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Duran Duran to perform at September’s Global Citizen Concert

July 13th, 2021

GLOBAL CITIZEN LIVE ANNOUNCED: 24 HOUR LIVE BROADCAST WITH EVENTS & PERFORMANCES FILMED ACROSS SIX CONTINENTS
UNITING THE WORLD TO DEFEAT POVERTY & DEFEND THE PLANET ON SEPTEMBER 25, 2021
TIMED TO CALL ON UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY AHEAD OF G20 MEETING & COP26 CLIMATE MEETING

Broadcasting from Iconic Locations Across Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America

To air on ABC, BBC, Fx, iHeartRadio, YouTube, Twitter, & more

Supported by private sector co-chairs including Global Partners: Accenture, Cisco, Citi, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Google, Live Nation, P&G, Verizon and campaign partner WW International

(New York, New York | Tuesday, July 13, 2021) Today, international advocacy organization, Global Citizen, announced Global Citizen LIVE – a 24-hour live broadcast with events and performances filmed across six continents to unite the world to defend the planet and defeat poverty. With performances and live events from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America, Global Citizen LIVE will air on ABC, BBC, Fx, iHeartRadio, YouTube, Twitter, and more on Saturday, September 25, 2021. Global Citizen LIVE is part of an ongoing campaign to defend the planet and defeat poverty, powered by citizens around the world who are taking action and urging governments, corporations, and philanthropists to make change.

The 24-hour live broadcast event will feature artists, activists, and world leaders taking the stage at iconic locations across the globe, including: live events in Central Park in New York City, and the Champ de Mars in Paris; live-crosses from Dubai, London, and Los Angeles; and performances and hosted segments from Lagos, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul and Sydney. Additional locations and location-specific details will be announced in August.

Artists and entertainers participating in the global broadcast special include: Adam Lambert, Andrea Bocelli, Angélique Kidjo, BTS, Billie Eilish, Burna Boy, Camila Cabello, Christine and the Queens, Coldplay, Davido, DJ Snake, Doja Cat, Duran Duran, Ed Sheeran, Femi Kuti, Green Day, Hugh Jackman, Keith Urban, Lang Lang, Lizzo, Lorde, Metallica, Shawn Mendes, The Lumineers, The Weeknd, Usher and more to be announced in coming weeks.

“COVID-19 has drastically reversed the progress toward achieving the United Nations Global Goals, pushing upwards of 160 million people back into extreme poverty and more than 40 million to the brink of starvation. Progress on climate change has halted, as many in the Fortune 500 fail to set science-based carbon reduction targets. We must rectify the damage done and hold world leaders accountable for ensuring that the entire world recovers from this pandemic together. ‘Equitable recovery’ is not an act of charity – it is the only way we can ensure a fighting chance at achieving the Global Goals.” – Hugh Evans, CEO, Global Citizen

Global Citizen LIVE is part of Global Citizen’s overarching Recovery Plan for the World, a year-long campaign to help end COVID-19 by calling on governments, philanthropists and the private sector for financial commitments to kickstart a global recovery. Ahead of October’s G20 Summit, and COP26, the Global Citizen LIVE campaign will call on world leaders, major corporations and foundations to defend the planet and defeat poverty.

Over the past decade, Global Citizen has championed the most pressing social and environmental issues and joined the fight to end COVID-19, most recently with VAX LIVE: The Concert To Reunite The World in May, which mobilized more than 26 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and $302 million to the ACT-Accelerator for equitable health access to countries most in need. Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE was a bookend to two campaigns Global Citizen produced during the height of the pandemic in 2020 — One World: Together: At Home, in April 2020, in support of healthcare workers in their fight against COVID-19, and Global Goal: Unite for Our Future, in June 2020, in partnership with the European Commission, which secured funding and global political support to ensure COVID-19 testing, treatments and vaccines were available to all. Since March 2020, Global Citizen has mobilized $2 billion in cash grants to fund global pandemic relief efforts, and over 26 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.

For more information about Global Citizen LIVE, visit www.globalcitizen.org, and follow @glblctzn on Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, and YouTube.

-Ends-

ABOUT GLOBAL CITIZEN:
Global Citizen is the world’s largest movement of action takers and impact makers dedicated to ending extreme poverty by 2030. With over 10 million monthly advocates, our voices have the power to drive lasting change around sustainability, equality, and humanity. We post, tweet, message, vote, sign, and call to inspire those who can make things happen to act — government leaders, businesses, philanthropists, artists, and citizens — together improving lives. By downloading our app, Global Citizens learn about the systemic causes of extreme poverty, take action on those issues, and earn rewards with tickets to concerts, events, and experiences all over the world. Global Citizens have taken over 28.4 million actions since 2009. Today, these actions, in combination with high-level advocacy work, have led to over $35.4 billion being distributed to our partners around the world, impacting 1.09 billion lives in the fight to end extreme poverty. For more information, visit GlobalCitizen.org.

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Astronomia Videos [updated weekly]

June 20th, 2021

To accompany each track, ASTRONOMIA (Nick Rhodes & Wendy Bevan) will release a visually curated film melding their individual, art-driven aesthetics, commencing with the first single “The Great Attractor” and a new clip released every week throughout the year. Visit the Astronomia Instagram page at @astronomiavolumes.

ASTRONOMIA EPK

ASTRONOMIA I- THE FALL OF SATURN – The Great Attractor

ASTRONOMIA I – THE FALL OF SATURN -Pandora & Prometheus

ASTRONOMIA I – THE FALL OF SATURN Changing Aspects of the Rings

ASTRONOMIA I- THE FALL OF SATURN The Drowning Heart of Andromeda

ASTRONOMIA I- THE FALL OF SATURN The Fall of Saturn

ASTRONOMIA I- THE FALL OF SATURN Unknown Recital

ASTRONOMIA I- THE FALL OF SATURN Oceans of Titan

ASTRONOMIA I- THE FALL OF SATURN- The Cassini Division

ASTRONOMIA I- THE FALL OF SATURN- Veiled Apparition

ASTRONOMIA I- THE FALL OF SATURN- Sacred Tears of Dione

ASTRONOMIA I- THE FALL OF SATURN- Scarlet Awakening

ASTRONOMIA I- THE FALL OF SATURN- Aphelion

ASTRONOMIA I- THE FALL OF SATURN- Sixth Planet From The Sun

*****************************************************

ASTRONOMIA II- THE RISE OF LYRA- Apollo’s Gift

ASTRONOMIA II- THE RISE OF LYRA- Woman of the Apocalypse

Roger & John Reflect on the band’s first album

June 15th, 2021

2021 Birthday Message from Nick!

June 8th, 2021

Duran Duran Medley performance/INVISIBLE on the Billboard Music Awards, 2021

May 25th, 2021

Duran Duran Future Past 2021 Press Clips

May 24th, 2021

The Today Show (article)
Rolling Stone
Billboard
Musicweek
Zoe Ball Radio Show on BBC Radio 2
ITV
New York Magazine/Vulture
V-MAN
American Songwriter
Consequence of Sound
Pitchfork
Stereogum
SPIN
Blackbook Magazine
Under The Radar Magazine
Ultimate Classic Rock
NME
SuperDeluxeEdition
The Guardian
Billboard (about Billboard Awards performance)
Entertainment Tonight Canada
NBC News Think
Billboard’s PopShop Podcast with Simon

