Duranalysis: “(Reach Up For The) Sunrise”

The music’s between us…

The video for “(Reach Up For The) Sunrise”, the first single off of Duran Duran’s 2004 Astronaut album, marked the first time the five original band members had teamed up to shoot a video since 1985’s “A View To A Kill”. To celebrate the triumphant return of the crown princes of MTV’s golden age, something grandiose was required. All total, the band filmed six different videos for “Sunrise”: one apiece for Simon, John, Nick, Roger, and Andy, plus one master video made from cutting together brief snippets of all the above. Here’s Nick in Paper Magazine discussing the concept: “The idea was to make five separate videos, one for each band member, showing some kind of journey home, all edited to different remixes.” Each video was shot on a different film format: color Super 8, black and white Super 8, MiniDV, 24p, or Super 16.

In Simon’s segment, he glides on a motorbike—per Simon, it’s a “1960 BSA B40 trials bike, one of only twenty produced”—around the Spanish Pyrenees. In a behind-the-scenes feature on the making of this video, Simon explains that he’d originally wanted to film in Tibet, but the directors—twin brothers Mark and Michael Polish, known professionally as the Polish Brothers—told him it would break their budget: “But we’ll get you a nice bike, and we’ll go to Spain.” Tooling around the mountains in Spain sounds like a smashing consolation prize.

Not that it’s all glamour for Simon, exotic locale notwithstanding. I’m pretty sure this is the only Duran Duran video to feature mounds of literal horseshit.

Hey, look, it’s Andy! The prodigal son has returned! The whole gang’s back together! I mean, at least temporarily—three years after this video, Andy will leave Duran Duran again, presumably for good—but for this brief, heady moment in time, all five original band members once again formed one cohesive unit of Duranny goodness. Nice to see you, Andy. You’ve got some rough edges, but you’re always okay in my book, and not just because of your firm pro-Duranalysis stance.

(And what of Warren Cuccurullo, whose fifteen-year tenure as Duran Duran’s official guitarist came to an end with the return of Andy? Here’s how Warren describes the situation, as quoted in Steve Malins’s Duran Duran Notorious: “[A] letter arrived by special delivery at my house sacking me from the band. I read it and I was absolutely shocked because no one had said anything to me, I didn’t have a fucking clue.” In his memoir, John Taylor recalls it somewhat differently: “Warren bowed gracefully out of the reunion project once it got going.” Tomato, tomahto.)

Andy cavorts around his adopted homeland of Ibiza, hanging out in tents and riding in jeeps and taking walks on the beach with gaggles of kids and packs of dogs. He looks happy and relaxed, like he’s in his element here.

Oh, look, there’s Simon, who presumably bopped on over from the Pyrenees to chill with his old friend.

Andy’s Ibiza journey culminates in a wild night at Privilege, which, per the Guinness Book of Records, is officially the World’s Largest Nightclub. Andy parties with the huge, rowdy crowd (the club has a capacity of—wait for it—ten thousand people) while watching the clothing-optional acts on the stage. Stump your Duranie friends with this fun trivia question: Which Duran Duran video features the most bare breasts? It’s not the famously raunchy uncensored version of “Girls on Film”; it’s Andy’s video for “(Reach Up For The) Sunrise.” The club is pretty much an endless sea of exposed breasts. Just going by this video, here are the most important things in Andy’s world: family, friends, nature, music, and boobs.

John sits on a twin bed in a bedroom in a home somewhere in the California desert, looking beautiful and sensitive and introspective. John Taylor, man. That face. That hair. Those cheekbones. John’s not always the most dazzling Duran—Simon is more gonzo and gregarious, Nick is more glamorous and strange—but dagnabbit, he’s always going to be the most photogenic.

John lugs his guitar case across the burning sand. He’s wearing a black suit, tie undone, white shirt unbuttoned, hair falling in his face. John’s scenes almost have a spooky, lonely, post-apocalyptic quality to them. Give him a sword and some cool geeky glasses, and he’d be ready to star in a wildly ill-conceived yet fascinating remake of Six String Samurai.

At one point, he stops at an empty roadside café to sip coffee while looking lovely and haunted.

And then, while he’s trudging along the side of the road, sweltering in the heat, a black Porsche pulls up beside him. John climbs in the car, which zooms off. John? Hey, John? I think you forgot something by the side of the road. You went to a lot of trouble to haul your guitar all this way across the blazing desert; maybe you want to take it with you?

Roger’s segment, meanwhile, embraces the whole low-budget, avant-garde French New Wave spirit, complete with voyeuristic hand-held camera work and grainy black-and-white film. He wakes up in a London hotel room, fully clothed in a white suit jacket over a black shirt and pants, an unidentified woman in bed beside him. He rolls out of bed and starts filming the room with an old-school Super 8 camera.

In the behind-the-scenes segment, Roger waxes philosophical on life on the road: “In this business, you spend a lot of time in hotel rooms, and it can be kind of lonely sometimes. You know, you’re always waking up in a strange bed in a strange city in a strange country, and sometimes you wake up, and you don’t know where you are.”

Sunglasses on, Roger zips around the city in a cool vintage Jaguar. While driving, he films the passing scenery—Big Ben, the London Eye, London Bridge—with his Super 8.

Roger! Put down the camera, place both hands on the wheel, and pay attention to the road! You’re supposed to be the responsible one, for crying out loud.

It’s a perfectly nice video. As Nick put it earlier, it’s all about the band members, each in his own way, taking a journey home. All of the preceding has been stylish and visually intriguing, but I need more. Nick, my love, I’m counting on you to do something magical and weird and faintly off-putting.

