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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.

Working with Huxley

August 16th, 2021

Hello Ms.Katy! This question is for the band: I am fascinated with the work of Huxley on the Invisible video. I would love to hear more details about the fabrication process. Did you find any drawbacks while using Huxley regarding the visual experience, you wanted the viewer to see, or otherwise? I also notice that with each viewing of the video I find another layer, another lenticular image..Was this initially intended or something that developed over the course of time? -Carmen Jenness

“Hello Carmen. It was a fascinating experience making the video for INVISIBLE with a new species. Huxley really does have a mind of its own and during the process, there were constant surprises …whilst you do have control over what information you initially choose to feed in to the computer, once it’s there, there is no real control over how that information is used and published by Huxley. For example, at one point, all we were receiving were thousands of images of dogs. Nobody has any idea as to why, but it appears Huxley became obsessed with creating new breeds of dogs. This went on for several days until finally, it decided to change direction. I think this is really the tip-off the iceberg because there are infinite possibilities and I was astonished by how beautiful some of the imagery was, even though it was entirely created by a machine. Sometimes, you’re able to follow a thought process – for example its answer to images of keyboards was to produce a Zebra! Other times, its choices are completely confounding. I am very much looking forward to our next adventure, whenever that may be. NR”

Nick Camera Update

July 12th, 2021

Hi Katy, I was only 10 years old when I was exposed to music by Duran Duran. I remember joining the membership club when I was 11 years old. I think I recall one of the newsletters showing Nick Rhodes holding a Nikon camera. Does Nick Rhodes use non-digital SLR cameras today? Since digital cameras weren’t available for the public 35 years ago, I assume that he used those analogue cameras. What camera does he use today? (Mixture of digital and analogue?) I’d be curious to see the images he takes. One gets to see many photos of the band members by doing a google search. But not so much of the scenes they take on their cameras when they go touring..etc… Thanks. Mei Yen

“Hello Mei Yen, I used analogue camera entirely until the late 1990s, when started to experiment with early digital cameras. For a number of years following this, I used both digital and 35 mm. There is no doubt that the 35 mm images remain way better than any digital image from that period. I guess it was the convenience of digital that drew most of in, eventually. Although for the past several years I have used solely digital cameras, which, as I am sure you know, are now enormously more impressive than they were in the early days. However, I have recently been logging my personal photo archive, and when I look back at the 35 mm I do indeed wish that I had continued using analogue cameras throughout out. I do still have all of my cameras, including polaroids, nikons, canons etc, but my favourite to take out daily is the contax T2, which I intend to start using again shortly. NR”

The Synths on New Moon on Monday

June 29th, 2021

Katy, What were the various synths used for the layers in the song “New Moon on Monday” ? In particular the sharp piano sound, the synth in the instrumental solo with fireworks behind it, and the various synths pulsing through the chorus? It’s masterfully lush yet subtle…thanks, SV

Let’s have Nicholas take this one:

“NMOM is most constructed with a Roland Jupiter 8 and a CMI Fairlight. The pulse sounds were generated by the Jupiter 8 in the chorus ; the voice sounds and marimba were from the Fairlight. There is also a crumar performer synth on the chorus. The fireworks in the middle were live recordings of me ripping up newspapers, which were the rockets and the explosions I made on the Jupiter 8. NR”

“Switch it Off!”

May 12th, 2021

Hi Katy! I hope you and the guys are all doing well. My question is this: Where did the fan response in Planet Earth of “Switch it up!” originate? On the December 1981 Hammersmith Odeon live recording, Simon says it, not the crowd. Is that where this whole thing started? Just me being curious, as usual. Love to you all, Cindy Koller

“Unfortunately no one couldn’t tie this down to a very specific date, however it did likely originate from Simon using the term in live shows himself. And then, when he stopped saying “Switch it off,” the audience filled it in for him. It still happens, so wherever it came from , the band is certainly happy it stuck.”

The Band and their Merchandise

April 16th, 2021

With the release of new merchandise to celebrate the first gig with the fab five, I was thinking, how does the design process work? Are the band involved with the design/ideas of new merch or do they just have final approval? Samantha

“We are always involved with all official merchandise, particularly John and I, who oversee every last detail down to the typeface for each item. The quality and design of our merchandise has always been very important to us, and will continue to be so. NR”

Brummie Boys

March 10th, 2021

Katy – A question for the 3 Birmingham lads. Which one has/had the most (or thickest) Brummie accent? Thank you, Lucy Jane

“Lucy Jane, I polled them and this is what I got back

“We could all give ourselves a run for the money…it could have been any one of us in the late 70s or early 80s. If you hear one of us speaking then, it would have been obvious which area of the country we had grown up in. As we traveled more internationally, our accents seem to have slowly disappeared. If you listen close enough though, there’s always a little bit of Birmingham left in our speech patterns. We all remain very fond of Birmingham and especially, the people there.”

