Tag Archives: Roger Taylor

You Can Make Your Rhymes and Paint Your Rules

It’s hard to feel like blogging today. I tried staying off of social media over the weekend. This morning it is definitely no better. Reading the same thing 50,000 times does little to heal, nor does it seem productive if you’re really wanting to change things. I would rather spend the time with people I care about, can see, speak with, and respond to in person. So that’s what I’ve been doing, and it is what I intend to continue – a lot less social media, and a lot more “in person”.

At one time, I was a huge proponent of social media. Direct-to-fan marketing? YES! Fan-empowerment? 100% on board. I believed that social media was the way to bond with fans, and a great tool for marketing and promotion. I loved it all. What changed?

Thought that I was in control

I was just sitting here mulling over my social media trajectory as I considered what I’d write this morning. The idea that we could connect with others from all across the globe, using this wonderful conduit, sparked something in me. Virtually “meeting” people that I would have likely never had the opportunity to talk with otherwise, made the Duranie world feel so much more tactile and real. Message boards and social media made fandom fun. I wanted more.

I don’t think things can stay like that forever. For example, writing this blog now isn’t nearly the “wide-eyed and bushy-tailed” experience it was when we started, and that’s okay with me. I can only control what I write – not how readers respond to my words. Social media is the same. What was once pure fun for me, has turned into something quite different. I am still able to see the joy when I see posts from friends and they’re speaking about things in their personal lives or sharing pictures and things. Every once in a while a blog resonates with someone, or a complete stranger finds the website and feels compelled to connect with Amanda and I to say thank you or to excitedly share their feelings. Those moments are still golden and I appreciate them greatly.

On the other hand though, social media is a minefield. Sometimes I have to wonder if it’s just me or if others feel the same. I see posts from people, and immediately internalize them. It is unhealthy, and I am well-aware of when I’m allowing it to happen. Ultimately, I’ve gotten to the point where social media isn’t a friend, but rather – a foe.

Another trick of fate

Self-confidence is attractive. Conversely, it is never good when someone seems desperate, has little poise, or self-assurance. If I am not careful, I can easily slide down that hill into the woe-is-me cesspool, and I have zero interest in wallowing there. I can see that social media is the kind of kryptonite that can throw me there. While it can, and has built me up over the years, social media has also helped to tear me down.

Not being mentioned in a list of people that inspired a friend didn’t shove me into a cavern of despair. Seeing posts from people who have long since stopped being close confidants doesn’t make me wistful and sad for what once was. Reading tweet after tweet suggesting that wishing “thoughts and prayers” are now horrible things to say didn’t hurt me directly. Knowing that we didn’t even go a full 24-hours without a mass shooting didn’t altogether drive me over an edge. No. It is all of it, actually. All of it – collectively – made me see that social media is no longer my friend.

Nearly everyone has asked at one point or another why the band isn’t on social media anymore – at least beyond more than a post here or there. This morning, the nicest thing I saw on Twitter was from someone (*cough* Dom *cough*) who almost never posts. They retweeted a picture from freaking 2012. That was SEVEN years ago…and it was the best thing I saw in my timeline, amongst of all the other tweets (not specifically aimed at anyone) filled with vitriol, anger and insults. Seriously? That’s the best?

Gotta break it all

People like to blame a specific troll, or say it’s the “crazies” that drove band members like John from Twitter. Did you ever ask him personally? (I haven’t) What if it wasn’t any one thing? Maybe it was ALL of it. What if they realized that it just isn’t that helpful, and it really isn’t much fun? That’s where I’m at.

I don’t know what I’m going to do, or how to handle it. I’m still online, of course. Regardless of what I do in my personal life, Daily Duranie won’t be affected. I’ve talked about taking a break before, and for the most part I think I did. Maybe I need another, but perhaps I also just need to unplug a bit more extensively.

I don’t like being dramatic and announcing an exit. Fishing or sympathy or reassurance isn’t something I like doing. I truly hate seeing people beg not to be “cut” from the friend list, or what-have-you. If I’m going to cull my friends and followers, or if I’m going to completely quit social media in my personal life; readers are probably going to be the last to know. I’m not going to tell you all so that you can “kiss the ring” and stay. That’s kind of the opposite of the point.

That isn’t even the purpose of my writing about it here. I’m just wondering if anyone else feels the same. Social media is an integral part of being a fan. We all rely on it to stay connected. I’m just wondering how it would feel to disconnect myself, I guess. It feels so extreme. I wonder how other people manage it all. Any thoughts or ideas?

-R

Still In My Heart: Remembering Live Aid & The Power Station

By Jason Lent

Another Live Aid comes and goes and, as always, people have their annual chuckle about Simon LeBon missing a note during Duran Duran’s indifferent performance on the momentous day. For me, Live Aid arrived only four days after my first rock-n-roll concert and my ears were still ringing. As much as I wanted to see Duran Duran, it was The Power Station that had me glued to the television. A few nights earlier, my father took me to the outskirts of Florida civilization to witness John and Andy’s side-project at the infamous Hollywood Sportatorium. The excitement of seeing The Power Station certainly made it easier to accept the splintering mess that Duran Duran had become.


