Tag Archives: Simon LeBon

AMEX Presents: Duran Duran at Terminal 5

By Michelle Duran (Daily Duranie Contributor)

On Monday September 14, I ventured to West 56th street in NYC to see Duran Duran at Terminal 5. While it was my first time there, Terminal 5 is a familiar venue to many East Coast Duranies since the band played there with Celebrity DJ Steve Aoki back in June, 2012 as part of Trident Gum’s See What Unfolds series, which featured interesting (read: weird) pairings of performers. After seeing plenty of Aoki videos on YouTube, I chose to skip his “Gallagher meets DJ” shtick while several of my friends went and ended up with green cake icing in places where no frosting belongs.

Regardless, the AMEX event promised to be a very different show, with DD’s core fan base at full strength. In fact, there were three thousand die-hard fans packed into Terminal 5’s GA floor and two levels of balconies, with a select few getting coveted seats along the VIP balconies on John’s side of the stage. The rest of us packed in like sardines in front of the stage. Thanks to those who heard snippets of the sound check that afternoon, we were eagerly anticipating new music and at least one deep cut from our favorite band.

Museum of Love, a New York City band featuring Pat Mahoney, formerly the drummer for LCD Soundsystem, on vocals went on stage at 8:15 pm. As openers go, they were good. I’d put them solidly in the middle of the pack for DD opening acts. The songs were relatively long – they played for about thirty-five minutes but only played about six songs. The music is sort of mellow jamming EDM, if that makes sense. You can listen to their self-titled debut on Spotify if you’d like to get a better idea. Throughout their performance, fans kept the party vibe going by tossing several happy face balloons through the air.

Once Museum of Love finished, the crowd eagerly waited for Duran Duran to take the stage as soon as possible. Finally, at 9:20 pm many who’d hope for a new opening song had our wish granted when we heard the beginning chant of Paper Gods as Simon and the other band members emerged from the stage’s machine made fog to play the seven plus minutes of deliciousness that is the title track of their new album. Even though it was only the first time live, it’s already evident that this song is a new favorite with fans and I hope they keep it as the opener for the West Coast shows.   The band themselves seemed just as happy to play it live as we were hearing it. Simon was in full front man persona, enjoying the attention as he danced around the stage in a black sequined jacket and white jeans.

The black and white theme was well represented by everyone on stage. Anna Ross looked stunning in a dress featuring black and white angled stripes. The only doses of color were the red stripe on the inseam of Dom’s trousers and the hot pink screen-print of John’s tee, courtesy of a Punk Masters.

Next up was AVTAK, which they arranged with a little more of a Bond theme introduction than when it was performed on the AYNIN tour. This isn’t the full orchestral Ronson mix of 2009 but it was definitely a bit meatier than what they did in 2012.

Although I’ve seen complaints on social media that Terminal 5 doesn’t have great acoustics, I thought the band sounded terrific as they played both old hits like Notorious and new songs like Pressure Off with enthusiasm.   They’ve now played Pressure Off on stage several times and it seems as though they feel as comfortable with it live as anything in their catalogue. In fact, they were in great form all night and you could tell that they were really enjoying being on stage.

After the perennial Amanda favorite (wink-wink), Come Undone, Simon made reference to how the next song was exactly about “this sort of situation” waving his hand between the audience and himself before launching into Last Night in the City.   This is a song that grows on you more and more every time you hear it and it’s the perfect showcase for Simon’s voice which sounds stronger than ever. The soaring vocals were nothing short of phenomenal live and you could tell Simon was pleased with how the entire audience responded. LNitC is also a very electronic song. John plays only the keyboards, there’s no traditional bass and Dom really doesn’t have much to do on guitar. Regardless, John threw himself into playing the keyboards with his usual intensity.

The band returned to their roots with The Reflex, Simon leading the crowd in a longer than usual version of the Ta-Na-Na-Na’s and then immediately followed with one of my favorites live, Planet Earth.   Next came White Lines and even though we knew the controversial water spit was coming, Simon somehow snuck up on us. I managed to dodge most of it but if I come down with a cold next week, I’m blaming “Lebonitis.”   After playing hits Ordinary World, Wild Boys, and Reach Up for the Sunrise, the band launched into another song from Paper Gods, Danceophobia.   Anna did a great job with the Lindsey Lohan spoken word part, working the stage. The song is another that strongly favors vocals and electronics at the expense of guitar and bass and there were times when John literally had nothing to do except dance to the music. I’ll admit this is my least favorite song from Paper Gods, so I may be biased but it didn’t seem to go over with the crowd as well as the other new songs.

There’s no doubt however, that the next song was definitely well received. A friend told me that Too Much Information was last played live in 2001, meaning that this would’ve been the first time Roger EVER played it live and for John, possibly the first since 1993’s OW tour. The absence of John’s bass on Danceophobia was ever more apparent when you could literally feel as well as hear it on TMI. IMO, TMI is one of those underappreciated third singles that never realized its potential on the U.S. charts. I thought it was a great song then and it still sounds fantastic today. From there, the band immediately launched into Girls on Film, again a change from the past few tours when GOF was always in the encore and always used for the band intros.   They’ve changed up the beginning of the song. This version of GOF had a bit more of an electronic sound but John’s bass was still prominent. The band had the audience sing along with the chorus and once again, skipped the intros.   GOF signaled the end of the regular set but after a very brief reprieve, the band was back with another fan favorite that had been absent from the last tour, Save A Prayer. Okay, anyone who knows me knows this is my favorite song of all time so of course, I was happy to have it back in the set. We all swayed and sang along as the feeling of being back where we all belonged – the band and its fans was almost palpable.

photo courtesy of Michelle Duran
photo courtesy of Michelle Duran

The night finished with a high energy version of Rio. I never want that song to end, since it’s always the last of the night and it seemed as though the band felt the same way with John and Dom both strumming those last notes as long as possible.   As the crowd cheered and cheered at the end, John spoke one last time “We’ll see you soon” before the band exited the stage. I for one can’t wait.

Yes, there is YouTube video, check GothicblueCJ’s YouTube account for great footage of the show.

The Paper Gods on Jimmy Fallon

I have to wonder if the band knew we’d end up using the title of the album as a moniker directly for them…

Last night, Duran Duran appeared on Jimmy Fallon in the first of a few appearances on US talk shows, covering morning (They appear on the Today Show tomorrow morning), afternoon (Ellen is later in the month) and evening.