Thanks for the fun question! Katy “

Paintings – Does Nick have a Fave?

February 11th, 2021

Here is my question for Nick. What is your favorite painting? Анастасия

“There are so many painters I love from different periods – Caravaggio is undoubtedly one of my favourites…every time I see one of his paintings in person, I am awestruck by how astounding they really are.

Aside from classical painters, I do, of course, like many modern artists particularly from the Dada and surrealist period, then later, Pop Art. I think the most underrated artist is Jean Cocteau, whom I have greatly admired for many years. His work across several genres including theatre, cinema, poetry and art is quite exceptional. NR”

Duran Duran Support The Sweet

January 24th, 2021

Hi Katy, For some peculiar reason, I have in my mind that Duran Duran were booked to support Sweet at the Hammersmith Odeon on 24th February 1978. They didn’t actually turn up but I just wondered if that was ever on the books? I appreciate it wouldn’t be the fab five as we knew them but maybe with Stephen Duffy on vocals. If it wasn’t them then maybe it was someone else. Best regards, Mike Fisher

Hello Mike! The band don’t think it was possible that it would have been in 1978, particularly since they were still with Stephen and only played 4 shows together. However, they were booked to do ONE show in London with The Sweet, which got cancelled. It was more likely to be in 1980, which would have been the 5 piece line up. There may possibly even be a poster for the show in the archives, we will have to check…Thanks for the Q, Katy”

Drums on Duran Duran’s “American Science”

December 30th, 2020

I know to direct this question to Nick Rhodes. Nick, I’m assuming that by rhythm box, you meant drum machine, correct? Was the beat on the studio recording of “American Science” entirely done using a drum machine, or was it part drum machine part drums being played by Steve Ferrone? This is my favourite song, so inquiring minds need to know! Thanks in advance! Sarah

“Actually, Steve programmed a Linn drum II and then played live drums on top of it. This actually came about because I had been teasing Steve, saying what an extraordinary drummer he was but didn’t know how to program a rhythm unit, so he rose to the challenge with an entire pattern for the song “American Science,” that he created. I have to say, I was enormously impressed! NR”

“Burning The Ground” & “Decadance”

November 14th, 2020

I’ve always been curious about the remixes/singles titled “Burning The Ground” & “Decadance.” Can Nick or anyone shed any light on the history of these such as were they released as singles to radio stations or mainly dance remixes for the fans? Has Duran Duran considered an updated version to include more recent tracks? Thank you! Mike V

“The tracks were created to coincide with the release of the DECADE album, unsurprisingly celebrating 10 years of Duran Duran single releases. “Burning the Ground” was definitely released in some countries on 7 inch vinyl format and “Decadance” on 12”. Because of the nature of the song not having the same type of structure as many of our previous tracks, radio were generally confused and it didn’t receive a lot attention at that time. However, the band later found out it had become big hit in several different countries…since then, it seems to have gathered its own cult status but it has never been re-released, remixed or repackaged. The band says if they did a new piece based on the same concept it could be quite interesting given the amount of material to choose from. Katy”

All those RIO versions….

October 10th, 2020

Nick has mentioned that there are 5 or 6 versions of RIO when it was originally released and one of the biggest differences is the version of “Hold Back The Rain”. Can they tell us which releases (country, I would suspect) would have the 5 or 6 different versions. I’m aware of the UK and the US being different, but what other releases have the different versions? Bob

“It would be difficult for us to unravel. Aside from the second pressing in RIO released in the US, there was never meant to be any other different versions. It was all accidental, or actually, Record Company incompetence because when they re -pressed the album, several times, they managed to use earlier versions that were not ever meant to be released. From memory, Colin Thurston and Nick did quite a few different edits to see what worked best. The main reason for this was that if the track was too long, we were to lose to audio quality on the vinyl because you had a specific time limit before sound deterioration began. We believe the first British pressing has the correct version, but then everything went awry with subsequent pressings all over the world. You can get more information here. The Band”

New Synths

September 15th, 2020

I’d like to ask Nick if he’s had a chance to check out some of the more recent Synthesisers on the market, like Korgs Prologue, Sequential’s Prophet X, XL and 12, Novations Peak and Teenage Engineerings new OP-Z (I know he is quite fond of their OP-1). Also, will be using the OP-1 on the new album? Thanks and very best regards, Kevin, from Co Durham.

