Tag Archives: Katy Kafe

Year End Katy Kafe with Nick 2019

I’m still in the process of listening and blogging about the year end Katy Kafes. So far, I have blogged about John’s and about Roger’s. Today, I will move on to Nick. As always, I am not sharing everything. I’m focusing on what struck me and what I reacted to. If you want to want to know about the whole thing, please head over to DuranDuranMusic and listen for yourself.

Event of the year:

Nick mentioned that there were a lot of “ghastly political things” that he doesn’t want to remember. Instead, he would rather remember the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. He distinctly remembers being a little kid watching it, which he believed had a massive impact on what he thought about life. Additionally, it was “such a significant achievement that was positive for everyone.”

Favorite Movie:

Like John, Nick loved Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. While he acknowledged that it was a little long and slow, in places, he enjoyed every minute of it. He feels that both the writing and acting were great.

Favorite TV Show:

While Nick does not typically find a lot of time for TV, he made a point of doing so this past year. He mentioned two shows: Black Mirror and The Crown. He raved about the latter stating that it looks amazing with casting that it right on.

Favorite Book:

Leave it to Nick to talk about a book of photography. In this case, he talked about the latest Stephen Gill book that focused on photographs taken in rural Sweden.

Favorite Music:

Billie Eilish was Nick’s choice in this category. Fascinating. He acknowledged that she is very young but finds her clever and more interesting than others. When questioned about this choice, he stated how he believes that female singers are leading right now.

Favorite Thing Saw:

In this category, Nick focused on museum and art gallery shows. Nick discussed the various shows he saw in great detail. I took note of a couple including the Stanley Kubrick exhibit with props and clothing from his movies and seeing The Last Supper in person in Milan.

Favorite Duran Duran Moment:

Shocking to no one, Nick chose playing at the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 11 rocket to the moon. He described it as surreal, being at that exact location with rockets all around them, a big choir, a string section and a full moon. He shared a little about how this happened. Apparently, he had visited NASA a year earlier and the NASA people mentioned the idea of Duran playing at this and he jumped at the chance. Fascinating.

Looking Forward to the Most in 2020:

The first thing Nick popped out with was a nap. As someone who has been grading all weekend, I definitely could relate to that. Of course, he turned more seriously to the fact that they have spent a lot of 2019 working on the album. He said that he 100% thinks that the album will be out in 2020. His prediction is that it will most likely be between April and June. The worst case would be September. They have about 6 songs all set but have to battle to decide the rest. Katy asked how that happens. He explained that it was a democracy that works (unlike the UK and the US, he added!). Either they work on a song until everyone thinks it is the best it can be or it doesn’t get added. One story Nick shared was how he loved Northern Lights but Simon did not agree with a certain part. Apparently, they compromised by including it as a bonus track which Nick thinks it is the right way now.

All of the album talk got me excited! Maybe I’ll have new Duran music by my birthday. I would approve!

-A

2019 Year End Kafe with Roger

Last week, I began my catch-up with all things Duran with listening and blogging about the year end Katy Kafe with John. These year end ones tend to include the band member’s top book, movie, TV show, Duran moment and more. I missed all of them during our break so I thought it would be good to take time now to listen and blog. This week, I’ll cover Roger’s. As always, I’ll share what stood out to me but there will be a lot I will miss. If you want it all yourself, please head over to DuranDuranMusic.

Event of the Year:

Roger could not come up with a world event but his personal event is Aston Villa get back into what sounds like the playoffs called the premiership . While I’m not a big fan of football/soccer, I get fandom. I would be super excited, for example, if the White Sox made the playoffs and my dad would be over the moon! What I’m most amused by is Roger wondering why people get all excited by sports fandom. I think fandom is fandom. I could explain fandom. 😉

Favorite Movie:

Roger really liked Apollo 11 since they did the anniversary of the moon landing. It brought out his interest in the space program again. Katy tells a very funny story about going to the premiere with Simon and Nick back in the day when she might have had a bit much to drink and had a conversation with Tom Hanks.

TV Show:

Roger discussed the mini-series, When They See Us, about the Central Park 5 because it was so sad and so well-done.

