Category Archives: Nick Rhodes

August Katy Kafe with Nick!

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

Update on Nick’s absence:

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

Bloom Twins:

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

MTV Anniversary:

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

BBC Music Day:

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

Appreciation:

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

2017 Dates??:

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

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

-A

Happy Birthday to Nick Rhodes

It is that time again, isn’t it?

Today is June 8th, which means it is a very special date on the calendar,  and we allow ourselves to take a moment to celebrate National Best Friends Day!!!

Ok, I’m kidding. It’s Nick’s birthday!! Happy birthday Nicholas.  I suspect you’re spending it well in Verona Italy, where I hear it is very hot today. (Actually, I read that from a friend who visiting there from Finland, and I suspect that her idea of “hot” and mine may be quite different. But just in case, I hope you’re enjoying the lovely weather.)

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems as though with each passing year, we are celebrating these dates at a far more accelerated pace.  I would swear I just wrote one of these blogs – and I think I completely missed Roger’s birthday altogether!!  (thanks to our writing schedule)

So, since we are celebrating, I decided I would share a few of my favorite Nick videos today, so here we go!

Pressure Off

Arcadia – The Flame

Serious

[Reach Up for the] Sunrise

 

A very happy birthday to you, Nick with many wonderful and healthy years ahead!  See you in July!

-R

There are Kafes, and then there are Kafes…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

 

2015 Year End Katy Kafe with Nick Rhodes!

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

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

Favorite Music of 2015

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

Favorite Exhibits of 2015

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

About that album art…

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

2015 Highlights

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

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

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

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

2015 in a word

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

2016

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

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

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

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

I so get this.  🙂

-R

 

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

Nick Rhodes – Still Denimless?

I love seeing things get shaken up every once in a while, and this morning was no exception. Today, most people on the planet should have felt a rumbling from deep within because Nick Rhodes…yes, that Nick Rhodes, was on Twitter, answering questions from fans like he’d been on Twitter all along….

The announcement of Nick answering questions on Twitter went over like a lead balloon in the Duraniverse…and even better, people continued asking Amanda and I if we were going send in questions as well. Amanda had other things to take care of today, and so it was left to me – which is always dangerous. This morning proved no different than normal in my crazy household, and I ended up not being around for 90% of his Q&A. I did attempt to quickly send in a couple of questions, but he was finished before he could even see them, much less answer. Alas.

That said, I did see all of the questions and his answers. Rather than just be serious and boring (Nick, boring?? Is that even possible?), he took the attitude I really expected and went another, far more creative and witty route.

For example, @SweetRose1993 asked “Hi Nick, what’s your favourite place to shoot a DD video? And what’s your favourite DD single so far?”

Nick’s answer? “To shoot a video? A virtual reality floatation tank with dancing girls and a pocket universe. – NR”

Not too shabby with the wit there, Nicholas (and somehow I don’t think you’re joking).  I appreciated his wit, particularly when answering questions about doing a memoir (He answered that he just needs to dig a worm hole in between minutes) or about the health of his trusty Jupiter 8 (“I am happy to report all three are fit and well at present, however the emergency room is never too far away. – NR”) .  I especially loved his answer to a question that a fan asked about his joining Twitter (“Look for me on Wednesdays at 3am, I’ll be “my head is full of chopsticks” – NR).

Is that 3am my time, or yours, Nick??

And my most favorite, although they were all really good questions and answers )with far less “Please say hi to my mum” comments than Tumblr had the other day with John and Roger), was from @mondaymoon7609 who asked about time travel and where Nick would want to go. His reply, “The future, then I could fix a lot of things in the past. – NR” will keep me thinking for a while.

But then on second thought, maybe I really loved the question about giving Simon fashion advice…. “Only when we reach crisis point.It happened with a particularly nasty pair of crocs once. -NR”  And I did wince a little when Nick said “No. Absolutely not” to owning a pair of blue jeans.

