Last night I could not help but to notice when DDHQ tweeted out that there was a new kafe, one promised to have some album news. This was exactly what I needed after finding out that a former student had been shot and killed earlier in the week. I need a break from the horrible reality we live in. So, on that note, let me dive into what Nick and Katy discussed. As usual, this is not a transcript. It is just me talking about what caught my attention. To hear the whole thing, please go to duranduranmusic.com and get yourself a membership.
Nick and Katy started the kafe with a brief discussion about swimming and whether or not they could survive if they fell off a boat. I won’t give their answers away but I related when Nick said that he did not like to swim in places where he cannot reach the bottom. I’m the exact same way.
Of course, this is what we all want to know about, right? I love that there wasn’t a lot of time wasted before they got to the good stuff! Nick mentioned that they have been able to move things along now that restrictions have let up in the UK. Several tracks have gone to get mixed. In fact, according to Nick, they have had 6 or 7 mixes back. For me, the best part of what he said is how they have started to watch the album come together. That sounds super positive to me. I wonder if the perspective on that might be unique this time around because of the forced break. Nick is hopeful that they will be able to finish the rest in the next coming months. While I love the sound of that, I would also encourage them to break from the idea that the entire album has to be done. Fans would love just a track or two. It would keep people interested and give us something to listen to/distract us. It would keep people going and it may even help them to get love and energy from the fans back to them, which could be helpful. Katy seemed to be channeling as me as she did ask about a single and Nick dismissed it, saying that he likes having the plan for whole thing. He would like to see how the fall goes. Ugh. Couldn’t the plan be for individual songs to be released? I’m certain that they could do this well and in a way that felt coherent.
It sounds like most of the concerts and other plans for this year will be just pushed back to 2021. That would be great! I wonder what all they had planned.
Katy asked Nick what his favorite part of the album making process is his favorite. Not surprisingly, he loves going into the studio at the beginning of the day (afternoon–in Nick’s case) with nothing and having something created by the end. He also likes “fixing” or tweaking once something has been made. None of that surprises me at all. I bet he takes a ton of time with that fixing part!
Music Industry Assistance
It sounds to me that most industries in Britain have received some assistance from the government to survive during the pandemic. The music industry has not. Thus, the members of the band have signed on to a petition to get that changed. I think Nick explains it well that there are a lot of people in the industry that have not been able to work and that is a problem. I agree. Think about how many people are needed to put on a show (beyond the artists themselves!) and shows are not happening. A lot of people are struggling as a result of that. He is hopeful that people will be more grateful once shows are able to come back. I know that I will, for sure.
Nick put together a book after the photography exhibit he did four or five years ago. He had started the book years ago but had to take breaks due to touring and more. Now, he had a chance to make any changes to complete it and he fully expects that it will be released this year. He is hopeful that it will be out in the next few months. If he had his way, it would be on Halloween. It will be a limited edition art book with a 7 inch vinyl single included with a vocal by his significant other, Nefer. It will be very limited but probably extremely beautiful. (My guess is that it will also be very expensive!) Still, I like something to look forward to!
So, what do the rest of you think? How do you feel about the album news?
I have decided that there are some perks to working from home. For example, I have been able to sleep in longer. After all, I don’t have to make a lunch, get my bag together, drive to school, etc. I also get to take naps more frequently. One other big benefit is that I get to check into social media more regularly. Social media, for me, helps me feel less alone. I can quickly respond to friends, check in with the news and more. I am lucky in that I don’t have a lot of arguments or see a lot of fighting. Instead, I get the message that I’m not alone in thinking and feeling as I do. That helps me to keep going, to keep my head up, etc. As an added perk, I also get to see what Duran Duran is up to. When school was in session, I could and did check out social media in between classes, at lunch, etc. but it was always super fast, often not allowing me to watch or listen to what was posted. Now, though, I can check into things more immediately or participate as events happen! I could follow along on Twitter when each band member showed up to do a “chat,” instead of having to read the transcript later. Likewise, yesterday, I was able to watch John’s little bass lesson that he is calling “Stone Love Bass Odyssey.” I was able to listen in on his live chat with Dave from Chromeo, too.
As I watched John’s tutorial, I could not help but to smile and not just because he was educating all of us on Planet Earth (my favorite) but because he was playing teacher. Now, I will be the first one to admit that I don’t know anything about how to teach music but I do know education. Overall, I would say that he did a pretty impressive job in breaking tasks down, not going too fast, explaining each step well. Obviously, this is not a perfect learning situation. As someone who has been trying to do “virtual teaching” for awhile now, it is definitely not the same as being there in person. It isn’t like we could ask John questions or get immediate feedback. A lot of teaching is an instinct. You either have it or you don’t. Then, of course, education classes can take that instinct and add practices and strategies that take it to the next level, to reach all learners. If John wants to learn some of those, I am sure that I could offer some ideas to him. 😉
Of course, after the lesson, we got another treat, which was watching/listening/responding to John and Dave from Chromeo have a nice chat about music. As I watched, I could not help but think of John as a talk show host especially as he signed off by thanking everyone who tuned in. It made me smile.
