Tag Archives: Thank You

Happy 24th Anniversary Thank You!

Happy Thursday, everyone! Today is a special day as Thank You celebrates its 24th birthday!

In honor of this occasion, I decided to do something I haven’t done in a long time – I played the entire Thank You album. I know, I know – what a shock, right? The things I do for this blog. It’s rough.

Thank You is still playing in the background as I write. I’m on “Thank You” right now, and I have to say, I don’t really understand the fuss. No, the songs aren’t original (although “Drive By” counts as original in my book), and maybe they’re not songs you and I would immediately have suggested they cover, but overall? The album isn’t bad. Musically, I think it’s actually very well done.

Track by Track

White Lines

A live crowd favorite, the album version is slightly less packed with energy, but still has plenty of punch. I still believe they do it best in front of a live audience, and I can appreciate that even Duran Duran can put a cover in their set list and have fans believe it is their own.

I Wanna Take You Higher

I love the drums on this one. I like that the band took liberties and pushed the tempo, amplifying the song up to a bit more of a rock sound. Say what you will, they made the song work for them – which is exactly what a cover should do. Take the song, spin it on it’s head and see how it shakes out. That’s what Duran Duran did here and it worked. I’d be amiss if I didn’t give a shout to Warren’s guitar solo. It is indeed excellent.

Perfect Day

I really don’t know what I can say about this particular song that hasn’t already been said. Like the title – I think it’s just about perfect. Lou Reed had a brilliant song here, and Duran Duran took it up a notch. Oh, and Roger came back to play drums on it. Can’t really complain about that!

Watching the Detectives

What I love most about this song is not the melody, the drums, or even the vocals… I love the tiny little things found underneath. Those little synthesizer chords, the seemingly infinitesimal arpeggio notes, the harmonica, and the small effects here and there are what make this song interesting for me. Oh, and another Roger Taylor appearance. I like it better than the Elvis Costello original.

Lay Lady Lay

I haven’t ever heard anyone comment about the guitar on this – but hello Come Undone part 2. I love the intro with Warren’s guitar, and you can quote me on that. The song is romantic, sultry, and everything I could have wanted. I appreciate the song choice because one might not have ever guessed that Duran Duran could pull off Bob Dylan, and they do it here beautifully.

911 Is a Joke

I know how the community feels about “911 Is a Joke”. Simon is not quite the rapper type, in my opinion. I mean, it was a valiant effort I am sure…but…it does miss the mark. Overall, by principle alone, I don’t love the song. To be fair, I didn’t love the original either. However, and this is a big however, what about the irony??

Seriously people, how ironic is it that Duran Duran, a group of reasonably wealthy (if not filthy rich) WHITE guys decided to cover a song like “911 Is a Joke”?? The band doesn’t take themselves nearly as seriously as we fans take them, that’s all I’m saying. In fact, when the band made their choices of which songs to cover, it was none other than John Taylor who chose this one. “in addition to being a great song, it made him laugh to think of how many people it would piss-off.” (quote from an official “Thank You” press release) If you can’t see the humor and irony – well, are you sure you’ve been following the same band I am?

I think we can sometimes get up in our own heads to the point where we take the band far more seriously than they intend. It is worth taking the time to get past the surface – don’t always assume everything should be taken at face value. This is a band that treasures the ironic. They love the dry humor. As do I.

Bottom line: 911 isn’t likely to make anybody into a Duran Duran fan, but I really don’t think it was ever meant to be taken so darn seriously, anyway. I know so many people who got so stuck on that one song that they gave up on the rest of the album, and news flash – “911 is a Joke” is only ONE song. There’s eleven other songs!

Success

I think that in order to fully appreciate “Success”, one has to know and understand Gary Glitter, and not necessarily the original version by Iggy Pop. A brash, flamboyant UK performer, Gary Glitter had a stunning career. 20 million records sold, 168 weeks spent on the UK music charts, 21 hit singles…. and Duran Duran chose to cover a song that he in turn covered. There’s irony there if you look deep enough., although I’m not sure it was intended. The song is as brash as Gary Glitter’s career…never mind his eventual and spectacular fall from grace and into a prison cell (well AFTER the release of Thank You).

Crystal Ship

If they really needed to cover The Doors, I’m glad they chose this one. While I’m no big fan of either The Doors or this song, I think that Simon did slip rather well into the existential role of Jim Morrison here. Again, the best parts of this song aren’t the vocals or the melody – they’re the tiny little effects underneath that we rarely take full notice. Nick and Warren did incredibly well adding those nuances.

