Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tunesday: "Marathon Runner," Yellow Ostrich

Check it out: I am not writing about old ish today. Waxing nostalgic is easy — so much history and many tales to tell about hundreds of songs from backinnaday.

Fortunately, there are some new faves that hop into my heart quickly. Yellow Ostrich's "Marathon Runner," the first single from "Strange Land," is that kind of song. The title alone is a good start (though you shouldn't expect tips for BQing).

The musical genius behind Yellow Ostrich is Alex Schaaf, a New Yorker via Prairie du Chien, Wis., who you may remember for his "re-imagining" of Radiohead's epic "Kid A" (the original album is most certainly one I will write about in a forthcoming nostalgic Tunesday). Schaaf's story is familiar — he started tinkering with recordings in his room, gained buzz and signed with a hot indie label (Barsuk). Read more about Schaaf at Mission Critical.

In the first seconds of "Marathon Runner," we hear a looped voice, a technique that Schaaf employed frequently on YO's first album, "The Mistress." The intro is a false start that could easily turn off a first-time listener; but hang with the band a bit longer and you're rewarded with a straight-forward rock song with a catchy chorus.

Favorite lyric: "I run until I know what to believe."

What else? You like good music for free, yes? Then pay a visit to Spin magazine's website, where you can download "Marathon Runner" for free. If you like Yellow Ostrich enough to pay for their music, you're in luck: Schaaf and Co. are playing Sunday at the Prophet Bar in Dallas.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Remembering those who paid the ultimate price; cruising through Mesquite

Memorial Day. What does it mean to you? A day off from school or work? Time to spend with friends poolside and grilling? If so, you're not alone. And that's why Clint Bruce founded Carry The Load in 2011.

Memorial Day (formerly Decoration Day) is a federal holiday on the final Monday of May when we are supposed to remember and honor the men and women who died serving our country. Bruce — a former Navy SEAL, South Garland High School alum and Dallas resident — sought to reclaim Memorial Day by getting the community involved in recognizing not only members of the armed forces but also fire and police department on Memorial Day. Last year, he and about 400 people walked around White Rock Lake for 20 hours to honor those who have died serving America.

This year, CTL is taking place at Reverchon Park. Participants are walking from the park along Katy Trail; some will walk overnight — all 20 hours — most with packs loaded with additional weight representing those who paid the ultimate price. In its second year, there are two official events happening today and tomorrow — one in Tampa, Fla., and Dallas. This year, the goal is to raise $500,000 for charitable organizations that benefit veterans, active duty military and officers. It's an impressive tribute, one that I look forward to seeing grow each year as we reclaim the original intent of Memorial Day.

Clint Bruce, Carry The Load co-founder, at the starting line. 

Mesquite Rotary Ride

Quickly, I had an absolute BLAST on Saturday riding 100 km through Mesquite, Seagoville and off-the-beaten path areas of South Dallas County. The organizers and volunteers at the Mesquite Rotary Ride put on a great race — excellent work especially by the officers manning the intersections and the volunteer groups working at the rest areas on a hot-hot-HOT day (93 was the official high at D/FW International Airport).

The route was mostly flat with some moderate descents and maybe 10 decent climbs (felt like an effin' mountain goat on those). And, as the photo above shows, there was a slew of potholes and cracks along the ride; without exception, they were all marked — so no surprises. Nice work, MRR!

I finished comfortably in four-and-a-half hours, with plenty of energy left, which makes me feel confident about the upcoming 100 mile rides. Now, I know what you're thinking: That's great and all, but did you see any farm animals? 

Why yes; yes, I did.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Five Photo Friday

What you're currently salivating over is the Portabella Mushroom Hotpress Sandwich from Dallas Bicycle Cafe, my new favorite spot in my hood. I've hit up the cafe a few times now. I can vouch it's great for vegetarians and people watching (basic math means it is super-bitchin' for watching vegetarians). The 'bella was a little undercooked, but I give mad respect to DBC for the toppings selection. The quinoa and couscous bowls — filled with well-prepped tofu (chicken or fish also available) and thoughtful veggie/fruit pairings — are what you really need to eat here.