Granted, Duran Duran has done more than a few of these shows in their time…you can almost bet that they appear on at least one or two with every album, but somehow last night was different. I don’t know if it’s just me, but there is a certain amount of positive energy with this album that just feels different. Renewed. Better. Not only can I characterize that energy using nearly every positive adjective known to man…I think it might be infectious!  With more and more frequency, the various news agencies and critics out there are hailing this album using terminology I rarely see associated with Duran Duran these days. Words such as “hit” and “triumph” and “modern” have me thinking that something is most assuredly in the air with this one.

Of course, time will tell if this is merely the passing fancy of the first week of a release, or if the top ten on iTunes and other various charts will indeed hold. I would like to believe that this momentum has the power to not only get this boulder going, but that it may very well increase to a clip that we’ve not seen in a couple of decades. Moreover, I will say this much: it has been a very long time since I’ve seen so much promotion for a Duran Duran album, more specifically – it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen so many reviews for a Duran Duran album, never mind positive ones. In a way, that alone is kind of mind-blowing and almost concerning. I can’t decide if I’ve been dropped into a new universe, or if my own world has finally caught up with what we’ve known all along.

I keep thinking back to Katy’s assessment of the band being a Phoenix. One should never count Duran Duran out of the game, that is for sure. I have had quite a journey settling in to the new sound(s) of this album, which has been gratifying on its own, but seeing that the word is spreading and more people are talking about Paper Gods is staggering.

I try to retweet and repost as many of the great reviews and comments about the album as possible when I’m on Twitter, and I love seeing that Daily Duranie followers do in kind. I encourage everyone to keep up the great work! It takes a village…or a relatively large army!!

So, back to that appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight show. The band looked fantastic, first of all. I don’t think I’ve seen the band look as great as they do right now in a very long time. There’s just something about them – is it energy? Is it confidence? I had one friend say,  “they are awesome and they know it”…and I kind of think that’s got to be it. I’ve said it over and over: the band has to sell the audience, and damn if they’re not doing it!

I haven’t seen John look this happy in a good many years, and I even saw Nick smiling as he was playing! Anna sounded fantastic, Roger just seems completely content and satisfied, something I haven’t noticed since he came back to the band. Simon,  well first of all, Simon looks healthy and fit – he even inspired me to get serious about my OWN weight loss when I saw him in April,  believe it or not – but Simon’s voice is truly a sound to behold these days. I have seen and heard people say that he sounds better now than he has since Rio (and IMO since the very first album!), and last night was no different. I really do have to hand it to him, it is clear there has been a complete turnaround and rededication to what he loves. Lastly (but not least) there is Dom, who not only looked the part with his black polka-dot shirt and tucked-in tie, but there’s just an overall sense of comfort and family with this group. How that can be ignored, I’ll never quite understand. Overall, there is complete difference in this group. They may have been ready to reach out to their fans with All You Need is Now, but this time, they are ready for the world….and the world is starting to respond.

Take a look at the clip last night if you missed it, or watch it again!


Pressure Off from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon


Lessons We Have Learned (On Our FIFTH Birthday!)

It is that time of year again, and we can hardly believe it! This year is kind of a landmark for us because as we type, Daily Duranie has hit the five year mark. FIVE YEARS!! Where does the time go? How on earth did we really find that much to write about?!? (we have no idea…)

While we want to shout from the rooftops and celebrate exuberantly, we also find ourselves just the tiniest bit reflective. During this past five years, we have learned a lot. We’ve learned about the band, music industry, fandom, and most importantly,  about ourselves and each other. Since today is a special day, we’ve decided to share some of what we’ve learned (so far) along our way.

Knowing when it is time to take a break

We are hard workers. Some might even say we’re a little obsessed or OCD (both are true). We don’t take often take breaks, and we don’t cut ourselves much slack. The blog is titled “Daily”, and it took us quite a while to understand that even so, if the blog doesn’t get written…the world will not end. Sometimes, we need a break. So this past year, we took one.  It will not be our last.

Sometimes, wording matters

One of us is incredibly blunt and quick to react, and the other is carefully measured. One might think that between the two of us, we’d get it right. We try. Sometimes though, whether out of haste, impatience or downright annoyance, we miss. Sometimes we forget to soften our words or forget that not everyone else on planet earth (!) can see inside our heads. We can’t promise it’ll never happen again, but we try.

We must ask for the things we want

We are terrible when it comes to asking for help. Well, we’re actually terrible about asking for anything, actually. Time and time again we will run into fellow fans, etc. and they’ll tell us that we just have to ASK if we want something. (In that case, we have a list…) Both of us have a bit of a fear of being told no, but we’re trying, and sometimes, to our complete and utter astonishment, it even works.

We know it’s going to be OK

In the beginning, we were pretty nervous. After all, when we first started this blog, we were even afraid to sign our real names or have our pictures up online with it! Even the idea of a band member, someone on their team…or even a roadie reading our blog really and truly scared the crap out of us. We really were not writing the blog for the band to read. We weren’t really even writing for fellow fans at first. We wrote for ourselves, and to a large extent, we still do. It’s only when we stop writing for ourselves and begin thinking about what others might want to read or see that we get into trouble, and that’s something else we’ve learned along the way. (Sounds familiar to the way the band writes and records, now that we think about it!)  It wasn’t very long into the blog when Rhonda wrote something about how if the band were to ever read, she didn’t even want to know about it. That was five years ago now, and at this point, we’ve both achieved a little bit of comfort. It is no longer quite as frightening to know that our words are just “out there” for all to read…and so you know, if the band ever read the blog, we’re OK with that, even if they don’t always agree. We just hope we’re a little entertaining. We certainly make each other laugh!

