Category Archives: Katy Kafe

It’s going to be conditional

For my next trick, I Rhonda, your ever-faithful Daily Duranie blogger, will attempt to comment properly on the Katy Kafe posted on DDM within the next 15 minutes.  The Kafe hosted John, who was ever-insightful about the band and their rehearsal habits, touring, and of course, how the band is going forward from the infamous stopping point of last May.

If you haven’t listened to the Kafe yourself, I have to tell you all – it’s worth the close listen.  I gleaned so much from the 15 minute session, and I can’t possibly convey all of my thoughts and feelings here, and definitely not within the self-imposed time frame of about 15 minutes.  John jumps right into what it has been like to restart the proverbial “touring engine” for Duran Duran – and while I haven’t been to the shows yet (my turn is Saturday), I felt as though I had a general sense of what the shows have been like for the fans.  John comments that the shows have been great so far, and that he feels like they are “where they really should be” for the present.  He also comments that they have a “long way to go”.  It would appear as though that is the case – at the time the Kafe was recorded, it was the 25th, and they’ve since done the Mountain Winery show in Saratoga.  They are only 3 shows into a very lengthy tour, especially when, much later in the Kafe, Katy mentions that the plan is to tour throughout 2012.  That’s a LONG time for any band, much less a band that has experienced severe vocal trouble with their lead singer…which brings me of course to Simon.

According to John, the band felt that Simon sounded as good or better than he ever has at the shows in Everett Washington and in Portland Oregon.  When they came offstage before the encore, however, Simon could barely speak.  He immediately requested that the band shorten the encore to just Rio, which of course they did.  The show was about 90 minutes in length with that revision.  While walking back after the show was over, Nick and John mentioned to one another that they didn’t see that coming.  To me, Miss Rhonda-Fan, that’s concerning.  It should be concerning to any fan, but to be fair and realistic – these guys are not 30 years old anymore.  As John said, anything is going to be conditional going forward.  They must take care of themselves, and even then, there are going to be times when the engine just isn’t running the way they might like.  A good example of this would be their performance last night at Mountain Winery, where Simon apparently missed several (3 or 4) of his vocal cues, and was just clearly off his game (no matter the reason).  Reports from the show (again I was not there to hear it myself, I’m only reporting what was told to me) were that his voice sounded very gravely at times – “rough” probably being the best way to describe it.  As I understand it, once again the show was shortened to an hour and a half, and according to John – that’s about the perfect length for them….right now.  I think, given his discussion with Katy, that the hope is that eventually they may make it to the 2 hour mark in the last week or so of this tour, but I think it’s also appropriate for the fans to recognize that the days of the two or two and a half hour show may very well be over.  I know not everyone will be thrilled by that, nor am I, but I would prefer any show over no show.  Food for thought.

John speaks freely about the audience vibe throughout the year.  He feels as though the fans want to be there, they are there for them, and “not just for the nostalgia”.  He goes on to say how important that is for them, and that he doesn’t know if it’s the social networking or what the difference is between now and a few years back.  I would like to direct this part of the blog to John specifically:

1. The reunion ended when Andy left.  It took a lot of people a while to come to terms, and others left altogether, but what you’ve got now are people who truly WANT to be here.

2. I think that overall, the fan community seems to be behind AYNIN much more than RCM.  Take that for what you will.

3. Your fans desperately wanted to feel connected to the band beyond the stage.  You answered that need with getting involved on Twitter and so forth.  While it might feel like therapy for you – it is that way for the fans as well.  A fan community that is connected to their band (aka Duran Duran or it’s members in this case) is a fan community that truly has a bond to their band.  It works!

4. I think most everyone realizes this isn’t going to last forever, and while going through Simon’s vocal trouble has somehow bonded the 4 or 5 of you (if Dom is included) more closely – it is clear that the same has been done for the fans.  We’re making the most of the time we’ve got.  Living in the now.  Loving the moment.  All You Need is Now.  😀

5. I could go on…but I think you get it.

It sounds like the band has quite a lengthy road ahead of them, and not all of it will be smooth.   We fans may need to adjust our perception of what makes a good show (meaning that an hour and a half of awesome music beats out a two hour rocking show followed by a 4 month absence), and I still say the band can do without playing so many “hits”.  John said they play about 8 a night.  Why not do 6 and get in a couple more songs off of the new album or even sneak in Shadows on Your Side?!?  Secret Oktober???

What if I beg?!?

Tonight is LA, followed by Friday in Vegas and Saturday in Valley Center.  Let’s see how this goes!

