Category Archives: Katy Krassner

July 2016 Katy Kafe with Roger!

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

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

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

Nick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does anyone in the band have any weird habits?

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

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

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

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

What drummer(s) inspired your career?

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

Would you ever consider writing your own autobiography?

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

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

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

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

-R

 

Year End 2015 Katy Kafe with Simon Le Bon!

There are some Kafes that you know right away are going to go well because everyone is in the right mood…and there are the ones when Simon is clearly tired and not really into having it right way.  Guess which category this one fit into???

As always, I listened carefully, tried to take notes (while not at all panicking about the amount of shopping, wrapping, cleaning and cooking I still need to do here before Thursday….), and compiled it all into the highlights, written here for your pleasure. Enjoy!

The Tour

I don’t know about everyone else, but by the time we’re in December, I’ve forgotten what the band did back in January or February. Turns out, they’ve done a lot this year. (Never mind putting out that little Paper Gods album…) Katy talks about the UK tour with Simon as he explains that he’s a “bit knackered”, but says that each show the UK tour got better and better, and then he mentions how the tour ended with a very small show for Warner in front of about 120 people in a small pub.  Katy makes the point that the two experiences – the War Child show (I’d completely forgotten about this, and it feels so long ago now that I’d truly thought it happened LAST year. Then again, their performance for the Lynch Foundation feels like a lifetime ago and that happened in April. Maybe it’s just me!) and the pub were like two bookends for all of the great shows, appearances, etc that happened in between. Not sure if Simon really caught on to what she was saying but…I got it, Katy!

Favorite Album of 2015

After a brief discussion, Simon settles on Tame Impala. The funny thing is that the cover Simon describes (because he can’t remember the name) is a “funny green cover.” The only thing coming close to that is their live versions album, made in 2014. I have no idea if this is what he meant – or if he’s confusing album covers, or if he really means Currents from this year. Who knows?!? (Listen people, I try…..)

Favorite Movie of 2015

Continuing on this theme…Simon’s favorite movie of 2015 is Whiplash, which actually came out in 2014. Simon doesn’t care though, because his attitude is that it’s the favorite movie he’s seen THIS year. Good on you, Simon!

As a side note – Simon and Yasmin will be celebrating their 30th anniversary on the 27th. Happy Anniversary!!

Favorite Book of 2015

Simon had absolutely no trouble answering this one, saying that Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James was by far his favorite book of the year. At 800 pages, it’s no short story, and Simon decided to listen to the audiobook of this one.  Each section of the book is written from a different prospective – in a different characters voice – so the audiobook really brought that to light.

Favorite Television of 2015

Simon mentions a few: True Detectives (with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson), Broadchurch (UK show) and the second season of Fargo.

Favorite Moment(s) of 2015

His favorite show (or part thereof) was walking out on to the stage at Red Rocks. He speaks of how this was like a spaceship  and the beginning of the whole thing for them. Then he mentions a few other moments, such as playing at the Ambassador’s mansion in the UK, the FOLD festival, having Nile come out on stage at the Hollywood Bowl, and Lindsay Lohan at the O2, calling the year “incredible” and “Busy! Very, very busy!” They talk a little bit about the upcoming shows for 2016, including the two legs of US dates and how he doesn’t get into planning the tour itself, that his job is just to show up and get onstage…but that Nick is a “micromanager” (those are HIS WORDS, not mine!) and that he likes to get into planning where and when the dates happen.

(so apparently Amanda and I have Nick to thank for having the dates work so perfectly with our schedules. Amazing. And now we just need to sell some major organs so that we’re able to get to at least some of the dates!! 😀)

The Kafe wrapped up with Simon’s hopes for 2016. He is hoping for some world stability, and then mentioned that they are taking the proceeds from the Eagles of Death Metal version of Save a Prayer and creating some sort of foundation with EODM that works for tolerance and peace through music. It sounds like a lovely way to make something positive come out of something absolutely terrible. The Kafe ended on a much more energetic note than it began, and was a great wrap-up of a very busy year

Don’t tell Simon I told you, but he’s a fan of socks and underpants as Christmas gifts. (he may have also mentioned chocolates, cigars, wine and beer!)

Can you believe we’re nearly to 2016???

-R

September Katy Kafe with Nick!

You know the band and Katy are busy when a Katy Kafe pops up in front of a bank of elevators at the Tonight Show, right??

The September Katy Kafe features none other than The Controller himself, Mr. Nick Rhodes, and while moment was short and sweet, it covered a lot of ground.

Once again (and I type this every single month so y’all should have it memorized now) – these are only what I deem the highlights. I don’t dare attempt to transcribe the entire Kafe, and so if you’re hoping to hear or read the entire script, I would highly recommend paying $35.00 for an entire YEAR of membership to duranduranmusic.com.  Thanks!!

Bestival

Katy asks how Bestival went, and Nick’s description is dry but pointed. “It was large, with lots of people.” He also mentions fire and confetti. He explains that when the band is considering a set list for a festival, “one must take into account that it is not just their audience.” So more well-known music is played, although Nick is quick to add that they did play “The Chauffeur” among other songs such as “Pressure Off” from Paper Gods.

