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LINER NOTE #27 (Part 1)

Cecilia here. I realized a month had gone by since the last liner note and that I have a bunch of stuff stacking up for you, so here's one. I had always intended to do these once a month but I miss about 30% of the time!

Anyway, here's something you don't usually see from me, which is some ORIGINAL video. :-) I was in New York City recently, and I decided to take a photo of the Hotel Pennsylvania, which was called the Penta back when Daron and the guys stayed there in 1989. Then I thought, no wait, it would be better to take a video snippet. So here you go, showing how close the hotel is to Madison Square Garden:

I just finished reading Duran Duran bass player John Taylor's memoir, IN THE PLEASURE GROOVE, which tells how a nerdy only child from Birmingham who didn't know how to play an instrument was saved from crappy schooling by punk rock and ended up being the founder of one of the most influential bands of the 1980s. (Buy In the Pleasure Groove through the link to Amazon in the comments section below and I'll get a kickback...)

Many, MANY things in the book echo Daron's story because they're endemic to the music business of the era, while other parts are quite different, and I learned a lot about the UK music scene I only vaguely knew. One bit that amused me, given the section of Daron's story we are in, is the part where Taylor describes the band's ambition upon formation: they want to be playing Madison Square Garden within three years.

When you grow up in New York you don't quite realize the significance that things in the city can have for people elsewhere. For us, going to a Broadway show was not that big a deal. We took it for granted. But for people from anywhere else in the world, seeing a Broadway show means planning a special vacation, not merely hanging out at Half Price Tickets to see what's available. For performers, too, getting a gig on Broadway is obviously a big deal.

MSG is kind of the same, and Daron doesn't really think about it. But the people around him do. Antonio brings it up in the limo on the way to the Palladium. When you're the act playing the Garden, everyone in New York treats you like a king.

It was kind of cool to find this sentiment echoed in Taylor's book. "So what is it about Madison Square Garden, the apex of fame, the place I had fantasized about in the suburbs of Birmingham, really like? MSG has the biggest ego of any venue in the world. From the moment we arrived in New York, every driver, every concierge, every shop assistant was referring to it: 'You guys are at the Garden, right?' It was Garden this, Garden that. We had to really try to keep our feet on the ground in the run-up to the performance there."

Daron is pretty good at ignoring hype. Ziggy isn't. 


Backtracking a little in the story, to the topic of New Jersey, Daron posted recently on his Facebook page: "It's like once you're looking for stuff about guitars and new jersey you find them together everywhere. Huh."

What prompted that was stumbling upon this. And I quote from the Mahwah Museum website: "Les Paul — the genius who invented the solid body guitar and the multi-track recording system — lived in Mahwah for more than half his life." Mahwah is a town in northern New Jersey that was always having flooding when I was a kid. The Mahwah Museum had a special exhibit dedicated to Les Paul that ran through June 2013, including a Les Paul 98th burthday party and special slots where one could sign up to actually play one of the guitars Les owned. Huh. 


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