Tag Archives: Roger Taylor

These Beautiful Colours – It’s All About Happy

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve had it. It’s Monday, and I’m already done.

I’d really like a day, heck, I’ll even take a MORNING, where there’s at least a little peace. Life is busy. My schedule is crazy and changing every single week because of various things going on. I never know where I’m supposed to be (and when). I have things written on my huge master calendar at home, in my phone, and even on a calendar I keep near my desk, and yet I still forget things. I’ve even had to turn down a couple of really fun and quite frankly, once in a lifetime type of opportunities for various reasons – all of which have to do with being an adult and putting my own feelings aside. On one hand I feel like I did the right thing, and on the other I wish I could just seize the day and take a chance for a change. Isn’t that just like being an adult???

I’m not even mentioning the world. I don’t really need to do that, as I’m sure all of you have heard the news each day. I don’t want this blog to turn into a political forum, but I will say this much – peace would be good right about now. It’s pretty bad when I am thinking about stocking up my trailer (camping caravan), throwing my phone in the garbage and heading north to pine trees, blue skies, and no internet connection.

There are moments when I see all that is happening here at home and abroad, and wonder if the “good old days” are totally behind us now. Sometimes I think that’s what the media wants us to believe. Sometimes, I even think that’s what we want one another to feel.  But then, there’s Duran Duran. The bright light.

The band tweeted this picture this morning from a show they did for a Princeton University class reunion this weekend. (Never before did I wish I went to an Ivy…) Dom retweeted it saying that he loves the colors. At first all I could think about was that in a month from today, I’ll be picking Amanda up at the airport and we’ll be headed to San Francisco. That thought alone made me smile. I can’t wait to see Amanda, our friends, and yes – the band.

Dom says he loves these colors. To me, they are joy and happiness.

I am no different from any other fan. I’m excited to go see the band in July. On one hand, I feel like I’m going to be seeing old friends that weekend, and on the other, I sound like a hopelessly deluded fan. They don’t know me. I only know them from their posters. Yet it all feels so familiar after thirty—nearly forty—years.  I can’t help but feel that way. Yes, I hope to at least make eye contact long enough to say hi and let them know they were missed, and I’m glad they’re back.

In many of my blogs, I try to remind the world that to the band, our relationship is probably more transactional than anything else. Very few of us have a real person-to-person connection with them. Yes, it would be nice if it were more than that after all this time, but realistically – how can they really know thousands upon thousands of people?? I’m even shocked when Simon says he recognizes faces in the crowd.  Even so, as I sit here writing this—I’m thinking of how lucky I am to be able to still go and see the band I grew up idolizing, and sure—a big part of me wants to pretend that when they see me standing in the audience, they recognize my face. Who doesn’t?

It is very hard not to feel like there’s some sort of relationship there, just based solely on the amount of time I’ve invested. Of course there really isn’t—I don’t know John, Nick, Simon or Roger—but as a fan, there’s all the loyalty in the world there. Of course, then there’s Dom. I’ve met him more than once. I’ve spoken to him while on a plane and traded emails a few times. Yet every time I see him up close enough to say hi, I’m pleasantly surprised he addresses me by name. I don’t really know why that surprises me so much, because if he were anyone else – any other guy for example – it’d be normal! There are many people I’ve met one time, and then seen again two or three years later, and we all manage to know and remember one another’s name. Yet with him, it’s different. I both love and kind of hate that all at the same time, I must admit.

I just think now, more than ever, if you get a chance to be close enough to say hi, give/receive a hug, or whatever – it’s important to let them know we care. There’s a lot of bad going on in this world. Even if, like 99% of us, you only know them for being Duran Duran, I think right now, it’s good to let them know how much they’re loved.  Love is a very good thing. We’re lucky to have this relationship, however confusing, messy, and undefined it may be. Not everyone does…and these moments are what carry me from one show to the next. The memories of a hug, a hand squeeze, or even a wink from the stage remind me that all is not so bad. So in the moments when I’m struggling to remember what paperwork I was supposed to bring to a doctor’s appointment, or that I need to contact the registrar at Gavin’s school about his high school transcripts, I try to think about those happy times. It helps.

I’m also really excited that for at least a couple of days – I’ll be nothing BUT happy. So the more I looked at the photo, the more I realized that yes, for me – the colors are happy. I need happy. Don’t we all?

-R

What WON’T the band do for their 40th anniversary?