Here’s the thing, Nick. I own enough pairs for both of us. You’re welcome. 

I had a few people ask Daily Duranie how we thought he did, and I thought he was great. He didn’t answer questions that probably couldn’t get a quick 140-character answer, and yet he did answer a fair amount of serious questions. In all fairness, I had no doubt that he’d do well. Nick is extremely quick-witted, and that works very well with an environment that can feel a little like a mass feeding frenzy. So yes, he did extremely well and I’m surprised it’s taken him this long to participate. I had to laugh because he answered a question about his favorite song off of Paper Gods by saying that on Thursdays it is “You Kill Me With Silence”, but if you’re in Australia it’s already a different song.” I sat there for a couple of seconds longer than I probably should have thinking, Wait, is it really Thursday already?!? 

(Yes, that is EXACTLY the type of week it has been.)

-R

Happy Birthday Nick!!

Nick Rhodes wanted sleep for his birthday. We wouldn’t dream of interrupting his rest, but we wanted to take a moment to wish him a very happy and healthy birthday!!  Hopefully at this very moment he is reclining comfortably on a sofa in his home, feet up…maybe even reading a book.

Yeah, I can’t see that happening either.  But it was worth a shot. Somehow I suspect that resting is one of the last things he’s done today…but we wish him happiness and health all the same.

It is nearly impossible to forget that today is in fact Nick’s birthday, because most of my friends have reposted their favorite pictures with The Controller for all to see.  It can’t be a bad Monday when Nick Rhodes is floating around Facebook with abandon!

I decided to celebrate Nick’s birthday by posting a favorite Nick Rhodes video…it’s actually an Arcadia video, but it’s one of my favorites with Nick.

And because I can’t stop myself…I’m also posting a couple more recent…

Falling Down (Extended Version) on Vevo.

 

http://http://www.vevo.com/watch/duran-duran/falling-down-(extended-version)/USSM20702942

and All You Need is Now

I do have a teensy story about All You Need is Now that sort of involves Nick. When Amanda and I went to London together in May of 2011, we found ourselves with about a weeks worth of extra time. 🙂  So instead of seeing four Duran Duran shows, we tried to take in a lot of the area. We followed a tip that took us to a studio Duran Duran used for rehearsing. The first day we went, accompanied by a dear friend who knew the area much better than Amanda and I could ever hope (we still joke about being lost for hours in Birmingham, much less London!) the band was not there, but a very kind person in the office took us to see the actual room because it was where they filmed this very video. The foil was still on the walls!  The room itself was pretty small, but to think the band had actually filmed in there…well, it wasn’t a bad five minutes of our time in London, that is for sure.  I am pretty sure I stood there completely shell-shocked because I haven’t a single photo, but it’s a very cool memory from my time over there.

Later that day, we found ourselves walking through Brompton Cemetery, which in fact is the same cemetery that Nick walks through in the video. Not only did we walk through the cemetery, but we were also caught in a tremendous downpour, complete with lightening, thunder and hail. We half-joked that we’d upset the gods by our mere presence and waited it out under an alcove.

IMG_1983

IMG_1980

 

It isn’t often that I can say I visited somewhere that the band filmed a video…so every time I see All You Need is Now with Nick walking through the cemetery, my mind immediately flashes back to running for cover to escape the massive downpour that day. Seriously though, if you ever find yourself in London, you should definitely go to see Brompton Cemetery. We have nothing quite like it in the US, and it’s  beautiful. (and probably wickedly scary at night, too!)

With images of Nicholas in my head….a VERY happy birthday to you, Mr. Rhodes!  Rest up!!!

-R

 

June Katy Kafe with Nick Rhodes!

It is June 5th and we are just DAYS away from a very special birthday for a very special someone!  Nick Rhodes, who may very well be the busiest person I know (of)…took time to chat with Katy, even after having been in the studio until 3am the night before, doing the final tweaks to the final mixes of DD14!!