Terminal 5

This show brought the crowd a couple of new songs off of Paper Gods: “Paper Gods” and “Danceophobia,” mentioned only after Katy mistakenly mentioned, “What Are The Chances.”…which my ears immediately took note of, because quite truthfully my heart is set on hearing that one live. So with my fingers crossed, I continued taking notes. Nick says that when they play a new song live, they go in expecting disastrous results, which did not happen this time. “Simon remembered the words, everyone seemed to remember their parts.”  And Nick is excited and ready to play the new material. They are hoping to add another new song by the Denver Red Rocks show, and by the British shows in November they are hoping for one or two more. This leads into a discussion of the song, “Too Much Information” being included in the set list at this show.  According to Nick, he and John had been wanting to do it as a slightly punkier version (which immediately makes MY ears perk up – that song is CRYING for some punk!). Nick continues by explaining that they sped up the song just a bit (Again, the mere notion gets my brain going…PLEASE play this at the Hollywood Bowl!) and finishes by saying that the song is among Simon’s best lyrics and is very prophetic…which it is. The song was recorded back in 1993 (I looked this up) and yet it “fits well with the currently material.” Nick also mentions that the band really enjoyed playing “Planet Earth” at the show, explaining that Ozzie Henderson, his tech, just finished sampling the original string synthesizers used on the original version for the album – so it is completely identical.

Baseball caps and denim

Katy mentions that Nick wore a baseball cap for the sound check at the Tonight Show and asks if denim couldn’t be far behind. With what I imagine to be a wry grin, Nick tells Katy to bite her tongue. He explains that while yes, he does wear baseball caps from time to time, that particular one is special because it is from Graceland. “You can only wear baseball caps with irony, Kathryn.”

Paper Gods

Naturally Nick is excited to have the album out and “give it a fighting chance to be heard”. While slightly less-than-enthusiastic about the possible reception – rest assured it is not due to the album itself; instead, recognize the sheer magnitude of what the album is up against these days – there is SO MUCH out there, it is easy to get left to the side. “TV shows,” Nick explains, “still have a way of circumventing.”  The album is starting to get some attention, and let’s hope that the momentum continues to build.

As I explained, the Kafe was short, but definitely covered a lot!  Until next time…

-R

August Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor

We love it when Duran Duran Appreciation Day falls in such a way that we not only get a brand new song (Paper Gods…check out our review here!) but also a Katy Kafe, this time with none other than Roger Taylor!

As always, I admonish that these are simply my highlights. This is not a word-for-word transcription (My salary grade isn’t high enough for that!), and if you really wish to hear the full Kafe, I strongly recommend getting your membership to duranduranmusic.com.  TOUR TIME IS COMING!!!

Roger on Duran Duran Appreciation Day

Katy begins the Kafe asking Roger if he is aware that it is Duran Duran Appreciation Day. I always worry that these, and questions like it, are somewhat loaded for the band because you know, if they forget or say no…it doesn’t exactly speak positively about their interest…and nobody wants that. But, to my relief, Roger was well-aware (maybe he’s on the computer more than I realize??).   He continues by saying that if someone had told him back in the late seventies that he would be talking about Duran Duran Appreciation Day in 2015, he’d have thought they were crazy.  (Us too, Roger…us too! I kid, but truly – who’d have ever thought?!?) 

Roger on Family and Touring

Katy asks about his youngest and whether he knows that Daddy is in Duran Duran. Roger explains that Julian knows that Daddy is a drummer, and that the other night “the Manchester show” (AKA Diamond in the Mind to the rest of us!) was on TV. (As a quick aside: I obviously need to move to England where there is quality programming. I dare DREAM of the day that we get Diamond in the Mind or Sing Blue Silver on an actual TV channel!!!) Julian apparently recognized Roger behind the drums and  ran to the TV saying “Daddy!” (Cue “awwwws”…) He also knows that Daddy goes to work a lot and then comes home, and they speak briefly about touring and how it is difficult with family, so they tour for a few weeks and then go home.

Roger also explains that Julian has a Spongebob Squarepants drum set, but that you just never know what a child will decide to embrace as a talent or skill. Roger’s parents were nervous when he became a drummer and wanted to be in a band, but ultimately encouraged him…which is similar to how Roger has raised his older children. He helped guide them but he explains that he was never the kind of parent that would insist that they practice (their skill) for hours on end.

