It's supposed to be The Clash, right? Fugazi? The Smiths? Or maybe Big Head Todd and the Monsters, a band that I practically followed when I was in college? It's not. The only band that changed my life was Duran Duran.
Because Duran Duran was the first band I identified with that was not introduced to me by my parents.
I was barely 10 when Wild Boys was released as a single. At the time, it didn't seem like anything seismic had occurred. I memorized the lyrics. Learned the band members' names. There may have been an air band involved.
It's only now that I realize how important those moments were.
Littler kids don't even consider the existence of a world apart from their parents. What mommy and daddy like is good, everything else is dumb. The moment children discover something on their own is the beginning of their emotional adolescence. It is the initiation of a decade-long hunt for an identity.
I am so lucky that my discovery was Duran Duran, a new wave icon with real songwriting ability that has remained relevant for three decades. The band was a gateway to New Order and Love & Rockets, which in turn led to Joy Division, Bauhaus and all sorts of wonderful hallways that today sound like The National, No Age and Broken Social Scene.
In other words, it was a good gate to open.
[Ed. - Now that it is written, I think this post is almost a companion piece to I Still Have Heroes, which talked about my lifelong love affair with Miami Vice. Go '80s.]