Category Archives: Katy Kafe

Year End Katy Kafé with Nick Rhodes!

Thank goodness for Nick Rhodes!! Not only was I pleased to see Nick’s year end Katy Kafé this morning…but listening to it provided a near treasure trove of new album information to digest!

Let’s do what I love and begin with dessert, and in our case, that means going straight in for some inside info on the new album. To begin with, Katy asked Nick the question we’re all wondering – when will we hear new music? Nick’s answer? May. (That’s two for May!!) Now, in answering that, he clarified by saying that he thinks that’s when the first song(s?) will drop – but the album itself may come a bit later. I was delighted to hear that the music for several songs is pretty much ready – they are still tinkering a bit, but they’re basically ready. He’s pleased that they are farther along than he might have thought they would be at this point.  However, there are plenty of lyrics that need written.

Katy asked Nick if they would be touring for this next album (thank you Katy for asking that question!!), and he said that he thought they would, but that it would “not be nearly as long” of a tour, and that he was hoping to do something “more unusual” when they release the album.

How would Nick compare the sound from this album to previous albums in their catalog?  Not able to settle on just one album for an example of the sound from this one, Nick cites that elements sound like Big Thing. Just as I began to wonder what that could possibly mean, he continued on to say that there’s a groove like parts of Notorious, ballads reminiscent to the Wedding Album, along with harmonics of the 1st album. He says the sound has developed on from All You Need is Now, but it’s different. Different, but not a complete departure from Duran Duran as we might have heard in Red Carpet Massacre. It’s a Duran Duran album, but different.  Katy finished off by suggesting that perhaps just maybe we could get a listen to a tiny snippet in an early Kafé next year, and Nick said “Oh, you never know when those snippets will drop, Kathryn!” Cross your fingers, friends!

One thing that Nick brought up that I found rather interesting and worth mentioning was that he doesn’t want to keep going into the studio and churning out more of the “same old stuff”.  He likes discovering new sounds, and doing new things – which I believe any of us can certainly understand. He wants to have new things to say, which after 30 years, you would think they’d have trouble finding – but Nick says that that the studio environment is his favorite, and he loves creating. It shows.

That was some of the best intel we’ve gotten about the new album in months. Who needs Taylor Leaks when you’ve got Nick Rhodes in the mood to talk! (Sorry John, but facts are facts!) We’ve got our own St. Nicholas…leaving little stocking stuffers for all fans! (and we’ve all been very good, haven’t we?) It was great to hear Nick’s thoughts on the album, and I think I speak for everyone when I say it was really what we’ve been wanting to hear.

So what else has dear Nicholas been up to in 2013? Art shows! Nick visited several shows this year, naming Erwin Blumenfeld‘s (Surrealist photographer) show in Paris as one he really enjoyed. Additionally he went and saw a Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera exhibition, the Magritte exhibits at MoMA, and is hoping to get to the Tate Modern in time to see the Paul Klee  exhibit, which ends on March 9th. Conversely, something Nick really has not done much of is listen to music! He commented that someone will put on music in the studio and inevitably he’ll say that something sounds good or has a good groove, but he won’t know who it is. I laughed at that, because it sounds vaguely familiar to what I experience here at home these days!

Two other very exciting things that Nick has been working on this past year that I think will thrill most fans: he is working on putting together a book based on the photography in Bei Incubi – the exhibition that accompanied the release of the TV Mania album, which he really loved working on with Warren. Nick didn’t mention when we could expect to see this book released, but I am sure that for the next Kafé with Nick in February 2014 – we’ll find out more info!  Looking forward to hearing details about that project!  Secondly, the rumors are true: John and Nick really ARE working on a musical!! Nick didn’t say much about this project, only to say that things were “quietly coming along”. In fact they were in the studio working on that project since the Duran Duran album project was finished until the new year. So, stay tuned for more details on those projects in the new year!

Seems to me as though we fans have a very busy 2014 ahead…so rest up while you can, and keep those savings accounts well-stocked with funds!

As always, I need to say that while I went over some fantastic highlights, it’s just impossible to cover the entire Kafé, so if you’re interested in hearing the whole thing, you’ll need to join DDM to have access to the exclusives!

-R

Year End Katy Kafe with Simon!

It seems like just yesterday when I was writing about John’s year end Katy Kafe!  Oh wait…it was yesterday!  On one hand, I’m glad that the next one came out so quickly as I definitely want to compare answers, especially the ones that revolve around the next album, tour, etc.  I was left very dissatisfied by John’s statement about new music being in August.  That is SO far away!  Frankly, it is too far away for many reasons, but that is a topic for another blog.  So, will Simon match John’s response?  Will it be even more discouraging to the dedicated fans?  Let me take a listen and respond to some of the highlights.  Of course, as always, I would recommend listening to the real thing yourself on DDM.

Like John, the topic of the year spent in the studio was at the top of the list of things to discuss.  Simon said that they have had a great year there.  One one hand, I love hearing that because it might mean that the music will be fabulous, but there is another part of me that wonders if they would say if it wasn’t?!  I’m feeling generous, though, so I’ll assume the former.  He did mention that there were moments when they felt out of ideas but then another good one would pop up, which does sound good to me as Simon points out it is good to have new, fresh ideas.  I get that.  You don’t want to just do the same thing over and over again.  That isn’t very creative.  I did appreciate Katy trying to get some piece of information from Simon, like a song title, but he said he couldn’t do that.  Bummer.  That would have been a nice little gift in the season of giving.

The second topic of 2013 favorites followed closely behind the studio work discussion.  Simon mentioned how he doesn’t listen to a lot of other music when he is so focused on his own.  I find that interesting.  I could see how you wouldn’t want to listen to others when you are so into what you are doing, but I could also see how others might create a new idea in your own work.  Again, here is where every creative person is different.  Some might like those other influences and others not so much.  Of course, Simon, like John, did mention Daft Punk for music in 2013, which I’m not surprised about.  Movies, TV shows and books were also asked about.  Simon discussed the movies, Gravity and Rush, quite a bit.  He talked about a couple of plays as well.  As far as books goes, Simon did acknowledge that he should do a Simon’s Reader since he has read a lot of books but that he has been busy in the studio.  I bet the fans would love for him to try and squeeze in one soon, though, and think he is capable of doing a little multi-tasking.  Again, like movies and plays, he did mention a few books in detail.  One book that might interest fans is The Goldfinch as Simon feels like he can relate to the main character!  Perhaps, that would be a good book for the reader, then!

Simon did talk about his holiday plans, including travel plans and decorating the tree and his animals.  Thankfully, before Katy let Simon go, she asked him the same question as she did John about the new music.  Simon’s response, thankfully, was more optimistic than John’s as he said, “May.”  May still seems like a VERY FAR away time but much better than August.  It makes me wonder why the answers from John and Simon were so different.  Perspective?  Hopefulness?  Desire to get it done?  *shrugs*  I will say this much.  Simon’s reaction to hearing John’s answer was worth listening to the Kafe, in my opinion.

Of course, now, I’m even more curious to hear what Roger and Nick have to say next week on theirs.  Perhaps, they will be a compromise between the May and the August answers or they will back one or the other.  We shall see (hear) soon enough!

