I love it when I’m surprised by something that answers the question “What will I blog about today?” That happened this morning when I was greeted with the news that January’s edition of the Katy Kafe was up on DDM for our listening pleasure. So I did what
only this half of Daily Duranie would do – I set my youngest up with cartoons, grabbed my earbuds and spent 20 minutes listening and making notes!
I’m going to be straight-up here. John sounded very relaxed, if not almost bored and just a touch annoyed that he was in the Kafe. Maybe he was. Maybe the Kafe is an annoying thing to him when he’s supposed to be taking his part of a long holiday away from Duran Duran. I don’t know…I can only comment on what I heard. That said, we all have moods, and I have no idea what is going on in his life. I think about the crazy things that go on in this house while I’m trying to blog on any given day – and it’s a miracle I don’t have a camera or recorder following me around. No one needs to see or hear that!
Katy begins the Kafe by asking about a movie that John hasn’t seen, so she quickly has to move on to talk about In the Pleasure Groove. It is being released in Holland, Denmark and Brazil in the coming months, and so Katy asked if he was going to be doing signings and things in those places. John was fairly blunt and said he really wasn’t up for that. Now, I suppose you can take that as a dejected comment, but I did not. I think that John explained it very well by saying that he feels as though the project is finished – I can understand that. When it’s done, it’s done. I think the past year had John putting himself “out there” in ways he never has before (and in fact he mentions that in the Kafe), and I think the project did exactly what he needed it to do, and he very clearly feels a sense of closure. From what I understand, the same thing happens when a band tours an album. Sure, fans could want bands to tour forever, but I think there must come a time when a band crosses that line from wanting to do it to being told they have to do it – and that’s when complaints start coming about how a band seems more machine-like than human-like. There is a balance to be met and maintained. Katy asks John if he’d ever write again, and I thought his response was very interesting because John says that towards the end of last year he was really thinking about doing a volume 2 (of sorts) to the book, but he’s since shelved that idea….at least for this year. He followed that up with explaining that he wants to keep his energy for the new music. I can understand that, and maybe in a couple of years he’ll be ready for that next book. I think putting a few years between yourself and those books will help as well, and maybe more of a story will unfold. The one thing I’ve learned as I continue writing is that the best blogs and chapters happen when you simply LET them happen. I’ve found that at least for me, I can’t force the words – nothing good happens if I’m forcing them. John talks about how you have to truly commit yourself to that hard work, and he’s right. Just ask Amanda and I about that – we don’t have the capacity to ONLY write or ONLY blog, and as a result, we have a tough time getting started – the book writing in particular seems to come in spurts, which we both recognize is detrimental, but we do what we can. It sounds as though John recognizes that he can’t commit to everything, and as much as I would love to see him write again, his reasons for not doing it right now make perfect sense.
John spoke a little bit about the work he did for Koshii & Hush. I always smile when John talks about his singing because one of the first things he typically does is qualify that he is not a lead singer. Personally, I think he has improved so much on his vocals and he doesn’t give himself enough credit – but John has this sort of self-depricating way about him at times that is charming and humble enough to make me grin. Apparently I’ve been missing out on listening to some great remixes. Admittedly – I have such a difficult time with remixes. There are way too many of them, and a lot of the time they tend to be so repetitive that I find them boring. So I usually ignore them. John has a tough time with remixes too, but for a completely different reason. “Normally the first thing to go is the bass….” I had to laugh. He’s so right, and I’ve never thought of it that way. In this case though, he’s the lead vocalist, and he mentioned that now he sees why Simon might like them, because you can’t really “get rid” of the singer, can you? So each remix brings a completely different light into the song. I’m going to have to check some of them out – apparently there are four out there to find!
