Duran Duran

8 Things About the 80′s New Wave Music book “Mad World”

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Duran Duran, Music | 4 Comments

As a long-time devoted fan of Duran Duran, I’ve often been dismissed as being stuck in the 80′s.  I understand that not everyone was raised on New Wave radio in both Los Angeles (KROQ) and New York (WLIR/WDRE) and chose to spend a large percentage of their high school days either waiting on line (that’s outside on a line for you youngsters, not on a computer) for concert tickets or to get into a venue to see a show.  Lori Majewski (formerly of Us Weekly, Entertainment Weekly and Teen People), might understand though because she and her co-author Jonathan Bernstein (contributor to Spin, Rolling Stone, the Face) are about to release the book, Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980′s  (released April 15, 2014).

Given my very loud social media passion for all things 80′s and Duran Duran, I became connected with Lori and was thrilled to be sent an advance copy of this book to review.  This fun and informative book gives amazing insight into the New Wave artists from the 1980′s straight from the artists themselves.  I was absolutely floored by the amount of knowledge I learned –   I used to pride myself on having a decent 80′s New Wave music trivia base but this book put me to shame.

Mad World Book, New Wave, 80's music

Mad World: Adam Ant, Morrissey and Duran Duran on the cover? Sold!

I don’t want to give it all away but here are 8 Things About the 80′s New Wave Music Book “Mad World” here:

 

1.   This is NOT a “look at but don’t read” coffee table book:

You’ll definitely want to read this book.  It’s paperback, smaller than you’d expect (7.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches) and is accented by bright colors and photos.  There’s a unique format to this oral history book  - there are short chapters based on 36 songs/artists.  Each chapter begins with an introductory paragraph about the artist/song, followed by commentary by the authors and then insight from the artists themselves.  You’ll also find a “Then and Now” recap about the artist and enclosed within each chapter there is a “mixtape” – a list of songs by other artists that related to the chapter/theme discussed.

 

cassette player

Image: Alan Klim

 

2.  4 Major Musical Influences:

Nearly every single artist interviewed in the book either had something to say about or was influenced by David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Nile Rodgers and Disco.  Three of my favorite mentions were when Howard Jones stated that he liked David Bowie but that his lyrics were meaningless, how INXS tried to “throw off” Duran Duran from working with Nile Rodgers after John Taylor showed interest and that Tom Bailey (Thompson Twins) and Nile Rodgers played Scrabble after Live Aid (instead of partying).

David Bowie

Image: dwhartwig

 

3.  Dazzling Brilliance:

Discovering that the musical artists that I looked up to as a teenager are now educated adults didn’t take the shine off the apple. Many of these artists left art school or never went to college at all but the words, observations, comparisons, quotes and references used were mind blowing. The Foreward of the book written by Nick Rhodes was unbelievably eloquent (and I don’t just say that because he’s in Duran Duran, read it and you’ll understand). A few other stand-outs included:  how Devo contrived to make “Whip It” as version of Chinese propaganda, Adam Ant’s intrigue with the Native American culture, that Spandau Ballet described their band as a blend of Iggy Pop and Edith Piaf and the vast musical knowledge and calculated development as the band as a brand by Martin Fry (ABC) was extraordinary.

 

4.  Big hair = big ego:  

Big hair was a hallmark of the 80′s but wow, it seems that the guys with the biggest hair certainly had (or still have) the ego to match.  Mike Score (Flock of Seagulls) said one of his songs sounds as good as a song by the Beatles, Ian McCulloch (Echo and The Bunnymen) thinks of one his songs is the greatest song ever written and all I can say about Limahl (Kajagoogoo) is that I have a feeling I know why the rest of his own band gave him the heave-ho back in the day.

 

5.  Juicy Tidbits:  

Spoiler Alert

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT - I won’t give them all away (because there are many) but here are a few things that floored me to learn (if you’re looking for Duran Duran info go to #6):

  • The rift between Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook of New Order often was taken out via bass presence while recording/mixing their songs.
  • Spandau Ballet was a Nazi guard term about the twitches from Jewish hangings in Spandau prison in Germany. The band did NOT know the significance until after they reached a modicum of fame though.
  • Thomas Dolby is responsible for the synthesizer sound on Foreigner’s “Urgent”, co-wrote Lena Lovich’s “New Toy” and writes his song titles first and lyrics after.
  • Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke only got to know each other on their 2008 reunion tour.  They were not friends during Yaz.
  • Terri Nunn (Berlin) and DJ Richard Blade (KROQ and Sirius Radio) were nearly married.
  • Mike Score (Flock of Seagulls) used 1 can of Aquanet every night on his space-age hairstyle.
  • A-ha called the early version of “Take On Me” “The Juicyfruit Song” because they thought it sounded commercial.
  • Johnny Marr (The Smiths) writes songs in batches of 3 and wrote “William, It Was Really Nothing”, “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” and “How Soon Is Now” over 3 day period.
  • Midge Ure (Ultravox) got the inspiration for “Vienna” after a friend’s mondegreen with the song “Rhiannon”.  Ure had never even been to Vienna when he wrote the song.
  • Daryl Hall was brought in to sing on the chorus of “Original Sin” by INXS by Nile Rodgers (this one was a huge shock to me)

