Tag Archives: Warren Cuccurullo

What WON’T the band do for their 40th anniversary?

I’ve noticed a lot of people working on surveys and things, putting together a wish list for Duran Duran’s 40th anniversary. I suspect the intention is that if fans work together to come up with a cohesive list, then perhaps the band will take a look and perhaps see their way clear to incorporating some of the ideas into their celebration plans. Maybe.

Amanda and I haven’t really done much of that here on the blog. I suspect part of the reason is that we’ve been around for six years, and during that time – while we’ve gotten support from DDHQ – I think we’ve come to realize they’re not going to take us seriously when it comes to the business of the band, and quite frankly – they’re probably smarter that way.  That doesn’t stop either of us from looking side-eyed at some of the things that have been done over the years, but you know, it’s much easier to quarterback from the sidelines than it is to actually be in the game. I don’t think we were always quite that accepting, but you know, Amanda and I have changed a little bit over the years.  Now we’re just having fun with it all.

That doesn’t mean we don’t throw some ideas out there every once in a while for fun though, and today will be no exception as I put together a short list of things the band will (probably) NOT do during #DD40!

Play a cruise!

I dearly love every human being who has suggested that Duran Duran basically put themselves on a cruise ship with what, 3-4,000 of their most rabid fans. How could that possibly go wrong??

Let’s just think about that for a minute: sun, water, several bars, thousands of fans who may or may not have partaken in said alcohol….and nowhere the band can really go to hide. Or run. Outstanding!

Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that won’t be happening. Again, love the enthusiasm, but probably not for their 40th anniversary.

Play shows with Dom, Andy and Warren…at the same time!

Again, love the enthusiasm for their 40th anniversary.  Honestly, I think about the possibility of this purely for the entertainment value.  Can you imagine all three of them on stage? Together? Two of them have enormous egos…the third might be trampled in the process. All together onstage for the same shows, same songs?  My money is on a firm “no”.

For that matter, why don’t we bring back everyone who has ever played with the band to play onstage? Andy Hamilton, all of the backup singers, Sterling, Steve Ferrone, Joe Travers…is there a stage large enough???

More travel packages!

This is one idea that I could see the band instituting in part, but I’m going to gamble and say they won’t do it again, even for their 40th anniversary. Back before Astronaut was released, the band did a few very special travel packages that were in extremely limited quantity. Fans paid a tidy sum for a ticket to a specific show, accommodations, special merchandise, concierge service, and a cocktail party with all five band members in attendance. I have a good friend that bought a travel package, and by her account it was extremely well-organized and thought out, and I think it’s fair to say it was a very positive experience for her. The travel packages went from these extravagant luxuries down to a ticket and a quick meet and greet, and then they morphed into meet and greets given at random to VIP ticket buyers, and now none of the VIP packages come with anything other than the ticket, merchandise and possible cocktail parties in some cities (without the band in attendance).

I know the demand for these travel packages (and meet and greets) still exists, but I think the band hated them for the most part.  I can imagine the thought of going into a room filled with Duranies can be a bit overwhelming. I can’t blame them even if I might wish I’d been able to take advantage when meet and greets or travel packages were offered.

Play individual albums in their entirety!

The one suggestion I’ve seen over and over again is to play Rio, or any of their albums – entirely live for their 40th anniversary. It’s the one suggestion that I am positive most Duran fans want (even if there is discussion over which album they’d most like to see done that way), and it is the one suggestion that the band just doesn’t seem to get.

Just last week, Lori Majewski had John Taylor call in on her radio show, and she mentioned playing Rio live. John thinks we’d be bored (sometimes, I really don’t think they know their fans) because we’d already know the set list.

Ok, John. I get you. I’d just invite you to take a good look at your set list for the past few years as you’ve been touring Paper Gods, and then tell me again that fans get bored when they know the set list. The fact is, to have an entire album played live is a completely different experience than many of us have had before – Red Carpet Massacre aside.  For that matter, you could mix it up and that way, you’re not playing the same album over and over, and if fans like me want to see them all—they’re gonna have to take a leave of absence from their lives and travel to different shows to do it.

Even so, I think it’s safe to assume the band isn’t going to listen to reason on this one. They’re gonna play the hits, and we’re going to like it.

My heart is still hoping for Late Bar…but my head knows we’re getting Hungry Like the Wolf.

Intimate shows of 3,000 or less!

Let’s be real. Again, this one is a gamble, but I’m thinking money-wise, touring the 40th anniversary would be a cash cow. Why on earth would they only want to play in small venues when they can play arenas and bring in more money?

