Tag Archives: David Bowie

March 2017 Katy Kafe with Simon!

I am late. Ridiculously late. Not one, not five…but TEN days late…..for posting the highlights of the most recent Katy Kafe with Simon.

This is the kind of thing that happens when someone is working and misses a tweet or post from Katy, announcing that the most recent Kafe is up and ready for listening. Thanks to Debbie on Twitter!  When it appeared that I was going to ignore the Kafe completely, she sent a note asking about it. I saw the message yesterday while welcoming my students on to campus yesterday, and made a note to figure out what she was talking about!

I think this might have been the first time I truly missed a Kafe completely, and I’m sorry.  But, without further delay – here are my highlights.  You all know the disclaimer I’m about to write, but I will say it anyway:

These are my notes from the Katy Kafe, it is not a full-transcript of what was said. Often, I interject with my own opinion, and therefore, if you really want the full Kafe, you’ll need to purchase a membership to Duranduranmusic.com.  

Simon on Coffee

Over the past couple of years, Simon has talked about coffee quite a bit in the Kafe. He is down to six cups a day (down from 12, which he claims “…is apparently not good for you.” I don’t even know how to respond to that, Simon…except that you never fail to make me laugh. If I drank six cups a day, my heart rate would be about 175 and I’d end up in the hospital. My “ticker” already likes to go faster than normal as it is!)  But now, he drinks Bullet Coffee.

This is not really a “new” thing, because I remember seeing this little concoction mentioned by many of my friends on Facebook two years ago or more.  Alas, we’ll play along… Simon describes that basically, you brew coffee as normal, then put it into a blender (or bullet blender, as the case may be!) along with some coconut oil (he calls it wax, which does nothing to sell me on it, but he’s right – that’s what it looks and feels like) and some butter (not just regular butter, either butter from grass-fed cows, or Irish butter – maybe they don’t call it that in England?? – or as Simon mentions, goat butter). You blend it, and apparently it tastes good, and puts your body into ketosis, or fat-burning mode. Simon says he likes to drink it before he trains.

I’d like to drink it before I go to the doctor for my monthly “how high is your pulse and blood pressure today, Rhonda?” check-ins. Except I would do it just to see the reaction from the nurse and my doctor. Yes, I’m that kind of patient. Moving on…

Simon on the David Bowie Tribute Performance

For those wondering how Simon’s performance of “Let’s Dance” (which was fantastic, BTW) came about, it turns out that Sterling originally contacted Nick to play.  Sterling plays drums in Bowie’s stage band, and the tribute involved other artists coming on stage to perform with the band. Nick mentioned it to Simon, who was interested in singing. The organizers decided to have Simon perform “Let’s Dance”, (not one of Simon’s favorite Bowie songs). This made sense to Simon though, because it was from the same time frame as Duran Duran’s height in popularity (The Reflex), and the song itself suited him very well.

Simon describes the song as not being easy to sing, due to the massive gaps in singing – the timing has to be just right to keep the song flowing. As we all know (and you can see below), he did a great job with it.

 

After the show, the performers went to hotel that I didn’t catch the name of (sorry, I was busy multitasking by making breakfast for my youngest!), and stayed up very, very, late. He follows up by saying that he is “really good at metabolizing booze”.

BEST. QUOTE. EVER.  Oh, Simon. 

Simon on Music (Italy)!

Originally, the offer to do this show came through an Italian promoter who had never worked with Duran Duran. (The funny thing about this little segue was that Simon originally used the term “agent”…and then said, “I’m not really good about business things like this – ‘job titles’ and that sort of thing!” )

Simon rarely does solo performances, preferring to spend his time working on Duran Duran things and “being exclusive”, but this time, he decided to do it.

“Broken Dream” is a song that Simon completely reimagined. He sings it lower than the original, because his natural register is much lower than what he often does in Duran Duran. He had thought about the musical arrangement, wanting to go with a modern-sounding orchestra and organ accompaniment. The finished product, which I linked below, isn’t exactly as he had originally imagined, but after listening to it, Simon felt it really worked.

As a personal note, I thought it was easily one of Simon’s best vocal performances I’ve ever heard. If you haven’t watched it, you should. 

 

Simon said that learning the words was the toughest part, because for him, a great performance means completely relaxing so that he completely opens up vocally.

Katy said that she really loved his performance, proclaiming it better than the original, and commented on his suit (Sir Tom Baker), and his hair.