-A

Year End Kafe with John Taylor!

I have been anxiously awaiting the year end Katy Kafes with the members of Duran Duran!  First, I have been dying for something to write about in terms of Duran news.  Obviously, I have lots to say about lots of other topics but I do enjoy writing about what is new, what is the latest in Duranland.  Second, as with any kafe, I always hope that there is something really exciting revealed or something that gets me thinking.  The last kafe was in November and got Rhonda and I thinking so much that an immediate phone call had to take place!  I love those moments!  In the case of last month’s, things John said definitely got me thinking and got me more determined than ever.  It was very good!  So, I listened to this one, the first of the year end kafes, with a high level of excitement.  It should be noted that this blog, like any of the rest of our blog posts about Katy Kafes, does not cover each and every part of the kafe.  If you want the complete picture (and I know you do), be a member of DuranDuranMusic and check the whole thing out there!

I have to admit that I was amused by the discussion surrounding snow.  John sounded a lot like I do when it comes to snow.  It is welcome to snow as long as no one needs to get anywhere or travel.  I find that particularly funny as we are due for an ice storm tonight and a major snow storm over the weekend.  Of course, snow, at the right time, can truly make it perfect.  For example, right after my youngest niece was born, my entire family got together for Christmas, which is rare.  The last of the family arrived on Christmas Eve.  Then, it snowed overnight, which created a beautiful holiday scene.  Plus, it was fun to see my oldest niece enjoy the snow for probably the first time in her life as she lives down south.  I digress, though.  Weather is distracting!  Anyway, John talked to Katy from the studio, which he described as having a “positive vibe” and that they feel good about what they have worked on.  He, in fact, described the project as “on track”.  I’m not sure if that means time wise or style wise or what.  Obviously, the year has been, basically, about them in the studio as he points out.  
Katy then asks John about popular entertainment, including books, albums, etc.  John mentions a series of  musical favorites from this year including Daft Punk, Kanye, Arcade Fire and more.  He also gives a list of other individual songs that caught his attention as well as films and TV shows.  What I enjoy about this part of the kafe is how John describes each album or artist or whatever.  He isn’t just giving a list but is giving reasons and how he reacted to the music or whatever.  It reminds me of those great school librarians who are able to turn kids into books solely by giving a really good introduction into a book or series.  His enthusiasm is clear and I’m willing to bet that he has convinced many people to give some artist, show, or movie a try just by how excited he is.  Another thing that I thought was interesting is how John claimed that he didn’t go and see much since he wasn’t traveling.  It was interesting because that is how I feel every year!  
2014 came up as a topic, specifically related to the next album and tour.  Again, he stated that they weren’t feeling the need to do a big tour (!) but that he felt good about the music, which is what he stated on twitter the other day as well.  He did say that once the album is done, they will think about the best way to present it to everyone.  This leads me to wonder if they are thinking about doing something different than regular promo appearances and a tour.  One specific month was mentioned for new Duran–August.  I have to admit to cringing at that a bit.  August???  That seems like a lifetime from now!  I don’t know that I will survive until August.  What the hell are we going to write about on here?!  That said, I’m surprised he gave such a firm time frame even though we don’t really know what was meant by new music.  The whole album?  A first song?  Snippets?  Tour?  I’m almost left with more questions than answers.  Perhaps, once we hear the rest of the year end kafes, we will have a more complete picture.  
-A

November Katy Kafe with John Taylor!

Yesterday brought a wonderful gift to Duranies everywhere: a shiny brand new Katy Kafé on DDM!  As usual, I listened, took copious notes…pondered things I probably didn’t need to ponder, and now I’m ready to share. Once again, I must remind our readers that my goal here is not to transcribe the entire Kafé, but rather to highlight some of what I found most interesting, and to open up those subjects for discussion.  If you want to listen to the entire Kafé, (which I think is worthy of your time, and then some!) you must be a member of the paid fan community at duranduranmusic.com.

One thing I will mention right off the bat is that this month, I noticed a slight difference in the Kafé – typically I have to click on the exclusive section of DDM, then click on the Kafé, and then click again on the link to the current Kafé, which takes me to a page where I have control to not only play the file, but I can also pause and even rewind if necessary – which for me is sometimes nice  However yesterday I clicked on the link to listen straight from the Kafé page and there was no way to rewind or control the playback. Not a huge issue, but I did see others who couldn’t listen on their mobile devices either, so I really don’t know what was going on. On with the highlights!

John was ready to have a sit down chat with Katy, that is for sure…and for that reason, the Kafé was really very good this month. There were a few basic topics that John delved into with enthusiasm, and I’ve tried to group the highlights accordingly.

Unstaged screening at MoMA:
John mentioned that when the discussion of working with David Lynch first came up, the band saw this as an opportunity to possibly get the finished film into festivals.  But, when time went by and there didn’t seem to be any action or even a release of a DVD, the idea was sort of pushed aside. Nick apparently has contacts at MoMA, and he went to them with the idea of screening the film there – and this opportunity sort of came out of the blue from there.  The band approached American Express to underwrite the event, and the band – or at least John – was excited about evening because it provided a little bit of a break for them. Now, when John says the word “break”, it was meant as a break from being in the studio, as they have been in there on and off since March. He felt that the event was almost better than a gig, simply because there was no need for sound check or dealing with equipment and so forth, but it gave them a chance to see fans and feel a little love.

John went on to mention that the band was surprised by how well received the event really was – they bounced between the screening rooms due to timing (there was one screening at 7:30 and another at 8:00), and they could see the overall atmosphere and how it turned into almost a party.  He commented that they need to do that every year, but quickly said that you can never tell with them…it’s how they think.  I would respond by simply saying that this can be done, and screenings are well-worth the effort! We had a screening of Diamond in the Mind at our Durandemonium convention, and it was probably a highlight of the entire weekend. There’s something special about seeing the band onstage, even if only on the big screen, and for me personally, it was the one time during the weekend where I didn’t feel as though I was working, but rather just being a fan. That “being a fan” feeling was echoed throughout those in attendance, and it’s one very simple way to keep the “fan-fires burning” while an album is being recorded.

As for that extra-special meet and greet…I was almost surprised that more wasn’t said. I am not at all sure that John really understood the importance (to fans, as well as the band) of that time during the cocktail party, or why exactly it was so much better than a 30-second rushed “hello”, handshake and photo in a backstage, grungy hallway of a concert venue. He did say that it was a good feeling, and that there was a lot of love in that room, but he was very pointed in saying that it is very hard to keep up that enthusiasm night after night while on tour. I have no doubt, which is why if I were in charge of such events, the band wouldn’t continue to do meet and greets at shows in the way they’ve been done previously. To begin with, it almost always puts the band in poor light. It’s clear that the band feels just a little put-out by having to be the dog and pony show before the show, and there have been many times when a band member simply, for one reason or another, just decides not to show. In fairness to the band, I can’t blame them. It’s poor positioning on the part of their management. (Yes, I did say that.) On the other hand, it is reasonable for a fan to be disappointed with such an arrangement, and I still believe with every fiber of my being that fans should have the opportunity to meet the band because these types of events do so much to foster that fan loyalty and enthusiasm that everyone needs. The funny thing is that later on, John mentioned that the band needs that once in a while – that shameless devotion and worship.  Well Mr. Taylor – so do we. The fans need that very same thing. There’s no way to maintain that same level of interest night after night on tour – and it absolutely DOES lose it’s charm, so other events should be devised that maybe have nothing to do with the rigors of touring, and they should be spaced out so that the band isn’t exhausted. After all, we’re an overwhelming group, and it would be ridiculous for me to say otherwise. How can we accomplish this in a way that is best for everyone? Amanda and I have been brainstorming, actually…and someday soon, I might share some initial ideas. Watch this space!