One statement that was made that caught my attention was when John said that they had hoped that the album would be coming out this fall but have decided that it won’t happen now. Hearing that reminded me when I heard that I would not be going back to school this year. It didn’t surprise me as I was expecting it. Yet, it still made me stop in my tracks and made me feel deeply sad even though it is the absolutely right move. I’m not surprised that the band is not able to finish it right now. After all, they are separated from each other and it cannot be easy to try to work on music from afar. So, while I understand and totally get it, it still makes me sad. I would love to have new music to hear and digest it all. It would have been a welcome distraction. Heck, at this point, I love all forms of entertainment that can distract, help me escape from this dystopian world.
That said, my plan now, though, is to turn this piece of information from something sad to something else to look forward to when things return to “normal”. I know…easier said than done.
I’ve been listening to Nick’s interview with Red Ronnie from yesterday. At over 2 and a half hours, it’s a long one. I didn’t get that far through it in one sitting, but I did get far enough to hear Nick shamelessly give out the title to one of the tracks they recorded for this next project: “Give It All Up”.
Just sets the mind in motion a bit, doesn’t it? Makes the new album that, according to Nick, they were about two weeks away from finishing before they stopped working, sound all that much more of a real thing. John flew home to Los Angeles, and the rest of the band is now sheltering-in-place at their respective homes in England. The album of course, sits…waiting ever so patiently. Along with the rest of us, am I right?
I have to say, he gave the title EASILY and without any sort of fanfare whatsoever. No bravado, no insistence that he really shouldn’t give out the details, or even that things could change. Nope. Ronnie asked him if he could give out even just one title from the new album, making sure to reiterate he didn’t want the name of the album itself, but a single track. Nick immediately said “Sure”, and came out with “Give it All Up” as though it was no big deal. Perhaps at this stage, it really wasn’t…which is fine. Except that to me and my Covid-19, very bored, anxiety-ridden ears, it was almost like Pavlov’s Bell.
I couldn’t decide if Ronnie was shocked it was that simple to get it out of him, or if he was thinking about what else he could ask (if anything). Meanwhile, I scrambled for paper, thinking that I’d better write it down, lest I forget.
Forget? Who am I kidding? The title is now burned into my long term memory. It’s right up there with “King of Nowhere”…the album title that ended up not really being an album title after all. (the rumored title for what we know as All You Need is Now) I wrote an entire blog about that damn title and look what happened…
…and here I am again. Writing another blog about a title that may or may not end up on an album. You’d think I’d learn.
Sure, there were other things I learned. The band was going to release a special white vinyl edition of their debut album for Record Store Day, they were working on a behind-the-scenes documentary of the Apollo gig at Kennedy Space Center last year, they had Italian dates on their schedule for later in the year, and now a lot of that will be rescheduled and moved out. But none of those things got me as excited as these four little words: Give. It. All. Up.
What is it about hearing an album title for a song I’ve never heard one note from yet? I suppose to some degree, it makes the album real. Instead of just being a “project”…which is kind of vague and indicates that sure, they’re tinkering around but nothing concrete is there yet, it’s an actual thing. Some thing that will actually come to fruition and be released, even. Not that I didn’t think they had anything before…but now at least something from it has a name.
Paper Gods will turn five years old this September. We, fans, are on the verge of five years without new music. So, I’m unsurprised that it seems a little bleak in the Duran fandom now. We should be experts at waiting between albums. Years long interludes have always been part of the band’s creative process. I’ve read articles about musicians (young & old) facing the pressures from their labels demanding new chart busting music every year. This phenomenon is universal. Duran has the self-awareness to honor their creative endeavors with the gift of time. This tendency has been documented as the band has switched labels and sought new ways to release their music.
My perspective changed when I compared my career with Duran Duran’s career. Duran began releasing music in 1980. My career began in 1995. Although they started fifteen years before me, we are both veterans of our respective industries. We both continue to work in our fields. There are certain traits that must be used to reach this longevity. Let’s examine some of these traits.
Social media allows the band’s marketing team to release studio photos and monthly interviews. I enjoy the moments when the band reveals their creative process. As a listener/reader of such material, it’s obvious that the band creates music collaboratively. There was a time when Simon was the sole lyricist; now Nick will contribute as well. Roger and John openly speak about how they “groove” with each other and work to intertwine their efforts with Simon’s lyrics and Nick’s contributions. I’m in my twenty-fifth year working within my organization. I’ve attended meetings where someone else has made suggestions on how I should do my job. Anger has sparked within me (sometimes) before I can calmly articulate my process. I am the only one who knows the budget, the time frames, the other individuals, and must perform knowing these restraints. So, I can respect that Duran Duran knows their best working conditions, as I do, and they work accordingly. They can be unbothered with fan opinions.
