Nick Rhodes Takes a Stand
Nick Rhodes attended the widely-protested BP sponsored art exhibit at the Tate last night, and was quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek, saying “I’d much rather the money be in the hands of the arts than a petroleum company, I can tell you that. So anything they want to give, let’s take it.” I’d love to hear more of Nick’s thoughts on what are surely a couple of his favorite topics: art and commerce. (Gracias to Denisse Le Bon Taylor Brown for the photo)
Duran Duran In the Running at WFNX
Vote for Duran Duran in the Top 101 WFNX Artists of All Time! Duran Duran is locked in the running at number 50, but your votes can move them up. Click on Duran Duran here, then choose the slightly hilarious “rad” option.
New Pics of Roger Taylor in Italy
Duranasty has some stellar recent photos of Roger looking quite fit in Pietrasanta, Italy. Roger has been spending a lot of time in Italy lately. I’d like to see more Jake and Roger DJ dates this summer… how ’bout a few in the States?
Rock Hall of Fame Petition
Don’t forget to sign the petition to get Duran Duran to the Rock Hall of Fame! It only takes a minute to click here and show your support. The staff at DDTRH has been working overtime to gain recognition for the cause with interesting interviews and fun contests, so be sure to check give their Facebook a like.
Duran Duran Suggested for 2012 Olympics
Entertainment Weekly has a great idea for Duran Duran at the 2012 Olympics, saying “I think you’ve got to celebrate the Brits’ love of pop with a medley of artists popular from the ’50s (the last time London hosted an Olympics was 1948) through today. And that line-up must include Duran Duran. What? They could do an ’80 hit, then “(Reach Up for The) Sunrise.” (The lyrics are inspiring, and 80,000 people raising their hands for the chorus = good TV.)” Take a moment to leave a comment on the article and let them know what you think.
John Taylor’s New Roads School Project
John wrote one of his signature fantastic blogs on the New Roads School project. The Limited Edition DC/DVD is still available and features John performing with student musicians, Stewart Copeland of the Police, John Densmore of the Doors, and Raul Pacheco of Ozomatli. As John says, “It’s a limited edition, and comes dressed in a beautiful sleeve designed by the great Nick Egan, who designed ‘The Wedding Album’ and directed ‘Ordinary World’. The songs are intercut with playground chit-chat, which gives the listener an idea about what it is that makes the school click and why it is so unusual. I’m quite proud of the CD, and you can order it by going to the school website: New Roads School.” (Thanks to MissNovemberTuesday for the photo)
Mick Karn Update
Thankfully, Mick Karn (former bassist of Japan who is suffering from cancer) has obtained a medical card In Cyprus, so the state will now take care of his basic medical costs. You can read Mick’s grateful message to all who continue to donate at MickKarn.net, as these funds help to care for his family and fund alternative treatment methods. Also, Midge Ure is planning a benefit concert scheduled for August 31… more details to come.
Mark Ronson and the Business Tour?
A little bird told me that Mark Ronson wants to do a tour in support of his upcoming album, most likely in the October time-frame. The thing is, he wants to take all of the performers on his album with him — there are many, including Boy George, Nick Hodgson, Wiley, and of course Simon Le Bon. I can only imagine how expensive and such a tour would be (not to mention nearly impossible to schedule). Perhaps the talented Mr. Ronson can pull it off… I’ll keep you posted.Tags: 2010 Olympics, BP, Duran Duran, Jake Phonique, Japan, Mark Ronson, Mick Karn, New Roads School, Nick Rhodes, Rock Hall of Fame, Roger Taylor, Stewart Copeland, Tate Britain
Aside from a new Duran Duran album, there could be no sweeter music to my ears than John Taylor’s latest Katy Kafe. Covering a wide range of topics. John sounded more open, relaxed and happy than he has appeared in months. He was very optimistic about the band’s work in progress, saying that “the end of the tunnel is in sight” and he would be returning to London for the next four weeks while the album is completed. “There may be something to hear by the end of the year,” meaning not that will be complete by then, but perhaps the fans will be offered some snippets or song titles (to which I believe we were given a few maddening clues in the last set of studio photos).