Roger on Summer shows

FOLD Festival

Calling the show “fantastic”, Roger talks about Nile jamming with them and having Janelle Monae join them on stage. They had only a quick rehearsal with her before the show, and Roger didn’t really get to see much of her on the stage itself during the show, but said she sounded great. Apparently, Katy likes to keep the rumor mill spinning because she pointedly mentioned that she’d heard “rumors” that Janelle might be joining the band onstage again…and that’s not the only notable name that may be on stage with them for future shows.  Read on…

Capitol Theatre

The band loved playing this show outside of NYC because in Roger’s words, it was a “real audience”. They’d played a few festivals, but this was an audience of diehards, which he enjoyed. Katy asked if he could really see anyone from behind his drum set, and much to the disappointment of Roger Girls everywhere – he really can’t see much beyond the first two or three rows, and even then he is “too focused” on what he’s doing. He joked that even after forty years, he’s has to concentrate on playing with two hands (yes, he really does need two hands for his…you KNOW you were thinking it!!) and two feet.  He said that he has “very little chance to take it in”.   Katy tries to stop the hearts of all Roger fans breaking by asking a follow-up about after the show when he stands up and comes to the front of the stage.  Animatedly, Roger exclaims that it’s amazing. He tends to recognize familiar faces, and then he has to get down to the business of deciding which fan(s) will go home with a particularly special souvenir – a drumstick or two.

Roger on Drumsticks

Here’s the secret straight from the Drum God himself: bring a sign. (When every single lady in the front row brings a sign asking for sticks to the next set of shows, I think Roger knows exactly who to blame here….and it’s not me!!) Roger figures that if you’ve gone to the trouble of making a sign, then you must really want one. Then he says something that strikes a particularly notable chord for me – he USED to chuck his drumsticks into the crowd, but sometime back (I have a story on this below) he stopped doing it because it can cause an unpleasant scene.

I had made a special sign for the show at the Voodoo Festival in New Orleans in 2006. Roger saw it and asked if I wanted them. (Oh you betcha!!) So he threw one straight at me (I was back about 3 rows maybe?). All was fine, I could have grabbed it without trouble at all, but the guy next to me, who was very big AND very tall grabbed it out of the air before I could even get it, and gave it to his wife. Roger saw the whole thing, mouthed “I’m sorry” to me, and I just smiled because you know – what was I going to do? It was just a drumstick, not my memory of the show!  I haven’t seen Roger throw a drumstick at a show I’ve been at since. I can’t blame him, although I hope he knows I wasn’t mad. It wasn’t his fault at all. 

Paper Gods

Katy asks Roger what Paper Gods means to him, personally.  Roger laughs and says, “I KNEW you were going to ask me that!”  He begins by saying that he thinks it’s one of those songs where people can apply their own meanings. Roger thinks the song stands for consumerism and how meaningless it all really is. Katy says that it is one of her favorites off of the album and tells Roger that the song is being released that very day for Duran Duran Appreciation Day, which surprises him (Not that I’m surprised, but clearly the band is not really up-to-date on DDAD treats for fans). He comments that the song is quite a journey and that it’s very conceptual, adding that they weren’t afraid of breaking the rules or felt confined. But then Roger says something that IS surprising: he says that it isn’t necessarily the best song on the album but a strong one. Katy picks up on this and asks him to name some of his personal favorites on the album. He names You Kill Me With Silence, saying that it has a wonderful chorus, and is different from normal Duran Duran. He follows that up with What are the Chances?, saying that it’s a big Duran Duran ballad; and lastly, Danceophobia because he thinks it will be fun to play live. Of course, the mention of Danceophobia cues Roger to mention that Lindsay Lohan is on that song. “Everyone asks about Linsday!”  Naturally, “everyone”, as Roger puts it, is the media. But isn’t that what they wanted? She’s a big name that grabs attention, even if it’s not necessarily a name that fans necessarily enjoy hearing associated with Duran Duran. Watch out New York or London fans, because Katy lets it slip that she’s heard rumors indicating perhaps Lindsay might join the band on stage for a show in one of those places….

2016

Interestingly enough, Roger didn’t know about shows for next year. This would indicate that perhaps nothing has been decided yet.  “I’m sure offers will come in and we’ll be able to go and play places.”

We certainly hope so!!!

 

-R

May Katy Kafe Bonus with Simon LeBon!

Just when you’re thinking it’s safe to go run errands…Katy surprises us all with a bonus Katy Kafe!  Apparently Simon was so chatty during Katy’s anniversary chat, they kept the “tape” rolling, and off comes this fun, informative and even educational Kafe with Simon! I picked out the highlights to share, enjoy!

Coffee, Coffee and More Coffee!

Simon has become quite the coffee drinker, and he likes it black. As many might be aware, recently Simon began a fitness regime. He wanted to lose some weight (he’s lost quite a bit!!) and just get fit for the upcoming album release/tour/etc. His program required that he cut out dairy, and Simon cannot drink tea without dairy. So, he tried coffee…and he loves it. He loves coffee so much that he drinks six to eight cups a day!  He explains, much to my relief, that he dilutes the French press coffee a bit because he prefers it weaker than say, the espresso blend that Starbucks and similar coffee shops prepare.  To myself, I imagined Simon on the fully-leaded Starbucks espresso, and I was tired just trying to keep up!  He loves a particular brand of coffee called Cru Kafe and he went into particularly great detail about how the coffee smells when it is freshly ground. Katy, on the other hand – not a coffee drinker at all.  She can’t stand the stuff.