Duran Duran had played the Hollywood Sportatorium, affectionately called the Vomitorium for its lawless behavior, a year prior in March of 1984. Being a school night, I wasn’t able to convince my parents that it was the most important night of my life and I had to be there. They chalked it up to being a music crazed eleven year-old but I was serious. I knew Duran Duran were at their peak and I’ve always regretted missing that tour. My dad came through in 1985 and we stood in line for tickets as soon as the unexpected Power Station tour was announced. 


The videos for “Some Like It Hot” and “Get It On (Bang A Gong)” were colorful, sexy, and rocking. The album was an instant favorite for me whereas Arcadia’s album has taken years to fully win me over (and it has). For a first concert, I could do far worse than The Power Station and my excitement built and built as we drove down a one lane highway towards to Florida Everglades in the middle of empty fields. While South Florida eventually paved its way west into the Everglades, in 1985 the Sportatorium sat alone on the edge of civilization. We were on an adventure in my 12 year-old mind!


The decrepit arena lived up to its reputation. A few weeks earlier, a Robert Plant concert was postponed due to rain which wouldn’t be that odd except the Sportatorium was actually indoors! The crumbing ceiling was a sieve. Upon arrival, we climbed up the side of the concrete box to section 117 after a stop at the merch table to buy a concert program which I still have to this day. The scheduled support act Spandau Ballet had pulled out due to someone blowing out a knee and, I think, The Bongos might have opened the show. Can anyone confirm that? I just learned they had a song called “Barbarella” so there’s that. Regardless, I don’t remember the support act and the arena’s acoustics were a sound engineer’s nightmare so it could have been Poison and I wouldn’t have noticed.


Thinking back on concerts in the 1980s, I really miss the way they started. The excitement of the first song felt bigger back then from Jon Bon Jovi shooting from under the stage to Howard Jones’ mime winding up an audience. The opening riff of “Murderess” is still burned into my memory. As the curtains pulled back, Andy Taylor’s guitar sliced through the clouds of pot smoke and enveloped my entire being. This was rock-n-roll! I was hooked for life.  


The setlist was a mix of somewhat odd covers and the entire debut album. One of the biggest memories of the night was Miami Vice star Don Johnson joining the band on stage for a cover of  Rod Stewart’s “Some Guys Have All the Luck”. One of the most interesting songs would have been The Velvet Underground classic “White Light/White Heat” but I don’t remember it and I wouldn’t have known the VU back then. The Animotion cover of “Obsession” that DesBarres cowrote was a bigger deal to me on that night. Looking back at the setlist, I’m surprised that there were only two Duran Duran songs played (“The Reflex” and “Hungry Like the Wolf”) but I was so overwhelmed by the concert that I left on a high. 


A few days later, I spent a Saturday shifting from the living room couch to the front lawn to kick a soccer ball around awaiting the Duran Duran and The Power Station slots at Live Aid. The Power Station came out swinging at Live Aid, perhaps trying a little too hard. DesBarres runs all over the place while John and Andy play everything a little too fast. Tony Thompson, always a massive hitter, fills the stadium with ease but he was certainly thinking ahead to his set with Led Zeppelin a few hours later.


Next up was Duran Duran and it was quickly apparent that there was trouble in paradise. Roger Taylor looks completely sick of being in Duran Duran and the other four are clearly operating from two different camps. Andy Taylor sounds like he wants to bury Simon and Nick under a wall of distortion and John looks a bit ragged from his lifestyle. This is not a healthy band and Andy’s disgusted look to the stars when Simon misses the infamous note was a portent of what was to come. The fallout of Live Aid changed Duran Duran, and me, forever.


What happened after Live Aid comes back to me in pieces. I definitely didn’t buy Andy Taylor’s Thunder out of loyalty to Duran Duran but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the singles. The Power Station concert had opened my ears to dirtier guitars just in time for the rise of glam metal on MTV. When Notorious arrived, it was such a break from where Duran Duran had left off that it pushed me deeper into the world of Whitesnake and David Lee Roth, both of whom I saw at the Hollywood Sportatorium before it was torn down to the disappointment of absolutely no one. 


I finally saw Duran Duran in 1989 at the Miami Arena, which replaced the Sportatorium for us in South Florida. Empty seats and a lack of energy is what little I remember from the night. It was a difficult time to love Duran Duran but a lot of the songs on Big Thing and Notorious have aged better than Seven & the Ragged Tiger for me. Maybe The Power Station saved Duran Duran from themselves. It gave Andy an exit strategy, it finally forced them to address the divide that formed between the five men, and it forced Duran Duran to find a new sound in the aftermath. The Power Station also lit a fire in my soul for rock-n-roll that burns to this day. Other people have “cooler” first concerts to brag about but I wouldn’t trade that night in 1985 for any of them. 

Jason’s Power Station ticket from 1985!

To hear the drum

Over the weekend, I chatted back and forth with another Duranie about drumsticks. She’d gotten Roger’s sticks recently, and I’d congratulated her on social media, mentioning that I don’t even have a pair. Somehow over the years, I’ve never been that lucky. There was one time I came close, though. Another, much taller man right beside me grabbed them in midair, and you know – that’s the way it goes. After that, I realized it was silly to keep trying. Someone always wants them a little more, or is a little luckier in the process.

