Tag Archives: Erol Alkan

September 2019 Katy Kafe with Roger

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.

Mini-Tour

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.

Above Ground

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!

Album update

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!

New dates??

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….

Until next time…

-R

May 2019 Katy Kafe with John

Monday brings good news on occasion, and thankfully, today is that day! After what was a very long and emotionally exhausting weekend for me, I crawled out of bed this morning knowing I’d need to blog. My brain was blank. Honestly, at no fault of the band, it was a case of “Duran Duran, who?”

My oldest graduated from college this weekend. We drove to Orange County early on Saturday morning, and all three of my children were in the same room together for the first time since December. I bit my lip and held back tears when I saw my son get out of his Uber. He’s grown since Christmas, both in size and in maturity. Above all, my oldest is now completely, and totally grown-up. We did our job. Part of my heart is walking around outside of my body with very little of my input, now. I’m still kind of struggling with that this morning. I’m thrilled, don’t get me wrong. Walt and I seriously high-fived one another when her name was called and she walked across the stage during graduation. I’m a teeny bit sad, I guess. Motherhood is weirdly bittersweet that way.

Anyway, I stumbled out to my kitchen and got online, with very few ideas of what I could write about. I needed a very large coffee and a huge sign to point my way. Lo and behold, thanks to Katy – I stumbled upon news of the May Katy Kafe with JT being ready for listening! Problem solved!

Again – these are the highlights, and if you want to know everything he said, go get your DDM membership!

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

John said it was a tremendous honor to be asked, and thought that he surely would get a call saying they’d (R&RHOF) made a mistake, that they had someone else down to present to Roxy Music. (Something I myself would have said if I had been asked to do such a thing!) John loves to analyze, breakdown, deconstruct—and in writing the script of what they’d say that night, he had to really immerse himself in the music and how he related to Roxy Music. He enjoyed that. John said it was very special, and he “just enjoyed being there.” He didn’t feel like he and Simon were out of place (I took pause when he said that – because 100%, Duran Duran deserves to be there in any and all capacities), but that there was just a lot of art (arty rockers) in the room.

He specifically mentioned how he hadn’t really connected with Def Leppard in a long time but that it was really fun to reconnect with them and appreciating where they were from. They had come from very similar places but went in “slightly different directions.. in 1982 felt miles apart but in 2019 doesn’t really seem so apart anymore.”

“Sometimes it is nice to be in a situation where there are a lot of people like you.” (quite frankly, this is exactly I feel when I go to a Duran Duran show where I know a lot of the people going. It feels like home. A reunion.)

Art

A fan (Monica Sage) asked John what paintings and/or artists he likes. One painting that took John NO time to mention was Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”. It is in the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), and he goes to see it whenever he’s able.

Fond of Matisse as well as all of the big painters. He’s always liked paintings, since he was a kid. John is attracted to color, and the subject matters less. That’s why abstract art works for him. Painting is a singular expression, and since music is such a huge collaborative medium – visual art is a great parallel universe to music.

Paint on canvas is his favorite medium.

Whenever Katy asks fans for questions – I try to come up with one to ask. Many times, I forget to send it as myself rather than Daily Duranie, and other times – I can’t even think of something good to ask that hasn’t already come up 5,000 times. Usually my mind goes blank, but apparently not this time, because I finally asked a question that was answered!

On a Kafe back in late 2018 at some point, Katy and JT talked about what John might do when he retires. For all I know, this could have also been a fan question then – I don’t remember. Anyway, John mentioned that he’d like to get into painting. The reason this stuck with me is because I love art – specifically paint on canvas. Both Amanda and I do, and we go to museums together whenever we can. Typically those times are when we’re going to Duran Duran shows, so it serves as a sort of daytime activity. Many times, those paintings inspire us in one way or another, too. I’d wondered what kind of art John might want to try painting – so I asked!

He said he’d probably start with landscapes, but he’d really like to paint people. They’re the most interesting subject to him. (I have to share that in one way, I was surprised and then in another it makes perfect sense!) I get a ton of anxiety from actually interacting with people (at times), but by the same token – I love studying and writing about them. Painting people is probably not something I could do myself, but writing about them and studying the human condition? You bet!

