Tag Archives: Katy Kafe

August Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor

We love it when Duran Duran Appreciation Day falls in such a way that we not only get a brand new song (Paper Gods…check out our review here!) but also a Katy Kafe, this time with none other than Roger Taylor!

As always, I admonish that these are simply my highlights. This is not a word-for-word transcription (My salary grade isn’t high enough for that!), and if you really wish to hear the full Kafe, I strongly recommend getting your membership to duranduranmusic.com.  TOUR TIME IS COMING!!!

Roger on Duran Duran Appreciation Day

Katy begins the Kafe asking Roger if he is aware that it is Duran Duran Appreciation Day. I always worry that these, and questions like it, are somewhat loaded for the band because you know, if they forget or say no…it doesn’t exactly speak positively about their interest…and nobody wants that. But, to my relief, Roger was well-aware (maybe he’s on the computer more than I realize??).   He continues by saying that if someone had told him back in the late seventies that he would be talking about Duran Duran Appreciation Day in 2015, he’d have thought they were crazy.  (Us too, Roger…us too! I kid, but truly – who’d have ever thought?!?) 

Roger on Family and Touring

Katy asks about his youngest and whether he knows that Daddy is in Duran Duran. Roger explains that Julian knows that Daddy is a drummer, and that the other night “the Manchester show” (AKA Diamond in the Mind to the rest of us!) was on TV. (As a quick aside: I obviously need to move to England where there is quality programming. I dare DREAM of the day that we get Diamond in the Mind or Sing Blue Silver on an actual TV channel!!!) Julian apparently recognized Roger behind the drums and  ran to the TV saying “Daddy!” (Cue “awwwws”…) He also knows that Daddy goes to work a lot and then comes home, and they speak briefly about touring and how it is difficult with family, so they tour for a few weeks and then go home.

Roger also explains that Julian has a Spongebob Squarepants drum set, but that you just never know what a child will decide to embrace as a talent or skill. Roger’s parents were nervous when he became a drummer and wanted to be in a band, but ultimately encouraged him…which is similar to how Roger has raised his older children. He helped guide them but he explains that he was never the kind of parent that would insist that they practice (their skill) for hours on end.

Roger on Summer shows

FOLD Festival

Calling the show “fantastic”, Roger talks about Nile jamming with them and having Janelle Monae join them on stage. They had only a quick rehearsal with her before the show, and Roger didn’t really get to see much of her on the stage itself during the show, but said she sounded great. Apparently, Katy likes to keep the rumor mill spinning because she pointedly mentioned that she’d heard “rumors” that Janelle might be joining the band onstage again…and that’s not the only notable name that may be on stage with them for future shows.  Read on…

Capitol Theatre

The band loved playing this show outside of NYC because in Roger’s words, it was a “real audience”. They’d played a few festivals, but this was an audience of diehards, which he enjoyed. Katy asked if he could really see anyone from behind his drum set, and much to the disappointment of Roger Girls everywhere – he really can’t see much beyond the first two or three rows, and even then he is “too focused” on what he’s doing. He joked that even after forty years, he’s has to concentrate on playing with two hands (yes, he really does need two hands for his…you KNOW you were thinking it!!) and two feet.  He said that he has “very little chance to take it in”.   Katy tries to stop the hearts of all Roger fans breaking by asking a follow-up about after the show when he stands up and comes to the front of the stage.  Animatedly, Roger exclaims that it’s amazing. He tends to recognize familiar faces, and then he has to get down to the business of deciding which fan(s) will go home with a particularly special souvenir – a drumstick or two.

Roger on Drumsticks

Here’s the secret straight from the Drum God himself: bring a sign. (When every single lady in the front row brings a sign asking for sticks to the next set of shows, I think Roger knows exactly who to blame here….and it’s not me!!) Roger figures that if you’ve gone to the trouble of making a sign, then you must really want one. Then he says something that strikes a particularly notable chord for me – he USED to chuck his drumsticks into the crowd, but sometime back (I have a story on this below) he stopped doing it because it can cause an unpleasant scene.

I had made a special sign for the show at the Voodoo Festival in New Orleans in 2006. Roger saw it and asked if I wanted them. (Oh you betcha!!) So he threw one straight at me (I was back about 3 rows maybe?). All was fine, I could have grabbed it without trouble at all, but the guy next to me, who was very big AND very tall grabbed it out of the air before I could even get it, and gave it to his wife. Roger saw the whole thing, mouthed “I’m sorry” to me, and I just smiled because you know – what was I going to do? It was just a drumstick, not my memory of the show!  I haven’t seen Roger throw a drumstick at a show I’ve been at since. I can’t blame him, although I hope he knows I wasn’t mad. It wasn’t his fault at all. 

Paper Gods

Katy asks Roger what Paper Gods means to him, personally.  Roger laughs and says, “I KNEW you were going to ask me that!”  He begins by saying that he thinks it’s one of those songs where people can apply their own meanings. Roger thinks the song stands for consumerism and how meaningless it all really is. Katy says that it is one of her favorites off of the album and tells Roger that the song is being released that very day for Duran Duran Appreciation Day, which surprises him (Not that I’m surprised, but clearly the band is not really up-to-date on DDAD treats for fans). He comments that the song is quite a journey and that it’s very conceptual, adding that they weren’t afraid of breaking the rules or felt confined. But then Roger says something that IS surprising: he says that it isn’t necessarily the best song on the album but a strong one. Katy picks up on this and asks him to name some of his personal favorites on the album. He names You Kill Me With Silence, saying that it has a wonderful chorus, and is different from normal Duran Duran. He follows that up with What are the Chances?, saying that it’s a big Duran Duran ballad; and lastly, Danceophobia because he thinks it will be fun to play live. Of course, the mention of Danceophobia cues Roger to mention that Lindsay Lohan is on that song. “Everyone asks about Linsday!”  Naturally, “everyone”, as Roger puts it, is the media. But isn’t that what they wanted? She’s a big name that grabs attention, even if it’s not necessarily a name that fans necessarily enjoy hearing associated with Duran Duran. Watch out New York or London fans, because Katy lets it slip that she’s heard rumors indicating perhaps Lindsay might join the band on stage for a show in one of those places….