I know what all of you are most curious about…it’s one of two things…and fear not, John talks about both touring AND the new album. As all of us are aware, the good stuff starts in March when they head back into the studio with Mark Ronson. John was funny because he was saying that you can’t really go into the studio with an agenda of what type of album you want to record because you would be fighting everyone else to get that agenda through and it’s more difficult. I would imagine it really stops the entire process from being organic and sustaining in it’s own way. Then he began to say that he had no idea where they would be going with this album, and then stopped himself and chuckled, “I say I have no idea but I have a pretty good idea. I mean, this album isn’t going to be jazz!” I have to say that throughout the entire Kafe, this was the point where John started to brighten a bit, and I wouldn’t be one-half of Daily Duranie if I didn’t wonder why. I must admit, I’m glad he sounded at least halfway interested in the studio, otherwise I probably would have come away from the Kafe being much more concerned. I keep reminding myself that we’re all moody though…
One quote I loved from John here that I must share, “Friendships really express themselves well when we make music.” That’s beautiful.
I daresay that none of us should be packing our bags getting ready for a road trip any time soon. In almost a complete 180 degree turn from what he said in the Fall, John announces that he’s not in a rush to get back on the road again. (I hear ALL of you sighing dejectedly out there. I know.) He spoke a bit on how in order to build up a media demand, they need to back off. I have to say that from my point of view – this sounds like a load of crap. Just as we’ve always done here, we’re honest and when I feel like I need to call someone on the carpet, I will. Band member or not…I’m a fan, not a lackey, and I refuse to just sprinkle sunshine and roses when I’m feeling like a hailstorm is brewing. To begin with, this band is not the Rolling Stones. I’m sorry, but they’re not (and I’m happy about that!)…waiting a few years to go on tour isn’t going to suddenly make Duran Duran into the Rolling Stones, either. Yet that is exactly who John cites when he talks about needing to create a media demand. OK, I understand that part of the reason for touring is to get the good word out there, but the media isn’t who buys your albums. The one thing that John said that does make sense though is that they want it to be a case where they want to tour, not one where they have to tour. He is correct when he says that he knows for some people – we want them to be on the road all the time, but it’s just not reality. I suppose that’s true, but I have to admit that I hope John gets a bit of an attitude adjustment in the next several weeks heading into March, because he sure doesn’t sound much like the fired-up and fan-sensitive John Taylor that I liked last year.
I had heard that EMI was divesting itself a few months back and wondered what might happen to the band’s early catalog. Apparently, I’m not the only one left wondering. John mentioned that they are waiting to hear where their back catalog that EMI owned ends up, and then intimated that the band would be interested in signing back with a label again – preferably the one with that catalog. Now, keeping in mind that I have no experience with label contracts or the business-end (not much, anyway)…I just have to wonder what exactly is to be gained from signing with yet another label. Have they really had much luck with that since EMI?? Remind me again?? Call me a loudmouthed skeptic (it’s true), but I’ve seen very, very few artists do well under a label. Sure, you can name some. So can I. Duran isn’t one of them, and hasn’t been in decades. That’s right, I said it…decades. This has absolutely NOTHING to do with the band and everything to do with labels themselves. It’s a numbers game that the industry itself can’t even support these days. I’ll go one further and say I don’t think there’s any way to actually fix the industry. It’s imploded from within and no one, least of all me, has real answers on how to make it work again. Why on earth the band would want to be under the constraints of another label contract is beyond me, if for no other reason than because I would think they would enjoy being free to create what they wish to create. Although if it is as John says, where the label is really into it…well…time will really tell, won’t it?
Lastly, they talk a bit about John’s upcoming award from Writers in Treatment. This happens on February 15, and aside from John downplaying the award by saying it’s a bit like being rewarded for fucking up (His words, not mine!), I think it’s a wonderful honor. Not all that many people are able to recover and then tell about it, and I happen to know that he has reached out to more than one person who needed help getting started with their own recovery. Yes John Taylor, you deserve an award. Suck it up and take it like a man. We’re proud of you.
I have to say, part of me wants to kick John’s skinny little behind just a bit. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about this Kafe just sounded off. Maybe John was sick. Maybe he was in a bad mood. Maybe he’s like anyone else, he’s enjoying his vacation away from being “John Taylor of Duran Duran” and isn’t quite ready to get back into the swing of it. He doesn’t need my permission, but it would be fair and justified…..and maybe I’m just reading crap into things. Judging from my Twitter feed this morning, I am not the only one thinking all of this. All I can really say is that if someone needs me to head on over to the Hollywood Hills to get a fire lit under him and restore some enthusiasm to the situation, I will take one for the team. *sigh* It’s a rough job, but if it needs to be done…