Simon on the Upcoming Tour Dates

This short tour began with the band wanting to do dates in South America since it had been a long time. However, the band felt they needed to do something different from just showing up and playing “the same thing”.  He made the point that Lalapalooza gives them access to an entirely new audience.  This does make sense, although as a fan I have to wonder why going and playing shows for their South American Duranies doesn’t seem to be enough.  My guess is that in order to justify the trip, business-wise (and I don’t know to whom) – they need to prove they would be gaining audience numbers. I’m not sure, but I do know that South America is thrilled they’re making their way to see them!

Katy pressed Simon on the possibility of upcoming Australian dates, to which Simon said that dates are coming for both there and the Far East, but they are not yet confirmed.  He mentioned Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore before saying he really didn’t know. I guess we’ll all find out soon!

Simon on the band’s big 4-0

The Kafe ended on a positive note, as Katy asked about any plans the band may have for their 40th birthday next year. Simon commented that this, even with the few dates they’ve got coming up, is their bit of time off before beginning to celebrate.  He continued on saying that while he didn’t join the band until the 80s, they’re celebrating the beginnings of John and Nick getting the band together and that it’s bound to be a “busy, fun, year” filled with tours and “lots of stuff”!

(I hope everyone’s bank accounts and credit cards are ready. Mine, however, are not. EEK!)

So sorry it was so late!!

-R

 

Spirit rose a meter and stepped aside: Celebrating David Bowie

Just one year ago today, David Bowie left us.

I’m nearly incredulous that it has already been a year in one moment, and in the next, I’m shocked that it hasn’t been longer…because it certainly feels that way.

I still read and hear pain when the band speaks of their loss in interviews I’ve seen and read. In one sense, I can imagine how they feel. I don’t know what that day will feel like, and I don’t want to know.  Nearly all of them have mentioned grappling with the mere notion that David Bowie is no longer with us.

I can remember going online that day, and seeing the heart wrenching tweets from friends and people I admire. The loss was palatable, and the space David left will never be filled.

We’ve had a year of Duran Duran touring and incorporating Space Oddity into their shows, celebrating David Bowie. My own daughter (my youngest) thinks that it’s a Duran Duran song because she saw them play it live at her first concert this summer. There is still a sense of melancholy, and great love and respect when they segue from Planet Earth to Space Oddity during the show, with David Bowie, “bigger than life” looking  on behind them. As strange as it might seem, I’ve enjoyed Duran doing the song – sharing their love and influence with the rest of us, letting us in to help in some small way, shoulder their loss. Our loss, really.

This past weekend, Simon took part in a very special show at Brixton Academy in London, on what would have been David’s 70th birthday.  “Celebrating David Bowie with Gary Oldman and Friends” was a show featuring David’s band, along with a myriad of special guests, including Simon, members of Spandau Ballet, Joe Elliott of Def Leppard, and Mr. Hudson. For Simon’s part, he performed “Let’s Dance”.

I didn’t watch all the videos for the show, but you BET I watched Simon’s. If you want to catch any of them, check out NME’s wonderful article and collection of videos, including the entire setlist.  Rest assured, Simon sounded fantastic and strong. While I watched him perform, he seemed so proud to be up there, maybe even reverent. Even from here, I was proud to see him knock that song out of the park.  I thought about how music heals, and how much deep love and respect these musicians have for David Bowie.

People often say that these people never completely leave us, that the music stays with us forever, and it is their gift.  Sometimes that thought comforts and other times, it feels like a huge cliché. I’m not going to lie, the thought does very little to quell my own fear of loss. I learned early on in my life to make sure that the people I love most know how I feel – which is really hard to do when it is a band like Duran Duran. The complexity of the “fan” thing tends to get in the way as much as it brought me to them to begin with. However,  we all do love and treasure them, in very much the same way as they do Bowie. We can only hope they know.

During a year where many of us have lost idols and artists we love and respect, seeing Simon—and all of Duran Duran, really—pay respect to their own idol, has taught me a lot about grace, love and celebrating one’s idols.

-R

The Present Will Never Last

This morning, I am traveling to the Washington D.C. area with my friend to celebrate New Year’s.  Of course, this won’t be a common celebration but one filled with some live music by a certain band that we know and love.  Yes, this New Year’s celebration will include a couple Duran shows.

When these shows were announced, I didn’t hesitate to make plans to go.  I never have New Year’s plans and this holiday includes time away from work.  If that wasn’t enough, I also had airline miles.  It seemed like a no brainer.  Yet, as the days passed by and become weeks then months, I began to wonder if I made the right decision.  I could use the money for other things.  The mountain of grading would not get done on its own.  My feelings of despair hadn’t let up much since November.  Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling it much and put off real planning.  Yes, I had a plane ticket, a hotel room, but I hadn’t prepared the binder or figure out any real details.  I kept putting it off.