Much of John’s enthusiasm surprisingly stemmed from last month’s corporate gigs. I’ve long maintained that such commitments are beneficial for the band, not just as a way to fatten their pocketbooks but also as a forcing-function to stay in musical shape during off-times. John said that the Hampton Palace and Moscow gigs “put us all back together” and “changed the energy of the project.” These were words we needed to hear from John, echoing the recent sentiments of excitement put forth by Nick and Roger. Now if we could just hear from Simon, I’ll finally get a good night’s sleep.
John also spoke fondly about his recent side projects with the New Roads School and Swahili Blonde, and perhaps a bit too fondly about the recent EMI reissues. I’m not saying that he was insincere about how “fantastic” they are and how he was “knocked out by the presentation” of the first three albums, but he did seem to lay it on a bit thick, especially since there has been so much outcry from the fans about sound quality issues and packaging missteps. His enthusiasm, though always charming, seemed a bit funny in juxtaposition to Nick’s recent remark that the Arcadia reissue was a “pig’s ear.” Perhaps John’s ebullience had something to do with his rather candid remarks about the band’s desire to be reunited with their catalogue, going so far as to say that they were going to try to make a deal with EMI.
Currently, EMI is in massive debt due to the overall climate in the music industry as well as a 2007 takeover. On June 18th, the company announced an important strategic shift and major changes in management. As stated in the press release, EMI is now making a concerted effort to reposition itself as a “comprehensive music rights management company that can take full advantage of all global opportunities in all markets for music.” A rough translation from The Economist: owning and exploiting the copyrights to songs, rather than selling recordings of songs, is where the money is going to be from now on.
In light of this new direction and with fingers crossed that EMI can pull it off, I trust John when he says that going with EMI makes good business sense. The company that owns most of Duran’s back catalogue is a good choice, first and foremost due to the fact that they are already invested in the brand of the band. Additionally, it’s not just about past releases, as EMI will also need to constantly keep expanding their catalogue of marketable music. Because of this, I believe that such an all-encompassing concern would bode well for key promotion of future releases as well.
A friend of mine eloquently provided some thoughts on the topic in a post on the Duran Duran Message Board. He said, “In this day and age, a band’s previous work is equally as much a part of their image as anything they might be currently doing. Arguably the advent of the CD brought all this into being. Up until then, bands were a straight line, with the past being something that was back in the distance and what they were up to right now – the development of their art – being what was most crucial. However, once the CD came out and labels started promoting the re-release of albums that were twenty or so years old, everything became jumbled up. For a while, Led Zeppelin almost became a new band again, and Jimi Hendrix is far from dead.”
“Duran are shrewd enough to try and walk the fine line between old band cashing in and heritage act using their past as leverage. JT has clearly been the one that has embraced the possibilities since getting his head back together. Possibly, this was due to him leaving the band and achieving some perspective. he could see that the time was right to get the original five back together, and in a way, has turned into the band’s curator. He documented the past through his writing on TTP.com and his short-lived Vault project, and it seems as if he can bring the same level of fandom to Duran as the fans. It’s as if JT can stand back and treat his own band with the same kind of reverence as with the bands he adores: Roxy, Bowie, etc. It’s a creative approach to nostalgia. You can’t run from it, and you can’t NOT trade on it as it’s a basic value… but you CAN harness it and work with it in such a way to maximize it’s worth.” For me, these words brought a lot of perspective.
Overall, I think the glimpses we’ve been given in the past few weeks show that the band is on a wave of momentum and energy. They’ve got a few more weeks together in the studio, and it seems like they’re in a positive and focused mind-space. The band is working hard to make this album the “cracker” that it needs to be, and all the crucial elements for success are starting to fall into place. As John said in the Kafe, “People need to use the machine.” Let’s just hope that this time around they make the machine work for them.
