Category Archives: John Taylor

Happy Birthday John!

June is a very busy birthday month!  Today I get to wish The Bass God (that’s John Taylor, in case you lost track) a very happy birthday!!

I have only met John once, during an album signing for Astronaut. (I own the disjointed voice he may or may not have heard from somewhere in the crowd say, “It’s a beautiful album, John!)  My partner-in-crime has been in vicinity to him a few more times than I  Once even close enough for him to sign our In the Pleasure Groove books (mine has a lovely doodle of an American flag in it, too. :D).   She even has a picture with him, which still thrills me!  However, today is my day to blog, so there’s not really any exciting stories to tell.  Maybe next year! 😉

So, we’ll celebrate with some special John Taylor videos instead.

Let’s see…

Gotta go with the JT cameo to begin with, because his grin cracks me up.

In fair play, I must also choose a Power Station video…which led me to Get it On.


That got me thinking about John’s solo career, and one of my very favorites is Hey Day.  I wonder why?  🙂

And while I was thinking about Hey Day, I remembered riding the train from Birmingham to Edinburgh so that I could go to the Glasgow show.  A little known fact is that one of my very favorite songs to watch John play is Careless Memories.   That bass line just doesn’t stop.  He’s brilliant.

Naturally, as one does….while I was thinking about watching John, I remembered how much, er…enthusiasm….he brings to Danceophobia.  Because really, if you’re gonna play that song, you’d better sell it, right?  And John does.  So this is from the Berkeley show I went to in the fall of 2015. I am not sure if this shows John (YouTube was misbehaving for me today so I couldn’t preview it first), but if you ever have the chance to see the band and they play Danceophobia….he dances with more enthusiasm in his pinky finger than I do in my entire body. 🙂

Lastly, I couldn’t help but give my John-girls what they really want.

He’s strapped to a car.   You’re welcome.

The happiest of birthdays to you, Mr. Taylor…with many years of health, happiness and music to come, I hope. Cheers!!







John Taylor in the Kafe!

Wow, I haven’t blogged in forever!  Months, even!  I planned to write a little blog post reflecting my thoughts, feelings and reflections regarding being gone from the blog, writing (or in our case, re-writing) the book, etc.  Fortunately for all of you, John Taylor pushed that blog aside by doing a little video Kafe (or 3!) in the members only section of DuranDuranMusic.  I suffered through (ha!) the videos and will share my thoughts about a few of the highlights here.  As always, I’m sure you all want to watch all of the videos yourself so make sure you are a member and head on over to DDM to see them. I should also point out that most of this Kafe consists of John answering questions sent via Twitter.

Personal Questions:

Book and CD for Summer:  John recommended the book, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which he describes as a “techno adventure story” with a “history of video games” and a bit of 80s culture.  Simon is now reading it as well.  Personally, this book has popped up a lot for me on recommended lists.  Maybe now is the time to check it out.  As for CD, he recommends d angelo.

Inspiration:  John broke this question down into musical inspiration and personal inspiration.  For musical inspiration, he looks to other musicians like Miles Davis.  Personal inspiration, he turns to his family, especially his parents to remind him to “do the right thing” and “be kind”.

Birthday Memory:  For John, he remembers understanding what a birthday is around 4 or 5 when people came over for a party in their backyard (or back garden in the UK).  He got a yellow truck and had cake!  Aww….

10 People at a Dinner Party:  He hates questions like this and calls it loaded, which I can understand why.  What if he doesn’t include someone?  What if he includes someone people don’t like?  He went with his family, the band and their significant others.  Katy forced him to remove the band, since he sees them all the time.  He said he would like to have his grandparents as he only knew one.  I can relate to that as I only really knew one grandparent (my mother’s mother) and have only vague memories of my grandpa (my mother’s father).  Yet, I never knew my dad’s parents at all and really wish I did being that they were immigrants from Poland and would have fascinating stories to share.

Go back in time to change something:  In general, he really wouldn’t as everything in his life led him to today as he is now very happy.  That said, he wished that he played more sports as a kid and didn’t skip school so much.  He doesn’t understand why he hated being in the classroom so much since he loves learning now.  As a teacher, I wished that he knew and could it explain it to me!  Maybe then I could figure out how to hook my kids who don’t want to come to class.

Now, before I move on to the band related questions, I wanted to just comment on how much I enjoyed his responses on these questions.  I smiled a lot and found myself agreeing quite a bit.  I didn’t as much when it came to the second type of questions.  (Hint:  This is a little foreshadowing.)

Band Related Questions:

Working with Nile and Bernard:  John reiterated statements about working with the two guys from Chic.  He called Nile “enthusiastic” and “supportive”.  Bernard was more “reserved” but “put him at ease”.

The Chauffeur (album version) or The Chauffeur (acoustic demo):  He likes the bass on the acoustic but the album version is a “masterpiece”.

Fondest video memory:  John talked about filming in the videos in Sri Lanka, stating that they had an amazing time.  He mentioned a “beautifully lit” scene at night as they rode an elephant through a city street.  Now, tell me that I’m not the only one seriously wishing that there was a DVD with deleted scenes from their videos?!

After the tour:  He plans for the Paper Gods Tour to last until next year as he hopes to take the tour to South America, Asia and the rest of Europe.  I, of course, am glad to hear that as there are many fans who haven’t had a chance to see them yet and would really like to!  He also said that he hoped the musical that he is working on with Nick gets to the next level.  Exciting!!!!

Most challenging new song:  Most of them he has got down by now, but he probably makes a few wrong notes a night on Last Night in the City since he is playing a synth and Paper Gods and Pressure Off are both “tricky”.  That said, he described What Are the Chances as a “deeply fucking felt emotional song” that he loves playing and loves to hear Simon sing.  Aww…Then, he states that they would love to add more but they are actually cutting the setlist some as the shows will be 90 minutes for this next leg since they will be playing with Chic and Tokimonsta.  Okay.  Here is where I wished he said more and explained it so that I could understand.  Why is there a time limit exactly?  If the venue requires a cut off time, why not move up the start time to play more?  Will they play longer at shows that Tokimonsta isn’t playing at?  Why have three artists on the bill?  Speaking only for myself, I am going to shows to hear Duran Duran play.  I want them to play as long as possible and I don’t think I’m alone in that.  As a customer, I want to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.  I know that is already a lot of grumbling within the fan community about the shorter sets, lack of variety and the expensive tickets.  This statement doesn’t help.

Would you let the fans decide the setlist:  One of the things about the job that he really loves is building a show and trying to figure out what song works where, next to what, etc. and that he wouldn’t want to let that go.  I can understand that.  I wouldn’t want to let go of a lot of the things we do here, if readers asked to take over.  I get control freaks.  😀  Then, he goes on to say that it would be a lot of work to get songs ready to be played for a fan made list.  Speaking again for myself, while I get that, I also think the pay off would be great!  People would come out in droves for fan created set lists!  Heck, maybe, they don’t want to do an entire set that way, but would about having fans pick out five or six songs that can be rotated in?  I just think it would build committed fans’ enthusiasm, make for better shows and probably sell more tickets.