Then, on Christmas day, I heard about George Michael’s death.  Like so many others of my generation, I grew up listening to George Michael and Wham.  I sang his songs and watched his videos.  Hearing about his loss was like losing a part of my childhood.  Then, when you place his loss alongside the others who died during this year, the grief is almost overwhelming.  When I just think about the musicians lost this year, I am deeply saddened by those whom I will never have the opportunity to see live in concert or hear new music from again.  I was lucky in that I saw David Bowie live once.  I wish I could have said the same for Prince and George Michael.

Suddenly, I realized that I need to get it together.  I have the opportunity to go and see Duran Duran on New Year’s Eve.  I shouldn’t ignore any and all chances to see bands/artists I like.  I certainly should APPRECIATE every single chance I have to see Duran Duran.  If anything that 2016 has taught us, it is not to waste chances and moments to do what you love or to be where you are happiest.  After all, you never know when we won’t have the chance to do it again, for whatever the reason.

Now that I have rearranged my perspective, how can I not be excited and appreciative for this chance?  How can I not look forward to spending New Year’s not only with Duran Duran but also countless Duranies!  While I will miss my best friend being with me and I acknowledge that life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, I need to focus on what I do have.  I will have two Duran shows and I know that there is no place I would rather be.  Duranie friends will be all around me.  Life isn’t perfect but this trip will be pretty close.

So, as you are all reading this, I should be on my way.  Hopefully, my flight will be uneventful and then I will be able to enjoy a city that I have had the good fortune of spending some time over the last 6 years or so.  Then, I will be ready to party and put an end of a year that was filled with sorrow and disappointment.  With everlasting hope, I, along with thousands of Duran fans, will welcome 2017 doing what we love–singing, dancing, screaming and clapping for a band and music we love so much.

-A

My Last Post of 2016. What is to be gained?

This is my last post of 2016. I don’t post again until Monday, January 2nd 2017, so have a wonderful New Years, everyone! I don’t know what Amanda has planned for her blogs this weekend, but I would imagine they’d have something to do with traveling and seeing some band from the UK a couple of times.

There’s a part of me that is jealous, but another part—the saner portion of me—that is a bit relieved I’m staying home. It’s not about the band, because I would love to see them and my friends again.  No, my relief is about the not having to pack, schedule out the time while I’m gone, get on a plane, and then come back before I have to be at work on Tuesday, that makes me a little relieved I’m not planning a trip across the country.

I’ve seen many say that 2016 has been a tough, cruel year. The loss has been pretty tough to take. While I don’t typically lose family members every year, invariably there is a celebrity figure or two.  They pass on, and we all stop for a moment to pay our respects, then life simply moves on.  This year, I daresay the loss seems to have felt more acute. Whether it’s the number of people who have left us, or the people themselves, 2016 has been a roller coaster.

I’ve seen so many people tweet that we need to wrap every member of Duran Duran in bubble wrap, as if that will somehow protect them from the dreaded 2016. I’ve said similar things myself, in jest, as if adding humor to the situation will make it all more palatable. The reality is that there’s nothing any of us can do to make this stop. I’m 46, and many of my idols, including the band, are hitting their mid to late 50’s now. Many others are even older. I remind myself that my own father died at 68. Death is a certainty, it’s a matter of when. And that thought is pretty damn depressing.

How many of us actually sat down at the age of thirteen that we’d have to someday see all of the celebrities and people we admire leave this earth? How many of us really thought about the day we’d read online that George Michael passed away? Or David Bowie? Or Prince?  I know I didn’t. I never gave mortality much thought. I lived in the moment, and didn’t think too far beyond what I might wear to school the following day.  Blissful ignorance of youth.  And then we grew up.

It is 2016. Many of you reading are also in your 40’s. This year alone, we’ve felt the loss of many legends and heroes. Death has this annoying way of forcing you think about life, and I think we all want to be able to blame some THING for why so many people are dying this year. So, we blame 2016. I highly doubt we’ll wake up in 2017 and the Grim Reaper will have decided to take his talents elsewhere, but it is how we make sense of things that really have no answer.