Future Past Cover

How Duran Duran’s Billboard Music Awards performance was their most contemporary creative effort

May 24th, 2021

Duran Duran’s short medley at the Billboard Music Awards was a resounding answer to critics and sceptics who have frequently derided them as being out of touch, sometimes even in their prime.

The Billboard Music Awards 2021 were predictably dominated by young musicians like The Weeknd, Taylor Swift and of course, the immensely popular Korean pop band BTS. Although the likes of AC/DC were also nominated in the Top Duo/Group category, the granddads of rock were outnumbered in a category dominated by young blood. The process of awarding the winners has, in fact, always been about creating and backing new trends—something one usually associates with younger artistes.

Given that their measure for deciding winners has to do with album and digital songs sales, streaming, radio airplay, touring, and social engagement that are tracked year-round by Billboard and its data partners, it’s understandable that their audience today is decidedly millennial. Unsurprisingly, artists like Justin Bieber, Harry Styles, Ariana Grande, et al, were significant parts of the nomination lists. In a year that has seen a marked rise in digital sales, one can safely look at online music consumption as largely being the preserve of the youth through streaming sites, downloads and more. The BBMAs has always had its finger on the pulse thus consistently seeing the trend of young artists ruling the roost.

So, when they announced that 80s pop-rock band Duran Duran was to perform a three-song medley, it sounded terribly anachronistic. The only thing more out-of-place we’ve experienced in India was when Backstreet Boys were called to headline the Rock in India festival in Bengaluru over a decade ago, when they were over a decade past their prime. Not to mention the faulty juxtaposing of genres, but that’s for another day.

And if one may be entirely honest, Duran Duran were expected to be a rather forgettable performance in the melee of energetic, squeaky clean pop. The thing is Duran Duran has always been around. They have never officially disbanded though they have made several attempts to collaborate with other artists, they have tried to regroup the original lineup and sometimes just done cameos at festivals and events. They represented England at the London Summer Olympics 2012 opening ceremony where Snow Patrol performed on behalf of Northern Island, Paolo Nutini for Scotland and Stereophonics for Wales. They have regularly had spurts where they’ve made their presence felt, the last five odd years having gone into touring and working on an album or two.

Starting with their 1986 hit ‘Notorious’, Duran Duran went on to perform ‘Invisible’ from their upcoming album before ending with one of their most famous songs ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’. Sandwiched between two classic hits, Duran Duran unveiled their most contemporary creative effort in a rather strategic manner; old timers lapped up the new song willingly as the classics played to their nostalgia, whereas the young audiences of today got to see how some of the sounds that they’re accustomed to, are actually from a bygone era.

Duran Duran are not new to cynicism from audiences and critics. Even when they broke into the scene back in the MTV-led 1980s, they were immediately clubbed with the other boy bands of the time. Sure they were immensely talented but the stage was so overcrowded with similar sounding and looking bands, that Duran Duran has frequently had to segue into blending genres and sounds to create their own identity.

They have constantly mixed rock with pop, funk, electronic and dance, and their most loyal fans have remained so because there’s just so much variety in terms of sound that the band has been willing to offer. For critics, often it has been hard to pin down the band and label it, making it easier for them to club Duran Duran unfairly within categories they don’t always fit into. From ‘Rio’ to ‘Come Undone’, ‘Ordinary World’ to ‘Save A Prayer’, the band has never shied from experimenting with sounds and that in many ways has been the secret of their endurance over decades. They have cleverly collaborated with their contemporaries, allowing them the space to take their music in any direction. Their debut single over 40 years ago, ‘Planet Earth’, put them as leaders of the new synth-pop sound at the time, and their career has ever since been about fearlessly crossing different sonic frontiers.

They have been trendsetters even as critics have sometimes been sceptical of their trend-seeking motives. At the peak of their career in the early 90s, the band released an all-cover album Thank You, drawing praise from the likes of Led Zeppelin and Lou Reed, whose songs have featured in it. Cover albums were not part of the MTV generation formula, yet Duran Duran went ahead with it rather successfully. Over time, even as they were true to their own 80s sound, they had the maturity to imbibe from the music world around them through their collaborations and decide what works for them.

In 2020, the founding member Nick Rhodes confirmed that Blur’s Graham Coxon and singer-songwriter Lykke Li were collaborating on an upcoming band that also will have creative inputs from the likes of DJs Mark Ronson and Erol Alkan, as well as legendary composer-producer and Father of Disco, Giorgio Moroder. This roster itself is indicative of the kind of sound they’re looking to go for, with their 80s sensibilities not being far behind.

If their performance at the BBMAs is anything to go by, Duran Duran’s return is happening at a time when the retro 80s sound has permeated through modern music today. From The Weeknd (‘Save Your Tears’ remix) to Dua Lipa (‘Levitating’), BTS (‘Butter’) and Carly Rae Jepsen, artists of today are incorporating the 80s sound through instrumentation and songwriting, and even resorting to retro remixes. Beyond just lifting the synth sound of the 80s, these trailblazing artists today are also looking at the overall vibe of the time and attempting to recreate it for an audience that has no idea what that decade sounded like. Music trends, like fashion, is cyclical and the pop culture of today is harking to a time when Duran Duran was most relevant and certainly most successful.

Against this backdrop, Billboard’s decision to have Duran Duran play that 3-song medley is their way of saying “Let’s show the kids how this is done”. Thankfully, Duran Duran didn’t come undone.

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Courtesy Firstpost

Duran Duran playing the 2021 Billboard Music Awards shows the critics were wrong

May 23rd, 2021

By Bryan Reesman, journalist and cultural critic

When Duran Duran jumped onto the global music stage in the early 1980s, critics dismissed them as just another teen boy group, albeit with good musical chops, who were most likely the flavor of the moment. But the band continued pounding out albums and scoring hits, and this Sunday’s live performance at the Billboard Music Awards with Blur’s Graham Coxon proves just how wrong the naysayers were.

