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

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, and, 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 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, 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 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

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