Tag Archives: Stevie Wonder

April 2019 Katy Kafe with Roger

Someone else has a birthday this month, along with Amanda and my youngest, and his name is Roger! As he explains early in this month’s Katy Kafe, this year isn’t the “big” year – and we’re not talking about that yet!

We did hear within the first few seconds that the band is going back into the studio today, and that his birthday is also a studio day. Little by little, we’re hearing more teensy little items of interest about that studio time. I can’t lie, for me, a lot of this Kafe, seemed to be about his drums, and while some of the questions were interesting, others really didn’t resonate – purely because I am not a drummer, and I don’t know the difference between Tama drums or any other brands. I took notes, and as always, I encourage everyone to get their own DDM membership!

Today’s Kafe featured a selection of Katy-chosen questions from their Instagram.

What is your max heart rate when playing Wild Boys?

Roger laughed, because I would imagine he hasn’t had too much of an opportunity to measure his own heart rate (kind of wonder what an Apple Watch would do under those conditions though, I must admit). However, he did say that whatever it might be – it would be much faster for “Rio”. Somehow this led into a short sidebar about the fact that he finds that he plays far more powerfully when he is relaxed. It isn’t about sheer strength, it is about playing with flexibility and precision. So while you and I might think he has pretty strong arms….he says no.

I’ve seen them. Well…I have in pictures before, anyway. I’m still gonna go with yes. <big grin>

Which drum track from your entire catalog makes you the most proud?

Roger says “Anything from Rio”.

What tracks from other drummers do you admire most?

“Trampled Under Foot” – John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)

“Superstition” – Stevie Wonder.

Your homework, fellow Duranies – is to go listen to both. 🙂

What provides inspirations when writing new songs?

“What is going on around me”, Roger explains. Just as they enter the studio today, they won’t have any preconceived ideas of what they’ll play. Nick might begin playing something and then that will give Roger inspiration for a drum beat and so on. They write “off the cuff” and have done so for many years (and albums). He mentions how they were in the studio with Errol Alkan and Mark Ronson, and that in each case – they had no ideas of what they might do, but that each of them had their own creative ideas, and that in turn inspired them.

Katy interjects at this point and asks if he’s heard any of the finished songs and Roger quickly says that nothing is finished yet. I add this tidbit purely because if you were hoping for finished music in 2019….I’m still thinking you’d be better off hoping for 2020!!

What were you whispering to yourself in the video for “Night Boat”?

Roger laughs and says “I was probably wondering what in the hell we were doing or what it was all about!” Then he explains that he hasn’t WATCHED the video since they made it!

I just have to say, this little kernel of truth shocked me. I mean, I know these guys have been busy over the years, especially back then – and maybe I’m just a control freak (I know I am), but really? You didn’t even WATCH it to see if you thought it was any good? I really hope Roger watches it, and that eventually somehow, we hear what he thought when he did! (In case you’re reading: your acting on it was A+, Roger. <big grin> I must have watched that video 30,000 times when I first got the video album. I mean…you were speaking! It didn’t even matter what you were saying – I could hear your voice.

Wow. Yep, I was indeed a fan. Big fan. Huge!

If you were stranded on a desert island and had the choice of what band member was with you – who would you choose and why?

Apparently, there is only one answer to this question as far as Katy and Roger are concerned. They’d choose Simon because he could get them out. (It turns out, they trust Simon’s sailing ability. Ok then. I can’t argue…except to ask, “Who said we wanted to leave the island?!?”).

Where’s the one “bucket list” place you’d like to visit?

India. Roger has never been to India, and he’d like to go and visit – not just a resort, but the “real” India.

What song from Arcadia (aside from Election Day) would you like to add to the set list?

Roger’s favorite Arcadia song is “The Promise”, and he’d like to add that – in fact, he says he may suggest that the next time the set list conversation comes up!

What drum gear are you using in the studio for the new recordings?

He is working with more of a live drum set-up. Errol and Mark both had kits in their studios he used. While the last album relied a little more heavily on electronics, these songs are more live, less electronic. More organic. Acoustic.

**note here for everyone committing this to memory, expecting whatever music to come out to be exactly as Roger describes here. It is still early in the process. Roger himself said nothing is finished. While this is how it’s sounding now, WHO KNOWS what will end up coming through our speakers when it is done…and remember he’s talking about the drums. We don’t know what the rest of it will sound like at all. Right?

Do you still have your earliest Tama drum kit?

They have a lot in storage, but Roger says he doesn’t really have anything from his first kit. As a side note though, Paul McCartney did at one time have a drum of his in his studio. Roger knows one of Paul’s daughters and gave her one of the drums he no longer needed.

Roger continues by explaining that he’s really not a collector. He doesn’t keep things – same with clothes. He has his Rio jacket, but he doesn’t know where the trousers are. That beautiful blue silk jacket was on display at the O2 Music Experience when I was in London back in 2011 – don’t know if it’s still there though!