Time has shown that their blend of pop, rock, dance and funk has an enduring appeal that crosses generations, with their last album, 2015’s “Paper Gods,” going Top 10 in America and Top 5 in the U.K. Their newest effort, “Future Past,” arrives Oct. 22, with its first song “Invisible” out this past Wednesday. Four decades after the release of their self-titled debut album, the band is still procuring mass media exposure, headlining major festivals and appearing on an awards show alongside modern pop icons like BTS, The Weeknd and P!nk. That’s no small feat.

The group was certainly a trendsetter back in the day with songs like “Rio” and “The Wild Boys.” While some might accuse them of trendiness — notably by working with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland on their underappreciated 2007 album “Red Carpet Massacre” — part of their secret sauce is no doubt the ability to follow their own sense of style while choosing top-notch collaborators like singer Janelle Monáe, bassist Nile Rodgers and, now, producing legend Giorgio Moroder. Even during the ’90s when sales were often a bit choppier (1993’s popular “Wedding Album” aside), they never catered to grunge or alternative trends like other ’80s groups did; they retained their stylish image on their own terms.

Even with their continued success, there have been other bumps in the road. By the mid-1980s, the pressures of fame and expectations fractured Duran Duran into two platinum-selling side-projects: The Power Station (with guitarist Andy Taylor and bassist John Taylor) and Arcadia (with singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes and drummer Roger Taylor). Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor departed thereafter, and the band soldiered on successfully for awhile with guitarist Warren Cuccurullo. John Taylor left in 1997.

A reunion of the classic lineup came in 2001, and the Fab Five returned with the 2004 album “Astronaut” and its Top 40 hit “(Reach Up for the) Sunrise.” Although guitarist Dom Brown very capably replaced Andy Taylor after that, the best album of their newer work, “All You Need Is Now,” hearkened back to their ’80s sound — but with the matured lyrics and superior musicianship that come with life experience. The recent output easily makes the case that iconic bands can record some of the best music of their career 30 years into it. Yet it seems many Gen Xers who grew up on Duran Duran’s music are unaware of how great many of their new songs are.

Sure, Le Bon continues to croon about time-honored topics like relationships, bad girls and club nightlife. But recent Duran Duran songs also reflect more cerebral concerns, such as the media’s obsession with “Other People’s Lives,” digital voyeurism in “Zoom In” and human over-reliance on technology in “Blame the Machines.”Often, they manage to combine the two arcs. Le Bon has mentionedthat “Invisible” is about a one-sided relationship, but pair that sentiment with the song’s AI-generated video and it could be speaking to the isolationism spawned by our social media world. Yeah, they’re often still upbeat and fun-loving, but Duran Duran balances the equation with contemplative moments.

There’s often a criticism of “heritage artists” — veterans with extensive catalogs — as being dated or out of touch. But that isn’t fair to Duran Duran or the times they’re living in. The sounds and grooves that made the Fab Five a sensation back in the ’80s are in vogue again, as the decade still exerts a major influence on today’s popular culture. Duran Duran’s career has come full circle, still working their classic vibe even as they experiment with modern ideas.

If the new single “Invisible” is any indication, “Future Past” will continue that tradition in October.

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Courtesy NBC News Think

Duran Duran on the passing of Craig Duffy

May 23rd, 2021

“We are all heartbroken to hear the shocking news that Craig Duffy and his partner Sue Parmiter have died in a car accident.

Craig was a larger than life character and a joy to be around. He once won the accolade of tour manager of the year at an industry event, so for us he was always ‘Craig Duffy, tour manager of the year’.

Despite our jest, Craig lived up to to his title, he was kind, calm and knew how to steer the ship. We spent a longtime together on tour and we will forever treasure those memories, he remained a punk rocker at heart with a massive sense of humour, he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.” – Nick

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“It is with great sadness we learnt today of the tragic passing of Craig Duffy: friend, music man and one of the Great Tour Managers Of All Time.

Craig and I spent many touring hours trawling used vinyl bins around the world. There was no better record shopping associate than Craig, and if you know me, you’ll know there is no better testament to a friendship than that.

I will really miss you, you fucker. I hope for your sake they play The Clash in heaven.” – JT 💜

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Duran Duran on Entertainment Tonight Canada

May 22nd, 2021

WATCH Nick, John & Simon talk about INVISIBLE:

Entertainment Tonight Canada

Duran Duran Teases First-Ever Billboard Music Awards Performance

May 22nd, 2021

Expect a view to a thrill when Duran Duran hits the 2021 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday (May 23) for their first-ever performance on the awards show.

The British new wave hitmakers are currently putting finishing touches on a new album, Future Past, which they recently previewed with lead single “Invisible” and its artificial intelligence-assisted video. Hopping on a Zoom call with Billboard ahead of this weekend’s BBMAs, the quartet teased the new album and what to expect on Sunday.

“We know each other — personally and creatively — very well,” bassist John Taylor tells Billboard. “We’ve been making music and art for 40 years. So for us, the people that we bring in on individual projects — such as our producers, our engineers, our musicians — are so important to us. They invigorate the project in a crazy way; it keeps us vital.”

For Future Past, one of those key collaborators was Blur’s Graham Coxon. “As I recall, we were working with [producer] Erol Alkan and he said, ‘I would like to invite Graham down to the studio for a couple of days,'” says drummer Roger Taylor, his Grace Jones and Gary Numan LPs peeking out from behind him on the Zoom call. “I don’t think any of us knew how creative he is as a player. He played on a lot of the record and took it in a different direction. He was so great to work with, so humble and so talented. Thank you, Graham!”

Another new collaborator entering the Duran Duran fold was Lykke Li, whom lead singer Simon Le Bon refers to as “absolutely magical.” “She’s like a Scandinavian wood nymph. She’s very sensitive. I wanted to get some of that female energy into the song, into the lyric, and it turned out to be a lyric I would have never written by myself. It was nice to let her take the lead with that one,” says Le Bon. “She’s an incredible singer. She’s got something very unique about the way she sings; I learned quite a lot about intonation from listening to her.”

As for Duran Duran’s BBMAs performance this Sunday, keyboardist Nick Rhodes says to expect a little bit of the AI-aided footage from the band’s “Invisible” video (“it’s such beautiful imagery”), and also a few surprises from the band’s back catalog. “We’re doing three songs; it’s a medley. We’re starting off with something old, then launching ‘Invisible’ — which will be the first time we’ve played it live together on anything — and then we’re finishing with a song that some of our fans may know,” he teases as his bandmates chuckle.

