It seems to me that this fandom has a strange relationship with side projects. Some people seem to get really into whatever side or solo project is the current one. Others seem to ignore them. Still, for others, it depends on where they are with their fandom. For example, they might really be into it simply because their focus on Duran and Duran-related projects is high. Yet, if a project happens when their interest isn’t high, then it gets basically ignored. Now, I’m not criticizing or judging any of these reactions. I’m just pointing out my observations. Let me dive a bit deeper into all three groups. Of course, there are fans who buy or get excited by anything the band or its various band members have ever done. They buy anything and everything connected to the band. I can understand this. Perhaps, for these fans, if they are fans of Duran, they are fans of the individual members, too. Thus, every project is worthy of attention. The second group just seems to ignore the side and solo projects for the most part unless they really like the bits that they hear. For them, these projects do not feel the same as Duran so there is no need to focus on them. When asked about the projects, these fans would simply say that they don’t like them. Lastly, the final group varies depending on where they personally are with the fandom. These are the fans who might have really been into Power Station (the 1985 version) and Arcadia because they were huge fans in the early 80s but didn’t and don’t care about The Devils or Neurotic Outsiders. There is no desire to go back and listen to them. If these fans are paying attention now, then they might be interested in TV Mania, but wouldn’t have cared 10 years when Duran Duran was far from their minds.
Now, of course, part of any fan’s feelings towards a side and solo project is the emotional piece as well as musical piece. We all know that side and solo projects can either fill up extra time that a band member or two has or it can work to separate the band. They can and have changed things. I won’t lie here. I am not quite in the first group of fans. I don’t buy or get into every project in the same way. Then again, I haven’t been into all Duran albums in the same way, either. I do take the music and style into consideration in terms of how much I love it or am into it. That said, I will listen to it all. I will give it all a shot. That said, I wasn’t super excited about TV Mania. On a musical level, I was not a fan of a lot of what Nick and Warren came up with during Medazzaland and Pop Trash with Duran. I also don’t want anything to rock the boat. I like where Duran is NOW. I don’t want to go back to 1993, 1995 or 1998. I don’t. I understand that there are probably plenty of other fans who preferred those eras to this one. I get that. I will say, though, that while I will attempt to have an open mind when I listen to this album (and I did preorder it, by the way), I know that I already have feelings about it.
No matter one’s level of excitement about this side project, one must acknowledge that to hear this project, money is needed. On one end of the spectrum is the iTunes version and on the other end is the box set. My understanding is that there are not a lot of the limited numbered box sets left. This means two things to me. First, it means that there are a lot of fans who are excited by this project. Second, it means that they are willing and able to spend a significant (in my opinion) amount of money for it. Again, I have no judgement here. It just weighs on my mind as the convention committee has spent a great deal of time and energy lately thinking about costs and what people are willing and able to spend for what. I don’t have any grand conclusions here other than to say that this does make me wonder. Are there fans who will and can buy everything? Are there fans who can’t or won’t buy much, if at all? What factors go into the decisions to buy for all the fans in between?
One thing is certain. All side and solo projects in Duranland bring up issues, questions, and discussion points within in our fandom. It should be an interesting ride from here.