As always, I have to post my disclaimer – this is not a word for word reiteration of what Nick and Katy discussed. I am only giving what I feel to be the highlights, and if I wrote a quote word for word (these are the times when I wish that I had taken shorthand…does anyone even still DO shorthand???) , then you’ll get it in quotes, otherwise I am paraphrasing…and I am DEFINITELY going to add in my own comments, probably italicized, probably in parentheses. If you are looking for a word-for-word transcription, I strongly recommend that you get yourself a membership to DDM. It’s $35.00 a year, the band is going to be touring soon and pre-sales are coming…just saying.  <winks>

DD14

Let’s be honest: this is what we’re all waiting to hear, right? We want to know where that album is, and if we will get our hands on it sometime this decade, correct?  (I’m learning…at one point I would have said “this year”…but let’s just be honest. We’re all wondering if they’re really going to come out with it in September, aren’t we? Aren’t we??) Nick tells Katy that he left the studio earlier that morning at 3am, after keeping Spike Stent up and working nearly all night on the final tweaks to the finished album that is to be mastered the following day in New York City by Ted Jensen. (So, I believe at this point…the album is either currently being mastered or has already been finished. It. Is. Done.) At the time of the Kafe, Nick was hoping to be finished with it by midnight that evening. He says he is thrilled with it and that album is quite special.

It took longer than even we in the band had anticipated, but it is worth it….it is sometimes hard to know when things are done…we judged this one well. – Nick Rhodes

Pressure Off

Nick continues to say that after two years of work, he felt the album should be special, and Katy follows to say that fans will definitely hear a bit of the single in the month of June. (It has to be said that I think ALL of us are chomping at the bit to finally hear this song the way that it was intended…and I think the efforts to get this song to the fans so that we can be among the first to hear it will not go unnoticed, because once WE hear it, we can cheer from the treetops, rooftops, etc to spread the word about how special this album is going to be…and that’s golden for ANY band that wants to take advantage of the power and energy of their fan community.)

Speaking of Pressure Off, Katy asks a bit later in the Kafe if the band is planning to play any new music for the Sonar Festival later this month. As many may recall from previous Kafe’s over the past several months (years…), when asked this question previously, certain band members have said that no, they wouldn’t be playing new music at all, explaining that it takes time to perfect the live versions and so forth. As the months to festival performances have grown closer, it would seem that the tide is changing on that thought. When asked this time, Nick said that he certainly hopes to play the new single. They are getting together to rehearse in the next couple of weeks prior to the festival and if the song can be worked out and ready, he hopes they will play it, and in time as other songs get ready, he hopes that they will add those into the set list as well. (In no way was Nick committing to playing new songs right out of the gate. Hoping to play the new single and for sure getting it ready to play are two very different things. I think that it is very well in their best interest to get the song ready to perform; but if rehearsals go roughly….it may not happen. I think fans should not expect to hear it and then be completely thrilled and surprised when they do…. RECORD it for the rest of us sad sacks!!!)

Janelle Monae and Kiesza

Katy asks when the band first noticed Janelle Monae, assuming that Nile was the one who put them in touch. Nick mentions her appearance several years back on Saturday Night Live where she did her first single, “Tightrope”. If memory serves, she was dressed in a black suit a la James Brown, with an incredibly edgy haircut that was a bit of a throwback to the golden days of Motown. (Oddly, that is the first time I saw her as well, and I’ve liked her ever since!) He cites that the band had liked her since then, and when the idea of having a female vocal came up for a song on the album, her name was mentioned and it progressed quickly from there. Incidentally, her recording on that song was the one thing that Nick was not present for on the album.

On the other hand, Nick doesn’t recall how they were introduced to Kiesza. She seems to recall working out at the same gym as Simon, but Nick didn’t seem at all sure of that story…so we’ll just assume that they met somehow along the way, and when another vocal part came up, they knew she’d be perfect.

