Tag Archives: Red Carpet Massacre album

Classic Pop Special Edition: Five Decades and Boys on Film

This week’s edition of covering the Classic Pop magazine’s Special Edition for Duran’s 40th anniversary features two articles:  Five Decades of Duran Duran and Boys on Film.  The first article focuses on an interview with John Taylor and the second talks about the band’s videos.  Two articles I’m very excited to read and to write about!

Five Decades of Duran Duran:

This article appears to be a repeat from a 2012 interview with John Taylor that coincided with the release of his autobiography.  Despite the fact that it is not new, I’m still excited to read it and see how John interpreted Duran’s career.

This article is broken up into decades starting with the 1970s.  This part included how the band formed and their influences.  Frankly, this history lesson was one that I feel like I have read a bunch of times.  That said, while I feel like I know the history of Duran and could tell it in my sleep, I always appreciate it as it is important to know it.  One part that is interesting is how the article includes a little timeline with some big moments.  In the case of the 1970s and early 1980s, it had the forming of the band, signing with EMI and releasing the first single, Planet Earth.  The history teacher in me approves.

The part on the 1980s was exactly what I thought it would be.  It covered each of the albums from the debut self-titled album, Rio, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, Notorious and Big Thing.  On top of that, the side projects of Arcadia and Power Station, and the departure of Roger and Andy were covered.  Their Live Aid performance was also mentioned.  Much like the part about the forming of the band, I didn’t learn anything new.  That said, the timeline focused on the release of the first album, the Girls on Film video, the departure of Roger and Andy, the Notorious single and the Big Thing release.  I think some of those choices were interesting.  For example, I don’t know that I would have picked Big Thing to cover in that timeline.

The 1990s consisted of just a few short paragraphs, which included information on Ordinary World’s success, the poor performance of the album of covers, Thank You, and John’s decision to leave the band.  I’m fascinated that this section was so short.  Clearly, the author did not feel like the 1990s was worth much time and focus.  It isn’t that I disagree but I am surprised by that.  The timeline included the rise of grunge (weird), Ordinary World’s release, Thank You’s release, John’s departure and the parting from EMI.  This timeline almost completely matched the paragraphs about the same time period.

The 2000s part was definitely the most interesting to me.  It went over the reunion, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre and All You Need Is Now.  Out of all of that, I zeroed in on the transition from Red Carpet Massacre to AYNIN.  In the article, John is quoted as saying, “We’d disconnected with the vibe” with RCM but that it helped to create the perfect timing for Mark Ronson.  John continued by claiming that the band did not have a lot of trust with each other during Astronaut and weren’t always open-minded.  He stated, “All You Need Is Now is a total Duran Duran album, much more so than Astronaut.  But we didn’t have Mark then.  We needed a producer…who totally understood the Duran Duran DNA.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Boys on Film:

This focus of the article, Boys on Film, is exactly what you think it would be, which is about the band’s videos.  The feature gave credit to their video directors, including Russell Mucahy and Godley and Creme.  Like much of Duran’s history, it starts out discussing the video of Planet Earth to Girls on Film to the Sri Lankan videos especially Hungry Like the Wolf.

What is interesting to me is the discussion surrounding Girls on Film.  While we know why the band had a video like this and how it was received, I hadn’t read much criticism of the video from the band before.  In this article, Godley feels like the band wanted it more arty with style and fashion.  Similarly Simon feels like the video overshadowed the song’s message about the mistreatment of fashion models.

I also appreciated the discussion of the Rio video.  While the article talked about the suits and image of the yacht, the fact that the author included this quote from Nick makes me happy, “For me, the thing that stands out in the Rio video…is the humour in it…”  He continues to say, “A lot of the videos I liked best really had great humour in them.”  I totally agree!

The article wraps up with a discussion of the Wild Boys video with only inserts about A View to a Kill and Girl Panic.  Obviously, the author did not think the rest of the videos mattered that much.  Uh.  I don’t think I agree with that decision.  If I had written the article, I might pick a few different videos as examples of the types of videos Duran has done.  On that note, next week I’ll cover “The Mark of Greatness” about Mark Ronson and the 2010s as well as an article about Stephen Duffy.  Should be interesting!

-A

Classic Pop Special Edition: Top 40 Tracks and Elder Statesmen

I am continuing on in my series on Classic Pop magazine’s special edition for Duran’s 40th anniversary.  As usual, I’m going to focus on the next two articles:  Top 40 Tracks and Elder Statesmen.  The first one focuses on Duran’s songs whereas the second one takes a look at the 2000s, moving closer to present day Duran.  As much as I like reading about Duran history, I am excited about reading about more recent Duran, when I was more actively involved in the fan community.

