Happy Monday! So many birthdays in Duranland, beginning with Katy Krassner! That’s right, Duran Duran’s own Ask Katy is celebrating her special day today, and considering all of the hard work she does for the band as well as keeping the fans feeling connected and up to date – we hope she has a wonderful and restful day! We appreciate everything she does for the band, and it helps to make this world a little friendlier and nicer.
Sharing this date with Katy is also Mark Ronson! (I did not know that!) Mark has done fantastic work with Duran Duran over the years, and I personally thank him for keeping the band true to themselves, but also giving them space to continue exploring new sounds. It is a delicate balance, and I can certainly appreciate the time and tenacity involved all around. Happy birthday Mark!
Lastly, a little less “connected” to Duran Duran, but vital in every single way – Google turns 19 today. Do you remember life before Google??
It’s funny because just yesterday my husband Walt and I were talking about the web, circa 1995-ish. I can remember working for a company who had just started developing a web page, and the owner tried to explain to me what the web was all about and how it would work. Fast forward about two years, and we had America Online (AOL) at home as our ISP (Internet Service Provider). I can remember the cumbersome method of using the modem to dial in and then hoping I’d get a good connection and keep it! I think the dial-up modem noise, along with the AOL “Welcome!” greeting, are almost Pavlov’s Bells to anyone from my generation, as a result. Anything I needed was found within the AOL platform though, and as Walt continued rebuilding and upgrading our computer (it seemed like he was constantly doing that!), everything grew faster and faster. Then, around 1998, things started moving from AOL platform to the internet itself. I couldn’t just get on AOL and find the message boards I wanted anymore. At that point, I was dialing into AOL, and then from there I clicked on internet explorer to be able to search for websites. And at that point – there was Google, ready to be used. And not much later, no one needed AOL as the go-between, we could simply have our own internet connection directly from our computers – and no more dial up modem noise.
Google was just one search engine of many at that point. Yahoo, Alta Vista, WebCrawler, infoseek and Lycos are a few that I remember, along with of course, Google. Over the years since, many of those first search engines are either gone or they’ve completely changed their business model. Google, on the other hand, expanded. They’ve bought (and sold) companies, and they continue to grow their business model to suit the ever-changing world. Google is a permanent part of our vocabulary (“google it!”) in the same way that if you’re from the US, a bandage is a “Band-Aid”. It would seem they are here to stay, and it will not be long before most people don’t even realize there WAS an internet before Google, and that once upon a time, all Google did was search for terms!
Google is important to Duran Duran’s history because I’m betting that many of us used it right about the time the reunion of the original five members was announced. We searched the web, looking for information, looking for groups, message boards, websites, and anything we could find – at least I know I sure did! To this very moment, I don’t think a single day goes by when I don’t use Google to find one thing or another, and yeah—a lot of the time it has something to do with Duran Duran. The internet (and Google) has changed our world, both as Duranies and as people.
Makes me wonder what the next nineteen years will bring.
Happy Birthday, Katy Krassner, Mark Ronson and yes, Google!
Every once in a while, a fan will reach out with a profound idea that should be shared with the community-at-large. Amanda and I strive for Daily Duranie to be a safe place for fans to share their ideas. While not everyone may always agree with the message being shared, we think it is important for fans to have a peaceful space to say what they want to say. In that spirit, we have a guest blogger today that is ready to share some of his own thoughts and feelings. I hope his blog provokes thoughtful conversation. -R
By, Jeff Bistline
I recently tweeted some thoughts on Twitter concerning my thoughts on the current state of Duran Duran. I changed my mind several times, reached out to friends, changed my mind again. I re-edited my writing (several times), and decided I still needed to communicate some of my thoughts, for my own sanity. The following is my “edited version”, or “PG version” which is far less speculative, but still contains quite a few opinions.
I have not lost faith in the band, I think they are at a crossroads, and we all know it has to happen sooner or later. So here it goes…
On Twitter, I recently “called my shot”, and proclaimed that I believe that Paper Gods is the last proper album and tour cycle for the band. The reason for my tweets were not to cause drama, gain followers, or throw shade at the band or management. I care very passionately for this band and its music. It has been a part of my life on a daily basis since 1984, and always will be. Above all, and most importantly, I know that we will always have the music of Duran Duran. In addition to following every note, lyric, and news item, I closely follow the music industry in great detail. I have made many observations that have been building in my head for over a year now, and I feel the need to share those observations in great detail.
