Tag Archives: Ben Hudson

August 2017 Katy Kafe with Simon!

I took some time this morning to listen to the August 2017 Katy Kafe with Simon.  It was a very different sort of Kafe from any other I’ve listened to over the years in some respects, and I would encourage any other Duranie to take a listen. If you really want to know who Simon is – not the guy who just performs on stage and looks great in the photos – but SIMON himself, now his your chance. As always, these are the highlights, but if you want to hear the Kafe for yourself, you should get a DDM membership.

Simon’s Mom

There is just no way to get past the deep sense of loss in this Kafe. The Simon we hear is not the bright, happy, caffeinated or energized Simon that normally shows up. He is dealing with one hell of a loss, and as he correctly says, “I will never get over it, I just have to get used to it.”  That is absolutely, 100% correct. There are still days,  nine years after we said our goodbyes, when I desperately need to talk to my dad, and I can’t. The pain is still ridiculously present, and sometimes – particularly in those moments (like yesterday afternoon) when I really needed him – the pain rises right back to the surface. It is very hard, and he is right, there’s no way to prepare for it. I don’t know if Simon’s mom was ill like my dad was, but even though I knew what the inevitable end would bring, the finality is just unbearable.  It’s permanent.  This is not a club that anyone wants to join, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, either. It’s inevitable, but nobody wants to be here.

It’s very hard (and yet easy at the same time) to pretend I’m reaching out to Simon somehow on this blog – I mean, the audacity of me to assume he reads, right? I would just want him to know that I get it. Many fans do. And I still think he was incredibly brave to stand up on stage and sing Ordinary World. I could not have done it. I have a hard enough time baring my soul through my typed words, much less showing them live, in person. I couldn’t even look at him while he sang – too painful.

I also felt that while Katy was sympathetic, she was uncomfortable and wanted to move on to easier subjects. I’m sure she wanted to protect Simon’s feelings, and let’s face it – Duran Duran is supposed to be a party band and it’s hard to portray that when the lead singer sounds depressed.  The balance between real life and stage, I guess.

360 Videos

Did anyone see the videos the band posted for Duran Duran Appreciation Day?

Paper Gods 360

Hungry Like the Wolf 360

They are worth watching, but unless you have a VR headset, your best bet for watching is your phone. Pull up the videos, put them on full screen and watch with your phone horizontally.  Can I just say that it’s kind of cool to be able to see yourself in the audience? It’s like having an out-of-body experience!

I actually have access to a VR headset (special shout out to Gavin for letting mom borrow his!), and watched the videos. Gavin’s headset is  an early version, so it’s a bit wonky, but I got the general idea.  Normally I would have almost zero interest in that sort of thing, but it’s Duran Duran, and how often am I really going to be able to be IN one of their videos?  Definitely worth watching!

Simon, on the other hand, is not really into VR. He prefers not to worry about cameras when they are filming, because he sees his job, every single night, as playing for the people who paid to see them. He feels strongly that when the band films, the cameras have to fit in with that environment, and not the other way around. The rapport has to be with the audience, and not the camera.

Work with Nick Wood

Early this summer, Simon went with Nick Wood to Cannes for a conference/film festival for commercial music.  They gave a talk, and  filmed a video for Closer to my Bed. Syn also won an Emmy for a spot they did on CNN.  Not bad work for a Duran Duran “break”!!

Coming to the end of Paper Gods

There are seven more dates, including Croatia, Ireland, Italy, Singapore and Japan, and then the Paper Gods album cycle and touring will be complete. Simon sounds bittersweet as he describes this album as being the most exciting in years, and certainly “the best since Rio”.  He talks about the huge success they had with it in the US, but that he is sad they are not taking the tour to Australia. (according to Simon the dates just never worked out)

Katy asks Simon how he closes out a project, whether or not he reflects or looks to what is coming next.  Simon responds by saying that something isn’t “done” until it is done, and then whatever is coming down the road isn’t here until it gets here. He says it is important for him to have clear lines, and I think staying completely present in the moment he is in must be what guides him, as well.

So what IS going to be next for the band?  Well, they have some time blocked out to be in the studio “quite soon” after touring. Of course in one breath Simon says that, in the next Katy says that she is “sworn to secrecy” about that studio time – and Simon tries to back up saying “they MIGHT” go in the studio. Sounds to me as though they’re going in the studio for sure, but that no one really knows what, if anything, might happen when they’re in there.