2020 marks the band’s fortieth anniversary. The band just released a new shirt/hoodie line bearing an old lyric; this release sparked joy for some fans. Many of us are hopeful for more commemorative events. Pop Smoke, Lexii Alijai & Juice Wrld were all upcoming, young artists that died within the last three months. I think it’s wonderful that the band is still making music and I don’t take it for granted. Perhaps part of Duran’s longevity is because the band members know when to step back from creating music and touring. They are sons, husbands, fathers, father-in-laws and grandfathers. They have hobbies and friends. They vacation and spend time with loved ones. I have created boundaries with my job as well. I try not to check email over the weekends or when we have breaks. I communicate with my closest professional circle but I’m radio silent with others when it’s our downtime. I’m a daughter, sister, and Auntie. I have hobbies and friends. I vacation and spend time with my family. As humans, these private interludes can create a peace that will sustain you in the workplace. It’s healthy to nurture personal self-outside of professional self. When I take a day off from my job, they find a replacement. When the band takes time away from making music, we fans, will find and listen to different musicians. Music doesn’t stop.
Several fans have expressed how they enjoy interacting/viewing with the band post-concert. It may be sharing a bar with Simon, seeing Nick stroll through a hotel lobby, watching John collect luggage in an airport or waving at Roger as he enters an awaiting vehicle. I appreciate when fans share these moments through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These moments are precious because the band tours efficiently now. Many of us have Sing Blue Silver items that documented their tour life during that album cycle. Duran Duran now know when to fly in and out of a city, what types of interviews spark concert ticket sales, and what types of concerts generate the most income for themselves. I now know when I can stroll into work with a Starbucks coffee right before work commences. There are days when I’m at work long after hours. There are days when I leave soon after the closing bell. So, we can trust that the band are doing the necessary work now and will when the touring cycle begins again.
After examining the benefits of being a “veteran”, I’m more at relaxed with our (almost) five years wait. The band members have expressed a desire to release more music this year. I can trust their instincts. In the meanwhile, I plan to keep enjoying the other parts of my life and hope for new Duran adventures this year.
Paper Gods, the last Duran Duran album, was released in the fall of 2015. That means that it has almost been 5 years since we got new Duran music. Is 5 years a long time? All You Need Is Now was released in December of 2010 (at least partially), which means that it was almost 5 years between the last two albums. So, five years should not surprise anyone. Last time, those five years felt torturous to me. Frustration was common and frequent. I wrote many posts expressing this emotion along with my significant anxiousness. Why did I wrote those posts? Was it just to vent, get out my feelings? Sure. Was it in some silly attempt to get the message to the band? I’m not sure that I really believed that they might actually be reading but I did think that maybe I could encourage other fans to speak up and out in common frustration. Of course, in reality, it didn’t do anything but turn off some people who thought we were negative or unfair, or, at the least, lacking knowledge of the creative process. This time around, though, feels extremely different. Why? I have a few theories about that.
Between 2012 when the All You Need Is Now Tour really ended and the release of the Paper Gods album in 2015, there were very few shows. In fact, there were only 4 shows between 2012 and 2015. Ouch. For fans, these three years felt like we were crawling through a desert, trying desperately to find a drop of Duran water. At least, that is how I felt. I wanted to keep the connection I had with Duran from the All You Need Is Now era going and I had no way of doing so. This time, however, the band has continued to play shows. For example, there have been shows in every year since Paper Gods was released. Even now, in 2020, shows have been scheduled. For me, knowing that there have been shows or will be shows coming up, I feel like Duran isn’t that far away or removed from me as I did in 2014, for instance. Now, I acknowledge that I have been lucky in that I have been able to attend some of these shows and others have not. Maybe, for those fans, they feel as removed as I did. Of course, the shows scheduled now are ones that I cannot attend but I still feel better knowing that they are playing somewhere. Maybe part of this is my irrational fear that if we aren’t seeing them out and about, it means the end of the band, retirement. I can admit that it might be part of how I feel. Still, I love that the band played more shows in between albums this time around.
Did Not Gain Anything
Throughout the history of this blog, I have learned a lot. I gained so much knowledge and insight into how fandoms work, especially our own. I’m, of course, grateful for all of that. I also learned more about myself and how I am as a fan. Perhaps, most interesting of all, is that I now know better about how to approach situations. Just last night, I had a conversation with my mother about supporters of one of the presidential candidates and how some of them have gone after people who are not supporting their candidate. As I said to her, I explained that I believe that they feel that their strong passion might sway people, might pull people in. I thought the same thing in 2014 with my insistent posts then that Duran must do *something* to get and keep their fans. In both cases, the intentions were admirable but the execution was not. I know in my case, here, it didn’t sway anyone. It turned people off. I am willing to bet that we lost readers then. I own that and hope that I learned not to do the same thing this time around. I am trying to be patient and understanding. I’m putting my trust into the band that they know what they are doing.
