Category Archives: Katy Kafe

2016 Year End Katy Kafe with Roger

The other day, the second of four year end Katy Kafes was posted on DuranDuranMusic.  I just now had the chance to listen to Roger’s, which was entertaining, groan worthy, and interesting all at once.  As always, this little blog post contains only what I think are the highlights.  I highly recommend ensuring that you are a member to the fan club in order to hear the Kafes yourself.

Weather and Christmas Traditions:

The Kafe began, as usual, with a brief discussion about both the weather and the upcoming holiday.  Roger mentioned how the UK had been experiencing warm and sunny weather, which doesn’t feel very Christmas like but he was certain it would get colder soon enough.  (For the record, my weather stinks.  We have already had a bunch of snow and it is super cold (as in below zero).  It does not bode well for the rest of the winter.)  Roger’s family has not put up a tree yet.  They like to wait until it is closer to the holiday so their real tree looks good throughout.

World Event:

Roger chose two events as the big world events:  Brexit (the vote in the UK for the country to leave the European Union) and the US Presidential Election.  He claimed that both were surprising and world changing while attempting to be extremely diplomatic.  Katy, on the other hand, discussed her feeling both on Election Night and since.  While I appreciate Roger’s attempt at being neutral, I relate more to Katy.  That said, Roger shared how Donald Trump attended one of the band’s Red Carpet Massacre shows on Broadway.  Funny enough, I also was in attendance that night.  I had better seats than he did and, for some reason, I believe that he did not stay the entire time.

Favorites:

Roger mentioned two albums that had a lot of play this year for him, which were Bob Marley’s Legend and David Bowie’s Blackstar.  As far as movies go, he enjoyed both The Revenant and Eye in the Sky.  As far as Duran Duran moments, he focused on the show at New York’s Apollo and playing in Canada, especially Quebec.  It seems to me that Roger along with the rest of the band members are big on historic venues.  Personally, he was proud to be involved in the Road to Recovery project and enjoyed being an “adult” and being a producer for a day for the at-risk kids.  (Hey Roger, you are welcome to come into my classroom any day if you want to feel like an adult!  Ha!)

2017:

As the Kafe was wrapping up, Katy asked about what Roger was looking forward to in 2017.  He talked about the fact that the band is doing shows in South America and more shows in the US.  Katy asked about Japan since John mentioned playing there.  He responded that they want to play there but nothing has been locked in yet, in terms of when.  More interesting than that was when he stated that it might be time to do new material.  Hmm…clearly, 2017 might be more interesting on the Duran front than I expected!

I enjoyed Roger’s Kafe and look forward to hearing from Simon and Nick soon, too!

-A

2016 December Katy Kafe with John Taylor

It is that time of the year again. Anybody else feel like the years are flying by???

John Taylor joined Katy in the Kafe to discuss his highlights of the past year, and I am bringing you the Cliff Note version of the 2016 December Katy Kafe with John Taylor!

John says that he is going to England soon – in the next week if he hasn’t already left, which I believe he may have due to the weather he mentions here and the fact that they discuss Grammy nods, which were announced last week – for rehearsals and to celebrate the holiday season. Good to know they’re rehearsing, and if it’s not too late, let’s all hope they’re thinking about freshening up (revitalizing, vamping up…recharging…etc. etc.) the set list for the upcoming shows!

World Event

As soon as Katy asks about his opinion for biggest world event this year, John says “David Bowie’s passing” without missing a beat. It is clear that for John, David’s “leaving the planet” was huge. Calling it “momentous”, he says that he is “still wrapping my mind around that.”  Katy tells him that David Bowie’s Blackstar received several Grammy nominations and John’s comment was “Well, that’s typical.”  I think that someone reading could misconstrue the meaning of that – and basically it’s just that John likely feels that the politics of Grammy nominations kind of leads people to nominate artists who have passed rather than giving them due credit when they’re still around to enjoy it. It is sort of the same thing as having a painter’s work go up in value after they’ve died.

Favorite Album

A Seat at the Table by Solange Knowles.  John calls it “compelling and groovy without trying too hard”. He says he listened it to at least five times the day prior. I haven’t checked it out…maybe I should!

Favorite Film

Arrival with Amy Adams.

Favorite Book

John gives a shout-out to his mate Steve Jones and his autobiography entitled Lonely Boy. There is some discussion about whether or not it is weird to read an autobiography about someone he knows, but in the end John seems to think it enriches the experience. I wonder if he would feel the same if it were say, Nick or Simon or Roger…???

Favorite TV show

Stranger Things. John says he “loved everything about it”, mentioning the music and the cast specifically. (I’ll admit it now that I haven’t seen it….) He also mentions Halt and Catch Fire, and Goliath as runner-ups.

