Tag Archives: Paper Gods

Label comings and goings

I don’t know what it is about March 27th, but Duran Duran has announced a record deal ending, as well as one starting on this date in the past.

In 2009, Simon Le Bon wrote about their deal ending with Sony on duranduran.com.  It was also on this date in 2015 that Warner Bros. announced their deal with Duran Duran.  Two sides of the same coin, perhaps?

I can remember thinking that it was wonderful that Duran Duran was getting out from under Sony Records, particularly after Red Carpet Massacre. I don’t know what Sony had expected for the album, but I know that at the time, the album seemed to be underperforming. That isn’t a critique of the band, it is a critique of Sony, in my opinion. I felt that the label allowed the album to fall flat after its release. (Yes, I expected the label to move mountains rather than expect it to move under its own steam, I suppose.) Context is everything though, and during this time period, labels all over the country were redefining and consolidating themselves. It was, and still is, a very difficult time to be a musician.

On the same token, or the other side of the coin, there is Warner Bros.  Duran Duran released Paper Gods with Warner, and while yes, the album spent a small period of time in the top ten – did it really do well? I am really not sure. I don’t mean that I’m skeptical of its success…I mean I’m really not sure what DEFINES success these days. Is it sales? Is it tickets to live shows? What ever happened to videos? Do they matters? What about streaming – where does that fit into the equation? Does ANYONE, aside from the execs along with the Adeles, Justin Timberlakes, Taylor Swifts and Beyonces in this world, anyway, make money at this business in 2018?

I guess that really is the question, isn’t it?

-R

Losing Control: Where is it leading to?

If it hadn’t been for Amanda, I don’t think I would have remembered that Duran Duran,along with a fair amount of fans I recognize, are in Dubai this week.

Life has been a bit up in the air here lately. My husband has been interviewing by phone for a lot of companies all over the country, and for a while, every single day I’d get a text or two when I was at work suggesting the possibility of a new city to think about. “How do you feel about Philadelphia?”  Or “What about Chicago? Would you move back?” Today he has two more phone interviews. I have no idea how to plan, or what to plan for.  None of this is within my control right now. Should I start fixing up the house and thinking about packing away things I don’t need, or just start selling off personal items in order to keep paying bills. He’s been out of work since November, which in one sense has been a long time, but when you’re job hunting in his particular field with his particular job title, that’s not really so bad. My attention has been elsewhere, to say the least. Selfishly, I’m almost thankful we’re not talking tours right now.

Even with all that going on, and yes, it’s very stressful, I can’t help but notice a few photos from people I recognize and band members who don’t mind sharing their travels with us. Other than that, it’s hard to believe there’s #Duranlive happening anywhere right now. Dubai feels about as far away from California as the moon. (which I am well aware it is not!)

My own selfish needs aside, it is difficult to imagine that this may well be the only date for a live show this year. At one point, I was being told rumors of dates happening in spring. Obviously, that information was either wrong, or has been changed over the past several months. Either way, on one hand I’m relieved because I hate missing out (and I absolutely would have), and on the other – of course I always hope for something to happen. In some strange way, it helps to take my mind off of waiting for whatever is going to happen here at home. Those of you who have been in my situation know how difficult it is.

The one thing I’ve come to accept since November is that in this case, I have very little control over what might happen. I’ve told my husband over and over that I’ll move where ever we need to move. I’ve been very open and willing to consider every single place he’s suggested, and now we’re at a point where interviews are happening, although they’re just phone interviews right now – and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m anxious. This isn’t the first time he’s had to look for work, and he’s at a point now where it’s not just menial “worker bee” type of positions – the interview process is LONG. Our bills, however, keep rolling in. It isn’t fun. It isn’t as though because Walt has had time off we’ve traveled or gone on vacation. I’d say it’s the opposite.

As I am sitting here writing, Walt comes downstairs to tell me that one of the interviews he had set for this morning ends up needing to be rescheduled. I just take a deep breath and try not to show my disappointment. This has happened more times than I can count this time around, and it doesn’t help. It will easily be another week before that company sets something up (because it always is), and I keep reminding myself that there’s nothing that can be done. I’m merely the sounding block, I have no control. I have to just sit back, try to remain calm and positive, and let it take its course. Chances are, it all happened for a reason.

I suppose in some weird way, I’ve learned that this is the way it is for the band, too. I don’t have any idea if they’ve even started with studio time, or if they’ve even got any plans for anything in the future. Right now, aside from this Dubai show, I don’t know their plans. What I do know, and 100% accept, is that they’re going to do whatever it is that they’re going to do. Or not do. And that’s fine. It is totally out of my control. I have zero expectations this time around, and I don’t even have time or energy to think about it past blogging each day. Every so often I’ll see a comment from a fellow fan about whether or not they’re working on plans for #DD40. Most fans who comment about it seem to post like it’s an absolute “MUST” for the band to acknowledge and celebrate the milestone.

Is it really?