Favorite Music:

Mark Ronson is Roger’s choice for the best of the year. Rhonda brought me that album for Christmas and I have been listening to it quite a bit so Roger’s choice definitely makes me smile. He also mentioned the Elton John movie and how that made me check out more of Elton’s music this past year.

Favorite Duran Duran Moment:

The choice for our favorite drummer was, indeed, playing at the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. It was such a historical event and then they made the anniversary such an “incredible moment” with the accompanying musicians and drones. (I do wish that I could have seen it but…that general admission deal is tough, especially in Florida in the summer.) He also discussed how they are working in the studio and experiencing some “real highs” with that!

When to Hear New Duran:

The band is hoping to be finished around March! (Wow! Of course, I’ll believe it when I see it. Yet, I’ll still be hopeful.) He describes it as more organic (real drum and bass) and very different from Paper Gods. (That sounds good to me!)

Looking Forward to 2020:

“Releasing the album!” Of course, he also mentions the Isle of Wight show. On top of that, he acknowledges that there are a lot of calls to play in the UK.

Overall, Roger’s Kafe was short, sweet and positive, which made it nice. He also made me more excited about what the new album might be like and I found out that he loves cappuccinos. Who know?! Fun stuff!

-A

2019 Year End Kafe with John

The thing about breaks is that you sometimes miss things when you are away. Sometimes, that is a good thing if the things you are missing might cause stress or might be tasks you want to avoid. At times, though, you might be sad that you didn’t catch something as it came out. This is the case with the year end Katy Kafes with each of the band members. I saw that they were released but I certainly didn’t have a chance to listen. I figured that I might not be alone in missing these as December is a super busy for lots and lots of people. So no one will be upset if I listen and blog now, right? I’ll start in the beginning with John’s Year End Kafe as it was released first on December 12th. As always, this blog post will just share my reactions to some of what he talked about. If you want to hear the whole thing, I recommend becoming a member of DuranDuranMusic and listening yourself.

If you are new to the Year End Katy Kafe, a lot of the focus is on band member’s favorites. Similarly, you can read their lists of favorites on the band’s official website. While I like reading the list, there is something about listening to why they made these choices that bring it to life for me.

Favorite Movie:

John’s choice was Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He described as a “tender movie about male friendships.” That is not what I would think of with a Quentin Tarantino film but I’ll trust John on this one.

Favorite TV Show:

John split his vote on his one. He first mentioned The Crown. He finds the episodes very moving. Apparently, it is changing his sense of British history and how he views the royal family. As a historian, I enjoy the show as well. (No spoilers–I just started season 3). He also liked the show, Chernobyl, about the nuclear accident that happened in 1986. He mentioned other shows like Succession and Euphoria but he feels like the first ones are more “important” and “historical.” Again, I have to appreciate that.

Best thing listened to this year:

John called 2019 the year of Lizzo. He found her album brings a lot of joy. (A lot of my students really like her, too!) One part that I found super interesting about his comments was his prediction that she would win a lot of Grammys, which would actually “paralyze” her. I would have loved to have a follow up on that one. What exactly did he mean there? Would that create too much pressure?

Best Duran moment of 2019:

If I had not read the year end lists, I would have assumed that he would have mentioned the NASA affair, but instead he mentioned Simon’s 60th birthday bash which took place on a boat trip. Apparently, it was a lot of fun with lots of dancing. (I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that!)

What John Is Looking Forward to the Most in 2020:

John would like to see a change in politics. He described both the US and the UK in political “deadlock”. According to him, he thinks that both countries need someone amazing like “Obama or Thatcher (God forbid).” He would love to see people coming together rather than be at odds with each other. Since this Kafe took place before the election in the UK, he did say that he was going to vote but was not certain who even though he voted against Brexit. (This part of the Kafe very much grabbed my attention. I would love to have a conversation with John about this as someone super involved in politics. I don’t know that I would describe the current political situation in the US as a “deadlock,” but I get where he is coming from. I, too, would love to see the country come together and agree with him that leadership for that is needed.)

The Kafe finished with a brief discussion about favorite book and what his plans were for the holidays. One thing to note. He is probably going to be back in the Kafe in January, maybe answering fan questions. You might then want to get some ready!