Album: 
Every Kafé, Katy tries to get a scoop. Is it me, or does the band just seem pretty closed-mouthed this time around? I don’t even hear much about Mark Ronson these days, which leads me to wonder if he’s really involved in the project, and if not – who is?  For that matter, where is Dom? I haven’t heard his name, seen his tweets or posts, or much of anything in quite a while….and if he’s not still working with the band, someone should probably have me sit down and break the news to me gently. Expect to see me rocking back and forth in a corner as a result. Just saying.

John begins by saying that the band seems to have a general routine. They jam for a while, then they settle into the “slow cooking” period – when and where they decide “what the album is”. He explains that there is often a lot of push and pull as they hammer it out, and it can be frustrating. They spend a lot of time getting on the same page (I am hoping they’ve found the right page…), and as always – there is a bit of reinvention of themselves on every album. The difference this time being that they are not in a rush.

That last sentence is kind of key because I believe it sets the tone and the expectations for fans. They’re not in a huge hurry to get out on the road with us. John mentioned that he feels that in comparison to such bands as Arcade Fire and U2 – they’ve done more touring since the reunion, which infers that perhaps they don’t feel like they need to do more. Perhaps. I would also say though that this band, Duran Duran, is not U2. (some of us are thankful for that) I’d like to believe that the band feels a closer connection to their fans than U2 does, but perhaps this is not the case, which is unfortunate. I think that as a fan, when I hear a comment like that – it makes me cringe to some extent, and not just because I want the band to be touring.

John followed up with saying that they really want a quality album this time. They apparently talk about how many albums they really have left in themselves, and while not at all openly quantifying that – he states that they want a better album than All You Need is Now or The Wedding Album. I was happy he stopped right there, because one thing Duran has always done that really makes me crazy as a fan is the downplaying they do from one album to the next. Whatever they are currently working on is the best thing since sliced bread, and whatever they did before was really kind of crappy now that they stop to think about it. I realize that to some limited extent this is natural, because you want whatever you’re working on at the current time to be better than what had been done previously – but I think it’s an incredibly lazy and almost self-indulgent way to talk up an album, and it’s been a very bad habit of the band since the days of Seven and the Ragged Tiger to do just that. The fact is, just a year ago we were all still saying how special All You Need Is Now really is/was, and I’d hate to have that feeling lessened purely because the band decided that after everything WE have been through together – fans, band and all – the album really wasn’t great, even though they said it was just a few months back. Get my point? Thankfully, John weeble-wobbled along that line pretty carefully yesterday, and I appreciate that.

Staying power:
Katy asked John about the band’s creativity and staying power. John mentioned that as a band, you challenge one another. They have pride in their “brand”, and they want to keep growing and stay relevant…and in order to do that…they really have to want it. (I’m assuming that it’s safe to say that yes, the band really wants it!) There is press from time to time about the post-punk movement and how DD was a sell-out in that era, going for commercial success rather than the grit. John mentioned that on iTunes, there are upwards of 150 different versions of the song Girls on Film – and that he knows exactly where the band stands in that evolution. So do we. He then said something that I am going to quote here directly because I think it’s absolutely perfect, “What keeps us alive and excited is not what we did in the past, but what we can do tomorrow.” When I heard that, how could I not be happy that they’re taking the time they need with this album? That’s the kind of feeling I want to support – not that they don’t think they need to tour because they’ve already done as much as U2 or Arcade Fire (because frankly – I don’t care at all about those bands when I’m thinking about Duran!) – I want to support the excitement for tomorrow.

Fan Questions:
I like the fan questions, and I like the idea that people have a chance to ask their burning questions. I don’t write down the names of those asking, so I apologize.

Will In the Pleasure Groove be released in a Spanish version? John isn’t aware of plans for that.

Sexiest DD song? He couldn’t decide on the sexiest one. (Rhonda says it’s because that’s clearly in the ear of the listener….isn’t it?!?)

What does he want for a holiday gift?  His family together.

Did he enjoy the cocktail party as much as those in attendance? He did enjoy it – and  expanded on his feelings about that above.

Sunrises or sunsets? Really not sure what his final answer was –  guess he likes both with a slight edge to sunsets maybe?!?

Why don’t female rock bands last?  John felt this was due to sheer numbers, there aren’t as many female groups so the odds of one lasting is also less. Then he mentioned the fact that women have children, families, and the road becomes less appealing. He spoke about how there are very few female producers out there – and that even successful female artists such as Madonna don’t typically go into producing, and said that was really a better question.

Before we go into a lengthy explanation of our own theories on the subject, the comments are open to discussion. I’m hoping a few readers will send in comments on this subject for a future blog.

Lastly…will we get to hear any of it before it’s released? John said that hopefully once they have firm ideas on release dates and so forth, we’ll hear something.  Until then…let the wait continue…

-R

October Katy Kafe with Simon!

Normally I am much better about getting these Katy Kafe summaries out in a timely manner, but this month with the convention – I’m a few days late.  My apologies!