Personally, I’d love to see them play in smaller theaters so that long time fans have the opportunity to get up close and celebrate with this band. I’d like to see fans acknowledged for the time and energy we’ve given over the years. Who wouldn’t? That said, the lure for a huge “comeback” anniversary tour (no, they never left but the rest of the country, world, so forth probably doesn’t know that) is ever looming.

I’m just hoping they don’t decide to do that “Verified Fan” thing through Ticketmaster…

There are a lot of things I’d like to see the band do for their 40th anniversary. Mostly, I’m at a point where I’m just happy to see they’re still around fighting the good fight.  I’m looking forward to reading what they’ve got planned, and I’m hoping that I can take an active part in some of it along the way!

-R

Anaheim House Of Blues in 2001 – were you there?

Today marks a kind of special day for me in Duran history. I almost forgot it…but thanks to the spreadsheet that Amanda has painstakingly amassed, I was properly reminded.

On this date in 2001, Duran Duran played at the Anaheim House of Blues. Just a normal date, on a normal day, right? Yes, except that at  this show, my fandom was reawakened.

In 2001, I was a young mom of two very little kids. My son Gavin was barely two, and Heather was four. At the time, Duran Duran was about the furthest thing from my mind. My days were spent doing laundry, trying to make sure my kids didn’t kill one another (you think I’m joking, but I assure you I am not).

At the time, Walt and I had annual passes to Disneyland and California Adventure, and we spent many a weekend taking the kids to the parks. On one of those weekends, we were strolling through Downtown Disney, and Walt happened to notice that the marquee for the House of Blues announced an upcoming show for Duran Duran. He asked if I wanted to go and I laughed. That’s right, I laughed. I hadn’t really listened to Duran Duran in years. I still had all of their albums, and fond memories, but I was in the throes of Mommyhood. I didn’t love Medazzaland, and admittedly, I hadn’t even bought Pop Trash.  Walt looked at me pretty insistently, saying I needed a night out (which meant getting a sitter, and that seemed like so much work!), so I told him to go ahead and get them. I really wasn’t excited, but I figured I might as well go.

Yes, telling this story makes me laugh…and kind of embarrasses me at the same time. It was like I was a completely different person back then!

I really was.

The night of the show arrived, and we got to Downtown Disney early enough to grab dinner. That’s right, I didn’t insist on getting there at 5am to grab a good spot. We walked by the line of people waiting to get in — it wasn’t very long — and Walt asked if I wanted to go wait. I said “No way, I want to eat dinner! I don’t need to be up front!!”

Insanity, I tell you.

We got dinner, went in about twenty minutes before the show started, and I decided I didn’t want to stand on the floor. I ended up being by the stairs in the back. Plenty close enough for me, because I wasn’t a huge fan. I’d given that up years before, right? Before long the show started and Simon, Nick and Warren took the stage.  I remember thinking to myself how, after all these years, I was finally in what I could consider to be the same room with Simon and Nick. Not the same arena, but the same breathing space. I was only a matter of feet from them. Yeah, Warren was there too, but I convinced myself that if I just ignored that part of the stage, it wouldn’t matter. (Sorry Warren fans. I was reliving the Fab Five as a Fab Twosome) John and Roger’s absence were noted, and I wondered wistfully what it would have been like with them there, but I didn’t dwell on those thoughts. I just lived and breathed the music that night.

I don’t remember much after that. I screamed, nearly cried and lost my mind.  Something happened during that show. Something deep, meaningful and visceral.  I remembered who I was before children, before getting married, before becoming whatever I was right then. I was reintroduced to the girl I once knew, and I really liked her.

That show was pivotal for me in so many ways. I can’t really talk about some of the things I’ve felt since then, or how that single show really woke me back up. I’m just thankful and filled with gratitude that I went. My life went from being pretty grey to complete Technicolor after that night. My husband didn’t realize what he’d done by insisting that I go with him to that show until it was far too late. I would imagine if he could, he’d go back and change that plan, in a lot of ways. On the other hand, that show saved me. I can’t even explain how or why—even for me, some things are just too private to blog about—but that show saved me.

I have a long, long way to go. But, I’ve reclaimed much along the way. I suppose in some way, I’m trusting the process (and what a process it is!). I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am lucky. Yeah, I tease and joke about the band, and they drive me crazy at times—but I’m lucky I have this fandom.

I don’t know how many people think they grow out of something like this fandom, only to be reintroduced much later and jump back in with both feet. I did, and I’m not leaving. The Anaheim House of Blues on March 28, 2001 was a special night, I hope to never forget it.

-R

Out of My Mind (no really!)