-A

October 2019 Katy Kafe with Simon

We all know this is Simon’s birthday month in the Kafe, and he came ready to visit – complete with a cocktail recommendation!

Cocktail of the month – Pisco Sour

Simon wasn’t sure if we’d been given this one yet (we have not) as a recommendation, but the recipe is easy!

Three parts Pisco,

Two parts sour (Simon likes his sour with lemon/lime)

One part simple syrup (to make this you put equal parts sugar and water into a pan, heat and dissolve the sugar)

One egg white

Blend (egg white will become frothy), add a dash of Angostura Bitters and serve in a coupe glass (this is an old-fashioned, wide mouthed champagne glass).

If you’d care for something non-alcoholic, Simon recommends sparkling water with lime!

Tall Ships Youth Trust

As I wrote yesterday, Simon took part in the Round UK event. Essentially each group stays on the ship for six days. When they come aboard, these kids are very shy and quiet. They don’t speak to one another at first, but like any good team building event – by the end, they’re working together to do everything from trimming sails to cleaning. It is a great charity, and Simon believes that everyone should have the opportunity to be at sea.

West Coast Shows

By now, the September shows feel like they were many months back. (although it’s only October!) Simon said that they were great, but that the Tahoe show was “red hot” for the band, and that they played a great set at KAABOO. Agreeing with Roger, Simon said that he really doesn’t want to go more than three months without doing a show (According to Katy, Roger had said six months). It is easier for the band to keep up that way. However, fans shouldn’t believe it is because WE prefer it that way. No, Simon was very clear that the main reasons for the ongoing, intermittent shows is that it is better for the band. Regardless of the minutia, we can all agree that more shows is a win-win for everyone.

Studio time

As I type, it is quite possible that Giorgio Moroder is in the studio with the band. While Simon said that yes, he has some ideas for music in mind – he planned to head in with an open mind, and was looking forward to finally working with the famed writer/producer. Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall???

As for more scoops on the album though, Simon remained very quiet. It has hit the part of the process when Simon tends to sound put-off when the subject comes up. You can hear it in the tone of his voice, and he even pretends not to quite hear Katy when she asks him if he had any bets on when the album would come out. Eventually he says “In 2020 there will be ‘some-THING’”, rather flatly. He has songs he likes, but that he doesn’t know about a single…and that’s about all Katy got out of him today on that subject!

Halloween

Katy finishes out the Kafe on the topic of Halloween, asking Simon if it’s a big deal there in the UK. He says that it’s a big deal for some people all over the world. He has been known to dress up when his children were younger to scare the kids away (why do I have no trouble believing this?!?), and that they do carve Jack o’ Lanterns there, but that Nick is a huge fan of Halloween. (No! You don’t say??!)

Simon thanked everyone for the gifts and notes he’s received, saying that he appreciates the support for Duran Duran because there would be no band without it.

That’s all for this month’s Katy Kafe!

-R

July 2019 Katy Kafe with Simon!

(Yes, I know it’s August 6th. Bear with me.)

You know it’s bad when you distinctly remember seeing mention of a Kafe, even going so far as to comment on how you’re looking forward to hearing it….and then promptly forget about the entire thing. Welcome to my life.

Better late than never, I listened to the Kafe this morning, took detailed notes, and am ready to deliver the State of the Duraniverse for this month. Or last month. Whatever. Just remember that I make no assertion that my notes are complete – and the only way you’ll hear the entire thing for yourself is with a DDM membership!

Kennedy Space Center Show

Katy caught up with Simon on July 30th. He was presumably back at home in England after the excitement from the Kennedy Space Center show a couple of weeks earlier. They spoke a little about the show, beginning with Studio Drift and their drone installation for the concert. Simon explained that the drones were meant to look like starling murmurations (the way they gather and seem to suspend in midair). I’ve posted some videos of their performance during The Universe Alone – if you haven’t checked them out yet, you really should. Trust me, the video will send goosebumps up and down your arms, it is that good. Here’s some of just the beginning to give you an idea:

I wish this were the entire song…but even a minute of it gave me chills!

