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Welcome to ASK KATY. This is the place where you can Ask Katy stuff about Duran Duran. You can Ask Katy whatever you would like and she will try to answer you. Katy has worked for Duran Duran for many years now, and we like to think she knows a lot. Got a question about the band? Ask Katy. What is the B-side to Union of the Snake? Ask Katy. Trouble with remembering when the band last came to your town? Ask Katy. You get the picture. So don’t be shy…Ask Katy and she will answer a selection of questions each month. Here are the most Frequently Asked Katy Questions.

If your question isn’t answered, it may be because it has been answered before. Use the search feature and find out.



Does JT Use a Chorus Pedal?

May 11th, 2017

Hi Katy, I was one of the lucky attendants to the Lollapalooza Chile show the band did in April. First of all, congratulations on an excellent performance. Local press, fans and non fans alike were very impressed by you guys. This is a question for John. I noticed that you used a chorus pedal on most if not all of the performance. Since when are you using this effect and why the change? Also, what pedal do you use for this? Thanks and regards, Reynaldo.

JT: Hi Reynaldo. I don’t use a chorus pedal! You should talk to Bernie (John’s tech)

Bernie: Hi Reynaldo, John doesn’t use any Chorus in his live rig, it’s a clean signal from the amp. The only effects he uses are delay on certain songs, octave, and distortion on “Notorious.” Hope this helps.


“Kiss Goodbye” Extended version?

April 15th, 2017

Hello, I have a question for Nick, I would like to know if the Pop thrash song “Kiss Goodbye” has a long version because I think is an incredible and beautiful piece of music. Thanks in advance, Hernan from Buenos Aires

“Hello Hernan, From memory, I believe “Kiss Goodbye” was only ever created as a short piece, but I do agree, it would lend itself perfectly to an extended version. If I get a moment, when we remaster POP TRASH, I will take a look for you. Thanks, Nick”


“All She Wants Is” Guitar

March 15th, 2017

Hey Katy, I have a question for the band if they have time. Thanks for all you do.

One of my favorite songs by Duran Duran is “All She Wants Is”. One of the reasons it’s so special to me is that during the second verse this guitar comes in, I believe they call it the “lead vamp guitar” on the album credits. It seems to have a free flowing range to it, unlike other pop songs then or since, i have always love the aspect of riff guitar floating in and out of my sonic awareness, and not really having a “riff” but more like a sonic wind behind the vocals and melody. I wanted to ask was this designed by John, Nick and Simon or was Warren given free range to make the guitar his own thing? Thanks for writing/recording such a wonderful song I still listen to it often. – Kevin

“Hello Kevin. As a band, we have always collaborated on almost every level, often suggesting ideas for musical parts or lyrics to each other. In this specific instance, we think the guitar part you are referring to was entirely Warren’s idea for the song “All She Wants Is.” He is undoubtedly one of the most creative and innovative musicians that we have had the pleasure to work with and he never failed to surprise us with the notes he chose to play and the sound he always made. – Nick, Simon & John”


Strings on the bass

February 15th, 2017

Hi John! I want to start off by saying thank you! I’ve been a fan of you, and Duran Duran since I was a kid. I discovered the band when Come Undone was released. I was about ten years old. I was so inspired by you and the way you play the bass (still love it, never gets old). I took lessons when I was about fifteen. I’ve only ever played a four string bass. I’m curious, which do you like better, the four or five string?

“As a bassist of the old school variety I like basses like my cars – with four wheels (or strings) I’m not above the odd flirtation with a 5 now and again however. JT”


Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

January 15th, 2017

Dear Nick, Back in early 1990, you curated the music for the play “Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner” by Corinne Jacker. I’ve always wondered if, in that specific role, you just selected music to go with the play or you actually wrote a soundtrack? In the latter case, what kind of music it was? If you look back to that particular venture, and in light of your current musical project with John, can you see a slight connection between the two experiences? Thanks always for your time, Salvo

“Hello Salvo!

Only you would have picked upon such a obscure musical moment. I actually wrote a couple of short instrumental for the show because i couldn’t find anything else that i thought would be specifically appropriate. the themes were used repeatedly throughout the production. I have no idea if any copies of that music even still exists. I probably a cassette of the master mix in the archive somewhere. I can assure you the sound couldn’t be further away than what John and I have been creating together but you will have to wait a little while before you hear that!

