I hear there’s yet another birthday coming up next week…this time it is John Taylor, and we begin the celebrations with some highlights from the Kafe!!
As always, I admonish that while my note taking is pretty damn good, I didn’t write down everything the man said. If you want to hear the entire thing, get yourself a membership to DDM. Shows are coming, people!!
This Kafe had a theme, and that was “Invisible”. Katy kept to that topic throughout the Kafe, and if you’re looking for an album scoop…look no further. There were none! (Cue the chorus of “boooo”)
First single – Invisible
John said that it felt great to have a single. He is most happiest with its sound, especially so considering that this was not the song he would have chosen as the lead single. He was surprised to hear from their manager that the label was leaning towards going with “Invisible” as the single, but as the time grew closer (to release date), he was able to see it. He is pleased with the message and how it speaks to this “grey” time we are beginning to come out of. John also said that this song was built from the basis of the original idea they had when they first entered the studio with Graham and Erol, but went through any number of changes along the way.
Billboard Music Awards
John said that it felt great to perform the song, and that they’d each needed to practice it on their own so that way when they came together to record it looked like they had been playing together for quite some time. He was very excited about seeing what it looked like on television! (weren’t we all??).
Since that evening, many reviews came out saying that the band performance really showed the younger, newer artists what it is like to stand the test of time and continue playing. John commented that for him, it wasn’t that way at all. The other artists and bands were doing whatever it is they do – that it’s not a competition. They’re not “in competition with anyone but themselves”. It just does not work to compare. Even as the band started out, he was never looking sideways, only working to be the best at “the limited skill set” he had. (I think he’s being a bit too humble here, but you know – good on you, John. It’s not that limited of a skill-set, says this stay-at-home mom. I think you get the point.)
Working with Graham Coxon
Graham is an amazing guitar player. He is extraordinary, which, according to John, meant taking him as he is. They’ve worked with many guitarists over the years, and some are not quite confident enough in their own playing to just come in and play what they’ve got. They want to instead please the band by playing the way they think the band wants or needs them to play. Then there is a shorter list of guitarists that are so confident they come in, play whatever they want and basically force the band to work around them. Graham occupies a space on this list alongside Andy at his best, and Warren. I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone, including this writer.
Note from Rhonda: I hesitate, but I want to clarify that a session player is not someone who comes in and plays whatever they want. They are paid, frankly, to play whatever the band tells them to play, which has been the case with most of the guitarists Duran has worked with over the years – even one given occasional writing credit. Warren, Andy and Graham were never session players. They were allowed, or given the grace, to have the audacity to assume they should play whatever they want, and likely never worked under the same guise as session players. Their roles were never the same. There is certainly freedom in that, confidence aside.
Working with Erol Alkan
John stated that Erol has a post-techno sensibility because he comes into the role of producer as someone who is/was also a DJ. He has an eye on the dance floor, which came in handy, and he also loves Duran Duran. (I don’t know if anyone follows Erol on Twitter, but I do and his love and admiration for the band is quite obvious.) He also pushed JT to do some of the best playing he’s accomplished in years (according to John). One thing John made note of was that to him, “Invisible” is like five musicians dueling it out, and then he said that he feels that some of their best music ever has that same quality about it. (I believe many fans would agree!)
Working with Giorgio
Having Giorgio Moroder in the studio with them was a very different experience. John explains that the band had to have different rules with him – the level of reverence and respect for Giorgio is clear even in the Kafe. John said he found himself having to say, “Guys, guys, Giorgio is talking.” a lot. He came into the studio with a keyboard, started playing and they were like, “Oh okay, we’re making a Giorgio Moroder record!”
All John would say about the next single was that he didn’t know what it would be, and that they have good options going forward. Not even a remote stab at giving a scoop, which is unfortunate!
That’s it for this time!