Simon also talked a little about the setlist, saying that they did a full “space” section including “The Universe Alone”, “Planet Earth”, “New Moon on Monday”, “Reach Up for the Sunrise”, “Astronaut” and a cover of The Police’s “Walking on the Moon”. He said that for himself, “Astronaut” was a high point because it hasn’t been played very often during the last few years, suggesting that it was due to it’s difficulty. (I’m just going to say that for a song that is tough to play, I think they do an outstanding job). He mentioned that while he didn’t think they’d play “Walking on the Moon” again, maybe…just maybe…”Astronaut” might find its way back into a set list. I hope so!

Another interesting, but not at all surprising, comment on the KSC performance was that Nick took the time to come up with the master plan for that evening. His nickname is The Controller, you know….

September shows, and mini tours

While Simon didn’t say much about the upcoming shows in September, he did say that these mini tours are very important to Duran Duran because it has been decided that they should never go more than three months without a live show – simply because (and I’m having to surmise this a little based on the conversation) John, Simon & Roger get out of practice with the physicality. If they don’t play live, I think it is probably difficult to maintain the stamina necessary to play a full set. Not that Nick doesn’t “glisten” back there on keyboards, but I think compared to John, Simon and Roger, he doesn’t have to move as much. Regardless, I’m going to applaud their commitment to live shows!

The New Album

With that in mind, according to Katy, after September they don’t have anything booked. Will they go back into the studio? Katy does her best to lead Simon into this line of questioning, and I have to say that the studio work MUST be going well because Simon doesn’t struggle before answering that it’s going really well. He says the new album is going great and that he needs to start “knuckling down” and coming up with some lyrics. He plans to get together with Erol Alkan to work.

Simon describes the new album as “quite a departure”, using the word “Experimental”. What I dearly appreciate most from Simon here though, is that he explains this by saying that for him – Rio was a mainstream album. The first album; however, was more experimental. Katy follows up by asking him to compare Astronaut and Paper Gods in the same terms, and Simon says that Paper Gods is far more experimental – but is quick to also say that this new album is a “completely different vibe”.

I don’t know about the rest of you reading – but I’m excited!! I can hardly wait to hear what they’ve been working on. From everything that Nick has said, along with what Simon has now mentioned, it sounds fantastic! As I said last month, I’m still finding it hard to believe they’re already at a point where they can talk about this album as though it is a tangible thing as opposed to more of a vague, undefined few things they’ve kicked around. It’s been four years as of September since Paper Gods has been released, but for whatever reason, it hasn’t felt like it’s been that long.

Perhaps a drink suggestion for Duran Duran Appreciation Day?

Katy ended the Kafe by asking Simon if he had a cocktail suggestion to share. Last year, Simon went into extraordinary detail, describing a cocktail that we should all try in order to properly capture the last few days of summer. I find myself in similar territory (as always) this year…so I was happy to get another suggestion that I plan to put into full use on Saturday!

Pimms No. 1 Cup

**as an aside: Simon couldn’t remember in the Kafe if it was called a No. 1 or a No. 2 cup. I looked it up, and it is a No. 1. Pimms made seven different products, all “fruit cups” differing in their base alcohol. The No. 1 cup is the most popular and is based on Gin. No. 2 was whisky, the original No. 3 was brandy (although now there’s a winter cup infused with orange peel and spices that is available seasonally), No. 4 was Rum, No. 5 was rye whisky, and No. 6 is vodka. Only 1, 3 (as the Winter Cup), and 6 are currently made.

Pour a “decent measure” of this over ice, top with ginger ale, along with a slice of lemon, mint, perhaps some orange, and a maraschino cherry.

Expect this as one of the drink suggestions for Duran Duran Appreciation Day. I mean….it’d be rude not to, right??

-R

Happy Birthday 2019, John!

I never said that I’d marry John.

This is a true statement, and I think it’s kind of funny! I know I fantasized for years about marrying Roger, and I even thought about Nick for a time or two, but never John. (We’re not even going to talk about my fellow scorpio – Simon.)

It is John Taylor’s birthday. For many, it may as well be an international holiday, judging from the looks of my social media this morning. I had no idea that so many have been less than arms length away from the man!!

