Tag Archives: Rum Runner

Why isn’t this date an international holiday?

Happy Monday, Duran fans! Welcome to a brand new week.  If I cannot be on tour, I cannot think of a better way to begin the week than with a huge Duran Duran holiday, celebrated by fans around the world. No, today isn’t Duran Duran Appreciation Day, it is the anniversary of the very first time the band in its classic, five-piece lineup of: Taylor, Taylor, Taylor, Le Bon, Rhodes played The Rum Runner on this date in 1980.

While it may be true that Amanda and I tend to celebrate many sorts of little anniversaries of things the band did, or we ourselves have experienced along the way, this is the big one. The big Glamfather of them all. The Big “R” in Rio. (Gosh darn it, that hyperbole would have worked SO WELL if only Rio had been out during that time period. Alas, it is Monday, and I’m going with it anyway!)

Thirty-eight years ago today, this band began to play….

(I could probably do this all day long.)

I love Duran Duran Appreciation Day, but I also love this anniversary. It would seem to me that if a band WERE to celebrate a specific date as an anniversary of its beginning that this one might serve well. I’d also go out on a limb to suggest that maybe, if a band were to say, celebrate ones 40th anniversary by playing a super special show (or set of shows) in a town known for being its birthplace, that maybe a July 16, 2020 show in Birmingham would be reasonable. I’m no tour organizer, and I’m certainly not a band manager, and no one need listen to me, but if I were in charge – this is the date I’d shoot for.

Amanda and I are not betting people by any means, but if you don’t think we’ve had recent conversations about a trip abroad during the summer of 2020, you’d be severely underestimating our level of crazy. We’ve written this blog for nearly eight years now. By the summer of 2020, it will be coming up on ten, and we don’t post once a quarter, we post something nearly every single day. We are either completely nuts, or remarkably driven. You decide.  In the meantime, I’m going to keep thinking about the possibilities for a summer trip to the UK. I wonder if my family will notice if I’m gone for a few weeks….

Who really knew that a show on July 16, 1980 would be the beginning of all this? Moreover, who would have ever thought that they’d continue going strong even 2018 and beyond? Isn’t that thought worth celebrating?

I don’t really know why this isn’t already a holiday for Duranies. Seems to me, we deserve more than one, don’t you think?

-R

 

Duran Duran at the Rum Runner, 1980

There are mornings that I sit down to this laptop and don’t really know where to begin. I’m feeling that way right now. Beginnings are simply just a starting point. It is what happens after that decision to begin that matters most. Sometimes, those auspicious beginnings aren’t even noticed at the time. The notice comes much later.

Today, very much in hindsight, we celebrate one of those beginnings, although I’m not sure we should really call it a beginning.  On this day in 1980, Duran Duran opened for a band named Fashion at the Rum Runner in Birmingham.

There does seem to be some confusion on social media about what this day actually represents. It was not the first gig Duran Duran played with the classic lineup, for example.  That came a bit later, in July of 1980. (see the timeline on duranduran.com)

This was also not the first gig Duran Duran played. Their first show was nearly a year earlier, at Birmingham Polytechnic, on April 5, 1979. The band formed during the year prior – in 1978 – although as we all know, it was not yet with the lineup we all recognize.

What this day does represent, however; was the first Duran Duran gig at the Rum Runner, at least to the best knowledge of those who painstakingly compiled the full Duran Duran tour list on dd.com. We know that John, Nick and Roger were there that night, along with Jeff Thomas singing (Simon didn’t audition until May), and Alan Curtis on guitar (Andy didn’t answer the Melody Maker ad until April). They opened for Fashion, a band we don’t often hear about, who also rehearsed at the Rum Runner. It’s kind of wild to think that at one point, Duran Duran was opening for other club bands. Yet as time wore on, Duran Duran became the band to be remembered.

It is somewhat apropos that a picture of Roger visiting the site was posted and tweeted recently. It is difficult to think about that area of Birmingham and not smile. I’m sure that has got to be the same reaction that many of you have, and I’m thankful we can all share those kinds of “memories”, even if we weren’t all there in person. I think of the Rum Runner as a special place in my own history, yet I really didn’t know anything of it other than what I read until much later in life.

When I think about places I wished I’d experienced, the Rum Runner comes to mind every time. Yeah, I would have loved being in that club and part of that scene (although I think in reality we all know just from looking at me that I’d have never quite fit in). I would have loved every second of watching the band grow and come into their own. Of course, I write that full-well knowing that the appreciation of such things only comes with hindsight. Even so, I find myself wishing I could have been there to have been a part of it all from the start.

Was this show really a beginning? I’m not really sure. As I’m writing this, I can certainly see why the band hasn’t announced an exact date of anniversary to celebrate DD40. Do they celebrate the moment John and Nick decided to start a band? What about the first gig – and if they do, is it really the “beginning” when more than half of the members weren’t even a part of it yet? What about the first gig at the Rum Runner?  How about the first gig that the classic lineup we all know and recognize played together?  It is all very vague, yet—at least in my opinion—all worthy of celebration.

Then again, maybe I’m just in the mood for a party.