It (painting, and in particular painting people) is less of a thing since photography, he added. Just as quickly, he said he doesn’t know if he will end up actually painting, he’s too much of a perfectionist. I get that. I can’t draw to save my life, much less paint. It’s never too late to have a new hobby, and it is great exercise for the brain and spirit.

Summer shows

He isn’t sure how Iceland came about, but they had a great experience last time – between there and Denmark, they agreed to do the odd show even though this is a “no tour” year, He follows up by saying “there’s something about keeping that side of the engine turning over” This sort of thing just keeps their chops up and they bring that energy back into the studio. He didn’t say anything about Vegas or the west coast shows, but it sounds as though he’s happy to have the opportunity to get out in front of audiences again.

Back in the studio

“Duran Duran doesn’t make the same album twice”, Katy said. “It’s quite difficult to do that, actually,” John laughed. She gently asked another fan question (I’m sorry but I didn’t catch the name!) about the music they’re working on.

“These are early days”, John answered. Erol Alkan is producing, and Graham Coxon of Blur is playing guitar. He said having these two guys there is making for a very exciting time, making mention of the fact that they’ve never worked with either of them. It’s a little early to talk about what the music is, though. They’re already excited about going back into the studio in July after they are finished with the Danish show. John explains that after forty years, on a certain level they’re totally done with one another (the four band members), and on another, there is always the sense of possibility. They’re holding the candle to dig deeper, believing there’s something more worth mining. They’ve also worked with Mark a bit in Los Angeles when they were here. However, the bulk of the work they’ve been doing in London with Erol, and it has been exciting to get to know both Erol and Graham.

“It is very much about teamwork, and everybody has certain responsibilities”, John explained. As a bass player, he wants to
“drop a bomb of a bass line” that in turn inspires Nick or Roger. Maybe Simon will come up with a line of lyric that blows them all away and they say “I love that!” This doesn’t happen everyday, but maybe a couple of times a week it happens.


“Everybody needs a little encouragement. We all need that.” John mused. That’s the thing about producers for them. They know what they’re capable of, but the right producer will take them past that point. Errol isn’t afraid to push, and producers as a whole are going to make them do more than what they would normally do. “It’s been fantastic so far” John mentioned, adding that every session they’ve had on this album has been good.

Katy suggested that maybe working with a producer is something the band has only settled into doing recently, but John disagreed. He explains that during the 80s – they worked solidly with Colin Thurston, Alex Sadkin and Nile Rodgers. But during the 90s they took control themselves, and the results (in John’s opinion), were less-than-optimal. Working with Mark on All You Need is Now really brought them back to the practice of working with a strong producer.

Record Store Day

RSD has become an annual opportunity to produce something. This one (ATLGD) was very special, and they’ve already figured out what they want next year’s to be! (can’t lie – I am wondering what they’ll come up with!) Left to their own devices, they might not have done as much. However, labels have come to them and suggested doing something for Record Store Day – which in turn is a win for fans, right?? (Those are my words, not his of course!)

He wished they had some unreleased stuff that wasn’t on Arena, but it’s still very special. I couldn’t hear for sure whether or not he’d listened to it – either my hearing is slowly dying (it is), my earbuds weren’t worth the money I paid (also true), or the quality of the recording was bad (not really sure). Alas…

Favorite Song

Definitively, John offered up Beethoven 3rd Symphony – “Eroica”. You all better go hop onto Spotify right now and give it a listen, because he’s not into anything more modern at the moment. I was a little surprised by that comment, but also just a teeny bit gleeful.

I already have “Eroica” in my playlist, and it’s been there for years because I’ve performed it before. Sure, I’m sitting here feeling ridiculously smug and validated by my own silly play list. I’ll call myself out for that nonsense, no problem!

Yes, I still fangirl too. Usually a bit quieter than this, but I couldn’t help smiling when he mentioned that particular symphony.

