Note: This is the beginning of a work in progress. The Duran Duran Chronicles is the first part of a larger story. By posting it here, it will hopefully force me to keep working on it. I’m up to 40k words so there will be many posts. 🙂
The Duran Duran Chronicles – Prologue
“I don’t know.”
That was my answer during a recent interview with a leading entertainment magazine, when the journalist, someone who has interviewed me before, asked: “How did you go from a Duran Duran obsessed teen to a dark and brooding Nine Inch Nails fan?
The interview was for my new novel, The Dark Hour, about two serial killers who are trying to out kill each other and the detective who thinks he’s tracking one killer. Somehow we started talking about music.
He asked what my favorite genre was. I answered New Wave, Synthpop and Industrial. I told him how I had discovered Duran Duran before they hit it big in the States and how I was obsessed with them as a kid. I explained how I dressed like them and had posters all over my bedroom walls. I told him how I just had to have a Fedora like John Taylor and bugged my parents so much that they broke down and bought me one for Christmas.
He was around my age so he could remember how crazy the girls were for Duran Duran. There was a reason they were called the Fab Five. The fan frenzy rivaled that of the Fab Four when they first came over from England. But, I think it was even bigger than the Beatles.
There were more outlets available in the 80’s for girls to get their Duran Duran fix. MTV played their videos all day long and new video shows popped up daily. It was simple to continually fuel your Duran Duran obsession. That made the girls happy. Not too sure about their parents though.
“So,” he asked, “what’s your favorite band today?”
I didn’t have to think about it. “Nine Inch Nails.”
He chuckled. He obviously found that amusing. “How did you go from Duran Duran to Nine Inch Nails?”
“What?” I was sincerely perplexed. No one had ever asked me a question about that before.
“That’s some jump. How did you go from the heart throbs of the 80’s to the industrial pioneers of the 90’s?
“Nine Inch Nails isn’t Industrial.” I corrected him. “They’re more Synthpop or just Electronic. There are industrial aspects to the sound but they aren’t technically an industrial band.” He smiled. He knew I was very particular when it came to music genres. Thank goodness he didn’t mention the sub-genres of music. I have an obscene hatred for all sub-genres.
“Ok. Fair enough. But how did you go from a band of cute guys who were generally upbeat, and face it, most of their songs were about sex, to songs about nihilism, solipsism, depression that are often times extremely violent and chaotic?”
I stared at him. I had no idea how to answer his question. It just happened. For me, it was a natural progression. Because of Duran Duran I found bands like Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Psychedelic Furs and Siouxie and the Banshees. I also listened to Blondie, Joy Division, New Order and Berlin. I took a slight detour through Hair Metal in High School but by the end of the 80’s my ear had found Soundgarden. That led to my discovering Nirvana, Mudhoney, The Screaming Trees and later, Pearl Jam during the 90’s. It just seemed normal. NIN easily slipped in through the unlocked door of angst.
“I don’t’ know,” I answered. “I guess life happened.”
“That must have been some life,” He chuckled.
I was silently relieved he didn’t press the issue. I didn’t have a definitive answer for him. I didn’t see myself as dark and brooding. I mean, sure, my writing was dark and I wore a lot of black. But, my fashion choice was more a necessity than a statement. Don’t get me wrong. I love black. I wear it every day, but not because I’m Goth or depressed. It’s because coffee and food stains tend to blend in better than, say, on a pale pink top.
I went home that night and went through all my CD’s. I spread them out on the floor in front of me. Duran Duran, followed by Depeche Mode, then The Cure, New Order, Berlin, Joy Division, Bauhaus, Siouxie and the Banshees.
After that came, Bon Jovi, Poison and Motley Crue. Then I added, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Mudhoney, The Afghan Whigs, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Garbage, Lisa Loeb and Pearl Jam. VNV Nation, Skinny Puppy, Assemblage 23, KMFDM, Marilyn Manson, Mesh, The Birthday Massacre and Tori Amos all followed. Assorted soundtracks and greatest hits took their place on the carpet amongst guilty pleasures: The Monkees and Neil Diamond. The Punk and Goth box sets sat on the floor next to the CD rack.
Separately, I arranged all my NIN CD’s; in chronological order of course. Not only did I have all the major releases but I also had all single releases in CD format. I started with Halo 1, the single Down in it (Trent Reznor assigned a ‘halo” number to every release) and ended with Halo 28 the album Hesitation Marks. There were 43 NIN CD’s spread out before me. That wasn’t even counting the vinyl albums and digital only releases I had. I owned a shit ton of music.
Every song, album, remix and band has helped me in some way. I wasn’t just arranging my music collection; I was unfolding my life before me. These songs were more than just noise filling in empty spaces in the background. This was the soundtrack to my life. And to understand how I went from carefree, Duran Duran obsessed teen to angst ridden, misanthropic adult; I would have to start from the beginning