To me, this date marks the beginning of the Rum Runner era for Duran Duran, and provides a perfectly good reason to post this video of Planet Earth filmed at the Rum Runner. I love this video because up until the DVD for Greatest was released, I’d never seen it – so it was a complete surprise (and an Easter Egg on the DVD)! I don’t think I had seen many pictures of what the Rum Runner looked like on the inside before I saw this, so when I watch the video, I really try to absorb the vibe. In a weird way, it is a little reminiscent of the club I used to go to on the Redondo Beach pier while I was in college, called Fashions. I love it!

I’m sure most Duranies have seen this video by now, but it’s still one of my favorites. I love the idea of watching the video, imagining what it was like in the club on any given night while the band played. I don’t know very many fans who were Rum Runner regulars back in the day, but can you imagine being one of them, watching Duran Duran skyrocket to fame?  If you haven’t seen the video, what better day to watch?!?

-R

 

To be a fly on the wall at the Rum Runner

To be a fly on the wall…

On this date in 1986, there was a party. It was a demolition party, held at the Rum Runner in Birmingham. The first scene of the crime, so to speak.

There are plenty of things I am thankful for at this point in my life, trekking the streets in Birmingham among them. I’ve even wandered down around the Cheapside area, where Duran Duran spent time before getting their big break. One thing I couldn’t do was visit the Rum Runner. Sure, I could see where it had once been, but that’s not the same as having gone inside, really. It’s not the same as seeing the mirrored tiles for myself, or smelling (what I can only assume would be) stale cigarette smoke, or just knowing that once upon a time, a band named Duran Duran once occupied the building.

Nostalgic much? Of course! I love that stuff!

There are just times when I wish I could have been a fly on the wall, just to get a small taste of what it was like to see the austere beginnings of this band, prior to Girls on Film and Rio. But on this date especially, I can only wonder what that party was like.

Also on this date, but in 1999, Behind the Music with Duran Duran was first aired.  In my attempt to find the video on YouTube to post here, a few things became clear—namely that it would seem there was more than one version of this made (and even then, I’m really not sure).  In any case, I found one that is Behind the Music Remastered, dated in 2010. I’m assuming that this edition is updated to include the reunion, which would not have happened yet in 1999. In any case, take a gander and see what you think!

-R

Do You Remember the day Planet Earth was released?

For this date in Duran history, we’re going back to nearly the beginning. For many of us, it might have actually been the beginning of our fandom, because on this date in 1981, Duran Duran released Planet Earth. No, I wasn’t there at the very beginning, since I was only about ten and the US didn’t quite catch on at first.  What about any of you from the UK? Are there any Rum Runner regulars amongst our readers?

Many readers probably know that Planet Earth is the favorite song of my counterpart, Amanda. It is also the first song I ever heard by Duran Duran (special thanks to KROQ’s own Rodney on the ROQ!).  It is strange to admit, but I remember a time when Duran Duran was so new that Planet Earth felt really out there and obscure. It was as much dark as it was light, which is what really hooked me, I think! I liked the edgy feel, but it wasn’t so weird that I couldn’t get into it. Even so, I remember those early days of occasionally hearing the band on the radio, before the times of Tiger Beat and Bop!, well before “Rio” made its way onto Top 40 radio, and certainly before the words “Sing Blue Silver” ever came across my lips.

That was the beginning, and it happened 36 years ago today.  (I think I counted wrong…because that seems impossible.)   Do you remember?

-R

Today in Duran History – Rum Runner

According to the timeline on Duran Duran’s Wiki, on this date in 1986, The Demolition Party was held at the Rum Runner, which was indeed torn down in order to make room for the Hyatt Hotel.  Was anyone at this party?  Did anyone go to the Rum Runner before it was no more?

As we all know, the Rum Runner was the club that was owned by Michael and Paul Berrow, Duran’s first managers.  When John and Nick brought them a demo tape, the Berrow brothers like them so much that they became their managers, gave the band members’ jobs there and made Duran the resident band of the club.  It was Duran’s home.  Here is a clip, which is featured as an Easter Egg clip on Duran’s Greatest that shows Duran playing at the club:

Of course, there are other clips about the Rum Runner available to see on YouTube.  Here is another one that I found:

BBC One Show featured Rum Runner in a clip in 2011:

Do you think that you would have attended such a club if you were in Birmingham then????

-A

Today’s Date in Duran History – Fashion

On today’s date in 1980…yes, WAYYY back then…Duran Duran opened for the band Fashion at the Rum Runner.  That’s right, Duran Duran opened for Fashion, not the other way around.

Isn’t it weird the way fame and circumstance work?  You’re on top one day, and then somehow – the band that opens for you ends up hitting it huge while you’re struggling to make ends meet as you’re hammering it out night after night.  Just one choice, one decision, may have made all the difference in the careers of both Fashion and Duran Duran.  You just never quite know what’s going to happen in this world – despite the best possible intentions and planning.

I suppose it’s true for all of us. We never really know what change in direction, what one simple, easily cast decision, is going to do for us. It could be as neat and trim as the decision to walk to work one day rather than taking the bus.  It could possibly be the agonizingly difficult decision of what university to attend.  We just never know.

Think about it.

-R