Tag Archives: Seven and the Ragged Tiger

Happy Anniversary to SATRT and Notorious!

I love this time of year. It has finally cooled off in So Cal (hey, it’s under 80 degrees now!), the winds have died down for at least the moment, and December is right around the corner. All of that aside, the real reason I love this time of year is because for me – late November reminds me of one thing: DURAN DURAN.

I think anyone who has been an ardent fan of theirs over the years is aware that the band seems to have a special relationship with Autumn…one that seems to embrace releasing new music! I automatically associate albums like Seven and the Ragged Tiger with  the falling leaves, and even the color scheme of the album reminds me of November.  Just the other day I was listening to KROQ HD2 “Roq of the 80s” when “Union of the Snake” started. The beginning chords reminding me of sharing the small bathroom mirror in my childhood home with my younger sister, or sitting in the back of my mom’s green Mercury as we drove up north to my uncle’s house for Thanksgiving.

The Notorious album beckons similar memories for me. I remember hearing the “No, No…Notorious!” over the radio as my parents, sister and I took our annual apple-picking trip one year. As much as the music still feels current, I can’t deny the sense of nostalgia.

It isn’t exactly a shock that the two albums share a common anniversary date, which just happens to be today (although Google tells me that Notorious was released on the 18th. I give up trying to keep it all straight at this point!) I think the jolt of surprise for me comes from reading that Seven and the Ragged Tiger is celebrating #35, and #32 for Notorious.  How can that be possible?

Happy Duraniversary to Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Notorious!

-R

New Moon on Monday Video Geography

Well, hello there, Monday! I wish I could say I was happier to see you. Alas…

I know that there’s a birthday coming up later this week. Right now, I’ve got my own birthday boy with his own monster-sized birthday to celebrate. I also have entirely too much school paperwork, and teaching to do today. The Katy Kafe with Simon will need to wait until a bit later, unfortunately.

HOWEVER, I do have a treat to share. I don’t really know what it is about October, but I tend to associate New Moon on Monday with October, or just Autumn in general.  I listen to Seven and the Ragged Tiger quite often, right along with my Union of the Snake/Secret Oktober single. (naturally!!) I haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit the little town in France where the video for New Moon on Monday was filmed (I know a few of you out there have had the good fortune to explore Noyers). It is one place of many on my bucket list, and I’ve always been a bit curious about what it might really look like, aside from the “Hollywood magic” they use during filming.

Imagine my delight as I checked our messages this morning and noticed that our friend Jason had sent us a link to Revolutions Per Minute, a blog hosted by Hard Rock (as in Hard Rock Cafe).  Not only is the post topic New Moon on Monday, it was authored by Jason himself! Click on the heading below to open the link!

New Moon on Monday Video Geography

As Jason instructs, his article begins with the video, because “some of you (all of you?) may not have seen it in a few years.” Of course I watched the video. It’s easily been a week or two since my last viewing and I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten the expression on Roger’s face as he passes out his propaganda, or the way the band looks as they’re dancing at the end. Due diligence, you know??

From there, Jason takes the video apart, deconstructing the scenes and finding current day photos to show how each locale currently appears. I loved it, since it is the closest I’m likely to come to Noyers until I’m finished paying for college…and paying off the loans for college!  (Good times!!) For those of us with all the wanderlust in the world and no way to fund it, his post gives us the tiniest glimpse behind-the-scenes into a beloved, iconic Duran Duran video.

Video geography, indeed.

Take a look and enjoy!  Thanks for sharing it with us, Jason!!

-R

 

 

How do we really feel about Autumn Albums?

I think we can all agree it’s been pretty quiet recently. I can appreciate friends who post topics to get a conversation started, particularly when it comes to Duran Duran.  Personally, I love surveys and polls. They’re fun little “litmus” tests for the fan community, and they’re fun to look back on from year to year to see if there’s been any changes.

One of my Twitter friends, @BoysMakeNoise (you should follow him!) likes putting together surveys. This week, there was a survey on Autumn albums. Each of the albums that Duran Duran has released in Autumn months was given a star rating of 1 to 5, and then that information was compiled to find out what album was most liked.  He ran the same survey last year at about the same time, and now we’d have a comparison.