Naturally since this is October, Katy had Birthday Boy Simon in the kafe – and Simon seemed to be in a pretty jovial mood. Not sure if that was because it’s his birthday month or because of the beer he was drinking – but either way the mood was light.  In a bit of a twist, Katy took questions from fans on Twitter and passed them on to Simon for answering.  I have to say that I like this type of thing from time to time simply because it mixes it up a bit, and let’s face it – we have a lot of things we want to know!  
This time around, I didn’t catch the names of people who asked questions, so I am sorry for that.  It was a side-effect of trying to having 5,000 other things on my mind at the time…but I included a few of the highlights here.  As always, if you want to be entertained and hear the entire Katy Kafe, membership at DuranDuranMusic.com includes the monthly Katy Kafe’s.  
How does Simon feel about Secret Oktober these days? Is it still a favorite?  Simon says that he and Nick wrote this in about a day to be the B side for the Union of the Snake single, and it is still one of his very favorites.  I still remember getting this 12″ single – for some reason I want to say it was a birthday present, and I was thrilled to hear a brand new song on the B side.  I’ve loved Secret Oktober ever since….AND I REALLY WISH THEY’D PLAY IT LIVE MORE OFTEN!  
Do we have an “ETA” for the new album (Estimated Time of Arrival)? I could have screamed with joy and kissed the person who submitted this question.  I mean, be honest – don’t we all want to know when it’s coming out?  Naturally, Simon was fairly evasive in his answer by saying that there’s not really an ETA and they’ve kept a finish date very vague.  He reiterated that they hope to be on the road next summer.  Then Katy mentioned that Nick played her some of the new songs and that she feels they are excellent.  (would Katy actually tell Simon that she thought they weren’t good and that they need to go back and try again though??) These are the thoughts that fly through my head at times…because it’s not like you can tell someone…like your employer for instance… that their hard work was horrible. I’m really just poking fun, because I’m sure if Katy had her doubts she might say something like “It’s really different.” or ,”It’s a departure from the last album, but sometimes you need that, right Simon?” or some other vague comment that doesn’t mean she likes it, but the comment wouldn’t get her into trouble, either!  
Why wasn’t Grey Lady of the Sea released (as a single)?  Simply put, they didn’t feel it was single material.  Simon went on to say that at the time, they really didn’t have a great promotional vehicle behind them to get the song played on the radio, etc. so the song was never released. I didn’t realize that this song had as much of a cult-like following as Katy alluded – she mentioned she received this question a lot on Ask Katy, and that genuinely surprised me. I just didn’t know this was such a beloved song. 
What books does Simon return to over and over again? Simon said that he doesn’t typically re-read books (neither do I – they have to be something amazingly special…or they have to be required in school for me to re-read them.  I just re-read The Crucible, thanks to 9th grade curriculum for my son!), but he did say that he’s read The Hobbit three times.  (twice for me and I’m still not a fan!)  He returns to poetry more often, which doesn’t surprise me in the least.  
Most humbling experience? Losing the keel on Drum.  Katy and Simon talked about the experience again, and Katy mentioned that she would most like to be with Simon in a survival-type situation because Simon remains pretty calm and just tries to figure out what has to be done.  He’s a clear-headed scorpio then.  I wonder what that’s like…..  
Duranies in a word: Loaded question, yes?? Simon actually gave two words, the first being the most honest, in my opinion, as a Duranie.  RELENTLESS.  He says he meant it in a positive way. Listen Simon, you’re right.  We ARE relentless. Even as a Duranie, I see it.  We don’t give up, whether that’s in regards to pursuing the band, being a fan in general…we’re relentless, whether you see that as a positive, a negative, or both. It’s true. Then Simon said another word – DEPENDABLE. Sure, it’s a nicer word, but I think the honesty is found in the first.  
How do you feel when you get into the studio?  Do you feel a sense of competition with other bands/artists that are out today?  He responded by saying no, that it’s about the pure joy of creating something that didn’t exist before.  As a “not-even-remotely-innocent” bystander, I would have to think that if they DID consider the “competition”, it would hurt the creative process.  I would like to think their art comes from a place within, not from the fear of competing with whatever else is out there.  
Would he ever write an autobiography? This seems to be a pretty standard question to ask each member these days, especially with the success of John’s book.  Simon answered “maybe”!  I wonder if they’ll all eventually write one…
What is the most important thing in writing a song? Simon says that the melody has to turn him on.  
One instrument that he wishes he could play?  Piano. Apparently Simon does play a little piano but he says he doesn’t play well enough. Then Katy mentioned that she doesn’t think fans realize that Simon plays guitar very well.  I would agree – I had no idea that he played much at all until he started bringing it onstage, and even then I really can’t tell how much he plays.  It would be interesting to hear him play.
What song do you wish you’d been the one to write (by another band/artist)?  Tough question, but he answered with U2’s “One”.  Then he went on to say that Nick wishes he’d written Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”.  I can see that!  
One album that he would like to perform from start to finish:  Simon answered this with a definitive “Notorious”.  Well alrighty then!
Where would you like to start a tour?  This was an interesting question that gave insight into how the band gets their heads ready to tour.  Simon answered by saying Australia or New Zealand (I hear cheering…), but it’s really hard because Simon feels that they have to be away from home.  They need somewhere large to rehearse.  Then he mentioned Cape Town (again, I hear more cheering).
On aging: Having an exciting life to look back on is the best thing…but the worst is having less life to look forward to.  Isn’t that the truth?  I find myself thinking about that, and then I push the thought out of my head.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to enjoy the living, because by the time you’re dying – it’s too late, and you never know when that’s going to happen.
Funniest thing to happen on tour? Apparently there was a time when Warren lost his trousers on tour.  Quite honestly, that’s all I really need to know about that. Moving on…
The big SCOOP:  Yeah there is none.  Simon was as closed mouthed as they get, which is incredibly disappointing.  He sang about five notes that could have been anything…but there were no secrets given.  So sad.  They did talk a little bit about touring though, and if the timeline really works out, it appears safe to guess that the band will hit the US in the fall time frame.  Of course, that’s a big IF…so stay tuned…
-R

September Katy Kafe with Roger!

Have I proclaimed my undying love and devotion for Roger Taylor lately?  I’m pretty sure I have not.  So I will take this short little moment to thank him for giving us some of the juicy bits that keep us going between albums, courtesy of the Katy Kafe!

Wait.  That might have sounded just a tad wrong. I’ll try again.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I like a little scoop once in a while. Amanda even blogged about it, and Roger certainly did not disappoint. We know who to come to for some real album insight, don’t we?? As always, I took the hit for the whole team (I do this for you, only for you, my dear readers) and listened to the September edition of the Katy Kafe, and I will go over some of the best highlights here. I wouldn’t be a very good fan if I didn’t encourage everyone to go and listen if you’re able, and I have to say – it’s a good one!

The Seasons: Roger loves Autumn….in fact, Roger loves all of the seasons, which is one reason why he could never live in my glorious state of California. Fair enough. I have trouble living here myself and I’ve been here for nearly my entire life. I’m ready to move away from the constant and experience real weather again (I lived outside of Chicago for two years – now there you’ll find some real weather!), so I won’t hold Roger’s toes over an open fire for not wanting to live here, I guess. Not surprisingly he loves the East Coast of America for the very defined seasonality there, and also spoke very highly of Washington DC.

Back to the Studio: Most people have been preparing for their kids to go back to school…and the band is going back to the studio. I don’t know why the thought makes me chuckle, but it does. Interestingly enough, Roger says that he’s not really sure how many songs they’ve got, but none of them are really done at all yet (I seem to recall Simon saying something a little different – but I don’t know how they qualify what stage a song is really in and so forth, so who knows??!) They aren’t to the point of really figuring out how they’re going to release it yet (meaning formats). As someone who knows absolutely nothing about what goes on in any studio, much less *the* studio, if they have no songs really anywhere near done yet…I’m kind of wondering if there’s any sort of chance they’ll have a release for us in the next six months or so. Katy touched on this with Roger in a moment that I almost want to print out and put in a frame for future chuckles and enjoyment, when she reminded him that he was the one that said he’d put money on this record being finished and released in early 2014.(and in fact he said he thought it would be done by the end of the year…not the mixing, but the recording…) Roger said he didn’t think he said that. Oh Mr. Taylor.  I beg to differ. In fact, as soon as I’m done with the first draft of this blog, I’m gonna go back and find the exact blog in which I quoted you, and I will link it right here (read the last paragraph and weep, Roger!) for all to enjoy. I warned ya, your words would come back to bite! Like I said, we’re Daily Duranie. We blog about this stuff!