As someone who has tickets to a lot of shows and who was using the summer tour to reward hard work we did on writing our book, I want to be excited for the shows.  Yet, it is hard to after hearing about the shorter setlist or the lack of variety in songs.  The thing is that I know myself.  I know that if I go into a show being a little less excited, it affects how much fun I have and how good the show is.  Past experience has taught me that.  I want to go in being as excited as possible.  It will help me but it will help those around me be excited, too.  The optimist in me hopes that they rethink these decisions between now and the start of the US date.



2015 Year End Katy Kafe with John Taylor

Tuesday brings a  2015 year-end Katy Kafe with John Taylor – this time in video! Let me properly set the stage: John is sitting at his computer in a cozy sort of room with white paneling. There is an upright piano (complete with obligatory metronome) sitting against the wall to the back right of him, and above the paneling around the room, there are figurines of some sort. (To be honest it reminds me very much of a room at my grandmothers old house, and this shelf is exactly where she would display her salt and pepper shakers. I’m pretty sure John isn’t the type to collect salt and pepper shakers [???], and my eyesight isn’t THAT great so I couldn’t tell what they were. As I continue typing, I’m starting to think that perhaps it’s a little weird for me to even notice…but whatever. Fan blog. Need I say more??)  As I further considered the setting, I was thinking “seems like a den”, and at that same time, John mentions that Katy has caught him in his den.  And for you John girls out there – he’s wearing a fedora-type hat (although the brim doesn’t seem wide enough to be called a fedora, but it’s along those lines.) So there you have it!

UK Tour

He recalls Simon saying that this tour was the best ever to the audience on the last night of the UK tour. He said that he meant to ask him later on if he really meant it because he was feeling similar. “Every show was great. No throw-aways. No one lost their voice.” He continues by mentioning the audiences, “The crowds this year have been on another level.”  John says that this past year, he’s felt very loved, unconditionally, which has been encouraging.


In retrospect, he feels very good about 2015, saying that the band still seeks success in a number of avenues, and that touring does help to achieve part of that. “Every night, getting positive feed back. [It is] A validation of what we do.”  John speaks of the press, partially in answer to the subject of whether or not he is surprised that in 2015, Duran Duran is still touring and creating albums. He surmises that perhaps, had the band not shot straight to the stratosphere, but instead had a much more steady rise and build up, the press may have seen them and the band’s future differently.

The album comes up naturally in conversation several times over the course of the Kafe, as John refers to the two years the band spent in the studio writing and recording, “Pulling hair, but still having the inkling that the team still has something to give.” Conversely, touring isn’t all “the band”. The audience has something to add to that conversation. He explains that he isn’t like Nick – he likes the studio, but loves being onstage, “I want to perform.” For John, the albums are produced so that they have material to keep the performances fresh. He talks about how on the UK tour they integrated video into the show and that they’re all “still learning and putting it all together and it has been fun. It hasn’t always been that way. We are enjoying who we are.”  He uses a very interesting sort of analogy to drive his point home, talking about how you can look over the course of the band’s (or anyone’s) career or life in photos and see the various “detours” (as he put it) and you can say “Oh yeah…there’s an apparent midlife crisis happening there.”  But right now, they know exactly who they are.

As a commentary, I found his statement interesting because there are still plenty of people out there that feel Paper Gods was written with the idea of attracting a wider audience (as opposed to just their core fan base) in mind. Katy feels that Paper Gods is emblematic of who they are and their career at this point in time – yet many others disagree, saying that the band is trying to be something they are not.  It’s clear John very much believes that Paper Gods is an accurate representation of who Duran Duran is in 2015.  I tend to feel, after blogging and engaging with the fan base for the past five years, there is a certain faction within who believe unless the band is recreating the sound from the first album, Rio and perhaps even Seven and the Ragged Tiger to a limited extent, they’re not being true to themselves. I suppose to those fans, Paper Gods is a tough sell, which is a shame. I’m sure many would disagree, but that is my take-away after having written and observed the fan base for the better part of a decade, for what it may be worth. 

Favorite album of 2015

Since the Kafe is happening in John’s den, we have the added benefit of John being able to pull the albums directly from his collection. His first “grab” is Julia Holter’s Have You In My Wilderness.  (Is this an appropriate time to mention that I’ve never heard of Julia Holter but I’m going to Spotify right now to find her?? Two songs in and I’m sold, btw – it’s a great album for relaxing, which is EXACTLY what I need right now. Thanks John! This is one reason why I love John Taylor and miss him from social media. He feeds me new music discoveries.) He goes back to the record pile and grabs another – this time coming back with Bjork – I think he held up Biophilia but I’m not positive and forgot to make note. One last grab, this time holding up Beach House’s Depression Cherry.  He seems to like female lead singers, as Katy mentions. Lately, he’s been in to them, he agrees.  He also lists Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, and Hot Line Bling as other favorites for the year.

Favorite Movie of 2015

Without skipping a beat, John announces that Mad Max is his favorite movie of the year. Katy questions him a little about the modern Mad Max, wondering if it is at all like the original. After limited discussion it is agreed that it is its own animal. As a runner-up, John mentions The Clouds of Sils Maria (with Juliette Binoche and Kristin Steward).

Favorite Television of 2015

Finally a topic that causes John to take pause. He contemplates, and says he’s watched a lot of TV this year – mentioning that he just finished bingeing on four seasons of Scandal. Katy assumes he’s watching that with Gela, but no…John is watching this by himself. I chuckle, because well…it is also a favorite of mine.

Favorite Book of 2015

John read Jonathan Franzen’s book Purity, which he liked…but that caused him to read his book Freedom, which he LOVED. He mentions that not only is he not a fast reader, he doesn’t finish a lot of the books he starts. I struggle with that myself these days, sadly. Then he grabs a book from his desk by Ian McDonald called Revolution in the Head, which is an incredibly accurate breakdown of Beatles Songs and the minutia of how the band wrote and recorded them, calling it his bible.

2015 in a word

Complexity. “Everything is a grey area”

That pub show we all wish we’d been invited to…

John likened the experience to being in a punk band. He summarizes the feeling that night by calling it confrontational. Keep in mind the pub had about 120 people in it, and the band was quite literally playing in the faces of their guests (again, wishing my invite hadn’t been lost in the mail…) On a typical stage, you don’t have that same confrontational aspect. He talks about how he’s standing there, weapon in hand (that’d be his bass guitar of course), and he mentions the heat in the pub and that everyone is sweaty…and how he really enjoys those experiences every once in a while because it keeps the performance from getting too sanitized (or as I like to call it, “choreographed”, which I can definitely see being a hazard of the large stage show.) “There are no small stages.”

Looking ahead to 2016

I find it fascinating how differently the band sees next year. They all agree that yes, they’re touring – but where Simon and Roger talk about the entire year being a “touring year”, John mentions more than once that it’s really only 3-4 months at this point.  He talks about the two months of touring in the US, saying that it is very ambitious for them, and that he wants to get through it “peacefully”, meaning that no one gets sick or loses their voice or anything like that. He continues, saying that they are in a great position right now and that the show has “just begun”. He doesn’t know what opportunities it will bring, only that it will bring some. Katy does ask him about the possibility of doing other shows around the world, but I have to say – at least from my point of view as a listener/observer – John seemed hesitant to commit to more. I got the feeling that perhaps, at least at the point of this Kafe, nothing had been decided yet. Couple that with what Simon had mentioned about not knowing where the band was or was not going next year – I would venture to guess that beyond the US, the band has not necessarily committed to more dates as of this writing. Perhaps it all comes down to money (funding) and finding the right promoter, and perhaps the band really just does not know what is in the process of being organized. After all, this isn’t a band who gets involved in the day-to-day tour development. They handle their end, and someone else manages the business, which makes sense.