I’ve noticed a lot of people working on surveys and things, putting together a wish list for Duran Duran’s 40th anniversary. I suspect the intention is that if fans work together to come up with a cohesive list, then perhaps the band will take a look and perhaps see their way clear to incorporating some of the ideas into their celebration plans. Maybe.

Amanda and I haven’t really done much of that here on the blog. I suspect part of the reason is that we’ve been around for six years, and during that time – while we’ve gotten support from DDHQ – I think we’ve come to realize they’re not going to take us seriously when it comes to the business of the band, and quite frankly – they’re probably smarter that way.  That doesn’t stop either of us from looking side-eyed at some of the things that have been done over the years, but you know, it’s much easier to quarterback from the sidelines than it is to actually be in the game. I don’t think we were always quite that accepting, but you know, Amanda and I have changed a little bit over the years.  Now we’re just having fun with it all.

That doesn’t mean we don’t throw some ideas out there every once in a while for fun though, and today will be no exception as I put together a short list of things the band will (probably) NOT do during #DD40!

Play a cruise!

I dearly love every human being who has suggested that Duran Duran basically put themselves on a cruise ship with what, 3-4,000 of their most rabid fans. How could that possibly go wrong??

Let’s just think about that for a minute: sun, water, several bars, thousands of fans who may or may not have partaken in said alcohol….and nowhere the band can really go to hide. Or run. Outstanding!

Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that won’t be happening. Again, love the enthusiasm, but probably not for their 40th anniversary.

Play shows with Dom, Andy and Warren…at the same time!

Again, love the enthusiasm for their 40th anniversary.  Honestly, I think about the possibility of this purely for the entertainment value.  Can you imagine all three of them on stage? Together? Two of them have enormous egos…the third might be trampled in the process. All together onstage for the same shows, same songs?  My money is on a firm “no”.

For that matter, why don’t we bring back everyone who has ever played with the band to play onstage? Andy Hamilton, all of the backup singers, Sterling, Steve Ferrone, Joe Travers…is there a stage large enough???

More travel packages!

This is one idea that I could see the band instituting in part, but I’m going to gamble and say they won’t do it again, even for their 40th anniversary. Back before Astronaut was released, the band did a few very special travel packages that were in extremely limited quantity. Fans paid a tidy sum for a ticket to a specific show, accommodations, special merchandise, concierge service, and a cocktail party with all five band members in attendance. I have a good friend that bought a travel package, and by her account it was extremely well-organized and thought out, and I think it’s fair to say it was a very positive experience for her. The travel packages went from these extravagant luxuries down to a ticket and a quick meet and greet, and then they morphed into meet and greets given at random to VIP ticket buyers, and now none of the VIP packages come with anything other than the ticket, merchandise and possible cocktail parties in some cities (without the band in attendance).

I know the demand for these travel packages (and meet and greets) still exists, but I think the band hated them for the most part.  I can imagine the thought of going into a room filled with Duranies can be a bit overwhelming. I can’t blame them even if I might wish I’d been able to take advantage when meet and greets or travel packages were offered.

Play individual albums in their entirety!

The one suggestion I’ve seen over and over again is to play Rio, or any of their albums – entirely live for their 40th anniversary. It’s the one suggestion that I am positive most Duran fans want (even if there is discussion over which album they’d most like to see done that way), and it is the one suggestion that the band just doesn’t seem to get.

Just last week, Lori Majewski had John Taylor call in on her radio show, and she mentioned playing Rio live. John thinks we’d be bored (sometimes, I really don’t think they know their fans) because we’d already know the set list.

Ok, John. I get you. I’d just invite you to take a good look at your set list for the past few years as you’ve been touring Paper Gods, and then tell me again that fans get bored when they know the set list. The fact is, to have an entire album played live is a completely different experience than many of us have had before – Red Carpet Massacre aside.  For that matter, you could mix it up and that way, you’re not playing the same album over and over, and if fans like me want to see them all—they’re gonna have to take a leave of absence from their lives and travel to different shows to do it.

Even so, I think it’s safe to assume the band isn’t going to listen to reason on this one. They’re gonna play the hits, and we’re going to like it.

My heart is still hoping for Late Bar…but my head knows we’re getting Hungry Like the Wolf.

Intimate shows of 3,000 or less!

Let’s be real. Again, this one is a gamble, but I’m thinking money-wise, touring the 40th anniversary would be a cash cow. Why on earth would they only want to play in small venues when they can play arenas and bring in more money?