DD14 Promotion

It’s happening!! – Nick Rhodes

While DD14 itself will hit in September (and Katy, who just HAD to mention that she really has a date for it but isn’t allowed to say…tease, tease, tease if you must!!), Nick and the rest of the band are beginning to do promotion now, starting with promotion with the festival dates in mind. Katy asks Nick if promotion is “good or fun”, and Nick replies with what I firmly believe has got to be the most “real” answer Nick has ever given.  “…I don’t know if ‘fun’ is a word I’d associate with it. It is in the ‘best interest’.”  He goes on to say that it is interesting what they (journalists and music critics) make of things and how they perceive Duran Duran.  He makes mention that it’s also interesting to see what they ask and don’t ask, and that promotion can be challenging because you’re asked the same questions over and over. He says that it’s better at the start than a year down the road…and then he goes on to talk about how they’re still asked the same questions they were asked thirty years ago and that (you) wouldn’t believe it, but they really are.  (Oh Nick. I actually would believe it…and it drives fans CRAZY. You’d think by now there’d be enough research available so that questions about the Taylor “brothers” might be properly answered…but no.) 

The “Alleged” Birthday

Interestingly enough (probably only to me…but that’s fine), Katy asked Nick twice about how he will spend his birthday…and he answered similarly both times, which tells me he’s not joking when he said he wants to sleep. Fair enough, Nicholas! Judging from the list you’ll see below, Nick is a workaholic…which is a very “not nice” way of saying that this is a man who likes to be kept busy, which apparently isn’t too terribly difficult to do!

Here are “just a few things” that are currently keeping Nick from seeking the sleep he definitely needs (I could hear his weariness towards the end of their conversation. Just when I was CONVINCED he was alien and didn’t need sleep!!!<winks>)  

Musical with John Taylor

Nick and John have been writing a musical for several years now. Believe it or not, they are almost done with the first draft but haven’t been able to even touch it this year (I suppose this kind of knocks my idea of them doing a residency in Vegas where the musical is performed each night and the band/orchestra in the pit is actually “the band” right out of the water for now, huh? Damn. Yes, that’s more dry-wit at work there.) He is hoping to pick it back up at some point, finish it and get started preparing it into a musical.

(I happen to know a really good up-and-coming choreographer for this kind of thing. She’s excellent and reasonably priced!!! By the time this musical is ready for a choreographer…she’ll even have a degree. Inquire within…because I’m her mom!)

The Bloom Twins

This is a very young electronic duo that are into “dark pop”.  The Bloom Twins are currently unsigned, but Nick is certain that a label will snap them up quick. He hasn’t been inspired to get involved with an up and coming group in a long time, so he’s enjoyed working with them.  (When I hear them, I hear hints of Lorde mixed with instrumentation from Dark Circles in parts.  You should check them out!)

His own music

Nick has been working on a series of short electronic and instrumental pieces of his own. He describes them as dark and mysterious, but doesn’t know what he’ll end up doing with them.

GeneU

He is the Creative Director, and has thoroughly enjoyed taking this skin care line from the ground up, working on everything from artwork to photography, graphic design, packaging, etc. He likes the idea of the public having a more informed choice of what products really suit them as individuals.

Photography Book

Nick has been working on finishing his own photography book, which has been an on again, off again project since he finished his exhibition – he had so many photographs that he felt would be suited to a “coffee table” type of book. Recently he met with Rory McCartney and they were able to “lock down” nearly everything for the book. As Nick aptly puts it, he doesn’t like “loose ends”.

Katy asks about a possible Interference reprint, and Nick comments  that it’s a possibility. He’s considered doing a 2nd edition because he really only likes looking forwards, but recently he looked at it and was surprised by how contemporary the photographs still look.

It is plain to see that Nick NEEDS rest…so let’s all hope he has a wonderfully blissful rest for his birthday!  Happy Birthday Nick!!