These observations are heavily based on my opinion. I have no inside information directly from the band. I honestly don’t want the band the stop recording and touring, but I think the band, management, close confidants (Ronson/Rodgers, and perhaps Mr. Hudson), and Warner mapped out an a long-term exit plan a few years ago and they are in the middle of that process.
First of all, I love the Paper Gods album. I think “Pressure Off” was the best single since “Come Undone”. “Planet Roaring” is one of my favorite Duran tracks of all time. I think the entire band put EVERYTHING into the making of this album. They did their research, started writing, consulted Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson, and returned to the studio to complete the recording while bringing in Mr. Hudson to add some current and fresh perspective, which has been a long-standing trait of every Duran Duran record. Fan reaction has been mixed. The band has stated that everyone loves the album, new fans are coming on board etc., but I have a hard time believing these statements. It is not their best work, but it is not their worst either. Overall, I think the Paper Gods album is a success, both on the charts and from an artistic viewpoint, given where the band is in this screwed up age in the music industry. However, I don’t think the band wants to go through this cycle again without much to show for it in terms of physical units sold, or chart success (outside of the initial debut of the album on charts which basically lasted one week). Simon stating that “Pressure Off” was their most successful single in two decades is pure management spin. It didn’t make a dent on significant sales or radio airplay charts. In contrast, even “Leave A Light On” charted on radio playlists in the U.S.
The Paper Gods tour has been a huge success to date. The strategy that was implemented to tour Paper Gods had been brilliant up until July 2016. The band, management, record label, and promoters put together a billing that was amazing considering that Duran Duran has not been a full size arena/stadium level touring band since perhaps the reunion and Astronaut era in 2003-2006. Having Nile Rodgers and Chic on tour made sense, and the billing produced some fantastic shows and crowds. Most shows I saw ranged between 7,000 to 15,000 people. Extraordinary support for a legacy band, in my opinion.
A pivotal turning point came in July 2016 when it was announced that Nick Rhodes would be leaving the tour for a short period. There has been nonstop speculation as to the reasons for Nick’s leave of absence, and nothing has been released or leaked relating to his situation. First and foremost, I hope Nick (and/or his family) are physically and mentally well. I prefer to focus on the collective unit/band Duran Duran, but Nick is truly the cornerstone and visionary of Duran Duran, and always has been. Nick and Simon have been the two constants over the past 36 years. I cannot imagine Duran Duran existing without either of these two individuals. I don’t know if there is strife in the band. I thought maybe there was when I was doing some research on this, but I listened to a few interviews, read some articles, and I honestly think things are fine between the band members. However, Nick’s absence has certainly had a ripple effect in the fan community. I don’t think Nick enjoys touring as much as Simon and John. I think Roger still enjoys both recording and touring.
Here are some observations I have collected (in one place) that have bothered me over the past 14 months (and years in some instances). These are things that just seem “out of place” compared to previous album and tour cycles. I originally planned to speak on each one of these points at great length…Perhaps this community can discuss these points in greater detail. Obviously some of these thoughts are not my own, but have come from threads posted on message boards, Twitter, Facebook, and other sources.
Paper Gods Album
Several fans wondered if the lyrics in the “The Universe Alone” was a goodbye statement. “Planet Roaring” can also be viewed as an exit song, but more on the celebratory side. There could also be some lyrical clues in “Pressure Off”, and perhaps the most debated song on the album “Last Night in the City”.
Paper Gods Artwork
The symbols are obviously self-referencing, but why on a new album of new, modern music? I think the band said it was a conglomeration of images that have collectively “gotten us to this point of time”, but it could also certainly be seen as a final package.
Paper Gods Ancillary Releases
First of all, as a collector…WTF? We were told we would get a deluxe package. I’m still waiting. I’ve exhausted this avenue several times online. I have two additional comments to make. DJ’s are celebrities these days, both in the clubs and on the charts. They demand huge dollars these days. The unreleased Night Version of “Pressure Off” was probably done in-house (Spike Stent, Josh Blair maybe?). The “Last Night in the City” mixes were done by lessor known DJ’s. I’m sure the band and management is unwilling to invest much into remixes and ultimately additional single releases at this point in their career as the return is probably pretty small these days since people are buying less and less physical releases.
