Tag Archives: Paper Gods

Just An Hour To Go

Now the day is over

I think it has taken me a full 36 hours or so to completely reign in my thoughts on the show at the Kennedy Space Center. I don’t think Katy was wrong when she said the set and show would be “out of this world”. The band added “Anyone Out There”, “Astronaut” and even “Walking on the Moon” by The Police to an already fantastic set list that included a lengthy intro to “The Universe Alone”. If the ethereal, delicate beauty of drones hovering overhead didn’t send chills down your spine, then surely combining the choir and orchestra to Duran Duran’s already near-perfect sound gave you goosebumps and made your hair stand up on end. At least they did for me, and I was at home watching a pixelated stream with far-less-than-adequate audio!

That evening began with a series of clicking links that didn’t work for me. I didn’t even think I’d be able to see video, but then Studio Drift streamed their drone performance. Granted, they only showed their pertinent portion of the evening, and after that I was desperate. I’d tune in to one stream only to find it wasn’t working properly, then try another. There might be sound, but no video…or vice-versa. Where could I see more? Thankfully, social media never disappoints! Duranies in the know were pointing everyone else in the proper directions. I was sent a link to another kind soul who decided to live stream the entire gig. I was thrilled, even with her apology that there might only be sound because the view from where she was standing wasn’t that great (her words). I couldn’t have cared less, I was overjoyed to be able to even see a tiny bit of the show – and I had no trouble hearing what the band was playing, even if the quality wasn’t perfect. That certainly didn’t stop me from tweeting in awe over what was happening in Florida.

I tried to phone last night

For me, that was the best part of the evening – even from home. Of course the show was stunning! I loved seeing the overall view of the rockets, the stage, and the crowd, combined with the music I know and love. Simon really made the show special by talking about the astronauts and the space program. The ambience was just about perfect from my seat. What topped it all off, was that even here at home as I sat by myself in a barstool at my kitchen island, I wasn’t alone. My friends and I tweeted back and forth. Amanda and I texted. There was laughter, and yes – even giggly joy. You can’t really beat that! I mean, if I can be here at home, about 5,000 miles from the gig itself, and still feel like I’m amongst friends in the audience, that’s what it’s all about.

I’m still a little stunned, or in awe…or something like that. I’m not one to sit down and watch video after video clip from a show. I have friends who have sent me videos from concerts I’ve attended over the years (and a lot I have not), and while I might watch a clip or two, I don’t spend a lot of time doing it. normally. Since the KSC show on Wednesday, I’ve SCOURED the internet, looking for any and all videos I can find, particularly of The Universe Alone – a song that I have had a love/I’m-really-afraid sort of relationship with since it came out. That changed on Wednesday.

Here’s a link to some amazing footage. I can’t stop watching it. I might need help.

You didn’t answer

I will never again listen to “The Universe Alone” without thinking of those gorgeous drones in the sky. It was like watching the stars, or a sea of fireflies, dancing in the heavens. I loved it, and hearing Simon’s voice – perfect and clear – singing the verses to “The Universe Alone” nearly brought tears to my eyes right along with all the chills I’ve come to appreciate in response to an outstanding performance. I know there’s some outstanding, multi-camera video footage out there, and I know I’m not alone when I cheer loudly in hopes of a video of the full performance to be released!

Seeing the show that night made me all the more excited for what is to come – and I don’t just mean the September shows.

(Although, I would like to reiterate the formal request I made on Twitter that Duran Duran put “Anyone Out There” in the setlist for the September shows and beyond. Pleasethankyougoodbye).

It makes ya kind of wonder when we might hear new music from the band, doesn’t it?

Look out of the window maybe you can call by my name

It does me too….which is why I nearly fell out of my chair when I read a recent article published on Playlist, a magazine website from Mexico. The short piece is in Spanish, which remains the one language I read pretty well outside of English (speaking it is another story. Conjugating verbs on the fly is not one of my gifts…) But even so, I thought I was misreading things, so I sent it through good old google translate. Turns out, I wasn’t.

According to the article, the band already has a song in mind as a lead single. Lead what?!? Here’s the translation for those who want the short “executive” version of the full article: “So far, there is a song that is the main one to be the first single. It’s so different from anything you’ve heard from us before, or really from anyone else. There is a dancing element. The construction, the melodic content, the lyrics, some of the sounds … are very different for us”

I’ll give you a minute to absorb that. Meanwhile, here’s the link, read it yourself:

http://www.playlistmag.mx/2019/07/duran-duran-anuncia-nuevo-album-con.html?m=1

My face in the mirror shows a break in time

Anybody else have the feeling that this band has been working on the album more than they’ve kind of let on??? I honestly thought they must still be at the stage where they’re just jamming in the studio every few weeks, hoping for something to gel.