This led into a great discussion on how Simon feels that this program has re-educated his taste buds to prefer less “rich” food. He talks about how he enjoys salad and now craves green, raw vegetables.  I’m eating a kale salad as I’m writing this (I too am preparing for any and all upcoming gigs and tours, you see…) and I have to wonder what in the hell Simon was eating BEFORE the program.  He talked a bit about wanting to eat cleaner and have a simpler digestion while on tour.  I thought about how vodka might fill that bill.  (for me…for me….) It’s clear. It’s clean…and I am the (self-proclaimed) Patron Goddess of Vodka.

moving on…

I saw Simon in early April and he looked very trim. I’ve seen the recent ads he did for that wildlife campaign, and he looks fantastic. I’ve got work of my own to do to keep up!!

The Summer of Festivals

That’s what I’m dubbing this summer. Katy asked what Simon might be looking forward to for these festivals and he said they would not play a “hell of a lot” from the new album. He thought that if there were a single out they’d play that (so that’s a little different from what John had said previously – we’ll take a single!!). Katy asked how long it takes to put together a set list, and Simon said that he really wasn’t the “list maker”….apparently John and Nick share that duty. John is fairly obsessive about it, noting what songs create what type of mood, etc. Simon likes the idea of a three-act-play model. He doesn’t go into detail, but basically the idea is to break the setlist into parts: the set-up, the confrontation, and the conclusion.  However, Simon is more interested in what he can sing properly. For example, one of Simon’s challenges with their music is that if one song, such as Girl Panic, is in a high, full-out range…it is very difficult if not impossible for him to follow that with a song that is meant to be sung low, such as Come Undone. So he looks at their set lists with that in mind. It’s a little insight…

Simon would love to sing Too Late Marlene in a setlist, but according to him, they’ve tried it before and have always backed away from doing it because perhaps it didn’t sound right. He feels they are much better musicians now and can play it properly – it’s a hidden, overlooked gem in their music because of the fact it doesn’t have a huge hook. Simon feels it would go well with Serious. Do we agree?  (I do!) He was very, very quick to say that they won’t be doing Too Late Marlene this tour…but it’s something he’d like to try in the future.

 

That’s about it from the Kafe this time around. The extended Coffee Kafe was a fun surprise to round out the month of May! Looking forward to next month!!

-R

 

 

Happy Anniversary Katy! (with Simon!)

I really and truly don’t even know where to start with the highlights from this Kafe. If I could somehow put it all into a frame and hang it on my wall forever and ever, I would. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these Kafes – probably even more so than the regular ones. (sorry Katy, I mean it in the kindest possible way, I really do!!) I’ll get to why in a minute. I might be the only one out there that feels this way, but I don’t care.  I will also disclose here and now that I’ve never actually been in tears due to a Katy Kafe before, much less due something Simon has said…until now.

I’m going to assume it’s really NOT my hormones on overdrive this morning, although I won’t lie, it’s been quite a day so far. (I went to school with my youngest this morning for Muffins with Mom. I know this has nothing to do with Duran Duran but she is the sweetest kid in the entire universe and I am so lucky to call her my daughter. So there you go. Mom-tears.) Moving along…

To begin with, I don’t know that I ever truly realized just how close Katy and the band really are. Yes, I know they’ve worked together for a long time, but somehow I don’t think that always comes through in the Kafes or the work she does. But when you hear her speak with Simon, you can really feel the warmth between them. Sure, she’s lucky because she works with the band we’ve all been rather fond of since we were babies…I know that’s the way many feel and yeah, it’s a given but let’s get PAST that for a second.  She’s very lucky to have found a family within. I know a lot of people who worked for the same company nearly all of their lives and don’t have the same sort of relationships with their coworkers (or bosses!)…so there’s something to be said there for both Katy and those Duran Duran guys. 🙂 I think it was incredibly nice of Katy to include all of us in on her special time with the band, because really, she didn’t have to. She could have celebrated her anniversary with the band privately and never done a thing…and really, how many of us would have even taken a second to figure out how long she’s been with the band? I venture to guess not many because what she does for them is just taken for granted. We don’t think about how it all happens, we only know that we want and need what we want and need, and if it’s not perfect, we’re pissed. I’m super glad she shared, and that’s not me gushing, it’s me being honest and thankful.

There were a lot of little tidbits they shared (I for one cannot wait to hear the Simon “Alabama Slammer” story. I just hope she doesn’t wait 20 years to share!), such as the first time she met the band at the St. Regis and Simon chucked a water bottle across the room to her and she caught it, to which Simon announced that he liked her. I can envision that happening…and I can envision myself missing the bottle, too.

They talked about 9/11 and how the band was meeting with Miles Copeland at his house. They were apparently unaware of the planes hitting the WTC until they got there and Miles said that they couldn’t talk, and there they watched the second plane hit the building. Katy had emailed them, and Simon returned the email, telling Katy to “keep her wits about her”.  Truer words couldn’t have been said. Our world really did completely change that day, didn’t it? I don’t live in New York, I didn’t have family anywhere near there…but there are still many, many times when I feel like I don’t completely recognize the world these days. Sometimes not at all.

