Epidemic: a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.
Pandemic: An epidemic of a disease that has spread across a large region or the world. World Health Organization defines a pandemic as the worldwide spread of a new disease.
When I interface
Listen, I am trying to summon all the joy in my soul, and throw massive support, positivity, and sunshine behind the announcement that Duran Duran will be not only performing, but headlining at BST in Hyde Park on July 12. Nile Rodgers, Chic and Gwen Stefani are among the special guests for the gig, along with more to be announced later. The last time Duran Duran graced their home crowd – if not hometown audience – with a show was 2012. The gig is overdue at BEST, and that comment comes from someone who doesn’t even live in the UK.
However…I have some concerns…
I’m not paid by the band. (NOT one of my concerns, by the way…it’s just how I’m prefacing what I’m about to write!) As such, you can and should be assured that I’m responding the way I truly feel. I’m not a sycophant, paid player, or even close insider. I’m a longtime fan. It isn’t my “job” to promote the band, or protect their brand. So, when I say that while I’m happy to see the band finally playing a gig in their own country – I mean that. I just can’t understand why they haven’t announced a single, non-festival (I edited this a few hours after publishing for clarity), Birmingham gig to celebrate their 40th anniversary. Maybe they still will. I just know they haven’t yet, and fans are already talking about this Hyde Park gig as if it is indeed the special gig we’ve all been waiting for. Is this really it?? (also edited to included that last question)
I am a siren in the rain
Maybe it is. So sure, I’m thrilled for UK fans, as I should be. It’s about time, don’t you think?? Even so, I’m also apprehensive, and not just for that show – but for all those that have been announced. (So maybe it’s a good thing nothing has been announced about a potentially special show in Birmingham!!)
One would have had to be living under a rock to escape the news of Covid-19, aka Coronavirus, or the global pandemic. The headlines are everywhere. Just this morning sources confirmed to CNN that the very popular Coachella Festival – the same one Duran Duran performed at in 2011 – will be postponed until at least October. SXSW was altogether canceled. Pearl Jam postponed their summer tour, many of the artists on the 80s cruise cancelled at the last minute. In the Bay Area of California, any and all public gatherings of more than 1,000 people have been banned. In New York, a one-mile radius “containment area” around New Rochelle will be instituted for two weeks beginning on Thursday with the help of the National Guard. The area has what they currently believe to be the largest cluster of cases in the US, and the governor thinks this is the best shot they have at containment.
All over the country, cities, towns, counties and states are deciding what to ask of their citizens. Self-containment, self-isolation, social distancing, cancelling in-person learning and classes, banning large events…the list goes on. While I have no doubt that containment will eventually be reached and that this virus will indeed run it’s course just as influenza typically does, fear permeates and spreads in the same fashion. The populations of our most vulnerable need to be protected, yet life must go on. I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before other shows are canceled.
Everything will change forever
I’m a realist by nature. Over the years, some have called me negative, and you know, that annoys the hell out of me. It’s not a good opening line, nor is it a point I take seriously. I’m not negative, but I am not in the practice of burying my head in the sand or donning a pair of rose-colored glasses, either. I see things pretty much as they are, and I call it like I see it! I can’t say I’m overjoyed or optimistic when I see huge conventions and concerts cancelled. It isn’t comforting knowing that an entire city is being quarantined, much less an entire country – as is the case with Italy. What are the chances of a gig attended by 70,000+ in Hyde Park, or anywhere for that matter, happening? I’m not feeling confident, that is for sure. Our world is wacky enough without a pandemic, don’t you think?
Crazy times, indeed. A had a lady use her overflowing shopping cart filled with paper towel as a blocking device to stop me from grabbing one of the last three packs of toilet paper at the store this morning. I wasn’t even trying to get paper products. I just needed to walk down the aisle for sandwich baggies.
In 2010, Pitchfork contributor Tom Ewing helped define the concept of imperial phases as it applies to popular music. Coined by Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant, also a music critic, it’s the sort of term that obsessive music fans and writers grasp immediately. Ewing laid out certain parameters for what constitutes a band’s imperial phase while also noting that empires eventually crumble: “it holds a mix of world-conquering swagger and inevitable obsolescence.” On October 20, 1986, Duran Duran released the single “Notorious” and rose up from the rubble of an empire in tatters.
Without discrediting their success in the UK, the entire concept of an imperial phase implies an empire that stretches beyond borders. For Duran Duran, that meant conquering the United States and the world. I would make the case that the band’s imperial phase began in March 1983 when “Hungry Like the Wolf” peaked at #3 in the U.S. and came to a close with “A View To A Kill” becoming the band’s second #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 in July of 1985.