(ok, I was going to write “months” in that sentence, but that seemed too negative. Typing “weeks” seemed more optimistic and hopeful!)

This kind of talk regarding singles makes me wonder if I’m just going to wake up one morning and the band is going to be like “Surprise, we’ve released our new album and we’re going on tour starting tomorrow!! Pre-sales started at midnight and you’re already too LATE!!”

New album – ok.

Tour – that’s fine….I guess? I mean, it just seems a bit rushed!

Presales starting without notice….while I’m sleeping?? That’s stuff right out of my nightmares. Some might say that this is the obvious next step for a band who likes to give less than 48 hours notice for presales.

A crack in the ocean, which does not align

I also have to wonder if this story about singles is even true. Not that I think Nick told a big fat fib, but that perhaps the magazine misquoted him. I mean, it’s the only place I’ve seen anything mentioned about actually having songs written! Can it really be?

If it’s true, then I’m still thinking about the description. I’m not surprised it sounds nothing like anything they’ve done before. After all – this is not a band that likes to revisit. It’s all new, all the time. I’m still shocked that they think they’ve already got the lead single. I say “already” because in my head – this album process just started! I can’t seem to wrap my brain around anything else.

I think back to pre-Paper Gods. For me, those days were torture, and I wasn’t in the band or even on their team. I was just a bystander. A blogging bystander. Every month felt like another year. (I’m exaggerating here because I have a flair for the dramatic, you see…) I wanted them to hurry, hurry, hurry, and then get back on the road so we could have more fun! This time, I’ve been pretty damn patient, I must say. I was busy. There were boxes being packed, and unpacked. I moved. I raised chickens, built a chicken coop, and apparently became a bit of a farmer. What???

I sound like I’ve retired, which I have not.

I’ve caught your dreaming

There were shows, which honestly – kept me going even during some really dark days. I couldn’t tell you how long the band has actually been working on this album because – news flash – I don’t even know! Interesting. Well-played, Nicholas… and of course the rest of you. You got me this time. I did see comments on Twitter in reaction to another interview posted somewhere, and apparently Nick said they’re shooting for late spring of 2020 for new music to be released. To be completely honest, I discounted that information.

On one hand, it *was* Nick who was giving a target release timeframe. If it had been Roger…I’d have laughed quietly and said, “add on another 12-18 months on that!” Sorry Roger…I kid, I kid!!! In all seriousness though, I read the tweets about it and thought, “Yeah, we’ll see. Late spring of next year? Yeah…..I’ll believe it when I see it!”

Not that I don’t trust this band. I do. I believe they will eventually release new music. I just suspect I’ve got all kinds of time to wait and be patient, maybe build an animal paddock, and begin raising goats and sheep along with my chickens.

I really do sound like I’m a farmer.

Have a great weekend everyone!

-R

What Keeps you going?

What happens when there’s a power outage and I’m still sleeping?

Basically, I slept in far too late, and now I’ve got a blog to write and publish in record time before a meeting with Amanda.

They get me

Many fans responded to my question about fandom. What keeps you interested as a Duran Duran fan? Handfuls of fans responded, from incredulous sounding “The music, of course!” to the slightly more introspective, “Because they get me.” Several others feel that it is a combination of the music and the friendships they’ve made along the way.

I feel as though I need to clarify that Amanda and I weren’t fishing for specific answers. There’s no one “right” answer that we were hoping someone would type and send. Our creative juices needed a jump start. I think we needed reminding as to why we’rehere to begin with. I call this, “getting stuck in our own head(s)”.

That said, of course we assumed that most were still here because of the music. I think though, I was hoping to gain a better understanding of what about their music it really IS that keeps us all anxious and waiting for whatever project comes next. When I think about why I’m still a fan, it all feels fairly overwhelming. Where do I even start?!? I suspect many of you might feel the same.

The push and pull

Does anyone think that their feelings about Duran Duran have changed since they first became a fan? Maybe their videos intrigued you, initially. Perhaps like me, you loved the idea of a synths paired with a rocking electric guitar. As the decades flew by, you can see that your interests in them have changed.

So in my case as I became a fan back in the 80s, I felt that other bands that relied more heavily on keyboards and synthesizers. While I can name many I liked, it always felt a bit shallow, or thin in sound to me. Duran Duran had this push and pull of balance, the sound was layered and deep, and I liked that. As the years have gone by, though, I feel as though the band has changed a little in that regard. I don’t think there’s that same constant struggle for equilibrium, although the depth of sound has always been there.