Paper Gods Music Videos
There was such a delay in releasing both of these from when the initial single was released, etc. The “Last Night in the City” video was filmed 6 months before it was finally released. Director Nick Egan even commented on a fan’s Facebook page that he was not pleased with the process and the end result.
Record Store Day
The vinyl industry has had a huge resurgence in the past 2 years. Why hasn’t Duran been participating in this event for 3-4 years now? Again, this probably relates to production costs, ROI (Return On Investment), and effort.
Duran Duran Appreciation Day
We previously received some unreleased music for this day. Now, we get a video performance of something that pretty much existed already. Again, few resources are being spent to deliver a unique remix, live set, etc.
Paper Gods Tour
I live in the United States. I’ve been very happy that I have seen the band on four legs of tours since the album released (counting the upcoming New Years Eve shows). The band or management has decided to only tour the three largest Duran fan base territories: U.S., U.K, and Italy. Europe was told they would get a tour, but Nick’s situation may have delayed or shelved that tour. There were rumors of a billing with Pet Shop Boys for Australia this fall. There have been mumblings of a tour for South America for 2017. No dates have been released. I listened to John’s Katy Kafe from July…I sincerely feel that he wants to further the Paper Gods tour into next year and different markets. Nick’s situation, or management, may have delayed or shelved these plans as well, since tours are announced several months in advance.
New Year’s Eve Shows
Who wouldn’t want to spend New Year’s Eve with Duran Duran? I’m going, but there is no denying it…these are two $$$Payday$$$ shows. Big bucks at a fancy new casino resort. I believe the fans deserve to know if Nick is playing or not. In July, we were told his absence was going to be “short”. This has caused a firestorm within the community. Again, I have no idea what is going on, and I hope he is well, but I think fans deserve at least a heads up on his presence for these über-expensive shows. The 1/1/2017 date doesn’t appear to be selling that well. You can view available tickets on Ticketmaster. There are also several seats available for 12/31/2016. I think both of these are sell outs if Nick’s presence is confirmed. I think fans are very skeptical on these shows at the moment.
Access to the band has been very limited during this album cycle. There are no longer meet and greets as part of the VIP packages. John has left social media, and I don’t blame him based on the horrific berating his accounts received. I wonder if this incident alone has reduced the opportunity for meet and greets, etc. We rarely get Ask Katy questions on the website, and they don’t seem as interesting as they did during and between previous album cycles.The Move to Warner
I think Duran like the status of being on a big label. They were on big labels during their heyday. I have no idea how much Warner plays into the decisions of releases, touring, the band, and management. I’m sure they wanted access to the back catalog more than anything. At the time of the press release, John stated “We are also excited that this deal means we will be reunited with our catalogue after years apart – and in that sense it really feels a little like coming home.”
This has been debated to death. I do think the band could put some more effort into this. The current stage production doesn’t allow for a lot of flexibility. I believe this current setlist was developed with the casual fan in mind. It was a high energy setlist, set to the backbone of their greatest hits. I enjoyed every show that I went to, but would have preferred a few changes here and there. I think the band has settled into this formula to keep the most people happy, again tailored towards the casual fan.
She certainly has caused a divide within the fan base. Specifically, some people did not care for her using the “askkaty” moniker on her personal twitter. It finally got changed and it appears to be 100% personal now. I believe this should have happened a lot sooner, and I don’t think Simon needed to interject, but again, there is a divide there.
Current Management/Magus Entertainment
I have no problem with the band wanting to bank some buck. Don’t we all? However, the hard-core fan and collector is not being treated like we deserve, many of those points I highlighted already above. The current management is on a mission to maximize earning potential, and give the casual fan a great night of entertainment. The bundling of the Paper Gods CD with the tickets was an artificial attempt to bloat album sales numbers (it actually reentered the charts in the U.S.) and get the album into the hands of the casual fan. I have an extra ten copies of the standard album, and I’m sure other fans can say the same thing. This bundling practice also increases the concert tickets as I believe that some document has to be filed/exist for these units to count towards album sales and charts.
What is Nick doing?