Other Areas of Focus
It seems to me that one of the reasons that people turn away from fandom isn’t because the subject of that fandom has done something wrong but that life changed. People’s focus switches. In some cases, this might be significant life changes including new or ending relationships, family members in need including either children or aging parents, new or growing demands from jobs, and so much more. It isn’t that most people want to turn their backs on fandom. They just don’t have the same amount of time to commit to it as they once did. I have seen that happen with a lot of Duranies and I cannot blame them one bit. They still love the band. They just have other responsibilities. While I’m still here, I have to acknowledge that I feel like part of me isn’t as involved as I once was. Again, this isn’t because I don’t love the band as I do. Circumstances are such that I have other responsibilities or other things to deal with. In my case, seeing national events go the way they have caused me to spend more of my time and energy in the political sphere. It isn’t just that I don’t like what is happening but I am literally terrified by the direction we are headed. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, message me.) The situation means that I have to do something to alter this, to try, at the very least. Because my attention is elsewhere, Duran Duran cannot occupy as much time and energy as they once did. That said, I’m hopeful that they will again.
On that note, I am going to put on some music, enter some voting data while remaining patient for #DD15.
It’s a Thursday catch-up before my weekend begins!
RRHOF Class of 2020
The inductees for the class of 2020 were announced yesterday directly from Cleveland at the Hall of Fame museum. They include: T-Rex, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Notorious BIG, Whitney Houston, and the Doobie Brothers.
There are three things that happen whenever the subject of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame comes up. The first is that people complain about who isn’t listed. Secondly, other people are thrilled by at least one band on the list. Third, someone announces that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame isn’t relevant.
First of all, I’m always more fascinated by the acts that didn’t make it. You can call that “being negative”, I call it being critical of the process. I have that luxury since I work for myself. The real story here for me is understanding the convoluted, secretive, process for how these acts make it, or don’t. So for example, in this year’s class, we have both Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode. Yet Kraftwerk, who truly paved the road that both of those aforementioned bands travel upon, was overlooked. Kraftwerk has been nominated six times prior, yet bands that they inspired will be inducted before they are honored.
Another questionable outcome of this year’s inductees is that the winner of the fan vote – which by their own description of how the fan vote works is supposed to weigh upon the final decision – was not included. In this case, I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that I will live another year without the Dave Matthews Band being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (if you don’t read my sarcasm here, you should), but I still find the outcome curious. Why have a fan vote if it doesn’t matter in the end? (also, thank goodness it didn’t matter this year. What happens when the day comes when it is Duran Duran?? If it didn’t make a difference for DMB, will it for DD??)
Secondly, I’m thrilled for Nine Inch Nails, and Depeche Mode. Yes, I feel as though the velvet rope keeping New Wave acts out of the RRHOF has been lifted a bit. I like seeing bands from the 80s and beyond be recognized and included. And, now that Trent Reznor and Depeche Mode will be part of the voting body in future years, it will be interesting to see if the list of nominees and inductees changes at all going forward.
Lastly, there is a difference between making a comment on news items, and being emotionally vested in something. Seeing the forest through the trees here is an important life skill that many seem to lack. As an example, my level of concern over the RRHOF (which truthfully is minimal beyond the day the nominees are announced, and the day the years inductees are mentioned) has far more to do with the larger implications on social history than it ever would about any one specific band or artist. I would venture to guess it is that way for many who choose to comment. Once again, I find it far more fascinating to ponder over the omissions than I do the inclusions.
There are always those who indignantly inform me that the RRHOF doesn’t matter anywhere else in the world besides the US, as if that somehow makes it matter less. “Oh, it’s only the US who cares and there’s a much larger world of people out there that don’t even think about it.” Of course that’s the way it is. The lion’s share of the music and entertainment industry is here in the USA. This is not news, nor is it a surprise! This is about the bigger cultural picture, not just whether Duran Duran has, or will ever be nominated. Whether or not Duran Duran even cares about the Hall of Fame is not something I’m arguing for, or against… I’m commenting on the news in general as it refers to music and social history. Carry on.
Tis the season…for rumors!
It’s the time again when Duranies can’t seem to wait for things to be announced, and instead hang heavily to online conjecture. So far, I’ve learned today—via Twitter—that the band plans to do shows in 2020, and that there are many “surprises” coming our way to celebrate DD40.
No kidding. You don’t say?!?
I don’t have a line of communication with DDHQ, nor do I have a bevy of insider information to share. That said, I can confirm that the band is doing festivals in 2020, because I’ve been following their announcements…just like everyone else. I also am aware that there are at least 40 surprises coming from the band, because DDHQ shared as much at some point… although your guess is as good as mine as to what those might be. I’m almost afraid for my bank account to even guess.
I’ve also heard unsubstantiated, not-even-remotely-confirmed tales of a new boxed set coming, a special show in Birmingham to commemorate the actual date of anniversary, a 4 week residency in Vegas at The Chelsea, and a new album that will drop just before their date in Ireland with an advance single…and who knows what else because I can’t remember some of the more outlandish things.
To be fair, some items on that list seem plausible. I can certainly see a new boxed set happening because why the heck not? 1997-2015, maybe??? I wouldn’t be shocked by the band playing in Brum because…well…they should! They’ve said over and over again that they hope the new album will be out in time for their festival appearances, and of course they’re going to have a single off of any new album as a promo, that’s what bands do! The only item I really question is the Vegas residency because…well…really?? The band has already played there a bunch during the interim between albums. That said, Vegas shows seem to sell well. I can’t imagine the band staying there for four weeks, but then again, they could fly in and out (although I still say “really???” Who knows? I’ll believe it when I see it, I guess. Regardless, tis the season for rumor, and we’ll keep you updated!