For those twenty-eight months, Duran Duran possessed the three traits required of a band’s imperial phase as laid out by Ewing. The band’s sense of command was impeccable. The original idea of a band that blended Chic and Sex Pistols had become a reality. The New Romantic scene was left behind and the band was creating a singular style all their own where over-driven guitars and textured synths could dance in harmony. Secondly, they had permission – the world was listening and the hysteria was deafening. Finally, the band’s imperial phase set the tone for the rest of their career. Within the sounds of Rio and Seven & the Ragged Tiger are the seeds of everything that would come after.
It was the unpolished performance at Live Aid in July of 1985 that put all the internal issues of the band in front of the world and they were overshadowed by everyone from Howard Jones to U2 that magical day. The fragmentation into two camps: rock (The Powerstation) and art-pop (Arcadia) were both successful but the band’s imperial phase was grinding to a halt. The loss of Roger and Andy should have been death blows to the Duran Duran empire. Can you imagine The Beatles moving on if Ringo and George Harrison had left? It was time to burn out or fade away. Thanks to a little help from a friend in Nile Rodgers, Duran Duran emphatically chose to do neither.
The release of “Notorious” thirty-three years ago this month ushered in the band’s post-imperial phase. As Tennant once said, “what’s interesting is what you do after” and Duran Duran lived up to that immediately with a funky single that introduced us to a leaner, more mature band. While the single performed admirably, the album stalled outside the Top 10 in both the UK and America even though it remains one of the deepest albums they have ever released. From start to finish, there isn’t a song on there that makes you wonder if maybe they could have found something better for the album.
The follow-up singles to “Notorious” are two of my favorite Duran Duran singles, especially “Skin Trade”. The fact that it barely nibbled the Top 40 remains one of the biggest mysteries in their career. The video, the bass line, the vocal, everything came together on “Skin Trade” but most people had already made the decision to either move on to new bands and styles as the decade wound down. It’s a shame. Things were starting to get really interesting….
Do you know what Duran Duran was doing on this date in 2015? They were filming the video for “Pressure Off” at Black Island Studios in London!
The video for “Pressure Off” is stylistic and modern, filmed in black and white. I like its simplicity and the stark black and white look. Nick’s thick black eyeliner, that damn leather jacket John’s wearing as he slowly unzips the sleeve, Simon’s mirrored aviator shades, and Roger’s super white grin at the end are huge checkmarks in my “Yes!” column. Combine those scenes with appearances by Nile and Janelle Monae in what I think has to be the most effective use of guest artists in a video, and “Pressure Off” is a big winner.
I love the whimsical side of the video, too. I am absolutely not the only Duranie to laugh at John mouthing the good old “F**k you” at the very beginning. That was my first indicator that this video lived up to it’s name! The magic of editing helped us see John upside down, and the weightless jumps into space for Nick and Simon (thank you, slo-mo). The carefree jumping paired with Nick’s seriousness makes me laugh. At one point, John even throws his guitar, and it seems to just hang in the air. There are times I’d like to throw this laptop in the same way. actually. The smiles and camera stare-downs also remind me that this band has a great sense of humor. I miss it!
I like the way the video is black and white, and yet the live performance of this song on tour was quite the opposite. The band wore vibrant colors in one way or another, and the confetti cannon spread a rainbow of joy throughout the venue. I’m sure the intention wasn’t to be the opposite of the video, but it is something I’ve thought about. Either way, I can’t help but smile and feel jubilant. (the edge goes to the live show for that, but even the video makes me happy)
Rather that read my gushing, why don’t you take another look? It had been a while since I watched it last, and I have to admit that seeing it today made me a little less weary of getting back into homeschool mode…
…speaking of which, I’ve got some teaching to do. Have a great Tuesday everyone!
I took some time this morning to listen to the August 2017 Katy Kafe with Simon. It was a very different sort of Kafe from any other I’ve listened to over the years in some respects, and I would encourage any other Duranie to take a listen. If you really want to know who Simon is – not the guy who just performs on stage and looks great in the photos – but SIMON himself, now his your chance. As always, these are the highlights, but if you want to hear the Kafe for yourself, you should get a DDM membership.
There is just no way to get past the deep sense of loss in this Kafe. The Simon we hear is not the bright, happy, caffeinated or energized Simon that normally shows up. He is dealing with one hell of a loss, and as he correctly says, “I will never get over it, I just have to get used to it.” That is absolutely, 100% correct. There are still days, nine years after we said our goodbyes, when I desperately need to talk to my dad, and I can’t. The pain is still ridiculously present, and sometimes – particularly in those moments (like yesterday afternoon) when I really needed him – the pain rises right back to the surface. It is very hard, and he is right, there’s no way to prepare for it. I don’t know if Simon’s mom was ill like my dad was, but even though I knew what the inevitable end would bring, the finality is just unbearable. It’s permanent. This is not a club that anyone wants to join, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, either. It’s inevitable, but nobody wants to be here.