Oh, bless you, Nick:

So Nick, clad in vibrant pink, is flying through the streets of downtown London in a tiny pink bubble-like spacecraft, which is festooned with painted stars. Awesome. Nick, you’re the best. I’m all for democracy, but holy smokes, can you imagine the amazing videos Duran Duran would turn out if Nick refused to let any of his fellow bandmates have any input as to the content?

As he cruises past department store windows, languid female mannequins spring to life and press their hands against the glass, clearly recognizing Nick as their spiritual brethren. Whenever Nick gets around to penning his memoirs, there will probably be whole chapters devoted to his mannequin fetish.

The behind-the-scenes video, by the way, features lots of footage of teensy-tiny Nick wedging himself into his teensy-tiny spaceship while grousing, “It is worse than flying in economy.” Yeah, right. Protest all you want, Nick, but nothing will convince me you’ve ever flown economy.

According to a report in the UK tabloid The Daily Star, Nick suffered mild injuries when something went awry during filming: “As the trailer went around a tight corner, Nick was thrown from the spaceship and found himself hanging upside down after the hydraulic arm on the spaceship failed.” I couldn’t find anything online to corroborate this report, so it may all be a bunch of malarkey, but really, it was only a matter of time before a Duran Duran-themed news item surfaced that contained this phrase: “Nick was thrown from the spaceship”.

A fine video. Nick and his spaceship steal the show, obviously, but everyone else puts in a solid effort. Nice to see the gang all back together, guys.

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Anonymous said…
at first I was like "hey, wait, why is she doing each band member's part separately? I mean, tackling this one member's standalone video at a time is a legit way to go about it, but they aren't separated out like this in the composite. Feels a little strange..." and then I realized you were saving the best for last, and I was like "oh. duh. great choice."

I actually don't think I've ever seen that behind-the-scenes video, which is surprising considering I went on a week-and-a-half-long Duran Duran Youtube bender a few years ago and thought I'd managed to See It All. (It was a few years ago, and it was a lot of videos, so maybe I saw it and have forgotten... but how would I forget Nick cramming himself into a tiny spaceship?) I'll have to check it out later!

(Also, much like Out of My Mind, I was surprised to realize that you hadn't done this video yet. Now I have to wonder what else hasn't been done that would seem blindingly obvious in hindsight.)
Ingrid Richter said…
Hmm, why do I suspect Andy has a different order of important things? Awesome review, as always, oh sister of mine. And I completely agree with Anonymous - you left the best for last! Loved the Nick segment... reminds me of those awesome Melvin Sokolsky bubble photos in Paris.
Morgan Richter said…
Anonymous -- The behind-the-scenes video is cute. It was tougher to find on YouTube than it should've been, which might be why you didn't come across it during your Duran bender; I knew it existed and was actively trying to find it by searching on YouTube quite literally for "Duran Duran Making of Reach Up For the Sunrise", and I had to go through pages and pages of search results before it came up.

This video is all about Nick and his tiny spaceship. Nothing else really matters.

Ingrid -- hadn't thought of the bubble photos. Good catch. I bet you anything Nick thought of it, though. Seems like the sort of thing that would be right up his alley.
DKoren said…
...it was only a matter of time before a Duran Duran-themed news item surfaced that contained this phrase: "Nick was thrown from the spaceship."

That made me laugh so loud the cat looked at me funny.

What a great review. I have not actually seen this video, so looking forward to the different versions. Roger looks mighty fine in b&w. And yes, you definitely saved the best for last. Nick and his tiny space ship sound wonderful.
DKoren said…
Also, it is just soooooo good to see Andy again.
Sarah said…
I hadn't seen this video before either, surprisingly. Now I need to find the individual versions. As I was reading, John's seemed the most interesting....UNTIL I read about Nick. Ha. Nick never disappoints!
Morgan Richter said…
DKoren: So, so good (albeit kinda melancholy) to see Andy with the rest of the boys. Wish they'd all been able to make it work together, but it apparently wasn't doing it for Andy. Rivers belong where they can ramble, eagles belong where they can fly.

Sarah: It's a cute video! Yeah, Nick's is definitely the best. For links to the individual videos, just click on the band member names in the first paragraph. They're all kind of fun, but... it's all about Nick. He has a spaceship!
Anonymous said…
Morgan, as always, great review and take on the five individual videos. It was so great to see Andy here, and knowing that the scenes are in Ibiza puts an entirely different spin on my original interpretation. I saw John's video as illustrating his path towards recovery. The room and building look so similar to the Arizona rehab facility he described in his autobiography. His leaving his guitar behind symbolizes his departure from the band to get into recovery. The other videos fit the Arcadia band members: Roger is an observer of life, Simon is outdoorsy and adventurous, and Nick is dazzling and glitzy. Didn't know he has a thing for mannequins.

Nice to learn the theme is about coming home.

Lisa (lschow310)
Details Later said…
Wish they'd all been able to make it work together, but it apparently wasn't doing it for Andy. Rivers belong where they can ramble, eagles belong where they can fly.

That cracked me up! It kind of fits Andy!

Nick in a bubble spaceship. Because of course.
Morgan Richter said…
Lisa -- you could be on to something with John's journey referencing rehab; it might explain the twin bed and the somewhat spartan surroundings. Good thought.

Details Later -- great to see you commenting here again! Yeah, of course Nick is going to have a bubble spaceship. Of course. I hope Andy's happier now than he was with the band; much as I loved having all five original members back together, it seemed to be making him miserable.

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