017. Yes, I’m behind. The one thing I saw over and over was how the bands thanked their fans for getting them there. Of course I liked seeing that, and it was touching that when it came down to it for the bands being inducted, their fans mattered. I thought about all of the history I’ve read about Duran Duran.  Disparaging comments about the band’s fan base aren’t hard to find. The critics hated that little girls loved this band. As far as critics were concerned, the reason to hate this band was purely because little girls (who are now grown women) loved them. That one highlighted detail created a situation where Duran’s music was never quite taken seriously. Why would it? Girls liked them, they couldn’t possibly understand what good music is about, and therefore the band were pin-up material. Period.

Amanda and I haven’t just seen this written once or twice in books. It has been discussed in every piece of comprehensive band history we’ve ever read, watched, or heard.

Simon addressed this general topic in an interview done just before they appeared on Jimmy Kimmel in 2015. He commented about the critics and their hatred for them and their fans. He believes much of that comes down to jealousy, and that may very well be true. He also commented that much to the chagrin of the critics—many of whom are not still writing or in the industry—the fans of the band, and the band themselves, are still around today. In many aspects, that alone is the best revenge. But is it enough?

I’m not so sure.

Sexism, my friends, is alive and well in the music industry, whether  the performers themselves, the business-side, or the fans. Look at the list of nominees again. Do you see many bands up there that have a predominantly female fan base? I can see a few that might have a sizable percentage of female fans, but none of them to the extent of Duran’s. None. Why is that?

The very idea that a sizable number of Duran’s fan base are women drives people crazy. Even the band tries to even it out in interviews by mentioning the growing number of men in their live audiences. People try to attribute our (female) presence to be about anything but the music. I’ve seen the very words “What would girls know about music?” in print more times than I can count.

Really?

I have heard similar anecdotes from female fans all over, whether they’re a blogger like me, your average concert-goer, or a radio show host. Sexism is everywhere. If you’re a woman, you couldn’t possibly know anything about the band you admire beyond their looks, and the only reason for being a fan is to fulfill that one-night stand fantasy. You know, the one we’ve all secretly held for nearly 40 years now?  The assertion that we’re all fans because we’re still waiting for our one nighter with Simon, John, Nick and/or Roger is pretty astounding.

(Call me crazy, but the last thing I’d fantasize about is going backstage and getting on my knees for a band member, only to be gracefully guided to the exit doors immediately following. Why on earth would I waste FORTY YEARS on that???)

Seriously, people of this world, THINK. We’re gonna have to try harder. It does not have to be like this. We have to be ready and willing to call the bullshit out when we see it and force change to happen, because it is obviously not going to happen on its own.

Now THAT is an effort I can get behind.

-R

Limited Edition Double Vinyl of Astronaut released, 2004.

How many different versions of Astronaut do you own? I can’t even answer that myself – a lot of them are packed away, but I know I must have a few. I’ve got a couple of copies of the regular CD that I bought at midnight at Virgin Records in Hollywood.  I also remember buying this special CD – it was a dual sided CD if I remember right (did those ever really catch on??)—and it had 7.1 surround sound. I can’t remember what was on the other side, though. Was it a DVD?? I really need to go find it and look.  Anyway, I liked that CD because I could actually hear Andy’s guitar (which is another blog for another day), and because it was unlike anything I’d seen before.

But on this date back in 2004, Duran Duran released the limited edition double vinyl of Astronaut. I have a copy, and it is signed by all five members.  I’m particularly proud of it because it’s the one thing I have signed by the original five members of Duran Duran, and for a long time – it was the only thing I had signed, period. I can remember periodically sitting and staring at that vinyl from time to time. It was one of those moments where afterwards, you wonder if it really did happen. I can tell you that back when I was just a kid listening to Rio, never did it occur to me that one day I’d actually meet them. That just seemed like something out of a fairy tale, and admittedly it felt a little that way when it happened.