On this date in 1997, Duran Duran began filming a video for a little song called “Out of My Mind”.  They had traveled to Prague, and were filming at a castle (Krumlov Castle)…as one does, or at least did! Right?

Here’s a little more “truth” to add to the story.  This is the ONE video from Duran Duran that I genuinely do not know very well. I didn’t even know it existed until a good many years after it was filmed. Out of My Mind is off of Medazzaland, an album that came out just as I was learning how to be a mom. I had no time to pay attention back then, and it wasn’t until much later that I really spent time listening to and appreciating Medazzaland.

I will go so far as to say that I didn’t even realize that Out of My Mind had been a single, or included on the soundtrack for The Saint until far later, much less know the video. (I will accept my award for “biggest loser fan” at any time now) My only reason for sharing this extra info here is simply to show that all of us have our times when Duran Duran just isn’t the highest priority. At this point in 1997, I was struggling just to keep my head above water. I had a newborn, I didn’t know what I was doing, and to be blunt – I felt like I was losing MY mind. So, there you have it!

So, before posting I watched the video again. I think part of the reason I feel so unfamiliar with the video is because, in short – the video is downright creepy in parts. Simon wears facial prosthetics so that he appears to age, Nick is, well…Nick…(that means delightfully wicked), and Warren is Warren…although there’s one part where someone bites his ear and then animated blood appears to drip.  So that’s fun.  In my opinion, the video works very well with the mood of the song, but it is a song (and a video) that I have to be in just the right mood to appreciate.

Check it out again and see what you think!

-R

 

 

 

 

Do you remember Electric Barbarella on the UK Lottery Show?

It is getting to the time of year that I enjoy.  Typically, January is a quiet month for Duran Duran. They’re coming off of a holiday break, perhaps they’re busy, but they aren’t necessarily doing a ton of public performances and press.  So, the dates in history can be somewhat…well…unexciting. Yes, I said it.

However, today is January 30th. On this date in DD history, there are several items of interest, but the one I’ve chosen to highlight is their appearance and performance of Electric Barbarella on the UK Lottery show—particularly because I happen to have found video to share.

Yes, I know I should remain serious about the music, but this wouldn’t be Daily Duranie if I didn’t point out Simons fabulous demonstration of his “Hallucinating Elvis” moves. That alone is worth the time to watch!

1999….was it really that long ago?  In some ways, yes. The lineup alone has changed twice since then (Warren left at the reunion, Andy left after Astronaut). In other ways, they’re still the same guys…and Simon’s dancing has not exactly improved. (It’s getting close to March and I have to get in a fair amount of teasing between now and the time they arrive, otherwise it just wouldn’t seem right!)

Back to business, I don’t know that I’d actually watched this before.  Sometimes, I will stumble upon something that I either haven’t seen, or didn’t pay attention to the first time (!!!), which is an important piece of what makes writing Daily Duranie fun for me. I see and learn new things constantly. That’s one thing about Duran Duran, as prolific as they have been during their career – there is always something new to find, absorb, and learn. I love that! Hopefully, our readers enjoy what we post as much as we enjoy writing it all.

Happy Monday!

-R

 

Do You Remember? DD on MTV’s Unplugged!

In 1993, Duran Duran looked a little different from what they do now.  They’d already lost a couple of Taylors,  and gained a Cuccurullo.  They were deep in the throes of The Wedding Album, experiencing a rejuvenation—a sort of second rise to fame.

The band was asked to participate in MTV’s Unplugged series, a show that had bands basically “unplug” and play their songs as acoustically as possible. Duran Duran participated, and the show was aired on December 15, 1993.

I was a senior in college at the time, desperately trying to finish my classes so that I could (finally) graduate in the spring, already a year later than I might have liked—and I worked full-time as well. Duran Duran was a far cry from my reality at the time, and I didn’t see the program until well after its first airing.

For me personally, I was always struck by Duran Duran being on MTV’s Unplugged because, let’s face it, gadgetry and Duran Duran go hand in hand, don’t they? It was interesting to watch the show because while it is most definitely Duran Duran—it is so different from what I know them to be.

They started with Hungry Like The Wolf, and I almost didn’t recognize it – the rhythm is so different and they rely heavily on a string arrangement to recreate some of the sound we might recognize, turning the song into a ballad. Very, very different.  Songs like Ordinary World sound pretty much the same, but other songs like Too Much Information really throw me a bit – same speed, same words, but the instrumentation is incredibly different. Overall, the program is fun to watch, even now.

I found a full-version of the program, but the picture quality isn’t great.

This one is set up more like a playlist that someone organized on YouTube, but the picture quality is better. Check it out!

Vodka Friday Episode 2 – The Guitarists!