2017 Results  (average rating)

  1. Red Carpet Massacre  (2.95)

  2. Medazzaland (3.06)

  3. Astronaut (3.73)

  4. Big Thing (3.78)

  5. Paper Gods (3.96)

  6. Notorious (4.00)

  1. Seven and the Ragged Tiger (4.07)

2018 Results (average rating)

  1. Red Carpet Massacre (2.99)

  2. Medazzaland (3.06)

  3. Astronaut (3.63)

  4. Big Thing (3.74)

  5. Seven and the Ragged Tiger (3.86)

  6. Notorious (4.06)

  1. Paper Gods (4.28)

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I like to extrapolate information from results like these.  There were 100 participants in the survey. The number isn’t enormous, but I think it is fairly representative. Chances are, the people who participated are not simply “fair-weather fans”. These are people who know the band’s catalog, and know it well-enough to debate the components.

Astonishingly, the real movement here was between Paper Gods and Seven and the Ragged Tiger – one of the “Holy Trinity” albums. (First album, Rio and SATRT). Rarely do I ever see any of the initial three knocked out of the top three of any survey ever taken. They tend to be considered Holy Grail, virtually untouchable. The rest of the results stayed within a reasonable range of last year’s survey results, but most did vary.  Medazzaland, pinpointed at an average rating of 3.06 stars each year, was the only album with stagnate results.

Nostalgia at Work

It is rare to see any of the first three albums removed from the top of any “favorites” list. There are a number of reasons for this. The album was released in 1983, there was a reasonably huge tour to support it, and it came out at the height of their popularity. This album marked the end of the initial “Fab Five” era, and for that reason alone, even post-1980’s fans hold it close to their hearts. The nostalgia for this album is enormous, and that alone keeps it afloat.

Over the years I’ve been participating in social media, I’ve been involved in more than one discussion about Seven and the Ragged Tiger. It is a difficult album for me, because I remember how much I adored it when it was released. The funny thing is that even in 1983, I don’t think I really “got” it. I can remember thinking how strange it sounded compared to anything else out at the time—and I liked it that way. Even today, I’m astounded by just how much is going on in every single song. There are no “empty spaces”.  There are layers upon layers of music and background effect. The question, is whether or not it was overdone, and that’s always up for debate.

I can see the first three albums in a definite progression. The first album was pretty raw and natural. In my opinion, that album remains the most uniquely untouched “Duran”. No egos, no fame, no fortune to muddy the picture. Rio, has far more finesse. A little more ego, but not too much. After all, they didn’t “hit” in the USA until much of Rio was remixed (Kershenbaum) and re-released here in the states. They were UK stars, but America was another challenge. Next was SATRT, and they pulled out all of the stops for this one. There’s a lot going on, and I don’t just mean musically. The band clearly had an ego by this time, and they felt like they had something to prove, with all the resources in the world to do it. I can hear the inner tug-of-war going on within the band, and if you listen closely – you can hear Simon tell you all about the struggles of fame, too.

The trouble is, at least in my opinion, as much as I loved this period of time – the album has its challenges. In hindsight, Seven and the Ragged Tiger is representative of the band’s excesses on nearly every level. Even so, I can’t quit it, and likely – neither can you.

What about Paper Gods?

In the other hand lies Paper Gods. Upon first glance, you might not even recognize that it’s the same band, particularly if you’re not a diehard fan. As I bow to my fellow nostalgia-nerds out there, I can’t help but say that Paper Gods is the better album. The quality of construction is there. It has all of the finesse of Rio, with the same quality of ingenuity that created Seven and the Ragged Tiger. On the same token, Paper Gods is not a one-listen album. In order to fully appreciate the music, it takes time. Once again, if you listen closely, you’ll even hear Simon tell you everything you need to know about their career. Paper Gods is truly a survey of their career, and a hallmark album. I believe these to be the reasons for the growth in the survey results for Autumn albums over last year.

In other words, it is not so much that Seven and the Ragged Tiger has lost a huge amount of favor with fans as it is that Paper Gods is becoming more beloved. I don’t think there will ever be a time when a significant number of fans won’t include SATRT in their top three or four list of favorite DD albums, much less Autumn album. The nostalgia for the time, paired with the album’s historic status (it was the last album with the original five until 2004) continue to keep it balanced on a narrow pedestal. Perhaps though, Paper Gods will occupy its own nearby pinnacle. Time will tell.

