Friday came with a surprise: a brand-new Katy Kafe for January 2017, complete with Nick Rhodes in the guest seat!
As always, I begin my post of the highlights with a simple disclaimer: this is not going to be a complete transcript of everything said. My notes are copious but not perfect, so if you want to really hear the entire thing – go get yourself a DDM membership. Thanks!
The sound for this Katy Kafe really bothered me. Nick was very quiet, and Katy was extremely loud, to the point of being distorted – and I want to be clear, I’m not complaining about her speaking, just that it came out sounding distorted as though she were way too close to the speaker (but I don’t think that was the case). I found myself toggling the volume loud for Nick, and much softer when Katy would speak. Katy mentioned still having problems recording the Kafe. I get it…and I am only mentioning this because I might have a solution, otherwise I wouldn’t say a thing. She gets enough criticism as it is. Anyway, Amanda and I have the same trouble from time to time. I know there is software readily available for recording podcasts, and I know that Skype calls can also be recorded…and not just the video kind, but the VOIP (voice over internet provider) kind as well. I believe we spent about $50 on our software to record our video calls, and it was money well-spent, but I also am aware that more and more software is available now so that maybe it wouldn’t cost a thing, particularly for the voice-calls. Just a thought.
Nick Is Back!
Initially, they chatted about Nick resuming his DD duties. The thing is, Nick never really stepped completely away from Duran Duran, he simply couldn’t be where they needed him to be – so rather than cancel shows, they were lucky to have Amanda (no, not THAT Amanda – MNDR, actually!) to step in and be able to do a fabulous job while Nick was away. There was no additional information given to his absence, not that I expected otherwise.
New Year Shows and Beyond for 2017
It has been many years since Duran Duran did shows around the New Year holiday, and he said it was fun, mentioning the there was “not too much expectation”, that people were just out to have a good time. He did mention that there would be some additional shows later in the year for the US, and South America.
He elaborated on South America, mentioning that they hadn’t been there in a while (about four years, he guessed) and that they have some of the best audiences in the world there with an amazing energy. They will be there for a couple of weeks, visiting Argentina, Chile and Brazil for Lalapalooza as well as an additional show in Brazil.
The subject of Australia continues to come up – and yes, it would seem the band is at least aware of the need to tour there. Dates have been, and continue to be, discussed, but nothing has been booked. They are looking at September time-period, and they’re also hoping to get to Japan and other areas (he mentioned Hong Kong for one) in that general vicinity.
Katy asked Nick if they were hoping to tour on and off for 2017 and then get back into the studio, but Nick seemed unwilling to commit. The last time Nick was in the Kafe, he seemed to think they’d go back to the studio around the September time period, but because they are now talking about Australian dates during that same time, I have to think that the studio has been put off. If you’re as dialed in to DD’s typical pattern, it’s probably a smart guess to assume they won’t be going back to the studio in 2017 if they’re going to tour in September/October because typically, after a tour – they take a fair amount of time completely off before resuming. Maybe 2018? But then….that’s their 40th anniversary. Will they tour yet again? The time frame seems to leave a lot of questions. Time will tell.
One subject Nick spent a fair amount of time discussing is the musical project that he has been working on with John. Can you believe it has already been six years that they’ve been working on it? Nick says that they are very close to finishing the first draft, mentioning the time frame and that it has been difficult for them to really have solid working time – grabbing a week here, a week there. So when in fact they’ve probably spent a solid three months time writing, it’s been spaced out over the course of six years. (I so get this from my own writing experiences with Amanda!)
The music is meant for stage, they know that for sure. What they are still thinking about is where they’ll release it. Do they put the show up first and then the soundtrack? Do they do the music first? It’s been a very different way of writing. Imagine it – they know the characters, they know the story. Each song is a matter of getting from point A to point B and so on, but how to say it using the characters voice? He mentions how they know what each character eats for breakfast, explaining the same sort of intimate knowledge that an author might have for their own characters, and yet they’ve got an entire cast to “know” that thoroughly.
Nick mentions that the process has not been quick. On the same note – he and John have not had a lot of arguments about the direction and so forth. Once they locked down the story they wanted to tell, it was a matter of working together as a full collaboration. Nick uses Tommy (by The Who) as an example, but is quick to add that Tommy is in fact a rock opera as opposed to a musical.
He sees the musical writing/staging process as similar to a live show. Each takes the audience on a journey, following up to say that while a play writer might not have any experience with the pacing involved in a live show, he and John certainly do. He wasn’t ready to share the subject matter or theme to the musical, only saying that the story is universally appealing and that he knows of no other musical that covers what they are covering.
The Live Show
That brought the Kafe to discussing the pacing of their current live show. One of Nick’s favorite moments in the show is when the confetti cannons go off. I think most everyone is aware of the cannons during “Pressure Off”, and he says that it was really fun to watch the people’s faces as the confetti showers the crowd. He talks briefly about opening with “Paper Gods” and how Simon has enjoyed that because the song is within his natural range and is lengthy, and then compared that to opening with “Before the Rain” during the last tour.
Nick says that he has enjoyed playing all of the songs in their set for various reasons, but he does miss playing Only in Dreams and Love Voodoo, which they performed during the UK shows. They were cut because the show was becoming too lengthy (I don’t even know what this means….is there really such a thing?!?) He explains that it becomes very difficult when pacing a show, because some songs are really only identifiable by the diehards in the first few rows, and while they might be jubilant, the rest of the audience is standing back and asking “What is this?” He says that they are constantly striving for a balance of new songs, intrigue, and old songs, and they never get it quite right. Over the years, they’ve tried adding several songs into the set list without a lot of crowd success beyond the first five rows:
Come Up and See Me
Late Bar (One that he says no one knows beyond the first couple rows – a painful, terrible truth, I might add!)
Seventh Stranger (Katy mentions that on an informal survey that Richard Blade did during the time that JT came to visit him at Sirius radio, this song was the most requested “obscurity” to be played.)
Faster than Light (The song that JT would like to do live, in response to Richard’s survey above)
However, those of us that would love a show for purely obscure songs that the rest of the world doesn’t know have a friend in Nick – he says he would love to play a show where they don’t perform a single hit! Mentioning Palomino along with Crime & Passion, he muses…and then says “whether we’ll get ’round to doing that, never know.” They did do something similar to warm themselves up for the last tour (he is talking about the UK rehearsal gigs they did prior to the All You Need is Now tour, after Simon’s vocal issues – these were gigs just to get themselves back into playing live mode.)
They end the January 2017 Katy Kafe by Katy thanking him, and then making quick mention that maybe they should look at doing smaller theater shows for their bigger supporters, and that way they could look at doing some of the more obscure songs in their catalog.
IF ONLY, AM I RIGHT?!
On to February, when Nick joins Katy again for their annual Oscar Kafe!