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80s ‘Superfans’ talk about their obsessions for Bowie, Boy George, Duran Duran & Elvis

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Superfans in the sixties.
 
I don’t suppose I fit the requirements to be called a superfan, well, unless you count having a cheeky wank to a Kate Bush video when I was much younger. Probably not. But I did once (all too briefly) date a tall blonde David Bowie superfan, who probably only ever went out with me because of my passable impression of the Thin White Duke. My vocal dexterity was convincing enough for this dear sweet girl to demand I serenade her with one or two of her favorite Bowie songs during our more intimate moments. I knew it could never last. There was only so long I could sing “The Laughing Gnome” without losing my ardor.

Back in January 1984, Smash Hits music magazine went in search of a selection of typical eighties superfans. They discovered a band of girls and boys who had an overwhelming passion for all things Bowie, Presley, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Madness, Staus Quo, and even Marillion. These young things gave some sweet and occasionally strange answers as they tried to explain exactly what it means to be a “superfan.” Their answers were compiled into a strange format—as if the writer was attempting to cram in as many words as possible into one sentence without thought for punctuation or even explaining who exactly was talking (Me). But that’s not so important as we do get to hear what it meant to be young(-ish) and obsessed with music in the 1980s.
 
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Smash Hits 5-18 January 1984.
 
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DURAN FANS

NAMES: TRACY PARKES & KIM GREVILLE
AGES: 15 & 14
HOME: BIRMINGHAM

“I (Tracy) liked them when they first came out. She talked me (Kim) into going on Duran Duran ‘cause I liked Dexys. She told me to take down all my DMR stuff, give it away and stick up Duran Duran. We have about the same amount of stuff. Tracy has more scrapbooks but I’ve got more on the wall—about 50 different things. We don’t get anything. We only get things if we like them. If it’s a really gonkified pic of Simon le Bon we won’t get it. You don’t put gonks on your wall do you? There’s sort of levels of being a fan. We’ve got a friend who is a real fan but we think she prefers football. She only puts up little pictures on her wall. Even if we see a little one when we’re walking up the street, we’ll be screaming. There was one time she went totally mad on Wham!. We didn’t talk to her for about three days. Then suddenly she went back to Duran. All the lost Duran Duran fans are Wham! fans. We visit Roger’s mum and we’ve been up to Nick and John’s parents’ houses. The first time we went to Roger’s we interviewed his mum for a school project and we found out a few facts that no-one else knew. She told us he was tone deaf and that his favourite toy was a glove puppet. And that his favourite meal is Welsh Rarebit. We’ve been up twice now. No three times. The last time she invited us. His dad was there decorating. We had our pictures took with his dad, his mum and the dog. I think people who go mad and sleep on the grass outside are cruel. OK, you might see him but he isn’t going to ask you out and that is what a lot of fans expect. Some of the girls say they are going to meet John Taylor one day. He’s going to swirl them round to the dinner table—with chocolates and everything—and ask them to marry him. We know that isn’t going to happen. I (Tracy) would love to be in one of their videos. Yeah (Kim), even if we were only standing at the bus stop. Anything. The only thing we have in common is that we’re Duran Duran fans. I’m (Tracy) quiet; she’s noisy. I (Kim) say the wrong things; she doesn’t”

 
More superfans discussing their love of Staus Quo, Madness, Elvis Presley and David Bowie, after the jump….

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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04.26.2017
09:46 am
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Duran Duran’s John Taylor stars in the sleazy skin flick ‘Vegas, City of Dreams’


 
The blog Preppies of the Apocalypse from writer, publisher, and lover of pop-culture Morgan Richter posted some amusing analysis regarding Duran Duran bassist John Taylor and his 2001 movie, Vegas, City of Dreams. The film was a direct-to-DVD release and likely made the rounds on sleazy subscription cable channels such as Cinemax and satellite TV in South America and the Caribbean.

