Tag Archives: Katy Kafé

April 2017 Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor!

This past weekend, the gift of a gleaming new April 2017 Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor was posted on DuranDuranMusic for members. I gave it a listen yesterday afternoon, knowing I’d be blogging the highlights this morning. Roger and Katy covered a variety of subjects, and as always—I took notes and will cover the more notable topics here. If you want the full Kafe, I’d suggest getting your DDM membership!

Lollapalooza

Roger said that going in, he was concerned that the crowd would be different, and that they might struggle with the audience. Apparently the average attendee for Lollapalooza was 23. But then he saw a lineup and felt they’d fit in nicely. Katy asked him if he likes festivals, and he said yes. He likes playing outside in the elements, and says that if you have the right audience, there’s nothing like it.

I think back to the now infamous photos of the Argentina show and sure, I suppose he’s right. I’m not a big fan of “the elements”, but I can understand where the band is coming from. Someday I’d like to ask the band if it makes any difference at all whether they’re playing a smaller gig in front of 3000 real fans, or many more thousand that might not know their music as well. Judging from the way the band responds online – I’d have to think that while of course they love the fans, when you’re talking about an audience filled with thousands of people, as long as those people are responding – it doesn’t matter.  To them, they’re all fans.

Katy also asked Roger if Lollapalooza was similar to Coachella. I thought this was an interesting question, particularly because it was something I’d wondered myself! To me it seemed the audiences were very different. I watched Coachella again recently – and the way the audience even responded was incredibly different. I felt the Coachella audience stood there waiting to be entertained, where in Argentina, it was far more a group experience. They were all in the show together.  That said, Roger said they were very similar. I’m not really surprised he responded that way, either. Roger is on the drums, in the back, and I don’t know how much of that “crowd feeling” he is able to fully absorb or even notice! Whereas my line of thinking was more about the emotion of the audience, Roger stuck to aesthetics. “They were at similar times of the day” and the crowd size was similar. (in the same ballpark anyway!)

July

Most people know that the band is going out again in July for two more festivals. One is the Calgary Stampede, and the other is Electric Picnic. Katy asked him about those, and Roger let us all in on a little secret—he tries not to look at the tour dates until about three days before he leaves.

If I had an emoji sign with wide eyes that I felt I could post without getting into copyright trouble – I’d post it here. Use your imagination.  This sends my slight OCD tendencies into OVERDRIVE. Oh my. I already have my hotel reservations for a trip I’m taking in July. I know how I’m going to get there and what time I’m going to leave…and it’s not even May!  But then, I don’t have “a good group of people” doing that for me. It’s me. I book the trips. I drive the car, too!  The difference of course is that I don’t tour often, I haven’t been doing this since I was twenty, and I don’t have other people doing the itinerary. There’s something really attractive of not having to be the one to worry about where I’m going though, and only having to show up to play. I wonder what that’s like….

Katy also tells him that he’s going to be missing his son’s birthday this year, and it is in that moment that I remind myself that yes, these guys really are still human. Roger sounded sad about missing Julian’s birthday – I think that’s a genuine drawback to being a musician. He says it’s part of the deal, you miss birthdays, school concerts, etc; and then Katy reminds him that he also gets to come home and be with his kids for months at a time and pick them up at school. (which he was getting ready to go do!)  That is true, and is a benefit that these musicians have that most normal people do not. While the band is gone for extended periods to work, when they come home, they’re not working. (Studio time aside, because that’s totally different) Other people go on business trips, come home, and go back to the office.

What about Australia???

This is the question of the moment. Katy asks if the band is still going there or if they’ve shelved the idea. Now, I have no doubt people heard all the hope in the world in his voice, but I have to say that I did not. Roger said that they are waiting for just the right dates and venues, and IF that happens, then yes they’d like to go there. He said that Australia is one of their favorite places to visit, so it’s not about not wanting to go. It sounds to me as though it is purely about the business-side. It’s not worth going if they don’t have the right set of dates and venue.

In my opinion, it didn’t sound all that hopeful. I know there are a ton of rumors out there about playing with Chic, but judging purely from what Roger said, it doesn’t sound as though any of that is solid as of yet. As for the rest of the world? Nothing was mentioned at all. Whether that was  due to time or because Katy chose to focus on the positive, I don’t know. 