-R

Classic Pop Special 40th Anniversary Edition: 7ATRT and All Excess

This marks the third blog that gives a little summary and my thoughts about the next set of articles in the Classic Pop Special Edition for Duran’s 40th Anniversary.  In the previous posts, I took a look at the articles, “Conquering Planet Earth,” “Rare Photos,” and “Rio”.  Today, I’ll cover “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” and “All Excess Areas”.  Mind you, this only takes me through the first 40 pages of the magazine that ends at page 129!

Seven and the Ragged Tiger:

First thing I notice about this article is how much shorter it is compared to the one on Rio.  Then again, the first album did not get this coverage at all.  There is not the focus on the songs and the videos like Rio had.  I guess that I can understand why.  Rio was/is far more popular and one could argue that Seven was not as important in the history of Duran.  Nonetheless, I’m anxious to see how this album is covered.

The article starts out with quite a bang.  The subheading reads, “…album saw them threatened with becoming victims of their success, in danger of being overexposed, they saved their reputations – and their money – by spending the year abroad.”  Victims of their own success?!  While I don’t necessarily disagree, I don’t think I have ever read it or heard it in that way.  I have often thought about how the band members might have felt then when fame was all encompassing from fans everywhere to an insane schedule in order to maintain the success.  The article gives a quote from Simon in which he explains about how the album was about “ambition”.

The first part of the article focuses on how the writing and recording was different than the previous albums.  There is a quote from Nick about how the songs “were built rather than written”.  This is literally the first time I heard that, which makes total sense to me.  I think you can hear that with all of the various layers on the songs on that album.  According to the article, EMI started getting nervous with Ian Little producing so they brought in Alex Sadkin who kindly decided to keep Ian on.  All of that was new to me, too.  It makes me want to know more, that’s for sure!   I wish that the articles included their references so that I could check out sources for myself.

 Excess All Areas:

The picture that accompanies this article tells me it is about the side projects of 1985 as the title did not give it away.  A classic Arcadia picture leads the reader in and the subheading leads me to think the focus is going to be how the two side projects show the two sides to Duran (arty and rock sides).  As the article begins, I finally understand the title about “excess” with the sentence, “…where every artistic whim in the studio was fully indulged.”  Ah.  I get it now.

Interestingly enough, the majority of the article focused more on Power Station rather than Arcadia which does not seem typical to me.  While I knew of the history listed in the article, the author added some ideas that were new to me, including bad blood with Robert Palmer.  The article claimed that he used Power Station to jump start his own career and that he believed that he created the Power Station sound.  Fascinating.  Again, I wish that I had a list of their sources.  I did appreciate that it mentioned the second Power Station album, which rarely gets talked about ever.

The section on Arcadia was generally predictable with the art influences and awesome guest stars.  I did think it was interesting that it mentioned about how it didn’t do as well, chart wise, as Power Station, especially considering that fans now generally prefer Arcadia.  The article does include a blurb on TV Mania but did not mention John’s solo work or Neurotic Outsiders.  Hmm…

I have to admit that this section of the magazine had a few eye-opening ideas.  As I mentioned a few times, I wish I knew their sources!  Anything surprise all of you?

-A

An Update on Ian’s project

I’ve debated whether or not to comment on something here publicly, because it could put Daily Duranie at odds with DDHQ, or it could put us in the direct line of fire from fans in the community, or most likely, both. Do I mention that the band is not promoting Ian Little’s book about Seven and the Ragged Tiger, or do I stop writing about it altogether and pretend it doesn’t exist?

Amanda and I are not promoted by the band.  We are not employed by Duran Duran, nor are we a part of their inner circle. Aside from having a link on the band’s website, and occasionally helping us out with special projects, we don’t really receive or expect anything from them.  Amanda and I don’t get passes to shows, go backstage or even have free tickets. Our names aren’t big enough to convince them that we matter beyond just being fans – we don’t host a radio show, we haven’t written books, and we’re not celebrities. Basically, we do not owe anyone, other than ourselves, anything. We are not sycophants, but we are fans of this band. We don’t write this blog because we want things, we write because we want to share our opinions and tell about our experiences in this fandom with people who want to read them. Whether that gives us any sort of credibility with anyone is honestly beyond my worry at this point. After nearly eight years of blogging, I’m sort of over worrying about who I’m going to offend or impress, I guess.