 

6. Everyone had something to say about Duran Duran…including Duran Duran.

Duran Duran, Mad World Book

 

Duran Duran were mentioned by nearly every single artist in this book including ABC, Flock Of Seagulls, Soft Cell, The Smiths, Tears For Fears and INXS.  Not only did Duran Duran have their own chapter but many quotes from Simon, John and Nick were included in other chapters.  For example, I knew that Simon Le Bon and Michael Hutchence were friends but it was especially interesting to read the words that Simon said about how and why they were friends felt very intimate.

A few Duran tidbits:

  • Simon takes you through what “Girls On Film” means and talks about his musical influences.
  • John Taylor said he thought that 3 tracks that represented the best of the first few years of the band would be “Rio”, “The Chauffeur” and the “Girls On Film” 12 inch.
  • The video for “Girls On Film” was shot in one day.
  • Simon reveals his penchant for dark haired women (woo hoo!) and his pride at seeing his wife own “Girls On Film” when she walks the runway.
  • Hearing Simon and Sting singing together during “Do They Know It’s Christmas” made Nick Rhodes ask Sting to sing on the Arcadia album.

 

7.  Is There Something I Should Know?:

Yes, I snuck in another Duran Duran reference but because this book is so chock-full of information and so entertaining that a few things begged the question that could be best asked in the words above:

  • How did all of the songs included make the 36 song cut?  I know you can’t please everyone but with the limited space available and large amount of impactful New Wave artists, I’m unconvinced that either The Waitresses or Animotion needed to be included when so many others were left out (see #8)
  • Why was XTC was considered a “band of weirdos” in the mixtape section?  Apart from Andy Partridge’s stage fright, the term didn’t seem to apply (IMHO).
  • Who decided on the font size and type?  With an audience that’s likely over 35 (or 44 like me), the font size was sometimes very small (quotes and Mixtape sections) and difficult to read at times (white type on a dark background was striking but not easy on the eyes – even with my glasses).

 

8. Mad World Book 2 Recommendations:  

Mad World, 80's music, New Wave

There’s no doubt (no musical pun intended) that there were artists that could (or should) have been included in this book.  In the hopes that that there will be a follow up book, I’m offering my suggestions for the following artists to be included in  Mad World Book 2:

  • U2/”With Or Without You”: While the song isn’t my favorite on the album, there’s no deny the longevity of this band and the album The Joshua Tree was a seminal album of the 1980′s.
  • The Alarm/”68 Guns”: I’m definitely biased here but this passionate Welsh band had a place in New Wave music.  They opened for U2 and The Police during the 80′s and they still have a cult following.  Mike Peters, a 2 time cancer survivor, not only still tours extensively and he is one of the co-founders of the cancer charity Love Hope Strength.
  • The Cure/”Just Like Heaven”: A super happy song by a band who were “emo”  before emo was emo.
  • Culture Club/”Karma Chameleon” certainly was an anthem in the 80′s, Boy George caused plenty of controversy with his appearance and from what I’ve heard, there was definitely intriguing behind the scenes drama within the band.
  • Pet Shop Boys/“West End Girls” From “Smash Hits” to electronic duo of iconic status.  When an actor on UK’s “Doctor Who” takes his stage name from Neil Tennant, it’s safe to say an impression’s been made.
  • Frankie Goes To Hollywood/”Relax”:  Who didn’t own a “Frankie Says Relax” t-shirt?
  • Paul Young/”Everytime You Go Away” or “Come Back and Stay”:  The man was the main voice in “Do They Know It’s Christmas”.  This blue-eyed soul singer captured quite a lot of the US New Wave audience.
  • More Brits: The English Beat, Wham!, Squeeze, China Crisis, Big Country, Nik Kershaw, Joe Jackson, Kirsty MacColl, Billy Idol and XTC (among others)
  • American Invasion: Oingo Boingo, The Go-Go’s, Wall of Voodoo, The Tubes, R.E.M. and The B-52′s (to name a few).

 

 

Overall, I really liked this book.  Much like the MTV VJ book, Mad World gives you behind the scenes insight into the life an times of the era and the artists but this time, it’s from the artists themselves.  Mad World was also a fun, informative and compelling read.  I loved the what I considered the “banter” between Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein at the beginning of each chapter.  Mad World made me laugh at loud and surprised me many times.  I’m looking forward to seeing if my suggestion for Mad World 2 will come to be.

