Dancing On The Valentine
I’ll say it–I’m not the biggest fan of recorded covers. I feel like I kinda have to state it defiantly because I know I’m alone out here on this island. People are always asking if I’ve heard so-and-so’s version of something because ‘they really made it their own!’, but I dunno, isn’t making something of your own the best way to make something your own?
But I digress. I’m not a huge fan of recorded covers, but live covers are a ton of fun, and that’s why I’ve spent 10 or 12 of my past Valentine’s Days (I’ve lost count) playing my friend Jenny’s “Dancing On The Valentine” cover night.
Backing up a sec: Jenny is a leukemia survivor. She went through the worst of it as a teenager, when research and treatment was nowhere near where it is today. Ask Jenny how she survived and she’ll tell you honestly that Duran Duran had a lot to do with it–she listened to them on her Walkman during every awful chemo treatment, procedure, and test she had to go through.
On her 30th birthday–one of many she wasn’t ‘supposed’ to see–Jenny celebrated by putting on a Duran Duran cover night with her favorite bands. And she’s been doing it ever since, with a different theme each year, raising tens of thousands of dollars for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by making it an annual benefit. (This story is no joke–Duran Duran themselves caught hold of it a few years back and Jenny finally got to meet them here in Seattle!)
DOTV is coming up on its 13th year, and we are by far the longest tenured performer. It’s probably my favorite show to play every year. What Halloween is to straight-laced folks, Dancing On The Valentine is to this straight-laced, cover-avoiding musician.
I love stretching out for this show every year: musically, performance-wise, costume-wise. The David Bowie year, we did some of my favorite tunes like “The Man Who Sold the World” and “Scary Monsters”. The Depeche Mode year, we went full electronic: each of us with only a small keyboard or drum machine in front of us. The Madonna year, I was in full drag and platinum blonde wig for my best Madge impersonation.
Twice I’ve done Robert Smith’s kimono and makeup look, one year for a theme that was straight The Cure, and then another year when I played in a band with Jenny’s son, Atticus. He sang Joy Division’s “Transmission”–his first time ever singing in public– then had to scram because he was still technically underage).
Year seven was a Duran Duran redux (for “Seven and the Ragged Tiger”, dig?), but it was our first shot at them, being that we missed the inaugural show. We played “View To a Kill”–I mean ‘new wave + James Bond’ is already kinda the genesis of our sound. We also played “Come Undone” and I made a new arrangement of it in demo form so we could learn it. I do this for all the DOTV shows. The demos are mostly loose and just for reference, but I come back to this one every once in a while, like ‘hey, I kinda like this…’
I’ve never done anything else with it, but I thought I might give it to you for free as a little bonus gift for being cool and being interested in my music. It’s an instrumental track, so you can karaoke with it if you want to do a dramatic re-interpretation like we did. But there–that’s my recorded cover for you.
If you like it, maybe check out our album “Where Hearts Go Broke”. It’s my personal favorite and yeah–there’s a little Duran Duran in there in hints and shades.
P.S. I finally saw Duran Duran live myself a few years ago, and man–they still got it. An ass-kicking show, and an ass-kicking opener with Nile Rodgers and Chic (but that’s another story altogether).