It’s OK to still be fans

Once we settled into the act of writing the blog, we started noticing that writing from this space sometimes required a bit more distance from being fans than we were used to occupying. Granted, this wasn’t just because of this blog – but also due to the book we were writing. Without getting too much into what we were aiming for with the book, our “fieldwork”, so to speak, required objectivity in order to be more accurate and less “emotional”. So we got into the habit of examining behaviors and culture norms from that angle. The problem there of course is that once you stop being fans…it’s not all that much fun sometimes. Additionally, we wanted the blog to be taken seriously. If we fangirl over every last thing that’s ever done, it’s going to grow tiresome…and the last thing we want this blog to be is a pure sappy sweet love note to the band. That’s just not who we are or the image we want to convey.  We’ve been accused more times than we care to admit that because we don’t love every single blasted thing the band does, that we’re somehow “less” than fans. We’d like to challenge anyone who feels that way to run right out and set up your own blog – then write it DAILY for five years long with planning conventions, pre-concert meet-ups and writing a full manuscript on the subject of fan communities.  After that bar is met, we can certainly sit down and have a conversation about what qualities a “real” fan may or may not have. However, there are times when we desperately want to let that Duran Duran fan flag fly, and we’ve learned that on occasion, it’s not only appropriate – it’s FUN.  And if we’re not having fun…what is really the point?!?

We ALL like a little validation once in a while

We aren’t going to tell tales here: sometimes, we actually LIKE being noticed for our hard work. This doesn’t happen every day, every week or even every month, but there is a certain part of us that needs to know people like and appreciate our work, whether that acknowledgement comes from one another, other fans, other people in the media…or the band and management.  Don’t get us wrong, we love writing. We love this blog, and we love putting on events. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t bother, because it is a LOT of work.  We also love hearing that we’re doing a good job and that someone actually likes what we do. Those little moments are what get us through the day-to-day grind of figuring out how to maintain this blog and website along with raising a family, teaching a class, and being good and decent family members. We both love reading or hearing  that we’re on the right track, and that someone other than the two of us is laughing and having a good time! Especially notable are the comments from fans who have just found our blog, and are overjoyed to read that there are literally thousands of other people out there who still love this band.

Interviews are a lot of work

It never occurred to us that there are two sides to an interview: the part where you meet or communicate with whomever you are interviewing, and the part where you’re sitting down and transcribing that interview…and then writing it up. We ALL say we want to meet the band, and we ALL say we want to ask them questions, but we’re also pretty sure no one thinks about the research that goes into asking the right questions, or the fact that for every minute or two you’re interviewing – you’re also signing yourself up for about 20 minutes of transcription time.  All of that aside, Rhonda says she would be happy to interview Dom Brown again any time!  🙂

It’s OK if our opinions are different from everyone else

This is an especially timely and poignant headline for a week when Duran Duran has just released their 14th studio album. While there are plenty of fans out there that have left testimony saying that this is the best album the band has done, there are just as many fans who are less-than-thrilled. We find ourselves in the precarious position of having to be head cheerleaders AND camp counselors. We love the album, but we also know what it is like to feel as though you’re the only one who doesn’t. This isn’t a particularly forgiving fan community to voice one’s dissenting opinion, we admit. The reality is, it’s OK not to love everything the band has ever done. It’s also OK if readers don’t agree with everything we’ve written. However, we pretty much insist that a reader has actually READ the blog before choosing to take issue. So if you find yourself reading a headline and deciding that it’s time to leave us a nastygram on Facebook or Twitter or even here on the blog, don’t be surprised when we thank you kindly for taking the time and giving us the respect of actually reading our work before deciding to disagree. It’s really that simple. We don’t care if readers’ opinions are different from ours, and we really don’t mind if anyone shares their opinion. Thoughtful comments are always welcome.

Balance is important

Fun matters. Maybe some days we just want to laugh and squee over pictures of DoJo one day, or another time we post a video of Simon’s infamous dance moves (we do miss his chicken dance from Skin Trade or his infamous karate chops).  Fun is important, which is why we’re throwing ourselves our own birthday party!  Expect more fun this next year!!

Lastly, and most importantly for many reasons – the band can’t retire yet!

We mean it. We’re just getting into our groove now, and we see fantastic things ahead. Retirement? NO WAY!  There’s no quitting yet…do you hear us, Duran Duran?  We’re in this for the long haul, people!



Here we are, at the beginning of a brand new year of Daily Duranie. I (Rhonda) am not really sure what made me choose September 13th 2010 as the day to begin this blog, but I am glad I did. While I wrote the first post, Amanda had to agree to this insane venture otherwise I would have never even taken those first steps while she was at work on that fateful day. I remember shakily typing -R at the end of my first writing, not really sure what I had just done. Then I literally shut my laptop and didn’t look at it again until the following day. That was back during the time when I gave myself 30 minutes each day to write the blog. HA. It’s more like a half-day gig now, and some days, even longer. It’s been a wild, crazy ride so far, to say the least. With a brand new album and tour just ahead, I have no doubt that we will have a good many more stories and tales to tell ahead. Thank you for sticking with us, for supporting our efforts, and for just being good people. Huge hugs and thank you’s also go to our muses – Simon, John, Nick, Roger and Dom – without your work, the blog would never have been started. Even bigger hugs go to Katy Krassner and the rest of DDHQ, because we appreciate your help, the occasional retweet, and all of the shared information.

It takes a village to support a band. We are incredibly lucky to be a part of such a wonderful one.  🙂

-A & R

Do You Believe In Shame – The Daily Duranie Review

We don’t know about anyone else, but it feels as though we’re doing twice as many reviews as normal these days….and we are NOT complaining one little bit!

This week, we are going to dive right into “Do You Believe in Shame”. This was the 19th single from Duran Duran, as well as the third and final single off of the Big Thing album.  The song only made it to #30 in the UK, #72 in the US and a whopping #14 in Italy, in spite of the single’s extra-long running time (it runs 4:24 – well beyond the “magic” 3:30 of a typical radio single). As most know, the song was dedicated to three special friends in the Duran Duran “family”:  record producer Alex Sadkin, Andy Warhol, and Simon’s childhood friend David Miles.  The song also had its share of controversy in a legal challenge due to the melody resembling that of Dale Hawkins’ “Suzie Q”.  The writing credits were changed, although Duran Duran has continually insisted they never intentionally copied, instead claiming that the similarity is due to a basic blues progression pattern found in both songs.

There will be no blues progression test at the end, or a determination of copyrights, but let’s jump in and see what the song has to offer!



This is a song that I often forget about until I hear it, and then I wonder why I don’t listen to it more often. There is a strong drum beat to begin with, and you barely notice the other instrumentation (synthesizer, bass, and guitar of course) until after the first chorus, which is a little unusual for a Duran Duran song. I appreciate that particularly in this song, the instruments act as more of a backup for the vocals rather than trying to compete with Simon’s voice….the vocal message being more important than the music here. That said, there is still balance here. The synthesizers are really no more or less prominent than the bass or the guitar, and all are kept at rather subdued levels.