The subject naturally turns to the world at hand. “Glad we’re out there publicly at this time.” With the events from Paris and elsewhere, there is a lot of fear out there, being “stoked by the media and who knows who else.” Katy talks about how she doesn’t necessarily want to take her kids into the city or on public transportation (A feeling that as a fellow parent, I completely, yet sadly, share…and I am not that way normally.) “People are scared,” John surmises, “and looking for reassurance. You’re gonna get it from us.” He explains that he never takes any of the freedom with which they are able to play in the UK and “the country that embraced us – the U.S.” for granted. I like it when he describes it as always going out there and playing as though it were their last show, because for their fans, that’s exactly how many feel each night.  “We’re gonna fight to keep those lines of communication open.”

Beautifully, John describes that horrible night in Paris for music lovers as having their bubble popped. It really was like that. The concert hall (or pub, bar, arena, etc.) is the escape for many fans. It is utopia. To have that feeling destroyed – well, it rocks one to the very core, doesn’t it?

Even so, John is really looking forward to getting out there. He talks about one of the greatest moments of his life being in Denver as he looked out onto the stage to see Chic playing, knowing that Duran Duran were to follow.

I have no doubt that Duran Duran fans look forward to 2016 with the same images in mind and excitement in their heart.


(Slightly late!) November 2015 Katy Kafe with John Taylor

Today is December 3rd. I don’t know what happened, but I missed the posting of the November 2015 Katy Kafe. I’m expecting a pink slip at any point from Amanda…but until then….enjoy the highlights!!

(Remember, this isn’t word for word. I’m lucky if I even got quotes right this time because I was lightning fast with my writing. If you want to hear the whole thing, cough up your $35.00 and join the paid fan community at DDM!!)


Keeping in mind that this Kafe is from November 18th, it is no surprise that Katy opened with the subject of Le Bataclan and Eagles of Death Metal in Paris. Katy describes the gig as sacred space – which is completely accurate, in my mind. That’s exactly how I (and many music fans) feel about the concert experience. Real life, politics, etc should stay on the outside of those walls. John talks about how it “broke a boundary.” I couldn’t agree more. He continues by saying, “We really love those guys. We wouldn’t wish this on anyone.” (I appreciated that John said he didn’t feel especially equipped to really say much about the events in question because, let’s face it, how many of us really DO feel equipped? I’m still trying to process Paris, along with the atrocity that my community is digesting from yesterday. I grew up near San Bernardino, and I currently live about 30 miles from there. To say it is unreal would be an understatement. John’s humanity is genuine, and I think most fans are drawn to that about this band in general.) The subject of “Save a Prayer” is brought up, as it was the last song that Jesse Hughes’ girlfriend put up on Periscope of the show – and John admits that being tied to the horror of what happened that night in such a way feels weird. He expands by saying that the idea of a song being reinvigorated by a newer band is something any band would want, but having it happen in this way, in this sense, is not what they were thinking. He feels it’s important for Eagles of Death Metal to continue and that this is an opportunity for them to be a force of positivity.  I think that’s something we can all agree on. I hope they can find the strength and courage to continue because this tragedy happened TO them in a way it didn’t happen to U2, or Duran Duran, or anyone else for that matter. Their voice is an important call to action for the rest of us who very much love music and feel, rightly so, that a sacred space (to use Katy’s words) was breached that night – and we’re not going to let it consume us. Instead, we are going to let that act give us energy and power to keep going (anytime the Eagles of Death Metal are ready to get started – I’m ready to applaud them right here on this blog).

UK Tour

At the time of the Kafe, the band hadn’t yet began their tour, but Seal had just been announced as one of the opening acts (The Bloom Twins being the other). John explains that they first played a gig with Seal at the KROQ Acoustic Christmas in 1992. He calls Seal “a class act”. He continues on by saying that they first caught on to the idea when Nile toured with him this past October in the US.  The idea that Nile had hit songs wasn’t lost on John, as he described the experience as being an “eye opener.” (Having been at a few of those shows, I have to chime in and say that while I really didn’t give much thought to the idea that Nile had hits – of course he does!! – the fact is, Nile Rodgers is a legend and to see Chic live was a dream come true for me and likely many others. Who didn’t come away from their sets on cloud nine and totally ready for Duran? In the sense that an opening act is supposed to warm up the crowd – I think Chic and Nile did that in spades.)

US Tour (October)

In a word, John called them “AMAZING”. He said that they were among their best shows ever with some of the best crowds. He admits that it had been a few years (Entirely too long, I might add!!!) and they weren’t sure what kind of reception they’d get. (I am always surprised when they say this because what did they really think? Did they really think that only 20 of us would show and throw things at them?? Never!) He talks about the “love in the room” – of which yes, there was a lot of that. John also says that he felt a change from the last tour, that it felt different – but it was “all great”, adding that Nile seemed to set the tone and that each show left them satisfied. (The fans though? We’re never satisfied for long, are we??) 


What will 2016 bring? Well, John was quick to make my entire week by saying that they are working on an American tour that looks (keep in mind this was recorded on November 18 and things may have changed in the past two weeks!!) like it will happen in two parts: an indoor section that will be happening in the spring (define spring for me, John.) and an outdoor section in August. (I am sweating just thinking about where they might play….) He continues to make me bounce in my chair by saying the words, “we are keen to get these on sale, so an announcement should come shortly!”  I know that there are many of you out there groaning at the very thought that the band would return to America – so let me assure you he also mentioned Europe and naturally Italy for the summer, they want to go back to Japan, and of course Australia and South America, too. Katy asks specifically about India as it was somewhere Nick had mentioned, but John seemed iffy at best as to whether playing there was a possibility. So, Santa might be bringing all of us a list of tour dates….and pre-sales…this holiday season. Ho ho ho….

Goals for Paper Gods

Katy brings up an interview that John did for press in Liverpool where he mentioned that their first goal with the album was to hit the bullseye with fans. She mentions that it would seem that it’s spreading beyond that bullseye now.  John says that they “set a high bar” with the album, noting that bands don’t spend two years recording to “put something out and just see what happens.”

JT doesn’t want to say what his goals are for the album, but that they all have “big dreams for it.” Round one was to get the fans to really love it. He recalls getting a text from Katy on the day that they released What Are the Chances (I want to clarify that while it wasn’t completely clear in the Kafe – I believe he’s meaning the day that we first heard WATC, prior to the release of the album, and NOT when they announced it would be the next single.). She apparently had told JT that fans were going nuts for the song and that it “hit fans right between the eyes.”  John says that he sat back and just said a triumphant “YES!”

