Category Archives: Katy Kafe

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

March 2019 Katy Kafe with Simon

Hi everyone! Happy Tuesday! Just before going to bed last night, I went through the Daily Duranie inbox. It isn’t often that we get extremely pointed reminders from anonymous people, but last night, we did. To be fair, I was happy to have the reminder! I FORGOT THE KAFE! Oops!

Yesterday was crazy, involving now 4-week old chickens figuring out how to fly up and over their 3.5-foot high fencing. Essentially, they were then having free reign of the room where they are currently located. They’re not old enough to be outside of their brooder (think baby crib for chickens!) just yet. I’ll bet none of you can imagine my reaction when opening the door to find a REAL Late Bar party going on amongst the chickies.

My life. I have to laugh. Why would I expect anything less than “baby” chicks escaping??

Anyway, I’m back on my game, the chicks are safely in their appropriate brooder, and I’ve listened to the Kafe! Below are the just the highlights! If you want to listen to the entire Kafe (and you should!) we at Daily Duranie highly recommend getting your own DuranDuranMusic.com membership!

Simon is sick with a cold right now – mentioning that he is bringing a Virus to the Kafe. As am I (Bringing Virus, that is.)

At some point, he starts singing some crazy little tune I don’t think I’ve heard before. That’s only after going after his cat – who is trying to get into a room that is off limits.

Sounds like my house on any given day! First it was dogs and cats, now it’s poultry. I don’t know people…maybe I should start singing crazy obscurities too. Moving on.

Studio time with Mark

Thrilled that Katy asked about the band being in the studio with Mark back at the end of February! After the Vegas shows, and just after Mark won an Oscar, they met in a Los Angeles studio. They did some writing with not only Mark Ronson, but also Lykke Li and Graham Coxon.

It was the first meeting of Graham and Mark, as the band introduced them that day. According to Simon, they did a lot of work – and now it is about seeing how much of it they will actually use. It did not sound as though Mark is acting as the only producer, or even as a producer at all, but rather more of a collaborative writer. although Simon did not go into a ton of detail. As Simon explained, while it sounded great, it is very difficult to discuss the songs because so much changes over the process of writing, recording, etc.

It would be a good reminder here that thousands of hours can go into recording for an album, and only a small percentage may get used. Having your heart set on Mark, or anyone for that matter, being the producer or working with the band on what ends up as the finished product is setting yourself up for certain disappointment. Keeping an open mind is prudent!

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

So, anyone hear that Simon and John have the distinct honor of inducting Roxy Music into the Hall of Fame? The ceremony, which is to take place March 29th at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, should be interesting this year. Roxy Music, Janet Jackson, The Cure, and even Def Leppard (not to play favorites but those are the few I remember off the top of my head) are being inducted this year. I’m looking forward to watching the ceremony at some point.

Simon says he is flattered and very honored to be inducting Roxy Music, as they are crucial to Duran Duran. He feels as though it is a huge responsibility to make sure they are given the credit that is due. He and John will deliver a speech (usually these are incredibly impassioned, and honestly – they are what make the ceremony special, in my opinion). Simon says that John is mostly working on it because he is a massive fan. He has never been to an induction ceremony before, so I’m curious to hear what he thinks of it all after he’s gone.

February Mini Tour

Loved hearing Simon talk about the mini-tour. He commented that the show in Miami was just “okay”. They hadn’t played a 90-minute show in about 18 months (since Japan). I know we had discussions about the length of their set several times during the mini-tour. There were critics who mentioned it as well – to which I responded in a blog right here. Listen, I’m a fan – I would love a four hour long set complete with an intermission! However, this band is made up of humans, not machines. I don’t know how people like Elton John or Paul McCartney do a 3 hour show every night. Maybe they rehearsed for months beforehand, conditioning themselves?

I just know that when Simon feels like he’s got to comment on a Kafe that it has been forever since they played a 90-minute show that maybe, just MAYBE, we need to cut them a little slack. He said that Miami wasn’t that great – I believe he used the word, “okay”, but that they got tighter in Cayman and by the time they hit NOLA they were feeling good and the show felt smooth.

