John Taylor and Nick Rhodes, the Duran Duran founding members posing with Salvo just after a regular working day at the studio, picture taken on June 14th 2103. The duo is currently working together on a musical, as Rhodes said to Harper's Bazaar: "That’s something that we probably won’t have finished for a year or more".
Maybe we have a couple of new Andrew Lloyd Webber in Duran Duran?

July 15, 2013 [Hey! Tomorrow is the 33rd anniversary of Duran's first live gig with the Fab5 line-up at the Rum Runner!]
Over the last few months the band has been working intensely on their new album, whose working tiltle is still unknow to the public. They have been writing and recording in their small London studio with Joshua Blair, the recording and mixing engineer responsible for engineering "All You Need is Now. A small studio, according to Simon, with a very small piece of equipment compared their old studio setting... "we used to spend a lot more time writing out of the studio, now we do much of our writing inside the studio".

It’s an ongoing process as always says Nick

Let's make the point of the status of the making DD N°14 | This installment is basically about the progress made in the making of the album, so the page is filled with comments and news that the band members have released through their official different websites and social media, but there's also the fan point of view... as I recently went to UK and had the great pleasure to met the band. I spent a few, but always special, moments with the guys. So this post is enriched with that personal aspect and some new candid pictures of the guys.
Hope you like it!

Even though they are just moments the ones I spent with the band, happy and personal ones I have to add, I can certainly say that I've found them in great shape and in very good spirit but above they all seemed very motivated and truly enthusiastic about the work and the music they have been creating. They are farther along in the process this time than they were with All You Need Is Now and that's also another element of positivity. One day, when we asked if they had in mind a release time, Nick said that he hopes to release it in April..."

I think it’s potentially doable

this is also somehow the same thing he said recently on the KatyKafe "I knows that is dangerous, but we set our own a goal, a release probably in late spring next year. I'm not foolish enough to make any promises but yes, I hope we can make it. That means we have to have it largely finished this year, I think it’s potentially doable.

So after a deserved summer break [part of July and August] the guys will keep working up to the end of the year to finish the album, they aim for a Spring release and they actually hope to tour over the Summer. We just hope that Durantime doesn't apply this time around!

In the studio

Simon describe the atmosphere in the studio | Pieces of paper stack on the wall with unrelated lyrics, and concepts…Lighting is quite important, he says, Nick likes it so dark you can’t see anything… some other people prefer it quite bright, so we're trying to find a compromise. I tend to prefer darker, more moody, sort of sight.

It's a co-production

Mark Ronson is still involved but only partially on this album: "We are writing, he's producing, said Simon during the recent Kafe chat, that‘s the plan anyway. It's a co-production. "He probably won’t do the whole album, he's very busy too at the moment."

Direction | Simon points out the importance to maintain the connection to their fans, staying true to the band's musical value… "so we are still very much in Duran Duran sound, but we are developing the sound that we created on the last album, it s a developement from there really, and it got funk, It’s a bit more dancy perhaps than the last one. We are all in that mood, we are all in a dancy, up-tempo mood at the moment. >>

 

 

The most interesting sounds from today are coming from Dance music.

I think that still the revolution of synthesizers, which I was a small part
of along the way,
is creating new sounds, new beats,
things that feel very, very modern.


Nick Rhodes, June 2013 Harper's Bazaar


Nick Rhodes smiles to his fans, he always has a word and a moment for everyone, very careful to his fan-base, just lovely as always!

 

 

A precious moment with the Maestro of Sound | Nick has been writing lyrics and developing some ideas with Simon recently.

 

Speachless when Simon introduced me to his friend saying, This is Salvo, a good guy, a really good guy.

Groovy is the word

>> That's also what Nick told me when I asked about the new album, he used exactly the same word "groovy" to describe the sound, and he also confirmed the funky vein of some pieces.

Nick's recent comments about the work done are quite positive: "We have got about 10 pieces of music, some of them have titles, one of them is virtually finished, a lot of the songs sounds very groovy, which I find pleasing personally. It’s different from than the last album, there's a lot of energy in the songs, in the sounds. There are few quite unusual pieces too."