The goal now is to broaden that appeal, which takes time and getting exposure in ways they might not think.  He and the other members of Duran Duran very much want to get this album heard by the people.  “The Pressure Off experiment has run its course, and we’re happy with how it’s done but Round two is seeing where What Are the Chances takes us.” (I wish someone would ask the band about radio. I have NEVER heard Pressure Off or What Are the Chances” on regular old land-based radio…and I struggle with understanding how important, or not important, getting it heard on the radio really is. Things have obviously changed since I was a kid! Should I worry that I never hear it? Fans like myself whisper about this from time to time in emails and I see it brought up on Twitter, but I really never know what to say.  Does it matter, and if it doesn’t – how else does a band go about getting exposure these days? Print and TV media can’t seriously be the end all, can it??) 

John then launches into a story that I think is worth including because, to be fair – is exactly how I felt when I first saw Paper Gods on iTunes. He explains that when the album came out, he was shocked to see it classified as pop, saying that he hadn’t felt like he’d been a pop musician in the past 25 years or so. He took a look at the other artists in that category – none of them were much over the age of 25 or so – and he wondered how they’d ever be able to compete with those kids.  John uses the word “fucked”, which is more than appropriate and I concur!! He specifically mentions Ariana Grande, for instance, saying that he felt they’d made a very progressive record he very much hopes to get heard by the masses – but probably NOT by listeners of Ariana Grande. (It is in this particular moment when I feel both complete dismay AND vindication to some extent. It wasn’t just me who was completely confused by Paper Gods being classified as Pop, and I wasn’t the only one thinking that there was no way they could ever compete with the likes of Justin Bieber…and honestly, would they even WANT to??? I love Duran Duran, obviously…but be honest here…no kid who listens to Justin or Ariana is likely to give Duran Duran a chance, primarily because it is THEIR PARENTS who grew up with the band.) So the question becomes – how will it all pan out?  Katy assures him that it has gotten fantastic reviews and that it’s particularly gratifying to her to see the great reception, and that it’s genuine. He and Katy are both right about one thing: fans love this album. We’ll fight to the death for it. We soldier on. The album, and most certainly this band, is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears (and there have been plenty!) we can muster.





John Taylor Insights: Bass Player Mag

I read a lot of Duran Duran interviews, reviews, articles, and whatnot.  Most of them feel and seem like the same old information repeated over and over again.  There is always the inevitable section on the band’s long history, a paragraph or two or three about which famous person did what on the album, and that’s about it.  Every once in awhile, you see a quote from one of the band members that resonates with you or catches your attention.  I continue to read articles solely for THAT.  I read for the one or two sentences that are interesting, meaningful or different.  After all, who wants to read what you already know about.  I mean…I’m all for repetition as a learning tool, but for band information and promotion, not so much.  That said, every once in awhile, you run across a magazine article that pulls you in, offers real insight and leaves you wanting more.  For me, that is the interview with John Taylor in Bass Player magazine. I was very tempted not to even look at the magazine simply because I’m not a bass player.  Will I understand it?  Do I know enough?  Will I learn anything beyond John’s instrumentation?  I decided to get it because…I knew that I had a long plane ride coming up and would need something to look at!  Plus, John Taylor was on the cover!  I was super glad that I had purchased it, too, as soon as I read it!!  (If you haven’t purchased it yourself, do so, while you can!  I’m obviously just talking highlights here.)

The article starts off common enough with a very brief history and mention of the new album along with all of the collaborations on it.  Yet, by the end of the first paragraph, you know that the article is going to dive deep and ask the questions that many, many fans want, and maybe need, to know.  The article acknowledges that the “signature JT bass” can be found in tracks like “Pressure Off”, “Only in Dreams” and “Paper Gods”.  There is also an acknowledgement that John is also behind a synth part of the time.  This, of course, is what worries fans.  Where’s the bass? is a common question amongst Duranies these days.  They don’t seem to hear the same bass in the album, Paper Gods, compared to the previous album, All You Need Is Now.  These fans don’t want John on synth.  They want him on bass.  Why make it so electronic, fans want to know?  Perhaps, there is a little fear in there that if John’s bass playing isn’t needed, that maybe HE isn’t needed anymore either.  Thankfully, this article addressed this issue immediately and spends literally the first five questions on some element related to electronic bass or synth.

John’s answers to these five questions brought a real insight to what he was thinking both in making the album and the results.  As someone who does tend to appreciate the traditional JT bass sound, I completely appreciated how open he was with his responses.  For example, when asked about keyboard bass, he stated, “My mentality is to keep my ‘enemies’ close.”  He goes on to say, though, “…we all might have to go from being bass players to bass experts” by using the keyboard bass.  Therefore, John is admitting that the times are changing when it comes to bass in popular songs.  His choice is either to get left behind or adapt.  I can definitely appreciate that.  He goes on further to talk about how his choices regarding bass really depended on the songs themselves.  He gave two examples.  In “Last Night in the City,” he gave up his bass guitar parts but in “Paper Gods” he took his bass line lower.  John made it very clear, though, that he wasn’t going to allow his signature bass to be gone entirely.  Two things struck me as I read these answers.  First, it was clear that he had thought a lot about where he fits, how he should sound on the album, etc.  Second, I respect that he really thought about the SONG and what was needed for each individual track rather than letting ego or close-mindedness get in the way.  He found the balance between his signature sound and what the song needed.

From there, the interview turns to process, including how he chooses the best sound for each song, favorite lines on the album, transferring to the live show, etc.  Again, I continue to be fascinated! The interview isn’t about Lindsay Lohan or other collaborations.  It isn’t about the band splitting into two groups in 1985.  No, this is a real interview about subjects that aren’t covered and matters to a lot of fans.  Out of those questions, the answer that peaked my interest the most was about the favorite lines from the album.  Can you guess?  Any clue?  “Pressure Off” was one of the two mentioned.  For that song, he talked about working with Nile in the studio and how Nile got him working really hard.  He also mentioned “Paper Gods.”  Why?  According to John, “It’s a good mix of electronic and electric bass.”  Hmm…

The interview finishes with a discussion about his style and training.  Here’s the one situation in which I don’t mind the history lesson (ironic since I’m a history teacher, right?  I think so!)  He talks about how busy the bass was in the beginning of their careers because he wanted so desperately to get noticed but then the rest of the guys would do the same thing creating very “busy” songs.  When asked about changing his style, John admits that he tried to back away, almost to where he was “almost invisible.”  Could this be one of the reasons that I’m not a big fan of Come Undone?!  I wonder…What is more interesting to me is a follow-up line to that one, “I need to be able to do what I was doing in 1981, but I also need to be open to other things.  The tendency is that when you get older, you get a little lazy and look for shortcuts, so I make sure I keep exploring.”  I think these sentences capture it well.  This is what John was doing on the new album.  He was exploring.  He was willing to mix traditional with contemporary.  He kept his signature sound but allowed the songs to just be what they were going to be.  He didn’t force them to fit into some formula.

This interview was an eye-opening one for me.  I knew that I liked the album before.  I did and have said so many times and in many places, but I also felt a little guilty for doing so.  Why?  The answer is simple.  I’m a John Taylor fan.  I have been since I was 8 years old.  I could hear that his bass was different on many tracks and even pretty much nonexistent on others.  How could I, a big John Taylor fan, be OKAY with that?!  Wouldn’t that be like betraying him or saying that I don’t think he is all that important?!  Yet, I was sort of betraying him by not trusting him.  I should have known.  I should have figured that he would have thought about all these issues already and carefully considered what he should do and why.  Based on this interview, I can feel 100% confident that John Taylor knows that he is right with how he approached his role and his playing on this album.  If John can love it and love what he has done on the album, then, so can I!!!