No fast food

I’m not going to rehash the band’s career because that’s not really my point – but I’ve found that my interests in their music have evolved a bit. I find myself listening to the words, recognizing how the music may drive the lyrics (or vice-versa). I love the way each one of their songs is a full-package. No two are the same, just as no two albums are the same. Speaking of albums, the one thing I appreciate most about Duran Duran is that their albums are typically meant to be listened to from start to finish. It is a full, complete story. There’s no “fast food music” delivery here, where you can buy a song or two on iTunes and feel like you’ve gotten the complete meal. No, with Duran Duran – sitting down and committing the full-45 minutes to an hour to really absorb the entire message is key. I felt that with Paper Gods, with All You Need is Now, and yes, even with Red Carpet Massacre, believe it or not!

If anyone has more to add on this subject, I am always ready and willing to share ideas. I love reading what everyone has to say about what continues driving their fandom. So much has changed during the four decades the band has been in existence – I want to hear from you. What keeps you going?

-R

To Find the Twist in Me

There must be somebody

I butted into a Twitter conversation this morning about “getting it”. How many times do you need to listen to an album before you connect, or “get it”? Is it a case of, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again?” Or, do you figure that if the ears don’t like it, you’re done?

Naturally, we brought the topic right around to the band at hand. I will confess that there have been a few albums where it’s taken me plenty more than one listen to really get there. Paper Gods is one of them.

When I first listened to Paper Gods, I really don’t know what I was hoping to hear. I’d already heard several songs by the time I’d had the full album in my hands. My love for “Pressure Off” began with the first listen. I still contend it to be the best hook the band has written in years. That feeling still stands and one needs to look no further than their live show to see how the entire audience comes alive when they play it. (Sure, the confetti helps.) That said, much of the album was still a mystery. So, when I finally played the entire thing from start to finish, I came away with it not sure of how I felt.

Blow the rules away

On one hand, it sounded similar to Red Carpet Massacre, with the beats and slightly electronic feel. I didn’t hate it, but I also wasn’t sure I loved it. Amanda and I called it RCM-lite for a while, because it did feel very much like the halfway point between the urban sounds of Red Carpet Massacre and the more mainstream, slightly retro-sound of All You Need is Now. Even so, I have to be honest and admit that I really had a hard time deciding that I liked the sound.

Anyone can go back and read my blogs on Paper Gods to see what I mean. I’m not exactly proud of the fact that I didn’t jump in with both feet and say I loved it. It just took me a long time to come to terms with Paper Gods I had friends – patient, kind and very well-meaning friends – come to me and explain that I reviewed it way too early after far too few listens, and that my feelings about the album may have tainted other fans from supporting it. I felt terrible because A. the last thing I want to do is ruin someone else’s listening experience; and B. I didn’t want to upset the band, either. They’d worked hard on the album, and here I was – a long time fan with a fairly big mouthpiece, even if at the time I didn’t realize. I was souring the water without really meaning to do so. I did what any other fan might do (in silence!) – I kept listening.

Working up to something

I can remember the day when my feelings began to turn around. Mop in hand, I’d been cleaning my house. I had the album on, earbuds in, listening to each and every word and note. I noticed the lyrics during “Last Night in the City” were things with which I could directly identify. In fact, I was pretty sure Amanda and I had actually said some of those lines in the song ourselves! “Pressure Off” was and is (to us, anyway) the story of Amanda and I. We feel every note of that song and then some. “Butterfly Girl”, “What are the Chances”, and even :Only in Dreams” all had lyrics that meant something to me personally.

Musically, the album started to work for me too. I enjoy the depth and meaning of the lyrics. Yet the music is light and fun. I use the word “juxtapose” fairly often when I describe DD’s music – but it works here. Even that though, there is music depth on that album. “The Universe Alone” uses a multitude of electronic effects, but it is also one of the toughest songs I’ve ever had to come to terms with as far as content.

Can you handle it?

So how many times did it really take for me to get it? I don’t know for sure, but it took many listens. I just knew in my heart that I wasn’t a “one time” fan of Duran Duran, and that I was probably going to have to work for it in order to really feel the album get under my skin. Some people will tell you that if you really love an album or really love an artist that it doesn’t work that way. Love should be instantaneous. Is there really a point where you should just give up? How many times do you listen before you shelve it and move on?

-R

Repost: Paper Gods, The Book

Today, I’m taking a self-imposed break. I saw that DDHQ had asked fans for their favorite tour book, and remembered how much I loved the one for Paper Gods. As you can see below, it is far more than just your average picture book commemorating a tour!

Have a wonderful Monday and I’ll be back tomorrow!

-R

**************************************************************************

I needed a diversion from reality last night.

