Tag Archives: The Killers

The Importance of Live Shows

I am moving super slowly today as I knew that I would. Yesterday, I went to Summerfest in Milwaukee with some friends. Summerfest, for those unfamiliar, is the “largest music festival” with a bunch of different stages and bands over an almost two week period. While it showcases a number of smaller, local bands, it also brings in headliners. Last night, that big act was the Killers.

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know that we adore the Killers. In fact, I would say that they are my second favorite band. What this means to me is that I will go see them whenever I can. I’m not sure that I would travel much to see them like I do Duran but I will buy any album and buy concert tickets when I can. Of course, throughout the night, I found myself thinking about Duran Duran and the importance of live shows.

I have not been to Summerfest in a really long time. I forgot exactly what it is like. While I had an amazing time, there are elements that I could have done without. For one thing, the festival does an absolutely awful job at signs so you have no idea if you are heading in the right direction to get to the right parking lot or not. Maybe if you go every year or lived nearby it wouldn’t be an issue but that is not me. The food choices also leave something to be desired as is the expensively priced and often poorly tasting. The same is true when it comes to drinks. Then, of course, it is all outside. I’m not a big fan of the outdoors. There is always a chance for sunburn or bug bites. Yeah, no thank you. Last night, though, the biggest issue was the heat. It wasn’t even that hot (low 80s) but the humidity meant that we were sweating…a LOT. Again, I’m not a big fan. But I was willing to put up with it as were a lot of other people. Why?

In between dancing and singing along to each and every song, I looked around at the audience. In some cases, I wondered what people were thinking. For example, the guy directly in front of me stood for the entire show but never moved at all. He did not even move his leg to the music. There was no waving. I’m not even sure that there was a lot of clapping from him. While I demonstrated the opposite behavior, we were both there for the same thing. We both wanted to see the Killers live in concert. Of course, there were also fans that got into it more than I did. (Hard to imagine, I know.) For instance, there was a guy at the end of the show, during Mr. Brightside, that got so into it that he took off his shirt to twirl it over his head. I also think about the fans in the front who reached out to touch Brandon Flowers, the lead singer, every time he came close.

So, what motivated all of us to be there? Yes, part of it for me was going and hanging out with some friends but why suffer through less than ideal food and gross summer humidity? I think the answer to that is simple. Absolutely nothing takes the place of a live show. I remember an interview with John Taylor years ago when he was asked about illegal downloading. His response focused on how those downloads do not replace the live show. He is right. Many record labels have figured this out, too. Touring matters. Live shows matter. I could buy all the albums by the Killers and listen to them over and over and over again. Yet, there is nothing better than hearing those songs live.

Every time I go to a concert I cannot help but to think of that frequently stated quote in John Taylor’s autobiography, “the music never sounded better.” This is very true during a concert. In fact, the music is so good that I often find myself connecting to songs differently or more deeply than I would have just listening to the album at home. The most significant example of this is Planet Earth. While I loved that song since the very first time I heard it, it was not my favorite until I heard and saw it performed live.

Knowing all this makes me think about the fact that Duran Duran has been so limited in terms of number of shows and locations. If you live in Vegas, for example, you have been very lucky. Heck, if you are like me, in that I have been able to sneak away to go, you are very lucky. I’m well-aware that lots of other fans are waiting to see Duran play live. The vast majority of Duranies have been anxiously hoping to see their favorite band in concert, knowing that there is nothing better, nothing more magical than seeing a band perform. This is why I have to hope that DDHQ really considers making some plans to get the band to parts of the world that has been significantly lacking in shows.

On that note, I’m off to take a nap.

-A

Thank You, You’re Welcome – Part One

The inexplicable decision to record Thank You in the wake of a commercial resurgence continues to perplex me whenever I revisit it. Duran Duran have a few solid covers to their name but few of them made it onto Thank You. If they had either released a covers album on par with David Bowie’s Pin Ups (a tall order for any artist) or put out a new studio album with a few hit singles to maintain their momentum, the 1990s might have gone much differently for the band. What should have Thank You sounded like? That is a question I plan to address in part two of this essay. For now, I am more excited about the idea of younger bands wearing their Duranie influence on their sleeves.


The recent cover of “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Muse is far more significant than has been noted. The 2014 tribute album Making Patterns Rhyme was a beautiful collection of ethereal covers but apart from Warpaint (and veteran Moby), the artist list was more underground and obscure. Muse are playing sold-out arenas right now. They are one of the few rock-n-roll bands who can do that in today’s industry. And they covered “Hungry Like the Wolf” without a hint of hipster irony. If you haven’t heard this slice of sonic gold, check it out here:


Muse joins The Deftones, and Eagles of Death Metal, as contemporary bands willing to fly the Duran Duran flag with sharp covers. The influence of the band can be traced through almost every sub-genre of popular music today and popular culture’s retro fetish has again made Duran Duran fashionable. It gets me excited for what happens tomorrow. Here is my list of twelve dream covers of Duran Duran songs.


1. Peaches – “Girls On Film”


The current live version of the song by Duran is what I’m imagining with a Peaches cover. Her ability to deconstruct gender roles makes this a lyrical feast for her to dine on. Check out how she balances guitars and electronics on “Boys Wanna Be Her” and you hear some of Duran’s DNA percolating beneath its surface.


2. Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) – “First Impression”


OK, we have to get MCR to reunite for this to work but I can see that happening in the not too distant future. Regardless, Gerard Way’s solid solo album would have been a good home for this cover as well. Slathering the lyrics in some teenage angst would give it a stronger narrative punch. I can see the band playing a goth prom with young kids “turning on the animal” and knocking over the lockers as they run out into the night. 