Three knocks
1. Open since February, DBC is already up for sale (but it will remain open, or so we're told).
2. Inconsistent sides: Chips and salsa are standard with your entree, but the chips are lousy (if I had to guess, Tostito's) and the first time I visited DBC, the salsa was equally straight off the supermarket shelf; the salsa you see above is the business — homemade and hot, DBC would do well to stick with it!
3. Its neighbor, Dallas Bike Works (not the booze barns), has lousy hours. While waiting for a friend one Sunday, three people in need of repairs walked to DBW only to be met by a locked door and a sign that reads open at noon. In 10 minutes, I was able to remedy two of the problems — raised an exceedingly low seat post (carry a multi-tool, y'all) for a gal who also sought my exercise advice for pregnant women (yeah, random dude cyclists, such as yours truly — know all about that!) and taught two ladies how to replace a tube (they were semi-veggies, so I hipped them to DBC and glorious tempeh). Look at me, being all helpful and ish!

My commute sucks, right; whose commute doesn't? Mine's a straight shot across Interstate 635 from Lake Highlands to Irving. Ever since construction to transform crappy LBJ into Optimus Highway began, it has sucked the life out of me, one gridlocked minute at a time. One thing I do to pass the time: Observe oddities like the security car above. Would you hire a security guard from a company that uses Comic Sans (I-effin-talicized, too) for its logo?

That right there is the sign of a good-ass week. Whenever I fill my drying rack with technical clothes, I can't help but smile and think about the miles I've logged on foot and bike.

Poor R. Theodor Stricker. Captured in OKC, I totally forgot about this photo until today. What happened to adding an "E," Ma and Pop Stricker? Sheesh! My research shows that The Odor wisely goes by Ted. Wouldn't you?

I never know what I'm going to find when I step inside Curiosities Antiques in Lakewood. That's an actual stuffed bull frog playing an upright bass (which some call a bull fiddle). When I saw this awhile back, I was torn about buying it. It's weird, cool, funny and gross. I left it, mainly because it cost $35 and it is more gross than anything. I highly recommend visiting Curiosities. It's not like being on "American Pickers" or shopping at Obscura Antiques and Oddities; it is, however, a lot of fun poking around the most random collection of crap you'll find in Dallas.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tunesday: "Boys Better," The Dandy Warhols

NSFW warning: This is a tour-clip style video. During this period of the Dandys history, keyboardist/bassist Zia McCabe on occasion would perform topless. This video captures that.

Oct. 6, 1997 — That was the night The Dandy Warhols played Liberty Lunch in Austin. It was an inconceivably cool scene. And I was an inconceivably uncool UT freshman whose friends from high school didn't go to UT; whenever they visited (primarily from Baylor), I made it a point to show them just how badass Austin was. I studied the Austin Chronicle and listened to KVRX to make sure I was aware of any and all worthwhile events, especially concerts.

Going to see The Dandy Warhols was clearly the greatest thing happening that particular week. The only problem: It was a Monday. Not discouraged one bit, my best friend with outstanding taste in music made the drive from Waco. It was totally worth it.

For starters, the opening act was Charlatans UK (best-known in the U.S. for "The Only One I Know") — a band that was far too great to be an opener. A year earlier, the group had lost their keyboardist Rob Collins in a car crash. If memory serves, this tour represented the band's return to America. They not only didn't disappoint, they didn't show up/outperform the headliner.

And then the Dandys came on. Smoke filled the sold out room and the Dandys unleashed a mix of stoner slow jams, stoner pop-rock gems, stoner twang and stoner mellow mood music. What impressed me most was how tight and beautifully simple their songs were. "Boys Better" has four well-chosen chords that are played with vigor, a fun synth pattern, sing-along-able verses and a crushing chorus. Oh man, that crushing chorus! Hearing the descending chord progression on your laptop doesn't do it justice; feeling it at a live show is where its at. The synth sub bass filled and rattled my body on its way down to the oh-so quintessential rock chord — E major. My chest became a cavern for the music to reverberate.

The collection of strangers in the audience seemed to feel "it," too — that connected, "we're all part of something special" feeling that happens infrequently at rock shows. I was hooked and subsequently have seen the Dandys four times to relive that feeling.

My love for the Dandys has waned over the years, pretty much since they left Capitol Records; but if you still think the Dandys rule and you have yet to experience a live set, you're in luck; the gang will be at the House of Blues in Dallas tomorrow. I've got a hunch that plenty of good tickets are still available.