Bonding with Paper Gods

Lately I have come to the realization that there are remarkably few songs that I fall in love with immediately….”love at first listen”, so to speak. I don’t know if it has always been that way and I’m just now noticing; or if it is that my tastes have changed, my condition more stringent, and it just takes much more to impress me.

I’ve sat back over the past couple of weeks, eyeballing Twitter and Facebook, observing comments that many fans have excitedly and/or begrudgingly posted about the new material. I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum and everything in-between, feelings ranging from disgust to euphoria. Publicly, four songs have been released with eight more to eventually arrive. We’re sixteen days away from release of Paper Gods, and the general mood amongst fans is that of anticipation, whether anxious or otherwise.

I share in that anticipation to some extent, as I wait to see what others think of the album in full. In the meantime, I’ve been listening, digesting, contemplating and coming back around for more. I can’t lie, it’s been a struggle….a term I’ve used a lot lately while discussing Paper Gods amongst friends.

Let me put it another way: for me, Paper Gods is a bit like a newborn baby. When you’re a parent, you’re given this infant and, as nature goes, parents are expected to love and care for it. That feeling is inherent as you stare down at that wiggly little bundle, but the whole experience feels foreign. It is assumed that love is immediate, but I can say that at least for myself, it was something that needed to grow over time. Those bonds aren’t quite there yet, other than what you know you’re supposed to have.

Right now, that’s exactly where I’m at with this album. There are elements I really like. Songs I actually enjoy. Then I start really listening and wondering where in the hell the bass REALLY is (I know, I know, there’s a lot of synthesized bass on the album), and why there’s not more “real” Roger…and don’t even get me started on guitar…or more precisely, who SHOULD be playing guitar. Then I start feeling like I’ve completely missed something somewhere. This is a band that likes to reinvent themselves with each album. I prepare myself, as best as I can, to keep an open mind with every single release. It’s not easy. My gut reaction with hearing “You Kill Me With Silence” simply is not the same as when I hear “Girl Panic”, for instance.  When I listen to “Pressure Off”, I start feeling those warm fuzzies and continue to look for more with other songs off of the album.  The more I listen to “What Are the Chances”, the more I fall in love with everything from lyrics to guitar. Then I remember that Dom isn’t even playing the guitar, and I feel guilty as hell…but then I remember Dom is listed as co-writer and I start to feel at least a little better. (I am begging you, Duran Duran – please play this live and let the boy play it!!!)  There are quite a few of those moments throughout the album for me.

For me, instrumentation matters. I fell in love with a five-piece band. Drums, bass, guitar, keyboards and vocalist. When I listen to their music, I want to hear those elements. I’ve seen many people compare this album to others in the past – and even Nick himself mentions Red Carpet Massacre. Amanda and I have kind of dubbed this album “RCM-lite”, because many of those elements are contained within Paper Gods, but for us it is a much more palatable album overall. It’s still Duran Duran somewhere in there…and we didn’t find that as much with RCM. John Taylor mentions in a couple of interviews lately that for him, it was about finding where to fit in (something he also said about RCM). He says that current, modern music doesn’t really have traditional bass, so he looked to using more of a synthetic bass. Roger, someone who I think is completely open to whatever has to happen and making it work, used a stick with his bass drum at some point or another on this album. There is also a ton of electronic drums and perhaps a drum machine in there somewhere. I guess for me, it comes down to the fact that the Duran Duran I know and love uses traditional instruments right alongside the synthesizers and keyboards. I don’t know if that is always made clear on this album. The mix throughout the entire album really leans heavily towards the electronic end in many ways, which screws with my own perception. A lot of what my ears hear is Simon and Nick with whatever guest they happen to have playing with them at the time, and yet my heart and head know John and Roger (and Dom, thankyouverymuch) should be there somewhere. My hope is that while playing live, they’re all there front and center, running wild and free. No guesswork, ear buds, or fancy headphones needed.

I look forward to breathing in the excitement as the opening notes begin and the screams release the nervous anticipation, just like an uncorked champagne bottle. We will celebrate the release of this album, welcome the band back to us, and revel in the moment.  Songs that we may have once questioned will become familiar, and those wonderful bonds will become second nature, adding another album to the soundtrack of our lives.


July Katy Kafe with John Taylor!

This is a long one, and I cannot apologize. John said a LOT in a very short amount of time. Get a snack and a beverage and don’t blame me for being wordy. As always, I will give my disclaimer that this is not written word for word from the Kafe recording. I listen, take notes and hope that my own feelings don’t completely cloud his message…or Katy’s. Sometimes I get it right, and many times for a lot of you I get it completely wrong. I accept that. If you want to hear the entire Kafe, get your DDM membership.

Album Title

Paper Gods is the title of the album,  and this song opens the album. Interestingly enough, this song was once settled midway through the album as a sort of beginning to the “darker side” of Duran…a section of the album I am really looking forward to hearing. I don’t know that we’ve gotten a whole lot of “Darker Duran” since the first album…although I can certainly name several recent songs that belong under that moniker: Red Carpet Massacre, Chains, Last Man Standing, Dirty Great Monster…but once the song became the title, the band decided to open the album with the song.  John explains that the song is about the commodification of everything, and how quickly everything goes in and out of fashion. It has a lot to do with the things we obsess about, and that to at least some degree it’s an explanation of Duran Duran’s experience.

The title Paper Gods can be viewed in a lot of different ways but for some reason that said it all to me. – Katy Krassner

Pressure Off

John explains that this song is really a very important song for the band. He says that it is kind of like their history in a song, referring to the fact that Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson and Ben Hudson all worked on it together in varying positions (producers and production, respectively).  John says (and I completely agree) that it has a feel good summer vibe to it. Where Paper Gods is dark and almost political, Pressure Off is kind of “Fuck off and dance” or “Party on Wayne” (truly, in my opinion, one of the best things John Taylor has ever quoted…) John mentions that the song is hedonist, and that’s really something that Duran Duran has always kind of subscribed to as their Modus Operandi. (And honestly, isn’t that sort of escapism something that we as Duranies have always embraced??) “You don’t write a song like that and not hope everyone likes it. Paper Gods is a song you write for yourself. Pressure Off is a song you write for everyone else.” (I haven’t heard Paper Gods, but this is EXACTLY what we’ve been saying about Pressure Off. It’s a song for everyone who doesn’t already know Duran Duran, and I still say it’s catchy as hell.) Katy asks if John likes playing it live, and you can hear John’s voice brighten as he talks about playing this new song. He comments that many of the songs off of this album are written and programmed meticulously, but this song was built on a live performance, so it lends itself to that environment very well. “Dom is the best Nile impersonator on the planet.”  And then some, in my opinion.

Just through social media, which I’ve handled for the band for some years now, it is the most positive response that I’ve seen for a Duran Duran single since social media began. – Katy Krassner

Again, I agree with Katy. I’ve NEVER seen this kind of response to one of their songs, at least not in recent (year 2000 or later) memory. Even critics and websites that have never really been on the Duran Duran bandwagon have chimed in with positive response for the song. Like Katy, I don’t want to put the cart before the horse…but since the song is already out and about now…I really think this song could go places if it gets radio play. My concern at this point is whether or not that’s happening here in the states. I don’t know what Warner’s promo plan might be, or whether they’re not pushing it until the album release gets closer, and I don’t want to second guess the label effort. I just hope I hear the song on the radio, and that the band gets the promotion help they deserve. The song is worth the effort, and if fans can help with that, I know a blog that is more than willing to do it’s part. Just tell us how we can help.

