Tuesday, November 22, 2011

'Something You Should Know' about M Interview!

(Cover of Something You Should Know--The Duran Duran Fan Documentary)

M Douglas Silverstein is a producer, director, and recently released the Duran Duran Fan Documentary, Something You Should Know. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, many very famous, and has found joy and bliss in doing what he does best...film. Kirk from DDTTRH had the pleasure and honor to interview M (as he is also called) in a phone call between Cleveland and Los Angeles.

'Something You Should Know' about M, that Kirk learned in this interview, is that M is not just a talented film artist but is also guided as a a person by passion, a love for people, by ethics and moral principle. I hope you will enjoy this interview with M as much as I did. DDTTRH proudly presents...the 'Something You Should Know' about M interview....

It was Saturday morning...that the call came in from Los Angeles to Kirk (K) in Cleveland...

K: Hello? Is this M?

M: Yes it is, how are you?

K: Good...good...you having your coffee?

M: I'm trying.

K: Thank you for interviewing with us. I feel so honored. I watched your documentary and I just love it.

The First question is…did you make it out to a concert this year and what did you think of their new material?

M: I did not get to a concert this year, it was really sort of funny my schedule. Every time I thought I would be going to a certain location for example LA, for example New York among others…it just…with my production schedule, it was always a day before or a day after that I would be able to do it. And its not to say that I wouldn’t love to see them again. I’ve seen them probably 60-80 times or something based on all the travelling around the world for so many years with them. Now…what do I think of the new material? I think its pretty damn good.

K: Yeah—Mark Ronson’s great…

M: Yeah but I just I think a lot of people they look back retrospectively and sort of slam other stuff like of the more recent albums…I thought there were great tracks on Astronaut and I thought there were great tracks on Red Carpet Massacre….now it doesn’t mean that the public as a whole really embraced them and that’s why people have had negative feedback within the fan community.

I think it was valuable stuff…I think they still have a tremendous amount of energy, creativity and desire to consistently aspire to relevancy. I know that that’s individually really important to the members…that they don’t want to just be a play the hits band and maybe that’s what they’ll wind up doing when they feel satiated with it, but you know…you’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They’re still doing it they’re still going for it. I think they deserve a lot of credit not just from Duran Duran fans but from the music community in itself.

K: Right! They take great care…

M: They’re fighting for it….you know what I mean? They’re really fighting for it…to put their stamp in music history. I think it proves how much they love doing this. I’m sure their bank accounts are fluffy enough where they don’t need to go through the rigors of the road but its clear that they love it…they should be lauded for that.

K: Right….right…what I appreciate about them is that they take their time and do something really meaningful. This album has been a long time coming and just the fact that they took the time to do it right..to me they put it off a couple of times and they told their fans this but I think the end product is just fantastic.
Did you see the ‘Girl Panic’ video…did you like it?

M: I think its fantastic. I think its really well done. I think its interesting. I feel honestly that John is a little underserved visually. I feel like he’s like always the reporter or the limo driver but Simon, Nick, and Roger have charming cameos…as the hotel staff and so forth and you know John is more serious than people realize. And maybe that what they were more comfortable with when they were discussing it with Jonas the director but I mean its really cool…I’m curious if they’re going to do a short version for commercial applications as opposed to the extended version, but they have all the tools to make a phenomenal short form video of it as well.

K: Right…right…I’ve been thinking that too…that a short version would be really good. I probably told you this, I sent you a link about it…here at DDTTRH we are changing our direction and mission and we’re going to be less focused on just ‘getting Duran Duran to the Rock Hall’...we want to show the world that they’ve made music history…I mean you…you’ve listened to the band for a long time. How do you feel Duran Duran has made music history and are legendary?

M: I think that its absolutely clear that almost no other band was as instantly recognizable for their videos, their fashion, their flair and their looks. At some level there are people who keep them in that 80’s box. Or they dismiss them in the 80s as being too good looking and didn’t concentrate on the music. But when I listened to the first three albums in particular I think that stuff is still incredibly interesting…relevant…its so clear how much they’ve…I think almost in the way that they’ve influenced so many other artists and bands…they were early sponges to what was happening around them and their scene. They have created such…I mean god…so many bands whether they even realize it or not owe them a sliver of their career to the inspiration of Duran Duran. I mean you could say in Something You Should Know alone, in the documentary, you got people like Moby and Barenaked ladies talking about how they were sitting out in the snow and in the rain begging to get in…couldn’t get in…Moby bragged his way (I think he said he used the term ‘bragged’ his way in)…he actually forced his way in to getting a ticket. And so these are people who…Johnathon Davis of Korn, just like them…these are people who grew up to have very substantial music careers…chart toppers and trend setters in their own respective genres and they were HUGE fans of the band. And not just like ‘Yeah, they were good’…’ I like that Rio song’ or ‘I like the Hungry like the Wolf’ they were substantial fans who made investment like what we remember being so turned on to them as young music fans. And they still dig them so they’re just like you and I and all the people covered in the film.

K: Certainly the effect they’ve had on fans is big! I can’t believe how many fans just come in to our site from all over the world and I don’t know if you’ve read through the petition, but its pretty amazing what fans say about them.

M: Yeah I mean I know that while we document 800 fans being interviewed in the film…that’s how many we have signed clearances from….meaning that they give us a permission legally to put them on film (that they should make the cut)…but we posted many many more and there are still people just finding out about the film from…I forget the last count…but I think it was 84 or 87 countries…unique countries who said ‘Oh my god I just found out about this…is there any way I can be in it…is there going to be a second one…oh my god please…’

K: Actually that was one of my questions…because we’re actually excited to promote this documentary to our fans. I was really excited that Andy…I saw Andy (I’ve been talking to him) and also Salvo from Duranasty…we’ve interviewed them and they’re very strong supporters of us.
Do you plan on expanding this documentary? I was thinking you could make it something like ‘Something You Should Know Too’…like its ‘T-O-O’…some play like that.

M: Do I have your permission to use that name?

K: Sure! If you like!

M: I don’t have any current plans to do that. I would be interested to hear what fans would want from the next one. There are some subject matters…that ah man it was so difficult to make the cut… with over 250 hours spanning…of filming over 5 years and a couple years of post…it was really really difficult. There are things that I wanted to make it that couldn’t make it. There are fans I wanted to make it that couldn’t make it. It was arduous…it was emotionally devastating and painful to make the cuts in order to make it…you know, because my first earliest cut was 5 hours or so.

K: Oh really? Wow!

M: And no one can watch a 5 hour documentary. And I think that as long and as perfect as it is now…there are…because of timing there are some additions that we had clearance to interview…there were some super models we had cleared to interview that we didn’t have worked out…

K: Ah, that’s too bad….

M: So there are things like that I’d like to put into another one. I guess if I would do another one I would definitely like to follow up on how the band feels everything has gone since the reunion but I’d like it to be a more intimate ‘at their homes’ look as opposed to during their big promo period. I actually would like to film the band during a down period when they’re not promoting so it would be more intimate and I would like to catch up with the fans…I would like to do some sort of Duranie convention…these are things I’d like to cover in the second movie that…I went to great fan parties and that’s cool…I mean maybe there’s life at 40 if you know what I mean…Life begins at 40 as they say. So maybe we’ll do it like the 7up series so every seven years I create another 7 year project (laughs)…

K: Yeah…why not? You know I think there’s a convention coming up in the UK…someone was talking about it…

M: Yeah, I saw that…I know that there was some in the 80’s and early 90’s that had several hundred people and I think that these are limited to under 100 and it would be really amazing if there was a way to get…maybe do it on three continents…do one in the US with the band involved, one in the UK with the band involved, maybe one in Australia because I think they have a big fan base, Italy, Brazil, as far as big fan bases that respond to me a lot…

K: Right..Italy definitely…

M: Yeah! Salvo, so cool…

K: I know…he is…good guy…

M: (laughs) I hope I answered that…

K: You answered that perfectly!
Something you said in the Gimme a Wristband interview that I really liked that you said…and it says…and you’re speaking about the film, and I quote this…
“What some people would call an obsession or a wild fascination, or whatever, could be for anything — it could be for a church group, a sports team, or a family reunion. The film to me is all about people who are willing to do whatever it takes to be a part of something that is special and meaningful to them. They don’t care what people think or do around them because this innately brings them joy, happiness, meaning and purpose in their life.”
Would you call this a trademark of your work to try and discover people’s emotions, how they think and act…why is this meaningful to you?

M: What do you mean, in what context?

K: I mean for example have you done any other work in film where you’ve explored this kind of…people emotions…how they think and act…why is that meaningful to you…to explore that…as an artist…as a film artist?

