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.
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!