Category Archives: Katy Kafe

July 2020 Katy Kafe with Nick

Last night I could not help but to notice when DDHQ tweeted out that there was a new kafe, one promised to have some album news. This was exactly what I needed after finding out that a former student had been shot and killed earlier in the week. I need a break from the horrible reality we live in. So, on that note, let me dive into what Nick and Katy discussed. As usual, this is not a transcript. It is just me talking about what caught my attention. To hear the whole thing, please go to duranduranmusic.com and get yourself a membership.

Swimming

Nick and Katy started the kafe with a brief discussion about swimming and whether or not they could survive if they fell off a boat. I won’t give their answers away but I related when Nick said that he did not like to swim in places where he cannot reach the bottom. I’m the exact same way.

Album News

Of course, this is what we all want to know about, right? I love that there wasn’t a lot of time wasted before they got to the good stuff! Nick mentioned that they have been able to move things along now that restrictions have let up in the UK. Several tracks have gone to get mixed. In fact, according to Nick, they have had 6 or 7 mixes back. For me, the best part of what he said is how they have started to watch the album come together. That sounds super positive to me. I wonder if the perspective on that might be unique this time around because of the forced break. Nick is hopeful that they will be able to finish the rest in the next coming months. While I love the sound of that, I would also encourage them to break from the idea that the entire album has to be done. Fans would love just a track or two. It would keep people interested and give us something to listen to/distract us. It would keep people going and it may even help them to get love and energy from the fans back to them, which could be helpful. Katy seemed to be channeling as me as she did ask about a single and Nick dismissed it, saying that he likes having the plan for whole thing. He would like to see how the fall goes. Ugh. Couldn’t the plan be for individual songs to be released? I’m certain that they could do this well and in a way that felt coherent.

Next Year

It sounds like most of the concerts and other plans for this year will be just pushed back to 2021. That would be great! I wonder what all they had planned.

The Process

Katy asked Nick what his favorite part of the album making process is his favorite. Not surprisingly, he loves going into the studio at the beginning of the day (afternoon–in Nick’s case) with nothing and having something created by the end. He also likes “fixing” or tweaking once something has been made. None of that surprises me at all. I bet he takes a ton of time with that fixing part!

Music Industry Assistance

It sounds to me that most industries in Britain have received some assistance from the government to survive during the pandemic. The music industry has not. Thus, the members of the band have signed on to a petition to get that changed. I think Nick explains it well that there are a lot of people in the industry that have not been able to work and that is a problem. I agree. Think about how many people are needed to put on a show (beyond the artists themselves!) and shows are not happening. A lot of people are struggling as a result of that. He is hopeful that people will be more grateful once shows are able to come back. I know that I will, for sure.

Book

Nick put together a book after the photography exhibit he did four or five years ago. He had started the book years ago but had to take breaks due to touring and more. Now, he had a chance to make any changes to complete it and he fully expects that it will be released this year. He is hopeful that it will be out in the next few months. If he had his way, it would be on Halloween. It will be a limited edition art book with a 7 inch vinyl single included with a vocal by his significant other, Nefer. It will be very limited but probably extremely beautiful. (My guess is that it will also be very expensive!) Still, I like something to look forward to!

So, what do the rest of you think? How do you feel about the album news?

-A

Katy Kafe with Nick – May 2020

I feel like it has been forever since I listened to a Katy Kafe and blogged about it. Did I miss some? Did Rhonda cover some that I completely missed? No clue. Anyway, I’m happy to take some time out of my weekend to listen to Nick and Katy and reflect on their discussion here. As always, this is not a full transcription but more about what caught my attention. If you want to hear the whole thing for yourself and you know you do, I would head over to duranduranmusic.com! (Interestingly enough, according to Katy, these have been done since like 2002. Who has been listening since then??)

Pandemic Life

Nick expresses well what so many of us are thinking and feeling in that it is hard to see/hear about the lives who have been devastated by the virus; yet, he remains hopeful that we will get through this. He also recommends that everyone be as careful as they can. On a positive note, he acknowledges that we all have more time on our hands at home. Apparently, he has been working on some projects that he has not been able to get to before due to lack of time, including organizing photographs, the musical and other Duran projects. Two thoughts here. One, what Duran projects? I would love to know! Two, good for him to get things done. I wish I could say the same. I’m lucky if I get my work done for school.

Learned Something About Himself

Has Nick learned something about himself during this time? He found out that he has the patience to organize and catalog his photos. Within that, he discovered what tends to be the subjects of his photos more than others. On a totally different note, apparently he has been sleeping better. (I so wish I could say the same. My dreams are out of control and many of them are not pleasant.)

Grace Jones

In what is news to me, Grace Jones was scheduled to appear with Duran at their Hyde Park show. The band thought it would have been interesting to do something with everyone on the bill but acknowledged that it might not be possible. They are looking at rescheduling everything for this year for next year, if that’s possible.

Nick’s Projects

He is working on the musical with John, a Japanese film documentary that he needs to edit, a book of his photography (completed and will be coming out later this year!). He also spends part of his day creating things and writing. The members have talked about to finish the album as they do have a few songs that are complete and ready to mix. (They should feel free to share those as soon as possible!) He recommends that everyone should do something for themselves! (I agree.)

