Duran Duran is one of my best friends in the world and yet I’ve never met them. The guys in the band have no idea who I am but they’ve impacted my life more than most family members. Sounds weird. Maybe a little creepy, I know, but I have a feeling most of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Duran Duran was with me for my first kiss and there to clean up the mess after my first heart break. They’ve been with me at graduations, job interviews, births, my wedding and even the passing of loved ones.
They’re rock solid and have been with me for the long road. They don’t judge me. Like any good friend they’ve inspired and taught me; helped me see things in myself that I didn’t know I was capable of. Simon was definitely there when I picked up a journal and scribbled my first derivative poems. And they were also there when I was trying to impress the girls at the coffee shop at my first open mic night. And once again the first time I walked into an audition for my first band (sans the pink leopard skin pants of course!).
Sure, there have been times when me and Duran lost touch for a little bit and other good friendships developed along the way. Let’s see... there are my buddies Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Catherine Wheel, White Lies and Mew. Good guys all of them and I’m thankful for their relationships but the friendship that I could always count on and fall back on was the boys from Birmingham.
I remember the first time we met. By chance someone had left their cassette tape of Rio on the balance beam at school during recess. What was I to do? I was 8 and this oddly, exotically beautiful woman was smiling at me. Well of course I took it and jumped on my cheap, knock-off, wannabe Huffy bike and pedaled home as fast as I could. Something felt clandestine and exciting about how the tape came into my possession so I played it low on my boom box at first (yeah, I had a boom box). The slow, twisted crawling of the title track moaned and I knew right then... this was different. And for the next 40 minutes I was transported from my bedroom in South Jersey to somewhere far more interesting. Again, I was 8 so I had no idea where it took me... but it took me and never let go.
Yeah, it’s been a long road from that 8 year old in his bedroom to being this 40-something guy writing these words in the car during my daughter’s soccer practice. During that time I developed a passion for song writing. Really became a student of trying to craft the “perfect pop song” (an exercise that still eludes me). Became a bit of an obsession really. I joined bands and left bands and finally ended up on my own about 6 years ago to form my solo project BiTTERSWEET MACHiNES.
Over those 6 years I've written, recorded, and released 2 full length albums and 5 EPs - all without the support of a record label but all with every bit of everything I have to give. I feel so lucky to have worked with some amazing musical and visual artists that have breathed their own life into my music.
My latest EP, "No Bad Horizon" was released last week and I couldn't be more proud of this collection of songs. In 19 minutes, I think this album captures all the essential elements of the entire BiTTERSWEET MACHiNES catalogue. If you give it a listen I'm sure you'll hear a little Duran DNA mixed in along with some other influences and hopefully a dash of my creative thoughts. Where I take BiTTERSWEET MACHiNES from here is anyone's guess (and that's what keeps it exciting).
It was pretty terrifying the first time I walked in the studio alone as BiTTERSWEET MACHiNES. Just me and some really naïve dreams. But I guess I never was really alone. When I hold that acoustic guitar in my hands for a writing session or stand behind the vocal mic - I reflect on what my friends from Duran Duran taught me. Be authentic. Be unafraid. Take chances. Be confident. Be vulnerable. Be brave. Be yourself. Give away your heart. And most importantly... it’s all about the chorus because the rest is just foreplay.
If you’d like to check out any of my music please visit any of the following links. It’s all FREE! I just ask that if you like it - pass it on. Remember, sharing is caring.
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Now read more personal stories from Duran fans:
Fliss: Evolution of a Duranie
Baranduin: A Tale of 7 Cities
Guille: A Duran Collection