Though Taylor has been clean and sober since 1994, he played the role of super shady “Byron Lord,” (geddit?) a character who straight-up oozed bad times, blow and booze with sleazy-ease. Perhaps Taylor ripped out a couple of pages from his own personal playbook when it came to finding the proper inspiration for his portrayal of Byron Lord. Who knows?. When it comes to the film, which also goes by the titles of C.O.D. and Marked for Murder , it was directed by Lorenzo Doumani, a casino mogul/filmmaker and the son of M.K. Doumani who owned the famous La Concha hotel in Las Vegas. In addition to Taylor, the film also includes a plethora of Playboy models in almost every female role, lots of sex scenes involving Taylor (including a little bondage action, hello!), post-coital murder and the girl everyone was in love with in 1989, Playboy Playmate Erika Eleniak. With all that going for it, how could this film possibly fail? Well, as Richter eloquently points out, “it’s mostly John’s fault.” Not even appearances by the great Joe Don Baker or actor Paul Winfield could help elevate this mess. In fact, there is at least one scene in Vegas, City of Dreams where, while Taylor is taunting Winfield’s character the actor actually looks as though he’s quite literally regretting his decision to be in the film right then and there. Oof.

After the jump, a sampling from ‘Vegas, City of Dreams’ featuring several scenes with John Taylor doing all kinds of bad stuff…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.04.2017
10:41 am
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‘Nick Rhodes’ Art Attack’: Duran Duran’s stylish keyboardist gives fans a tour of modern art, 1985
06.09.2016
05:04 pm
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We already knew that Nick Rhodes, one of the founding members of Duran Duran, is a sensitive and creative individual. Few events are as aesthetically hyper-charged as his 1984 wedding to Iowa heiress Julie Anne Friedman.

So perhaps it was inevitable, given how many teenybopper magazines the members of Duran Duran appeared in between 1981 and 1987, that someone would have the bright idea to stick Rhodes in a museum and get some quick reactions to the various pieces of art. Which a magazine called Star Hits did in late 1985—between Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Notorious; this would have been a prime Arcadia phase.

When I first saw the pics of Rhodes holding or positioned near various artifacts from the 1980s art scene, I was momentarily sure that they must represent Rhodes discussing artworks he had bought. Alas, no. They put him in a museum and got a few quotes, that’s all.

The feature was called “Making an Exhibition of Himself” and appeared (I am pretty sure this is what happened) in the November 1985 issue of Star Hits and then was repurposed in the January 1-14 1986 issue of Smash Hits, which was a look back at 1985. Rhodes explains that when he was growing up in Birmingham he would visit the Ikon Gallery and look at the art. There’s no mention of where these photographs were taken or what the show was called, except to say that it was “a recent exhibition of young American artists.”
 

 
Let’s examine the four artists who unexpectedly found themselves featured in a music magazine aimed at teenagers.

Mike Cockrill and Judge Hughes were pop art collaborators from 1982 to 1987; here is a a broader spectrum of their output. Nancy Dwyer is a scultpor who often does larger pieces with a typographical element, as in her 1990 poly-coated nylon work “Big Ego.” Lady Pink is often called “the first lady of graffiti” for her unusual position as a woman in the graffiti world with a large body of work; she had the lead role in the 1983 film Wild Style and collaborated with Jenny Holzer on a poster series.

The strangest artist of the bunch is Mike Bidlo, whose career has flirted with outright plagiarism more than once. Bidlo once executed a series of paintings using the same media that Jackson Pollock used and called it “Not Pollock.” He reproduced a large number of Picasso paintings and called the show Picasso’s Women, 1901-71. He saved his most ambitious idea for the master of appropriation, Andy Warhol himself. In 1984 he re-created Warhol’s Factory on the top floor of PS 1 and enlisted friends to imitate various of Warhol’s hangers-on, with Bidlo himself occupying the role of the white-haired master. If you click on his artnet profile you see, among other items, a painting of a Brillo box and a silk-screen-style painting of Jackie O alongside several treatments of a Duchamp-ian urinal.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.09.2016
05:04 pm
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Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes and his cavity-inducing, bubblegum-colored totally 80s wedding
04.08.2016
09:53 am
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Nick Rhodes and Julie Anne Friedman photographed at their art deco themed wedding, 1984
Nick Rhodes and Julie Anne Friedman photographed at their art deco themed wedding, 1984.
 
I don’t know about you, but just looking at these photos of Nick Rhodes (the keyboardist for Duran Duran) all dolled up for his 1984 wedding to model and Iowa department store heir, Julie Anne Friedman, gave me both a cavity and a contact high.
 
Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran and his then wife, Julie Anne Friedman on their wedding day, 1984
Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran and his then-wife, Julie Anne Friedman on their wedding day, August, 18th, 1984.
 
Drawn together by their mutual love of music, Andy Warhol and apparently lipstick, the pair met when Rhodes was only 20, and when Friedman was a mere 23. Friedman’s wealthy folks loved Rhodes as they were under the impression that their new son-in-law didn’t do drugs and enjoyed a good game of Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble. Which was about as far away from the truth as you could get back in Duran Duran’s heyday, an era that was routinely full of liver-killing champagne, cognac and cocaine parties.

Warhol himself was a huge fan of Duran Duran and according to vocalist Simon Le Bon, had a bit of a crush on Nick Rhodes (of whom Warhol writes rather extensively about in his diaries—once confessing to UK magazine The Face that he masturbated while watching Rhodes in Duran Duran’s videos. You know, just like the rest of us). Here’s an excerpt from Warhol’s diary that recalls the occasion when Nick brought his then-girlfriend Julie Anne to meet meet the Pop of Pop:

Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran came to the office and bought his girlfriend Julie Anne. He’s twenty and she’s twenty three. He was wearing twice as much makeup as she was, although he is half as tall.

The pair were married in a ceremony in London, which Warhol did not attend as he didn’t care much for traveling. He did however send along a little wedding present—an original piece of artwork with the inscription, “To Nick and Julie, love Andy ‘84’.” Rhodes and Friedman divorced in 1992 and in 2014, Friedman auctioned off the wedding gift from Warhol (much to the apparent displeasure of Rhodes who had gotten the bulk of their large art collection when they split) for $149,000. More photos from the wedding and Andy’s wedding gift follow, as well as footage from Nick Rhodes’ interview segment with Warhol on Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes in 1985.
 
Nick Rhodes in his pink tuxedo at his wedding to Julie Anne Friedman, August 18th, 1984
 
Nick Rhodes and Julie Anne Friedman at their wedding, August 18th 1984
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.08.2016
09:53 am
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Beautiful Colors: Early posters of Duran Duran
09.08.2014
04:55 pm
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Andrew Golub has been collecting Duran Duran memorabilia for a very long time—well over 30 years—and has probably (definitely?) amassed more, well stuff relating to their career than they’ve even got themselves. It’s hard to keep track of posters, lunch boxes and promotional key rings when you’re off gallivanting around the world shooting big budget music videos with supermodels on yachts made of pure cocaine, isn’t it? Careless memories? Thanks to Andy’s archival efforts—the results that can be see in his book, Beautiful Colors: The Posters of Duran Duran, gallery exhibits he’s mounted and his website—Duran Duran can relax, he’s got them covered.

Duran Duran emerged at the height of the New Romantic movement. Inspired by the escapist fantasies of Bowie and Roxy Music, and motivated by the do-it-yourself credo of bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash, for Duran the scene was a natural fit. As Nick Rhodes would reflect many years later in 1998, talking to Boyz magazine, “Of course [New Romanticism] was camp and over the top, but we felt very comfortable with that. It seemed very natural to put something forward that had a great visual aspect. It grew out of glam and punk, both of which were incredibly stylish movements.”

—Text above and below from Beautiful Colors: The Posters of Duran Duran by Andrew Golub. Here’s a selection of posters from the group’s early years.
 

 

On September 12, 1981, Duran Duran played a show at Amsterdam’s most famous concert venue, Paradiso. The poster below is among Paradiso’s collection of over 1000 silkscreens designed by Martin Kaye. As the concert hall’s in-house designer from 1972 to 1983, Kaye perfected a signature style of bright, attention-grabbing colors and unique lettering that helped define Paradiso’s reputable image for many years.

 

 

This poster advertises a Manchester gig on the band’s first UK tour. The artwork incorporates elements from the ‘Planet Earth’ 7” single sleeve, designed by Malcolm Garrett, who engineered Duran Duran’s graphic work and packaging up until 1985. Garrett’s close attention to detail and the importance he placed on interconnectivity between record sleeves, advertisements, and merchandise would play a huge part in realizing the band’s visual identity: “I was looking to have a kind of consistency, so that everything that might come out with the words ‘Duran Duran’ on it felt like it had come from the same family, the same visual floor.” Helping to usher in postmodernism, Garrett’s use of fonts was a conscious effort to create something new by looking back: “There was a feel in the graphics of the early ‘60s that they were really futuristic. So, if you like, I was looking backwards to move forwards. It felt right and it felt contemporary—but it also felt timeless.”