Personally, I’d love to see them play in smaller theaters so that long time fans have the opportunity to get up close and celebrate with this band. I’d like to see fans acknowledged for the time and energy we’ve given over the years. Who wouldn’t? That said, the lure for a huge “comeback” anniversary tour (no, they never left but the rest of the country, world, so forth probably doesn’t know that) is ever looming.

I’m just hoping they don’t decide to do that “Verified Fan” thing through Ticketmaster…

There are a lot of things I’d like to see the band do for their 40th anniversary. Mostly, I’m at a point where I’m just happy to see they’re still around fighting the good fight.  I’m looking forward to reading what they’ve got planned, and I’m hoping that I can take an active part in some of it along the way!

-R

What’s Your Favorite Live Recording of a DD song?

DDHQ asked for our favorite live recording of a Duran Duran song this morning. At first, I stumbled over the words. It’s Monday, I’m already tired (not really a great sign for the week ahead) and I can’t seem to make much sense out of anything yet. Live songs? Do they record anything? Seriously – it’s been that sort of morning so far.

But then, as I went about my normal tasks of feeding the animals and complaining about dishes being left in the sink, I remembered a show!  Costa Mesa, 2003. The entire show was recorded and I ordered the CD.  The Encore Series was the name.

Granted, I am pretty sure I’ve seen better shows since then. Or maybe it’s just that my seats have improved significantly in the years since, I don’t know. The fact remains that when I think about all of the shows I’ve seen over the years – that one is a definite standout, and not because it positively ticks off all of the boxes on Amanda’s Concert Rubric. Simply put, it was the very first time I’d ever seen Duran Duran – all FIVE original members of Duran Duran – on the same stage.

I don’t even remember a lot from that show, to be honest. I got there, winced at how far back our seats were from the stage (I went with my husband and I think we were about 23 rows back and off to John’s side), and once the band took the stage, I stood there pinching myself to make sure that what I was seeing really wasn’t just my overactive imagination working overtime. I remember watching as someone decided to jump up onto the stage and nearly tackle Simon as he sidestepped and allowed Dave, the band’s security, to grab her. (I won’t give away her name, but I’m pretty sure I’m friends with this woman to this day. I nearly died the day I found out she was the culprit!) I also remember Roger stepping away from his drums at the end of their set, tongue wagging as though he’d run a marathon or two. But mostly, I just remember standing there thinking about how lucky I was to be there, and how thankful I was to still be a fan so that I could finally see them all together on stage.

I am one of those people who cannot stand it when we ask a “This or That” question here on the blog and people vote by saying “both!” It’s freaking annoying (to me).  I usually grit my teeth and say “make a choice, dammit!” Probably not the nicest thing to cross my mind, but I’m being honest here.  Now it’s my turn to choose. This show, which is definitely my favorite live recording of them, wasn’t about what they played or how long they were on stage or even about how many songs they played. It was that they were there in front of me. They showed up. They were together, and I had this feeling I was at the beginning of a wild, new ride. Even so, for the sake of participation, my favorite from that set has to be Virus.  No, not a song from their back catalog, not New Religion (which is a very close second), but Virus, because I loved it.  The song had the hard edge I was looking for, I could hear all five members working together, and to this day I’m giddy when it comes up on my phone.

Thanks to DDHQ for that question today – it gave me a chance to think about that fantastic show!

-R

 

 

35 Years and Counting: RIO!

Can you believe it? Thirty-five wild and crazy years ago today, Rio came into our world.

I bought Rio when it came out, and for a brief time thought it was Duran Duran’s first album. I was very confused, apparently. The thing is – I’d heard Planet Earth, and I had a K-Tel record with Girls on Film, but I hadn’t heard those songs on the radio much. But Rio? Please.

Truth be told, Rio was released a full year before I believe it really took off here in America. It’s first release here fell flat, not doing particularly well. Capitol Records hired David Kershenbaum to do a dance-remix of several songs off the album (released as Carnival).  Those remixes are a little more guitar-heavy, a little less synth, a little more bass in sound. Eventually, Capitol had Kershenbaum go back and remix most of the rest of the album and then re-released it in America, promoting it as a dance album. That’s when sales started to pick up steam and the band began to climb the charts.

Suddenly Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf were everywhere, and Is There Something I Should Know wasn’t far behind…which is why I thought it was the next album, rather than being the first.  But then again, my UK friends will remind me that it was NOT the first, because on their version of the first album – ITSISK is nowhere to be found, and they are correct.  It’s just on our altered US versions that there’s no To The Shore, with ITSISK instead. (my head is spinning even as I recall this from memory)

Honestly, if you want my most vivid memories from Rio, they would be my realizing that I had the order of their albums wrong….and that champagne stuff Simon drank while in the ocean.  To this very day, every single time I think of Rio, that vision comes to mind. Not the fake crab on Roger, not pallid-looking Nick in the galley, definitely not a daydreamy John Taylor on the sand or even Andy being thrown overboard…but Simon, drinking out of a champagne glass in the ocean.