Anyway, this person was thrilled to have secured sticks from Roger. She encouraged me to keep trying for them, and asked where I’d be sitting at the upcoming shows I’m attending. I explained that in most cases, I’m really too far back. Although I’ve had front row a few times now, I haven’t tried for sticks.

I thought about that after our conversation ended. Roger was my favorite band member from the first moments I became a fan. He still IS my favorite, but it’s different in adulthood than in teen years—at least for me. For a few years, I held up signs for him at shows, but I don’t do that anymore. I don’t know when it stopped, or why. On second thought, I do know about when, and certainly why I left the signs at home. I became more aware of the fact that due to this site – more people knew me. I’ve always been a bit self-conscious, and that hasn’t changed with age.

Jungle drums they all clear the way for me

Fandom for me, is a tangled mess. That much, I know for sure. Part of it is, I’m well-aware that I write a fan blog. That alone is enough to make people smirk, and yes – it bothers me. I mean, it’s one thing to say you’re a huge fan. Even that might get grins when you’re amongst people who don’t really understand there is life after the age of 30 or even 40. Then when they ask how many shows you’ve gone to. I usually say “around 50”. The expressions change from amusement to almost concern, and then back to a smirky, snarky, sort of partial grin. But then, if I dare go one further (and I don’t always) by announcing that I run a fan blog/website dedicated to Duran Duran fans, that’s when the eyes roll and I can see a slight recoil, as though they’re trying to back away. This comes in especially handy at family gatherings, and workplace events for my husband.

In all seriousness though, I don’t like the characterization much. I’m pretty sure I’m not a crazy person, but the very second one backs up a statement such as “Not only have I gone to a lot of concerts, but I own and operate a fan blog dedicated to Duran Duran”, with a phrase like,“I’m not crazy, though”, it’s too late. My fate, and the corresponding label, already been granted. I must be one of those certifiably crazy obsessive fans.

Just a toy that you keep at home

I suppose that while there were a number of reasons why I stopped asking for sticks – one big one was because I thought that the more obsessive I acted, the more I asked for stuff, the less-serious people would take the blog. I didn’t want to be the punchline in someone’s joke.

Here’s a little nugget I’ve learned, but still wrestle with, over the nine years we’ve blogged. It doesn’t matter. At this point, people have already made their decisions about Daily Duranie, and particularly about me as a person. Holding up signs, asking for sticks, pictures, or even hugs from people I care about, isn’t going to make a bit of difference. People either like the blog, or they discount it completely. My internal struggle, or my anxiety, comes from knowing I can’t change any of it, but wishing that I could. For me, I think that constant inner tug-of-war is my Achilles heel. I seek approval and acceptance, from everyone, everywhere. It is an impossible task.

Several years ago, I asked Dom for a guitar pick before he left the stage after a concert. Not only did he flick the one he had been using my way (amazingly enough, I caught it), but he sent his guitar tech out to throw the rest of his picks from his mic stand at me. Other people eagerly grabbed those, but I didn’t care because I had the one he’d used just two minutes prior. I still have that pick in my jewelry box. I’ve never known what else to really do with it. I think the memories of getting it, or running into him after a show and having him come over to say hi, or giving me a quick hug in a hallway, are more precious to me than the pick itself.

With the strays and the damaged

I don’t know if I’ll ever hold up a sign for Roger again. I still feel weird about doing it, even though I know I probably shouldn’t. Also, I don’t know if having sticks would really make a difference. Would it make me feel like any more of a fan? Probably not. Don’t get me wrong – getting sticks is cool, but is it any more exciting than speaking to him at a signing? I’m really not sure much could top that moment for me, and it’s just a memory at this point. I don’t even have video or recording of our brief conversation. My point is, maybe someone else really wants them and needs them. I wouldn’t feel right about taking them when I know of someone else who has desperately wanted them.

I have so much work to do, personally. My anxiety, while better now that I’m living in a semi-rural and peaceful place, still plagues me more than I want to admit. I continue worrying about how other people see me, see the blog, or see my fandom, entirely too much. I’m a work in progress, but I’m getting there.

-R

Like a Birthday or a Pretty View

There’s nothing quite like a weekend to make you forget your work troubles….until, of course, your writing partner texts you on a Saturday morning to tell you the site isn’t working.

Not only was the site down, but my son moved back home. Special thanks goes to my husband who drove to Riverside, picked up the boy and his belongings, then drove back up to the central coast all in one day). Then yesterday, I was shocked to find that one of my chickens laid an egg – the first of the flock!

It’s a time of some anxiety and change for my family, and for my chickens – well, they’re nesting like crazy. We were busy finishing up the nesting boxes for the coop yesterday, and one of my chickens was bound and determined to get in there and start nesting whether we were done or not! Adding the website to the top of the list wasn’t something I had in mind.

We’d been having difficulty with the site since Friday – and as it turns out, none of it was our fault (read: Rhonda’s fault) at all. So we’re back up and running now. Thankfully.

I was concerned we’d miss out on blogging during the Iceland/Denmark shows, but it turns out we made it just in time to make a little comment on Simon’s birthday celebration this past weekend in Ibiza!