Double album??: In a fit of what I believe is most assuredly insanity (and it’s OK because I have it on good authority that insanity seems to be contagious in the Duraniverse…), Nick commented to Roger that they had so much material that is on one hand dark and moody and on the other dance and club-like that perhaps they should have a two-part album. One part featuring the dance music and the other being darker. Roger responded asking if he meant like a double album, and Nick, holding true to form, said “Oh no, not a double album.” Roger said that he thinks what Nick is suggesting roughly translates to a double album, but was quick to add that he doesn’t know what place a double album really has in this current world. I would agree, and so I caution my fellow fans – a double album seems pretty unlikely, although I’m really hoping for dark and moody that I have to chew through and think about for ages with a side order of some easier to digest and enjoy dance!

Nick for President: After the double album discussion, Roger commented that Nick should have been a politician. I really wonder how many times I’ve said that myself over the years, and I still say – if the whole music thing doesn’t work out, he’s got a future in PR to say the least!  That brought a short Roger and Katy-fueled vision of the World According to Nick Rhodes (I would SWEAR we had message board topics with similar titles at one time…):  There would be no traveling in tunnels or over bridges, no public transportation at all, women would wear dark colors with bright lipstick (I am an epic fail here), the world would be in Manhattan and nothing south of the river in London. So there ya have it.

Twerking?: Katy asked if Roger caught the VMA’s. As luck would have it, Roger saw Miley…and even better, he didn’t know what that “dance” was called. (Quite honestly Rog, I’m not sure that really was dancing, no matter what the media calls it.) He said he turned the channel after about five minutes. (Oh how I wish I’d done that too..) Katy mentioned the reunion with N*Sync, and that they were on stage for about 30 seconds. Yep…and I completely agree with her assessments that he was up there for like 20 minutes and they should have at least done a full song. It could have been the shining moment from the show and instead it was just weird and awkward. Yep.

At this point, Katy asked some questions that she received from some wonderful tweeters around the world. I say “wonderful” because I’m one of them…I won’t lie.  🙂

Nathan (and this is the Nathan who helps with their social media – and you all thought Katy was the only one. Pshaw!) asked if Roger was using any new equipment on this album.  He answered saying that he was using a Roland TD-30 drum kit – they feel like acoustics but sound electronic. I looked them up online because I wasn’t sure of the model name – so if I got it wrong, I apologize.

DDBrazil asked a great question. If Roger had to choose one song (by another artist) to include on a DJ compilation, what would it be? He took a while to respond, but said Can’t Get Enough by Soul Searcher. Then he said he also likes early Daft Punk, which led to his commenting that Nile Rodgers really seems to be having a resurgence and that it’s great.

Mirella asked if he would ever consider doing a world tour as a DJ. Roger said that if he were offered one and had six months time away from Duran Duran that, sure, he’d do one.  Katy said that her next plan for Roger was to find him a vocalist to record with. I have to wonder how many Duran fans would like and support something like that. Speaking for myself, I’m not one for a lot of the DJ/vocalist music that’s out there – but some of it I do like – so I’d give it a try. Never know!

*I* sent in a question asking if they were planning to have any other producers on the album –  it’s very hard to ask a question in 140 characters on Twitter, but my point was that Simon and even John have mentioned that Mark is probably not going to be producing the entire album, and so I am wondering who IS going to be doing that. The band? Dom? Roger just said that he didn’t think there was anyone else going to be producing and that they were just sticking with what they’ve got. So whether that’s just Mark or themselves or no one, I’m not sure.  Maybe if someone from DDHQ sees this, they can clarify if possible? (Never know if you don’t ask, right?)

I don’t remember who asked, and it may very well have been Katy if Duran was willing to put out any short little snippets of what they’ve been working on for DD14. She qualified that Simon had said when they release a full song it sets people up with preconceived notions of what the album is going to be like, and I think that’s a really fair statement, but we’re talking about a 30-second max cut of a song here. I don’t know about anyone else, but when they sent out small bursts of music from the AYNIN album, I never came away with a clear vision of what they were really doing. It really only served to verify that yes, they really WERE recording album #13, and that the portions they sent us sounded nothing like anything I’d heard previously. Anyway, Roger reacted very positively, saying that when he gets back to the studio, he is going to suggest it. We can only hope the rest will agree to whet our appetites a bit!

The final question Katy asked was about new music. Personally, I need to thank John and Roger, because if it weren’t for them, I’d probably never listen to anything new. I just don’t have time to search for new music the way I once did, and often times – they mention music I’ve never heard of, never listened to, and yet when I do take the time – I like a lot of it. So these questions are great.  Roger’s answer was Bob Sinclair’s – I Feel for You. (Never heard it, which probably means I’ve been living in a hole all summer. It’s true.)

Roger will be back in the Kafe come December and I hope he brings holiday treats in the form of more tasty album information!!

-R

Doo doo doo doo bee doo (go ahead, guess the song…)

Anybody bored out there yet?  This is the last full week of summer vacation for me, as after the long weekend my son starts high school, and I go back to homeschooling. We’re beginning a new program which is going to be much more demanding (He is going to learn Japanese this year…and no, I am not teaching that…he’s doing it through Rosetta Stone!), and my time is pretty limited.  I have no idea how it’s all going to work, only that I’m going to be doing it.  Good times.  I’m sure a blog or two will be written about the craziness going on here at home along the way.  Last night I had a dream that I was at a Daisy Girl Scout meeting with my youngest and realized I’d left my son at his school with no way to get home. Yes my friends, these are the things I dream about.  No dreams about Duran Duran, no dreams about being on an empty beach somewhere.  Nope, I dream about the things I can screw up on a daily basis.  Fun stuff!

I don’t know how many have noticed, but there is a new Katy Kafe up on DDM.  It is a “bonus” Kafe, because typically there are no Kafe’s in August, but Simon apparently took pity on all of us and stopped by as as surprise. Katy asked him how his summer was, but apparently if you’re Simon LeBon – your summer continues until October!  (Quite obviously many of us out here are in the wrong line of work.) Simon is participating in a sailing regatta in Sardinia next week, and will participate in another one during the month of October (which is when his summer then ends, according to Simon.)  I personally know nothing about sailing or regattas – I only know about power boating, and even then, what I have learned from my own personal boat ownership experience is that BOAT stands for Bring On Another Thousand.  It is true. *takes a bow*  Simon, on the other hand, will be lifting sails, and he explains that they sail from the early morning until afternoon, and then they stop for the day – for a full week of “day” races. Obviously sailing is a passion of Simon’s in a very different way from being in Duran Duran – and that’s because Duran Duran is of course his job – his career – and sailing is something he does in his own free time. I get that, and he’s lucky he has something like that outside of the celebrity/rockstar craziness.

Shocking as it may seem, Simon LeBon did not watch the VMA’s. I know, I know. I can hear the collective gasps from around the world. He said that he wasn’t even interested (fair enough – I took one for the whole team on this, Simon!), and when Katy announced that he missed the reunion of *NSYNC as well as Justin Timberlake receiving the Video Vanguard Award, Simon was about as appalled as I was when I heard that Timbaland would not be working on the next Duran Duran album. (that’s sarcasm there, folks!)  I had to laugh.