3. The Killers – “Planet Earth”


This seems so obvious it may have already happened and I missed it. The vocal line suits Brandon Flowers perfectly and the rhythm track would be a rollicking fun ride with Ronnie Vanucci Jr. pounding the skins. The influence of Duran Duran is all over Hot Fuss and it’s not like The Killers are making interesting music at this point (Wonderful Wonderful? Umm, no and no.). 


4. Kacey Musgraves – “Lonely In Your Nightmare”


She would own this! Strip it back to an acoustic ballad with a little steel guitar playing behind her. As a country artist, she has confounded expectations at every turn and a Duran Duran cover would be another unexpected move. She could probably sing any Duran song and make it work but these lyrics seem to best suit her style.


5. Let’s Eat Grandma – “Come Undone”


When Let’s Eat Grandma take the stage at Coachella in April, they will convert even more listeners to their unique alchemy of glitchy synths and soaring pop. Covering this song demands a complete re-invention because it is hard to top the original. Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth were born long after the song was a hit so they could shatter it and re-arrange the shards into a beautiful new prism. 


6. Sunflower Bean – “Do You Believe In Shame?”


Julia Cumming’s voice and bass tone are in this song’s sweet spot. Sunflower Bean can shift from Blondie disco-punk to Fleetwood Mac balladry in seconds so they could take this in a few interesting directions. One of Duran Duran’s most beautiful songs, it really deserves to be revived and shared with new listeners.


7. The 1975 – “New Moon On Monday”


I don’t know why but I can see this video already with Matty Healy looking mysterious on crowded London streets. The nonsensical lyrics (A lizard mixture? Help us out, Simon.) are no problem for Healy. He could sing anything and teenagers would go crazy. The 1975 already borrow a lot of their aesthetic from the 1980s so this wouldn’t be a creative leap for them to tackle. 


8. Robyn – “Electric Barbarella”


Nobody makes dance music like Robyn and this song would be the perfect companion to her classic “Dancing With Myself”. Sprinkle a little Swedish electro-pop fairy dust on the song to give it a stronger kick drum that shakes the walls and you have a hit song. Hearing Robyn whisper “princess of my dreams” would leave us begging for more.


9. IDLES – “Wild Boys”


Last year’s Joy As An Act of Resistance won IDLES critical acclaim and a legion of positive-minded punk fans who are ready to kick toxic masculinity in the face. Never an easy vocal for Simon LeBon, IDLES could reimagine it as a working-class anthem for young men trying to do right by this world. 


10. Garbage – “Pop Trash Movie”


OK, Garbage probably don’t need to cover Duran Duran but their recent version of Bowie’s “Starman” was a sheer delight. The only band on this list to have also done a Bond cover, Shirley Manson would bring this song to life. Manson would sell the narrative, too. She knows exactly what this song is trying to say and she could deliver it with more force than Duran Duran. 


11. St. Vincent – “Too Much Information”


Annie Clark’s immense guitar skills and anti-establishment attitude would suit this better than Duran Duran. No soda company will ever sponsor a St. Vincent tour. She would turn it inside out with a less linear version, I believe. Her and Dua Lipa covering this at this year’s Grammy Awards would have been a joy to see. 


12. Pale Waves – “Night Boat”


Pale Waves straddle the border between dark pop and dreamy gothic atmosphere which makes “New Religion” the perfect tune for them. They would slow it down to a glacial pace, perhaps, and take it from Birmingham to Manchester where the heavy clouds of Joy Division could strip it of any color. Pale Waves are finding success injecting irresistible pop songs with darker, more artistic tones. Sound familiar?

Jason Lent Guest Blogger thumbnail

Jason Lent (Velvet Rebel Music) discovered Duran Duran on MTV in 1983 and a lifelong musical love affair was born. In 2010, he left a job in Hawaii to tour with Cowboy Junkies as a music writer and his work has appeared in various online music outlets. He currently resides in Las Vegas managing a music venue while trying to learn John Taylor’s bass line from Rio.

Time Will Change the Picture

This has been a fascinating week and one filled with a few surprises that I’m still shaking my head over. One of those included the ticket sale surrounding the Killers show in Milwaukee as part of Summerfest on July 5th. Needless to say, it didn’t go as planned.

Early in the week I received an email from the Killers fan club about this show in Milwaukee. It stated that I would have presale access on Wednesday. That is pretty much all the email said. There was no information about what kind of seats would be available, what the costs would be or anything. Huh? Instead of trying to figure it all out, I announced my desire to go to the show on Facebook and found multiple friends wanting to go. So, now, I decided to look at the link on this presale email. All it said was when the presale would be and there would be a four ticket limit. Great. I needed to buy 5. Now what? I thought my problem was going to be solved when my friend, Jeff, offered to buy a couple for me but that was short-lived. Turns out that he didn’t receive that email even though he also is a member of their fan club. What the heck? Did I receive it just because I live in Wisconsin? I don’t know. I think that would be dumb, if so. If I only got access to Duran shows when they came nearby, I would never see them. They haven’t been to Wisconsin since 2005. Even Chicago has been showless since 2016. Okay. I figured I would check out the presale and go from there.

Wednesday morning comes and I have my class covered to buy tickets. Cool. I hide out in the staff lounge as I wait for the 10 am hour. After the usual agonizing minutes before a presale, the buy tickets button appeared. What tickets were offered? The only ones were general admission pit. Confusion hit as the map showed seats. Were there only GA? I did get a price on those but that was it. No additional information was given. Do I buy these GA tickets? After pondering our options, I decided to throw them back and wait and see what is offered in the general sale. If there are seats, I want them. After all, I am old and hate waiting in GA especially in the summer. I still cannot really understand the idea that the fan club only offered that. Yes, maybe, that would be the best place to be the closest but still. Should the fans have the most choices or, at least, more information.