-R

Here Comes the News

While I don’t have a lot beyond Duran Duran news crumbs to share today…I’ll do what I can!!

New Gold Membership Merchandise Package at DDM

Yesterday, DuranDuranMusic, the paid fan community for Duran Duran, announced a new “Gold” package membership. At $79.99 for the year, the package includes all of the exclusives from the Silver level ($35.00 a year) below:

  • Full Access to the Duran Duran VIP community
  • Access to Presale Tickets, tour and show updates, set lists etc. when band is on tour
  • VIP Ticket Packages (including amazing seats, exclusive items) when band is on tour
  • Exclusive Content JUST for community members including a monthly band audio interview
  • Monthly Contests to win personal items, signed merch, Meet & Greets when band is on tour and more
  • FAN2FAN Features (Personalize and customize your fan site, create your own fan blogs, journals, and photo albums that you can share with other members, participate in forums, and private messaging)
  • Communicate and share with other Members

Plus the exclusive merchandise “Gold membership” bundle listed below:

  • An exclusive NEW custom designed T-shirt featuring a silver foil design
  • Logo’d lightweight, digitally powered 1800mAh Power Bank for cell phones and digital products (Note: Phone not included)
  • Custom Giant Telescoping Umbrella with new silver DD logo
  • Laser Engraved Logo’d Keychain Bottle Opener
  • Fridge magnet with new DD logo
  • Logo’d Micro Sticky Pad for those “important” notes
  • Grip “Roller Plus” Pen with DD logo
  • Reproduction of Simon’s handwritten lyrics to “Pressure Off” (Not pictured)

This brought me to a quandary. Do I wait until August, when my membership expires, or do I get it now? Truth be told, I’ve never done anything other than Silver level membership (my partner-in-crime bought gold last time, see her review.) Why now, you ask?  I wanted that umbrella. Yes, I live in So CA. Yes, I know the chances of my using it (here) are slim..but I wanted it anyway.  I also figure that chances are, I’ll have learned the lyrics to Pressure Off before the band even releases the single, with this package!  (I kid, I kid!!)

DDM clarifies that if your renewal isn’t up for several months, you can go ahead and renew now, and they’ll add another 12 months to your existing membership date – so in my case, I won’t be up for renewal until August of 2016. That seems fair, but what about the people who have already renewed this year at Silver because there wasn’t a new Gold package? You can either renew again and yes, they really will extend your membership renewal date out another 12 months, OR you can long in to DDM and there is apparently supposed to be a link you can click on to receive only the merchandise upgrade to your existing membership.

There has been a little confusion on the part of members about memberships renewed earlier this year, so don’t be afraid to ask DDM for answers to clarify; although sadly, I’ve also been told that the responses from DDM have been incredibly rude at best. That’s unfortunate given that fans are truly the site’s bread and butter, and it is just a part of customer service. I really wish the folks in charge of the fan community would just LEARN that and put it into practice, and if they can’t be bothered – hire people who WILL. It continually looks bad for the band when the people in charge of their fan club are rude to the very people the club is meant to attract: FANS.

Bottom line on renewals: they aren’t adding extra months to an existing membership, but they’re also not going to change my membership renewal date to June because I happened to renew now instead of waiting until August, either. Fair enough. Sold!  I’ll let you all know what I think of the merchandise once I receive it…hopefully I will get it faster than that 4-6 weeks mentioned, but we’ll see!

Still In The Mix

Have you been wondering what Duran Duran are up to?  Well, it turns out that they’re still working with Spike Stent in the studio, mixing the new album. I’m not sure if they are only working on Pressure Off, or if it’s all of DD14…or something else entirely, but they’re definitely working. AND…if you were wondering if Nick is still The Controller…I think this photo and the caption (from DDHQ on FB) speaks volumes.

"Spike Stent is a very patient man" - Nick Rhodes
“Spike Stent is a very patient man” – Nick Rhodes

The appearance of this photo on Facebook stirred some comments because many (including myself) had thought that the album had already been finished – including mixing – but you know, things change. We’re still closer now than we were a year ago, and surely live dates will be coming.