With that in mind, I noticed last week that DDHQ finally commented on Ian Little’s potential book project on Seven and the Ragged Tiger. In case you don’t know what that is, please check out the previous blog on the subject here.

To provide a bit of backstory, everyone who had signed up for information on the project should have gotten a note from Ian explaining that he’d heard from Wendy Laister (the band’s manager) saying that they would advise he not publish because it would likely be in competition with a few things the band has planned. Judging purely from what I saw online, I think the news that the band wouldn’t back Ian hit him hard. I don’t think he was expecting that news, and initially, he seemed defeated, saying that he was disappointed and couldn’t figure out why the band wouldn’t want to get onboard. After MANY replies from fans (Ian had also put the news out on Facebook) suggesting he go ahead with his plans, I think it gave Ian the motivation he needed.

It wasn’t long after that DDHQ put out a short tweet regarding the subject. I’m just going to copy/paste it here:

“A lot of people have been asking if Ian Little’s forthcoming book on the making of “Seven & the Ragged Tiger”is an official release and rather than responding individually we wanted to let you know it is not, and it is up to you whether you want to participate or not. Thanks^DDHQ”

A bit of clarification: it is always up to each of us whether or not we want to “participate”. That wording is awkward and quite frankly – odd. Secondly, this is not an “Us vs. Them” sort of situation. Many people have published books about the band, and only a fraction have been “official” releases. Most of us read them anyway, and we’ve all gone on to continue being fans of the band, leading productive lives. You won’t spontaneously combust if you read something the band hasn’t given their kiss of approval, and you won’t be a bad fan if you read somebody else’s point of view. Supporting the band does not mean drinking the Kool-Aid and never bothering to ask what’s in it!

On one hand, Ian wants to do this project, and I love the idea of reading about the making of Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Whether or not the band gives this project their approval is of little worry to me, personally. In a lot of ways, it seems like to have their approval means doing it their way, which may or may not actually hurt the validity of the project (to be blunt). They might decide what stories could be told, how they’re worded, and so forth.

On the other hand, I don’t know what the band could possibly have planned that would be in competition with this book. Even IF they have a similar story or anthology planned, it would seem to me that they’re forgetting that many (if not most) fans will buy anything they sell, assuming of course that the items are within financial reach for most fans. Selling a comprehensive limited edition, signed and sealed book about Duran Duran for $1000 or more means that decidedly few can and will buy. On the other hand, selling a comprehensive mass-market book that goes for $20.00 means that thousands of fans can and will buy a copy, and if some will be signed – many more copies will be purchased.

I’m not in the business. I don’t work in the music industry. I do wonder sometimes though, what goes on behind-the-scenes that encourages DDHQ to throw support one way and not another – and they have to know that their backing matters. I can’t help but notice that it isn’t what you ask, or how you ask, but instead how big of a celebrity you might be. Fans don’t seem to matter to DDHQ the way they do to the band themselves (and we DO matter to the band). It would seem like that’s wrong, but management is responsible for the business of Duran Duran. They have to protect the band’s interests, even if the decisions look backward to fans. It is hard (at least for me) not to throw a side-eye when I’ll see DDHQ respond directly to a celebrity when they say something about Duran Duran, but they don’t really seem to do the same for real fans. Yet, I get it. I do know how it is. Social media is all about who sees what. How many eyes  see a tweet to a fan versus a response to a big celebrity?  That’s not to say that DDHQ doesn’t try. They absolutely do. But sometimes, it just comes down to basic economics.

If you’re intrigued by Ian’s project, I’d encourage you to send an email to musiceel@gmail.com. He will respond and send you details. Getting on his mailing list is not a financial commitment, it is simply a way for him to gauge interest. Participating does not mean you will be committing a crime against DD.

-R

 

Social media can still be good – let’s work together!

“The random aspects of our lives
Come together once in a while
So blinding and decidedly”

I have a love/really dislike relationship with Twitter these days. There’s a whole lot of anger out there, my friends. Much of it completely justified, but it is a lot for any one person to digest, and I take it in very tiny doses as result. However, I still see the good in social media. It’s well-hidden, but when it works, it is golden.