I suppose that I’ve come to the conclusion that this constant parade of RIP’s and tributes will not have an end until I leave this planet myself. I’m at middle age, my heroes are either my age or older, and none of us live forever. I can remember my grandmother sitting in her chair in my childhood home, watching the news in the afternoons during the summer when she’d babysit my sister and I.  Occasionally there would be news of a celebrity death, and invariably she’d take a sharp inhale of breath, shocked by the news.

She’d softly say something like, “Well, there’s another one gone. Soon there will be no one left.”  Then she’d look over at me and my sister, playing with Barbies on the floor and muse, “Getting old is terrible, Rhonda Lynn. You can’t move, and your friends die constantly.”

I can remember looking at her then looking over at my sister, who couldn’t have been much older than five or six. I’d give her a tiny smile and then roll my eyes. Why? Well, we were never going to get old!!

I don’t blame people for wishing 2016 away, mind you. There are a number of reasons for wanting this year to just end already. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that by this time most years, I’m ready to get on with it already. On the other hand, I’m also trying to be careful not to wish my life away. I have things to look forward to in 2017. A girls weekend in Rancho Mirage, seeing Duran Duran again, my son’s graduation from high school, more college acceptances for him (I hope!), and then seeing him walk onto his college campus for the first time.

Even with all of that, I’m trying very hard to put the art of enjoying each day as it comes into practice. I don’t like saying the words “I can’t wait” anymore (although I still say them out of habit) because as it turns out, I CAN wait. Anticipation isn’t a bad thing. It heightens and stretches out the enjoyment of what is to come.

If there’s anything to really be gained from the loss we’re all learning to accept these days, it is to learn that time isn’t to be wasted. There’s not an infinite amount somewhere. When your cup runneth out, you’re done. One of the first things I said when I heard about George Michael—after shouting “NOOOOOO” and grabbing my phone, of course—was that I never saw him live. He was one of my favorite artists, and I never bothered. I didn’t buy the ticket. Granted, I am sure I could cite reasons, and timing would be at the top of the list, but the fact is, I didn’t buy the ticket.

I lightly pounded my fist on the dining room table, startling my mom in the process, and proclaimed that no one could or should ever tell me again that I go see too many shows, or that I shouldn’t spend the money, because once these people are gone, they’re gone. I really don’t know if the sentiment was understood. My family was never into concerts the way I am, and they don’t really understand my obsession with Duran Duran anyway.

What it all boils down to is that in 2017, I’m buying the ticket. Before my husband has a fit—that’s a euphemism. I’m going to seize more of the moments. See more of the people I want to see, do more of the things I want to do. Fear plays a huge part in my life, and my goal for the year is to live just a little bit outside of that box. Instead of just dreaming, I’m going to try doing.

Happy New Year! Be safe and have a fantastic time if you’re headed to the shows in Cancun or DC!

-R

Final 2016 Year End Katy Kafe with Simon LeBon

On today’s final 2016 year end Katy Kafe, Simon LeBon took time out from a busy day (they performed for Brian Cox’s charity that evening) to chat, covering everything from the weather to the Far East!

Simon begins by saying that it isn’t very cold by UK standards for December. Apparently the weather is hovering around the 40 degree F mark most days. Freezing for Southern California, mild for everyone else!  Katy asks what his favorite “tipple” for Christmastime might be (tipple is alcohol if you’re scratching your head in wonder).  Simon responds exactly as I’d imagined, “Everything!” He does say though that he had some cider brandy shipped to him and is really enjoying that. (I won’t lie, I immediately decided to do a search for that online because it sounds like something I would be into!) After saying that he likes anything from red wine to beer, to champagne, white wine, etc…they move on to the favorites for the year.

World Event

Simon mentions a few things, but first is Brexit. Simon has an interesting take on this—rather than be outraged by the outcome, he is thrilled that the UK was allowed to voice their opinions and make a decision, citing that many other places in the world have “so-called democracies” and yet the people really aren’t allowed to make the big decisions. I can certainly understand that sentiment, and I applaud his open-mindedness.

The ongoing “sad and tragic” war in Syria is also mentioned, and I agree wholeheartedly with Simon that we certainly cannot forget those people or their suffering.

He also cites the electoral race here in America, calling Trump an “extraordinary candidate”, and saying that he isn’t a big fan of Clinton either. He does say though that Trump has wanted this office for a long time, and that now he’s got it, and he had better do something productive with it, going on to remind us that Americans know how to get their Presidents OUT of office if need be.

The Olympics is another big event for 2016, commenting that Andy Murray’s big win in tennis is a first in a very long time for the UK.  (I don’t mind adding here that the Olympics feels like it happened two years ago rather than just this past August. Unreal!)