Favorite DD “Happening”

John says he thought about it, and he says he is most proud of being onstage in Charlotte and signing the petition for LGBTQ rights in that state. He mentions that the band doesn’t “do things like that” and that it was a very “tricky play” once Springsteen and others began canceling their shows there, but that the band really wanted to play, so they got in touch with the LGBTQ community there and came up with the plan to sign the petition onstage, which you can read about here if you need a refresher!

Favorite Personal “Happening”

Meeting Stevie Wonder, and playing with him on stage. He mentions that there aren’t too many of the greats (that inspired him) left.

Looking forward to 2017

John mentions that it seems that the band will be headed to Japan and since he hasn’t been there in years, he is really looking forward to that. He also says that he hasn’t made many plans for 2017 yet so it’s hard to say.

He also comments that it wasn’t easy when Nick left (the tour), but that the band went on to play some of their best shows in his absence. He’s looking forward to playing next year – but he made no mention of whether Nick will be returning.  Not sure if that was just because of conversation flow, or by design.

He also said they won’t be playing like they did this last year, meaning that perhaps the year will not be quite as filled with shows and travel for the band. I guess we will see in the coming days!

He also mentions voting, and that he enjoyed being part of the process, even if everything didn’t turn out as he’d voted – some things did. He says he’s working on keeping an open mind!

John will be back in the Kafe in February 2017!

-R

 

 

 

 

 

October 2016 Katy Kafe with Simon!

I sat down to listen to the October 2016 Katy Kafe with Simon this morning. Four days later than I’d liked, but at least I listened!  As always, I took notes and will provide the highlights. My disclaimer is that, once again, these are ONLY the highlights, and while I try to do the Kafe justice, if you really want the best experience, you are better off paying your membership fee ($35.00 a year) and hearing it for yourself.

Coffee

It seems to me that every time Simon is in the Kafe, the discussion begins on the topic of coffee. This time was no exception as Simon mentions that he is drinking an Americano black coffee with no sugar. He explains that on his current two pots of coffee per day habit (hey, it was once four-pots, so he’s improving!) he is able to keep the weight down.

makes note to up coffee intake

MTV EMA’s

They spoke briefly about the MTV EMA voting (if you haven’t voted or need to vote today, and you do…check out our blog here for a link).  Simon explained that the environment had everything to do with how special the show in the Piazza Duomo was, and Katy also reminded him that Mark Ronson also joined them on stage that night.

End of US Tour in Colorado

They played a festival to end their tour in the US, and they talked about meeting Stevie Wonder. I hadn’t heard this, but apparently Stevie had called out for the band to join him onstage that final night, and because the band was tired – no one was there to join him (but they did meet).

Is it just me or does it seem like the tour ended months and months ago??? It feels like forever ago that I was packing and unpacking, and then continuing to write about other shows along the way.

Simon also commented that, on orders from his family not to come back (home) until he was no longer an egotistical rock star (and I had to laugh at that…I suppose this is similar to military debriefing!), he decided to do some sailing after the tour. He joined two regattas, one being the Panerai Regatta and another in St. Tropez.  Those apparently did the trick as he is now back at home, settling in, and getting ready to do some work next week with Mr. (Ben) Hudson.  WHAT?

I was curious that Katy didn’t ask for any details on that – Simon mentioned this work twice, and I’m curious about what he’s working on. Perhaps we’ll know at a later date…

More shows?

As we now know, Duran Duran has sent out the official announcement that they will be doing two shows just outside of Washington DC for New Years Eve and New Years Day.  This of course, follows up the show they’re already doing in Cancun.  Simon says he’s very excited about the show in Cancun because he’s never been there, but at the time they taped this Kafe, they hadn’t announced the National Harbor shows yet. So, two more shows for the US this year…and hopefully, something will be announced for other parts of the world soon, although Simon nor Katy made mention of anything during the Kafe.

You say it’s your birthday

Simon turns 58 on October 27th. I’m still wrapping my head around that one. Age is but a number, but that one just doesn’t sound right. Simon says he’s not doing much for his birthday except working with Mr. Hudson, and Yasmin’s birthday is just a couple of days later.

Overall, it was a lighthearted Kafe. Simon sounded lively, properly caffeinated…and ready to tease Katy at a moment’s notice. I’ll note that he didn’t sound at all tired as I might have expected after a tour, but I suppose he’s had a few weeks to readjust!