They also talked about Katy’s highlights, which she’s mentioned with each band member, and that brought them to talking about the new album. I appreciated this section the most, and believe it or not – it wasn’t the memories of 9/11 that brought me to tears. No, it was this part.  First of all, Katy says that it’s “a Duran Duran album, but it’s a fucking great Duran Duran album”.  Simon agrees, and then they start to explain that this isn’t an album just for the fans. As you might imagine, that sentence is unsettling to me. But I try to listen with an open mind, after all, sometimes what is communicated in words isn’t really what is meant. Simon continues by saying that what he means, is that this album is meant for MORE than just the fans. It has a much wider appeal than that. Now while it’s easy to get our ire up, wondering if the fans just aren’t “enough”…. I think we have to understand that this isn’t a band that just wants to sit back in a corner and not continue to grow.  They want to grow their appeal. That isn’t a bad thing, and although I haven’t heard a single (entire) song from this album yet, I can’t wait to be able to say I love it and continue to work very, very hard to keep this fandom going and growing. They really WANT fans to love the album, and then they want us to take to the rooftops and draw others in.

It’s in this moment that I look back on the time in between albums and it doesn’t feel quite so long, and sometimes I feel like Amanda and I get it completely wrong…but we’re on the right track.

Simon speaks directly to the fans in this Kafe, explaining that we’re as much a part of that band as they are (cue tears from me), and that he wants us to own this next album and get it out there.  Katy agrees, saying that the fans she interacts with already feel that way, that they have a tangible sense of ownership with Duran Duran. It’s true. There are so many out there that really DO have a positive sense of ownership regarding the band. It’s also a major double-edged sword at times. We think we know best. We really don’t because we only know what it is like to be fans. It’s a problem, but I suppose it’s a good problem to have. We just love the band – we’ve loved them so long that it’s difficult to separate them from us. My memories are entwined with their music and even with them as people. It’s messy, it’s lovely, and it’s FAMILY.

Katy talks to Simon about how he keeps up the facade that he’s got his head in the clouds, and yet she claims he doesn’t miss a thing. Ever.  I also noticed that when he talked about the line up of the band when Katy first met him – he referred to “Simon” in the 3rd person. This is all starting to make much more sense to me now…It’s funny because now that the word is out, I’m not so sure he’s gonna be able to keep up that act, but hey – I’ll play along. Thanks for not spitting on us in Biloxi, Simon….I don’t think I’ve ever thanked you for backing up instead of showering us…. 😀 and thanks for taking a picture with us in LA, too. You’re the one band member I never, ever thought I’d actually have a photo with, so it’s special.

What am I missing? Ah yes, they talked a teensy bit about shows this summer, and in doing so – Simon explains that this is the “Information age” and that information is valuable. Agreed. If he were to give out information about what things, especially “Big” things that might soon to be announced for the US (no pun intended!!), it would mess up the promotion, marketing, etc. (my apologies for paraphrasing) I’m not going to chastise him for not telling us when and where. I can’t. I get it. Things happen for a reason, and it’s not my job to ruin it for them. In fact, I think it’s the opposite, isn’t it?  So he announces the shows that have already been announced, and leaves us all hanging on the footnote that something big is coming for the US.

I can’t wait.

So while this was a celebration of Katy’s time with the band – it was also a little bit of a celebration for all of us. It takes all of us to keep this engine running and the wheels moving, and I hope we all take Simon’s words to heart (do yourself a favor and get your DDM membership so that you can listen to this Kafe yourself!) Once again, there is no way on this earth that I would want Katy’s job – I’m not that nice, definitely not that patient, and I really like writing anyway, but I’m awfully glad we have her around to “herd the cats” when necessary. Congratulations and a VERY happy anniversary (Happy Mothers Day too!) Katy!

-R

Happy Anniversary Katy! (with John)

Today’s Katy Kafe brings John Taylor in to “grill” Katy on her past with the band. Out of all four band members, John always seems the most introspective to me, and his Kafe didn’t disappoint.

It seems as though John is shocked by the very idea that 1995 was twenty years ago. I know how that feels, and I’m guessing the rest of our readers do as well.

John asks Katy about her first encounter with the band and she responds saying that she was “really really nervous” and had big hair. John immediately asks if she had been a fan of Duran Duran. Katy answers in the affirmative, saying that she remembers receiving  Def Leppard and Seven and the Ragged Tiger as gifts one year. John responds by saying, “But it wasn’t like you were really going to be meeting your idols that day.”  I get his point here.  It’s one thing to like a band, it is entirely another to consider them your idols. I appreciate that John seems to recognize the difference, and it is a question that I would have loved to ask Katy myself!  Katy says that she “really liked them”.  I had a lot of friends like that in high school. There’s liking them and being excited to see them at a show or something; and then there’s committing to writing a daily blog about them (for zero pay) thirty years later.  I think that might be the difference there, am I right?