I mean, what if they didn’t? Would the world end? Would their career go up in smoke? What if they waited until year 45 to even tour again? What if they didn’t do a single thing other than put out a Facebook post? You know what would happen then?

Nothing. There would still be a sunrise. And a sunset. “Rio” would still get radio play, as would “Hungry Like the Wolf”.  The world would still know Duran Duran as that “MTV” band. We’d all still be fans. Or not. None of us have any control over what the band does. We don’t OWN them. They make the music. We buy it. For 99.9% of us, that’s as far as the relationship goes, whether we’ve been fans for 40 years or became a fan yesterday. Yes, it is hard to admit we’ve got no bearing, no skin in the game other than our loyalty – but that’s really all it is. We are not in control.

(You know who IS in control right now…along with the rest of his buddies? That’s right. You know the answer. Say it! The Controller. Aptly named, right??? And people wonder why we started calling him that. Gee I don’t know…)

So, I’m going to just sit back, wait, and be positive, because I really can’t do much else.

-R

Valentine Stones while we dance on the Valentine

If I thought yesterday was bad, today is even worse. There are not many notable Duran Duran “events” on my calendar for today, although the band has played a few shows on this date over the years, notably in 1984, 1993, and 2005.

So, I decided to do something different and talk about a song off of Paper Gods, aptly titled “Valentine Stones”.  The song is one of the bonus tracks off of the album, which I can now say are among some of my most favorite in the band’s overall catalog. This one is from the deluxe album (and I openly say I still dislike having to buy so many versions of the album to get all of the bonus tracks, even though I understand why, from a business standpoint, they do it. It is still annoying.) Yes, I’ll move off of my soapbox now.

First, let’s look at those lyrics. When I hear a song for the first time, I’m paying more attention to the music, but since this is by no means a new song, let’s just jump in with both feet.

Down here with the strays and the damaged
All stood in a line
This recovery so they tell me is one day at a time
And you think you can help me maybe
You can turn on your heels and save me
But I don’t want to be like the boys that you keep in tow
Like your valentine stones, stones, stones
Your valentine stones

All roads lead from my resurrection to your sympathy
An empty spaces which spoils your collection
That was meant for me
And you say you can help me maybe
You can turn on your charms to save me
But I don’t want to be just a toy that you keep at home
Like your valentine stones, stones, stones
Your valentine stones

Lost souls diamonds and gold
Gone cold valentine stones
Lost souls diamonds and gold
Grown cold valentine stones

First of all, I’d love to know which band member wrote this. Context is everything, although I know we’re supposed to be concerned with what the lyrics mean to ourselves. Even so, I wonder.

When I first heard this song, I thought about the title. “Valentine Stones” – for me, I went for the obvious (why think so hard all the time??). I went to school for gemology – so I immediately thought of those lovely little baubles that some generous significant (or insignificant!) others give for Valentines Day. Jewelry!  Diamonds, emeralds, rubies!!  You get the idea. I think about how they’re really just pretty sparkly things. Toys, really…which is even included in a line from the song. That’s sort of how I feel the person in the song feels. He/she is just a toy for this other person. I think that’s a fairly easy sentiment to identify with, and probably all of us have been there. Like anything, there are many different interpretations – there’s no “right” or “wrong”. What does the song mean to you?

The fun part, for me anyway, is the music. I like the heavy synth that begins the song, and I really love Simon’s vocals. They’re strong and clear, and then there’s that slightly funky rhythmic guitar. How can I not love that?!? There’s something to be said for a short, sweet and simple song like this one. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of the way the band wrote on their very first album. Valentine Stones doesn’t sound dated, don’t get me wrong, but it’s simple…and maybe that’s not the correct word to describe it. There’s not a lot of extra background fancy stuff going on, at least not to my ears. There is space between the notes, even with the short little break with Nick’s crunchy sounding synthesizer, it’s still neatly added. Not messy or overdone.

I’ve sat and wondered why some of these bonus tracks weren’t put on the album, and I’ve come to the conclusion that while each bonus track stands very strong on its own, when you think about Paper Gods as a whole, they don’t seem to fit. Amanda and I came to the conclusion that Paper Gods almost gives a sort of prospective about the band’s career. From “Paper Gods”, which in many ways is the perfect description of how the band is portrayed in the eyes of critics and even the public, to “Face for Today”, which seems to be give advice to a younger generation of Paper Gods, all the way though to “Universe Alone”, which many seem to think is how the band sees the end of their career. (But they’re not done just yet!) When you consider that sort of theme, it’s not a surprise that these songs didn’t fit so neatly into the story, and are therefore bonuses.

Even with all that in mind, like many of you – the bonus tracks are among my favorite. And let’s face it, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow…so while you’re dancing on the Valentine, you may as well listen to Valentine Stones, too!

-R

 

What is the function of a single in 2018?

My “Day in Duran History” desk calendar reminds me that on this day in 2011, BB2 announced that “Girl Panic” was the next single off of All You Need is Now.