Is he working on anything Duran related? That’s the million dollar question at this point. Are the other band members upset while they are still out on the road? We all know Nick loves art, curating, cataloging, organizing, making lists. Some friends have been wondering if he is working on some anthology type project, something that he probably couldn’t do from the road. Hmmmm. Seems very possible to me. I’m sure he’s doing some work while on break.
SOOOOO, where does this leave us?
I think Paper Gods is the last album. I think that touring Paper Gods will be completed with the Cancun, and New Year’s shows. Heck, they may have already turned in the equipment, video screens, etc. to the lighting and video companies and plan on showing up to these shows with basic equipment from local companies. 2018 will mark the 40th anniversary of the start of the band. I think we will see a large-scale, worldwide greatest hits/farewell tour, and a greatest hits package or anthology type project to commemorate their fabulous career. After that, who knows? Whatever, it seems like a great stopping point to me if I were in the band.
I’ll be supporting Duran Duran until I die, whatever happens, I’m in it until the end. It’s time for me to go back to enjoying Duran Duran for the reason I started listening to them in the first place. The music.
Cheers y’all, and Duran On!
Jeff Bistline has been a dedicated Duranie since 1984. His passions in life are his Duran Duran collection, college basketball, and his boxer dog, Vivi. He is an accountant and lives in Nebraska.
There are some Kafes that you know right away are going to go well because everyone is in the right mood…and there are the ones when Simon is clearly tired and not really into having it right way. Guess which category this one fit into???
As always, I listened carefully, tried to take notes (while not at all panicking about the amount of shopping, wrapping, cleaning and cooking I still need to do here before Thursday….), and compiled it all into the highlights, written here for your pleasure. Enjoy!
I don’t know about everyone else, but by the time we’re in December, I’ve forgotten what the band did back in January or February. Turns out, they’ve done a lot this year. (Never mind putting out that little Paper Gods album…) Katy talks about the UK tour with Simon as he explains that he’s a “bit knackered”, but says that each show the UK tour got better and better, and then he mentions how the tour ended with a very small show for Warner in front of about 120 people in a small pub. Katy makes the point that the two experiences – the War Child show (I’d completely forgotten about this, and it feels so long ago now that I’d truly thought it happened LAST year. Then again, their performance for the Lynch Foundation feels like a lifetime ago and that happened in April. Maybe it’s just me!) and the pub were like two bookends for all of the great shows, appearances, etc that happened in between. Not sure if Simon really caught on to what she was saying but…I got it, Katy!
Favorite Album of 2015
After a brief discussion, Simon settles on Tame Impala. The funny thing is that the cover Simon describes (because he can’t remember the name) is a “funny green cover.” The only thing coming close to that is their live versions album, made in 2014. I have no idea if this is what he meant – or if he’s confusing album covers, or if he really means Currents from this year. Who knows?!? (Listen people, I try…..)
Favorite Movie of 2015
Continuing on this theme…Simon’s favorite movie of 2015 is Whiplash, which actually came out in 2014. Simon doesn’t care though, because his attitude is that it’s the favorite movie he’s seen THIS year. Good on you, Simon!
As a side note – Simon and Yasmin will be celebrating their 30th anniversary on the 27th. Happy Anniversary!!
Favorite Book of 2015
Simon had absolutely no trouble answering this one, saying that Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James was by far his favorite book of the year. At 800 pages, it’s no short story, and Simon decided to listen to the audiobook of this one. Each section of the book is written from a different prospective – in a different characters voice – so the audiobook really brought that to light.
Favorite Television of 2015
Simon mentions a few: True Detectives (with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson), Broadchurch (UK show) and the second season of Fargo.
Favorite Moment(s) of 2015
His favorite show (or part thereof) was walking out on to the stage at Red Rocks. He speaks of how this was like a spaceship and the beginning of the whole thing for them. Then he mentions a few other moments, such as playing at the Ambassador’s mansion in the UK, the FOLD festival, having Nile come out on stage at the Hollywood Bowl, and Lindsay Lohan at the O2, calling the year “incredible” and “Busy! Very, very busy!” They talk a little bit about the upcoming shows for 2016, including the two legs of US dates and how he doesn’t get into planning the tour itself, that his job is just to show up and get onstage…but that Nick is a “micromanager” (those are HIS WORDS, not mine!) and that he likes to get into planning where and when the dates happen.
