Tag Archives: Katy Krassner

March 2017 Katy Kafe with Simon!

I am late. Ridiculously late. Not one, not five…but TEN days late…..for posting the highlights of the most recent Katy Kafe with Simon.

This is the kind of thing that happens when someone is working and misses a tweet or post from Katy, announcing that the most recent Kafe is up and ready for listening. Thanks to Debbie on Twitter!  When it appeared that I was going to ignore the Kafe completely, she sent a note asking about it. I saw the message yesterday while welcoming my students on to campus yesterday, and made a note to figure out what she was talking about!

I think this might have been the first time I truly missed a Kafe completely, and I’m sorry.  But, without further delay – here are my highlights.  You all know the disclaimer I’m about to write, but I will say it anyway:

These are my notes from the Katy Kafe, it is not a full-transcript of what was said. Often, I interject with my own opinion, and therefore, if you really want the full Kafe, you’ll need to purchase a membership to Duranduranmusic.com.  

Simon on Coffee

Over the past couple of years, Simon has talked about coffee quite a bit in the Kafe. He is down to six cups a day (down from 12, which he claims “…is apparently not good for you.” I don’t even know how to respond to that, Simon…except that you never fail to make me laugh. If I drank six cups a day, my heart rate would be about 175 and I’d end up in the hospital. My “ticker” already likes to go faster than normal as it is!)  But now, he drinks Bullet Coffee.

This is not really a “new” thing, because I remember seeing this little concoction mentioned by many of my friends on Facebook two years ago or more.  Alas, we’ll play along… Simon describes that basically, you brew coffee as normal, then put it into a blender (or bullet blender, as the case may be!) along with some coconut oil (he calls it wax, which does nothing to sell me on it, but he’s right – that’s what it looks and feels like) and some butter (not just regular butter, either butter from grass-fed cows, or Irish butter – maybe they don’t call it that in England?? – or as Simon mentions, goat butter). You blend it, and apparently it tastes good, and puts your body into ketosis, or fat-burning mode. Simon says he likes to drink it before he trains.

I’d like to drink it before I go to the doctor for my monthly “how high is your pulse and blood pressure today, Rhonda?” check-ins. Except I would do it just to see the reaction from the nurse and my doctor. Yes, I’m that kind of patient. Moving on…

Simon on the David Bowie Tribute Performance

For those wondering how Simon’s performance of “Let’s Dance” (which was fantastic, BTW) came about, it turns out that Sterling originally contacted Nick to play.  Sterling plays drums in Bowie’s stage band, and the tribute involved other artists coming on stage to perform with the band. Nick mentioned it to Simon, who was interested in singing. The organizers decided to have Simon perform “Let’s Dance”, (not one of Simon’s favorite Bowie songs). This made sense to Simon though, because it was from the same time frame as Duran Duran’s height in popularity (The Reflex), and the song itself suited him very well.

Simon describes the song as not being easy to sing, due to the massive gaps in singing – the timing has to be just right to keep the song flowing. As we all know (and you can see below), he did a great job with it.

 

After the show, the performers went to hotel that I didn’t catch the name of (sorry, I was busy multitasking by making breakfast for my youngest!), and stayed up very, very, late. He follows up by saying that he is “really good at metabolizing booze”.

BEST. QUOTE. EVER.  Oh, Simon. 

Simon on Music (Italy)!

Originally, the offer to do this show came through an Italian promoter who had never worked with Duran Duran. (The funny thing about this little segue was that Simon originally used the term “agent”…and then said, “I’m not really good about business things like this – ‘job titles’ and that sort of thing!” )

Simon rarely does solo performances, preferring to spend his time working on Duran Duran things and “being exclusive”, but this time, he decided to do it.

“Broken Dream” is a song that Simon completely reimagined. He sings it lower than the original, because his natural register is much lower than what he often does in Duran Duran. He had thought about the musical arrangement, wanting to go with a modern-sounding orchestra and organ accompaniment. The finished product, which I linked below, isn’t exactly as he had originally imagined, but after listening to it, Simon felt it really worked.

As a personal note, I thought it was easily one of Simon’s best vocal performances I’ve ever heard. If you haven’t watched it, you should. 

 

Simon said that learning the words was the toughest part, because for him, a great performance means completely relaxing so that he completely opens up vocally.

Katy said that she really loved his performance, proclaiming it better than the original, and commented on his suit (Sir Tom Baker), and his hair.

Simon on the Upcoming Tour Dates

This short tour began with the band wanting to do dates in South America since it had been a long time. However, the band felt they needed to do something different from just showing up and playing “the same thing”.  He made the point that Lalapalooza gives them access to an entirely new audience.  This does make sense, although as a fan I have to wonder why going and playing shows for their South American Duranies doesn’t seem to be enough.  My guess is that in order to justify the trip, business-wise (and I don’t know to whom) – they need to prove they would be gaining audience numbers. I’m not sure, but I do know that South America is thrilled they’re making their way to see them!

Katy pressed Simon on the possibility of upcoming Australian dates, to which Simon said that dates are coming for both there and the Far East, but they are not yet confirmed.  He mentioned Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore before saying he really didn’t know. I guess we’ll all find out soon!

Simon on the band’s big 4-0

The Kafe ended on a positive note, as Katy asked about any plans the band may have for their 40th birthday next year. Simon commented that this, even with the few dates they’ve got coming up, is their bit of time off before beginning to celebrate.  He continued on saying that while he didn’t join the band until the 80s, they’re celebrating the beginnings of John and Nick getting the band together and that it’s bound to be a “busy, fun, year” filled with tours and “lots of stuff”!

(I hope everyone’s bank accounts and credit cards are ready. Mine, however, are not. EEK!)

So sorry it was so late!!

-R

 

Final 2016 Year End Katy Kafe with Simon LeBon

On today’s final 2016 year end Katy Kafe, Simon LeBon took time out from a busy day (they performed for Brian Cox’s charity that evening) to chat, covering everything from the weather to the Far East!