Ball of Confusion

My, my…how far we’ve come from the days of The Temptations. Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong are the original composers of the song, and judging from the lyrics along with the video I found of it on YouTube…it has evolved substantially over the years and has been covered by a brilliant number of artists along the way. I myself am a Love and Rockets fan, and this song is one of my favorites by that group. I have to admit that despite my bias, I really like this version. It has all the rock edge when needed, but I can also hear the appropriate throwback to the roots of The Temptations with the background vocals.

Thank You

Must admit, I don’t think I ever saw Duran Duran covering Led Zeppelin coming, which perhaps is the most jarring thing about this album – the song choices themselves. This cover is beautiful in it’s own right, and while it might not be my favorite, I give silent thanks that it isn’t “Stairway to Heaven”.

Drive By

I really don’t understand the outrage over this one. How dare they rethink one of their own songs? Are you kidding? I applaud it. In my head, it was a genius and ballsy move to take one of their best loved but not necessarily most well-known songs from an era that had long since past and evolve it. Maybe that’s the real problem here though. They sacrificed the sacred cow. The fab five. You tell me.

My inspiration

After listening a few times, I have to think that song choice had everything to do with the lack of love for this album. Fans didn’t know the music well enough, and critics knew it all too well.

Duran Duran didn’t choose to cover Roxy Music, or even Chic. They went with far less obvious influences. In some ways, I think that may have helped them far more than hurting them. Fans didn’t have quite the same sort of affinity for Elvis Costello, for example, than they might have for Nile Rodgers. But, by the same token – they didn’t have a connection with the music either. I struggle with that because you would think that a fan, like myself for instance, would have taken time to listen and bond, just as I might have done with any of their original music. However, I didn’t.

It will be done

Then there are the critics. Self-professed “experts”, they know and often tout their own musical intelligence. I kind of feel as though many of them are too far up their own noses to have been willing to give the album a fair shot. This was Duran Duran, the band causing much ire in the 80s, daring to cover not only The Doors and Led Zeppelin but even Public Enemy? Oh hell no. I’m not saying that some of the reviews and comments weren’t valid, only that it wouldn’t have mattered what they heard – all they needed to know was that it was Duran Duran.

So I ask you fans – give the album a good listen in 2019. It might surprise you, at least a little. It did me.

-R

I don’t really want to even talk about it

There are some days when it is just tough to be a fan. Yesterday, I was in the middle of blogging when a news story broke. I didn’t pay much attention and went right on writing. I was in a hurry, and didn’t have time for distractions. Then the news story was sent to me two or three times. I glanced at the headline and thought it was either a scam, clickbait, or a virus waiting to happen. So I just went on about my day until an hour or so later when a friend sent me the article and asked what I thought.  This time, I read it.

I wished I hadn’t, to be honest. I need for this – my fandom – to be my happy place. I don’t ask for much. Some smiles, maybe a laugh or two, some good friends, decent vodka, maybe even a lime and some tonic. Not much. I just need it to be happy.  But now, the Pandora’s Box has been opened, and it is really difficult to know what to say.

My comment to someone who messaged Daily Duranie directly about the news story was fairly straightforward and simple: We have chosen not to comment on something that may have happened 23 years ago. Amanda and I continue to agree on that point.

The Daily Duranie is almost an oral history of what it is like to be a fan on any given day. In the past we’ve called it a State of the Union (of Duranies), and that still kind of holds true. Today, our union is a bit tumbled and fractured. It’s been a rough 24 hours.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d like to turn the clock back about 30 hours. I hate this.

I love Simon. I really do. He has been nothing but nice (well, nice in that sort of “I’m going to spit on the two of you and then pretend I don’t know who you are later on when we hang out at a bar together” sort of way.)  to us. I care about him and his family. I think about him, and how he’s handling the loss of his mom, and what it must be like for him to be a grandfather now.  Um, I mean glamfather, of course. I think about how it’s gotten to the point at shows where he recognizes Amanda and I, and how he will wave to us if he sees us out and about. It’s nice, and to be fair – Amanda and I aren’t looking for any more than that. We’re not really “looking” for anything at all, it’s just that I appreciate being like normal people around one another. I think he knows we’re not going to launch ourselves in his direction because that’s super weird, and he should also know that if he ever wants to sit and have a drink with us, we’ll save a spot for him at the bar.

I don’t want any of that to end.

He is the crazy uncle of our huge dysfunctional family, and I have a very soft spot in my heart for him, as I don my neon green shoes or wear unsightly pajamas so that Amanda and I can continue making fun of him. It is what we do. I don’t want those things to stop, which is why this kind of news is so hard to take, regardless of whether it’s true or false – it is hard to handle.

I feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place, and my bet is that I’m not alone.