“Hi Kevin, Thanks for the tips. I have not had time to check out all of these synths yet, but I am always curious and looking for great new products. I am indeed very fond of the OP-1 which is highly likely to make an appearance on our new material. I look forward to discovering these synths, along with a few others, over the coming months. Nick”

Spacey Sound in “Ordinary World”

August 12th, 2020

Hello Katy, I feel very privileged for the opportunity to ask you a question. My question, up front, is about a sound effect in the song Ordinary World, a song that I love. It is a kind of Sci-Fi sound effect can be heard at the at the 3:12 mark and ends at 3:15 (on the official music video) so it’s about 3 seconds long. The sound effect has always stood out to me since the first time I heard it back when the song came out.

I wondered how the sound effect got mixed into the song …There’s an audio editing card in the computer that makes the exact same sound at startup that’s heard in “Ordinary World” – but at a different pitch.

So, I thought I would ask if you can tell me about the sound effect? Thanks so much Katy! Roger

“Hi Roger, Without playing back the song in the studio, I am not entirely certain what the specific effect would be. However, a lot of the more “spacey” sounds were created during the mix by using tape delays and spinning some of the sounds from the track around. The mixer, David Richards, had a unique approach and would spend many days on each track. I believe “Ordinary World” was done almost over three weeks! He worked in isolation in his own studio, so he could move at his own pace. I remember we were all quite concerned that it was taking so long for this specific track to be sent back to use from Switzerland, but when it arrived we were all stunned by the detailed work that he had added. NR”

The Genesis of “Like An Angel”

July 15th, 2020

Hi Guys, Looking over my beloved RIO Deluxe edition, I noticed how “Like an Angel” was included on the second cd. I’ve always liked this track, and its wonderful whistle part. Well done Simon I presume. I see that it has a Manchester demo along side other Rio demos, so I was wondering if it was being considered for the album since it was sadly unused on the first album., and if not, why not. Also, was the studio version recorded during the RIO sessions or the first album? George

“Hello George! I got the scoop from the band: “Like an Angel” was first released as the B-Side of the original single version of “My Own Way.” Both of these tracks were created after the first album, but before the initial RIO sessions.The band felt that they needed to release another single, and so they wrote “My Own Way” for that purpose. At that time, B-Sides were always special and important, so “Like an Angel” was written for that, rather than using a track that had already been released. What subsequently happened is that the band decided that the version of “My Own Way was not suitable for the RIO album, so they completely re-cut it in a different style. It was always going to be included on the album, whereas “Like an Angel” was only ever a B-Side. PS- Simon did perform the whistling (but then people say they all sound the same when we whistle!). Thanks for the question. Katy”

Nick’s Forward for John’s Book

June 12th, 2020

I’m really delighted Nick wrote ‘introductory’ piece for JT’s book! :))) It’s answered our curiousity about his thoughts regarding the events in the book. Did John ask him to do it? Or Nick himself initiated it? DIAN

“John asked me to write the forward for the soft back release of his autobiography, which, of course, I was honoured and thrilled to do.

In some ways it was quite strange as I vowed not to read the book as I still do intend to write my own book and did not want to be affected by John’s memories of different events. On the other hand, I knew his story better than most, as I was there for the journey…tho I am sure I did miss some things. Nick”

Really, how did they get the title for The Wedding Album?

May 14th, 2020

Hi Katy! I was reading the Collector’s Corner article that mentioned the confusion about the origin of name “The Wedding Album”, and I figured I’d pass along a random tidbit:

Somewhere in my VHS archives, I have an old MTV (US) News segment from around late-November 1992 with Kurt Loder. He was reporting on the Daily Mail expose about the IRA’s attempted bombing of the Duran Duran concert that Princess Diana attended. At the end of the segment, Kurt somewhat-sardonically states (I’m paraphrasing here), “Duran Duran survived to make something called ‘The Wedding Album’, to be released next year”. I’m not 100% sure the cover had even been seen yet, but I don’t remember the segment well enough to be sure. In fact, I didn’t realize the official name was not “The Wedding Album” until it charted on Billboard.