The Billboard Music Awards air on NBC at 8 p.m. ET Sunday (May 23).

Courtesy Billboard

Duran Duran: ‘Almost everybody in a situation like ours sabotages themselves’

May 21st, 2021

Forty years on from their debut album, the new romantics have teamed with Giorgio Moroder and Graham Coxon for a new LP. They discuss their wild heyday, ageing with grace – and which vaccine they would rather have
Laura Barton

“It’s hard to believe that this was the last place Ziggy Stardust ever stood,” says Nick Rhodes, keyboardist and founding member of Duran Duran, striding to the point, front and centre stage at Hammersmith Apollo, where David Bowie laid his beloved persona to rest. We look out across the hundreds of empty seats. A pigeon flutters around the rafters.

It is Tuesday afternoon, and as we wait for his fellow band members to arrive, Rhodes and I make our way up to the empty backstage bar. He is in black suit, T-shirt, trainers, carrying a faint whiff of eyeliner, and makes for amiable company. As we walk, he notes the tour posters that line the venue walls, shares tales of Kate Bush and Kylie and Lou Reed, and divulges his unexpected preference regarding Covid vaccinations. “Normally, I like very modern things,” he says, with a nod towards the more recently approved Johnson & Johnson and Moderna jabs. “But with the vaccine, I wanted the AstraZeneca, because it’s old school.”

It is 43 years since Duran Duran formed, springing out of the nightspots of Birmingham and quickly getting swept up into the “new-” scenes: wave and romantic. There were No 1 singles, world tours, Live Aid, Grammys. Later came lineup changes, side-projects, contract disputes, hiatus and reunion. Today they stand among the bestselling artists of all time, and their post-reunion success rolls on; their last album, 2015’s Paper Gods, debuted in the Top 10 here and in the US.

This week they released a new single, Invisible, to be followed, this year, by a new album, which sees collaborations with Giorgio Moroder, Mark Ronson and Erol Alkan. There are live shows planned for September, a Radio 2 special with Claudia Winkleman, and a new video created by an AI artist named Huxley. Ahead of the interview, there have been instructions from their record label that our conversation must not dwell on the past; instead we must understand that Duran Duran are a band focused on the future.

Still, when drummer Roger Taylor arrives, the pair are happy to indulge in a little nostalgia. “The early days here were something else,” says Taylor, recalling the five nights Duran Duran once played at Hammersmith. “They never used to have gates at the back here, so there’d be a thousand kids in that alleyway at the back. We’d look out the dressing room window, and you’d just see this sea – of mostly girls, I have to say, and it was the first time I think we really realised that it was going crazy.”

“It was super exciting,” adds Rhodes. “But it was bizarre, because you’d go out shopping to buy a T-shirt or something and suddenly you get locked into a store and they’d have to call the police to get us out of a place. It was just odd, surreal, because we were just kids from Birmingham who’d come up to London and started a band, and suddenly out of nowhere …”

The strangest thing was that Duran Duran had never seen themselves as pin-ups. In their eyes, they were more of an arthouse band, “a bit more underground,” says Taylor – something like Japan, with a strong aesthetic vision. The record company clocked their commercial appeal: perfect pop heart-throbs for the dawn of the MTV era. “They looked at these five pretty good-looking guys and thought: ‘We’re going to put them on all the teen mags,’” Taylor continues. “And once you go down that avenue, it’s hard to get back.”

For a while, life was crackers. “If you look at some of the early schedules you think: ‘Are they even physically possible?’” Rhodes says. “Moving countries three times in a day, playing live and doing press conferences in all of them. You get to a point where you think: yes, it’s great to be ambitious and light on your feet, but you need to be slightly more sensible, because otherwise …”

“When you’re 22 years old you don’t know how to say no,” adds Taylor, who these days exudes an air of tanned composure. There was no single breaking point, no one moment of collapse, but Rhodes recalls making “a very conscious decision when I was 21 not to take any more drugs”. It was not that he had a particular problem, he says. “But I could see what was happening, and I thought: ‘I don’t ever want to be out of control like that.’ But that was a lucky decision that other people don’t necessarily make; I’m sure I made other decisions that weren’t as wise as that one.”

“It’s interesting that almost everybody who finds themselves in a situation like Duran Duran sort of sabotages themselves,” says bassist John Taylor, when he arrives wearing a maroon and yellow baseball cap and carrying a book by the thriller writer Mick Herron in his blazer pocket. “How long do you want to live like that for? It’s fun for a minute and then it stops being fun.”

He remembers quite particularly when things changed: doing promotion in Australia in the late 1980s. “I remember walking out of the hotel and there being nobody there. I’m walking down the street – streets we’d never been able to walk down before, we’d have had to have minders – and I almost wanted to stop people and say: ‘Do you know who I am?!’” He grins. “But then it was like: hang on, I’m free to walk down this street, and it’s kind of fucking great!”

It must be a strange balance for them these days, I say: a band known for innovation, for often being at the forefront of technology, but vividly remembered for posing with feathered hair and pastel suits on a yacht in the Rio video, their success today resting on their 80s popularity. Rhodes smiles beatifically. “One has to accept age with grace,” he says. “While all bands would still love to be 18 years old, you have to embrace your history. There’s no point pretending. The way you just avoid it becoming nostalgia is by rearranging things, changing the visuals and the setlist. We don’t have to play Hungry Like the Wolf every night.”

The band are all far-flung now, with families, side projects, lives that span from Los Angeles to Chelsea. But they refer to an almost gravitational force that Simon Le Bon, sitting next to John Taylor in hoodie and blue jeans, says he felt right from his very first audition. The band started playing the track Sound of Thunder, and he stood up and invented a verse on the spot. “I thought: ‘God, this is the real thing, this is how it’s supposed to be,’” he remembers. “And I knew that I had to hold on to it as a job, and I had to hold on to those melodies, and I had to hold on to these guys because I knew there would never be anything in my life that was more creative and more immediate and more absolute than being in Duran Duran.”

“There was a certain inevitability about the new album,” John Taylor continues. “We get to the end of a touring cycle and we know we need time away from each other – but it’s like a chemical thing, it’s a pull that happens, almost like a mission; we have to go back!”

“I wasn’t into making a new album at all,” counters Le Bon. “I was like: ‘Let’s just do a single’, because I thought nobody’s going to listen to a whole album, people just listen to singles now. But I think I was on my own in that camp and it was a band decision. That’s how we work: four people and no leader.”