What else? Friends turning into rivals. Destined-to-be-ginormous talent self-destructing. Bands fronted by enigmatic, egomaniacal frontmen. If any of that sounds like a recipe for good drama, you're in luck. Check out "Dig!" — a spectacular seven-years-in-the-making film that documents the rise of The Dandy Warhols and the rise and disintegration of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. It's like Spinal Tap for hipsters.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

First-time 5Kers, lone exception for going to Lone Star Park

Just moments after she ran (yes, ran, not jogged) the
entirety of her first 5K ... like a BOSS! And yes, her
younger brother does look much older than she does. :)
I don't always spend my free time in half-way-to-Oklahoma (a.k.a., the towns of Fairview and Lucas); but when I do, I prefer running and/or playing music at Loveyjoy ISD events.

My sister is an elementary music teacher at the district. I've had the pleasure of playing bass and banjo at her choir's performances. Those experiences are so much fun because I get to see her in her element — sharing her passion for music and increasing her students' appreciation and abilities as musicians. No lie, she is teaching them skills that many teenage choir and band students in high school will never learn, and these children are mastering them! It's nothing short of incredible. (Don't be shocked when the number of All-State choir and band members from Lovejoy spike once her students reach high school.)

But yesterday was different. Sure, we were on her turf, but we were there to run the Lovejoy Country Run 5K, so the race atmosphere meant it was more-or-less my turf. Before yesterday, she had never run a race and I had never run a 5K. (For those keeping score, the first race I ever signed up for was the Dallas White Rock Marathon in 2011; what can I say, I've always been a "jump in the deep end first" kind of guy.)

Before the race I got to see a high school friend I hadn't seen in 15 years. She, her husband and their two children — whom my sister teaches (such a crazy-small world!) — were running, too. It was awesome catching up and reminiscing. Such a sweet gal and family!

The race

It went well. I ran very little in the weeks leading up to the race (still recovering from OKC and fully invested in cycling this spring/summer). So I entered my first 5K with only three things on my mind — no friggin' fuel belt necessary (woo-hoo), put it all out there and run till I'm empty and no matter what, I'm getting a PR, haha! 

The first mile (7:45) was great. My speed training leaves a lot to be desired (that's changing); but I've done enough to know that I can run a 7-minute mile. So after running a fairly conservative first mile, I picked up the pace for the final 2. I walked twice to drink from the mouthwash-size Dixie cups (no chance of grabbing those while running and not spilling the contents). 

As I entered the final 200-ish meters I went all out, faster than I've ever run in a race. It. Felt. Awesome. It didn't hurt that there was a sizeable crowd lining the final 100 meters. I was hauling (relative) ass. I crossed the line at 23:44 (7:36/mile) — stoked and exhausted at the same time. 

Once I caught my breath, I doubled back to the final half mile of the race, where I met and joined my sister. She was running great and didn't need the water I brought. She ran alongside a fellow teacher, so they pushed each other the whole way. My sister crossed the finish line at 34 minutes to the cheers of students, coworkers and parents. She did something she would have never considered doing even a year ago. I am so proud of her.

Lone Star Park

As some of you may know, I am a vegetarian. I have a handful of reasons why I choose to not eat meat. One is animal rights. However, I choose to not preach or attempt to convert others (not even on my blog). You like steak and bacon? Right on. You will never receive a lecture from me. If you ever inquire about my choices, I am open to sharing my views and reasons, but I will not engage in a debate. 

Surprisingly, I didn't snap a single picture yesterday; 
so, instead, here's a gaggle of now neighborsgoners, at
Tour de neighborsgo in Castle Hills, circa 2009.

Attending sporting events that involve animals is something I also don't do. Again, I am not going to try to convince anyone here why I don't bet on animals; but suffice it to say the practice makes me uncomfortable — so much so, that I've passed on opportunities to go the races with friends. However, I absolutely could not skip the chance to see some former coworkers yesterday.

