On their way back from the fire
So, Kensington Palace was apparently the place to be last night. Anybody there? My invite was lost in the mail again. Rats! I heard it was some sort of investors conference. I have to admit wondering about how raucous that crowd could have possibly been. The visions I have of it floating in my head center around they idea that they’re already at a palace, which would seem a bit stuffy for an atmosphere. What would I know anyway? I’m American. We don’t have palaces here!
Amidst the tweets and posts concerned with what they played and why they were playing, there were a fair number lamenting the fact that they played at all. “Oh, a secret show again?”…”They sure seem to do an awful lot of these.”…”When are they going to play a REAL show in England?” and my favorite… “So they DO know where the UK is then, apparently.”
They tried to break us
Despite chuckling at some of them, because I really do appreciate good sarcasm…I couldn’t help but notice those that questioned why the band plays so many of these types of shows. I’ve written about it several times in the past. Yet, it still continues to come up every single time they play a corporate or private gig. I even saw a few people saying that they wish the band just wouldn’t say anything about playing these gigs at all, which struck me as a bizarre request. Is it fair to assume the band has sold out for money?
As a primer here – the band is a business. LIKE IT OR NOT. I don’t know of a single band out there that doesn’t need to make a little money here and there. Bands pay for studio time. They pay producers, engineers, session players (session guitarists!)…and that’s just the beginning. Once the album is made, and they pay all of those people along the way, the album has to sell in order for the band to make money. It is far more complicated than I’m willing to get into, but this is the basic idea. Albums don’t sell the way they did in the 80s. Spotify sure as heck doesn’t pay well, either. So now what? They tour.
Tours are expensive. The outlay of money just to get going is tremendous. Think of it this way, every single thing needed to even tour – right down to the duct tape used to adhere the paper set lists to the stage floor – is paid for by Duran Duran. It’s not like that stuff is donated! Anyone who has done any reading lately should know that bands make more money touring than through album sales. (don’t read this as they make a lot of money – most do not!) Even so, do they make enough to pay for studio time? Management? Sales? Marketing people? Bloggers?
Ok…not bloggers. Just kidding. I was just checking to see if you’re paying attention!!
Looks like they’ll try again
So then what? Sir Spends-a-Lot calls management and says “Hey, I will pay Duran Duran a boatload of cash if they come and play at my private gig!” Management replies by saying, “We will need TWO boatloads, thank you!” Sir Spends-a-Lot thinks it over and then responds. “Fine! I’ll Venmo you!” (Ok, I’m joking about that. The Venmo part, anyway. I just thought it was funny.)
Duran Duran is now booked to play a private gig for two boatloads of money. They’re not supposed to announce it because the gig is private, and apparently Spends-a-Lot doesn’t want 5,000 Duranies showing up at his house. I can’t imagine why. But hey, the band will have a ton of money in their bank account just in time to pay whatever big name producer shows up in their studio next! (I was going to make a joke here about Timbaland, but I decided to skip it. Overkill, you know.)
Anyway… the process just isn’t nearly as pretty as we all want to believe.
Bloodstain for your pain
Fans seem to have this romanticized vision of a band that isn’t in it for the money. They love playing. They would live in their cars to be able to play for their fans. It’s ALL for the fans and the love of music. Gosh, that’s a lovely fantasy.
Listen, I have no doubt that some of that drives the band. I mean, they’re not ogres. Of course they love what they do. My husband loves working developing and managing products for a fancy speaker company, but he also needs to pay his bills. His wife – that would be me – insists on it, actually. That said, it is just silly to think they aren’t looking to make money.
Even if Simon, John, Nick and Roger agreed that they would never again make a dime from Duran Duran, I highly doubt the people who work for them would agree to the same terms! From the touring musicians, roadies and techs, right down to the people who answer phones in the office – everybody needs to be paid. Those people aren’t in the business for the “art”. They’re trying to make a living and pay their bills. Most of those people don’t even get to have fun at the shows, either!
While you’re dancing in the rain
Here is the real problem, as I see it. For you and I – the fans, that is – listening to music, going to live shows, and even social media is all just FUN. Concerts ARE fun. Amanda and I have said countless times that we wish we could tour for a living. That is because on our end, it really is all fun and games. We aren’t responsible for much other than getting ourselves to a venue and into our seats on time. (And, I might add that we barely managed to even do that successfully while in Vegas!!) I think we forget that while it is all about having a good time for us, it is not the same thing for the band. Part of that is by design. We’re supposed to be able to forget about real life, and we do! The band though, is a different story.
They have shows every night, and each time they need to look like they’re having as much fun as they did the night before. If they’re sick, if they’re tired, if they’re hungover – the show happens anyway. I just think we have to remember that for most of us, it is a show or two (or five), then we go home and back to real life. For the band – that really IS real life. It is their job, however much “fun” we think it must be.
Where is glory
Maybe I’m weird. I can accept that. I like knowing about the private gigs. Knowing about their corporate shows makes me smile, even if I’m not personally going to be at any of them. Even if I didn’t write Daily Duranie, I’d be happy hearing that they’re playing live. It keeps their engine oiled, and it’s good to know they’re doing something. Sure, I wish they were playing more regular shows. Who doesn’t? That all costs the band a lot more money though than playing a private or corporate gig…or even a festival.
Yeah, downtime is tough. I think we can even qualify it as boring for a lot of fans. We get anxious when we see shows for people that probably don’t appreciate them. I also know that people in the UK are beyond miffed that a band from their own damn country hasn’t bothered to play a single show in many months (years). This blog isn’t directed at those people or that issue. That’s something different, and I don’t have answers that anyone is going to like or accept. I wish I did.