DuranDuranMusic recently posted a video shot in March, in which Katy has a chat with John about making the upcoming album and a bit about John’s involvement in the New Roads School project. There’s a lot of background noise, most notably Simon performing his vocal warm-up. Also, the video inexplicably ends in mid-conversation. Distractions aside, I found several points to be very interesting:
- John speaks favorably about Mark Ronson, describing him as a “sweet guy” and a “musicians producer” saying that Mark takes more care to get the instruments sounding right, compared to the production of Red Carpet Massacre.
- It was May 2009 when John, Nick, and Roger recorded their part of the new tracks. John says that he does not listen to the unfinished music over and over, rather waiting for Simon to go through his “process” in order to preserve the power of the music that he will have to remain excited about for the next two years.
- John describes the last couple of albums made since they got back together as just “ok… so this one really needs to be a cracker.”
- Speaking about the time it’s taking to put this album together, John says, “It’s the real world. We’re not a young band. It’s not the Rio era when all we did was play with each other, so you can’t expect that kind of schedule.”
In part two of the video, JT talks a bit about Danimals and also says he is not interested in continuing his acting career.Tags: Duran Duran Duran, John Taylor, Mark Ronson, New Roads School, Red Carpet Massacre, rio, Video
One of my favorite rock photographers, Carsten Windhorst of Front Rows, Pits & Pavements, has embarked upon an ambitious new project called For the Record. Carsten plans to create intimate portraits of some of today’s most popular musicians with their favorite vinyl, then auction the photographs on eBay to support Amnesty International. Carsten is planning to launch the sale in December 2010 to coincide with Human Rights Day.
Windhorst has been creating some of our favorite live shots of Duran Duran for several years now and lucky for us, he chose John Taylor as his first subject. Click below for a scan of an article from the July issue of Photo Pro magazine in which he shares an overview of the project and details of his shoot with John Taylor. Keep an eye on the project at www.for-the-record.org as Carsten also plans to photograph Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes among many others.Tags: amnesty international, carsten windhorst, front rows pits & pavements, John Taylor, photography, portraits
June 10th, 2010Duran Duran News, Duran Duran video, Durantime, Mark Ronson, Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor and Jake Phonique, Second Life
There’s been so much news about Duran Duran lately that it’s getting hard to keep up. I’d like to introduce a new feature to Gimme a Wristband, a daily wrap-up of Duran news. After dozens of excellent submissions on Facebook for a suggested title, I chose DURANTIME (thanks, Tin!) because, well… I might not do an update every day. You’re Duranies… you know how it goes.
Mark Ronson Video Premiere
Yeah, yeah… I know I post a lot about Ronson, but it’s my fookin’ web site innit and I can’t get enough of the guy. Tune into BBC 4 tomorrow (11th June) at 7pm for the premiere of Mark Ronson’s video for ‘Bang Bang Bang’… you gotta check out this teaser:
Nick Rhodes Peeping Some Art
Yesterday, Nick attended the Royal Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition, which is the world’s largest open submission contemporary art exhibition. Some folks may be interested to know that Yasmin Le Bon and Meredith Ostrom were in attendance as well. I’m not sure if Simon was there or not. Holler if you know..
New Roger & Jake DJ Dates
These guys are gonna totally burn Italy the fuck down if they keep this up. The unstoppable DJ duo of Roger Taylor and Jake Phonique will be spinning at the L’Altro Uomo Party in Milan and the Arenile Club near Naples, Italy on June 27th. If you haven’t checked out their music yet, click HERE to stream some Roger & Jake hotness.
In honor of his 48th birthday this week, the Controller made a mad good playlist on Second Life, which you can stream HERE. It’s absolutely worth a listen, with meticulously selected tunes from artists including The Velvet Underground, Duran Duran, Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, David Bowie, Devils and JT solo.
Video Updates on Lucky 13
The boys check in with some very welcome and encouraging words from Sphere Studios in London:Tags: Duran Duran, Durantime, Jake Phonique, Kagency, Mark Ronson, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition