Tag Archives: Katy Krassner

John Taylor’s 2017 Year-End Katy Kafe!

Another day, another year-end Kafe!

I missed this one yesterday, my apologies…but if you haven’t heard it yet, it’s new to you!  John Taylor stopped into the Kafe yesterday to round out his 2017. I suspect John was fully prepared because he took no time in zooming through what I would call his “digest” retrospect of 2017.

World Event

Not Brexit, not Trump, but the Swedish church (and I appreciate that!). Did you know that a few weeks back, the Church of Sweden announced that they would effectively be taking gender identity out of its teachings? Essentially saying that God is God. It is not male, nor female. I remember hearing this news exactly ONE time, and it was merely whispered in passing here in the US.  Not exactly headline news, and yet at least in my opinion, it absolutely should be. I’m glad John mentioned it!

Personal Event

Have you heard Zoe Nash’s new single, “Rather Die”? Better yet, have you seen the video?  John (and of course Gela as well) are very proud of Zoe’s work, and last week, Duran Duran even helped to promote “Rather Die” on social media (“relentlessly”, John adds).

As a parent myself, I get it. How could I not? Zoe has quite the voice, and an attitude to match. I’ll say this much, if she were once shy, you’d never know it now! Good for her.

Movie

John says he is a British Boy at heart, and he loved Dunkirk. He also really liked Blade Runner – calling it a boy’s movie.

I still haven’t seen either one. I’ve got work to do.

Book

History of Wolves, by Emily Fridlund. Just in case anyone was wondering – this novel is definitely not about wolves.  It isn’t a study of nature, at least not the nature and behavior of actual wolves.

Television

John mentions three shows: Mindhunter, Godless, and The Crown.

I haven’t seen Mindhunter or Godless, but The Crown is my favorite show. I watched the entire series, and I wondered if it would seem “as good” for those who live in the UK. I mean, I’m American, and so we have this strange fascination with anything “Royal” I suppose. Just speaking for myself, I own entirely too many books about the history of English royalty, and even more telling, I own too many books specifically about their jewelry collection!  So while yes, that series speaks to my inane curiosity, I had wondered how a British person might feel about it. Apparently the show is really good no matter where you’re from!

I have to laugh and make a comment – it is very clear that Katy loves Stranger Things! In both of the Katy Kafes I’ve written about this week, she brought up Stranger Things and asked John and Roger if they’d seen it. I know a lot of fans love that show, but I didn’t take to it at all. Not my thing, I guess, even with Girls on Film in the soundtrack!

Music

This is the one topic John seemed to struggle with and didn’t have a clear answer. He says that 2017 wasn’t a great year for him with music (meaning finding music that he really loved), but then says that’s really his fault – he just didn’t listen enough. He does give quick mention to the newest Jay-Z (4:44) album, though.

DD Moment

These are the topics that always interest me most. I mean, sometimes I get great book and movie suggestions, but truthfully as a fan and a blog writer, I do like knowing how the band feels about their year. It is great insight!

John mentions exactly what I would have guessed, saying that the crowd in Buenos Aires for Lollapalooza was “massive”, which it certainly was. Makes you wonder why they don’t play that country more often, really.

But then, John takes a turn and speaks a little more personally. He mentions the loss of Simon’s mom, whom he says, “She was mom to all of us”. He talks about how Simon was so brave to share his emotions during such a difficult time, and I agree. This inspired the band, particularly because as most know – this is not the type of band to come out and do that. (Be so open on an emotional level)

I’d have to agree wholeheartedly. I think that’s also why it struck me. Duran Duran doesn’t “do” that sort of thing on the same level that other bands might. They are British, and I think that’s a cultural thing  for them in the same way that my husband’s family do not talk about “feelings”. Ever. They stick to shallow pleasantries, and for someone like myself, who wears her cold, dead, heart on her sleeve (pure sarcasm right there), it is seen as an inappropriate weakness that makes me “less-than”.  Yay! I digress… Back to Duran Duran, they have also been celebrity and elevated to God-like status for so long, that they’ve had to protect themselves along the way. Hide the “real” you, make up your own fact cache (sound familiar?), hell – even go by a stage name, because the person you are on that stage isn’t who you really are otherwise – all of that was left behind when Simon walked to the microphone and told us about his mom, and sang Ordinary World.

Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t take that moment lightly. That was a side of Simon I’d never really seen (although I will say that one single moment when he came to see us outside of the studio in 2011 and told us about his voice and cancelling the tour was close).  That beautifully vulnerable moment came from such pain. I won’t forget. I can’t.

John also mentions the show at Budokan in Japan with Nile. They remember that Budokan was the place where Bernard Edwards played his final show and ultimately died, and John says that he finds those moments important. He explains that they’ve been playing these songs for a very long time now, and as a band (and probably personally as well) they have to find “new levels of meaning” all of the time.

I would think that most fans have some understanding of that and can relate. I certainly can. I see so many of their songs, the mainstays in their set, so differently now than I did even two years ago. That alone has been a fantastic experience.

Finally for this topic, John brings up being able to experience Japan with his daughter Atlanta. He says that going on that trip with her made him see Japan as though it was the first time again, and you can hear the love and wonder in his voice. I loved it!

2018

John says he’s got an open mind about next year. Unlike previous years where he already knew they had a set schedule, it sounds like 2018 will bring a little more flexibility when it comes to time. He talks about the continuing work on the musical he is working on with  Nick, although he isn’t sure if that will come to stage in 2018, and then he also mentions the studio with the band.

Don’t get TOO excited, Duranies. While John says he is looking forward to getting back in and writing, and that the band has been talking about the studio, they are doing it in a “casually fluid” sort of way.

In other words, I wouldn’t get your lawn chairs set out on the sidewalk out in front of the studio just yet, unless you rather enjoy sitting through all of winter waiting for them to arrive.

-R

Roger Taylor’s Year End Katy Kafe 2017

So today brought a new Katy Kafe in the 2017 Year End series.  I was thrilled to listen, because that meant I didn’t have to be creative and  come up with a topic for today!

Like me, Roger is stressed as the countdown to Christmas looms on. We have a few of those “XX Days Til Christmas” calendars around here. They were so cute back when I bought them. Apparently I started a bit of a collection without even thinking.  My youngest LOVES to change the number of days on every single one of them. In fact, this year is the first that I can remember her being quite so into it.  Me?  I’d like to gather them all up, go outside, toss them into a pile, generously pour lighter fluid over the top, light a match, and then do a victory dance.

Yeah, it’s been one of those Decembers. I need a break from resumes, jobs, cats and dogs, orthodontists…and vehicles.

Roger has been looking for an Action Man toy (think GI Joe if you’re in the US) for his son. I’ve been looking for a specific Pokemon game for the Nintendo Switch.  His toy is no longer being made….and mine is just out of stock everywhere. Santa is so screwed this year. Good times.

This brought Katy to discussing the Year End categories with Roger.

World Event

As Roger said, in the US – we talk about Trump. In the UK, they discuss Brexit. It would seem that Roger is as tired of Brexit not being settled as I might be about my country’s politics. I get it…except that I think in both cases, we’ve got quite a while before anything is really and truly “settled”.  Good luck, Roger.

Movie

Dunkirk.  This is a movie I haven’t seen, but I was intrigued by what Roger had to say about it. Katy asked if there was violence, and he said there wasn’t much, and that the enemy – in this case the Germans – were not even shown. I may have to relent the next time my husband suggests this as a movie choice, darn it!

Book

Roger said that he read Steve Jones’ biography Lonely Boy while on part of the tour this year, and he said it was excellent, and he couldn’t put it down. I usually enjoy reading autobiographies, but this is one I haven’t read yet. Anyone?

TV

Roger isn’t much of a television watcher, but said The Crown was suggested to him and he really enjoys it. Anyone who has seen my Twitter knows that I’m a big fan of The Crown. It is easily my favorite “television” program…so much so that after I binged on the second season (Hey, I was sick with the flu for an entire weekend!), I went back to rewatch it all from the first episode!

Music

I don’t know about other fans, but I’m always curious about what the band is listening to…because I’m usually listening to them. I’m not saying I never find new bands I enjoy, but somehow I think that maybe by getting insight into what inspires them, maybe I’ll have a hint as to what they’re going to stumble into recording next. (My theory hasn’t worked to enlighten me one bit as of yet, but onward and upward, I say!)

In any case, Roger has loved London Grammar, and Stevie Wonder this past year. He did mention one other band – but I didn’t catch the name. Epic failure on my part.

DD Moment

I truly thought he was going to say Argentina, but instead he said Electric Picnic in Ireland. He commented that they hadn’t played there in a while, it was a Sunday night, and there were still many people there, which excited him.

Personal Moment

Roger had a DNA test done this year! (me too, although I’m still waiting for my results) I think we should all sit down, because it turns out that he is 50% English.  I’m sure he must have been shocked when he got word of the results.

Ok, I’m kidding. He’s also 26% Scandinavian, 12% NW European, along with Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Jewish and even Eastern European.    I don’t know how different that is from what he originally thought, but the idea of being able to send in for these DNA tests is very cool.

2018

Roger says that he is looking forward to getting back into the studio, saying that they’re ready. Katy mentioned the date in Dubai, and Roger said that they probably were not going to do a lot more dates beyond that, which seemed a little different from what we had been hearing previously, given that next year marks the beginning of #DD40. If you’ve been observing this band for very long, you know that things change constantly – at least by the time the fans get wind of the official “word”. Nothing should surprise fans now, and if the band decides to dedicate next year purely to studio-time, so be it. Roger commented that he didn’t think there was anywhere left to tour, followed up quickly by lamenting that he was sure there would be people saying “Wait, you didn’t come to Iceland!”  Or Australia, or most of Europe, as the case seems to be.

Roger closed with wishing everyone happy holidays, and thanking everyone for the ongoing support. We’ll hear from him again in April, as he joins Katy in the Kafe for his birthday!

-R

 

November 2017 Katy Kafe with John Taylor!

Not much makes me happier during a lull than an invitation to listen to a shiny brand new Katy Kafe pop up in my news feed! This month, John takes a quick time out to chat with Katy, and I’ve got the highlights from the November 2017 Katy Kafe for you. Keep in mind, this is purely what I picked out, and with DD40 coming up – it might be time to get a membership to DDM so that you can stay up with all of the news that is sure to come!

What’s happening?

John comes to us from “the studio” in London, where he is working with Nick on a side project. Now whether this side project is the musical they’ve mentioned before, or something else, I’m not sure. John just says “it’s very different from what they’ve done in Duran Duran”…and I guess we’ll have to wait to hear more about it.

He mentions that they are going to be in Moscow (which they were earlier in the week) for the BRAVO award announcements where the band got back together and performed.

Ring in the New Year, Vegas-style

Katy also mentioned the upcoming Eve before New Years Eve show in Las Vegas, and asked John if he likes performing on New Years Eve. Emphatically, John answers with a quick, “YES” saying that he likes not having to worry about what he is going to do to entertain himself that night, and then almost just as quickly he adds a hasty, “but this is not on New Years Eve, it is the 30th, which means New Years Eve is still a problem that will have to be worked out.” Katy asks the question I was wondering myself, and that was whether or not John would stay in Vegas for New Years, to which he said he doesn’t know yet.

Apparently, Duran Duran has played on New Years Eve quite a bit over the years, citing the Savoy show in ’82 or ’83, and then the shows they did just outside of Washington DC last year in National Harbor. The band likes being on stage for New Years, and well….we really kind of like having them there, too!

There was a quick mention of whether this was really a final, final, Paper Gods date and John corrects Katy, saying that no, Paper Gods is finished. This is a standalone date. That leads to the obvious (Well, it’s obvious to me, anyway) follow-up about the set list. Will it change? John contends that they have to “err on the side of crowd favorites”. So, if you went to any of the Paper Gods shows and enjoyed hearing songs like Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf, Girls on Film, and any of the rest of those hits that have been in previous set lists, there is good news: you’re gonna love this one too! He does say that it might be less interesting for diehard fans – and while I can’t disagree, I can say this: most of us already know this, and guess what? WE BUY TICKETS ANYWAY.  Why? Because it is exactly the type of party we all want to be at, and the party is what we make it!

Just imagine what we’d do when/if one of them came out and said it would be a show that no diehard should miss?!?

I shudder to consider the stampede…or how Ticketmaster might “handle” the demand.  Moving on…

What about 2018?

Here is what I find most interesting about this band: every single band member has a different story about the studio, and it’s comical! Since August, I have heard they’re going into the studio at the end of the year for something “fun” from Roger, something about going in after the new year from Simon, and now John says they’re “hoping” to go back in…with no real time specified.

So I don’t think anyone really knows. And that’s fine. Odd, but fine.

John does say that an album next year is unlikely. Given my experience as a fan of this band, I’d go one farther and say it’s nearly impossible. I’d be shocked, probably to the point of needing oxygen, if the band actually came out with even ONE SONG this year, much less an entire album.

In the meantime, John says they’re talking about the possibilities for recording a new album, including who they might be looking to collaborate with, or where they will record – insinuating that perhaps London might not be the birthplace for the next one.

This led to a question from Katy who asked if the band were to stumble upon that perfect song right away, would they release a stand-alone single or just wait for the album. Speaking purely for himself, John said maybe – citing that the marketing isn’t very good for one song. You don’t get TV or magazines for a single song, typically, so the promotion isn’t quite there. He surmises that they just have to be open to whatever happens.

Paper Gods

Looking back over Paper Gods, Katy wants to know if there are any songs that John wishes they had played. He mentions two that he wishes they had played more: “Universe Alone”, which they played towards the very end of the tour (and I have often wondered why they waited so long), and “You Kill Me with Silence”, which they only played once, at the Jimmy Kimmel show in Los Angeles.  He says that it is hard to find a spot for mid tempo songs in the live show because you only want 2 or 3 of them.  I get that, although I think YKMWS was overall a difficult song for Simon because of the wide vocal range it requires.

John says that he still feels the album was the best since their reunion, but quickly says that he knows they always say that. (and they do, but I get it. Besides, if you didn’t think you were improving as a band, wouldn’t you have quit by now?? Funny how clearly it all makes sense now as opposed when I first asked about why they say that!)

I know there are fans out there that completely disagree, and some that herald Paper Gods as being the best the band has ever done. There is no accounting for personal taste, I suppose. John adds that he doesn’t want to put down the others, citing both AYNIN and of course, RCM. I’ll just say that we all have our favorites, and from the outside looking in, I think the band learned a lot from Paper Gods. They grew professionally, and perhaps personally. That’s not a bad thing after thirty-five years in the industry. John ends by saying that while the album “took some doing”, they’re all “quite proud” of something that is definitely a “Duran Duran album”.  A thought that is neither stupid, nor self-indulging. John is right when he says it ticks off all of the boxes of what one would expect from Duran Duran, whether it is your favorite album or a little less-than. It’s quintessentially Duran, and we like that!

Simple, short and sweet – John bids his farewell until the year-end Kafe, which we are rapidly approaching. Does not seem possible!

-R

 

 

 

 

 

Now We’re Online: When DD.com Was Hacked

In 2017, websites are commonplace. Most of us are on the web and surf our way through hundreds of sites each day, even if we’re not thinking about it. It would be unthinkable to run a company and not have a web presence. Sites act as advertising, storefronts, social gathering spots, newspapers, informational brochures, and even corner speakers. Duran Duran has operated their website for years now.  Amanda and I have come to rely on it for a variety of purposes. We are typically able to find what we need, and it’s always up and running.

There was a period of time back in the late 90s when this wasn’t exactly the case. First, I’ll set the scene: it’s 1999. Medazzaland had been released in 1997, the band was touring and playing smaller clubs on the Let It Flow tour. Pop Trash wasn’t released until 2000.  Earlier in August, Duran Duran had signed a 3-album deal with Hollywood Records.  John Taylor was no longer with the band, instead playing dates in small clubs like the Viper Room in Hollywood, California with Terroristen. Sugartown was being released and John had been doing the typical press tour junket to promote the film. During the 90s, there were times when the band were even self-managed, as Wendy Laister and Magus Entertainment did not come aboard until 2001. Before anyone asks, yes – Katy Krassner was working with the band by this time. I don’t know if she was directly involved with their website in the same sense as she is now.  Very different days.

Months might go by without a single update made to the band’s site, even if there was a new album coming out, or upcoming tour dates—news items that would have definitely been of interest to fans, and might even help the band if they were announced. It became something of a side joke to long time fans, and not a “ha ha” funny joke, but one of those snide comments you might make to one another in jest. During this specific period, possibly while the band was self-managed, between labels (until August when they signed with Hollywood Records), it had been several months since the website had been touched at all. Security for the site was lax, to say the least. Picture the place as a ghost town with a message board of fans continually writing posts asking why the site wasn’t being updated, and you might have a fairly accurate scene. Despite the outcry from some fans even asking if they could help out and update the site themselves, there seemed to be some sort of gaping hole between the band and fans, until one fateful day in September of 1999 when one fan—Redsexy on dd.com—hacked the website herself and updated it.

Had it not been for her, I’m not sure how long it might have been before the website would have been updated. Self-managing isn’t an easy thing. Just imagine – on top of writing the music, you’re managing everything else. Promotion, image, contracts, touring, people who work for you, all of the large and small details. All of it.

Today’s websites aren’t so horrible. If you use something like WordPress (as I do), it’s fairly simple – but there is still a lot I don’t know how to do, and there’s not much time for me to learn.  Imagine Simon, Nick, or Warren trying to wrangle a  website back in the 90s, without the ease of WordPress or other site management companies, much less having the time to sit down and update the news or tour dates! Impossible.

So on this date in 1999, Redsexy took matters into her own hands, and we thank her for it. I’m not sure how the band felt, but I admired your spirit.

-R

 

Happy Birthday Ask Katy, Mark Ronson & Google!

Happy Monday!  So many birthdays in Duranland, beginning with Katy Krassner!  That’s right, Duran Duran’s own Ask Katy is celebrating her special day today, and considering all of the hard work she does for the band as well as keeping the fans feeling connected and up to date – we hope she has a wonderful and restful day! We appreciate everything she does for the band, and it helps to make this world a little friendlier and nicer.

Sharing this date with Katy is also Mark Ronson! (I did not know that!) Mark has done fantastic work with Duran Duran over the years, and I personally thank him for keeping the band true to themselves, but also giving them space to continue exploring new sounds.  It is a delicate balance, and I can certainly appreciate the time and tenacity involved all around. Happy birthday Mark!

Lastly, a little less “connected” to Duran Duran, but vital in every single way – Google turns 19 today. Do you remember life before Google??

It’s funny because just yesterday my husband Walt and I were talking about the web, circa 1995-ish. I can remember working for a company who had just started developing a web page, and the owner tried to explain to me what the web was all about and how it would work. Fast forward about two years, and we had America Online (AOL) at home as our ISP (Internet Service Provider). I can remember the cumbersome method of using the modem to dial in and then hoping I’d get a good connection and keep it!  I think the dial-up modem noise, along with the AOL “Welcome!” greeting, are almost Pavlov’s Bells to anyone from my generation, as a result. Anything I needed was found within the AOL platform though, and as Walt continued rebuilding and upgrading our computer (it seemed like he was constantly doing that!), everything grew faster and faster. Then, around 1998, things started moving from AOL platform to the internet itself. I couldn’t just get on AOL and find the message boards I wanted anymore. At that point, I was dialing into AOL, and then from there I clicked on internet explorer to be able to search for websites. And at that point – there was Google, ready to be used.  And not much later, no one needed AOL as the go-between, we could simply have our own internet connection directly from our computers – and no more dial up modem noise.

Google was just one search engine of many at that point. Yahoo, Alta Vista, WebCrawler, infoseek and Lycos are a few that I remember, along with of course, Google.  Over the years since, many of those first search engines are either gone or they’ve completely changed their business model. Google, on the other hand, expanded. They’ve bought (and sold) companies, and they continue to grow their business model to suit the ever-changing world.  Google is a permanent part of our vocabulary (“google it!”) in the same way that if you’re from the US, a bandage is a “Band-Aid”. It would seem they are here to stay, and it will not be long before most people don’t even realize there WAS an internet before Google, and that once upon a time, all Google did was search for terms!

Google is important to Duran Duran’s history because I’m betting that many of us used it right about the time the reunion of the original five members was announced. We searched the web, looking for information, looking for groups, message boards, websites, and anything we could find – at least I know I sure did! To this very moment, I don’t think a single day goes by when I don’t use Google to find one thing or another, and yeah—a lot of the time it has something to do with Duran Duran. The internet (and Google) has changed our world, both as Duranies and as people.

Makes me wonder what the next nineteen years will bring.

Happy Birthday, Katy Krassner, Mark Ronson and yes, Google!

-R

 

August 2017 Katy Kafe with Simon!

I took some time this morning to listen to the August 2017 Katy Kafe with Simon.  It was a very different sort of Kafe from any other I’ve listened to over the years in some respects, and I would encourage any other Duranie to take a listen. If you really want to know who Simon is – not the guy who just performs on stage and looks great in the photos – but SIMON himself, now his your chance. As always, these are the highlights, but if you want to hear the Kafe for yourself, you should get a DDM membership.

Simon’s Mom

There is just no way to get past the deep sense of loss in this Kafe. The Simon we hear is not the bright, happy, caffeinated or energized Simon that normally shows up. He is dealing with one hell of a loss, and as he correctly says, “I will never get over it, I just have to get used to it.”  That is absolutely, 100% correct. There are still days,  nine years after we said our goodbyes, when I desperately need to talk to my dad, and I can’t. The pain is still ridiculously present, and sometimes – particularly in those moments (like yesterday afternoon) when I really needed him – the pain rises right back to the surface. It is very hard, and he is right, there’s no way to prepare for it. I don’t know if Simon’s mom was ill like my dad was, but even though I knew what the inevitable end would bring, the finality is just unbearable.  It’s permanent.  This is not a club that anyone wants to join, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, either. It’s inevitable, but nobody wants to be here.

It’s very hard (and yet easy at the same time) to pretend I’m reaching out to Simon somehow on this blog – I mean, the audacity of me to assume he reads, right? I would just want him to know that I get it. Many fans do. And I still think he was incredibly brave to stand up on stage and sing Ordinary World. I could not have done it. I have a hard enough time baring my soul through my typed words, much less showing them live, in person. I couldn’t even look at him while he sang – too painful.

I also felt that while Katy was sympathetic, she was uncomfortable and wanted to move on to easier subjects. I’m sure she wanted to protect Simon’s feelings, and let’s face it – Duran Duran is supposed to be a party band and it’s hard to portray that when the lead singer sounds depressed.  The balance between real life and stage, I guess.

360 Videos

Did anyone see the videos the band posted for Duran Duran Appreciation Day?

Paper Gods 360

Hungry Like the Wolf 360

They are worth watching, but unless you have a VR headset, your best bet for watching is your phone. Pull up the videos, put them on full screen and watch with your phone horizontally.  Can I just say that it’s kind of cool to be able to see yourself in the audience? It’s like having an out-of-body experience!

I actually have access to a VR headset (special shout out to Gavin for letting mom borrow his!), and watched the videos. Gavin’s headset is  an early version, so it’s a bit wonky, but I got the general idea.  Normally I would have almost zero interest in that sort of thing, but it’s Duran Duran, and how often am I really going to be able to be IN one of their videos?  Definitely worth watching!

Simon, on the other hand, is not really into VR. He prefers not to worry about cameras when they are filming, because he sees his job, every single night, as playing for the people who paid to see them. He feels strongly that when the band films, the cameras have to fit in with that environment, and not the other way around. The rapport has to be with the audience, and not the camera.

Work with Nick Wood

Early this summer, Simon went with Nick Wood to Cannes for a conference/film festival for commercial music.  They gave a talk, and  filmed a video for Closer to my Bed. Syn also won an Emmy for a spot they did on CNN.  Not bad work for a Duran Duran “break”!!

Coming to the end of Paper Gods

There are seven more dates, including Croatia, Ireland, Italy, Singapore and Japan, and then the Paper Gods album cycle and touring will be complete. Simon sounds bittersweet as he describes this album as being the most exciting in years, and certainly “the best since Rio”.  He talks about the huge success they had with it in the US, but that he is sad they are not taking the tour to Australia. (according to Simon the dates just never worked out)

Katy asks Simon how he closes out a project, whether or not he reflects or looks to what is coming next.  Simon responds by saying that something isn’t “done” until it is done, and then whatever is coming down the road isn’t here until it gets here. He says it is important for him to have clear lines, and I think staying completely present in the moment he is in must be what guides him, as well.

So what IS going to be next for the band?  Well, they have some time blocked out to be in the studio “quite soon” after touring. Of course in one breath Simon says that, in the next Katy says that she is “sworn to secrecy” about that studio time – and Simon tries to back up saying “they MIGHT” go in the studio. Sounds to me as though they’re going in the studio for sure, but that no one really knows what, if anything, might happen when they’re in there.

Katy asked about working with collaborators, like Mark Ronson, Ben Hudson and even Nile again. Simon sounded like he was enthusiastic to work with Ben and Mark for sure, but as we all know – it’s the beginning of who-knows-what. Chances are, everything will change and turn completely on its head before it is all said and done, so I caution: nothing is in stone until you’re holding whatever will come next in your hands. Consider all possibilities, but hold the band to none.  🙂

Let’s face it, Duranies, we’re at the very end of what we know. Going forward from here, it’s like winter. We don’t know how long it might be, but we should probably get used to the quiet.  At first, we’ll all enjoy the novelty of peace.  Maybe staying in won’t be so bad.  But then January hits, and the cold really sets in. We start to get tired of looking outside and seeing the snow drifts only growing higher.  From previous experience we know that when spring arrives, it will probably be glorious and colorful, but it’s now March and there’s no sign of green grass yet. How long is this winter really going to take??

Yeah, I hate this part too. It makes writing tough. I get impatient, but this time, I’ve sworn not to push. I’m going to just enjoy the ride and let the rest work itself out.

-R

 

June 2017 Katy Kafe with John Taylor!

I marvel every single time I type the word “June.” I’m not sure if it’s just me, living in the land of denial that my son graduates from high school on Saturday, or if it is really that I’m shocked time goes by so fast. I would swear it was just March a few days ago.  Either way, it is June, and it is time for the June 2017 Katy Kafe!

By now, our readers know the drill – these are the highlights, not a full transcription. If you really want to hear the whole Kafe, get yourself a membership to DDM. Even on a “paying for college” budget – I manage to put together enough money for my renewal each year, so it can be done!

Each June, it is either Nick or John that joins Katy in the Kafe because, as we all know, they each have a birthday this month. This year, it is John’s turn and Katy wastes no time getting down to business. JT just returned from a trip to Arizona for a family wedding and is relaxing at home in LA.

Memories of the Glass Spider Tour with Bowie

After some discussion of various places they played on this tour, (You can check out the real dates here) John says the experience was priceless. Interestingly enough, Duran Duran and David Bowie never appeared onstage together. The closest was one time when the band was playing Bang A Gong, and David was watching off to the side of the stage.

Wrapping Up Paper Gods

At this moment, it would appear that the Singapore Gran Prix dates are the final ones for Paper Gods. The band wanted to go to South Korea, Japan and of course Australia, but the right opportunity has not presented itself. They are still really trying, but it sounds to me as though this is not going to happen. I know many fans are still holding out hopes for DD to join Chic in Australia, but from the way John spoke, it does not sound likely at this point. He mentioned possibly going out next year, but Nick is less inclined to go from touring, to studio and then back to touring again. As John explained, it’s difficult to be in the studio when you’re constantly tired from touring. I don’t know exactly what kept them from getting to Australia and the Far East this time around, but John says it’s very complicated, and given that I’ve never managed a tour (not many of us have), I’m going to take his word for it!

The upcoming west coast and Canada dates are hallmarked by one very special date in Hawaii – it is somewhere the band has never played, and they are very excited to get there. A night of paradise in paradise. I like the way that sounds! Wish I could be there, but I also wanted to stay married. Go figure.

40th Anniversary Plans

I wish I could say that these “plans” are taking shape. All I gleaned from this Katy Kafe was that they have a whole lot of ideas. It very much reminds me of the Kafes as an album is beginning to be made and LOTS of ideas are thrown out, but we never really know what is going to stick (or was stuck) until we fans get the album in our hands. I suspect the same will hold true for the 40th anniversary.

They do plan to get back into the studio in London before the end of the year, and this does coincide with the 40th anniversary (those are John’s words, not my assumptions). Katy asked if they’d be working on new music or perhaps re-examining old music. John seemed to indicate some of each. “There’s lots of talk and plans. We have to just get to it” (meaning the unreleased material)  He specifically spoke about Reportage, which should thrill some people out there (myself included) For those who are unaware, Reportage is the album they recorded with Andy prior to his leaving – and ended up being shelved. (They released Red Carpet Massacre instead) John says they are “keen to get that (Reportage) out”

He reiterated that the 40th Anniversary celebration is going to roll out over the course of three years, and culminate in the summer of 2020. Get your credit cards and bank accounts ready, folks. This is what we’ve trained for.

Nick & John’s TSP

As I suspected, this has everything to do with the musical that they’ve been working on. Nothing thrills me more to use the word “musical” in a sentence with Nick and John. Yes, it’s true – I am a musical theatre mom, and I can hardly wait to see what they’ve got planned. If they need a choreographer, I know some people. One may or may not be my daughter. She’s good. (Yes, I just plugged my kid. No, I have zero shame.)  So, my suspicion is that those people who were in the studio with them might just be working on a demo soundtrack.

John would love for this to end up being part of the 40th anniversary celebration, and he says it just might be – but he doesn’t want to say more than that.  I could hardly stop myself from jumping out of my chair at those words. LOVE IT. He says he’s really getting into musical theatre – and planned to watch the Tony awards on Sunday night (which was the day this Kafe was taped).

About Those Pre-show Playlists

John explains that because he makes his living in music, it is crucial that he remain on the lookout for music that interests, excites and inspires him. His playlists are mixes of music he’s curious about along with music that he’s discovered that maybe he was unaware of before. He uses the example of Cream, which was a 60s/70s group with Eric Clapton. He’d never really listened to them before, heard them somewhere and has really been listening now because they were the precursor to so many other bands – they were pre-Led Zeppelin, for instance.

John says, tentatively, that there isn’t a whole lot of new live music he’s really into (for the summer), but that there’s a few festivals he wishes he could go to, but they don’t coincide with DD’s touring. I got the feeling that John didn’t want to go into what he doesn’t like, rather choosing to focus on the positives, so he didn’t really say much. Katy responded exactly as I would have (given the opportunity), as she said that she’s beginning to find the whole “new music discovery” thing to take effort these days, whereas she might not have said the same five years ago. She explained that every now and then she turns on a station like Z100 (I am assuming this is top 40) and she won’t like what she hears (Oh, I feel you Katy) and she’ll wonder if she’s just getting old. (Same here) She said that she’s looking forward to when her kids are older and can introduce her to some new music.

I have to say that yes, as a parent of older kids – it’s been really nice having them to point out new music. Saves me a little trouble, but by the same token I’ve learned that my kids have wildly different tastes from me. Not that this is a bad thing – I’ve learned to have an appreciation for anything from dubstep to EDM from Gavin (and now he’s into a lot of really hard rock and even metal – NOT hair bands but true metal from the 80s, which is amusing), and Heather tends to like a much wider variety, probably because she uses so many different types of music for dance. I agree with what John says about it taking work, but that if you’re willing to put the work in to finding it – there’s a lot of great music out there. My issue is time. I want more of it. 🙂

I am really kind of sick of 80s music, I mean – it’s great and all but there’s a lot more to the world, and yet to set out to discover something new takes time. I feel like I’ve spent quite a bit of time on older music – The Beatles and the first British Invasion, for instance, and now I’m looking for something different.  The “new” music of today does very little to excite me, but I feel like I’ve just got to keep looking.

Thankfully, The Killers are releasing a new single tomorrow and a new album in September, but this is a Duran Duran fan blog….

This wraps up the June 2017 Katy Kafe! John will be back in the UK for his birthday on June 20th, and back in the Kafe in Autumn. Let’s hope he’ll have more news about this 40th Anniversary by then!

-R

April 2017 Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor!

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

Lollapalooza

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

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

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

July

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

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

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

What about Australia???

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

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

What is next?

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

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

Rio turns 35 (Impossible!!!)

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

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

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

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

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

And about that birthday….

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

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

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

Until next time!

-R

March 2017 Katy Kafe with Simon!

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

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

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

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

Simon on Coffee

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

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

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

Simon on the David Bowie Tribute Performance

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

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

 

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

BEST. QUOTE. EVER.  Oh, Simon. 

Simon on Music (Italy)!

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Simon on the Upcoming Tour Dates

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

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

Simon on the band’s big 4-0

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

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

So sorry it was so late!!

-R

 

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