What is next?

Katy asked Roger what their plans are for the rest of the year (after July). At one point, Roger felt that they might end 2017 in the studio, and she was wondering if that was still possible. Interestingly enough, Roger says they are going to be doing more dates (no place was mentioned).  He also said something about going somewhere special and filming it. He talked about how he thought they’d been touring Paper Gods for nearly three years now (While I can appreciate the thought that time flies – they’ve been touring Paper Gods since September of 2015, which means it will be two years. Yes, I checked the complete tour list!) and he said they’ve done a lot and would like to finish it out with it filmed. Then he said maybe after that they’d go into the studio, but nothing was really planned.

One thing I’ll note here is that Roger is really happy with just going with the flow. He seems perfectly content to go along with whatever is going to happen! 

Rio turns 35 (Impossible!!!)

Katy mentioned to Roger that yes, in May of this year, Rio will be 35. After I picked myself up off the floor, I heard her ask him to recall ONE memory from that album.  ‘John came into the studio one day and said, “We need to write a song we can open the set with.”….and that song became Rio.’  and then he laughed and said, “now it’s the closer.”  Katy asked Roger if he felt much pressure with Rio.  I was surprised that he said no. His feeling was that the first album had more pressure because they were still really learning how to play and how to be a band. For Rio, they had a backlog of material to choose from, and they were far more confident with their instruments. Roger even said it was an easy process, comparatively speaking to many of their albums which have not always been easy (I believe he would include Paper Gods in that description).

Oh! One thing that Katy asked – which is something I, too, have always wondered – was about that sound at the very beginning of Last Chance on the Stairway.  She wondered if it was the sound of a cigarette being lit. I was really surprised though that Roger didn’t know!  He said that he hadn’t listened to it back in years, but that it was probably a sound effect that Nick added at the very last-minute. Still no firm answer, but maybe Katy will ask Nick when she gets a chance.  This conversation led to a discussion of smoking. Of course, when the band started out, everyone was smoking. Roger had a mantra to “never smoke before midnight.”

I don’t even get that…but OK. I guess if I lived at a club (Rum Runner) I’d probably have had some weird mantras too. Hell, as it is I say “Not without a hazmat suit!”  (Don’t ask.)

Apparently Roger is a coffee drinker in the morning (me too, Roger me too…) and Katy is not, although she did have a brief coffee “thing”  at one point.

So I should never invite Katy for coffee.  And if I ever get close enough to invite Roger to chat – coffee might work in the morning.  (Sure, I’m dreaming. Who cares?!?) 

And about that birthday….

Roger has nothing really planned. Going to see his kids, his parents who live about two hours from him… but nothing super special. He comments that every decade seems to go faster.

I must wholeheartedly agree on that one. I’m actually worried about how quickly the 50’s are gonna go because my 40s have mostly flown by. Can’t we slow this down a bit?!? I still have a few years to go till I’m staring 50 head-on, but at this rate I’ll blink and it will be here. No thank you. 

Katy ended the Kafe with a bit of a spoiler, saying that they may be doing something special for Rio’s 35th “Birthday” in May…which is pretty exciting. Looking forward to that!!

Until next time!

-R

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

 

Who wants more shows?!? DD Announces Four More 2017 Dates! (US)

If  Duran Duran fans didn’t already have plans for 2017, the band is doing their part by announcing four more US dates to take place during March and April.

March 21, 2017: Dallas, TX Music Hall at Fair Park

March 22, 2017: Sugar Land (Houston, TX area) Smart Financial Center at Sugar Land

April 5, 2017 Hollywood, FL (Miami area) Seminole Hard Rock Casino

April 8, Atlanta, GA Chastain Park

Oh, to only be a fly on the wall at the band’s management office….

Why more US shows?  What made these cities stand out as places to visit? Why do the dates surround those in South America instead of say – beginning here, moving on to South America and then the rest of the world, which we are ALL aware they have sorely missed thus far?   Why didn’t they ever plan a European tour to support this album?  Where are those Australian dates and why is it taking so long to even announce them?