One Final Picture

If Nick could take only one more picture, what would the subject be? If he was at home, it would be a portrait of who is there. It might also be a flower from his garden. The moon is possible subject. (Fun fact-he would love to go to the moon someday!)

Cameo Appearance in a Hitchcock Film

(Kudos to the clever questions!) Nick mentioned the shower scene in Psycho or ringing the church bells in Vertigo among others or carrying drinks in Rope. Of course, he acknowledges that he should choose Notorious. Ha! I was glad to hear him mention the Birds. My older brother made me watch that as a young kid and I think it scarred me for life!

Cats

Does Nick have a cat? He regrets not having a cat but finds it hard to leave cats home alone and he is often traveling. (I feel awful when I have to leave mine!) The next one will be another Russian Blue like the one he had before or a more unique breed.

Which Band Member?

Which band member would he go see first once the restrictions are lifted? Simon and Roger both live pretty close to each other so he would flip a coin between them.

Set List

Of course, a question about the set list came up. He mentioned about how they have to find a balance between fan favorites and the big hits because they cannot play a lot of songs that only the diehards know. That said, fan only shows might allow for something like one track off of each album. (This could be a fun question to ask the fan community.)

Fashion

Will there ever be a fashion show showing the history of Duran fashion? This would be a long process, Nick says, but they have been archiving material for about 9 or 10 years so far. Shocking to no one, Nick has the most clothes but John and Simon still have some of the more famous outfits. Obviously, he has no idea when a show like this would happen but there is a lot of interest out there, including from lots of galleries around the world. (I would definitely travel for this!)

Female Singers

So far, there is no plan to work with a female singer on this upcoming album even though there is interest on the band’s part. (Interesting.)

Don’t Look Back

Nick wishes the song, Don’t Look Back, would have been finished and released. According to him, this was a song done with Nile around the time of the Wild Boys. (Well, that sure caught my attention!) Reportage is mentioned and how Nick would like it out there one day once it is totally done, which would take about 3-4 weeks to clean it up. (So do all of us!)

Song to Redo

Nick doesn’t really think he would redo any song but would like to overhaul the Liberty album and do a “director’s cut” of it, especially since there are lots of extra tracks from that album. (That is an interesting idea and one that I think many people would welcome.)

Overall, this Kafe was great! I give a lot of props to the fans who sent in such awesome questions and there were many. I did not cover all of them by far! On top of that, I appreciate how forthcoming Nick was with his answers. This is definitely one that should be listened to.

-A

January 2020 Katy Kafe with John

Finally, I might be caught up with the kafes! Okay, I know. There is one more in which Katy and Nick share their predictions and thoughts about the Oscars. Generally, I don’t review that one as I am not the biggest movie buff. Anyways, this January kafe features our bass player and yours, Mr. John Taylor. It also highlights fan questions. As always, I will only be sharing what catches my attention. If you want to hear the whole thing (without any of my commentary), I recommend heading over to DuranDuranMusic and listening yourself.

Question: Any new TV show?

John started to watch Schitt’s Creek, which he has been enjoying. (Me, too! My nieces have harassed me enough that I started it.) He felt like he needed a comedy, which I can understand.

Question: Some Duran songs that you don’t love but have to play live?

No. He said that he cannot help but love them. (Really??? Ugh. Come Undone? Oh, wait. That’s me.) Although, he did admit that he might not listen to them but appreciates how they were constructed. (I can get that.) He also likes the idea of trying to play each song the best ever each and every time he plays.

Question: What inspires you to write new music?

In answering this question, John shared a story about buying a nw Wire album, which brought him back to when he was a kid wanting to make music. He said that he has learned about where to go to get inspired, which is especially important while working on a new album. (Interestingly enough, he talked about how they are at the very difficult point in making #DD15 in which they have to finish the songs. It isn’t easy but they push in order to put out something “that the fans could be proud of.” I have to admit that comments like that really warm my heart.)

Question: What can we expect from the next album? Different from Paper Gods?

It is “quite different” from Paper Gods, according to John. That said, it still is Duran Duran with the same formula as usual. He is not ready to talk more specifically about the music. They are not there yet.

Question: Would John consider teaching a master class on bass playing?

No. He might consider some class about creativity in a broad sense but does not consider himself a teacher in that way. He also mentioned about how he was self-taught. Simon, on the other hand, can teach other singers. (Interesting. I think John makes a really good point that I completely appreciate as a teacher. Just because *you* know how to do something does not mean that you can teach it to others. Teaching is an art and a science, for sure.)

Question: Does current events influence the band’s work?

John admitted that it does to some extent but he tries not to have politics overtly influence as it is hard enough to finish songs.

Question: How do you maintain normalcy on the road?

The internet helps John stay in touch while on the road. He also explained about having things like Netflix has helped to create more of a common culture, making things feel more normal. He says that it helps having really nice people around them, too.

Question: Favorite Duran song that you wished fans embraced more?

John quite likes Finest Hour even though he thinks they did not get it completely right. (I love that song so I agree with him!)

Favorite album art work from other artist: London Calling by the Clash

Theme song for his life: James Bond theme

Do you respond if someone calls you Nigel: No. (Ha!) His parents eventually called him John. (That’s a fun fact.)

Funko Pop Dolls: John wonders if they double as sex toys? (Uh…what?!) Then, he manages to point out that sex toy discussion is usually Warren’s territory. (Oh…my.)