Hey everyone,

Do you know what day it is???

IT’S FRIDAY!

That means it’s Vodka Time!!  Today’s Vodka Friday is all about guitarists. Not gonna lie, it gets a little loud, and we let the opinions spew forth.

Again the disclaimer – if you don’t like laughing and you have no sense of humor, you’re not gonna like what you see and hear. We tear it all apart: The good, The Bad, and the Warren.  No holds barred!

Enjoy and happy weekend!!

 

 

Happy 11th Anniversary, Dom!

Today is a very special day, and I am thrilled that it fell on one of my blogging days.  On this date, eleven years ago – Dom Brown played his first gig with Duran Duran!

Has it really been that long?!? I don’t know where the time goes, but I’m glad that in this past year I’ve been able to see Dom play four times – not too bad for someone who lives across the Atlantic from him.

Normally, we don’t take time to celebrate anniversaries for each of the band members because we might not know the exact dates that each of them entered the band, but Dom is special because although to many of us he’s a permanent fixture, he was a gift that was discovered along the way. I’m thankful the band found and had the good sense to hire him because I can’t imagine a show or an album without his presence.

I was recently asked who my favorite band member was – the scenario given was that the band was in front of me, who would I go up to speak with first. At first, without thinking – I said Dom.  After admonishing that while Dom is a lovely guy, he’s not really a member  she asked me to choose again. I really couldn’t. It’s not that I wouldn’t want to speak to any of them (are you kidding me?!?) it’s just that I couldn’t decide which one. I love them all, but they’re all part of the group I’ve loved since I was ten! Dom is a little different since I met him some thirty years into my “tenure” as a Duran Duran fan, yet I’ve embraced him from nearly day one (I say nearly because I wasn’t at his first show!). To me, he is as much a part of the group as any of them, whether that’s right or wrong.

There are at least a few fans out there who like to remind me that he’s “just” the hired player (a hired guitarist who has co-written a good many of their songs off of recent albums, I might add), but to me, there’s no “just” about it. Dom stepped in after Andy left, filling some incredibly large shoes. He’s had to take an awful lot of ribbing and complaining from long-time fans about how he plays some songs, and in a lot of ways, he’s in an impossible position. The Andy fans are convinced no one can play better than Andy, and the Warren fans are 100% convinced Warren needs to be back in this band. He’s not Andy, and no, he’s not Warren. Personally, I think being Dom should be more than enough.

 It’s been eleven years. I say it every year to Duran Duran, but it’s time to make sure Dom doesn’t get away and make this guy part of the band. Officially. Give him some credit and reward him for sticking with you through so much and for so long. It’s way past time.

Regardless, I couldn’t let this day go without sending best wishes and plenty of thanks to him. He’s a good guy, a very talented guitar player, and loved by many, including me.

I’m glad you’re a part of this band, Dom and I’d miss it if you weren’t the one on stage playing Hungry Like the Wolf, Save a Prayer, White Lines (and all of the rest) during the gigs.  😀 You’re still the best!

-R

Big Thing – The Daily Duranie Review

We are finally onto a new album!!  Next up is Big Thing, and this week we will review the title track. Big Thing was released in 1988 and reached #15 in the UK and #24 in the US.  Big Thing also marks the first full album with Warren Cuccurullo, although he was not a full songwriting partner at this point, and became a full-time member only after the band finished the Electric Theatre Tour in promotion of Big Thing. Were his contributions evident, and how did the band really change between Notorious and Big Thing?  Let’s take a deeper look!

Rhonda

Musicality/Instrumentation

This is SO different from Notorious, I have to wonder if it’s even the same band, and in many ways…it is not. They definitely turn the corner from funk into something entirely different.  Plenty of people characterize the album as the band’s foray into House Music…and while I’m not quite sure I’d call it House, it’s definitely leaning in that direction at times. Big Thing reminds me much more of aggressive dance music, and definitely doesn’t seem like the same band who wrote Rio or Girls on Film. I almost feel as though they were really trying to erase the band (for teenyboppers) they once were by going after a more mature, aggressive, sound.  I like the way the sound starts out with drum beats and then the chanting of the chorus with a plenty of guitar riffs in the background. The song has a ton of texture, and I do enjoy the way the juxtaposition of the rock, almost experimental-souding guitar feels against the synthesizer loops and even a horn section. I will say the latter 1/3  of the song is so filled with layer upon layer that it really begins to be frenetic cacophony…if you’ve got any sort of anxiety this song will send you over the edge.  This is the first full album where Warren Cuccurullo participates, and his influence is evident with the soaring hard rock guitar riffs. It adds an edge that has been missing to the music since the first album, which I applaud here.