It’s very hard (and yet easy at the same time) to pretend I’m reaching out to Simon somehow on this blog – I mean, the audacity of me to assume he reads, right? I would just want him to know that I get it. Many fans do. And I still think he was incredibly brave to stand up on stage and sing Ordinary World. I could not have done it. I have a hard enough time baring my soul through my typed words, much less showing them live, in person. I couldn’t even look at him while he sang – too painful.
I also felt that while Katy was sympathetic, she was uncomfortable and wanted to move on to easier subjects. I’m sure she wanted to protect Simon’s feelings, and let’s face it – Duran Duran is supposed to be a party band and it’s hard to portray that when the lead singer sounds depressed. The balance between real life and stage, I guess.
Did anyone see the videos the band posted for Duran Duran Appreciation Day?
They are worth watching, but unless you have a VR headset, your best bet for watching is your phone. Pull up the videos, put them on full screen and watch with your phone horizontally. Can I just say that it’s kind of cool to be able to see yourself in the audience? It’s like having an out-of-body experience!
I actually have access to a VR headset (special shout out to Gavin for letting mom borrow his!), and watched the videos. Gavin’s headset is an early version, so it’s a bit wonky, but I got the general idea. Normally I would have almost zero interest in that sort of thing, but it’s Duran Duran, and how often am I really going to be able to be IN one of their videos? Definitely worth watching!
Simon, on the other hand, is not really into VR. He prefers not to worry about cameras when they are filming, because he sees his job, every single night, as playing for the people who paid to see them. He feels strongly that when the band films, the cameras have to fit in with that environment, and not the other way around. The rapport has to be with the audience, and not the camera.
Work with Nick Wood
Early this summer, Simon went with Nick Wood to Cannes for a conference/film festival for commercial music. They gave a talk, and filmed a video for Closer to my Bed. Syn also won an Emmy for a spot they did on CNN. Not bad work for a Duran Duran “break”!!
Coming to the end of Paper Gods
There are seven more dates, including Croatia, Ireland, Italy, Singapore and Japan, and then the Paper Gods album cycle and touring will be complete. Simon sounds bittersweet as he describes this album as being the most exciting in years, and certainly “the best since Rio”. He talks about the huge success they had with it in the US, but that he is sad they are not taking the tour to Australia. (according to Simon the dates just never worked out)
Katy asks Simon how he closes out a project, whether or not he reflects or looks to what is coming next. Simon responds by saying that something isn’t “done” until it is done, and then whatever is coming down the road isn’t here until it gets here. He says it is important for him to have clear lines, and I think staying completely present in the moment he is in must be what guides him, as well.
So what IS going to be next for the band? Well, they have some time blocked out to be in the studio “quite soon” after touring. Of course in one breath Simon says that, in the next Katy says that she is “sworn to secrecy” about that studio time – and Simon tries to back up saying “they MIGHT” go in the studio. Sounds to me as though they’re going in the studio for sure, but that no one really knows what, if anything, might happen when they’re in there.
Katy asked about working with collaborators, like Mark Ronson, Ben Hudson and even Nile again. Simon sounded like he was enthusiastic to work with Ben and Mark for sure, but as we all know – it’s the beginning of who-knows-what. Chances are, everything will change and turn completely on its head before it is all said and done, so I caution: nothing is in stone until you’re holding whatever will come next in your hands. Consider all possibilities, but hold the band to none. 🙂
Let’s face it, Duranies, we’re at the very end of what we know. Going forward from here, it’s like winter. We don’t know how long it might be, but we should probably get used to the quiet. At first, we’ll all enjoy the novelty of peace. Maybe staying in won’t be so bad. But then January hits, and the cold really sets in. We start to get tired of looking outside and seeing the snow drifts only growing higher. From previous experience we know that when spring arrives, it will probably be glorious and colorful, but it’s now March and there’s no sign of green grass yet. How long is this winter really going to take??
Yeah, I hate this part too. It makes writing tough. I get impatient, but this time, I’ve sworn not to push. I’m going to just enjoy the ride and let the rest work itself out.
Every once in a while, I’ll come across something that reminds me that our time here on this planet is short. It might be reading something about a friend that passed, or hearing that someone I know is ill, or maybe it’s news of a freak accident that claimed innocent lives. As I’ve grown older, I think I must pay more attention to those types of news items on social media. I think about them a little more in passing, too. In some ways, I miss the times when I believe that I, and the people around me, would live forever. I never thought much about death or dying. Nowadays, I’ve got a brother-in-law who is getting a bone marrow transplant as I type, and a dear friend who is getting chemotherapy as she battles another type of cancer. It is sometimes hard to focus on living.