-R

 

 

September Katy Kafe with John Taylor

I apologize for the lateness of the blog today.  I promised myself that I would get some of that pesky school work done before I completed the more fun task of listening to September’s Katy Kafe and blogging about it.  As always with I’m only going to be sharing what I think the highlights were and my thoughts about them.  If you want the complete deal, I suggest getting that membership to DuranDuranMusic and listening for yourself.  This is one Kafe that is worth it!

End of the Tour:

John commented about how they are on the verge of finishing this tour, which really began for them last year.  He said that the end allows them to look back at the accomplishment while looking forward to the break and the next steps.  I have to admit that I have always wondered what the end of the tour must be for them.  I know what it is like for me.  It is usually one of mixed emotions.  While I’m glad to return home and get some sleep, I’m also terribly sad in that I don’t know when I will see the next Duran show or the next time that I will see my friends, especially Rhonda.  It also usually motivates me to do more work about the blog, our writing or fan events.  I guess it is safe to say that tours usually inspire me.

Next Steps:

This Kafe brought the good stuff right away with Katy asking about next steps.  While there wasn’t a major scoop, there was a few details that I focused in on.  First, the return to the States (probably that East Coast show that DDHQ has hinted about) will be around New Year’s.  (I don’t mind that.  I do have a winter vacation then.  Just for the record.)  Second, 2017 will hopefully include some “special shows”.  That has me wondering what that means!  Of course, he did also mention the idea of continuing the tour to Australia, Asia and South America.  Interesting to note there was no mention of the Broadway musical or ballet that he and Nick have been working on.

Chic:

When Katy brought up the topic of Chic, I have to admit that I wondered what else could be said since most critics, fans, etc. have all talked about how having Chic on tour with Duran was awesome because they fit together well.  Well, JT talked about how Simon was more “emotional” and “open” on this tour, which showed when he talked about the band’s love for Nile each night.  He also mentioned the hope to get Chic to join them for an Australia tour.

Festivals:

The topic of festivals came up in relation to the question of whether or not the band would return to North America.  John was open by saying that it wasn’t his decision but that he thinks the best way to keep trying to get the album heard is by playing live dates and that festivals mean that people who wouldn’t have heard Paper Gods get to hear it.  Katy then wondered if they might come back to the States next summer for some festivals.  John said that many people would agree with that thinking.  Of course, while understanding this thinking, festivals make me cringe.  I’m too old to enjoy them with all  the discomforts that they bring.

Stevie Wonder:

John talked about how amazing it was to be at the festival in Aspen with Stevie Wonder.  (I, too, thought it was amazing when I got to see Stevie Wonder play at the 2013 Inaugural Ball!)  I smiled throughout his description of watching Stevie perform then meeting him and getting a picture taken with him.  He sounded like many of us do when describing meeting him!

iPhone7:

Yes, they talked about the new iPhone design that is coming out that features the cordless headphones.  Apparently, the phone will also be waterproof, which could be important to people who have had incidents with their phone and water.  (coughRhondacough)

Neurotic Outsiders:

This year marks the 20th anniversary of John’s side project, Neurotic Outsiders.  John shared the story about how the project came together, which is interesting story about they started playing one gig together for a fundraiser before being offered a residency at the Viper Room in LA.  More interesting than that, John discussed where his head was at the time, since the side project began right before he left the band.  He talked about how his ideas with Duran had run out and that he was interested in sticking to LA more.  As someone who is self-described as old school, he also liked (and still does) the idea of a residency.  He described this project as the opposite of Duran.  While Duran is complex, this band was simple.  While they made an album of new material, John felt that the album should  have been them live.

Overall, this Kafe was a joy to listen to.  John sounded very upbeat and positive.  His openness and positivity showed with each topic that came up.  As someone wondering what will be next for Duran Duran, the Kafe provided me with a sense that whatever it will be will be good.

-A

August Katy Kafe with Nick!

Duran Duran Appreciation Day was a little extra special this year.  Not only did fans show how much love there is for the band all over social media, but DDHQ posted a new Katy Kafe.  This one featured Nick!  His presence in the Kafe was VERY welcomed by many as the concern for him has been growing since his departure from the tour in early July.  I have heard many fans ask questions anxiously of anyone and everyone who might know something, anything about what is going on with him.  This questioning, generally, has been done out of love and concern as it is hard for people to sit back and be patient when worried.  Others have attempted to reassure by stating that no news is good news and that Nick is where he needs to be.  The real reassurance came this week, though, when fans could actually hear Nick’s voice for themselves in the latest Kafe.  Hearing his voice put a smile on my face, too!  Soon enough, I was itching to capture the highlights here on the blog.  Of course, if you want to hear it all (and I know you DO!!!) and without my commentary, then make sure you are a member of DuranDuranMusic.com.

