Third post in a single day. You’d think I did this full time….
(let’s just not talk about that, OK? Moving on…)
Today brought wonderful gifts in the way of a tweetstake (I desperately tried to win but alas, I cannot type that fast. I knew the answer and typed that out supa-fast, but then I stumbled over the damn hashtag for #ADITM. *sigh* Oh well. Had to try – congrats to @Barbarella5 for being lightning fast – good for you!!!)…and the second gift? A Katy Kafe. WITH VIDEO.
I’ll let you catch your breath on that one. That’s right, this one had video. This was fabulous because we were able to see John Taylor “in person”! This was also very difficult, because I found myself struggling to remember to take notes. Really Rhonda? I couldn’t watch him and think about what to write down at the same time. (And I wonder why I didn’t win the tweetstake. Gee, I really don’t know….;) )
Personal struggles aside – I took copious notes. No really, I did!! I sat through some of the conversation several times just to make sure I got it all down. I know, I know, it’s a lot to ask of me…but I do it for you. MWAH. (that’s a kiss, all the way from California.) Once again, I give the disclaimer that my note taking skills, stellar as they may be, are not done word-for-word, and if you really want the full experience (and you do, because this one is video, people…), you should join duranduranmusic.com.
The opening convo is that John is Skyping from home in England, and that it’s his turn in the Kafe on his birthday month this year. Shout out to Katy for mentioning Dom, since yes – his birthday is coming up on June 14th, and we DEFINITELY count him as part of the band… even if he’s completely forgotten us on Twitter and Facebook these days. *sigh*
Where was I? Oh yes….John Taylor.
On Mr. Hudson: Turns out Mr. Hudson has a first name and it’s BEN. It’s the little things you know. They’ve done three songs with him and apparently they’re all on a first-name basis with him now. And of course, we are now too because he’s part of the Duran family…until he sends us a comment telling us to stick to Mr. Hudson. 🙂 (hey, it could happen!!) John says that he had no idea what to expect from him – he knew of his work with Kanye, and last year he’d heard ‘Fred Astaire’ from a mix that Mark Ronson had given to them. As originally reported here on Daily Duranie, Mr. Hudson…er…Ben… is from Birmingham and grew up only a few miles from him. John says that they have formed a strong partnership and he’s helping the band to “tidy up” the other songs they’ve worked on. They seem to be at a point in the process where they have a reasonable idea of what they want to include on the album (11 or 12 songs seem to be the goal) and now it’s about making them sound like a cohesive statement with the same sort of energy. John basically said that while they recorded these over the course of 18 months (give or take…) they want it to sound as though they recorded over the course of a month or two. He also said that Ben came to them at a point where they felt like they were running out of gas, and so he came to the project bringing a whole new energy. Whereas the four members all do things and make decisions very deliberately, Ben isn’t self-conscious, and that must have breathed some very needed new-life into the project.
About those “extra” songs: As we all know, once the band has reached the end of the recording – there are songs that make the album and songs that don’t. I myself have wondered from time to time where those songs go, and I’ll bet others have as well. In my head I picture a bank vault with one of those wheels with spokes that operate the door… (in my head I also picture myself being allowed in that vault to listen with glee to my hearts content, but you know…that’s just fantasy.) Katy must have been in my head at some point, because she asks what they do with the extra songs. John is very quick to answer that they’re always asked for three or four other songs – bonus tracks – that end up somewhere. He said something about fan sites and I started to choke on the iced tea I was having, because you know – I happen to know of a fan site that would be thrilled to “unearth” a bonus track for people to have and hold. (More fantasy. I know. I have a very active imagination.)
Covers (and Tribute Albums): Katy asks him about LUXXURY’S Girls on Film cover because it truly highlight’s John’s bass line. He comments that it (the cover) was indeed “salve for recoiled fans”, referring to the fan reaction regarding the debut of Moby’s version of Rio a couple weeks ago. John was very surprised to see the reaction from fans and then went on to describe his own reaction when he first heard the song. He explains that when he heard it, he was overcome with emotion, actually in tears, because to him – it was that good. While he may have had tears in common with many fans after hearing the song, it was most assuredly not for the same reasons. I think this is difficult for John to understand, and yet – probably not. What blows my mind is that here’s John Taylor, one of the writers of the original, telling us – his fans – that he loved Moby’s version (he and Moby are friends), and yet we, fans of this band, STILL cannot get behind that work? However, even John recognizes that Moby’s song triggers very different emotional spaces than Duran Duran’s version…yet for ME…that’s exactly why I like it. I don’t know, maybe I’m the crazy one?? (Don’t answer that.) John continues to talk about the Manimal project (Making Patterns Rhyme), saying that in a lot of ways, it’s good that it’s creating some controversy and getting attention – because these days, it’s very, very difficult to get attention (more on that in a bit!). He finishes by saying what I already believe to be the case: Making Patterns Rhyme is probably not a project for the die hards out there, it’s intended for a more alternative-minded music listener. I agree completely, given the little bit that I know. That said, I’m going to keep promoting it because dang it – I can’t have fans getting lazy and closing their ears to new things!
