Tag Archives: Nick Rhodes

Mazda MX-5 Unveiling – Monterey, CA

I have much to comment on, but I will start with a couple of admonitions to the general public since we have gained ourselves quite a few new readers since joining WordPress last January, and they haven’t been around long enough to see us review a live show before.  Since the hiatus and LOOOONNNNNGGG years of recording this new album that we’ve yet to see, feel, hear, and hold, we’ve really refrained from getting into fan-politics or any of the social science aspects of fandom.  I’d like to welcome you all back to reality now.  So…. first of all, I am sarcastic…probably to a fault, but I consider it a gift to get through my everyday life.  Amanda is less sarcastic than I am, but she’s also the one to really point out what is really insane about our fan community. She will dive into really tough topics that I will likely just poke fun at.  She’s smarter than I am, much better researched…and nicer than I am, so good luck with that. If you read something of mine and don’t see the humor right away, you should probably try again. I make no apologies for my wickedly dry jokes, and yes…I WILL criticize the band if I see fit.  Learn to love it.  Secondly, I might even criticize fans if I think they’re out of line.  Again, learn to find the humor in what we write and recognize that everything we do for Duran Duran and the fan base comes from a place of love, respect and completely honesty.  If you can’t, this blog is liable not to be your cup of tea, and we can accept that. We will talk about the “tough stuff”, the “fun stuff” and even the “fangirly stuff”.  I will openly gush AND complain in the same blog post…and you’ll like it!  Oh, and sometimes…we might even end up being wrong. That’s extremely rare though.  (Sarcasm, people.  Read the sarcasm…)  Lastly, I’m wordy. Learn to grab food and beverage BEFORE you sit down to read.  That’s your final warning.

Today is one of those days where I am thankful for all the goodness that is found on Youtube. As many know, last night – interested parties (or those who were able to stay up late enough…or get up early enough) were able to watch the band’s performance for the Mazda MX-5 unveiling in Monterey, California.  Going into the afternoon, I had been told that the band would only perform for a half-hour. What I’ve come to understand since, is that the live stream would only be a half-hour in length, which it indeed was. Those at home were treated to a precious three song set that lasted just thirteen minutes. (In fairness DDHQ did say that we would see highlights from the show, not the full set.) For those there in person, they saw about ten songs performed – perhaps about an hour long set.  In any case, Daily Duranie took over the internet last night – Amanda handled Facebook, while I worked Twitter. We live-tweeted (and posted) throughout the show, starting at about 5:30ish (PDT) and continuing until just after the performance when I was called away to cook my starving family some dinner.  (Note to self: teach family to cook their own meals.)  No matter, the point I was making here is simply that last night I found it very difficult to tweet AND watch at the same time. So, I watched the clip of the show on Youtube this morning. Twice. 🙂

Here it is for your viewing:

So where to begin? First of all, we had a great turnout online. DDHQ (management) might not want to acknowledge our efforts, but Daily Duranie had the place going last night. Duran Duran was trending in various places on social media, and the #DDMazda hashtag was all over the place. Not bad for a thirteen minute online show. We were in contact with a couple of people who were AT the show live, and as things would get tweeted, I would turn around, add the #DDMazda hashtag and send it out as a sort of play-by-play for people to follow. (Thanks Diane!!)  As I said to her: it truly takes a village to love this band and satisfy Duranies.  When the show started, we were “treated” to someone from Mazda (the project director, I believe) coming out and talking about the car and why they chose Duran Duran. He said he was a fan of the band, and the Miata and Duran Duran were both products of the 80s, so that’s the connection.  (At least it’s the connection they came up with to explain why Duran Duran was playing their corporate gig.  I can appreciate that.)

So on to the show, right? Well….first we had to watch some propaganda about the car and then be introduced to the Miata, which in MY head looked very much like the Miata from the 80s. I was underwhelmed, but then again, I wanted Dom and the rest of those guys he plays with on the stage. (Yeah, yeah I know he’s not “a permanent member” of the band. He’s permanent in MY version of Duran Duran though…and yes, I do still like those Taylor brothers along with The Controller and Simon.)