Soon enough, Friday rolled around and I was ready to try again. This time, I did not need class coverage as the public sale started at noon, during my lunch hour. I did not need to use the fan club presale but went directly to Ticketmaster. I still didn’t have a ton of info on types of tickets and prices but I decided not to sweat it. As I logged in and went to the show’s page, I saw something new. The screen said that I should click on a button and join a queue. It stated that if I didn’t, when the tickets go on sale, I would be put in the back of the online line. Fascinating. I wondered if I should have logged in sooner to get a better place in line. It also made me think that this might be an interesting idea so that fans won’t be jumping over each other. I think we have all experienced getting tickets in our cart that we don’t want and throw them back. Meanwhile someone looking at the same time might have wanted those but couldn’t see them because they were in someone’s cart. At noon, the ticketmaster screen changed to say that I had 773 people in front of me. Was that long? Would it take a long time to get to the front? I had no idea. In reality, I got to the front about two minutes after 12. When my time came, the map with seats popped up and I was able to click on the seats I wanted without a problem. Did I get the best seats? No, they weren’t front row but they are halfway up one of the front sections. I was pleased.

So, what is the point of me sharing this story? This is a Duran fan blog. I like to compare other band’s fan club and presales to Duran’s. What did I find with this one? I thought the communication was absolutely awful. Duranies would have been screaming and attempting to get answers from Katy. I don’t know how fans of the Killers felt but I found it super frustrating to not know the set up of the show and how much tickets would be. Then, the fan club should offer a heck of a lot more than just one section of tickets. That’s dumb. Fans should have choices. This made me feel so much more positive towards DuranDuranMusic and how DDM does it. Sometimes, it is good to remember that even if our imperfect presale system, it could be way worse.

My other thought had to do with Ticketmaster. I found it hard to sit there and just stare at the screen while I waiting for my turn to buy tickets but it only lasted a couple of minutes. When I got to buy the tickets, I didn’t have a ton of “some other fan beat you to these tickets” pop up, resulting in having to select different and worse ones. I am okay with the queue system if it makes the process smoother and less stressful. The last few times we bought Duran tickets on Ticketmaster, those presales were rough. I didn’t experience any of that frustration today. Could this be a sign that Ticketmaster is making changes for the better? Perhaps. The only thing I wish I knew is when I should have gotten into line, so to speak. Could I have gotten much closer if I had? Maybe.

All in all, it was a weird process. It was so strange that I had better luck during the regular sale vs. the presale. Likewise, I should be more frustrated with Ticketmaster rather than a fan club. Bizarre. I’m glad, though, that I got seats for myself and my friends. It gives me something to look forward to during the summer.

-A

Don’t You Worry

‘Fore you know it

Happy Thursday everyone! We’ve almost made it through the week! Just last Thursday at this time, I was waiting for my ticket counter to open so that I could get my boarding pass for Vegas. Time flies and all that…

This week has flown by at such a rate that I have to keep reminding myself what day it is! I kind of like it that way. I’m busy, and as it turns out….so is Duran Duran.

Just believing

Yesterday was apparently a very productive day for our guys as they met with Mark Ronson(you know who this is)…and Lykke Li (she is someone John has mentioned several times – check her out!)..AND Graham Coxon (Blur)…in a studio. DDHQ tweeted a photo or two using the #DD15 hashtag, and Mark Ronson mentioned it as well.

What could it all mean???

Many Duranies are ready to throw parties, assuming this must mean Mark is producing the next album. Others are retweeting the photos citing that DDHQ *said* it was for the next album, so that must be the case. It is written in stone now, because DDHQ tweeted it.

I know a similar saying that goes a little like this, “I read it on the internet, so it MUST be true.

Trusting instinct

I’m not saying DDHQ is telling fibs, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that they’re doing their job. PR is a thing. Keeping Duran Duran in the news, being talked about, having photos shared, etc….is important. However, we don’t even know if any of this is going to be an actual album. The band hasn’t even committed to labeling what they’re working on beyond saying they’re working on new music. I don’t think that’s a horrible thing, either.

I like the idea of the creativity happening organically rather than them thinking, “Ok, we have to hurry up and write this album. Let’s do it. Now!” I would imagine it might feel a lot less daunting and, in some way, less restrictive, to say they’re working on new music than it is for them to say they’re working on creating a new album….to release in 2020 in culmination for their 40th anniversary. Get it?

If that doesn’t sit well with you, I’ll give an anecdote. Several years back, Amanda and I wrote a manuscript. We submitted it to a publisher who showed interest and wanted us to rewrite it and frame it a different way. We had a deadline, and so Amanda and I went to work. While the writing wasn’t horribly difficult, much of it felt like writing an extended college essay rather than this organic, holistic creation. In the end, the publisher didn’t take the book. That was a huge blow. I wish we’d have just worked the way we always did – letting the manuscript take US on a journey rather than the other way around. I would imagine that in the most basic of ways, creating an album is the same.

Lots of time left

While sure, DDHQ is using the #DD15 hashtag, that doesn’t really mean a single thing in this moment other than keeping all of these ongoing news bytes grouped together. Yes, they’re speaking with people. Yes, they’ve been in a studio in London, and they’ve met with Mark Ronson. They’ve also worked with Errol Alkan and plan to go back into their studio in London in a few weeks. This is a process. Aside from having hope to have new music in 2020, there are no lines in the sand, no plans set in stone.

Once upon a time, I would speculate. I’d make assumptions based on the news I would hear. And then there was that time that they met with Mark Ronson and we all though for sure they were going to have him produce their next album…but he didn’t. He worked a little bit on one or two songs. Next was that time that they had someone with the initials B.F. work on a song, and then due to obligations to his own label contract, he couldn’t appear…so someone else did.