I just don’t know.

Despite testing the waters with Planet Earth and even Girls on Film before the Rio album – it was truly this album that set my world on fire. I think that the band continues to be judged for Rio, without a lot of regard for anything else they’ve done (perhaps with a few exceptions), and many believe it to be the pinnacle of their career.

I love Rio. I also appreciate and love everything Duran Duran has done (yes, even RCM. Ok?!?), because at this point, nearly forty years into our journey – it really IS about the whole journey. It has been a crazy, wicked, wild, ride, and I’m ready for more.

I am writing this and I haven’t had any time yet this morning to actually listen to the oral history. I’m hoping to get a chance later today….but I might just have to let Amanda be the one to comment on it due to a lack of time on my part. Or else, I’ll comment later. I am really looking forward to hearing it though, because it’s not that often we get the opportunity to look back at something with the band and get their point of view.

It’s a special day in Duranland, and I’m thankful to be able to be here and experience it with everyone else. Happy 35th Birthday, Rio!

-R

Happy Birthday Roger!

Another day where I love writing the blog, because I’m able to wish my favorite drummer a very happy birthday!

I met Roger one time at a signing at the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood. It was for the release of the Astronaut album, and I was so nervous! I’d been standing in line for hours with my daughter Heather and a friend. As we finally made our way up to the door, I could see in. Mostly all I saw were the backs of a lot of people, but if I stood on tiptoe and leaned just the right way I could see the top of Nick’s head. My stomach began doing flip-flops, and I could feel my heart begin to race. I had that slightly woozy feeling that I tend to get just before I pass out – this is a problem I have with my heart rate, and at that time – I didn’t even know it was a problem! As I stood there waiting, I was silently giving myself a pep talk.

“You will NOT act like an idiot or say anything you will regret. You will go in there calmly and not ruin the one shot you’ll ever have to be in front of them. There will be no fainting, no crying, and you will NOT get yourself dragged away by security!” 

By the time we were called over by Nick and made our way down the line as each band member signed my album and Heather’s CD – I was strangely calm. It’s very hard to soak in every single microsecond when you’re only in front of them for about a minute total, but I tried. I got to Roger, and sort of stood off to the side of the table (he was on the end). While he signed my album, I asked him how he was doing – he said he was tired, and I smiled and then thanked him for doing the signing. I told him I didn’t think I would ever have gotten a chance to meet him otherwise, and that he was my favorite band member. Those words sort of came flying out of my mouth before I’d had a chance to think it through. Roger smiled and said that was really sweet of me to say. I took my album from him, thanked him again, and floated out of the store.

Heather was waiting for me on the other side of the security rope thing they had up, and she was practically in hysterics because I had spoken to Roger. She knew he was my favorite. I can still remember her smile – she had one tooth missing because she was only about eight at the time (same age as my youngest is now, which is hard to believe) – and boy did she ever give me grief about what I said to him.

“Oh Roger, you’re my favorite!” She said in a sing-song voice, collapsing into a fit of giggles.

I love eight-year old girls, I really do.

You know, it’s really hard to be a mom when you’re busy being a fan.  Even so, I’m glad I shared that with her, and I’m not sorry I said what I did to Roger, despite the somewhat ridiculous amount of teasing I’ve gotten from her in the years since. I’m just glad I had the chance to meet him. Little did he know that I’d be one of the women who would eventually try to throw him a Daily Duranie wristband several years later – that he then turned and tossed aside like trash. Ha!! 😀

I have a feeling a lot of things have changed for Roger in the years since I saw him DJ. I suspect his outlook on life is a little different now, he certainly sounds much more centered, happy and content. I wouldn’t wish anything less for him.

Happy Birthday Roger!!!

-R

Remember when Roger used to DJ?

On this date in 2013, I was in Chicago…and so was Roger Taylor! I was there visiting Amanda, and we had the good fortune to be able to see Roger DJ at SpyBar in the city. He called his set “Do It In Heels”.  I purposefully ignored that directive, because let’s face it – I am really bad at following directions anyway.  However, we did call ahead to get a table!