I can understand that, too. Duran Duran doesn’t rehearse a ton. Now, we can certainly have a discussion about whether or not that should be happening more regularly; however, the bottom line is that this isn’t a band that rehearses for months or weeks on end before a tour begins. As they perform shows, they play tighter, and smoother. That’s the way this band rolls!

The set

As we know, they added in a few extras to the set this time around. Seventh Stranger, New Religion, Tempted, and even Friends of Mine. For long-time fans such as myself – this was a dream come true. Simon commented that they like to change things up. “We have quite a huge catalog to choose from, and it would be a real waste to stick to the same 18-20 songs.”

Yes, yes it would.

What I found particularly interesting here though was that Simon said they tried to make Seventh Stranger sound more modern. This was after saying that if they’d written that song today, they would have done it very differently. I don’t know if he felt the song was incredibly dated as is written – but let’s be fair to ourselves a bit here. It was released in 1983, and one can assume it was written at least several months (if not a year or more) prior. Simon followed up by saying they performed it by using the musical technology available today as opposed to the way it was in 1980-something.

A word or two for Simon

Nick tried to get Simon to lip-sync to the video on the screen, and I got the feeling that Simon wasn’t sure if that worked out right. Let me clear that air for him by speaking to Simon directly here. IT WAS FANTASTIC. I can imagine performing it that way, and trying to stay conscious of what was happening on screen might have felt weird, but the full effect of seeing you at 20-something on the larger screen and then right in front of me singing in person blew me away. I’m not a very emotional person (I cry in private thankyouverymuch), but that performance took everything out of me. It was an incredible five minutes that I will never forget. I am not the only one, either. The audience was filled with people sobbing just like me.

That doesn’t happen without a lot of magic, my friend. And that’s what that song and performance(s) were like. Magical. Don’t downplay it, and take my word for it. I can be incredibly hard on this band, but those performances contained some of the moments my heart was craving most. I feel lucky to have been there.

And if that weren’t enough….they announced they’d be playing at Tinderbox in Denmark this year, and Katy says “there may be more this summer”. Stay tuned….

Record Store Day 2019

It is exciting to hear that As the Lights Go Down will be available on pink and blue vinyl as Duran Duran’s RSD offering this year. Humorously though, Simon says he doesn’t remember even recording it. Not a single thing.

I’m sure there’s a joke in here about drugs in the 80s and 90s, or age….but I’m gonna just let it slide for now. (after all, I can remember the words to every Duran Duran song, but can’t remember where I put the TV remote. It was in the cupboard this morning. So….)

He does say though that when he gets his copy, he’ll “give it a go”.

Well, alright then. Just maybe then I will, too.

Simon will be back during the summer, and I can hardly wait to hear what obscurity he’ll sing.

As for me, I’m off to check on some very loud squawking I hear. I can only imagine what I’ll find this time.

-R

January 2019 Katy Kafe with John Taylor

Lately, timing has been on my side. The Vegas weekend comes at a perfect time in that it is right after the primary for the campaign I’m working on. This will give me a great break before I have to push it hard for the general election in April. Now, on a smaller scale, this Katy Kafe comes at a good time as I was thinking about what to write about for a blog today. On that note, let me explain that I won’t be giving a full transcript here. Far from it. No, I’ll share the highlights and my thoughts about them. If you want to listen for yourself to see Mr. John Taylor had to say, then I recommend heading over to DuranDuranMusic and get a membership for yourself.

The conversation started with a brief discussion about New Year’s Even. JT was in London, apparently, and was able to get out, go dancing, etc. but it wasn’t like when he was young. The fun just isn’t the same. I completely relate to that.

The format to this kafe is simple in that fans send in questions on social media. Obviously, Katy did not ask all of them but give quite a few. The first question was about letters and whether or not he has any special ones and the last one he has written. He got a letter from the Obamas for his 50th birthday, which he thinks is pretty cool. (So do I!) All of the band members have a letter from Prince William and Prince Henry for their participation in the concert for Diana. John also saved letters from his daughter, which is sweet. The last ones he has written might be to his kids or just those letters of recommendation. (This reminds me that I have a letter of recommendation to write myself.)

