Tag Archives: Power Station

John Taylor on Let There Be Talk Podcast

I’m late, I’m late…I know… My tardy excuse today is that I was listening to the “Let There Be Talk” podcast with Dean Delray as he interviewed John Taylor. Yesterday, I scanned through it, picking up on bits and pieces, but today I forced myself to sit down and listen to the entire thing (at over an hour and a half – it’s a monster).

If you haven’t listened, or feel like you need a fairly comprehensive (but elementary) education on Duran Duran’s history, this may be the podcast for you. Likewise, if you are more of an auditory learner, give it a good listen. Make sure to have beverages and other sustenance available because it is hella-long. Here’s the link: Let There Be Talk featuring John Taylor.

Hard rock, The Viper Room, and plenty of gushing

Here’s the real deal: Dean Delray is very obviously someone who comes from more of a rock background, and by “rock”, I mean hard rock. Van Halen. Black Sabbath (whom he mentioned during the first MINUTE John was on the podcast), Guns ’n’ Roses… you get the idea. He has a voice that sounds like he smoked for 40 years and hung out at the Viper Room as a regular for at least 10, but who really knows.

He is what I would call a man’s man (more on that in a bit), and although he does a fair job of gushing (and yes, I do mean gushing) over Duran Duran and John Taylor (not that they don’t deserve it)…I would venture to guess the guy has spent next to no time ever really listening to their albums, or reading about their history. He knows the highlights, which to be fair is more than I can say about MANY of the people who have interviewed the band over the years. The problem is that Dean was going to attempt to chat with John for 90 minutes. Where does one go, conversationally, when you only know a smidgeon of what they’ve done??? That said…let’s just get on with the highlights before I get into more trouble.

I appreciated that the conversation opens with a discussion of the post-punk era. That lasted for approximately 15 precious seconds, when the conversation takes a strange turn. Delray brings up Black Sabbath – which caused my eyes to nearly roll back into my head. Is there really any other band that sums up the antithesis of what Duran Duran really IS at their core, than Black Sabbath? Obviously Delray was reaching for something to connect with John because Sabbath is also from the Midlands. I get it, but I don’t like where he was trying to go.

If you had to name one band that was DD’s polar opposite…

And hey, were John and Nick ever fans of Black Sabbath? I nearly spat coffee at my screen as John commented that no, he was never really into Sabbath, but he and Nick went to a show where they were playing, and knew to get out while they could. Again I ask, is there really any other band that is quite the polar opposite of Duran Duran? Probably not. I mean, Duran Duran is light, love, joy. Black Sabbath (and yes I actually *do* know their music well, thankyouverymuch) is more darkness, anger, and some control issues mixed in for good measure.

Rest assured, the train was brought back onto the right track as they continued to discuss where Duran Duran fit into this post-punk movement. John discussed how he switched from guitar to bass, and why he aspired to the sounds from black American bands like Chic. He talked about the funky power trio being at their core and how those rhythm sounds (as well as the bass) spoke to him. John also said that time really belonged to rhythm sections, as opposed to punk which belonged to guitar.

Delray then mentioned that in the 80s, Duran Duran were everywhere. DJ’s would play them, then follow with Van Halen and Prince. The common thread was that the 80s were a dance scene – bands wanted to be able to crossover and create songs that could be danced to, like “Jump” from Van Halen.

Dance, dance, dance

Funny, I just had this same conversation with my youngest as she prepares to go to her very first school dance on Friday. She’s only in 6th grade (she’s 11), and the dance is being billed as a dance/social with a carnival theme. Rather than just music and kids dancing – nowadays parents try to add in other activities. I talked about how at my middle school dances, girls (primarily, but not always) formed circles on the dance floor while we danced to the popular music of the day. She asked me what was popular then, and with profound joy (seriously, way too much joy, I think…) I pointed at our car stereo, which was tuned to SiriusXM 1stWave. “Anything they play on this channel is what Mom would dance to, including Duran Duran.” As we talked further, we agreed that kids don’t seem to have a lot of bands to dance to. It’s EDM, or like where we live – country. It’s not the same now. They have to play carnival games instead, I guess.

“What we lacked in know-how, we made up for in cajones.” – John, on “Let There Be Talk”

Simon, before…and after

They spend some time chatting about life before Simon. (Seems like that could be a fitting title for an autobiography) John gave a rudimentary timeline of the singers who held the mic before Simon came gliding in with his suave attitude, pink leopard pants, and book of lyrics. Sometimes, I wonder if the book of lyrics wasn’t more of a driving force behind Simon’s induction into Duran Duran than anyone wants to say….hmm…(thank goodness he’s still there though, am I right??) He mentionedTin-Tin Duffy and his band the Lilac Time, then talked a little more about Andy Wickett, and explained the course of events that brought him into Duran Duran. He said that Andy was a phenomenal singer, but that it just didn’t work out for him as a front man.