I think the Mazda people started noticing that the restless Duranies and finally announced the band. They started with A View to a Kill, which seemed to be a rough song to open with for a number of reasons.  First of all, and this isn’t necessarily a complaint…more of an observation really, but there was a TON of bass in the sound. Plenty of guitar as well, about which I will not complain.  However, and this is likely to upset some of you out there – I thought Simon’s vocals were extremely strained. I don’t know if he hadn’t warmed up or if the jet lag had hurt him or if it was the sound in general, but he sounded very strained in parts. I just think AVTAK is a tough song to start with for a show unless Simon comes on stage VERY warm and very loose in the vocal chords and throat.  It could have been any number of things, and I’m really not finding fault as much as I’m expressing concern. None of us want a redo of 2011, and so yes, there’s some sensitivity there, at least on my part.

Next up was Hungry Like the Wolf, a personal favorite of mine as most of you know.  Just LOOOVEEE that song to bits and pieces. The first thing I noticed was the back-up singer that Simon had to call out on stage. This was not Anna Ross and it appeared she needed sheet music.  I didn’t notice her too much in this song, but take heed…. Again, lots of bass…and I’m still not complaining.  It was in this song though that my head nearly exploded (a common occurrence as you’ll see in the coming months/years I am sure) because I was treated (oh wait, ALL of us were treated…sorry about that) to my beloved DoJo at center stage for all the folks at home, and perhaps even for the audience…which was filled mostly with balding middle-aged Mazda car designers, marketing, product line developers, etc. Dueling bass/guitar.  I’d forgotten how much I love those two.  I don’t know how many of you caught Simon’s line of “I’m lost in this crowd”, but when I heard that this morning, I nearly spit my coffee at the screen.  Truer words were never spoken…at least during THIS gig.

Finally was All You Need is Now. I love this song live. I think many fans do…so we were expecting a rousing performance given that it has been over two years since they’ve played it on US soil….and I’m sure it would have been had their “Not Anna Ross” known her lines. And harmonies.  Granted, I have to think that this was a last minute replacement in probably much of the same vein as the time when DOM was a last minute replacement.  It’s not going to be perfect when you have zero rehearsal time. You’re probably going to need the music. You’re probably going to need to have actually listened to the song more than once.  You might even need the fans to sing your part FOR you….but sadly none of this really happened.  Instead, we heard completely incorrect words, harmonies that weren’t even remotely CLOSE to being correct, and I watched as Simon had to turn around and try to coach the poor girl.  It was a really, really rough performance, and let’s face it – Duran fans (including myself) are pretty unforgiving.  So while I’m pointing out the issues, believe me, I get it. I know she really didn’t have a chance and she did the best she could. I also could hear that HAD she known the music and words, she had a lovely voice.  I just really hope that Anna will be back soon.  REALLY soon.

After AYNIN, the stream ended. There wasn’t even a “thanks for joining us”.  We got nothing.  Mazda really needs work when it comes to doing these because you have to communicate SOMETHING with those who are watching at home.  While I applaud the effort to stream it at all, I wish it would have been a little smoother.  Eventually DDHQ tweeted something saying “thanks for joining us” and that’s when we could tell it was over.  Thirteen teensy minutes. That said, it was wonderful to see the band live again. I have been complaining since September of 2012 that I missed them (It is true, I went back and checked the blogs), and even so – I didn’t realize how much until last night. Well, that’s not true. I realized how much I missed them when my friend Krista sent me the picture of Dom holding up a sign saying hi to me…but that was yesterday’s blog.  🙂

-R

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

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

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

-R

 

 

Today in Duran History – VH1 Storytellers

On today’s date in 2000, VH1 Storytellers aired in the UK.

I found a clip of this on YouTube, and what I like about it is that the person who uploaded it ONLY recorded the stories…not that I don’t want to hear the music, but I think the very best part of this show is the stories about each of the songs, because even at a show, we rarely hear the insight that goes along with the music. Take a look!