Seems like a great day to take out that double vinyl album and spend a little time thinking back on 2004. For me, Astronaut helped to mark the beginning of the community aspect of fandom.  I had just gone to my first convention, and everything felt bright and new.  Astronaut was a new beginning for Duran Duran, and I’m happy to spend a little time thinking back on that time today.

-R

Do you remember gum-chewing? Of course you do!

It has been awhile since I’ve sat and watched a Duran Duran video.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but it seems like I rarely get a chance to sit down and relax, much less watch anything. So today, I treated myself. I watched “Serious”, because truly – if you’re going to watch a Duran Duran video, why NOT catch glimpses of a naughty Nick Rhodes chewing gum??

Did you know that on this date in 1990, Duran Duran filmed part of “Serious”?  It is true. If the story behind the gum proves accurate, Nick was not necessarily on board with the idea of “Serious” being a single from Liberty. In fact, he felt so strongly that when it came time to film the video, Nick decided to show his feelings, ever so-not-obviously, by chewing a piece of gum throughout the video. Because you know, Nick is a chronic gum-chewing keyboardist in real life, right?

I’m going to guess “No” on that.

I suppose his thought was that he looked silly, and that’s how he felt about the song being a single. It was his idea of a protest, which kind of makes me laugh…because LISTEN TO THE SONG.

Of course, that whole thing (if in fact true) backfired when Duranies, ever-dependable as we are, went NUTS over the gum chewing. Who knew that by attempting to ruin a video, he actually made the whole thing that much more appealing (leave it to Nick to turn gum-chewing into an artful statement). I only question the validity because it goes along with the theme of the song. It doesn’t have to be serious, right?

Here’s the video. Let’s watch it again!

Happy Tuesday!  -R

 

 

Sets You on a Path: The Reunion

Today is easily one of my favorite dates to celebrate. On August 29th of the year 2000, Simon and Nick visited John at his house in Los Angeles.

What could they possibly have talked about?

Getting the band back together!! The reunion they said would never happen….

That’s right. It all began with a chat around the pool. (well, that’s how I picture it in my head, anyway) And if it weren’t for that day, and the reunion that followed, seventeen years ago now, none of this – the albums, the touring, the message boards, DDM, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre, All You Need is Now, Paper Gods…and this blog….probably would not have happened.

I just don’t know if I would have kept going to shows. Maybe I would have for a while, but life gets in the way. I know how I am with other bands. If it’s not “easy”, I don’t bother. Would that have become the way with Duran Duran? Probably. After all, I hadn’t gone to very many shows before the reunion, although it was one of their gigs at the House of Blues in Anaheim that really got me back into the band, and that was before the reunion was announced. Even so, I’m not sure that I would have been inspired to keep reading message boards or meet people had the reunion not been announced. I don’t know that I would have gotten involved with planning a convention, or that I’d have ever met Amanda as a result.

It’s wild to consider that just one conversation at someone’s house changed everything. But it did.  And while the reunion may have been one fleeting moment in my life, I’m grateful. And happier. I found a part of myself I’d been missing. That “something” wasn’t really Duran Duran. They were just the catalyst to get me looking for it, and I’m thankful. I really am.

This silly band. They don’t know me much beyond the words I write here and my face in their audience. Yet, in some odd way, I will always feel as though my life is weirdly entwined with their professional one. One day in August of 2000 set me on a path, and while yes I’m nearly quoting “What are the Chances”….it is incredibly fitting.

So while I head off to work today – I’ll be thinking about that band a little. It’s a good day.

-R

July 2017 Katy Kafe with Nick Highlights

Sometimes, I sit down to write and I have no idea what I’m going to write about.  Other times, I have it planned out.  Today, I knew exactly what I was going to write about and then…I get news that there is a new Katy Kafe out!  I scrap my plans and opt instead to listen to the Kafe and report on the highlights here!  I’ll save that other blog idea for another day.  As always, when Rhonda or I report on a Kafe, we are only sharing some highlights and our thoughts on them.  If you want to hear the whole thing and everything that is mentioned, I recommend getting a membership to Duran Duran Music yourself!