There was some discussion over movies and/or television shows that Simon has had the chance to catch up on over the summer.  He liked Silver Lining Playbook (I read the book and didn’t really care for it, so I skipped the movie altogether…but now he’s making me reconsider…), and he says that we should see the French (original) version of Untouchable.  He also mentioned a few British TV shows, but I’ll let you listen to the Kafe yourself to get that info.  I can’t give you EVERY detail here, I’ll have management after me!

I know that you all are waiting on pins and needles for tidbits about the album, and I have to hand it to Katy – she really does try to get a scoop for us, but once again, we were denied.  Simon didn’t give us even a CRUMB that we don’t already know.  They’ve got 8 songs now that they’re working on, with more to go when these are finished. The album sounds different than All You Need is Now, but if we want to know if it’s dance or pop or something else – we need to talk to Roger, because according to Simon, he “can’t tell the difference.”

Simon, you are the lead singer of Duran Duran. You’ve been “in the business” for nearly 35 years at this point (yes, I am counting). You’re telling us that you can’t tell if the album sounds like something you can dance to, or whether it’s more rock/guitar heavy…or if it’s all ballads?  You’d better jump off that sailboat into the ocean because I think your pants might be on fire right now. That’s fine, we’ll wait.  Roger will be coming to the Kafe soon. I’m sure HE will tell us!  (Makes me miss the days of Mr. Taylorleaks on Twitter though….)

In more breaking news: Katy Krassner does not love ice cream OR donuts. Call me crazy, but I would swear I read somewhere at one point that she was a lover of candy – yet these two sweet things are too sweet. Teach me to be like that, Katy. Teach me.

Oh, lastly for those of you beard-watchers out there: Simon is currently sporting a very Spanish-looking (his description) looking goatee. No, I have not seen photos.

I am really ready for this band to start getting serious about getting this album finished though. I keep flipping back through old tour photos, seeing pictures of friends I’ve met along the way – and it’s really time. I need news. The blog needs news. This has been a great creative writing exercise: trying to create a blog each day out of almost nothing for nearly a year, but I’m over it now. Time to get going, Duran Duran. Thankfully, we’ve got the convention coming, and I’m hopeful that will give me enough writing ammunition to keep me going until December, but I could really use some help!

Until next week…

-R

 

Highlights from July’s Katy Kafé with Simon!

It is always a good day when I wake up and see that my blog topic has been chosen for me!  Decision made – excellent!!  Today, I bring you some of the happenings in the July Katy Kafé with Simon.  Naturally, I will remind everyone that the Kafé is one of the exclusive offerings that come with your paid DDM membership, and that while I am giving you some of the highlights, nothing really compares to hearing the whole thing for yourself. I can’t be nearly as funny as Simon or Katy!

To begin with, Simon got himself a cappuccino. I have a sneaky suspicion that Simon merely makes the appropriate steamed milk sounds…but it’s all in good spirits, and I had my coffee in front of me, so I’m happy to play along. (On a side note, I’m feeling as though I need a direct IV of coffee today…and a supply of Advil or Ibuprofen to go along with it. If you’re following me – @L8BarMom – on Twitter, you’ll know I just started month two of the Insanity workout program yesterday. I have two thoughts: pain and “Oh my God I have to do that AGAIN today?!?” If you don’t know what Insanity is – search for it on Youtube!)  Enough about me and my aching body…

Simon called in directly from the studio on this day, which was kind of interesting to think about. The format for this kafé differs from most because Katy asked for questions from fans, and then asked them to Simon.  I’m sorry but I missed some of the names of people who asked questions…so I’ll just address the topics themselves and give a synopsis.

Most all of the questions were, obviously, about #DD14.  Who really needs a working title when the entire fan community already has a hashtag for it?  I say no…as did Simon at the end of the Kafé.  He was asked if they had a secret or working title and Simon came up with some ridiculous name – I’m hoping I got it at least half right: “Little Red Painted Toenails on the Dancing Iguana.  Nice try, Simon.  Let’s just stick with #DD14, shall we?

A lot of fans wanted to know about Simon’s approach to the album…and what they are really going for on this one.  Simon summed up the album in three words: Nude. Duran. and Funk.  I get the Duran, I get the Funk…but the nude part…as always…we will see.  I can’t even begin to guess.  He also talked about moving on from All You Need is Now, saying that since they already went back to their roots and really tried to recapture that spirit, they felt that they’d accomplished that, and so they couldn’t very well do it again on this album.  So they are moving on from that point.  He was quick to add that they need to maintain that connection with their fans and stay true to the musical values they’ve established during this past thirty years…so they are developing the sound from that point on All You Need is Now.  This makes sense. I like that he’s making sure to explain that this new album isn’t about reinventing themselves, it’s just about continuing to develop and grow from there.  Mark Ronson is still involved at least partially on this album, but he is not writing – only producing, and he may not be producing the entire album.  He’s busy these days.  Simon’s own approach on the album, or any album for that matter – begins the same.  He goes into the project with an open head, and then as things develop, he adapts as necessary.

They spoke a bit about collaborations with other people…it seems to be one of the favorite topics that fans ask about.  Simon didn’t really mention who they were thinking about for #DD14, but he did say that the “dream” collaboration for him would be John Lennon.  (I’d give my eye teeth for that to happen…maybe in another life…which is why it’s a dream collaboration!)  Simon also said that he gets a lot of lyrics sent to him, which for whatever reason surprised me.  I didn’t realize people actually sent him things for him to consider using!  He said that writing is personal, and that he does not like sentimental writing. I totally and completely agree. He likes it as hard as nails, which is one reason I like Simon’s writing so much. Once in a while I can get gushy here, but more often than not, I don’t do sentiment like that. It’s even tough to use when it’s a guest blogger sending it to us, because while I know it’s the writing of someone else – their innermost feelings – I think that’s why it makes me so uncomfortable.  Simon likes humor, so keep that in mind if you’re going to send him lyrics.  I’ll just stick to blogging thanks, and leave the lyric writing to you experts out there.  Others asked him about where he gets his ideas from.  After thirty years, isn’t it tough to still come up with new things to write about??  Simon said that he keeps himself open to new things.  Things he hears…”noise that humanity makes”.  Sometimes phrases pop into his head from nowhere.  Again, I can identify with what he’s saying here because we write this blog every single day and there are some mornings when I get up that I’ve just got nothing.  I can’t even think about Duran Duran. Then there are other days when I know exactly what to write – the creativity ebbs and flows, and you’ve got to write when you get a chance.  Simon also mentioned that when he is writing, he can’t really be reading or doing other things – that the writing happens when he’s bored.  Personally I find that when I’ve got a lot of things going on in my head, nothing really worthwhile comes back out through the fingers onto the keyboard.  That’s why I have to do the reading and research first, and then somehow I let it stew…and eventually it flows back out.  The more I’ve got going on personally, the less writing that gets done around here.  It’s good to know I’m not particularly unusual in that regard.  