Additionally, a very happy birthday goes out to Amber LeBon, who was born on this date in the year *gasp* 1989!! 

 

-R

 

Today in Duran History – Summer Sonic Festival

On today’s date in 2005, Duran Duran played the Summer Sonic Festival in Osaka, Japan. 

I found the set list, thanks to duranduran.com:

SUNRISE 
HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF 
PLANET EARTH 
SOUND OF THUNDER 
UNION OF THE SNAKE 
CHAINS 
THE REFLEX 
ORDINARY WORLD 
SAVE A PRAYER 
SAVE A PRAYER 
NOTORIOUS 
NICE 
CARELESS MEMORIES 
THE WILD BOYS 
RIO

 

Today in Duran History – Warhol Museum

On today’s date in 2000, Simon and Nick visited the Warhol museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

The museum is touted as being the global keeper of Andy Warhol’s legacy, and with over 900 paintings, 4000 photographs, film and video as well as other archives and MANY other pieces of Warhol artwork…the label sounds about right.

As I’m sure many if not all Duranies know – Andy Warhol was a big fan of the band, and in particularly Nick Rhodes (who was of course in turn a fan of Andy’s).  Andy Warhol and band

I also found a little video on YouTube – it’s a chat between Andy and Nick.  Take a look!

-R

All You Need is….Good Times!!

 

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Photos: Duran Duran Facebook, (feat. photo) Instagram – Duran Duran

Exciting news for Duranies came in the form of a post from Duran Duran’s Facebook yesterday, when it was announced that the band would be working with Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson in the studio next week.

Even Roger Taylor came up out of his apparent dark and very deep Facebook “hole” to say, “It will be nice to work with this guy [Nile] again.”

The response from fans has been incredibly positive, with Duranies posting comments to the band in response of the news that run the gamut from the simple “Woohoo!!!” to the good-natured ribbing, “Nothing good can come from that, now can it?”

Fans are elated by the news of not only Mark Ronson but Nile Rodgers joining the band in the studio. Longtime supporters of Duran Duran know the potential that can be unlocked by Nile, and of course Mark Ronson worked his magic with the band on All You Need is Now….to bring both in the studio with the band at the same time?  Outstanding!  Duranies are looking forward to hearing what develops.

It would seem that Duran Duran is pulling out all the stops for this  yet to be named (so we’re STILL sticking with the #DD14 moniker …sure would be nice to have an album name to start promoting, and yes, I’m looking at YOU, Duran Duran!!) album, with an all-star lineup of guest appearances and producers. John Frusciante, Mr. Hudson, Mark Ronson and now Nile Rodgers to name but a few. The anticipation radiating from the fan community is nearly palatable at this point, with several months ahead before the album is slated to hit (Spring 2015 is the latest target for the band).

While none of us really know what the band has in store, it’s safe to assume it’s going to be an adventure.  Many fans have been quoted as saying that they’ve begun the tour savings in earnest now, and the community looks forward to finally getting that new music flowing through our ears, energy coursing through our veins, and joining the band for the next wild ride.

-R

 

The Week in Duranland: July 7 to July 13

Well, this week was very, very boring.  I’m kidding!  This week saw some real action!!!!  Obviously, the big news was that Duran Duran performed at the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia on Saturday, July 12.  They played three songs:  All You Need Is Now, Sunrise and Notorious.  Here is a YouTube clip of 2 out of 3 of them!

For other information, you can go to the press release on dd.com here or to read our blog posts about it, go here and here.

What else happened this week?  Other things happened this week in Duranland?  I don’t think so.  Oh, I kid.  I kid.

It seems that Nick Rhodes has a new project.  He is going to front a new genetically formulated range of skincare called Geneu.  It should be introduced this summer.  What will Nick be doing with it?  He will be doing a lot of what he does best:  visuals, graphic designs, photography, etc.  Somehow, this project does not surprise me in the least!

