Tag Archives: John Taylor

2011 ➤ Spandau and Duran square up for battle just like the old days

Spandau Ballet, 2009, press conference, HMS Belfast, pop music, free CD

Spandau Ballet in 2009: answering our questions at their reunion press conference

❚ EVEN AS A UNIQUE CD COMPILATION of Spandau Ballet’s landmark hits is set for massive free distribution with The Mail on Sunday next weekend, Duran Duran announce a global concert live online at YouTube only days later, along with their own album release on CD. It could be the 80s all over again when the two arch-rival bands vied for the title of leaders of Britain’s New Romantics movement. So which veteran band will score the bigger hit in 2011?

Duran Duran, 2011, All You Need Is Now, YouTube, live stream, pop music

Duran Duran earlier this year: US and European tours, plus a live concert stream. Picture courtesy duranduran.com

Spandau’s special-edition CD features 12 tracks — half, including True and Gold, are remastered from their originals, with six live tracks coming from their show at London’s Sadler’s Wells in 1983, including the club anthem Chant No 1. The cover-mounted disc will be delivered free across Britain with every copy of the MoS, presumably because its marketing director expects Spandau to boost the paper’s circulation well past its average of 1,924,589 copies. Last Sunday Gary Kemp recalled the 80s for MoS readers: “It was madly competitive as we were all tribal. Duran Duran wanted to be more successful than us, we wanted to be more successful than ABC, or Culture Club, or Duran themselves. We spurred each other on.”

Duran Duran, David Lynch,poster,YouTube,Amex, Unstaged,concert, Los Angeles,Meanwhile today, Duran Duran announce that David Lynch — fabled director of the movies Eraserhead and The Elephant Man — has been enlisted to direct a live DD concert to be streamed online on March 23/24 to launch the second season of Unstaged, a music series sponsored by American Express and Vevo. Amex has pushed this internet venture to team breakthrough artists with influential filmmakers using interactive social media as the outlet (full details at Billboard).

During a Facebook Live chat from SXSW John Taylor admitted that how Lynch intended to video the show was still a mystery but “we know it’s not going to look like any concert film has looked before”. Audiences around the world will be able to switch between the director’s high-definition main stream and alternate “Lynchian” artistic viewpoints when they tune into YouTube on Wednesday in the US at 10pm EDT / 7pm PDT — which is Thursday at 02:00 UTC. The concert will also be rebroadcast for the UK on YouTube at 7pm on March 24. (Check here for regions where Unstaged will be viewable live. The Los Angeles concert will then remain online for a month.)

Can Duran attract a bigger audience than Spandau’s 2million Mail readers? With their US tour starting this week, DD’s comeback album is released in the US as a physical disc next Tuesday. The video of its title track All You Need Is Now has scored 629,689 views since it was posted on YouTube on Dec 20, so it’s anybody’s guess how many fans will tune in for the live webcast. What’s yours?

WHAT THE RIVAL BANDS SAY

Talking up the imminent free CD, Spandau Ballet told last week’s Mail on Sunday what the tracks meant to them…

Spandau Ballet, Reformation tour, John Keeble, Dublin

John Keeble: Dublin sound-check as Spandau’s Reformation tour kicks off 2009

Martin Kemp “We gave Instinction to producer Trevor Horn who really turned it on its head. It became a monster.”

Steve Norman on Lifeline “We knew we couldn’t stay an underground band for ever – the mainstream pop charts beckoned and we knew we had to deliver. Cue smiles and kisses to camera!”

John Keeble “Only When You Leave was the lead single from the Parade album as the band established a more rock-based edge. It opened doors to a new group of fans and gave me the chance to rock a bit harder on the drum kit.”

Tony Hadley “Sadler’s Wells was one of the best venues for us. It was an intimate gig and perfect to showcase tracks from our album True, such as Foundation – a slice of white soul-boy funky pop – Communication – a great upbeat number – and Pleasure, which really captures the essence of the era.”

Duran Duran ,All You Need Is Now,Nick Rhodes, video

Nick Rhodes: last November's video for the comeback single, All You Need Is Now. Courtesy duranduran.com

Over in the States, Duran founder and keyboardist Nick Rhodes discusses the David Lynch webcast with Billboard today:

“The stranger it is, the more beautiful it will be. What appeals to us very much about working with David is that we like the way he thinks about things and how he’s always gone out on a limb to make things different. He works completely outside of the system, and that’s what we try to do. I think the combustion between us and David should create something that nobody’s ever seen before, something mysterious and magical and surprising.”