2016

Interestingly enough, Roger didn’t know about shows for next year. This would indicate that perhaps nothing has been decided yet.  “I’m sure offers will come in and we’ll be able to go and play places.”

We certainly hope so!!!

 

-R

Happy Duran Duran Appreciation Day 2015

I’m writing this late on August 9th because tomorrow morning I will be jumping online, hoping to squeeze in a little fun in between the shuttle service I seem to run here at home.

Duran Duran Appreciation Day 2015

When I was eleven, twelve or even thirteen years old, there were many, many days when I would sneak back into the confines of my bedroom – a little 12 ft x 12 ft box that was all mine. I could go in, shut the door, close out the world along with anything that was bothering me,  and daydream about anything that really mattered – and for me, that was Duran Duran. I’d put my stereo on as loud as I could get away with, lay back on my bed and stare at the ceiling and aaallllll of those posters on the walls. Never, in all of those hours that I spent in there contemplating the day that Roger Taylor would show up on my doorstep to convince me that I was the girl for him (We ALL have dreams!),  did I once consider that someday I would be writing about the band, in any capacity, much less on a computer of all things.

At the time, I don’t think I ever thought about what I’d be or what I would do when I grew up. Childhood seemed like it would last forever, and the days where I would be expected to actually be productive or manage completely on my own seemed like life plans for someone else!  Little did I know…  Point being, I never really thought I’d write. Writing was something I had to do for school, something that I didn’t necessarily enjoy, and darn it why couldn’t I just take five classes of music or band each day??

So here I am, typing on a laptop at my dining room table amidst the cacophony of my household on a Sunday evening.  Grinning as I get a private message from my partner-in-crime telling me that she met Brandon Flowers tonight; mourning the fact that I was supposed to be at that show with her (it always works out that way, I swear!) and yet I’m here in California,  I acknowledge my crazy life. I chuckle as I think back to last month’s Katy Kafe where John said at some point that real life is complicated. That is no joke. There are times, like right now, that I almost beg for a little simplicity.

So how does Duran Duran really fit into all of this? That is really the question, isn’t it? I’ve been a fan since I was ten years old. Early 1981. That means about 34 years now. I struggle with that concept. It’s really been that long? How?? In a lot of ways, it was much easier to be a Duran Duran fan when I was ten. I went to school, came home, had chores to do and homework to finish, but other than that – no expectations. I could listen to music, watch TV and spend hours examining each page of Tiger Beat and Bop!, among many other teen mags. The downside was of course that I wasn’t allowed out of our small town to go to shows or try to get that treasured autograph from a band member. Nowadays, I have three “employers” as well as a husband, none of which are exactly supportive or understanding that Mommy needs to write a blog or do research when dinner needs making or when someone needs to be driven somewhere. On the upside, I do have a car now. So there’s that. These days, I struggle to find balance where there is precious little to be found. I am certain I am not alone. The thing is, we fit Duran Duran in however we can, don’t we? There’s no right or wrong way. Sometimes it’s a struggle, and other times we are lucky enough to get a weekend or longer to revel in our fandom. Those times are precious and not nearly often enough, or long enough. I tend to forget to really appreciate them until I no longer have them, like right now.

As much as I struggle with balance, support and encouragement in the outside world that we’ll call “Rhonda’s Real Life”, I appreciate this band. It isn’t just about the music, or the fact that they have the most amazing (and under appreciated) guitar player on the planet, either. Born from the single craziest idea I’ve ever uttered out of my mouth (“We really should write a book, Amanda!”) has come this blog. This insane, full-time BEAST of a blog…and I have learned that I like to write. I need to write. Indirectly, the band led me to the one thing that gives me the most solace and peace in my life.

Duran Duran has been there for me from adolescence. They may not really know who I am, and they might not really even care in any sort of personal way, but they’ve been there. I can’t really imagine my life without them in the same way that I really can’t imagine my life without writing, my friends, concerts, Facebook, or even Twitter these days. I appreciate Duran Duran every single day, but there’s something especially sweet about being able to put aside one day of the year to watch a video or two, chat and laugh online, and allow the band to take center stage.

I hope everyone has a chance to enjoy Duran Duran today. We’re lucky to have them. Happy Duran Duran Appreciation Day!

-R

July Katy Kafe with John Taylor!

This is a long one, and I cannot apologize. John said a LOT in a very short amount of time. Get a snack and a beverage and don’t blame me for being wordy. As always, I will give my disclaimer that this is not written word for word from the Kafe recording. I listen, take notes and hope that my own feelings don’t completely cloud his message…or Katy’s. Sometimes I get it right, and many times for a lot of you I get it completely wrong. I accept that. If you want to hear the entire Kafe, get your DDM membership.

Album Title

Paper Gods is the title of the album,  and this song opens the album. Interestingly enough, this song was once settled midway through the album as a sort of beginning to the “darker side” of Duran…a section of the album I am really looking forward to hearing. I don’t know that we’ve gotten a whole lot of “Darker Duran” since the first album…although I can certainly name several recent songs that belong under that moniker: Red Carpet Massacre, Chains, Last Man Standing, Dirty Great Monster…but once the song became the title, the band decided to open the album with the song.  John explains that the song is about the commodification of everything, and how quickly everything goes in and out of fashion. It has a lot to do with the things we obsess about, and that to at least some degree it’s an explanation of Duran Duran’s experience.