In full disclosure, I am not one of those people. I would almost say I have no business writing a happy birthday post for John. Aside from loudly announcing “The album is beautiful, John!” across a very crowded table at a signing for Astronaut, I don’t think I’ve even spoken to him…or even yelled words his way. (unless you count “Play the Fucking Bass, John” at a concert. I’m not really sure I do.)

That isn’t to say I don’t greatly admire him. Of course I do. I just never thought I was going to marry him. (and it turns out, I was 100%
correct!) Even Amanda has met and exchanged words (along with a Daily Duranie wristband!) with him before…and there was that picture as he was leaving the Ace hotel in Los Angeles. I was there for that!

Funny story – that night at the Ace hotel, I was right beside Amanda and a few others as John left the hotel with Gela (and I honestly can’t remember who else). I was standing there eating some of the worst crackers I’ve ever had, all because I’d missed dinner. I was starving though, so as lousy as those crackers might have been, I was eating them, Just as I’d shoved some in my mouth – of course – out pops John Taylor from the hotel. My mouth was completely dry at the time, and I was trying to eat these stupid crackers that seemed to make my mouth even drier with every chew. I couldn’t get them down fast enough.

So my friends were yelling for Amanda and I to run up and stand with John for a picture. He was clearly in a hurry, and his wife was not amused by our fan antics one single bit. In all fairness, I am pretty much the same way when Walt and I are leaving one of his work parties. I don’t care that so-and-so wants to get one last word in about a product they’re working on. It’s actually NOT lovely that his boss wants us to meet gorgeous wife #6, or talk to my husband about the upcoming trade show. Do it at work! Do not get in my way, people – I’m going HOME now.

Say what you will about wives buying into the dream when they marry a rock star. When it all comes down to it, at the end of the day, all wives want to do is go home, get into comfy clothes, and have their guy take out the damn trash…and maybe grab them a bowl of ice cream while they’re in the kitchen. Gela doesn’t strike me as an ice cream person, but you get the idea. Maybe she wants a nice kale salad before bed, or something, who knows?!? All I really know for sure is that a husband, is a husband, is a husband, John Taylor or not! They’re all men, and we’re all women, when it comes to life at home, people!

Anyway, as I took a quick once-over at the entire situation there in front of the hotel. John stopped long enough to allow a picture, and I saw Gela standing in front of their car, ready to go…and I was still chewing. I realized there was no way I’m was doing it. Nope. Instead, I casually took about three giant steps backward, cheered Amanda on, and congratulated myself on once again, avoiding a super awkward situation with one of my idols.

I’m so good.

<you should in fact read sarcasm, and imagine an eye roll right here>

As I stood there, I was able to really see the insanity in all of it’s glory. I was thrilled for Amanda, no doubt about it – I mean, that was her favorite, right there beside her! No part of me was jealous because that’s dumb, and I’m the one who refused to take part. As I was finally getting the last of the mouthful of crackers down my gullet, narrowly avoiding choking on them, I heard my friend Katie loudly say, “Smile, John!” He snapped into full rock star mode, breaking into a toothy grin. I would have sworn the words were like Pavlov’s Bell.

I chuckled as I leaned against a pole. All I could think about was how well-trained John was to the whole picture-taking, fan-paparazzi thing. I decided in that one millisecond that it would drive me crazy if I were famous. I glanced over at the Escalades lined up in the street. Gela was crossing her arms at this point, and my friends had the nerve to ask John to smile on top of just having him stand there. God, I love Duranies. There were people milling all over the place, and I was starting to see (and hear) other Duranies crooning for his attention as he dashed off to the car. I can only imagine what Gela must have said to John as he got to her side and into their vehicle that night. I stood there and said nothing. It all happened so fast that I could have blinked…or chewed some crackers…and missed it. Instead, those few seconds seemed to drag on, probably so that I’d be able to commit them to memory forever.

Several years later—like just this past February—I had the opportunity to ask a mutual friend if it drove John crazy to be stopped every few feet, or if they think it’s crazy to have people want 50,000 photos, or to see people practically living in their hotel lobby. She said that it doesn’t bother him most of the time, and that he gets it.