Arriving at the studio, “we show up with no ideas whatsoever and run up at it like a lump of clay in the middle of the room”, says John Taylor. Invisible began with a Le Bon lyric, “a personal thing about a relationship where one person is not listening, and the other person starts to think: maybe I’m just not here”. Soon it grew into something broader, “about being human, and realising there’s a lot of us and we don’t all get heard”. It is a year since it was recorded, but Taylor notes that in that time, as the world has weathered isolation, upheaval and political protest, the song has acquired new layers of meaning. “It’s become enormously resonant,” he says. “And I’m glad that we are not coming back with a party song. That would feel tone deaf.”

This is not to suggest that the new album is without party songs. In particular, it was a long-held dream to work with Moroder, “the first person who could tell us exactly what to do”, says Roger Taylor. “He comes in like a doctor, with his suitcase with his little keyboard inside.” Also making an unexpected appearance on the new album is Blur’s Graham Coxon, who has “given so much life and surprise to the music”, says Le Bon.

The three producers and Coxon help fill the place once occupied by guitarist Andy Taylor (none of the Taylors are related). Taylor joined the band’s reunion in 2000, but by 2006 they had once again parted ways. Today, Rhodes describes their relationship as “not one of those situations where hell freezes over”; an unreleased album featuring the guitarist may see the light of day.

But his departure altered the careful equilibrium of the band: for years, Taylor had offered a musical counterpoint to Rhodes. “His record collection disturbed me!” Rhodes says. “A lot of real heavy rock things, stuff that you would have avoided the kids at school for.” Beside him, Roger Taylor smiles. “But you collided,” he says, “and made something really incredible.”

It was, Rhodes agrees, “Andy’s edge and Andy’s rockiness” that gave Duran Duran something special. “It really worked because it was going completely against the disco grooves and the electronic pulses,” he says.

“It was what the Americans liked as well,” adds Roger Taylor. “Because they were still playing FM rock in America; we were the only new wave band that had heavy guitar, so it crossed over.”

The world has changed considerably of course, since their early days; they talk about the grand piano in the corner of the old EMI offices, being “taken out for a ride in the Rolls-Royce” by the record execs who told them they were “going to be the next big thing” and about bobbing around the office chatting to the international office and the art department and “hanging out with the secretaries”.

It would be easy to look for scandal in such a setting, but largely, the band have remained free of disrepute – a 2018 accusation against Le Bon of groping an American fan at a record store event in 1995 was denied as “simply untrue”. When I ask if there are any lessons to be learned from their younger days in the music industry, Rhodes says that there are few from their perspective as a band: “We treat people with great respect as we did then,” he says.

It has been strange to see the business adapt to streaming, Rhodes says. “It’s amazing that the labels are so rich and becoming more powerful again,” he adds. “Because it’s like the guy who does the worst job in the world and gets promoted.” In 1997, he “pushed the button on the world’s first download for sale”, he points out. It would be another six years before the launch of iTunes. “Six years!” he says. “And in that six years all they did was try and smash up some small guy in the middle of nowhere who’d illegally downloaded a couple of songs.”

How did it feel to push that button? Did he realise how much it would change? “Sort of, yes: that’s why I wanted to do it,” he says. “I didn’t understand why people were being so foolish about trying to smash it up. What’s the thing we all learned about at school, the Luddites? It was like that – trying to stop progress.”

I wonder if it is strange to be thought of as an 80s band. People are critical of the greed and selfishness of that decade, Rhodes says, “but if you look at art and fashion and design, it was absolutely extraordinary. And it was an exciting landscape for music and for being able to create your own sound. None of us would have been seen dead copying someone else’s sound then. Everyone had to have their own identity, that was your badge of honour.”

This was the change they felt as the decade ended, he says, and perhaps, by extension, what we are seeing again now, too. “The 80s was about individualism,” he explains. “Whereas once we got towards the 90s it was more about wearing the same trainers, and the same jeans, and being part of that clique.” And how did that feel for an 80s pop star? Rhodes looks waspish. “I’ve never owned a pair of jeans in my life!” he says.

Invisible is out now

Screen Shot 2021-05-23 at 12.53.28 PM

photo by Nefer Suvio

Courtesy The Guardian

DURAN DURAN ANNOUNCE DETAILS ON FORTHCOMING STUDIO ALBUM, ‘FUTURE PAST’ SET FOR GLOBAL RELEASE ON OCTOBER 22

May 19th, 2021

DURAN DURAN ANNOUNCE DETAILS ON FORTHCOMING STUDIO ALBUM, ‘FUTURE PAST’ SET FOR GLOBAL RELEASE ON OCTOBER 22– PRE ORDER/ADD/SAVE (TAPE MODERN for BMG)

PRODUCERS EROL ALKAN, GIORGIO MORODER AND MARK RONSON CONFIRMED, PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS GRAHAM COXON, MIKE GARSON, AND LYKKE LI; WITH MORE EXCITING COLLABORATIONS TO BE ANNOUNCED

FIRST SINGLE ‘INVISIBLE’ WITH UNIQUE OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO — CREATED BY AN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: HUXLEY — OUT TODAY

ANNOUNCE FIRST-OF-A-KIND COLLABORATION WITH 360 REALITY AUDIO FOR NEW ALBUM, SINGLE, MUSIC VIDEO AND BACK CATALOG

SET TO PERFORM AT THE 2021 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS WITH GRAHAM COXON ON SUNDAY, MAY 23 ON NBC

Today, internationally acclaimed, multi-platinum, award-winning pop legends Duran Duran released their brand new single ‘INVISIBLE,’ with accompanying music video, alongside official details on their highly anticipated 15th studio album, FUTURE PAST. Set for global release on October 22 via TAPE MODERN for BMG, FUTURE PAST boasts esteemed producers Erol Alkan, Giorgio Moroder and Mark Ronson behind the board, plus special guest Graham Coxon of Blur on guitar, Bowie’s former pianist Mike Garson, and guest vocals from Lykke Li, with more exciting collaborators to be announced.

The first single to come from FUTURE PAST is ‘INVISIBLE,’ produced by Erol Alkan and Duran Duran, and mixed by Mark ‘Spike’ Stent. The official music video was created by an Artificial Intelligence (A.I) called Huxley and comes out ahead of the band’s worldwide exclusive televised performance of the track, set to air live from London on the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, on Sunday, May 23 on NBC in North America.

Talking about the single from his home in London, co-founder and keyboardist, Nick Rhodes said: “Sonic architecture has always been incredibly important to Duran Duran. I think, with “INVISIBLE”, we really have managed to carve the sculpture the way we wanted it. Sonically, it’s a very unusual piece of music. I think when you merge all the instruments together, it creates an overall sound that perhaps you haven’t heard before.”