Speaking of collaborations, someone asked about whether the band would want to work with Nile Rodgers again.  Simon said that he would love to work with Nile, going on to say how fantastic of a guitar player Nile is, and that he’s a lovely person as well.  I think the fans would love to hear of the band working with Nile again – I can’t imagine anyone not welcoming that, and to be honest – if they want funk – I’d love to see this happen.  One of the more wonderful things to come out of Twitter is being able to read how Nile is doing these days.  He has taken the time to tweet with DD fans, and seems like such a genuine person, it’s fantastic to see Nile doing so well. (and yeah, even *I* like that Daft Punk song!)

Simon spoke a bit about the preferred atmosphere in the studio.  For Simon, he says it comes down to the music, but he also mentioned that they have a lot less big equipment than they once did – but that they write more IN the studio these days as opposed to before. Nick likes the studio to be as dark as possible (I have to wonder how he sees his keyboard…and I’m finding that I have to oppress this desire to mention the whole lack of daylight thing plays right into the tongue-in-cheek comments some have made of Nick being a vampire…), but others like it brighter, so they’re finding a balance there.  Katy said it sounds like a nightclub.  I can see that.

For those who are curious about instrumentation – it sounds like Nick is using his analog keyboards (Jupiter 8 among them) for this album.  Now, Simon did qualify that by saying it all comes down to the mix – you can record anything you want, many many layers, but the mix is what decides what really ends up on the album.  So, we’ll wait and see.  Nick does like the analog because there’s more artistry there than with the digital keyboards, but I think this gives a teensy bit into the vision of where they’re going.

Snippets anyone??  I know a lot of people chomp at the bit, waiting in hopes that something, ANYTHING, will be released to give us a taste of what’s going on in there.  Simon said that there’s always a chance. There is a real downside to releasing anything though, because if it’s not finished – if it’s substandard – people make up their minds very, very quickly that they aren’t liking it.  This is very true.  They also believe that anything they release beforehand detracts from the official release.  This, I don’t agree with, but maybe that’s because I’m a fan and do not work in the business office.  From my point of view – a 20 or 30 second snippet that is still fairly rough doesn’t give enough of an idea of what is to come for it to really detract.  In fact, one example I can cite from AYNIN is when a snippet of Runway Runaway was released.  All that I got from it was Nick’s keyboards – that sounded very much like any other DD song – and that gave me some comfort that AYNIN was not going to be like RCM in any way.  I loved that when the album was finally released, I was able to see where the snippet came from and how it was incorporated.  I don’t know how that really detracted from anything.  That said, I can understand that if they leaked full songs – well then, that likely would detract, and I can cite Astronaut as an example there.  By the time the album was released, I’d already heard every song off of the album and knew that they’d changed What Happens Tomorrow to the point where I didn’t care for the song much. I also know that many others owned the full CD months before the album was released, and so when Astronaut came out, in a lot of ways it kind of felt like an afterthought.  If it weren’t for the in-store signings, and the fact that it was the original five on the album, I think there would have been even less excitement.  So live and learn.

Anyone remember that fabled album Reportage? It’s the album that everyone wants released, that I hear almost everyone has gotten hold of…that I personally have never heard. (I’d like to know who leaked that one.)  The band is still talking about releasing that on it’s own – meaning the band wouldn’t try to release some of the songs from that album on #DD14 or anything they are working on now because from a business standpoint, it’s very hard to mix things they are working on now with things they’ve worked on with Andy.  Makes sense…and maybe someday I’ll actually hear the album.  I think Reportage has gotten to the point where it’s been built up in our fantasies to be this huge, big thing because it’s an album we thought was coming but was never released.  So I wonder if it would be a letdown to hear it now.  So many people tell me “it’s out there, you just have to find it.”…I’ve never found it, but I would love to hear it someday.

That’s what I was able to glean from Katy Kafé this month, and I’ve put off my Insanity workout long enough, so I must go. Happy Tuesday, everyone!

-R

June Katy Kafe with Nick Rhodes!

June is flying past at breakneck speed, and I very nearly missed the June edition of Katy Kafe!   This time Katy chats with Nick Rhodes, who had already celebrated his 51st birthday earlier this month. (For all of you John Taylor fans, Katy was very quick to explain that last year, John sat in the Kafe for his birthday, and this year it is Nick’s turn…especially since John did the Kafe in May.)

It was a rather brief Kafe this month, something about Nick being busy and work on an album or something like that, but there was plenty of time to discuss the AMFAR appearance, the album and even TV Mania, and there was much to be gleaned from the discussion.

NICK’S BIRTHDAY: he didn’t really have plans this year, but then again he didn’t have plans last year until his fellow bandmates came up with the wonderful “art gallery” party for him.  Nick mentioned that he’s always up for a party (not a surprise), and that he supposes that you only get one chance to really celebrate some of these milestone birthdays “Well, at least until we get that genetic thing sorted properly.”  I had to laugh – and I’d appreciate it we could get that sorted soon.  Please.

AMFAR: They were pleased to be involved with such a wonderful event. AMFAR raises money for AIDS research, and on that one night 25 million dollars was raised.  That’s a huge amount of money for one evening!  Interestingly, Simon, John & Dom offered themselves up for an acoustic set to be played in someone’s home anywhere in the world, and according to Nick, the offering went for close to a million dollars (I believe it was $776k).  Katy asked if Nick knew who had won, and he did not know, but “they were very generous.”  Not a bad way to spend a million dollars, in my opinion…on one hand, you’d be making a positive difference in the world, and on the other?  Those three guys in my living room?  That would work.  I have room.  I’d MAKE room!

ALBUM: Katy wanted a scoop. I kind of think we’ve got some news to work with here…there are about ten songs now. 3 or 4 of them actually have titles, although Nick was not ready to share those yet. One of those songs is virtually finished.  (We have a finished song, ladies and gentlemen!) Nick made sure to say that it is different from the last album.  I appreciate that each member continues to pull the party line and say that it’s different – but what I’d really love is some further explanation of HOW it is different.  Nick used the words “groovy”  and “energy” to describe the music.  It is just so difficult to pull much of anything from the descriptions they’re using.  I’ve heard it described as a sort of Duran Duran meets Radiohead style, groovy, energy, and very different from the last album.  I can’t even imagine what it all must be like yet.  As for the album’s timeline, Nick said that they’ve tried to set themselves a goal that the album will be released in late Spring of next year, which means they would need to be finished with it by the end of this year. He knows better than to promise that though (smart man)…but he did say that they are farther along in the process this time than they were with the last album.  So we do have hope.  Katy asked if they were looking at working with a label this time or how they might look at releasing the album, and Nick said that naturally they will utilize iTunes and other digital marketplaces (Amazon, etc.), but that they were still thinking about what to do with regard to the label.  He felt that AYNIN was successful in some ways, but not successful in others – which is understandable – and so they would obviously be looking to improve.  There are real pros and cons to working with a label: on one hand they would be getting a much needed hand of help with regard to worldwide promotion, but on the other – working with a label is like dragging a big clunky machine behind you. The flexibility to change things on the fly is lost, and they wouldn’t be nearly as light on their feet.  As a fan, I can certainly understand the reasoning on both counts.  So at least Nick is considering the option of going with a major distribution deal on a label…we will see in the coming months ahead!