I have to admit that I heard some concerns about how John sounded during this one but he seemed perfectly normal to me. Yes, the work surrounding the album seems stressful but I get it. I am the exact same way when I’m in the middle of an intense campaign. In my opinion, that feeling could result in something amazing. As always, I enjoyed listening and taking some notes. It was a nice way to end my weekend.

-A

Year End Katy Kafe 2019 with Simon

I cannot keep up! I thought I might have a chance to catch up with the Katy Kafes but…alas…before I had a chance to finish the four that popped up in December, another one was released with John. Today, I will finish the 2019 ones and will get to John’s January Kafe when I get a chance. Then, hopefully, I’ll be caught up. *Crossing fingers* As always, if you want to hear the entire Kafe with Simon from December, I recommend going over to DuranDuranMusic and listening for yourself as I’ll just share parts that I reacted to.

Before Simon dove into the topics, he shared that he was enjoying quite a bit of egg nog and that he was surprised by the UK election results. Same here, Simon! Then again, I feel like I live in a dystopian world so maybe I shouldn’t be.

Event of the Year:

Simon picked his 60th birthday bash! I’m not surprised. Didn’t John list that as well? He pointed out that this was all about him as opposed to the NASA anniversary show, which he said was all about Nick! Oh my.

Favorite Movie:

Simon like others really enjoyed Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It even made him cry at the end! Wow. Despite many of the Duran guys liking it, I’m still not sure that it will end up on my list of movies that I must watch.

Favorite TV Show:

Interestingly enough, Simon chose Chernobyl. I wish that he had gone into why he really liked but he did not. Instead, he listed a bunch of other shows that he liked. I could not keep up. He also made note that he hated the ending of Game of Thrones. (Since I never watched the show, I’ll take his word for it.)

Favorite Book:

Simon is reading Milkman at the moment. (I’m not familiar with that one. Anyone?) He also likes Stopping Places about gypsies that Simon describes as “beautifully written.” It gives a little history and opens your mind about how it is for that group of people. He likes books that make him think and put him on a road to being a better person. Good for him!

Favorite Music:

Simon acknowledges that they have been in the studio a lot. He, personally, is listening to a lot of Amy Winehouse and her jazzy style. He wonders if he can bring a little of that quality into Duran. Hmm…

Best Thing I Saw:

The best thing was seeing Manchester get beaten the week before! Apparently, Simon has agreed to take Katy’s son to a football match. That’s sweet!

Favorite Duran Moment:

The favorite for Simon was playing at the NASA anniversary with the drones, the choir, the setting, etc. They also played some nice little festivals and had a splendid little September tour. (I enjoyed the shows I went to!)

What Simon is Looking Forward in 2020:

Isle of Wight Festival! Looking forward to a new Duran album? Absolutely! He says that they are quite close to being finished. When does he think it is going to come out? 2020. Funny enough, Katy and Simon made a bet over lunch about it. It appears that Katy is very much familiar with Durantime. Aren’t we all?! Well then…

On that note, I have to admit that Simon’s Kafe was pretty crazy in that there were a lot of tangents that happened from podcasts to Christmas Carols to lots more. One thing that I don’t know that anyone can disagree with is that Simon is always entertaining and this one was no exception!

-A

Year End Katy Kafe with Nick 2019

I’m still in the process of listening and blogging about the year end Katy Kafes. So far, I have blogged about John’s and about Roger’s. Today, I will move on to Nick. As always, I am not sharing everything. I’m focusing on what struck me and what I reacted to. If you want to want to know about the whole thing, please head over to DuranDuranMusic and listen for yourself.

Event of the year:

Nick mentioned that there were a lot of “ghastly political things” that he doesn’t want to remember. Instead, he would rather remember the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. He distinctly remembers being a little kid watching it, which he believed had a massive impact on what he thought about life. Additionally, it was “such a significant achievement that was positive for everyone.”

Favorite Movie:

Like John, Nick loved Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. While he acknowledged that it was a little long and slow, in places, he enjoyed every minute of it. He feels that both the writing and acting were great.

Favorite TV Show:

While Nick does not typically find a lot of time for TV, he made a point of doing so this past year. He mentioned two shows: Black Mirror and The Crown. He raved about the latter stating that it looks amazing with casting that it right on.

Favorite Book:

Leave it to Nick to talk about a book of photography. In this case, he talked about the latest Stephen Gill book that focused on photographs taken in rural Sweden.

Favorite Music:

Billie Eilish was Nick’s choice in this category. Fascinating. He acknowledged that she is very young but finds her clever and more interesting than others. When questioned about this choice, he stated how he believes that female singers are leading right now.

Favorite Thing Saw:

In this category, Nick focused on museum and art gallery shows. Nick discussed the various shows he saw in great detail. I took note of a couple including the Stanley Kubrick exhibit with props and clothing from his movies and seeing The Last Supper in person in Milan.

Favorite Duran Duran Moment:

Shocking to no one, Nick chose playing at the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 11 rocket to the moon. He described it as surreal, being at that exact location with rockets all around them, a big choir, a string section and a full moon. He shared a little about how this happened. Apparently, he had visited NASA a year earlier and the NASA people mentioned the idea of Duran playing at this and he jumped at the chance. Fascinating.