M: You know…I can’t point to anything specifically, but in my work with 600 artists ranging from Madonna, Green Day, Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Rihanna…I always try to…in fact…I think the reason I’ve been so successful or fortunate is because I always do more research…I think than anybody…I’m kind of famous for…with people who work with me who think I’m crazy…they think its crazy how much effort I put into it.

I’m really passionate about people in general and passionate to find out things that are different, unique to them…like when I worked with Rihanna I knew she grew up in Barbados. So I asked her things, you know, just as a starting off point…‘If I were in Barbados with you and we could go to your favorite place to eat…where would we go…what would we eat…who would pay the bill…and what would we do after that?’.

(Rihanna with M>)

K: …What did she answer?

M: Oh gosh—I don’t remember at all now…

K: That’s fine…that’s fine…

M: But she certainly got a kick out of it…and I often have artists say ‘How do you know that about me?’ And its not because I’m…I think I’m sort of going around what you’re asking…let me try to be more direct which is…I’m really really…I love people…and I love…I’m a very passionate and creative person…and I admire people who are individually or collectively passionate and creative and I just think its really inspiring to watch people take any lengths that they’re willing to do to be happy. I think in the end this comes down to being happy and finding eternal bliss, and yeah…I hope that answers it…I mean I just love people.

K: No…that perfect…that’s great…

M: It is also a mark or a trademark (to use…to coin your term) of what I will and want to be doing in my future projects about in anything which is to find the essential heart and soul. There were many opportunities to have huge commercial and film festival success at the risk of…with this project I mean..huge success that I was guaranteed…that I turned down because it wasn’t who I was to make a film…to change my own personal ethos…I was not willing to change the core of my mission and to turn the characters on themselves or have any exposition that would make them look you know cuckoo or something…because its not who I am…I’m not an asshole and I don’t think its fair…and I wanted to…as I do in life…in my art…I want to be about integrity…always being honest and I want to be sort of a pure heart, even if that’s a little whatever…a little esoteric to say…you know I’m just a sweet guy and I’m not going to make asshole films…it would be counterintuitive to my entire being to be ‘quote on quote’ ‘that guy’…its just not me.

K: Yeah…I read in the Gimme a Wristband interview how you left out some things because they explored sort of that negative side of fans…and I just want to say kudos to you for doing that…for standing up to the industry in a way I suppose…because you know the industry likes dirt and that’s great…

M: You have no idea. I was in the Sundance Film Festival and they were like this is too not enough lets see some other footage, what else do you have…and I explained the types of things that I had and they were like ‘Yes’...I knew though that once it was out there, it was out there and I would have compromised my integrity…and I would have been ‘quote-on-quote’ ‘that guy’ and in my life an asshole…I just like….you know what man…I sleep great at night…

K: Yeah…its not worth it…

M: I mean that’s…I’m supremely proud of that…

K: Good for you…good for you…
You were mentioning that…and I did read this too…that you’ve interviewed 100’s of artists and legends in politics and music and you’ve probably been asked this before, but who has been your favorite person to interview and why?

(M with Willie Nelson)

M: Hmmm…good questions

K: And I’m going to ask about Paul McCartney next…I’m really interested in that…

M: I guess there’s a couple of moments where like..oh my god…where I can’t believe I’m like here…and one of them is…when I worked with Madonna within 3 minutes of her accepting her…she got on stage to accept the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame award…she walked off the stage and onto my set to interview for me to interview her with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland…so like to be with Madonna at that seminole moment in her career was kind of fuckin neat..I was like..’oh shit…like who gets to do this..thats cool’. That was pretty amazing…

I’ve had the good fortune to work with or meet all of the Beatles (except for John Lennon)…and you know some of them were like quick handshake things or whatever and that was just one of those things that you don’t really tell a lot of people…there’s no reason to bring it up…and also to me its so deeply personal…like the time when I shook Paul McCartney’s hand and I was like ‘Oh my god’…

And I have a very intimate story (about BB King) that I don’t really like to tell people, but he’s embraced me in a very loving way held me in his chest and told me I was a good person and doing things right..and I just…you know…and I have a tie tack of theirs that he gave me…there’s just some moments that you can’t even explain them…you know…"

K: Were you able to interview Paul or was it just a meeting?

M: I worked for him.

K: Oh—you worked for him.

M: I did…I was in-between school…I had gone to music school in the early 90’s and had injured myself on a play and like five bands at once I injured myself so…I literally needed something to do…and a buddy of mine called and said..’hey dude, I’m working on the Paul McCartney tour…you want to come?’…and I’m like ‘uh huh’

K: I would say yes too…

M: It was just…it wasn’t hard to say yes…and you know..I’ll tell you a really neat story…and just a fact about Paul that not everyone knows that I just think is super classy and really neat…Paul McCartney is incredibly aware of the effect he has on other people…so literally he can spot it like 10seconds before anyone else…he can see someone walking up towards him and they go ‘oh-mi-gosh-oh-mi-gosh-oh mi-gosh’


M: ‘Its Paul McCartney!’ right? Like they can’t even speak…’oh…oh…oh…P-P-Paul’ or they scream..but because he’s like a mellow gentleman and he just doesn’t want to deal and that’s like when ‘from when you’re 20’ so before anyone can freak out…like before their internal software registers ‘Holy shit that’s Paul McCartney’ he says ‘Hi, how ya doin?’…and everyone is like…’P-P-P-P


M: …That just freaked me out that Paul McCartney said hello to me’…you know what I mean…they don’t know what to do…it gives him that few seconds to be the good guy and walk away and not have to sign an autograph cause that really not what he wants to do. He’s trying to have a normal life…and its so fuckin funny…I have seen him do that so many times…and I’ve heard other people I know say the same thing (who hang outside with me or whatever you know)


M: And I was like…when I worked with Paul I was the low guy on the totem pole…I I worked on the tour as a roadie…as a tech…so…anything else?

K: Yeah…I’ve probably got probably two more questions, is that ok?

M: Sure!

K: How have you been adapting your art to the new media spaces out there? I mean we have Twitter and Youtube and the ‘digital revolution’ with the internet…

M: I don’t know…I think I’m like many people…I think I’m adapting to it…and I don’t know…like I’m not like someone who…because…there are a lot of people who are new media ‘content generators’ who aren’t ‘quote’on-quote’ professional, and they’re trying to create buzz for advertising, but I get paid for my work so I don’t need to focus going out to shoot and generate ad sales…also for me I know a couple of friends who do it…there’s not enough money to be made in my opinion…even with many millions of hits…so its not the kind of money that would be interesting for me to do. Now…I do have a social media adviser who sits me down and asks what kind of contests do you want to run, what kind of fun facts…Duranie polls…all the Duranie polls come from me…

K: I saw those…I saw those…those are great…

M: I think it’s a good way to have a conversation with people and…again…how…let me again see if I answered you on…how does the new media…how is the new media affecting my own art work…mostly its just that my clients need me and I’m aware that I have to shoot in certain…and I’m technically aware of the types of framing, angles, even down to the types of films, lenses that will be better for something that could be broadcast on a a film, a filmscreen, to a TV screen, to a mobile screen…so its complex…it can be very complex…you have to put a little thought into it…and sometimes because there are shrinking budgets out there and people want to spend less…you know…and if you think about it from their angle…if I could pay one guy to createe cool content and cut it up into different stand-alone segments and put it across our platform you know like from our mobile division to our cable division to onsite promotions…why wouldn’t they? I don’t blame them…I don’t blame them because they’ve got…an executive has to be responsible for their budgets in the end and in the long run.

K: Ok—one last one and that’s the fun question of the whole interview and I’ll let you choose which one you want to do...here we go…one is I read you were trying to adapt a book to movie form…and the other is about your part in a Law and order episode…which one would you rather talk about?

M: What book I’m adapting?

K: Yeah! I mean you don’t need to tell me ‘what book’…just like

M: I can tell you…I can give you a little brief about my background in voiceover and TV film stuff. So I have been on Law and Order, I’ve been on Law and Order Special Victims Unit, and I’ve been on Saturday Night Live…

K: Yes, I’ve read about Saturday Night Live too…

M: I’ve done really big voice-overs for national and global campaigns for Canon video cameras, Toyota, Kelloggs Raisin Bran, a bunch of other stuff…I have a funny story to talk about that I…so…

K: Oh! I want to hear the funny story!