Simon says that he has been on a very creative mode recently: "we did a lot of good work". When I asked how the work on the new album was progressing he said "that’s alright actually, interesting, good stuff!" While Nick answerd to the fans asking the very same question: "good, really good, slowly but surely".

The Duran sound in three words according to Simon: Nude, Duran, Funk.

The funky element seems to be a constant in every member's comment, Simon said "the sound of Nile Rodgers/Daft Punk is an inspiration, they defined the sound of the summer, and if everybody is happy that way, that influences us... Nick spoke using flattering words talking about the Daft Punk's Get Lucky during a recent interview on the Harpers Bazaar website>>

Inspiration? Looking at the usual places really, deep inside the self, says Simon

 

>> [H's B] Any current favorites?

You know that Daft Punk single you can’t go anywhere without hearing? It’s for the right reason, I think. It’s actually really cool, and it makes you smile, and it’s a groovy piece of music.
It does a lot of things that I think people forget music can do. There are a lot of songs out there that moan and complain and protest — I get that, too. The best of those are some of the greatest songs ever written.
But sometimes, it’s really great to just hear a song that will lift your spirits and make you think, “Wow, I haven’t heard anything like that before.”

Simon loves Nile [check this out!]

I’m always up for writing/working with Nile Rodgers says Simon

"Nile Rodgers, I think it’s a fantastic guitarist, a very talented producer, and is also a lovely person to be around and I would very much like working with Nile again. So let's see what happens!" >>

Above a nice pic of Nick putting away in the inside pocket of his jacket a pair of eyeglasses.
It was a nice moment, when I asked if he actually wear them, he said yes and they are Prada.

 

Listening to the general noise that humanity makes

When I write, the music is the most important thing,
the music to be happening, that’s the foundation.

I’m open to new things, things I hear, you know,
sometimes you hear bits of conversation,
when you are sitting on the bus,
and there you start thinking about
something that can turn into a song.
I’m always looking on the internet,
television, radio, just listening to
the general noise that humanity makes…

A lot of stuff just pops out,
sometimes a phrase just pop up into your head.
Something that your mind is being configuring
for a couple of years or something,
suddenly gets regurgitated and
it lands in you laptop really,
a lot of the times is like that.


Simon / KatyKafe

 

Some Duran Moments

Simon and his mustache

I'm glad to be one of the luckiest who actually saw the mustache in person before Simon got rid of them. I liked his look, quite unique I have to say. Even though he looks younger without I think he was incredibly cool also with the mustache.

I'm quite a collector of memorabilia about the early years of Simon Le Bon as singer and actor, before he joined the band, so one day I showed him an agency photograph of him when he was very young and he was still working as an actor.
Well, I thought he was about 17 years old in that photo but he corrected me, he was only 14 when the photo was taken! How cool! So I replied "you didn't have mustache then..."
I suppose he was quite amused by the photo and by the funny comment I made, so he started to draw a mustache on that picture, he then dedicated to me and also wrote "ME"... just in case someone didn't recognize him?! It was an hilarious moment!

I have to say that Simon was in really good spirit... I suppose the long break he took after the tour, was all he needed to go back to work with enthusiasm and joy.

Simon in his best impersonation of Daft Punk

"We are still very much in Duran Duran sound,
but we are developing the sound that we created on the last album, it s a developement from there really, and it got funk, It’s a bit more dancy perhaps than
the last one. We are all in that mood, we are all in a dancy, up-tempo mood at the moment."

 

Tidbit | According to Nick the new album will be certainly available on iTunes and all the other digital outlets such as amazon and so on… "I don’t know about a major label... we will see what their options are..."
During the June Kafe Nick said that he would like to be able to keep the flexibility to do the things they did on the last project but with a bit of internatioanal support, a major distribution, so major labels would be an option in this case. "The last project was successful in parts" he commented, "and uncessful in some ways... so we’ll see!"


Happy birthday and happy Summer, Keep on shining Nick Rhodes!