Bottom line, Mad World is a unique book that allows a fan to gain deeper insight into how an artist channels their own environment and experiences into every aspect of how they create music.

For more information about Mad World (including book tour stops and a fabulous blog), connect here:

Website: www.madworldbook.com

Facebook: MadWorldTheBook

Twitter: @madworldbook

Disclaimer:  I did receive a complimentary copy of the book to review but all opinions are clearly my own.  There is an affiliate link within the the post.  If you buy Mad World through my affiliate link, you may add a few pennies to my Duran Duran next tour fund and I thank you in advance.

 

Virtual Coffee Catch Up Date

Posted on by Melissa Burton in #14in2014, Duran Duran, Fitness, Uncategorized | 23 Comments

I’ve been slacking off a bit when it comes to my blogging.  Things have been a little busy and since I’m not one of those “whip out a quick post kind of bloggers”, I’ve taken a page from Christine@LoveLifeSurf with a Virtual Coffee Catch-Up Date today.  I know we should all have more of these IRL but until we can, this will need to suffice.

 

Suspended Coffee

Image: Philippe Lin

 

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you how you’re dealing with the weather.   – - – - I know my East Coast (and my Mid West) friends have been getting hammered by the #polarvortex.  This might be one of the only stretches of time that I haven’t missed NYC.  I don’t want to rub salt in the wound but California has been glorious lately.  Many Los Angelenos are freaking out about the forecasted rain storm (people really don’t know what to do in the rain here)  but it’s desperately needed.

 

beach view, Amtrak train, Los Angeles to San Diego

 

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you if you had any advice on gaining fitness stamina quickly. – - – - The reality that I”m participating in the SoCal Ragnar Relay on April 4th and 5th is beginning to sink in.  I”ll be running this relay with 11 amazing women including Amy@It’sAllAboutTheJourney, Jill@TreeFitness, Carrie@FamilyFitnessFood, Gillian@That’sG, Jillienne@ChasingRaspberries, Debbie@LivefromLaQuinta,  Jamie@FitApproach and Kia@BodhiBear and I’m more than a little intimidated by these athletes.  I’ve trained for 4 half marathons and gotten injured 90% of the way through the training program so I’m doing the anti-training plan and running when I want (maybe it’s not smart but I’m trying to trick my back into thinking we’re NOT training for 12 miles in less than a 48 hour period).  I’ve had a few crappy, labored runs but I’ve had a few decent ones too.  I was very proud to have conquered an exceptionally challenging course at the LA Chinatown Firecracker 10K last weekend but I need to get myself running more often and I could use some motivation.

 

LA, running, #LAChinatownFirecracker10k

 

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you if you’ve ever run a mud run before. – - – - I’m super excited to be an Ambassador for the LoziLu 5K Mud Run coming to Pasadena on March 22nd but I’ve never done a mud run before.  I’m planning on wearing some old shoes and I’m ready to get dirty but I’d ask for tips on how to deal with being muddy and hopefully not injuring myself for my Ragnar 2 weeks later. BTW, my code: CRJWB can get you 10% on any LoziLu Women’s Mud Run nationwide!

 

LoziLu Women's Mud Run, LoziLu, 5K, Mud Run, Pasadena, LA

 

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you how your 2014 fitness and health goals were coming along so far. – - – - I’d tell you that some of my #14in2014 goals were right on track (an Ambassadorship and featuring great women for Friday’s Featured Female) but most of them were not (reading books, revamping the blog and meeting SLB since it looks like there will be no Duran Duran tour this year because the new album is potentially slated for late 2014).   If you having some trouble getting your exercise and healthy eating on track, I’d suggest possibly joining the MAMA SHRED that I’m working on with Bobbi@NHerShoes, for 6 weeks of meal and exercise plans suited for busy women (not just mothers) for some focus before the 1st quarter of 2014 passes you by.

 

Mama Shred, nhershoes.com, Bobbi McCormick, health, meal plans, fitness

Mama Shred 2014 with nhershoes.com

 

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you if you are a Mac or PC person. – - – - After nearly 7 years, my trusty Dell Inspiron cracked at the hinge and it was one of the signs that it was time to get a new computer (the battery life dying after 2 hours of use should have been the straw but I’m frugal and that wasn’t enough for me).  After hemming and hawing, I decided to get a 13″ Mac Book Pro and it’s definitely a transition but I’m getting there.  I’m having fun decking out my new baby too (I’m kind of in love with my chevron keyboard cover).  I’m on the hunt for a Duran Duran sticker to put on my snap case (did you like that HLTW reference Duran friends?) and I desperately need a protective sleeve and carrying case so I don’t damage this computer while traveling as I’ve done before.

