Wow, I haven’t blogged in forever! Months, even! I planned to write a little blog post reflecting my thoughts, feelings and reflections regarding being gone from the blog, writing (or in our case, re-writing) the book, etc. Fortunately for all of you, John Taylor pushed that blog aside by doing a little video Kafe (or 3!) in the members only section of DuranDuranMusic. I suffered through (ha!) the videos and will share my thoughts about a few of the highlights here. As always, I’m sure you all want to watch all of the videos yourself so make sure you are a member and head on over to DDM to see them. I should also point out that most of this Kafe consists of John answering questions sent via Twitter.
Book and CD for Summer: John recommended the book, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which he describes as a “techno adventure story” with a “history of video games” and a bit of 80s culture. Simon is now reading it as well. Personally, this book has popped up a lot for me on recommended lists. Maybe now is the time to check it out. As for CD, he recommends d angelo.
Inspiration: John broke this question down into musical inspiration and personal inspiration. For musical inspiration, he looks to other musicians like Miles Davis. Personal inspiration, he turns to his family, especially his parents to remind him to “do the right thing” and “be kind”.
Birthday Memory: For John, he remembers understanding what a birthday is around 4 or 5 when people came over for a party in their backyard (or back garden in the UK). He got a yellow truck and had cake! Aww….
10 People at a Dinner Party: He hates questions like this and calls it loaded, which I can understand why. What if he doesn’t include someone? What if he includes someone people don’t like? He went with his family, the band and their significant others. Katy forced him to remove the band, since he sees them all the time. He said he would like to have his grandparents as he only knew one. I can relate to that as I only really knew one grandparent (my mother’s mother) and have only vague memories of my grandpa (my mother’s father). Yet, I never knew my dad’s parents at all and really wish I did being that they were immigrants from Poland and would have fascinating stories to share.
Go back in time to change something: In general, he really wouldn’t as everything in his life led him to today as he is now very happy. That said, he wished that he played more sports as a kid and didn’t skip school so much. He doesn’t understand why he hated being in the classroom so much since he loves learning now. As a teacher, I wished that he knew and could it explain it to me! Maybe then I could figure out how to hook my kids who don’t want to come to class.
Now, before I move on to the band related questions, I wanted to just comment on how much I enjoyed his responses on these questions. I smiled a lot and found myself agreeing quite a bit. I didn’t as much when it came to the second type of questions. (Hint: This is a little foreshadowing.)
Band Related Questions:
Working with Nile and Bernard: John reiterated statements about working with the two guys from Chic. He called Nile “enthusiastic” and “supportive”. Bernard was more “reserved” but “put him at ease”.
The Chauffeur (album version) or The Chauffeur (acoustic demo): He likes the bass on the acoustic but the album version is a “masterpiece”.
Fondest video memory: John talked about filming in the videos in Sri Lanka, stating that they had an amazing time. He mentioned a “beautifully lit” scene at night as they rode an elephant through a city street. Now, tell me that I’m not the only one seriously wishing that there was a DVD with deleted scenes from their videos?!
After the tour: He plans for the Paper Gods Tour to last until next year as he hopes to take the tour to South America, Asia and the rest of Europe. I, of course, am glad to hear that as there are many fans who haven’t had a chance to see them yet and would really like to! He also said that he hoped the musical that he is working on with Nick gets to the next level. Exciting!!!!
Most challenging new song: Most of them he has got down by now, but he probably makes a few wrong notes a night on Last Night in the City since he is playing a synth and Paper Gods and Pressure Off are both “tricky”. That said, he described What Are the Chances as a “deeply fucking felt emotional song” that he loves playing and loves to hear Simon sing. Aww…Then, he states that they would love to add more but they are actually cutting the setlist some as the shows will be 90 minutes for this next leg since they will be playing with Chic and Tokimonsta. Okay. Here is where I wished he said more and explained it so that I could understand. Why is there a time limit exactly? If the venue requires a cut off time, why not move up the start time to play more? Will they play longer at shows that Tokimonsta isn’t playing at? Why have three artists on the bill? Speaking only for myself, I am going to shows to hear Duran Duran play. I want them to play as long as possible and I don’t think I’m alone in that. As a customer, I want to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. I know that is already a lot of grumbling within the fan community about the shorter sets, lack of variety and the expensive tickets. This statement doesn’t help.
Would you let the fans decide the setlist: One of the things about the job that he really loves is building a show and trying to figure out what song works where, next to what, etc. and that he wouldn’t want to let that go. I can understand that. I wouldn’t want to let go of a lot of the things we do here, if readers asked to take over. I get control freaks. 😀 Then, he goes on to say that it would be a lot of work to get songs ready to be played for a fan made list. Speaking again for myself, while I get that, I also think the pay off would be great! People would come out in droves for fan created set lists! Heck, maybe, they don’t want to do an entire set that way, but would about having fans pick out five or six songs that can be rotated in? I just think it would build committed fans’ enthusiasm, make for better shows and probably sell more tickets.
As someone who has tickets to a lot of shows and who was using the summer tour to reward hard work we did on writing our book, I want to be excited for the shows. Yet, it is hard to after hearing about the shorter setlist or the lack of variety in songs. The thing is that I know myself. I know that if I go into a show being a little less excited, it affects how much fun I have and how good the show is. Past experience has taught me that. I want to go in being as excited as possible. It will help me but it will help those around me be excited, too. The optimist in me hopes that they rethink these decisions between now and the start of the US date.