Update on Nick’s absence:

Nick reminded everyone that he had to leave the tour to return to England to deal with a family matter and that this was the first time that he had to miss dates.  He is a little concerned that if he doesn’t return soon that Simon will take over the lead for the most times on stage with Duran Duran.  He described it as “relinquishing his crown,” which I thought was super cute!  Then, he apologized for not being at the shows but thrilled that MNDR could stand in for him.  He misses everyone but isn’t sure when he will return.  He felt strongly that the show was in a good place with the lights, the production, the setlist, etc. so he really didn’t want to cancel dates.  (As someone who attended shows, I’m couldn’t be more pleased that they didn’t cancel!)

Bloom Twins:

Nick is writing and producing their album with them and has been over the last 9 months.  The plan is for him to finish when they resume working in September.  He has been enjoying working with them because they are young and open.  Clearly, the implication is that they aren’t jaded about the business like others who are older or more experienced might be.  This is the first band Nick has worked with like this since the Dandy Warhols.   Speaking of projects that he has been working on, he and John hope that the writing for the musical is done this year as well.  (So do I!!)  Interestingly enough, Nick says that the Bloom Twins work really quickly, the opposite of Duran Duran.

MTV Anniversary:

August 1st marked MTV’s 35th anniversary.  Nick talked about how awesome the channel was when it first started.  The channel was started by “young, vibrant, passionate” people who really had a pulse on what was happening.  Whenever Duran showed up, MTV just went with whatever idea Duran came with.  For example, Duran brought Andy Warhol with them one day and that was cool with MTV.  Later, though, the channel shifted to be less flexible and even later became “game show” like.  (Like with so many other things in my life, I find myself wishing that I could have been there to witness those experiences Nick talked about with MTV in person.)  Nick and Katy discussed the possibility of MTV rebooting to once again show videos.  Both didn’t think that was going to work despite Nick’s obvious sadness over the loss of what MTV was.  (I feel his pain as I’m sure most of the people reading this do, too.)

BBC Music Day:

Duran participated in this by playing a show from the Eden Project, which is an attraction focused on plants from different environments, that was then broadcasted for people in the UK to see.  (It is on YouTube now, if you want to watch it for yourself.)  Nick hasn’t seen the broadcast and isn’t very good about watching his own shows.  He does like that the band was able to participate in something new, though.

Appreciation:

Nick sent his appreciation to everyone who has come to see the band on the Paper Gods tour, to all the fans who have been with them “forever” and to all the new fans.  He describes it as “quite a journey.”

2017 Dates??:

When discussing possible dates for 2017, the Far East, Australia and South America were all places mentioned that they need to get to since they haven’t been there yet during this tour.  I’m sure that would make MANY fans very happy!!!

Overall, we didn’t get much in terms of scoops or new information about what is going on behind the scenes.  That said, I, for one, was very glad to hear Nick’s voice and to know that he isn’t giving up his day job anytime soon!  That is something we can all appreciate!

-A

July 2016 Katy Kafe with Roger!

Today brought a rare treat!  Not only a Katy Kafe with Roger, but one that could be shared with Amanda, as she is currently sitting at my kitchen table with me!

That’s right, Amanda is here in lovely (and hot) Southern California. She arrived late last night, and we are preparing for our next road trip, which will commence tomorrow!

Roger was sitting in for Simon, who was resting his voice on a day off.    This time, Katy asked for questions from the fan community, which she then relayed to Roger to answer. I took notes, but keep in mind these are only the highlights.  The actual Katy Kafe is a member’s only exclusive available on duranduranmusic.com.

Nick

Obviously, Nick has been absent from the US tour thus far, but Roger feels the shows have gone well considering. He says that people seem to be loving the show as well as the more recent songs included from Paper Gods.  He commented that MNDR is doing well filling in, and that it’s stranger than he thought it would be playing without him. Roger has never played a Duran Duran show without Nick being in his line of sight, and they hope that Nick will be back soon.

Besides your drums and drumsticks, what is one thing you must have with you on tour?

There are two things Roger has to have with him: his MacBook and his iPhone (he really is not an ad for Apple….) while these things aren’t particularly mind-blowing, Roger did have an interesting anecdote to share about growing up. His family did not have a phone in the house!  He said that the UK was about ten years behind the US as far as that type of technology goes…but even so….WOW.

If you could play onstage with anyone, who would you choose?