San Francisco:

Nick talked about how he enjoyed going to the City Lights book store in San Francisco and how much he enjoyed the American Beat poets.  I, for one, wish that we would have been able to get there to check out the book store for myself.  That said, I did not know that Nick enjoyed that type of literature.  Good for him.

Calgary:

The best line of the whole Kafe definitely had to be when Nick talked about how he looked out into the audience there and all he saw was a “sea of cowboy hats”!  Yeah, that is not common at Duran shows!  How funny!

Hawaii:

Nick discussed how the shows have been great.  He said that since there are not many of them, they have been “soaking up” every minute of them.  That makes sense!  He also mentioned that this is the first time they are playing in Hawaii and that there are not many states they haven’t played in, including Alaska, one of the Dakotas, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and a few others.  (For the record, Rhonda and I once thought about that as a goal–to see the band in every state until we realized that there are some states that Duran has never played in and some states they probably won’t ever go back to.)  Interestingly enough, while the band has never played in Hawaii, Nick has visited for a holiday.  Apparently, he, along with others this time, did visit Pearl Harbor, which he called “sobering”.  Indeed.  Nick has been taking photos, including the sunsets, even though he is trying to cut down on his photo taking to give himself a chance to create prints of the photos he has taken over the years.  He might do exhibits and even sell some once he gets more prints made.  (I bet there are Duranies who would love that!!)  He even has a book of photos ready to go and is hopeful that it will be out before the end of the year!

Randomness!

When asked about Hold Back the Rain, he said that the band had gotten pressure by China Chow to put it in the setlist.  Fun fact.  I had no idea who she is, so I had to look her up!  Guess I learned something new today and I thank her from all of the fans.  On a different but equally random note, Nick has seen the Elvis concert from Hawaii.  Alrighty then…

Future Concert Locations?

Nick mentioned that he would like to check off those missing states but that there are a lot of cities in Europe that they need to hit as well.  He also would like to play in China and India someday.

Overall, Nick seemed in good spirits and enjoying his time in Hawaii. I wish there had been some scoop about the 40th and what they are planning or thinking of there, but no luck.  Maybe next time!

-A

Happy Birthday Nick!

Happy Birthday to Nick – our favorite keyboardist!

The word “rapid” comes to mind today.  “The years fly by, in rapid succession.”  I would swear I just wrote a birthday blog for him, and here I am, writing another!

Every year, I try to come up with some sort of personal anecdote when I’m writing a birthday message. It isn’t always easy because I don’t see the band every year (although it’s fantastic when I do!). This year though, I think I might have one!

My favorite “Nick” moment as of late has been at the shows. Since the most recent (for me) was the second show at Agua Caliente in March, I’ll go with that one. In the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to get good seats at the shows. By “good” I mean that we’re in the first few rows, and I have a decent line of sight to the band. In March though, I was up front and center which afforded me the opportunity to really be able to see every band member and watch their expressions at various times during the show.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but “Hungry Like the Wolf” is not my favorite song.  I know, I know, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it….given that the band plays it at EVERY SINGLE SHOW.  Well, as the opening chords begin, I have a difficult time of not rolling my eyes. I can’t swear to it, but I think the band might know this, because there have been moments when I would swear upon a stack of bibles that some members look my way when it starts just to see my reaction. Typically, I hang my head in defeat for a brief second, then remember that – oh yes, they can see me (whether or not they really do isn’t the point) – and I try to get back in the program. I’ll look up, and invariably, Nick is peering down over his keyboards with the most amused expression on his face.

(I almost hate to let him down by not having a reaction….even though I think he knows that yes, of course I expect them to play it. And sometimes, they even play it TWICE because they have to start over. Really?? Is that even necessary????)

Truthfully, I don’t even know if he’s looking at me. It seems like he might be, but I don’t know. I’ve never asked!  So, I go about the business of singing and dancing along because really, what am I going to do, just stand there?!?