As for me, I’m out for the weekend! Stay safe and play nicely!
Granted, I was late in listening, but I took some time to check out Dean Delray’s podcast “Let There Be Talk” this morning.
While I would LOVE to make a general commentary about the podcast in general, I’m going to save that for a later, yet-to-be-determined date. Instead, let’s talk about the final two minutes of the podcast. More specifically, there was news that Giorgio Moroder is coming into the studio to work with Duran Duran for a portion of the next album.
I can’t even begin to explain how thrilled I was to hear this bullet point regarding the new album! Just hearing John speak his name in reference to being in the studio with him nearly blew my mind. I thought for sure this was going to be “just one of those things” that doesn’t end up happening.
So, who is Giorgio Moroder? Known as one of the founders of disco, Moroder is not only a producer, but a songwriter, performer and DJ. While he’s perhaps best known for his work in the disco and electronic dance music genre, it would be a mistake to pigeonhole his career in that way. He has worked with everyone from Donna Summer to Daft Punk, scored films such as Scarface, and written specific tracks like “Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun. His career is comprehensive. As I said earlier on Twitter, with all of the seriousness in the world, “Mark Ronson cut his teeth on Moroder’s albums.”
Let’s look at a few songs over the course of his career, just to get a taste!
First up is Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”. If you can’t hear what is to later become new wave music in the first 30 seconds, you should stop the video, go back, and listen again. You’ll hear Nick Rhodes whispering to you.
Okay, maybe not really Nick Rhodes, but the influence is right there…makes my hair stand up on end, and I don’t mean like an astronaut, either.
Next is “Call Me” by Blondie. Released in 1980, it was the main song from “American Gigolo”, co-written by Blondie and Giorgio Moroder.
Moroder’s influence touches even the great David Bowie, as evidenced by “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)”, 1981. This is just the audio track, but worth the listen for sure.
My daughter would have my head if I didn’t include “Flashdance”. Giorgio is credited as the music writer for the iconic song, lyrics and performance by Irene Cara.
Did you know he wrote “Danger Zone”? I didn’t!
My youngest (a huge Freddie Mercury/Queen fan) would be thrilled to know I’m using one of her favorites in today’s blog because it was co-written by Giorgio Moroder in 1984. While the song is probably on the other side of “different”…it’s also the reason I like it.
Moroder has worked with everyone, including Elton John, producing “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” on the 1993 Duets album. Still true to the original written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, it’s amped up for 1993, courtesy of Moroder and Ru Paul, who sings with Elton. The video is cute, too.
I know I’ve shown you a lot from earlier in his career, so how about a few more recent offerings? In 2013, he collaborated with Daft Punk, performing a spoken-word monologue “Giorgio by Moroder”, for their album Random Access Memories. I ADORE this piece. The music is perfect, and to hear Giorgio speak of his own history – it’s superb.
In 2015, Giorgio released his own album, Deja Vu, collaborating (such a buzzword of the 2000’s, don’t you think?) with a variety of artists such as Sia, Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Charli XCX and others. Here’s the title track with Sia. I chose this one because he’s in the video. Maybe you’ll recognize him.
That is quite a bit of video watching and listening for one day! Maybe not “just a few”, but well worth the time. As you’re listening, the signature “Moroder” sound is there throughout, but each song stands up on its own. Giorgio has evolved over the years without losing the qualities that make his music unique. Duran Duran has done the same, evolving, without reinventing the wheel. It’s exciting to know that these two juggernauts—Duran Duran and Giorgio Moroder—will finally share studio space. I can’t wait to hear the results!
There are days, and then there are days. Today is the latter. I’ve spent my morning neck deep in the throes of webhosting madness, and now I am rewarded with a new Katy Kafe!
Roger was still in LA for one more day before traveling home, and found time for a chat with Katy to fill us all in on the DD happenings over the summer.
They just finished the mini tour and KAABOO Festival in Del Mar (just north of San Diego). Roger said he loves touring the west, making note of our constant sunny days and the positive energy he felt from all of the audiences. He and Katy also made note of the audience in Tahoe, saying that they were surprised by the amount of people who came out to see the show, saying that it felt more like a festival. They moved Wild Boys to the encore that night and ended up doing four songs for what he thinks may have been the first time.
Roger commented that he was happy to get “Anyone Out There” back out, along with “Astronaut”, and mentioned how lucky they were to do the NASA gig, too. He ended by saying how it “gets to a point in life where you’re really happy to still be in the room”, referring to the hundreds of other bands out there who were just as talented, but for some reason didn’t go the distance.
While in LA, Roger found time to attend a charity show benefitting Above Ground, an organization committed to working with musicians with varying types of mental illness including depression. The show featured many artists, including Billy Idol, whom Roger met that night for the second time.