(I’m still not entirely sure I’m buying that he’s on board with the lobby situation, but whatever floats your boat.)

Of course he gets being a fan, though. I’m equal parts not surprised, and genuinely shocked at the same time. I suppose a part of me always figured that human nature would dictate annoyance. I mean, who really freaking wants to be stopped every few feet? I don’t care if you are a living rock GOD, or if you’re John Taylor and owe your success to fans like me (which I find to be a pretty repugnant statement that entitled fans like to throw out whenever they please) – you also sometimes just want to go up to your room in peace. By the same token, John has spoken about his own idols and his own fandom enough to where I realize that out of everyone in this band – if anyone does get it – it’s him.

I think that’s probably what I admire most about John…at least from afar. He is pretty normal. I mean, for somebody who has been a rock star for most of his life, anyway. Upon first glance, you look at him and think he’s got to be just about perfect. Right?!? But then, you realize he’s worn glasses that were probably thicker than yours, and you see him dance on stage, and you’re like – Oh yeah. You ARE still human! Thank goodness!!

It’s true, I’ve never met the guy. I am friends with some of his closest friends (true story!!), but I’ve never met him. Yet. (who knows??) I just know the same things that the rest of you do about him. I like that he gives back. He continues daily work on a serious, life threatening illness – addiction – and used what he has learned from it to help other people. I just don’t believe people give back in that way unless they mean it. That matters to me. He also wears what I would call high-water track pants on stage, and has a sense of fashion that quite frankly, makes me laugh. I’m thinking of that sequined jacket of Gela’s he stole for a photo in Vegas, and of course – the neon pants he (and Simon – in different colors) wore to an interview in Toronto a few years back. Awesome. I love it. Then again, I live in denim jeans. So, there you go.

Once upon a time, John was pretty active on social media. One of the things I remember most was that he had followed a couple fans (not me, but others). I remember wrangling the idea in my head because on one hand – he should be able to follow, befriend, and converse, with whomever he wants. On the other hand – it meant certain disaster. Fans compete for that sort of thing, and I felt it might get ugly. Even so, I encouraged it because I really believed (and still do believe) that fan engagement matters. One day – not long before he quit social media altogether – he tweeted something about how people can get their feelings hurt once he followed and then unfollowed them. I’d not thought about that. I’ve been followed and unfollowed thousands of times now. I don’t even pay attention anymore because it doesn’t matter to me personally. It’s just Twitter. That said, I’m pretty sure I’d notice if someone important to me followed me, and then unfollowed me. I felt awful, because he was right. I think John understood being a fan better than I even did.

John is one of the most knowledgable music people I (don’t) know. I still thoroughly enjoy hearing about his music recommendations when he is a guest in the Katy Kafe. I appreciate that he wants to learn how to paint someday, maybe. I can’t even draw much, beyond doing a pretty good freehand copy of Pikachu. (It’s a Pokemon. I did learn a few things from being a mom, I guess.) Weirdly, I like that he’ll even mention what he might want to do when he retires from Duran Duran. I guess that does sound funny, and I’m sure many fans recoil in horror at the idea. I just like the idea that in some super small way, we can get past Duran Duran and just be people. Is that strange? Probably.

I may not be normal, and I may not have ever said I was going to marry John…but I DO wish him a very happy birthday! As I said on social media: Thank you for continuing to inspire (and teach) me. See you in September!!

-R


May 2019 Katy Kafe with John

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

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

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

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

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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

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

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

Art

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

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

Paint on canvas is his favorite medium.

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

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

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

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

Summer shows

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

Back in the studio

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

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

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


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

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

Record Store Day

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

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

Favorite Song

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

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

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

Birmingham

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

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

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

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

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

-R

Mish-Mash Monday!

Happy Monday, everyone. I have a house full of guests this morning, so I am going to need to make this post a quick one. It turns out – there are several things going on that can turn a week of winter doldrums into something a little less boring!

First of all, John is going to be a guest in an upcoming “All Fan Question” Katy Kafe. If you have a burning question for John, tweet it to @duranduran during the next 20 hours or so with the hashtag #JTJanKafe. I don’t know about other people, but my mind completely empties of any thoughts at all when Katy asks for fan questions. I will do my best to think of some, though!!

