Tag Archives: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

There’s a Fine Line

If you’ve followed our blog for a reasonable length of time, you are probably aware that Amanda and I write about fandom. Rather than this blog being a constant, never-ending, series of love notes to Duran Duran, we write about being a fan. The act of being a fan. Additionally, we write about fandom studies (yes, there is an entire section of studies that focuses on fandom). Today’s blog is going to be a little bit of fandom studies, and a little more “being a fan”.

If I listen close

Who watched the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last weekend? If so, you were treated to seeing Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Def Leppard, The Cure and of course, Roxy Music, (among others) inducted into the Hall of Fame. Naturally for Duran fans, the best part of the night was likely when John and Simon gave their speech for Roxy Music.

In full disclosure, I’d already seen their speeches prior to the show on HBO. So when I comment, I’m referring to what I originally saw in full, since HBO cut part of their time as the show went to air. Regardless, their speech impacted me in a few ways. For one, and likely the most important – I loved seeing just how vested John and Simon were in the moment. Clearly it was a point of pride to be chosen to honor Roxy Music. It wasn’t difficult to see that yes, they too are fans. I loved that. That validated so much for me. Overall, it confirmed that yeah, even rockstars can be fans of something. I also felt a great deal of pride hearing the thunderous applause from the crowd as John and Simon took the stage. Yes, there was also some screaming. Obviously, there were Duran Duran fans in the house.

I took the cheers as a positive. That seems like it should be obvious. There were plenty of people sitting in the audience that like Duran Duran. The applause was loud, and it was long. I may be reaching a bit, but it felt an awful lot like “we’re glad you’re here”, or “it’s about time your band is on this stage!” There were a great number of peers in the audience, in addition to fans.

I can hear them singers

Then of course, we’ve got to talk about the screaming. It was there and yes, it was hard to miss, particularly as John and Simon were trying to speak. I could have written the headlines I would eventually see the following day. As proud as I was to hear those cheers and screams, I had a feeling there would be a collective marginalization in 2019, just as there was in 1985.

I didn’t have to wait long, and in fact – DDHQ were the ones to find it for me. The web-mag Vulture carried an article titled “The Highs, Lows and Whoas of the 2019 Rock Hall Induction Ceremony”.

I knew this was a big mistake

The tongue-in-cheek subheading of “Whoa: The Horny Ladies of Barclays” did absolutely nothing to quell my concerns of depreciation, and I readied myself before reading on.

“At least, we think it was a terrific speech, as the near-constant screams from excitable women in the audience hindered Vulture’s transcription. Those ’80s New Wave heartthrobs — they’ve still got it!”

(Vulture.com “The Highs, Lows, and Whoas of the Rock Hall Induction Ceremony 4/27/2019, Devon Ivie, 2019 New York Media LLC)

The chosen title was bad, at least from where I sit. Horny ladies. Really? It couldn’t be that the women in the audience actually knew their career? Loved their music? Listen, I’m no fool, and I do have eyes. Of course John and Simon are good looking men. I wouldn’t dare suggest otherwise. I just don’t see a whole lot of critics or music journalists commenting on the libido of male fans just because an audience happened to cheer loudly for a female artist. Why is that, exactly?

Then there’s the actual text, which doesn’t really make the sting any less painful. Duran Duran has been in existence now for over 40 years. 14 studio albums, a zillion (highly technical term that means “many more than I can count!” tour dates, millions of albums sold, and several personnel changes later, it still comes down to the fact that they attracted a largely female audience in the 80s? Really? Nothing else they’ve ever done or will ever do matters because I (and many others like me) once had my bedroom walls completely lined with their pinups? The time has come to stop equating the band’s entire career with the words “New Wave Heartthrobs”. For crying out loud it is 2019, people. At least get creative with your dismissive comments.

Give me strength, at least give me a light

Many took the comments from Vulture as positive. Certainly, some will say I’m too serious or that I should lighten up. Indeed, I saw many fans – mostly female – respond online, giggling over being called “horny”, some going as far as to agree. If guys whistle and cat call while you’re just trying to walk down the street, do you laugh and flirt back, or do you show annoyance? To me, it is the same thing. It comes down to deciding how people are going to treat you.