Nick”


Numbers on John Taylor’s “Feelings Are Good”

December 15th, 2016

Due to my humble DD stuff has been organized recently I looked more closely this CD booklet from John Taylor’s solo album titled ‘Feelings are good and other lies’, so that question has been on my mind for long time came out: what could these numbers possibly mean beside each verse? Best wishes from far far away… Brazil! Diana da Cruz

“Hi Diana, I would imagine they are the engineers notes, referring to the tape on the reel and where those points in the song are. JT”


Roger Recommends a Record Player (say it 10x fast)

November 15th, 2016

So having recently moved house and rediscovered my oversized 80’s DD record collection, I’m keen to invest in a suitable record player to enjoy them all on. My question therefore is what stereo system would’ve band recommend I invest in to get the best possible sound – what is their own set up at home like?

“Hi Steve, Glad to hear that you are heading back to vinyl! My own particular set up comprises a Rega RP1 record deck (kindly donated by Mark Ronson) which is really a dj deck , an ancient NAD stereo amplifier that I found in thrift store , & some very old Spirit Audio studio monitors , but it sounds pretty damn good for blasting out my vinyl collection , that I’ve collected throughout my lifetime. So I think you really can mix & match anything that works for you ..as they say ‘it’s what’s in the grooves that really matters’! Hope this helps, Roger”


JT in “Salome”

October 8th, 2016

Hi, Early on in the the filmed version of Oscar Wilde’s play “Salome,” Al Pacino’s King Herod is holding a banquet set in the modern day. Just briefly I thought I saw John and Gela among the guests there. Am I right? Many thanks for all the years guys. James

“Good train-spotting. It was us! JT”


Nick & his JDXA

September 15th, 2016

If you/Nick gets a minute, could you please ask him what songs feature the JDXA on the new album? As you know I’m an aspiring musician and have been into synths since hearing The Chauffeur, and recently bought a JDXA thanks to seeing Nick having 4 of them, 5 including the one Used next to John on stage! James Ackerley,

“As the JDXA arrived as we were mixing the album, it actually doesn’t feature anything other than briefly on “Change the Skyline.” However, I am looking forward to using the synth next time i am in the Studio and, so far, my live rig is proving to be perfect for what I need. Nick”


That Parrot!

August 15th, 2016

Hi Katy, In the “My Own Way” music video, there is a cute parrot that is on Nick’s synths and Roger’s drum kit. Who’s idea was it to have the parrot in the music video and who owned it?
Sincerely, Delta

“”Great question! Polling the band: they believe the parrot must have been Russell Mulcahy’s idea as he directed the video. They seem to remember the parrot being a friendly little chap, but he wasn’t terribly talkative. We have no idea whatsoever who owned him or what became of him. Katy”


Bass Colour

July 15th, 2016

Have been meaning to ask this question after seeing the guys on the Paper Gods tour here in the UK. What bass is/has John been using. Every time I looked at him on stage the bass seemed to have changed color. Thanks in advance. Michael

FROM BERNIE, JOHN’S BASS TECH:

“John uses a Peavey Cirrus bass. His main one is painted with a type of paint that appears to change color depending in the angle or light. It’s blue but can appear reddish, purple and sometimes a pinkish color.”


Inspiration for “The Universe Alone”

June 15th, 2016

My name is Javier I’m from Spain, sorry for my English. First of all thanks for keeping this section alive!!! I love it!

My favourite song on Paper Gods is “The Universe Alone.” I love the music, the lyrics and the concept…when you hear it, is like watching a movie, is so cinematic…from the beginning to the end. And as Lori Majewski said in her track by track review, it reminds of the chilling final scene in Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia.

So the questions are: Is that the inspiration for the song? If not, which was it?. And it would be amazing to hear this song live…will you play it live in the future?