Did I mention that the official website has a new look?  It features some new studio pictures and the cool new font that I just adore!  Go here to see it.

Ordinary World was covered this week by The Pierces.  Go watch and listen here.  Then, tell us what you think!

Another cover was featured in USA Today.  Carina Round covered Come Undone and you can read the article here.  If you want Rhonda’s take on it, go here.

The Washington Post posted a map that features every song about New York.  What Duran song was mentioned?  My Own Way, of course!  See the map here.

The latest edition of the Duranasty Webzine was published!  This edition featured lots of information about the album, including release dates (hoping for spring), first single (hoping for this fall), producers, and more.  Beyond the news, each band member was featured including other projects and some fabulous photos.  It is well worth taking the time to read!  Go here for the goodies!

So, what did I miss???  What else happened?  Maybe, let’s hope, that next week is as exciting or even more exciting!

-A

Book Club: Mad World (The Normal, Kajagoogoo, and Thomas Dolby)

Week 6 of our latest book club is here!  We are moving along in the book, Mad World:  An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs that Defined the 1980s.  This week, we tackle the following chapters and artists:  The Normal, Kajagoogoo and Thomas Dolby!  Read those chapters and share your thoughts with us!

The Normal:

Amanda’s thoughts:

I have adored this song for quite awhile now.  Maybe it is when it was featured on Only After Dark, a compilation by Nick Rhodes and John Taylor that came out in 2006.  Maybe, it was when I realized the connection between this song and bands like Depeche Mode.  I suspect, though, that the liking of this song became stronger after seeing Duran include it in their electro set on Broadway in November 2007.  I remember how the audience seemed perplexed, at first, then seemed to grasp the coolness.  Here is a clip of that:

Right away, author, Jonathan Bernstein, sums up what made this track so cool, so unusual and so important, the machines and Daniel Miller’s “detached delivery”.  Exactly.  I hear so much of that machinery in music that followed.  Likewise, that detached delivery can be heard in many, many songs to follow.  It along with other songs like it definitely was a trend setter and would work to change music.

Daniel Miller talked a lot about electronic music and synthesizers in this chapter.  One idea that really grabbed my attention is how electronic music was pure punk with the do-it-yourself attitude.  He differentiates this with punk rock, which has a similar philosophy but, obviously, sounds differently.  I can definitely see his point.  Anyone can pick up a synthesizer and play with various sounds without any training needed.  There is no need for expensive lessons.    Then, of course, he worked to spread that electronic music by starting Mute Records and helping others express themselves through that electronic music.

Rhonda:

So the reality is that for a good many years, I danced to this, well perhaps dance is the wrong word…but I was out on that floor and surely I did something akin to bobbing around, for many years before I really knew what the song was or who it was by.  It was an anthem of sorts, and anyone who was anyone in the club I went to (Fashions – Redondo Beach Pier, Redondo Beach, CA. If there had been a frequent club-goer card, mine would have been gold. Or black. Probably black.) put their drink down, stubbed out the last of the clove cigarette they had in hand, and got out on that floor. Lori Majewski said it best.  “…it was our new wave rave’s version of Kool and the Gang’s ‘Celebration’, inviting even those not outfitted in skin-tight PVC to join…the car crash set.” (page 132)  Perfect. 

I particularly liked reading that Daniel Miller didn’t enjoy Anglo-American music, because that’s really how I felt as a teenager. 99% of the music I loved most was from the UK or elsewhere in Europe, and the more obscure the better. Granted, he’d already rejected most of it by 1970 – the year I was born – but hey, I’m finding out that I wasn’t really quite as alone as I may have thought. Thank goodness for New Wave. I’ll go to my grave saying that. It kept me alive through some of the darker periods of my teen years.