Roger mentioned three:  Nile Rodgers, Bryan Ferry, and David Bowie.  Obviously, they’ve had the opportunity to play with Nile lately, which has been a treat for everyone—band and audience alike. Bryan Ferry went on before Duran Duran at one point, and made sure to stop by to see the band in their dressing room to say hi.  Roger said that it was strange having him go on before they did because he had been their idol, but that he and John stood off to the side of the stage for Bryan’s set.  Then there’s David Bowie, with whom the band toured after Roger had already left Duran Duran (1987). Unfortunately they didn’t have a chance to actually play with Bowie in recent years before his death. I have to mention that even after six months, the sadness and pain is still palpable in their words and voices whenever David comes up in conversation, which makes me sad for them. I can’t imagine.

Were you always passionate about the drums or has there ever been another instrument you’ve played?

Interestingly enough, the first instrument Roger played was bass. He wanted to learn something because his friends were all taking up instruments, and so he started on bass. Then one day he sat down behind a drum set, and it felt much more natural. he talked about he didn’t want a “normal job” (I’d say Duran Duran is about as far from that as possible!), but that his parents kept telling him that the likelihood of finding fame and fortune as a rock star was “like winning the lottery.” Roger commented that it was a combination of luck with preparation and opportunity.  Even so, guess what Roger? You won!

You’re far more vocal now than you were in the 80s. Do you view the spotlight different now?

Roger says that a lot of it had to do with growing up. It was easy for him to hide behind the others when he was younger since he was quiet and shy.  The work he did on the drums did his speaking.  He also surmises that he really didn’t know himself when he was 20, so when he returned, he decided that he was going to be himself.   This led Katy to chime in saying that if she were to give her children advice it would be not to get married before they are 30 because you really do not know yourself before that. Yes, there are exceptions to that rule, but overall, it’s a good point.  (As someone who married very young at the age of 24 and was a mom by 26, I TOTALLY AGREE.)

What has been your favorite show on the tour so far?

Roger has a list of favorite shows! The O2 in London was packed to the rafters, and the audience was fantastic. He commented that “it’s not work” on nights like that because “you just float through the performance.” He mentions the festival in Ottawa, and then says that all of the concerts in Canada had great energy and they loved it. Red Rocks and the Hollywood Bowl were also high on the list, as well as the legendary Apollo in NYC.

Does anyone in the band have any weird habits?

Simon has a “weird warmup” where he makes strange noises, and he even does this thing where he goes “shhhhhhhh” and Roger says that he wonders sometimes if Simon is just shushing them!

Nick is weird about not wearing jeans or baseball caps, and he also doesn’t drink hot drinks.  Also, Nick does not like being in the lobby of a hotel unless everyone else (in the band) is already down there.

John, on the other hand is “pretty normal”. “he’s intense”, Katy adds. He does have to warm up for an hour as some sort of ritual before a show, though.

Finally, Roger’s weird thing is that he does not eat fruit aside from the occasional banana.

What drummer(s) inspired your career?

Roger says there were really three who inspired his style and career: Paul Thompson from Roxy Music, Dennis Davis (who passed away just this past April) from David Bowie’s band, and Charlie Watts.  In fact, whenever he is sore from playing, he reminds himself that Charlie Watts is still playing and he’s 75.  So there you have it!

Would you ever consider writing your own autobiography?

Roger says he probably will, but not yet. He still feels like there might be more to the story to tell.

What is your guilty (eating) pleasure while on tour?

Roger confesses that he is a bit of a choco-holic!  Katy questions whether he likes milk or dark chocolate and Roger responds saying that the dressing room is filled with dark chocolate and yet he’s on the hunt for a milk chocolate bar that he typically finds at the very bottom of the basket of chocolates. He’ll grab it and then after the show he’ll eat the bar. (I have to share that when I heard that, I said “The entire BAR?” Good on you, Roger. Have some for me too as I can only have one square at a time!!)

That was the final question for the July 2016 Katy Kafe. One thing I like about Roger these days is that he’s chattier than I remember. It’s nice to hear from him, because a lot of times during interviews it doesn’t seem like he has much to say (thanks to editing I am sure).  It was the perfect Kafe to get me ready for heading out for more shows!

-R

 

John Taylor in the Kafe!

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

Personal Questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Band Related Questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

-A

There are Kafes, and then there are Kafes…

I took time yesterday afternoon to sit down and listen to the Oscars-edition Katy Kafe with Nick and Katy. I’m not sure if it’s just that I’ve not listened to it in the years prior (can’t imagine?), or that I wasn’t thinking – but I sat down figuring it’d be a 20-30 minute thing, and instead it was an hour and 45 minutes of what I thought was a really great discussion!

I decided relatively quickly that I wouldn’t take notes, primarily because if you really want the quick hit on what was talked about, you can find it on duranduran.com. Instead, I just want to give a quick commentary on kafes in general.

I really enjoyed listening to Nick and Katy talk about not much else besides movies for a change.