The next question focused on a song that he hasn’t played in a long time but wants to. According to John, they have “dusted off” a couple for the shows in February. One that he has been practicing has not been played since the Arena tour. This, of course, has me thinking. I have some ideas but I won’t spoil anyone with my speculation! Personally, I would love hearing a new (old) song or two. I will definitely be on my toes in Vegas now!

Speaking of playing new material, one question asked about how often John plays at home. Here’s is where I learned something new. John has been taking piano lessons and learning how to read music. Not only do I think it is cool but I like the idea that he wants to keep learning. I can relate as I have been learning a lot about how to run an effective local campaign. Obviously, now, though, he has to get back to playing the bass to get ready for the February shows, which really are coming up quickly now!

How does John keep creative projects separate? He thinks that the various projects can provide inspiration for other projects and “create creative confidence.” My mom as a fiber artist definitely functions like this in that she always has a number of projects going. That said, he did admit that he often takes on more than he can chew and leaves projects undone. Again, I can relate. Rhonda and I have had a lot of projects that we have started that haven’t seen the finish line. Someday.

Of course, people wanted to know how the new music is going? John said that when they got into the studio before Christmas, everyone was ready, which made it good. He mentioned how they were working with a new producer and some new musicians who they had never worked with before. They plan to return to the studio at the end of February. Those new musicians made me wonder, I’ll admit. Who? Why? Hmm…

Someone asked about an artistic forum that John has not tried would like to. His response? Contemporary dance. This created quite an image for Katy and for me as I thought about his dancing during Danceophobia during the Paper Gods tour. He then clarified to say that he would like to create the music for contemporary dance. That said, maybe he would pick up painting once he retired to the British countryside. He wouldn’t be the first to do such a thing.

Bothered that people judge success based on charts? They benefited in the 1980s from charts. Now it is more about one’s sense of self and one’s own standards. Hard and painful when not on the charts but after a few cycles, you get over that. Now it is about numbers on social media, etc.

Here was an interesting question. What 3 words describe you as a young man and what 3 words describe you now? For when he was young, he said, “shy, happy, gangly(???).” (Anyone hear that last word clearly?) As for now, he said interesting, grateful, happy.

Along the same lines, what are three things we don’t know about you? Katy answered for him by saying that she didn’t know that he was so tall, so smart, and had such a big heart. John talked about how he is clothes horse and tries to be trendy, likes to collect books and misses his parents every day. Both of those answers made my heart swell a little bit.

The last question that interested me is whether or not the band can and does realize the influence they have had on their fans? John’s response indicated that they don’t want to pat themselves on the back too much or allow themselves to get big heads but he does admit that he has been touched by particular stories. He also loves how the band is a connector in that they brought people who wouldn’t be friends otherwise who now go to shows together and visit each other. Hmm…that sounds familiar. Very familiar. Yep, that lines hits close to home.

On that note, I thoroughly enjoyed this particular kafe. I give a lot of props to the questions people sent in as they were all awesome. I can never think of anything when offered something like that so good for all of you! I also appreciated that John suggested people send in their questions again if they didn’t get them asked now. Good for him. On that note, I’m going to go knock on doors in negative degree temperatures. Wish me luck!

-A

Year End Katy Kafe 2018 with Simon

This is it, the final year end Katy Kafe. This one focuses on Simon and his list of the top moments of the year. I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of these and Simon’s does not disappoint. Before I dive into the usual highlights, I recommend going to listen to the Kafe yourself over at DuranDuranMusic.com. Then, you can enjoy it as much as me.

As soon as the kafe began, I could tell that this was going to be a fascinating kafe as Simon explained about slow fruit, which is like a plum but lots smaller. It grows in the UK, which of course is connected to his drink of choice, slow gin. My only reaction to this is that I learn something new everyday. After a few minutes of this, Katy asked about the event of the year. Simon’s reacted by singing a song, a vaudeville song. Well, then. Nope. This kafe was not disappointing. I’m not sure how this is connected to world events but okay. Of course, Simon’s personal event of the year was the birth of his grandson. It is clear that Simon loves, loves, loves taking care of his grandson who is now 6 months old and starting to utter lots of sounds and noise. Now, he would like more grandchildren! Simon also mentioned that the band is back in the studio as a big event. (Yes! Agreed!)

