Tag Archives: Red Carpet Massacre album

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