Simon outdoes himself for this song, keeping his voice in the lower portion of his range, and singing with all of the emotion one might expect for a song such as this. The timbre of his voice is gorgeous and full, and reminds me of just how talented he is. As much as I love the rest of the song, the brightness he reaches with a bridge about midway through the song is in direct contrast has an almost hopeful quality, which really gives the song even more dimension. Definitely one of the best and under appreciated Duran ballads, particularly vocally.


There are very few Duran lyrics that swell up the emotion as well as this song for me. It isn’t easy to have people die, and I think that everyone experiences regret about things they should have done or should have said, even under the best of circumstances, and this song conveys those feelings perfectly.  Lines like “So why your eyelids are closed, Inside a case of rust, And did you have to change
All your poets fire into frozen dust”  convey an eerily familiar feeling for me, an make the ever-present feeling in the pit of my stomach surge back to life.  Anyone who has ever lost anyone should be able to find that emotion here in this song.


I think part of the reason I don’t listen to this song more often is because of the intense emotion it conjures up for me. That alone makes it a brilliant piece of work.  The music and vocals work together beautifully, and I appreciate that the song is subdued without losing emotionality. This isn’t the type of song you dance to, yet the band has played it live and it’s gone over brilliantly.  Do You Believe in Shame is a fine example of the depth that Duran Duran is capable of, something that I feel continues to be completely missed by media.  Their loss.

Cocktail Rating

4.5  cocktails!

4.5 Cocktails



The song’s instrumentation, to me, is such that it is definitely felt rather than heard.  It works to create quite a mood of melancholy and does not appear to have significant changes throughout the song.  Yes, there is clearly, musically, a chorus but isn’t that much different the music of the verses.  The instrumentation clearly has all of the usual Duran instruments present but none is front and center.  The instrumentation works in the background.  When there are slight changes or additions, particularly keyboards, they work to make the song, the feeling more intense.  Truly, the musicality of this song matches the focus of the song.  It really feels like grief that is  ever present.


I want to love Simon’s vocals here but…I don’t.  While I appreciate that Simon also wanted his vocals to represent the grief and match with the instrumentation, I find myself wanting something different each time I listen to it.  I have a hard time picking out the words and, while I know that I’m getting ahead of myself here, they are too good to miss.  They are too beautiful not to be understood and I always struggle to understand each and every line.  I do love the part about 2/3 of the way through when he declares how selfish he is.  The power of that section is great and I wish the entire song sounded like that.  All this said, I do give him credit for truly sounding like he is grieving in this song.  He definitely channeled everything he was feeling with the loss of his friend, David, when he recorded this.  I give him a ton of credit for that.



When I think of Duran Duran songs, I struggle to think of ones that we know truly relate to a real life experience of Simon’s.  Most of his lyrics tend to be some broad observation of some aspect of society or relationships or they tend to be more poetic.  I don’t often think personal when I think Simon’s lyrics.  These lyrics are very personal and yet they truly do capture what grief is like.  It is a song, lyrically, that everyone can relate to.  Everyone has experienced loss and the classic five stages, many of which Simon alluded to here.  Yet, like the best of Simon’s lyrics, he describes the emotions he felt in such a poetic beautiful way.


This is one of those songs that touches everyone who hears it.  It captures the experience of grief and loss well.  The instrumentation makes the listener aware while the lyrics explain the complexity of grief with confusion, angry, sadness as well as the attempt to move on.  The only part of the song that doesn’t work as well as it could is the vocals, in the verses, in particularly.  The lyrics and the message loses a  little bit when the vocals aren’t easily understood.  That said, it demonstrates the depth of Duran and the band’s ability to really create a mood with their music.

Cocktail Rating

4 cocktails!

4 cocktails rating

Paper Gods Press Release Insights Part 1

Now that we have copies of the new Duran Duran song and order confirmations for a few shows, it is time to dive a little deeper into the press release and the bio released on Genero.TV about the upcoming album.  The reality here is that we simply cannot wait for the album and are seeking as many insights into what the album will be like that we can get!!!  We might not be able to get our hands on the music yet, but if we can get some idea of what it will be like…maybe, just maybe we can survive until September!  Therefore, we will spend a few days reading, re-reading, analyzing what has been said about the music on Paper Gods!

Today, we will start our analysis by looking at and discussing a few quotes about the album as a whole from the official press release that can be found here on the band’s official website and from the bio on Genero.TV.

Making the Album & Album Description:

Band politics play a role, too, he [Simon] says. “I think part of our strength is the tension in our music, which probably comes from the tension within the band. When you’re young, you’re not scared of upsetting people, and actually we can still push that sometimes. But harsh words are forgiven. Ultimately, we know that we will fight for each other, whatever the situation. We stick together. Nick and I can fight tooth and nail, over a lyric, or a musical part. And you would think in those moments that we hate each other’s guts, but really we love each other.”

“We have been through a lot together” John Taylor adds, “and now it’s very much a case of ‘Know thyself.’ At this point in our career, it’s about being really in touch with your identity, and drawing strength from the knowledge that you’ve all been on this incredible journey, a journey that is still going on. I think you can hear that in the new songs; we’re still learning things from and about each other, personally as well as musically.” For John, the most satisfying thing about the new album is that it captures the duality, the sense of conflict, at the heart of the band’s music. “In the original blueprint for the band, there was this dark, slightly progressive side to us, and it tended to get a little bit trampled on by the poptastic aspect. In that desire for pop satisfaction, you can forget what you set out to do. The new record really goes back to that strange early Duran mix: the hard-edged pop, coexisting with this dark, weird, experimental side.” “That’s something that’s essential to all of us,” agrees Nick. “It’s great to be able to lift people’s spirits – and your own – with a strong shot of pure pop, but the world we live in isn’t all just made of that stuff, so it seems natural to me, and has done since the very beginning, that we have kept, and still keep, one foot in the darker, more Gothic side of life.”