Simon’s movie, “All the Money in the World” was one that he thought was great. (I hadn’t heard of it but it sounds interesting. It is the story of the kidnapping of John Paul Getty and trying to get the family to pay the ransom.) Apparently, there is also a TV version. Interestingly enough, he has not seen Bohemian Rhapsody or A Star is Born. As far as TV goes, he mentioned “A Very British Scandal.” I remember hearing about this, which is about a political leader’s gay affair. Simon says that it is a “must be seen”. He also liked a series called, “Killing Eve.” Currently, he is watching “The Little Drummer Girl.”

As far as books goes, he liked “The Stocking Places,” about a guy from a gypsy family who goes on a journey to understand his culture as well as the negative stereotypes about them. The book helped Simon realize that he had prejudice, too, which is helping him to overcome it. To me, that is a major win. He doesn’t typically read non-fiction but this was one that really made him think. A book of fiction that he liked was Reamde by Neal Stephenson. Apparently, he plans on doing a Simon’s Reader about one of the audiobooks that he has listened to/read. Based on some of the books he talked about, I suspect that the next Simon’s Reader will be very interesting.

Simon’s favorite Duran event of the year was watching the BBC4 Takeover Documentary as much as he loved the perfumes. He enjoyed looking back at the band’s history especially since they don’t get that opportunity much as they are too busy in the moment. In 2019, he is looking forward to the next season of Game of Thrones and the shows in February. Before Katy let Simon go, she asked him the same question she asked everyone about when the album…I mean project will be done. He said that they had a great start with a great team but he cannot predict when it will get done. Fair enough.

Like all the rest of these year end kafes, I enjoyed this one as well. 🙂

-A

Year End Katy Kafe 2018 with Roger

Today, I’m moving on to the third of the four year end Katy Kafes. This time, this one, features Roger. As always, if you want to hear the entire thing or get a word-for-word transcript, I recommend heading over to DuranDuranMusic.com to listen for yourself as I will just provide some highlights and reactions. As I move onwards, I have to wonder what Roger will say about the studio work since the previous ones from Nick and John shared some good news.

The Kafe begins with a bang as Roger said that the band had an “amazing two weeks” in the studio. He did share a fun little story. The band apparently decided to use a studio in a more remote area of London, thinking that the fans would never find them. Well…after posting a photo on Instagram, the fans studied it and figured out where in London they were. It took about 3 days for those dedicated fans to find them. Hilarious! The band should never underestimate the fans!

The Kafe continued from there but not in the same order as the previous ones as Roger jumped in to share his personal event of the year, which was teaching his youngest how to tie a necktie. Apparently, Julian felt out of place because of all of his peers at school knew how to do it. Roger then came up a clever way to teach him, successfully. Shoelaces will be next, which is due to Julian’s love of football (or soccer, depending on your country). (By the way, I love hearing stories like this! I’m not the only one, right?) Speaking of that sport, the World Cup was the big world event, especially since Peru and England both played.

This led to quite a discussion about weather. Fun fact. Roger loves warm weather but appreciates the seasons. He talked about a time during the Paper Gods Tour when the band was in L.A. for about a month and after about two weeks, he wished for a cold and rainy day. (I like the seasons, too. We have seen pathetically little snow here in Madison, which is no fun.) He would choose the East Coast over the West Coast because of this.

Roger loved Bohemian Rhapsody as opposed to A Star is Born. He could relate to Bohemian a lot more. (No surprise there.) In fairness, a lot of people talked up A Star is Born so Roger’s expectations were too high, according to him. As far as TV shows, he did not watch any series and is more likely to put on a documentary or sports. In a similar fashion, Roger spent time reading (auto)biographies, including Roger Daltrey’s. Apparently’s Roger Daltrey’s teacher told him that he would never make it in music so he dedicated his autobiography to that teacher. This reminded Roger of visiting a school counselor and telling this person that he wanted a job in which he would not be trapped in an office or in a factory, but would travel instead. The counselor recommended that he became a mailman! (Another story that Roger shared that I smiled all the way through.)

