August 28th, 2011Duran Duran
In less than a week, Duran Duran will be onstage for the first time since Le Bon’s vocal problems forced months of show cancellations, performing a series of what the band is calling “rehearsal” gigs. “The four UK shows (in Bournemouth, Cambridge, Bristol and Oxford) will be the first time the band have invited their fans into what is essentially an open rehearsal setting, with no production in a very intimate space” according to the band’s web site. The shows were at first only open to fan club members, but through a miracle of physics, “promoters” (wait… £25 tickets, promoters… interesting ‘rehearsals’, guys…) have somehow “increased capacities” for the (still intimate?) venues and made tickets available to the general public, some of whom are making hilarious attempts at scalping on eBay. While I’m thrilled to have the band performing again, I gotta say they could have done a better job with this. If they want to give a gift to die-hard fans, they should just do it. After all of the grief and financial hardship suffered with the cancellations, let fan club members in for free and and actually share an intimate rehearsal with them. Get some good press and make your core fans feel loved, instead of squeezing them for a few bucks more and then scrambling, giving people reason to say that you couldn’t sell enough tickets. Just sayin’.
Speaking of rehearsals, an effervescent gaggle of charmingly die-hard fans has been holding guard at the bands studio, making sure that our boys are never left wanting for hugs and squeals, with some good-natured ribbing thrown in. These girls have good ears, too, and have mentioned a few gems filtering through the back doors… it looks like we’ll be treated to some rare instrumentals during these upcoming shows, with the band recently practicing ‘Tiger Tiger’ and ‘Faith in this Colour’. These are sure to be a treat, as well as a good way for Simon to rest his voice during the show. I also vote that he uses the time for multiple costume changes, a la the back-up singers during Skin Trade on the Big Thing tour. The silhouette of Simon squeezing himself into some sequined trousers behind a bed sheet could be just the ticket.
For those of you who haven’t heard, Andy Taylor has a (sort of) new track up at The Taylor Tank, called ‘Choises.’ (Andy says he went with the Chinese word for cabbage instead of the regular spelling because of URL availability… I love how this man’s mind works.) It’s a new mix of a song written way back in 2000, a few months before the Duran Duran reunion. When Andy sent me the final mix, I didn’t realize it was an older track (such a bad fan) but was instantly smitten by the vocal hooks combined with the awesome power of Greenie Green on drums. Andy’s well-known for dragging things out of the closet, but this one is definitely a keeper and has made the cut for AT’s soon to be released album, Motherlode. Read more about the track here, and click, listen, and share the widget at the end of this post.
I know a lot of you out there dream of meeting the band someday, but I’d like to give a little plug for my Seattle homegirl, Jenny George. A letter to the band via her ‘Duran Duran, meet Jenny George‘ facebook page reads, “Twenty five years ago this month, Jenny was diagnosed with leukemia and given less than 30 days to live. With that grim prognosis, Jenny began her fight, enduring three years of painful treatment, heartbreak, and uncertainty. She was 12 years old and Duran Duran was her favorite band. She listened to your music during every one of her procedures – no other sounds would suffice. She credits your music, and the support of her family, with providing her with the strength, inspiration, and will to live. At the time, she dreamed of, but did not pursue, her wish to meet the band – survival seemed enough to ask for.
Jenny beat the odds. Today she is a dedicated mother to a teenaged son and an advocate for cancer research and treatment. She has donated her DNA to help scientists understand, diagnose, and treat leukemia and lymphoma. She still loves Duran Duran and has not forgotten the band’s profound influence on her early life. These days, she’s using that passion to help others. Jenny’s birthday is Valentine’s Day and every February she hosts a benefit in gratitude for another year of life — Dancing on the Valentine – with proceeds going to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Please meet Jenny George when you’re in Seattle next month. It would mean the world to her and to those of us who love her.” Basically, Jenny spends a lot of time helping people in need, so let’s give a little back . Help a Duranie sista out and give her page a “Like”, won’t you?
I’d also like to take a moment to thank you all for your patience and continued support of G!MME A WR!STBAND! while I grapple with my own version of Durantime. Between the show cancellations, life in general, and some arsehole totally hacking my web site, I haven’t been posting much. But rest assured, things are looking up. With lots of (mostly) gentle prodding and inspiration from the infamous Stuporfly, I’ve been busily planning the G!MME A WR!STBAND! bash with Chekhov’s Wig in NYC coming up on October 24th. The prize closet is overflowing with some amazing merchandise and memorabilia to be raffled off for charity at the event, which we’ll be telling you about over the next few weeks. And, since I love all of my loyal readers like a fat kid loves cake, I’ve got several opportunities for you to win some killer prizes this week in conjunction with the release of a new book featuring an afterword by Nick Rhodes and Duran Duran sleeve artwork, Matthew Chojnacki’s ‘Put the Needle on the Record: The 1980s at 45 Revolutions Per Minute.’ Stay tuned…
PS… Above is a pic of Nick Rhodes giving his best ‘what are you lookin’ at?’ face at DJ Timati’s party at VIP Room in San Tropez. “Cette fête est si ennuyeuse… non?”
August 12th, 2011Duran Duran
G!MME A WR!STBAND! is proud to present the final gig of indie band Chekhov’s Wig, performing a set of re-arranged Duran Duran songs for the last time, live at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on October 24.
It’s the night before Duran Duran are rumored to be playing Madison Square Garden (our sources say the date is totally solid) so you know that this is going to be a Duranie meetup of EPIC proportions. In order to send Mr. Mishlove (the ‘Wig’s creepily debauched mascot) off in style, DJ Candy is gonna set the dance floor on fire and comedian Anthony DeVito will make you ROTFL all over it with his unique brand of Duran-humor.