Yesterday, I was an all-day, off-site staff meeting for my company. I work for a non-profit education company that owns several charter schools in my state. This is only my second year working for the company, and I was hired just after school started last year so this is the first time I’ve seen the entire company at an event (normally we divide up by charter school, if that makes any sense). We spent the entire day in mBIT, or mBrain training. (multiple Brain Integration Techniques) Rather than bore you with the details, I spent much of the day learning how to breathe in much the same way one breathes during yoga. (I slept better last night than I’ve slept in MONTHS, oddly enough, which was something the instructor told us might happen.)
During our training, we spent a lot of the time in gratitude – giving thanks for what we have, or what our brain(s) are telling us about various problems we have. I spent a lot of that time not thinking about school problems (after all, children haven’t even graced our door yet!), but being thankful for the wonderful things I do have in my life. While a lot of the training was exhausting, I actually liked the breathing. I’m going to use it more often during my day to center myself, however I can.
When I got out to my car, I briefly looked at twitter and my phone since I had it off for most of the day. I saw that Nile Rodgers was in the hospital and had to miss a gig for an undisclosed illness. Naturally, I thought about him and hoped for the best. Life is short, and I’m thankful to have not only grown up with his music, but also with the life lessons he’s inadvertently taught me along the way through his own health struggles.
Nile was released from the hospital today, and I have to assume that he’s doing well. My feelings are likely the same as everyone else’s today – glad to hear he’s well enough to leave the hospital, can’t help but think about the music – his own silver lining, that he will undoubtedly leave behind someday. Extraordinary.
As we’ve all discovered in recent years, our idols don’t live forever. For many of them, life with them here on this planet was far shorter than any of us bargained. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I try to spend a lot more time being thankful for the gifts they’ve given us along the way. For me, the members of Duran Duran are as much people I look up to and highly respect as they are responsible for the soundtrack of my life. I don’t want to think about the time when one or more of them may not be here – I want to focus on enjoying them right now. Life is short, but it is certainly bright and melodic, with their presence in it.
Merry Christmas everyone! I am writing this blog post on Saturday afternoon, Christmas Eve, as tomorrow I will be driving to Chicago to pick up my brother and sister-in-law from the airport. Their arrival signals the official beginning of the holiday. My plan for the few days that they are around is simple. I want to enjoy my time with them along with my parents. If 2016 has taught anything, it is that. Appreciate what you have now because the future may not be kind.
I wish that each and ever reader of our blog has a wonderful holiday surrounded by family and friends. I recommend adding a little Duran Duran to your holiday festivities as well. First, take some time to listen to the band members’ holiday messages, if you haven’t already:
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Winter Solstice, and any other holiday you might celebrate everyone!! I truly hope it is one filled with joy, love and peace for you and those you care about.
(I had to do it. If there was ever a moment…this was it.)
Today, my friends, is a momentous anniversary. The Notorious album turns thirty. THIRTY. 3-0. That’s YEARS. (And still I say, “How can that be, I’m only twenty-five!”)
Let’s be blunt: this is getting ridiculous. In no way should Duran Duran’s albums be getting up there in years. This is in the same way that I should not be getting up there in years, I might add. It’s obscene at this point, and I think it is getting offensive.
Nonetheless, this is cause for celebration (and some vodka, well-overdue, I might add). At the lack of waxing nostalgic, I remember when Notorious was released. I know I began asking for the album around the time of my birthday earlier in November, and of course I didn’t get it because it hadn’t been released (I seem to recall getting the 12″ single for my birthday but I can’t swear to the timing—along with my obvious lack of memory surrounding my age <wink,wink>—my inner timeline is pretty vague these days). However, I remember hearing on the radio that the album had been released, and the timing was perfect for Christmas. I can remember sitting on the floor Christmas morning and unwrapping a flat gift and then seeing John, Nick and Simon on the cover. I was thrilled, as I always was (and still am) when I received anything having to do with Duran Duran as a gift.
Notorious, however, was different. It wasn’t like Seven and the Ragged Tiger, Rio or their self-titled debut. Notorious had a horn section, and prominent backing vocals. At that point in my life, I’m not sure I could characterize the difference in sound with words – but I knew it was not new wave, or like anything I’d heard before.
Now, I know that Nick in particular is very fond of explaining that Duran Duran likes to reinvent themselves with each album. I would agree that for the most part, they’ve always done that rather successfully. As an adult, I have grown to enjoy that about the band. But in the year 1986, I had just turned 16. I was hormonal, grappling with burgeoning adulthood – and had just gotten my driver’s license. I wanted the Duran Duran I knew, I suppose. I wanted familiarity. As much as I was excited to have some new-found independence, I can distinctly remember cradling Duran Duran in my arms, wishing for a time that had already been lost.
