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spectoremg

Nick Rhodes - sequencer player

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FB ad - Nick Rhodes wanted for DD tribute. 

Is there any evidence of him actually playing a keyboard live? The bendy notes in Save A Prayer don't count. 

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He played a mean arpeggiator.

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A synth legend.  As well as playing, he was very creative and also heavily into the production.  The sounds he brought to the first two DD albums brought so much atmosphere which allowed the rest of the instruments to shine against a lush background.  Probably the hardest spot to fill in a DD tribute IMO.

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I remember seeing some live footage of Nick Rhodes where he was required to play chords, yes, actual chords.  He had a Mac/PC near his keyboard with the finger positions displayed on screen.

Never thought of the guy as being musical...always thought of him as being the guy who made all the clicks and whirrs.

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Were the finger positions to tell him where to play or indicating where he was playing?

17 minutes ago, NancyJohnson said:

Never thought of the guy as being musical...always thought of him as being the guy who made all the clicks and whirrs.

Is that not musical? Duran duran were basically just a synth group, so that is most of it.

I just make all the thuds and clanks in my group

Edited by Woodinblack
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Three words: Stock Aitken Waterman.

Music by numbers or art?

If Disc Jockeys and Masters of Ceremony are regarded as being creative like Musicians* generally are, why not Programmers as well?

*Not all musicians are creative remember.

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I’ve never really listened to them tbh. I have studied the synth players from that era, the majority of them were like him; unschooled as musicians, but very creative, it was the sounds that were important to them. I think with him particularly he tried to be different with the sounds that he used.

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1 hour ago, Woodinblack said:

Were the finger positions to tell him where to play or indicating where he was playing?

Is that not musical? Duran duran were basically just a synth group, so that is most of it.

In order(!), yep it was literally this:
image.png.20b41ee044412dcfd900545c34ac56c0.png

...I just found it remarkable that for someone who up to that point had been the keyboard player in one of the most successful bands in the world needed chord-structure prompts in a live environment.  I think you only need to watch one of his more recent fawning promo videos for Roland to see how inept he is at actually playing and how adept he is at making synthesizers go wooooo and brrrump.  Get a decent player on (say, Jordan Rudess in showboating mode) and you'll easily see how useless Nick Rhodes actually is.

It saddens me what Duranduran turned into really.  The original Taylor trio were all decent players and more than able.  You can't begrudge them their success, but sadly 40% of the line up were just talentless posterboys.

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1 hour ago, Woodinblack said:

Were the finger positions to tell him where to play or indicating where he was playing?

Is that not musical? Duran duran were basically just a synth group, so that is most of it.

I just make all the thuds and clanks in my group

John Taylor might be a bit sore at reading that. 

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So much misguided hate...

So Nick Rhodes might not be the greatest technical keyboard player in the world, but he's most definitely the right synth player for Duran Duran. In the same way that Adam Clayton is the right bassist for U2.

I had a listen to Jordan Rudess, and while he's got plenty of keyboard technique I don't think much of his sound design abilities. He'd be completely wrong for Duran Duran.

And if the OP thinks it's so easy why doesn't he apply for the role?

Edited by BigRedX
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 I am sure he is laughing all the way to the bank!

Any rate, orthodox musicianship is overrated. Ask Eno...

 

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48 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

So much misguided hate...

So Nick Rhodes might not be the greatest technical keyboard player in the world, but he's most definitely the right synth player for Duran Duran. In the same way that Adam Clayton is the right bassist for U2.

I had a listen to Jordan Rudess, and while he's got plenty of keyboard technique I don't think much of his sound design abilities. He'd be completely wrong for Duran Duran.

And if the OP thinks it's so easy why doesn't he apply for the role?

I like dream theatre, but skip past Jordan’s solo spots. It’s sound I love, and that’s definitely missing.

Nick was similar to a lot of synth players in pop bands at the time, Richard Barbieri for instance in Japan, they weren’t great musicians, but were any of the members from bands at that time?

I was watching a programme recently called ‘synth Britannia’, there was a guy on I think from OMD, he said though that synth players always had this stigma; people assumed quite wrongly that what they were doing was easy, it’s not though, and it takes a lot of imagination and creativity. There is no button on a synth that you press to create the perfect sound, or the perfect part.

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32 minutes ago, ambient said:

Nick was similar to a lot of synth players in pop bands at the time, Richard Barbieri for instance in Japan, they weren’t great musicians, but were any of the members from bands at that time?

I concur that RB wasn't the most competent of players when Japan started out, but he's progressed way outside of that box.  Rhodes hasn't.