Wait, what month is this?? Simon’s birthday isn’t in June!

I can’t tell you how many times I saw those lines written over social media. It’s true, his birthday is in October. It is also true that this past weekend, there seemed to be a celebration to put an exclamation mark on all other celebrations, onboard a mega yacht in Ibiza. The weather looked glorious, the party seemed to be casual and fun-loving, just like Simon himself – and yes, John, Nick and Roger, along with their respective spouses and significant others – were there for the ride. It looked like a lot of fun was had by all.

One particular moment that made Instagram (and then reposted by Duranie after Duranie) was during what appeared to be a little speech that Simon gave at some point. He mentioned that without Duran Duran, he didn’t know where he would have ended up. Simon listed John, Nick & Roger by name, and said he was so thankful to have them in his life. It was a lovely moment.

No, I’m not part of the band in any way, which makes it all the more significant that I feel the same way. I don’t know where I would be without Duran Duran.

My life is pretty wonderful all on it’s own. I mean, I have three fantastic kids, a husband I’ve been married to for almost 25 years, I live somewhere I fall more in love with every day, a few friends I trust, and some hobbies that have given me great joy.

One of those hobbies, of course, is music. More specifically, Duran Duran. While they’re not the only band I treasure, they’re the one I follow most closely. I blog about them – or some aspect thereof – four days a week! If Duran Duran didn’t exist, I would have never met Amanda, I doubt I would have done some of the traveling I’ve been able to do, and I don’t think I would have had nearly as much fun in my adult life…not to mention surviving adolescence.

I share Simon’s sentiment about Duran Duran. I’m thankful for them. I find that each time I am able to get together with my friends these days, I spend more and more time in gratitude for still having these times to look forward to than I do worrying about what they might play. I don’t really care so much what I hear, as much I as treasure the time I’m able to spend with this special group of people. Can’t wait to do it all again in September.

-R

Was the Pop Trash Era Best?

Now that the beat is slow

DDHQ’s choice of the video for “Someone Else Not Me” for “Watch it Wednesday” sparks discussion of the Pop Trash era.

Admittedly, there were years from the mid-90’s until I saw the band for the Up Close & Personal tour in 2001, when I didn’t pay quite as much attention as I did in the 80’s. I was still interested, and believe me when I say my ears perked up at the mere mention of Duran Duran. Even so – my room was no longer wallpapered with posters and pinups. I grew up, and stopped needing those posters, I suppose.

I’ve spoken or traded posts and messages with a good many Duran Duran fans who proclaim the Pop Trash era to be their favorite – and if it wasn’t the music itself being mentioned, it was the live shows. Many of these fans are my personal friends within the DD community. I dare say that most of my friends in this community are die hard Duranies at heart.

Something I want to say

I only went to one Pop Trash era show—the one at the House of Blues for the Up Close & Personal tour in 2001. I will continue to scream “that single show changed my entire life” from the rooftops, but not for the same reasons that seem to come up with other fans. For me, that show re-opened up a door into my heart. I felt so much joy in being there in that room that I completely lost myself in the show. I didn’t even know the Pop Trash album that well at the time. The music between us, indeed.

Obviously, we can all make note of the hysteria present during the early 80s. Clearly that was missing by the late 90s. The era tends to ignite my curiosity not because of the fans who had left by that time, but by those who stayed connected.

Burst this bubble

So many of my friends who were truly engaged during Pop Trash speak so fondly of that time and those shows, over the years I’ve wondered what made it so. Sure, for many who loved the Pop Trash and Medazzaland albums, the answer is obvious. The music fuels the passion. For others, it was likely the proximity to the band itself. I have friends who tell me that back then, the band really seemed to embrace the fans. Rather than treating them like asylum escapees with a registered potential for violence quotient – they acted like they were old friends.

Were the fans just friendlier at the time? The late 90s -2000s were early days of the internet. Social media hadn’t yet hooked us with its talons. The reunion was a blip on the horizon, but no fan even suspected the possibility just yet.

Were die-hard fans during this period there more for the music than the nostalgia?

To type the words seems so judgmental. I don’t mean it quite that way, but to be fair – don’t you wonder what the ratio between die-hard and “I-heard-a-single-from-Pop-Trash-on-the-radio” potential fans were in any given audience on the Up Close & Personal tour might have been? Let’s just be blunt: there IS a certain percentage of the greater fan base that continues to show up because they’re still in love with the pinup images of John, Simon, Nick and Roger. That doesn’t mean every fan from the 80s lives in nostalgia, it simply means some still might.

Hardest thing is to let go

I can’t say whether I’ve tested my theories enough to call them law, but I have definitely noticed a certain “Where were YOU in the 90s?” attitude that has permeated over the years. If you suggest that you stuck around during that time, you’re alright. If, like me, you mention a sabbatical, however brief – one can sense the eyes upon you narrowing as they scrutinize from head to toe. Judgments are made based on how one answers the simple questions of what live shows you’ve seen, or whether or not you remained a “true” fan during the lean 1990s.