The official film for Duran Duran’s ‘INVISIBLE’ is the first collaboration of its kind, between artists in different planes of existence. In a ground-breaking, world first, Huxley is an A.I. whose ‘mind’ has been designed based on what we know about how the cognitive and emotional processes of human beings work. Huxley is a unique dreamer with its own A.I. brain. Huxley creates and dreams much as we do, and using an established technique called ‘active inference,’ which was originally created by Karl Friston (one of the most influential neuroscientists in history), we are able to explore the complex dreamscapes that it has imagined from the lyrics and emotional tone of the song. Huxley takes the concepts that are rooted in human language and iconic symbolism and translates them into provocative and daring imagery that pushes the boundaries of imagination to create a new form of visual discourse that is quite remarkable. The result is a haunting and memorable music video. Watch HERE.

The band members collaborated with Japanese artist Daisuke Yokota, whose photography they had long admired, on both the front cover of the ‘INVISIBLE’ single and their forthcoming album. Rhodes first met Yokota in 2019 when he was in Japan making a documentary on post war photography.

Speaking on their forthcoming album, and latest single, Simon Le Bon also reveals: “When we first went into the studio in late 2018, I was trying to persuade the guys that all we needed to do was write two or three tracks for an EP. Four days later, with the nucleus of 25 plus strong songs in the can, that all deserved development, I realized we’d be in it for the long haul, but that was before COVID. So here we are in 2021 with our 15th studio album, FUTURE PAST straining at the leash. Music by Duran Duran with Graham Coxon, Lykke Li, Mike Garson, Erol Alkan, Mark Ronson, Giorgio Moroder (for God’s sake!). I’m not saying it’s epic, but well … yes I am. We open with the song ‘INVISIBLE’, which began as a story about a one-sided relationship but grew into something much bigger, because “a voiceless crowd isn’t backing down”. John and Roger’s rhythm track is mountainous; Nick’s melodies twist and soar; Graham’s guitar is a knife. It feels exactly right for right now.”

Renowned through-out their impressive 40-year career for their trail-blazing endeavors in both music and emerging technology, Duran Duran continue their trend, this time with a special collaboration with 360 Reality Audio, a new immersive music experience using Sony’s spatial sound technologies. Announced today, Duran Duran and Sony’s 360 Reality Audio have entered into a special creative collaboration, and first of its kind, to provide fans an entirely new and immersive way to listen to their songs. The first release from this collaboration will be their new single ‘INVISIBLE.’ This will be followed by 360 mixes of their upcoming album FUTURE PAST, together with new 360 versions of their back catalog. 360 Reality Audio is on supported streaming services Amazon Music HD, TIDAL HiFi, and Deezer HiFi. The official video for ‘INVISIBLE’ also features a simulated 360 Reality Audio Experience where fans can immerse themselves in the music with any pair of headphones. “As a band we’ve always looked to new technology for a way to enhance our sound. The Sony 360 system brings a new and different dimension to the tracks. ” Nick Rhodes explains.

FUTURE PAST will be available on all digital platforms. As well as the standard CD, a limited edition Deluxe hardback book CD format will be available featuring three additional tracks. The album will be also be available on colored vinyl. The official album store will offer exclusive vinyl and cassette formats with limited edition signed prints. Pre-Order FUTURE PAST.

‘INVISIBLE’ is out everywhere now.

More exciting Duran Duran news to come!

About Huxley
Huxley is the brainchild of Nested Minds Solutions. It lives in the Cloud and is powered by technology that is uniquely based on the structures of the brain, modeling human intelligence and emotional engagement to create art that is in equal parts indefinable, and glorious. Enigmatic, intriguing and always unpredictable, Huxley explores its boundless subconscious mind with an unprecedented freedom to interpret the world around it like no other artist. Huxley is represented by Collector Productions.

Future Past Cover INVISIBLE

Duran Duran Is Back Back With a Spooky New Song

May 19th, 2021

At first we were going to marvel at Duran Duran’s visual pivot to the disturbing mind of David Lynch … before realizing that they’ve actually collaborated with each other in the past? Now that’s a fun fact. What’s next, Tears for Fears and Quentin Tarantino? Anyway, the British pop icons have released their first new single in years, “Invisible,” which the band describes as an “unusual” piece of sonic architecture. The song’s release coincides with the announcement that Duran Duran will be releasing their 15th studio album, Future Past, on October 22. Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, and Roger Taylor are all back for this new era, as well as their hair, which somehow hasn’t aged a day since 1981. Seriously, what’s their secret?

Screen Shot 2021-05-23 at 12.45.39 PM

Courtesy Vulture

Pre Order Duran Duran’s FUTURE PAST!

May 18th, 2021

Click here to pre-order Duran Duran’s new release, FUTURE PAST, out on October 22.

Video premiere for INVISIBLE May 19 at 10am ET on the band’s YouTube!
Single available for download May 19 at 3:45am US/845am UK

Duran Duran's Future Past Album

Duran Duran to perform with Blur’s Graham Coxon at Billboard Music Awards

May 14th, 2021

Duran Duran are set to perform with Blur‘s Graham Coxon at this year’s Billboard Music Awards.

The band will appear as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations and will premiere a new single at the awards event, which takes place on May 23. Other artists also confirmed to be performing at the event so far include The Weeknd, Pink and BTS.

As reported on Consequence, Duran Duran members Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Roger Taylor will stream their performance of the single remotely from the UK and will be joined by Coxon.

The single is taken from the group’s upcoming new album, which was completed during last year’s lockdown.

Speaking about their new album to Vogue back in April, Nick Rhodes of the group said: “Before the pandemic struck, there was a new Duran Duran almost finished.

“We were gearing up with a lot of shows, like a lot of other artists, and had to put everything on hold.”

Their last album, ‘Paper Gods’, was released in 2015.

Duran Duran were due to headline this year’s BST Hyde Park event, but the gig was postponed until 2022. The group will return in 2022 and will headline alongside Pearl Jam.

Pixies will support Pearl Jam on July 8, whilst Nile Rodgers & CHIC will join Duran Duran on July 10. A new guest will eventually be announced for July 9 together with a full supporting line up for all days of the event.

Courtesy NME

How ’70s U.K. Music Icons Inspired Duran Duran: Book Excerpt

May 14th, 2021

Duran Duran’s second album, Rio, cemented the Birmingham band’s status as ’80s pop superstars. Released on May 10, 1982, the LP spawned global hits such as “Hungry Like the Wolf” and the title track.