Yesterday, I wrote about my completely unexpected exchange with Ian Little, the co-producer of Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Many other fans have had similar responses, saying that they too sent an email to musiceel@gmail.com  and received something back directly from Ian. It is wonderful to see someone connecting directly with the fan base.

The fact is, you and I know there are thousands of other Duran Duran fans out there. We compete with one another for tickets every single time the band announces a gig pre-sale! Duran Duran is able to routinely sell-out shows around the world, in arenas that seat thousands. But how to reach those people?

Nick once commented that the internet is a fat pipe of information. It is impossible to see it all. Amanda and I talk to fans nearly every single day who tell us they didn’t see our website or blog until “just a few weeks ago”. We’ve been writing for nearly eight years now. Yes, eight years! You’d think we’d have gotten the word out by now, but we still haven’t. We try, but it’s impossible unless you’ve got a lot of money and time to run ad campaign after ad campaign. We have neither, so we rely on word of mouth, or in this case…fast and furious typing!

It comes down to you and me, my friends. You and me. I have written about the Direct to Fan marketing platform in the past, but as a quick refresher—basically YOU are the ad campaign. Instead of hiring some slick PR company or ad company to get the word out, bands use the greatest “bang for their buck” they’ve got: their fans.  They market directly to their own fan base, and then harness their seemingly endless energy to go out and spread the word to their friends, and so on. In just a few tweets that are retweeted by others, and retweeted again (and again!), millions of eyes can be reached in just a matter of a few clicks. This campaign is exactly everything that Direct to Fan is about, and here is the time we can prove to everyone—from Ian Little to Duran Duran—that it really works.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to broadcast the news about Ian Little’s e-book based on his experience co-producing and living with the band for about a year during the writing and production of Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  Tell your friends to email musiceel@gmail.com  with DD Project in the subject so that they can be added to the list of real fans who are excited to support the project.  If you haven’t taken the one-minute to send the email yourself, get on it!  Then, tweet out the news, post it on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and anywhere else you frequent.

Why not also tweet the news directly to relevant social media influencers? 80s radio DJ’s, MTV personalities, maybe even authors of books on 80s music, just to name a few categories of people to start from. If we can get just a couple of those people to be interested enough to tweet this out, we might just get this social media engine working!

If I still haven’t quite convinced someone to email Ian yet, let me share a small anecdote he sent me about the making of my favorite Duran Duran song ever: “Is There Something I Should Know” (Ian refers to this as “Please, Please Tell Me Now”)

I am very proud of PPTMN because it was the first time I’d been present all through the writing process with a band. As you know PPTMN was my 1st outing with the band, I’ll let you into a little secret. As you can tell the song is built around Andy’s Beatlesesq guitar rift and originally the song started with that rift and the rest of the band. 

I said I felt it sounded too generic and that it needed a more distinct intro so that the second time someone heard it they’d know it was the new DD single. So I suggested using the drum intro from “Leader Of The Pack”, the Motown classic. So Roger played the beat – bam, boom-boom Bang! bam, boom-boom Bang! and Simon sang “Please Please Tell Me Now” over the top and we had a memorable intro!”
Isn’t that a cool little story?? It is something that not many people knew – and the book he is writing will be jam-packed with anecdotes like that, written just for fans.
I told Ian yesterday that SATRT changed everything I thought I knew about music, at the ripe old age of 13. It really did. This album took Duran Duran’s sound, which already felt multi-dimensional, and made it even deeper. More  layers, more sounds, it was amazing. The Beatles accomplished something similar when they wrote and recorded Sgt. Pepper’s or The White Album. Music was forever changed by those albums and the way they were written and recorded. History will say the same about Duran Duran. They changed music with albums like SATRT. Not just video, but music, too.
I hope that everyone who reads this blog and follows us on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media will take a minute to email Ian with their support, and then encourage their friends to do the same!

Calling All Duranies! Ian Little needs your help!!

Anyone ever hear of Ian Little?  Think back to a little album that rocked our worlds back in November of 1983, titled Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  Mr. Little co-produced the album, and in doing so — changed everything I thought I knew about music.