Favorite Movie

At first, Simon doesn’t recall if he’s actually seen anything, saying that this category could actually be “What ONE film did you see in the theater this year, Simon?”

He then remembers that he saw Jungle Book with John, and he did just recently see Fantastic Beasts, but overall he wants to defer the question to next year, or at least until he goes to see Nocturnal Animals.

Favorite Book

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry  It is a love story taking place in the Victorian era, and it focuses on the struggle between religion and science. Simon read it quickly and says “It is as good as a book gets.” So there you have it!

Favorite TV Show

He mentions several, but settles on The Vikings, saying that it is brutal and sexy.

Favorite Album

This category nearly stumps Simon. Katy mentions Blackstar by David Bowie, but Simon says no, that it was too depressing. He prefers upbeat. He says he’s still listening to Tame Impala’s album, and then also mentions Lemonade by Beyoncé, explaining that he loves the project as a whole.

Favorite DD Event

Simon says he loved the tour. All of it, going on to explain that the shows were good and consistent, and so he can’t pick out one moment. He really loved it all.

Personal Event

He really enjoyed sailing but that nothing compares to being on stage. He’s having more fun now, and it’s likely because he realizes that it can’t go on forever.

Onward to 2017

Simon eagerly exclaims “The tour!” He follows that up by saying, “When I am in this mode, it is the single most important thing.” He likes the simplicity of it.  They are still trying to schedule shows in the Far East, and at the time this was recorded they were thinking those shows would be towards the end of next year. I think the takeaway is two-fold: 1. They don’t know for sure where they are going or when.  2. There is no real set schedule for returning to the studio – so we cannot hang on every single word the band says about such things, at least not yet!

-R

December 2016 Year End Katy Kafe with Nick Rhodes!

Another day, and this time it is Nick Rhodes in the December 2016 Year End Katy Kafe! Nick talks about everything from briefly mentioning his absence from the US tour, to shows he’s seen this year, and heading into the 40th anniversary of Duran Duran.  Here are the highlights:

World Event

Naturally, Nick mentions losing David Bowie, and then Prince, Leonard Cohen…and many others.  He commented that it was one of the worst years in memory (I’m sure many of us might agree), going on to also mention the political scenarios taking place, adding that he wouldn’t go into them because they would consume the remainder of the Katy Kafe.

He also talks about missing the US tour, saying that it was strange to miss, but that there was something in his life that needed to be dealt with.

Favorite Entertainment/Culture:

This portion of the Kafe was lengthy! If one ever had reason to wonder what Nick does outside of Duran Duran, or was curious if he ever got bored – I can tell you just from listening to this very Kafe that the answer is NO.

Favorite Album

He mentions a few but Blackstar by David Bowie was his first answer, saying that it is hard to listen to (agreed), but is very interesting (also agree).  Extraordinary to think he was so very ill when the album was recorded, certainly.

Also mentions: Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree, and The Weeknd’s Starboy.

Movies

Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals; Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children; Andrew Rossi’s First Monday in May.

Fashion Shows

He saw a “few”, but mentioned Alexander McQueen and Pam Hogg’s shows.

Books

Antony Cairns Night City Night City Night City; Daisuke Yokota Matter/Burnout

Art Shows

Beyond Caravaggio – London

Picasso Portraits – National Portrait Gallery London

The Vulgar – Barbican

Erwin Blumenfeld – London

(some of these exhibitions have ended, so I just included interesting links to articles as I found them)

Nick’s own My V&A exhibit on YouTube

He also went to Art Basel with John, where they spent a day running around to see as much as possible!

Live Shows (Music and Theatre)

The Cure

Bjork

Lazarus (David Bowie’s last work)

Favorite DD Moment (there were several!)

American Tour (Or at least the shows that he performed), notably: Barclay Center and North Carolina where they signed the LGBTQ petition.

Italian tour, mentioning both Taormina and Verona, which was on his birthday.

Cornwall/Eden Project

Buckingham Palace on March 16!

Personal Moment:

The tour

He’s also spent a lot of time working outside of DD projects this year – when he came “back” (I am not sure what he meant by that, but the way he said it made it at least sound as though he meant when he got “back” from whatever personal thing took him away from the DD tour) he worked more with The Bloom Twins. He is enjoying that process because they have no preconceptions to battle, they’re not spoiled by success and are willing to try anything.

Looking forward to 2017

Here’s the thing, Duranie…this is the part I was waiting for. Don’t get me wrong, I took good notes about all of the art things he’s seen and I plan to go back and do my own searching on a lot of it because I very much enjoy that sort of thing, but for the sake of this blog? We’re all about the DD, and we want to know what’s coming next. I’ve made a list!