Amanda loves this picture…as do I.  I look positively angelic compared to Miss Grey Goose next to me!  I’m not even sure if you can see Roger in this photo…but I don’t think so. Clearly we didn’t care at the time. WOW.  Good thing we don’t still behave like that, right Amanda?

Right???

Moving on…

I will openly admit that had Roger not been the DJ that night, there is about a 0% probability that I would have gone to that club. While I spent a fair amount of my time at clubs in college, I had kind of given up on them. I’m not really down with most of the club music, although some of it is fine (particularly when being played by Roger. I’ll just own up and say that here).  In hindsight, it was a fun night. I hung out with friends, I danced, and yes – we drank. Surprise!

The one memory that stands out from that night is that we tried to hand Roger a wristband. Ah yes, one of our infamous Daily Duranie wristbands. The platform/table that he was at was quite a bit higher than the ground, so we had to kind of toss it up there. Amanda couldn’t quite get Roger’s attention, and so she asked the guard who was standing there to tell him it was for him. Roger saw it and kind of  tossed it aside. Not the best reception we’ve ever gotten for one of our wristbands (hey, we’ve even given one to Nile Rodgers and he wore it!), but in fairness to Roger – he probably had no idea who we were or what we were doing. Maybe next time!

I haven’t heard too much about Roger doing many DJ gigs in the years since. I suppose it might be one of those things that is difficult to concentrate on or do when you’re touring the world and recording albums.  It is also a very different kind of lifestyle, and I suspect that Roger has changed some since then.  Overall, it was a fun night, and I’m glad I took the opportunity to see him do something different.

Were you at SpyBar Chicago that night?

-R

April 2017 Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor!

This past weekend, the gift of a gleaming new April 2017 Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor was posted on DuranDuranMusic for members. I gave it a listen yesterday afternoon, knowing I’d be blogging the highlights this morning. Roger and Katy covered a variety of subjects, and as always—I took notes and will cover the more notable topics here. If you want the full Kafe, I’d suggest getting your DDM membership!

Lollapalooza

Roger said that going in, he was concerned that the crowd would be different, and that they might struggle with the audience. Apparently the average attendee for Lollapalooza was 23. But then he saw a lineup and felt they’d fit in nicely. Katy asked him if he likes festivals, and he said yes. He likes playing outside in the elements, and says that if you have the right audience, there’s nothing like it.

I think back to the now infamous photos of the Argentina show and sure, I suppose he’s right. I’m not a big fan of “the elements”, but I can understand where the band is coming from. Someday I’d like to ask the band if it makes any difference at all whether they’re playing a smaller gig in front of 3000 real fans, or many more thousand that might not know their music as well. Judging from the way the band responds online – I’d have to think that while of course they love the fans, when you’re talking about an audience filled with thousands of people, as long as those people are responding – it doesn’t matter.  To them, they’re all fans.

Katy also asked Roger if Lollapalooza was similar to Coachella. I thought this was an interesting question, particularly because it was something I’d wondered myself! To me it seemed the audiences were very different. I watched Coachella again recently – and the way the audience even responded was incredibly different. I felt the Coachella audience stood there waiting to be entertained, where in Argentina, it was far more a group experience. They were all in the show together.  That said, Roger said they were very similar. I’m not really surprised he responded that way, either. Roger is on the drums, in the back, and I don’t know how much of that “crowd feeling” he is able to fully absorb or even notice! Whereas my line of thinking was more about the emotion of the audience, Roger stuck to aesthetics. “They were at similar times of the day” and the crowd size was similar. (in the same ballpark anyway!)

July

Most people know that the band is going out again in July for two more festivals. One is the Calgary Stampede, and the other is Electric Picnic. Katy asked him about those, and Roger let us all in on a little secret—he tries not to look at the tour dates until about three days before he leaves.

If I had an emoji sign with wide eyes that I felt I could post without getting into copyright trouble – I’d post it here. Use your imagination.  This sends my slight OCD tendencies into OVERDRIVE. Oh my. I already have my hotel reservations for a trip I’m taking in July. I know how I’m going to get there and what time I’m going to leave…and it’s not even May!  But then, I don’t have “a good group of people” doing that for me. It’s me. I book the trips. I drive the car, too!  The difference of course is that I don’t tour often, I haven’t been doing this since I was twenty, and I don’t have other people doing the itinerary. There’s something really attractive of not having to be the one to worry about where I’m going though, and only having to show up to play. I wonder what that’s like….