It isn’t every day that I run into a hero of mine, and I don’t JUST mean John, Simon, Nick, or Roger. Today, I ran across a retweet from a friend, and in responding to that tweet, I found myself in a position to trade messages and help someone else with a project.

Ian is currently working on a new DD project, and he needs our help to get the word out. He is writing an e-book based on his experience producing Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  He’s looking for Duranies—yes, real fans like you and me—to email him in support of this new project! Please read the description Mr. Little sent (see below) for a bit more information:

“I am writing an e-book – which I will also produce in a limited edition of physical copies signed and numbered by me – telling my story of the production of 7&TRT. It will contain stuff previously unknown to the public or even the most devoted fans and explain what it was like to live with the band for almost a year. During that time I helped them write the songs for the album in the South of France and then went to Montserrat then Sydney to produce the album alongside Alex Sadkin who is sadly no longer with us. 
I know it will be a great read for anyone with a passion for the band and the way records were made in the ‘80s. as I say it will contain material never before made public (nothing bad about the lads!), intimate moments, inside stories and things that only those involved in the creation of that classic album know.
If that sounds like something you’d enjoy reading let’s hope enough people respond to make it a reality!
So, how do we get involved? It is easy! All you need to do is send an email to Ian Little at musiceel@gmail.com and put DD Project in the subject line. Tweet the news on Twitter, post about it on Facebook, use smoke signals, post messages by skywriter, and spread the word!
Our goal is to get 1,000 Duran fans to respond. According to Ian, he is far from that goal at the moment. It is mind-blowing that a band like Duran Duran can sell out arenas all over the world and yet there is trouble getting 1,000 fans to send Ian an email about a brand-new DD project. Get on it, people!
The best part of this little story for today? Well, when I first heard about the project and sent an email to Ian, I told him I was concerned that it might be a scam. Call me crazy, but the idea of communicating directly with the co-producer of Seven and the Ragged Tiger seemed just on the other side of Crazytown. Turns out that yes, it really is Ian Little, and yes, he really did respond to me.
Yes, I did have a fangirl moment, thanks for asking. My defense is simply that he is partially responsible for my favorite song ever (ITSISK).  I couldn’t help myself.  And then he gave me a little inside secret on the writing of that song—and someday, I’ll share!
So, if you haven’t already clicked on the link and emailed Ian Little with your enthusiastic support, get on it!  Here’s the link again, just in case!
What are you still doing here reading? GO do your thing, Duranies!
-R

Looking Back to 1983

The other day DDHQ tweeted this:

I saw it when it was tweeted but had no idea what it was about.  Sadly, I didn’t have much of a chance to look closer at it.  I had a sense that the quote about the band lacking a private life was something said in the 80s but I didn’t even notice that People was listed in the tweet.  Now, because it is the weekend, I have had a chance to actual click on the link.  If you haven’t done it, I recommend it.  You can go here:  “Duran Duran Was ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ for Stardom-And Then Came Along MTV.”  

The link is to an article that appeared in People magazine on December 5, 1983.  Well, I read it.  On one hand, it was exactly what I was expecting and on the other, it wasn’t.  Frankly, I know that Duran faced a boatload of criticism during the 80s and assumed that this article would be filled with insulting language.  While it wasn’t perfect, it could have been worse.  Interestingly enough, the most negative statements came from quotes from critics not involved in this particular article.  A perfect example of this was this paragraph:  “How important was MTV in the rise of Duran Duran? All-important, some critics contend. As David Handler put it: “After all, the clips are a heckuva lot more striking than the music, which is little more than pasteurized, synthesized pop-rock with video launching pads for lyrics.”  What always fascinated me then and still does now, why is having MTV important to Duran’s success a bad thing?  I know that the critics would say something along the lines of how their music should speak for itself but isn’t MTV just a means of getting their music out there?  Is it really that different than appearances on shows like Top of the Pops or American Bandstand?  After all, fans can see what they look like on those shows.

I appreciated the fact that the article featured what I saw as generally accurate history of the band’s formation.  Beyond that, People magazine reported on the recording of Seven and the Ragged Tiger and how their fame had really become overwhelming.  The best line, though, of the whole article, in my opinion, was not the one that DDHQ quoted but the last line.  “We don’t want to be has-beens by the time we’re 25,” said Roger. “It would be the worst thing in the world to go around saying to people, ‘Do you know who I used to be?’ ”  Oh, Roger, if only I could have told him in 1983 that they definitely wouldn’t be has-beens by the time that they were 25 or 35 or 45 or even 55.  People still know who they are.