Simon joined the group by listening to what became Sound of Thunder a couple of times, flipping though that now infamous book of lyrics, and settling upon words that fit the music. The uniqueness of Duran Duran maintains that basic approach to this day, but back then it was John, Nick, Roger and Andy who wrote the music. Simon wrote the lyrics. All five members were equal.

Doesn’t it suck to be a boyband?

Just the topic is enough to set me off. Dean Delray doesn’t realize the minefield he stepped into as he asks the next question.

“There was a time when of course you become the teen idols. You’re fucking everywhere…Teen BeatTiger BeatDream Magazine (is that even a thing?)….any kinds of those. But at the same time it was really helping you, it was cursing you maybe in a legitimate music world. People thinking they’re just a boy band, even back then because we have boy bands all the way to now. Uh…did you feel that way, like ‘fuck this is great but it sucks at the same time’?”

John kind of pauses, which I appreciated…and I’m going to assume that he needed to collect his thoughts before answering. I know I needed to collect my jaw as it hit the ground while I was listening. He then says “uhhhh….I don’t remember thinking it sucks.”

For me, that was all that was needed. However, for the people in the back, or for those who, like Delray, believe it was a double-edged sword…John continues to explain that he didn’t mind being the pinup and in fact points out that his fans had his poster pinned up in their room to Gela (this made me chuckle) whenever possible. Amusing. If I were his wife, I’d probably put up with that exactly one time before throttling him. (typed with a grin)

“Life is foreplay for when the lights go down.” – JT


Videos

Like most who interview Duran Duran, Dean Delray doesn’t really get the videos. He knows they’re works of art “They’re 35mm films, dude, not videos!”, but he also thinks they cost millions. “Planet Earth cost about $10,000 US”, John corrects.

John gives Dean the quick rundown on why Duran Duran relied on videos, explaining that Rio was charting in Australia, about as far away as one could get from the UK, and yet they couldn’t affordably travel there to play, so their managers suggested they make videos. He described going into the studio to make Planet Earth and meeting Russel Mulcahey, and then talking about how it wasn’t until the mid-80s that videos became a multi-million dollar business. It remained pretty clear that Delray just didn’t get it as he finished the conversation on videos by saying “That thing you did on the yacht was great!” He expanded by talking about how they looked rich, living the good life and trails off just as John says that they were really “just goofballs” on the video.

Exactly. Sure, it took place on a yacht, but the moral of that video is that you can put the goofballs in nice clothes, allow them to drink champagne, and let them sail on a yacht…but they’re still going to fall all over themselves in front of a girl and throw the guitarist overboard!

They speak briefly of Sing Blue Silver, and it is just about at this point when I begin to wonder if John knew he was going to be teaching Duran Duran 101 before doing the podcast. His reward for providing that knowledge is Delray’s reply “That thing is so great!”

Oh come on….you know you’re thinking the same thing I am. Did he really know what Sing Blue Silver was?

Power Station and an evolving Duran Duran

So here’s the thing, John gives a full narrative on how Power Station came to be. The two main highlights here are:

Had Robert Palmer agreed to tour with Power Station, John feels (in hindsight, mind you), that they would have continued on, but they wouldn’t have been as important as Duran Duran.

John has so much respect for Nile, it is truly inspiring. They talk about Nile and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Chic has been nominated eleven times. ELEVEN…and even then, only Nile has been honored with an award of excellence as a guitarist. John says he (Rodgers) wears that (the knowledge) very well, that if it were him, he’d be bitter.

As many probably recognize, it was during this period that Duran Duran really evolved from a five piece to a three piece band. Dean asks about the money and the fame. Rather than succumb to discussing what had been lost along the way, John turns it around.

“A run like that, sooner or later, has to end. The momentum of what you’ve done carries you. Objectivity of your work, it has it’s place.” He continues by saying, “Treat audiences and your band mates with respect, and you can have a career.”

Delray asked about Neurotic Outsiders, a project that – out of everything – he seemed the most familiar with. He cites the Viper Room and knows the people in the band. John explains that it was a good space for him to work through the burnout he’d had (for him, it was the second time he experienced burnout with Duran Duran), and to work on staying sober and being a decent parent. This was a way for him to still have fun, by playing a residency on Monday’s at the Viper Room.

New album and closing thoughts

They closed with a bit of news on the coming album – which I shared yesterday. I also took special note of a date that John mentioned while talking about Simon’s history with the band. As they chatted about the band’s beginnings, John commented that on July 1, 2020 – it will be the 40th anniversary for the current lineup. I know this has always been a sticking point for fans, many of whom claim that the band has somehow “missed” their own anniversary in 2018.