Top 40 Greatest Duran Duran Tracks:

I am a sucker for lists like this article!  I love reading any and all articles about Duran’s best albums, best videos, etc.  I adore creating my own lists.

What is interesting about this list is that they first of all specified that they are studio tracks.  They did not include any live versions, remixes, or covers.  Then, the article states that this list “almost writes itself.”  Fascinating.  If that was not interesting itself, the author did not put them in order but instead chose to list them in chronological order.  I have to wonder why he did not put them in order from worst of the list to the best.  Too hard?  Too time consuming?  Too much risk that it would irritate readers?  I don’t know the reason.  While I won’t share the exact list here, I will give a rough description of how many tracks from different projects were chosen and then some that I might have been surprised by.

Duran Duran (1st album) – 5 tracks

Rio – 7 tracks

Seven and the Ragged Tiger – 6 or 7 tracks depending on how they might have been categorized

Notorious – 2 tracks

Big Thing – 3 tracks

Liberty – 2 tracks

The Wedding Album – 4 tracks

Medazzaland – 1 track

Pop Trash – 1 track

Astronaut – 1 track

Red Carpet Massacre – 0 (Although Skin Divers is listed as a “guilty pleasure.”)

All You Need Is Now – 4 tracks

Paper Gods – 3 tracks

In some ways, I’m not surprised by that list.  I knew that Medazzaland might not have many tracks included but I am surprised that it got more than Red Carpet Massacre.  Likewise, both All You Need Is Now and Paper Gods got more than Liberty and Notorious.  This leads me to wonder.  What 40 tracks would I list?  Could I put them in order unlike the author of this article?  Maybe it is time for some Daily Duranie homework.  What do you all think?  Should we each try to create a list of the top 40 Duran tracks?  If so, let me know and I’ll create the “assignment”!!  Personally, I think it would be fun and might give us something to do to pass Duran downtime.

Elder Statesmen:

This article summarizing the 2000s begins with the reunion.  Much of the story I have read about before.  Like many of the previous articles, however, there was a tidbit that I had not heard about before.  In this case, the article claims the band tried to get the Berrow Brothers back as managers.  If that is true, I have to wonder what would have been different.  What do you all think?  What do you think would have been different?  Would it have been better?  Worse?

Of course, the article went on to describe Astronaut and the departure of Andy Taylor.  I wondered how that was going to be covered and I think the author did a nice job just relaying the facts that are known.  Andy was not demonized and neither was the band. Likewise, the author remained neutral when it came to the now-shelved, Reportage, and the decision to start fresh, which eventually became Red Carpet Massacre.  Obviously, there are lots of rumors surrounding that time period but the author stayed clear of them all.

The article concludes with a description of the poor performance, commercially, of Red Carpet Massacre as well as the beginnings of the connection with Mark Ronson, which we know results in All You Need Is Now.  Besides the recent history lesson, the article has some extras, including a quote of Dom’s from a little blog we know and love.  (coughourscough)  It also summarizes the “key recordings” of each of the albums from the 2000s and the influence the band had on other modern day artists.  Personally, I love those little additions! They add so much!

Next week, I’ll cover Five Decades of Duran Duran and Boys on Film.  I’m looking forward to it!

-A

Simon and Dom on Jack Diamond, 2008

Every now and then, something comes up in Duran Duran history that I haven’t heard or didn’t know about. Today is one of those days! On this date in 2008, Simon and Dom appeared on The Jack Diamond Morning Show on WRQX – Mix 107.3, in Washington DC.

A couple of things about this appearance jump out at me. The first being that Dom was on the show with Simon. He was there to play acoustic guitar, which is really pretty cool! The second is that there’s a bootleg album of this appearance out there in fan land…and I need to find it!

In addition to an interview, they perform “The Chauffeur”, “Ordinary World”, and “Falling Down”, which was the single off of Red Carpet Massacre, which they were promoting at the time. I looked on YouTube, hoping to find a snippet, but I came up empty.

If you happen to have the bootleg of this appearance – let me know!

-R

Red Carpet Massacre Lessons

Last week (or earlier this week, depending on how you look at it), Rhonda blogged about the ten year anniversary of Red Carpet Massacre.  After I got over the shock that ten years have gone by, I started to really think about what that album era means to me.  That time really shook my fandom and made me question quite a lot.  I think the fact that I got through it made my fandom a lot, lot, lot stronger.