Live Shows

Specifically, Katy asks about putting Pressure Off into the continued set list, or if it was just a one-off. John eagerly says that playing Pressure Off is what is going to make the shows fun for him. Now, before fans scoff at the idea that only that one song makes the shows worth it for John, I don’t think that’s what he meant at all. Let’s face it, some of the songs in the setlist have been there for DECADES. It’s the newer music that keeps everything fresh. It’s a new challenge. I would imagine it gets just as tiring for the band to play Hungry Like the Wolf each night as it does for THIS fan to hear it…but it’s part of the deal.  John explains that the band evolves, so they are putting Pressure Off into the setlist for the next 3-4 shows, and then hopefully by the time they get to Bestival they will be playing 3-4 songs from the new album. Right now, the festivals and shows are serving as a sort of “Hey, remember us? We’re the band that brought you _________________”.  It’s about inserting themselves back into the narrative.  However, once they come to the western states, the focus is going to be on the new songs from Paper Gods.


Duran Duran has worked with people before, and I think we all know this. However, as Katy mentions to John, they’ve never really worked with this many collaborators on a single album. I’m actually very pleased she brings this up with him, because it’s a question that has quite literally been hanging in the air when the subject of this album comes up with fans all over social media. Why so many this time? John doesn’t really answer that question specifically, but he certainly does address the functionality.  He quickly states that he doesn’t think they take away from the Duran-ness of the album.  He uses Last Night in the City as an example. It is the second song on the album and features Kiesza…and actually the song opens with Kiesza and then Simon comes in following her. John says that he’s always wanted to try that with a Duran song. I think it will be interesting to see how it fares among fans, who tend to be purists when it comes to this band and specifically Simon. 

John also explains that the album is long by even 1981 standards…and by 2015 standards it is a VERY long album. I think in order to fully understand what he means, you have to go back to some earlier Katy Kafe’s with him as he describes his perfect album or even when they’ve discussed the differences between recording today versus back in the 1980’s. In this day and age, people don’t typically buy entire albums, they buy singles or songs. It’s rare for people (young people, most likely) to sit through an entire album from start to finish. He talks about rising to the challenge of sitting and absorbing a full album. I see it more as the difference between fast food and a full seven-course meal, to be honest. Kids don’t know what they’re missing!!! (I think I just aged myself to “You kids get off my lawn!” status right there. So be it.)  John believes the guests help with breaking the album up and adding interest in the same way that a course of sorbet, or a finger bowl might for fine dining.

He continues by explaining that they’ve adjusted their music so that it works in today’s world. For instance, he goes into detail about how now there is synthesized bass, sub-bass, and of course his bass in music, it’s not just one track or just one instrument creating the sound as it once was.

You can put that down to a lack of imagination, or put it down as us trying to adjust our music so that it works in today’s world. -John Taylor

The Promotional and Touring Grind

Does John really love doing promotion? It’s a fair question given some of his Kafe’s over the course of the last few years. I myself have questioned several times here whether or not John’s heart is still in this. To be fair, I think it’s been an incredibly long haul at times. All I have to really do is look at some of the old footage and remind myself that while I was sitting at home watching their fame unfold – they were living it. They were rushed from appearance to appearance and I highly doubt that they really even recognized what  was happening at the time. Hindsight is 20/20. So while I questioned, it wasn’t with malicious intent as much as it was genuine concern (mixed with a little frustration at times, I’ll admit).

John’s answer is as authentic as I would expect, and I have to share: it brought me to near tears in parts. (Yes, I have become somewhat of am emotional sap in the past few years, but I love this band.) If I could have trapped and bottled the clear emotions from both John AND Katy during this part of the Kafe, I would.  John freely admits that it isn’t all fun. He says that they all accept that promotion and being on the road and recording are all parts of the job, and some might like the studio and others might like being on the road, etc. He says that he loves being on stage when it’s all right – without technical glitches. That technical piece is their responsibility, he adds, and that’s why it’s important for them to do festivals and shows as they’re doing this summer, “to get the machine up and running”. He does not; however, love being on the road. That portion is the grind, and I think if we were all being fair, we’d agree and understand.

Let me be clear: Amanda and I travel a bit to see them. We pick portions of the country and go to see a few shows. We can’t ever go for very long, but we might do 3-4 shows at a time. By the time I am done with that final show, I AM EXHAUSTED. I typically come home and promptly become deathly ill (which really annoys my entire family!)My body can’t take the travel. I don’t know how the band does it. Even though I know it’s their job, it must truly kick their ass. I know it does me, and I don’t really have to “work”…my job is just to go and have a great time.  I just tend to push my body to the edge in the process.

I fantasize about staying in one place for 365 days. – John Taylor

Katy asks the one million dollar question that I’ve been waiting to hear. Is John ready to get back out there on the road? Does he still like touring and playing live?  To be fair, in recent years – specifically while the band was recording (a detail I find to be important, because I think John’s attitude may have changed during that period.), I noted several times in Kafe’s where John was very clear that he was in no hurry to play live or tour again. As a fan, it was disconcerting to hear, because for us – that’s really the meat and potatoes of being a fan.  Those live shows are what we all share together. They are special moments that for some of us, don’t happen nearly enough (and for even others not at all, which I need to also acknowledge).  Emphatically, John says that he loves being on stage. He feels really good onstage. He explains again about the technical side of it, which I think any of us should be able to understand. Then he goes on to say something that tells me everything I need to know, ” (Real) life is complicated. When the lights go down, it’s just the relationship between me and the other musicians, and the fans.”  He continues by saying it gets “over far too quickly” and then after the show he remembers he’s got to get back to the hotel and rest and then move on to the next place.

That’s EXACTLY what the shows are like for me. In that brief 2 hour period, my life becomes simple. It’s about me, the music, and the (brief) interactions with the band. I leave the real world completely behind. If anyone really wants to understand me or my fandom – that is it in a nutshell.  John nailed it.

He finishes the Kafe by talking about touring and how much they want to go back to places like Japan. Almost wistfully he mentions that when they were really getting out there back in the 80’s, they were requested everywhere, and now he feels a little like they’ve got to go knock on doors and ask to play. Katy, to her credit (I could have hugged her), reminds John that they’re still asked to play in places like America, and the UK, and Italy…and probably a lot of other places but my emotions got the best of me at this point. Then she says that despite what he says about the grind of touring, if he could see what SHE sees (and what we ALL see!) when he’s on that stage playing, she knows he loves it.

I worry about John because I truly don’t think that man knows how much he is loved. Yes, there are people out there that have issues and need new hobbies…but we love him. We love him for being a musician, being in Duran Duran…but we love him most because of who he is underneath.  It is in these moments when he seems most vulnerable and natural that I’m reminded of why I’m a fan. I wish he knew that. That’s why I write this blog, otherwise there would really be no point.



Happy Birthday John Taylor!!!