On the other hand, and most likely one attached to the body of someone who haughtily says they’re not at all nostalgic to 1980’s Duran Duran – there is the fact that during these same Up Close & Personal shows, the band played a FAR more varied set list, filled with songs from—oh yes, you guessed it—their first few albums and B-sides. Not nostalgic, you say? Please, tell me more about that. Fandom is fueled by nostalgia.

I don’t necessarily think I’ve discovered the answers to the questions on my mind, but on second thought, I’m really not sure there are black and white answers to be found. Fandom is complex. This isn’t math. There aren’t firm answers, even though people like me really might prefer that. A lot of the ground we walk on is slippery. I would know, I’ve fallen a lot. And repeatedly. Then, I’m a bit of a klutz trapped in a china shop. Save the china!!

-R

I’ve Been Waiting For You

It’ll take a little time

I apologize for my tardiness today. I’m currently taking a break from a morning filled with online car shopping to write a few words here. My poor Lexus died a sudden death last week, despite my insistence that it could be fixed. (actually, it *can* be fixed…but it will cost me more than the car is worth. *sigh*) So, onward and upward, right?

The funny, and probably very sad, thing about me and that car is that we were pretty attached. Or I was to IT…rather. It was my dream car, and I fell in love with her (yes, it’s a she) immediately. I thought she was perfect, and I can honestly say I enjoyed every single minute of the thirteen years (nearly to the day) that she ran. That car was the most reliable vehicle I have ever had. In fact, the current oil leak and transmission issue (or death, rather) are the ONLY two problems the car has ever had that weren’t entirely man-made. (I did crack the oil pan once in a smallish accident that we won’t go into here.) No joke – Lexus makes a reliable car, and if they want to give me a new one, I’ll gladly take it as payment for my remarks. <wink, wink>

Stay wilder than the wind

Out with the old and in with the new, I guess. That’s kind of the way it is, isn’t it? I’ve had my Lexus long enough to where I am familiar with every subtle nuance, but it wasn’t always that way. For example, when I first got the car, on Mothers Day in 2006, I spent the first year or two marveling over the idea that I was driving my dream car. Fangirl mode, anyone? I knew next to nothing about the car at the time, but I knew I liked it.

However, as the years went by, I stopped being starry-eyed over driving a new car. I learned when things didn’t sound quite right, or when it was time for an oil change. I knew something cataclysmic was happening well before my husband ever listened to my worries. I’d poke at him when we’d be driving and say “Do you hear that little hum? That’s not right.” He’d listen and say “It’s FINE, Rhonda.” I’d sit back in my seat, full-well knowing the end was nigh. As much as I loved that “new car” feeling, there is something very satisfying about knowing my vehicle well. Good, and bad.

Words, playing me deja vu

Oddly, I think the same holds true with Duran Duran. I’ve been a fan of this band since the early 80s, and I was probably ten or maybe eleven when I first heard them. Very quickly after that, they became my obsession. I definitely fawned over photos, pretended to pass out when they’d come on the television. My bedroom walls, along with my school locker and folders for class, were decorated, and I absolutely had a favorite band member (Hello, Roger….I say in my most sultry voice…which isn’t sultry at all. *sigh*). I was absolutely a fan girl in every sense. Theband could do no wrong. It didn’t even occur to me that they could have opinions I wouldn’t like! The idea of not agreeing with them on one thing or another never even crossed my mind.

The weird thing is I’m 48 now. I don’t want to count the years – but there’s been a quite a few since those first days of staring deeply into Roger Taylor’s eyes….on the pinup pages of my Tiger Beat magazine! I doubt I know everything there is to know about Duran Duran, although I’ve certainly tried. Their history is well-known – I’ve studied them so long now, it feels like my story too. Their songs, music and videos have been the soundtrack for most of my life. I think I know the band itself rather well now. But do I know the people?

Is it something real

Definitely not. Sure, I can pick them out of a lineup, but I don’t know them as a true friend might, and that’s OK (and not the point I’m trying to make here at all). I appreciate the Katy Kafe’s that go beyond the surface “Duran Duran” stuff. Finding out a little bit about them as people, such as listening to John explain his interest in visual art, or what photography exhibits Nick has been to lately makes them seem a lot less enigmatic. I actually enjoyed hearing what Simon thought of our presidential elections, or even what type of food Roger likes to eat. While I recognize it’s not even remotely possible for them to have reciprocal relationships with 99% of the fans out there, I do like hearing and learning more about them as people. I’d have to imagine that while they realize talking and selling the brand is important – they probably like discussing something other than what they’re working on in studio too. (Not gonna lie here, if I were them, I’d be sick of it by now. I can almost hear them stiffen or shift position in their chairs just before Katy asks about the studio!)

The chances of getting to know John, Roger, Nick or Simon to the point when I can immediately recognize when something is “off” is highly unlikely for me, or most fans, I am sure. Even so, I appreciate having the chance to get even the tiniest of peeks into their “real lives”. I don’t feel slighted when I hear that one of them doesn’t like the same sort of food I do, for example. I’m not offended that maybe John has a real interest in politics. I love that he’s different from me in exactly the same way that I adore Amanda. Thank goodness there are people who are unlike me and have different joys! For me, learning about the band as actual, real, people isn’t about validating my own self though their likes and dislikes. I appreciate our differences, smile at the similarities, and today— I’m particularly grateful they don’t have failing transmissions!