 

 

In November 1980, an English singer-songwriter and actress named Hazel O’Connor had just starred in a critically acclaimed film called Breaking Glass. She also penned the film’s soundtrack and was about to tour the UK in support of her album. For an opening act, O’Connor enlisted a then-unknown group from Birmingham called Duran Duran. Michael Berrow, one of the band’s managers, sold his flat to purchase the support slot on the tour, taking advantage of the media interest O’Connor had generated from her film. Duran Duran enjoyed valuable exposure on the Megahype tour, earning 10 GBP a week and spending nights sleeping together in the back of a van. On the road, the band got an opportunity to hone its live performance and test a brief catalog of material with large audiences. Requests for encore performances and emphatic approval from females in the audience gave Duran a first glimpse of things to come.

 
More early Duran Duran posters plus some very early videos of the band, after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.08.2014
04:55 pm
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Debbie Harry, Ramones, Nick Rhodes, Courtney Love and more on MTV’s ‘Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes’


 
In December of 2010, I visited the Andy Warhol Enterprises exhibit then being held at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It was an excellent full-career retrospective, loaded with rare goodies, and generously tilted toward his early, pre-Factory commercial work, which I prefer to his more famous silkscreens (commence calling for my skull on a pike, I don’t care). But as much as I was enjoying the early books and the blotted-ink drawings of shoes, I was surprised by a trip down amnesia lane that came at the end of the exhibit, a video installation of one of Warhol’s last projects, the show he produced and co-hosted (with Debbie Harry) for MTV called Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes. The name of the show referred to Warhol’s famous quip “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Episodes of the program were actually 30 minutes in length. #themoreyouknow
 

Warhol with Debbie Harry, dressed by Stephen Sprouse.
 
I was an arty kid, so I knew perfectly well who Warhol was (some of my friends only learned of his existence from that show, believe it or not), and so I never missed it. Though it wasn’t too hard to catch them all—as the series was prematurely ended by Warhol’s 1987 death, there were only five episodes, the last of which was mainly a memorial. But while it was on, it was glorious. Although the program featured lots of marquee names, befitting Warhol’s obsession with celebrity and celebrities, it also highlighted NYC downtown fashion, art, and music phenomena. Mind-expanding stuff for a midwestern kid, and stuff which would have otherwise been entirely inaccessible, since Warhol’s previous television ventures, Fashion and Andy Warhol’s TV, were limited to NYC cable.

And unless you visit the Warhol Museum or a traveling retrospective, the program itself is now pretty well inaccessible. Few things have been more damnably hard to find streaming than episodes of 15 Minutes, and to my complete bafflement, the Warhol Museum store doesn’t offer a home video. Much of what little can be found is fuzzy VHS home recordings, but it gives an adequate taste of how deep the show could go—and remember, this was on MTV.
 

 

 
It gets a good bit better with this clip of Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes taking the viewer on a tour of Manhattan nightclubs The Palladium and AREA (note future Twin Peaks actor Michael J. Anderson as the garden gnome.)
 

 
KONK were an amazing dance-punk band of the era. You may recognize the drummer, Richard Edson, an original member of Sonic Youth, and co-star of the Jim Jarmusch film Stranger Than Paradise.
 

 
This Ramones interview ends with a live, not lip-synced, performance of “Bonzo Goes To Bitburg.”

 
The last bit footage I’ve found is a jaw-dropper—an interview segment with a 21ish, pre-fame Courtney Love!
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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06.25.2014
09:49 am
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Duran Duran’s curious cover Public Enemy’s ‘911 Is a Joke’
11.12.2013
08:50 am
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Duran Duran has had more ups and downs than your typical 1980s teen sensation. They’re still as active as they ever were—they were touring as recently as 2012 and reportedly are working on their 14th album, this time with the help of Mark Ronson, who has produced albums by talents as notable as Q-Tip, Amy Winehouse, Black Lips, and Paul McCartney. Being Duran Duran, there’s more than a faint whiff of “1980s has-been” connected to them, but it would be preposterous to claim that they’re anything remotely close to one-hit wonders—their first four albums went platinum in the U.S., and eleven of their singles cracked the top 10 in the U.S., a list that for some unfathomable reason doesn’t even include “Rio.”