Birmingham

John said that he doesn’t spend enough time in the Midlands. He really misses the Birmingham of his youth, adding that it isn’t the same city now, but it was an experience to go back last year. When he was there, he went and stopped by his old street. He finds it hard to believe that he once had a life that was constantly lived in that city, and now he spends very little time there. I think any of us who have moved away from our childhood home and city (or country) should be able to relate.

John continued on by saying the same thing holds true with family. You spend the first part of your life surrounded by these people, and now most of them have passed on. He finds that sad (as anyone might), but also remarkable. Katy replied by saying you don’t really appreciate that until you’re much older. He still hates the word “nostalgia” but Gela suggested to him that maybe that’s what it is.

Sorry John, but it is exactly that word. Just acknowledge it, embrace it even, and then move on. It’s okay – it makes you human. Feelings happen, and they don’t mean you aren’t fully embracing the present. I think it is all really about seeing and feeling the emotion of the big picture. In fact, I would go as far as to say that appreciating the nostalgia helps one embrace the present.

Personally, I love John’s Kafe’s. I feel as though after 40 years, I like getting to know the band, and even Katy, as real people. Yes – the music is important, but I believe that at this point, at least with me, I’m already sold. “All-in”, even. Knowing the band isn’t always that important to me – I mean, I don’t wonder about Brandon Flowers the way I do John Taylor, for example. Duran Duran, for me, are different. I write about them, or at least about being a fan of them, every single day. I appreciate knowing who they are.

That doesn’t mean I agree with or run parallel to everything they say or do. I’m no puppet, nor do I believe Simon, John, Roger or Nick want us to be. They’re people. We are people. The exchange of different ideas and feelings is a good thing. I enjoy good conversations and digging deeper than Rio or “Hungry Like the Wolf”. I can appreciate that these Katy Kafes (and yes Katy, I think John would do a remarkably interesting podcast if he were ever so inclined!) get us past the surface questions from time to time. Thank you!!

-R

October 2018 Katy Kafe with Simon!

Hello readers! I am sorry I continue to keep skipping out on blogging. I’m finding that it is very difficult to blog while attempting to sell a home along with being a mom, wife, and homeschooling parent unless I want to blog between the hours of midnight and 4am.   My current pay grade here at Daily Duranie doesn’t allow for those hours.

On with the important news: Simon was the October guest in the Katy Kafe! Here’s the thing: admittedly, I’ve gotten a little bored with the Katy Kafe’s lately.  I knew I needed to sit down and listen to it today, and yet I was putting it off…which is horrible. I suppose, in all fairness, I had been hoping for big news when there might not have been much to share on the band front.

That ends today, my friends.

The October 2018 Katy Kafe covered everything from sailing to a song title disagreement, once Simon – because he is Simon to you and I – insisted that Katy call him Charlie, as most of his friends do. I thought this was cute purely because when she called him Simon to begin with, he scoffed and asked her, “Since when do you ever call me Simon?” Katy explained she was trying to be professional and he just laughed. It was a nice exchange, to which I smiled and appreciated.  I highly recommend getting your own membership to DDM so that you can hear it all for yourself!

I tweeted this earlier, but it bears sharing here as well. I don’t know what has happened to me over the past year or two (three or four??).  Maybe I’ve lost what little was left of my mind. Maybe I’ve finally gone off the deep end. Perhaps gasp I’ve gotten SOFT, or have become a complete pushover, but hearing Simon makes me smile. Oh, I’m still going to give him a rough time…but I did smile.

To be clear: I don’t mean smiling in that fan-girly, giggly sort of way. No way. He’s SIMON, for crying out loud. Let’s not go overboard, here.

Moving on….immediately!

The highlights, as I have deemed appropriate:

Smell like he sounds

The taglines are too easy. Katy and Simon begin the Kafe talking about perfume. Simon co-designed the four fragrances from D.S. & Durga, deciding to do one scent per decade. Simon shared that he had someone “very close” to him test the fragrances, and she was not necessarily captivated by them all. This made Simon realize that he couldn’t really expect anyone to love them all, because they are very different. D.S. & Durga released 500 rollerball essential oil bottles for each scent, and the hope is that if they do well, in 2019 they will arrive in other places for those of us interested in a sniff or two!