Vocals

I have to say, I like the chanting of the chorus. It’s so different compared to their other albums, and it opens Big Thing perfectly. I like the way the song feels like call and response in certain sections. Otherwise, I think Simon’s vocals are well-matched to the song. This isn’t a song meant for mellow lyrics, and while I think Simon strains a bit in the higher sections of the verses, in some odd way it works for the song.

Lyrics

I have heard of these lyrics meaning one of two things to fans: the first being all about marketing and exploitation, and the other being sex. Sex is the go-to, easy answer here. With lyrics like “Lick it up, suck it up, stick it outside”…Simon didn’t give us much room to go elsewhere, did he? That said, I think that was the point, really. Let’s face it – “sex” is his pat answer for lyric meanings, and I’m assuming at this point that his feeling is that anything can have a sexual connotation. He’s probably right. That said, I can see the exploitation  and marketing angle as well. The chanting of the lyrics are almost as though they’re reciting what they’re being told…it’s almost robotic in a way. “This is temptation (station), power rotation (to station)” , it’s like they’re “selling” themselves and their music to get air play.  “So glad you came around, this time you won’t be wrong, You’ve got to turn it on, and you’re not the only one”…I personally think this song really is all about the business of getting their music heard.  That Simon, he’s a smart one with his lyrics… I say well-done.

Overall

I like this song, and I think it’s a fantastic album opener.  I like the way it’s a huge departure from the overall sound of Notorious, and that the band was willing to take a chance with their music and try something new. I think the song is cheeky and yet there’s still a message to hear for those who want to dig deep enough to find it, and I like that Simon was smart with his writing.  I welcome Warren’s addition to their music, and I really liked the hard edge he brought to the table here. The one negative I have for this song is the last 1/3 of the song is incredibly noisy with far too much going on, but I think that has more to do with the artistic choices than production, meaning it’s what the band wanted. I just don’t know that it translates all that well.

Cocktail Rating

3.5 cocktails! 3.5 cocktails

 

Amanda

Musicality/Instrumentation

This song is one that I struggle to even think about the instrumentation because the lyrics and vocals are so dominant, so noticeable.  Nonetheless, I attempted to focus on the instrumentation for the purpose of this review.  The song doesn’t allow you to just get into it slowly.  No, it right away starts with drums.  In fact, drums are pretty much present throughout, creating pretty aggressive instrumentation.  Guitars are there, too.  Keyboards, on the other hand,  do not feel like as major of an instrument in this one.  While this song is very different than the previous album, horns are still present.  Perhaps, they function as a transition of sorts.  The question then is this change from funk to more aggressive music a welcome change.  It definitely catches your attention and let’s everyone know that, once again, Duran Duran has changed.

Vocals

Where to start with the vocals on this one?  Clearly, this isn’t your usual Duran.  Instead of Simon singing, we have layered vocals during the chorus with each line being almost shouted or chanted.  The vocals are much more aggressive than what can be found on most Duran Duran songs.  What is interesting to me is that the lines that are less chanted give a sense that something untrustworthy or sneaky is happening.  Is this helped by the lyrics?  Absolutely.  Truly, there is a lot going on here vocally.  In fact, there is so much going on that you could probably listen to the song a bunch and still not catch it all.

Lyrics

If the vocals for this one don’t catch your attention, the lyrics probably will.  I don’t remember where I heard that this song is supposed to be about the attempts bands/artists make to get a song to chart or to move up the chart.  This meaning seems to fit, especially with lines like, “Move it up move it out move up the line.  This is temptation power rotation.” The lyrics definitely make me think that getting a song to chart is a lot of hard work and that you really have to convince people, which makes sense considering the work they attempted to do with the previous album, Notorious.  Obviously, the lyrics are built around a couple of principles.  First, there is a lot of repetition here, whether it is “get…get…get” or “bang…bang…bang”. Then, there are a lot of lines built around the idea of rhyming.  These are important for the vocal style that this song exhibits.  That said, while I understand why the lyrics are the way they are, I can’t say I’m a huge fan.  Could they be about radio play?  Sure.  Are they also written to imply sex?  Sure.  To me, both interpretations seem too obvious.

Overall

This song is so very different than most of Duran Duran’s catalog and certainly very different than Notorious.  While that isn’t bad, in and of itself, I’m not sure if this style really works for them.  To me, it feels like they were trying too hard to be something so different, so contemporary.  What makes it worse is that I think this song hasn’t aged well.  Maybe, it was great or had the potential to be great in 1988 but now it just sounds aged.

Cocktail Rating

2.5 cocktails!

20c1c-twohalfglasses