A supernova, by definition, is a star that suddenly increases greatly in brightness because of a catastrophic explosion that ejects most of its mass. I am not an astronomer, nor a physicist (you’re welcome, world), but I am a little bit of a writer. I love that word, and its meaning. To some, a supernova is simply the death of a star. How underwhelming.
Death is never simple, and the death of a star is not instantaneous. It is a process that takes millions of years. A supernova, or the explosion part – takes about a quarter of a second. The core collapses, then a shockwave reaches the surface, and the star becomes billions of times brighter than even our sun. From there, it takes a few years to fade. Just last week, NASA released pictures of a star on the very cusp of death, just before it went into supernova. The James Webb Telescope captured it in 2021 (I guess it takes a while to release things…) from the constellation Sagitta.
What does this have to do with Duran Duran?
I am sure by now, most of the Duranie world has seen it. Meaning, the announcement that the band is recording material to be released by the end of the year. (This year?? Stay tuned…) Even more importantly, at least to me, is that Andy will be playing guitar on a few of the tracks.
Just typing those words feels like a dream. Anybody else?
Google alerts sent me messages on Saturday saying that Andy was back recording with the band. I laughed. I shook my head, because of course not!! That’s impossible, right? I didn’t even post the question to social media.
When the third google alert dinged on my phone, I decided I’d better read. Two articles later, I wondered if it was really possible. One article quoted John, saying that Simon would be going to Ibiza to write with Andy. He even said he was envious about not being in the studio (seriously John? GO. How many more times are you going to get to write together? GO.)
Okay, I thought. Maybe it is true.
And then again, maybe I need therapy. This is Duran Duran!
Then yesterday, entirely too late by my own PR standards, I might add, Duran Duran “finally” released a statement that was published to their social media. The statement indicated that yes, it was true. Andy was going to play guitar on a few of the tracks.
For those who haven’t seen the release published yesterday by DDHQ, here it is in straight text below:
Duran Duran are thrilled to confirm a special new music project is in the works, set for release later this year on BMG.
The new recordings will feature extended Duran Duran family and friends, old and new, including our former band mate Andy Taylor who will join us on guitar on a few tracks.
Simon, Nick, John and Roger look forward to seeing you all out on the road this year!Duran Duran, published March 20, 2023
So the new work will include Andy, but others as well. We will see how “later this year” really goes…because it is indeed March, and we all know about Durantime.
Many fans, myself included, replied with joy and excitement. Andy is playing guitar for Duran Duran. Those are words I just didn’t consider being a part of my 2023. Talk about exciting news?!? I mean, how could I not be overjoyed? This configuration of the band: Simon, Nick, John, Roger and Andy, are who I think of when I consider the music of my youth. That isn’t to say I’m trading Dom for Andy again, or anyone else for that matter. I can’t help that it is THAT music, that feels like coming home.
In turn, I know “they” say you can’t go home again. It is never quite the same. And no, I suppose that one cannot say it will be just like the Duran I fell in love with. For one thing, we are all significantly older than we were in 1980-something, and for some of you possibly reading – you weren’t even born. Maybe that is why I hesitate to shout from the rooftops.
This is such a strange feeling. Half of me is so excited I can barely stand it. I remember what it was like to have all five back together again in 2001, recording and getting ready to tour. Hell, I remember what it was like to stand in front of all five of them at the Virgin Megastore in October 2004. That was like an out-of-body experience for me, and it is one evening I will never, ever, forget. They didn’t sing or play a single note that night, and they didn’t have to in order for it to be imprinted on my heart and mind forever. I was jubilant, overjoyed, excited…I could go on. It was the one and only time I was ever directly in front of all of them at once without being at a concert. Yes, I “met” them all, even if they couldn’t have picked me out of a lineup after that even if they tried.
At the time I hadn’t been to more than five DD concerts in my life. As of today, I have seen 56. I realize other people have seen multiples of that number. Even so, this is my story. It is ridiculous that I’ve managed to get myself to 55 Duran shows just since 2004. I’m eternally grateful, a little bit tired, and even slightly embarrassed, all at once.
Of those 56 shows, I have only seen Andy with the band four times (and once with Power Station).
I’ve seen the admonishments from fans saying we shouldn’t “mourn” Andy before he’s gone. Personally, I think that while those people have the best of intentions, they have no idea what it means to lose someone to a disease that you know is killing them. It is only natural to think of what life might be like once they are no longer sharing the planet. My experience is that the reality of the situation is always in the back of your mind. Life is kind of like an hourglass. Some of us have no idea how much sand is left. Others know we have a limited amount, but no clue of how much, or when it might run out. It isn’t dwelling on the negative (or so I’ve heard) to talk about it. It is fear that I need to share and talk through. I fear for the time I know is coming. Pretending otherwise won’t make that moment vanish, nor will my fear of its impending arrival. It just will BE.
With that in mind, I can’t help but feel like this moment is bittersweet. I never wanted the band to get back together – particularly after 2006 – because I knew that for Duran Duran, it wouldn’t work. The Fab Five, for whatever reason, didn’t work well for the long run. A good pep talk later, I knew I loved the band enough to embrace what would be without Andy. I can’t say I never faltered. We all know how I felt about Red Carpet Massacre, for instance. Even so, I tried my best.
To hear that they’re recording a limited number of songs together is amazing. It gives me hope, and joy. If indeed we are running out of road, this is the way I’d want to go out, for sure. My melancholy, or bittersweet feelings, are because our time is limited. Sure, it always has been. I can hear people responding, saying that we’ve never been guaranteed a single second. True. No argument from me, but reality is that I have far less time now than I did a minute ago. Or twenty years ago. I can’t say I like that idea at all.
Often since the first fan convention I attended in 2003, I listened to fans tell me why it is they think the band is done after this album, or that album, or that tour…or even performing at that venue. I participated in these chats as much as anyone else. We all like to think we know the band well enough to guess what they’re thinking. I’ll admit it – most of the time I couldn’t be more wrong if I tried, so I’ve stopped.
What I will say today though, is that I’m grateful. I am so lucky that Duran Duran has been a steady, vibrant, portion of my life story since I was ten years old. Their career can be traced through my own lifeline, and vice-versa. At every significant mile marker during my life journey, there is a Duran Duran song and memory attached. This band has not only saved me, but it has given me the energy to thrive at times I didn’t believe I could. Those of us who have followed them for so long, and even those who have only just joined the party, but have their music imprinted on their soul, are a part of a small, but powerful group. We are fortunate souls who collided with the art, love, energy, and spirit flowing from this band.
The career this band has enjoyed is every bit as beautiful to me as the death of a star. It is indeed a supernova. I just can’t put into words how incredible it feels as a fan to be able to say I’ve seen virtually all of it – aside from the very beginnings in Cheapside and the Rum Runner. The pride I have, the LOVE I feel, makes so much of it (aside from those moments spent on Ticketmaster) worth the ride.
This is our band. Indeed.