Along those same lines, there has been a kerfuffle of activity on Twitter today with regard to the single, “Pressure Off”.  As many may have noticed, all signs of said single have vanished from the stratosphere we know as “The Internet”.  Unless you managed to rip a copy of one of the less-than-clear files roaming YouTube and the like back in March – I doubt you’ll find hide nor hair of the song online. So, we all continue to wait in anticipation for the single to be released sometime in July. However, on a recent Katy Kafe, mention was made that perhaps maybe there would be a taste of the song for fans to hear sometime “soonish”.  Not much has been mentioned since the Kafe, but today a fan asked about the possibility of such an appearance, and they were told “Well maybe. but definitely THIS MONTH” by DDHQ.  Listen Duranies, you can take that comment however you want, and wish for whatever you’d like; but I’m going to point out that it is now June 2nd. July is less than 30 days away right now…so when they say THIS MONTH….I think we can count on hearing that single in another month, you know?

Residency?

Lastly, I’ve been catching up on my reading…and with the summer festivals nearly upon us, #Duranlive is coming. Yesterday I caught up with an interview on DTLV with John Taylor done in promotion for their upcoming performance at the Life Is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas. (Incidentally, despite the corny title, “Duran Duran is Still Hungry” the article is very good.) John discusses the idea of doing a residency in Vegas. He likes the idea of the venue building the room around them, and being able to “really experiment” with the performance.

This is something Amanda and I have been talking about for years, actually.  We would love to see them settle somewhere and do a residency. Yes, I’m aware they did one in NYC a few years back. It would be nice to have them acknowledge that the rest of the country matters – or even their OWN country for a change, don’t you agree?  No matter where they chose to do one, it may give fans an opportunity to travel, see the band for a show or three, AND see the city.  It would cut travel for the band, and maybe even give them the chance to experiment with different set lists and even entire performances.  It might even be a great way to introduce a musical written and produced by Nick Rhodes and John Taylor….just thinking “out loud” here…

DDHQ says to be on the lookout for more press now that the Summer festivals are nearly upon us, so keep those eyes open!

-R

Nick Rhodes – Year End Katy Kafe

Onward to Nick Rhodes in his year end 2014 Katy Kafe. Once again, I went for the highlights, and I feel as though I should warn everyone that in this case – Nick goes in-depth. I cover the highlights. This isn’t meant to be a word-for-word accounting, so if that is what you’re looking for, I implore you to get membership to DDM.

Nick Rhodes on Band Aid

Nick has fond, non-hungover memories of Band Aid. He remembers gathering these gigantic egos into one room without it being out of order and feels the song has held up very well for being one of the top pop songs of that era.  He’s proud of their contribution, as he should.

Nick Rhodes – favorite concert of 2014

Nick went to see Kate Bush at Hammersmith this past year. According to Nick, Kate has only toured one other time and he saw her during that tour in 1979 as well. He said that Kate still sounds great and hopes that she will tour again.  He also saw Peter Gabriel (and convinced Roger to also see him) Nick Rhodes also saw Lana Del Rey and sat with Justin Bieber at the same table that evening.

Nick Rhodes – favorite movie of 2014

Nick began by saying he hadn’t seen many films this year, but recalls Venus in Fur as being the one he enjoyed most.

Nick Rhodes – favorite album of 2014

FKA Twigs album, LP1. He loved the cover and joked that he really does judge an album by its cover. The album was inventive and different during an era where it is incredibly difficult to sound modern because everything seems to have already been done.  (My question to Nick Rhodes, if I were ever given a chance to ask would be that since it seems that everything really has already been done, what does a band do to sound modern then?)  Nick also mentioned Mark Ronson’s album, which isn’t out yet – just the single “Uptown Funk”. (but obviously some of us have the insider advantage!)

