Tag Archives: Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame

Guest Blog: Warren vs. the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Debate

By Bart Van Bemmel

Let’s do a little experiment… 

Go get all your Duran records and sprawl  them out on the floor.  I know you’re ranking them  — it’s hard not to.  I do it too.  Maybe you’re one of those fans that doesn’t count anything that John Taylor didn’t play on, yet it was somehow okay if Roger and Andy didn’t.  Or, maybe that’s a whole other blog post.  But I can tell you’re already frustrated because your order may have changed since last week — mine does all the time.  Where to put All You Need is Now… This might take another glass of Malbec.  Okay, now I want you to grab Duran DuranRioSeven and the Ragged Tiger, and Astronaut.  Now, as for the rest — pretend they never existed.  POOF — gone!  Would you be okay with that?  This could very well mean that there goes the soundtrack of your life.  And there also goes Duran Duran’s career.  And with that folks, is my argument that WHEN Duran gets immortalized in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that Warren Cuccurullo goes in with them.  I’m not sure my argument can be defeated.  Come at me.  I know, I know.  Duran isn’t even on the ballot yet, but one day they will be.  And with Duran’s 40th Anniversary coming up — we’re all crossing fingers.  But this issue for some reason has been eating at me for a while.  Warren better get the call.

The second British invasion may have been led by the original members of Duran in all those Sri Lanka videos that dominated MTV, but there’s no denying Warren Cuccurullo’s crucial and powerful impact on Duran’s career.  Through the highest of times to the leaner years, Warren Cuccurullo helped steer this mighty ship.  From his work on seven studio albums, countless hits, tours, MTV Unplugged, TV appearances, and more — his tenure in the band was much longer than Andy Taylor’s.  The band also produced more hits and released more singles during Warren’s Era.  However, this isn’t about Andy vs. Warren, this is about what’s right.  Cuccurullo helped successfully navigate the band through the Grunge Era undertow that killed countless bands of the 80’s.  It was Warren’s songwriting and producing that help resurrect the band to land them their biggest selling album and tour to date with The Wedding Album.  There’s a reason on their past Paper Gods Tour that several Wedding Album songs made it into the set: Ordinary WorldCome UndoneToo Much Information, and Love Voodoo (OW and Come Undone are always mainstays).  And so, we have reached my second argument in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame vs. Warren Cuccurullo debate.  Would Duran be here today — with their most recent album landing in the top ten on Billboard, without the hit song Ordinary World?  The answer is NO.  According to the band’s Songbook performance, even their record label was gun shy about spending money on the band at this point in their career until they heard this song.  As for the music video — it’s known as one of their most iconic to date.  I should probably also mention Ordinary World also won the prestigious Ivor Novello songwriting award.  Duran of course went on to have even more hits after this with Warren — not to mention the first band to ever release a digital downloadable single with Electric Barbarella.

Now it’s time to see the potential Rock and Roll Hall of Fame side of things. 

Duran Duran was known as the second coming of the Beatles — the Fab Five.  That means Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor, John Taylor, and Andy Taylor.  All instant heart throbs, icons, and musical prodigies.  Sorry, but Warren Cuccurullo wasn’t in the band back then during that initial chaos and debauchery.  With one member you have to have the other.  Imagine if the Beatles replaced Ringo or George?  Wait — Duran are guilty as charged.  So let’s face it, people.  When we think of Duran — we think of them in those fancy suits on that sailboat singing Rio.  Or — that ginormous tidal wave crashing down over the audience in the Reflex video.  Plus, Warren was a glorified hired gun until he became an official member after the Big Thing Tour.  So, this means mega hits such as NotoriousSkin Trade, I Don’t Want Your Love, and All She Wants Is will not be credited to him.  You could say we can be naive to think he didn’t have a hand in the arrangements of these songs, but we’re checking the songwriting credits.  And not to stick the knife in deeper or anything, but even Funko is about to release toys of the original band.  Warren didn’t make the cut as a Pop figure.  So thank you Warren for your time, but this case is closed.  You’re not getting in to the Rock Hall.