Looking Forward to the Most in 2020:

The first thing Nick popped out with was a nap. As someone who has been grading all weekend, I definitely could relate to that. Of course, he turned more seriously to the fact that they have spent a lot of 2019 working on the album. He said that he 100% thinks that the album will be out in 2020. His prediction is that it will most likely be between April and June. The worst case would be September. They have about 6 songs all set but have to battle to decide the rest. Katy asked how that happens. He explained that it was a democracy that works (unlike the UK and the US, he added!). Either they work on a song until everyone thinks it is the best it can be or it doesn’t get added. One story Nick shared was how he loved Northern Lights but Simon did not agree with a certain part. Apparently, they compromised by including it as a bonus track which Nick thinks it is the right way now.

All of the album talk got me excited! Maybe I’ll have new Duran music by my birthday. I would approve!

-A

2019 Year End Kafe with Roger

Last week, I began my catch-up with all things Duran with listening and blogging about the year end Katy Kafe with John. These year end ones tend to include the band member’s top book, movie, TV show, Duran moment and more. I missed all of them during our break so I thought it would be good to take time now to listen and blog. This week, I’ll cover Roger’s. As always, I’ll share what stood out to me but there will be a lot I will miss. If you want it all yourself, please head over to DuranDuranMusic.

Event of the Year:

Roger could not come up with a world event but his personal event is Aston Villa get back into what sounds like the playoffs called the premiership . While I’m not a big fan of football/soccer, I get fandom. I would be super excited, for example, if the White Sox made the playoffs and my dad would be over the moon! What I’m most amused by is Roger wondering why people get all excited by sports fandom. I think fandom is fandom. I could explain fandom. 😉

Favorite Movie:

Roger really liked Apollo 11 since they did the anniversary of the moon landing. It brought out his interest in the space program again. Katy tells a very funny story about going to the premiere with Simon and Nick back in the day when she might have had a bit much to drink and had a conversation with Tom Hanks.

TV Show:

Roger discussed the mini-series, When They See Us, about the Central Park 5 because it was so sad and so well-done.

Favorite Music:

Mark Ronson is Roger’s choice for the best of the year. Rhonda brought me that album for Christmas and I have been listening to it quite a bit so Roger’s choice definitely makes me smile. He also mentioned the Elton John movie and how that made me check out more of Elton’s music this past year.

Favorite Duran Duran Moment:

The choice for our favorite drummer was, indeed, playing at the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. It was such a historical event and then they made the anniversary such an “incredible moment” with the accompanying musicians and drones. (I do wish that I could have seen it but…that general admission deal is tough, especially in Florida in the summer.) He also discussed how they are working in the studio and experiencing some “real highs” with that!

When to Hear New Duran:

The band is hoping to be finished around March! (Wow! Of course, I’ll believe it when I see it. Yet, I’ll still be hopeful.) He describes it as more organic (real drum and bass) and very different from Paper Gods. (That sounds good to me!)

Looking Forward to 2020:

“Releasing the album!” Of course, he also mentions the Isle of Wight show. On top of that, he acknowledges that there are a lot of calls to play in the UK.

Overall, Roger’s Kafe was short, sweet and positive, which made it nice. He also made me more excited about what the new album might be like and I found out that he loves cappuccinos. Who know?! Fun stuff!

-A

2019 Year End Kafe with John

The thing about breaks is that you sometimes miss things when you are away. Sometimes, that is a good thing if the things you are missing might cause stress or might be tasks you want to avoid. At times, though, you might be sad that you didn’t catch something as it came out. This is the case with the year end Katy Kafes with each of the band members. I saw that they were released but I certainly didn’t have a chance to listen. I figured that I might not be alone in missing these as December is a super busy for lots and lots of people. So no one will be upset if I listen and blog now, right? I’ll start in the beginning with John’s Year End Kafe as it was released first on December 12th. As always, this blog post will just share my reactions to some of what he talked about. If you want to hear the whole thing, I recommend becoming a member of DuranDuranMusic and listening yourself.

If you are new to the Year End Katy Kafe, a lot of the focus is on band member’s favorites. Similarly, you can read their lists of favorites on the band’s official website. While I like reading the list, there is something about listening to why they made these choices that bring it to life for me.

Favorite Movie:

John’s choice was Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He described as a “tender movie about male friendships.” That is not what I would think of with a Quentin Tarantino film but I’ll trust John on this one.

Favorite TV Show:

John split his vote on his one. He first mentioned The Crown. He finds the episodes very moving. Apparently, it is changing his sense of British history and how he views the royal family. As a historian, I enjoy the show as well. (No spoilers–I just started season 3). He also liked the show, Chernobyl, about the nuclear accident that happened in 1986. He mentioned other shows like Succession and Euphoria but he feels like the first ones are more “important” and “historical.” Again, I have to appreciate that.

Best thing listened to this year:

John called 2019 the year of Lizzo. He found her album brings a lot of joy. (A lot of my students really like her, too!) One part that I found super interesting about his comments was his prediction that she would win a lot of Grammys, which would actually “paralyze” her. I would have loved to have a follow up on that one. What exactly did he mean there? Would that create too much pressure?

Best Duran moment of 2019:

If I had not read the year end lists, I would have assumed that he would have mentioned the NASA affair, but instead he mentioned Simon’s 60th birthday bash which took place on a boat trip. Apparently, it was a lot of fun with lots of dancing. (I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that!)