So, I cracked opened the Paper Gods book that my ever-fearless partner-in-crime-and-everything-Duran-Duran sent me for Christmas!

cover

When I opened this particular present, I was delighted because I’d heard it was well-worth the £20, and I hadn’t ordered it myself because I just wasn’t sure I needed it. I own a few of their tour books from the past, and while they’ve always been a sort of “Oh, that’s really nice to have”, I wasn’t positive about this one. All I could think of was that it was 120-pages of photos, and did I really need a book of photos in my collection? I wasn’t sure. I wanted to see more of it in person before making a decision and I didn’t know when or how that might happen. Sometimes, a book like this needs a little previewing, you know? (It’s too bad DDHQ doesn’t know a fan website that could do that kind of thing for them every once in a while…..) So when I opened the gift and marveled at how big the book really is…and then began thumbing through it, I realized just how much I needed a book like this in my collection!

And…it’s not really so much of a tour book, although there are certainly a plethora of pictures in there (even some of Dom, Anna, Jessie & Simon W!). I would describe this book as being sort of the Encyclopedia-of-Anything-You-Wanted-to-Know-About-Paper-Gods-But-Figured-You’d-Never-Be-Able-to-Ask.

First off, the book is big. It’s not your basic 30-page tour book that’s mostly pictures (although yes, there are plenty and I mean that).  At 120 large format pages (13.25″H x 9.5″W), it’s a bit of a monster…and I mean that in a fantastic way!

bookwidth

There’s actual writing in this one, and not just a welcome note from the band or anything like that. There are interviews, thoughts, feelings…lists of words or phrases I can’t quite figure out yet (but trust me I am enjoying the process of trying!), and I’m not even halfway through it yet! Each of the band members gives a full-length interview about the book (and believe me, these are not short answers to questions), and they also interviewed Nile, Ben Hudson and Josh Blair. They even talked creative with Nick and Alex Israel, the artist who did the front cover of the album!!  I AM IN HEAVEN AND I’M NOT COMING BACK!!

I love that they took the process of recording this album and thought to have a book made for people like me.  People who basically dreamt of being a fly on the wall during the entire painstaking process: everything from those first jamming sessions at Dom’s studio down to seeing their reactions to the art for the cover.  The book is really something very special, indeed.

If the interviews and writing doesn’t grab you, the photos certainly will. This book is art…and if you needed to have large format photos of each of the band members, here they are for you to gander at will. I really love how each of the band members has a black and white full-page headshot, along with what I can only describe is a sort of silver “giclée” shadowing overlay printed on a heavier, plastic-like sheet. Way cool. And if you like stickers – they’re included too!

stickers

As I said, I haven’t even read through it all yet. I had to stop myself at 11:15 last night because I needed to get some sleep, and even after I put it down I kept thinking about what I’d read. In many ways that Amanda and I will get into later as we dissect this book from cover to cover on the blog (oh yes – it’s happening), I think the book makes me see the album with a completely different set of eyes, and I’m curious if my ears will pick up anything different too.

My only problem with this book is simply that they really should have marketed it differently. It’s such a great piece of Duran-memorabilia, you’d think they would have gone to more trouble to alert the fan base to it, you know? Seems like they could have used a resource…such as this very website, thankyouverymuch…to get some enthusiastic words out to the fan base and beyond. Amanda and I have a certain knack for grabbing the attention of the fan base when it comes to things like this, and let’s face it..the book is also a freaking steal at £20. (That is $28.91 USD as of this morning)

Let’s just talk about that price for a second before I settle back into my chair and read a bit more: for less than $30.00 US, you can have a large format, coffee table-sized book on Duran Duran (It is paperback). Everything from what some  might describe as “lickable” photos (I certainly wouldn’t say that..,coughs…but hey… I may have heard the term used before somewhere…) to in-depth discussions of the music and process. For the more abstract-minded amongst us, there are poems and lyrics and lists to read and ponder, as well as the aforementioned photos, both posed and from live shows (from the last year). I can’t really get over the value on this one – it’s the best bang for your buck I’ve seen in quite a while.

Like nearly everyone reading, I own a lot of Duran Duran books. I’ll go one further and say I own a lot of books period, but particularly within the realm of fandom and music history of this particular band  – I own a lot. This is a book that any fan of Duran Duran should have in their collection, and I’m thrilled (and shocked!) that they’re not charging the $50 or $60 that the book is really worth, even as a paperback.

Run out and grab a copy while you can! As I said, in coming weeks Amanda and I plan to do several blogs about the interviews and other writing within the book, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who is running off to order their own copy right now…so go get it!