Katy also tells him that he’s going to be missing his son’s birthday this year, and it is in that moment that I remind myself that yes, these guys really are still human. Roger sounded sad about missing Julian’s birthday – I think that’s a genuine drawback to being a musician. He says it’s part of the deal, you miss birthdays, school concerts, etc; and then Katy reminds him that he also gets to come home and be with his kids for months at a time and pick them up at school. (which he was getting ready to go do!)  That is true, and is a benefit that these musicians have that most normal people do not. While the band is gone for extended periods to work, when they come home, they’re not working. (Studio time aside, because that’s totally different) Other people go on business trips, come home, and go back to the office.

What about Australia???

This is the question of the moment. Katy asks if the band is still going there or if they’ve shelved the idea. Now, I have no doubt people heard all the hope in the world in his voice, but I have to say that I did not. Roger said that they are waiting for just the right dates and venues, and IF that happens, then yes they’d like to go there. He said that Australia is one of their favorite places to visit, so it’s not about not wanting to go. It sounds to me as though it is purely about the business-side. It’s not worth going if they don’t have the right set of dates and venue.

In my opinion, it didn’t sound all that hopeful. I know there are a ton of rumors out there about playing with Chic, but judging purely from what Roger said, it doesn’t sound as though any of that is solid as of yet. As for the rest of the world? Nothing was mentioned at all. Whether that was  due to time or because Katy chose to focus on the positive, I don’t know. 

What is next?

Katy asked Roger what their plans are for the rest of the year (after July). At one point, Roger felt that they might end 2017 in the studio, and she was wondering if that was still possible. Interestingly enough, Roger says they are going to be doing more dates (no place was mentioned).  He also said something about going somewhere special and filming it. He talked about how he thought they’d been touring Paper Gods for nearly three years now (While I can appreciate the thought that time flies – they’ve been touring Paper Gods since September of 2015, which means it will be two years. Yes, I checked the complete tour list!) and he said they’ve done a lot and would like to finish it out with it filmed. Then he said maybe after that they’d go into the studio, but nothing was really planned.

One thing I’ll note here is that Roger is really happy with just going with the flow. He seems perfectly content to go along with whatever is going to happen! 

Rio turns 35 (Impossible!!!)

Katy mentioned to Roger that yes, in May of this year, Rio will be 35. After I picked myself up off the floor, I heard her ask him to recall ONE memory from that album.  ‘John came into the studio one day and said, “We need to write a song we can open the set with.”….and that song became Rio.’  and then he laughed and said, “now it’s the closer.”  Katy asked Roger if he felt much pressure with Rio.  I was surprised that he said no. His feeling was that the first album had more pressure because they were still really learning how to play and how to be a band. For Rio, they had a backlog of material to choose from, and they were far more confident with their instruments. Roger even said it was an easy process, comparatively speaking to many of their albums which have not always been easy (I believe he would include Paper Gods in that description).

Oh! One thing that Katy asked – which is something I, too, have always wondered – was about that sound at the very beginning of Last Chance on the Stairway.  She wondered if it was the sound of a cigarette being lit. I was really surprised though that Roger didn’t know!  He said that he hadn’t listened to it back in years, but that it was probably a sound effect that Nick added at the very last-minute. Still no firm answer, but maybe Katy will ask Nick when she gets a chance.  This conversation led to a discussion of smoking. Of course, when the band started out, everyone was smoking. Roger had a mantra to “never smoke before midnight.”

I don’t even get that…but OK. I guess if I lived at a club (Rum Runner) I’d probably have had some weird mantras too. Hell, as it is I say “Not without a hazmat suit!”  (Don’t ask.)

Apparently Roger is a coffee drinker in the morning (me too, Roger me too…) and Katy is not, although she did have a brief coffee “thing”  at one point.

So I should never invite Katy for coffee.  And if I ever get close enough to invite Roger to chat – coffee might work in the morning.  (Sure, I’m dreaming. Who cares?!?) 

And about that birthday….

Roger has nothing really planned. Going to see his kids, his parents who live about two hours from him… but nothing super special. He comments that every decade seems to go faster.

I must wholeheartedly agree on that one. I’m actually worried about how quickly the 50’s are gonna go because my 40s have mostly flown by. Can’t we slow this down a bit?!? I still have a few years to go till I’m staring 50 head-on, but at this rate I’ll blink and it will be here. No thank you. 

Katy ended the Kafe with a bit of a spoiler, saying that they may be doing something special for Rio’s 35th “Birthday” in May…which is pretty exciting. Looking forward to that!!

Until next time!

-R

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

You Won’t Miss Me When I’m Gone

Well, the spring run of shows is over, and the band has gone back to England.