I’m the last person to tell Duran Duran what date should be celebrated, or how they should do so. My job is to applaud it. In the case of the date though, it would appear that they want to celebrate the time when Simon was in fact part of the band. This makes sense. After all, the Duran Duran we all tend to think of actually involves Simon! So, stop with the “they forgot to celebrate their anniversary” nonsense. They didn’t. Sure, they celebrated the inception of the band back when they did the 78-03 tour. That’s called “marketing”. It’s a thing, and it isn’t an affront to anyone. It also isn’t “confusing”….it was about selling tickets and hyping up their reunion as the original five. They came up with a slick way to make it all seem a lot less contrived than saying “Hey, we need to hit the road to see if anyone will even buy tickets to come see us.” There’s nothing wrong with that.

This band isn’t one for looking back – listen to any interview over the years, and they’ll tell you that themselves. We fans have made far more out of this 40th anniversary than anyone else likely intended, including the band and management. The sights are set incredibly high, and the expectations are out of this world. No matter what the band does at this point, it may not be enough to pacify. This is unfortunate. Listen to the podcast. The one thing John says that is key for Duranies in resetting their expectations, is that the band talked a lot about what to do (if anything) about the 40th anniversary. The one thing they agreed upon, was that the best way to celebrate their career next year was with new music.

Sounds great to me, John!

Wow, after that post, I need a break! Good thing today is my “Friday” for blogging! Happy Weekend, everyone!

-R

Still In My Heart: Remembering Live Aid & The Power Station

By Jason Lent

Another Live Aid comes and goes and, as always, people have their annual chuckle about Simon LeBon missing a note during Duran Duran’s indifferent performance on the momentous day. For me, Live Aid arrived only four days after my first rock-n-roll concert and my ears were still ringing. As much as I wanted to see Duran Duran, it was The Power Station that had me glued to the television. A few nights earlier, my father took me to the outskirts of Florida civilization to witness John and Andy’s side-project at the infamous Hollywood Sportatorium. The excitement of seeing The Power Station certainly made it easier to accept the splintering mess that Duran Duran had become.


Duran Duran had played the Hollywood Sportatorium, affectionately called the Vomitorium for its lawless behavior, a year prior in March of 1984. Being a school night, I wasn’t able to convince my parents that it was the most important night of my life and I had to be there. They chalked it up to being a music crazed eleven year-old but I was serious. I knew Duran Duran were at their peak and I’ve always regretted missing that tour. My dad came through in 1985 and we stood in line for tickets as soon as the unexpected Power Station tour was announced. 


The videos for “Some Like It Hot” and “Get It On (Bang A Gong)” were colorful, sexy, and rocking. The album was an instant favorite for me whereas Arcadia’s album has taken years to fully win me over (and it has). For a first concert, I could do far worse than The Power Station and my excitement built and built as we drove down a one lane highway towards to Florida Everglades in the middle of empty fields. While South Florida eventually paved its way west into the Everglades, in 1985 the Sportatorium sat alone on the edge of civilization. We were on an adventure in my 12 year-old mind!


The decrepit arena lived up to its reputation. A few weeks earlier, a Robert Plant concert was postponed due to rain which wouldn’t be that odd except the Sportatorium was actually indoors! The crumbing ceiling was a sieve. Upon arrival, we climbed up the side of the concrete box to section 117 after a stop at the merch table to buy a concert program which I still have to this day. The scheduled support act Spandau Ballet had pulled out due to someone blowing out a knee and, I think, The Bongos might have opened the show. Can anyone confirm that? I just learned they had a song called “Barbarella” so there’s that. Regardless, I don’t remember the support act and the arena’s acoustics were a sound engineer’s nightmare so it could have been Poison and I wouldn’t have noticed.


Thinking back on concerts in the 1980s, I really miss the way they started. The excitement of the first song felt bigger back then from Jon Bon Jovi shooting from under the stage to Howard Jones’ mime winding up an audience. The opening riff of “Murderess” is still burned into my memory. As the curtains pulled back, Andy Taylor’s guitar sliced through the clouds of pot smoke and enveloped my entire being. This was rock-n-roll! I was hooked for life.  


The setlist was a mix of somewhat odd covers and the entire debut album. One of the biggest memories of the night was Miami Vice star Don Johnson joining the band on stage for a cover of  Rod Stewart’s “Some Guys Have All the Luck”. One of the most interesting songs would have been The Velvet Underground classic “White Light/White Heat” but I don’t remember it and I wouldn’t have known the VU back then. The Animotion cover of “Obsession” that DesBarres cowrote was a bigger deal to me on that night. Looking back at the setlist, I’m surprised that there were only two Duran Duran songs played (“The Reflex” and “Hungry Like the Wolf”) but I was so overwhelmed by the concert that I left on a high. 