The title Paper Gods can be viewed in a lot of different ways but for some reason that said it all to me. – Katy Krassner

Pressure Off

John explains that this song is really a very important song for the band. He says that it is kind of like their history in a song, referring to the fact that Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson and Ben Hudson all worked on it together in varying positions (producers and production, respectively).  John says (and I completely agree) that it has a feel good summer vibe to it. Where Paper Gods is dark and almost political, Pressure Off is kind of “Fuck off and dance” or “Party on Wayne” (truly, in my opinion, one of the best things John Taylor has ever quoted…) John mentions that the song is hedonist, and that’s really something that Duran Duran has always kind of subscribed to as their Modus Operandi. (And honestly, isn’t that sort of escapism something that we as Duranies have always embraced??) “You don’t write a song like that and not hope everyone likes it. Paper Gods is a song you write for yourself. Pressure Off is a song you write for everyone else.” (I haven’t heard Paper Gods, but this is EXACTLY what we’ve been saying about Pressure Off. It’s a song for everyone who doesn’t already know Duran Duran, and I still say it’s catchy as hell.) Katy asks if John likes playing it live, and you can hear John’s voice brighten as he talks about playing this new song. He comments that many of the songs off of this album are written and programmed meticulously, but this song was built on a live performance, so it lends itself to that environment very well. “Dom is the best Nile impersonator on the planet.”  And then some, in my opinion.

Just through social media, which I’ve handled for the band for some years now, it is the most positive response that I’ve seen for a Duran Duran single since social media began. – Katy Krassner

Again, I agree with Katy. I’ve NEVER seen this kind of response to one of their songs, at least not in recent (year 2000 or later) memory. Even critics and websites that have never really been on the Duran Duran bandwagon have chimed in with positive response for the song. Like Katy, I don’t want to put the cart before the horse…but since the song is already out and about now…I really think this song could go places if it gets radio play. My concern at this point is whether or not that’s happening here in the states. I don’t know what Warner’s promo plan might be, or whether they’re not pushing it until the album release gets closer, and I don’t want to second guess the label effort. I just hope I hear the song on the radio, and that the band gets the promotion help they deserve. The song is worth the effort, and if fans can help with that, I know a blog that is more than willing to do it’s part. Just tell us how we can help.

Live Shows

Specifically, Katy asks about putting Pressure Off into the continued set list, or if it was just a one-off. John eagerly says that playing Pressure Off is what is going to make the shows fun for him. Now, before fans scoff at the idea that only that one song makes the shows worth it for John, I don’t think that’s what he meant at all. Let’s face it, some of the songs in the setlist have been there for DECADES. It’s the newer music that keeps everything fresh. It’s a new challenge. I would imagine it gets just as tiring for the band to play Hungry Like the Wolf each night as it does for THIS fan to hear it…but it’s part of the deal.  John explains that the band evolves, so they are putting Pressure Off into the setlist for the next 3-4 shows, and then hopefully by the time they get to Bestival they will be playing 3-4 songs from the new album. Right now, the festivals and shows are serving as a sort of “Hey, remember us? We’re the band that brought you _________________”.  It’s about inserting themselves back into the narrative.  However, once they come to the western states, the focus is going to be on the new songs from Paper Gods.

Collaborations

Duran Duran has worked with people before, and I think we all know this. However, as Katy mentions to John, they’ve never really worked with this many collaborators on a single album. I’m actually very pleased she brings this up with him, because it’s a question that has quite literally been hanging in the air when the subject of this album comes up with fans all over social media. Why so many this time? John doesn’t really answer that question specifically, but he certainly does address the functionality.  He quickly states that he doesn’t think they take away from the Duran-ness of the album.  He uses Last Night in the City as an example. It is the second song on the album and features Kiesza…and actually the song opens with Kiesza and then Simon comes in following her. John says that he’s always wanted to try that with a Duran song. I think it will be interesting to see how it fares among fans, who tend to be purists when it comes to this band and specifically Simon. 

John also explains that the album is long by even 1981 standards…and by 2015 standards it is a VERY long album. I think in order to fully understand what he means, you have to go back to some earlier Katy Kafe’s with him as he describes his perfect album or even when they’ve discussed the differences between recording today versus back in the 1980’s. In this day and age, people don’t typically buy entire albums, they buy singles or songs. It’s rare for people (young people, most likely) to sit through an entire album from start to finish. He talks about rising to the challenge of sitting and absorbing a full album. I see it more as the difference between fast food and a full seven-course meal, to be honest. Kids don’t know what they’re missing!!! (I think I just aged myself to “You kids get off my lawn!” status right there. So be it.)  John believes the guests help with breaking the album up and adding interest in the same way that a course of sorbet, or a finger bowl might for fine dining.

He continues by explaining that they’ve adjusted their music so that it works in today’s world. For instance, he goes into detail about how now there is synthesized bass, sub-bass, and of course his bass in music, it’s not just one track or just one instrument creating the sound as it once was.

You can put that down to a lack of imagination, or put it down as us trying to adjust our music so that it works in today’s world. -John Taylor

The Promotional and Touring Grind

Does John really love doing promotion? It’s a fair question given some of his Kafe’s over the course of the last few years. I myself have questioned several times here whether or not John’s heart is still in this. To be fair, I think it’s been an incredibly long haul at times. All I have to really do is look at some of the old footage and remind myself that while I was sitting at home watching their fame unfold – they were living it. They were rushed from appearance to appearance and I highly doubt that they really even recognized what  was happening at the time. Hindsight is 20/20. So while I questioned, it wasn’t with malicious intent as much as it was genuine concern (mixed with a little frustration at times, I’ll admit).

John’s answer is as authentic as I would expect, and I have to share: it brought me to near tears in parts. (Yes, I have become somewhat of am emotional sap in the past few years, but I love this band.) If I could have trapped and bottled the clear emotions from both John AND Katy during this part of the Kafe, I would.  John freely admits that it isn’t all fun. He says that they all accept that promotion and being on the road and recording are all parts of the job, and some might like the studio and others might like being on the road, etc. He says that he loves being on stage when it’s all right – without technical glitches. That technical piece is their responsibility, he adds, and that’s why it’s important for them to do festivals and shows as they’re doing this summer, “to get the machine up and running”. He does not; however, love being on the road. That portion is the grind, and I think if we were all being fair, we’d agree and understand.