When I read these paragraphs, there was much that I liked. First of all, when I read that there was tension within the band, I was excited! That isn’t because I want the band to have conflict. Of course not, but I do like the sound of musical tension. When I think of my favorite Duran Duran songs and albums, they are filled with musical tension. In fact, I would say the basis of Duran Duran was to combine, to mesh different musical influences that are often contradictory in nature. After all, John Taylor once described his goal with Duran as Pretty Vacant by the Sex Pistols meets Good Times by Chic. You know punk vs. disco along with so many more influences. Clearly, the band is still trying to mesh those very different musical genres when I read phrases like “hard-edged pop”.  Personally, that is exactly what I want. I want that duality that they described. I want music that is going to make me feel good but I also want music that understands the harsh reality of life. I think certainly the best Duran Duran albums were able to do just that.  Look at All You Need Is Now, for example. There are some songs that definitely put you in a good mood and other songs that are introspective or thought provoking. Perfect. This duality, of course, reminds me of the album cover–fine art meets pop art. Reality and fun.  Serious and frivolous. Now, of course, the question will be. Did they meet this goal in the music on the album? We shall see.


I think it’s so hard to discuss this without having heard anything BUT Pressure Off.  That said, I’ve listened to the song “a few times” (Ok, so the truth is I’ve had it on repeat whenever I’ve been in my car during the past two days). At first, I ONLY heard what I would think John is calling “poptastic”. It’s tough not to hear that when you’ve got these incredibly bright chords and vocals going on in the chorus. (Someone I know said that it sounded way too “high school musical”, which really bothers me!) But, the more I listen to the very beginning of the song where Simon is singing “stepping out, stepping out, etc.” part – there is a dark-tinge to it because it’s in a slightly less “golden” (for lack of better description) chord than the chorus…and they use that great effect on it that makes it the tiniest bit gritty. It just gives the song a little more texture.

For me, what I’ve always identified as a sort of “musical tension” within the band has been the way the guitar plays off of everyone. I’ve always seen the guitar as providing that “hard edge” that John mentions. Back in the day, we would have just said it was Andy playing as Andy did…with the full rock attitude. Somehow though, that’s been lost to a major extent along the way, and I very much miss that.  The last album had tiny glimpses of that, and I had high hopes for future Duran Duran. For me, it was that bit of hard-edged rock guitar that made the music interesting, and it didn’t take much to do that. As much as I like what Nile has done in Pressure Off with rhythm guitar providing a little funk, I have no sense of how the rest of the album will sound.

I do worry that they’ve completely missed the very element that makes their music unique – because Nile wasn’t trying (nor should he have for Pressure Off) to bring a rock “voice” to the lushness of the keyboards or stacking of harmonies. He played with a bit of funk, and a lot of rhythm, which was completely appropriate for the song. A friend of mine once said that he wished the band would allow more guitar. I agree, because no matter what the band says, their records NEED it. I think it could be done because they’ve done it before with brilliant results. They just need to be able to trust the person/people they have playing in that role…and I suspect that’s the real problem. For whatever reason, they just won’t give any guitar player that type of permanence or ownership.

Where Will This Album Fit in the Duran Duran Catalog?

One person that is mentioned in the press releases is the engineer Josh Blair:

Nick says of the collaboration “He really was our anchor throughout the project, helping to sculpt the sound of the album and presiding over every detail. He was there from the start, and that gave us a feeling of continuity from the last record.”

Notorious Influence:

“Notorious was a strong touchstone for the band,” says Roger Taylor. “All You Need is Now definitely reflected our earlier albums, but our starting point here was Notorious. We’re fortunate to be able to be inspired by our own back catalogue – not many bands can say that.”

How Good Is It?:

“I know that artists always like to say this,” Nick continues, “but truly, without a doubt, I think this is our best record since The Wedding Album. Being in this band is like being married to three other people. We take care of each other, but we also argue all the time, too, particularly about music. But that’s essential. If you don’t argue, don’t have strong opinions, that’s when you end up producing junk. We fight for every note – literally. But it doesn’t feel like a battle. It feels like a victory.” 

“We’ve allowed ourselves the time to make music that we can be proud of,” adds Le Bon . “I judge what we release by my favourite albums — Horses, Harvest, Let It Bleed, Blue, Transformer, Aladdin Sane. Those are classic albums. The only rule is it’s got to be music you can live with for the rest of your life.”


I love that there is some continuity from All You Need Is Now.  I, for one, loved that album and dislike the idea that they felt that they had to change so dramatically from something that worked.  That isn’t to say that I don’t embrace change or progress but I don’t like that at the expense of rejecting came before.  Instead, I like the idea of acknowledging what came before in order to take what worked and build off of that while getting rid of what didn’t.  I guess that is the idea with bouncing from the Notorious album, too.  While Notorious might not be my favorite album, I know that there were some gems there and I’m anxious to see how that album influenced this one.

As for it being the best album since the Wedding Album, again, I have to say that I loved All You Need Is Now WAY better than the Wedding Album.  Therefore, that statement from Nick doesn’t really give me the perspective I need.  I wish he had compared it to a different album than that one.  That said, I do like hearing that they view the album as a “victory” and that Simon believes that this is an album that they can live with for the rest of their lives.


I really have zero sense of where this album is going to fit just yet. Admittedly, Notorious has never been one of my favorite DD albums. It strayed so far from what came before OR after that in a lot of ways, it feels like it was made by a very different band altogether. (I cannot WAIT to get my hate mail for that one!! It’s only my opinion, people…we all have one!) However, there are certainly elements from Notorious that they’ve carried with them along the way. I see most of their albums as having done similar, where they focus on certain aspect for the album and then use elements from that on later albums. Personally, when I hear Pressure Off, I hear guitar and even keyboards from Notorious, but also a lot of brightness and production aspects straight from All You Need is Now.  I think they even learned a lot from recording Red Carpet Massacre because I think the beginning of Pressure Off gives a teensy bit of a club/urban feel, which really helps to offset the pop a little, which I think is genius.

As for this record being the best since The Wedding Album, I think the jury is still out on that one until we hear the whole thing from start to finish. (many, many times)  I just can’t even begin to wonder what the rest of the album will sound like, and I’m definitely NOT wishing my summer away so that I can find out any faster!

Tomorrow, we will continue with the analysis of the descriptions surrounding the individual songs off of Duran’s upcoming album, Paper Gods.  Until then, let us know what you thought of these quotes from the official press release!

-A & R

May Katy Kafe Bonus with Simon LeBon!