I had to laugh, because Simon likes that one is named Hungry Like the Wolf. Of course he does…that earned a huge eye-roll from me. He also described each scent:

Hungry Like the Wolf:

Musky tone with forest scents. He even used the word “ecclesiastical” in the description because it reminds him of church incense. (patchouli, anyone?) He says this is very “raw”, and the name appeals to his sense of humor. “Who would ever name a perfume Hungry Like the Wolf?” “Who would buy it?”

I know who.

Come Undone:

Simon believes this might be everyone’s favorite. He says it is very subtle with a sexy, skin-element.

I have no idea what that description might mean, but I know I’m going to have to go and check it out when and if it ever makes its way to America. Is it weird to wear a Duran Duran inspired scent to a Duran Duran concert, right along with a Duran Duran t-shirt??

Yes, these ARE the types of things that go through my head on any given day.

Skin Divers:

Simon regards this fragrance as a day at the beach. He describes it as fresh smelling, like the ocean (not seaweed, but the fresh scent that comes with being out on the water), combined with the scent of a blow-up plastic unicorn that you use for a float.

A. He had me until the unicorn. Then I floated away on a Coppertone cloud of coconut, sand, plumeria and ocean.

B. I have to think that he just means that’s the vision that pops into his head when he smells it, as opposed to the fragrance smelling like…well…plastic.

You Kill Me With Silence:

He says this is deep, intense, woody and smokey-ness. It is dark and brooding. I’m imagining my temper in a bottle!  I’m curious about this one, too. During the description, Simon shared a little bit about the inner-studio discussion surrounding the title “You Kill Me With Silence”.

There were two camps: One that wanted the title as we know it, and another that wanted to go with “Kill Me With Silence”, which has an entirely different feel. I suspect that some may have felt the name was too long – but it is a very good example of how one word can change an entire phrase, or song title!

Sailing

I think many of us who have been around for a while know that sailing is in Simon’s blood, and it makes him the person he is. Recently he has gotten involved in the Tall Ships Youth Trust, which is a wonderful organization where they take kids out and allow them to experience the camaraderie of being out on the sea. They are currently raising money in order to buy their own tall ship.

Simon has also been keeping up with his role as a spokesperson for the Blue Marine foundation. He appeared at the Southampton Boat show for Sunseeker (a boat manufacturer). They decided to get involved with Blue Marine, not only by raising awareness for boaters, but also cleaning up their own manufacturing process. Every little bit counts!

Additionally, each year around this time, Simon comes to the Kafe with tales of sailing races, and this year is no different. After spending family time up in Languedoc, France, he traveled to Cannes to join the crew on Blitzen, a 57′ sloop built in 1938. They raced among similar wooden boats of the same age in the Regatta Royale, among a few others.

What is Simon’s job on the boat while racing? He trims the main sail, which is akin to working in the engine room on a powered ship, and when the boat owner is not present, he drives the wheel.

February shows and that set list…

Katy wasted no time bringing up the recently added shows in New Orleans and Las Vegas for February of 2019. She specifically asked a question that many have been grumbling about online – these show aren’t really  a part of the Paper Gods tour, so what can fans expect to hear? Will they maintain much of the current set list, or will they change it up?

I felt that Simon’s answer was both pointed…and vague at the same time. He opened by explaining that we should bear in mind that the last “new” material was Paper Gods, and so yes, the show will be based on that. He said they will keep “bits” of that in the set list, otherwise the show will be purely a Greatest Hits set.

Here’s the thing, Duran Duran is not a band that is going to drag out songs that the majority of their audience has never heard. They’re just not going to do that.  Too many people in the audiences have never heard much of anything beyond Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf, Come Undone and Ordinary World. No amount of complaining from fans will change that simple fact. If you are going to any of their shows hoping to hear Faith in this Colour, or Fallen Angel (or FallING Angel for that matter), you’re probably going to be sorely disappointed. I wish they’d have more faith in themselves beyond their hits, and I really wish they’d dig a bit deeper and challenge themselves in the process, but they just don’t.