One day I told Nick that words weren't enough to thank him for all the creativity he puts in his job on for the great joy he brings to us all. So, since words might have sound redundant I gave him a little bunch of sunflowers... I thought they were appropritate because the summer was about to start... He said that he loves sunflowers and I remember that found it funny when he litterally put his nose inside the bunch flowers trying to smell the scent...

* The sunflower's petals have been likened to bright yellow rays of sunshine, which evoke feelings of warmth and happiness. In addition, the sunflower is often associated with adoration, dedication and longevity.


51 or 15? This photo was taken on June 11th, so just few days after Nick's birthday... when I wished him happy birthday I told him,
"You look great, you actually look like 15 years old rather than 51"

 

Beautiful, inside and outside. Always.

 

Get the instant look! Bad hair day anyone? Learn from John Taylor how to adjust your hairstyle in just four moves!

...and you'll look great! Ladies and gentlemen the awesome John Taylor!

Back in June Hello! magazine dedicated to Gela Nash Taylor and John Taylor a six page feature filled with glossy and exclusive pictures taken in their wonderful home in Los Angeles. The magazine was just published when I was in London so when I saw John I asked him if he had seen the feature already, and since he hadn't, I showed him some pics of it that I had on my mobile and I had just posted on my facebook. Funny to see JT using my mobile...
So I thought it would have been nice to get a copy of the mag for him to see when he was off from work.
When I gave him the magazine he started to look at the pics and we also commented the feature... I congratulated him for the beautiful house and he replied [laughing] with irony "yeah beautiful... no that I’m ever there!"

 

News and Tidbits

 

  • "Nick plays quite a lot of Jupiter 8 [and Prophet-5] on this album, because he likes the old analog synthesizers, he preferes them to digital ones because he thinks he can get a lot more variations and sounds." I tend to agree, adds Simon, "Nick became quite an addict on fiddling around, there’s more artistry, more creativity in making your own sounds rather than just using the presets of the digital synthesizers... "
  • It's funny to see how the the band is often not aware of the various official compilations and greatest-hits that EMI releases without giving them any notice or sending them the released product. It happened in London when long time fan Gerardo asked Nick to sign his copy of The Biggest And Best double cd... after signing it, he started looking the record suspiciously and with a critical eye. We wasn't particulary pleased with the packaging/design of the cd. Just a reflection on how EMI does have complete control over the Duran Duran back catalogue...
  • I asked Nick if he could confirm The Wedding Album re-release and he said: "Yes, sure, is gonna be reissued... I think it will be good" about the Liberty reissue instead he said a resonant no, not at the moment at least: "no, because John and I wanna remix it, we wanna fiddle with it..."
  • The band is still talking about releasing Reportage in it's own – they won’t recycle any of the songs for DD N° 14 because from a business point of view, it would be hard to mix the current stuff with previous stuff they've worked on with Andy. “There are some beautiful songs, which really deserve a whole release” says Simon.

 

Girl duo DJs Le Bon Tong aka Amber Le Bon and Becky Tong dropping beats and major style at
Love & Liquor, June 14th 2013

"They don’t just play the same songs, it’s a one-off performance."

If you can, don't miss out the chance to attend a Le Bon Tong deejay set! I had the pleasure to dance at their beat during a cool night out at Love & Liquor in London on June 14th.


Becky and Amber mix indie and dance, it's a very dynamic duo.