-R

Happy Birthday Roger 2019

I do not know if I have ever actually the blog post for Roger’s birthday before! I am feeling the pressure a little bit to do a quality job. Typically, when I do a blog post for one of the band member’s birthday, I usually either focus on personal stories or his accomplishments. I will try to do a little bit of both even though I have had limited interactions with Roger.

As a kid, I didn’t notice Roger a ton. I’m sure a big part of that is that he did not get a lot of attention in teen magazines, interviews, etc. That said, I don’t know any Duranie who missed Roger Taylor in this video:

That said, when I did see an interview with him as a kid, I always liked him. He seemed sincere and sweet. It wasn’t about being funny or charming or cool like I sometimes sensed with the others. (Not that I think any of that is bad!) Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

Of course, we know that Roger walked away in 1986, which made everyone so sad. We knew that we would miss him and that the band wouldn’t be the same without him. Then, after almost 10 years, he appeared in this video giving us all hope of a real return:

We all had to wait for a few more years before he came back to the band during the reunion. One thing I immediately noticed with the reunion was the sheer relief that everyone I knew had about Roger’s return. I bet the band felt the same way. They no longer had to teach someone Roger’s parts!

Since the reunion, I have found myself appreciating him more than I ever did as a kid. I think some of that is simply his skills as a drummer, which can be seen in the this clip.

As an adult, I have been lucky enough to see Roger in person a few times outside of the concert venue. The first time was in the summer of 2005 when I saw the band at a hotel they were staying at. Admittedly Roger was not my first priority when the band arrived as I was determined to get John’s autograph, which I did. After meeting that goal, I sought the rest of the band. I found Roger chatting with a couple of friends of mine. The word I would use to describe him at that moment was friendly. He didn’t seem guarded or reserved but social. I approached him about getting an autograph and he said that he didn’t give out autographs at the hotel, that was his line in the sand. I told him I understood and moved on. I learned something valuable that day. It was the first time I really got that celebrities might have personal rules about how, when and how much to interact with fans. I appreciated that he had that line and respectfully told him that I understood as I walked away. Later, Roger approached me as stood by the elevators to ask if I had seen “any of his people.” I kid you not. That is how he asked me. The funny part is that I pointed in the direction I saw Simon go and he chose the opposite!

After that night in 2005, I have also seen Roger at a CD signing and a few nightclubs (some where he was DJing and one where he wasn’t). In almost all of those cases, I chose not to go to him for pictures or autographs. I am not really sure why. Maybe that initial meeting stayed with me more than I originally thought. It certainly wasn’t negative and I didn’t fear that he would be angry or annoyed with me for reaching out. No, it was more about respecting his desire to have space. I distinctly remember seeing him in a bar in 2011. As usual with Rhonda and myself, I stood to the corner with my friends and just watched people interact. Roger talked with lots of fans that night and smiled the entire time, from what I could tell. Yet, I continued to give him space even though I wanted to approach him like everyone else was. I, too, wanted my moment or my picture but I felt conflicted based on that previous interaction.

Now, I think I see Roger in a different light than I did as a kid. Back then, he almost didn’t seem real, like a character in a movie. Did I feel that way because he was so guarded? So shy? So often not in the spotlight? Now, he feels real, complex. Maybe it is from listening to so many Katy Kafes as he discusses his young son or his work with Road to Recovery as seen here:

As Roger celebrates another birthday, I know that I’m very glad about what he brings to the band, both musically and personally. As a fan, I feel like he brings a unique perspective and a balance that Duran Duran has always and will always need. Thus, on his 59th birthday, I wish him a fabulous birthday and the most amazing year of his life so far! Happy Birthday Roger!!!

-A


April 2019 Katy Kafe with Roger

Someone else has a birthday this month, along with Amanda and my youngest, and his name is Roger! As he explains early in this month’s Katy Kafe, this year isn’t the “big” year – and we’re not talking about that yet!

We did hear within the first few seconds that the band is going back into the studio today, and that his birthday is also a studio day. Little by little, we’re hearing more teensy little items of interest about that studio time. I can’t lie, for me, a lot of this Kafe, seemed to be about his drums, and while some of the questions were interesting, others really didn’t resonate – purely because I am not a drummer, and I don’t know the difference between Tama drums or any other brands. I took notes, and as always, I encourage everyone to get their own DDM membership!

Today’s Kafe featured a selection of Katy-chosen questions from their Instagram.

What is your max heart rate when playing Wild Boys?

Roger laughed, because I would imagine he hasn’t had too much of an opportunity to measure his own heart rate (kind of wonder what an Apple Watch would do under those conditions though, I must admit). However, he did say that whatever it might be – it would be much faster for “Rio”. Somehow this led into a short sidebar about the fact that he finds that he plays far more powerfully when he is relaxed. It isn’t about sheer strength, it is about playing with flexibility and precision. So while you and I might think he has pretty strong arms….he says no.

I’ve seen them. Well…I have in pictures before, anyway. I’m still gonna go with yes. <big grin>

Which drum track from your entire catalog makes you the most proud?

Roger says “Anything from Rio”.