I feel a little deflated, and yet my shows ended weeks ago. If that weren’t enough, I’ve seen a few people comment that they’ve never seen a tour happen this way – and so that must mean it’s farewell.

Oh come on now. Really?

First of all, I’ve seen a lot of tours like this. As in, most, if not all of them. The band always adds dates here and there, at least for as long as I’ve been actively paying attention. They do first, second…sometimes third and even fourth “legs”, and Duran Duran is FAR from the only band in the universe to do this. As John Taylor said recently in an interview, sometimes dates (like the South American shows) come up, and they have to get their whole group together, and so it just makes sense to add in a few more shows to make the trips worthwhile. I’m not going to find fault with that kind of sanity.

Second, if we’re talking about the fact that they haven’t gone many other places aside from the UK, Italy, the US and now South America – again I have to say it’s about money. Like it or not, the band has bills to pay, and they only go where they’re being paid to go. I know it’s hard to imagine, but the cost involved with doing a world tour – a real world tour – are staggering. They can’t just fly to Australia and do one show, and they can’t do more than that if promoters and bookers aren’t getting them shows. It’s that simple, whether we want to believe it or not. Sometimes, I think Duran fans look for conspiracies that just do not exist.

Lastly, even if this is their final farewell, does it really change anything? Does it change how YOU are touring? What shows YOU are attending? For me personally, I’m going to what I can. Even if I knew it was the final countdown, I couldn’t possibly do more shows right now, even if I wanted. I mean, what more could I really want though?

I’m not the type of person that is going to sit and wait for them outside of their hotel, or at an airport. I love them, but I also feel awkward doing that stuff. I know a lot of others do, and that’s great. It’s not my thing. There is only one time I’ve asked one of them to sign something for me, and in all honesty it was Dom, it wasn’t Simon, or Roger, or anyone like that. I’m just not that kind of fan, not that I think those people are wrong or weird or anything like that – it’s just that for me, I don’t want or need much signed. I’ve been to the UK. I’ve seen Birmingham – out of everything I’ve ever done in the name of “fandom”, that was the one thing I really wanted and it lived up to every last possible expectation and then some. Truth be told, I would really like to go back to the UK again. Very much so. I don’t know if I will have a chance to take that trip though, just because of timing and family expenses (again, college is NOT CHEAP).  I’ve taken long road trips with Amanda, I’ve had some wonderful experiences at shows, and I have made a lot of friends along the way. I just don’t know if there’s much else I could reasonably want, except more.

So while the idea of “farewell” bothers me, I can’t go on worrying about it looming overhead. A bit of advice my dad gave me before he died was that I needed to not worry so much about the dying. I’d call him at least a few times a week towards the end, and I’d always ask how he was feeling. It was natural, and I meant it in the most loving way possible – he was my dad and I was worried. Dad got tired of talking about how he was feeling though, because let’s face it – he already knew he was dying. It was no secret. He didn’t want to focus on the end, he just wanted to enjoy the living. So, he told me that the end was going to be just that, the end, and that none of us had much control over when that was going to be, or how that was going to transpire. What he and I could do though, was to enjoy the time we had. So I am, and I will. It was still a shock when the end arrived, and I still went through all of the same stages of grief as anyone might. But, I’m kind of glad my dad gave me that little pep talk though, because it’s come in handy more than once in the almost nine years he’s been gone. That’s my dad – watching out for me up until the very end!

Of course I’ll be wistful and sad when they stop touring. I have friends that I don’t know if I’ll see again when that time comes, even if I don’t think now is that time. I can’t imagine not seeing the band, or Dom, or even some of the roadies again. We fans have known them so long we can’t imagine not having them around and yet they really don’t know us at all. There’s really only one person in or around the band that truly knows me or my name, and I don’t even question whether or not he’ll know me in a crowd. It’s kind of like going to family reunions every time they tour or do a show, and I’ll miss those.

I think that’s really just it. Family. Somewhere along the line, this band and all of the fans that go along with them, have become a family, whether we like it or not! Some I might see as crazy uncles (there’s always one!), and others are probably related only by marriage and we don’t really know how they fit in, but they’re part of the group. I can’t imagine that feeling of family just ending, can you?

I don’t know what the band has coming next. I know that they’re coming back to California in July. I have heard rumblings of other possibilities, courtesy of the monthly Katy Kafes. I don’t think this band is quite done yet, but I’m not going to worry about that. I’m going to enjoy seeing pictures, chatting with friends, and planning for the shows I will see in July. I am going to work on a couple of projects I have going on here at home – including a high school graduation for my son, and I’m going to be reveling in the joy I have bubbling within for getting him to this point. I’m going to savor each moment as it comes, and live in gratitude for each day I’m given, and so should you.