  • Finish musical with John! They are nearly done with a first solid draft (great work – it is HARD to finish big writing projects, this much I know!)
  • Publish photo book – he wanted to get that out last year, but it is completely finished and just needs a home. Stay tuned….
  • Heading towards 40th anniversary of Duran Duran (this is alarming to me. Did we miscount??). Although the “original” Duran Duran began in 1978, Simon didn’t join until 1980. I wonder when we’ll celebrate the 40th….or when we’ll stop!  😀

More shows…and….

MORE NEW MATERIAL

Yes, you read that right. Not only did Roger say the words in his Kafe, but Nick mentioned the “S” word (for studio) in his Kafe too. Katy asked him about when he’d think we’d be seeing new music, and while Nick assured her that he would never make that bet, he thought maybe they’d return to the studio to begin writing in perhaps September.  They are still hoping to get to Australia and Japan and perhaps other countries “in that area” this next year.

All I can end with is…watch this space. You never know what that band will be up to next!

-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

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

 

Feel It in the Air: Duran Duran – Mohegan Sun

On Thursday April 7, I attended my 16th Duran Duran show. Although I’m a lifelong American fan dating back to Rio, I had never seen the band until 1997. In fact, nearly all of my Duran concerts occurred between the Medazzaland and Red Carpet Massacre tours (14 shows between 1997-2008, evenly split between the 90’s era and reunited lineups). As I sat with my wife and one of my sisters the other night, waiting for the show to start and chatting with other Duranies, these thoughts ran through my mind.  How was it that I was only seeing my 2nd show in the last 8 years? Of course, starting a family, buying a house, and job demands all get in the way, as does “Durantime” and the band’s lack of touring. Regardless, I made up my mind to go into the show completely open. I was going to enjoy it, even if they played “Hungry Like the Wolf” for two hours straight! (Well, maybe that would be a bit much…but you get my point.)

A little over 24 hours later, as I write this, I am still processing what was an amazing live performance of songs old and new.  Rather than go song by song, here are some general observations:

We’ve come too far to give up who we are. 

Chic’s set was awesome. Nile and the gang played all of their hits—“Le Freak,” “I Want Your Love,” and “Good Times”—in addition to a medley of other songs that he’d written for other artists. The highlight was a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” I won’t lie, I have always loved disco (before Duran Duran, my favorite artists included Andy Gibb and the Bee Gees…I was born in the early 70’s and that’s what I grew up with!) and seeing Nile perform these songs live was a dream come true. He has an energy and enthusiasm for life that comes through in his music. Nile introduced “Get Lucky,” a song he wrote with Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams several years ago, as the response to his cancer diagnosis (and he is now cancer free!). I had never heard “Get Lucky” but it resonated with me—musically and lyrically—as Nile, Duran, and all of us fans have truly “come too far to give up who we are.” Nile Rodgers and Chic perfectly set the stage for Duran with their funky, high energy performance.

Is it out of choice that you’re here next to me, or just the aftermath of moments as they pass?

 That line—from “What are the Chances”—is one of my favorites in the entirety of the Duran catalogue. As with any lyric, its interpretation depends on the listener. Last night, I wondered if it might refer to the relationship between Dom Brown and the band. Dom has been a loyal part of the Duran family for over a decade now, not just as a “touring” guitarist but co-writer on the last two (amazing) albums. Much has been made in the Duran fandom of his status (or lack thereof) as an “official” member of the band. All I know is what I saw and heard last night: an amazing show, with great chemistry, much of it involving Dom. Gone is the tension that marked the later Warren years and the initial reunion involving Andy (where something about the “Fab 5” just felt off). Now, they seem as relaxed and sure of themselves as they were in the early 80’s, and surely Dom deserves some measure of credit for that. “What are the Chances” was amazing, emotional, and a standout from last night’s show. I have been on the fence on the track for months now, but last night put me over the edge. Dom was also great on “I Don’t Want Your Love.” While I’ve seen different lineups perform that song, the Mohegan Sun show marked two firsts: The first time I’ve ever heard Dom play it, and the first time I’ve ever heard the guitar solo played properly, like Chester Kamen played it on Big Thing. Even the dreaded “Hungry Like the Wolf” sounded livelier and refreshed (my wife noticed that as well and she is no Duranie!). “Ordinary World,” another song I know some feel should be dropped (more on that in a moment) also sounded great, thanks to Dom’s faithful rendition. While I don’t fully understand the relationship between Dom and the band, and the fact that he seems to be kept at arm’s length at times, I only know what I saw last night. I hope to continue to see him playing with Duran for years to come.