Katy asked about working with collaborators, like Mark Ronson, Ben Hudson and even Nile again. Simon sounded like he was enthusiastic to work with Ben and Mark for sure, but as we all know – it’s the beginning of who-knows-what. Chances are, everything will change and turn completely on its head before it is all said and done, so I caution: nothing is in stone until you’re holding whatever will come next in your hands. Consider all possibilities, but hold the band to none.  🙂

Let’s face it, Duranies, we’re at the very end of what we know. Going forward from here, it’s like winter. We don’t know how long it might be, but we should probably get used to the quiet.  At first, we’ll all enjoy the novelty of peace.  Maybe staying in won’t be so bad.  But then January hits, and the cold really sets in. We start to get tired of looking outside and seeing the snow drifts only growing higher.  From previous experience we know that when spring arrives, it will probably be glorious and colorful, but it’s now March and there’s no sign of green grass yet. How long is this winter really going to take??

Yeah, I hate this part too. It makes writing tough. I get impatient, but this time, I’ve sworn not to push. I’m going to just enjoy the ride and let the rest work itself out.

-R

 

September Katy Kafé with Roger Taylor!

Ok, so initially I had this titled as October’s Katy Kafé with Roger Taylor. Obviously I’m trying to make this year fly by even faster than it already is…probably because I want to be able to laugh even harder at Roger Taylor for his year end Kafe….but more on that later.

Truth be told, these are probably my most favorite blogs to write at the moment. I LOVE the Katy Kafé’s. I love the camaraderie that Katy seems to have with the band, the fact that she’s able to joke with them, and basically she asks the questions that are swirling around in my head as she’s interviewing whomever she has in the Kafé. Once again, however, I want to give the same disclaimer as always: this isn’t a word-for-word translation. I listen to the Kafé straight through, take copious notes, and then pick out the highlights to share. If you would like to hear the whole thing, I strongly recommend that you join DDM. Let’s be honest, people – tour time is coming. Even *I* rejoined, and that was something I swore I’d never do.  So there’s my endorsement for spending $35.00. Do as you will.

Let’s get to the Kafé then. They open the conversation speaking about New York City. Roger loves New York, as does the entire band. He spoke of how the skyline and the city reminds him of a theater or movie set, because his entire life in England was spent watching videos set in NYC. I don’t think this is a surprise to anyone, as they spend a great deal of their time and promotion on the east coast.

Fashion Rocks: In case you haven’t been paying attention, Fashion Rocks is TONIGHT. If you’re in the states, you can watch it on your local CBS station (9-11pm EDT/PDT). I’m admittedly fuzzy on the information for international viewers, but I heard that you can see a live stream somewhere online. I checked and found a link for a backstage live stream, but I didn’t see anything for the actual show.  If I get a link, I’ll post it. The show itself features Usher, KISS, Jennifer Lopez….and a few others I don’t really care about…and then the REAL stars of the show (to us), Duran Duran. Keep in mind, their set is only six minutes (as Simon mentioned in a previous Kafé)…but it will be the best damn six minutes of this entire day. Roger talked about how someone asked him how KISS could be playing a fashion show (something I’d considered myself) and he said that he could totally see it – they had a certain fashion, I suppose. I mean, if you look at the 80s hair bands, you can’t really miss the pleather leggings and over-the-top wardrobe pieces, so I guess Roger is right. Begrudgingly I’ll agree, and Katy was right when she said that they put on an amazing show (I’ve seen them live and lived to tell about it). Interestingly enough, Katy once worked for KISS, years ago…and her comment about the experience? “It was very….’different’ from say, working with Duran Duran.” Oh, I’ll bet it was. And then some.  All I know is that I’m looking forward to seeing the band on TV tonight, and I’m really curious as to the surprise they’re doing for fans using the SHAZAM app. Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Check out the info here. My iPhone is a dinosaur and I can’t download the app…so I’m counting on the rest of you to tell me what it’s all about!