Should we be excited by what we hear or see from DDHQ about studio happenings? Absolutely. If nothing else, be curious! That’s the point. Check out Blur if you don’t know them. Listen to Lykke Li if you’ve never given her a chance! By all means, download Wonderful, Wonderful by The Killers and listen to “The Man” on repeat because that was produced by Errol Alkan. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that what they’re doing right now, or yesterday, or even tomorrow, is going to have anything to do with whatever music eventually ends up in your ears. Keep an open mind rather than expect based on assumption.

Left to move up

I used to be one of those people who wanted to know the news and be the one to break it before anyone else. No matter how quickly I’d hear of something, someone else knew it first, and I’d get disheartened very quickly. It would boggle my mind how people found out about things so fast. Other times, I’d hear something that I’d feel very confident was truth, only to find out later that the band had changed their minds. There was always someone who knew first, and had better info. Nowadays, I don’t care too much about being first.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like talking to people who know what is going on with the band and hearing about their progress, but I don’t need to be the one to share it. I know what I know, and really – that counts for nothing at the end of it all. This is a process, and much of what we’re learning right now will indeed change by the time music is released.

Once again, I find myself saying “Trust the Process”…along with “sit back and enjoy the ride.” This is going to be good!

-R


Land of the free…until we disagree

Happy Wednesday! (it IS Wednesday, right??)

Let me just open this post by sharing that I did not sleep well last night. My eyes are still tired (and blurry), I woke up about an hour later than normal, and I’m finding that I am struggling to form reasonably understandable sentences. I’m also way late…. Good luck reading! 😀

Can’t wipe the wind blown smile off my face

From time to time, something will crop up that gets the community into a heated debate over political stances. Whether that was a shirt that John wore somewhere, or a political event that John attended (hmm…John seems to be the only example here that I can think of….), it gets fans in an uproar.

One thing I’ve noticed is that if a fan happens to agree with whatever is being said or supported, typically there’s no problem. It only seems to be an issue when you sit on the opposing side. Granted, I’m generalizing here, and I know it. (I did not stop to actually count opinions being presented verses the number of fans reading or actively participating. Shame on me!) That said, I don’t think anyone would disagree that it tends to create a discussion when one or more of them choose to be open with their political opinions.

Land of the free

Then there are the times when the band has released new music and a faction of fans don’t care for the new direction, collaboration, theme, etc. Basically, I mean every single time something new has been released. I mean, let’s be open and honest about that, right?

Imagine having both happen simultaneously. Can you envision the drama? A nightmare scenario indeed, yet, this is the very issue that fans of The Killers have been handling for the past couple of days. I’ve witnessed entire Facebook groups coming apart at the seams purely due to a single song and video. It has been both heartbreaking and eye opening on any number of levels.

The song (and video, directed by Spike Lee) is titled “Land of the Free”. It is a song directed squarely at the United States and was written by Brandon Flowers in response to the issues happening in our country as of late. My job here isn’t to embrace or lambast the song, it is purely to present the topic. For those who haven’t heard the song or seen the video, here it is:

Land of the Free by The Killers on YouTube

Walk the edge of America

The Killers are hardly the first band to present a politically charged song or video, they are just among the more recent to do so. I myself am a fan of The Killers, and to the best of my recollection this is easily the most political song they’ve done. Even Duran Duran has written a political song or two – but they’ve done it with far more finesse and subtlety (I’m thinking “Edge of America” – both the song and the video that was released late last year, or even “Paper Gods” – which they themselves said was politically motivated, albeit far less obvious). Even so, I’ve seen grumblings about how the band should stick to what they do best.

Having watched the video and listened to “Land of the Free” a number of times now, it isn’t hard to imagine why or how an entire fan community could be split. There’s no guesswork with the lyrics. They are strong and they are hurled directly in the faces of all Americans. They are a tough pill to swallow regardless of where you sit. It is not a pretty picture of America that is painted.

Concrete beach to scrape my hand

As one of their fans aptly put it, “Art is meant to provoke. It is meant to be controversial, and it is meant to be discussed and debated.” This is true. Their music and video is indeed art, and if it sparks discussion, that should be OK. We find common ground and understanding through communication, not by sweeping the topic under the carpet.

It is difficult to watch a fan community crumble over a single song. Comments range from dislike due to the song not sounding like it belongs in The Killers catalog to the topic of the song itself. On the opposite side there is joy and pride for bringing up a very difficult yet timely and necessary topic. Not many see that while this one song is rightfully controversial – it is only one song, and not the determining factor for where the band will head from here. It is easy to get so caught up in the details that you forget that The Killers are still a band. They’ll make more music.

I have to wonder what we would do as a community if a similar song was released. I believe the demographics for Duran Duran are a bit *ahem* older. But are we wiser? Do we realize that their opinions have just as much “right” as ours? Would we agree with the sentiment? Would we be able to get past the details enough to find common ground?

I’m just not sure.

-R

October 2018 Katy Kafe with Simon!

Hello readers! I am sorry I continue to keep skipping out on blogging. I’m finding that it is very difficult to blog while attempting to sell a home along with being a mom, wife, and homeschooling parent unless I want to blog between the hours of midnight and 4am.   My current pay grade here at Daily Duranie doesn’t allow for those hours.

On with the important news: Simon was the October guest in the Katy Kafe! Here’s the thing: admittedly, I’ve gotten a little bored with the Katy Kafe’s lately.  I knew I needed to sit down and listen to it today, and yet I was putting it off…which is horrible. I suppose, in all fairness, I had been hoping for big news when there might not have been much to share on the band front.

That ends today, my friends.

The October 2018 Katy Kafe covered everything from sailing to a song title disagreement, once Simon – because he is Simon to you and I – insisted that Katy call him Charlie, as most of his friends do. I thought this was cute purely because when she called him Simon to begin with, he scoffed and asked her, “Since when do you ever call me Simon?” Katy explained she was trying to be professional and he just laughed. It was a nice exchange, to which I smiled and appreciated.  I highly recommend getting your own membership to DDM so that you can hear it all for yourself!