I feel like crap, to be honest.  Duran Duran is my happy place. Even when my regular, normal life has been horrible (and there have been many of those times), the band and this fan community have been my constant. While right now my marriage is really good, in the past it hasn’t always been. Duran Duran was kind of my refuge from all of that. I sort of feel like this was the place where the bad things weren’t supposed to follow, you know? The outside lunacy wasn’t supposed to get in the front door, and now here it is – running around our living room, tossing over the furniture and creating havoc.

I chose not to talk about any of this on open social media yesterday.  I did chat with a couple of trusted friends. I wish I could say I felt better. I still don’t know what to say.

The Daily Duranie also looks at fan behavior. Oh, I’ve seen some of that in the past 24 hours. To copy my friend Jennifer – I’m at a loss for words.

First of all, I’d like to just point out that we’re all fans. That means we like Simon. As such, we’re biased. The fan thing taints our perception.   Goodness knows that I’m having a very hard time writing this blog today as a result. Emotions are running high, and fans are reacting in the only way they know how – by calling out one another.

If you don’t use a hashtag #IStandWithSimon, or #TeamSimon, you’re obviously convinced he’s guilty and you should be banished from the kingdom. If you post the news story on your page, you’re a bad fan because you’re being negative and besides – everyone has already seen the story so you’re beating a dead horse. Posting anything that could possibly be taken to be questioning Simon’s complete innocence means you’re a hater. Should you decide to remain quiet, you clearly don’t love Duran Duran enough to stick your neck out for them.

Then there are the folks who, in direct response to the accuser’s story, say they’d like for Simon to grope or assault them. Hell, I saw one person say that all fans want Simon to grab their ass and that if you don’t, you’re lying.

I don’t even know where to begin with that, except to say that I really don’t want him to grab my ass. Ever.  Hugs are fine. Waving to me across a room, fabulous. Grabbing my hand to give it a friendly squeeze, wonderful. Grabbing my butt though? Not unless you want to lose that hand, and I’m not lying, thanks.

And then there is giving permission for someone to grope you. That’s different. I see it as trying to add a little humor into something that isn’t funny at all. I also think it is one of the more tone-deaf things anyone could say in response to something like this, regardless of whether or not you believe the victim’s story. Sexual assault isn’t about the sex. It’s not about making someone feel good. It’s about power. It’s about control. It’s about taking something that isn’t yours to take, simply because you think you can. Why anyone would want that to happen to them is beyond me and I’m completely disgusted that fans would say such a thing. It is one thing to say that you want Simon to touch you – and while I don’t share that feeling, I get it….but to use the words “grope” or “please assault me any time” …. have you lost what is left of your damn mind???

Let me let you all in on a little secret: I am a victim of sexual assault. I couldn’t move when it happened. I froze. I felt paralyzed, and I just let it happen because I didn’t know how to stop it. Then I got up, and didn’t talk about it again for many years. I don’t remember the exact details of where he was and where I was. I can’t remember if I was laying down or sitting up. (it happened on a date, and no, it wasn’t quite date rape)  I can’t remember what side he was on, or how it started or ended. Those kinds of things aren’t burned into my memory. What IS in my memory though is the way my clothes felt on my body at the time, the way the fabric of his shirt felt, and the smell of the air around me. I can remember how stuffy the room seemed at the time, and that I stared at the digital clock on his desk. I remember exactly how frozen I felt, or how I clenched my fists to the point where my short nails left imprints into the palms of my hand. I remember how when it was over, I didn’t know what to do. Should I have run? Should I have gone and told someone? I didn’t. I didn’t do anything. I did eventually talk to with the person who did it though. Yes, we had a face to face conversation. I didn’t sue him. I didn’t even report him. I just wanted to talk with him. Turns out, his perception of the events in question was very, very different from mine.

I don’t know what happened with Simon and this woman, if anything. I don’t want to talk about it. That’s really the bottom line. I wasn’t there. I have no idea what happened. I barely know how to put my feelings about being a fan into words.

So how do I feel today? Not good. The one thing I know for sure today is that I’m a fan of Duran Duran. I’m here because of the music.  That music is what unites all of us, first and foremost.

-R

What is definitive Duran Duran?

Happy Wednesday! I’m sorry for my unexpected absence yesterday. We were having carpeting installed, and we had to disconnect the octopus of wires behind a desk. Unfortunately, that also disconnected our WiFi and disrupted our internet connection until it was far too late in the day for blogging.

I’m also late today, because of a meaningful, deep, philosophical discussion regarding the merits of the song “Drive By”.

Only a fellow Duran fan understands enough to talk about the space a specific song or album occupies. It is rare to find someone who understands and is able to relate such a song to the bigger picture is a gift.