(so apparently Amanda and I have Nick to thank for having the dates work so perfectly with our schedules. Amazing. And now we just need to sell some major organs so that we’re able to get to at least some of the dates!! 😀)
The Kafe wrapped up with Simon’s hopes for 2016. He is hoping for some world stability, and then mentioned that they are taking the proceeds from the Eagles of Death Metal version of Save a Prayer and creating some sort of foundation with EODM that works for tolerance and peace through music. It sounds like a lovely way to make something positive come out of something absolutely terrible. The Kafe ended on a much more energetic note than it began, and was a great wrap-up of a very busy year
Don’t tell Simon I told you, but he’s a fan of socks and underpants as Christmas gifts. (he may have also mentioned chocolates, cigars, wine and beer!)
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>
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
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.
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.
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.
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!!
Today’s Katy Kafe brings John Taylor in to “grill” Katy on her past with the band. Out of all four band members, John always seems the most introspective to me, and his Kafe didn’t disappoint.
It seems as though John is shocked by the very idea that 1995 was twenty years ago. I know how that feels, and I’m guessing the rest of our readers do as well.
John asks Katy about her first encounter with the band and she responds saying that she was “really really nervous” and had big hair. John immediately asks if she had been a fan of Duran Duran. Katy answers in the affirmative, saying that she remembers receiving Def Leppard and Seven and the Ragged Tiger as gifts one year. John responds by saying, “But it wasn’t like you were really going to be meeting your idols that day.” I get his point here. It’s one thing to like a band, it is entirely another to consider them your idols. I appreciate that John seems to recognize the difference, and it is a question that I would have loved to ask Katy myself! Katy says that she “really liked them”. I had a lot of friends like that in high school. There’s liking them and being excited to see them at a show or something; and then there’s committing to writing a daily blog about them (for zero pay) thirty years later. I think that might be the difference there, am I right?
There was a little discussion over the history of cell phones. I have to tell John that yes, cell phones really were around in 1995. I had my first cell phone in November of 1994, actually. It was a large brick from LA Cellular that I had to carry around with me for work while I did door-to-door cold calling for a temporary service. (doesn’t that sound joyous?) I remember it was super expensive to really use, and while my boss, Mr. Grinch (not his name but appropriate) insisted that I carry the phone – he also told me that if I ever used it, emergency or not, that I would be paying for it. Nice guy, that Mr. Grinch.
John asks her why she’s still around. A fair question, really, because he surmises that surely that most everyone else has since moved on. She talks a lot about it being a friendship, and how even back during the time of the reunion, she was really the only holdover – they didn’t even have a manager then, they were still speaking to managers. She says she is a big fan of them as people, and that she’s worked for several labels – and she couldn’t continue working for them if she didn’t like them as people.
John talks about how relationships for him are about trust, and that’s not always easy. Then he speaks of how the four guys go in and out of friendships, and that she is able to kind of go along and make sense of it all and maintain relationships with each and every member of the band. (I’m completely paraphrasing because I’m listening to the Kafe as I type – if you want to hear his answers word for word, go get your DDM membership!) This is where it gets interesting. Katy thanks him, and then says that she’s worked with “such jerks” over the years (I have absolutely no doubt about this whatsoever), and that yes, they do have artistic temperaments and she gets that…but that none of them…”none of the current band members, let me say, have ever been disrespectful to me…” I can’t help but notice the “current band members” comment, and of course my imagination is off and running, but I’m not going to even guess what or whom she might mean.
She talks about how if she’s gotten chastised in the past, it was deserved, and that the band has allowed her to fix her mistakes if she’s messed up. John responds saying that he thinks when you’ve made an error at work it’s best to just come clean, which turns this Katy Kafe into a good working lesson for all…let’s face it, when you’ve worked with the same people for twenty or thirty years, it’s not because you’re difficult to work with. So I tuck that little nugget of wisdom into my head for later.
John asks Katy about some highlights, to which Katy says that there have been a lot. She gushes about the new album, saying that she is really excited about the new album because “it’s going to reach an audience that hasn’t been reached before”. Then she talks about flying on what we like to call Duran Duran 1, Live Earth, and the Video Vanguard Award from MTV.