Just when you’re thinking it’s safe to go run errands…Katy surprises us all with a bonus Katy Kafe!  Apparently Simon was so chatty during Katy’s anniversary chat, they kept the “tape” rolling, and off comes this fun, informative and even educational Kafe with Simon! I picked out the highlights to share, enjoy!

Coffee, Coffee and More Coffee!

Simon has become quite the coffee drinker, and he likes it black. As many might be aware, recently Simon began a fitness regime. He wanted to lose some weight (he’s lost quite a bit!!) and just get fit for the upcoming album release/tour/etc. His program required that he cut out dairy, and Simon cannot drink tea without dairy. So, he tried coffee…and he loves it. He loves coffee so much that he drinks six to eight cups a day!  He explains, much to my relief, that he dilutes the French press coffee a bit because he prefers it weaker than say, the espresso blend that Starbucks and similar coffee shops prepare.  To myself, I imagined Simon on the fully-leaded Starbucks espresso, and I was tired just trying to keep up!  He loves a particular brand of coffee called Cru Kafe and he went into particularly great detail about how the coffee smells when it is freshly ground. Katy, on the other hand – not a coffee drinker at all.  She can’t stand the stuff.

This led into a great discussion on how Simon feels that this program has re-educated his taste buds to prefer less “rich” food. He talks about how he enjoys salad and now craves green, raw vegetables.  I’m eating a kale salad as I’m writing this (I too am preparing for any and all upcoming gigs and tours, you see…) and I have to wonder what in the hell Simon was eating BEFORE the program.  He talked a bit about wanting to eat cleaner and have a simpler digestion while on tour.  I thought about how vodka might fill that bill.  (for me…for me….) It’s clear. It’s clean…and I am the (self-proclaimed) Patron Goddess of Vodka.

moving on…

I saw Simon in early April and he looked very trim. I’ve seen the recent ads he did for that wildlife campaign, and he looks fantastic. I’ve got work of my own to do to keep up!!

The Summer of Festivals

That’s what I’m dubbing this summer. Katy asked what Simon might be looking forward to for these festivals and he said they would not play a “hell of a lot” from the new album. He thought that if there were a single out they’d play that (so that’s a little different from what John had said previously – we’ll take a single!!). Katy asked how long it takes to put together a set list, and Simon said that he really wasn’t the “list maker”….apparently John and Nick share that duty. John is fairly obsessive about it, noting what songs create what type of mood, etc. Simon likes the idea of a three-act-play model. He doesn’t go into detail, but basically the idea is to break the setlist into parts: the set-up, the confrontation, and the conclusion.  However, Simon is more interested in what he can sing properly. For example, one of Simon’s challenges with their music is that if one song, such as Girl Panic, is in a high, full-out range…it is very difficult if not impossible for him to follow that with a song that is meant to be sung low, such as Come Undone. So he looks at their set lists with that in mind. It’s a little insight…

Simon would love to sing Too Late Marlene in a setlist, but according to him, they’ve tried it before and have always backed away from doing it because perhaps it didn’t sound right. He feels they are much better musicians now and can play it properly – it’s a hidden, overlooked gem in their music because of the fact it doesn’t have a huge hook. Simon feels it would go well with Serious. Do we agree?  (I do!) He was very, very quick to say that they won’t be doing Too Late Marlene this tour…but it’s something he’d like to try in the future.


That’s about it from the Kafe this time around. The extended Coffee Kafe was a fun surprise to round out the month of May! Looking forward to next month!!




We Need You — The Daily Duranie Review

The Notorious album had three officially released singles:  Notorious, Skin Trade and Meet el Presidente.  Out of those three singles, there was only one new song released as a b-side.  The rest of the singles featured either other album tracks (Winter Marches On and Vertigo) or remixes of the single.  The only new b-side was a song entitled We Need You, which was the b-side to the song, Skin Trade.  According to the duranduran.wikia.com, the song was a plea for Andy to come back to the studio.  No matter the story behind the song, what do we think of the song?  Is a solid b-side?  Should it have been an additional album track?  Should it have never made it past the cutting room floor?  Read on to see what we think!



This song is about as far from the styling found on Notorious as possible. When I listen to this song on its own, I have difficulty placing it in the Notorious era, much less as a B-side to Skin Trade, which is interesting to me.  I would be far more likely to place it during the same time period as Secret Oktober…or even To the Shore in some ways. The music itself is mainly Nick’s keyboards/synthesizers with some piano, and it’s very mellow. For some reason I always liken the song to a lullaby.  There isn’t a lot to the song, it’s short and simple…but sometimes that’s all that is needed.


Simon’s voice is soothing when he is in a key that is comfortable for him, and this song is no exception. That’s probably where I get the whole “lullaby” thing from, too.  I love the way he finishes his phrasing by fading and trailing off as opposed to abrupt finishes, it’s beautifully done. I don’t find his voice boring or unemotional here, I think “soothing” is the right word. He’s not frenetic or intense, just very calm, and letting the music, vocals and words speak for themselves without a lot of flash.  I like it.


With all due respect to duranduranwikia – I struggle with the theory that this song is about the band wanting Andy to return to the studio. I mean, I suppose it’s possible and some of the lyrics do fit that theory, but really – Andy was suing the band at this point. This is how the band wanted to respond to him? I am just not sure that’s the case and I don’t think I’ve ever heard the band say as much one way or the other.  I don’t know…seems to me that if this is really about Andy, it was written early on. I did notice that Simon said that he wasn’t interested in taking down or shaking down, and perhaps that is his response to Andy’s suit.  Who knows?! On a different note, I don’t think I’ve ever really had a personal response to these lyrics before, which doesn’t indicate much of anything aside from a lack of personal connection. Even if I don’t relate to them, I can’t fault the song – I’m not going to relate to every Duran Duran song written. The point is that there are enough songs that I do relate to that it keeps it all interesting. I think these lyrics are written well – just super short. Short, simple and probably to the point. Can’t argue with that!