I went around for years saying that I really didn’t like electronica. I hated beat-boxes and a lot of the synthetic, heartless feeling that went into a lot of “today’s” music…specifically the crap (including auto-tune) that you find on a top 40 station. That’s totally unfair of me though, because you don’t have to look very long to find music in my collection that fits that label. I think my problem with a lot of the electronic music out there is that for all the creativity allowed through that medium – a lot of it sounds ridiculously familiar.  Not so with New Wave, and certainly not with “Warm Leatherette”. I loved the detached delivery, and a lot of my favorite songs that followed had that same sort of vocals to them. I think I liked the unfeeling, robotic nature – it provided a texture we didn’t have before, and I completely embraced that.

The Normal was the “parent” EDM of my generation (but far, far more creative than what you hear today, in my humble opinion!) I know from reading Mad World that Daniel Miller hates that term – but without The Normal, there wouldn’t have been a Mute Records, and without Mute, Depeche Mode, Erasure, Goldfrapp might not have happened.  For that alone I owe a huge thank you to Daniel Miller. 

Kajagoogoo:

Amanda:

This song and band always makes me laugh.  I can’t help it.  Maybe it is their look or the name.  Perhaps, it is the fact that Nick Rhodes produced it and got him his first number one, even before Duran.  Nonetheless, every time I hear the song or see the video, I laugh.  The introduction reinforces this as the authors mention how their success was sudden and “mocked”.  I suppose my reaction even today shows this.  It isn’t that I don’t own the song or don’t have fond memories of it because I do.  There is just something about this band that creates a certain amount of ridicule.  That said, the introduction pointed out why they are important to know, though.  They were an example of a band without a long past, who did want to shock in some way.  They did affect things, no matter that people did not take them seriously.

Lead singer, Limahl’s, story about how much he loved music and wanted to use it as an escape from the no-future mining life is not a unique one.  Yet, unlike some, he actually went for his dream.  He mentioned how being young helped both him and his band mates.  Being young meant that they weren’t as worried about everything and just went for it.  I admire that.  When I was young, I did everything to become safe and secure when I should have just taken some risks.

I was hoping to learn more about the name.  They named their band to shock people and there was some connection to the  movie, The Mirror Crack’d, according to this chapter, but, as someone who hasn’t seen the movie, I’m at a bit of a loss.  Can someone explain it?

Of course, I loved the story about how Limahl met Nick at the Embassy Club.  How brave of Limahl to just try to get Nick a copy of their demo tape.  Then, Nick loved it and got EMI to sign them!  Amazing!!  If we could all be so lucky!  He is right that Duranies were interested because Nick produced them.  Many of us are like that even today in that if there is a connection to a member of Duran, there is likelihood that some/most/all of us will check it out.

Speaking of fans, I thought it was interesting that as a gay man, he didn’t want to talk about his sexual orientation when they had a lot of teenage females fans despite his belief that teenage fans don’t/didn’t actually want to have sex with the rock star.  I often wonder that.  Would rock stars who are gay get the same level of attention?  Respect?  Intensity of fans?  I would like to believe that things are better now, but, in 1983, I don’t blame Limahl for keeping it quiet.

Rhonda:

It didn’t take Nick Rhodes to get me to love “Too Shy”. In fact, I don’t think that I realized Nick had anything to do with them until later. I just didn’t know. If I remember correctly, I heard them on the radio, made a note of their name – and found them on a cover of a magazine, of course.  Sure, Limahl was pretty, and once I did realize that Nick was involved, I wanted to see what they were all about. So yes, in that sense I suppose Nick did drive me to buy their album.

What I remember most though, was how my friends gave them almost zero time. None of my friends felt they had staying power, and a good many of them thought they were TRYING to be Duran Duran. Fair assessment?  I’m not sure. They didn’t last long enough for me to decide. I think that ultimately, they really weren’t a lot more than a pop band trying to make a splash with what they had. They hit fast and hard, and were gone within a blink of an eye.  Not many gave them much credence beyond (or including) “Too Shy” – if I ever thought the critics were hard on Duran Duran, all I had to do was see what they had to say about Kajagoogoo before realizing DD had it easy in comparison. They’d written this band off before it even got started. 