The slope is slippery. A male fan can hit it off with a band member and say “Hey, we should keep in touch” or, “Come hang out with us and have drinks”, and no one thinks he’s trying to make a pass at them. Should a woman dare to do similarly, and suddenly it’s assumed they must want something entirely different. It is asinine, and yes, I speak from personal experience. I’m 100% over it. My God, I’m 48, married, and have three kids. The LAST thing I need is another man assuming I’m ready to jump his bones. I could, however, always use more good friends. This isn’t difficult, people.

If it had been mostly males cheering in the audience that night – I can guarantee there wouldn’t have been anything written about the band being 80s heartthrobs. Instead, their enduring talent and legacy would be heralded. Their looks would have never been mentioned, much less the sexual drive of the audience in question.

It is 2019. I’m over it.

-R

Heroes Inducting Heroes

Those words are all remainders

Hello Monday! I solemnly swear this is not an April Fools post.

(I must admit considering the possibilities of writing a piece on the gem-like qualities of “Read My Lips”. However, I decided that today required something a little different. I’ll leave that other task to those slightly more inspired!)

Instead, this is a post that I have been itching to write since Friday. My heroes inducted heroes of their own into the Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame. Distance, and lack of invitation or tickets kept me from being there myself (of course!). I just waited patiently, curious about what John and Simon would say about Roxy Music.

Sitting here at home, social media was abuzz with activity. Duran Duran fans flitted from one platform to another, building their arguments for why Duran Duran should already be inducted. I saw many suggest that it was even insulting to John and Simon for needing to lend their kind words to such a ceremony. Was that really the case? I thought about that a lot over the weekend.

Echoes growing in the heart of twilight

Much has been written and said about the Hall of Fame over the years. Read any article about the nominees of any given year and you will find a plethora of opinionated fans responding below. Words such as “politics”, “overrated”, “underrated”, “joke”, “overlooked” and “ignored” dot the comments like punctuation in a grand essay on the history of rock music.

It would also be true that Amanda and I – perhaps more me than Amanda – have lent our voices to the side that says none of it matters. And really, the Hall of Fame doesn’t “matter”. It is no different than any other sort of recognition in that sense. The notation is wonderful to have, but it certainly isn’t the kind of thing one should campaign to receive.

Whether or not a band or artist has been inducted into the Hall of Fame does little to vindicate, or validate. My opinion is simply that the band’s history – in this case I mean Duran Duran’s – speaks for itself. An induction into the Hall of Fame isn’t going to suddenly convince anyone of their greatness. By the same token, I am not saying they aren’t worthy of such an honor. I just don’t happen to believe they need me, or anyone else, to beg or campaign their peers to bestow such a distinction.

Awaken all those whispers

Getting back to Friday night – it was a different story. John and Simon were asked to induct a band that is as important to them as Duran Duran is to me – or likely anyone else reading. Roxy Music was their inspiration, and a driving force behind their career. While my
“career” as a blogger is “slightly” less fortuitous, I am indeed a fan. Duran Duran is 100% my inspiration. Obviously. So, I can fully imagine their joy, admiration, respect, and honor in taking the stage for Roxy Music. Even as I strained to hear their speech on a YouTube video, it was plain to see their pride. My emotions swelled. After all, my heroes were inducting their own heroes. The thunderous applause when they took the stage was all I needed to remind myself of one thing – Duran Duran is loved by many.

I also felt something very different while listening to John’s tale of waiting backstage at the Odeon. He and Nick were there in 1974 (I was four years old at the time – which makes me laugh!!), listening to Roxy Music’s soundcheck. It was as though I were listening to a friend tell a story about fandom. In fact, I am nearly certain we’ve all done similar things over the years. Who wouldn’t have run to the back of a venue if one could hear Duran Duran soundcheck? For example, I remember waiting in 95-degree heat outside of the backlot venue for Jimmy Kimmel Live. I could hear Duran Duran play “You Kill Me with Silence” live for the first time. Adrenaline coursed through my veins because in a few hours, I knew I’d be in front of them for the first time in a couple of years. So exciting!