The conversation was simply about why I believe “Drive By” is a definitive Duran Duran song of the Simon-Nick-John-Warren period. Actually, I think its one of the more definitive songs of their career. “Drive By” is definitive of their career during the mid-90s, but does it’s statement go even farther than that?

Let’s consider the period of time. John, Simon, Nick and Warren were defining themselves as another iteration of Duran Duran. This was an era of rediscovery, reinvention, and to some extent – forgetting who and what they once were (as a group). So “Drive By”, a deconstructed, even “now separated, once-conjoined twin” of “The Chauffeur”, is a spectacular example of this period of Duran’s career.

I can point to the cover of “Medazzaland” as another example, granted in a slightly different period. The graffiti-laden image of “Rio” weighs heavily in my mind. I often wonder if they weren’t really trying to bury that bright and glossy 80s magazine pin-up image of the fab five. Let’s face it, there was quite a bit to run from at that point. Maybe they were really over the idea of fans swarming their limos, even if by necessity. Perhaps they were anxious to be accepted as serious musicians. Maybe they were  over being the pin-up dreams of fresh-faced, dewy-eyed teenage girls?  Maybe they saw this new iteration of Duran Duran as being the “anti”1980s Duran Duran?  It isn’t difficult to imagine what they might have been thinking of when picking a cover for “Medazzaland”.

Rather than examining the song, or any one song, under the Duran Duran microscope, lately I’ve been thinking about the broader context. I’ve considered the changes in their sound over the years,  such as the rearranged, heavy jazz sounding brass and horn version of “Hungry Like the Wolf” or “Burning the Ground” – the remix to put a final period on 80s era Duran Duran.  I’ve pondered the more obvious, recent style changes, like the full, production-heavy pop sound on Astronaut compared to the deep urban groove of Red Carpet Massacre, or retro sounding All You Need is Now, along with Paper Gods.  Individually, each seeming to be a stroll down a different musical lane, but collectively – what do they really say about this band?

To some extent, I tend to believe the band has spent a great deal of time and energy running from what they (and critics) believed they were in 1984. We can say they’re not comfortable sitting upon their laurels, and we can claim that they are not easily satiated, creativity speaking, and I don’t think we’d be wrong. However,  I don’t think it hurts anyone to examine the deeper motivation of what might drive them.

Recently, during the BBC takeover night of DD television a couple of weeks back, John admitted that the critical comments from music journalists back in the day have bothered him up until very recently. This was not a surprise to me, other than being shocked at his utterance of the words out loud for all to hear. Amanda and I have been talking about that for years now – we’ve written about it many times on the blog, and I think we both cheered when we heard John say the words. Of course it bothered them. I get it! I very much appreciate his honesty and vulnerability. Accepting, and even respecting that one nugget of truth gave me such a different perspective on their career. It is like finally having the big picture come into focus. I just love them.

This is a band with an image based on the proverbial double-edged sword. On one side, they were incredibly successful because they appealed to teenage girls. They never said no to being the – poster boys of the 1980’s. In fact, they welcomed it, and we welcomed them! On the other side of that sword though, somewhere down deep, they secretly aspired to reach the recognition, acclaim and respect that comes from critics and other musicians. Screaming girls are wonderful, but perhaps having respect mattered too. Could we really blame them?

That isn’t to say the band’s career has been a giant folly, or that they were wrong to explore. Not in the least, and I want to be clear on that. In my mind, the fans are the ones who have made out the best on this deal. This band is still hungry. They are still in search of whatever is out there. With each new album comes a newly discovered Duran Duran. I just happen to believe the motivation to do so comes from something a bit more definitive.

-R

HMV Signing in Toronto 1995 – Were You There?

April 4th has been a busy day in Duran history. “White Lines” was released in the US and UK on this date in 1995, as was Thank You. VH1 aired Behind the Music in 1999. In 1987, they performed on Soul Train. On this date in Toronto, Duran Duran held a signing at HMV. Were you there?

I have been to Toronto exactly one time, and it wasn’t that long ago.  Amanda and I decided to take the road trip to end all road trips (not really, because if the band announced a tour tomorrow I’m sure we’d be planning another!) to see several dates on the Paper Gods tour. Toronto was one of the cities we visited along the way.

Crossing the American-Canadian border was a new experience. While I’ve actually been through customs with Amanda before, this time we were in a car. (Always something new, I say!) It was a long drive, but when we finally made it into Toronto, it was nothing like I’d imagined. I’d describe it as very busy, with tall buildings on a beautiful waterfront. I can remember it being hot and humid (as were all the shows that summer).

Were you at the HMV signing in Toronto?  Weather for April can be iffy…if you were there, did you have to wait outside?! (Written like a true Californian, right?)

-R