This is a song that I play when I’m wanting something quiet and soothing. Peaceful. (It comes up on my playlist often around here, I’ll say that much) I wouldn’t say it’s one of my most favorites, but I just like the simple, unadorned method with which this song was written and recorded. Recently Simon said something about how he likes silence in the songs.  I do too, and this song has a lot of that.  During a time where it was very easy to be carried away by the advances in technology, I like that they let the music and the silence speak a little on its own.  The song is short compared to a lot of the songs in their catalog, but it’s also a B-side, and those B-sides are gems in my book. Yes, they’re sometimes a little obscure, and yes, sometimes they don’t follow all of the rules…which is exactly why I like them so much.  A lot of times I think the best songs they’ve done are the B-sides, because they don’t conform to expectations, and they just speak for themselves. I have to applaud that.

Cocktail Rating

3 cocktails! three cocktails




Interestingly enough, this song, at least initially, does not scream the Notorious album to me, unlike every other track written and recorded during this era.  No, it sounds different.  The funk is definitely not present as almost whimsical keyboards are heard and dominate with other instrumentation hidden deeper in the track.  It almost seems to me that they were trying to capture the feel of Secret Oktober.  In that song, there isn’t much instrumentation heard beyond the keyboards.  It is also a short song, time wise and lyric wise.  Perhaps, because the song is so short, there aren’t many transitions and changes within it.  The only noticeable one is about a minute and a half in when percussion is heard more as are more piano sounding keyboards. The music of the song almost feels tropical or island to me which doesn’t really match with the lyrics or meaning of the song.


There isn’t any wrong with Simon’s lyrics in this song.  In general, the song is in a decent range even though there are some lines that push towards the higher end.  Yet, there isn’t much that grabs me or moves me.  In general, Simon’s vocals seem very soft, quiet.  I also find them rather emotionless.  Now, if this song really was to try to get Andy back into the fold, these vocals wouldn’t have done it for me.  Perhaps, though, he is tired of the battle.  Maybe, he is tired of pushing, trying, attempting to bring him back.  The only real emotion that I can sense is during the chorus when Simon is singing the “we need you” part.  It helps that there is a little of layering at that point.


Obviously, these lyrics aren’t lengthy.  Really, there is a verse with a one-line chorus.  Do these lyrics match the idea that the song was written for Andy Taylor, to encourage him come back and join the band?  It is very possible with lines like “Too much has gone down” and “We could bring you gently round”.  If this, indeed, is the case, I’m sure that these lyrics really meant something to the band, at the time.  Yet, I find myself very detached from them.  They don’t make me feel emotion or think much.  Plus, the lyrics are so short.  I just wish that there had been more to the lyrics and, maybe, more mystery to the lyrics, too.  They need something to grab my attention and emotions.


I always feel like I should be kind when it comes to b-sides.  After all, I could assume that they didn’t take as much time on the song, right?  Yet, I know that there are many b-sides that could have and should have been not only a-sides but could have been singles (Secret Oktober and Late Bar, for example).  Overall, I just think that there isn’t anything very special about the song.  The music is fine.  The lyrics aren’t horrible and either are the vocals.  Yet, there also is nothing special to them either.  Even the potential meaning to the song doesn’t grip me.  Is it because I have come to terms with Andy’s departure?  Maybe.  I know many fans use this song to describe their feelings towards the band.  I haven’t done that either.

Cocktail Rating

2.5 cocktails
Two and half cocktails

Happy Anniversary Katy! (with Simon!)

I really and truly don’t even know where to start with the highlights from this Kafe. If I could somehow put it all into a frame and hang it on my wall forever and ever, I would. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these Kafes – probably even more so than the regular ones. (sorry Katy, I mean it in the kindest possible way, I really do!!) I’ll get to why in a minute. I might be the only one out there that feels this way, but I don’t care.  I will also disclose here and now that I’ve never actually been in tears due to a Katy Kafe before, much less due something Simon has said…until now.

I’m going to assume it’s really NOT my hormones on overdrive this morning, although I won’t lie, it’s been quite a day so far. (I went to school with my youngest this morning for Muffins with Mom. I know this has nothing to do with Duran Duran but she is the sweetest kid in the entire universe and I am so lucky to call her my daughter. So there you go. Mom-tears.) Moving along…

To begin with, I don’t know that I ever truly realized just how close Katy and the band really are. Yes, I know they’ve worked together for a long time, but somehow I don’t think that always comes through in the Kafes or the work she does. But when you hear her speak with Simon, you can really feel the warmth between them. Sure, she’s lucky because she works with the band we’ve all been rather fond of since we were babies…I know that’s the way many feel and yeah, it’s a given but let’s get PAST that for a second.  She’s very lucky to have found a family within. I know a lot of people who worked for the same company nearly all of their lives and don’t have the same sort of relationships with their coworkers (or bosses!)…so there’s something to be said there for both Katy and those Duran Duran guys. 🙂 I think it was incredibly nice of Katy to include all of us in on her special time with the band, because really, she didn’t have to. She could have celebrated her anniversary with the band privately and never done a thing…and really, how many of us would have even taken a second to figure out how long she’s been with the band? I venture to guess not many because what she does for them is just taken for granted. We don’t think about how it all happens, we only know that we want and need what we want and need, and if it’s not perfect, we’re pissed. I’m super glad she shared, and that’s not me gushing, it’s me being honest and thankful.

There were a lot of little tidbits they shared (I for one cannot wait to hear the Simon “Alabama Slammer” story. I just hope she doesn’t wait 20 years to share!), such as the first time she met the band at the St. Regis and Simon chucked a water bottle across the room to her and she caught it, to which Simon announced that he liked her. I can envision that happening…and I can envision myself missing the bottle, too.

They talked about 9/11 and how the band was meeting with Miles Copeland at his house. They were apparently unaware of the planes hitting the WTC until they got there and Miles said that they couldn’t talk, and there they watched the second plane hit the building. Katy had emailed them, and Simon returned the email, telling Katy to “keep her wits about her”.  Truer words couldn’t have been said. Our world really did completely change that day, didn’t it? I don’t live in New York, I didn’t have family anywhere near there…but there are still many, many times when I feel like I don’t completely recognize the world these days. Sometimes not at all.