Let me be clear: Amanda and I travel a bit to see them. We pick portions of the country and go to see a few shows. We can’t ever go for very long, but we might do 3-4 shows at a time. By the time I am done with that final show, I AM EXHAUSTED. I typically come home and promptly become deathly ill (which really annoys my entire family!)My body can’t take the travel. I don’t know how the band does it. Even though I know it’s their job, it must truly kick their ass. I know it does me, and I don’t really have to “work”…my job is just to go and have a great time.  I just tend to push my body to the edge in the process.

I fantasize about staying in one place for 365 days. – John Taylor

Katy asks the one million dollar question that I’ve been waiting to hear. Is John ready to get back out there on the road? Does he still like touring and playing live?  To be fair, in recent years – specifically while the band was recording (a detail I find to be important, because I think John’s attitude may have changed during that period.), I noted several times in Kafe’s where John was very clear that he was in no hurry to play live or tour again. As a fan, it was disconcerting to hear, because for us – that’s really the meat and potatoes of being a fan.  Those live shows are what we all share together. They are special moments that for some of us, don’t happen nearly enough (and for even others not at all, which I need to also acknowledge).  Emphatically, John says that he loves being on stage. He feels really good onstage. He explains again about the technical side of it, which I think any of us should be able to understand. Then he goes on to say something that tells me everything I need to know, ” (Real) life is complicated. When the lights go down, it’s just the relationship between me and the other musicians, and the fans.”  He continues by saying it gets “over far too quickly” and then after the show he remembers he’s got to get back to the hotel and rest and then move on to the next place.

That’s EXACTLY what the shows are like for me. In that brief 2 hour period, my life becomes simple. It’s about me, the music, and the (brief) interactions with the band. I leave the real world completely behind. If anyone really wants to understand me or my fandom – that is it in a nutshell.  John nailed it.

He finishes the Kafe by talking about touring and how much they want to go back to places like Japan. Almost wistfully he mentions that when they were really getting out there back in the 80’s, they were requested everywhere, and now he feels a little like they’ve got to go knock on doors and ask to play. Katy, to her credit (I could have hugged her), reminds John that they’re still asked to play in places like America, and the UK, and Italy…and probably a lot of other places but my emotions got the best of me at this point. Then she says that despite what he says about the grind of touring, if he could see what SHE sees (and what we ALL see!) when he’s on that stage playing, she knows he loves it.

I worry about John because I truly don’t think that man knows how much he is loved. Yes, there are people out there that have issues and need new hobbies…but we love him. We love him for being a musician, being in Duran Duran…but we love him most because of who he is underneath.  It is in these moments when he seems most vulnerable and natural that I’m reminded of why I’m a fan. I wish he knew that. That’s why I write this blog, otherwise there would really be no point.

 

 

May Katy Kafe Bonus with Simon LeBon!

Just when you’re thinking it’s safe to go run errands…Katy surprises us all with a bonus Katy Kafe!  Apparently Simon was so chatty during Katy’s anniversary chat, they kept the “tape” rolling, and off comes this fun, informative and even educational Kafe with Simon! I picked out the highlights to share, enjoy!

Coffee, Coffee and More Coffee!

Simon has become quite the coffee drinker, and he likes it black. As many might be aware, recently Simon began a fitness regime. He wanted to lose some weight (he’s lost quite a bit!!) and just get fit for the upcoming album release/tour/etc. His program required that he cut out dairy, and Simon cannot drink tea without dairy. So, he tried coffee…and he loves it. He loves coffee so much that he drinks six to eight cups a day!  He explains, much to my relief, that he dilutes the French press coffee a bit because he prefers it weaker than say, the espresso blend that Starbucks and similar coffee shops prepare.  To myself, I imagined Simon on the fully-leaded Starbucks espresso, and I was tired just trying to keep up!  He loves a particular brand of coffee called Cru Kafe and he went into particularly great detail about how the coffee smells when it is freshly ground. Katy, on the other hand – not a coffee drinker at all.  She can’t stand the stuff.

This led into a great discussion on how Simon feels that this program has re-educated his taste buds to prefer less “rich” food. He talks about how he enjoys salad and now craves green, raw vegetables.  I’m eating a kale salad as I’m writing this (I too am preparing for any and all upcoming gigs and tours, you see…) and I have to wonder what in the hell Simon was eating BEFORE the program.  He talked a bit about wanting to eat cleaner and have a simpler digestion while on tour.  I thought about how vodka might fill that bill.  (for me…for me….) It’s clear. It’s clean…and I am the (self-proclaimed) Patron Goddess of Vodka.

moving on…

I saw Simon in early April and he looked very trim. I’ve seen the recent ads he did for that wildlife campaign, and he looks fantastic. I’ve got work of my own to do to keep up!!

The Summer of Festivals

That’s what I’m dubbing this summer. Katy asked what Simon might be looking forward to for these festivals and he said they would not play a “hell of a lot” from the new album. He thought that if there were a single out they’d play that (so that’s a little different from what John had said previously – we’ll take a single!!). Katy asked how long it takes to put together a set list, and Simon said that he really wasn’t the “list maker”….apparently John and Nick share that duty. John is fairly obsessive about it, noting what songs create what type of mood, etc. Simon likes the idea of a three-act-play model. He doesn’t go into detail, but basically the idea is to break the setlist into parts: the set-up, the confrontation, and the conclusion.  However, Simon is more interested in what he can sing properly. For example, one of Simon’s challenges with their music is that if one song, such as Girl Panic, is in a high, full-out range…it is very difficult if not impossible for him to follow that with a song that is meant to be sung low, such as Come Undone. So he looks at their set lists with that in mind. It’s a little insight…

Simon would love to sing Too Late Marlene in a setlist, but according to him, they’ve tried it before and have always backed away from doing it because perhaps it didn’t sound right. He feels they are much better musicians now and can play it properly – it’s a hidden, overlooked gem in their music because of the fact it doesn’t have a huge hook. Simon feels it would go well with Serious. Do we agree?  (I do!) He was very, very quick to say that they won’t be doing Too Late Marlene this tour…but it’s something he’d like to try in the future.