Still, Kurt Cobain and N.W.A. more or less smashed to pieces any pretension of relevance to which Duran Duran may have laid claim to in the 1990s. Even after that point, however, their journey was not altogether embarrassing. Allmusic.com gives high marks to their 1993 self-titled effort (many refer to it as The Wedding Album), even as it disparages their “wretched” cover of the Velvet Underground classic “Femme Fatale.” Jumping ahead to our own era, Allmusic.com similarly has positive feelings for their last two studio efforts, 2007’s Red Carpet Massacre and 2011’s All You Need Is Now.

It will be clear that my purpose here is not to heap derision on Duran Duran. I was in middle school in 1983, and I recall full well how thoroughly they dominated the 13-year-old demographic, particularly the girls. I respect the supreme popcraft of Duran Duran at their best. But it would be foolish to pretend that there haven’t been some low points.

Foremost among them may be their cover of Public Enemy’s “911 Is a Joke” off of their 1995 covers album Thank You (even reflexively generous Allmusic.com gives that album a single solitary star).

Here’s the album cut:

 
Duran Duran’s version of the Flavor Flav classic off of Fear of a Black Planet takes the unimpeachable Hank Shocklee beats into a more rootsy direction—many have commented that it sounds a lot like early Beck, in fact (Beck, of course, was probably at peak visibility around then). In the video below, it’s hard to feature to what extent Simon Le Bon and the boys (former Zappa player Warren Cuccurullo without a shirt seems like a version of Glenn Danzig) are taking themselves seriously or not. After all, the song is a pointed critique of the deeply embedded racism that may or may not be peculiar to the United States, where your address will determine the level of social services that you receive. It’s difficult to imagine that Duran Duran ever had any such problems with the emergency services in the UK, or if they did, it’s pretty certain that race wasn’t a factor. (Also, 911 doesn’t even mean anything in England, where they use 999 for that purpose.) Point being, surely none of this was lost on them, right?

In the end, the key miscalculation may have been to underestimate the skills of Flavor Flav. As PE’s court jester and figure of fun, Flav doesn’t conform to anyone’s idea of an artistic master. But “Cold Lampin’ with Flavor” off of Nation of Millions is a work of sheer, unbridled genius; as far as I know, there’s nothing in the rap canon that can touch it (hey, refresh your memory if you disagree). And “911 Is a Joke” ain’t far behind.
 
Here’s that live rendition of the track, taped at Musique Plus in Montreal:

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
When Duran Duran supported Hazel O’Connor’s Megahype
He Ain’t No Joke! Flavor Flav’s awesome cameo in decidely old school 1987 Eric B. and Rakim video

Posted by Martin Schneider
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11.12.2013
08:50 am
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When Duran Duran supported Hazel O’Connor’s Megahype

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A fab piece of pop memorabilia from the wonderful broadcaster and journalist, Andy Kershaw, who writes:

‘This letter was sent to me (as the Ents Secretary of Leeds University) some time in November 1980.

‘I still think they were slightly overpaid.’

The letter from M.A.M. Agency was by way booking a band called Duran Duran as support to Hazel O’Connor (remember her?).

Andy Kershaw
Leeds Univ.
S. U.

Dear Andy

Please accept this letter as confirmation that the Support group for HAZEL O’CONNOR’S MEGAHYPE at Leeds University on Wed 3rd Dec is DURAN DURAN, who will be paid a fee of £50 payable cash on night as per contract.

Please sign and return one copy of this in confirmation of the above.

Yours sincerely,

Dan Silver
M.A.M. Agency Ltd.


Agreed and accepted

on behalf of:

Date:

The full story behind this and many other excellent tales, can be found in Andy Kershaw’s brilliant and highly recommended autobiography No Off Switch get your copy here.
 
With thanks to Andy Kershaw!
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.20.2013
07:53 pm
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