John spoke about seeing the black Mercedes pulling up, band members rushing out, piling into the car and speeding away. More than once I’ve been amongst the gathering of fans at the back entrance of a venue, waiting to see the band emerge. The thrill is intoxicating, and John communicated those feelings like…well…like any other fan I’ve ever met.

This brings me to one thing I feel most confident in saying about John. He knows what being a fan is like. I don’t think he’s entirely forgotten what it feels like to be one of us. During the four and a half minutes or so that he spoke (their entire speech was just under nine minutes I believe), he conveyed the feelings I have whenever I see Duran Duran. A thrilling mixture of pride and joy, adrenaline and emotion, inspiration and comfort flow through me – every single time. Seeing John and Simon speak of the very same things that have kept me engaged with Duran Duran over the years reminded me once again, we really are not so different.

All these faces look the same to me

John and Simon were not two men forced to eat a generous slice of humble pie while inducting Roxy Music into a club that has not accepted them. No, these were two men overjoyed by being able to recognize the band that made Duran Duran what it is today. These were two fans inducting their heroes. To say otherwise completely defeats the messages that John and Simon were trying to communicate. Everything they said, all of the body language present that night indicates just the opposite: they were proud to be there.

I was proud to watch them, if even after the fact. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to induct their heroes. Oddly, I almost think it is more of an honor to be the one inducting than it is to be the one inducted. After all, how many people get the opportunity to gush over the career of a hero?

Well, besides this blog, anyway…and to have the heroes actually listen? I cannot imagine ever being quite so lucky to have the honor.

I must be chasing after rainbows

So, to my fellow fans commiserating over Duran’s obvious absence in the Hall of Fame – it was no insult for them to be there that night. Never think that. Instead, I earnestly recommend focusing on the obvious pride they took while inducting Roxy Music. Sometimes, the real rewards don’t come packaged in a trophy or plaque, or in ways we might easily notice. Taking those accolades from the band purely because we fans don’t like the box is unfair. It does a great disservice to the very people we admire most.

-R

Some Extraordinary News Bytes for a Happy (Fat) Tuesday!

After yesterday, I need a little “happy”. Anybody else?

I’m still bogged down between Michael Jackson being a pedophile and my #1 crush of the 90s, Luke Perry dying from a stroke. (sorry Roger, but you were farming!) Was yesterday really just Monday?? I’d like to declare the week finished now.

However, today is a brand new day, and I’m determined to find the good. Luckily for me – I didn’t have to look very long, or very hard to find it.

Two great things to be happy about today:

Duran Duran will be inducting Roxy Music into the Hall of Fame

While it isn’t the same as say, Duran Duran being inducted – they will be participating in the ceremony to be held on March 29th at Barclays Center in New York. Last week, John was on KLOS 95.5 with Steve Jones (Jonesy’s Jukebox) in Los Angeles and broke the news.

Most fans know that Roxy Music is one of Duran Duran’s biggest influences. Simon and John will be at the ceremony to pay tribute. There is no word whether or not Roxy Music will take the stage to actually perform, although Andy MacKay (saxophone) hopes they will.

I suspect many Duran fans will be getting tickets to the ceremony or, like me, tuning in to watch the show when it airs.

Duran Duran to play Tinderbox (Denmark) on June 28th

Life is funny. Just a little over a week ago, I was speaking with a friend about the band’s 2019 schedule. This person, who is extremely reliable, and will remain nameless, shared that they hadn’t heard of anything else coming up in 2019, but that they fully expected this to change in a matter of days. I’d spoken with someone else close to the band earlier in the day who had said the same basic words. I knew by the way they’d both made sure to say that things would change that something was coming down the pipes soon. But where? When?

It turns out that Europe will be getting a Duran Duran visit this summer! While I’d love to jet on over to Denmark, I’m gonna have to sit this one out. Tickets are on sale now! Go grab yours!