“Hello Javier,

Simon wrote the lyric to the song. We’re not sure whether he has even seen Melancholia (we will ask), but we must confess that although some of us own the film on DVD, we haven’t seen it! It’s unlikely that film was the inspiration for Simon. It is really Duran Duran’s interpretation of the song “My Way” (as sung by Frank Sinatra). We have talked about playing it live, and hopefully this will happen one day. NR”


Simon & John’s “Pressure Off” video clothes

May 14th, 2016

I love the style of the clothes that are in the “Pressure Off” video. Particularly John and Simon’s leather jacket. I would like to know if they are designed for them, and the brand…Thanks a lot, Javier

“My Clothes were Saint Laurent – John”
“Mine is Diesel from their current collection – Simon”


“My Own Way” Re-Do

March 16th, 2016

Hello, I have a question that I’ve always wondered about – How did the two different versions of “My Own Way” come about? Why did they choose to redo it for RIO when it was previously released as a single? I’m glad they did because I love both, but I was just curious. Thanks a lot! Brett Schieber

“Hi Brett,

“My Own Way” was the first single to come out post debut album releases. So, it was recorded in an isolated session before we started work on the RIO album. Once the sound architecture began to take shape in the RIO sessions, we realized the original version of “My Own Way” did not seem to fit in sonically. Possibly the live strings seemed out of context. Hence, we decided to record a more raw version of the song during the album sessions. NR”


Writing A Musical v. An Album

February 15th, 2016

Hello, Nick. How are you? Since you are writing a musical along with John, I was wondering how different that process is compared to the writing of an album, and if there are any particular instruments or equipment you’ve acquired just for this purpose. Thank you. Much love from Buenos Aires, Fabiana

“Hi Fabiana,

As John and I are working on a musical, it is a very different process to writing a collection of songs for an album. In some ways, the task is clearer because we have defined our story and characters, so we know what we need to write in order to tell the story. Whereas, with unrelated material, the difficulty is zeroing in on what a song should be about and finding that inspiration lyrically.

I am using mostly the same gear as I would to write and record other songs. However, I did recently acquire a choir, albeit a digital one for the moment. Nick”


Duran Duran Do David Bowie

January 15th, 2016

In light of David Bowie’s passing, I remembered one of my all time favorite covers of one of his songs, Duran Duran’s version of “Fame.” I was listening to the all day Bowie tribute on KEXP’s website yesterday and heard their version of “Boys Keep Swining,” which I had never heard. Today, I thought I would look at the Duran Duran website for the first time in a long while, and saw the video of them doing “Starman.”

Are there others? It would be so great to have them all collected in one spot this week – for fans of both artists to enjoy and remember.

All the best,
Brandy

“Hi Brandy,

Thanks for giving me a fun project! Katy

**Updated after John Taylor “Katy’s Kafe” on January 21, 2016

“Fun Time” by Iggy Pop and David Bowie [Written by Bowie/Pop, Duran Duran performed this song in early concerts]

“Suffragette City” [Duran Duran performed this song in early concerts]

“Fame” [B-Side to “Careless Memories” from the album DURAN DURAN]

“We Are The Dead” [Duran Duran rehearsed this song during The Wedding Album recording sessions]

“TVC 15” [performed during Duran Duran “Unplugged” though was edited out, as well as various times during the WEDDING ALBUM tour]

“Diamond Dogs” [off the Japanese version of THANK YOU]

“Rebel Rebel” [performed during the THANK YOU tour, though not on the album]

“Boys Keep Swinging” [From “We Were So Turned On, a Tribute to David Bowie” on Manimal Records]

“Starman” [The band’s own tribute to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of David Bowie’s first performance of the song on UK television; filmed in Greece, July 6th 2012]”

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To Fret or not to Fret (“Save a Prayer”)

December 15th, 2015

Hi John, Can you tell me if you are using a fretless bass when recording “Save A Prayer” or, if not, what effects are you using on you bass. Thanks, Ger

“Hello Ger, If I remember correctly, it was an Electro Harmonix phase shifter. It sounds like a chorus pedal, which was de rigeur for every fretless bass sound at that time, and I use chorus today on that song .. but .. I’m pretty sure the effect I used in the studio was aforesaid phaser. And it wasn’t a fretless bass. John”


Playing Arena (the Game!)

November 15th, 2015

Ok, I own the “Arena” board game and played it a few times, the box is in bad shape now, but everything is still there. Did the guys have anything to do with that? Or was it just a product of the time? Were there lunch boxes? Or other Duran Mania items from that time that stand out besides the silk wall hangings and mirrors?

“You’ve played it a few more times than they have! As a child, Nick, in particular, grew up loving board games and in the early years of band they used to play a game called RISK together which inevitably ended badly…sad to say, but they never got to play ARENA.

