Let me preface this by saying I’m a big fan of Duran Duran. Ever since I was nine, the eighties version of the fab five ruled my cassette tape recorder as well as my bedroom walls. I recall when Sing Blue Silver came out in 1985 and my mother, who begrudgingly agreed to watch it with me, claimed that Andy Taylor looked high because his eyes were glassy. I argued and cried that they were good guys and that they’d NEVER do any drugs. In my eyes, alcohol was okay because I’d seen my parents drink it after a hard days’ work, but no way could they be into drugs.
NO NO NO.
They just couldn’t because bad guys do drugs and Duran Duran weren’t bad guys. Thankfully they weren’t bad guys, but as I grew up I knew better. They were good guys that got swallowed up by fame and took advantage of it any way they could. I’d learned that being in the public eye could force you to do a lot of things you might not necessarily want to do. Thank you John Taylor. The excesses of drugs, alcohol, and sex was how they coped with being celebrities. Anyone in their same position might fall in the same traps.
Fast forward to the late eighties, early nineties when they were a shell of themselves. Roger and Andy left after Live Aid and Simon, John, and Nick, carried on and did Notorious. I’d caught the Big Thing Tour when they were trying their best to stay relevant while grunge metal was born and Kurt Cobain became a household name. I saw that “good guy” John Taylor, who was my favorite at the time, clearly drowning in the drug haze and attempting to still be the attractive bloke who had teenage girls screaming at the top of their lungs. Looking back at most of those shots, I recall a very dazed individual that was way out of control. He was still sexy, yes very much so, but coming into young adulthood, I knew he needed help.
Going into college, I started paying less attention to Duran and more to metal music. The love had started in high school when Appetite For Destruction was released. My “John” was Duff McKagan and he along with Slash, Death Angel, and Slayer replaced John Taylor and Duran Duran in my locker. I kept an eye on Duran, buying every album except Medazzaland, (I later bought it), because post John, I barely held an interest. Even when they reunited and Astronaut was released, my excitement was tempered. I loved the album, but I didn’t attend the show when it came through town. Looking back at that, I believe I couldn’t get all that happy about another humdrum attempt to recapture their eighties glory. It was also the time I started being a freelance writer and journalist so I had to stay on top of the metal scene which meant paying less attention to my fab five. In truth, a part of me just wasn’t interested enough and I preferred to follow them from afar.
These days, I believe I’ve regained my interest in the band. I was genuinely excited when All You Need is Now and Paper Gods was released. I’ve been fortunate to go to see them on both tours and even now that I’m still very much a metalhead who’d rather hear some Opeth, Megadeth, or Ghost than any pop music coming from Top 40 radio, I’m still a faithful Durannie. Unlike the eighties, I can look at the guys with a more critical eye. I know they’ve weathered many storms and I appreciate everything they’ve done for their fans. Despite this adoration for them, I try not to fall into the trap of not calling them out when needed. An example was the North Carolina show on this tour. In my heart of hearts I felt that they should’ve done the Bruce Springsteen and refused to play the show due to the controversy there over the anti-trans bill, but instead, they did a classy thing and signed a petition against the bill and spoke about equality. As a person of color, I can appreciate that my favorite band would step out and do something they clearly didn’t have to do. They showed support for a marginal group and went out of their way to make a statement without disappointing fans. In my opinion, what they’d done was more than anything I’d seen from any metal bands. I heard a couple who spoke out against the inequalities, but none that I know of went that far.
By the way, this isn’t a post to talk about the differences between Duran Duran and metal. Instead, it’s to give a perspective on how different our likes can be. If you can believe it, Duran Duran has been sighted as an influence by many bands. Mnemic did a cover of Wild Boys, Deftones did The Chauffeur, and all true Durannies should know that Duff McKagan and John Taylor worked with Matt Sorum and Steve Jones in Neurotic Outsiders.
Yep, I’ll never forget that show! *smiles*
So if you think I’m shafting my metal roots for the now aged fab five, you’re missing the point. You can be a Durannie and metalhead if you so chose. It doesn’t make you any less of a Duran fan or a metal fan to enjoy both because heck, Duran and metal had intersected many times. Bottom line, my two favorite genres of music have come together in more ways than one and this metalhead/durannie couldn’t be happier.