The Channel Is Open…

Duran Duran has been around for a long time.  They have worked with many, many different people, at this point, from other musicians to producers to directors to fashion designers.  Their influences both past and present make up a long list as well.  It would take me a long time to list everyone that has some connection to Duran Duran (the band as a whole) or the individual people who have been or are in Duran Duran.  It seems that a week doesn’t go by without news that the band or a former member is working with person X to do project Y.  Just a week or so ago, there was news that Andy Taylor produced the new album by the Ting Tings.  While this news didn’t get that much attention in the community, I did notice the usual general reaction.  Some fans were thrilled.  They were excited to hear that Andy had been working on something.  Others were excited to support Andy and buy the album.  On the opposite side of the spectrum, other fans pondered if fans were really excited about this or were just into it because Andy was involved.  This, of course, leads me to ask the question.  Should we, as fans, support everything the band does?  Should we support every connection the band has?  Is everything they are connected to worthy of our attention and support?

First, it seems clear to me that the fan base does not support everything that the band does.  In fact, for whatever reason, the whole is much bigger than the sum of its parts.  Just this week, we were asking questions about Power Station songs.  We got very few people voting when it came to songs off their second album.  Yes, I realize that this means that there are a lot of fans that don’t know about it or don’t have it.  Even still, we had people who were familiar with it but didn’t want to vote.  Clearly, Power Station isn’t as popular as Duran.  It is not even close.  I would say that the same thing is true for whenever one band member appears versus the whole band.  While John Taylor’s book reading and signing in Chicago sold out, the venue only held like 150 people.  Would he have been able to fill up a venue that held 1000?  500?  What if it was late at night or during the usual work day?  I think about Roger’s DJ set in Chicago, too.  That wasn’t sold out.  I don’t know how many people that club held but I’m willing to bet the fact that it was during the week and late deterred many fans from coming.  Yet, if Duran was playing a concert then, I bet those fans who are a part of the community would have come without thinking twice.  Why is this?  Are we really fans of the whole band and only the whole band?  Do the individual members not matter?  

I don’t have definitive answers about why the whole band seems to matter more than the individual members for the fan community as a whole.  Yet, while I think this is the general case, there still are fans who seem to love everything connected with the band, no matter what.  I remember as a very young kid learning about the influences of the band.  I first heard/read the names of Chic and Sex Pistols from reading/watching Duran interviews.  As someone who wanted(wants) to know all there is to know, I checked out these bands.  I recall checking out Chic’s record from the library and asking an older brother of a friend for a copy of the Sex Pistols.  My reactions to those bands when I first heard them were as you can imagine.  I was shocked.  I didn’t hear anything like Duran in either of those albums.  They seemed SO different to Duran!  I hate them.  HATED them.  Then again, I was a kid.  I didn’t  know much about music in 1984.  Yet, as I got older, I remember hearing those bands and grew to first appreciate them then to like them.  Now, I’m thankful that I was exposed to both punk and disco as a young kid.  My mind was expanded.  I would have never checked those bands out if it wasn’t for Duran.  Now, does that mean that I like every band/artist connected to Duran?  Of course, I do not.  I’m not a fan of Timbaland and nothing in the world could make me one.  Did I try?  Yes, I did.  I think my position is in the middle between the two positions that I see within our fandom.  I’m not those who say that everything touching the band is great but I’m also curious and open-minded that I want to check out as much as I can.

I think my last line is the key one.  I don’t love everything but I welcome the possibilities.  My life and tastes would be less if I didn’t try new things.  Yes, sometimes, I need to look at a project or connection differently than I do Duran, in order to appreciate it.  The two most obvious examples are TV Mania and Neurotic Outsiders.  If I tried to make either one of those side projects fit into the Duran box, I would HATE them.  Yet, if I look at them outside of that, I can appreciate the art and scope of TV Mania and the hard-rocking nature of Neurotic Outsiders.  Do I like them the same or to the same degree as Duran?  Of course not.  My point here is simple.  Not everything connected or related to Duran is good.  I don’t think Timbaland is, for instance.  Would I expect people to like everything Duran does or is connected to?  No.  To me, that would seem equal to those who won’t try anything unless it is the whole band.  Try things that the band is connected to with an open mind.  You may find something that you really like and wouldn’t even know if you hadn’t tried it.  That said, I don’t think you should expect to like everything either.  Go with an open-mind.  Be prepared to like or to dislike.  
-A  