Then there’s later in the show, when “White Lines” comes on. Now this song has always been one of my favorites when they play it live. There’s just something about it, and that “something” is the hard-driving guitar. (and the guy playing it isn’t bad either…but that’s another story for another blog later in the month) In ANY case, over the past couple of years, and remarkably coinciding with the closer seating that Amanda and I have paid an outstanding amount of money to be in, the song has taken on a little different of a meaning.

Basically, it marks the point in the performance where I grow increasingly worried about how close my seats may or may not be to “the spit zone”.  Several years back, I’d rock out with out much care. I’d see Simon spit the water up into the audience and think “eww” glad I’m not up there. Well, lately, I have been up there, and I gotta tell you – I am semi-convinced that sometimes – there’s been a little bit more “aim” placed on the spitting!

However, this most recent time at Agua Caliente, we were right there. I didn’t give that much of a thought until “White Lines” began. All of the sudden, I realized what was about to happen. I couldn’t stop the look of shock and horror that went across my face, and again, I happened to look Nick’s way. I didn’t even know he could still smile that wide….

Even so, I tried to brush the thought aside while in my head I was thinking “Did Nick seriously just nearly CACKLE onstage while looking my way? Nahhhh….Couldn’t be.” Instead, I lost myself in the song and in a particular fangirl moment involving a guitar player.  Before I knew it, I was watching Simon head toward the drum riser to grab a bottle of water and take a drink. I knew what was coming, so I did what any sane person would have done and just looked down.

I felt the deluge hit the back of my head and run down my back as I winced and laughed. I mean, I didn’t see Simon spit, but he had to have aimed right for us. Come on now! I looked up, and Nick was laughing while looking right at the front. I laughed too, because it was FUNNY! I remember how horrified I was the first time – way back in Biloxi during the All You Need is Now tour, and how disgusted I was by the whole thing. I don’t know why, I don’t know how – but I don’t care so much anymore. After all, I’ve been “baptized” a few times now. The shock has worn off, but my reaction probably won’t change much. It’s still funny. And really weird. But whatever. It’s a thing, and while Amanda and I still hate it, I’ll admit I’m amused, and Nick’s reaction is priceless, whether or not he’s really looking my way or not.

All of this reminds me of a time not so long ago when Nick was missing from the shows. It’s true that MNDR did an outstanding job and musically, I didn’t notice much of a difference without Nick there. That said, to look up and see someone manning the keyboards during that time was just wrong – and I’m glad Nick is back touring with the band again. I can’t help but smile when I see his 10,000 watt grin. We don’t see it often enough.

Happy birthday, Nicholas. I hope you have a wonderful day, and I’ll see YOU in about a month!

-R

These Beautiful Colours – It’s All About Happy

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve had it. It’s Monday, and I’m already done.

I’d really like a day, heck, I’ll even take a MORNING, where there’s at least a little peace. Life is busy. My schedule is crazy and changing every single week because of various things going on. I never know where I’m supposed to be (and when). I have things written on my huge master calendar at home, in my phone, and even on a calendar I keep near my desk, and yet I still forget things. I’ve even had to turn down a couple of really fun and quite frankly, once in a lifetime type of opportunities for various reasons – all of which have to do with being an adult and putting my own feelings aside. On one hand I feel like I did the right thing, and on the other I wish I could just seize the day and take a chance for a change. Isn’t that just like being an adult???

I’m not even mentioning the world. I don’t really need to do that, as I’m sure all of you have heard the news each day. I don’t want this blog to turn into a political forum, but I will say this much – peace would be good right about now. It’s pretty bad when I am thinking about stocking up my trailer (camping caravan), throwing my phone in the garbage and heading north to pine trees, blue skies, and no internet connection.

There are moments when I see all that is happening here at home and abroad, and wonder if the “good old days” are totally behind us now. Sometimes I think that’s what the media wants us to believe. Sometimes, I even think that’s what we want one another to feel.  But then, there’s Duran Duran. The bright light.

The band tweeted this picture this morning from a show they did for a Princeton University class reunion this weekend. (Never before did I wish I went to an Ivy…) Dom retweeted it saying that he loves the colors. At first all I could think about was that in a month from today, I’ll be picking Amanda up at the airport and we’ll be headed to San Francisco. That thought alone made me smile. I can’t wait to see Amanda, our friends, and yes – the band.