-A

Tales of Duranlore

Over the weekend, I heard a Duran Duran song I’d never heard before.

Think about that. We’re in between albums, I think I’ve heard everything the band has recorded…so how is that possible?

It turns out, the song I heard is one of Duran-lore, which means it’s a song that some people have long-held as existing, while others swore it did not. In actuality, it is a song that I believe eventually became Seventh Stranger.  That happens during the writing and recording process. You start with what you think is one song, and eventually, it ends up being something else entirely.

Reminds me a little of what Amanda and I have experienced with writing a manuscript. We started with one thing, switched it up and came out with a completely different version that we are now working on which will become something altogether new. Trust the process, so they say! Let’s write a book, it’ll be fun…

ha ha ha

Back to the case in point, I’ve seen a great many things written, asked and implied about this particular song. I’m not posting the link here because my point here isn’t to anger the powers that be or disturb the masses. I don’t honestly care whether the song is real or fake (although based upon the stories I’ve been told – I wholeheartedly believe the people who took the time to explain and share with me). What I find far more interesting is something I’ve titled “Duranlore”.

I grew up in the USA, and as I’ve said before, my world didn’t extend much beyond Glendora or Covina, California. Public transportation where I lived was something you didn’t take unless you wanted to get mugged, or had no other choice (meaning my mom wouldn’t let me step one toe onto any bus!). So I didn’t have the experience of going into Los Angeles or hanging out anywhere outside of my little neighborhood. It comes down to the fact that I’ve got no great 1980s fandom stories to share. From what I gather, that wasn’t the case for my friends in the UK.

I hear so many great stories, or lore, from my friends there. They had a much different experience when it comes to Duran Duran back in the 80s. To me, they were exotic and completely untouchable.  I couldn’t relate to them. They were very enigmatic and otherworldly. They didn’t seem real. I suspect that half of my curiosity about them, even as an adult back during the reunion tour, came from the fact that I’d never even been anywhere near them. I suspect that may be the case for many other fans as well. Yet my friends in the UK knew them and are still familiar faces to the band. They were frequent sidewalk-outside-the-studio visitors.

I can’t help but be envious. I don’t know what that level of recognition or having that type of history feels like.  In contrast, I spent my days between albums going to school, watching MTV, doing normal kid things, I suppose. I didn’t really think or hear about a Duran Duran album until news came out about it on the radio, on MTV, or in one of those teen magazines. That isn’t to say I didn’t spend time being a fan. My albums received ample play, but that was about as close as I could really get to experiencing the band.  In all honesty, my “story” with Duran Duran really didn’t get started until much, much later in life.

Not so for my UK friends. I am always equal parts amazed, impressed, and envious, that so many of them have known one another since childhood.  They met from hanging outside of the studio (or band members homes)!  I love that. They have an entire story that I can’t even relate to, or be a part of, because they met when they were so young and grew up with this band in a way that was impossible for anyone outside of England to really understand. When I say I’m envious, that’s the truth. I’m not jealous of them—I wouldn’t want to take any of that away from them—I just wonder what it must have been like. So, I tend to ask them a lot about it whenever I get the chance.

When I saw the link to this song over the weekend, I listened with the same sort of giddiness I do when I get a new Duran Duran song. The thing is, the song has been around for a while. It’s not new to YouTube, and I know there have been questions about it before. I certainly had questions of my own, and in many ways I’m embarrassed to say that I’d never heard it before. So many die-hard fans have – it’s one of those songs “everyone” knows about. Here I am, Ms. Blogger-lady, and I hadn’t yet. Awesome.

Those who remember Kitty will know that she posted it on her now defunct website, Gimme A Wristband. John has said in the past that the song isn’t Duran Duran (although I am not an expert in sound engineering, it sure as hell sounds like Duran Duran to me). Katy has said this song doesn’t exist (which to be fair, it really doesn’t anymore because the song eventually became something else anyway). Yet my friends, who were there at one of the (many) places the band recorded Seven and the Ragged Tiger album – know it’s real. It is one of those songs that, the more it’s denied, the more it has become something of a treasure. My friends were able to tell me the story behind the recording itself. The quality of the recording is, well, not good – it’s been cleaned up quite a bit so one can hear it – but it’s still pretty muddy sounding. There’s a reason for that. It was recorded through a drain pipe.