There was a little discussion over the history of cell phones.  I have to tell John that yes, cell phones really were around in 1995. I had my first cell phone in November of 1994, actually. It was a large brick from LA Cellular that I had to carry around with me for work while I did door-to-door cold calling for a temporary service. (doesn’t that sound joyous?)  I remember it was super expensive to really use, and while my boss, Mr. Grinch (not his name but appropriate) insisted that I carry the phone – he also told me that if I ever used it, emergency or not, that I would be paying for it. Nice guy, that Mr. Grinch.

John asks her why she’s still around. A fair question, really, because he surmises that surely that most everyone else has since moved on. She talks a lot about it being a friendship, and how even back during the time of the reunion, she was really the only holdover – they didn’t even have a manager then, they were still speaking to managers. She says she is a big fan of them as people, and that she’s worked for several labels – and she couldn’t continue working for them if she didn’t like them as people.

John talks about how relationships for him are about trust, and that’s not always easy. Then he speaks of how the four guys go in and out of friendships, and that she is able to kind of go along and make sense of it all and maintain relationships with each and every member of the band. (I’m completely paraphrasing because I’m listening to the Kafe as I type – if you want to hear his answers word for word, go get your DDM membership!)  This is where it gets interesting. Katy thanks him, and then says that she’s worked with “such jerks” over the years (I have absolutely no doubt about this whatsoever), and that yes, they do have artistic temperaments and she gets that…but that none of them…”none of the current band members, let me say, have ever been disrespectful to me…” I can’t help but notice the “current band members” comment, and of course my imagination is off and running, but I’m not going to even guess what or whom she might mean.

She talks about how if she’s gotten chastised in the past, it was deserved, and that the band has allowed her to fix her mistakes if she’s messed up. John responds saying that he thinks when you’ve made an error at work it’s best to just come clean, which turns this Katy Kafe into a good working lesson for all…let’s face it, when you’ve worked with the same people for twenty or thirty years, it’s not because you’re difficult to work with. So I tuck that little nugget of wisdom into my head for later.

John asks Katy about some highlights, to which Katy says that there have been a lot. She gushes about the new album, saying that she is really excited about the new album because “it’s going to reach an audience that hasn’t been reached before”.  Then she talks about flying on what we like to call Duran Duran 1, Live Earth, and the Video Vanguard Award from MTV.

She finishes the Kafe with a memory of John. They had a party for Thank You in the Flatiron District in NYC, and John turned around and gently told Katy that she should leave her green Keroppi backpack in the car. After hearing about this backpack, I had to look it up. My Sanrio memory goes as far as Hello Kitty and the Twin Stars…I had kind of forgotten about the frog. Perhaps her backpack looked a little something like this:

01612-201112.a.zoom

So John ever so kindly told her to leave it in the car, saving both himself and Katy from a little hard judgment from the masses, I guess.  Nick apparently continued to tell her to “get rid of that backpack”…and so the beloved Keroppi backpack vanished not long after.  I don’t know Katy’s age, I’m guessing she’s younger than I am, and I’m 44, so in April of 1995 I would have been 24 (and just married).  I did some remarkably “green” things as well back then. Didn’t we all?  It’s nice of Katy to share them with us though – I’d never tell about the time my then boss (who was ridiculously mean) made me cry in our office because I had the nerve to joke around with one of my employees about getting to work the next day.  He berated me in front of clients and said I was completely unprofessional. (I was a staffing manager/sales associate for a temporary service at the time…and I probably WAS unprofessional.  Who knew?!?)  😉  It happens, and John was probably a lot nicer than Mr. Grinch, my boss!

It’s gotta be said though – I like the backpack.  🙂

-R

 

 

 

 

Happy Anniversary Katy! (With Roger)

Today’s Katy Kafe features Roger!  Roger loves the word “incredible” (oh, I just like to tease…) and he does think it’s incredible that Katy has been with the band so long.  And it is…she has seen a lot over the past twenty years. Katy remembers that Roger had come in to do the Perfect Day video but that she didn’t meet him, and they quickly skip down memory lane, recalling that for a while, Katy was only working with Simon, Nick and Warren. Then the reunion happened, and Nick set up a phone call with Roger and Andy because Katy was very nervous about working with them since she didn’t know them. She says that Roger was very nice, and that she was struck by how funny Roger was, because that wasn’t something she expected.

Curiously, I think many fans (including myself) don’t really know how funny Roger is. He’s always been characterized as the “quiet one”, and Katy expands upon this, trying to explain that she thought he’d be shy and maybe a bit “Howard Hughes-like”. Roger follows up saying that she probably thought he was going to be weird, quiet, anti-social, etc, and that other people have told him that as well. Without getting too far off topic here, the reality is – I think a LOT of fans thought that about him at one point or another. Let’s face it, when Roger left the band, rumors circulated about him up until the time he returned. I heard every sort of sad story about him: “he went crazy and had to be hospitalized (in a mental hospital)” to “He’s a recluse”….and beyond. Who knew what was really true?  Certainly not fans. They don’t tell us those things, you see. Couple all that with the comments the media would say about Roger, calling him “brooding” and “super shy”…and need I remind anyone about the ITSISK video where, when it’s Roger’s turn to look into the camera and say “Please please tell me now”…..Roger kind of mumbles the words and looks away, and you’ve got the basis for lots and lots of conjecture over the years.