Part of this is my own fault. I go to a lot of shows. I don’t do just one show a tour. I do many. I go whenever they’re nearby enough for me to sneak away.  I used to complain about hearing the same (or very similar) set over and over again, until I realized that this really is a ME problem. I’m the one going to as many shows as possible. Most people don’t. They go to one show, they hear all of the songs they grew up with including a few they probably never heard before but didn’t mind, and they go home happy. It’s the same thing I typically do whenever I go to a concert for any other band besides Duran Duran, and maybe The Killers or Tears for Fears. As a result of that, I learned to understand that I’m probably going to hear the same or similar set over and over. It is a trade-off, and for me, it is currently one that I am willing to make. I love the band, and I’m happy to hear whatever they want to play.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t jump for complete joy if they pulled a rabbit like “Secret Oktober” or “Late Bar” or even “All You Need is Now” out of their hat every now and then, though. I just know not to expect it.  Some wise person once said that expectations are future resentments or something like that….

This is also not a band that particularly enjoys switching up their set from night-to-night, beyond maybe a song or two. As Simon said, Paper Gods is their most successful album since the reunion. It would be utterly ridiculous for anyone to assume that they wouldn’t play any of it. That album is now a part of their history, and given that they don’t have anything new to play – my advice is to expect the same basic set list and be thrilled when/if they play something new. I am looking forward to hearing all of it.

Still gonna roll my eyes at HLTW, though. Old habits and all.

What’s this about studio time??

Katy said she heard a rumor about studio time before the end of 2018. Yes, that’s right…they’re going to actually go back into the studio again, and we get to begin the process all over again.

Yes, I did say “we”. It takes a village, y’all.  Who else is going to wax on, wax off with all of the tidbits of rumor, producers, song-titles, and all of the rest of the good stuff??

Speaking of…

Did we actually just get an album scoop??

Yes, you read that headline right too. Not only do we know that the band is going to meet, chat and begin the groundwork for the next album, but we were given a name.  Apparently Errol Alkan will be meeting with the band as they go back into the studio, and while the word “producer” was not used – I have to kind of think that’s at least the initial plan. They want somebody to steer the ship.

OK, so who is Erol Alkan?

(Come on, you know you were going to google his name, right?) Erol is a 44-year old DJ, producer and remixer. I mention his age because he’s not some wet-behind-the-ears kid, and he has absolutely worked with bands we have all heard of before, both by producing and remixing. Want names?

  • The Killers (he co-produced “The Man” off of Wonderful, Wonderful)
  • Tame Impala
  • Daft Punk
  • Scissor Sisters
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Depeche Mode
  • Interpol… and the list goes on.

While I tend to think he’s more notable for his DJ/club and remixing reputation at this point, I think he has great instinct and is probably up for the Duran Duran challenge. It will be very interesting to see where this goes from here. Above all, it is outstanding to have a bit of news regarding a new album!

The Birthday

Simon turns 60 on Saturday. I have a hard time believing that. Even while listening to the Kafe today, I had a vision in my head of Simon in his twenties. Age is but a number, right?  He has plans to take over what he says is a very small restaurant, and celebrate with family and friends. As he should. Happy Birthday to you and your dad, Simon!!

Audible

I don’t keep up with Simon’s Reader because I’m too busy reading literature that I have assigned for my youngest (a by-product of homeschooling – there is a lot of reading. Right now I’m pre-reading Little Women). However, Simon has been keeping up with it – presumably in part because he’s subscribed to Audible, which is a subscription based-audio book application through Amazon, or Kindle. He touts the ease of being able to listen while doing anything and everything, which makes sense. In any case, he is going to be doing an “audio” Simon’s Reader very soon – so here’s your chance to catch up if you’ve been missing out!

 

That’s a wrap for the October 2018 Katy Kafe. I can hardly wait for news to trickle in during the coming months!

-R