Limahl  says something in this chapter that really gets my “fan” blood percolating a bit, though. He mentions that the Duran Duran fans were interested in what Nick was doing with Kajagoogoo. True statement. It’s the one immediately following though that I think is incredibly rude and unfair: “You know how fans are in that obsessive way.”(page 141) To begin with: that “obsessive way” probably made you some cash over the years Limahl, so you’re welcome. Secondly, that sort of thing is really called “MARKETING”. When you are a fan of a band, or someone in a band that works on a new project – it doesn’t mean you’re obsessive to check that new project out. It means you’re curious, and that curiosity paid off a bit for Kajagoogoo. So while I would agree with Amanda that yes, that sort of thing still happens even to this day, it’s not necessarily out of some sort of crazy obsession.  If that were the case, what happened with John’s solo material, or even better – The Devils?  Fans don’t know much about either of those things unless they were very interested, and from what I’ve been able to tell – not many were. So that’s where I take issue with Limahl and his ego.

This was a band that reunited for the sole purpose of making money, that much is clear. A lot of bands do it, but some just can’t figure it out to make it work for the long term. This one is on that list. Nick Beggs, who is incredibly talented in his own right, said it best, “It’s not a great song, it’s just a reasonable pop tune”  He’s right, and it’s OK to have an iconic song from that time period under your belt.  A lot of these bands have them, and sure – if you look hard enough, you can certainly see the debris field they left behind. It’s called “my life”….. and just as Nick Beggs says, “…music can transport us across the years to where we once stood.”  Absolutely. 

Thomas Dolby:

Here is a little story for you.  Every time I mention Science at work (I teach in a middle school), I say, “Science as in she blinded me with.”  The kids, of course, have no idea what I’m talking about but it doesn’t stop me.  I can’t help it.

I found his songwriting process fascinating.  First, he had to come up with an image and he adopted the professor look as he had family in education and because he knew he couldn’t be a “pin-up”.  Then, he wrote a storyboard for a video to go along with a song title he had.  He didn’t know what the song would sound like but he had the title.  This, of course, is the exact opposite of how Duran works with music first then lyrics, with the title being towards the end.

I love that he got Dr. Magnus Pyke to be in the video and that the video became his claim to fame rather than his scientific work.  (In case you didn’t know, Dr. Pyke was a British scientist.)

Of course, after Dolby experienced commercial success, the record label wanted him to make more songs with the same formula.  Like the young Limahl in the previous chapter, he decided not to go the safe route and told them no.  He makes an interesting point.  He says that people think that the music is “fake” if an artist changes styles or genres.  Does the music industry really put artists into a box?  Has Duran felt that way or felt like they had to keep to a certain formula?    On the other side of the coin could be artists trying to be or sound like something they are not?  You can’t blame fans for not wanting that, either.

Rhonda:

Amanda, you should really play your students the video at the end of each school year or something so that way they better understand your psychotic ramblings.  (I can say that because we’re friends…and because I’m 2000 miles away from her right now.)

I remember watching Video One (or MV3 as it was called even earlier on)  during the week with Richard Blade, and invariably he’d play “She Blinded Me With Science” or “Hyperactive”…both of which I loved.  I think just from watching the videos and listening to the music, even as a kid, I sensed he was a genius. I liked that he didn’t seem like just an everyday rock star. I mean, sure…Simon LeBon is great and all, but there is something equally intriguing to me about Thomas Dolby because he wasn’t afraid to push boundaries and he’s willing to try something completely new. I stand fascinated by his marketing of “A Map of the Floating City” because rather than just continually blame the demise of the industry, it’s like Thomas Dolby sees it as a challenge, so he comes up with a damn video game for it. Who does that?! Thomas Dolby…because he’s a genius!!