A few days later, I spent a Saturday shifting from the living room couch to the front lawn to kick a soccer ball around awaiting the Duran Duran and The Power Station slots at Live Aid. The Power Station came out swinging at Live Aid, perhaps trying a little too hard. DesBarres runs all over the place while John and Andy play everything a little too fast. Tony Thompson, always a massive hitter, fills the stadium with ease but he was certainly thinking ahead to his set with Led Zeppelin a few hours later.


Next up was Duran Duran and it was quickly apparent that there was trouble in paradise. Roger Taylor looks completely sick of being in Duran Duran and the other four are clearly operating from two different camps. Andy Taylor sounds like he wants to bury Simon and Nick under a wall of distortion and John looks a bit ragged from his lifestyle. This is not a healthy band and Andy’s disgusted look to the stars when Simon misses the infamous note was a portent of what was to come. The fallout of Live Aid changed Duran Duran, and me, forever.


What happened after Live Aid comes back to me in pieces. I definitely didn’t buy Andy Taylor’s Thunder out of loyalty to Duran Duran but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the singles. The Power Station concert had opened my ears to dirtier guitars just in time for the rise of glam metal on MTV. When Notorious arrived, it was such a break from where Duran Duran had left off that it pushed me deeper into the world of Whitesnake and David Lee Roth, both of whom I saw at the Hollywood Sportatorium before it was torn down to the disappointment of absolutely no one. 


I finally saw Duran Duran in 1989 at the Miami Arena, which replaced the Sportatorium for us in South Florida. Empty seats and a lack of energy is what little I remember from the night. It was a difficult time to love Duran Duran but a lot of the songs on Big Thing and Notorious have aged better than Seven & the Ragged Tiger for me. Maybe The Power Station saved Duran Duran from themselves. It gave Andy an exit strategy, it finally forced them to address the divide that formed between the five men, and it forced Duran Duran to find a new sound in the aftermath. The Power Station also lit a fire in my soul for rock-n-roll that burns to this day. Other people have “cooler” first concerts to brag about but I wouldn’t trade that night in 1985 for any of them. 

Jason’s Power Station ticket from 1985!

Classic Pop Special 40th Anniversary Edition: 7ATRT and All Excess

This marks the third blog that gives a little summary and my thoughts about the next set of articles in the Classic Pop Special Edition for Duran’s 40th Anniversary.  In the previous posts, I took a look at the articles, “Conquering Planet Earth,” “Rare Photos,” and “Rio”.  Today, I’ll cover “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” and “All Excess Areas”.  Mind you, this only takes me through the first 40 pages of the magazine that ends at page 129!

Seven and the Ragged Tiger:

First thing I notice about this article is how much shorter it is compared to the one on Rio.  Then again, the first album did not get this coverage at all.  There is not the focus on the songs and the videos like Rio had.  I guess that I can understand why.  Rio was/is far more popular and one could argue that Seven was not as important in the history of Duran.  Nonetheless, I’m anxious to see how this album is covered.

The article starts out with quite a bang.  The subheading reads, “…album saw them threatened with becoming victims of their success, in danger of being overexposed, they saved their reputations – and their money – by spending the year abroad.”  Victims of their own success?!  While I don’t necessarily disagree, I don’t think I have ever read it or heard it in that way.  I have often thought about how the band members might have felt then when fame was all encompassing from fans everywhere to an insane schedule in order to maintain the success.  The article gives a quote from Simon in which he explains about how the album was about “ambition”.

The first part of the article focuses on how the writing and recording was different than the previous albums.  There is a quote from Nick about how the songs “were built rather than written”.  This is literally the first time I heard that, which makes total sense to me.  I think you can hear that with all of the various layers on the songs on that album.  According to the article, EMI started getting nervous with Ian Little producing so they brought in Alex Sadkin who kindly decided to keep Ian on.  All of that was new to me, too.  It makes me want to know more, that’s for sure!   I wish that the articles included their references so that I could check out sources for myself.

 Excess All Areas:

The picture that accompanies this article tells me it is about the side projects of 1985 as the title did not give it away.  A classic Arcadia picture leads the reader in and the subheading leads me to think the focus is going to be how the two side projects show the two sides to Duran (arty and rock sides).  As the article begins, I finally understand the title about “excess” with the sentence, “…where every artistic whim in the studio was fully indulged.”  Ah.  I get it now.

Interestingly enough, the majority of the article focused more on Power Station rather than Arcadia which does not seem typical to me.  While I knew of the history listed in the article, the author added some ideas that were new to me, including bad blood with Robert Palmer.  The article claimed that he used Power Station to jump start his own career and that he believed that he created the Power Station sound.  Fascinating.  Again, I wish that I had a list of their sources.  I did appreciate that it mentioned the second Power Station album, which rarely gets talked about ever.