So while I don’t know the source of the album name, Kurt Loder was already using it before the Ordinary World single was officially released in the US. Heck, my memory is spotty about whether the song had reached my radio stations yet. Tim

“Hi Tim! The band did not have a title for the album as they were approaching the end of the sessions, and by this time, they have always had a ‘firm favourite’. They felt as if they had to re-establish the “brand” Duran Duran, so the internal discussions had been to NOT title the album and simply put the band’s name on the cover.

Nick had come up with the concept of putting their parents wedding photos on the front sleeve, and had been gathering them from all the other band members to see what they might look like. They had the atmosphere the band was hoping for, and Nick liked the idea they were the total sum of the DNA that created the people who were making this record.

The band sent off the images to their graphic designer, Nick Egan, who did a great job of arranging them together to create a powerful album cover image. As requested, he also used a Duran Duran logo, but no other words; when the album was released, it was simply titled Duran Duran. The band had, in fact, instigated the idea that it would end up being called The Wedding Album by everyone if only to differentiate it from the first Duran Duran album. It was also an homage to John and Yoko, who had released their own “Wedding Album” in 1969. Katy”

Roger’s FunkFace

April 12th, 2020

Hello this one is for Rog, I have read about a song: “Lost this Feeling” that you made with a project called FunkFace in the beginning of the new century. Have you ever released it? And what was the FunkFace’s lineup, was it the same guys of Freebass?
Thank you and hugs from Buenos Aires​. Hernan from Argentina

“Hi Hernan, Thanks for the question! Yes, this song had a limited release on my own independent label RT Music. FunkFace was a collaboration between myself and Jake (Fonique) Roberts, whom I later went on to form a DJ partnership with. We had both been members of the short-lived experimental electronic dance band Freebass. We were trying to find the missing link between early 90’s dance music culture and pop.Re-union coming up in 2030? :) Rt x x “

Laugh, Cough, Sneeze

March 12th, 2020

Hi Katy, This one is for Simon : Simon hope all is well. Have you ever laughed, sneezed or coughed mid song duringa live performance? Your Lonesome tonight Elivis laughing version? If so how did you manage it and are there any recordings? Very much looking forward to the new album. All the best, Ryan

“Dear Ryan, I have in truth done all of the above. Notably, in the very early days of the band, when we were rehearsing at The Rum Runner, I used to sneeze so much when singing that my band-name was almost changed from “Charley” to “Sneezy”, although at times I should probably been called “Dopey” or even “Dozy” or “Sleepy”. All of this could possibly been attributed to the fact that for a month or so I had been nasally ingesting an over the counter brand of athlete’s foot powder, in the mistaken belief that it was high grade Columbian flake cocaine. Interestingly, I seemed to be experiencing the same kind of euphoria as others in my company who were most definitely ingesting the real thing. In retrospect, I can only attribute this to a kind of “contact high” or a very effective “placebo effect”. Significantly, since that time, I have lived 100% free of any nasal fungal infections. WHOOOSH! s”

Stage Sets

February 11th, 2020

This question is for anyone in the band.I’ve always been curious as to who designs the stage setup for the live shows, and what happens to them once the tours have been completed. I ask this because the stage set used for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers video for “So you wanna be a rock n roll star” looks identical to the set used on the Sing Blue Silver tour, and I watched a live video of The Corrs, and the LED Screens looked like the ones from the Astronaut tour. Kevin.

“The band wished they had kept some things from previous stages sets, particularly the Wedding Album tour as it was quite theatrical and there were a lot of cool props on stage. However, for most tours nowadays, bands tend to use video screens and lighting design to create their show. There is actually very little to keep aside from the risers on the stage since the gear is rented and formatted for each specific artist’s request. Katy”

Neurotic Outsiders for RSD?

January 10th, 2020

I always loved the Neurotic Outsiders album a lot. You can hear the fun the band had recording the album. I once read somewhere that there were plans to release a Neurotic Outsiders live album. Is this true, have these recordings been made? If so, is this something you would consider releasing on vinyl for Record Store Day? Thanks and best wishes Frank

“Hi Frank. Actually, I would love to release it for Record Store Day. We recorded a classic Viper Room set with Iggy Pop, Brian Setzer and Billy Idol guesting. I have it on 2 CDs. Personally I prefer it to the album. Thanks for the ask! JT”