M: I don’t think it will translate into the written word so much but I tell you when I was doing this Kellogs Raisin Bran it was…I had to say this line and I got it within like 4 or 5 minutes and it was “MMMMM those two scoops…two scoops strong, all morning long…its delicious’


M: Right? And what I didn’t know going into it is was there was a producer who was a real asshole to me and he kept saying ‘oh no no’…he was british…and he was saying ’you’re saying da-licious…you’re not saying de-licious…you’re saying da-licious’ and like I kept doing it like over and over ‘MMMM…two scoops strong, all morning long…its de-licious’, Right? And what I didn’t know, and I was like in there an hour, an hour and a half is that he was the producer of the spot…he created a test spot with his voice and they said ‘We love it! But we don’t want a British accent’ so he couldn’t fill in the spot and he tried to be an American and they kept saying ‘You sound like a british guy trying to be an american’ so they asked me to be exactly like him…like the same kind of deep voice, whatever voice I have…and gravelly and like he hated me…

K: Because you were American

M: Oh no, not just that…he knew it was $100,000 or more for a big fucking campaign…

K: Yeah, Kelloggs, they’re big…

M: And you make a lot of money doing those kinds of spots…and he just put me through HELL…and he was like…I kept looking up at the engineer and up at the producer and they were lowering their heads, shaking, mouthing ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry’…but I didn’t know until the end why he was such an asshole…so they pulled me aside and said ‘Just so you know…he created the spot, he did the voiceover, he was supposed to get it and you know he lost it to me because he couldn’t do it with a convincg American accent. So that’s why he was a prick to you’. And I was like ‘Oh wonderful.’

K: That’s funny…

M: On law and order special victims unit…

K: Yeah—you were a judge or court clerk…

M: That was on Law and Order…but on Law and Order Special Victims unit I was a

K: Which is my favorite by the way of all of them…I love Law and Order special victims unit

M: Oh yeah? I was a head of the jury and like the whole angle was that I was the young guy and and I had all these great scenes and it was like my first real meaty role…boy…I called all my friends…and I had like you know…I had a star trailer…I got treated like a king…I’m a starring role on Special Victims unit…and I’m like ‘Holy Shit this is awesome!’…and everybody I knew, my family, my parents they’re a little older but they stayed up late to watch it and again…cut to watching it and all you see is like an exterior shot of the jury deliberation room and like me sticking my head out of the jury and like giving a ‘hmmm’ look…they cut the entire scene…

K: Are you kidding me?

M: It happens all the time…and someone would be like…I just saw you on the show and I saw you for a half second and I would be like ‘Fuck…fuck’

K: Oh well…

M: And not long after I was on Saturday night live and what happens with Saturday night live is that they shoot a pre-show…they shoot two shows back to back, one that’s like the rehearsal show and they determine whats going to make it to air and what isn’t. And then they shoot the live show…and for time…they’ll cut in…if theres a scene that does really well in the warm-up show…the first showing…then they just cut it in, or they’ll use it for the west coast feed, they’ll cut it in afterwards as well. So what happens…I had like a tiny one line…it was a scene on a Halloween special with Will Farrell and Drew Barrymore…

K: Oh..I love Drew Barrymore…

M: Yeah—shes a Duranie…

K: I’ve been trying to reach her but she won’t contact us, so…I know she’s really busy, but…

M: I don’t know her, otherwise I’d hook you up.

K: Can you hook us up? That would be awesome.

M: I don’t know her, I don’t know her.

K: Oh you don’t know her, oh darn…

M: No, but if I did I would. So yeah…it was the same kind of thing…which is…it made it to the rehearsel which they filmed and then it never made it to air and so I called all these people…and after that I just stopped calling people so when the Law and order came on that was just basically a couple of lines ..’oh the defendant…bla bla bla…de de da de de da…and the court case….bla bla bla…your honor’, you know it wasn’t really a big role but I’m still getting paid for it.

K: You’re getting paid for it, that’s what matters, huh? I mean when you’re doing something you love.

M: Not as much as you think. I’ve been very fortunate to do whatever I wanted…whatever I’ve wanted to do creatively and make a living doing it. And when I see other people and they ask me ‘How the fuck do you do it?’ And I have friends who…one of my best friends is fireman, another friends works in finance…and those are like real jobs…and I just tell them ‘I do it’…and that what I tell everyone else…’If you want to have a career…a creative career…work your ass off be honest about your talent and what you’re good at, what you’re not and just keep doing it. Keep doing it.

K: Yeah.

M: And do it because you love it, don’t do it because you expect to make money. I’ve been very very lucky and there are a lot of really talented people who can’t pay their bills doing what they love doing…and that’s really unfortunate, but that’s just sort of the odds game.

K: Please tell us a little about Extrovert and I understand you have locations in New York City, Los Angeles, and Nashville, and we’d like to know what type of projects you typically work on…

M: Extrovert is my company and its really the production wing of what I do and sometime…so I have crews people that work for me on a regular basis, and sometimes on a semi-regular basis, and sometimes on a once in a while basis…but I have people that I know and trust…very good shooters and producers, sound people, writing people…in many cities including, as you mentioned, New York, LA, Nashville, London, Miami…I don’t keep fully staffed offices…that’s only New York and LA and we’re not a huge company, we’re you know…we keep the lights on

K: Yeah…we’re not huge either

M: …and we do everything from 15 camera HD concerts for television or film, documentaries to commercials to behind the scenes to…and its stuff from our earlier conversation, it’s a wide range of content, mostly in the Rock and Roll pop star world that gets distributed to…we also do a lot of stuff with really big brands, and again projects in and around the music space…we have Samsung, LG, Blackberry, Verizon, Google…so you’ve heard of some of those references

K: Right…of course…who hasn’t?

M: I don’t know? So Extrovert is really an extension of me and its named that not because I’m shy

K: Right, right Extrovert…it’s a great name!

M: Thanks, I appreciate it.

K: I like the big ‘M’ that’s next to your name on the front page…that’s very cool.

M: Yes, I’m very shy.

K: Well thanks so much for interviewing with us (and having your morning coffee with us) and I definitely look forward to promoting Something You Should Know on our site and we wish you luck and happiness on your future endeavors!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Epiphany - Shot gun Version

Get it together...Thing is jumpin'...I wanna see your...Bullets pumpin'...
Shotgun...Itchy finger...On the trigger...Got to make the...Shooter bigger...

This is the Shotgun version of the Epiphany, that will change everything about DDTTRH and bring EXCITING THINGS TO COME!!!

Written by Kirk, one of the council members and founder of DDTTRH

**I went to my first Duran Duran concert live...and had this epiphany
**Realized that the Rock Hall may not deserve Duran Duran
**Duran Duran has already made history and no award, induction, or honor will change that
**With Duran Duran, its always been about making fans happy...and thats what life should be about...its 'the World' that focuses on such honors and recognition
**What is the point of beating on the Rock Hall's doors? Many groups have tried and have been left with bitterness and animosity towards the Rock Hall
**I've decided the following with this effort...
1--Our primary focus will no longer be to try and 'get Duran Duran into the Rock Hall'
2--DDTTRH may/may not go away or it may be restructured into something grander (we are discussing this as a team). If we do keep DDTTRH, the logo will change to reflect our new mission.
3--We will continue to support the Rock Hall petition--this WILL NOT go away. There are beautiful things written on it...and how can we get rid of it? Nile signed it! We love you Nile!
4--We will promote Duran Duran in many other ways, including..
**pointing fans to other petitions
**building more awareness of the band
**more broad-reaching interviews with bands, artists, fans, music industry specialists, and many others.
**continued press releases, music history research and data analysis (the part I am most excited about)
5--I have kept this effort too close to myself (I am an only child--comes with the territory)..therefore I've decided to offer Anitra (Ladyaslan), Christian, and Kandice permanent member status (which they have accepted!).

It will take time to change things, but we know after we are done we will no longer be boxed in by our limited mission. Our imagination and vision will be enhanced and this effort will be on a higher plane...with a bold new direction...and together we will take this thing where no Duranie has gone before.

This is the symbol of the Epiphany that came to my mind...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

DDTTRH Snow Leopards to make their debut in NYC

[Do you know where we are]

On October 24th, at a party in New York City hosted by G!mme a Wristband (for more information at that party go to http://gimmeawristband.com/gimme-a-wristband-party-in-nyc/) the first set of DDTTRH Snow Leopard cubs

[So elegant and sleek]

will make their appearance for the Teenage Cancer Trust benefit (go to http://www.teenagecancertrust.org/who-we-are/about-us/ for more information). There will also be DDTTRH t-shirts available.