Unstaged:  Who is going to go see this tomorrow near them?!?  *raises hand* I sure am!!  I can’t wait!  Roger says that he is very surprised that this film has had the “legs” it’s had for so long. I must agree. The film is three-and-a-half years old now, and prior to that MoMA screening I figured it had been tossed in a drawer somewhere, never to see the light of day again. But, if you thought you were done hearing about Unstaged after tomorrow (or Saturday), think again. Katy is spreading rumors (somehow, I really doubt it’s a “rumor”…) that people may be able to watch Unstaged on their TV’s at home very soon….but she cannot confirm just yet.  Watch this space.

Nile Rodgers: Roger spoke about Nile, saying that he brought an energy and passion that he hadn’t ever seen before. Roger is convinced that Nile will make this record even better – “icing on the cake”, and will expand the quality of the album. Katy said that during all of the promo that Nile has done for Daft Punk and before and certainly beyond, that Nile never fails to mention just how proud he is of the work he has done for Duran Duran. Roger followed with saying that he thinks Nile is in a much different place now than he was with the Astronaut album. (for those who do not realize – Nile Rodgers did some production work for the band on Astronaut.) The recent success Nile has had gave him a lot of self-confidence.

Album News (You know you want it): They are going back next week into the studio to FINISH THE ALBUM. Mark and Mr. Hudson will help to finish. Roger says you get to a point where you have to just say “This is it”. (He didn’t say they were at that point, but I’m hoping….) He said that they’ve been working for nearly two years on it and that they’ll finish it “soon”. Then he raised his voice in case we didn’t hear and said “and it’s the TRUTH this time”. We’ll see Roger. We will see. Katy asked if they had a title yet, saying that she had heard one was swirling around but Roger said no, nothing is 100% yet. They have something in mind but it’s not definite.

Live performance and rehearsals before a tour: Katy then moved on to playing live. According to Roger, the band will tour to support live (I think I heard an audible sigh of relief from the community-at-large…or was that just me?), but they’re not to a point where they’re even thinking about it yet. They don’t record thinking about how something will sound or be replicated live, that comes later.  Katy then read my mind and asked about rehearsal time before a tour.  John Taylor has always been pretty forthcoming about the fact that this isn’t a band that likes to rehearse, but prior to a tour, according to Roger – they have to spend the time. This is probably due to the songs being new. It starts off very low key in a small room, and then they move up to a bigger room and then to a room that’s large – like the size of a venue. Roger says this is his least favorite part of the process because you’re performing like you would live but you’re getting absolutely not feedback from the audience. He was quick to add that the people at home might not realize it, but that the band very much feeds off of our energy at shows (Not to burst Roger’s bubble, but I think that it might even be interesting for him to know that we can tell that they feed off of us. The relationship is very mutual because the audience, at least among the most ardent fans in the audience, can very much tell when something is “off” with the band, and we feed off of THEM and their energy, too. It’s a symbiotic relationship!) As Roger aptly put it, rehearsing is like the chef doing all of the cooking in the kitchen before putting on the 3-course meal.

Mazda gig: Roger said it was good and that they enjoyed playing live again. He mentioned that it wasn’t a huge audience, and that he is always pleasantly surprised when everything comes back (meaning the music for all of them) so easily. He always thinks these gigs (where they’re playing older material together after a long time) are going to be a complete disaster, but that they turn out fine. He says that they are excited to play live again.

What’s next?: Katy prefaced this section by saying that the band would take a break in December for the holidays and then come back in the new year with a single. She then asked about a label – would the band go with one for this album? Roger said that it’s all still being negotiated but that they probably would go with one this time, that the last album was handled very differently and that went really well, but that this time they want the power from a corporation behind them. Katy asked about DJ dates for Roger – hoping for a scoop of some sort. Roger said that he hasn’t had his DJ “head” on in a while, but that once they get to mixing and finishing the album maybe then he’d think about it. Just as I was taking a big heavy sigh, figuring that this album must still be a very long way from being completed, much less released – Roger finishes the Kafé with a proclamation. Katy tells Roger that the next time he’ll be in the Kafé is for the year-end ones in December, and he says…of his own accord (clearly he did not learn from the last time he did this, poor guy…) that the record will be completely done by year end. “Mixed, done, and in the can!”

Oh dear. Well, I look forward to the near-relentless amount of “I told you so’s” that will happen in December, then. (Whether they are his or my own, actually!)

That’s all for this time, dear readers!!

-R