I also found his comments about the music industry pretty true-to-life. I think that once a band or artist found their niche – even to this day to a large extent – it’s tough to break out of that. Part of it, in my opinion, is that record labels are freaking lazy. They don’t want to have to try to sell something different once they’ve figured out how to market a band. While I think it’s pathetic that bands weren’t given the leeway to discover themselves in a lot of ways, I can also see the business-end. Look at how fans have reacted to what Duran Duran have done over the years. It’s not always a bed of roses, even though we all say (and we do all say this) that we admire the band for taking risks. And we do. As long as they adhere to the sound we’re used to.  I’m guilty of this as much as anyone.  So, for a label, where it all comes down to dollars and cents through image and sound – once that’s all been hammered out and proven successful, they don’t want to change that formula.  We’ve read that again and again. The trouble is, I don’t know many bands, particularly from this era – that were willing to keep remaking the same album over and over again. That formula works far better today than it ever did in the 80s. 

What’s up for next week you ask?  Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode, and Yaz!  We’d love to see some comments on the discussion, but until then – we’ll just keep talking!!

Today in Duran History – Nick’s Birthday!

On this date in 1962, Nick Rhodes was born.  It seems that the online world today is filled with pictures, messages, and well wishes to our favorite keyboard player.  Nick, of course, has sent a message to thank everyone for their well-wishes, which you can hear here.  So, how should I celebrate Nick and his birth?  Simple.  Let’s watch some videos!!  I picked some that represented the best of Nick and his work.

Is There Something I Should Know?  (I loved his look here!)

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xct4pn_duran-duran-is-there-something-i-sh_music

Nick’s Stolen Moments:

Girl Panic:

Arcadia:

The Devils:

TV Mania:

Simon introducing Nick!

What are your favorite videos with Nick?  What would you include in a celebration birthday post?

-A

May Katy Kafé with Nick Rhodes!

I have been waiting with trepidation since Katy Krassner excitedly tweeted yesterday that she was able to get Nick to give ONE incredible possible song title for this month’s Kafe.  This is huge, huge news that comes in the middle of a desert of very, very little in the past year or so.  We hear things every once in a bit, but this…this is solid, exciting news for #DD14.

As always, I took copious notes and gave the Kafe my rapt attention amongst getting my youngest ready for school, giving attention to my son – who is in the middle of major school projects and so forth. That said, I am pretty sure I missed things, and this is by no means going to be a word-for-word reiteration of the Kafe. I always, always recommend that you go straight to DDM to hear it for yourself, as these are just the highlights.

Album News:

Nick is in the studio today, working with Mr. Hudson.  They have already done two songs, and this would be the third.  As Nick put it – they finally “cracked the lyric on a ballad” (that is going to be central to this album) that they’d had on their plates for a year.  That should really tell all of us something – they are working HARD on this album.  He says that Mr. Hudson comes to them with great energy, lots of ideas, and that he has a great musical ear.  He is very diverse (as I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog that you can read here.) and he reminds me a bit of Mark.

Speaking of Mark, and I know plenty of you out there ARE wondering about his involvement on this album – he was with the band in the very beginning and then came back to the studio a couple of weeks ago to see how things were going. He did not, however, actually do any producing for them at the time – Nick was very careful to articulate that they WANT to work with him again, and are hoping to carve time out in July.  Mark is a busy guy though, and it’s tough to get on his schedule.  Katy asked Nick if anything from that initial work with Mark (at the beginning of the album process) has survived. Nick said that two songs have survived, and one of them is a piece that Mark worked on.  Again, this says they’ve really scrapped most of that early work entirely.  The process is an evolution, certainly. They went into this project wanting to reinvent a bit, reinvigorate…and that process took longer than usual.