If that weren’t enough, we’re still getting studio teasers from DDHQ….and this time, it’s all Mark Ronson, all the time. You could say I’m still a skeptic, but I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing what will come next! Will he sing or perform as a guest artist? Is he producing? Only time will tell.

Lastly, DDHQ tweeted an excerpt from “Extraordinary World”, which in their words, is the chronological story-telling of the band’s career up through The Wedding Album. If you haven’t seen this documentary – it is worth the hunt to find it. Since the 25th anniversary for The Wedding Album was last year, and I’m still confused as to what they’re doing for the 40th, I have to wonder why they tweeted it. More teasing? If so…for what?

I have a feeling the next few months are going to be very interesting. Don’t blink, you might miss something!

-R

Broken glass for us to hold

Things are looking up.

Yesterday, I noticed that DDHQ had their #WatchItWednesday as “Is There Something I Should Know”.  That is my favorite Duran Duran song, and of course I love the video too. On #TuneInTuesday, they featured my other favorite – “Late Bar”.  This adds up to this week not being too shabby, in my opinion.

I had started to type out a tweet in response to DDHQ’s choice for Wednesday, when I realized how elementary it sounded. Of COURSE they’re good at choosing my favorites.  Duran Duran is my favorite band and has been for begins counting on fingers and toes and runs out….a very long time! Posting a song and having it be one of my favorites (or anybody’s favorite) is pretty much like shooting fish in a barrel, isn’t it?

There is a lot of comfort in Duran Duran, and I’ve needed it quite a bit during the past six months, and I’ll need it going forward. I know that music like the back of my hand. I know what I’m going to hear when I put on any one of their albums. I remember what it was like to be a fan back in the 80s, and I know what it is like to still be a fan now. (far better now than then, in my humble opinion!)

I love that my memories are entangled with their music, and I especially enjoy that since the early 2000s, I can even retrace my steps based on their tours (OK, so that’s probably a little crazy sounding to some, but that’s fine). My closest friends, the people that I count on, and that I immediately share good news with, I’ve found as a 100% direct result of being a fan of this band.

During the past couple of months, I saw a few things from well-known people who are directly or indirectly connected to the band. Well-meaning questions and comments about why they aren’t already in the Hall of Fame and so forth. It is pretty easy to fall down that rabbit hole. As a fan, of course I know they should be included, and should win awards, and so forth. On the other side of that same coin, I know in my heart that they’ve already done so much – a silly plaque, award, or induction isn’t going to change what so many of us already know to be true.

I don’t want to be too melodramatic, but for so many of us, this band has changed our very lives. Maybe that doesn’t matter so much to a radio host or even a PR person, or even the band themselves (but I’m betting it does). As a fan – and someone who can honestly say this band has not only changed my life but in fact saved it – no Hall of Fame is going to make that simple truth any more or less real to me. I’m not saying that wanting them to be recognized is bad, I’m just saying that for me personally, I already know.

-R

2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Well, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees are out, and you-know-who was notoriously left off the list. Again.

I’ve learned never to assume anything when it comes to writing this blog, but I have to think that many fans, but perhaps not all, would have liked seeing them included on the list of nominees. Am I right, or no? On the other hand, Duran Duran (notably Simon and John) have openly said during interviews that it’s a non-issue for them. They don’t care. They see it (the Hall of Fame) as a political vehicle and therefore it’s not worth their time. Whether or not this is truth or a carefully worded reply meant to hide disappointment, I can’t say.

Even so, there are groups of fans out there that try to rally support for their inclusion each year. In the past, we (Daily Duranie) have stayed out of the argument beyond echoing what the band has openly said themselves. It caused a few people, including those petitioning to have the band included, to block and unfriend us. Our official position was simple – if the band didn’t even want it, we felt like we shouldn’t push it. Some didn’t like that, and I can understand and accept their fury. I also need to call out what I see as industry-driven BS, as you’ll read below.