We’re all busy being human; we remember.  

So when it comes down to it, there isn’t much I would change in last night’s set. “Last Night in the City” was far better live than I ever would have imagined, with Anna Ross doing a great job. As noted above, so too was “What are the Chances.” “Paper Gods” was the perfect opener. Complimented by the visuals of the band (minus Nick, unless I missed him) singing the Mr. Hudson backing vocal on the big screen, the band took the stage. Roger’s percussion and Nick’s synth line followed Simon’s vocal, and then the crowd went nuts as John’s bass kicked in. Putting “Wild Boys” earlier in the set (rather than toward the end, where it usually is if they play it) was a great decision. It got the crowd rocking early and followed the momentum of their entrance and “Paper Gods.” Perhaps the highlight of the night were two of the tracks that Nile Rodgers cowrote—“Notorious” and “Pressure Off”—played with the hit maker himself, who returned to the stage. His chemistry with John, Dom and Simon reinforced the fact that Duran truly is like a second band for him. Even “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Ordinary World”—two hits that seem far overplayed and I could do without—sounded great last night and I would not have removed them.

That being said, I would make a few changes.   While it seemed well received, I would have eliminated “Come Undone.” I understand the band’s attachment to their few 90’s hits. However, we’re nearly a quarter century removed from The Wedding Album. If an 80’s hit like “Union of the Snake” or “The Reflex” can be omitted from the set, surely “Come Undone” can as well. Why not replace that spot in the set with something from the first three albums? “Last Chance on the Stairway” could easily function as an early mid-tempo number that would give the guys a breather while offering the fans (even the casual ones) a song they likely know.

Likewise, “Danceophobia” is a misstep that need not be repeated live. I understand from reading interviews how much the band worked on the track, and of course there is the celebrity connection with Lindsay Lohan performing on the studio version. If the goal is to get the casual Duranies to buy Paper Gods, why not replace “Danceophobia” with “Face for Today” or “Butterfly Girl”?

Finally, the band should either play the guitar-driven, 1993 version of “Too Much Information,” or go all-in and swap it out with “Drowning Man” and strip the guitar from that track (if they are so bent on playing something more from The Wedding Album). The sped-up, electro “Too Much Information” completely ruins one of their best songs.

Those quibbles aside, it was a great show for both long time Duranies and casual fans. The past may very well be “another country” but last night, for a few hours, Duran Duran, Nile Rodgers, and Chic successfully blended past and present songs for an amazing show.

HIGHLIGHTS: I Don’t Want Your Love, Paper Gods, Notorious, Pressure Off, What are the Chances, Planet Earth/Space Oddity, Save a Prayer, Sunrise/New Moon on Monday medley.

LEAST FAVORITE: Danceophobia, Too Much Information, Come Undone

MOST SURPRISING: White Lines continues to be a song that people go nuts for, even though most Duranies would probably like to see it replaced in the set. Yes, Rhonda, he still spit the water, although we were a section too far back to feel it.

BIGGEST OMISSION:  I understand the need to promote Paper Gods, but would it have killed the band to include something from All You Need Is Now?  All they need do is look at how Sunrise has become such a huge fan favorite, even with casual fans.  The same could be true of the song All You Need is Now if given the chance.  It has the same anthemic quality.

BY THE NUMBERS: Paper Gods (5), Rio (3), The Wedding Album (3), Duran Duran (2), SATR (1), Arena (1), Notorious (1), Big Thing (1), Thank You (1), Astronaut (1), & AVTAK.

-C.K

There are Kafes, and then there are Kafes…

I took time yesterday afternoon to sit down and listen to the Oscars-edition Katy Kafe with Nick and Katy. I’m not sure if it’s just that I’ve not listened to it in the years prior (can’t imagine?), or that I wasn’t thinking – but I sat down figuring it’d be a 20-30 minute thing, and instead it was an hour and 45 minutes of what I thought was a really great discussion!

I decided relatively quickly that I wouldn’t take notes, primarily because if you really want the quick hit on what was talked about, you can find it on duranduran.com. Instead, I just want to give a quick commentary on kafes in general.

I really enjoyed listening to Nick and Katy talk about not much else besides movies for a change.