TV MANIA: Did you know that you too can be a TV Mania franchisee? It is true, my friends! Let’s pretend that you live in Outer Mongolia, well – you can register to become TV Mania Outer Mongolia.  What does that do for you? The whole point is that you can create your own beautiful works of sound and video and upload them to the TV Mania website – thereby creating content for the rest of the world to listen, view and admire.  TV Mania has a manifesto (rules that they work with) as well as a toolkit available to franchise owners that contains music samples, but it sounded to me as though there was room to be creative well beyond the framework that they’ve tried to create.  If you’re at all inclined to create music and video in the vein of TV Mania – this would be an excellent opportunity to get your work out there for all to see.  The cost for being a franchise holder? FREE.  That’s right, it’s free.  This is purely for artistic purposes.  TV Mania will even issue you rights to use their logo in conjunction with your name (so that barcode would read TV Mania Outer Mongolia)…and it really sounds like a great creative platform for anyone interested.  One caveat: if you are going to be sampling music – you’ll need to get those samples CLEARED. (meaning you’d better ask permission from the artist you’re sampling from!)  This is one way to share the music without TV Mania touring or doing appearances, which makes sense due to the unusual aspects of the project.

SECOND LIFE: Nick loves Second Life.  Katy even called it “Nick Rhodesian”, to which Nick replied “Good grief”.  The TV Mania family even has their own home in Second Life, and Nick jokingly said that he thinks a sitcom is coming next.  Truthfully, I had given up on Second Life – it just seemed much more difficult to navigate than I’d hoped, and this was back several years ago when they first announced the plans for a Duran Duran world.  In the past few months though, I’ve seen more and more taking place there – and even Nick commented that he sees Second Life “growing and growing into something more unusual.”  So am I Tempted?? (See what I did there?? And you people think I’ve no love for RCM…) I really am…maybe this summer I’ll find time to wander over there again.  Maybe.

So it seems that our fearless controller never stays still for long, as he was off as quick as he arrived at the Kafe.  I think we had a fair amount of news, and I applaud Katy for asking more questions about the album and even the whole debacle of labels…it’s of interest to all of us and we appreciate that she took the time to ask!

-R

May Katy Kafe with John Taylor

People will often ask me why I’m still a paying member over at DuranDuranMusic, the official fan club.  The first thing I will mention, of course, is the presales.  I might then mention the swag that one gets with membership as I’m a sucker for Duran merch.  That said, I do LOVE the Katy Kafes.  I always feel like I learn a lot about the band and the band member in the Kafe by listening to them.  I gain an insight that I wouldn’t gain from a regular interview.  First, I gain some insight by how the band member in question reacts to the topic at hand.  Sometimes, the tone and whatnot tells me more than the actual words.  Second, the fact that this is done with Katy, someone who really knows them, allows for a different level of interaction than a straight up interview with a random stranger.  My point being that I learn a lot from listening to them and enjoy them, too.  This month’s was no different.

This month’s Kafe was posted to the website on May 20th and found John Taylor in New York City before the band’s appearance in Cannes.  The topics were what you would imagine them to be and included information on the work in the studio, John’s autobiography, and the appearance in Cannes.  There was a brief discussion on coffee and caffeine as well.  While I figured there would be quite a bit of discussion on the new album and the work in the studio, I admit that I was surprised that his book was a topic as that seemed to be talked about a lot last year.  I was also surprised that there was no discussion surrounding his lack of twitter appearances for 2013.  This could have been a perfect venue for it to be discussed and John, certainly, could have explained himself well in this setting.  Yet, the fact that it wasn’t even brought up led me to wonder if it was something agreed not to be discussed, which probably just gets me thinking about it even more.

John did spend a long time discussing the progress of the new album.  He mentioned that they are in what is possibly his favorite part of the process as it seems like every song has the potential to all be fabulous!  It is only as the songs get finished that some are clearly not as strong as others, which I can imagine.  I relate to this as I feel that way as a writer.  Every blog is going to be the best blog ever until I actually write it.  Some blogs really do turn out wonderful and I’m really proud of them and others I feel like I miss the mark somewhere or didn’t explain myself as well as I could have.  He also said that it was nice to be with everyone again.  Katy asked a good question about whether or not people came with ideas despite typically not writing on the road.  He said that people did but that there really wasn’t pressure to come with some.  The most important thing was to get ideas that become or are group ideas.  The album shouldn’t be like a Nick Rhodes solo album with Simon singing or a John Taylor solo album with Simon’s vocals.  It should a great Duran album.  Everyone needs to feel a part of it and he specifically pointed out that “integrating Dom” is key.    One word that he used to describe a great Duran album is balance.  I definitely agree with him.  This is what the first couple of albums had and what AYNIN had.  There was a balance with all members.  They were all present and accounted for.  If they know this now and use this now, I’m totally reassured that the album will turn out well.

John was also asked about working with Mark again and the timeline of the album.  As far as Mark was concerned, he stated that they would be pleased for him to produce some of the album.  He specifically did not say the whole album.  I’m not sure what that means exactly.  Would they bring in other producers?  Produce themselves?  Yet, John did mention that they need a captain to the project and that Mark did that whereas having a band member be captain doesn’t always work, which made perfect sense to me.  The captain isn’t as tied emotionally to any of the ideas or to the band and band’s direction.  S/he could be more objective, at least that is what I thought.  As for the timeline, this part made me laugh.  John said that they were all interested in playing shows next summer but wanted the album out before that.  Hmm…did I just read somewhere about shows in the summer and how much easier it is for people like me?!  Great minds think alike, apparently.  Anyway, despite this desire, he said he is open-minded about the album’s timeline.

Beyond the discussion surrounding the band’s current activities, Katy did ask about the book.  At first, I really wished that she hadn’t simply because I didn’t know what more could be gained.  After a minute or two, I was so glad that she had as John discussed how he did give copies to family members and that they seemed shocked to find out about his struggle with addiction.  He made an incredibly important point, which is that no one really understands as the pain is not seen.  John also explained a little bit about grief towards his parents and how it is a strong force.  This resonated with me.  While I haven’t (thank goodness) lost my parents, I still think I have experienced grief surrounding my job, which might sound silly but that’s how I look at it.  In response to grief, John said that it must be processed in the right way or it can become destructive.  Again, I was led to wonder if I have dealt with my feelings regarding my career the way that I should.  This, of course, is where I really appreciate being able to listen to these.  Not only did I gain insight into John but it forced me to reflect on my own life and my own experiences.

Was the best, more interesting, Katy Kafe ever?  Probably not.  We didn’t get a lot of insider information regarding things like how many songs have lyrics or any other behind the scenes information.  We did get an insight into John and his ideas on how the band needs to function to produce great Duran songs.  We also learned about his ideas regarding grief and loss.  I, for one, am thankful that I had the opportunity to listen to the Kafe completely as my reaction, which isn’t even a summary, does not do it justice.  I recommend listening for yourself.

-A