Before I go any further, here’s the list of 19 nominees for 2018:

Bon Jovi

Depeche Mode

Dire Straits

Eurythmics

J. Geils Band

Judas Priest

Kate Bush

Link Wray

LL Cool J

MC5

Moody Blues

Nina Simone

Radiohead

Rage Against the Machine

Rufus feat. Chaka Khan

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

The Cars

The Meters

The Zombies

The very idea that Duran Duran continues to be omitted from the list of nominees each year is gross. We’re not talking about a band that never graced a top ten list, or never did much beyond release a few unknown albums. At one point, Duran Duran was the biggest band in the world. They are video vanguards, lifetime achievers, and continue to influence younger generations of musicians and performers. They didn’t just embody the style of 1980 and beyond…they created and drove it.  They’re still creating, nearly 40 years later.

Yet with each passing year, they’re not even given a mention beyond a couple of tweets from well-meaning fans. Not only is the Hall of Fame dismissing the band and their career, but they are also smugly discounting the thousands of fans who have stood by them for the last four decades. The old men might not get it, but the little girls completely understand, and always have.

Last weekend, I finally sat down and watched the induction ceremony for 2017. Yes, I’m behind. The one thing I saw over and over was how the bands thanked their fans for getting them there. Of course I liked seeing that, and it was touching that when it came down to it for the bands being inducted, their fans mattered. I thought about all of the history I’ve read about Duran Duran.  Disparaging comments about the band’s fan base aren’t hard to find. The critics hated that little girls loved this band. As far as critics were concerned, the reason to hate this band was purely because little girls (who are now grown women) loved them. That one highlighted detail created a situation where Duran’s music was never quite taken seriously. Why would it? Girls liked them, they couldn’t possibly understand what good music is about, and therefore the band were pin-up material. Period.

Amanda and I haven’t just seen this written once or twice in books. It has been discussed in every piece of comprehensive band history we’ve ever read, watched, or heard.

Simon addressed this general topic in an interview done just before they appeared on Jimmy Kimmel in 2015. He commented about the critics and their hatred for them and their fans. He believes much of that comes down to jealousy, and that may very well be true. He also commented that much to the chagrin of the critics—many of whom are not still writing or in the industry—the fans of the band, and the band themselves, are still around today. In many aspects, that alone is the best revenge. But is it enough?

I’m not so sure.

Sexism, my friends, is alive and well in the music industry, whether  the performers themselves, the business-side, or the fans. Look at the list of nominees again. Do you see many bands up there that have a predominantly female fan base? I can see a few that might have a sizable percentage of female fans, but none of them to the extent of Duran’s. None. Why is that?

The very idea that a sizable number of Duran’s fan base are women drives people crazy. Even the band tries to even it out in interviews by mentioning the growing number of men in their live audiences. People try to attribute our (female) presence to be about anything but the music. I’ve seen the very words “What would girls know about music?” in print more times than I can count.

Really?

I have heard similar anecdotes from female fans all over, whether they’re a blogger like me, your average concert-goer, or a radio show host. Sexism is everywhere. If you’re a woman, you couldn’t possibly know anything about the band you admire beyond their looks, and the only reason for being a fan is to fulfill that one-night stand fantasy. You know, the one we’ve all secretly held for nearly 40 years now?  The assertion that we’re all fans because we’re still waiting for our one nighter with Simon, John, Nick and/or Roger is pretty astounding.

(Call me crazy, but the last thing I’d fantasize about is going backstage and getting on my knees for a band member, only to be gracefully guided to the exit doors immediately following. Why on earth would I waste FORTY YEARS on that???)

Seriously, people of this world, THINK. We’re gonna have to try harder. It does not have to be like this. We have to be ready and willing to call the bullshit out when we see it and force change to happen, because it is obviously not going to happen on its own.

Now THAT is an effort I can get behind.

-R

How Important is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Anyway?

How important is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame anyway?

As I read through this year’s list of nominees, this question swirled in my head. Sure, Chic is on the list. Again. For the 11th time, they appear on the list. Then there’s Depeche Mode, Yes, Janet Jackson, The Cars…..Tupac Shakur, Pearl Jam, Chaka Khan, ELO (Electric Light Orchestra), Journey, The Zombies, Bad Brains, J. Geils Band, Joan Baez, Kraftwerk, MC5, Joe Tex, and Steppenwolf.  I think I’ve gotten them all.