[I thought that I could resist...But the leopard in you... silently... preyed on me]

These leopards represent the unique partnership between the Snow Leopard Trust and DDTTRH to honor the song 'The Man Who Stole a Leopard'. For more information about the Snow Leopard trust, go to http://www.snowleopard.org/about.

Here's a picture of the little guys...getting ready to depart in their box to New York city!!!

[Click on picture for a larger view]

[It begins and ends with you
Don't spill my secret.]

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Interview with Discovering Arts Group

Discovering Arts Music Group is London based and is a company dedicated to music artists. They can act as a record company, a publishing medium, Management, help as a booking studio/production, and work with fashion merchandising, events and developing. On their website it says that DAMG 'promotes, supports, and develops the vision of artists nurturing their growth from zero to hero by driving actions and creating value wherever music is experienced.'

An exciting new development of DAMG is the monthly showcase which features new and promising artists and is held at the Under-Solo club in Camden, London.

I had the great pleasure of speaking with and interviewing Elliot Avnon (El) who is the Managing Director and CEO of Discovering Arts Music Group.

Kirk, DDTTRH: What would you say to critics of Duran Duran that don't see them as serious artists?

El: show me serious artist and i will show you DD. its sound to me that the critics are or too OLD or have a bad taste in music. seriously DD shape my taste in music and i am sure they have done this to most of the world. There is no one person in the word that is not aware of their music and contribution.

Kirk, DDTTRH: I noticed that one of the areas that you assist artists with is fashion and merchandise. How do you think Duran Duran has inspired the fashion of today?

El: you can see DD music videos and you will understand that DD had created their own fashion style i remember me imitating Simon Le Bone clothes.

Kirk, DDTTRH: I'm sure being in London has given you exposure to many great bands like Duran Duran. What makes the city perfect for your business?

El: if you want to be in the movie business you go to Hollywood. if you want to be in the music business you go to London. THE love to music and culture in England is something I have never seen in any other countries in the world.

Kirk, DDTTRH: How long have you been in business? How do you enjoy it so far?

El: I have been in the music business since I am 13 starting as a DJ and moved to radio, TV, Music production, A&R. running my own successful labels and now DAMG. I even have few TOP 40 hits in the official charts. I enjoy it all with the new changes as its makes me more alert and the internet has changed it all for the best of course.

Kirk, DDTTRH: Tell us about your Showcase nights, held at the Under Solo club in Camden.

El: Discovering Arts Music Group (DAMG) are preparing a showcase of the UK’s most promising and exciting artists. Held at the prestigious venues in London, three artists who have been selected amongst hundreds of potentials will grace the stage, looking to provide incentive for a 360 deal (including record deal, management, publishing etc) to be offered their way. DAMG are specialists in the fields of Music Publishing, Label, Artist management, Record distribution, Production and Promotion and also book live tours and events. We are a one-stop-shop for artists, providing all the materials, advice and guidance an emerging artist will need to break into the music industry. The monthly music showcase is not only the chance for people to witness an exceptional and diverse array of talent, but also for the artists to establish their recognised star quality in a live arena.

Kirk, DDTTRH: Seems your company is involved with many parts of making an artist successful in music. How large is your staff and what motivates them in working with new and upcoming musicians?

El: We are 10 People in the office. Working hard in finding the next bit talent. Thats what motivate us all. it's not enough just finding the talent its also the commitment and the right way of doing it which involve a great team working together.

Kirk, DDTTRH: On your website, it says that DAMG is 'determined' not to be tied to one style or preconcieved ideas. but instead to embrace exceptional music across
the global spectrum. How have you accomplished this so far?

El: We are having artists from all genres such as hip hop , rock, pop, Indie, folk, ambient. we cant concentrate on one as we will effect our income. we have to do it all and do it great.

Kirk, DDTTRH: Tell us about a few major successes you have had so far as an organization?

El: Popularity is like the weather. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Kirk, DDTTRH: As you probably know, we interview new and upcoming artists as part of our effort. What would you like to say to these artists that might steer them towards you?

El: The best ornament is Humility. The richest wealth is Wisdom. The strongest weapon is Patience. The best security is Faith. The best tonic is Music’. Keep on listening and creating ;o)

Kirk, DDTTRH: Thanks so much for interviewing with us! I am excited that you are part of our fan base.

El: My pleasure as I am a big fan of DD. they influenced me a lot back in the 80s and 90s.

To learn more about Discovering Arts Group, please visit...

Or their Myspace page at:

Or on Facebook:

For more about their monthly showcases...please read...

Here's a recent review of an artist by Discovering Arts Group:

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Interview with Robert Sherer, Green Star Produce

Robert Sherer is one of our supporters and represents Green Star Produce which is a family owned produce company in the Salinas Valley, California. He and his parents, Bill and Faye Sherer founded the company in 1994. I recently visited their site and I can tell you that the produce they sell looks amazing...from the typical Basil, Parsley, Green Cabbage, and Watermelons to more unique produce like Daikon, Chard, Dandelion Greens, and Kohlorabi. Another unique feature of their business is that once their produce is harvested in the field, it is loaded seasonally out of Yuma, Arizona and Salinas, California. Great care is taken to make sure the produce is cooled on its way to the consumer. Also, if you go to their contact page, you will see a picture of Nick Rhodes next to Robert's name...and clear sign that there is 'Something You Should Know' about him....that he is an avid Duran Duran fan.

Robert, thanks for taking the time to interview with us. You are actually engaging in our first 'dynamic interview' experiment which means (to those who are reading) that I will send you questions and I will build off your answers. Sounds fun? Here's your first question...

Kirk, DDTTRH: How have you introduced Duran Duran to your kids and do they like their music?

Robert, Green Star: Yes I have introduced Duran Duran to them. There was a time that they would have said that Duran Duran was their favorite. Lack of a Pop exposure has pushed them to the back in their minds, but they do listen to them on their own. They don't complain when they are on in the car. They do LOVE them in concert and ALWAYS say yes when I plan on attending a concert. My son's first Concert was WAY back in 1998? We lived in New Jersey. They wife and I saw them and I took my son to see them at Jones Beach on Long Island a few days later. He hasn't missed a tour since (yes even the Club/House of Blues tours). My daughter's first was in Santa Barbara May of 2008 and her short stature, got her and her mother moved up 6 rows right in front of John (Attached Picture) and was able to get a coveted set list (other attachment)... not bad for her first concert.

Kirk, DDTTRH: What has inspired you about the band over the years and why do you think their contribution to music is so integral?

Robert, Green Star: Just enjoying the music from different aspects... Almost as needed in a sort.. Sometimes its just the instrumentation whether a studio or live recording. The lyrics, if they fit a current mood or just enjoying the sound of Simon's voice. Every event that matters to me they were there. I wanted them there or they just fit in the situation. You've heard "they have and app for that?" I always have a Duran Duran for that! They are so integral to music.. they way they experiment yet always come out Duran Duran. Maybe if they "sell out" over promote and over produce they would be vaulted up there with U2. I have nothing against U2, I just think they are more famous than they should be.

Favorite song is hard.. it really depends on the time of year.... Serious off of the Liberty Album (Actually the Live performance on MTV's Unplugged)... The Chauffeur (Live) .. Late Bar... really Guys, we love this one live...really enjoying Safe and Leave the light on off of AYNN... Box full of Honey, (I just like it)... and Dirty Great Monster. What happens tomorrow and Chains... you see its hard to nail it down, I have favorites off of each Album.. I'll have a favorite singled out when they stop writing new music and I'm dead. Maybe you should have asked what my favorite was off of each album.

Rio - Hold back the Rain
DD - Friends of Mine
Seventh and the Ragged Tiger - Reflex (I was at the Oakland Coliseum, my first concert)/ New Moon on Monday
Arena - The Chauffeur
Notorious - Meet El Presidente/Hold Me
Big Thing - Drug and flute interlude/the Edge of America/Lake Shore Driving (which was awesome Live)
Decade - well nothing new, but enjoyed the Remix off the vinyl.
Liberty - Serious and First Impression
Wedding Album - Breath after Breath and None of the above
Thank You - White Lines (Extremely entertaining Live) Lay Lady Lay
Medzzaland - Out of my Mind and So Long Suicide, Sinner and Saint of "b" side of remix
Night Versions - My own way
Greatest- View to a Kill
Strange Behaviour.. Skin Trade
Pop Trash - Last Day on Earth, Hallucinating Elvis
The Encore - July 16th... Disk (I was there) Still Breathing
Astronaut - What Happens tomorrow, and Chains
Live from London DVD live CD... Sunrise... GREAT INTRO
Red Carpet Massacre - Box full of Honey and Dirty Great Monster
All you need is now - Safe and Leave the light on

Kirk, DDTTRH: You picked some great songs! Thanks for sharing! We have similar taste when it comes songs on these albums. Leave a Light on is my favorite song from the new album.