A couple of speaking engagements John has/will participate in! A few weeks back, John went to speak to a group of local musicians at Death or Glory Records in Redditch (UK). The owner of Death or Glory wanted to keep the purity of the musicians forum he’d organized – meaning it was not publicized to fans beforehand. I have to applaud that choice, because that gave these local musicians the chance to really talk to John as a musician, without people like me around squealing “Oh my God…it’s John Taylor, right in front of me!” You know? The story behind the event is that in some publication, it was announced that Redditch is the “least musical” place in all of England, which is atrocious because Redditch actually claims John Taylor among their own. (That right there seems like enough to me to say the place is among the MOST musical, you know??) The owner of this record shop decided to rally against that label and started organizing these events – forums – for musicians to come together and talk about some of the successes and challenges of their chosen career. For this event, John and the group talked a lot about the differences between trying to break through today verses back in the early days of Duran Duran, and ultimately while everything is different technologically – the crux is still the same. John says that “you’ve got to take what’s in here” (meaning the heart…within the mind and body) and make it into something that speaks to millions. That one action has stayed the same, no matter the time period. One thing that has changed though, is the internet. I know fans (including me!) talk about how wonderful the internet has been for us. It’s opened doors between all of us as fans. We connect. I applaud that. But, as John says, it’s made us lazy. He’s right. We sit at home and just wait for the music to find us. We don’t have to work for it like we once did. He’s right. I don’t have to go searching for news on the band by listening to the radio, scouring the television to find interviews or going down to the local “Wherehouse” records to see if they have any new magazines or music from the band. Now I search online. In a lot of ways, it’s much, much easier…and it’s much more difficult to keep our attention for long. On the other hand, the artist has to work much harder to stand out among the masses, to connect in ways they never thought they needed, and to keep our attention longer than it takes to click to the next website.
Personally I think that’s where the industry really struggles. They have no idea how to hold our attention and they have no idea how to translate “likes” on a FB page or “favorites” on Twitter into dollar signs. In a lot of ways, I think there’s just far too much available. We have to switch on a dime from one thing to the next in order just to keep up. I think that might be some of the reason why the band seems to have retreated a bit from social media – because it’s just very difficult to keep up with all of it and none of them want to be slaves to it all (nor do they feel as though they need that pressure). I can certainly understand that. Just imagine the young artists coming up today….they don’t have the luxury of an established fan base, and in today’s world, that’s how you get them. It’s exhausting.
Additionally, John will be speaking at DHI family day. (Developing Health and Independence) This organization helps people – whether they’re homeless, or have substance abuse issues – they help. John was asked to speak, and he sees his role to deal with the stigma. As John says, he’s a guy who came from a great family, had a wonderful job and still fell into drug and alcohol abuse. If he was able to stand up and ask for help, he wants others to feel like they can do the same. John says that he doesn’t see himself as terribly philanthropic, but that he tries to say yes when he’s asked to give back to the community. (I think he’s a very nice guy. There are a lot of people out there who have just as much to “give” as John might and yet they don’t. Whether he’s shy or not, we’re proud of him!)
Careless Memories Photo Book/Denis O’Regan: John explains that they have a very exacting team working on this book (and they are hoping to have finished copies ready in another month). Nick sees this as a very important project that he’s taken under his wing, and they’re working with John Warwicker (graphic designer who created, among other things, the cover for Astronaut). It sounds like it will be a top notch collectible for the very wealthy amongst us when it’s completed. (still hoping for the “bargain basement but still really cool version for the rest of the fans”…) Katy asked John if he minds looking back on Sing Blue Silver and John said that he “quite enjoys” it now. At one point he was “pathologically afraid of looking back”, but not now. Then he drops a scoop worth tucking in the back our heads for later: He thinks the next thing they’re going to work on is something similar (to the Careless Memories photo book) for the Notorious tour and project. Interesting!!
They wrapped up the Kafe after that. John is planning to stay home with Gela (whom he hasn’t seen much of lately as she’s been promoting her own book, The Glitter Plan…which we reviewed here) and then the following evening he’s going into London for a party with “the guys”.
He waits until nearly ten seconds prior to the Kafe ending to get into “better light”…but when he does? He definitely has not forgotten how to work it! Well done John! Always leave ’em wanting more…