I tweeted this earlier, but it bears sharing here as well. I don’t know what has happened to me over the past year or two (three or four??).  Maybe I’ve lost what little was left of my mind. Maybe I’ve finally gone off the deep end. Perhaps gasp I’ve gotten SOFT, or have become a complete pushover, but hearing Simon makes me smile. Oh, I’m still going to give him a rough time…but I did smile.

To be clear: I don’t mean smiling in that fan-girly, giggly sort of way. No way. He’s SIMON, for crying out loud. Let’s not go overboard, here.

Moving on….immediately!

The highlights, as I have deemed appropriate:

Smell like he sounds

The taglines are too easy. Katy and Simon begin the Kafe talking about perfume. Simon co-designed the four fragrances from D.S. & Durga, deciding to do one scent per decade. Simon shared that he had someone “very close” to him test the fragrances, and she was not necessarily captivated by them all. This made Simon realize that he couldn’t really expect anyone to love them all, because they are very different. D.S. & Durga released 500 rollerball essential oil bottles for each scent, and the hope is that if they do well, in 2019 they will arrive in other places for those of us interested in a sniff or two!

I had to laugh, because Simon likes that one is named Hungry Like the Wolf. Of course he does…that earned a huge eye-roll from me. He also described each scent:

Hungry Like the Wolf:

Musky tone with forest scents. He even used the word “ecclesiastical” in the description because it reminds him of church incense. (patchouli, anyone?) He says this is very “raw”, and the name appeals to his sense of humor. “Who would ever name a perfume Hungry Like the Wolf?” “Who would buy it?”

I know who.

Come Undone:

Simon believes this might be everyone’s favorite. He says it is very subtle with a sexy, skin-element.

I have no idea what that description might mean, but I know I’m going to have to go and check it out when and if it ever makes its way to America. Is it weird to wear a Duran Duran inspired scent to a Duran Duran concert, right along with a Duran Duran t-shirt??

Yes, these ARE the types of things that go through my head on any given day.

Skin Divers:

Simon regards this fragrance as a day at the beach. He describes it as fresh smelling, like the ocean (not seaweed, but the fresh scent that comes with being out on the water), combined with the scent of a blow-up plastic unicorn that you use for a float.

A. He had me until the unicorn. Then I floated away on a Coppertone cloud of coconut, sand, plumeria and ocean.

B. I have to think that he just means that’s the vision that pops into his head when he smells it, as opposed to the fragrance smelling like…well…plastic.

You Kill Me With Silence:

He says this is deep, intense, woody and smokey-ness. It is dark and brooding. I’m imagining my temper in a bottle!  I’m curious about this one, too. During the description, Simon shared a little bit about the inner-studio discussion surrounding the title “You Kill Me With Silence”.

There were two camps: One that wanted the title as we know it, and another that wanted to go with “Kill Me With Silence”, which has an entirely different feel. I suspect that some may have felt the name was too long – but it is a very good example of how one word can change an entire phrase, or song title!

Sailing

I think many of us who have been around for a while know that sailing is in Simon’s blood, and it makes him the person he is. Recently he has gotten involved in the Tall Ships Youth Trust, which is a wonderful organization where they take kids out and allow them to experience the camaraderie of being out on the sea. They are currently raising money in order to buy their own tall ship.

Simon has also been keeping up with his role as a spokesperson for the Blue Marine foundation. He appeared at the Southampton Boat show for Sunseeker (a boat manufacturer). They decided to get involved with Blue Marine, not only by raising awareness for boaters, but also cleaning up their own manufacturing process. Every little bit counts!

Additionally, each year around this time, Simon comes to the Kafe with tales of sailing races, and this year is no different. After spending family time up in Languedoc, France, he traveled to Cannes to join the crew on Blitzen, a 57′ sloop built in 1938. They raced among similar wooden boats of the same age in the Regatta Royale, among a few others.

What is Simon’s job on the boat while racing? He trims the main sail, which is akin to working in the engine room on a powered ship, and when the boat owner is not present, he drives the wheel.

February shows and that set list…

Katy wasted no time bringing up the recently added shows in New Orleans and Las Vegas for February of 2019. She specifically asked a question that many have been grumbling about online – these show aren’t really  a part of the Paper Gods tour, so what can fans expect to hear? Will they maintain much of the current set list, or will they change it up?

I felt that Simon’s answer was both pointed…and vague at the same time. He opened by explaining that we should bear in mind that the last “new” material was Paper Gods, and so yes, the show will be based on that. He said they will keep “bits” of that in the set list, otherwise the show will be purely a Greatest Hits set.

Here’s the thing, Duran Duran is not a band that is going to drag out songs that the majority of their audience has never heard. They’re just not going to do that.  Too many people in the audiences have never heard much of anything beyond Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf, Come Undone and Ordinary World. No amount of complaining from fans will change that simple fact. If you are going to any of their shows hoping to hear Faith in this Colour, or Fallen Angel (or FallING Angel for that matter), you’re probably going to be sorely disappointed. I wish they’d have more faith in themselves beyond their hits, and I really wish they’d dig a bit deeper and challenge themselves in the process, but they just don’t.

Part of this is my own fault. I go to a lot of shows. I don’t do just one show a tour. I do many. I go whenever they’re nearby enough for me to sneak away.  I used to complain about hearing the same (or very similar) set over and over again, until I realized that this really is a ME problem. I’m the one going to as many shows as possible. Most people don’t. They go to one show, they hear all of the songs they grew up with including a few they probably never heard before but didn’t mind, and they go home happy. It’s the same thing I typically do whenever I go to a concert for any other band besides Duran Duran, and maybe The Killers or Tears for Fears. As a result of that, I learned to understand that I’m probably going to hear the same or similar set over and over. It is a trade-off, and for me, it is currently one that I am willing to make. I love the band, and I’m happy to hear whatever they want to play.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t jump for complete joy if they pulled a rabbit like “Secret Oktober” or “Late Bar” or even “All You Need is Now” out of their hat every now and then, though. I just know not to expect it.  Some wise person once said that expectations are future resentments or something like that….