I thought it was interesting what you said about U2. As you know, U2 was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What do you think Duran Duran could do more to become more recognized in the music community and among the generations of people today? I don't know about you, but I am real disappointed I have not heard more of their newer songs on the radio...its almost as if everyone is stuck on Duran Duran in the 80's and have not embraced as much their 90's to NOW.

Robert, Green Star: I think what would have helped is all in the timing. I admire John Melloncamps career, but why is he in? I think he deserves to be in, but how many people only know "Jack and Diane"? What was his timing? Maybe we get the process going after an event like they had with Astronaut. All 5 members coming back together. Just something to bring them to the frontal lobe of the thought process. I am disappointed too in the lack of radio play. I've "sold" people on the new album, all they had to do was listen. I understand the pop culture and what is "in" but think there are other influences jamming Lady GaGa down my throat on SirisXM's channel The Pulse. I know a there are a lot of fans that are stuck with Duran Duran in the 80's... I see them at the concerts, but those fans don't slow down when the band shifts from Hungry Like the Wolf to Red Carpet Massacre! The fan base is broad and we support, we just need to support a little more. I've got my mental ticket booked to Cleveland when that announcement is made.

Kirk, DDTTRH: So, please tell us about Green Star Produce! I read some about your company and it seems that some things that make you special are the logistics that keeps your produce fresh through their travels and the interesting assortment of locally grown vegetables you carry. Please tell us more about this and anything else you would like to highlight.

Robert, Green Star: Well to start… Green Star Produce was started by my father and in 1993. It was a temporary set up for me because I had already took a job in Chicago. I eventually did come back. Our website was actually set up to be tongue in cheek kind of funny… a customer said we couldn’t be big enough for them unless we had one, so we had a guy from New Zealand (friend of my brother) set up the whole thing from his perspective. He was sure to match our personalities with unique icons… Such as my father’s Alana Alda’s persona of Hawkeye from MASH.

We specialize in the specialties. Logistics is very critical in produce industry. So sourcing shipping close to the product is key in our industry. What is not unique about our items is of them, if not all, are organic. We don’t market them as such because it requires so much certification and regulation. Most is unnecessary double work and fees and no one wants to pay for it. (We’re about as anti-Wal-Mart as you can get) Always like the word of mouth business we get.

Just a side note… My daughter has started a music journal and listed “She’s too Much” as her 2nd favorite song…. Damn that Miley Cyrus!

Kirk, DDTTRH: Thats interesting about the New Zealand connection. Well, I hope your daughter's first favorite song is a Duran Duran one...lol! So, I tried reaching out to your father, your brother, and one of your co-workers about you, but I haven't heard back from them. Are your family and friends supportive of you being a 'Duranie', or do they sometimes treat you like an alien? Do you do anything to 'get your Duranie' on at work or home that gets peoples attention?

Robert, Green Star: I’m not sure I’m supported or treated like an alien. I’m definitely recognized as a fan ... I think it was 2 years ago Duran Duran came to the Mountain View Winery in Saratoga, CA. I got emails from everybody at work as soon as it was announced on the Winery web site. I had already known they would be there, but it was nice that I was thought of. Well it happened again this past month, same announcement same emails being forwarded to me. I already have my tickets. If you ever get a chance to see them in a very intimate setting as the Mountain view winery, I highly recommend spending a little more for the chance. In a previous job, it was known that Duran Duran was coming to town, my boss gave me the day off the day after the concert, I didn’t even have to ask.

I’ve missed some family functions because of concerts and no one was ever upset.

Kirk, DDTTRH: Thanks so much Robert for taking the time to interview with us at DDTTRH...and thanks so much for supporting us. Any advice for us as we continue to push for Duran Duran's induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? What advice would you give to the Rock Hall as they continue to make decisions on who to induct?

Robert Sherer, Green Star: The best advice is to just keep pushing. There are more of us out there. The littlest things will matter. Go after the business that support Rock http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifand Roll Hall of Fame functions. Let them know we will be there when the time comes. I will be. To the Hall of Fame…. Get off your rocker! Duran Duran has given you more than the minimum requirement to get in. They have something that several of the bands you’ve let in don’t have…. FANS that have stood the test of time… We are still breathing!

To visit Green Star Produce's website to see their out-of-this-world produce selection, go to: http://greenstarproduce.com/

-->if you click on the 'Contact' link, you can see Nick Rhodes' picture next to Robert's name

Picture of Robert and his family...

Donna, Robert, Zachary Taylor Sherer
Lily Sherer, Zoe Simon Sherer

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Leopards are here!!!!

Leopards are here at DDTTRH! In a partnership we've created with the Snow Leopard Trust which helps endangered snow leopards in Mongolia, we are offering you the chance to help us invade the Rock Hall with leopards! Go to 'www.ddttrh.info' and click the 'Send a Leopard to the Rock Hall' link to learn more! 100% of proceeds goes towards the saving of leopards.

NOW spill our secret!

in conjunction with the...

Friday, May 20, 2011


This just in....leopards, yes leopards have been spotted near and some say they are headed to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and New York. Sources at DDTTRH report that they will be highly visible on May 21st for a special event.

Caution! Leopards may be sneaking around DDTTRH before their big appearance. Stay close to your children...lock your doors...for when the leopards prowl, there may be no stopping them...Rock Hall BEWARE!!!!

Don't spill our secret.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Interview with Salvo of Duranasty, Part 2

Kirk, DDTTRH: Do you think Duran Duran belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Why?

Salvo: Of course I think it would be great to add this great recognition to the others they’ve already collected over the years. Duran Duran are among some of the most prolific recording artists and their influence and significance to the development of pop-rock and electro music can’t be ignored.

They have inspired three generations of musicians who continue citing the band as the reason why they are into music. Moreover, Duran Duran have influenced the music industry in a major way. No need to remember all the awards and lifetime achievements they got, their 85 million records sold, they’re pioneers finding a new way to present and sell music, their visual art, their sense of style which starts from the notes of their songs and it propagates to all the aspects of the band’s trademark.

I would give them the special mention for being the precursors of the Art ‘n Roll, Duran Duran is the very first Art ‘n Roll band, a great source of entertainment, inspiration and joy, musically and visually. With Duran Duran it’s a 360° experience, and their latest multimedia project with David Lynch is just the nth demonstration of their avantgardness.

Nick Rhodes said recently “At heart, we remain an art school project, we are driven by exploration and curiosity!” I think that’s the secret of this band and what keeps it so relevant, fresh and appealing.

Kirk, DDTTRH: What advice would you give to DDTTRH as we continue to wend our way on this amazing journey of ours?

Salvo: All you are doing with the petition and the site is great, but Duran Duran are already in the olympus of music even without this specific recognition. Maybe you should contact all the other fan-clubs or Teams who are running a petition for their not so Rock ‘n Roll artist and unite all the forces to start a new petition, parallel to the Duran Duran one, to ask the inclusion of other genres and more ‘fle-fle-flexibility’ about music-contamination. This might open new roads to your very cool initiative which, since the beginning, has gotten my total support.

Kirk, DDTTRH: Tell us about what you do in your career, when you are not working on Duranasty?

Salvo: As one might assume visiting the website I’m into visual arts, I’m actually a graphic designer but I’m not practicing the profession anymore. I teach graphic design and advertising in a secondary school.

I love my job, it’s all I wanted to do. I have been doing this for 15 years now, I started very young, when I was just twenty-five. My daily job is doing lessons about photoshop, illustrator, indesign, dreamweaver, communication, marketing, advertising and so on.

I enjoy a very good relationship with my students and I can actually say that I’m never bored with what I do for a living. Every day is a new experience since it’s a very creative field of study and lessons are never the same as also students are never the same.

This job is also a way to keep me young, at least mentally, as I’m in touch with teenagers every day. I get to know everything about the new trends and all their stuff. It’s great to help these guys growing up professionally and as human beings. One of the greatest satisfaction is when the students, years after graduation, come to school to pay a visit to their teachers and they let us know that they are actually working as graphic designers.

It can be also a difficoult job as you might find difficoult and fragile kids, with different kind of problems, and that happens often nowadays. Most of the times these problematic ones don’t have a solid family behind them. I’m sure that family is the key of many problems (maybe all). Being a good parent is the real job, and that’s what actually keeps me busy.