She finishes the Kafe with a memory of John. They had a party for Thank You in the Flatiron District in NYC, and John turned around and gently told Katy that she should leave her green Keroppi backpack in the car. After hearing about this backpack, I had to look it up. My Sanrio memory goes as far as Hello Kitty and the Twin Stars…I had kind of forgotten about the frog. Perhaps her backpack looked a little something like this:
So John ever so kindly told her to leave it in the car, saving both himself and Katy from a little hard judgment from the masses, I guess. Nick apparently continued to tell her to “get rid of that backpack”…and so the beloved Keroppi backpack vanished not long after. I don’t know Katy’s age, I’m guessing she’s younger than I am, and I’m 44, so in April of 1995 I would have been 24 (and just married). I did some remarkably “green” things as well back then. Didn’t we all? It’s nice of Katy to share them with us though – I’d never tell about the time my then boss (who was ridiculously mean) made me cry in our office because I had the nerve to joke around with one of my employees about getting to work the next day. He berated me in front of clients and said I was completely unprofessional. (I was a staffing manager/sales associate for a temporary service at the time…and I probably WAS unprofessional. Who knew?!?) 😉 It happens, and John was probably a lot nicer than Mr. Grinch, my boss!
It’s gotta be said though – I like the backpack. 🙂
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? 😉
Over the weekend, I found myself in a healthy discussion regarding the Denis O’Regan photo book – Careless Memories. I haven’t personally ordered a copy of the book, but I know a few other fans that ordered a copy of Careless Memoriesand seem very pleased. The discussion centered around whether or not we’d buy the book even if money were not an option. All who participated in the conversation felt the book to be incredibly expensive and certainly out of reach of many fans. There are always those that will buy whatever is being offered at whatever price point; but for many, price dictates.
Last week, someone sent a question in to Ask Katy about Careless Memories, inquiring whether it was truly worth the price (we’re talking anywhere from £250 on up to £2500). Katy’s reply gave details about the special nature of the book and it’s construction. She closed stating that while it is certainly an investment, isn’t all art (an investment)?
Not only do I appreciate art, I am a certified Decorative Arts Appraiser. That means I’ve been trained to learn how to use market data to assign value to decorative art (paintings and drawings, photographs, sculptures, pop culture memorabilia or yes…gems and jewelry). I know what art is, and to be completely fair, the very question of what is considered “art” is pretty subjective, although there is a vague framework to help define. Art must be unique if not also rare, it must have beauty, and by some definitions it must be a human expression or application of emotion. The door is left VERY wide open as to what may or may not be considered art, and of course what might be art to one person might not be to someone else. Does Careless Memories fit that bill?
We traded ideas over whether or not the very fact that the book (or photos within) is mass-marketed should make a difference. After all, many works of art have millions of prints made – but are those prints still considered art, or mass-media representations?There’s definitely room for discussion over whether Careless Memoriesin it’s mass-marketed form (not the original photos themselves, but the book as a whole) really is a good example of art. Are they priced as such and do they hold that value well? In that case, are prints of artwork still an investment? The fact is, being willing to spend £1000 or more on a larger format photo book doesn’t necessarily make that book an investment…although I’d probably argue that to a willing fan, it absolutely is, regardless of whether it is a good investment, or otherwise. However, that is an emotional definition, not wholly factual.
While I hold no resentment about Careless Memories or my decision not purchase a copy, it is clearly being marketed AT fans with the pricing being out of the reach of most. Then again, isn’t most art that way? Warhol isn’t necessarily “cheap” pop art. Even Thomas Kincaid, one of the most mass-marketed kitsch artists ever – isn’t “cheap” by any means if you’re talking about Artist-handled prints. Let’s face it, the band knows exactly what they are doing here, and we really cannot fault them – because ultimately it is in the hands of each of us to decide whether or not to play the game and make these purchases. It puts fans in the position of having to decide how much the band means to them personally, and it ends up being an emotionally charged purchase, one the band “banks” on, so to speak.