It took me a long time to come to grips with Notorious. Mind you, I never disliked the album or anything like that, it just wasn’t a favorite. I would be far more apt to come flying in the house after a long day at school, throw open the door to my room, dump my backpack on my bed and bend down to grab Duran Duran or Rio and put it on my turntable than Notorious. For me, I suppose that album kind of symbolized how everything was changing during a time when I wasn’t quite ready.
In the thirty years since, I’ve learned to not only appreciate Notorious, but understand the thinking behind it. I value the intricacy of the music, and naturally —I recognize Nile’s handiwork. I think Notorious is an album that depicts the three remaining members maturing and solidifying what was to be Duran Duran in the decades to follow. While I cannot lie, it is still not one of my first go-to albums, today as I listen while I’m blogging, I can’t imagine the catalog without it.
Every once in a while, a fan will reach out with a profound idea that should be shared with the community-at-large. Amanda and I strive for Daily Duranie to be a safe place for fans to share their ideas. While not everyone may always agree with the message being shared, we think it is important for fans to have a peaceful space to say what they want to say. In that spirit, we have a guest blogger today that is ready to share some of his own thoughts and feelings. I hope his blog provokes thoughtful conversation. -R
By, Jeff Bistline
I recently tweeted some thoughts on Twitter concerning my thoughts on the current state of Duran Duran. I changed my mind several times, reached out to friends, changed my mind again. I re-edited my writing (several times), and decided I still needed to communicate some of my thoughts, for my own sanity. The following is my “edited version”, or “PG version” which is far less speculative, but still contains quite a few opinions.
I have not lost faith in the band, I think they are at a crossroads, and we all know it has to happen sooner or later. So here it goes…
On Twitter, I recently “called my shot”, and proclaimed that I believe that Paper Gods is the last proper album and tour cycle for the band. The reason for my tweets were not to cause drama, gain followers, or throw shade at the band or management. I care very passionately for this band and its music. It has been a part of my life on a daily basis since 1984, and always will be. Above all, and most importantly, I know that we will always have the music of Duran Duran. In addition to following every note, lyric, and news item, I closely follow the music industry in great detail. I have made many observations that have been building in my head for over a year now, and I feel the need to share those observations in great detail.
These observations are heavily based on my opinion. I have no inside information directly from the band. I honestly don’t want the band the stop recording and touring, but I think the band, management, close confidants (Ronson/Rodgers, and perhaps Mr. Hudson), and Warner mapped out an a long-term exit plan a few years ago and they are in the middle of that process.
First of all, I love the Paper Gods album. I think “Pressure Off” was the best single since “Come Undone”. “Planet Roaring” is one of my favorite Duran tracks of all time. I think the entire band put EVERYTHING into the making of this album. They did their research, started writing, consulted Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson, and returned to the studio to complete the recording while bringing in Mr. Hudson to add some current and fresh perspective, which has been a long-standing trait of every Duran Duran record. Fan reaction has been mixed. The band has stated that everyone loves the album, new fans are coming on board etc., but I have a hard time believing these statements. It is not their best work, but it is not their worst either. Overall, I think the Paper Gods album is a success, both on the charts and from an artistic viewpoint, given where the band is in this screwed up age in the music industry. However, I don’t think the band wants to go through this cycle again without much to show for it in terms of physical units sold, or chart success (outside of the initial debut of the album on charts which basically lasted one week). Simon stating that “Pressure Off” was their most successful single in two decades is pure management spin. It didn’t make a dent on significant sales or radio airplay charts. In contrast, even “Leave A Light On” charted on radio playlists in the U.S.
The Paper Gods tour has been a huge success to date. The strategy that was implemented to tour Paper Gods had been brilliant up until July 2016. The band, management, record label, and promoters put together a billing that was amazing considering that Duran Duran has not been a full size arena/stadium level touring band since perhaps the reunion and Astronaut era in 2003-2006. Having Nile Rodgers and Chic on tour made sense, and the billing produced some fantastic shows and crowds. Most shows I saw ranged between 7,000 to 15,000 people. Extraordinary support for a legacy band, in my opinion.
A pivotal turning point came in July 2016 when it was announced that Nick Rhodes would be leaving the tour for a short period. There has been nonstop speculation as to the reasons for Nick’s leave of absence, and nothing has been released or leaked relating to his situation. First and foremost, I hope Nick (and/or his family) are physically and mentally well. I prefer to focus on the collective unit/band Duran Duran, but Nick is truly the cornerstone and visionary of Duran Duran, and always has been. Nick and Simon have been the two constants over the past 36 years. I cannot imagine Duran Duran existing without either of these two individuals. I don’t know if there is strife in the band. I thought maybe there was when I was doing some research on this, but I listened to a few interviews, read some articles, and I honestly think things are fine between the band members. However, Nick’s absence has certainly had a ripple effect in the fan community. I don’t think Nick enjoys touring as much as Simon and John. I think Roger still enjoys both recording and touring.