-R

Katy Kafe with Simon 7/20/11

Happy Wednesday to all of you…it’s been a busy morning so far, and now I’m taking a quick moment to throw down the blog before heading off to the next “adventure”.  (That would be cleaning.  Joy.)  

There’s absolutely no doubt that many fans feel the band completely missed the boat when they passed up putting up Beautiful Colors on Astronaut.  That said, a few other notable songs mentioned are:  Tel Aviv (the Air Studio version), Matter of Fact, Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Virus – which was only put on the Japanese release of Astronaut.  I’m still enjoying seeing the various choices people make each day – and I am especially looking forward to the results from today’s question, “Which song should have never made it off of the editing room floor?”  I had a tough time choosing, did you?
This morning I was able to sit down and actually listen to the most recent Katy Kafe with Simon.  I’m going to admit that normally, I’m a little less than motivated to sit down and listen, primarily because my house is loud, and I never have that long to actually sit in a chair… However, once I saw that it was Simon in the Kafe, I was ready to sit down with a cup of coffee and give it some time.  Naturally, I was as curious as I imagine everyone else was to hear his voice and see how things were doing.  In typical Simon fashion – he was ready to tell quite a story as soon as the Kafe began.  We were treated to hearing all about his motorcycle issues.  All I really know about motorcycles: 1) We have one in my garage.  2) I’m afraid to ride it.  3) My husband has been literally thrown off of it because he’s a lousy driver and takes too many chances.  He’s really lucky to have come away from that “incident” without breaking a single bone….either by the accident or by what I wanted to do to him when I found out what he’d done.  Men.  *sigh*    Anyway, all I know about Simon’s motorcycle:  1) It’s not working properly.  2) I could HEAR the annoyance in his voice. (characterized mainly by the big huge sigh he gave when beginning the tale!!)  3) There was some stuff about petrol and paint chips in the gas tank.  I began to tune out, and I’m not even going to lie about that – I’m female, it’s what we do.  
I immediately snapped to attention again when Katy casually asked about how the voice was coming along (you know I was waiting for this, and so were the rest of you!!).  Simon sounded totally positive.  He’s singing again, doing the “easy” songs, and was able to hit all of his notes, including notes he hadn’t been able to hit in a few months.  He says he’s not 100% yet, but he feels positive that he’ll get there.  Thank goodness.  Katy was right when she said that “it is what it is.  It will heal, but in it’s own time.”  I also chuckled a little when she said that “the fans were letting their imaginations run away.”  That’s fair.  I don’t know if she can really blame us though.  While I realize that she tells us what she can, a lot of times that leaves VERY little that she can say, and over the years we’ve all come to understand that, and a lot of us also know that there are many times when we either won’t get the full story, or we won’t even get the REAL story.  It’s difficult to ascertain when we’re hearing the party line – or we’re getting the real thing.  It’s easy to water down the details, no?  That said, I also am aware of just how far off the beaten path some fans were getting with their imaginations, so it was very good to hear Simon tell it how it is from his point of view.  I think we’ll be hearing even better news very, very soon.  *crosses fingers*  
Katy also went to bat for us and tried to get some super secret information about any songs being included in the setlists from “way back when” (read: my childhood, and possibly yours!).  Simon wouldn’t give.  At this point I pictured a dark room with a single wooden slat chair and a  lonely lightbulb hanging from a socket in the ceiling.  “Ve vill MAKE you talk!”  Or not.  I guess we’ll be waiting on that one….yeah, I love surprises, and he’s right that if he told us then it’d take the fun out of hearing the set for the first time.  I can’t help but quip that yes, all of that is true – it’s just that *I* was supposed to hear MY set back in May!  Yes, I’m whining, and I’ll stop.  Oh well.  December is only what, 5 months away… if I don’t do any other shows??  *sigh*  Thanks for trying, Katy!
Anyone know anything about Cricket?  I always figured it was pretty similar to American baseball, but Simon sure put that notion to rest.  I had no idea that when you go to a Cricket game, you’re probably only going to see 1/5 of the action because the blasted game can last for 5 days.  DAYS?? That’s insanity and more proof that Americans are into instant gratification.  Our games are really long if they go for more than say, 6 hours!  Then Simon taught us that even then, the game can end in a draw. (or as we American’s say – a “tie”)  I say “What in the hell is the point then?”  Not only do you have to buy a ticket for each day of the game, but then at the end of it there might not even be a winner!  Ah yes, it’s the “sport” of it.  Well, they can keep it.  I’ll stick to….well…I don’t really do sports much.  I spend too much money going to see Duran Duran! (and if they want to play a concert for 5 days, I’m all over that idea!)
A few of my thoughts, as if you haven’t read enough:
* He sounds good and definitely happy.  Not at all tired or frustrated unless he’s speaking of his motorcycle.  
* The one thing that struck me during the Kafe was when Simon said that the whole experience with his voice was frustrating, and even demoralizing.  Well, that statement humbled ME in return.  I’ve said over and over that this experience has changed me forever as a fan, and even as a fan of Simon’s.  I see him so much differently now, and while I’m looking forward to seeing him get back on stage and be the onstage “Simon” I know, I like the man he’s allowed us to see throughout all of this.  
* I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve noticed that more and more people are openly referring to Simon as Charley. (or is it Charlie?  Why can’t I remember these things when I need?!?)  I seem to recall reading in more than one place over the years that he reserves that name for close friends…perhaps it’s what he goes by offstage??  I really don’t know, but I never used to see anyone actually calling him that, and should a FAN ever call him that – well – we’d be killed on sight by the daggers coming from Simon’s eyes.  I follow the rules, so his name is and always will be Simon.  Besides, I like living.  Anyway, I’ve just seen his bandmates call him that, Katy referred to him that way in the Kafe today, and I just took note of it.  He’s still Simon to me.  
I think that’s it for today.  Be good humans and I’ll be back tomorrow! – R