Dom says he loves these colors. To me, they are joy and happiness.

I am no different from any other fan. I’m excited to go see the band in July. On one hand, I feel like I’m going to be seeing old friends that weekend, and on the other, I sound like a hopelessly deluded fan. They don’t know me. I only know them from their posters. Yet it all feels so familiar after thirty—nearly forty—years.  I can’t help but feel that way. Yes, I hope to at least make eye contact long enough to say hi and let them know they were missed, and I’m glad they’re back.

In many of my blogs, I try to remind the world that to the band, our relationship is probably more transactional than anything else. Very few of us have a real person-to-person connection with them. Yes, it would be nice if it were more than that after all this time, but realistically – how can they really know thousands upon thousands of people?? I’m even shocked when Simon says he recognizes faces in the crowd.  Even so, as I sit here writing this—I’m thinking of how lucky I am to be able to still go and see the band I grew up idolizing, and sure—a big part of me wants to pretend that when they see me standing in the audience, they recognize my face. Who doesn’t?

It is very hard not to feel like there’s some sort of relationship there, just based solely on the amount of time I’ve invested. Of course there really isn’t—I don’t know John, Nick, Simon or Roger—but as a fan, there’s all the loyalty in the world there. Of course, then there’s Dom. I’ve met him more than once. I’ve spoken to him while on a plane and traded emails a few times. Yet every time I see him up close enough to say hi, I’m pleasantly surprised he addresses me by name. I don’t really know why that surprises me so much, because if he were anyone else – any other guy for example – it’d be normal! There are many people I’ve met one time, and then seen again two or three years later, and we all manage to know and remember one another’s name. Yet with him, it’s different. I both love and kind of hate that all at the same time, I must admit.

I just think now, more than ever, if you get a chance to be close enough to say hi, give/receive a hug, or whatever – it’s important to let them know we care. There’s a lot of bad going on in this world. Even if, like 99% of us, you only know them for being Duran Duran, I think right now, it’s good to let them know how much they’re loved.  Love is a very good thing. We’re lucky to have this relationship, however confusing, messy, and undefined it may be. Not everyone does…and these moments are what carry me from one show to the next. The memories of a hug, a hand squeeze, or even a wink from the stage remind me that all is not so bad. So in the moments when I’m struggling to remember what paperwork I was supposed to bring to a doctor’s appointment, or that I need to contact the registrar at Gavin’s school about his high school transcripts, I try to think about those happy times. It helps.

I’m also really excited that for at least a couple of days – I’ll be nothing BUT happy. So the more I looked at the photo, the more I realized that yes, for me – the colors are happy. I need happy. Don’t we all?

-R

What WON’T the band do for their 40th anniversary?

I’ve noticed a lot of people working on surveys and things, putting together a wish list for Duran Duran’s 40th anniversary. I suspect the intention is that if fans work together to come up with a cohesive list, then perhaps the band will take a look and perhaps see their way clear to incorporating some of the ideas into their celebration plans. Maybe.

Amanda and I haven’t really done much of that here on the blog. I suspect part of the reason is that we’ve been around for six years, and during that time – while we’ve gotten support from DDHQ – I think we’ve come to realize they’re not going to take us seriously when it comes to the business of the band, and quite frankly – they’re probably smarter that way.  That doesn’t stop either of us from looking side-eyed at some of the things that have been done over the years, but you know, it’s much easier to quarterback from the sidelines than it is to actually be in the game. I don’t think we were always quite that accepting, but you know, Amanda and I have changed a little bit over the years.  Now we’re just having fun with it all.

That doesn’t mean we don’t throw some ideas out there every once in a while for fun though, and today will be no exception as I put together a short list of things the band will (probably) NOT do during #DD40!

Play a cruise!

I dearly love every human being who has suggested that Duran Duran basically put themselves on a cruise ship with what, 3-4,000 of their most rabid fans. How could that possibly go wrong??