Simon begins by saying that it isn’t very cold by UK standards for December. Apparently the weather is hovering around the 40 degree F mark most days. Freezing for Southern California, mild for everyone else!  Katy asks what his favorite “tipple” for Christmastime might be (tipple is alcohol if you’re scratching your head in wonder).  Simon responds exactly as I’d imagined, “Everything!” He does say though that he had some cider brandy shipped to him and is really enjoying that. (I won’t lie, I immediately decided to do a search for that online because it sounds like something I would be into!) After saying that he likes anything from red wine to beer, to champagne, white wine, etc…they move on to the favorites for the year.

World Event

Simon mentions a few things, but first is Brexit. Simon has an interesting take on this—rather than be outraged by the outcome, he is thrilled that the UK was allowed to voice their opinions and make a decision, citing that many other places in the world have “so-called democracies” and yet the people really aren’t allowed to make the big decisions. I can certainly understand that sentiment, and I applaud his open-mindedness.

The ongoing “sad and tragic” war in Syria is also mentioned, and I agree wholeheartedly with Simon that we certainly cannot forget those people or their suffering.

He also cites the electoral race here in America, calling Trump an “extraordinary candidate”, and saying that he isn’t a big fan of Clinton either. He does say though that Trump has wanted this office for a long time, and that now he’s got it, and he had better do something productive with it, going on to remind us that Americans know how to get their Presidents OUT of office if need be.

The Olympics is another big event for 2016, commenting that Andy Murray’s big win in tennis is a first in a very long time for the UK.  (I don’t mind adding here that the Olympics feels like it happened two years ago rather than just this past August. Unreal!)

Favorite Movie

At first, Simon doesn’t recall if he’s actually seen anything, saying that this category could actually be “What ONE film did you see in the theater this year, Simon?”

He then remembers that he saw Jungle Book with John, and he did just recently see Fantastic Beasts, but overall he wants to defer the question to next year, or at least until he goes to see Nocturnal Animals.

Favorite Book

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry  It is a love story taking place in the Victorian era, and it focuses on the struggle between religion and science. Simon read it quickly and says “It is as good as a book gets.” So there you have it!

Favorite TV Show

He mentions several, but settles on The Vikings, saying that it is brutal and sexy.

Favorite Album

This category nearly stumps Simon. Katy mentions Blackstar by David Bowie, but Simon says no, that it was too depressing. He prefers upbeat. He says he’s still listening to Tame Impala’s album, and then also mentions Lemonade by Beyoncé, explaining that he loves the project as a whole.

Favorite DD Event

Simon says he loved the tour. All of it, going on to explain that the shows were good and consistent, and so he can’t pick out one moment. He really loved it all.

Personal Event

He really enjoyed sailing but that nothing compares to being on stage. He’s having more fun now, and it’s likely because he realizes that it can’t go on forever.

Onward to 2017

Simon eagerly exclaims “The tour!” He follows that up by saying, “When I am in this mode, it is the single most important thing.” He likes the simplicity of it.  They are still trying to schedule shows in the Far East, and at the time this was recorded they were thinking those shows would be towards the end of next year. I think the takeaway is two-fold: 1. They don’t know for sure where they are going or when.  2. There is no real set schedule for returning to the studio – so we cannot hang on every single word the band says about such things, at least not yet!

-R

December 2016 Year End Katy Kafe with Nick Rhodes!

Another day, and this time it is Nick Rhodes in the December 2016 Year End Katy Kafe! Nick talks about everything from briefly mentioning his absence from the US tour, to shows he’s seen this year, and heading into the 40th anniversary of Duran Duran.  Here are the highlights:

World Event

Naturally, Nick mentions losing David Bowie, and then Prince, Leonard Cohen…and many others.  He commented that it was one of the worst years in memory (I’m sure many of us might agree), going on to also mention the political scenarios taking place, adding that he wouldn’t go into them because they would consume the remainder of the Katy Kafe.

He also talks about missing the US tour, saying that it was strange to miss, but that there was something in his life that needed to be dealt with.

Favorite Entertainment/Culture:

This portion of the Kafe was lengthy! If one ever had reason to wonder what Nick does outside of Duran Duran, or was curious if he ever got bored – I can tell you just from listening to this very Kafe that the answer is NO.

Favorite Album

He mentions a few but Blackstar by David Bowie was his first answer, saying that it is hard to listen to (agreed), but is very interesting (also agree).  Extraordinary to think he was so very ill when the album was recorded, certainly.

Also mentions: Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree, and The Weeknd’s Starboy.

Movies

Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals; Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children; Andrew Rossi’s First Monday in May.

Fashion Shows

He saw a “few”, but mentioned Alexander McQueen and Pam Hogg’s shows.

Books

Antony Cairns Night City Night City Night City; Daisuke Yokota Matter/Burnout

Art Shows

Beyond Caravaggio – London

Picasso Portraits – National Portrait Gallery London

The Vulgar – Barbican

Erwin Blumenfeld – London

(some of these exhibitions have ended, so I just included interesting links to articles as I found them)

Nick’s own My V&A exhibit on YouTube

He also went to Art Basel with John, where they spent a day running around to see as much as possible!

Live Shows (Music and Theatre)

The Cure

Bjork

Lazarus (David Bowie’s last work)

Favorite DD Moment (there were several!)

American Tour (Or at least the shows that he performed), notably: Barclay Center and North Carolina where they signed the LGBTQ petition.

Italian tour, mentioning both Taormina and Verona, which was on his birthday.

Cornwall/Eden Project

Buckingham Palace on March 16!

Personal Moment:

The tour

He’s also spent a lot of time working outside of DD projects this year – when he came “back” (I am not sure what he meant by that, but the way he said it made it at least sound as though he meant when he got “back” from whatever personal thing took him away from the DD tour) he worked more with The Bloom Twins. He is enjoying that process because they have no preconceptions to battle, they’re not spoiled by success and are willing to try anything.

Looking forward to 2017

Here’s the thing, Duranie…this is the part I was waiting for. Don’t get me wrong, I took good notes about all of the art things he’s seen and I plan to go back and do my own searching on a lot of it because I very much enjoy that sort of thing, but for the sake of this blog? We’re all about the DD, and we want to know what’s coming next. I’ve made a list!

  • Finish musical with John! They are nearly done with a first solid draft (great work – it is HARD to finish big writing projects, this much I know!)
  • Publish photo book – he wanted to get that out last year, but it is completely finished and just needs a home. Stay tuned….
  • Heading towards 40th anniversary of Duran Duran (this is alarming to me. Did we miscount??). Although the “original” Duran Duran began in 1978, Simon didn’t join until 1980. I wonder when we’ll celebrate the 40th….or when we’ll stop!  😀

More shows…and….

MORE NEW MATERIAL

Yes, you read that right. Not only did Roger say the words in his Kafe, but Nick mentioned the “S” word (for studio) in his Kafe too. Katy asked him about when he’d think we’d be seeing new music, and while Nick assured her that he would never make that bet, he thought maybe they’d return to the studio to begin writing in perhaps September.  They are still hoping to get to Australia and Japan and perhaps other countries “in that area” this next year.

All I can end with is…watch this space. You never know what that band will be up to next!

-R

 

 

 

2016 December Katy Kafe with John Taylor

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

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

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

World Event

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

Favorite Album

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

Favorite Film

Arrival with Amy Adams.

Favorite Book

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

Favorite TV show

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

Favorite DD “Happening”

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

Favorite Personal “Happening”

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

Looking forward to 2017

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

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

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

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

John will be back in the Kafe in February 2017!

-R

 

 

 

 

 

Bow to the Paper Gods: Their Final Encore?

Every once in a while, a fan will reach out with a profound idea that should be shared with the community-at-large. Amanda and I strive for Daily Duranie to be a safe place for fans to share their ideas. While not everyone may always agree with the message being shared, we think it is important for fans to have a peaceful space to say what they want to say. In that spirit, we have a guest blogger today that is ready to share some of his own thoughts and feelings. I hope his blog provokes thoughtful conversation.  -R

By, Jeff Bistline

I recently tweeted some thoughts on Twitter concerning my thoughts on the current state of Duran Duran.  I changed my mind several times, reached out to friends, changed my mind again.  I re-edited my writing (several times), and decided I still needed to communicate some of my thoughts, for my own sanity.  The following is my “edited version”, or “PG version” which is far less speculative, but still contains quite a few opinions.

I have not lost faith in the band, I think they are at a crossroads, and we all know it has to happen sooner or later.  So here it goes…

On Twitter, I recently “called my shot”, and proclaimed that I believe that Paper Gods is the last proper album and tour cycle for the band.  The reason for my tweets were not to cause drama, gain followers, or throw shade at the band or management. I care very passionately for this band and its music.  It has been a part of my life on a daily basis since 1984, and always will be.  Above all, and most importantly, I know that we will always have the music of Duran Duran.  In addition to following every note, lyric, and news item, I closely follow the music industry in great detail.  I have made many observations that have been building in my head for over a year now, and I feel the need to share those observations in great detail.

These observations are heavily based on my opinion.  I have no inside information directly from the band.  I honestly don’t want the band the stop recording and touring, but I think the band, management, close confidants (Ronson/Rodgers, and perhaps Mr. Hudson), and Warner mapped out an a long-term exit plan a few years ago and they are in the middle of that process.

First of all, I love the Paper Gods album.  I think “Pressure Off” was the best single since “Come Undone”. “Planet Roaring” is one of my favorite Duran tracks of all time.  I think the entire band put EVERYTHING into the making of this album.  They did their research, started writing, consulted Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson, and returned to the studio to complete the recording while bringing in Mr. Hudson to add some current and fresh perspective, which has been a long-standing trait of every Duran Duran record.  Fan reaction has been mixed.  The band has stated that everyone loves the album, new fans are coming on board etc., but I have a hard time believing these statements.  It is not their best work, but it is not their worst either. Overall, I think the Paper Gods album is a success, both on the charts and from an artistic viewpoint, given where the band is in this screwed up age in the music industry.  However, I don’t think the band wants to go through this cycle again without much to show for it in terms of physical units sold, or chart success (outside of the initial debut of the album on charts which basically lasted one week).  Simon stating that “Pressure Off” was their most successful single in two decades is pure management spin.  It didn’t make a dent on significant sales or radio airplay charts.  In contrast, even “Leave A Light On” charted on radio playlists in the U.S.

The Paper Gods tour has been a huge success to date.  The strategy that was implemented to tour Paper Gods had been brilliant up until July 2016.  The band, management, record label, and promoters put together a billing that was amazing considering that Duran Duran has not been a full size arena/stadium level touring band since perhaps the reunion and Astronaut era in 2003-2006.  Having Nile Rodgers and Chic on tour made sense, and the billing produced some fantastic shows and crowds.  Most shows I saw ranged between 7,000 to 15,000 people.  Extraordinary support for a legacy band, in my opinion.

A pivotal turning point came in July 2016 when it was announced that Nick Rhodes would be leaving the tour for a short period.  There has been nonstop speculation as to the reasons for Nick’s leave of absence, and nothing has been released or leaked relating to his situation.  First and foremost, I hope Nick (and/or his family) are physically and mentally well.  I prefer to focus on the collective unit/band Duran Duran, but Nick is truly the cornerstone and visionary of Duran Duran, and always has been.  Nick and Simon have been the two constants over the past 36 years.  I cannot imagine Duran Duran existing without either of these two individuals.  I don’t know if there is strife in the band.  I thought maybe there was when I was doing some research on this, but I listened to a few interviews, read some articles, and I honestly think things are fine between the band members.  However, Nick’s absence has certainly had a ripple effect in the fan community.  I don’t think Nick enjoys touring as much as Simon and John.  I think Roger still enjoys both recording and touring.

Here are some observations I have collected (in one place) that have bothered me over the past 14 months (and years in some instances).  These are things that just seem “out of place” compared to previous album and tour cycles.  I originally planned to speak on each one of these points at great length…Perhaps this community can discuss these points in greater detail.  Obviously some of these thoughts are not my own, but have come from threads posted on message boards, Twitter, Facebook, and other sources.

Paper Gods Album

Several fans wondered if the lyrics in the “The Universe Alone” was a goodbye statement.  “Planet Roaring” can also be viewed as an exit song, but more on the celebratory side.  There could also be some lyrical clues in “Pressure Off”, and perhaps the most debated song on the album “Last Night in the City”.

Paper Gods Artwork

The symbols are obviously self-referencing, but why on a new album of new, modern music?  I think the band said it was a conglomeration of images that have collectively “gotten us to this point of time”, but it could also certainly be seen as a final package.

Paper Gods Ancillary Releases

First of all, as a collector…WTF?  We were told we would get a deluxe package.  I’m still waiting.  I’ve exhausted this avenue several times online.  I have two additional comments to make.  DJ’s are celebrities these days, both in the clubs and on the charts.  They demand huge dollars these days.  The unreleased Night Version of “Pressure Off” was probably done in-house (Spike Stent, Josh Blair maybe?).  The “Last Night in the City” mixes were done by lessor known DJ’s.  I’m sure the band and management is unwilling to invest much into remixes and ultimately additional single releases at this point in their career as the return is probably pretty small these days since people are buying less and less physical releases.

Paper Gods Music Videos

There was such a delay in releasing both of these from when the initial single was released, etc.  The “Last Night in the City” video was filmed 6 months before it was finally released.  Director Nick Egan even commented on a fan’s Facebook page that he was not pleased with the process and the end result.

Record Store Day

The vinyl industry has had a huge resurgence in the past 2 years.  Why hasn’t Duran been participating in this event for 3-4 years now?  Again, this probably relates to production costs, ROI (Return On Investment), and effort.

Duran Duran Appreciation Day

We previously received some unreleased music for this day.  Now, we get a video performance of something that pretty much existed already.  Again, few resources are being spent to deliver a unique remix, live set, etc.

Paper Gods Tour

I live in the United States.  I’ve been very happy that I have seen the band on four legs of tours since the album released (counting the upcoming New Years Eve shows).  The band or management has decided to only tour the three largest Duran fan base territories:  U.S., U.K, and Italy.  Europe was told they would get a tour, but Nick’s situation may have delayed or shelved that tour.  There were rumors of a billing with Pet Shop Boys for Australia this fall.  There have been mumblings of a tour for South America for 2017. No dates have been released.  I listened to John’s Katy Kafe from July…I sincerely feel that he wants to further the Paper Gods tour into next year and different markets.  Nick’s situation, or management, may have delayed or shelved these plans as well, since tours are announced several months in advance.

New Year’s Eve Shows

Who wouldn’t want to spend New Year’s Eve with Duran Duran?  I’m going, but there is no denying it…these are two $$$Payday$$$ shows.  Big bucks at a fancy new casino resort.  I believe the fans deserve to know if Nick is playing or not.  In July, we were told his absence was going to be “short”.  This has caused a firestorm within the community.  Again, I have no idea what is going on, and I hope he is well, but I think fans deserve at least a heads up on his presence for these über-expensive shows.  The 1/1/2017 date doesn’t appear to be selling that well.  You can view available tickets on Ticketmaster.  There are also several seats available for 12/31/2016. I think both of these are sell outs if Nick’s presence is confirmed.  I think fans are very skeptical on these shows at the moment.

Fan Access

Access to the band has been very limited during this album cycle.  There are no longer meet and greets as part of the VIP packages.  John has left social media, and I don’t blame him based on the horrific berating his accounts received.  I wonder if this incident alone has reduced the opportunity for meet and greets, etc.  We rarely get Ask Katy questions on the website, and they don’t seem as interesting as they did during and between previous album cycles.The Move to Warner

I think Duran like the status of being on a big label.  They were on big labels during their heyday.  I have no idea how much Warner plays into the decisions of releases, touring, the band, and management.  I’m sure they wanted access to the back catalog more than anything.  At the time of the press release, John stated “We are also excited that this deal means we will be reunited with our catalogue after years apart – and in that sense it really feels a little like coming home.”

Concert Setlists

This has been debated to death.  I do think the band could put some more effort into this. The current stage production doesn’t allow for a lot of flexibility.  I believe this current setlist was developed with the casual fan in mind.  It was a high energy setlist, set to the backbone of their greatest hits.  I enjoyed every show that I went to, but would have preferred a few changes here and there.  I think the band has settled into this formula to keep the most people happy, again tailored towards the casual fan.

Ask Katy

She certainly has caused a divide within the fan base.  Specifically, some people did not care for her using the “askkaty” moniker on her personal twitter.  It finally got changed and it appears to be 100% personal now.  I believe this should have happened a lot sooner, and I don’t think Simon needed to interject, but again, there is a divide there.

Current Management/Magus Entertainment

I have no problem with the band wanting to bank some buck. Don’t we all?  However, the hard-core fan and collector is not being treated like we deserve, many of those points I highlighted already above.  The current management is on a mission to maximize earning potential, and give the casual fan a great night of entertainment.  The bundling of the Paper Gods CD with the tickets was an artificial attempt to bloat album sales numbers (it actually reentered the charts in the U.S.) and get the album into the hands of the casual fan.  I have an extra ten copies of the standard album, and I’m sure other fans can say the same thing.  This bundling practice also increases the concert tickets as I believe that some document has to be filed/exist for these units to count towards album sales and charts.

What is Nick doing?

Is he working on anything Duran related?  That’s the million dollar question at this point.  Are the other band members upset while they are still out on the road?  We all know Nick loves art, curating, cataloging, organizing, making lists.  Some friends have been wondering if he is working on some anthology type project, something that he probably couldn’t do from the road.  Hmmmm.  Seems very possible to me.  I’m sure he’s doing some work while on break.

SOOOOO, where does this leave us?

I think Paper Gods is the last album.  I think that touring Paper Gods will be completed with the Cancun, and New Year’s shows.  Heck, they may have already turned in the equipment, video screens, etc. to the lighting and video companies and plan on showing up to these shows with basic equipment from local companies.  2018 will mark the 40th anniversary of the start of the band.  I think we will see a large-scale, worldwide greatest hits/farewell tour, and a greatest hits package or anthology type project to commemorate their fabulous career.  After that, who knows?  Whatever, it seems like a great stopping point to me if I were in the band.

I’ll be supporting Duran Duran until I die, whatever happens, I’m in it until the end.  It’s time for me to go back to enjoying Duran Duran for the reason I started listening to them in the first place.  The music.

Cheers y’all, and Duran On!

Jeff and his dog

Jeff Bistline has been a dedicated Duranie since 1984. His passions in life are his Duran Duran collection, college basketball, and his boxer dog, Vivi. He is an accountant and lives in Nebraska.

October 2016 Katy Kafe with Simon!

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

Coffee

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

makes note to up coffee intake

MTV EMA’s

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

End of US Tour in Colorado

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

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

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

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

More shows?

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

You say it’s your birthday

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

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

-R

 

 

July 2016 Katy Kafe with Roger!

Today brought a rare treat!  Not only a Katy Kafe with Roger, but one that could be shared with Amanda, as she is currently sitting at my kitchen table with me!

That’s right, Amanda is here in lovely (and hot) Southern California. She arrived late last night, and we are preparing for our next road trip, which will commence tomorrow!

Roger was sitting in for Simon, who was resting his voice on a day off.    This time, Katy asked for questions from the fan community, which she then relayed to Roger to answer. I took notes, but keep in mind these are only the highlights.  The actual Katy Kafe is a member’s only exclusive available on duranduranmusic.com.

Nick

Obviously, Nick has been absent from the US tour thus far, but Roger feels the shows have gone well considering. He says that people seem to be loving the show as well as the more recent songs included from Paper Gods.  He commented that MNDR is doing well filling in, and that it’s stranger than he thought it would be playing without him. Roger has never played a Duran Duran show without Nick being in his line of sight, and they hope that Nick will be back soon.

Besides your drums and drumsticks, what is one thing you must have with you on tour?

There are two things Roger has to have with him: his MacBook and his iPhone (he really is not an ad for Apple….) while these things aren’t particularly mind-blowing, Roger did have an interesting anecdote to share about growing up. His family did not have a phone in the house!  He said that the UK was about ten years behind the US as far as that type of technology goes…but even so….WOW.

If you could play onstage with anyone, who would you choose?

Roger mentioned three:  Nile Rodgers, Bryan Ferry, and David Bowie.  Obviously, they’ve had the opportunity to play with Nile lately, which has been a treat for everyone—band and audience alike. Bryan Ferry went on before Duran Duran at one point, and made sure to stop by to see the band in their dressing room to say hi.  Roger said that it was strange having him go on before they did because he had been their idol, but that he and John stood off to the side of the stage for Bryan’s set.  Then there’s David Bowie, with whom the band toured after Roger had already left Duran Duran (1987). Unfortunately they didn’t have a chance to actually play with Bowie in recent years before his death. I have to mention that even after six months, the sadness and pain is still palpable in their words and voices whenever David comes up in conversation, which makes me sad for them. I can’t imagine.

Were you always passionate about the drums or has there ever been another instrument you’ve played?

Interestingly enough, the first instrument Roger played was bass. He wanted to learn something because his friends were all taking up instruments, and so he started on bass. Then one day he sat down behind a drum set, and it felt much more natural. he talked about he didn’t want a “normal job” (I’d say Duran Duran is about as far from that as possible!), but that his parents kept telling him that the likelihood of finding fame and fortune as a rock star was “like winning the lottery.” Roger commented that it was a combination of luck with preparation and opportunity.  Even so, guess what Roger? You won!

You’re far more vocal now than you were in the 80s. Do you view the spotlight different now?

Roger says that a lot of it had to do with growing up. It was easy for him to hide behind the others when he was younger since he was quiet and shy.  The work he did on the drums did his speaking.  He also surmises that he really didn’t know himself when he was 20, so when he returned, he decided that he was going to be himself.   This led Katy to chime in saying that if she were to give her children advice it would be not to get married before they are 30 because you really do not know yourself before that. Yes, there are exceptions to that rule, but overall, it’s a good point.  (As someone who married very young at the age of 24 and was a mom by 26, I TOTALLY AGREE.)

What has been your favorite show on the tour so far?

Roger has a list of favorite shows! The O2 in London was packed to the rafters, and the audience was fantastic. He commented that “it’s not work” on nights like that because “you just float through the performance.” He mentions the festival in Ottawa, and then says that all of the concerts in Canada had great energy and they loved it. Red Rocks and the Hollywood Bowl were also high on the list, as well as the legendary Apollo in NYC.

Does anyone in the band have any weird habits?

Simon has a “weird warmup” where he makes strange noises, and he even does this thing where he goes “shhhhhhhh” and Roger says that he wonders sometimes if Simon is just shushing them!

Nick is weird about not wearing jeans or baseball caps, and he also doesn’t drink hot drinks.  Also, Nick does not like being in the lobby of a hotel unless everyone else (in the band) is already down there.

John, on the other hand is “pretty normal”. “he’s intense”, Katy adds. He does have to warm up for an hour as some sort of ritual before a show, though.

Finally, Roger’s weird thing is that he does not eat fruit aside from the occasional banana.

What drummer(s) inspired your career?

Roger says there were really three who inspired his style and career: Paul Thompson from Roxy Music, Dennis Davis (who passed away just this past April) from David Bowie’s band, and Charlie Watts.  In fact, whenever he is sore from playing, he reminds himself that Charlie Watts is still playing and he’s 75.  So there you have it!

Would you ever consider writing your own autobiography?

Roger says he probably will, but not yet. He still feels like there might be more to the story to tell.

What is your guilty (eating) pleasure while on tour?