The bombshell, at least as far as I am concerned, is that I think I may have only seen one out of ALL of the movies they discussed yesterday. I’m not really much of a movie-goer, I have to admit.  The last thing I usually want to do on a date-night is sit and watch a movie. Now that my oldest is out of the house and my middle one is halfway out the door, we don’t really do family movie nights unless we’re here at home, which is probably where I will see a few more of these movies eventually. Even so, I really enjoyed the kafe.

When is the last time you can say that you actually sat and listened to Nick talk about anything for an hour and forty-five minutes? I thought about that a lot yesterday after I was finished listening.  We never hear him go on that long about anything, much less Duran Duran. I’m not quite sure what that says, if anything, but I did think about that. After all, I’ve said more than once that we really don’t know the band. We only know the image or persona they portray onstage or in public as part of their celebrity. So to hear Nick speak with passion about some of the movies he’s seen or how he feels about the Oscars in general was of interest, at least to me. It is likely the closest I’m ever going to get to being a part of a conversation with Nick, I am quite certain, so I appreciated the feeling of being a fly on the wall. Now if they could only just set something up for a Katy Kafe so we could hear what goes on in the studio…… (if only, right?)

For those intent to hear some news…at the very end of the kafe, Katy asks Nick if he’ll be staying up late to watch the Oscars on Sunday. Nick replies that no, he really can’t because he’ll be going into the studio with a certain John Taylor on Monday morning to work on their musical.

I rubbed my hands together vigorously as Nick mentioned the musical…I can’t wait to hear more in the same way that I can’t wait to get our new book outline finished and off to a publisher. Let’s hope #Durantime doesn’t infect us all.  <big toothy grin here>

The kafe-fairies were generous, as Simon called in for a quick, impromptu chat after his appearance at the Brits. Simon gave a quick chat about handing Adele the award – which I still feel he should have just stolen (figuratively speaking)  since the band was robbed of their own nominations this year, but then spoke of the David Bowie tribute.

I’ve commented on tributes before, and my feelings have not really changed. I can only write as a fan, not as an artist. The general perspective between a fan such as myself, someone who is not in the music biz, and someone who might have been a fan growing up but is now IN the industry, is likely to be quite different. While it may be true that you never quite lose “the fan” in you, I only know what it is like to BE a fan. So my reflections about last night may differ widely from others.

Simon seemed to say that he was concerned a tribute like that would be cheesy, but that he was very impressed with what Bowie’s touring band did musically. I completely agreed. Not only did they play a very difficult medley based on music and time changes, they did it brilliantly by cutting from one song to another in spots the audience might not have expected. The professionalism of the band, a band that is likely still very much in mourning I am sure, made the piece run smoothly and still come alive with Bowie’s memory. And then Lorde took the stage. Simon said that he felt that Lorde sang “Life On Mars” similarly to Bowie – I didn’t really get that from her – but then he noticed that other people, including Yasmin, were singing along with her. So the tribute wasn’t really about Lorde singing, but about her leading everyone else, and he seemed to really like the performance and what it came to mean in that moment. I wasn’t there, obviously, and only saw the video on YouTube, which I think we can agree isn’t anything like being there in person. My perspective though, was that Lorde sang the song as herself. She wasn’t trying to BE Bowie, but instead sing FOR him, which was beautiful. Maybe I really don’t understand David Bowie’s art, and perhaps I really don’t have the kind of perspective I might had I grown up loving all of his work the way some of my friends might. I’m not sure. I do have enormous respect, and I just felt that her straightforward, heartfelt performance was what I would have wanted as a fan. And the goosebumps I felt run down my body told me everything I really needed to know. Others may have preferred something different.

Simon ended his chat with Katy by saying that when he has something to say, it’s great to be able to do it this way (through a quick kafe chat). The funny thing to me is that at ten minutes, it wasn’t all that much shorter than some of the other Katy Kafes in the past. But I think the key is having something to say. I would imagine it probably does get boring to talk about an album or a tour or things that they deal with every single day, and yet being fans – we aren’t privy to that part of their “job”,  but yet are things we are most curious about. I liken it to when I ask my kids or my husband about their day. They all hate it unless they have something specific to tell me that typically is some crazy anecdote that has nothing at all to do with their classes or the current product Walt is working on.

I’m not sure what this really means, except that I’m thinking it over.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to tweeting my way through the Oscars on Sunday afternoon (my time). While I’m no fashion maven on an every day basis (as I sit here in my regular “uniform” of jeans, a Punk Master “vinyl pirates” t-shirt and converse), I am very good at judging red carpet fashion…and my favorite thing…jewelry!

-R