 

That’s about it from the Kafe this time around. The extended Coffee Kafe was a fun surprise to round out the month of May! Looking forward to next month!!

-R

 

 

Happy Anniversary Katy! (with Simon!)

I really and truly don’t even know where to start with the highlights from this Kafe. If I could somehow put it all into a frame and hang it on my wall forever and ever, I would. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these Kafes – probably even more so than the regular ones. (sorry Katy, I mean it in the kindest possible way, I really do!!) I’ll get to why in a minute. I might be the only one out there that feels this way, but I don’t care.  I will also disclose here and now that I’ve never actually been in tears due to a Katy Kafe before, much less due something Simon has said…until now.

I’m going to assume it’s really NOT my hormones on overdrive this morning, although I won’t lie, it’s been quite a day so far. (I went to school with my youngest this morning for Muffins with Mom. I know this has nothing to do with Duran Duran but she is the sweetest kid in the entire universe and I am so lucky to call her my daughter. So there you go. Mom-tears.) Moving along…

To begin with, I don’t know that I ever truly realized just how close Katy and the band really are. Yes, I know they’ve worked together for a long time, but somehow I don’t think that always comes through in the Kafes or the work she does. But when you hear her speak with Simon, you can really feel the warmth between them. Sure, she’s lucky because she works with the band we’ve all been rather fond of since we were babies…I know that’s the way many feel and yeah, it’s a given but let’s get PAST that for a second.  She’s very lucky to have found a family within. I know a lot of people who worked for the same company nearly all of their lives and don’t have the same sort of relationships with their coworkers (or bosses!)…so there’s something to be said there for both Katy and those Duran Duran guys. 🙂 I think it was incredibly nice of Katy to include all of us in on her special time with the band, because really, she didn’t have to. She could have celebrated her anniversary with the band privately and never done a thing…and really, how many of us would have even taken a second to figure out how long she’s been with the band? I venture to guess not many because what she does for them is just taken for granted. We don’t think about how it all happens, we only know that we want and need what we want and need, and if it’s not perfect, we’re pissed. I’m super glad she shared, and that’s not me gushing, it’s me being honest and thankful.

There were a lot of little tidbits they shared (I for one cannot wait to hear the Simon “Alabama Slammer” story. I just hope she doesn’t wait 20 years to share!), such as the first time she met the band at the St. Regis and Simon chucked a water bottle across the room to her and she caught it, to which Simon announced that he liked her. I can envision that happening…and I can envision myself missing the bottle, too.

They talked about 9/11 and how the band was meeting with Miles Copeland at his house. They were apparently unaware of the planes hitting the WTC until they got there and Miles said that they couldn’t talk, and there they watched the second plane hit the building. Katy had emailed them, and Simon returned the email, telling Katy to “keep her wits about her”.  Truer words couldn’t have been said. Our world really did completely change that day, didn’t it? I don’t live in New York, I didn’t have family anywhere near there…but there are still many, many times when I feel like I don’t completely recognize the world these days. Sometimes not at all.

They also talked about Katy’s highlights, which she’s mentioned with each band member, and that brought them to talking about the new album. I appreciated this section the most, and believe it or not – it wasn’t the memories of 9/11 that brought me to tears. No, it was this part.  First of all, Katy says that it’s “a Duran Duran album, but it’s a fucking great Duran Duran album”.  Simon agrees, and then they start to explain that this isn’t an album just for the fans. As you might imagine, that sentence is unsettling to me. But I try to listen with an open mind, after all, sometimes what is communicated in words isn’t really what is meant. Simon continues by saying that what he means, is that this album is meant for MORE than just the fans. It has a much wider appeal than that. Now while it’s easy to get our ire up, wondering if the fans just aren’t “enough”…. I think we have to understand that this isn’t a band that just wants to sit back in a corner and not continue to grow.  They want to grow their appeal. That isn’t a bad thing, and although I haven’t heard a single (entire) song from this album yet, I can’t wait to be able to say I love it and continue to work very, very hard to keep this fandom going and growing. They really WANT fans to love the album, and then they want us to take to the rooftops and draw others in.

It’s in this moment that I look back on the time in between albums and it doesn’t feel quite so long, and sometimes I feel like Amanda and I get it completely wrong…but we’re on the right track.

Simon speaks directly to the fans in this Kafe, explaining that we’re as much a part of that band as they are (cue tears from me), and that he wants us to own this next album and get it out there.  Katy agrees, saying that the fans she interacts with already feel that way, that they have a tangible sense of ownership with Duran Duran. It’s true. There are so many out there that really DO have a positive sense of ownership regarding the band. It’s also a major double-edged sword at times. We think we know best. We really don’t because we only know what it is like to be fans. It’s a problem, but I suppose it’s a good problem to have. We just love the band – we’ve loved them so long that it’s difficult to separate them from us. My memories are entwined with their music and even with them as people. It’s messy, it’s lovely, and it’s FAMILY.

Katy talks to Simon about how he keeps up the facade that he’s got his head in the clouds, and yet she claims he doesn’t miss a thing. Ever.  I also noticed that when he talked about the line up of the band when Katy first met him – he referred to “Simon” in the 3rd person. This is all starting to make much more sense to me now…It’s funny because now that the word is out, I’m not so sure he’s gonna be able to keep up that act, but hey – I’ll play along. Thanks for not spitting on us in Biloxi, Simon….I don’t think I’ve ever thanked you for backing up instead of showering us…. 😀 and thanks for taking a picture with us in LA, too. You’re the one band member I never, ever thought I’d actually have a photo with, so it’s special.

What am I missing? Ah yes, they talked a teensy bit about shows this summer, and in doing so – Simon explains that this is the “Information age” and that information is valuable. Agreed. If he were to give out information about what things, especially “Big” things that might soon to be announced for the US (no pun intended!!), it would mess up the promotion, marketing, etc. (my apologies for paraphrasing) I’m not going to chastise him for not telling us when and where. I can’t. I get it. Things happen for a reason, and it’s not my job to ruin it for them. In fact, I think it’s the opposite, isn’t it?  So he announces the shows that have already been announced, and leaves us all hanging on the footnote that something big is coming for the US.