Here are some observations I have collected (in one place) that have bothered me over the past 14 months (and years in some instances). These are things that just seem “out of place” compared to previous album and tour cycles. I originally planned to speak on each one of these points at great length…Perhaps this community can discuss these points in greater detail. Obviously some of these thoughts are not my own, but have come from threads posted on message boards, Twitter, Facebook, and other sources.
Paper Gods Album
Several fans wondered if the lyrics in the “The Universe Alone” was a goodbye statement. “Planet Roaring” can also be viewed as an exit song, but more on the celebratory side. There could also be some lyrical clues in “Pressure Off”, and perhaps the most debated song on the album “Last Night in the City”.
Paper Gods Artwork
The symbols are obviously self-referencing, but why on a new album of new, modern music? I think the band said it was a conglomeration of images that have collectively “gotten us to this point of time”, but it could also certainly be seen as a final package.
Paper Gods Ancillary Releases
First of all, as a collector…WTF? We were told we would get a deluxe package. I’m still waiting. I’ve exhausted this avenue several times online. I have two additional comments to make. DJ’s are celebrities these days, both in the clubs and on the charts. They demand huge dollars these days. The unreleased Night Version of “Pressure Off” was probably done in-house (Spike Stent, Josh Blair maybe?). The “Last Night in the City” mixes were done by lessor known DJ’s. I’m sure the band and management is unwilling to invest much into remixes and ultimately additional single releases at this point in their career as the return is probably pretty small these days since people are buying less and less physical releases.
Paper Gods Music Videos
There was such a delay in releasing both of these from when the initial single was released, etc. The “Last Night in the City” video was filmed 6 months before it was finally released. Director Nick Egan even commented on a fan’s Facebook page that he was not pleased with the process and the end result.
Record Store Day
The vinyl industry has had a huge resurgence in the past 2 years. Why hasn’t Duran been participating in this event for 3-4 years now? Again, this probably relates to production costs, ROI (Return On Investment), and effort.
Duran Duran Appreciation Day
We previously received some unreleased music for this day. Now, we get a video performance of something that pretty much existed already. Again, few resources are being spent to deliver a unique remix, live set, etc.
Paper Gods Tour
I live in the United States. I’ve been very happy that I have seen the band on four legs of tours since the album released (counting the upcoming New Years Eve shows). The band or management has decided to only tour the three largest Duran fan base territories: U.S., U.K, and Italy. Europe was told they would get a tour, but Nick’s situation may have delayed or shelved that tour. There were rumors of a billing with Pet Shop Boys for Australia this fall. There have been mumblings of a tour for South America for 2017. No dates have been released. I listened to John’s Katy Kafe from July…I sincerely feel that he wants to further the Paper Gods tour into next year and different markets. Nick’s situation, or management, may have delayed or shelved these plans as well, since tours are announced several months in advance.
New Year’s Eve Shows
Who wouldn’t want to spend New Year’s Eve with Duran Duran? I’m going, but there is no denying it…these are two $$$Payday$$$ shows. Big bucks at a fancy new casino resort. I believe the fans deserve to know if Nick is playing or not. In July, we were told his absence was going to be “short”. This has caused a firestorm within the community. Again, I have no idea what is going on, and I hope he is well, but I think fans deserve at least a heads up on his presence for these über-expensive shows. The 1/1/2017 date doesn’t appear to be selling that well. You can view available tickets on Ticketmaster. There are also several seats available for 12/31/2016. I think both of these are sell outs if Nick’s presence is confirmed. I think fans are very skeptical on these shows at the moment.
Access to the band has been very limited during this album cycle. There are no longer meet and greets as part of the VIP packages. John has left social media, and I don’t blame him based on the horrific berating his accounts received. I wonder if this incident alone has reduced the opportunity for meet and greets, etc. We rarely get Ask Katy questions on the website, and they don’t seem as interesting as they did during and between previous album cycles.The Move to Warner
I think Duran like the status of being on a big label. They were on big labels during their heyday. I have no idea how much Warner plays into the decisions of releases, touring, the band, and management. I’m sure they wanted access to the back catalog more than anything. At the time of the press release, John stated “We are also excited that this deal means we will be reunited with our catalogue after years apart – and in that sense it really feels a little like coming home.”