It seems like every single year I write something about the Hall of Fame. Quite frankly, I detest it. I dislike it to the point where it really isn’t worth my time—yet here I am, writing about it again.

It seems to me that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the one accolade everyone loves to hate. The process, in my mind, is absurd. The nominating committee of the RRHOF Foundation gets together and comes up with a list of nominees. The list is publicized, and then some 600-historians and members of the music industry vote upon the all-powerful although in the past few years (since 2012) they’ve bestowed that same glorious right to vote upon the public, so our collective opinion is also taken into account. The top five vote- getters are then inducted.

First of all, the nominees, or at least a reasonable percentage of them—are questionable. I could sit and name names, but the reality is, those that I may find odd are the same bands and artists that someone else probably sees as shoe-ins. So, I’m just going to leave it that I find a lot of the nominees to be questionable, and the inductees typically make me roll my eyes.

Secondly, Chic has been nominated ELEVEN DAMN TIMES. Come on now. That alone tells me something is screwy about the process. Yes, Chic is disco. Yes, Americans (in particular) have forgotten just how much disco-elements we use in our music even today. Even so, eleven times?  Unbelievable.

Thirdly, I’d argue that outside of the US, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame means nothing.  Just yesterday, one of my friends commented that they never hear about the RRHOF, and they live in the UK.  I have no doubt that’s true. Many (including myself) say that the heart of the music industry is here in America, which is probably why the Hall of Fame works here – but the rest of the world doesn’t care. I can’t blame them, because really, is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that important anyway?

I doubt it. Each year when Nile, as the sole surviving member of Chic is nominated, he graciously tweets something about being happy to be on that list, but he also mentions how many times he’s been on it. In my head, it’s becoming a terrible joke. What makes him any less deserving than Green Day—a band that has been around for a fraction of the time—but was inducted in 2015, the very FIRST year they were even eligible?  Absolutely nothing but votes.

Who votes? Who decides? The RRHOF description of their voters is remarkably vague. “some 600 historians and members of the music industry, including those who have previously been inducted.” Then there’s the public, of course. Fans are going to vote for their favorites regardless of whether they’re the most deserving. In the same way I voted umpteen times for Duran Duran to win the MTV EMA this year or “Best World Stage” without watching the other nominees to see if their performance really was the best, fans are going to get out the vote for their favorite, and I can’t blame them. But, that does not equate (in my mind) to being deserving of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Ultimately what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame comes down to is a glorified popularity contest.  The only people I ever see commenting on its importance are those who make a living commenting on such things (the aforementioned music historians), those who have been inducted, or perhaps fans.  As many Duranies mention, in any interview where the band has been asked, they carefully word their answer about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  The band recognizes that the process is entirely political and not at all indicative of any success the band may have had, their continued relevance, or inspiration they may have given to other bands along the way.  It is difficult for me to argue the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in any other light, because I too, see the nominating process and the joke it has become.

Each year I read the list of names, and while of course, there are several on there that should and deserve to be there, there are just as many that I seriously question. Even bands I adore, like Depeche Mode or The Cars, I really have to wonder about. What makes them any more deserving?

Most awards come down to popularity. I’m well-aware that the MTV EMA’s are also awarded based on vote. Is it any different? In some respects, yes I think it is. The EMA’s are not trying to decide the most important acts of our time based on the previous twenty-five years (or more) of work. They reflect a single year, and in many aspects they reflect a single song and how it was received by the public.

Ultimately, this post isn’t going to convince anyone of anything. It’s simply a conversation starter in the same way that morning talk shows might spark discussion. Speaking of which, in case you haven’t heard, Lori Majewski (author of Mad World and fellow Duranie who once  was the editor of her own fanzine named Too Much Information: the Definitive Duranzine ) along with co-host Nik Carter have their  own brand new music talk show called Feedback on Sirius Channel VOLUME. It airs 7-10 AM EST live in all time zones and then repeats as soon as it ends, and is also available on demand. We wish Lori the very best!

-R