This is also not a band that particularly enjoys switching up their set from night-to-night, beyond maybe a song or two. As Simon said, Paper Gods is their most successful album since the reunion. It would be utterly ridiculous for anyone to assume that they wouldn’t play any of it. That album is now a part of their history, and given that they don’t have anything new to play – my advice is to expect the same basic set list and be thrilled when/if they play something new. I am looking forward to hearing all of it.

Still gonna roll my eyes at HLTW, though. Old habits and all.

What’s this about studio time??

Katy said she heard a rumor about studio time before the end of 2018. Yes, that’s right…they’re going to actually go back into the studio again, and we get to begin the process all over again.

Yes, I did say “we”. It takes a village, y’all.  Who else is going to wax on, wax off with all of the tidbits of rumor, producers, song-titles, and all of the rest of the good stuff??

Speaking of…

Did we actually just get an album scoop??

Yes, you read that headline right too. Not only do we know that the band is going to meet, chat and begin the groundwork for the next album, but we were given a name.  Apparently Errol Alkan will be meeting with the band as they go back into the studio, and while the word “producer” was not used – I have to kind of think that’s at least the initial plan. They want somebody to steer the ship.

OK, so who is Erol Alkan?

(Come on, you know you were going to google his name, right?) Erol is a 44-year old DJ, producer and remixer. I mention his age because he’s not some wet-behind-the-ears kid, and he has absolutely worked with bands we have all heard of before, both by producing and remixing. Want names?

  • The Killers (he co-produced “The Man” off of Wonderful, Wonderful)
  • Tame Impala
  • Daft Punk
  • Scissor Sisters
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Depeche Mode
  • Interpol… and the list goes on.

While I tend to think he’s more notable for his DJ/club and remixing reputation at this point, I think he has great instinct and is probably up for the Duran Duran challenge. It will be very interesting to see where this goes from here. Above all, it is outstanding to have a bit of news regarding a new album!

The Birthday

Simon turns 60 on Saturday. I have a hard time believing that. Even while listening to the Kafe today, I had a vision in my head of Simon in his twenties. Age is but a number, right?  He has plans to take over what he says is a very small restaurant, and celebrate with family and friends. As he should. Happy Birthday to you and your dad, Simon!!

Audible

I don’t keep up with Simon’s Reader because I’m too busy reading literature that I have assigned for my youngest (a by-product of homeschooling – there is a lot of reading. Right now I’m pre-reading Little Women). However, Simon has been keeping up with it – presumably in part because he’s subscribed to Audible, which is a subscription based-audio book application through Amazon, or Kindle. He touts the ease of being able to listen while doing anything and everything, which makes sense. In any case, he is going to be doing an “audio” Simon’s Reader very soon – so here’s your chance to catch up if you’ve been missing out!

 

That’s a wrap for the October 2018 Katy Kafe. I can hardly wait for news to trickle in during the coming months!

-R

 

Run For Cover

On Tuesday, I greeted my new students by leading them through a variety of activities all around the school building.  Then, if that was not enough, I drove 45 minutes to pick my niece before driving another hour to Milwaukee to see the Killers perform along with the Violent Femmes.  Then, I had to drive over an hour to get home before getting about two hours of sleep to actually teach the new students the next day.  To say that I’m tired now would be an understatement.  The first week of school is always rough.  I’m out of practice as I forgot how much I’m on my feet and how much I have to talk in class.  And I definitely added to my exhaustion by going to this show.  That said, I don’t regret it.

I have to admit that it was a hoot to go to the show with my niece.  Before this, there is little opportunity to go to show with her (or her sister).  She grew up in a completely different region of the country.  So I felt like I could not let this opportunity pass me by despite the crappy timing.  When I asked my niece if she wanted to join me, she enthusiastically answered with a yes.  I knew that she was a fan of the Killers even if her fan status might not be as serious as my fan status with them.  As for the Violent Femmes, I doubt she had any clue about them.  No matter.  She is someone (unlike her aunt) who goes in with a positive attitude and works hard to always enjoy herself.  The show just confirmed this as she sang, danced and clapped throughout both bands.  It was fun to see as she reminded me just to let go and take in each and every moment.  My favorite moment with her was at the very end, when both bands played a song that represented Milwaukee.  What did they choose?  You might imagine…Needless to say, my niece did not have a clue what the song was!

The show was great!  I had seen both bands before but this was a brand new venue that holds 17,000 seats.  Needless to say, I was thrilled that we could get actual seats as I might have died in general admission.  Violent Femmes impressed my niece to no end.  I think she appreciated the variety of what they played.  They performed many/most of their classics but also busted out a polka and a bluegrass song.  She laughed a lot as she texted the rest of the family to declare that they were “awesome”!

The Killers, as always, put on a tremendous show.  That said, I could not help but to compare the show and my experiences to what I’m more used to–Duran shows.  I noticed I was doing this right away, from the very first song.  They started with a bang by playing Mr. Brightside.  I found this fascinating.  Some might argue that this is their biggest, most well-known hit.  If that is so, is that a good strategy?  I started to think about Duran’s opening song.  I have seen a few different ones.  Typically, it is a track on the latest album like Paper Gods or Before the Rain.  I have seen them play a hit to start the show like Wild Boys.  But I don’t think I would say Wild Boys is their biggest hit.  After thinking about this, I paid attention to the rest of the set list, which actually turned out to be pretty routine from there.