Being father of two little boys, (Angelo 4 and Nicolò 2), is a twenty-four hour a day job! I’m one of those new generation fathers: there’s nothing that mom does that daddy can’t do (well, except breastfeed! Lol). My wife and I both work so we have to help each other daily with the kids. It’s hard but it’s worth it because they are the real thing and the only thing that really matter to us.

Tangible Duran Duran products of Salvo’s work to promote the band. Rio Classic Album, Glam Pop Party front cover and his Duranasty.com

Kirk, DDTTRH: What kind of things have you done over the years to promote Duran Duran? What was before Duranasty? How exciting has that been?

Salvo: Well, I have done plenty of things as I have always been a very active fan. I used to write for Duran Duran fanzines and helped, through them, to keep the Duran flame alive during the 80’s and 90's. Some readers might remember my regular articles on ADLA (A Duranies Life Association) a very popular international fanzine based in Portugal and The Groove from USA (I was the Italian correspondent), but I also been writing and submitting fresh photographs from London for a number of other fanzines such as the glorious “The Icon,” and the glossy “Medazzaland” who later asked me to become an official correspondent and so on.

I loved those fanzines and the passion that was put behind them. Those photocopied pages were a real labour of love. I used to fly to London frequently during the 90s to get fresh news, reports and pics basically from their recording studios or other venues. Warren was great and he was always up to giving updates and recount stories about an album’s progress or even let me listen some of their new stuff at his home in Battersea. Nick was also always kind and available for a chat.

It was a time when the Duran news was mostly filtering and circulating through fanzines rather than teen mags which abandoned the band in the late 80's, it was too early for the internet and there was no official fanclub which closed in 1988.

Duran knew the importance of the ‘zines and they were a lot less secretive than now, they used to collaborate more with fans running or working for fanzines as they knew that those poor photocopies were the only way to stay in touch with their fan-base. It was a great time and I do have great memories of those years. It’s all so different now. The internet has changed it all, now we have all the news we want in real time. As soon as the internet started I got involved, it was a natural step, I just moved my interest from fanzines to fansites. I loved to contribute news to plasticgirl.co.uk, templeofsaintnick.com and minddilation.co.uk, those early sites were great and we all have to credit them for being the first fansites to support the band giving constant updates.

With sites like facebook it’s even easier now, everyone can post something and suddenly the news will make the tour of the Duran-world. Nowadays, beside duranasty.com I also enjoy posting on the duranduran message board and on duranasty’s facebook page.

In my opinion, with such a over-saturation of news, the risk is to lose sight of the most significant band news as we do tend to mix it all. On the site I try to keep things essential, no personal comments (everyone is entitled to his or her opinion in the various Duran forums and I just don’t wanna play the opinion leader) or irrelevant news, just things that might be of some interest for the fans, all the rest can be easily found online as we are all good at finding things on the web.

I think a fansite nowadays, with all the news circulating on the internet, only needs to exist if it provides some exclusive content, something different from the official sources to offer to its visitors. Otherwise it would be only a replica of the band’s official site but with a different layout. Having said that, I think I will keep doing the site until I will have time and energies to work on *that something different.* I never liked mediocrity so the day I will run out of those elements will be also the day that duranasty will leave the scene.

Over the years I’ve always tried to keep in touch with the media to promote the band, especially radios, just like many of the fans reading this, requesting their songs or just letting them know about the latest on the band.

I also enjoyed being involved as visual researcher and photograph-archivist in the official release Rio Classic Album (published in 2008 by Eagle Rock). Isis, the London-based production, contacted me spontaneously after visiting the website. They even offered me money for my job but of course I refused them (!). I offered my help and contribute to the project for free because it’s only passion for the band that drives my Duran activities, nothing else.

Another project I enjoyed to get involved in was working on the making of the front cover of the very interesting Italian Duran Duran book titled ‘Glam Pop Party’, written by my journalist friend and partner in crime Christian D’Antonio. The picture on the cover was in fact taken and edited by me (photography is another of my passions).

Strike a pose: Simon gave me tips on how to wear that hat and adjust it on my head before we took that funny picture. Simon is often very playful and affectionate but most of all he’s so genuine.

Kirk, DDTTRH: I noticed in looking at pictures on your site, that you have personally met the band. Tell us about how special that has been to you and what that has meant to your family.

Salvo: Well, as I already said it has been a long ride, when I first met the guys I was only seventeen, which was also the first time that I was allowed to travel alone from southern Italy to England, since then I think I have seen them, in different occasions and places, constantly more than once a year, for twenty-two years. Some of the guys in the band know me quite well, not as a friend would know you of course, but as someone who has been there for a long time, a friendly face but also a name.

A 17 year old Salvo and John Taylor in London.

Family has always been very involved in the process, it couldn’t be otherwise. When someone has such a huge passion in the family every member is involved at different levels. My original family first, my beloved father was a huge supporter of my Duran passion, and now the family I created. Without the help of Claudia, my wife, I couldn’t have afforded all the travelling in the recent years with the kids still so young. How not to mention my sons, who enjoy the new Duran music so much, I guess Angelo has the potential to become a duranie, (I’m not doing anything to influence them, just playing the music in the car) as he sings in his very own Italianized English all the songs of All You Need Is Now, but he also keep requesting The Valley (heh heh...).

Every single encounter with the band is special to me and there are actually too many special ones to mention just one, but I guess the closest to my heart are the ones when we got to chat not only about the band but I could also talk about things happening in my life.
Just some flashbacks as they comes to mind in no particular chronological order: the day when I told Simon I was becoming father, when Nick mentioned my name on tv, when I shared my table with Simon for a lunch, when I was introduced to Roger, when Nick revealed about the upcoming reunion (pre-official announcement), when I assisted their tour rehearsal, the long chats with Warren in his living room, Simon’s spontaneous hugs, John taking my picture, the Devils at Harvey Nichols, Simon and Pavarotti, London, the studios… all their shows especially the London Forum one… I could go on and on and on. It would be like browsing the pages of one of those old fanzines with yellowed pages: so many smiles, adventures, laughs, friends. I loved every single moment and I wouldn’t change a bit.

That’s probably the funniest pic I ever took with Simon, who literally threw himself on me with all his weight and I almost fell on the ground.

Kirk, DDTTRH: I have taken excerpts from a recent post I saw from your site...I'd like to share a couple of lines here...

"I always try my best to do it better and I'm glad you are enjoying it, it's important to me as I know that the time I spent on it is something that has value, at least for you and all the other fans like me.

When I do a new update I do it in first place thinking of what I would like to see and read on a fansite. I put the heart, the eye and the passion of a fan on it, that's it!

I deliberately want to stay away from banners and pop up adverts, duranasty.com promotes the band and their members only, not his creator, nor other companies and stuff, just the band and their activities."

I must say Salvo, when I read this I was very impressed. You should be proud with what you have accomplished with Duranasty.

Thank you Kirk, my pleasure to give my little contribution to keep the Duran flame burning. I love to bring a smile to the fans’ faces posting some interesting news or just some unseen pictures.

I often receive emails with compliments, I never post them but I want to take this occasion to thank everyone who has emailed me over the years, that’s the best thing I could have asked as you actually encourage me to continue and improve.

Back in the days Warren used to call me ‘Fashion Professional’ cos I loved jackets and ties.

But I want you all to know that duranasty.com is just the more visible aspect of my ‘duranity’. I do have some other projects in mind. I have been a huge Duran collector over the last three decades, my collection isn’t build around a specific item, only record or poster for example. It’s a very wide visual/audio collection. Lots of economic efforts and time have been dedicated to it over the years and I think sooner or later will become the main object of my interest as there’s a lot of archiving stuff to do. I could just direct energies to some new projects such as a Virtual Duran Duran Museum or a Virtual Duran Exhibition. Well, just another of my dreams. That would require lots of time and dedication, till then I’ll keep duranasty at its best and hope you’ll keep enjoying it.

Thank you twice Kirk, for this interview and for giving me a chance to go back down memory lane, it was great to remember those years and not only open the drawers of my mind but also the ones where these old pics were put away, some of them almost forgotten (I just picked up for your site some of the funniest and most unusual ones).

Kirk, DDTTRH: Thanks Salvo...a pleasure to interview you. Look forward to seeing what you have to say! Kirk

To visit Duranasty, please go to duranasty.com.

Please visit Duran Duran to Timeless Rock History on Twitter (@DDTTRH)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Interview with Salvo of Duranasty, Part 1

It’s not every day that you come across someone like Salvo, who runs duranasty.com, a website based in Italy but internationally known as one of the most up to date and interesting fan sites. I have had the pleasure of meeting Salvo (who was more than willing to support our effort) through one of our featured artists, Stephane Leclair. It is clear when you read about Salvo and visit his site that he has a passion for the band that spans the years, that his love for the band is timeless. He is truly an example for many in the Duranie community, as he has 'left the light on' for the band through all the ups and downs in their career, through his website Duranasty and many other amazing efforts he has been involved with to promote the band.