They also talked about Katy’s highlights, which she’s mentioned with each band member, and that brought them to talking about the new album. I appreciated this section the most, and believe it or not – it wasn’t the memories of 9/11 that brought me to tears. No, it was this part.  First of all, Katy says that it’s “a Duran Duran album, but it’s a fucking great Duran Duran album”.  Simon agrees, and then they start to explain that this isn’t an album just for the fans. As you might imagine, that sentence is unsettling to me. But I try to listen with an open mind, after all, sometimes what is communicated in words isn’t really what is meant. Simon continues by saying that what he means, is that this album is meant for MORE than just the fans. It has a much wider appeal than that. Now while it’s easy to get our ire up, wondering if the fans just aren’t “enough”…. I think we have to understand that this isn’t a band that just wants to sit back in a corner and not continue to grow.  They want to grow their appeal. That isn’t a bad thing, and although I haven’t heard a single (entire) song from this album yet, I can’t wait to be able to say I love it and continue to work very, very hard to keep this fandom going and growing. They really WANT fans to love the album, and then they want us to take to the rooftops and draw others in.

It’s in this moment that I look back on the time in between albums and it doesn’t feel quite so long, and sometimes I feel like Amanda and I get it completely wrong…but we’re on the right track.

Simon speaks directly to the fans in this Kafe, explaining that we’re as much a part of that band as they are (cue tears from me), and that he wants us to own this next album and get it out there.  Katy agrees, saying that the fans she interacts with already feel that way, that they have a tangible sense of ownership with Duran Duran. It’s true. There are so many out there that really DO have a positive sense of ownership regarding the band. It’s also a major double-edged sword at times. We think we know best. We really don’t because we only know what it is like to be fans. It’s a problem, but I suppose it’s a good problem to have. We just love the band – we’ve loved them so long that it’s difficult to separate them from us. My memories are entwined with their music and even with them as people. It’s messy, it’s lovely, and it’s FAMILY.

Katy talks to Simon about how he keeps up the facade that he’s got his head in the clouds, and yet she claims he doesn’t miss a thing. Ever.  I also noticed that when he talked about the line up of the band when Katy first met him – he referred to “Simon” in the 3rd person. This is all starting to make much more sense to me now…It’s funny because now that the word is out, I’m not so sure he’s gonna be able to keep up that act, but hey – I’ll play along. Thanks for not spitting on us in Biloxi, Simon….I don’t think I’ve ever thanked you for backing up instead of showering us…. 😀 and thanks for taking a picture with us in LA, too. You’re the one band member I never, ever thought I’d actually have a photo with, so it’s special.

What am I missing? Ah yes, they talked a teensy bit about shows this summer, and in doing so – Simon explains that this is the “Information age” and that information is valuable. Agreed. If he were to give out information about what things, especially “Big” things that might soon to be announced for the US (no pun intended!!), it would mess up the promotion, marketing, etc. (my apologies for paraphrasing) I’m not going to chastise him for not telling us when and where. I can’t. I get it. Things happen for a reason, and it’s not my job to ruin it for them. In fact, I think it’s the opposite, isn’t it?  So he announces the shows that have already been announced, and leaves us all hanging on the footnote that something big is coming for the US.

I can’t wait.

So while this was a celebration of Katy’s time with the band – it was also a little bit of a celebration for all of us. It takes all of us to keep this engine running and the wheels moving, and I hope we all take Simon’s words to heart (do yourself a favor and get your DDM membership so that you can listen to this Kafe yourself!) Once again, there is no way on this earth that I would want Katy’s job – I’m not that nice, definitely not that patient, and I really like writing anyway, but I’m awfully glad we have her around to “herd the cats” when necessary. Congratulations and a VERY happy anniversary (Happy Mothers Day too!) Katy!


There’s a Dream that Strings the Road

Have I ever told you about the time we got a picture with Simon?

There are some people that I can honestly say I never thought I’d actually speak to in person, much less be brazen enough to request a photo….and I really believed that Simon was ON that list. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

So, our fateful meeting – of which I am certain that Simon has little to no memory – took place after the David Lynch Foundation event at the Ace Hotel.  We’d been ushered out of the rooftop bar at closing, and spilled out onto the sidewalk in front of the hotel. I fiddled with my phone while the group I was with mingled about, and I happened to look up to see a crowd just down the street in front of a taco hut/truck. At this point, it was after 2am, and I wondered who would want to eat so late, then I saw someone very tall in the crowd, and I knew it had to be Simon.

I mentioned as much to Amanda and our little group, and I believe it was Krista who announced that Amanda and I would be getting our photo with him.  I nearly dropped my phone when I looked up in surprise, eyes wide.  “Are you sure we should?” I asked.  In my defense, I figured that I’d gotten into the after party…I’d not only gotten a photo(s) with Dom, but I’d had a conversation with him, given him a wristband (Oh yes, he has a Daily Duranie wristband now!)…and seen Amanda get a photo with John Taylor. Why press my luck with the one band member that I know has taken many a fan down a notch for approaching him at the wrong time?  I’ll admit it, I was a little (a LOT!) worried about approaching Simon.  But before I could really run the other way…Krista had already walked right up to Simon AND told him who we were.  “Hi Simon, this is Amanda and Rhonda, they write a blog called The Daily Duranie, you may have heard of it.”

Simon was up and off the bench he was sitting on in record time, saying “HELLLLOOOOO” just like Mrs. Doubtfire!  At that point, I was sure that I was about to wake up in my own bed from the strangest dream I’d had in years, but someone had asked him if we could get a picture with him and he said “Let’s do this!”

And before we knew it…he hugged us to his sides and we got a photo. I lived to tell about it!



Truth be told, I’d heard so many stories about approaching Simon over the years, that I would have never, EVER done it on my own.  As much as I might tease him mercilessly here on the blog, and as much as I might be really hard on the guy, I do have great love and respect for him. I mean let’s face it – Duran Duran has been a huge part of my life for a very long time. I didn’t want anything to ruin my feelings. That said, Simon couldn’t really have been any nicer than he was to Amanda and I that night…and I will never forget his hearty “HEELLLLLOOOOOO” as we walked up and Krista told him who we were.  There are moments when I wonder if I’d dreamt up the entire thing, but then Amanda reminds me that she was standing right there with me and heard him say it!

Life is pretty damn ironic at times. A month ago I would have told anyone they had a screw loose if it was suggested I’d get a picture with Simon…not to mention that out of the “official” band members, he was the very FIRST.  When I think about the journey I’ve been on with this band, going to the UK twice, writing this blog….my long ago “spirited” posts with Moocher on DDF, I smile.  Sure, maybe it’s ironic, but I think it worked out exactly as it was always meant.

I hope I always remember that night. It was a long time coming and worth every second.