The rest of Japan were incredibly adept.

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5 minutes ago, NancyJohnson said:

I concur that RB wasn't the most competent of players when Japan started out, but he's progressed way outside of that box.  Rhodes hasn't.

 

This is the point, really.

If you're lucky enough to make it big when you start out (and there's always a huge element of luck involved) then it doesn't really matter how crude or limited are your musical skills.

Initially.

But after 40 years (forty years!) as a rich & famous professional musician with, frankly, nothing better to do with your time than improve as a musician, needing a visual prompt to be able to play a Dm chord on a keyboard is (putting it very mildly) pretty bloody lame.

That takes nothing away from his sonic landscaping skills, or his unerring ability to find the correct single note to play on each beat, but you have to ask yourself why he never improved.

As to the tired old Adam Clayton debate, my best guess is that he could come round to my place, pick up any of my basses, and play some seriously good basslines. I doubt that he's actually limited to pedalling 8th notes on the A in real life ...

 

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43 minutes ago, NancyJohnson said:

I concur that RB wasn't the most competent of players when Japan started out, but he's progressed way outside of that box.  Rhodes hasn't.

The rest of Japan were incredibly adept.

Richard Barbieri is a brilliant synthesist. I’ve seen him a few times, I love his solo work and his work with porcupine tree.

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Maybe he was a better musician than given credit for. It seems he could play at least two chords without moving his fingers....:D

 

F6-C.jpg.47de241be559a83b3f386fab1831d51b.jpg

 

Edited by lowdown
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I was pretty amazed to see stickers on the back of a famous punk guitarists guitar, saying what the notes were. This some 40 years after they were in the charts/on Top of The Pops. I suppose what works for the individual and all that.

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Maybe is pre programmed to play certain chords and thats what the display is showing or maybe just a prompt in case of brainfog, I know i have had a few instances live where i could not for the life of me remember the notes to a song i had played dozens of times, I know Judas Priest had a teleprompter with the lyrics on it , Bruce Dickinson famously took the fosters that Rob Halford couldn't remember the lyrics to Breaking the law.  In any case I really like what Nick Rhodes plays on Durans songs.

 

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Likewise, I think what he adds is very unlike what you expect from a typical keyboard/synth player.

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5 hours ago, ambient said:

I like dream theatre, but skip past Jordan’s solo spots. It’s sound I love, and that’s definitely missing.

Nick was similar to a lot of synth players in pop bands at the time, Richard Barbieri for instance in Japan, they weren’t great musicians, but were any of the members from bands at that time?

I was watching a programme recently called ‘synth Britannia’, there was a guy on I think from OMD, he said though that synth players always had this stigma; people assumed quite wrongly that what they were doing was easy, it’s not though, and it takes a lot of imagination and creativity. There is no button on a synth that you press to create the perfect sound, or the perfect part.

 People who deride electronic musicians / synth players as button pushers clearly think it's all about those cheap Casios you used to get in Dixon's. Wrong!  I'd like to leave them for a couple of hours with a drum computer, a sampler, some high end sequencers, a MIDI system and a polyphonic synth and see what they come up with. Bet they'd still be trying to figure out where all the wires go by the end.

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4 hours ago, Happy Jack said:

This is the point, really.

If you're lucky enough to make it big when you start out (and there's always a huge element of luck involved) then it doesn't really matter how crude or limited are your musical skills.

Initially.

But after 40 years (forty years!) as a rich & famous professional musician with, frankly, nothing better to do with your time than improve as a musician, needing a visual prompt to be able to play a Dm chord on a keyboard is (putting it very mildly) pretty bloody lame.

That takes nothing away from his sonic landscaping skills, or his unerring ability to find the correct single note to play on each beat, but you have to ask yourself why he never improved.

As to the tired old Adam Clayton debate, my best guess is that he could come round to my place, pick up any of my basses, and play some seriously good basslines. I doubt that he's actually limited to pedalling 8th notes on the A in real life ...

 

I agree with this wholeheartedly as long as he's being credited as a keyboard player. I'd be embarrassed to be lacking so much, but those are my standards and not Nick's. 

I'm staggered that Korg would ask him to do endorsements. 

Anyway I'm a bass player just like Adam Clayton but without the endorsements. 

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15 minutes ago, spectoremg said:

I'm staggered that Korg would ask him to do endorsements. 

Why? He is influential. So much so that he is one of the few keyboard players that people could name

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Knowledgeable and passionate about synths, witty, droll and hugely successful.  He may not be able to plinky plonk like Rick Wakeman but I know which would add more to a band's sound IMO.

 

 

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