I fell in love with Duran Duran on the Friday night the week after Thanksgiving week in 1984. Yes, I remember it that specifically. It was at my friend Pam’s house. Neither of us had MTV. We lived so far out in the sticks that we couldn’t get MTV, so we got our weekly video fix via NBC’s Friday Night Videos. Pam had just gotten braces and was brushing them when the video to Live Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” came on. Without realizing who Simon Le Bon was, or who Nick Rhodes was, I picked them out and asked Pam, “Ooooh, who’s that?” To be fair to John Taylor, I had picked him out, too, but he was wearing a Duran Duran shirt in the video, so I was pretty sure that he was in the band! Three out of the five members had just caught my eye in a video that was not Duran Duran. I’d vowed for at least two years not to like Duran Duran. Because everyone liked Duran Duran. Don’t get me wrong. I liked their music. I just wasn’t getting hung up on them like all the other girls. Then I saw that video. I was pretty sure that I was about to change my mind. After the commercial break when DTKIC ended, Duran Duran’s newest single “Wild Boys” came on. And, as they say, the rest is history!
For a period of time, the core band members were down to just Simon and Nick. Other members drifted in and out. John left the band to go into rehab for drugs and alcohol, then tried (pretty unsuccessfully), to have a solo music career, an acting career, and another band (Neurotic Outsiders). Roger Taylor had left earlier, due to a nervous breakdown and was enjoying life on his estate/farm. Andy Taylor had left to start his own solo career, one that has been moderately successful over the decades, although more so in the 80’s than since.
Admittedly, during most of these departures and side gigs, I lost interest in current events with the band. I still loved their classic stuff, but really wasn’t following along for the must part, until “The Wedding Album” came out in 1993. I was graduating from college and the song “Ordinary World” spoke to me in a mighty way. It came along at just the right time to truly save my life. But after that album, they lost my interest again. The Eagles were making a brilliant comeback, the Hell Freezes Over Tour, and that pretty much had all of my attention. Fast forward to 2006, when my friend JP decided that she, my friend Malissa, and I needed to go see a recently-reunited line-up of the original Fab Five on the Reunion Tour in Nashville, TN. We had horrible seats and Simon was in a pissy mood. But, by golly, I got to see the five of them perform together!
Then, in 2007, Duran Duran released the album Red Carpet Massacre. Andy Taylor had been kicked out. Again. When I read a review of the new album in a library journal, I exercised my librarian authority and initialed the review, so it would be ordered for the library. Once it was added to the collection, it basically lived in my office. The album featured work by both Justin Timberlake and Timbaland. Interesting collaborations, to say the least. Lots of die-hard Duranies hated it. I found it pretty interesting. My favorite track was one never released called “She’s Too Much.”
Then I lost interest again until 2012, when my friend Becky and I got tickets to see them in concert in Durham, North Carolina, just a few days before my birthday, while they were touring to promote their latest album, All You Need Is Now, which I hadn’t heard a single track from. They were stunning! Andy wasn’t there, but Simon, Nick, John, and Roger were, and they looked and sounded amazing! After the show, Becky and I decided it would be cool to hang around and try to wait for the band at their tour bus, which was parked out front of the venue. We ended up in the loading dock a little bit later, and by a strange twist of fate, ended up meeting Nick Rhodes. I spoke to him. I touched him. And a new reality was opened up to me. This band was still awesome – and now they were also accessible!
Over the next decade (I cannot believe it’s been almost 10 years since that Durham show), I would meet the entire band in New York City through a bizarre twist of fate. I would travel to Edinburgh, Scotland, to see John Taylor read from his autobiography – and he was never even my favorite band member – a night that began an unparalleled twenty-eight-day vacation in the UK and Europe. I would win a charity Skype with John. I would see them about a dozen times on their Paper Gods tour, including twice on the front row. I would attend a convention of Duranies in Chicago for a long weekend where I would meet some of the most phenomenal Duranies in the universe – as well as some of the weirdest individuals you can imagine. I would travel to Seattle for Duran Duran Appreciation Day and meet the ever lovable and sweetheart of a guy, Andy “Durandy” Golub in person, as well as making friends with several West Coast Duranies, and touring the hallowed Duran Duran Archives. I would catch the band in concert for two New Year’s shows, fulfilling a fantasy I’d had since my teen years of bringing in the new year at one of their shows. I would make my virgin voyage to Vegas to catch two shows at the Cosmopolitan. I would make the acquaintance of a very special friend who worked for the band, MOPA, “My Own Personal Assistant” (total inside joke). I would start a side business focused on selling my own collection and items I thought might be of interest to other people. I would, in short, become completely devoted to this band and put it at the center of my life’s mission.
In 2021, I spent thousands of dollars collecting every possible incarnation of Duran Duran’s latest album, Future Past, to sell in my side business. On the bright side, I made more than I invested. Confession: The album came out in late October; it’s now mid-May; I still haven’t listened to the entire album. I’ve lost interest again. How? Why? I don’t know that I can explain it. It’s kinda like when I was a girl and loved my Barbie dolls. I’d invested a lot of time, energy, and money into them; I loved them. But there came a time when I felt like it was time to step away.
It’s now 2022. The band has just won induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Andy Taylor will be inducted with them, as will former guitarist Warren Cuccurullo. I’m proud of them for this accomplishment, mostly, I think, because it recognizes and gives a nod to their contributions to the music industry in the past. I can live with their past. It’s the present that troubles me. In March, my husband and I returned from our second 80’s cruise. We went on our first one as covid was coming into the public conscience. So much has changed in every facet of my life in the past two years. Maybe that has something to do with why my feelings about them have changed. Or maybe I’ve watched them take their fans increasingly for granted for so long, I’ve just finally decided that I don’t want to be treated that way any longer. Part of me thinks it’s over forever. Part of me says, I’ve been here before with this band; GOODBYE IS NOT FOREVER. Regardless of which way it goes, though, I will always treasure my past experiences with Duran Duran. I will always adore the friends I’ve made because of them. More than anything, I will always love their music; it has truly helped to make me who I am. I’m trying to find a buyer for my one seat to see them at Merriweather Post Pavilion on my birthday, August 23, because my heart just isn’t in attending the show, anymore. It’s a difficult thing, after the thrill is gone, but as I try to make my way to the ordinary world, I will learn to survive.