These are only a few of the questions that I’ve seen posted and directed at Duran Duran on every sort of social media. I don’t have answers. I can guess that touring in the US pays the bills, although I don’t know why that would be more so than other places – particularly when the band points out that audiences in South America are among their best in the world.  I can also imagine that logistically, touring here might be easier?  We are 50 contiguous states on a large continent with many large cities to visit and arenas to play.  Even with that in mind, it does seem like it has taken quite a long time for the band to even announce other dates in other countries.

In the most recent Katy Kafe, Nick mentioned that they are looking at the Septemberish time frame for Australia, and that they are hoping to get to other places (Japan, etc) in that area of the world. This is much of the same thing that has been said since Paper Gods was first released in 2015 and the band discussed places they’d like to tour. Each time the subject comes up during a Kafe, it seems as though the time frame continues to be set out farther and farther – the idea becoming more like a dream than an eventuality. One can only assume that the costs of touring are astronomical, and that the band must have to front much of that cost, so even the very best tours that would pack a huge bang for the buck must be planned with precision and care.

I have no doubt that many fans, throughout the world, are getting frustrated. I’ve seen the words, “since you’ve forgotten your fans in _______________” included in many a comment on any post the band has made lately.  I know a lot of people are angry about the additional US dates, and while sure I’m thrilled to hear they are visiting, it does make one wonder about the business of touring.

This time, at least for the dates they are doing in Rancho Mirage, the shows are in a much smaller venue than those I saw last year. Yes, arenas are great, but I am ready for some smaller, more intimate gatherings. It would seem that these newly announced shows are a reasonable balance. Although I have not seen them at all of the venues announced, I did see them at Chastain Park in Atlanta for the All You Need is Now Tour.  The amphitheater seats 6,900 and is nicely sized.  When the band is touring on their own, this size of venue feels comfortable and appropriately welcoming in most cases.  Sure, I’d love to have them play for me and a few hundred of my close friends in my backyard….but I’ll take the shows with a few thousand or so any day and be happy!

There is a lot coming up in the world of Duran. 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the formation of the band, John and Nick are working on a musical…there’s been talk about the band going back into the studio, although no time frame has been suggested.  It is hard to say how to this will fit into the journey, all we can do is buckle up for the ride ahead!

-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 December Katy Kafe with John Taylor

It is that time of the year again. Anybody else feel like the years are flying by???

John Taylor joined Katy in the Kafe to discuss his highlights of the past year, and I am bringing you the Cliff Note version of the 2016 December Katy Kafe with John Taylor!

John says that he is going to England soon – in the next week if he hasn’t already left, which I believe he may have due to the weather he mentions here and the fact that they discuss Grammy nods, which were announced last week – for rehearsals and to celebrate the holiday season. Good to know they’re rehearsing, and if it’s not too late, let’s all hope they’re thinking about freshening up (revitalizing, vamping up…recharging…etc. etc.) the set list for the upcoming shows!

World Event

As soon as Katy asks about his opinion for biggest world event this year, John says “David Bowie’s passing” without missing a beat. It is clear that for John, David’s “leaving the planet” was huge. Calling it “momentous”, he says that he is “still wrapping my mind around that.”  Katy tells him that David Bowie’s Blackstar received several Grammy nominations and John’s comment was “Well, that’s typical.”  I think that someone reading could misconstrue the meaning of that – and basically it’s just that John likely feels that the politics of Grammy nominations kind of leads people to nominate artists who have passed rather than giving them due credit when they’re still around to enjoy it. It is sort of the same thing as having a painter’s work go up in value after they’ve died.

Favorite Album

A Seat at the Table by Solange Knowles.  John calls it “compelling and groovy without trying too hard”. He says he listened it to at least five times the day prior. I haven’t checked it out…maybe I should!

Favorite Film

Arrival with Amy Adams.

Favorite Book

John gives a shout-out to his mate Steve Jones and his autobiography entitled Lonely Boy. There is some discussion about whether or not it is weird to read an autobiography about someone he knows, but in the end John seems to think it enriches the experience. I wonder if he would feel the same if it were say, Nick or Simon or Roger…???

Favorite TV show

Stranger Things. John says he “loved everything about it”, mentioning the music and the cast specifically. (I’ll admit it now that I haven’t seen it….) He also mentions Halt and Catch Fire, and Goliath as runner-ups.