Roger confesses that he is a bit of a choco-holic!  Katy questions whether he likes milk or dark chocolate and Roger responds saying that the dressing room is filled with dark chocolate and yet he’s on the hunt for a milk chocolate bar that he typically finds at the very bottom of the basket of chocolates. He’ll grab it and then after the show he’ll eat the bar. (I have to share that when I heard that, I said “The entire BAR?” Good on you, Roger. Have some for me too as I can only have one square at a time!!)

That was the final question for the July 2016 Katy Kafe. One thing I like about Roger these days is that he’s chattier than I remember. It’s nice to hear from him, because a lot of times during interviews it doesn’t seem like he has much to say (thanks to editing I am sure).  It was the perfect Kafe to get me ready for heading out for more shows!

-R

 

There are Kafes, and then there are Kafes…

I took time yesterday afternoon to sit down and listen to the Oscars-edition Katy Kafe with Nick and Katy. I’m not sure if it’s just that I’ve not listened to it in the years prior (can’t imagine?), or that I wasn’t thinking – but I sat down figuring it’d be a 20-30 minute thing, and instead it was an hour and 45 minutes of what I thought was a really great discussion!

I decided relatively quickly that I wouldn’t take notes, primarily because if you really want the quick hit on what was talked about, you can find it on duranduran.com. Instead, I just want to give a quick commentary on kafes in general.

I really enjoyed listening to Nick and Katy talk about not much else besides movies for a change.

The bombshell, at least as far as I am concerned, is that I think I may have only seen one out of ALL of the movies they discussed yesterday. I’m not really much of a movie-goer, I have to admit.  The last thing I usually want to do on a date-night is sit and watch a movie. Now that my oldest is out of the house and my middle one is halfway out the door, we don’t really do family movie nights unless we’re here at home, which is probably where I will see a few more of these movies eventually. Even so, I really enjoyed the kafe.

When is the last time you can say that you actually sat and listened to Nick talk about anything for an hour and forty-five minutes? I thought about that a lot yesterday after I was finished listening.  We never hear him go on that long about anything, much less Duran Duran. I’m not quite sure what that says, if anything, but I did think about that. After all, I’ve said more than once that we really don’t know the band. We only know the image or persona they portray onstage or in public as part of their celebrity. So to hear Nick speak with passion about some of the movies he’s seen or how he feels about the Oscars in general was of interest, at least to me. It is likely the closest I’m ever going to get to being a part of a conversation with Nick, I am quite certain, so I appreciated the feeling of being a fly on the wall. Now if they could only just set something up for a Katy Kafe so we could hear what goes on in the studio…… (if only, right?)

For those intent to hear some news…at the very end of the kafe, Katy asks Nick if he’ll be staying up late to watch the Oscars on Sunday. Nick replies that no, he really can’t because he’ll be going into the studio with a certain John Taylor on Monday morning to work on their musical.

I rubbed my hands together vigorously as Nick mentioned the musical…I can’t wait to hear more in the same way that I can’t wait to get our new book outline finished and off to a publisher. Let’s hope #Durantime doesn’t infect us all.  <big toothy grin here>

The kafe-fairies were generous, as Simon called in for a quick, impromptu chat after his appearance at the Brits. Simon gave a quick chat about handing Adele the award – which I still feel he should have just stolen (figuratively speaking)  since the band was robbed of their own nominations this year, but then spoke of the David Bowie tribute.

I’ve commented on tributes before, and my feelings have not really changed. I can only write as a fan, not as an artist. The general perspective between a fan such as myself, someone who is not in the music biz, and someone who might have been a fan growing up but is now IN the industry, is likely to be quite different. While it may be true that you never quite lose “the fan” in you, I only know what it is like to BE a fan. So my reflections about last night may differ widely from others.

Simon seemed to say that he was concerned a tribute like that would be cheesy, but that he was very impressed with what Bowie’s touring band did musically. I completely agreed. Not only did they play a very difficult medley based on music and time changes, they did it brilliantly by cutting from one song to another in spots the audience might not have expected. The professionalism of the band, a band that is likely still very much in mourning I am sure, made the piece run smoothly and still come alive with Bowie’s memory. And then Lorde took the stage. Simon said that he felt that Lorde sang “Life On Mars” similarly to Bowie – I didn’t really get that from her – but then he noticed that other people, including Yasmin, were singing along with her. So the tribute wasn’t really about Lorde singing, but about her leading everyone else, and he seemed to really like the performance and what it came to mean in that moment. I wasn’t there, obviously, and only saw the video on YouTube, which I think we can agree isn’t anything like being there in person. My perspective though, was that Lorde sang the song as herself. She wasn’t trying to BE Bowie, but instead sing FOR him, which was beautiful. Maybe I really don’t understand David Bowie’s art, and perhaps I really don’t have the kind of perspective I might had I grown up loving all of his work the way some of my friends might. I’m not sure. I do have enormous respect, and I just felt that her straightforward, heartfelt performance was what I would have wanted as a fan. And the goosebumps I felt run down my body told me everything I really needed to know. Others may have preferred something different.

Simon ended his chat with Katy by saying that when he has something to say, it’s great to be able to do it this way (through a quick kafe chat). The funny thing to me is that at ten minutes, it wasn’t all that much shorter than some of the other Katy Kafes in the past. But I think the key is having something to say. I would imagine it probably does get boring to talk about an album or a tour or things that they deal with every single day, and yet being fans – we aren’t privy to that part of their “job”,  but yet are things we are most curious about. I liken it to when I ask my kids or my husband about their day. They all hate it unless they have something specific to tell me that typically is some crazy anecdote that has nothing at all to do with their classes or the current product Walt is working on.

I’m not sure what this really means, except that I’m thinking it over.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to tweeting my way through the Oscars on Sunday afternoon (my time). While I’m no fashion maven on an every day basis (as I sit here in my regular “uniform” of jeans, a Punk Master “vinyl pirates” t-shirt and converse), I am very good at judging red carpet fashion…and my favorite thing…jewelry!