Salvo, it is truly an honor for us at DDTTRH to interview you. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy life to speak with us.

Salvo: My pleasure. I feel very honoured to do this for DDTTRH, and I have to admit that I’m quite embarrassed as I feel that a huge spotlight has been just pointed at me, and that’s not quite my due. I mean I do what I do with the site, the online presence in the Duran Duran message boards and other little activities to promote the band just to direct in a positive and concrete direction the great passion for this band that has been with me every single day of my life since I was a 12, not really to promote myself. So again, this is a real honour to me and I want to say that I’m just one of the many die-hard fans out there…

Yes, that sentence ‘every single day of my life’ might sound as a commonplace but that’s just the truth. I can’t actually remember a day in my life since I was a kid without doing something related to Duran Duran (listening to their music, organizing a trip to see them somewhere in Europe, collecting their stuff, writing an article for a fanzine, scrapbooking in the 80s and web-surfing to find some cool news today).

That has been a long, long, journey and I can’t actually remember a low period of ‘duranmania’ in my life, I was there when Wild boys was released and they were on the front cover of every single magazine and on every tv show but I was there also when Medazzaland was released, in Usa only, and you could barely see them in any media, in the band there were only two of the orginal fab five and they were even dropped by EMI.

When I try to look at myself from the outside I always get surprised realising how the passion has always been there, exactly the same, during the last 3 decades and was even the same, possibly stronger, during one of the lowest times of Duran Duran’s career, Pop Trash.

Someone Else Not Me! Salvo and the band reduced to a 3 piece in Milan during the Pop Trash promotion.

Almost 39 years old, father of two, in the last few years I have asked myself on more than one occasion why this passion has never abandoned me. I just think that it has never left me firstly because Duran Duran, their music, their vision, their art, immediately became part of me, just one of the aspects of my personality… it’s in my blood I guess, in my dna, or should I say DDna?

I always been very very critical of myself, even ruthless sometimes. I apply criticism to every aspect of my life so despite the loyalty and the passion, I have never permitted duranmania to drive my life. I always gave importance to many other things and interests, human relationship above all. So I guess the secret of the longevity of some die-hard fans over the years is just constancy, balance and love diluted in a long time, not only when a new album gets released, which is even easier when the album is successful.

I think I’ve lived these almost 30 years of duranmania with balance, no big excesses, (well maybe a bit when I was younger, but that was fun!), just a bit of Duran every day. It’s like a 30 years old marriage: Duran Duran a band for life!

That sounds more like a psychoanalysis session than a proper interview but I’m just opening myself to you trying to give you the most sincere and real portrait of me not only as a long time fan but as a person. I’m sure some fans out there will identify themselves in some aspects of my story because there are really many great loyal fans in the Duran Duran community. They may not run a fansite but they have been huge duranies every day of their lives, they have all my appreciation and I’m just glad to be part of this great community.

With Nick at the Albert Watson exhibition in Milan, 2004.

Kirk, DDTTRH: When did Duranasty officially start? Do you have people helping you?

Salvo: behind duranasty.com there’s only me, I do it all on my own, I do the writing, the interviews, the visuals and the webdesign… it’s a lot of work, believe me.

The site isn’t one of those easy preformatted websites, it’s all designed by me because I want flexibility from a visual point of view and to easily change the design of the page and adapt it to the content from time to time. The Duran Duran fans have eyes for visuals and they also have great taste, knowing that I always operate in that ‘artsy’ direction!

Of course fans help me a lot passing along news and pics, there are regular emailers whom send in updates and web research.

Old style, the beginning of Duranasty: the old version of the site. A screencap dated 2002.

The site started in february 2002. I was freaking out with the news of the Duran Duran reunion, one of the most exciting moments of the Duran Duran history so I had to do something concrete to let the love flow in something cool, an homage to my favourie band.

I had to communicate with the rest of the fan base so this little baby, duranasty, saw the light on february 2nd 2002, the same day Planet Earth was released back in 1981. Next year is gonna be duranasty.com’s 10th anniversary!

It had no claims, there were already plenty of cool DD fan sites, very professional ones, and mine was just a home-made website and it used a web public service, it was hosted on Geocities!

Geocities was free so it had bandwhith limits. I soon discovered that there was a lot of interest on the site from the fans because when it had too many connections it wasn’t available for some hours as it run out of bandwith.

So it started like a little tribute to Duran Duran and it soon became something bigger. Getting the domain name was a little success to me as it was the moment when I understood that duranasty became something more than what I had originally projected and expected.

“Posing with Simon who asked me to hold his helmet” London 1996

Kirk: Why did you name the site “Duranasty” and use the payoff “The Life and Times of Duranasty”?

Well, I explained this a couple of times on message boards and I like the fact that isn’t that obvious. The word duranasty is a neologism coined by the founding members Nick Rhodes and John Taylor. Nick used that word to describe Duran Duran’s long [and sometime troubled] history during a Duran tv special back in the late 90’s, one of those pre-reunion specials; He just compared the band’d history to a soap opera, Dynasty, I just loved the way he stared that sentence with that laugh: ‘The life and time of duranasty”, that’s where the site’s name comes from. Back in November 1997, when John was out of the band, he said to a journalist: “We used to say it was like ‘Duranasty’, Duran Duran is like this fucking soap opera.”

July 2010. With the founding members when he payed a visit to the band at their London recoding studio. The band guys putting final touches to All You Need Is Now.

That word says it all to me, it was the perfect name to give to the my webzine, a way to celebrate the history of the band. “Duranasty.com is a site with one step into the past, one in the present and eyes always looking to the future”, that’s the sentence I used in the splash page to celebrate the 30 anniversary of Planet Earth. I think it just declares duransty.com’s mission.
The site just celebrates the band’s deeds and it often provides stuff such as pictures, scans, all stuff that the fans loves to get, but its stronger aspect I guess are the special pages, the reports and the exclusive interviews, stuff that has been done regularly over the latest 5 years, especially when there was almost nothing to report about, in periods when the guys were slowly recording the album. The site, with its regular updates and its always positive and enthusiastic attitude toward the band has just contributed to keep the Duran flame burning.

Since the newest album has been released, thanks also go to the great promo jobs that Simon, John, Nick, Roger and their team are doing. We get daily updates from Duran Duran’s official sites, facebook and now even personal updates from John and Simon on twitter. They are doing such a great job and I just love this kind of instantaneous interaction, it’s just what the fan-base wants, we want to be part of the process and with internet now we are all part of the process and all authors in first person of Duran Duran’s success (just think what we all did with the iTunes release on december 21!). I hope they’ll keep this kind of connection and interaction also when things will be quieter and there won’t be much report about.

With Simon and Nick at the Milan Municipality the day they got ‘Style Icons of The 20th Century’ recognition back in February.

Kirk, DDTTRH: So I know you can't talk about Duran Duran and not mention the loyal fans in Italy. Why do you think Italy has become such a loyal country to the band?

Salvo: As you all know in late February Duran Duran came to Milan to receive the recognition ‘Style Icons of The 20th Century’ and launch the new album. During those days they often used the sentence “Italy loves Duran, Duran loves Italy” to describe the deep relationship that links the band to my country. I don’t know how it actually happened, why Duran Duran, but there’s a strong empathy between Italian fans, the general public and these guys.

That empathy started in the mid 80s, duranmania arrived here only in late 1984. Duran came a couple of times on promotional tour in ‘82 and ‘84 but the hysteria only exploded in late 84/early 85 (their presence at Sanermo Festival ‘85 was just the beginning of the Duran fandom which culminated in the Strange Behaviour Tour two years later). That’s incredible if you think that their first live Italian tour only arrived in 1987. You might ask why they connected so well and so deeply with the audience if they didn’t tour the nation in those years?

Maybe it was all emphasized by the fact that we couldn’t get them, they were the untouchable stars and their image passed only through a poster or the tv screen so they soon became a myth. The more the people wanted them the more couldn’t get them. In marketing this is called ‘Marketing of Deprivation’, the more you want a product and you desperately seek for it, the more you can’t get it as the company deliberately doesn’t distribute. They just want people to talk about the product, to generate the myth. It’s a strategy that increases the request for the product.