I left neighborsgo (the community papers/website of The Dallas Morning News) last May after more than three  excellent years. When I saw the reunion announcement, I knew I could't miss seeing neighborsgoers and neighborsgoners. I'm glad I didn't. Seeing them again and chatting for about three hours was wonderful (get a group of journalists together, add libations and the hilarity ensues). 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tunesday: "Ball and Chain," Social Distortion

This song reminds me of so many people and places. It's a tune that finds its way back into my life just when I need it. As I've mentioned before, I tend to not pay much attention to lyrics; but (a big But) this song is different. I can't say I have experienced all of the troubles Mike Ness details in the verses, but I relate to my fair share. And the chorus is easily one of my favorites. A ball and chain. That can be anything. I have never been incarcerated, but I have been tethered to vices, depression, bad relationships, unhealthy living and work.

Stop staring at my cycling glove tan line and admire
that bass face! Final church service with GPS, July 8, 2007.
Those are the memories that come to mind when I hear and sing this song. And that's the message I was fortunate to share with a congregation I cared greatly about a handful of years ago. Nope, this isn't your typical worship song, and GPS isn't your normal church. As a member of the church's worship group, Waypoint, I learned plenty of songs by groups I had never heard of (Hillsong United, David Crowder Band, Chris Tomlin, etc.) and even got to sing some gospel again; but we also played meaningful contemporary music that jibed with the week's message.

I was unsure if "Ball and Chain" would resonate with people, so I saved it for my final church service, 24 hours before I left the Midwest to return to Texas. Before playing, I shared some of my "balls and chains" and told everyone how difficult it was to leave a place that helped me grow and people I loved and who loved me despite all my flaws. After service, a handful of people mentioned they liked my interpretation of the song, and one said she was going to share the song and my words with her son who was struggling. How awesome is that?

Approximately 16 years before that worship service in Machesney Park, Ill., I bought the cassette (yep, that's right, a tape) and was lucky enough to meet Social D's classic lineup (RIP, Dennis Danell) at an autograph session at RPM Records in Garland. Seeing real-deal rock stars who looked effin' badass made a big impression. I never adopted the greaser look (certainly didn't dabble with guy-liner like Mike in the video above), but I decided that day that I would have tattoos — ones that are reminders of moments and people in my life, just like this song does.

What else? I finally saw Social D in 2004 — a belated birthday gift — at the Austin Music Hall. I couldn't have been more disappointed. Ness couldn't stay on pitch. It was sad.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Riffing on returning to the stage;
10th annual Ride of Silence

A beautiful moment in time: Performing with WayPoint in Loves Park, Ill.,  in 2006. This pic conjures mostly great memories and three regrets. Never, ever, forever, never sell your instruments, y'all. I want to smack myself for parting with my upright bass, my Ernie Ball MusicMan Stingray and that sweet SWR stack. What was I thinking?!? Tune in Tunesday for a related WayPoint post.
I haven't played in a band for about three years. Sure, I've done the occasional performance with choirs and friends, but nothing permanent. The last group was a less-than satisfying experience in Denton. It was a lo-fi, hipster affair that never really got off the ground. Oh, but you better believe there were lofty, unrealistic hopes! Plenty of daydreaming, little action.

Nowadays I just piece together ideas on GarageBand and my processor/looper. For me, creating a melody from scratch is especially difficult. So the process is a frustrating good exercise. See, I'm excellent as a collaborator — I dig being the glue in a musical setting. That's what's beautiful about playing a rhythm instrument. I'm comfy grooving in the pocket with a drummer on practically any style (please don't make me play Tejano).

Anyway, I've tried to re-create scenarios before, namely doing part-time work in music ministry — great success in the Midwest (photo above), miserable mess in the Metroplex. A big piece of the issue is faith vs. religion. I tend to have a lot of the former and a wavering view of the latter.

Going to concerts and watching performances on TV make me itch to give it another go — peruse Craigslist for potential bandmates, put out feelers, etc. However, I know at the moment I have enough on my plate to keep me happy, and the last thing I want to do is spread myself too thin. Perhaps after the summer cycling season I'll pursue music opportunities.