Favorite DD “Happening”

John says he thought about it, and he says he is most proud of being onstage in Charlotte and signing the petition for LGBTQ rights in that state. He mentions that the band doesn’t “do things like that” and that it was a very “tricky play” once Springsteen and others began canceling their shows there, but that the band really wanted to play, so they got in touch with the LGBTQ community there and came up with the plan to sign the petition onstage, which you can read about here if you need a refresher!

Favorite Personal “Happening”

Meeting Stevie Wonder, and playing with him on stage. He mentions that there aren’t too many of the greats (that inspired him) left.

Looking forward to 2017

John mentions that it seems that the band will be headed to Japan and since he hasn’t been there in years, he is really looking forward to that. He also says that he hasn’t made many plans for 2017 yet so it’s hard to say.

He also comments that it wasn’t easy when Nick left (the tour), but that the band went on to play some of their best shows in his absence. He’s looking forward to playing next year – but he made no mention of whether Nick will be returning.  Not sure if that was just because of conversation flow, or by design.

He also said they won’t be playing like they did this last year, meaning that perhaps the year will not be quite as filled with shows and travel for the band. I guess we will see in the coming days!

He also mentions voting, and that he enjoyed being part of the process, even if everything didn’t turn out as he’d voted – some things did. He says he’s working on keeping an open mind!

John will be back in the Kafe in February 2017!

-R

 

 

 

 

 

October 2016 Katy Kafe with Simon!

I sat down to listen to the October 2016 Katy Kafe with Simon this morning. Four days later than I’d liked, but at least I listened!  As always, I took notes and will provide the highlights. My disclaimer is that, once again, these are ONLY the highlights, and while I try to do the Kafe justice, if you really want the best experience, you are better off paying your membership fee ($35.00 a year) and hearing it for yourself.

Coffee

It seems to me that every time Simon is in the Kafe, the discussion begins on the topic of coffee. This time was no exception as Simon mentions that he is drinking an Americano black coffee with no sugar. He explains that on his current two pots of coffee per day habit (hey, it was once four-pots, so he’s improving!) he is able to keep the weight down.

makes note to up coffee intake

MTV EMA’s

They spoke briefly about the MTV EMA voting (if you haven’t voted or need to vote today, and you do…check out our blog here for a link).  Simon explained that the environment had everything to do with how special the show in the Piazza Duomo was, and Katy also reminded him that Mark Ronson also joined them on stage that night.

End of US Tour in Colorado

They played a festival to end their tour in the US, and they talked about meeting Stevie Wonder. I hadn’t heard this, but apparently Stevie had called out for the band to join him onstage that final night, and because the band was tired – no one was there to join him (but they did meet).

Is it just me or does it seem like the tour ended months and months ago??? It feels like forever ago that I was packing and unpacking, and then continuing to write about other shows along the way.

Simon also commented that, on orders from his family not to come back (home) until he was no longer an egotistical rock star (and I had to laugh at that…I suppose this is similar to military debriefing!), he decided to do some sailing after the tour. He joined two regattas, one being the Panerai Regatta and another in St. Tropez.  Those apparently did the trick as he is now back at home, settling in, and getting ready to do some work next week with Mr. (Ben) Hudson.  WHAT?

I was curious that Katy didn’t ask for any details on that – Simon mentioned this work twice, and I’m curious about what he’s working on. Perhaps we’ll know at a later date…

More shows?

As we now know, Duran Duran has sent out the official announcement that they will be doing two shows just outside of Washington DC for New Years Eve and New Years Day.  This of course, follows up the show they’re already doing in Cancun.  Simon says he’s very excited about the show in Cancun because he’s never been there, but at the time they taped this Kafe, they hadn’t announced the National Harbor shows yet. So, two more shows for the US this year…and hopefully, something will be announced for other parts of the world soon, although Simon nor Katy made mention of anything during the Kafe.

You say it’s your birthday

Simon turns 58 on October 27th. I’m still wrapping my head around that one. Age is but a number, but that one just doesn’t sound right. Simon says he’s not doing much for his birthday except working with Mr. Hudson, and Yasmin’s birthday is just a couple of days later.

Overall, it was a lighthearted Kafe. Simon sounded lively, properly caffeinated…and ready to tease Katy at a moment’s notice. I’ll note that he didn’t sound at all tired as I might have expected after a tour, but I suppose he’s had a few weeks to readjust!