If the Rock Hall doesn’t recognize Warren Cuccurullo’s tenure in Duran, then why did Vivian Campbell from Def Leppard also get inducted?  I mean no absolutely disrespect towards Viv or Lep (big fan over here), but his impact on that band was nowhere near what Warren’s was with Duran.  Leppard rarely even puts a Vivian Era song in their regular tours, whereas half of Duran’s set list is from the Warren Era.  Many haters disagreed with Viv getting in (for the record — I thought he more than deserved to be there).  And now throw in Pete Willis from Def Leppard.  He got in and only played on two and half of Leppard’s albums.  But the bottom line here is will the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognize Warren Cuccurullo as a member of Duran Duran if and when they get inducted?  Jon Bon Jovi wrote a letter to the powers that be at the Rock Hall about the importance of Hugh McDonald that replaced Alec John Such on bass throughout Jovi’s entire career.  McDonald got in.  Will Simon, John, and Nick have to write their own letters?  Will they even want to is something else entirely.  Or maybe the Rock Hall will already consider Warren a lock.   Warren’s personal views on life and his choices off the stage have nothing to do with the music.  If we were to do this then most of the rock stars who have been inducted already shouldn’t be there.

And so, I will leave you with this.  I play in the touring Duran Duran tribute band — Wild Boys: The Duran Duran Experience.  I don’t play Andy or Warren, I portray Dom Brown on guitar.  We’re the only tribute that has the Dom role and we stand by it for countless reasons.  By presenting ourselves as the Duran of today means we can play their entire catalogue, as well as their continuing on-going legacy that they create (from Planet Earth to Pressure Off).  And I can tell you right now that if we didn’t include the countless Warren Era hits in our show then we would be fact checked and discredited as a Duran tribute in every shape and form.  To push this fact even further — our most requested song to play is Serious off Liberty.  So if we were to go back to our original experiment of throwing out the Warren Era records, I think I just proved my point again.

So where do you stand on this case?  Does Warren deserve to be in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Duran Duran?  I’m so looking forward to your thoughts in the comments!

For those who do not know Bart, here is his biography from the Wild Boys website!


Playing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on VH-1 is something an artist can only dream about. Well, that dream has already become a reality for former Dallas singer/songwriter Bart Van Bemmel. Bart’s song Something (Afterglow) took home first prize in the VH-1’s “Rock Across America” Songwriting Contestwhere he and his band got to share the stage with rock legend John Fogerty.  Soon Bart and his band would go on to work with Grammy nominated engineer/producer Chris Bell (Destiny’s Child, Fuel, Polyphonic Spree, Erykah Badu, Kenny Wayne Sheppard), Billboard Award-winner Redbeard (Nationally syndicated show In the Studio), and producer Alex Gerst (Ellie Goulding).  ​

But we have to go back to the beginning.  Once Bart saw Duran Duran’s video for PLANET EARTH on MTV – it would forever change his life. It was Duran’s New Romantic sound that made him want to start playing music. As he grew older – Bart meticulously studied Duran’s sonic rock and funk stylings as he did his best to nail their sounds. As luck would have it – just a few years ago, Duran Duran guitarist Dom Brown shared his guitar rig rundown with Bart to help assist him with his mission to conquer all things Duran. ​

By the time Van Bemmel was 15 years old he and his band were playing clubs, getting their demo on Texas Q102, and winning Z-Rock’s Battle of the Bands where they won a slot opening for Sony recording artists Dirty Looks. As he continued in high school – his band went on to open for several national recording artists from Sony, Atlantic, MCA, and more – eventually catching the eye of producer Tim Miner (Paula Abdul/Steve Perry from Journey) making demos for him and Eric Andersonfrom Sony Records.​

As the years passed some of Bart’s songs would ed up landing him invites to play several festivals in Texas and on the East Coast including SXSW, the Dallas Music Festival; Mainstream radio airplay in Texas/New York/Canada; Securing top spots in songwriting contests – including runner-up in the final round of the We are Listening Singer/Songwriter Awards where the songs were reviewed by judges including: KK (Producer-Dido/Nelly Furtado), Steve Williams (Producer-Sting/Seal/Eric Clapton), and Carly Vermes (Music Supervisor-Paramount pictures); Landing second place in the John Varvatos Free the Noise on SPIN Earth contest, and more.

