Category Archives: Roger Taylor

Duran Duran without a drummer?! Roger Taylor leaves the band in 1986.

Nearly every Duran Duran fan I know has a favorite. It is one of the first questions we asked one another when we met, as though it’s some sort of way to identify one another. “Oh, that’s Suzie—she’s a Simon-girl.”

Well, my favorite original band member is Roger. My friend Lori believes it’s like imprinting, once you pick a favorite – that is it, he’s your favorite for life and it isn’t as though you really have a choice. It just happens. I can’t really say for certain that is the case, but I can tell you that my “favorite” came about in exactly that way. I saw him in a picture or on a video, and that was that. I really liked that within my group of friends, I was the only Roger-girl, and I didn’t have to “share” him, even if that meant I was only having to share pinups or posters out of the magazines we’d look through during breaks and lunch at school!

It was a happy existence, right up to when the Sing Blue Silver tour finished and I stopped really hearing much about Duran Duran for a while. I stopped seeing as many articles about them in the teen magazines, and instead heard little blurbs about how there was Arcadia, and Power Station…and then I saw Live Aid, and then nothing. By then, rumors were really circulating that Duran Duran was done or that some of the members were quitting. I didn’t really know what to believe, but I knew I didn’t like what I was hearing.

The one thing most Duran Duran fans will tell you is that throughout our history with this band – fans find out the news first, and then the band will finally come out with a statement. It does seem to be a pattern, even if I have more understanding now of why it all happens that way.  I think most fans knew something wasn’t right with Duran Duran way before they ever announced Roger wasn’t coming back, but hearing the words – reading the words, made it real.

I can remember hearing about Roger leaving the band on the radio. I couldn’t tell you what station I was listening to, or even who said the words, but my heart sank that day in 1986. I don’t think it was really a surprise to me when I heard the news, it just felt real. I knew things wouldn’t be the same after that. I still followed Duran Duran for decades (obviously!), but from that day up until 2001, there was always a little hope that he’d return. I remember hearing rumors of a breakdown, and wondering what really happened.  I never collapsed into a fit of tears or anything quite that dramatic, but the magic of Duran Duran just didn’t feel the same after that.  Silly me – every time I’d see them in concert, I’d hope Roger would make a return. Hope springs eternal, right?

For me, the worst part was not Roger’s absence, but the questions of why he left—which have all been answered. Sometimes, I don’t think the band necessarily understands THAT piece of it – that for fans, it isn’t the fact of whether or not someone left, it’s the why.

I wouldn’t say (necessarily) that it’s because we want to intrude on their personal lives—although I can understand why some would assume that we’re just nosey, but the reasons are much more complicated.  In order to understand, I think you have to recognize that to a fan like me—I’ve “known” the band for many years now. (Seriously, I have known and loved Duran Duran longer than any other person in my life, other than my parents and sister. Think about it.) For example, Duran Duran have been in my life for so long now that I assume I know them. How can we not be family?? As family, we all feel like we have the right to know what’s going on….except to the BAND….they don’t know us at all. I mean, there’s only a handful of fans that they generally know. This goes back to general math: five of them, thousands of us, you get the idea. Even so, our relationship (as fans) with them, is really intense. It’s personal. We feel like they’ve saved us, or we’ve cried over life with them in the most intimate of moments. That isn’t crazy behavior, it’s just being a fan.  Many of us have been fans since we were very young. On some basic level, It is unconscionable to us that the band (or their representatives) wouldn’t explain full reasonings to us when things happen.

Sure, as an adult, I get it. I don’t NEED to know why Nick left the tour last year, for example. It’s none of my business. I understand privacy and I respect his. But back when Roger left the band, I would have given anything to have been told why – and not just a pat answer some PR genius wordsmiths together – but a real reason. Yeah, I wasn’t even quite 16 at the time. I still lived in fantasy land and loved it.

I quietly shut the book on fairy tales until some point in 2001, when I  read something about a reunion and nearly fell off of my chair. I can remember saying as much to Roger a few years later at a signing for the Astronaut album, as I told him he had always been my favorite and thanked him for coming back to the band. Thankfully, he didn’t make me feel like a complete imbecile that day, and instead said it was sweet of me to say. I swooned all the way home.

-R

2016 Year End Katy Kafe with Roger

The other day, the second of four year end Katy Kafes was posted on DuranDuranMusic.  I just now had the chance to listen to Roger’s, which was entertaining, groan worthy, and interesting all at once.  As always, this little blog post contains only what I think are the highlights.  I highly recommend ensuring that you are a member to the fan club in order to hear the Kafes yourself.

Weather and Christmas Traditions:

The Kafe began, as usual, with a brief discussion about both the weather and the upcoming holiday.  Roger mentioned how the UK had been experiencing warm and sunny weather, which doesn’t feel very Christmas like but he was certain it would get colder soon enough.  (For the record, my weather stinks.  We have already had a bunch of snow and it is super cold (as in below zero).  It does not bode well for the rest of the winter.)  Roger’s family has not put up a tree yet.  They like to wait until it is closer to the holiday so their real tree looks good throughout.