The bombshell, at least as far as I am concerned, is that I think I may have only seen one out of ALL of the movies they discussed yesterday. I’m not really much of a movie-goer, I have to admit.  The last thing I usually want to do on a date-night is sit and watch a movie. Now that my oldest is out of the house and my middle one is halfway out the door, we don’t really do family movie nights unless we’re here at home, which is probably where I will see a few more of these movies eventually. Even so, I really enjoyed the kafe.

When is the last time you can say that you actually sat and listened to Nick talk about anything for an hour and forty-five minutes? I thought about that a lot yesterday after I was finished listening.  We never hear him go on that long about anything, much less Duran Duran. I’m not quite sure what that says, if anything, but I did think about that. After all, I’ve said more than once that we really don’t know the band. We only know the image or persona they portray onstage or in public as part of their celebrity. So to hear Nick speak with passion about some of the movies he’s seen or how he feels about the Oscars in general was of interest, at least to me. It is likely the closest I’m ever going to get to being a part of a conversation with Nick, I am quite certain, so I appreciated the feeling of being a fly on the wall. Now if they could only just set something up for a Katy Kafe so we could hear what goes on in the studio…… (if only, right?)

For those intent to hear some news…at the very end of the kafe, Katy asks Nick if he’ll be staying up late to watch the Oscars on Sunday. Nick replies that no, he really can’t because he’ll be going into the studio with a certain John Taylor on Monday morning to work on their musical.

I rubbed my hands together vigorously as Nick mentioned the musical…I can’t wait to hear more in the same way that I can’t wait to get our new book outline finished and off to a publisher. Let’s hope #Durantime doesn’t infect us all.  <big toothy grin here>

The kafe-fairies were generous, as Simon called in for a quick, impromptu chat after his appearance at the Brits. Simon gave a quick chat about handing Adele the award – which I still feel he should have just stolen (figuratively speaking)  since the band was robbed of their own nominations this year, but then spoke of the David Bowie tribute.

I’ve commented on tributes before, and my feelings have not really changed. I can only write as a fan, not as an artist. The general perspective between a fan such as myself, someone who is not in the music biz, and someone who might have been a fan growing up but is now IN the industry, is likely to be quite different. While it may be true that you never quite lose “the fan” in you, I only know what it is like to BE a fan. So my reflections about last night may differ widely from others.

Simon seemed to say that he was concerned a tribute like that would be cheesy, but that he was very impressed with what Bowie’s touring band did musically. I completely agreed. Not only did they play a very difficult medley based on music and time changes, they did it brilliantly by cutting from one song to another in spots the audience might not have expected. The professionalism of the band, a band that is likely still very much in mourning I am sure, made the piece run smoothly and still come alive with Bowie’s memory. And then Lorde took the stage. Simon said that he felt that Lorde sang “Life On Mars” similarly to Bowie – I didn’t really get that from her – but then he noticed that other people, including Yasmin, were singing along with her. So the tribute wasn’t really about Lorde singing, but about her leading everyone else, and he seemed to really like the performance and what it came to mean in that moment. I wasn’t there, obviously, and only saw the video on YouTube, which I think we can agree isn’t anything like being there in person. My perspective though, was that Lorde sang the song as herself. She wasn’t trying to BE Bowie, but instead sing FOR him, which was beautiful. Maybe I really don’t understand David Bowie’s art, and perhaps I really don’t have the kind of perspective I might had I grown up loving all of his work the way some of my friends might. I’m not sure. I do have enormous respect, and I just felt that her straightforward, heartfelt performance was what I would have wanted as a fan. And the goosebumps I felt run down my body told me everything I really needed to know. Others may have preferred something different.

Simon ended his chat with Katy by saying that when he has something to say, it’s great to be able to do it this way (through a quick kafe chat). The funny thing to me is that at ten minutes, it wasn’t all that much shorter than some of the other Katy Kafes in the past. But I think the key is having something to say. I would imagine it probably does get boring to talk about an album or a tour or things that they deal with every single day, and yet being fans – we aren’t privy to that part of their “job”,  but yet are things we are most curious about. I liken it to when I ask my kids or my husband about their day. They all hate it unless they have something specific to tell me that typically is some crazy anecdote that has nothing at all to do with their classes or the current product Walt is working on.

I’m not sure what this really means, except that I’m thinking it over.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to tweeting my way through the Oscars on Sunday afternoon (my time). While I’m no fashion maven on an every day basis (as I sit here in my regular “uniform” of jeans, a Punk Master “vinyl pirates” t-shirt and converse), I am very good at judging red carpet fashion…and my favorite thing…jewelry!