Even though Van Bemmel is no longer chasing elusive record deals, he’s switched over to the film business where he has two feature films in development with named talent attaching. ​

But in the meantime – Van Bemmel will never forget his roots in music – which is why he joined Wild Boys. Because each time he and his bandmates play Duran Duran — he doesn’t know who has the better experience: himself or the fans.

I’ve Seen You on TV

Yesterday, as I watched the snow falling, I graded, hoping to get caught up. (No, I did not include a typo in that first sentence. It snowed here yesterday. Yes, it is almost May.) I wanted to finish my grading for a couple of reasons. Progress reports are due on Wednesday. More importantly than that, I wanted to be able to watch the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony without feeling guilty.

There is something special about seeing Duran Duran on TV and there always has been. I remember as a kid getting so excited to see the band on TV. Before we had a VCR, I had to just hope that whatever they were on I would be able to see it. It had to be before my bedtime (gosh I was so young!) but also when I didn’t have to fight my siblings and the parents for the family TV. This was always a struggle but when I was successful, there was nothing better. One appearance from childhood that sticks out is this one from the Bob Hope Birthday Special:

From what I remember, I won the TV (we only had one in color with cable) because my grandma was there and she liked Bob Hope. In fact, she would have taken the time to retell the story for the 10th time or more about seeing Bob Hope perform in person decades earlier.

Sometimes, I didn’t know about a TV appearance but was lucky enough to catch it by changing the channels. Here are two that worked out that way:

Of course, there were times that I knew that Duran was going to be on TV but I couldn’t watch. I felt like someone was trying to torture me when this happened as a kid. Why were my parents so mean, I wondered. The biggest example of this was Live Aid in July 1985. My family was in the process of moving and on that Saturday we were to drive to our new house to drop off some needed items for my dad who was staying there during the week. I have a very clear memory of me begging my mom to let me stay with my best friend as she folded sheets that were going to the new house. No matter how many reasons I gave for needing to stay, she wasn’t having it. No, my help would be needed. Great…That said, we returned home in the evening and I managed to get back in time to see both Power Station and Duran! Even though I didn’t miss any of it, I pouted the entire day and refused to join the family for the Chinese takeout.

Another example of a Duran appearance that I was not able to watch was As the Lights Go Down. In this case, it wasn’t because my parents had plans for me. No, it had to do with the fact that it was airing on Cinemax, a cable channel that we definitely did not have. So what did I do? I did what must have been done and I begged my cousins to record it for me. They agreed but when they returned the videotape, they had missed some songs. I was so annoyed but I knew that I didn’t have the right to be. After all, they had done me a favor. Imagine how excited I was when the concert was included in one of the Seven and the Ragged Tiger special reissued box sets. Now, the band has been releasing some of the songs from it on YouTube after this year’s RSD special vinyl released of it. Here are the tracks they have released so far:

On that note, I might spend a little bit more time today watching some good Duran Duran clips. After all, what gets better than that?!

-A

April 2018 Katy Kafe with Roger

I have been so busy that I missed the news that a brand new Katy Kafe had been posted this week.  It makes sense since Roger’s birthday is coming up this week.  (Happy Early Birthday, Roger!)  As always, I’ll give it a listen (I suffer greatly for this gig.  Not.) and provide some of my thoughts about what I heard here.  As always, I will not be sharing word-for-word what was said.  Nope.  If you want to hear it all, head to DuranDuranMusic and log in with your membership.

Trip to Peru

Katy opened up the Kafe with a discussion about Roger’s recent trip to Peru to see his wife’s family who lives there.  Apparently, he enjoys traveling there in April because the weather is beautiful and people spend time on the beaches.  (I wouldn’t know anything about this as I just had two winter storms this past week.)  One thing I did learn was that Roger studied French in school but struggles with languages.  (This I can relate to.)  His son, Julian, is trying to learn the language, too, with the idea that he will be bilingual.  Very cool!

Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame:

As soon as Katy mentioned that the recent induction to this year’s crop of Rock ‘n’ Roll members, I took note as this is a topic that seems to come up every year in Duranland.  She then asked if this was a goal of the band.  Roger’s reaction is what I expected with the idea of if it happens, great, but if not, it won’t change anything.  I can understand that sentiment.  Plus, it is probably the best way to approach awards.  Katy thinks it will happen as more New Wave artists are getting in.  Interesting to note that Roger definitely thinks that Depeche Mode should be in.