World Event:

Roger chose two events as the big world events:  Brexit (the vote in the UK for the country to leave the European Union) and the US Presidential Election.  He claimed that both were surprising and world changing while attempting to be extremely diplomatic.  Katy, on the other hand, discussed her feeling both on Election Night and since.  While I appreciate Roger’s attempt at being neutral, I relate more to Katy.  That said, Roger shared how Donald Trump attended one of the band’s Red Carpet Massacre shows on Broadway.  Funny enough, I also was in attendance that night.  I had better seats than he did and, for some reason, I believe that he did not stay the entire time.

Favorites:

Roger mentioned two albums that had a lot of play this year for him, which were Bob Marley’s Legend and David Bowie’s Blackstar.  As far as movies go, he enjoyed both The Revenant and Eye in the Sky.  As far as Duran Duran moments, he focused on the show at New York’s Apollo and playing in Canada, especially Quebec.  It seems to me that Roger along with the rest of the band members are big on historic venues.  Personally, he was proud to be involved in the Road to Recovery project and enjoyed being an “adult” and being a producer for a day for the at-risk kids.  (Hey Roger, you are welcome to come into my classroom any day if you want to feel like an adult!  Ha!)

2017:

As the Kafe was wrapping up, Katy asked about what Roger was looking forward to in 2017.  He talked about the fact that the band is doing shows in South America and more shows in the US.  Katy asked about Japan since John mentioned playing there.  He responded that they want to play there but nothing has been locked in yet, in terms of when.  More interesting than that was when he stated that it might be time to do new material.  Hmm…clearly, 2017 might be more interesting on the Duran front than I expected!

I enjoyed Roger’s Kafe and look forward to hearing from Simon and Nick soon, too!

-A

No Rewind: Download the Song from Road Recovery!

Have you downloaded John and Roger’s new song yet?

Recently John and Roger donated time, effort and talent to Road Recovery – a foundation dedicated to helping young people battle addiction with help from mental-health experts along with “influence from entertainment industry professionals who have confronted similar crises”.   They recorded a song with Road Recovery’s youth titled “No Rewind” which is now available for download.

As someone who is usually thirsty for any new music, I couldn’t wait to have a spare minute to download the new song. I clicked on the link, and found that rather than just paying for the song – the entire project is more about donating to Road Recovery, and a benefit of having done so is to get a download of “No Rewind”. (as opposed to just paying for the song – it’s a subtle, “feel good” difference, in my opinion.)  Along with the donation comes an opportunity to be entered in a sort of raffle for a single prize package that includes the following:

Signed set list from Molson Canadian Amphitheater (from Toronto 7/13/16)
Signed 8×10 band promo photo
Duran Duran Paper Gods Photo unused pass (from Mansfield 17/7/16)
Duran Duran Paper Gods guitar pick
Duran Duran unused ‘commemorative’ Concert Ticket (from Apollo Theater 7/19/2016)
“A Diamond in The Mind” live concert DVD
Signed Paper Gods CD

If that isn’t enough for your taste, you can always donate $5,000 for a Meet & Greet with Duran Duran on the concert date of your choice during a future tour (no travel/accommodations provided). Only 1 available – so you’d better hurry to beat your fellow Duranie to that one!

There are also several other incentives, such as signed drum heads, signed albums, etc…for every budget in between. I liked the idea of donating to Road Recovery. I think most everyone has someone in their family or knows someone who has been affected by addiction in one way or another, and I am all for any organization that helps kids turn their lives around. The smallest things can sometimes make a difference—that’s something I’m seeing more and more of every single time I step into my office at work. So yes, I’m happy to have been able to do something, relatively small as it is, to help.

But let’s get down to it – how’s the song sound?

I have to say, the first notes are unmistakably John and Roger, influenced, whether by style of the music, or by the fact that they’re playing. Funny how I (and probably any of you reading) can tell them anywhere. It’s like coming home – you just know.  Musically, the song is definitely rock. The voice, of course, is not Simon’s – which is sort of strange because I half expect it to be (old habits die hard).  That said, the vocals are more spoken word, or rap. The song is modern, but recognizable, and I find myself liking it simply because it felt good to donate to a worthy cause that John and Roger clearly feel very strongly about.

Ultimately, any day that I can listen to music with John and Roger is not a bad one. This rhythm section doesn’t suck!

-R

 

 

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 Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor

Yesterday, at work, I logged into DuranDuranMusic to hear the first of the year end Katy Kafes.  This one featured our favorite drummer, Mr. Roger Taylor!  Just like Rhonda when she blogs about a “Kafe”, I was armed with pen and paper in order to take notes.  That said, I’ll be giving my thoughts about some of the highlights, which may be incomplete at that since I was at work and had many interruptions!  Therefore, as always, I recommend you log into DDM yourself to hear the entire thing!

2015 was a BIG year!