However, Katy tells us that Roger has a sense of humor. I’ll bet he is as sarcastic and dry as they get…I wish we’d see that side of him more often. Even in Kafe’s, I don’t hear much of Roger’s humor, whether that’s due to being in the Kafe or because there is nothing funny about having to talk about your job constantly.  (Duran Duran must be very serious business!) Once again, I enjoy the banter, you can tell there is a lot of admiration, love and friendship there, which is nice.

I can’t remember a lot from the Ask Katy’s over the years, but I do remember a series of blogs that Katy did – she described how it was working with each member, and she shared a little bit about them that we might not really see as fans. I felt at the time that they were some of the most enjoyable things I’ve read about the band, and that’s exactly how these Kafe’s, with Katy speaking with each member about her history with the band, tend to feel.  Incredible, right?  😉

-R

 

Happy Anniversary Katy (with Nick)!

I don’t know about anybody else out there, but I’m convinced that time is going much faster now than it did when I was eleven. Just recently, Katy Krassner (Duran Duran’s very own Ask Katy!) announced that she has been working with the band now for twenty years, when she started working with them at the age of 12. (See, I completely get this math because I was about that same age when I got married….right?!?) My initial reaction was that she clearly has miscounted by at least a decade, but it turns out that yes, she really has been around that long. By Nick’s own account, Katy is their longest employee, and  I can’t remember a time when Katy was not a part of the Duran Duran family.  Say what you will, she’s been around for a lot longer than some of us have been loyal…myself included. (there were those dark days between about 1995 and 2000 when I was too busy getting  married, moving, and having my first two babies to know what was going on!)

For the Katy Kafe’s this month, each of the band members are going to ask Katy about her time with the band, beginning with Nick. What is interesting about Nick and Katy is that you can hear the admiration each of them have for the other – in fact Nick is Katy’s son’s Godparent. I listened and found myself smiling at their memories of Lemonheads and Alexander the Grape in dressing rooms (Katy is a candy girl!), the first time that Katy met Nick – he was doing some sort of a call-in for college radio stations and Katy was very nervous about meeting him (apparently it worked out!), to Nick & Co giving Katy fashion advice.  I laughed when she explained how each of them came out telling her to ditch the vest she was wearing only to have Simon then come out and tell her he loved it.  (Of course he did, he’s Simon!!) There were stories about a particular yellow suit that Nick admitted burning and not replacing (I honestly didn’t hear who owned this suit because I was “parenting” in that particular moment, but I’m betting it was Simon….), and recollections of Katy’s curly hair (which is now straight, thanks to Nick introducing her to the art of getting it straightened!). Everybody wants Duran Duran-centric Kafe’s, but honestly I really liked hearing Nick’s memories of Katy.

While the stories and memories are funny, it was the warmth with which they speak to one another that I loved most. As fans we really have little idea about all the behind the scenes work that goes into the band, and it’s not just the studio work I’m meaning. It really does take a village to make it all work, and I think it’s a testament to Katy, but also the band themselves, to hear of people who had worked for them long ago coming back to do more, whether we’re talking about Nile Rodgers…Spike Stent….Dom Brown…Anna Ross…or Andrew Day. (who is currently working with the band to revamp/redesign their website to coincide with the new album- he worked on the original site as a graphical designer. As an aside, I am excited to hear that perhaps a new website in general is on the horizon for the band. I am on dd.com nearly every day and trust me, it is WAY WAY WAY OVERDUE!) In the very little work I’ve done with bands before, I’ve always found it to be a virtual revolving door of people as albums come and go. With Duran Duran that doesn’t seem to be the case, and it’s nice to see that it really is a little like a family.

I know a lot of people think they’d love Katy’s job. I also know a lot of people find fault with things every now and then. Heck, even I find things that could be improved. All of that said, I want to take a second and wish Katy a very Happy Anniversary!! Not only do I NOT want your job…I am sure I couldn’t do it nearly as well. (I’ve very little patience, you see.) Twenty years doing anything is quite an accomplishment, and to think you’ve worked for one band for that long is amazing. Cheers to you and I can’t wait to hear your Kafes with the rest of the band this month!

-R

April Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor!

It’s that time again!  It is April, and that means Roger Taylor came to visit the Katy Kafe!  As always, I listened, took thorough notes, and will break down the highlights, and sprinkle a little opinion of my own throughout. This is definitely not the entire Kafe rewritten word for word, and if you want to hear the entire episode in its entirety, I encourage you to get your DDM membership – tour time is coming!!

Roger Taylor on the Record Deal with Warner Bros

The record deal with Warner is a “global” or “worldwide” deal, meaning that promotion for this album should not be a problem…and we will see how that works in the months ahead.  Roger confides that as of a month ago, they did not have a deal in the works. Simon and John took the album to Warner Bros, (could this have been part of that trip to LA around the time of the Grammys?) and played them some of it. The label said that they wanted to sign them immediately, which almost sounds too good to be true in this day and age. Lots of bands do get record deals these days, but very, very few get worldwide deals…and even fewer are “older” bands such as Duran Duran. Fans should probably grab onto that little tidbit and hold it for all it is worth.