-R

 

Katy Kafe January 2016 Highlights

Did you get a chance to watch (yes, I said “watch”!) the latest Katy Kafe that was posted yesterday?  If you are anything like me, I struggled to view it.  After asking on Facebook and Twitter, here is the information I received.  Those who were able to watch it used older devices.  For example, someone tried on her Mac and iPhone5 with no luck, but she was able to watch it on her iPod Touch4.  Likewise, I tried on my Mac, a PC, and my iPhone6 with no luck.  After reading about the iPod Touch4, I decided to try my iPad, which is about 5 years old.  Guess what?  It works.  Now, I realize that everyone still might not access to an older device.  I emailed customer service at the fan community website about the problem and they promised to get back in touch with me once their tech team looked into the problem.  Hopefully, my highlights here will hold people over until everyone can watch it for themselves, which I highly recommend.  I ALWAYS recommend getting a membership in order to hear/watch the Katy Kafes since our blog posts just offer some highlights and commentary.  They are in no way a complete transcript.

I was happy to hear that there was a new Kafe out since the Duran camp has been very quiet for the month of January.  I found myself wondering what the band might be up to and thinking.  I was hoping that this Kafe might offer some insight, especially since it is a video one!  Well, this Kafe did not disappoint, even if the majority of it was not focused on Duran Duran, specifically.

David Bowie’s Death

John talked about when he found out about David’s death and how he won’t ever forget it.  He goes on to describe Bowie as a “creative parent”, which I found very logical.  He did after all influence not only Duran Duran but so many and it does make sense then when John said that losing him was like “losing a family member.”  John and Katy went on to discuss the extent of his creativity and the extent of his influence.  David’s album, Blackstar, was discussed as well and John said that he was enjoying it and that it felt “fitting” in light of his passing.  Two parts of the conversation really grabbed me.  First,  John discussed how David had been leading a very quiet life with his family the last few years and how that made John “happy”.  According to John, he was able to focus on “what was really important to him” rather than things like going to big events and touring.  Based on this, I wonder if that would be John’s choice on how to live his life if he found himself in a similar situation.  The other part of the conversation that spoke to me was when Katy asked if John was reading articles about Bowie as a fan or as a peer, John said as a fan as “you never able to shake that off” but that also he knew him as a person.  As John talked about Bowie’s death, I couldn’t help but to think that he understands how many of us would feel if something happened to one of them.   He talked about how it was like a part of them had died because he mattered so much.  It caused them to stop and think and reflect about their own lives while dealing with negative feelings of sadness and fear.  John talked about how he has to process the loss of HIS David Bowie and when he gets with Nick, they will talk about the loss of THEIR David Bowie.  This is exactly how it would be for Rhonda and myself if/when we lose someone connected to Duran Duran. When John articulates things like this, I really know that he GETS fandom.  He really does.

Upcoming Tour and Cover Songs

While the majority of the Kafe focused on David Bowie’s death, Katy did ask one big question about the upcoming tour.  Will there be a tribute to David Bowie?  John said that they would discuss it but haven’t yet.  Katy then asked which was the favorite David Bowie cover song that they did.  John began by listing all of the ones they did.  Here’s the thing.  The band played a LOT more Bowie songs that I think any of us knew.  Obviously, many were not recorded.  I would love, love, love for them to record all of the Bowie songs that they have done and release it for all of us to hear/have/treasure.  Which one was his favorite, though?  None as David Bowie was a hard act to follow.  On a different note, John is looking forward to the upcoming tour since the audiences were so great in the fall!  He is also anxious to “dive back” into Paper Gods.  Spoiler alert  John says that he does not see the setlist changing from what it was.  I’m not super happy to hear that as I always want to see/hear new stuff.

I, for one, am glad to have taken the time to really watch and listen to this Kafe.  I feel like it has helped me process David Bowie’s death a little more, which I am grateful for.

-A

 

 

2015 Year End Katy Kafe with Nick Rhodes!

Today I bring you another 2015 year-end Katy Kafe with Nick Rhodes, his being the final one this year.  With tomorrow being Christmas Eve, my day has been spent baking and cooking (if you know anything about me, you know these rank among my least favorite activities) and so the blog is very late today. On the bright side, if you live in Europe or the UK, you’ll have TWO blogs to read tomorrow!

The Kafe opens with a brief discussion of the unseasonably warm weather in London and New York City – where it is forecast to hit 70 degrees fahrenheit on Christmas Eve. Here I sit in California, where it didn’t even hit 60 degrees today, and I believe it’s only supposed to reach 55 here tomorrow.  El Niño happens, I guess!

Favorite Music of 2015

Nick is quick to mention the Tame Impala album, which apparently captured the interest of all members of Duran Duran this year. He then lists a few honorable mentions: Caribou, Jungle, FKA Twigs and Lana del Rey.