Let’s just think about that for a minute: sun, water, several bars, thousands of fans who may or may not have partaken in said alcohol….and nowhere the band can really go to hide. Or run. Outstanding!

Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that won’t be happening. Again, love the enthusiasm, but probably not for their 40th anniversary.

Play shows with Dom, Andy and Warren…at the same time!

Again, love the enthusiasm for their 40th anniversary.  Honestly, I think about the possibility of this purely for the entertainment value.  Can you imagine all three of them on stage? Together? Two of them have enormous egos…the third might be trampled in the process. All together onstage for the same shows, same songs?  My money is on a firm “no”.

For that matter, why don’t we bring back everyone who has ever played with the band to play onstage? Andy Hamilton, all of the backup singers, Sterling, Steve Ferrone, Joe Travers…is there a stage large enough???

More travel packages!

This is one idea that I could see the band instituting in part, but I’m going to gamble and say they won’t do it again, even for their 40th anniversary. Back before Astronaut was released, the band did a few very special travel packages that were in extremely limited quantity. Fans paid a tidy sum for a ticket to a specific show, accommodations, special merchandise, concierge service, and a cocktail party with all five band members in attendance. I have a good friend that bought a travel package, and by her account it was extremely well-organized and thought out, and I think it’s fair to say it was a very positive experience for her. The travel packages went from these extravagant luxuries down to a ticket and a quick meet and greet, and then they morphed into meet and greets given at random to VIP ticket buyers, and now none of the VIP packages come with anything other than the ticket, merchandise and possible cocktail parties in some cities (without the band in attendance).

I know the demand for these travel packages (and meet and greets) still exists, but I think the band hated them for the most part.  I can imagine the thought of going into a room filled with Duranies can be a bit overwhelming. I can’t blame them even if I might wish I’d been able to take advantage when meet and greets or travel packages were offered.

Play individual albums in their entirety!

The one suggestion I’ve seen over and over again is to play Rio, or any of their albums – entirely live for their 40th anniversary. It’s the one suggestion that I am positive most Duran fans want (even if there is discussion over which album they’d most like to see done that way), and it is the one suggestion that the band just doesn’t seem to get.

Just last week, Lori Majewski had John Taylor call in on her radio show, and she mentioned playing Rio live. John thinks we’d be bored (sometimes, I really don’t think they know their fans) because we’d already know the set list.

Ok, John. I get you. I’d just invite you to take a good look at your set list for the past few years as you’ve been touring Paper Gods, and then tell me again that fans get bored when they know the set list. The fact is, to have an entire album played live is a completely different experience than many of us have had before – Red Carpet Massacre aside.  For that matter, you could mix it up and that way, you’re not playing the same album over and over, and if fans like me want to see them all—they’re gonna have to take a leave of absence from their lives and travel to different shows to do it.

Even so, I think it’s safe to assume the band isn’t going to listen to reason on this one. They’re gonna play the hits, and we’re going to like it.

My heart is still hoping for Late Bar…but my head knows we’re getting Hungry Like the Wolf.

Intimate shows of 3,000 or less!

Let’s be real. Again, this one is a gamble, but I’m thinking money-wise, touring the 40th anniversary would be a cash cow. Why on earth would they only want to play in small venues when they can play arenas and bring in more money?

Personally, I’d love to see them play in smaller theaters so that long time fans have the opportunity to get up close and celebrate with this band. I’d like to see fans acknowledged for the time and energy we’ve given over the years. Who wouldn’t? That said, the lure for a huge “comeback” anniversary tour (no, they never left but the rest of the country, world, so forth probably doesn’t know that) is ever looming.

I’m just hoping they don’t decide to do that “Verified Fan” thing through Ticketmaster…

There are a lot of things I’d like to see the band do for their 40th anniversary. Mostly, I’m at a point where I’m just happy to see they’re still around fighting the good fight.  I’m looking forward to reading what they’ve got planned, and I’m hoping that I can take an active part in some of it along the way!

-R