Which song would you go back and re-record if you had the opportunity?

Roger said “None”.

His feeling here is like most artists – when you record a song, it is like a snapshot in time for that particular period. Going back and changing it is similar to stepping into a time machine and going back to fix some part of history. Once you do that, everything changes.

Would you still join the band if you had already known what was going to happen (all of the ups and downs, etc.)

He says he wouldn’t change a thing. One thing I can hear in Roger’s voice is how grateful he is for his career. He talks about how he might have been a mechanic or hated his day job, and obviously that’s not the case with the band. Despite the ups and downs, he clearly still loves his life just as it is.

Favorite performance of his entire career?

I would have thought a question like this would stump someone. I mean, this includes thousands of performances! However, he said that the last time they played the O2 – he had his family there with him. There was an incredible synergy with the audience, and the night was magical. So there you have it!

Happy birthday, Roger! It might be a working birthday, but we hope it is still fantastic!

-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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

September Katy Kafe with John Taylor

I apologize for the lateness of the blog today.  I promised myself that I would get some of that pesky school work done before I completed the more fun task of listening to September’s Katy Kafe and blogging about it.  As always with I’m only going to be sharing what I think the highlights were and my thoughts about them.  If you want the complete deal, I suggest getting that membership to DuranDuranMusic and listening for yourself.  This is one Kafe that is worth it!

End of the Tour:

John commented about how they are on the verge of finishing this tour, which really began for them last year.  He said that the end allows them to look back at the accomplishment while looking forward to the break and the next steps.  I have to admit that I have always wondered what the end of the tour must be for them.  I know what it is like for me.  It is usually one of mixed emotions.  While I’m glad to return home and get some sleep, I’m also terribly sad in that I don’t know when I will see the next Duran show or the next time that I will see my friends, especially Rhonda.  It also usually motivates me to do more work about the blog, our writing or fan events.  I guess it is safe to say that tours usually inspire me.

Next Steps:

This Kafe brought the good stuff right away with Katy asking about next steps.  While there wasn’t a major scoop, there was a few details that I focused in on.  First, the return to the States (probably that East Coast show that DDHQ has hinted about) will be around New Year’s.  (I don’t mind that.  I do have a winter vacation then.  Just for the record.)  Second, 2017 will hopefully include some “special shows”.  That has me wondering what that means!  Of course, he did also mention the idea of continuing the tour to Australia, Asia and South America.  Interesting to note there was no mention of the Broadway musical or ballet that he and Nick have been working on.

Chic:

When Katy brought up the topic of Chic, I have to admit that I wondered what else could be said since most critics, fans, etc. have all talked about how having Chic on tour with Duran was awesome because they fit together well.  Well, JT talked about how Simon was more “emotional” and “open” on this tour, which showed when he talked about the band’s love for Nile each night.  He also mentioned the hope to get Chic to join them for an Australia tour.

Festivals:

The topic of festivals came up in relation to the question of whether or not the band would return to North America.  John was open by saying that it wasn’t his decision but that he thinks the best way to keep trying to get the album heard is by playing live dates and that festivals mean that people who wouldn’t have heard Paper Gods get to hear it.  Katy then wondered if they might come back to the States next summer for some festivals.  John said that many people would agree with that thinking.  Of course, while understanding this thinking, festivals make me cringe.  I’m too old to enjoy them with all  the discomforts that they bring.

Stevie Wonder:

John talked about how amazing it was to be at the festival in Aspen with Stevie Wonder.  (I, too, thought it was amazing when I got to see Stevie Wonder play at the 2013 Inaugural Ball!)  I smiled throughout his description of watching Stevie perform then meeting him and getting a picture taken with him.  He sounded like many of us do when describing meeting him!

iPhone7:

Yes, they talked about the new iPhone design that is coming out that features the cordless headphones.  Apparently, the phone will also be waterproof, which could be important to people who have had incidents with their phone and water.  (coughRhondacough)

Neurotic Outsiders:

This year marks the 20th anniversary of John’s side project, Neurotic Outsiders.  John shared the story about how the project came together, which is interesting story about they started playing one gig together for a fundraiser before being offered a residency at the Viper Room in LA.  More interesting than that, John discussed where his head was at the time, since the side project began right before he left the band.  He talked about how his ideas with Duran had run out and that he was interested in sticking to LA more.  As someone who is self-described as old school, he also liked (and still does) the idea of a residency.  He described this project as the opposite of Duran.  While Duran is complex, this band was simple.  While they made an album of new material, John felt that the album should  have been them live.

Overall, this Kafe was a joy to listen to.  John sounded very upbeat and positive.  His openness and positivity showed with each topic that came up.  As someone wondering what will be next for Duran Duran, the Kafe provided me with a sense that whatever it will be will be good.

-A