Although I am the first to admit my memory isn’t what it used to be, I do remember hearing that “Girl Panic” would be the next single. I found that fascinating because up until that point, I hadn’t heard “All You Need is Now” more than a couple of times on the radio, if at all. I didn’t really understand the point of naming a single, unless of course we were talking about the physical release of a single – like on a 45. Sure, I’m dating myself here, but I really didn’t see the point, particularly if land-based radio wasn’t going to play anything the band released anyway.  I did buy the vinyl single, and like everyone else I waited on pins and needles for the video. But beyond that, I never quite got the necessity of the single.

My questions about singles lingered on through the release of Paper Gods, although on second thought I wonder if it’s simply that I have the wrong expectations in my head for what a “single” really means. Take “Pressure Off” for example. I never once heard the song played on any of the radio stations in Southern California. Not once. I didn’t hear about it being played anywhere, either. I don’t remember any kind of physical release, CD, vinyl, or otherwise for it…so what’s the point?

On the other hand, I know LA radio pretty well. In this market, there really isn’t a station that plays a genre that lends itself to recent Duran Duran. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard “Rio”, “Girls on Film”, “Ordinary World”, “Come Undone” and “Hungry Like the Wolf” on at least three, if not four stations in my area. It is rare that I can get into my car and drive the whole way home from work (45 minutes on a bad day) without hearing one of the above songs played. That said, as far as LA radio is concerned, Duran Duran hasn’t released even one song since 1993.  I’m pretty sure I don’t need to go into a full diatribe on that kind of stupidity, so I won’t.

I do have to ask though – what is the point behind putting out a single these days? Is it beneficial for Spotify? For subscription services like Sirius XM? What about internet radio? Does a band really need to release singles? I suppose that leads me to the question of an album, too. Are albums still necessary?

I know that recently Nick suggested that perhaps the studio time the band has casually thrown around in mention during their Katy Kafe wouldn’t necessarily lead to a full album. He’s said similar things in the past. I can’t say I’ve liked the idea enough to shout from the rooftops about it. I’m a big fan of full albums, myself. I like the idea of a complete story being told through music. I hate the idea of losing that format.

Are albums really any more necessary today than singles? I’m not sure.  Let’s not confuse this with whether we want more albums and singles. Rather, let’s consider their necessity and usefulness in this current business model and market.

-R

 

 

Las Vegas here we come!

Since I have to leave fairly early for Vegas tomorrow, I decided I’d better blog in advance on Wednesday night. This will post on Thursday morning, so our readers can enjoy while I’m driving through the desert!

Amanda and I are getting to Vegas a day earlier than our other friends, primarily so that we can get some much needed work…and relaxation done! So, I’m driving out this morning, and Amanda arrives later on.

I’m excited about having a little getaway. It all still feels a bit surreal, probably because of the holiday rush – I’m still recovering from Christmas and yet here I am packing to go see Duran Duran in Vegas, of all things!

It would seem that we have quite a crowd ready to invade Hard Rock Live for Late Bar on Friday night at 9:30. If you’re going to be in Vegas, you should definitely make plans to come to where the party is going to be that night! Great music, fun people, lively atmosphere, and it’s Vegas.  If you haven’t already told us you’d like to be included on the list for the comedy show (same place, just prior to Late Bar) and you want to go, please send us a note TODAY so we can add you!

On a personal note I feel a bit guilty going on a trip like this. Things haven’t been the greatest at home, and although my husband and son are taking this opportunity to go do “guy-stuff”, and my two daughters are going to hang out, I still feel bad leaving right now. That said, I need a break. I don’t think I’ve ever been this stressed out. I like it when life is fairly settled. The uncertainty is not fun, and while sure – life can be a great adventure – I’d be much more “up” for it if we knew where Walt (my husband) would be working. The first quarter of 2018 is going to be rocky, that is for sure. I just need to breathe.

Yep, definitely need this break. It’s going to be short, but I’ll take it.

On another note, did anyone see the song DDHQ posted today? It was sort of an odd Watch it Wednesday given that it doesn’t have a video, but they chose Planet Roaring.

While I have said that I don’t care what the band plays anymore, I will admit that I, among many other fans, would love to see them do this one live. Sure, it’s a “bonus” track, but it is such a great one. The words lend themselves so well to calling out to fans – and despite what the band seems to believe about this Vegas show – there are going to be a LOT of fans in that audience on Saturday night, and the venue isn’t that big! Play this one and they’d be liable to have an entire group of fans singing it right back at them.

The problem here is that the band just has too many good songs. It’s a good problem to have.  It’s just a shame that in order for them to take full advantage of their enormous catalog of music, they would need to change-up their show fairly often, which is pretty laborious (so I hear).  So while I may be singing Planet Roaring in my heart…my head is humming Hungry Like the Wolf and loving every minute of it!

Off to finish packing – and yes, Amanda and I will be tweeting and checking in from Vegas as much as possible. Check our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!!

-R