Like her superstar DJ father Pete Tongthe, Becky 21-year-old is getting London dancing. And she is doing it with a little help from her friend, the model Amber Le Bon, 23, daughter of Simon.
“Having two people on the decks together is a hoot,” says Clement Ogbonnaya, creative director at Kilburn’s Love & Liquor Club. “The crowd enjoy seeing them interact, it’s like a chance to hang out with them. You can imagine you’re in their living room."
Becky says: "If you’re alone in the booth you can play what you like but if Amber is there we laugh off mistakes. She likes more indie music, like her dad, and I’m more dance-orientated so we go with her style at the start and end with mine. Once you’ve got the technical side, which is difficult, it’s a performance.”
Do they ever play Simon Le Bon’s music? “She’d cringe. I think she’s heard those songs too much, it would be naff.”
Is there ever competition between duos? In the case of Le Bon Tong, it’s not a problem because they excel in their own fields — Tong as a radio plugger for Media Village PR helping new bands get heard, and Le Bon as a model. They have known each other since childhood.
“The Le Bons are a cool family — calm, nice people,” says Tong. After sets, the two always go out. “I always cancel my car home. You can’t just go straight to bed. Amber and I talk about all sorts, boys, weird stuff.”
Le Bon has a spare room in her house at the moment and Tong is looking to move out of her mum’s place, yet on Tong’s salary from her day job in the music industry she says, “Amber’s rent is way too expensive”. Although Pete Tong is worth an estimated £20m, he encourages Becky to be independent. [edited from the London Evening Standartd article]

 

 

John Taylor at the Men's Health Challenge: alcohol, mental health and suicide

Whilst in London I had the pleasure to attend the "Joint-Meeting of All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse, Men's Health and Samaritans" where John Taylor did a a heartfelt introduction talking about his experience in alcohol and drugs addiction and his his deep belief in the 12-step program.

The conference took place at the Wilson Room, Porticullis House, part of the UK Parliament, on June 12th at 3.30 pm. I went there with my Argentinian friends and long time fans, Fabiana, Gerardo and Daniel.
The entry was free and does not have to be arranged in advance. Sessions and conferences are often held in public and a limited number of seats are available to the public on a first come first served basis... so we got inside and sat just in front of John who blinked at me as soon as he reconized me. How nice!

Below a transcription of his 7 minutes long speech which was warmly applauded by Tracey Crouch MP[Chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse - in the above pic she's in the center], Norman Lamb MP [Minister of State for Care abd Support], Dr Richard de Visser [school of Psychology, University of Sussex], Mr David Wilkins [Men's Health Forum], Dr Amy Chandler [Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh], and of course by everyone in the room, including us.


Transcription of John Taylor's speech by Salvo

Hi Everybody,

I’m an alcoholic, and a drug addict. I could not control my use of alcohol or drugs and my using caused me to behave in ways I never would have done had I been sober. Eighteen years ago I checked into a rehab facility and I spent 30 days there; it turned my life around. Based on this experience, I believe in rehab.
I believe in the turn around that is possible through rehab. A life that is spiralling and out of control can remain useful and successful, once you are living drug and alcohol free. It was in rehab that I was first introduced to the 12-step program of the Alcoholics Anonymous.

[I don’t usually read from paper, but I’m afraid I have to do that today, so bear with me.]

Alcoholism is a disease that is also a spiritual malady, I believe it’s a form of genetic defect.
Why some of us can stop after one and some of us can’t after twenty. Whether that is fact or not is unimportant, what is important is believing in the idea. It lets everyone off the hook. One thing everyone and everything you have ever blamed for your life problems, and that’s a big deal.

Most of us could wind up in 12-step programs out there because our lives aren’t working. Or more often life is crashing down around us. Out of work and unemployable and family hardly on speaking terms before help. That’s the perfect state to enter a 12-step program. It’s called a gift of desperation.

And here’s another thing about alcoholism, it’s an equal opportunity loss. It will bring down lawyers and footballer, veterans and factory workers, rich or poor. It recognizes not ethnicity, nor age... By the way, I still don’t know which partner she works for. But that is so irrelevant in this subject.
But getting to that place of acknowledgment, “I have a problem with alcohol, I have a problem with drugs.” Once there, I was ready to be helped. It was all right for me, I could write the check.
But that’s not the case for the majority of people in this country who want help now.

If the Government can step in and help more people over the line and into treatment, that help will be the greatest gift that can be given that person. Because if that person stays sober, and it is a an if, [I acknowledge that not everyone stays clean who enters rehab but many do], and that person will be giving back to the community the rest of his life, they become the ideal citizens we are so badly needing. >>

The psychology, the education of knowing
who we are and why we do what we do,
as part of the 12-step treatment plan,
apparently on offer in this country only to the few,
is an extraordinary one, and one day
I would love to see it being offered to all who need it.