…It makes us feel gratified. Almost like starting out. Roger continues, saying “Simon says DD are like cockroaches. No matter how many times you stamp on them and kill them they just keep coming back.”

Could this really be Duran Duran rising from the ashes once again like a Phoenix? (Katy’s much nicer, much more triumphant analogy from the band!) We’ve all seen Duran Duran change and evolve as albums and labels have come and gone, and as Katy says “You can’t ever count out Duran Duran.”  Katy mentioned that labels really do not do “listening parties” for artists any longer (referring to the party done at Warner Bros for Duran Duran last week), but WB has rolled out the red carpet for our band. Roger elaborates, saying “We’ve not had that much excitement in a building since the early days.”  I could definitely since the excitement in his voice as he spoke of the deal, and the party where Pressure Off was unveiled to their team at Warner. Roger tells Katy that the song really grabbed them, and so John went back in and played them a few more off of the album to enthusiastic response. This is a band that is comfortable being treated like royalty. I have no doubt that the treatment they’ve been receiving from Warner Bros has felt like a wonderful welcome and it probably does quite a bit to validate. Duran Duran has not had the same measurable levels of success that they once enjoyed in many years, and I can’t really know what it was like to return to the studio after the All You Need is Now tour. Were they apprehensive about the future? Were they unsure of how to proceed? Were they growing tired of the process? Judging purely from the Katy Kafe’s we’ve heard in the past three years – I’d have to say yes. I think all of those things hold true to some limited degree if they were being honest (and human).  I would imagine that for the band, this is like returning to what they know and loved, and it gives them hope for the success of this album, and I won’t fault them for that. I can only hope that some of the humility they have acquired along the way will remain intact.

Roger Taylor on the album and Pressure Off

Pressure Off was produced by Mark Ronson and features Janelle Monáe. Nile did the vocal production, and he also played on the song. Nile provided the guitar riff that was the inspiration for the rest of the song, and Roger marvels at Nile’s energy.

there are still a few unannounced surprises on this album, including a BIG one, whose first name begins with “B”.

The idea itself came very quickly. Janelle’s part was done in LA with Simon, and John was also present. Roger commented that he wasn’t necessarily happy that the San Francisco radio people had posted some of the song because of the “large amount of production work” that had been done on the album – you can’t hear most of that in the snippets found online. I would agree that there is a ton of background noise and that makes it very hard to really know what the song sounds like. That said, I hope the band knows that the reactions that I have seen to the song have been HUGELY positive so far. I am sure that once the song is made public, the excitement level within the fan community will only continue to grow. The single will be out “soonish” (I have actually been told May by people at Warner Bros).

As for the album in its entirety, we all know that DDHQ has been incredibly tight-lipped (ridiculously so at this point, in my opinion.), and as such…they know the name of the album but it “hasn’t been released yet.” The album has taken the better part of the past three years to write, record and mix, but Nick (We don’t call him The Controller for nothing!) wanted the band to take as long as they needed to make a great record.

“…it was time to not rush and make a great record” – Roger

Roger reminds us that even two years ago he felt the album was nearing completion, but that they had to go through the “pain barrier”. They had to step back and take their time with it, and the result is an album that Roger feels is the best of the four he has done with the band since his return. He realizes that many people say their latest record is the best one, but that even as he’s had others listen to the work, the consensus is that this new album is better than the last. I suppose that in time, we will all be able to weigh-in with our own feelings on that topic. The album is still set to drop in September with no firm date given just yet.

Roger Taylor on Summer Festivals

Will the band be playing new tracks at the festivals this summer?  According to John, he had said no – that he felt like they wouldn’t be unveiling new material. Roger seems to feel similarly, saying that they want to give people the chance to hear the record as intended first. However, Roger says that certainly by September they will be playing the new material. As a fan, I still question the decision of playing festivals – where there are literally going to be thousands of people who are likely not diehard fans in attendance – and yet not introducing these people to new Duran Duran. I’m constantly reminded that marketing is about making people aware. People who are already counted as “sales” don’t matter, it’s about getting the people who are not already in that “sales” column (aka “NOT fans”) moved over there. Playing festivals should really be about marketing to and educating an audience that may not already be Duran Duran fans about their new music. Get the music heard by as many new people as possible, don’t you think? This my friends, is why I am not in the music industry. It makes no sense to me.

Roger continues by saying that he’s excited to start playing the new music, but laments that the process in getting the music translated to the live show will be difficult. He states that the album has so much technology on it, that it will be a task to make it all happen.

Roger closes the Kafe by saying he’s just glad to be out of the studio! His birthday is of course later in the month, and he is thinking he’s going to keep this one quiet – probably a wise choice given that in a matter of weeks, Duran Duran will be hitting the road once again!

-R