This has been debated to death. I do think the band could put some more effort into this. The current stage production doesn’t allow for a lot of flexibility. I believe this current setlist was developed with the casual fan in mind. It was a high energy setlist, set to the backbone of their greatest hits. I enjoyed every show that I went to, but would have preferred a few changes here and there. I think the band has settled into this formula to keep the most people happy, again tailored towards the casual fan.
She certainly has caused a divide within the fan base. Specifically, some people did not care for her using the “askkaty” moniker on her personal twitter. It finally got changed and it appears to be 100% personal now. I believe this should have happened a lot sooner, and I don’t think Simon needed to interject, but again, there is a divide there.
Current Management/Magus Entertainment
I have no problem with the band wanting to bank some buck. Don’t we all? However, the hard-core fan and collector is not being treated like we deserve, many of those points I highlighted already above. The current management is on a mission to maximize earning potential, and give the casual fan a great night of entertainment. The bundling of the Paper Gods CD with the tickets was an artificial attempt to bloat album sales numbers (it actually reentered the charts in the U.S.) and get the album into the hands of the casual fan. I have an extra ten copies of the standard album, and I’m sure other fans can say the same thing. This bundling practice also increases the concert tickets as I believe that some document has to be filed/exist for these units to count towards album sales and charts.
What is Nick doing?
Is he working on anything Duran related? That’s the million dollar question at this point. Are the other band members upset while they are still out on the road? We all know Nick loves art, curating, cataloging, organizing, making lists. Some friends have been wondering if he is working on some anthology type project, something that he probably couldn’t do from the road. Hmmmm. Seems very possible to me. I’m sure he’s doing some work while on break.
SOOOOO, where does this leave us?
I think Paper Gods is the last album. I think that touring Paper Gods will be completed with the Cancun, and New Year’s shows. Heck, they may have already turned in the equipment, video screens, etc. to the lighting and video companies and plan on showing up to these shows with basic equipment from local companies. 2018 will mark the 40th anniversary of the start of the band. I think we will see a large-scale, worldwide greatest hits/farewell tour, and a greatest hits package or anthology type project to commemorate their fabulous career. After that, who knows? Whatever, it seems like a great stopping point to me if I were in the band.
I’ll be supporting Duran Duran until I die, whatever happens, I’m in it until the end. It’s time for me to go back to enjoying Duran Duran for the reason I started listening to them in the first place. The music.
Cheers y’all, and Duran On!
Jeff Bistline has been a dedicated Duranie since 1984. His passions in life are his Duran Duran collection, college basketball, and his boxer dog, Vivi. He is an accountant and lives in Nebraska.
How important is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame anyway?
As I read through this year’s list of nominees, this question swirled in my head. Sure, Chic is on the list. Again. For the 11th time, they appear on the list. Then there’s Depeche Mode, Yes, Janet Jackson, The Cars…..Tupac Shakur, Pearl Jam, Chaka Khan, ELO (Electric Light Orchestra), Journey, The Zombies, Bad Brains, J. Geils Band, Joan Baez, Kraftwerk, MC5, Joe Tex, and Steppenwolf. I think I’ve gotten them all.
It seems like every single year I write something about the Hall of Fame. Quite frankly, I detest it. I dislike it to the point where it really isn’t worth my time—yet here I am, writing about it again.
It seems to me that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the one accolade everyone loves to hate. The process, in my mind, is absurd. The nominating committee of the RRHOF Foundation gets together and comes up with a list of nominees. The list is publicized, and then some 600-historians and members of the music industry vote upon the all-powerful although in the past few years (since 2012) they’ve bestowed that same glorious right to vote upon the public, so our collective opinion is also taken into account. The top five vote- getters are then inducted.
First of all, the nominees, or at least a reasonable percentage of them—are questionable. I could sit and name names, but the reality is, those that I may find odd are the same bands and artists that someone else probably sees as shoe-ins. So, I’m just going to leave it that I find a lot of the nominees to be questionable, and the inductees typically make me roll my eyes.
Secondly, Chic has been nominated ELEVEN DAMN TIMES. Come on now. That alone tells me something is screwy about the process. Yes, Chic is disco. Yes, Americans (in particular) have forgotten just how much disco-elements we use in our music even today. Even so, eleven times? Unbelievable.
Thirdly, I’d argue that outside of the US, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame means nothing. Just yesterday, one of my friends commented that they never hear about the RRHOF, and they live in the UK. I have no doubt that’s true. Many (including myself) say that the heart of the music industry is here in America, which is probably why the Hall of Fame works here – but the rest of the world doesn’t care. I can’t blame them, because really, is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that important anyway?
I doubt it. Each year when Nile, as the sole surviving member of Chic is nominated, he graciously tweets something about being happy to be on that list, but he also mentions how many times he’s been on it. In my head, it’s becoming a terrible joke. What makes him any less deserving than Green Day—a band that has been around for a fraction of the time—but was inducted in 2015, the very FIRST year they were even eligible? Absolutely nothing but votes.