Meanwhile, I’m going to settle back in my chair and read Nile’s thoughts on Paper Gods…

-R

The Union of the Snake

Telegram force and ready

When I don’t have real news to report, admittedly I fall back to historical dates. They tend to either jar my memory, or get my creative juices flowing. Or, it remains as dry as the Sahara, and I struggle a lot to get something written. You just never know!

Today though, there’s a lot to get my brain going. I really don’t know what it is about March 27th, but this seems to be a day for label deals. Perhaps that is because many of their albums (or so it seems) have been released during autumn, so give or take six months prior brings us to March? I really don’t know. I’m not an expert, but I do know that in 2009, Simon blogged on duranduran.com that the band had left Sony Records.

There’s a fine line drawing my senses together

Much has been written about that time. The band had recorded and self-produced Reportage. Sony wasn’t sold on it, and had given the band a list of names to choose from to produce their album. We all know that during that time, Andy had also left the band for the second time, and of course – Timbaland entered the picture for Red Carpet Massacre. I still believe to this day that Sony felt that anything Timbaland touched would turn to gold (or platinum), and when that didn’t happen – they were convinced it was the band that was the problem.

I still smile nearly every year when I think back on it. It was probably the best move imaginable for the band – regardless of whether the band left Sony or if Sony left them. I cheered when I read the news that day, and when I posted the update on a message board (DDF), a mysterious visitor commented that they could not be happier. This was of course, AFTER handing me my backside on a platter for nearly crucifying the album. I still chuckle about that. I can honestly say it was the only time I’ve ever really laughed at myself after being publicly flogged. Perhaps I deserved it…but maybe the person doing the flogging needed to understand that it’s OK to still be proud of something that the general public didn’t fully embrace at the time, too.

Give me strength at least give me a light

On the same date in 2015, Duran Duran announced that Warner Bros. Records (Part of Warner Music Group) signed a global “recording contract” for Paper Gods. Many fans argue whether or not the band is still signed by Warner Bros. I cannot confirm one way or another, as I do not know. However, Duran Duran is not included on their current artist roster. I just checked the website again today, but I don’t know how up to date that really is. Then again, they signed with Warner Bros. in 2015. Seems like they might update that roster every once in a while?

The truth is, they could have had any one of a number of different deals with Warner. Production deals are common, although unlikely since the album was already written and recorded when Warner Bros. signed them. A distribution deal is also possible, even globally. That means the label would have been responsible for getting the product out into the world, and maybe even marketing. Standard deals are another option, which are what most people think of when they hear of a label “signing” a band. A deal like that usually includes development, recording, pressing, distribution and marketing. Lastly, there is the 360 deal, which is common these days. This means the label has their hands in everything from touring to brand development and everything in between, and the band would lose a lot of control and autonomy. Each type of deal has it’s benefits and detractions (like money, or lack thereof!).

Or, it could be some clever wording from DDHQ and PR people so that fans don’t really know what type of deal it is – because it’s really none of our business anyway.

There’s a chance you could be right

Many people have commented that since John said Warner Bros. suggested the record store day offering of As The Lights Go Down on vinyl, that must mean they’re still with Warner Bros. Again, I’m not an expert, but that’s possible. Another possibility is that the band is still on good terms with Warner Bros, and asked them to press and distribute the album. PR “spin” would be that Warner came to the band with this bright idea because it makes it sound as though the band is in demand. Which isn’t wrong. We fans are kind of demanding, aren’t we? That sort of spin happens frequently! According to John, the entire catalog is under “one umbrella” these days, so I can see this scenario as a possibility.

There’s no reason that I can find at this point, to assume anything more or less drastic. Paper Gods did well for Duran Duran – it was the first top ten for them since 1993, and it would not be a surprise if the band stayed with Warner Bros. for future albums. It also wouldn’t shock me if they didn’t – but by all means feel free to enlighten me otherwise!

In any case, March 27th seems to be the day of deals for this band. Makes you kind of wonder what the next year or two could bring!

-R


From Here to 2009 and Back Again

Think back to 2014, my friends. Do you know what happened on this day?

Simon sent out a short update on #DD14 (which we now know to be Paper Gods), saying they were in the refinement stages – but he didn’t give out names or confirm/deny any other rumors circulating at that time.

It was as though we were gathered outside a studio, waiting for any signs of life from within. There was a gasp, and perhaps a small shriek of victory from the crowd as a tiny window in the door suddenly creaked open. We ran up to the door, essentially climbing over one another, and straining our necks to see whatever there was to see (which wasn’t much). A voice beckoned from beyond, although it was too dark to see much. The voice told us all that yes, they were still in the studio, and no – we could not come in yet. Go home, the voice suggested. Wait for further instructions there, and leave them in peace. The window slammed shut, the crowd sighed in collective disappointment and perhaps a bit of relief, and more silence ensued.