Group photo, suggested by John
from left: Salvo, Fabiana, John, Daniel and Gerardo

>> How to help get them there? A nationwide program to inform or to appease with the success rate of the 12-step program. That this should be the treatment of choice for the problems consistent of drug users. This has been mentioned and is a good idea. More young offenders could be off of drug and alcohol treatment instead of prison. Drug courts have proven successful in west London and the United States.

Careers in drug and alcohol counselling should be encouraged. There are already great courses available at the University. Many ex-drug addicts and alcoholics return to a career in counselling. But most people currently considering a degree in counselling would not be there for the loan. This is a late life commitment.
But this is not a job for any inexperienced 18-year old, who won’t be able to have resources to turn to this line of work and for now to enrol into two years of study and an expensive loan. Perhaps funding could be found in scholarships which the government could then match.

In my case 30 days of residential treatment facility was enough but many of us need more. And it is significant to recognize that in order to maintain abstinence you must follow the rehab treatment with an ongoing peer support program, commonly known as “working the 12 steps,” upon leaving the facility. An alcoholic or a drug addict’s recovery is never over.
And he or she are never completely recovered just because they have completed rehab.

According to the proven formula for the 12-step programs for drugs and alcohol, abstinence must be practiced one day at the time, without ever picking up that first drink or drug. And this can only become a success story, as far as I know, with ongoing peer support, the meetings and the sponsoring, the mentioned aspects of the 12-step program.

Residential treatment is neither free nor cheap, and after-care as it exists within the hospital community is free. Whatever the cost to put an individual through the residential treatment; I believe its expenses will prove to be worthwhile.
Cheap compared to the expenses supporting someone with lifelong addiction and alcohol problems, who is draining the NHS with continued health issues; policing, court, and prison for crime and family violence.

Evidence suggests that the greater number of individuals going sober in 12-step programs are able to earn a profitable charge. And as members of their community offer themselves in service to other addicts and alcoholics who have less time than they do. They give back in order to maintain their own abstinence, therefore helping the system that helped them.

Rehab is not always necessary, AA [Alcoholics Anonymous] gets the greater numbers of its members directly in off the streets, but more and more I hear gratitude from people who say without getting to rehab, if only for 30 days, they would not be alive today let alone be a functional, thriving, useful member of society. >>

If the Government can step in and help more people over
the line and into treatment, that help will be the greatest gift that can be given that person.
Because if that person stays sober, that person will be giving back to the community the rest of his life,
they become the ideal citizens we are so badly needing.

>> When a person with a serious problem needs to be taken out of circulation and once is ready to get away from the home, and the clubs and the supermarkets, and all the local triggers, rehab is the best option.
Today more rehabs are closing than are opening. Only about 2% of problem drug users in the system are allowed to go into rehab. Over one billion pounds is spent on combating drugs each year, only 2-3% of that is spent on rehab.
Rather than rehabs being forced to close they should be expanding services including development, and specialists in residential facilities for young people.

Anyone who has the wherewithal to understand and accept their problem for what it is, that they have a problem with alcohol or drugs that they cannot stop by themselves, should be encouraged to get help; that is treatment and the government should be prepared to help make that happen.

My thought is that this is a similar situation to the world of our education, which was once a privilege available only to the few. After the War, we realized that every member of our society is important as the other and a plan was put in place for this change to rise to the greater good.

The psychology, the education of knowing who we are and why we do what we do, as part of the 12-step treatment plan, apparently on offer in this country only to the few, is an extraordinary one, and one day I would love to see it being offered to all who need it.
Thank you.


Special thanks and hugs to Fabiana, Gerardo and Daniel, it wouldn't have been the same without you guys!

Special thanks to Angie for your great help! Ultra special thanks and love to my wife Claudia and my two wild boys, Angelo and Nicolò, for their support.

 

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