But that wasn’t the case with Duran Duran. There wasn’t any strategy behind the fact that we couldn’t get them live in Italy, and it wasn’t that they didn’t want to come. It just wasn’t possible. In fact, the years when duranmania exploded in Italy were also the years when the band split up into two bands, Arcadia and Power Station plus we had John and Andy Taylor’s solo projects.

This whole scenery helped to generate the myth of Duran Duran in Italy, they represented more than just great pop music and video clips, they became a social fact.

Laughs with Dom and John in the hot southern Italy during the Red Carpet Massacre Tour.

Simon Le Bon in the 80's would have had a laugh and dismissed this mass phenomenon. He once said “It’s just because of the blue eyes and the blond hair, having blue eyes and blond hair in Italy!” in answer to a journalist’s comment about the news (reported in a major newspaper) that 90% of the Italian students in 1987 knew who Simon Le Bon was but they didn’t actually know the name of the Italian President.

I guess the band captured with its music and its imagination an entire generation of dreaming Italian teenagers. It actually became something bigger then band itself and it involved not only the fans but also their families (we were all in our very early teens, and what was happening surprised everyone), the media (Duran were on the front cover of all kind of magazines every week from 85/87) and even some sociologists and psychologists were involved, as observers, in the process.

It wasn’t only about the music, they were icons, teenagers just identified their own dreams in Duran Duran’s music and in their videos.

I think it happened to Duran Duran not only because they were a great pop band, but also because Italy has never really lived a huge mass phenomenon like the Beatles or Elvis. Of course those myths and the fandom around them arrived here, but not with the same impact that those stars had in UK, USA and other parts of the world. Italy got its very first episode of mass phenomenon and fan-hysteria with Duran Duran, which became a social fact, unique in terms of fan-following, people and media involved in the process.

Everything happening with new bands after Duran Duran has always been considered a replica of those Duran years. Nothing as strong has actually happened again.

With Roger in London, early Astronaut sessions, June 2002.

Besides the social aspect of it I have to say that anything Duran have done over three decades, every time they had a new record to promote, there has always been great attention from the Italian media (even though back in the days some journalists had slagged them accusing ’em of being just a pop sensation for teenagers).

Nothing Duran-related has gone unnoticed, even a remix like Burning the Ground to launch their Decade, back in late ‘89, was something to talk about in the media or John Taylor’s involvement with Johnatan Elias’s Requiem for the Americas has led him on a popular prime time tv show. Where this would have happened in the 90s?

Duran Duran has always been considered a big act here and they still generate an awful lot of media attention. So if in 1990 in the UK the only way to be on the cover of a magazine and promote Liberty was posing with their wives and newborns in their beautiful houses, here in Italy they still had front covers of music magazines and they were interviewed about their records.

Love is mutual and has never ended, that’s why Italy was one of the first countries in the world where AYNIN reached #1 in December and now, with the physical release, the only country were they have touched the top ten.

Duran Duran here is a social fact, they are part of our lives, at least of everyone who has lived the 80s with young eyes. They are part of our collective imagination and this is a great base to start if the music you offer to your public continues to be top quality and always contemporary like Duran Duran’s music.


To visit Duranasty, please go to duranasty.com.

Please visit Duran Duran to Timeless Rock History on Twitter (@DDTTRH)!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Interview with Steve Spears, St. Petersburg Times

Our petition Duchess, Kandice, knows Steve Spears (also from Florida). He
is the news editor for the entertainment section with the St. Petersburg
Times. If you go to his blog, which can be found at
http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/80s/, you can tell that its all about the 80's...the era of breakdancing and parachute pants (oh my..I can't believe even I wore those things), Ronald Reagan, amazing 80's bands (like Duran Duran), Pee Wee Herman, Ghostbusters, and many other crazy things. He's on Facebook, he's on Twitter, he even has a podcast on iTunes.

Kirk from DDTTRH presents Steve Spears, from the St. Petersburg Times and Stuckinthe80's!!!

Kirk, DDTTTRH: So Steve...how do you know Kandice (our Petition Duchess)?

Steve: I am one with the Duraniverse, so fans like Kandice can't do the
Re-flex (flex-flex-flex-flex-flex) without me noticing. Plus, she's an
enthusiastic member of the Stuck in the '80s Nation.

Kirk, DDTTRH: Many people say that Duran Duran is just an 80's band. For
someone that is 'stuck in the 80's' as you are, what would you say to this?

Steve: They are the ultimate '80s band in most every way: the fashion, the
music, the videos. They represent everything that was truly great about the
decade. And much like the '80s themselves, they hit a speed bump right
after Live Aid. If they hadn't lost their momentum after that show, who
knows how much better my beloved decade could have been? But obviously they
continued to motor on through to today -- much like REM, U2, etc. So while
they are the ultimate '80s band, they're not "just" an '80s band.

Kirk, DDTTRH: Tell us about how 'Stuck in the 80's' began? What inspires
you about the 80's so much? I still can't believe I wore those parachute
pants when I was a kid...lol. I used to love going to the Skating rink
with them on and breakdancing with my friends (oh man...I may be giving
away 'Too Much Information' on that one [:)

Steve: Thankfully I never bought a pair of parachute pants. But
rollerskating, navy blue corduroys, concert jerseys and feathered hair? Oh
yeah, that's me. Or that "was" me. Stuck in the '80s started as a podcast
(and it's still a podcast on iTunes that people can listen to for free).
And then it expanded into a blog and Facebook group too. Basically, I began
it because I worked in the Web department of my newspaper (the great St.
Petersburg Times), and I wanted a way to do "work" that didn't seem like
work. Ta-dah! Let's just talk about the '80s! When I found out people
around the world were listening in, that was a huge rush. I think what
inspires me about the '80s is that it was our last true era of innocence
and safety. Plus, it's personal to me because I spent my formative years
there. I began high school in 81 and finished college in 89.

Kirk, DDTTRH: Recently at DDTTRH, we've added an edge...to invite the Rock
Hall to change how it inducts artists. We believe it needs some New
Romantic flavoring. Do you think the Rock Hall needs to change how it does
things? Simon LeBon recently commented that he does not agree with the
black tie ceremonies and the pompous nature that the Rock Hall has created
for itself....how it has imposed itself on the industry and its choices for
nominees are too subjective. Do you think there's truth behind Simon's
words? Do you think 'being in the Rock Hall' has lost any meaning? If you
agree that the Rock Hall needs to change...what do you think needs to

Steve: I absolutely agree with Simon. In fact, if Simon tells me to grow my
hair back out long enough to feather it again and to put on parachute
pants, I'd be headed to Chess King right now. The Hall is controlled by the
stuffed shirts at Rolling Stone magazine, and they lost their cool factor a
LONG time ago. That's what I say DD shouldn't be too upset about not being
included at this point.

Kirk, DDTTRH: Tell us more about what you do with the St. Petersburg

Steve: I'm the daily entertainment editor for the paper. If Lindsey Lohan
sneezes, I'm there with a tissue. I also get to interview celebs when they
come to town for the paper. Naturally I go for all the '80s acts. Among my
favorites to interview to date: AC/DC's Brian Johnson, Howard Jones, Human
League's Phil Oakey and Rick Springfield. All the interviews are available
on the podcast. They're great fun to listen to.

Kirk, DDTTRH: This is an off-the-wall question...hope you don't mind...so
you know that I'm from Cleveland, right? Its depressing up here without
Lebron James (well...and without the sun these days with all the
snow--please send us some!). I hope you guys in Florida are happy with him
(grrrrr) [: [:. How do you think Cleveland can hold onto something after
the departure of Lebron?

Steve: Let me let you in no a little secret. In Tampa Bay, where I live, we
absolutely HATE Miami and pro basketball in general. Trust me when I say
Lebron and Miami were meant for each other.

Kirk, DDTTRH: I am assuming you grew up in the 80's, right? What exciting
experiences have you had with 'Stuck in the 80's so far? Have you met any
of your idols?

Steve: Oh sure. Almost everyone I interview I also meet in person. Pete
Byrne of Naked Eyes sang a song for me backstage. And I e-mail back and
forth with Martha Quinn all the time. And during the worst breakup of my
life, Valley Girl's Debbie Foreman called me and helped me through it. It's
not a bad life being stuck in the '80s!

Kirk, DDTTRH: Thanks so much Steve for promoting our effort and our
petition. What wisdom would you impart to us at DDTTRH as we continue this
amazing journey?

Steve: Don't say a prayer for Duran Duran now. Save it for the morning
after they get inducted!

Thanks so much Steve for interviewing with us!

To follow Steve at his newspaper...go to this link!

To learn more about Duran Duran to the Rock Hall and to sign our petition, please go to www.ddttrh.info and click 'Sign Petition'!