Rio’s music reflected the inventive ways the members of Duran Duran incorporated their influences. Although Roxy Music and David Bowie were permanent guiding lights for the band, the troupe famously wanted to craft a sound that was akin to disco legends Chic meets punks the Sex Pistols – two bands bassist John Taylor adored.

However, each musician brought eclectic inspirations to Duran Duran’s songwriting. Drummer Roger Taylor also listened to punk and disco. Keyboardist Nick Rhodes was a fan of Japan, Brian Eno and the Human League. Guitarist Andy Taylor, meanwhile, admired Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, Gary Moore and Angus Young, among others. And singer Simon Le Bon could have moodier tastes; in fact, in 2020 he recalled seeing a double bill of Joy Division and the Cure in 1978.

Combine all of these sounds with the band’s ambition, tenacity, optimism and steely focus — and you get Rio.

The following text is excerpted from Duran Duran’s Rio, which published as part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 series on May 6, by Annie Zaleski.

Although the elaborate Rio-era videos gave people the impression Duran Duran were ruthless capitalists or Thatcherites, these clips were filmed after Rio was complete but before the LP was a worldwide blockbuster. While recording the album, the band members weren’t jaded jetsetters, but hopeful dreamers. The cosmopolitan and escapist vibe permeating the Rio LP is aspirational, rooted in sincerity and earnestness.

“It was all unconscious how we did it. We certainly didn’t sit down and plan that we were going to make this album of escapism and aspiration,” John Taylor says. “No conversations were had to that effect. But subconsciously, all the lives that we had all lived up to that point all got sort of poured into it and expressed.” Duran Duran believed in themselves — and believed they could actually manifest these glamorous and exciting lives — because they had tangible role models. “There was a lot of confidence in what we were doing,” the bassist continues. “I mean, an extraordinary amount of confidence, the kind of confidence that only we could have gotten in Britain at that time, really.”

“And I don’t mean confidence of, like, you know, ‘Hey, man, we got it. We got this,’” he adds, affecting a deliberately gruff vocal tone. “Not gym confidence — just an innate sense of having spent the last 10 years of our lives watching bands like Pink Floyd and Roxy Music and the Sex Pistols and the Clash and David Bowie. Watching these extraordinary, iconoclastic musicians [and] songwriters come out of Cambridge, Bromley, Shepherd’s Bush, Newcastle — wherever.”

John Taylor relays a story that mega-AC/DC fan Andy Taylor used to frequent the same bar in Newcastle as Brian Johnson, a musician who was in the band Geordie and later replaced Bon Scott as AC/DC’s frontman. “And the day Brian Johnson got the job in AC/DC, Andy was in the bar — and Brian Johnson bought a round for everybody,” he says. “And for Andy, that was like, ‘Holy shit. Someone from where I’m from can get that kind of recognition.’”

“That was beyond encouraging — I mean, talk about aspirational,” the bassist continues. “You know, aspiration is fine, as long as there’s some sense of real possibility there. I mean, if it’s just a complete fucking fantasy, then that doesn’t serve any purpose at all. But if it’s grounded in enough energy or self-belief that you can actually build on that fantasy and make it a reality — then it’s substantive.”

Taylor’s perspective points to one reason why Duran Duran were so driven, so determined to make their escapist adventures come true. Some artists are content to revel in fantasy and possibility; it’s akin to someone who pines after a crush and loses interest when feelings are reciprocated. Duran Duran not only loved the romance of the daydream; they also found beauty in the consummation, being able to visit those sunlit beaches and take in the magnificent vistas with their own eyes.

Courtesy Ultimate Classic Rock

Duran Duran Set to Perform at 2021 Billboard Music Awards

May 14th, 2021

The performance will mark the band’s 40th anniversary.

Duran Duran are the latest star attraction set to perform on the 2021 Billboard Music Awards. This will be the first BBMAs performance by the veteran British band. They will perform a new song remotely from London and will be joined by Blur’s Graham Coxon.

The performance will mark the band’s 40th anniversary. Duran Duran made its Billboard chart debut in April 1981 with “Planet Earth”/“Girls on Film,” a double-sided hit on the Dance Club Songs chart.

Duran Duran has had two No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100: “The Reflex” and “A View to a Kill,” which was the first (and still the only) song from a James Bond film to reach the top spot on that chart. On the Billboard 200, the band has had six top 10 albums, spanning more than 30 years.

Hosted by Nick Jonas, the BBMAs will broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 23, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on NBC.

Billboard Music Awards’ finalists and winners are based on key fan interactions with music, including audio and video streaming, album and digital song sales, radio airplay, and social engagement, tracked by Billboard and its data partners, including MRC Data and Next Big Sound. This year’s awards are based on the chart period of March 21, 2020 through April 3, 2021.

Courtesy Billboard

Duran Duran Celebrates 40 Years With New Music

May 14th, 2021

Can you believe Duran Duran is coming up on their 40th anniversary as a band? To celebrate the major moment, the iconic band will be taking the “stage” first to perform at the Billboard Music Awards. Graham Coxon of Blur will be joining them live as well.

Duran Duran first cracked the Billboard charts in 1981 with “Planet Earth/Girls on Film.” The dance hits were the first of many as the band became a hit machine with classic tracks including “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Ordinary Wolrd,” and “Come Undone.”

Over the course of four decades, Duran Duran has the top of the Billboard Hot 100 twice with “The Reflex” and “A View to a Kill.” The title track from the James Bond film is still the only one in the franchise’s history to reach the peak of the chart.

To celebrate their big 40th anniversary, Duran Duran plans to play a new song when they hit the “stage” remotely from London at the BBMAs. We don’t yet know what that song will be. Will you be turning into the big show?

Courtesy Idolator

Duran Duran, BTS and More to Perform at 2021 Billboard Music Awards

May 14th, 2021

Duran Duran will be making their performance debut at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards. The British pop-rock sensation will take the BBMA stage for the very first time, with a remote performance from London, England.

Duran Duran will perform their brand-new, soon-to-be-revealed song, and will be joined by Blur’s Graham Coxon.

The group has had 21 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, including “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Rio,” “Ordinary World” and “I Don’t Want Your Love.” Their most recent studio album, 2015’s Paper Gods, debuted in the top 10 on the Billboard 200 and marked their highest charting album since 1993.

In addition to Duran Duran, BTS will also be taking the stage at the BBMAs. The K-pop group will be performing the world television debut of their English-language single, “Butter,” at the awards show, remotely from Korea.

The Billboard Music Awards’ official Instagram account teased the supergroup’s performance via Instagram on Tuesday.