The first meeting took place many years ago after Billy and his band Generation X played at Barbarella’s in Birmingham. Roger told a story about how he’d gone to see them play (they were his favorite band at the time), and they were booed offstage! During that time in Birmingham, punk was still very much on the scene, and Generation X had begun to slide a bit more mainstream – which did not go over with the crowd. Roger met Billy and had him sign his Generation X album, which remains the only album Roger has ever gotten signed.
When Roger met Billy in Los Angeles, he shared the memory of the show at Barbarella’s, and Billy remembered. I loved the anecdote, simply because it is endearing to hear of my own biggest idol meeting his idol. The only difference is that I’m still shy enough to where if I ran into Roger, I’m not sure what I’d say!
I know everyone chomps at the bit to hear news of what may be on the horizon. I’m happy to say that Roger was pretty forthcoming! He didn’t even need much prodding, and said that they are pretty well advanced on the album, citing Erol Alkan’s influence as producer, “He has given us a good boot up the backside!” Katy asked if there would be other producers on the album, and Roger said they worked a little with Mark (Ronson), and that there has been talk of Giorgio Moroder…but the bulk of the album would be completed with Erol Alkan.
The greatest news is that they’re hoping to have the album out by SPRING…which is amazing. Roger said that they had really only gotten back into the swing of things this past year, which means they’ve worked at a pretty decent speed.
Katy spoke of how it has been five years in between Paper Gods and this one (assuming it is released in 2020). I took pause at that. Has it really been that long?? I suppose so. I know that Amanda and I have tried to talk about just about anything but the album they’re working on – figuring that it will happen when the band is ready. Meanwhile, I guess we’ve all been busy!
Paper Gods was released in 2015, but as Roger explained – they toured the album extensively for a couple of years. So while it will be five years in between albums, it doesn’t seem like it has been that long to me. I would also say that having the band break up that time with the occasional run of shows has also helped!
The touring question
That brought the discussion around to why they haven’t toured in many of the places fans wanted. **Please note the disclaimer here. Do not shoot the messenger. **
If the band was able to tour so much with Paper Gods, why is it they focused on so few regions of the world?
Roger was very clear, explaining that “in America in particular, people do not forget [them] and show the love.” They are able to fill arenas, no matter how long the span of time has been from show to show. Katy continued, saying that she feels bad because she receives emails from fans wondering why the band doesn’t go other places. She says they don’t understand that while “they, and their friends…and even their friends friends will go see them, that just isn’t enough to fill an arena.”
In order to make touring in many places of the world economically viable, they don’t just need to fill an arena once, either. They need to be able to fill more than one, multiple times. Otherwise, the cost to ship and rent equipment along with transportation, housing, food, etc etc means that essentially, the band would be paying to tour, which wouldn’t work for long.
Vegas Residency Revisited
Katy asked Roger if they’d do a Vegas Residency. In my head, they’ve just done one – having played the Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan six times over the past 18 months or so. That seems like enough, doesn’t it? Roger paused, and said that it would have to be something very cool, mentioning the show, Love, the Michael Jackson show, Cirque du Soleil and even Elton John. He mused over how it would be to stay in Vegas for any length of time, suggesting that it is not the same as LA or New York, and he doesn’t know if he’d like that. Katy suggested living in LA and then commuting to Vegas for weekends. While I don’t think a residency is really on their radar, it didn’t sound to me as though Roger was ready to write off the possibility, either. We’ll see!
Katy suggested that maybe there might be new dates prior to the release of the album, saying that maybe the East Coast would get some love this time – although they did do the NASA show in Florida. So, my East Coast people – don’t be surprised if the band suddenly pops dates and pre-sales on you before the holidays!! That’s your warning….
I think it has taken me a full 36 hours or so to completely reign in my thoughts on the show at the Kennedy Space Center. I don’t think Katy was wrong when she said the set and show would be “out of this world”. The band added “Anyone Out There”, “Astronaut” and even “Walking on the Moon” by The Police to an already fantastic set list that included a lengthy intro to “The Universe Alone”. If the ethereal, delicate beauty of drones hovering overhead didn’t send chills down your spine, then surely combining the choir and orchestra to Duran Duran’s already near-perfect sound gave you goosebumps and made your hair stand up on end. At least they did for me, and I was at home watching a pixelated stream with far-less-than-adequate audio!
That evening began with a series of clicking links that didn’t work for me. I didn’t even think I’d be able to see video, but then Studio Drift streamed their drone performance. Granted, they only showed their pertinent portion of the evening, and after that I was desperate. I’d tune in to one stream only to find it wasn’t working properly, then try another. There might be sound, but no video…or vice-versa. Where could I see more? Thankfully, social media never disappoints! Duranies in the know were pointing everyone else in the proper directions. I was sent a link to another kind soul who decided to live stream the entire gig. I was thrilled, even with her apology that there might only be sound because the view from where she was standing wasn’t that great (her words). I couldn’t have cared less, I was overjoyed to be able to even see a tiny bit of the show – and I had no trouble hearing what the band was playing, even if the quality wasn’t perfect. That certainly didn’t stop me from tweeting in awe over what was happening in Florida.