Roger’s favorite Duran Duran moment was the return to the studio as the rest of the year was pretty quiet on the Duran front. Roger did state that the studio work was a new “record” then corrected himself to say “new material”. Apparently, he is not to use the word “album.” Katy did ask Roger about how long it would take to finish it. Roger firmed stated that it will come together quickly and agrees with Nick and John that it could be 2019 or 2020. He enjoyed the BBC Takeover and going back to see the sites where the band started in Birmingham. (I can relate after having walked around Birmingham at Duran related locations myself.) He has not watched the whole documentary because he does not like watching himself on TV.

I, for one, really enjoyed this one. Roger’s stories were such a nice touch and much appreciated!

-A

Year End Kafe 2018 with John

Yep, I’m still struggling with getting everything done this weekend. Did I mention that I am still Christmas shopping? I’m also still shopping with my dad. Thankfully, I got a few more presents out of the way. Some are definitely going to be late. (Sorry Rhonda!) I’ll be lucky if the ones that I’m supposed to wrap get looked at before Christmas morning. I’m truly awesome.

Nonetheless, I took a break from that insanity to listen to the next year end kafe. This one featured my favorite bass player and yours, Mr. John Taylor. As always, I’ll provide some highlights and my thoughts about those. If you want the whole deal, head over to DuranDuranMusic.com, get a subscription or log in and enjoy for yourselves!

Before I even clicked on the play button, I found myself amused. Why? John came to the kafe with notes. I laughed because I often take notes when I listen to these or when Rhonda and I write or video a blog about a set of shows or tour or something. The notes help us stay focused. I appreciate that we share that in common with John! I continued to feel some kinship with him when he described his event of the year, which was when some place (hard to hear) banned cell phones in school. He mentioned about how tough it would be on teachers to have to deal with those and, as a teacher, I thank him for that and concur. I hate cell phones. Hate them. I wish that the kids at my school would not be allowed to have them as I spend a lot of my day reminding them about the rule, threatening to take them away, etc. It is bad.

From there, Katy moved quickly into movies of the year. To no one’s surprise, he answered with Bohemian Rhapsody. (If you haven’t listened to the previous Kafe with John, he goes into detail there.) Like Nick, he also brought up the movie, Cold War. Based on his description and Nick’s, it is definitely one that I would be up to seeing. As far as TV goes, John mentioned the show, Bosch, about an L.A. homicide detective. One that is on my list to watch that John talked about was the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Someday, I’ll see if his recommendation was a good one!

As far as books go, John brought up a book by Brene Brown entitled The Power of Vulnerability. Interestingly enough, I read another one by the same author called Daring Greatly. I have to admit that I looked it up and it sounds fascinating as the author explored this idea of how vulnerability is often connected to weakness but in reality can lead to amazing experiences and purpose to our lives. John recommended it to anyone who is about to go into something in which there is worry that s/he does not have what it takes. (For the record, I started to think that John had been reading my diary or something as I recently started a new job that I have some knowledge and experience for but not sure if those will translate to the right outcome.) The other book he focused on was Englightenment Now which talks about how far humanity has come in terms of progress. It sounds fascinating and was on my sister-in-law’s wish list.

Katy then moved on to ask about music of the year. John’s response included a shoutout to the new Chic album and how excited he was that Nile Rodgers was able to get new material out. Of course, John listed plenty more but I struggled to keep up, which is how I, too often, feel when it comes to new music and artists, in general.

What about the Duran Duran moment of the year? For him, it was the BBC Takeover Night but he acknowledged that this is tough for other fans around the world but it was good fun for the band. They really enjoyed talking with the other band members about what they were into as kids. John did ask Katy if there was some place online to see it and what I thought was true was confirmed in that there is not Hopefully, BBC will do something with it so more people can see it or see it again. One super funny story that John shared was how Nick’s mom asked after about who had done their hair because they looked “terrible,” according to John. Hilarious! Another fun fact. John does not have any of the Duran perfumes!