But wait… there’s more! G!MME A WR!STBAND! is packing so much fun into this party you’re gonna puke. Watch this space as we lead up to the event with announcements about frenzy-inducing prizes and VERY special guests.
There’s only a limited number of tickets, so hurry up and buy them in advance here. We promise it’s the most Durantastic fun you could ever have for just $15. And after you score your tickets, be sure to let everyone know you’re one of the cool kids on the Facebooks.
G!MME A WR!STBAND! presents
October 24 – 7pm – $15
Knitting Factory – Brooklyn NYC
Andy Taylor is back! No, not with Duran Duran… but our favorite little fooker is up to some new tricks with a very soon-to-be-released album and a fully re-vamped blog, The Taylor Tank. G!MME A WR!STBAND! caught up with Andy yesterday from his state-of-the-art recording studio in Ibiza, where he tells us he’s been making music “24/7″ and “having fun as an independent artist, under no pressure to hit any sales targets or do embarrassingly cringe-worthy day time TV slots.”
First, the music. Andy’s put out a free download of a rockin’ new track called Visible Target. A much more intense version of an earlier public demo, it opens with drums on the warpath and quickly stuns with signature AT guitar crunch and fiery licks. Judging by this first listen, it sounds like we can expect some serious sonic energy from this upcoming release.
In recent years, Andy has shown us (even if a bit more sporadically than we’d prefer) that he’s got more going on upstairs than your average rocker. The guy thinks. A lot. He’s got some seriously progressive views about the music industry, and is looking forward to letting them fly via The Taylor Tank. Andy says he designed the blog “in a kind of magazine style, because I want a creative, interesting means to communicate and link fans with what’s coming up over the next weeks and months.” Looking towards additional input from other artists and guest-bloggers, Andy says, “I didn’t feel that installing a simple news page on a website was sufficient, and its not going to be all about me.”
Taylor is looking to do some guest-blogging on other sites as well, with an upcoming post for Topspin, the forward-thinking music marketing platform which he’s chosen to partner with for the new release. Andy gave us a sneak-peak at the post, a juicy read titled “The New Matrix”. Through his experienced eyes, Andy gives us a close look at the old-school record industry juxtaposed with the new directions that artists are taking with platforms such as Topspin to create winning solutions for both artists and fans, ultimately shaping the future of the entire music industry.
Not satisfied with simply smoldering about the good-old Duran days, Andy’s passion for music continues to burn hot. “I think the most significant thing that has driven me to continue is that, as I stand now, I can do things for myself without having the commercial considerations of a recording agreement to consider. Once you shed that skin, the creation of music takes on a different meaning.” Ever-cognizant and grateful for the success that he’s worked so hard for, Andy firmly states that he’s “fortunate enough to have had the very best from the CD/label business, and now I want to simply make great music, without limitations, and make every ounce of it feel good.”
Of course, with us, things always wind up coming around to Duran Duran one way or another, and Taylor is very aware that he is also the only member of the band, past or present, in Ibiza this week (Duran Duran were forced to cancel the MTV festival amongst other dates due to Simon Le Bon’s recent vocal injury). “Yeah,” he muses, “I would have probably got up and played a few songs with them, but they canceled.” Playful and empathetic at the same time, Andy says, “I understand Simon is struggling with his voice, and well, you can’t sing in those keys as you once could as a younger man and expect it to be sustainable. But I genuinely hope he recovers.”
Talking with Andy Taylor is like listening to his music; it’s completely impossible not to get caught up in his free-spirited (and yes, mischievous) vibe. He’s getting ready to dive back into Twitter (@thetaylortank) and has also started working with some younger artists, which we’ll hear more about on the blog (subscribe and you’ll receive automatic updates). Andy’s also got two more projects starting before the end of the year, which he promises to let us in on, so be sure to keep an eye on G!MME A WR!STBAND! for more AT news.
The Visible Target widget below can be copied, pasted, passed along, emailed to friends and embedded on your personal site or blog, all without copyright restriction. Just rock out and feel the joy. As Andy says, “This is fun to me, and I realized I needed more of that in my life. Jesus, if you can’t enjoy your lot you may as well pack up and throw away the “keys of life”. Well, bollocks to that. We’re just puttin’ some fuel in the Taylor Tank.”Tags: Andy Taylor, Andy Taylor Blog, Duran Duran, Topspin Media
August 1st, 2011Duran Duran Live
In an email sent to fan club members yesterday, Duran Duran said that there will be a tour announcement on Tuesday. The dates will be delivered in a fresh and exciting way (we wouldn’t want to spoil the fun) via the band’s various social networks starting at noon EST. The shows will be announced one at a time, of course, utilizing “all of the ways we communicate” which means that the buttery image of Simon Le Bon’s face that regularly appears on my toast should actually be speaking to me tomorrow morning.
Also in typical fashion, Gimme a Wristband has the early scoop — including exclusive intelligence on when Duran Duran will be taking a bite of the Big Apple!
9/23 – Everett, WA @ Comcast Arena
9/24 – Portland, OR @ Theater of the Clouds
9/30 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint
10/04 – Broomfield, CO @ 1st Bank Center
10/06 – Grand Prairie, TX @ Verizon Theater
10/17 – Philadelphia, PA @ Tower Theatre
10/25 – New York City @ A Place Far Too Exciting to Say Out Loud
10/28 – Boston, MA @ Wang Theater
10/29 – Atlantic City, NJ @ Borgata
My little birds are chirping that that Neon Trees will be the opening act. Get your credit cards warmed up for pre-sale to begin on Wednesday. And whether you can make it to the shows or not, let’s all rejoice as one and be thankful for Simon’s recovery.
Oh and… don’t freak — these are all just rumors at this point, and more dates will likely be added.