The one point that Katy made is that we fans always think the albums come in Durantime (very true!)…but one thing that the band hasn’t really articulated before is that they try to let the album develop…develop it’s own personality, and sometimes that just takes time.  This is a band, as we well know, that wants to constantly cover new ground “sonically”. They don’t want to rehash the same thing over and over again.  Nick makes the point later in the Kafe that they never wanted the music to become cliché or do something completely formulaic.  In fact, the band’s “formula”, so to speak, is to smash it all and rebuild with each new album.  They try to keep some of the same elements that make up the “Duran Duran Sound” (Simon’s voice, for instance), but it’s a fine balance.  He continues by saying that back in the 80s, that they really didn’t have the luxury to sit back and allow the albums to develop themselves in the same way they did with this one – there was no time to just sit and think.  However, even though they take the time to explore and record more thoroughly nowadays, they also have to know when they’ve found what they’re looking for.  Since they’ve been working now for over thirty years, it is more of a challenge to find that unchartered territory – the areas that they want to explore.  They have to dig a little deeper to find it.  As Nick said, “more things have been said now”.  He uses synthesizers as an example.  Back then, synthesizers hadn’t been used all that often – so there was a ton of new real estate to seek out, but nowadays, there are entire albums written with just synthesizers and rhythm units.  Nick seemed very proud to say though that they’ve “seen the light” and that they seem to be through the tough part of the process, which is great to hear.  He also said that there are a couple things on this album that the band has never done before, which is very exciting to hear.

Basically, the very things that we love about this band – the risk taking, the fact that no two albums ever sound exactly the same, the innovation – those are the reasons why this album has taken so long, and in fairness to Nick (and the rest of the band), he openly admits it’s taken longer this time.  But I suppose we can forgive that, right??

So about that possible song title… Katy asked him if he’d throw us one, and at first Nick hedged, saying that he could get into trouble.  Katy reminded him that none of them listen to the Katy Kafés, and Nick said “Well, there is one early one…Valentine’s Stone.”

I’m just waiting for you all to catch your breath on that one.  Are we all good? Still with me here??

Nick says he’s not sure if that one will even be on the album – but it’s a title.  Naturally the first thing *I* thought of when hearing it was The Reflex.  Can’t help it, my head went there. You know…”dancing on the Valentine…”

I was so excited about getting that darn title yesterday. I’ve been chomping at the proverbial bit for months, hoping to get a teensy tidbit. Now we’ve got one, and I’m sitting here trying to think of something witty and thoughtful to say.  It’s just great to hear that we’re at the stage where we’re getting something of substance from that studio!

Diamond in the Mind Vinyl:

Nick is very proud of this vinyl. Like me, he feels that music is best heard on vinyl, and so they’ve wanted to put as much out on a vinyl version as possible.  This is the first live album they’ve produced on vinyl since Arena.  He is particularly proud of the artwork, which includes a diamond dusted cover.  This is very exciting and sounds like it is going to be stunning! They worked with Rory McCartney on this project, and I hear that there is soon to be a Fan Community (DDM) Q&A from Rory on the website soon…she said it was very creative!

Careless Memories photo book:

While the exhibit for this took place WAYYYYY back in November of last year, the book itself has taken longer than they’d hoped to complete.  Nick apologized to anyone who had ordered an advance copy, but the good news is that the finished product is being printed any day now and will be ready to ship SOON. They worked with John Warwicker, who was also the Creative Director for Astronaut – and the completed product is a sight to behold, according to Nick.  There are quotes from the band in the book, and MOST importantly (in my opinion), is that Andy IS included in the book.  He was included in the quotes, and I’m thrilled to be able to pass on that tidbit to all of you.  From the first moment of reading about this book coming to fruition, I felt that Andy should absolutely be involved. He was in the band at the time, and it would have been a mistake to not include him.  It’s great news that his memories are also to be found within the pages.

Birthdays and DD Appreciation day in August:

Nick’s birthday is June 8th, which falls on a Sunday this year. Apparently his idea of celebrating this year is going for a walk! He’s looking forward to a low key birthday this year…and even though Katy prompted him to “maybe get a twitter” for next year’s birthday, Nick said he was “Not going to promise that one, sorry!”  (I think we’ve got a ways to go before ever seeing Nick on Twitter, folks…)

Before parting ways, Katy commented that we’d hear from Nick in August for Duran Duran Appreciation Day and Nick mentioned that they had an offering for that special day.  Hmmm….talk about creating speculation, I wonder what THAT might be???

-R