Lori Majewksi and Jonathan Bernstein are the co-authors of the book, MAD WORLD, released on April 15th. For those who aren't up to speed, MAD WORLD is an oral history of new wave artists, including Duran Duran, that defined the 1980s. Nick Rhodes contributed the foreword to the book, and there's a terrific chapter on Duran Duran's "Girls on Film." Lori is also an avowed Duran Duran fan, supporting them, and their endeavors, since forever. To follow is an excerpt of the written Q&A she did for the Duran Duran VIP Fan Community last month
Let’s get it out of the way now. Big DD fan. how did this start for you?
LM: My family were a test household for cable in the neighborhood, so I had MTV from day one. That’s where I first laid eyes and ears on them.
First memory of being a Duran Duran fan?
LM: I’d seen the “Planet Earth” video but I wasn’t really aware of Duran until “Hungry Like the Wolf.” As I say in Mad World, when I first saw that clip it was as if my body and brain were being possessed. I distinctly remember John holding up the Polaroid of Simon and shaking his head “No” — suddenly, I needed to know everything there was to know about the band. And I started spending endless hours watching MTV waiting to see them again.
You also had a very popular Duran Duran fanzine called TOO MUCH INFORMATION. How did that come about?
LM: That’s what started it all. Today kids have blogs; back then it was ‘zines. I was hoping to fill the void left by Melinda Evans’ excellent For Duranies Only. Also, there came a point at the end of the 80s/early 90s when Duran no longer had an official fan club, so I hoped TMI might unite fans around the world. Living in New York, I got to see the band in person whenever they came to town to record or promote, which wasn’t infrequent. That’s how we were able to always have such up-to-date news and photos. Although, we did have reporters on staff in Los Angeles and London as well. We were pretty ambitious!
MAD WORLD. Tell us about it?
LM: Mad World is an oral history of the seminal artists and songs that defined the new wave era. My co-author and friend, Jonathan Bernstein, and I had read a first-person write-up by Gary Kemp about Spandau Ballet’s “True,” and we thought, What if we gave this treatment to all of our favorite songs? We decided to focus on new wave exclusively because, while there are numerous books about classic rock, punk and grunge, there really is no definitive book about the music and bands from the late seventies/early eighties — the American bands that wanted to be British, the British bands that wanted to be German, and the German bands that wanted to be robots. So many of the artists in Mad World share the same influences: Bowie, Roxy Music, the Sex Pistols. We talk to the superstars you expect — Duran, New Order, The Smiths, Adam Ant — but also more obscure artists, like Mute Records founder Daniel Miller of The Normal, who recorded “Warm Leatherette”; one-hit wonders like Modern English and Thomas Dolby; plus, people who were there at the start of the era — think: the Human League and Gary Numan — and those who were there at the end, such as A-ha and Animotion. And unlike the artists that came after them, new wavers had almost complete autonomy. They were allowed to be as weird as they wanted to be. There were no producers, A&R guys, or wardrobe stylists telling them how to look or sound. Also, it’s a funny book. You can’t read the Echo and the Bunnymen or A Flock of Seagulls chapters and not laugh out loud.
How did you score Nick Rhodes for the foreword and Moby for the afterword?
LM: We got Moby first. Jonathan and I were talking about the book proposal while having a swim with Moby in his pool, and Mo was so enthusiastic: “You have to talk to Midge Ure! You need to talk to Marco Pirroni!” So we asked him to write about how much he loves this stuff, and he couldn’t get us his contribution fast enough. Actually, Moby and I are friends because of Duran. Years ago we were seated next to each other at a charity event and he said to our table: “Let’s play a game: If you could be a member of any band, past or present, which would it be? I go first: Duran Duran!” We were pals from that point on. As for Nick and the foreword, Jonathan and I brainstormed a short list of artists whom we thought would be able to talk at length about and contextualize why new wave was such a special time in music. Nick is definitely the voice of his generation, so I’m thrilled that he said yes.
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