After a brief discussion about the Christmas holiday, Katy opened the more official part of the Kafe with a question about Roger’s personal highlights during a year of much activity, including the release of the band’s latest album, promotion for the album, and tours in the U.S. and in the UK.  Roger focused much of his answer on the album, Paper Gods.  He talked a lot about how this album required more effort because they were co-producing it, which required their presence in the studio daily for 8 hours a day for 2 years.  (I had to sort of laugh at this–as it sounds like a normal daily job that most of us get to experience all the time!)  He furthered stated that it was a challenge to break through the perception that a “mature” (his word!) band has had their best work in the past, but that the live shows helped many get how good it is.  I have to concur on this.  Even when we ask fans about favorite songs, albums, etc., more than likely, they will choose something from Rio or the first album.

The Tours

From there, the discussion easily moved to focus on the tours in the US and in the UK.  Roger stated that he found the UK tour, in particular, to be “incredible” and one of the best tours ever.  He mentioned the show at the O2 Arena in London as an amazing show as “everything had fallen into place”.  Everything just seemed to work at that show and that it helps that everyone on stage is really relaxed with each other.  (Now, I really wished that I could have attended that one!  It sounds like it was an awesome show!)

Roger mentioned how long the shows were, especially in the UK and how well the new songs fit.  Last Night in the City is a favorite of his to play and that he thought that Pressure Off worked better live than some of the old songs!  He also mentioned how they were able to replicate the sampling and what not that was done in the studio for the live show.

Favorites

Katy asked Roger about some of his favorites from the past year, including album, movie, moment.  Roger’s responses weren’t that surprising.  For example, he chose Mark Ronson’s album along with the movie, Amy (about Amy Winehouse), which really was “intense” and showed what the industry requires of people.  (Note to self:  See the movie, Amy, when I can!)  His favorite moment of 2015?  It was playing at the O2 when “all the work they had done came to fruition”.  He also had a lot of family and friends in the audience.  In fact, he was able to spot his son, Julian, in the crowd, which is a really sweet story and well worth the time to listen to the entire Kafe!  He also enjoyed playing at the Hollywood Bowl and at Red Rocks.  Lastly, Roger was asked which word would describe 2015.  His answer:  Satisfaction.

Next Year

2016 will see a lot more touring for Duran Duran, which Roger is looking forward to since the live show has gotten better, according to him, with better lights and screens as well as more confidence with the new songs.  The US dates are already out there but he hopes to be able to add Italy, South America and Australia.  In fact, he expects that they will be touring pretty much the entire 2016.  I suspect that gives a lot of Duranies something to look forward to!

Holiday Greetings

As with any year end Kafe, Roger did send his holiday greetings to everyone.  I had to laugh when he said that Duran has the “most patient fans in the world”.  You could say that again, Roger!  😉  I would say that most fans are like Roger, though, in feeling pretty satisfied with how 2015 turned out for Duran Duran.

-A

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

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

 

It’s Roger Taylor’s Birthday!

As I glanced at my calendar this morning, I realized that it is Roger Taylor’s birthday!!  Wasn’t his birthday just like a week ago?  Is it me or does it seem like time is passing faster and faster?  Anyway, birthdays provide a good time to celebrate our favorite drummer!

Recently, Roger Taylor has been in a Duran Duran news spotlight as he attended the exhibition on Denis O’Regan’s book, Careless Memories, at the Malmaison Hotel in Birmingham and did an interview with the Birmingham Mail there.  You can read the entire interview here.  I’ll comment on a few things that caught my attention!

Tour & Fame

I think Roger’s description of their fame in 1984 matches descriptions I have heard from other band members.  He says it was like being on a “runaway train” as all these people were involved in the day-to-day life of the band.  I am sure that is true and I can’t imagine how out-of-control they must have felt.  Yes, I’m sure the fame was great but…it sounds scary in some ways to me.  I would want to be control of what happens to me, whenever possible.

Fans

Roger stated that teenage fans “want every part of you” and that there is constant exposure but stated how would be worst now with technology.  I had a number of questions to follow up.  What does it mean to “want every part of you”?  (Get your heads out of the gutter, kids.  I wasn’t thinking that… but apparently you all were!)  Then, I wonder how it is different now to have adult fans.  Do we demand the same level of intensity or is it different or less?

Left and Return

Roger talked about how he was similar to Zayn Malik from One Direction, in that they both left their bands in order to live a “normal life”.  Roger went on to say, though, that no matter what he was always going to be Roger Taylor of Duran Duran.  The title always followed him.  I suspect that is true with anyone famous.  I also think is is true of anyone who becomes well-known for something that they do.  For example, I would always be known in my community as a teacher.  It just happens.  He said that he needed to “embrace” that role rather than fight it.  I suspect that is a lesson that a lot of us could learn.

Duran Plans

The upcoming album was discussed.  I didn’t read anything new or exciting on that front.  It is too bad that he didn’t want to share some news, though!  He mentioned the festivals that Duran Duran has coming up.  Strangely, he mentioned something about coming back to the U.S. in July.  I wish I knew what he was talking about there!  Anyone know?!?

While this interview didn’t provide anything super exciting, it did one thing for me as a fan.  It reminded me that Roger wasn’t always with the band and that I should appreciate the fact that he is here now.  I shouldn’t take him or his role in the band for granted.  Duran Duran is MUCH better with Roger and I am thankful he came back and continues to stay.

On that note, Rhonda and I would like to wish Roger a VERY, VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

-A

 

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