As is typical, there are always fans willing to pay. I checked the website for Careless Memories late last week, and the most expensive editions of the book (“Unique” and “Special” editions), ones that include things such as (not each book contains all things mentioned – these are simply examples) “golden tickets”, meet and greets with the band, special prints direct from 1984 negatives, and personally signed copies of photos and books, were sold out or “unavailable”. These ranged in price from £1000-£2500. Even the least expensive edition – “Collector”, has a very hefty price tag of £250 – not a price most fans can even consider, especially at this time of year. Yet when I look at how many books are available in that edition – very few are sold, perhaps an indication that the price is just out of reach. Fandom continues, in many respects, to be an excellent real-life example of the “haves” and “have-nots”.
While I’ve had the good fortune to do many things consistent with the “haves” column, in the case of Careless Memories I am definitely in the “have-not” column. Not spiteful, not resentful (there’s no point), but I do find myself questioning the tag of “investment”. I suppose though, that makes the difference between a buyer and a bystander.
This week was an interesting one in terms of Duran Duran news. While I can’t say it was quiet, did it contain a lot actual news or was it mostly rumor? Read on and see what you think.
John Taylor at the House of Commons
Duranduran.com reported that John Taylor visited the House of Commons (the UK equivalent to the US House of Representatives) to present a report on Addiction created by the Centre of Social Justice. From the press release and what I read, it offers many actions that the UK government could take to work on addiction throughout the country. Good for John for continuing his work in this area!
According to DuranDuranMusic.com, there was a winner of week one of the fan community’s giveaway, which was a signed cd. The lucky winner was Kathy Ponder. Congrats go out to Kathy! Last week, they were giving away 3 2015 calendars. This week, they are giving away three signed copies of John’s autobiography, In the Pleasure Groove.
The end of the year Katy Kafes have started! This past week, Roger visited the Kafe. Rhonda covered the highlights and her reaction here.
There was a new Ask Katy question this week. The focus was on Denis O’Regan’s book of photographs, Careless Memories. We, of course, have talked about this book many times, which you can read here and here.
Maybe you are someone like me who likes to find out about the team behind the scenes working with Duran Duran. Perhaps, you like the visual aspect of the band. If so, then I definitely recommend watching this video on Gavin Elder, the film maker who has been working with Duran since, basically, the reunion shows.
More Studio Work
Duran Duran’s Facebook posted a new picture from the studio this week. John Taylor also posted some new pictures on Instagram this week, including one of him in a Santa hat. Merry Christmas, indeed.
I think that was about it. Yes, there were rumors. We covered those through the week. Until next week…
It is Sunday! It is time to recap the week! As always, please let me know if I missed anything!
“Lorde’s ‘Hunger Games’ Soundtrack featuring “Kingdom” with Simon Le Bon and Charli XCX
Lorde has curated the soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1. This soundtrack will feature none other than Duran’s very own Simon Le Bon. Simon has teamed up with Charli XCX to do a song called “Kingdom”. This soundtrack is due out on November 17th. For all the details, check out the press release and this blog post. You can also read an article on billboard.com.
October Collector’s Corner
This month on dd.com, the collector’s corner focuses on Simon and all of his different projects outside of Duran Duran. If you are someone who is a big Simon fan or someone who wants to know the complete history of the band, I recommend checking it out here.
Live from London
Can you believe that it has been 9 years since Live from London was released? I was very lucky to be able to go see this live concert in the movie theater, which I wrote about here.
Apparently, Unstaged is now available on DVD in Australia. Has anyone in Australia purchased it? I would love a review!
Apparently, Roger did a little DJ gig at a charity event for the Duke of Edinburgh in London. This organization focuses on young people from 14 to 24 to help them gain the necessary skills for work and life. I would head to Duran’s Facebook page to see a picture of Roger at work!
Have you checked out the Ask Katy questions on dd.com lately? See what was asked about songs from Seven and the Ragged Tiger being played live and the band’s response here.
Making Patterns Rhyme: a tribute to Duran Duran
Did you see that the entire 22 track album is available for pre-order on iTunes? It is available October 28th!
John Taylor Supporting Henley Recovery Cafe
John was in the news this week for supporting the recovery and peer support program of the Henley Recovery Cafe as he visited and shared his experiences in recovery.
Yasmin’s Birthday Surprise
Check out the band’s Facebook page to see a picture of Simon and Yasmin at Yasmin’s Surprise Birthday Party! We wish her a happy one!
Next week should be a busy one with the release of the tribute album and Duran Duran in Austin! Until then…
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!