-R

Totally 80’s with Rio!

I was thoroughly spoiled on Friday night, as I stood less than 30 feet away from Simon Le Bon as he sang Is There Something I Should Know AND Late Bar in a single set in a small, intimate bar in Fullerton, California. Of course, John, Roger, Andy and Nick were there too, and Duran Duran was on fire…playing everything from Sound of Thunder to Notorious, deep cuts to big hits. Duranies lined the stage, and while I only saw one pair of panties thrown…it was a good night.

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t really Simon. Or John, Roger, Andy and Nick for that matter. Particularly given the fact that they were in Argentina that night, and oh yes – Andy is no longer with the band – I kind of knew it was going to be tough to sell anyone on that story.  So who was the band and where was I? The band was of course Rio: the Duran Duran tribute band, and the venue was the Totally 80’s Bar and Grille.

Here’s the thing – as far as bars go, the Totally 80’s Bar is every 80s cliché wrapped up into one building. Neon, black lights, TV monitors on the wall playing completely different videos from the music pouring out of the speaker, even the same really gross, dank, but not entirely off putting, “ick” oozing from its walls. As I stood at the bar, nursing one of the worst vodka tonics I’ve ever had, I watched a guy dancing and spinning alone in the corner of the dance floor. I almost had to pinch myself, because I’d swear I saw that same dude thirty years ago at Fashions on the Redondo Beach pier.  Yeah, for me, Totally 80’s was nearly like stepping back in time….and falling flat on my face in a sea of neon paint with Apollonia 6 serenading me like carnival music in a fun house.  In a word: weird.  Fun, but weird.

I think that in order to appreciate the sights and sounds, you must have a sense of humor about the whole thing. Some do, as they come dressed proudly in 80s garb with a side ponytail and enough neon lighting bolts to power their own homes. Others, like me, are little more apprehensive and less likely to fully embrace 1980-something coming back to life. We come to see bands we think we know play music we rarely get to hear live.

As showtime neared, I was once again flabbergast to see Duranies – and yes, you can tell they’re Duranies because some even wear their Paper Gods touring t-shirts, which is both appropriate and cute in this setting – grabbing the front and center spots. They were ready to do battle if necessary to defend their territory from the few women (oh yes, even here) that feel they should always be awarded a spot directly in front of the singer, even if they drunkenly arrive mid-set. Truthfully, I can’t find fault with the Duranies in front, even if I chose not to join them in favor or standing back to watch the scene unfold. The die-hard in me screamed to go to the front, while the more reasonable side constantly reminded me that this was not really Duran Duran. The dance floor filled nicely for Rio, and once the band took the stage, even people from the back of the bar came to check the band out.

I hadn’t seen Rio perform live for about a year, and it might have been longer than that, now that I think about it. I can’t always make it to their shows (this is a tribute band that plays regularly so that Duranies can always get their fix, should the need arise!), but I go when I can.  Since my last trip to 1985 (with Rio, of course), they’ve had a personnel change. Not to be confused with the real Duran Duran (although they will tell you that they are in fact the real Duran Duran), in this case it is their keyboardist who has recently changed. Not sure if the sub “Nick” will stick around, but he was good.

I know a lot of people wince at the idea of a tribute band. I was one of those, once. Two things make Rio different: 1. They take the music seriously, even though sure – the “act” is a schtick of sorts. They’re not making fun of Duran Duran, they’re emulating them as they tell the crowd that we’ve all been taken back to 1985 in a time machine and that it’s going to be a party. These guys are fans – and I know this because I’ve hung out with them after Duran Duran shows! In turn, they make their own show fun, and do the music all kinds of justice. I’m picky about my Is There Something I Should Know, and they play it true to form….every time. EVERY TIME.  2. They don’t just play the hits. They also play the deep cuts only Duranies know. That’s the one thing I have to say, even when they’re playing Late Bar, everyone is dancing on that floor. I wish Duran Duran (the real band) could see it, because it’s a sight to behold. John Taylor may say that only die-hard fans in the first row or two know the song at his shows – but at these shows? Everybody knows it, or it’s so damn good they dance anyway.

So while Duran Duran may never play Late Bar or Sound of Thunder, Rio does…and they do it brilliantly. If you haven’t had a chance to see them, you should make the time. I’ll even save you space on the dance floor.

-R