The section on Arcadia was generally predictable with the art influences and awesome guest stars.  I did think it was interesting that it mentioned about how it didn’t do as well, chart wise, as Power Station, especially considering that fans now generally prefer Arcadia.  The article does include a blurb on TV Mania but did not mention John’s solo work or Neurotic Outsiders.  Hmm…

I have to admit that this section of the magazine had a few eye-opening ideas.  As I mentioned a few times, I wish I knew their sources!  Anything surprise all of you?

-A

Z100 press conference to announce Power Station dates

For today’s post I want you to sit and think back to May of 1985.

What comes to mind?

If you’re like me, you’re going through the possibilities in your head. Was Duran Duran especially active then? No…they’d already finished the Sing Blue Silver tour, and it was before they played at Live Aid. It was quiet as far that goes. Power Station though, wasn’t this right during that time??

Yes, yes it was. For me personally, Power Station was kind of like the band that kept me going. After all, John and Andy were both in it, and I will admit that I appreciated the heavier sound. It wasn’t until later this same year that Arcadia answered the Power Station record with one of their own, So Red the Rose. I don’t think I even knew Arcadia was about to be “a thing” in May of 1985. So, Power Station was “it”.

On this date in 1985, Power Station held a press conference on Z100 radio in New York to announce dates for their upcoming tour.

I don’t remember if this was simulcast to any stations across the country, but I do remember hearing the upcoming dates on at least one of my local radio stations. I begged and pleaded with the parental units. In 1985, I was 14. Surely I was old enough to finally go to a concert?!?

My parents weren’t quite so sure. Yes, they were pretty protective and strict. People think I’m joking, but I gleefully tell a story about my mom and how for the first ten or so years of my life, I wasn’t allowed to cross the street…in our neighborhood…without her standing outside to watch me, if not holding my hand tightly while I crossed. I’m really not exaggerating. Hearing the tales of friends taking the tube to hang outside of the studio where the band was recording or standing outside one of their homes seems very wild to me. I wasn’t even allowed to walk down my street without having a conversation with my mom first! (and no, I didn’t walk myself to school either. Are you kidding? gasp I had to cross several completely quiet, very safe, streets to get there!)

So, the jury was out as to whether I’d be allowed to go, and it definitely didn’t cross my parents minds that if they were so concerned, they could just go with me. Yet, fate had plans for me. I am the second youngest grandchild on both sides of the family. The title of youngest goes to my sister, Robin. Most of our cousins are ten years older than we are, and I even have one cousin that is only four years younger than my mom. In any case, I do have one cousin that is only a couple of years older than I am, and her older brother agreed to take us to see Power Station. So later that summer, I finally saw not only my first concert, but two Taylors on stage…and THAT is my memory of the Power Station tour!

Anyone remember listening to that Z100 press conference?

-R

Happy Birthday Andy Taylor!

Ever since I can remember, February has always been marked by two birthdays:  my brother’s and Andy Taylor’s.  About a week ago, my older brother celebrated a significant birthday as he turned 50!  (For the record, that makes me feel old and I’m the youngest!)  As a kid, I always remember celebrating my brother’s birthday with his favorite chocolate pie and some science fiction movie.  A week later would always mean Andy Taylor’s birthday.

As soon as I became a Duranie, the band members’ birthdays were a big deal.  When I was lucky, a Duran birthday meant spending the night at my friend’s house where we would watch MTV for as long as we could stay awake.  It also meant begging and pleading for some sort of cake  from one of the mothers.  I remember actually putting in candles and singing “Happy Birthday” to no one in particular.  Tell me that I was not the only one to do this.  Am I right?

Now, as an adult, I don’t necessarily make a cake or sing, but I still like to acknowledge the big day in some way.  On this day, I have to acknowledge Andy’s birthday as he turns 57.  While he may not be in the band anymore, I still like to celebrate him and what he gave to the band.  After all, when I think of early Duran Duran, I think of the musical tug-of-war between the rock guitar sound and the experimental keyboard sounds.  To me and to a lot of Duran fans, this musical fight brought out some of the best Duran music ever recorded.  A song and performance like this one comes to mind:

Speaking of performances, who could forget how Andy rocked a song like Wild Boys!

Beyond Duran Duran, I appreciated what he also brought to the table when it came to Power Station!

Of course, Andy created some music on his own, too!

One thing is certain.  Andy Taylor has made his mark, musically, on the world.  While I am uncertain to what he is doing today, I hope that he is continuing to be creative and that he is as happy as he can be.  On this day, we celebrate him and all of the musical gifts that he has given to us over the years, whether as a member of Duran Duran, Power Station or as a solo artist.  Happy Birthday Andy!

-A

Are we ready for a Power Station Revival?

On this date in 1985, Power Station appeared on Miami Vice.