I tried to phone last night
For me, that was the best part of the evening – even from home. Of course the show was stunning! I loved seeing the overall view of the rockets, the stage, and the crowd, combined with the music I know and love. Simon really made the show special by talking about the astronauts and the space program. The ambience was just about perfect from my seat. What topped it all off, was that even here at home as I sat by myself in a barstool at my kitchen island, I wasn’t alone. My friends and I tweeted back and forth. Amanda and I texted. There was laughter, and yes – even giggly joy. You can’t really beat that! I mean, if I can be here at home, about 5,000 miles from the gig itself, and still feel like I’m amongst friends in the audience, that’s what it’s all about.
I’m still a little stunned, or in awe…or something like that. I’m not one to sit down and watch video after video clip from a show. I have friends who have sent me videos from concerts I’ve attended over the years (and a lot I have not), and while I might watch a clip or two, I don’t spend a lot of time doing it. normally. Since the KSC show on Wednesday, I’ve SCOURED the internet, looking for any and all videos I can find, particularly of The Universe Alone – a song that I have had a love/I’m-really-afraid sort of relationship with since it came out. That changed on Wednesday.
Here’s a link to some amazing footage. I can’t stop watching it. I might need help.
You didn’t answer
I will never again listen to “The Universe Alone” without thinking of those gorgeous drones in the sky. It was like watching the stars, or a sea of fireflies, dancing in the heavens. I loved it, and hearing Simon’s voice – perfect and clear – singing the verses to “The Universe Alone” nearly brought tears to my eyes right along with all the chills I’ve come to appreciate in response to an outstanding performance. I know there’s some outstanding, multi-camera video footage out there, and I know I’m not alone when I cheer loudly in hopes of a video of the full performance to be released!
Seeing the show that night made me all the more excited for what is to come – and I don’t just mean the September shows.
(Although, I would like to reiterate the formal request I made on Twitter that Duran Duran put “Anyone Out There” in the setlist for the September shows and beyond. Pleasethankyougoodbye).
It makes ya kind of wonder when we might hear new music from the band, doesn’t it?
Look out of the window maybe you can call by my name
It does me too….which is why I nearly fell out of my chair when I read a recent article published on Playlist, a magazine website from Mexico. The short piece is in Spanish, which remains the one language I read pretty well outside of English (speaking it is another story. Conjugating verbs on the fly is not one of my gifts…) But even so, I thought I was misreading things, so I sent it through good old google translate. Turns out, I wasn’t.
According to the article, the band already has a song in mind as a lead single. Lead what?!? Here’s the translation for those who want the short “executive” version of the full article: “So far, there is a song that is the main one to be the first single. It’s so different from anything you’ve heard from us before, or really from anyone else. There is a dancing element. The construction, the melodic content, the lyrics, some of the sounds … are very different for us”
I’ll give you a minute to absorb that. Meanwhile, here’s the link, read it yourself:
Anybody else have the feeling that this band has been working on the album more than they’ve kind of let on??? I honestly thought they must still be at the stage where they’re just jamming in the studio every few weeks, hoping for something to gel.
(ok, I was going to write “months” in that sentence, but that seemed too negative. Typing “weeks” seemed more optimistic and hopeful!)
This kind of talk regarding singles makes me wonder if I’m just going to wake up one morning and the band is going to be like “Surprise, we’ve released our new album and we’re going on tour starting tomorrow!! Pre-sales started at midnight and you’re already too LATE!!”
New album – ok.
Tour – that’s fine….I guess? I mean, it just seems a bit rushed!
Presales starting without notice….while I’m sleeping?? That’s stuff right out of my nightmares. Some might say that this is the obvious next step for a band who likes to give less than 48 hours notice for presales.
A crack in the ocean, which does not align
I also have to wonder if this story about singles is even true. Not that I think Nick told a big fat fib, but that perhaps the magazine misquoted him. I mean, it’s the only place I’ve seen anything mentioned about actually having songs written! Can it really be?
If it’s true, then I’m still thinking about the description. I’m not surprised it sounds nothing like anything they’ve done before. After all – this is not a band that likes to revisit. It’s all new, all the time. I’m still shocked that they think they’ve already got the lead single. I say “already” because in my head – this album process just started! I can’t seem to wrap my brain around anything else.
I think back to pre-Paper Gods. For me, those days were torture, and I wasn’t in the band or even on their team. I was just a bystander. A blogging bystander. Every month felt like another year. (I’m exaggerating here because I have a flair for the dramatic, you see…) I wanted them to hurry, hurry, hurry, and then get back on the road so we could have more fun! This time, I’ve been pretty damn patient, I must say. I was busy. There were boxes being packed, and unpacked. I moved. I raised chickens, built a chicken coop, and apparently became a bit of a farmer. What???
I sound like I’ve retired, which I have not.
I’ve caught your dreaming
There were shows, which honestly – kept me going even during some really dark days. I couldn’t tell you how long the band has actually been working on this album because – news flash – I don’t even know! Interesting. Well-played, Nicholas… and of course the rest of you. You got me this time. I did see comments on Twitter in reaction to another interview posted somewhere, and apparently Nick said they’re shooting for late spring of 2020 for new music to be released. To be completely honest, I discounted that information.
