Tag Archives: Generation X

Expect the Unexpected

Have you watched Roger’s Desert Island Discs yet? In their ongoing effort to teach us all to expect the unexpected, it’s Roger’s turn to shine.

In this first (I hope he does more!) episodes, Roger talks about The Beatles, Jackson 5, Generation X, David Bowie and of course, Duran Duran. (can’t really forget them, can we?) In just under 15 minutes, I think I learned more about Roger’s musical journey than I knew previously. I loved hearing about what made him into the person he is, and I hope he agrees to do more.

Isn’t that what has really been interesting about all of this? We have Simon doing his “radio” show with Katy, John deconstructing bass parts and having chats with other notables on Instagram, Nick gave a lengthy interview with Red Ronnie, and now Roger is talking about the music that changed his life. While the common thread is music, I have really enjoyed hearing from each band member in their own way, perhaps in formats that are most comfortable for them. It just isn’t all about Duran Duran, and it shouldn’t have to be. I think about that a lot while I’m listening.

I would go out on a limb to say that perhaps that is the one “thing” that has been missing previously when they’ve done sporadic Q&A’s on Twitter, or even in other interviews – there’s not been a way for them to really BE themselves when they’re facing a battering line of questions from fans, or even when they’re doing interviews for press. It would be like listening to someone talk about their job for 40 years. While sure, it’s interesting, isn’t there more to them than that? Of course!! I just don’t think they’ve ever had the right avenue, or maybe even the reason, to share much more, until now.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know that any of the band is ever going to sit and dish about their private life. Sharing a song, deconstructing a bass line, chatting with a fellow musician, though – those things have real merit in a multitude of ways. I’m finding that I spend more time listening to music, exploring new sounds, and enjoying the journey that seems to take place weekly with these guys. Who knew?

I shared some of my concerns with Amanda over a Zoom “happy hour” chat last week. When this pandemic first began to unfold and it became clear that there wasn’t going to be a tour or live dates for Duran Duran (or anyone else) in 2020, I was a little concerned. How would the band respond? Would they even try to engage fans? Did they need to? Reaching a fan base through online methods seemed like it might be a bit of a reach. Sure, other bands and artists have responded in their own way, but I wasn’t sure what Duran Duran would do, or might be willing to do. This isn’t a band that has anything left to prove. Their career stands on its own. Did they have anything left to say – some might say yes, given that they’re still writing. Musically, I’d agree. They’ve got some left in the tank. Beyond that though? Dealing with us – fans – is a very different animal. They could wait the pandemic out, do their own thing, and re-emerge in a safer time. We’d likely still be there, right? Would we? My concern was that maybe, just maybe, they’d decide to just stop. The words look strange to me, but in my head, I thought the idea of no music for a year or possibly more could give the band a lot of time to think. Would it be easier to quit? I didn’t know, but I wondered.

Thankfully, this isn’t a band we should ever try to second guess, or count out. Each time they come up with something new to keep us thinking is a way they engage with fans. If I’m anyone to judge by – consider it successful. I don’t clear my incredibly busy (ha ha ha) schedule to watch John talk about his bass lines in songs just because I fan girl. I’ve learned a lot about the evolution of the songs I love most during the past few weeks. Simon has made me laugh and think about music I’ve never heard before. It’s been fantastic. Today, I learned that Roger also listened to the Jackson 5 during his formative years – just like me. He’s also a Beatles fan. As if I didn’t already love him.

Okay, so there’s been a little fan girling along the way. Sue me.

Forty years on now, and I’m still glad this is my band.

-R

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