What John Is Looking Forward to the Most in 2020:

John would like to see a change in politics. He described both the US and the UK in political “deadlock”. According to him, he thinks that both countries need someone amazing like “Obama or Thatcher (God forbid).” He would love to see people coming together rather than be at odds with each other. Since this Kafe took place before the election in the UK, he did say that he was going to vote but was not certain who even though he voted against Brexit. (This part of the Kafe very much grabbed my attention. I would love to have a conversation with John about this as someone super involved in politics. I don’t know that I would describe the current political situation in the US as a “deadlock,” but I get where he is coming from. I, too, would love to see the country come together and agree with him that leadership for that is needed.)

The Kafe finished with a brief discussion about favorite book and what his plans were for the holidays. One thing to note. He is probably going to be back in the Kafe in January, maybe answering fan questions. You might then want to get some ready!

-A

September 2019 Katy Kafe with Roger

There are days, and then there are days. Today is the latter. I’ve spent my morning neck deep in the throes of webhosting madness, and now I am rewarded with a new Katy Kafe!

Roger was still in LA for one more day before traveling home, and found time for a chat with Katy to fill us all in on the DD happenings over the summer.

Mini-Tour

They just finished the mini tour and KAABOO Festival in Del Mar (just north of San Diego). Roger said he loves touring the west, making note of our constant sunny days and the positive energy he felt from all of the audiences. He and Katy also made note of the audience in Tahoe, saying that they were surprised by the amount of people who came out to see the show, saying that it felt more like a festival. They moved Wild Boys to the encore that night and ended up doing four songs for what he thinks may have been the first time.

Roger commented that he was happy to get “Anyone Out There” back out, along with “Astronaut”, and mentioned how lucky they were to do the NASA gig, too. He ended by saying how it “gets to a point in life where you’re really happy to still be in the room”, referring to the hundreds of other bands out there who were just as talented, but for some reason didn’t go the distance.

Above Ground

While in LA, Roger found time to attend a charity show benefitting Above Ground, an organization committed to working with musicians with varying types of mental illness including depression. The show featured many artists, including Billy Idol, whom Roger met that night for the second time.

The first meeting took place many years ago after Billy and his band Generation X played at Barbarella’s in Birmingham. Roger told a story about how he’d gone to see them play (they were his favorite band at the time), and they were booed offstage! During that time in Birmingham, punk was still very much on the scene, and Generation X had begun to slide a bit more mainstream – which did not go over with the crowd. Roger met Billy and had him sign his Generation X album, which remains the only album Roger has ever gotten signed.

When Roger met Billy in Los Angeles, he shared the memory of the show at Barbarella’s, and Billy remembered. I loved the anecdote, simply because it is endearing to hear of my own biggest idol meeting his idol. The only difference is that I’m still shy enough to where if I ran into Roger, I’m not sure what I’d say!

Album update

I know everyone chomps at the bit to hear news of what may be on the horizon. I’m happy to say that Roger was pretty forthcoming! He didn’t even need much prodding, and said that they are pretty well advanced on the album, citing Erol Alkan’s influence as producer, “He has given us a good boot up the backside!” Katy asked if there would be other producers on the album, and Roger said they worked a little with Mark (Ronson), and that there has been talk of Giorgio Moroder…but the bulk of the album would be completed with Erol Alkan.

The greatest news is that they’re hoping to have the album out by SPRING…which is amazing. Roger said that they had really only gotten back into the swing of things this past year, which means they’ve worked at a pretty decent speed.

Katy spoke of how it has been five years in between Paper Gods and this one (assuming it is released in 2020). I took pause at that. Has it really been that long?? I suppose so. I know that Amanda and I have tried to talk about just about anything but the album they’re working on – figuring that it will happen when the band is ready. Meanwhile, I guess we’ve all been busy!

Paper Gods was released in 2015, but as Roger explained – they toured the album extensively for a couple of years. So while it will be five years in between albums, it doesn’t seem like it has been that long to me. I would also say that having the band break up that time with the occasional run of shows has also helped!

The touring question

That brought the discussion around to why they haven’t toured in many of the places fans wanted. **Please note the disclaimer here. Do not shoot the messenger. **

If the band was able to tour so much with Paper Gods, why is it they focused on so few regions of the world?

Roger was very clear, explaining that “in America in particular, people do not forget [them] and show the love.” They are able to fill arenas, no matter how long the span of time has been from show to show. Katy continued, saying that she feels bad because she receives emails from fans wondering why the band doesn’t go other places. She says they don’t understand that while “they, and their friends…and even their friends friends will go see them, that just isn’t enough to fill an arena.”

In order to make touring in many places of the world economically viable, they don’t just need to fill an arena once, either. They need to be able to fill more than one, multiple times. Otherwise, the cost to ship and rent equipment along with transportation, housing, food, etc etc means that essentially, the band would be paying to tour, which wouldn’t work for long.

Vegas Residency Revisited

Katy asked Roger if they’d do a Vegas Residency. In my head, they’ve just done one – having played the Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan six times over the past 18 months or so. That seems like enough, doesn’t it? Roger paused, and said that it would have to be something very cool, mentioning the show, Love, the Michael Jackson show, Cirque du Soleil and even Elton John. He mused over how it would be to stay in Vegas for any length of time, suggesting that it is not the same as LA or New York, and he doesn’t know if he’d like that. Katy suggested living in LA and then commuting to Vegas for weekends. While I don’t think a residency is really on their radar, it didn’t sound to me as though Roger was ready to write off the possibility, either. We’ll see!