It’s Katy Kafe time!!

I think my lucky stars must all be in alignment today…or this week/month, etc.  I probably shouldn’t waste the time to dwell on it too much, but I can’t help but feel like the winds of change have actually turned in MY direction for a brief moment.   It was just announced this morning that  Duran Duran will have special guests Kelis and Mark Ronson with them in LA for the show at The Mayan – and I read from Simon (at least I believe it was Simon – if it was John I sincerely apologize) on twitter that the show that night will be about 2 hours in length.  That is fantastic news for all of the fans!   I am so thrilled to be able to see Mark with the band, and of course knowing that Kelis is going to be there is extra exciting! (have to believe we’ll be seeing Leopard unveiled for the first time that night…)  It’s going to be a long wait until Wednesday evening!

If that all weren’t enough – which I believe it is – there was a Katy Kafe with John Taylor put up on DDM last night.  I just gave it a good listen, and I’m pretty tickled to be able to comment on one of it’s topics in the blog today.  Specifically I would like to focus on John’s thoughts regarding Twitter; primarily because he speaks directly about the connection that fans are making, both with the band (he and Simon) – and one another.

The one sentence that I found to be the most profound in everything that John mentioned on Katy Kafe was that Twitter is really giving the fans the opportunity to be more connected.  That connection gives the fans a sense of unity and power – he couldn’t have been more “right on” had he tried.  I believe that it’s the very reason that fan communities exist and thrive.  Fans strive for that connection.  They want to know they aren’t the only people on the planet that feel that certain way about whatever it is they are fans of.  The need for connection isn’t limited to only music fans – it’s everywhere.  It amplifies the enjoyment someone might receive from going and participating in shows, games, etc.  For example, I’ve always said that while shows were always fun before I really knew people in the community – the very best concerts I’ve been to (specifically in the case of Duran Duran) have been the ones that I’ve attended with friends.  I can’t imagine traveling to the UK alone to see the band, in fact, I don’t think the idea ever even entered my head until I really got involved in the community!   The interesting thing that I think John is missing, through no real fault of his own, is that this FAN connection existed before Twitter, and even before Facebook.  Message boards created that sense of community – and before that there were fanzines and even earlier – fan clubs, to a very limited extent, lit the fire in the bellies of the communities that exist today.  There is however, one real difference between the fan clubs and message boards and Twitter – and that is band involvement.  Sure, the band was somewhat involved with their fan club – they might have signed a welcome letter that was sent to new members.  They might have done an interview or two for a fanzine, or taken special photos that went out to the fan clubs, but all of that was purely static involvement.  Twitter and Facebook are entirely different animals.  They require time, although as John openly states – they shouldn’t be slaves to it.  (I hope they don’t feel as though they are, because that would completely change, if not ruin, the effect it’s having)  They require energy, and to some degree – I really believe they require some caring on the part of the band.  That emotion does make a difference.  Fans can tell when the band isn’t into it, and there’s no bigger turn off than seeing a band member look like he’s just “phoning it in” for the sake of being able to say he was there and did his duty.  When it gets to that point, they ought to just do themselves a favor and take a vacation.   I think the fans have been connected for quite a while now, but having the band take an active interest – seeing that they at least SEEM to want to connect with their fans in return, has made all of the difference.