Secondly, DDHQ asked an interesting, thought provoking question this morning that I thought I’d share here. “What is the most cinematic of Duran Duran’s songs? What images does it conjure for you?”

There are obvious answers here, one of which being the Fatal Kiss version of “A View To A Kill”, or even “New Moon on Monday”. Then, there are other, less obvious, but very interesting choices, such as “Before the Rain”. I loved scrolling through some of the answers. As for my own, I am leaning towards “Before the Rain” because it is so grandiose on one end; deep, dark and brooding on the other. What about you?

Lastly, I have something new to suggest checking out. If like me, you appreciate a good discussion about the music, you might enjoy @Guy FansofDuran and his new podcast venture, “The D Side”. I’m intrigued and can’t wait to see where the podcast goes. With a new point of view, it provides a starting place for fantastic, ongoing dialogue about the music. I think “The D Side” will do extremely well. Check out “The D Side“. Best of luck, David!

As for me, I’ll be back full-strength tomorrow. Have a wonderful day, everyone!

-R

Year End Katy Kafe 2018 with Roger

Today, I’m moving on to the third of the four year end Katy Kafes. This time, this one, features Roger. As always, if you want to hear the entire thing or get a word-for-word transcript, I recommend heading over to DuranDuranMusic.com to listen for yourself as I will just provide some highlights and reactions. As I move onwards, I have to wonder what Roger will say about the studio work since the previous ones from Nick and John shared some good news.

The Kafe begins with a bang as Roger said that the band had an “amazing two weeks” in the studio. He did share a fun little story. The band apparently decided to use a studio in a more remote area of London, thinking that the fans would never find them. Well…after posting a photo on Instagram, the fans studied it and figured out where in London they were. It took about 3 days for those dedicated fans to find them. Hilarious! The band should never underestimate the fans!

The Kafe continued from there but not in the same order as the previous ones as Roger jumped in to share his personal event of the year, which was teaching his youngest how to tie a necktie. Apparently, Julian felt out of place because of all of his peers at school knew how to do it. Roger then came up a clever way to teach him, successfully. Shoelaces will be next, which is due to Julian’s love of football (or soccer, depending on your country). (By the way, I love hearing stories like this! I’m not the only one, right?) Speaking of that sport, the World Cup was the big world event, especially since Peru and England both played.

This led to quite a discussion about weather. Fun fact. Roger loves warm weather but appreciates the seasons. He talked about a time during the Paper Gods Tour when the band was in L.A. for about a month and after about two weeks, he wished for a cold and rainy day. (I like the seasons, too. We have seen pathetically little snow here in Madison, which is no fun.) He would choose the East Coast over the West Coast because of this.

Roger loved Bohemian Rhapsody as opposed to A Star is Born. He could relate to Bohemian a lot more. (No surprise there.) In fairness, a lot of people talked up A Star is Born so Roger’s expectations were too high, according to him. As far as TV shows, he did not watch any series and is more likely to put on a documentary or sports. In a similar fashion, Roger spent time reading (auto)biographies, including Roger Daltrey’s. Apparently’s Roger Daltrey’s teacher told him that he would never make it in music so he dedicated his autobiography to that teacher. This reminded Roger of visiting a school counselor and telling this person that he wanted a job in which he would not be trapped in an office or in a factory, but would travel instead. The counselor recommended that he became a mailman! (Another story that Roger shared that I smiled all the way through.)

Roger’s favorite Duran Duran moment was the return to the studio as the rest of the year was pretty quiet on the Duran front. Roger did state that the studio work was a new “record” then corrected himself to say “new material”. Apparently, he is not to use the word “album.” Katy did ask Roger about how long it would take to finish it. Roger firmed stated that it will come together quickly and agrees with Nick and John that it could be 2019 or 2020. He enjoyed the BBC Takeover and going back to see the sites where the band started in Birmingham. (I can relate after having walked around Birmingham at Duran related locations myself.) He has not watched the whole documentary because he does not like watching himself on TV.

I, for one, really enjoyed this one. Roger’s stories were such a nice touch and much appreciated!

-A

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