Then, there were a few really explicit moments during the show that screamed Duran to me as they, too, used confetti and asked the crowd to use their cell phone lights as you can see in this video:

Now, I suspect that there are lots of bands/artists who use these concert extras.  Nonetheless, when they were used, I immediately thought of Duran and all of my various concert memories flooded my mind.  That said, on one hand,  I welcomed this show in its ease.  It didn’t take long to plan and didn’t need a lot of special travel arrangements.  There was no drama at all (other than the one scary moment on the way home in which we were passed on the road by a high speed chase).  I didn’t ponder what I was going to wear much and didn’t plan on partying hard.  That said, there was a part of me that found myself almost aching with missing Duran and everything that goes along with a Duran show.

As I continued to ponder that emotion for the rest of the week, I think about the song, Run for Cover, from the most recent Killers’ album.  The concept of running for cover, or hiding from something, for whatever reason feels fitting.  Attending this show felt a little bit like running away from the reality that summer was ending and more.  Unfortunately, as memories of other concerts washed over me at the show and as sleep deprivation became real, I acknowledge the fact that I cannot really run or seek out cover.  Reality is reality.

-A

It’s Going to Tempt You

I am not a very spontaneous person.  I’m sure that those of you who are reading this blog post who know me personally might even be laughing at the thought.  Yes, it is true.  Typically, I take a long time to make a decision even when I have thought about my choices over time.  Let me give you an example.  Over the course of my life, I have saved money to buy the latest electronic gadget.  I will then research, decide on the best option, and save money for whatever I want.  Then, I go to the store to finally buy it and I will still stand there and debate the decision to myself once again.  I kid you not.  This indecisiveness happens with work, too.  For instance, it comes each and every time I don’t feel good.  I will literally spend hours going back and forth about calling in sick.  Why do I do this?  I suppose it is insecurity about doing the right thing.  Should I really miss work?  Should I really spend the money?

Funny enough, the one area of my life that tends not to be indecisive is when it comes to my fandom.  Just ask Rhonda.  It does not take me long from reading or hearing about a new show announcement to deciding that we should go.  Typically, if I see a Duran alert about a new show, by the time I am contacting Rhonda, I already have a tentative plan about what we should do in order to go.  Fandom is the one aspect of my life that I truly allow my heart to lead rather than my head.  Of course, this sometimes has gotten me into trouble.    Take the UK tour of 2011.  The shows were announced.  Tickets went on sale within 24 hours of the press release.  If we were going to go, we needed to buy them then, we said.  So we did.  I knew that this tour, which was to take place in May, was pretty awful timing in terms of work but I just went for it.  I assumed that I would get those details figured out later.  Well…a month or so later, I did get it approved but it took a lot of effort by contacting a lot of people to help me.  If I had thought more, I probably shouldn’t have or wouldn’t have gone for this idea, but I didn’t.  It was Duran.  It was Duran on tour in the UK with my friends.  I didn’t think.  I just acted.

Do I regret the decision to go to the UK for this tour?  No.  Not one little bit.  Did it suck that I had to push hard to get to go, to get approval from work?  Absolutely.  Did I ever give up?  Strangely enough, I didn’t.  Maybe, I should have.  Some might have taken it as a sign that I shouldn’t go, that it wasn’t meant to be.  Still, I pushed.  Now, we know that those UK shows in May of 2011 did not happen.  Strangely enough, I still don’t regret going even with the extreme effort with work.  I learned a lot about myself, fandom, Duran Duran and friendships during that trip.

Of course, over the course of my fandom, I have gone to other events that I should not have due to my crappy schedule.  The best example of this is when I went to John Taylor’s book reading and signing in Chicago in late October 2012.  Not only was that night a “school night” meaning that I had to work the next day but it was also days away from Election Day.  This meant that I was working about 80 hours a week between teaching and campaigning.  I knew that the responsible thing would have been to stay at home, get more work done, go to sleep at a decent hour, etc. but I didn’t.  I couldn’t.  This was John Taylor.  Was it crazy of me?  Absolutely.  I remember standing in line to get my book signed and answering call after call about the campaign.  Then, I ended up with like 3 hours of sleep, if that.  Yet, it was amazing night that was worth the multi-tasking and the sleep deprivation.

Now, I face a similar situation.  It, unfortunately, isn’t with Duran Duran or John Taylor but with the Killers.  If you have read this blog for awhile, you probably know that both Rhonda and I love the Killers.  I would definitely pick them for my second favorite band and I have been lucky enough to see them live a number of times.  Well, a few days ago I saw an event on Facebook stating that they are playing in nearby Milwaukee on September 4th.  Sometimes, I think there is a conspiracy against me.  What date is September 4th?  It is literally the first day of school with students.  On that date, 9th graders come to learn their way around the building as they walk through their schedules and meet their teachers.  It is not a regular day of school but it is tiring as there is lots to do to get ready.  The next day, the 5th, will mark the first normal day of school in which all students come and attend class during regular hours.  Ugh.  What a terrible date for a concert!

So, once I saw the event, I shared it and began debating to go or not to go.  It is right in the beginning of the year,

which means that I am already super exhausted.  That said, I also can and will be prepared so that I can leave right at the end of the day.  Should I let work dictate my life?  Should I be good and stay home?  Double ugh.  Again, I waffle.  Yesterday, though, this changed.  I found myself with a presale code for this concert.  At that moment, I did not stop and debate.  I used the code and within minutes I had tickets purchased.  Oh boy.  Will I regret this decision?  Maybe, I will when I am driving home afterwards, exhausted and begging for sleep.  Perhaps, the next day will be so painful that I will kick myself over and over again.  On the other hand, I did not second guess my decisions in those other examples.  Besides, it is a concert.  It is about seeing a fabulous band live.  How could that decision be wrong?  Now, to find someone crazy enough to go with me…

-A

The Range of Fandom Responses

Recently, when I have taken time to glance through social media, I have been seeing a lot of posts from friends talking about going to see the Killers live.  On one hand, those posts (pictures, videos, comments) make me smile.  After all, I get how fandom fills one’s heart and brings nothing but happiness.  On the other hand, it makes me a little sad since I couldn’t go see them myself this tour.  They played in Chicago and Minneapolis during semester finals week.  Those cities are the ones I can easily get to.  Unfortunately, that is the one week that I absolutely cannot be gone.  I have to give the finals and, more importantly, I have to grade them.  Work had to come first.