That seems like an eternity ago. I barely remember the episode, but I do remember squealing like a piglet when John and Andy appeared onscreen. I miss moments like that.  I miss that weird “squirmy” feeling I’d get just before the band would appear on TV, or just before MTV would air a video, or….just before the band comes on stage!

Speaking of Power Station, though, reminds me of a rumor I just read yesterday. According to HRH Magazine, Andy Taylor is looking to “revive The Power Station from the depths of a wall but perfectly formed Ibizan recording studio.” The magazine was granted “exclusive access and they heard “two belting new tunes”.

Say what? Power Station???

So many thoughts swirling about. First of all, I have to wonder if this revival is for real, or just a bogus rumor, magazine or not. For all we really know, the belting tunes could have been anything. It doesn’t really say what the songs were or give any sort of detail. Since Andy himself wasn’t quoted in the blurb I saw, it could be that he simply said he’d once considered reviving the band, and the magazine – being a magazine and all, took off with it. We’ve seen similar things happen with Duran Duran. (Anyone remember a rumor about AT joining back up with the band for their 40th??) I don’t really know, but call me a skeptic.

Secondly, half of Power Station is deceased. I’d love to sugar coat that fact, but it’s reality. So who is in the band? John and Andy?? John didn’t even participate in the last go-round, so I have to admit if I were a betting person, my money would be on the space marked  “he’s not involved”. So who has Andy lined up for this revival?

If this rumor is really true, and I’m not entirely convinced of its validity, I think the timing is interesting. As we all know, Duran Duran’s 40th anniversary is coming up. What better timing for a previous side project to reappear? Not that I think a brand-new Power Station would steal Duran’s thunder. In fact, I think it might profit from it. Timing is everything.

I have to wonder though, do we really need a Power Station revival?  For me personally, my interest waned quite a bit after their first album. It felt like a one-off to me, and there’s no shame in that. I don’t know what value it might really have after all of this time. Maybe I’d feel differently if the original band were still intact. Then again, one could (and should) point out that Duran Duran still have plenty to say 40 years later, and it is not their original line-up that I hear on their albums. Fair enough. I’d be more likely to agree if Power Station had done more than two fairly incongruous albums over the years. Even as I write though, I’m wondering if I’m being entirely fair. I suppose in many ways I’m hedging my bets so that I’m not disappointed in the long run.

Discuss!

-R

 

Power Station at Irvine Meadows

Some of these dates in history take me right back to childhood, and this one is one of those. On this date in 1985, Power Station played at Irvine Meadows, in Irvine, California.

What is remarkable about this date, at least as far as I’m concerned, is that it was my very first concert. Ever.

There is very little I can share with you about the show, because my memory is horrible. I can remember sitting back pretty far—not quite grass—but certainly not orchestra, and I know that I went with my cousins. That in and of itself is strange, because at the time, I lived in Glendora, and my cousins lived all the way in Van Nuys, which is probably an hour and a half from Irvine.  (I know I fell asleep on the way home from the concert, that is for sure!)

I had spent the week with my cousin Patty, who had a massive crush on John Taylor at the time. Since my particular brand of Taylor was not a member of Power Station (Roger, in case anyone cares!), I pretty much just followed her lead. She was a year older, much more worldly, mature and wicked cool, so I figured she’d just know. Know what, I am not entirely sure….but I just knew she was on to something.  The day before the show, there had been an appearance at a record store in Van Nuys. I remember this because we’d convinced her mom—my aunt—to allow us to take the bus down to the store and wait in line.

I can tell you right now that my mom and dad would have never allowed such a thing. So, it was a good thing I was staying with Patty. Her mom worked during the day, and Patty was on her own. My parents also worked, but somehow, I didn’t have quite the freedom she did. I had a lengthy list of chores to do each day during the summer, and had to answer the phone whenever my mom called (she would ring, hang up and ring again so I’d know it was her) as well as babysit my younger sister – who is five years younger. Patty had none of that. She was free to ride the bus, sit out by the apartment complex pool….and talk to much older men she probably shouldn’t have about things I am positive my parents would have freaked out about.

Maybe my parents had something there, after all.

Anyway, I digress. We had gone to a lot of trouble to bake chocolate chip cookies in the shape of the letters “J” and “T”, with the full intention of taking them to John that day at the signing. I really don’t know what in the hell we were thinking. I suppose we naively thought we’d just walk right up to him with food and that there wouldn’t be a line or security or any of that. I didn’t know any better. I don’t even know how we were thinking we were going to transport the cookies without breaking them while riding the bus and holding our Power Station albums to have signed. In hindsight, it’s a good thing that the cookies were not only too thick and looked nothing like the letters “J” and “T”, they were also slightly burned.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I don’t bake.