What tracks from other drummers do you admire most?

“Trampled Under Foot” – John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)

“Superstition” – Stevie Wonder.

Your homework, fellow Duranies – is to go listen to both. 🙂

What provides inspirations when writing new songs?

“What is going on around me”, Roger explains. Just as they enter the studio today, they won’t have any preconceived ideas of what they’ll play. Nick might begin playing something and then that will give Roger inspiration for a drum beat and so on. They write “off the cuff” and have done so for many years (and albums). He mentions how they were in the studio with Errol Alkan and Mark Ronson, and that in each case – they had no ideas of what they might do, but that each of them had their own creative ideas, and that in turn inspired them.

Katy interjects at this point and asks if he’s heard any of the finished songs and Roger quickly says that nothing is finished yet. I add this tidbit purely because if you were hoping for finished music in 2019….I’m still thinking you’d be better off hoping for 2020!!

What were you whispering to yourself in the video for “Night Boat”?

Roger laughs and says “I was probably wondering what in the hell we were doing or what it was all about!” Then he explains that he hasn’t WATCHED the video since they made it!

I just have to say, this little kernel of truth shocked me. I mean, I know these guys have been busy over the years, especially back then – and maybe I’m just a control freak (I know I am), but really? You didn’t even WATCH it to see if you thought it was any good? I really hope Roger watches it, and that eventually somehow, we hear what he thought when he did! (In case you’re reading: your acting on it was A+, Roger. <big grin> I must have watched that video 30,000 times when I first got the video album. I mean…you were speaking! It didn’t even matter what you were saying – I could hear your voice.

Wow. Yep, I was indeed a fan. Big fan. Huge!

If you were stranded on a desert island and had the choice of what band member was with you – who would you choose and why?

Apparently, there is only one answer to this question as far as Katy and Roger are concerned. They’d choose Simon because he could get them out. (It turns out, they trust Simon’s sailing ability. Ok then. I can’t argue…except to ask, “Who said we wanted to leave the island?!?”).

Where’s the one “bucket list” place you’d like to visit?

India. Roger has never been to India, and he’d like to go and visit – not just a resort, but the “real” India.

What song from Arcadia (aside from Election Day) would you like to add to the set list?

Roger’s favorite Arcadia song is “The Promise”, and he’d like to add that – in fact, he says he may suggest that the next time the set list conversation comes up!

What drum gear are you using in the studio for the new recordings?

He is working with more of a live drum set-up. Errol and Mark both had kits in their studios he used. While the last album relied a little more heavily on electronics, these songs are more live, less electronic. More organic. Acoustic.

**note here for everyone committing this to memory, expecting whatever music to come out to be exactly as Roger describes here. It is still early in the process. Roger himself said nothing is finished. While this is how it’s sounding now, WHO KNOWS what will end up coming through our speakers when it is done…and remember he’s talking about the drums. We don’t know what the rest of it will sound like at all. Right?

Do you still have your earliest Tama drum kit?

They have a lot in storage, but Roger says he doesn’t really have anything from his first kit. As a side note though, Paul McCartney did at one time have a drum of his in his studio. Roger knows one of Paul’s daughters and gave her one of the drums he no longer needed.

Roger continues by explaining that he’s really not a collector. He doesn’t keep things – same with clothes. He has his Rio jacket, but he doesn’t know where the trousers are. That beautiful blue silk jacket was on display at the O2 Music Experience when I was in London back in 2011 – don’t know if it’s still there though!

Which song would you go back and re-record if you had the opportunity?

Roger said “None”.

His feeling here is like most artists – when you record a song, it is like a snapshot in time for that particular period. Going back and changing it is similar to stepping into a time machine and going back to fix some part of history. Once you do that, everything changes.

Would you still join the band if you had already known what was going to happen (all of the ups and downs, etc.)

He says he wouldn’t change a thing. One thing I can hear in Roger’s voice is how grateful he is for his career. He talks about how he might have been a mechanic or hated his day job, and obviously that’s not the case with the band. Despite the ups and downs, he clearly still loves his life just as it is.

Favorite performance of his entire career?

I would have thought a question like this would stump someone. I mean, this includes thousands of performances! However, he said that the last time they played the O2 – he had his family there with him. There was an incredible synergy with the audience, and the night was magical. So there you have it!

Happy birthday, Roger! It might be a working birthday, but we hope it is still fantastic!

-R

Part of a Celluloid Dream

So, anybody got that trip to Iceland booked yet???

Me neither. *big sigh*

If I rewind back to yesterday

Speaking of sadness, did you know that on this date in 1986, Duran Duran sent out a press release with the announcement that my favorite drummer (and hopefully yours), Roger Taylor, was leaving the band. Headed for greener pastures. “Gentleman farming”, as he later referred to it.

Bah. Whatever.

The good news, of course, is that he came back! Only took him what…17 years or so….before he played live shows with Duran Duran again?

Watching slo-mo going frame by frame

Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled he left, but I was overjoy upon the announcement of his return! While I don’t love “celebrating” this day each year, I like reminding myself that things change. “This too shall pass”.

I sure hope so.