I know that for me, and I’m just an average fan like anyone else, having the band involved has kind of taken the whole idea of being involved in the community up a notch.  Let’s be honest and fangirl-like for a second here: who amongst us ever thought in our once 12 year old heads that we’d EVER have a chance to really chat with John Taylor?  Who thought that Roger would comment about us BY NAME on his facebook wall or have Simon directly mention us in a tweet reply?   Granted, I’ve never had any of that happen yet – but that’s not really the point.  I’ve seen it happen with other fans.  I see that John takes an interest in what we think.  Simon seems to like getting some of the corniest jokes I’ve ever read from us…and Roger, well, Roger is just as sweet on Facebook as I’d hoped.  (Yeah, he’s still a favorite.  Old habits die hard.  Sue me.)  I don’t even think they have the time to read many of our replies, but the hope probably exists in all of us that at some point, they just might read what we have to say, and will comment back.  Three years ago, the best I could have hoped for was a chance meeting.  Now there are three of the four members actively seeking our involvement.  I don’t know what to say about Nick there, except that I hope at some point he feels comfortable enough to try it out.  Regardless, I have to think back to the days during Astronaut, or even Red Carpet Massacre, where it was clear that there was some discord in the masses (fans).  I think it was then that I started losing my way in the community.  I had friends, I was connected with the people I chose to be connected with, and after that, there just didn’t seem to be much left.  My friends were going to be my friends whether I loved the band and what they were doing or not.  I didn’t feel very attached to the band, and I certainly didn’t love the album enough to feel connected to that either.  The band, to me, felt very unattached to the fans.  It didn’t seem as though they really knew or cared as to what kept us together as a unified group.  It’s not just about the band and whether or not they keep going – it’s about the fans as well.  Personally, I felt so disconnected to the band, I really started questioning whether or not I still belonged in the fan community.  Perhaps I’d really outgrown my place.  I searched for that feeling, that connection – hoping that I’d feel something, ANYTHING.  As my group of friends started to dwindle – people went off in different directions as their lives moved on, I kept up hope.  It very much felt like the fan community was fading, and to be honest – I worried that time was up for the band.  Then the announcements and snippets from the new album started coming out, and then John and Simon got involved on Twitter, and at some point prior – Roger used his Facebook page more effectively.  I can’t say that the change was instant, but it’s obvious that for many fans, including myself, this has made all of the difference.

It’s not just about the music.  After 30 years of involvement with the band, they are a part of our everyday lives in many ways.  We fans feel like we know them (of course in reality we only know who they want us know!), and now it feels as though they are getting to know us in return.  The once “one-way” relationship is now “two-way”.  That, my friends, is the real difference.  What was once purely a connection between fans of a band is now a circle of relationships that includes the band.

It’s refreshing to hear that John has picked up on the importance of the one monumental benefit that Twitter provides, especially for celebrities and bands.  I know that when Twitter first started getting real press, I was very cautious about it’s purpose.  I just didn’t think it was necessary for a fan to know absolutely everything about the celebrity they were choosing to follow – nor did I feel it was that important for me to tweet about going to pick my kids up from school and so forth.  Who cares??  The trick is that it takes only but a tweet or two about things that DO matter in order to spur interest or to create a connection.  Sure, John could have chosen to tweet AT us, never bothering to reply or answer, but he really doesn’t do that.  He tries to bring us along for the ride, so to speak.  Simon, on the other hand – will sit up for hours, braving the Oscars just to tweet with fans.  Granted, he may have told us all to shut up, and he might have even fallen asleep at the computer or even tweeted that poor Kirk Douglas looked like he was talking out of his ears  (gotta love Simon’s tweets…), but he was at least trying.  Let’s face it – we fans are tough to handle at times.

I know plenty of people in the community that won’t agree with that statement.  They’ll say that the fans don’t matter, that we’re a dime a dozen, and that the band would keep going whether we’re here or not.  I call foul.  The fans DO matter, and while I’m not saying we call the shots (Not in the least, nor should we.) – my assertion is that without the fans, the band would have no real purpose, and without the band, well, there really wouldn’t be a fan base.  It’s a two way street, and in reality it’s really much more than that.  We need each other to thrive as a community.

-R