On one hand, it *was* Nick who was giving a target release timeframe. If it had been Roger…I’d have laughed quietly and said, “add on another 12-18 months on that!” Sorry Roger…I kid, I kid!!! In all seriousness though, I read the tweets about it and thought, “Yeah, we’ll see. Late spring of next year? Yeah…..I’ll believe it when I see it!”
Not that I don’t trust this band. I do. I believe they will eventually release new music. I just suspect I’ve got all kinds of time to wait and be patient, maybe build an animal paddock, and begin raising goats and sheep along with my chickens.
Happy Thursday everyone! We’ve almost made it through the week! Just last Thursday at this time, I was waiting for my ticket counter to open so that I could get my boarding pass for Vegas. Time flies and all that…
This week has flown by at such a rate that I have to keep reminding myself what day it is! I kind of like it that way. I’m busy, and as it turns out….so is Duran Duran.
Yesterday was apparently a very productive day for our guys as they met with Mark Ronson(you know who this is)…and Lykke Li (she is someone John has mentioned several times – check her out!)..AND Graham Coxon (Blur)…in a studio. DDHQ tweeted a photo or two using the #DD15 hashtag, and Mark Ronson mentioned it as well.
What could it all mean???
Many Duranies are ready to throw parties, assuming this must mean Mark is producing the next album. Others are retweeting the photos citing that DDHQ *said* it was for the next album, so that must be the case. It is written in stone now, because DDHQ tweeted it.
I know a similar saying that goes a little like this, “I read it on the internet, so it MUST be true.
I’m not saying DDHQ is telling fibs, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that they’re doing their job. PR is a thing. Keeping Duran Duran in the news, being talked about, having photos shared, etc….is important. However, we don’t even know if any of this is going to be an actual album. The band hasn’t even committed to labeling what they’re working on beyond saying they’re working on new music. I don’t think that’s a horrible thing, either.
I like the idea of the creativity happening organically rather than them thinking, “Ok, we have to hurry up and write this album. Let’s do it. Now!” I would imagine it might feel a lot less daunting and, in some way, less restrictive, to say they’re working on new music than it is for them to say they’re working on creating a new album….to release in 2020 in culmination for their 40th anniversary. Get it?
If that doesn’t sit well with you, I’ll give an anecdote. Several years back, Amanda and I wrote a manuscript. We submitted it to a publisher who showed interest and wanted us to rewrite it and frame it a different way. We had a deadline, and so Amanda and I went to work. While the writing wasn’t horribly difficult, much of it felt like writing an extended college essay rather than this organic, holistic creation. In the end, the publisher didn’t take the book. That was a huge blow. I wish we’d have just worked the way we always did – letting the manuscript take US on a journey rather than the other way around. I would imagine that in the most basic of ways, creating an album is the same.
Lots of time left
While sure, DDHQ is using the #DD15 hashtag, that doesn’t really mean a single thing in this moment other than keeping all of these ongoing news bytes grouped together. Yes, they’re speaking with people. Yes, they’ve been in a studio in London, and they’ve met with Mark Ronson. They’ve also worked with Errol Alkan and plan to go back into their studio in London in a few weeks. This is a process. Aside from having hope to have new music in 2020, there are no lines in the sand, no plans set in stone.
Once upon a time, I would speculate. I’d make assumptions based on the news I would hear. And then there was that time that they met with Mark Ronson and we all though for sure they were going to have him produce their next album…but he didn’t. He worked a little bit on one or two songs. Next was that time that they had someone with the initials B.F. work on a song, and then due to obligations to his own label contract, he couldn’t appear…so someone else did.
Should we be excited by what we hear or see from DDHQ about studio happenings? Absolutely. If nothing else, be curious! That’s the point. Check out Blur if you don’t know them. Listen to Lykke Li if you’ve never given her a chance! By all means, download Wonderful, Wonderful by The Killers and listen to “The Man” on repeat because that was produced by Errol Alkan. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that what they’re doing right now, or yesterday, or even tomorrow, is going to have anything to do with whatever music eventually ends up in your ears. Keep an open mind rather than expect based on assumption.
Left to move up
I used to be one of those people who wanted to know the news and be the one to break it before anyone else. No matter how quickly I’d hear of something, someone else knew it first, and I’d get disheartened very quickly. It would boggle my mind how people found out about things so fast. Other times, I’d hear something that I’d feel very confident was truth, only to find out later that the band had changed their minds. There was always someone who knew first, and had better info. Nowadays, I don’t care too much about being first.
Don’t get me wrong, I still like talking to people who know what is going on with the band and hearing about their progress, but I don’t need to be the one to share it. I know what I know, and really – that counts for nothing at the end of it all. This is a process, and much of what we’re learning right now will indeed change by the time music is released.
Once again, I find myself saying “Trust the Process”…along with “sit back and enjoy the ride.” This is going to be good!
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!