It’s been a rough week for me personally, Duranies. Positive thoughts go out to those who need them and a reminder that help, love, and support is here and waiting, whenever and however needed. Cheers.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate, and a wonderful weekend to all.

-R

Repost: Paper Gods, The Book

Today, I’m taking a self-imposed break. I saw that DDHQ had asked fans for their favorite tour book, and remembered how much I loved the one for Paper Gods. As you can see below, it is far more than just your average picture book commemorating a tour!

Have a wonderful Monday and I’ll be back tomorrow!

-R

**************************************************************************

I needed a diversion from reality last night.

So, I cracked opened the Paper Gods book that my ever-fearless partner-in-crime-and-everything-Duran-Duran sent me for Christmas!

cover

When I opened this particular present, I was delighted because I’d heard it was well-worth the £20, and I hadn’t ordered it myself because I just wasn’t sure I needed it. I own a few of their tour books from the past, and while they’ve always been a sort of “Oh, that’s really nice to have”, I wasn’t positive about this one. All I could think of was that it was 120-pages of photos, and did I really need a book of photos in my collection? I wasn’t sure. I wanted to see more of it in person before making a decision and I didn’t know when or how that might happen. Sometimes, a book like this needs a little previewing, you know? (It’s too bad DDHQ doesn’t know a fan website that could do that kind of thing for them every once in a while…..) So when I opened the gift and marveled at how big the book really is…and then began thumbing through it, I realized just how much I needed a book like this in my collection!

And…it’s not really so much of a tour book, although there are certainly a plethora of pictures in there (even some of Dom, Anna, Jessie & Simon W!). I would describe this book as being sort of the Encyclopedia-of-Anything-You-Wanted-to-Know-About-Paper-Gods-But-Figured-You’d-Never-Be-Able-to-Ask.

First off, the book is big. It’s not your basic 30-page tour book that’s mostly pictures (although yes, there are plenty and I mean that).  At 120 large format pages (13.25″H x 9.5″W), it’s a bit of a monster…and I mean that in a fantastic way!

bookwidth

There’s actual writing in this one, and not just a welcome note from the band or anything like that. There are interviews, thoughts, feelings…lists of words or phrases I can’t quite figure out yet (but trust me I am enjoying the process of trying!), and I’m not even halfway through it yet! Each of the band members gives a full-length interview about the book (and believe me, these are not short answers to questions), and they also interviewed Nile, Ben Hudson and Josh Blair. They even talked creative with Nick and Alex Israel, the artist who did the front cover of the album!!  I AM IN HEAVEN AND I’M NOT COMING BACK!!

I love that they took the process of recording this album and thought to have a book made for people like me.  People who basically dreamt of being a fly on the wall during the entire painstaking process: everything from those first jamming sessions at Dom’s studio down to seeing their reactions to the art for the cover.  The book is really something very special, indeed.

If the interviews and writing doesn’t grab you, the photos certainly will. This book is art…and if you needed to have large format photos of each of the band members, here they are for you to gander at will. I really love how each of the band members has a black and white full-page headshot, along with what I can only describe is a sort of silver “giclée” shadowing overlay printed on a heavier, plastic-like sheet. Way cool. And if you like stickers – they’re included too!

stickers

As I said, I haven’t even read through it all yet. I had to stop myself at 11:15 last night because I needed to get some sleep, and even after I put it down I kept thinking about what I’d read. In many ways that Amanda and I will get into later as we dissect this book from cover to cover on the blog (oh yes – it’s happening), I think the book makes me see the album with a completely different set of eyes, and I’m curious if my ears will pick up anything different too.

My only problem with this book is simply that they really should have marketed it differently. It’s such a great piece of Duran-memorabilia, you’d think they would have gone to more trouble to alert the fan base to it, you know? Seems like they could have used a resource…such as this very website, thankyouverymuch…to get some enthusiastic words out to the fan base and beyond. Amanda and I have a certain knack for grabbing the attention of the fan base when it comes to things like this, and let’s face it..the book is also a freaking steal at £20. (That is $28.91 USD as of this morning)

Let’s just talk about that price for a second before I settle back into my chair and read a bit more: for less than $30.00 US, you can have a large format, coffee table-sized book on Duran Duran (It is paperback). Everything from what some  might describe as “lickable” photos (I certainly wouldn’t say that..,coughs…but hey… I may have heard the term used before somewhere…) to in-depth discussions of the music and process. For the more abstract-minded amongst us, there are poems and lyrics and lists to read and ponder, as well as the aforementioned photos, both posed and from live shows (from the last year). I can’t really get over the value on this one – it’s the best bang for your buck I’ve seen in quite a while.

Like nearly everyone reading, I own a lot of Duran Duran books. I’ll go one further and say I own a lot of books period, but particularly within the realm of fandom and music history of this particular band  – I own a lot. This is a book that any fan of Duran Duran should have in their collection, and I’m thrilled (and shocked!) that they’re not charging the $50 or $60 that the book is really worth, even as a paperback.

Run out and grab a copy while you can! As I said, in coming weeks Amanda and I plan to do several blogs about the interviews and other writing within the book, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who is running off to order their own copy right now…so go get it!

Meanwhile, I’m going to settle back in my chair and read Nile’s thoughts on Paper Gods…

-R