We agreed to leave them at home, not embarrass ourselves, and just go to the signing. I can remember how hot it was waiting there. It was all fun and games at first until we realized the line was several blocks long and that unless John was planning an overnighter, he’d never get all the way through the line. We probably should have left much earlier – like the night before – to get a better spot. Even so, teenage optimism prevailed, and we soldiered on. It wasn’t too long before the line seemed to really move, entirely way too fast I might add, and then word got to us that John had just sped off, safely in the back of a limousine.

I felt so dejected that day. It was awful. I didn’t cry or anything, but it was then that I first realized how unfair fandom can be. Even when you have all the information you need, someone is always going to be there first. I don’t think that’s really changed much since 1985. Amanda and I experience it nearly every time we tour. We’ll choose to do one thing, and others will choose another, and typically – we choose wrong. (We are very good at that)  We’re rarely in the right spot at the right time, and while sure, there have been times (some frighteningly recently) where I’ve wanted to kick myself for deciding to drive home rather than use the information I’d been given to go and see if I could find the one person I wanted to see, or turning around to go back to a city we just left because someone tweeted their own whereabouts, overall I just have to laugh.  It’s all luck. Someone is always going to have better luck, more accurate information, or just have “more”.

I’m glad I didn’t give up on being a fan that day. It wasn’t John’s fault, of course, and in some ways – I’d give anything to go back to being that naive, very awkward 14-year-old standing in line for a signing. Sometimes 1985 doesn’t seem that long ago, and then other days, like today, it feels like a lifetime ago.

-R

Ultimate Box Set: Side/Solo Project Final Vote

The Daily Duranie has been working to create an Ultimate Duran Duran Box Set.  While Rhonda and I have definite strong opinions about what should be included, we didn’t think that made sense to just have it be from us.  Therefore, we have taken time to ask all of the Duranies who read this blog to help us create it.  The Ultimate Box Set would have multiple categories including:  Singles, Album Tracks, B-Sides/Bonus Tracks, Live Tracks, Side/Solo Project Songs, and Remixes.  So far, readers have chosen 7 tracks from all of the categories except for Side/Solo Projects and Remixes.  The results so far are:

Singles:

  • Planet Earth
  • Save a Prayer
  • Ordinary World
  • Girls on Film
  • Pressure Off
  • Rio
  • New Moon on Monday

Album Tracks:

  • New Religion
  • The Chauffeur
  • Hold Back the Rain
  • Friends of Mine
  • The Man Who Stole a Leopard
  • The Seventh Stranger
  • Paper Gods

B-Sides/Bonus Tracks:

  • Secret Oktober
  • Late Bar
  • Beautiful Colours
  • I Believe/All I Need to Know
  • Salt in the Rainbow
  • Planet Roaring
  • Faster Than Light
  • (Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile

Live Tracks:

  • New Religion
  • Careless Memories
  • The Chauffeur
  • Rio
  • Wild Boys
  • White Lines
  • Planet Earth

Now, we are ready to finally choose the 7 songs that will represent the best of Duran’s Side and/or Solo Projects.  In case, you want to listen to the choices, I made some playlists on YouTube for all of you:

Arcadia:

Power Station:

John Taylor:

Simon Le Bon:

Dom Brown:

Now, I think we are all ready to pick SEVEN side and solo project songs that should be included on the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set!!!

-A

[socialpoll id=”2451163″]

Ultimate Box Set: Side/Solo Projects Part 1

The Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set finally reaches the last category.  Since winter, fans/readers of this blog have voted on singles, album tracks, b-sides/demos, and live tracks.  Now, we begin voting on the last type of Duran song to be included in our box set.  This category really isn’t Duran but songs written and recorded as part of a side project or by a member on his own.  Before I get into how I will split up this last category, let’s look at which live songs were chosen.

After starting with the 50 most often songs played live, we narrowed down the choices to 35 then 21 before picking 7.  Here are the winners:

  1. New Religion
  2. Careless Memories
  3. The Chauffeur
  4. Rio
  5. Wild Boys
  6. White Lines
  7. Planet Earth

If you notice, many of those songs are played at the majority of shows, including Rio, Wild Boys, White Lines and Planet Earth.  Although, that last song was notably absent at some spring shows!  Anyway, I’m sure that there will be some fans who read this blog and participate in these fun polls who will want to determine which version/arrangement of these live tracks should be included.  I agree.    Yet, I will do those polls as part of our daily questions.  I’ll have to determine how many different live versions exist for each one, but that voting should be fun.

Meanwhile, we move on to the side/solo projects.  Clearly, this category is a large one with many bands (Power Station, Arcadia, Neurotic Outsiders, The Devils, TV Mania, Freebass, etc.) as well as solo songs by Simon, John, and Dom.  Here’s the deal.  I considered including Andy and Warren’s projects but opted not to for two reasons.  First, I needed to limit the category somehow and, second, I decided to stick to current members only.