Who votes? Who decides? The RRHOF description of their voters is remarkably vague. “some 600 historians and members of the music industry, including those who have previously been inducted.” Then there’s the public, of course. Fans are going to vote for their favorites regardless of whether they’re the most deserving. In the same way I voted umpteen times for Duran Duran to win the MTV EMA this year or “Best World Stage” without watching the other nominees to see if their performance really was the best, fans are going to get out the vote for their favorite, and I can’t blame them. But, that does not equate (in my mind) to being deserving of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Ultimately what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame comes down to is a glorified popularity contest. The only people I ever see commenting on its importance are those who make a living commenting on such things (the aforementioned music historians), those who have been inducted, or perhaps fans. As many Duranies mention, in any interview where the band has been asked, they carefully word their answer about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band recognizes that the process is entirely political and not at all indicative of any success the band may have had, their continued relevance, or inspiration they may have given to other bands along the way. It is difficult for me to argue the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in any other light, because I too, see the nominating process and the joke it has become.
Each year I read the list of names, and while of course, there are several on there that should and deserve to be there, there are just as many that I seriously question. Even bands I adore, like Depeche Mode or The Cars, I really have to wonder about. What makes them any more deserving?
Most awards come down to popularity. I’m well-aware that the MTV EMA’s are also awarded based on vote. Is it any different? In some respects, yes I think it is. The EMA’s are not trying to decide the most important acts of our time based on the previous twenty-five years (or more) of work. They reflect a single year, and in many aspects they reflect a single song and how it was received by the public.
Ultimately, this post isn’t going to convince anyone of anything. It’s simply a conversation starter in the same way that morning talk shows might spark discussion. Speaking of which, in case you haven’t heard, Lori Majewski (author of Mad World and fellow Duranie who once was the editor of her own fanzine named Too Much Information: the Definitive Duranzine ) along with co-host Nik Carter have their own brand new music talk show called Feedback on Sirius Channel VOLUME. It airs 7-10 AM EST live in all time zones and then repeats as soon as it ends, and is also available on demand. We wish Lori the very best!
It is the final week of this part of Duran Duran’s Paper Gods Tour. Tour time moves so fast. I feel like Paper Gods was released just a few weeks ago rather than a year ago (anniversary is a week from tomorrow!) and that they just start playing shows. As this part of the tour comes to a close, I wanted to take a few minutes to summarize some of the latest news, info, reactions regarding this tour.
Saying Good-bye to Chic
This past week, Chic played their final show with Duran. Social media marked the moment with photos and videos. The photos started a few days before including this photo posted on Duran Duran’s social media:
Clearly, the touring family is a large, happy one based on this photo! Then, Nile tweeted about how he is going to miss being on tour with Duran. I think most people who saw the two bands together would say that they, too, will miss him being on tour. There were many, many, many times that I read and heard about how perfect of a bill this was. Usually, fans ignore the “opening band”. In this case, that was impossible. Instead, the shows often felt like there were two genuine headliners. On a personal note, I definitely believe Nile’s appearance on stage with Duran during Notorious breathed new life into that song!
Anyone who has seen Chic live or watch videos of their performances knows that during their final song, Good Times, they bring people on stage with them. This creates a real party atmosphere! Well, apparently, for their final show, a few special guests appeared.
Here is a longer video of this song:
Clearly, there is a lot of love between both bands and I’m sure that Chic will be missed by both Duran and their fans.
Duran Duran is playing in Cancun, Mexico, on December 29th. Earlier this week, the pre-sale information appeared on the DuranDuranMusic website for those fans hoping to get tickets before the general public sale. Today, though, the tickets went on sale through Ticketmaster for everyone. This is a show that would be fun to attend, especially since it is taking place somewhere warm in December when I will likely be driving through snow and wearing a winter coat. Unfortunately, the costs for this show are out of my budget, but I’m sure that everyone who is able to go will have a blast!
Awaiting More Dates
Fans all over the world are anxiously watching and waiting for more tour dates. There are many areas of the world that hasn’t seen a Duran show for many years. Then, there are some areas like South America that has seen/heard touring rumors for 2017 but nothing official has been said. Of course, Duran also stated previously and repeated with the Cancun pre-sale that they are hoping to have one more show on the East Coast of North America before the end of this year. Many fans are hoping for word on that show, sooner rather than later! I know that I’m anxious to see where and when while hoping that it is such that I might be able to squeeze a trip in somewhere.
Until more dates are announced, I am going to focus on appreciating the last few dates in North America for this leg of the Paper Gods Tour by watching videos, looking at photos and reading stories from those in attendance. I hope those fans scream loud enough for me!!
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!