5 thoughts on “The Channel Is Open…”

  1. When I think of Timbaland working with Duran Duran, it feels like a thousand years ago now. So strange.

    I do take issue with people who have openly said that some fans would like anything the band did – for example TV Mania – purely because Nick Rhodes is involved. I can't speak for other people, but I can definitely defend myself here. I didn't think I'd like that album at all. It was a great surprise to me when I found elements that I enjoyed, and for me it was because it WASN'T Duran Duran! As you said eloquently here, if they'd released that album as Duran Duran I would have been among the first flaming them for doing so – it's not Duran Duran at all, and it shouldn't be.

    I remember when RCM came out – I didn't get it, and truthfully I still don't, although I think I've come full-circle with my grieving now. 😀 When I openly admitted my dislike on one of the message boards, I was torched, burnt at the stake…given my walking papers, etc. So many of them kept saying to me that it shouldn't matter WHAT the band does, that purely because it's Simon, Nick, John & Roger I should be supportive. I didn't agree and I still do not.

    That said, it is apparently just as easy to call foul when one of the members of the band comes out with an album that is pretty far afield from what he has done in the band prior, like TV Mania. I think that album is fantastic, and I can mention all kinds of reasons why I feel that way…none of which have to do with the specific personnel behind the project. Now, instead of supporting the band member purely because he's a member of Duran Duran, I've read that the ONLY reason people like me probably like the album is because it's Nick. ???

    Call me crazy, but I don't get the logic. I think it's OK to like or not like whatever you want, but calling people out because of their taste or their choice to enjoy something and be supportive is a little too much of a cop-out. It all comes down to personal taste, and what you might consider to be crap, someone else might really enjoy. It's fantastic that there's enough out there for everyone.

    -R

  2. Wow… I have to admit that differently from when I was 12-13 years old, I today am more critical towards the guys and don't always approve everything they do.
    I am not going to tell you WHAT in particular I don't like of their approach, but I do support the all them. Although they make mistakes, I think they're human first of all then they're artists.
    Although lately I saw and heard from them “terrible” things that really made me sick, I forget those things and carried on loving and being critical.
    I don't think I'm playing “the heroine” or “the martyr” for their cause, I'm simply a longtime fan, who gained experiences and learned much from DD so far: my head warns me whenever they're wrong, my heart says I had-have to carry on supporting.

  3. So far I have enjoyed most of their individual projects, as well as liking most of Duran Duran's group work. I love the band as a whole, but I also respect each member as an individual, which is why I am always interested in their solo projects. Even though I may not always like the final product of a band member, I will at least give it a chance, and check it out to see if it is something I might like. I have been listening to music literally all of my life, which is why at 11yrs old when I first started hearing their music, I already had a well defined sense of what I did, and not like to listen too, and had developed a rather eclectic taste in music. Which is one reasons that I can't help but support the band member's solo projects, I am always fascinated with hearing what they are interested in, and what they are creatively involved with. Another reason I morally support their doing solo projects, even if it is something I did not particularly care for is, because I realize that they occasionally need to take a creative break from each other. These men have been writing, recording, and performing together for 3 decades, and even though they are the best of friends, they need to work with others outside the band, so that they can continue to work together as a band, and not have musical, or personal falling outs like so many other bands before them have experienced. Plus by working with others it gives each of them a chance to expand their creative interests, and hopefully bring something new, and different back to the group, something that we as fans will enjoy as well. So, weather I like the outcome of a side project, or not, that will never be an issue for me in regards to my continued moral support of each individual band member, and is why I will always respect each band member as much as I respect the band.

  4. I think it is totally fine with being critical. I know that I am and will continue to be. Would I always support them? I can't imagine not supporting them but I think it could be possible with they only did things that I didn't like from here on out. That said, I would attempt each and every project with an open mind.

    -A

  5. I'm always open to listen to side projects, but that's mainly because I'm a music fan, and of course interested to hear what else they would come out with away from Duran. I might not always like it, the jury is still out on TV Mania, but I do love to hear who they have worked with. You never know what new musical adventure you will be introduced to

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