-R

 

A few of my best moments of 2015

30th of December, 2015. We’ve got about a day and a half left in this year, give or take depending upon where you are in the world. Speaking for myself, I’m happy to see this one end. I have friends who look at New Years with some sort of wide-eyed optimism for possibilities, and I’m not sure I’m in that camp. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m looking for a do-over, but I do kind of think of January as a sort of reboot. It’s a good time to sort of purge the system, clean the slate, and start over. Before I move forward, I like to close out the year with a good look back.

This is always a sort of strange time of year for me because typically either I’m sick (as I am this year), or my kids are sick…or even the husband (I shudder to think). It all adds up to where I almost never leave the house for that week between Christmas and New Years, and it is typically right about now when I’m starting to get cabin fever….which I am.  The idea of going out shopping sounds great in theory, but then I take a deep breath and realize that I shouldn’t be going anywhere just yet. And I’m exhausted just thinking about it…so instead I’ll try to recap some of my better moments of 2015.  Granted, I have to actually try to remember all of last year. My memory seems to stop right at April 1st.

January 2015 Katy Kafe

The first thing that comes to mind is the January 2015 Katy Kafe with John Taylor. It isn’t often that I go back an re-read blogs, particular those that were written nearly a year ago…but in searching for something else, I re-read this one. I can remember writing it with absolutely no idea what Paper Gods, or as I fondly call it, #DD14, would have to offer. I wrote about how excited John seemed. How passionate he came across about the new music…and I clearly recall having a sense of real anticipation for the year ahead.  It was a good, breakthrough moment to start the year, without a doubt.

“It’s like riding a bike, Rhonda – you don’t forget!” – Amanda (while we were trying to buy pre-sale tickets to the David Lynch Foundation show)

I remember the day that Duran Duran announced that they would appear and play at the David Lynch Foundation Gala at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. To begin with, I nearly choked on my coffee. I just wasn’t expecting that sort of news on that particular day. Then again, I must admit I’m almost never expecting show announcements and they always surprise me! I can remember sending texts to Amanda, full-well knowing she was in class, but I didn’t care. I even sent it with the “bat-code” for CHECK THIS RIGHT NOW.  I also remember how overjoyed I was at the very idea that they were going to be coming to LA after so long. I always joke that getting show announcements feels similar to having been running through the desert and you finally see a drinking fountain or a swimming pool. Naturally, I blogged about the hilarity of the pre-sales being one hour after the band announced the date, which you can re-read here. (It’s even new if you haven’t read it before!)

Hearing a snippet of Pressure Off for the very first time

In all fairness, I can’t seem to remember when this happened. Was it before or after David Lynch?  I’m thinking before. I know they had announced “Pressure Off” being the single by then, but even as I tried to search our archives, I couldn’t find mention of it. Probably because we were on Spring Break at the time. No matter, I remember listening/watching to a horribly distorted snippet of the song that one of the radio DJ’s who attended some sort of party that Warner put on up in Northern California – this was right after it was announced that DD had signed with Warner for this album. I must have watched that snippet (and searched for other longer versions) 50,000 times. I can remember listening quizzically – as though that single 30 second “snapshot” was going to give me all of the answers I was seeking about #DD14.  The one thing I do remember feeling though, was hope. I liked the tiny bit I’d heard.

I know that not long after that snippet made its way through the internet, Roger commented in a Katy Kafe that he really didn’t like that it had been posted because the production couldn’t really be heard. Gotta tell you, Roger – with all due respect – it didn’t matter.  Here’s the thing: and I’m speaking purely from the point of view as a fan – when fans find things like that online – just tiny little slices of new music and so forth, it’s really not about getting a full taste of the production quality. It’s about just hearing the tune, so to speak. I don’t think anyone truly watched that video with the idea that they’d judge the whole album by what was seen. It was more about satisfying the urge. Imagine being thirsty – I mean REALLY thirsty. You don’t sit down and think about what you want to drink. You just need some water, and you guzzle it. Quickly.  And then you refill the glass.

The David Lynch Foundation Gala

We were expecting one song but ended up with three, and had a fantastic time with friends both old and new.  One of the best nights I’d had in a very long time, and of course we tweeted, blogged, and Instagrammed our way through.  Plenty of people chuckled at the idea that Amanda would travel all the way to California for a single song, and I say to them that they just don’t get it. The band was a great backdrop, and sure – they were definitely a motivating factor, but it still comes down to friendship. Amanda and I hadn’t seen one another since the previous summer, and it was time.  There are also those photos with John, Dom & Simon, too.  Of course then we wondered just how much longer it would be before we’d see them again.

Pre-Sales (for the US shows in the Fall)

Yes, I know…pre-sales are both the joy and stress of being a fan. That said, there was something that felt very good about getting online, blood surging through my clogged arteries as I had Amanda on speaker phone that morning in May, both of us working to get the best tickets possible for the shows coming up in October. It felt good. It felt right…and despite that moment when she couldn’t get the darn website to take her credit card expiration date…we survived….and to think we hadn’t even heard the entire album yet.

Listening to Paper Gods

It felt so good to finally have the album in my hand. I relished in taking the time to really look at the icons and the artwork. I read over the liner notes, and then played the album itself non-stop for weeks (from start to finish each time, thank you!). After three years, many of the songs being released early, it finally felt like we’d made it. I remember the exact moment I finally “got” the album – not just hearing it but actually GETTING it. I called Amanda, triumphantly acknowledging that the album wasn’t just about the BAND….it was about fans as well. The album, as a whole (not counting the bonus songs) very much listens as a musical journey throughout the band’s career. There’s a reason why Simon suggests we listen to the album as a whole, all the way through, at least once.  Pure, unadulterated joy…and profound respect are feelings I can easily assign to Paper Gods.

The US Fall tour

Rather than just pick one show – I’m choosing to just say all of them. After three years, seeing the band was one of the best parts of this entire year.  From standing there in second row center at the Hollywood Bowl to leaning my elbows on the stage at Agua Caliente – I don’t think I will ever be able to top those moments as a music lover. What more could I really ever ask for?  I’m really not sure. I just know that the band exceeded my expectations, and whatever I enjoy from here on out is bonus.