 

Mac Book Pro, chevron

Bright and shiny computer

 

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you about how work was going.- – - - Since blogging and nutrition/fitness/wellness are my business, I’d tell you that I was pretty busy with LoziLu and the MAMA SHRED but that I’d also be attending 2 conferences within a week.  I’m super excited to be attending Women Get Social/Bloggy Boot Camp in San Diego this weekend (to get my blogging skills up to snuff) and next week I’ll be attending the Natural Products Expo West and will hopefully be getting the scoop on the upcoming trends in food and natural products for 2014.  I made some predictions last year and I can’t wait to see if this year will really be the year of the cauliflower (among other things).

 

Bloggy Boot Camp, Women Get Social, SITS Girls

Image: BloggyBootCamp.com

 

Natural Products Expo

 

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you about your family. – - – - I know I’m really lucky to have a great husband, son and puppy.  They made my birthday and Valentine’s Day so wonderful.  They’re always so supportive of the work I do even if it means that I don’t make a regular paycheck (Allie@VitaTrain4Life wrote a great post about this recently) but they see me happy.  They’re understanding of my time away from home, odd hours working or getting my fitness in somehow.  I know I need to work harder on being more present with them so they know how much I love them (I’d likely ask you if that’s an issue for you too and how you deal with it if it is).  I’m looking forward to March and April when we have friends (who are like family) and my in-laws coming to visit.  It will be crazy but wonderful to have them all here in California.

 

Family Photo.jpg

 

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you about what you watch on TV/Netflix/Amazon Prime/Hulu etc. – - – - Even though I don’t sleep as many hours as I should, I need to wind down by watching something on my iPad before I go to sleep at night.  We cut the cable cord last year and make up for it with iTunes Season Passes for shows like Breaking Bad (when it was on) and Mad Men (can’t wait).  NetFlix/Amazon Prime/Hulu Plus are awesome and feed my TV addiction well.  Right now, I’m a little hooked on Friday Night Lights (after getting hooked on Parenthood, I decided to give this show a try) and starting House of Cards – Season 2.  I need to catch up on the last episode of Downton Abbey and I can’t wait for the return of Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and Orphan Black.  Like I said, I watch a lot of TV.  I’d ask what you watch so I could line up my next show.

 

Friday Night Lights, TV

Image: tchuntfr

 

By this point, we’d probably have chatted for awhile and we’d both realize the time.  If we’re blogger friends, I’d apologize for not keeping up to date with reading and commenting on your blog and I know I’d likely apologize for talking your ear off (as I’m known to do), then we’d both be out the door saying we’d text or email (I don’t answer my phone often) to make a future date to catch up again soon.

Until next time!

Which topic do you think we’d chat about the longest?

Friday’s Featured Female – Patience Bloom@RomanceIsMyDayJob

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Duran Duran, Friday's Featured Female | 7 Comments
Welcome to Friday’s Featured Female!

Friday's Featured Female, #FFF

This weekly series features inspirational stories from admirable women.  IMHO, it’s always good to be reminded of how strength, determination, hard work, heart and ingenuity can impact the quality of one’s life and I’m proud that these women will allow me to share their stories here.

Today’s #FFF is Patience Bloom@RomanceIsMyDayJob - an editor at Harlequin, runner and die-hard Duranie (she wrote a 50 page term paper on the band in high school and walked down the aisle at her wedding to “Rio”).  Patience and I met through one of my best friends, Susie (who you might remember from my #SecretVacation5K), and had a girl-crush quick.  Patience is smart, a little bit snarky and about to set the world on fire with her own true story about how a Facebook message from a high school friend changed her life in Romance Is My Day Job: A Memoir of Finding Love At Last.

Sooooo have you met Patience?

Patience Bloom, Romance Is My Day Job

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The Hard Rock Cafe 5K With A Side of Duran Duran

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Duran Duran, Fitness | 20 Comments

I may have tweaked my back last week but there was no way that I was going to be kept from the inaugural Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood 5K on Saturday.  I even got up at dark-thirty to take the train to the tourist heart of Hollywood (Hollywood and Highland).

Hard Rock Cafe 5K

It is dark in the car with my number. The “Good Luck” message was taken post race.

The plan was to meet my fellow SCLB member, Jennifer@RealMomofSFV at the start line and let her know that I was going to walk the distance due to my injury but let’s just say that I got a little caught up in the energy of 10,000 runners.   Read more

He’s 55 & Still Hot – Happy Birthday Simon Le Bon!

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Duran Duran | 5 Comments

Yes, I’m behind on my #FitBlogLA post but today is Simon Le Bon’s 55th birthday and it deserves to be acknowledged!  What kind of SLB fan would I really be if I didn’t at least write a short post?

Unlike many other fans, I never loved LeBeard and you might remember that I had a little blog party when he finally shaved the Ringmaster ‘stache but I still absolutely love this man!

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