Can you believe that was already FIVE years ago?? I can remember being so nervous about what the end result would be. So many rumors had circulated about what the band had been working on, and in the end – Paper Gods was exactly as it should be. This time around, I’m not nearly as anxious. I think having time and space to work without comments from the Peanut Gallery (that’d be me!) might be helpful. After all, the band didn’t get this far in their career without knowing a thing or two.

So here we are once again, waiting to see what may come. I say, grab a comfy spot on the sofa, because it might be awhile! While we wait, let’s take a look at an oldie but a goody: Songbook, which aired on Sky Arts also on this date in 2009! Truth be told, this is one of my very favorite televised programs from the band, so I don’t have to be coerced much to sit down and watch it again.

I can’t help it – I do love watching these videos. They help boost my mood a bit (I’m suffering from a little bit of missing my two oldest kids today), and who doesn’t need a pick me up every once in a while – right?

Looking forward to the day when I can post news about studio updates, should we be so lucky as to hear of some! Until then, I’m going to start looking for some good older videos to share from good old YouTube. If you’ve got any you’re hoping to find or want to share – let me know!

-R

We Need You

I have been thinking a lot about the word, “need,” as opposed to want, wish, hope for, etc. I think about it in terms of my job. What do I really need as a teacher? What do I really need as a fan? What do I really need as a person? This sounds like an easy question but I have decided that it is far more complex than what it initially appears like.

Let’s take fandom. After all, everyone reading this can probably relate to that the most. As news snippets have come out about the writing and recording of the next Duran album, I find myself thinking back to the time in between All You Need Is Now and Paper Gods. I had such an amazing time with AYNIN that I felt a weird sense of desperation. I wrote about my anxiousness about what I thought the band should do in between albums. I probably wrote about playing more shows or releasing something, anything in between. Did I need the band to do that? I probably thought I did then but I’m not sure if that is really what I needed.

Did I suffer immensely between there was a big chunk of time in between All You Need Is Now and Paper Gods? Suffer? I don’t think so. Yes, I would have wanted something from the band to keep all of the awesome feelings continuing but I didn’t *need* it. My fandom remained as did many others’. I might have written about how I thought the band needed to do something to keep their fans loyal to the band, to keep fandom alive. Did some fans leave? Probably. Would some of them have left anyway? Maybe.

Interestingly enough, as I thought about how I thought I needed the band to do something to keep interest, I never once really considered what the band actually needed. Maybe they needed a break or time away from each other. Perhaps, they needed to spend time with friends and/or family. In thinking about this, I realize that my “needs” might be different from their “needs.” Could this happen in real life, too?

As I think about my job, I know that there are some aspects that I really do need to have in place. How do I know? Simple. I know that if I did not have these elements that I would be looking somewhere else. I’ll give an example. I need to be part of a team that I love. I have taught in buildings without being a part of a team. It was lonely and emotionally tough. Now, of course, some people out there might argue that this is still a want rather than a need. I guess it depends on how it is defined. Would I die without it? No. That said, I would leave without my teams. I need it for job satisfaction and my happiness on the job.

What about my needs in my life? I have been thinking hard to determine what I really need. Much like my job, I know that there are some parts of my life that I really require. What I need, though, in my life or my job might be just like the situation with Duran. What I need might be the opposite of what they need. How do I navigate this difference in need? I’m not sure. This I know. I cannot be mad or upset if other people or Duran (as the case might be) have different needs than I do. No one should be blamed for that. At the same token, I think it is totally fine if there are different needs. It doesn’t mean that they are wrong or that I’m wrong. So, if there is something I really need with my fandom or my job or my personal life, it is okay to seek out what I need while I need to be understanding that others might feel differently. It is a weird balance that I am trying to achieve. I know this much. It means cutting Duran and others in my life some slack and asking for others to cut me some slack. Maybe this is my weird attempt at a kinder, gentler version of myself. Perhaps, it is just showing that I’m trying to learn and to be more understanding while asking for the same from others.

-A

A Silhouette Begins the Show

So, show of hands….how many of our readers are at home because of snow/cold days?!? I hear that Chicago is going to be colder than the Antarctic this week. Amanda has been telling me about forecasts that have Madison’s wind chill at -50 (Fahrenheit) or more. That’s ridiculous!! I hope everyone stays warm!

I apologize for the lateness of the blog. I used to have this routine down – I’d be up by 7, blogging by 8. Nowadays, I’m dragging myself out of bed at 8:30 and I’m hard pressed to get the blog finished by noon my time. It’s not a great routine yet, but I’m working on it.