Ride of Silence

The 10th annual bike ride to remember and honor cyclists who were killed by motorists, to raise awareness and promote sharing the road. The inaugural ride was held in 2003 at White Rock Lake to remember Larry Schwartz. (Read a long but worthwhile account by Chris Phelan at the DMN's Health Blog.) Since then, it has grown into a worldwide event. There are multiple rides in the Dallas-Fort Worth area; I'll be at White Rock at 7 p.m. Wednesday with about 2,000 other cyclists who are fortunate to not be among the 600-700 cyclists who die annually in accidents with motorists. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tunesday: My thoughts on MCA, Beastie Boys

Timeless talent playing a sweet-ass mid-70s
Jazz Bass and wearing a dope-ass early 60s suit. 
Credit: Mick Hutson/Redferns
Don't let my posts from a few years ago fool you (The Day the Music Died and Remembering Michael Jackson) — I don't like writing about famous people's deaths. I'd much rather comfortably listen to their music and appreciate their artistry instead of listen to their music and ponder the immense loss.

But here I am, facing a futile objective — saying precisely why I will miss Adam "MCA" Yauch and The Beastie Boys. 

As a child who couldn't get enough of MAD magazine and Three Stooges humor, the silly lyrics on "License to Ill" and its goofy videos appealed to me. Fast-forward to 1989, when the brilliant "Paul's Boutique" came out — I was way-way-way too interested in thrash metal and hardcore to even give it a chance. Preoccupied with Metallica and D.R.I., I was unaware that the group was evolving and pushing the envelope lyrically and sonically. 

"PB" (the template for Girl Talk's work) has over 100 samples — most worth investigating. If someone put a loaded egg to my head, I'd say it's my favorite album. You can get super geeky like me and explore sample-by-sample and track-by-track right here. There's hours of entertainment that will expose you to the brilliance of The Commodores (main sample for "Hey Ladies") the old-school flavor of 4+1 ("Shake Your Rump" sample credited to the Dust Brothers, producers of "PB") and Gene Harris & The Three Sounds (main sample for "What Comes Around"). And that's just a fraction of the awesome music lessons on the album that introduced me to groups I otherwise would have never heard. 

I didn't become a full-out Beastie Boys freak until "Check Your Head" came out in 1992 — about a year after the music industry was turned on its head by alt-rock. At the time, I was a skateboarding teen who played bass (poorly) in a punk rock band; so I gravitated to Yauch, who along with the other Beasties, picked up the instruments they played back when they were a punk band in the late 70s and early 80s (fun facts: Kate Schellenbach of Luscious Jackson was the original drummer; and Ad Rock joined the group last and they soon shifted their focus to hip-hop). Yauch played bass, I played bass. His simple lines were the glue to the group's punk tracks ("Time for Livin'" "Gratitude") and jams ("POW" "Live at PJ's"). I learned them all as I cobbled together my technique. In 1994, when I heard that Yauch was bustin' his ass to learn how to play upright bass ("I may be a hack on the standup but I'm workin' at it")  I was obsessed with learning to play, too.

Throughout high school, if you hopped in my Jeep, there was a 98 percent chance I had "Ill Communication" in the tape deck. During my college years, f you hopped in my other Jeep or popped into a party at my place, there was a good chance "Hello Nasty" was in the CD player. If you strap on your ear goggles and listen to my iPod Shuffle, 1 out of 5 songs you hear will be a B Boys track. Seeing them in the round for the Hello Nasty tour's San Antonio stop still ranks among the best concerts I've attended. The energy on each song — rapping or playing — never wavered. True performers.

MCA had great lyrics and delivery (the only B Boy whose voice couldn't shatter glass), smooth style and he was a helluva guy — the thinking-man's B Boy (Buddhist, vegan, took up Tibet's cause). I never met the man or his band; but the Yauch and the Beasties seemed like family, like the older brothers I never had (funny, my sister purchased the "Licensed to Ill" cassette that started it all). They helped me form my taste in music. There's no chance I'd like hip-hop as much as I do without them.

I know I'm never going to stop listening to the Beastie Boys. Ever. 80 years old and listening to "The Mix-Up"? Bank on it. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

My plan to return to spokes-man status

Note: As much as I want to write about Adam "MCA" Yauch tonight, it's gonna take awhile for me to really put together my thoughts about one of my greatest inspirations. Look for a special Tunesday post dedicated to Yauch and the Beasties on Tuesday.

Sweating amid the pines of Tyler State Park. Excellent
singletrack for the dirtmongers and challenging but
smooth park roads for the concrete inclined. I'm definitely
going to re-create this scene soon.
Fact: As the mercury rises, my running will drop considerably. I am just not built to run great distances in this heat. That being the case, I am going to ride as much as I can during what will probably be a sweltering summer. I've said that plenty of times in the past couple of years, and inevitably I've lost focus and neglected my bikes. Work, my relatively new love of running and my crashing fears got in the way. But not this time. 