Astronaut Era

Before I dive into the lessons I got during the years of 2006-2009, I have to acknowledge what fandom was like for me during the Astronaut era of 2004-2005.  That, of course, was when I had jumped head first back into the fandom and into the fan community.  I spent a lot of time online on message boards and wanted to make a lot of friends within the community.  If someone asked me then about what it was like to be a Duranie, I guarantee that I would have said something about how it was a non-stop party and that everyone was really great.  It felt to me that I had a thousand best friends and the potential for thousands more.  Everything about the fandom felt fun.  Were there some signs that everything wasn’t rosy and perfect?  Sure.  I blew them off.  I ignored them.  I continued on in my happy way.

Rumors

As soon as the rumors about the next album started to fly, the fandom seemed to take a turn.  Suddenly, opinions were flying across each and every message board.  Was Andy going to be on the next album?  Would the band use a hip hop producer?  Was the rumor to Justin Timberlake true?  If so, what does that mean for how good the album is going to be?  I couldn’t keep up and found myself feeling dismayed.  Pushing my thoughts and feelings about those rumors to the back of my mind, I focused on how divided the fan community was.  Some loved the ideas and others hated them.  I hated the division.

I tried to hold off judgment but I, too, had concerns that it wouldn’t be like the Duran I knew and loved.  While that worry lingered, I found myself desperately wishing for things to go back to the way they were during Astronaut when everyone was happy.  I realized right then that I couldn’t do that.  I couldn’t go back and I couldn’t keep the fandom in a bubble.  It doesn’t work that way.  I needed to figure out how to just go with the flow.

New York City

During 2007, I went to see the band perform twice in New York City.  The first time was with Rhonda at the fan show in June of that year, which only added to the division and strong feelings.  I found my worry growing exponentially as it felt like the band wasn’t sold on their album either as I saw them stand on the stage demonstrating less than confident body language when introducing the five songs they played from a CD that night.  My biggest fear?  It wasn’t that the band had created an album that I would hate.  I figured that I could get through that.  No, my biggest fear was that my friends would leave the fandom, that I would be left alone, that all the fun I had in 2004 and 2005 were never be repeated.  While I, too, had many criticisms over what I saw and felt that weekend, I didn’t say much.  I feared that I would add to the reasons for people to walk away, for me to walk away.  I didn’t want that.  Thus, I watched as many of my friends vented their frustrations and concerns while I tried to hold on to my fandom for dear life.

With that goal in mind, I went back to NYC to see the band perform on Broadway in November.  I hadn’t planned on going as my closest friends weren’t going but when decent tickets popped up and my friend who lives there was interested, I jumped at the chance.  The reason was simple.  I hoped that the band would ease my anxiety, that my fandom would be given a shot of armor to get through this battle of sorts.  It worked.  I saw a very different band that night.  Instead of the anxiousness I witnessed in June, the band on stage in November was tight, thrilled to be performing, and confident.  They embraced their performance and allowed me to as well.  I went into 2008 in a stronger stance.

Fall 2008 Tour

Somehow, through the messiness that was Red Carpet Massacre and shifting friendships, Rhonda and I decided to go to a few shows in December of 2008.  It was there that the shift in my fandom that started in late 2006 was almost complete.

Throughout 2004 to 2008, I focused a lot on what I should be doing, thinking and feeling as a fan.  I wasn’t doing this consciously but looking back, it is clear.  Should I love Astronaut?  Should I hate Red Carpet Massacre?  Am I supposed to try to find the band after shows or not?  What’s the cool way to respond to being near the band?  I watched my fellow fans closely and often followed their lead.  Some indicated that I should keep my fandom at arm’s length, that I don’t need to show my fandom that much.  They believed that there was a definite line that should not be crossed.  Cool fans don’t need to be up close.  Cool fans don’t want to be where the band is.  I never questioned.  I never asked why.  I just followed the lead.

During those December 2008 shows,  I decided that I needed to do what works for me, what makes me happy as fan and that it is okay if it is different for others.  They should be able to do what makes them happy as fans.  How did I come to that conclusion? Two things.  First, two shows happened that I wish that I could do over.  Why?  Well, in the case of the first one, instead of just being happy to be there, we complained about a lot.  Some of it was definitely legitimate but still stupid for us to focus on.  For the second show, we had the chance to be up front and didn’t take it, in order to be cool.  Can you imagine?  Yeah, I kick myself for that.  Second, I did a lot of talking with Rhonda as we drove around that weekend.  Our conversations made me realize that I didn’t like the direction my fandom was going.  I wanted to still have fun and I wanted to have good times at shows.  Since then, we have made the best of the shows we have been at and always try to get the best spot possible (within reason).

Overall, the RCM era tested my fandom quite a bit.  I had to figure out who I was at a fan and what I needed to have fun and what I needed if I was going to continue being in it.  Really, it also pushed Rhonda and I into taking action, which led to this blog and where we are today.  While RCM isn’t a favorite of mine, I can appreciate the lessons that came along with it.