That’s the good stuff right here. Imagine a kid taking the time to bend down, and getting what had to have been a horribly distorted recording of a song coming through a drain pipe, just because she was a huge fan! Yet the story doesn’t surprise me one bit, given the fan in question.  I can’t imagine that she actually thought she’d be answering questions about that song and the way she recorded it thirty years later!

I went back and forth about whether or not I’d write about this song here on the blog. It comes down to this: for me, the true importance isn’t about whether the band says it’s real or fake, or what song it is…or was at the time. I wasn’t there to confirm it all, but I believe the people who took time to explain to me how it is that they have a recording of a Duran Duran song that was never released. It doesn’t matter what DDHQ has said in the years since, because they weren’t even there at the time.

No, the point that sticks in my head is the fact that these kids were so into Duran Duran that they spent their spare time (and probably some school time too!) sitting at the studio. They met one another, they became friends, and they experienced the same sort of fandom that many of us had to wait until we were adults to fully experience and enjoy. Think about how so many of us will wait hours in a hotel lobby just to be able to say hi to the band. Then think about the people we’ve met while waiting.

It is from these same friends of mine (ha ha ha) that many of the stories of how Duran Duran’s history all really happened and unfolded comes from.  With all due respect to management, for the die-hards, it’s not about the “story” that they want out there in the general public. After all, that bio and image is a highly polished veneer that is expertly applied to the raw, organic reality.  I think the real “stories” or Duranlore, particularly those that fans are most interested in, come from the fans who were actually there. They aren’t the ones who need to project a certain impression, or put on airs because the reality doesn’t match the pretty PR image that gets albums sold.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely a place for the image created by a hard-working management team, and I have ample respect for that. But there’s also the reality that comes from fans who have been there since day one, or close to it. Rarely does a management team stick with a band from beginning to end. Some fans do, though, and some lived close enough to actually see it happen. The tales of Duranlore these fans share aren’t always pretty, and they’re certainly not polished, but yet – it’s the oral history of people who, in spite of it all, are still fans forty years later.

That says something, doesn’t it?

-R

On this date in 1984, Seven and the Ragged Tiger went Platinum

I was beginning to do some cleaning the other day when I ran across my Seven and the Ragged Tiger album.  That’s not really surprising, because I still prefer to listen to vinyl when I have the opportunity, and back in the day, this album was probably my favorite.

On this day in 1984, Seven and the Ragged Tiger went platinum. I don’t know that I ever really thought much about that at the time, but I do remember that nearly everyone I knew had a copy. The slanted DD logo, the design featuring the eye in the middle of the compass/sunburst, the crescent moon and star, the “7” symbol near the right corner, and the photo on the front seemed to be everywhere, from t-shirts and pins to carefully sketched drawings on school folders. I spent hours scouring the album, trying to decipher the map on the back as though it coded with specific directions for fans (I’m still not entirely convinced there’s not a hidden message in there somewhere).  My friends and I knew every single word to every song (probably not unlike those of you reading), and we painstakingly studied each line of lyric as though it were classic prose. If only I’d taken that kind of time with my eighth grade English class….

I know that today, Seven and the Ragged Tiger tends to take a lot of heat from die-hard fans who have now grown up and decided that the album isn’t nearly as good as we once thought. I read a lot about how over-produced it might have been. The space between the notes that Simon talks about enjoying on Paper Gods is pretty non-existent on SATRT. I too, recognize that perhaps the album wasn’t as mind-blowingly perfect as I once thought at the age of thirteen.  I can say that about a lot of music I liked then, though. For me, my love of Seven and the Ragged Tiger isn’t solely about the album itself. The memories I have of that time help to continually elevate the album to superstardom in my head. I loved being a Duranie, and this one album, likely above all others, illustrates that time.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I still get the silliest grin when I hear “New Moon on Monday” or “I Take the Dice”.  That’s really all I need in order to tell me that Seven and the Ragged Tiger is still worth its weight in platinum, and then some.

-R