 

There were so many other little moments I could have mentioned, but these were the big Duran Duran moments for me this year.  I also want to make mention that while I didn’t include the moment I read that all of the band members were fine and safe after the Paris terrorist attacks – on a very personal level, I don’t think I’ve ever been so thankful. It didn’t seem right to include that in this list, nor did it seem right to include my pride in their decision to donate the their proceeds from EODM’s version of Save a Prayer to charity, but they are not forgotten. I will never forget that so many music lovers, like myself, did not come home from the simple act of going to a concert.

-R

2015 Year End Katy Kafe with Nick Rhodes!

Today I bring you another 2015 year-end Katy Kafe with Nick Rhodes, his being the final one this year.  With tomorrow being Christmas Eve, my day has been spent baking and cooking (if you know anything about me, you know these rank among my least favorite activities) and so the blog is very late today. On the bright side, if you live in Europe or the UK, you’ll have TWO blogs to read tomorrow!

The Kafe opens with a brief discussion of the unseasonably warm weather in London and New York City – where it is forecast to hit 70 degrees fahrenheit on Christmas Eve. Here I sit in California, where it didn’t even hit 60 degrees today, and I believe it’s only supposed to reach 55 here tomorrow.  El Niño happens, I guess!

Favorite Music of 2015

Nick is quick to mention the Tame Impala album, which apparently captured the interest of all members of Duran Duran this year. He then lists a few honorable mentions: Caribou, Jungle, FKA Twigs and Lana del Rey.

Favorite Exhibits of 2015

The Alexander McQueen exhibition tops Nick’s favorite art exhibits of the year, as he attended this at the V&A in London, but it is making its way around the world.  He also saw Photo London at Somerset House and Frieze London.

About that album art…

We’ve all waited for an in-depth discussion of the cover to Paper Gods. Nick explains that both he and John felt the cover needed a modern art edge to it, and they wanted something that was “super pop culture.” China Chow is one of Nick’s friends and he contacted her, hoping that she might have an idea or two that he didn’t already consider. The original intention was to have about ten different artists come up with ideas that could then be made into an exhibition, an idea that Nick now sees as being a little too ambitious (although personally I would have loved seeing that come to fruition!) China Chow felt that the band should work with Alex Israel, and so after a meeting in Los Angeles, Nick really appreciated his approach to modern art and pop culture, and describes it as Alex “choosing a pattern similar to Warhol.” Alex had the idea of appropriating some of Duran Duran’s images and creating icons of them for the front cover, an idea that Nick felt had just the right amount of irony to work. When they received the proof of the artwork – to which Alex had also added a background of one of his sky pieces, it wasn’t at all what they were expecting, but the entire band felt it was special. The real challenge with the artwork, according to Nick, was that it needed to work for 12-inch vinyl, a CD cover, a postage stamp (for online thumbnails), and as billboards such as the one on Hollywood Boulevard. The first thing he and John did with the artwork was shrink it down on their computer – and they both felt the colors just popped. “He got it right”, announced Nick.  Katy says that she didn’t get the artwork at first, but that the more she looked at it – she calls it “a grower” – it makes sense. (It really does. It is one of the smartest covers they’ve ever done, and it really works for this album in particular.)

2015 Highlights

Nick went on vacation!!!!  He spent six days in Cuba this past year – somewhere he had never been, and apparently loved it. He spoke of Cuba’s old school grandeur, and the iconic 1950’s American cars that populate the streets. I can only imagine the photos!

One of Nick’s favorite moments of the year was presenting the GQ Award to Giorgio Moroder – someone who had a profound musical influence on Nick. He had never met him up until earlier this year when he had lunch with Mr. Moroder in Los Angeles and talked of the possibility of working with him at some point (that alone is reason enough to work on another Duran Duran album, I think!)

Releasing Paper Gods is one of the big highlights of 2015 as well as being signed to Warner Bros. They were happy to have a label with a wide, global reach. Nick describes Warner Bros as a proper record label with old school values and new school technology.  He also spoke proudly of holding the vinyl in his hands for the first time and seeing the spot varnish on the album.

Some touring moments were very special as well, such as playing the Hollywood Bowl with Chic and Nile. He also cited the recent UK tour as the best UK tour they’ve ever done, with a special shout out to Vince Foster for the excellent lighting. Nick hopes to bring this production to the US for the dates next year.

2015 in a word

Tumultuous sums up the year, as Nick recalls the sadness and concern for their friends Eagles of Death Metal. Eloquently, Nick mentions that the people at that show that evening did nothing wrong. “They didn’t do anything to warrant” that attack.  Particularly interesting to many Duranies, Nick had stayed that night in Paris as he’d planned to go to Paris Photo the next day – which naturally ended up being canceled, and Katy remembers not being able to reach the band immediately, but one by one she was able to speak with each member and Wendy to know that they were safe. Yes, tumultuous is a very good word to sum up the year.

2016

Nick plans to spend January going back into the studio with the Bloom Twins, who accompanied the band on the recent UK tour. He has thoroughly enjoyed working with them to establish a sense of direction as breakthrough artists, and he hopes to finish their first album.

He made mention of the currently announced US dates, explaining that they are disorganized and off in many different directions – coming together similarly as a rubber band might as it snaps back after being extended too far – and then said that more dates would be coming. Nick didn’t indicate where in the world, these dates would be, but rest assured as soon as they’re announced we will post them here!

He plans to get together with John to continue working on the musical they’ve been writing, which he believes will take him right up to the beginning of the tour.

Additionally, Nick plans to release his photo book next year, something that he promises Katy will happen. “It’s almost done!” The book will be very limited edition (and collectible) at about 300 copies. Nick explains that it is meant to be an art piece and not something that is available commercially.  (Call me crazy but I believe this is all incredibly polite code for “It’s going to cost a small fortune.”  Don’t say I didn’t warn you! )
Lastly, Nick announced that he needs a cat. He’s been without one for several years, and hopes to get one after the tour dates end, explaining that he “communicates better with cats than with people.”

I so get this.  🙂

-R