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2011 ➤ Farewell Mick Karn, master of the bass and harbinger for the New Romantics

MICK KARN, the acclaimed exponent of the fretless guitar, died today in London from cancer. He was a founder member of the British art-rock band Japan, formed in 1974 with David Sylvian, Richard Barbieri, Rob Dean and Steve Jansen, heavily influenced by Bowie and Roxy. By their 1978 album Adolescent Sex, Japan had developed a unique visual style and innovative sound underpinned by Karn’s sensual bass. In all but club membership, Japan *were* the original New Romantic band

Mick Karn, Buddha, Commonwealth Institute, Steve Jansen Imageshop

Karn outside the Commonwealth Institute, Kensington (undated), photographed by © http://www.SteveJansen.com — Proceeds from the sale of Jansen’s photos have gone to help Mick in recent months

❏ Karn’s Facebook page notes this evening “Even on early Japan recordings, his highly distinctive fretless bass voice for which he is most renowned can be heard. By their swan song, critically acclaimed Tin Drum 1981, he was dubbed one of the best bass players in the world. He’d already supplied bass and sax work to Gary Numan’s Dance album and was the first Japan member with a solo record, Titles [hear audio below]. In 1983, Japan’s live album, Oil on Canvas, brought his playing to new ears: jazz legend Jan Garberek.”

❏ Update on Karn’s Facebook page, Jan 18 “Mick’s funeral service took place yesterday afternoon, Monday 17th January, in West London. The private ceremony was attended by close friends and family.”

➢ How Shapersofthe80s responded to the appeal for Mick Karn last June — plus Mick’s follow-up and background interviews

❏ Bassist John Taylor writes on the Duran Duran website “Nick and I first saw Japan at Barbarellas in Birmingham on their Obscure Alternatives tour and were blown away. They were so fresh, while every other band in town were tripping over each other in a rush to play the same three chords, Japan were brave in many ways. Mick changed my life in a good way. Quiet Life and Gentlemen Take Polaroids, Adolescent Sex and Tin Drum are amongst the best recordings made during the post-punk era in my view. Mick’s sax playing also was always interesting.

Adolescent Sex ,1978, Japan pop group, Mick Karn

Adolescent Sex, the 1978 album

❏ Review by Amy Hanson at AllMusic of Japan’s first album Adolescent Sex (1978) says “A remarkable debut, the set snarls with leftover punk intent, a few glam-rock riffs, and a wealth of electronics that not only reach back to the band’s youth, but also predate much of what would explode out of the next wave of British underground… [Later Hanson continues…] The ‘wow factor’ of an incredibly funky bass and guitar on The Unconventional, repeated again on Wish You Were Black, is not only a surprise but leaves one wondering if the band were closet Chic fans … A more exciting album than just about anything else they’d ever record, Japan were young, hungry, and more than a little rough around the edges. Despite the slick R&B work twined in, it’s important to remember that this band were in the sonic foothold of an early edgy era — groundbreakers at their own inception. ”

Japan pop group, 1978, Mick Karn

Japan in the late 70s: Rob Dean, Mick Karn, Richard Barbieri, Steve Jansen, David Sylvian

A/V tracks featuring Karn at YouTube

➢ Mick Karn, Sensitive (1982) — His first album as a solo artist displays his creativity after Japan’s split, accompanied by Japan drummer Steve Jansen and keyboardist Richard Barbieri

➢ Knights of the Opium Moon (ft Mick Karn) — Track 6 from the London electronic band Furiku’s debut album (Like a Freak, May 2010)… This has to be among Karn’s last musical collaborations. Karn’s own discography lists the four-track EP Love’s Glove as his last published recording in 2005. Dom Agius of Furiku tells Shapersofthe80s: “We were approached by Mick and his management in late 2006 via MySpace. They’d heard our work and invited us to remix a track of his. They sent over a selection of basslines but rather than do a conventional instrumental remix we decided — as long-term Japan and Mick fans — to write and record a new song — the “missing track off Tin Drum” if you will. So we sifted through, chopped and redited maybe six of the basslines together and then we wrote Knights of the Opium Moon over that. Mick and his management were thrilled with the results.”

➢ View TV interview with Mick Karn for Talkin’ Jazz c1993

➢ View video: JBK — Bestial Cluster Dutch TV session

➢ View video: Sons of Pioneers — The best-selling album Oil on Canvas was recorded live during Japan’s six sell-out nights at Hammersmith Odeon, in November 1982, on their last UK concert tour. Japan’s final live performance was on December 16 in Japan. Worsening personal differences persuaded the band members to go their separate ways virtually at the height of their creative and commercial success.

Japan pop group, Mick Karn, Hammersmith Odeon , 1982, Sounds ,Chris Dorley-Brown

Karn onstage at Hammersmith Odeon, November 17, 1982: Japan’s final UK tour. Photographed for Sounds © by Chris Dorley-Brown

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