Like other massive categories, I didn’t want to include all songs by all side/solo projects all at once.  Talk about overwhelming!  Therefore, I had to break them up, somehow.  My plan is to stick to similar projects while attempting to balance the number of songs.  Thus, this week we will start with Power Station and Neurotic Outsiders.  Both projects featured John Taylor and had more of a rock style.  In case, you aren’t familiar with these projects, I will help on that front.  I have put together YouTube playlists to help.

Here’s Power Station:

Here’s Neurotic Outsiders:

Now, hopefully, you are all ready to pick the 7 songs out of the list that should be considered for the side/solo project songs on the Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set!  Let’s vote:

[socialpoll id=”2443192″]

-A

Duran Duran without a drummer?! Roger Taylor leaves the band in 1986.

Nearly every Duran Duran fan I know has a favorite. It is one of the first questions we asked one another when we met, as though it’s some sort of way to identify one another. “Oh, that’s Suzie—she’s a Simon-girl.”

Well, my favorite original band member is Roger. My friend Lori believes it’s like imprinting, once you pick a favorite – that is it, he’s your favorite for life and it isn’t as though you really have a choice. It just happens. I can’t really say for certain that is the case, but I can tell you that my “favorite” came about in exactly that way. I saw him in a picture or on a video, and that was that. I really liked that within my group of friends, I was the only Roger-girl, and I didn’t have to “share” him, even if that meant I was only having to share pinups or posters out of the magazines we’d look through during breaks and lunch at school!

It was a happy existence, right up to when the Sing Blue Silver tour finished and I stopped really hearing much about Duran Duran for a while. I stopped seeing as many articles about them in the teen magazines, and instead heard little blurbs about how there was Arcadia, and Power Station…and then I saw Live Aid, and then nothing. By then, rumors were really circulating that Duran Duran was done or that some of the members were quitting. I didn’t really know what to believe, but I knew I didn’t like what I was hearing.

The one thing most Duran Duran fans will tell you is that throughout our history with this band – fans find out the news first, and then the band will finally come out with a statement. It does seem to be a pattern, even if I have more understanding now of why it all happens that way.  I think most fans knew something wasn’t right with Duran Duran way before they ever announced Roger wasn’t coming back, but hearing the words – reading the words, made it real.

I can remember hearing about Roger leaving the band on the radio. I couldn’t tell you what station I was listening to, or even who said the words, but my heart sank that day in 1986. I don’t think it was really a surprise to me when I heard the news, it just felt real. I knew things wouldn’t be the same after that. I still followed Duran Duran for decades (obviously!), but from that day up until 2001, there was always a little hope that he’d return. I remember hearing rumors of a breakdown, and wondering what really happened.  I never collapsed into a fit of tears or anything quite that dramatic, but the magic of Duran Duran just didn’t feel the same after that.  Silly me – every time I’d see them in concert, I’d hope Roger would make a return. Hope springs eternal, right?

For me, the worst part was not Roger’s absence, but the questions of why he left—which have all been answered. Sometimes, I don’t think the band necessarily understands THAT piece of it – that for fans, it isn’t the fact of whether or not someone left, it’s the why.

I wouldn’t say (necessarily) that it’s because we want to intrude on their personal lives—although I can understand why some would assume that we’re just nosey, but the reasons are much more complicated.  In order to understand, I think you have to recognize that to a fan like me—I’ve “known” the band for many years now. (Seriously, I have known and loved Duran Duran longer than any other person in my life, other than my parents and sister. Think about it.) For example, Duran Duran have been in my life for so long now that I assume I know them. How can we not be family?? As family, we all feel like we have the right to know what’s going on….except to the BAND….they don’t know us at all. I mean, there’s only a handful of fans that they generally know. This goes back to general math: five of them, thousands of us, you get the idea. Even so, our relationship (as fans) with them, is really intense. It’s personal. We feel like they’ve saved us, or we’ve cried over life with them in the most intimate of moments. That isn’t crazy behavior, it’s just being a fan.  Many of us have been fans since we were very young. On some basic level, It is unconscionable to us that the band (or their representatives) wouldn’t explain full reasonings to us when things happen.

Sure, as an adult, I get it. I don’t NEED to know why Nick left the tour last year, for example. It’s none of my business. I understand privacy and I respect his. But back when Roger left the band, I would have given anything to have been told why – and not just a pat answer some PR genius wordsmiths together – but a real reason. Yeah, I wasn’t even quite 16 at the time. I still lived in fantasy land and loved it.

I quietly shut the book on fairy tales until some point in 2001, when I  read something about a reunion and nearly fell off of my chair. I can remember saying as much to Roger a few years later at a signing for the Astronaut album, as I told him he had always been my favorite and thanked him for coming back to the band. Thankfully, he didn’t make me feel like a complete imbecile that day, and instead said it was sweet of me to say. I swooned all the way home.

-R