I never know quite where to start when I sit down to do a birthday blog!  After all, I usually have a lot to say and want to have the post be an extra special one.  This one feels even more that way.  Most importantly, it is a blog post dedicated to John Taylor.  While I know that I might not shout it from the rooftops that often or squee much over posted pictures, he is my absolute FAVORITE and has been since I was 8 years old.  Eight.  As a kid, I liked that he was “cute” and had great hair (who didn’t love the John Taylor of 1984 with the blonde bangs?!?).  Now, as an adult, I feel like I appreciate him in a much more in-depth way.  It isn’t that I don’t find him attractive or don’t like looking at picture of him.  That isn’t it as I totally do.  (Seriously?!?  Who doesn’t?!?  It is just a given, right?!)  No, it is more about how much I appreciate all that he has given and continues to give all of the rest of us.  Heck, this year for his birthday, he gave US all new Duran Duran music.  (In case you haven’t heard the song, Pressure Off, click here to hear it on YouTube.)  He has given the world so much that I always have a hard time capturing it all in a simple blog post.

First, he has given us plenty of music.  Most significantly for the authors of the blog and the readers of it, he has given us tremendous bass playing in Duran Duran.  Could you pick a favorite or ten?  An obvious example is the bass in Rio.  Here is a clip with the bass isolated from the rest:

Here is a clip of John talking about playing bass on Planet Earth in 1983:

Of course, John didn’t just play with Duran Duran, but he also played on the side projects of Power Station and Neurotic Outsiders.

Power Station–John with Bernard Edwards

Neurotic Outsiders–live clip of Planet Earth

As many also know, John made a lot of music on his own as well!


Beyond music, he has done quite a lot!  Clearly, he is a man of many talents!




Looking at the videos I have chosen to share here, I can understand why I am a fan and why everyone should be a fan.  Luckily for me, I have also had the opportunity to have a few decent moments with the man despite me still reacting like a school girl with her big crush. (If you need a reminder of my inability to deal around John Taylor, I recommend reading this blog here, which captured how badly I handled front row.  I’m all ready trying to get myself prepared for the front row experience at the Agua Caliente casino in October.  Pathetic.)

What were some of those moments, you ask?  Well, the first real interaction with John (if you can call it that since the interaction was so brief) was in the summer of 2005 when I saw John outside of his hotel in St. Louis.  My mission there was to ask for an autograph.  I approached him, asked politely and he agreed.  That’s it.  Simple.  Respectful but more than enough to keep me on a high for the next few years!  Then, in 2007, I got to speak briefly at the Red Carpet Massacre CD signing in Chicago.  I asked him about his socks.  Why?  If any of you were around in 2006, the people posting in the Church of the Bass God thread on DuranDuranMusic decided to send him socks for his birthday.  After he received them, he took pictures with some that he liked, including the pair I sent, which were James Bond socks as seen below:

Bond socks

The next big moment came in 2012 when he came to Chicago for a book reading and signing.  Not only was he super generous in signing a book for me and for my partner-in-crime, but he accepted a Daily Duranie wristband and put it on!

John Wristband

Of course, like everyone else who attended the signing, I was able to get a picture of him signing my book(s).  Yet, I wasn’t satisfied.  It is silly of me, I know, but I still really wanted a picture of me with John.  Finally, this past spring, when Duran Duran played at the David Lynch Foundation Show, I was able to get my picture.

John and Amanda

In keeping with the story of my life, he looks great and I’m out-of-focus and have my eyes closed.  Awesome.  I guess this just means that I’ll have to try and get a better one, right?  At least, this is what I tell myself.

At the end of the day, I still feel like the lucky one.  It isn’t because of those moments (although they were fabulous) or those pictures.  No, I still feel like the lucky one to have been around at the right time, right place in order to discover John Taylor and become his fan.  His birth, truly, was a gift to all of us.

On that note, I wish John Taylor the very happiest of birthdays!


Here Comes the News

While I don’t have a lot beyond Duran Duran news crumbs to share today…I’ll do what I can!!

New Gold Membership Merchandise Package at DDM

Yesterday, DuranDuranMusic, the paid fan community for Duran Duran, announced a new “Gold” package membership. At $79.99 for the year, the package includes all of the exclusives from the Silver level ($35.00 a year) below:

  • Full Access to the Duran Duran VIP community
  • Access to Presale Tickets, tour and show updates, set lists etc. when band is on tour
  • VIP Ticket Packages (including amazing seats, exclusive items) when band is on tour
  • Exclusive Content JUST for community members including a monthly band audio interview
  • Monthly Contests to win personal items, signed merch, Meet & Greets when band is on tour and more
  • FAN2FAN Features (Personalize and customize your fan site, create your own fan blogs, journals, and photo albums that you can share with other members, participate in forums, and private messaging)
  • Communicate and share with other Members

Plus the exclusive merchandise “Gold membership” bundle listed below:

  • An exclusive NEW custom designed T-shirt featuring a silver foil design
  • Logo’d lightweight, digitally powered 1800mAh Power Bank for cell phones and digital products (Note: Phone not included)
  • Custom Giant Telescoping Umbrella with new silver DD logo
  • Laser Engraved Logo’d Keychain Bottle Opener
  • Fridge magnet with new DD logo
  • Logo’d Micro Sticky Pad for those “important” notes
  • Grip “Roller Plus” Pen with DD logo
  • Reproduction of Simon’s handwritten lyrics to “Pressure Off” (Not pictured)

This brought me to a quandary. Do I wait until August, when my membership expires, or do I get it now? Truth be told, I’ve never done anything other than Silver level membership (my partner-in-crime bought gold last time, see her review.) Why now, you ask?  I wanted that umbrella. Yes, I live in So CA. Yes, I know the chances of my using it (here) are slim..but I wanted it anyway.  I also figure that chances are, I’ll have learned the lyrics to Pressure Off before the band even releases the single, with this package!  (I kid, I kid!!)

DDM clarifies that if your renewal isn’t up for several months, you can go ahead and renew now, and they’ll add another 12 months to your existing membership date – so in my case, I won’t be up for renewal until August of 2016. That seems fair, but what about the people who have already renewed this year at Silver because there wasn’t a new Gold package? You can either renew again and yes, they really will extend your membership renewal date out another 12 months, OR you can long in to DDM and there is apparently supposed to be a link you can click on to receive only the merchandise upgrade to your existing membership.

There has been a little confusion on the part of members about memberships renewed earlier this year, so don’t be afraid to ask DDM for answers to clarify; although sadly, I’ve also been told that the responses from DDM have been incredibly rude at best. That’s unfortunate given that fans are truly the site’s bread and butter, and it is just a part of customer service. I really wish the folks in charge of the fan community would just LEARN that and put it into practice, and if they can’t be bothered – hire people who WILL. It continually looks bad for the band when the people in charge of their fan club are rude to the very people the club is meant to attract: FANS.

Bottom line on renewals: they aren’t adding extra months to an existing membership, but they’re also not going to change my membership renewal date to June because I happened to renew now instead of waiting until August, either. Fair enough. Sold!  I’ll let you all know what I think of the merchandise once I receive it…hopefully I will get it faster than that 4-6 weeks mentioned, but we’ll see!