I can’t wait.

So while this was a celebration of Katy’s time with the band – it was also a little bit of a celebration for all of us. It takes all of us to keep this engine running and the wheels moving, and I hope we all take Simon’s words to heart (do yourself a favor and get your DDM membership so that you can listen to this Kafe yourself!) Once again, there is no way on this earth that I would want Katy’s job – I’m not that nice, definitely not that patient, and I really like writing anyway, but I’m awfully glad we have her around to “herd the cats” when necessary. Congratulations and a VERY happy anniversary (Happy Mothers Day too!) Katy!

-R

Happy Anniversary Katy (with Nick)!

I don’t know about anybody else out there, but I’m convinced that time is going much faster now than it did when I was eleven. Just recently, Katy Krassner (Duran Duran’s very own Ask Katy!) announced that she has been working with the band now for twenty years, when she started working with them at the age of 12. (See, I completely get this math because I was about that same age when I got married….right?!?) My initial reaction was that she clearly has miscounted by at least a decade, but it turns out that yes, she really has been around that long. By Nick’s own account, Katy is their longest employee, and  I can’t remember a time when Katy was not a part of the Duran Duran family.  Say what you will, she’s been around for a lot longer than some of us have been loyal…myself included. (there were those dark days between about 1995 and 2000 when I was too busy getting  married, moving, and having my first two babies to know what was going on!)

For the Katy Kafe’s this month, each of the band members are going to ask Katy about her time with the band, beginning with Nick. What is interesting about Nick and Katy is that you can hear the admiration each of them have for the other – in fact Nick is Katy’s son’s Godparent. I listened and found myself smiling at their memories of Lemonheads and Alexander the Grape in dressing rooms (Katy is a candy girl!), the first time that Katy met Nick – he was doing some sort of a call-in for college radio stations and Katy was very nervous about meeting him (apparently it worked out!), to Nick & Co giving Katy fashion advice.  I laughed when she explained how each of them came out telling her to ditch the vest she was wearing only to have Simon then come out and tell her he loved it.  (Of course he did, he’s Simon!!) There were stories about a particular yellow suit that Nick admitted burning and not replacing (I honestly didn’t hear who owned this suit because I was “parenting” in that particular moment, but I’m betting it was Simon….), and recollections of Katy’s curly hair (which is now straight, thanks to Nick introducing her to the art of getting it straightened!). Everybody wants Duran Duran-centric Kafe’s, but honestly I really liked hearing Nick’s memories of Katy.

While the stories and memories are funny, it was the warmth with which they speak to one another that I loved most. As fans we really have little idea about all the behind the scenes work that goes into the band, and it’s not just the studio work I’m meaning. It really does take a village to make it all work, and I think it’s a testament to Katy, but also the band themselves, to hear of people who had worked for them long ago coming back to do more, whether we’re talking about Nile Rodgers…Spike Stent….Dom Brown…Anna Ross…or Andrew Day. (who is currently working with the band to revamp/redesign their website to coincide with the new album- he worked on the original site as a graphical designer. As an aside, I am excited to hear that perhaps a new website in general is on the horizon for the band. I am on dd.com nearly every day and trust me, it is WAY WAY WAY OVERDUE!) In the very little work I’ve done with bands before, I’ve always found it to be a virtual revolving door of people as albums come and go. With Duran Duran that doesn’t seem to be the case, and it’s nice to see that it really is a little like a family.

I know a lot of people think they’d love Katy’s job. I also know a lot of people find fault with things every now and then. Heck, even I find things that could be improved. All of that said, I want to take a second and wish Katy a very Happy Anniversary!! Not only do I NOT want your job…I am sure I couldn’t do it nearly as well. (I’ve very little patience, you see.) Twenty years doing anything is quite an accomplishment, and to think you’ve worked for one band for that long is amazing. Cheers to you and I can’t wait to hear your Kafes with the rest of the band this month!

-R

April Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor!

It’s that time again!  It is April, and that means Roger Taylor came to visit the Katy Kafe!  As always, I listened, took thorough notes, and will break down the highlights, and sprinkle a little opinion of my own throughout. This is definitely not the entire Kafe rewritten word for word, and if you want to hear the entire episode in its entirety, I encourage you to get your DDM membership – tour time is coming!!

Roger Taylor on the Record Deal with Warner Bros

The record deal with Warner is a “global” or “worldwide” deal, meaning that promotion for this album should not be a problem…and we will see how that works in the months ahead.  Roger confides that as of a month ago, they did not have a deal in the works. Simon and John took the album to Warner Bros, (could this have been part of that trip to LA around the time of the Grammys?) and played them some of it. The label said that they wanted to sign them immediately, which almost sounds too good to be true in this day and age. Lots of bands do get record deals these days, but very, very few get worldwide deals…and even fewer are “older” bands such as Duran Duran. Fans should probably grab onto that little tidbit and hold it for all it is worth.

…It makes us feel gratified. Almost like starting out. Roger continues, saying “Simon says DD are like cockroaches. No matter how many times you stamp on them and kill them they just keep coming back.”

Could this really be Duran Duran rising from the ashes once again like a Phoenix? (Katy’s much nicer, much more triumphant analogy from the band!) We’ve all seen Duran Duran change and evolve as albums and labels have come and gone, and as Katy says “You can’t ever count out Duran Duran.”  Katy mentioned that labels really do not do “listening parties” for artists any longer (referring to the party done at Warner Bros for Duran Duran last week), but WB has rolled out the red carpet for our band. Roger elaborates, saying “We’ve not had that much excitement in a building since the early days.”  I could definitely since the excitement in his voice as he spoke of the deal, and the party where Pressure Off was unveiled to their team at Warner. Roger tells Katy that the song really grabbed them, and so John went back in and played them a few more off of the album to enthusiastic response. This is a band that is comfortable being treated like royalty. I have no doubt that the treatment they’ve been receiving from Warner Bros has felt like a wonderful welcome and it probably does quite a bit to validate. Duran Duran has not had the same measurable levels of success that they once enjoyed in many years, and I can’t really know what it was like to return to the studio after the All You Need is Now tour. Were they apprehensive about the future? Were they unsure of how to proceed? Were they growing tired of the process? Judging purely from the Katy Kafe’s we’ve heard in the past three years – I’d have to say yes. I think all of those things hold true to some limited degree if they were being honest (and human).  I would imagine that for the band, this is like returning to what they know and loved, and it gives them hope for the success of this album, and I won’t fault them for that. I can only hope that some of the humility they have acquired along the way will remain intact.