John’s personal moment of the year was when he presented at the Brilliant Minds Symposium which John had to step out of his comfort zone to do. He did give a shoutout to Patty Palazzo for helping with the presentation. Sigh. I wished that I could have seen that! Katy would love to be able to share some of that on the band’s YouTube channel. (So would we!)

As far as 2019 goes, he looks forward to the gigs in February. He gave a big ole tease that they are planning a couple of new songs in the set, “assuming the rehearsals go okay”. Please and thank you. Like Nick, John expressed excitement to go back to the writing they had started in November. The plan is to return after the gigs in March. That said, no one is “ready” to admit that they are working on an album “yet.” Fascinating. He said that he suspects that they will be ready to make that statement by spring, which brought a big smile to my face. Katy asked if John agreed with Nick that the album could be done in a year and John hopes so! He would love to be able to celebrate the 40th with a new album. (Again, so would we!) He said that it is possible!

John gave me lots to look forward to! 🙂

-A

Year End Kafe 2018 with Nick

Before I dive into the blog, I wanted to apologize for the lack of a blog post yesterday and the extreme lateness of today’s. My schedule has been beyond crazy and it has taken its toll. This means that I’m trying to catch up and recover all at the same time, which means giving myself permission to not push myself to get things done in a certain time frame. I hope that once I get on track, it will be back to normal.

I suspect that there will be a theme with the blogs this weekend. No, it won’t be holiday related but it will be end of the year related. In December, each band member sits down with Katy for one final Kafe, sharing thoughts about the year as a whole. I always look forward to these as they give some insight about the guys and what they think. (I definitely recommend listening to these yourselves over at DuranDuranMusic.com.) This year’s set of Kafes began with Nick, which is where I will start. Now, of course, I won’t be sharing a word-for-word transcript. I will just provide some things that jumped out to me as well my thoughts and reactions.

Katy starts off by going with the event of 2018. Nick’s answer? It wasn’t about his schedule of art events but was instead the fact that the band returned to the studio in November to start work on some new material. As a Duranie, that was definitely the biggest Duran related event for me, too! It is one that gives many of us hope and something to look forward to! Plus, he said that they were “starting to capture something quite special.” Goodness, let’s hope so! Nick mentioned that they have been working with a producer, Erol Alkan, who recently worked on the last studio album from the Killers. Nick described him as understanding Duran like Mark Ronson and pushing their limits. (That all sounds fabulous to me!) Nick went on to discuss what the role of the producer is, which I found myself relating to as being a campaign manager is similar in that both are trying to get the best out of people.

Of course, Nick did comment on some of the art exhibitions that he enjoyed over the year. While I did not know about most of the specific exhibitions he mentioned outside of the Picasso show at the Tate Modern, I made a note to go and see some art soon as there is always something magical about art exhibits and museums. Maybe something I could and should do during my winter break.

The Kafe moved on to discuss movies and Nick declared that he was very behind in watching the movies that will be a part of the Oscars. (As I’m sure most of you know, Katy and Nick do a special on their Oscar choices.) Two movies that Nick raved about were Cold War and First Man. I would be interested in seeing both of those. Anyway, talking about First Man led Nick to talk about a visit to Florida to see some sort of museum about the history of the U.S. space program. From there, the two discussed movies that they have seen and would like to see. Much like the discussion about art exhibits, hearing the conversation made me want to watch more movies.

Katy did ask about TV shows and Nick admitted that he wished he watched more TV because he understands how awesome the shows that are being produced are these days. He has some things he would like to see but hasn’t, including the documentaries shown on BBC earlier this year about them! Similarly, Nick defers Katy to Simon to get the bigger scoop when it comes to books. That said, he did share some of the recent books he has purchased.

Nick does share some Duran highlights, which included the studio work, the BBC Takeover Night, and the fragrances created based on four Duran songs. Nick’s favorite? Skin Divers. Katy’s? Hungry Like the Wolf. Finally, Nick hints that some projects that they have been working on will take the next steps in 2019, including the musical with John, the work with the Bloom Twins, Nick’s art book project, his Japanese post-war documentary along with more studio work those shows they are doing in February. (Nick says that they are all really looking forward to those. So are we!!) By the way, Nick says that they will not be in the studio for 3 years this time. (Let’s hope!)