Favorite Exhibits of 2015

The Alexander McQueen exhibition tops Nick’s favorite art exhibits of the year, as he attended this at the V&A in London, but it is making its way around the world.  He also saw Photo London at Somerset House and Frieze London.

About that album art…

We’ve all waited for an in-depth discussion of the cover to Paper Gods. Nick explains that both he and John felt the cover needed a modern art edge to it, and they wanted something that was “super pop culture.” China Chow is one of Nick’s friends and he contacted her, hoping that she might have an idea or two that he didn’t already consider. The original intention was to have about ten different artists come up with ideas that could then be made into an exhibition, an idea that Nick now sees as being a little too ambitious (although personally I would have loved seeing that come to fruition!) China Chow felt that the band should work with Alex Israel, and so after a meeting in Los Angeles, Nick really appreciated his approach to modern art and pop culture, and describes it as Alex “choosing a pattern similar to Warhol.” Alex had the idea of appropriating some of Duran Duran’s images and creating icons of them for the front cover, an idea that Nick felt had just the right amount of irony to work. When they received the proof of the artwork – to which Alex had also added a background of one of his sky pieces, it wasn’t at all what they were expecting, but the entire band felt it was special. The real challenge with the artwork, according to Nick, was that it needed to work for 12-inch vinyl, a CD cover, a postage stamp (for online thumbnails), and as billboards such as the one on Hollywood Boulevard. The first thing he and John did with the artwork was shrink it down on their computer – and they both felt the colors just popped. “He got it right”, announced Nick.  Katy says that she didn’t get the artwork at first, but that the more she looked at it – she calls it “a grower” – it makes sense. (It really does. It is one of the smartest covers they’ve ever done, and it really works for this album in particular.)

2015 Highlights

Nick went on vacation!!!!  He spent six days in Cuba this past year – somewhere he had never been, and apparently loved it. He spoke of Cuba’s old school grandeur, and the iconic 1950’s American cars that populate the streets. I can only imagine the photos!

One of Nick’s favorite moments of the year was presenting the GQ Award to Giorgio Moroder – someone who had a profound musical influence on Nick. He had never met him up until earlier this year when he had lunch with Mr. Moroder in Los Angeles and talked of the possibility of working with him at some point (that alone is reason enough to work on another Duran Duran album, I think!)

Releasing Paper Gods is one of the big highlights of 2015 as well as being signed to Warner Bros. They were happy to have a label with a wide, global reach. Nick describes Warner Bros as a proper record label with old school values and new school technology.  He also spoke proudly of holding the vinyl in his hands for the first time and seeing the spot varnish on the album.

Some touring moments were very special as well, such as playing the Hollywood Bowl with Chic and Nile. He also cited the recent UK tour as the best UK tour they’ve ever done, with a special shout out to Vince Foster for the excellent lighting. Nick hopes to bring this production to the US for the dates next year.

2015 in a word

Tumultuous sums up the year, as Nick recalls the sadness and concern for their friends Eagles of Death Metal. Eloquently, Nick mentions that the people at that show that evening did nothing wrong. “They didn’t do anything to warrant” that attack.  Particularly interesting to many Duranies, Nick had stayed that night in Paris as he’d planned to go to Paris Photo the next day – which naturally ended up being canceled, and Katy remembers not being able to reach the band immediately, but one by one she was able to speak with each member and Wendy to know that they were safe. Yes, tumultuous is a very good word to sum up the year.

2016

Nick plans to spend January going back into the studio with the Bloom Twins, who accompanied the band on the recent UK tour. He has thoroughly enjoyed working with them to establish a sense of direction as breakthrough artists, and he hopes to finish their first album.

He made mention of the currently announced US dates, explaining that they are disorganized and off in many different directions – coming together similarly as a rubber band might as it snaps back after being extended too far – and then said that more dates would be coming. Nick didn’t indicate where in the world, these dates would be, but rest assured as soon as they’re announced we will post them here!

He plans to get together with John to continue working on the musical they’ve been writing, which he believes will take him right up to the beginning of the tour.

Additionally, Nick plans to release his photo book next year, something that he promises Katy will happen. “It’s almost done!” The book will be very limited edition (and collectible) at about 300 copies. Nick explains that it is meant to be an art piece and not something that is available commercially.  (Call me crazy but I believe this is all incredibly polite code for “It’s going to cost a small fortune.”  Don’t say I didn’t warn you! )
Lastly, Nick announced that he needs a cat. He’s been without one for several years, and hopes to get one after the tour dates end, explaining that he “communicates better with cats than with people.”

I so get this.  🙂

-R