Roger Taylor on the album and Pressure Off

Pressure Off was produced by Mark Ronson and features Janelle Monáe. Nile did the vocal production, and he also played on the song. Nile provided the guitar riff that was the inspiration for the rest of the song, and Roger marvels at Nile’s energy.

there are still a few unannounced surprises on this album, including a BIG one, whose first name begins with “B”.

The idea itself came very quickly. Janelle’s part was done in LA with Simon, and John was also present. Roger commented that he wasn’t necessarily happy that the San Francisco radio people had posted some of the song because of the “large amount of production work” that had been done on the album – you can’t hear most of that in the snippets found online. I would agree that there is a ton of background noise and that makes it very hard to really know what the song sounds like. That said, I hope the band knows that the reactions that I have seen to the song have been HUGELY positive so far. I am sure that once the song is made public, the excitement level within the fan community will only continue to grow. The single will be out “soonish” (I have actually been told May by people at Warner Bros).

As for the album in its entirety, we all know that DDHQ has been incredibly tight-lipped (ridiculously so at this point, in my opinion.), and as such…they know the name of the album but it “hasn’t been released yet.” The album has taken the better part of the past three years to write, record and mix, but Nick (We don’t call him The Controller for nothing!) wanted the band to take as long as they needed to make a great record.

“…it was time to not rush and make a great record” – Roger

Roger reminds us that even two years ago he felt the album was nearing completion, but that they had to go through the “pain barrier”. They had to step back and take their time with it, and the result is an album that Roger feels is the best of the four he has done with the band since his return. He realizes that many people say their latest record is the best one, but that even as he’s had others listen to the work, the consensus is that this new album is better than the last. I suppose that in time, we will all be able to weigh-in with our own feelings on that topic. The album is still set to drop in September with no firm date given just yet.

Roger Taylor on Summer Festivals

Will the band be playing new tracks at the festivals this summer?  According to John, he had said no – that he felt like they wouldn’t be unveiling new material. Roger seems to feel similarly, saying that they want to give people the chance to hear the record as intended first. However, Roger says that certainly by September they will be playing the new material. As a fan, I still question the decision of playing festivals – where there are literally going to be thousands of people who are likely not diehard fans in attendance – and yet not introducing these people to new Duran Duran. I’m constantly reminded that marketing is about making people aware. People who are already counted as “sales” don’t matter, it’s about getting the people who are not already in that “sales” column (aka “NOT fans”) moved over there. Playing festivals should really be about marketing to and educating an audience that may not already be Duran Duran fans about their new music. Get the music heard by as many new people as possible, don’t you think? This my friends, is why I am not in the music industry. It makes no sense to me.

Roger continues by saying that he’s excited to start playing the new music, but laments that the process in getting the music translated to the live show will be difficult. He states that the album has so much technology on it, that it will be a task to make it all happen.

Roger closes the Kafe by saying he’s just glad to be out of the studio! His birthday is of course later in the month, and he is thinking he’s going to keep this one quiet – probably a wise choice given that in a matter of weeks, Duran Duran will be hitting the road once again!

-R

Duran Duran News: 2/22/15 to 3/7/15

It is time to summarize any and all official Duran Duran news for the past two weeks (2/22/15 to 3/7/15).  What all has happened?  It definitely feels like the activity in Duranland is picking up slightly.

Collector’s Corner

February’s Collector Corner focused on tour programs.  You can read all about it here.  What I thought was cool is the historical background surrounding the history of tour programs, in general.  Of course, that isn’t to say that I didn’t appreciate looking at all of the Duran ones!  I have a few tour programs myself and can’t imagine not buying one for the next tour!

Cartier “Travel With Style”

Simon and his wife, Yasmin, will be off to New Delhi, India, soon to participate as judges in an event about cars.  Read about all of the details here.

 Antony Price’s Birthday

Nick hosted a little birthday bash for the famous fashion designer on the 5th at the Blakes Hotel in London.  As many Duranies know, Antony was responsible for quite a few iconic looks of Duran Duran in the early 1980s, including the suits featured in the video for Rio.  I have included a picture here but there are lots more on the official website and on the band’s Facebook page.

Antony Price Birthday 2015

 DDM Contests

If you are a member of DuranDuranMusic, the paid fan community, there are some contests going on.  They are giving away pairs of tickets to the festivals announced “thus far”, including Sonar, Night at the Park, Killarney and Bestival.  For more details, head over to DDM.  Good luck to those who enter!!!

Simon Katy Kafe

The March Katy Kafe came out last week and featured Simon!  Did you catch it?  Maybe, you want to just check out the highlights?  If so, check out Rhonda’s post about it here!

War Child UK Exclusive Pictures

While on the topic of DDM, besides this month’s Katy Kafe, there is another exclusive, which is a gallery of pictures from the band’s War Child UK gig that took place last month.  If you like pictures, I highly recommend checking them out here!

 Charity Auction for Lynch Event

Interested in going VIP for the David Lynch event in Los Angeles on April 1st?  Interested in meeting the band then?  There is a charity auction for you!  Details here!

War Child Portrait

Interested in purchasing the before and after the War Child gig portraits of the band?  If so, read about the War Child Photobook here!

Simon Interview

Simon has been busy!  Not only did he do a Katy Kafe but he also did an interview for BBC.  Want highlights?  I know you do!  Luckily, our friend, Debbie, sent us the scoop here!