New dates??

Katy suggested that maybe there might be new dates prior to the release of the album, saying that maybe the East Coast would get some love this time – although they did do the NASA show in Florida. So, my East Coast people – don’t be surprised if the band suddenly pops dates and pre-sales on you before the holidays!! That’s your warning….

Until next time…

-R

May 2019 Katy Kafe with John

Monday brings good news on occasion, and thankfully, today is that day! After what was a very long and emotionally exhausting weekend for me, I crawled out of bed this morning knowing I’d need to blog. My brain was blank. Honestly, at no fault of the band, it was a case of “Duran Duran, who?”

My oldest graduated from college this weekend. We drove to Orange County early on Saturday morning, and all three of my children were in the same room together for the first time since December. I bit my lip and held back tears when I saw my son get out of his Uber. He’s grown since Christmas, both in size and in maturity. Above all, my oldest is now completely, and totally grown-up. We did our job. Part of my heart is walking around outside of my body with very little of my input, now. I’m still kind of struggling with that this morning. I’m thrilled, don’t get me wrong. Walt and I seriously high-fived one another when her name was called and she walked across the stage during graduation. I’m a teeny bit sad, I guess. Motherhood is weirdly bittersweet that way.

Anyway, I stumbled out to my kitchen and got online, with very few ideas of what I could write about. I needed a very large coffee and a huge sign to point my way. Lo and behold, thanks to Katy – I stumbled upon news of the May Katy Kafe with JT being ready for listening! Problem solved!

Again – these are the highlights, and if you want to know everything he said, go get your DDM membership!

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

John said it was a tremendous honor to be asked, and thought that he surely would get a call saying they’d (R&RHOF) made a mistake, that they had someone else down to present to Roxy Music. (Something I myself would have said if I had been asked to do such a thing!) John loves to analyze, breakdown, deconstruct—and in writing the script of what they’d say that night, he had to really immerse himself in the music and how he related to Roxy Music. He enjoyed that. John said it was very special, and he “just enjoyed being there.” He didn’t feel like he and Simon were out of place (I took pause when he said that – because 100%, Duran Duran deserves to be there in any and all capacities), but that there was just a lot of art (arty rockers) in the room.

He specifically mentioned how he hadn’t really connected with Def Leppard in a long time but that it was really fun to reconnect with them and appreciating where they were from. They had come from very similar places but went in “slightly different directions.. in 1982 felt miles apart but in 2019 doesn’t really seem so apart anymore.”

“Sometimes it is nice to be in a situation where there are a lot of people like you.” (quite frankly, this is exactly I feel when I go to a Duran Duran show where I know a lot of the people going. It feels like home. A reunion.)

Art

A fan (Monica Sage) asked John what paintings and/or artists he likes. One painting that took John NO time to mention was Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”. It is in the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), and he goes to see it whenever he’s able.

Fond of Matisse as well as all of the big painters. He’s always liked paintings, since he was a kid. John is attracted to color, and the subject matters less. That’s why abstract art works for him. Painting is a singular expression, and since music is such a huge collaborative medium – visual art is a great parallel universe to music.

Paint on canvas is his favorite medium.

Whenever Katy asks fans for questions – I try to come up with one to ask. Many times, I forget to send it as myself rather than Daily Duranie, and other times – I can’t even think of something good to ask that hasn’t already come up 5,000 times. Usually my mind goes blank, but apparently not this time, because I finally asked a question that was answered!

On a Kafe back in late 2018 at some point, Katy and JT talked about what John might do when he retires. For all I know, this could have also been a fan question then – I don’t remember. Anyway, John mentioned that he’d like to get into painting. The reason this stuck with me is because I love art – specifically paint on canvas. Both Amanda and I do, and we go to museums together whenever we can. Typically those times are when we’re going to Duran Duran shows, so it serves as a sort of daytime activity. Many times, those paintings inspire us in one way or another, too. I’d wondered what kind of art John might want to try painting – so I asked!

He said he’d probably start with landscapes, but he’d really like to paint people. They’re the most interesting subject to him. (I have to share that in one way, I was surprised and then in another it makes perfect sense!) I get a ton of anxiety from actually interacting with people (at times), but by the same token – I love studying and writing about them. Painting people is probably not something I could do myself, but writing about them and studying the human condition? You bet!

It (painting, and in particular painting people) is less of a thing since photography, he added. Just as quickly, he said he doesn’t know if he will end up actually painting, he’s too much of a perfectionist. I get that. I can’t draw to save my life, much less paint. It’s never too late to have a new hobby, and it is great exercise for the brain and spirit.

Summer shows

He isn’t sure how Iceland came about, but they had a great experience last time – between there and Denmark, they agreed to do the odd show even though this is a “no tour” year, He follows up by saying “there’s something about keeping that side of the engine turning over” This sort of thing just keeps their chops up and they bring that energy back into the studio. He didn’t say anything about Vegas or the west coast shows, but it sounds as though he’s happy to have the opportunity to get out in front of audiences again.

Back in the studio

“Duran Duran doesn’t make the same album twice”, Katy said. “It’s quite difficult to do that, actually,” John laughed. She gently asked another fan question (I’m sorry but I didn’t catch the name!) about the music they’re working on.