-A

10 Years Ago: The Fan Only Show

Ten years ago, yesterday, Duran Duran played at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.  This concert was open only to paid members of DuranDuranMusic, the band’s official fan community.  This show took place during the writing and recording of Red Carpet Massacre.  In some ways, I feel like this show was just a year or two ago, but, in other ways, it feels like a lifetime ago.  I learned a lot about the Duran Duran fan community.  On top of that, it represents not only that time period but also marks a dividing line in my personal fandom.

In 2007, a lot of Duranies were members of DuranDuranMusic.  The message board was busy all day and all night.  Threads had pages and pages of posts.  Posters had thousands of post counts.  Whenever anyone went to those boards, it was clear which fans were friends with each other and even, I dare say, which groups were more popular than others.  In saying that, I’m not criticizing anyone–just giving my observation.  When the band announced this fan only show, I felt nothing but excitement and determination to get there.  The fan community advertised the event as special, one time only.  Most fans I know desperately wanted to be there because  it seemed to be so special.  I was no different.

While my group was no where near popular or even known by many other fans, I still wanted to be a part of it.  Did I think that popularity within the fan community was tied, at least to some extent, to how many shows people went to?  Sure did.  I remember watching other fans in 2005 and 2006 going to tons of shows and they always seemed to have these amazing stories of their experiences.  I felt certain that attending this fan only show would provide me with my own story, so to speak.

I did have a story of sorts.  It focused on our sad attempt at getting VIP tickets.  My group, at that time, included Rhonda and myself and a friend of ours.  We needed three tickets.  The tickets were distributed by lottery.  When the results came up, two of us got regular general admission and the other got VIP floor.  Through trading and much communication with other fans, we were able to score three VIP balcony seats.  No, they were not as good as VIP floor.  Yet, we took what we could get.

Then, on the night of the show, we learned that many fans think that wearing the band’s t-shirt to a show is uncool as we got many unfriendly looks as we walked by.  We also learned that fans don’t always stick together after a show with many groups going off on their own despite any promises to get together afterwards.  This, of course, was all on top of a show that left a lot desired, which we have blogged about many times.  No matter one’s opinion about the show or about the album, it was clear that all was not happy in Duranland.  For our friend, it proved too much.  The fun had left her fandom.  She went to one more show but that was it.

After that show, things changed for me.  I chose to hold on to the fandom with every ounce of strength I could muster.  My friend, as stated earlier, left.  I wasn’t happy necessarily within Duranland as I saw flaws in the album and felt like it was unDuranlike.  I also recognized that others in the fan community didn’t see that.  Tensions were high and arguments were frequent.  I thought for sure that I would be the only one remaining as Rhonda not only struggled with RCM but also had a lot of real life stuff to contend with.  Thus, I did what I needed to go to get through it.

I went back to New York City to see one of the shows on Broadway.  (I went to the second night, the one in which Donald Trump was there.  Yippee.)  I needed to give the band a chance to fix what went wrong at the fan show.  They had to show me that they were going to put all of themselves into this new album cycle.  The performance at that show did just that and gave me strength to make it through the rest of the very divisive Red Carpet Massacre era.

Overall, the fan show ended the first part of my adult fandom.  The innocence I had for the fan community and for the band seemed to end.  Lucky for me, the strength of my friendship and my love for the band kept me in the fight until a new era dawned.

-A

Ultimate Box Set: Album Tracks Part 4

I cannot believe that I’m posting this blog so very late.  The day just got away from me.  I slept late, needing to catch up on sleep, then spent about 2 hours on the phone with my sister and niece.  They are coming to visit in a couple of weeks so that my niece can look at a nearby college.  Then, I had to run to a political meeting that lasted almost 4 hours!  Anyway, I apologize.

Last weekend, we paused on the Ultimate Box Set polls in order to cover the shows at Agua Caliente.  Now, that life is returning to boring, old normal, it is time to get back to it.  The idea behind this series of blogs is simple.  The fans are to vote on songs that they wish would be included on a Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set, if the band was to do something like this.  So far, the fans have chosen the 7 singles to be included on it.  Then, we picked 7 songs from the first three albums, then 7 songs off the next three album and lastly 7 more songs from the next four albums.  This week, I am asking fans to choose 7 songs from the 4 most recent albums.  These albums are the ones written and recorded after the reunion and include Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre, All You Need Is Now and Paper Gods.  Next week, then, we will take the winners of these album tracks and limit them to just 7 songs overall.  It should be a close and challenging vote.  Heck, I suspect this week will be tough.

Without any further ado, please vote on the 7 album tracks that you would like to see included on a Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set.

-A