#DD14

Beyond the official news, if you were paying close attention to Duran’s Twitter feed last week, you might have seen DDHQ respond that the #DD14, the next Duran album, will be released in September!  Rhonda covered it here.

What did I miss?  I’m sure that I missed something!  If so, please comment below!  Thanks!

-A

March 2015 Katy Kafe with Simon LeBon

I give the Kafé highlights here on Daily Duranie, and to me, the highlights at this point are about the upcoming album, so that’s what I’m sticking with here today!  As always, if you want to listen to the entire 18 minutes with a VERY caffeinated Simon LeBon, I encourage you to get your DDM membership. I hear tour time might be coming. Next year.

Simon on coffee

So Simon is on a “special program” where there’s no alcohol, no tea…but one thing he can drink is black coffee. He likes it very strong…and apparently very caffeinated. Simon speaks faster in this Kafé than I’ve heard in a long time. My fingers moved at breakneck speed to take notes!

I’ve learned you can pretty much learn to like anything…

New album scoops!

Katy moves quickly (probably to keep up with Simon!) to add that they are in the studio – which is honestly music to MY ears. We find out very early in the Kafé that this album is TITLED, but no – we do not get to hear the title. Apparently that, and nearly everything else about this album is as secret as the real date it will actually be released.  Katy also shares that there is a potential first single, but quickly admonishes herself, saying that she’s not allowed to “talk about that. But, one thing she insists that Simon CAN do though, is give the name of the song that they are working on in the studio today, which is “Face for Today”.

….album is more than 3/4 of the way finished. We’ve had guest artists come in and record, which I can’t talk about. Final touches. Sprinkling fairy dust on it.

The album appears as though it will be out in September, as we reported here earlier today.

Simon on War Child

He spends a few minutes talking VERY QUICKLY about the charity itself, explaining that War Child deals with children who are victims of war, regardless of what political “side” they might be on.  Simon said that this was important to him, and you can certainly hear the passion in his voice as he talks about the charity. He said that the gig itself was the smallest audience they’ve played, and that they didn’t “take a piss…they played well”. He also mentions that the people who got tickets were lucky because the tickets were awarded by a lottery system. People pledged money to War Child and were then entered into a lottery for tickets to the show. Many people who pledged money did not receive a ticket and did not get in to see the band. Simon made sure to thank everyone though.

£250,000 was raised for War Child from this event

Festival dates and touring

As most everyone should be aware as of now, the band has booked several festival dates, which you can find here. Simon and Katy both mention that they may add a few more in the September/October timeframe. Katy asks Simon directly if they will be doing any new music at the festivals, and Simon replies with a very definitive and resounding, “no”. According to Simon, they used to do new music at these kinds of things back in the 90s, but it was more of a “vanity thing” and it wasn’t at all helpful. The music isn’t ready to be played live. I guess my question, however rhetorical it might be, is why even bother doing the festivals then? Do they really hope to gain new audience?? What is really the purpose? We’ve all waited this long – what is another year, especially when you consider that none of these festivals take place outside of the UK or Europe? While Simon says the band doesn’t plan to do a lot, he assures that 2016 will be their big tour year.

Not doing a hell of a lot this year. Watch this space.

The rest of the Kafé is spent discussing Simon’s upcoming trip to India with Yasmin in order to judge a classic car event, and then they talked briefly about Nile’s award week in Los Angeles where he won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Interestingly enough, Simon and John were both in Los Angeles for a party at Jimmy Iovine’s house to celebrate Nile – although they cannot talk about the additional reasons they may have been in LA that week.  More secrets….

The time flew by, and I’m amazed at how much was covered in the roughly 18 minute Kafé.  Simon on caffeine….SUPERCHARGED!

-R

*edited to fix the name of the new song that Simon gave out. I have clearly been to one too many concerts over the years, because even as I took notes that day, I struggled to hear the name of the song. In any case, it’s been corrected. Thank you to Krista and Katy for the clarification!

Duran Duran News: 2/16/15 to 2/21/15

What has been going on with Duran Duran?  As always, I try to summarize all of the official Duran Duran news here!  If I have forgotten something, let me know!

War Child UK Show

On Thursday, Duran Duran played their show to benefit the War Child charity in London.  The setlist was as follows, according to DuranDuranMusic:

VIEW TO A KILL*
HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF*
REFLEX*
NOTORIOUS*
COME UNDONE*
UNION OF THE SNAKE*
ALL YOU NEED IS NOW*
IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW*
SAVE A PRAYER*
GIRL PANIC!*
CARELESS MEMORIES*
ORDINARY WORLD*
WHITE LINES*
SUNRISE*
WILD BOYS*
[ENCORE]GIRLS ON FILM w/ PSYCHO KILLER*
RIO*

By now, most of you have probably seen pictures and video clips.  I definitely recommend checking out Duran Duran’s Facebook page for some exclusive photos, including some VERY nice JoSi pictures, courtesy of Gaëlle Beri.  Here are a couple of clips from YouTube that made me feel a little like I was there:

If you find other videos that you liked from the show, please share!

Of course, there were also reviews of the show, too.  Here are a couple of articles:

Evening Standard

The Telegraph (This one makes a reference to John Taylor’s hat.  Does he look like an Amish farmer to you?!)

Oscar Focused Katy Kafe

This week also featured a Katy Kafe with Nick and Katy discussing films and making their Oscar picks.  You can listen to it here.  Since the Academy Awards are on tonight, perhaps, you want to listen to it first to see how accurate they are with their predictions!

Mr Hudson

Speaking of exclusive features on DuranDuranMusic, besides including the full Katy Kafe with Nick on the Oscars, they also published an interview with Mr Hudson here.  It might provide some insight into #DD14.

Rehearsal Pictures

Of course, earlier in the week, Duran Duran’s social media posted some pictures from the band’s rehearsal as they got ready for the War Child show.  Those pictures definitely made those going super excited for the show and the rest of us hoping to see our own shows soon!

I think that’s it.  If not, what did I miss?!

-A