Of course, if you are interested in reading some of what Nick has shared on here, I recommend heading over to the band’s official website where you can read his list.

-A

John Taylor in the November 2018 Katy Kafe

I know that this blog post is late, both in terms of time and in terms of date.  Today has been the dreaded Sunday, the day of the week before I go back to work.  While I had a tremendously wonderful Thanksgiving, I opted not to do much around the house.  This, of course, is great for awhile but now…I’m trying to do 85 things at once.  I really hoped to be all caught up by the time I returned to work but…I don’t think that will happen.  I figured I would squeeze in some time to listen to this month’s Kafe (days late) and blog about my reaction.  Funny thing is that when I went to go listen to it, I discovered that I needed to renew my membership.  I did without question, which is good because there is nothing better than listening to a Katy Kafe yourself.  I definitely recommend it for this one, too, as I’m just covering some highlights and my thoughts.

This particular kafe focuses on Queen, both the band and the movie. John begins by talking about how much he loved the movie and thought it was a wonderful tribute.  (I saw it on Friday and totally agree.)  John had been lucky enough to have been friendly with Freddie Mercury and seeing the movie reminded him of the person Freddie was and those times.  I love that John shared a fun Duran fact.  Apparently, on the day Duran signed to EMI, the record label took the band to Wembly to see Queen play.  (I love stories like that.)  He goes on to say that while he does not list Queen as an influence, he knows that he wouldn’t be where he is now without them and that he always think about their live performances when playing large stadiums or festivals.

From there, Katy asked John various questions that fans submitted.  As I stated previously, I’m definitely not going to list every question and answer.  I’m just writing about the ones that hit me.  The first one focused on a photo of John and Freddie that has been floating around the internet.  Apparently, they went to the same musical and later partied together at the after party.  (I’m sure that would have been interesting to be at!)  Speaking of, I thought it was interesting that he and Nick called themselves fans of Queen and saw them when they came to Birmingham.  That said, by the time Duran came onto the scene, they weren’t considered as cool, according to John.  I am sure that there are many bands in my life that I might describe in the exact same way.

Queen did a musical called, “We Will Rock You.”  Duran would be interested in doing something like that but John thinks that it would be really difficult to get it right.  As a fan, I would love it but I think John’s point is valid.  It isn’t easy but if anyone could do it right, I think it might be Duran!  Go-Gos just did one!  Who knew?!

As far as songs goes, if John had to pick one Queen one, he would go with Bohemian Rhapsody.  As far as covers go, he could hear Queen performing Ordinary World and do it well.  Duran could play Radio Ga Ga, especially in a live show.  Hmm…

Of course, the question was asked about who could play John Taylor if there was a movie about Duran.  His answer won’t surprise anyone I don’t think  by saying no one he could think so.  He thinks it matters if they get the rest of the band right in order to get him right, which makes sense.  John quickly moved on to talk about the scenes in the movie with the band,  their dynamics and how much he loved them.  I felt the exact same way as they reminded me of all to the scenes I have watched over the years with Duran from Sing Blue Silver to Live from London and more.  Band dynamics are so interesting to me.

The final question asked was about Live Aid.  John was saddened when in the movie there is a listing of all the bands who were going to be playing and Duran wasn’t listed but REO Speedwagon was.  (Again, I have to agree.)  I do wonder why the movie didn’t mention Duran since they were so popular at that time.  Anyway, a part of John wished that they had played in London but loved the experience they had in Philadelphia.

John summarizes the movie by saying it is about “Freddie’s uniqueness” and the specialness of bands.  It reminds people that even with the greatness of Freddie, he still needed the band and vice versa.  I pointed out the exact same thing after having watched the film.  This led John to talk about how we are no longer living in an era of “the band” as technology fills in so much for artists now and Queen represents the golden era of “the band.”

The end of the kafe reveals one giant scoop on the Duran front which is that John is heading back to London next week to join the band in the studio!  This makes me even more excited for the next kafe which will feature all band members!  Who knows what we can learn then!

-A