More than anything, I need to conquer those damn fears once and for all. Shooting the criterium a couple of weeks ago and knowing friends who are going to have a blast this weekend riding Shiner G.A.S.P. (while I continue my OKC recovery) also are pushing me to pedal. 

To further push me, I'm signing up for a handful of rides; no fancy destinations, I am sticking with events in Texas because I don't want cycling to occupy all of my spare time. And those rides are:

• May 26: Mesquite Rotary Bike Ride 100K — My Gar-squite roots compel me to ride this one.

• June 9: Collin Classic 100K — I rode a shorter route at the Collin Classic a couple of years ago. I highly recommend this ride.
• June 9-10: Tulsa Tough 68 and 63 miles — I just can't pass up this incredible race. Sorry, Collin Classic. The Tulsa Tough weekend — camping and cycling with some frunners — is a damn-fine reason to return to the Sooner State, um, er, ahem, sooner than I had planned. 

June 23: Cow Creek Country Classic 100 miles — This is going to be a challenge. I've never done 100 miles in a day. The route passes through some cool small towns (Maypearl, Frost and Italy). No better way to see them than on a bike!

July: Since it's an especially hot and dry month, I will hit up the MTB trails. In particular, I'd like to do Cameron Park in Waco (one of my favorite trail systems —100 percent free to ride), Tyler State Park (roots, hills and pine needles — can't find this combo in many spots of the state) and Isle du Bois (never ridden it, but it sounds dynamite).

• Aug. 25: Hotter 'N Hell 100 100 miles — This is the largest, single-day 100 mile ride in the United States. How could I not ride HHH?!?

Whew, including training rides, I am going to log a lot of miles on the saddle this spring and summer. I've already cranked a slow, low-mileage ride this week. I'm meeting a good friend tomorrow morning for a faster 30 mile ride at White Rock. I'm stoked.

So running will be on the back burner for awhile, but I'm not going to totally abandon it. In fact, I expect all this riding will make me want to run! Heck, I even have a good idea which marathon I'll run next May. I'll give you a hint: I hear the city rocks.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tunesday: "Rio," Duran Duran

First, let's not overthink this video; yes, there are plenty of flaws here. Instead, let's celebrate the ridiculous excess of the '80s, shall we?!? I'm almost certain everyone 30 years ago sailed their yachts while wearing shiny, pricey suits. And if they didn't they shoulda!

Sure, the "comedy" featured in this clip is lacking; "I'm On A Boat," it is not. Really, what we're looking at here is not unlike the videos boy bands of the late '90s and early '00s put out (ex. A, "It's Gonna Be Me"). And to that point, I have no problem saying Duran Duran was a boy band, although an especially rare breed.  At the height of its popularity, the band was compared to the Beatles. Considering the guys' shared U.K. roots and ability to write songs and play instruments, this is a much fairer comparison than 'N Sync.

Second, let's not overthink the lyrics. Duran Duran didn't set out to teach geography to the masses with "Rio." Instead, they are simply combining aspects of their touring life — namely traveling to Rio de Janeiro and the United States. If you're seeking deep lyrics, I suggest you expect less from a group that named itself after a character from "Barbarella." My final geography and video note: It was shot on location in Antigua; so the body of water is the Caribbean Sea, not the South Atlantic. (Do I even need to say it's not the Rio Grande?!)

Whew, enough with the Wiki-formation (get more over here, if you so desire); let's discuss what makes this songs incredible. It's the synth (great arpeggiated sequence), the bass (John Taylor is so underrated) and the hook. It's a fun, carefree pop tune. I can't tell you how often I've heard and played this song at parties.

IMHO, what keeps "Rio" from being the perfect pop song is the bridge. There's gotta be a couple dozen versions of the track, and on most the sax solo is just too long. True, as much as I love the accompanying bass line (groove-heavy, ghost-note filled greatness!), the sax is just more '80s excess!

What else? In addition to still touring (no Dallas or Texas shows yet set for 2012), Duran Duran will be one of several impressive U.K. groups performing at the Olympics.