“These are early days”, John answered. Erol Alkan is producing, and Graham Coxon of Blur is playing guitar. He said having these two guys there is making for a very exciting time, making mention of the fact that they’ve never worked with either of them. It’s a little early to talk about what the music is, though. They’re already excited about going back into the studio in July after they are finished with the Danish show. John explains that after forty years, on a certain level they’re totally done with one another (the four band members), and on another, there is always the sense of possibility. They’re holding the candle to dig deeper, believing there’s something more worth mining. They’ve also worked with Mark a bit in Los Angeles when they were here. However, the bulk of the work they’ve been doing in London with Erol, and it has been exciting to get to know both Erol and Graham.

“It is very much about teamwork, and everybody has certain responsibilities”, John explained. As a bass player, he wants to
“drop a bomb of a bass line” that in turn inspires Nick or Roger. Maybe Simon will come up with a line of lyric that blows them all away and they say “I love that!” This doesn’t happen everyday, but maybe a couple of times a week it happens.


“Everybody needs a little encouragement. We all need that.” John mused. That’s the thing about producers for them. They know what they’re capable of, but the right producer will take them past that point. Errol isn’t afraid to push, and producers as a whole are going to make them do more than what they would normally do. “It’s been fantastic so far” John mentioned, adding that every session they’ve had on this album has been good.

Katy suggested that maybe working with a producer is something the band has only settled into doing recently, but John disagreed. He explains that during the 80s – they worked solidly with Colin Thurston, Alex Sadkin and Nile Rodgers. But during the 90s they took control themselves, and the results (in John’s opinion), were less-than-optimal. Working with Mark on All You Need is Now really brought them back to the practice of working with a strong producer.

Record Store Day

RSD has become an annual opportunity to produce something. This one (ATLGD) was very special, and they’ve already figured out what they want next year’s to be! (can’t lie – I am wondering what they’ll come up with!) Left to their own devices, they might not have done as much. However, labels have come to them and suggested doing something for Record Store Day – which in turn is a win for fans, right?? (Those are my words, not his of course!)

He wished they had some unreleased stuff that wasn’t on Arena, but it’s still very special. I couldn’t hear for sure whether or not he’d listened to it – either my hearing is slowly dying (it is), my earbuds weren’t worth the money I paid (also true), or the quality of the recording was bad (not really sure). Alas…

Favorite Song

Definitively, John offered up Beethoven 3rd Symphony – “Eroica”. You all better go hop onto Spotify right now and give it a listen, because he’s not into anything more modern at the moment. I was a little surprised by that comment, but also just a teeny bit gleeful.

I already have “Eroica” in my playlist, and it’s been there for years because I’ve performed it before. Sure, I’m sitting here feeling ridiculously smug and validated by my own silly play list. I’ll call myself out for that nonsense, no problem!

Yes, I still fangirl too. Usually a bit quieter than this, but I couldn’t help smiling when he mentioned that particular symphony.

Birmingham

John said that he doesn’t spend enough time in the Midlands. He really misses the Birmingham of his youth, adding that it isn’t the same city now, but it was an experience to go back last year. When he was there, he went and stopped by his old street. He finds it hard to believe that he once had a life that was constantly lived in that city, and now he spends very little time there. I think any of us who have moved away from our childhood home and city (or country) should be able to relate.

John continued on by saying the same thing holds true with family. You spend the first part of your life surrounded by these people, and now most of them have passed on. He finds that sad (as anyone might), but also remarkable. Katy replied by saying you don’t really appreciate that until you’re much older. He still hates the word “nostalgia” but Gela suggested to him that maybe that’s what it is.

Sorry John, but it is exactly that word. Just acknowledge it, embrace it even, and then move on. It’s okay – it makes you human. Feelings happen, and they don’t mean you aren’t fully embracing the present. I think it is all really about seeing and feeling the emotion of the big picture. In fact, I would go as far as to say that appreciating the nostalgia helps one embrace the present.

Personally, I love John’s Kafe’s. I feel as though after 40 years, I like getting to know the band, and even Katy, as real people. Yes – the music is important, but I believe that at this point, at least with me, I’m already sold. “All-in”, even. Knowing the band isn’t always that important to me – I mean, I don’t wonder about Brandon Flowers the way I do John Taylor, for example. Duran Duran, for me, are different. I write about them, or at least about being a fan of them, every single day. I appreciate knowing who they are.

That doesn’t mean I agree with or run parallel to everything they say or do. I’m no puppet, nor do I believe Simon, John, Roger or Nick want us to be. They’re people. We are people. The exchange of different ideas and feelings is a good thing. I enjoy good conversations and digging deeper than Rio or “Hungry Like the Wolf”. I can appreciate that these Katy Kafes (and yes Katy, I think John would do a remarkably interesting podcast if he were ever so inclined!) get us past the surface questions from time to time. Thank you!!

-R

April 2019 Katy Kafe with Roger

Someone else has a birthday this month, along with Amanda and my youngest, and his name is Roger! As he explains early in this month’s Katy Kafe, this year isn’t the “big” year – and we’re not talking about that yet!

We did hear within the first few seconds that the band is going back into the studio today, and that his birthday is also a studio day. Little by little, we’re hearing more teensy little items of interest about that studio time. I can’t lie, for me, a lot of this Kafe, seemed to be about his drums, and while some of the questions were interesting, others really didn’t resonate – purely because I am not a drummer, and I don’t know the difference between Tama drums or any other brands. I took notes, and as always, I encourage everyone to get their own DDM membership!