A fog is lifting

I came upon something today that reminded me about Reportage. It was a picture of what was obviously a fan-made cover for the album, and it was in turn on the cover a book titled Bootlegs. I’d never seen a cover of any kind for the album until today. That said, as far as I’m aware, no copies exist outside of the hands of the band. Naturally though, this photo got a few of us talking.

It would seem that very few fans have heard Reportage. Most everyone else continues to speak of it as though it is this hidden treasure. To find it is akin with finding the Golden Ticket. I think the expectations of the album have likely been inflated beyond maximum pressure. Those that have listened are usually quick to downplay, and not much of real substance is explained beyond a perfunctory, “Yeah, it wasn’t bad. You could probably find it if you wanted.”

Could I find it? Really? More importantly – do I really want to find it?

In the shadows

These are questions I was asking myself this morning, as I chatted back and forth with friends on Twitter. There are real collectors in the Duraniverse. They are people I very much admire because they work hard to find that obscure poster from 1981 or a specific promo copy of “Hallucinating Elvis”. I have a great deal of respect for people like that, and I tend to learn a lot when speaking with them too. There is a vast amount of expertise to be gained from the collectors amongst us! Me? Nah. I don’t spend a lot of time hunting for albums in old vinyl shops (although I do pop in and check the “D” section from time to time), I don’t hunt online for posters on eBay. I don’t have all of the tour books, pins, or even t-shirts. I do like knowing that I’ve heard all of the variations of music, though.

When it comes to unreleased music though, I’m not sure how I feel. On one hand, I love hearing how Duran Duran went from Point A to Point B. Hearing demos is one way of audibly experiencing that journey. I enjoy having that understanding, because when it comes down to it – I’m still a musician at heart, and I dearly love being able to hear the progression of a song from reasonable beginning to completion. On the other hand though, as I said this morning, if the band wanted me/us to hear it – I would think they’d just let us have it. So to get it from some other means seems, well, not right.

Lit by scandal

As my friend said in reply – I’m no goody-goody here. It doesn’t seem right or fair to the band to get hold of something that they weren’t ready to put out themselves. It is, of course, very different if John or Nick said “Hey, why don’t you take a listen?” But to just leak an album and broadcast its existence wouldn’t be right. As we know, that hasn’t happened with Reportage anyway. I mean, at least not that I’m aware. In some ways I still wonder if I’m among the last remaining DD fans that hasn’t heard it.

I suppose I haven’t really hunted much for Reportage. Several years ago I did try to sniff it out online, but came up empty. After that, I kind of let it go, only to be reminded of its existence every now and again. I’ll think of it for a few minutes, and then I’m off again. I would have figured it would have been leaked by now and be commonplace. It would seem that this is one of the better-kept “secrets” in our fandom, at least from my perspective!

So while I suppose I’m still curious about what it sounded like, I’m also more interested in what the band is working on now, post-Paper Gods. Hearing Reportage now would be like looking back, when really all I want to do is keep moving ahead.

-R


Studio-time Cometh: New Music Ahead!

Happy Monday, everybody!

I trust that everyone made it through Black Friday and has cruised smoothly into Cyber Monday. If you’re like me and thought braving Costco on the Sunday after Thanksgiving was a good idea, we probably need our heads examined.

Naturally, the big news for this week is that John mentioned a little something about heading back to London in order to have a meeting the minds in the studio. I have a couple of thoughts on this:

  1. YAY!!
  2. I wonder how long it will be before we start hearing rumors of collaborations? I almost prefer betting on when those might begin, as opposed to with whom!

Naturally I’m thrilled to hear the words “studio”, “writing” and even better, “recording” come out of any band members mouth.  It is kind of funny, because for the bulk of this year – I’ve been happy to wait. I figured they’d eventually get back to a studio. Writing music has to be a habit they just can’t quite quit. I’m definitely not complaining, but I figured it would take time. It needs to take time, too. Go back too early and there would be four very weary guys trying to write when maybe, they really didn’t want to fully commit yet. It wouldn’t bode well.

By the same token, I was not opposed to getting news of shows for 2019. Daily Duranie is as much a blog about the act of being a fan as it is about Duran Duran. For me, the shows in February couldn’t have been planned much better. I’m thrilled to have a few things to be looking forward to in the coming weeks and months. It takes the edge off of my first few weeks of December, that’s for sure!

Some people are thrilled to put Paper Gods in the rearview mirror. They’ve heard the album, done the tour many times, and are ready for something new. I thoroughly enjoyed Paper Gods, which in hindsight, surprises me. I loved All You Need is Now. That tour knocked me off of my feet. I have fantabulous memories of shows, friends, and fun. Going into Paper Gods, I just didn’t see how any of it could be topped, but somehow, someway, it was. For me personally, it isn’t that I’m ready to put it behind me, but instead I’m ready to experience whatever is going to come next with an open heart and mind.