-R

 

 

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

 

Is This How We Stay Connected? The Joy of Social Media

I am thinking about quitting social media.

I remember back in the day, not so long ago when I would venture online and gleefully connect with others. I found friends I lost track of, discovered brand new friends, and even found a line of nearly direct communication with a band I’ve loved since childhood. What wasn’t to like?

It gave me great joy to chat with so many people. I still love hearing from friends I’ve known since childhood. I got back in touch with people from my old high school marching band, and there are even pictures of me from grade school floating around somewhere.  I found some of my sorority sisters, and had the chance to make things right with one of them before she died tragically in a car accident a few years back.  Social media made that happen and it still gives me a sense of peace, happiness and light knowing that Laurie knew how much I loved her before she died.

I found message boards, then MySpace and eventually Facebook and Twitter. Fans flooded the various platforms, and I rode the tide as long as possible.  I saw the band, or at least members thereof, embrace social media, and then make a hasty retreat back to the sanctity of private life.  I’ve watched fans clamor for attention, beg for retweets, offer love, respect, and admiration, often (but not always) tinged with a little lust in return.

While the band recorded new albums, I read any article I could grab, and inhaled the gossip. I poured over every last possible Katy Kafe,  gleaning whatever I could. I read interview after interview, retaining as much as possible. I debated other fans, and was taken to task more than once over things I’d written and/or posted.

I remember what it was like to be a Duranie in the mid-80s. I didn’t really worry about what was coming next. I enjoyed each album, played it until the grooves wore out (after all, we’re talking days of vinyl!).  I watched videos until my VCR would eat the tape!  Then, out of nowhere—a new song would suddenly pour out of the speakers of my radio. My heart would flood with pure joy. I didn’t think about what producer the band used, or worried about who was playing guitar. I didn’t think about meeting the band because they were untouchable. There was no such thing as Twitter, so being retweeted was impossible! I didn’t need to compete for attention from a band that was unreachable. The bliss of being a fan in the 80s.

These days, the band really isn’t online much if at all. I avoid saying a lot of what I think or feel. I don’t tell jokes about the band, because to say a single disparaging word, even in jest, is asking for trouble. My friends from high school have grown tired of the political nonsense on Facebook, as have I. My sorority sisters have moved on. Our lives are very different from they were in college thirty years ago. It was great finding them again, but we’ve run out of things to talk about. I don’t check every Duran Duran set list posted. I want something left to chance, to surprise.

Can I still balance joy to annoyance when it comes to social media?  Is it worth my time to try? Why doesn’t the band bother?? That said, privacy is golden. Where is the line of trust? Does one exist? Do I really need to know that so-and-so fervently believes the band doesn’t need a guitar player because the one they have for touring is terrible, or that Jane Doe knows that “it’s serious” that Nick isn’t on tour?  For every single thing posted, there are 50,000 opinions, and I’m talking purely about Duran Duran. Was I better off in the bliss of not knowing a single thing about the band until they did an interview?

I suppose, as I mull the possibilities, the real question is joy.  Where do I find joy? How do I keep it…and how do I ignore the rest of it?  There’s a lot of BS out there.  The “truth” is often a tangled mess. With all of the information overload available, I enjoy the moments where I’m present. While away from home, I stopped paying attention to the never-changing set list posts from the shows. Reviews were put aside until I got home. I just enjoyed being at the shows. I forced myself to stop comparing each one (not an easy task and I definitely found myself failing from time to time!), and just spent my time ENJOYING them.  Living in the moment, particularly in the shadow of social media, isn’t easy.

For obvious reasons, I can’t just quit social media. For one, this blog depends upon that interaction. Instead, I find myself working to keep social media in its place. Nothing matters more than face-to-face interaction. On the same token, many of my friends do not live next door to me. In fact, none of them live anywhere near me. I get great joy from engaging with those people.

Instead of gulping down every single last tweet or Facebook post, I am learning to be far more discerning with my time. I don’t respond unless I have the interest to do so, and I’m finding many times—I just don’t. There’s no need to argue about guitarists, or bother explaining why I feel one way or another about a particular song. I am not sure that I really need to worry about what is going to happen tomorrow, because I’m really just trying to enjoy today. I’m going to do more of that, too.

-R

 

 

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