As I type that, though, I have to acknowledge that it would have been a different story if it was Duran.  I would have done what I need to do to get there.  Thinking back, I have bent over backwards to get to Duran functions even when the wise decision would have been not to go.  The most obvious example was the John Taylor book talk and signing that took place in Chicago in October 2012.  Life was a little…lot….super crazy then.  I could not afford to take a day off because Election Day was around the corner and I needed to be gone for that.  I had also taken time off earlier in the month to attend a President Obama rally (and to meet him that day).  My students needed me to be there.  So I did what must be done.  I drove to Chicago, attended the function, and drove right back home.  This, of course, led to more exhaustion and eventually falling ill a week or so later.

As much as I love the Killers and other bands, I won’t bend over backwards in the same way that I do for Duran.  It is as simple as that.  This reminds me of another time when I asked friends who would be into seeing Depeche Mode with me.  At that time, I had a friend say to me, “I love Depeche like you love Duran.  They are my band.”  Okay.  Cool.  I can always appreciate fandom.  Plus, I figured this meant that she was totally in for Depeche.  Funny enough, though, when it came to the actual purchase of tickets, she folded.  She wasn’t willing to part with the $150 or whatever the ticket cost was. If it was Duran, I wouldn’t have hesitated with that $150 ticket price.  Does that mean that the original statement about Depeche being her Duran was wrong?  I don’t know.  I cannot really compare someone else’s fandom to mine.  After all, some might say that I have taken this fandom thing way too far.  This blog might be one example.   Who else keeps up a daily blog for 7 years other than the two of us?  Who else is planning another convention?

Fandom is really a personal thing.  What one person is willing to do might be very different than what someone else is willing or able to do.  For me, I am willing to sacrifice a lot if it means going to something Duran.  While I love other bands, I’m going to be pretty limited in what I would want to do.  Some people, on the other hand, might be really strict at all times even with the band they love the most.  Still others might be open to doing a lot for a lot of bands they love.  This range of responses is part of what fascinates me about fandom.  I know that fandom is about having a passion for something or someone.  How that translates in real life actions depends on the person.

-A

Words, Playing Me…

I have been thinking about lyrics a lot lately.  I think it started from this set of questions of the day we have been doing.  First, we ask our readers which song has the best lyrics per album.  (We are starting Liberty, by the way!)  Then, we ask people to pick THE best lyric or line from the song that they determined had the best lyrics overall.  Eventually, we will compare all of the favorite lyrics.  Beyond the question of the day, I have also been listening to the new Killers album and trying to bond with it.  One song, in particular, has caught my attention due to the lyrics.  The song is Rut and it definitely fits how I have been feeling at/with work.  Lines like, “I’m climbing but the walls keep stacking up” or “I’ve done my best defending but the punches are starting to land” make me feel as if someone is putting my feelings into words.  This personal connection to the lyrics have made me want to listen to the song a lot.

When I think back to my lifetime of listening to music, I recognize that the importance of lyrics has grown on me.  When I think back to falling for Duran, I think of songs like Save a Prayer and the Reflex.  When I think about those songs, lyrically, they make me laugh.  Save a Prayer is obviously about a one-night stand–something that my 9 year old self could not relate or connect to!  The Reflex, on the other hand, just seemed silly to me as a kid.  That song’s lyrics, though, are ones that people still seek understanding of.  In fact, our most viewed blog post of all time is the one where I pondered what the heck the Reflex is really all about.  I know that I did not connect to the song in 1984 because of the lyrics, no matter what I thought they meant.  No, in 1984, it was all about whether or not the chorus was catchy and the video showed cute guys.

Yet, now, when I think about the Duran songs that I have connected with, I think of the ones that captured something in its lyrics that I can relate to.  The first song that comes to my mind about that is Before the Rain.  The verse that spoke to me in 2010 was this one:  Little pin-pricks
And how my ears bleed
On the bomb ticks that is my heartbeat
In every life-flash
In every car crash
I hear the silence waiting to fall

Why did it speak to me?  In December of 2010, I had to say good-bye to a beloved pet, Othello, and then 10 days later, I said good-bye to my grandma, my lone living grandparent.  My heartbeat felt the pain of the silence that follows death and I connected with it deeply.  To me, it spoke of grief.  Is that what the song is about?  I doubt it but there was enough there that made me feel like I was not alone in my grief–that someone else understood.

The same thing is true with Duran’s latest album, Paper Gods.  I remember listening through it a few times before I really tuned into the lyrics.  The song that caught my attention then?  Last Night in the City, believe it or not, the exact opposite of Before the Rain.  The lyrics described exactly what touring means and is like to me.  It is where we get connected, whether that connection is with the band and the fans or with fans to fans.  What is funny is that Rhonda connected with the lyrics around the same time.  I have fond memories of a text message exchange one evening as we traded favorite lyrics back and forth and talked about not only what they could mean but, more importantly, but how and why they spoke to us.  It was at that moment that I knew that I could and would bond with that album.

What about the rest of you?  How much do lyrics matter?  Do the lyrics need to speak to you in order to  love a song?  Likewise, if a song’s lyrics are silly, can you still bond with the tune?

-A