That’s the crazy thing about music, and even life. Just when you think you’ve done as much as possible or have heard the best, something else comes along and proves otherwise. Our hearts and minds have to be open to change and ready to evolve – otherwise we might just miss out on something amazingly good!

For me, that is the challenge. Change is difficult. I’m learning that I don’t have to completely let go of the past. Instead, I need to be willing and open to whatever comes next. After all, whatever we experienced before is what shaped us for what is yet to come. We will still carry “Friends of Mine”, “Land”, “Nite Runner” and even “Planet Roaring” and “The Universe Alone” with us, but we need to be wiling to live, hear and take the next chapter to heart just as openly.

I’m ready. Are you?

-R

Classic Pop Special Edition: Paper Cuts and Extraordinary World

Ignoring the question of are there shows or aren’t they for now, I will  share my thoughts about the final two articles in Classic Pop’s Special Edition for Duran’s 40th Anniversary:  Paper Cuts and Extraordinary World.  Obviously, the first articles focused in on the Paper Gods album and Extraordinary World dealt with winning an award in 2016.  Of course, I will give my overall thoughts about the magazine as a whole at the end as well.

Paper Cuts:

This article starts out on an interesting, more somber note.  The author states that it took Duran a long time to craft the Paper Gods album but quickly points out that Duran won’t be making many more albums.  They quote John, “We’re not going to make many more albums.  We have to make the most of it when we do…”  Ouch.  While I’m not stupid and recognize that none of us are getting younger, I still don’t like thinking or imagining a time when Duran no longer exists as the band does now.  Emotionally, I cannot handle that thought.

The beginning of the article discussed how long the album took.  One quote that grabbed my attention came from Simon, “At this point, if we make anything that’s at all less than our previous records, it would signal the beginning of the end.”  Wow.  If I had read that quote before, I didn’t pay it enough attention.  I can see why he would say that or why they would feel that way.  At the time, I was so anxious for more Duran Duran that I just wanted the album done.  Now, I can recognize the need for quality.  It is hard to rush art.  John provided the counterargument indicating that he didn’t want to just tinker with the music for little to no reason.  That’s a fair point, too.  I’m sure it is a delicate balance.

While there is a lot of interesting information in this article, the part that drew my attention focused on the band’s history regarding female fans.  The author describes their music as unisex, appealing to both men and women.  Simon stated, “We had our noses absolutely rubbed in it that Duran was ‘music for girl’.  But there’s something in our music that speaks of compassion, which insecure teenagers do need.  I think our teenage audience picked up on that.  A lot of bands at the time excluded women, by trying to a lads’ band.”  Nick continued with, “We’re not frightened of our fragility and sensitivity, which a lot of rock artists are.”  I completely appreciate this about them.  Even as a kid I knew that I would be safe with Duran Duran.  They were not looking to use me or other women in the way that I felt from other bands.

There was some discussion about the back catalog, especially since Duran had signed with Warner.  The band indicated that they would like to release their old material “properly” while at the same time avoiding bad deals like having Hungry Like the Wolf used in all food commercials.  There was mention of Reportage, the album recorded with Andy but never released.  They seemed to think it would be possible if mixing was done and with Andy’s permission.  I bet fans would be excited about that!

Extraordinary World

This article originally came out in 2016 when Duran received the ASCAP Golden Note Award for songwriting at a London ceremony.  This particular award is given to artists who have achieved significant career milestones.  Some other winners include Elton John, Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder and more.  That’s pretty cool!  I don’t remember hearing about this award before.

The author then gave credit to everything Duran has accomplished in their careers.  Interestingly enough, Nick commented about how these days there is little “mystique” to pop music as artists and albums seem to be on some sort of assembly line in order to get released quickly.  Needless to say, he is not a fan.  As much as I would love to have new Duran music all the time, I recognize that I value things more when I have to wait and anticipate them.  If I went to Duran concerts every day, I would probably cease to be excited about them and that would be super sad.

This article ended with a discussion about Duran playing festivals.  Simon’s argument was that festivals are the real test.  It is one thing to play to fans but to play at a festival, you have to be really good.  That’s fair from their perspective.  I can understand that.  From a fan’s perspective, I hate festivals.  Enough said.

Overall:

I really think that this magazine was well put together.  Clearly, there was a lot of attention to detail with little extras included frequently.  Visually, it is very Duran with a lot of images, cool graphics, logos and more.  In my opinion, it was well worth the money.  What did the rest of you think?

-A