Nick Rhodes – favorite book of 2014

Nick is a huge fan of photo books. I cannot stress that enough. You could start collecting and reading photo books right this second and you could never catch up to what Nick Rhodes has seen or knows of in this genre. Simply not possible.  In that regard, he mentions several books that I will pass on here: Stephen Gill is a photographer that has put out several photo books that Nick seems to adore.  He also mentions a book named Tiergartenby Johannes Schwartz that is a photo book about food given to animals at the Moscow Zoo.  Does this sound interesting? Nick says that it probably does not – but when you look at the photos they are “startlingly attractive and horrifying” at the same time.  Nick finds these books inspiring, and is about to put out his own photo book based on his gallery showing Bei Incubai in 2015. This book will include a 7″ vinyl, a movie poster and a screen print. Nick admits this book will be very limited, (Let’s be honest with one another: if you want this book you should probably be prepared to sell body parts, your possessions and/or home to be able to afford, but don’t worry – I’m sure the book will keep you warm at night.) but it will be very interesting to see the book when it comes out.

Nick Rhodes – favorite event of 2014

Not that I needed confirmation, but Nick attends a LOT of events.  He went to a Cellini opera this year, he saw David Byrne’s Here Lies Lovea theatrical event about Imelda Marcos, and he attended far more gallery showings and museum events than I could keep track of here, including something on Matisse and another exhibition on Richard Hamilton at the Tate Modern in London. (He designed the Beatles’ White Album) Nick Rhodes is busy!!

Nick Rhodes on DD14

Once again, this is my favorite part. Nick adores the creative process because even after all of this time, it was excites him most.  (I personally think this, if nothing else, is what will keep Duran Duran going, because I don’t think Nick can give up the studio. He might be able to give up the live shows, and maybe even the band itself if it comes down to it, but I suspect we’ll continue to hear of Nick for many years to come.)  I will say that out of everyone in the band – and I really hope they see this somehow – Nick shows the most excitement for this album, and I really believe it to be genuine. Where some of them (I’ll keep them nameless but I’m looking at YOU, John Taylor…) sound very bored and tired of the process, Nick Rhodes sounds genuinely proud and energized by this project. He says that he believes this to be their strongest album since the Wedding Album. I don’t believe we should take that at all lightly, because Nick admits that he sometimes worries when he says that because in 12 months he sometimes feels differently, but this time he really feels as though they’ve “zeroed in” on what they are best at.  But what about All You Need is Now then? Nick says he was very proud of that when it came out and he is still very proud of the album, but this one just seems to focus in a little more. His “gut instinct is that they worked very hard on the songs”.  (I know many are thinking what I am right now – don’t they always?? I suspect this to be one of those things where, being an outsider to the process itself, doesn’t lend itself to understanding what Nick means. Perhaps when we hear it…..IF we hear it….) Nick followed up to explain that right now they will have 15-16 songs finished mixing by January and then they’ll need to make some decisions about the final album in early February, and then make a firm decision about finding a home for it. From the way Nick spoke, it sounded as though they have more than one label-offer to consider, which is good. Choices are good.  “It is much different from the last album”, Nick adds.  I’m unsure of exactly what is meant by that, but I’m looking forward to finding out. Someday.

Nick Rhodes on looking ahead to 2015

Obviously, Nick looks forward to getting the album out next year. “Most certainly in 2015″….although he isn’t sure when that will be. (I’m still going with Autumn at the earliest. Autumn starts in September, Duran Duran.) That said, Nick seems to think that more excitement regarding the album “cycle” (videos, promotion, etc.) will begin in February.  I really hope so. Nick also mentioned that he and John are going to be FINISHING their musical (Why doesn’t anyone ask them about this?!?!!) Nick Rhodes’ photo book will be released, and he’s looking forward to seeing continued growth for his Geneu product line.

Sounds like it could very well be a busy year!  Happy 2015, everyone!!

-R