Tag Archives: Katy Kafe

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

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