Still In The Mix

Have you been wondering what Duran Duran are up to?  Well, it turns out that they’re still working with Spike Stent in the studio, mixing the new album. I’m not sure if they are only working on Pressure Off, or if it’s all of DD14…or something else entirely, but they’re definitely working. AND…if you were wondering if Nick is still The Controller…I think this photo and the caption (from DDHQ on FB) speaks volumes.

"Spike Stent is a very patient man" - Nick Rhodes
“Spike Stent is a very patient man” – Nick Rhodes

The appearance of this photo on Facebook stirred some comments because many (including myself) had thought that the album had already been finished – including mixing – but you know, things change. We’re still closer now than we were a year ago, and surely live dates will be coming.

Along those same lines, there has been a kerfuffle of activity on Twitter today with regard to the single, “Pressure Off”.  As many may have noticed, all signs of said single have vanished from the stratosphere we know as “The Internet”.  Unless you managed to rip a copy of one of the less-than-clear files roaming YouTube and the like back in March – I doubt you’ll find hide nor hair of the song online. So, we all continue to wait in anticipation for the single to be released sometime in July. However, on a recent Katy Kafe, mention was made that perhaps maybe there would be a taste of the song for fans to hear sometime “soonish”.  Not much has been mentioned since the Kafe, but today a fan asked about the possibility of such an appearance, and they were told “Well maybe. but definitely THIS MONTH” by DDHQ.  Listen Duranies, you can take that comment however you want, and wish for whatever you’d like; but I’m going to point out that it is now June 2nd. July is less than 30 days away right now…so when they say THIS MONTH….I think we can count on hearing that single in another month, you know?


Lastly, I’ve been catching up on my reading…and with the summer festivals nearly upon us, #Duranlive is coming. Yesterday I caught up with an interview on DTLV with John Taylor done in promotion for their upcoming performance at the Life Is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas. (Incidentally, despite the corny title, “Duran Duran is Still Hungry” the article is very good.) John discusses the idea of doing a residency in Vegas. He likes the idea of the venue building the room around them, and being able to “really experiment” with the performance.

This is something Amanda and I have been talking about for years, actually.  We would love to see them settle somewhere and do a residency. Yes, I’m aware they did one in NYC a few years back. It would be nice to have them acknowledge that the rest of the country matters – or even their OWN country for a change, don’t you agree?  No matter where they chose to do one, it may give fans an opportunity to travel, see the band for a show or three, AND see the city.  It would cut travel for the band, and maybe even give them the chance to experiment with different set lists and even entire performances.  It might even be a great way to introduce a musical written and produced by Nick Rhodes and John Taylor….just thinking “out loud” here…

DDHQ says to be on the lookout for more press now that the Summer festivals are nearly upon us, so keep those eyes open!


Happy Anniversary Katy! (with John)

Today’s Katy Kafe brings John Taylor in to “grill” Katy on her past with the band. Out of all four band members, John always seems the most introspective to me, and his Kafe didn’t disappoint.

It seems as though John is shocked by the very idea that 1995 was twenty years ago. I know how that feels, and I’m guessing the rest of our readers do as well.

John asks Katy about her first encounter with the band and she responds saying that she was “really really nervous” and had big hair. John immediately asks if she had been a fan of Duran Duran. Katy answers in the affirmative, saying that she remembers receiving  Def Leppard and Seven and the Ragged Tiger as gifts one year. John responds by saying, “But it wasn’t like you were really going to be meeting your idols that day.”  I get his point here.  It’s one thing to like a band, it is entirely another to consider them your idols. I appreciate that John seems to recognize the difference, and it is a question that I would have loved to ask Katy myself!  Katy says that she “really liked them”.  I had a lot of friends like that in high school. There’s liking them and being excited to see them at a show or something; and then there’s committing to writing a daily blog about them (for zero pay) thirty years later.  I think that might be the difference there, am I right?

There was a little discussion over the history of cell phones.  I have to tell John that yes, cell phones really were around in 1995. I had my first cell phone in November of 1994, actually. It was a large brick from LA Cellular that I had to carry around with me for work while I did door-to-door cold calling for a temporary service. (doesn’t that sound joyous?)  I remember it was super expensive to really use, and while my boss, Mr. Grinch (not his name but appropriate) insisted that I carry the phone – he also told me that if I ever used it, emergency or not, that I would be paying for it. Nice guy, that Mr. Grinch.

John asks her why she’s still around. A fair question, really, because he surmises that surely that most everyone else has since moved on. She talks a lot about it being a friendship, and how even back during the time of the reunion, she was really the only holdover – they didn’t even have a manager then, they were still speaking to managers. She says she is a big fan of them as people, and that she’s worked for several labels – and she couldn’t continue working for them if she didn’t like them as people.

John talks about how relationships for him are about trust, and that’s not always easy. Then he speaks of how the four guys go in and out of friendships, and that she is able to kind of go along and make sense of it all and maintain relationships with each and every member of the band. (I’m completely paraphrasing because I’m listening to the Kafe as I type – if you want to hear his answers word for word, go get your DDM membership!)  This is where it gets interesting. Katy thanks him, and then says that she’s worked with “such jerks” over the years (I have absolutely no doubt about this whatsoever), and that yes, they do have artistic temperaments and she gets that…but that none of them…”none of the current band members, let me say, have ever been disrespectful to me…” I can’t help but notice the “current band members” comment, and of course my imagination is off and running, but I’m not going to even guess what or whom she might mean.

She talks about how if she’s gotten chastised in the past, it was deserved, and that the band has allowed her to fix her mistakes if she’s messed up. John responds saying that he thinks when you’ve made an error at work it’s best to just come clean, which turns this Katy Kafe into a good working lesson for all…let’s face it, when you’ve worked with the same people for twenty or thirty years, it’s not because you’re difficult to work with. So I tuck that little nugget of wisdom into my head for later.

John asks Katy about some highlights, to which Katy says that there have been a lot. She gushes about the new album, saying that she is really excited about the new album because “it’s going to reach an audience that hasn’t been reached before”.  Then she talks about flying on what we like to call Duran Duran 1, Live Earth, and the Video Vanguard Award from MTV.

She finishes the Kafe with a memory of John. They had a party for Thank You in the Flatiron District in NYC, and John turned around and gently told Katy that she should leave her green Keroppi backpack in the car. After hearing about this backpack, I had to look it up. My Sanrio memory goes as far as Hello Kitty and the Twin Stars…I had kind of forgotten about the frog. Perhaps her backpack looked a little something like this:


So John ever so kindly told her to leave it in the car, saving both himself and Katy from a little hard judgment from the masses, I guess.  Nick apparently continued to tell her to “get rid of that backpack”…and so the beloved Keroppi backpack vanished not long after.  I don’t know Katy’s age, I’m guessing she’s younger than I am, and I’m 44, so in April of 1995 I would have been 24 (and just married).  I did some remarkably “green” things as well back then. Didn’t we all?  It’s nice of Katy to share them with us though – I’d never tell about the time my then boss (who was ridiculously mean) made me cry in our office because I had the nerve to joke around with one of my employees about getting to work the next day.  He berated me in front of clients and said I was completely unprofessional. (I was a staffing manager/sales associate for a temporary service at the time…and I probably WAS unprofessional.  Who knew?!?)  😉  It happens, and John was probably a lot nicer than Mr. Grinch, my boss!

It’s gotta be said though – I like the backpack.  🙂