Today’s Kafe featured a selection of Katy-chosen questions from their Instagram.

What is your max heart rate when playing Wild Boys?

Roger laughed, because I would imagine he hasn’t had too much of an opportunity to measure his own heart rate (kind of wonder what an Apple Watch would do under those conditions though, I must admit). However, he did say that whatever it might be – it would be much faster for “Rio”. Somehow this led into a short sidebar about the fact that he finds that he plays far more powerfully when he is relaxed. It isn’t about sheer strength, it is about playing with flexibility and precision. So while you and I might think he has pretty strong arms….he says no.

I’ve seen them. Well…I have in pictures before, anyway. I’m still gonna go with yes. <big grin>

Which drum track from your entire catalog makes you the most proud?

Roger says “Anything from Rio”.

What tracks from other drummers do you admire most?

“Trampled Under Foot” – John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)

“Superstition” – Stevie Wonder.

Your homework, fellow Duranies – is to go listen to both. 🙂

What provides inspirations when writing new songs?

“What is going on around me”, Roger explains. Just as they enter the studio today, they won’t have any preconceived ideas of what they’ll play. Nick might begin playing something and then that will give Roger inspiration for a drum beat and so on. They write “off the cuff” and have done so for many years (and albums). He mentions how they were in the studio with Errol Alkan and Mark Ronson, and that in each case – they had no ideas of what they might do, but that each of them had their own creative ideas, and that in turn inspired them.

Katy interjects at this point and asks if he’s heard any of the finished songs and Roger quickly says that nothing is finished yet. I add this tidbit purely because if you were hoping for finished music in 2019….I’m still thinking you’d be better off hoping for 2020!!

What were you whispering to yourself in the video for “Night Boat”?

Roger laughs and says “I was probably wondering what in the hell we were doing or what it was all about!” Then he explains that he hasn’t WATCHED the video since they made it!

I just have to say, this little kernel of truth shocked me. I mean, I know these guys have been busy over the years, especially back then – and maybe I’m just a control freak (I know I am), but really? You didn’t even WATCH it to see if you thought it was any good? I really hope Roger watches it, and that eventually somehow, we hear what he thought when he did! (In case you’re reading: your acting on it was A+, Roger. <big grin> I must have watched that video 30,000 times when I first got the video album. I mean…you were speaking! It didn’t even matter what you were saying – I could hear your voice.

Wow. Yep, I was indeed a fan. Big fan. Huge!

If you were stranded on a desert island and had the choice of what band member was with you – who would you choose and why?

Apparently, there is only one answer to this question as far as Katy and Roger are concerned. They’d choose Simon because he could get them out. (It turns out, they trust Simon’s sailing ability. Ok then. I can’t argue…except to ask, “Who said we wanted to leave the island?!?”).

Where’s the one “bucket list” place you’d like to visit?

India. Roger has never been to India, and he’d like to go and visit – not just a resort, but the “real” India.

What song from Arcadia (aside from Election Day) would you like to add to the set list?

Roger’s favorite Arcadia song is “The Promise”, and he’d like to add that – in fact, he says he may suggest that the next time the set list conversation comes up!

What drum gear are you using in the studio for the new recordings?

He is working with more of a live drum set-up. Errol and Mark both had kits in their studios he used. While the last album relied a little more heavily on electronics, these songs are more live, less electronic. More organic. Acoustic.

**note here for everyone committing this to memory, expecting whatever music to come out to be exactly as Roger describes here. It is still early in the process. Roger himself said nothing is finished. While this is how it’s sounding now, WHO KNOWS what will end up coming through our speakers when it is done…and remember he’s talking about the drums. We don’t know what the rest of it will sound like at all. Right?

Do you still have your earliest Tama drum kit?

They have a lot in storage, but Roger says he doesn’t really have anything from his first kit. As a side note though, Paul McCartney did at one time have a drum of his in his studio. Roger knows one of Paul’s daughters and gave her one of the drums he no longer needed.

Roger continues by explaining that he’s really not a collector. He doesn’t keep things – same with clothes. He has his Rio jacket, but he doesn’t know where the trousers are. That beautiful blue silk jacket was on display at the O2 Music Experience when I was in London back in 2011 – don’t know if it’s still there though!

Which song would you go back and re-record if you had the opportunity?

Roger said “None”.

His feeling here is like most artists – when you record a song, it is like a snapshot in time for that particular period. Going back and changing it is similar to stepping into a time machine and going back to fix some part of history. Once you do that, everything changes.

Would you still join the band if you had already known what was going to happen (all of the ups and downs, etc.)

He says he wouldn’t change a thing. One thing I can hear in Roger’s voice is how grateful he is for his career. He talks about how he might have been a mechanic or hated his day job, and obviously that’s not the case with the band. Despite the ups and downs, he clearly still loves his life just as it is.

Favorite performance of his entire career?

I would have thought a question like this would stump someone. I mean, this includes thousands of performances! However, he said that the last time they played the O2 – he had his family there with him. There was an incredible synergy with the audience, and the night was magical. So there you have it!

Happy birthday, Roger! It might be a working birthday, but we hope it is still fantastic!

-R