Elliot’s project:

Roger’s son, Elliot, has a new project, working with Denis O’Regan who was the photographer on David Bowie’s ’83 or ’84 Tour.  Recently, Denis found a lot of backstage photos and Roger’s son is helping to put these photos together in a book.

Return to the Studio:

When will Duran be back in the studio?  Roger’s response, “Definitely this year.”  That said, there is no specific date planned yet.  Apparently, the band is enjoying the down time, which I cannot blame them.  Roger is starting to look forward to returning to the studio now that he has had a break.

Record Store Day:

Roger expressed some excitement about the release of Duran Duran Live at the Budokan, but seemed to be more thrilled with the live DVD that will be coming out about that show/venue.  This did not surprise me as the whole show was shown on Japanese TV.

Birthday Plans:

Roger plans on spending his birthday at home with his family.  Interestingly enough, Roger claims that people who have the Taurus astrological sign do not make a big deal of their birthdays.  I’m not sure about that as a fellow Taurus.

This Kafe was not necessarily filled with a ton of news or insight but it was still enjoyable.  Again, I wish Roger a happy early birthday!!!

-A

This Past Week in Duranland (September 15 – September 21)

It is that time of the week when I sit down and actually make sure I know what all happened over the past week.  I do this to ensure that I am caught up but to help any of you reading this who might be in a similar boat.  So, what happened this week?  No more Unstaged screenings.  No more performances–aired or streamed.  Was it a completely quiet one, then, in Duranland?  Let’s take a look!

September’s Collector’s Corner was published!
This month’s corner focused on the three different versions of the Carnival EP, which was released in 1982.  I do own the US version and appreciated finding out the differences between the versions.  It made me want to get all three now!  If you, too, would like to learn about the EP and the different versions, check it out on duranduran.com here.

Vanity Fair UK October edition!
The October issue of Vanity Fair UK contains a supplement called, Vanity Fair On Time, which features those pictures of Simon on the Rio boat that Simon fans have been dying for!  It also contains an essay written by Simon himself!  See a couple of pictures on the official press release!

Fashion Rock photos!
If you are a paying member of DuranDuranMusic, there are some photos from Fashion Rocks that can be seen in the photos section.

John Warwicker Interview
DuranDuranMusic is featuring an exclusive interview with John Warwicker, a graphic designer who worked on Astronaut and the singles from that album.  While he didn’t work on anything official until 2004, I found the interview to be fascinating as he met and did some posters for the band before they signed with EMI.  He has also been recently involved with Denis O’Regan’s Careless Memories project.  What really caught my attention, though, were his comments about John and Nick and their ambitious nature.

Rio’s Bass Line:
Bestbassgear.com mentioned John Taylor’s bass line in Rio as being one of the toughest bass lines around.  They also featured an isolated clip of the bass here.  While I always appreciate recognition of John’s work, I hate that it is wrapped up with a line that reads, “In fact, some of you might think, ‘Duran Duran counts as a band?'”  Really?!  They wrote and played their own music for decades.  I cannot believe that people are still saying crap like that.

Mark Ronson Article:
On a better note, Mark Ronson discussed Duran Duran on cue point.    As a fan who LOVED All You Need Is Now, I adore Mark Ronson both as the producer on that album but also as a fellow fan.  I love the comments he made in this article about how he was a great producer and a super fan when working on that album.  I will always say that part of the reason that album turned out SO WELL is because Mark is a fan.  He gets it.

Rolling Stone Magazine on 1984:
This week, Rolling Stone magazine published the list of the Best 100 Singles of 1984.  As someone who loved music that year, I couldn’t wait to see who and what made the list.  The Reflex made it.  Any guesses at what position it landed at?

Crave Online:
Crave Online also featured a little article on Duran Duran, which is available on duranduran.com.  In this article, there is a brief review at the Madza party and the lack of recognition by the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Twitter Activity:
Simon hasn’t tweeted much this past week but he did come on to comment about the Scotland vote and to mention one of U2’s new songs.  Did anyone listen to that one?  Simon said that he wished Duran would do something like it.  John didn’t tweet much but did post a few pictures.

Is that it?  Did I get it all?  For a “quiet” week, there was still quite a bit of activity!  On to the next week…

-A