They were involved in the early development a little bit, and certainly the design, but Milton Bradley were largely responsible for the overall concept. Hope you won! Katy”


Simon’s Voice on Paper Gods

October 27th, 2015

Katy, I’ve been very impressed with Simon’s vocals on Paper Gods. It seems like he’s added range to his top-end, his vibrato is more consistent and sustained and he’s hitting the dead center of every note. I think this album truly propels him into the elite of rock’s greatest vocalists. My question is did he work with a vocal coach in preparing for this album or do anything different than normal, or is this just the product of experience and a fully matured voice? Thanks, Todd

“OK Todd,

Thank you for the amazing compliment; that’s extremely generous of you.

I do think of my voice generally as – work in progress – . With anything in life, I believe that the day one stops learning and developing, i.e. the day that things become fixed, that is the day which marks the beginning of gradual decline. It is the same with the voice. Looking back, I see how fortunate I was to experience my own personal vocal break down when I did. That humbling, terrifying time was, I now realise, was the gateway to a new, much more holistic, more sustainable approach to the physical side of my job. The one person who, above anyone else aided me was the London based vocal therapist, Ruth Epstein. She works mostly with peoplle, often children, who suffer speech & vocal problems. You can imagine what an important job she does. Humanity is a social species. Just consider for a minute what life could be like for those who are unable to express themselves vocally.

Ruth has helped me to regard my voice as the sonic projection of my whole self, body & mind.

So onto the technical stuff. I am lucky to have maintained good general level of fitness into my 50s. A big strong chest, strong arms, strong back & neck, strong core, arse & legs are all essential to good voice production. I think of myself as big taut resonator, made of muscle, bone & sinew. Getting rid of extraneous flab & gut has helped me enormously. I have learned to stand straight when I sing. Crucially, I have taught myself to sing while holding my neck straight, with chin in, & crown trying to touch the stars. If you look at old live shots, you’ll see me chin jutted out, shoulders rounded. This position is all wrong & unsustainable, it creates terrible neck & shoulder tension. What is worse, it flattens the tube that makes the sound. Imagine holding the cardboard tube from inside a roll of kitchen paper; holding it vertically in front of your face, one hand at the top, one at the bottom. Then imagine moving the grasping hands laterally away from each other, without changing the angle of them. As the tube goes from vertical to diagonal, it squashes & begins to fold. That’s what I used to do to my trachea when I sung. It is a very hard habit to break, but I feel I am making slow but steady progress.
And if this is all starting to convey a feeling of tension – well it should, & … at the same time, it shouldn’t. You want to make yourself rigid in order to resonate, while at the same time keeping neck, head and throat muscles relaxed enough to do something like sustained vibrato. I think of the diaphragm as the chief provider of rigidity. Not because it creates tension, but because it creates the internal pressure which keeps the frame & the skin inflated. When you sing you NEVER STOP BREATHING. Inside, at the back of the throat & up near the soft palate is the pharynx, which you can lift; you lift it involuntarily every time you yawn. As a singer one learns to recognise the feeling of lifting & opening the pharynx. This is an essential factor in the production of sung notes, especially high notes!!!

You learn to feel vibration & resonance:

on the lips – “mm”.
With the tongue you learn to feel it:
on the hard palate – “nn”
On the soft palate – “ng”

You feel it it your head, & in your throat, & in your chest. You carry on learning to feel the resonance, further & further down your body you go. It may take years, but I have heard of singers who can feel it in their toes. Me? I have just about managed to get the feeling of vibration in my groin area. And right now, I’m quite happy with that.

WHOOOSH”


The Shoe on Paper Gods

October 1st, 2015

Hi Katy, I’ve identified almost everything on the PAPER GODS album cover except for the woman’s white shoe. Can you elaborate? Thanks, Jami

“Hi Jami,

We did a little research and the best answer came from Patty Palazzo:

“You know, that’s actually the most non-specific one… Nick, John and China (Chow) originally put together a list of items that fit into the DD style lexicon, and a women’s high heeled shoe was on there (as an overall representation of the women in the DD videos/world throughout the years.) Then when Alex Israel went through all the items I collected to pick out which ones he wanted to use for the cover, there was a specific style of a white shoe that he wanted – he sent a photo, which I believe was referenced from one of the girls in the “Falling Down” video. I ended up having to google a shoe and then edit it to what Alex wanted. So there’s not really a specific thing it’s from, but I actually could point to “Electric Barbarella,” Nick’s white shoe photo on the liner notes of the Wedding Album package, “Come Undone,” “All She Wants Is” and the “Falling Down” video.” ”