“Are you ready?! the world tv debut of @bts.bighitofficial’s BUTTER will be at the #BBMAs !!! don’t miss it Sunday, may 23 at 8ET/5PT on NBC. #BTS_Butter,” they captioned the video montage of BTS’ music videos and 2020 Billboard Music Awards performance.

Hosted by Nick Jonas, the 2021 Billboard Music Awards will air Sunday, May 23 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC.

Courtesy Entertainment Tonight

Duran Duran Summer Show Updates

April 30th, 2021

Duran Duran’s show at Scarborough Open Air Theatre has now been rescheduled from this summer to Friday 17th September. Original tickets remain valid for the new date and final tickets are on sale now at http://ScarboroughOpenAirTheatre.com

SQUARE_DURAN-DURAN_V2

Duran Duran’s show at Isle of Wight Festival has now been rescheduled from this summer to Sunday 19th September. Tickets are on sale now at https://isleofwightfestival.com/info/tickets

All existing tickets will remain valid for September so please keep hold of them. If you cannot make the new dates please contact your ticket provider to get a refund.

IOWSept21-DuranDuran

Duran Duran’s show at Saint Anne’s Park has now been rescheduled from this summer to 12 June, 2022 . Tickets are on sale via Ticketmaster.ie. ⠀All existing tickets will remain valid for next summer so please keep hold of them. If you cannot make the new dates please contact your ticket provider to get a refund.

DURAN DURAN RESCHEDULED[1]

The Lytham Festival is being re-scheduled for 1 July, 2022. Please visit the Festival website if you currently have tickets, and if you don’t, watch this space for news on when the 2022 show will go on sale. https://www.lythamfestival.com

Screen Shot 2021-04-02 at 3.29.51 PM

Duran Duran’s show at BST Hyde Park has now been rescheduled from this summer to Sunday 10th July, 2022. Tickets are on sale now at https://www.bst-hydepark.com

All existing tickets will remain valid so please keep hold of them. If you cannot make the new dates please contact your ticket provider to get a refund.

DD_BST_2022[6]

Nick & Katy – Oscar Picks 2021

April 22nd, 2021

The 93rd annual Academy Awards are upon us! This year we have a shortened list because we weren’t able to see anything in the theatre, making several categories too hard to judge whilst watching at home.

So sit back, have a read & see if you agree with Nick & Katy’s 2021 Oscar Picks!

THE BALCONY IS NOW OPEN!

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Nominees:
“Nomadland” Chloé Zhao
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” Sacha Baron Cohen, Peter Baynham, Jena Friedman, Anthony Hines, Lee Kern, Dan Mazer, Erica Rivinoja & Dan Swimer; Story: Baron Cohen, Hines, Nina Pedrad & Swimer
“The Father” Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton
“One Night in Miami” Kemp Powers
“The White Tiger” Ramon Bahari

NICK: “Nomadland” is almost certain to win. Chloé Zhao is a clear talent, however I personally thought “The Father,” as upsetting as it is in many ways, is a masterpiece. The dialogue is extraordinary, the movie really is quite amazing. I’d be happy for it to win. On a side note, I’ve heard good things about “The White Tiger,” and hope to see it soon.

KATY: I didn’t see “The Father” (more on that later) but I saw “The White Tiger” and it told an intricate tale really well. I’d love it to win this award, and was sad it wasn’t nominated for more. That being said, I am pretty sure “Nomadland” is a lock here.

Nick: SHOULD WIN: “The Father” WILL WIN: “Nomadland”
Katy: SHOULD WIN: “The White Tiger” WILL WIN: “Nomadland”

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Nominees:
“Promising Young Woman” Emerald Fennell
“Minari” Lee Issac Chung
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” Aaron Sorkin
“Sound of Metal” Abraham & Darius Marder; Story: Derek Cianfrance & Darius Marder
“Judas and the Black Messiah” Will Berson & Shaka King; Story: Berson, King, Keith Lucas & Kenny Lucas

NICK: I’ve seen all of these movies and enjoyed them all. My personal favourite was “Promising Young Woman.” It was truly original. I am a fan of “Killing Eve,” also from Emerald Fennell, and I believe it set the mold in some ways for this film. Emerald has an unusual style, which makes me want to see her film win even more. I am going to say “Promising Young Woman” is also my “going to win” pick. That being said, I won’t be surprised if “The Trial of the Chicago 7” takes the prize. This is a tough category.

KATY: I did not love “Promising Young Woman” the way Nick did. I found it a little farcical. I loved “Minari,” it was subtle and wonderful, but maybe not right for this award. I liked “Sound of Metal,” and, if I am honest, was a little bored with “Judas and the Black Messiah.” I believe “The Trial of the Chicago 7” deserves to win, and will win.

Nick: SHOULD WIN: “Promising Young Woman.” WILL WIN: “Promising Young Woman.”

Katy: SHOULD WIN: “The Trial of the Chicago 7” WILL WIN: “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
The Nominees:
Yuh-Jung Youn, “Minari”
Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Amanda Seyfried, “Mank”
Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy”
Olivia Colman, “The Father”

NICK: I liked “Mank” way more than you did Kathryn, and loved Amanda’s performance. I loved Maria Bakalova in “Borat,” so I’d be happy to see her win as well. I wouldn’t see a film called “Hillbilly Elegy” in any year, and while Olivia Colman is amazing in everything, including “The Father,” this isn’t her year to win. Without a doubt, Yuh-Jung Youn will win for “Minari.” She was outstanding.

KATY: I don’t know what Glenn Close is doing here. I think she took Jodie Foster’s deserved nomination for her role in “The Mauritanian.” Amanda Seyfried was an early frontrunner for “Mank” but it seems she has lost momentum. Maria Bakalova deserves an Oscar for exposing Rudy Giuliani if for nothing else, but I do believe Yuh-Jung Youn will win for her role as the Grandmother in “Minari.”

Nick: SHOULD WIN: Yuh-Jung Youn, “Minari” WILL WIN: Yuh-Jung Youn, “Minari”

Katy: SHOULD WIN: Yuh-Jung Youn, “Minari” WILL WIN: Yuh-Jung Youn, “Minari”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
The Nominees:
Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”
Sacha Baron Cohen, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Leslie Odom, Jr., “One Night in Miami”
Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”
LaKeith Stanfield, “Judas and the Black Messiah”

NICK: Again, all strong movies in this category. I think Paul Raci was kind of great in “Sound of Metal,” and I’d love to see that movie get something, but it won’t likely be this award. I think one of my favourite performances this year was Daniel Kaluuya in “Judas and the Black Messiah.” What a great face he has, such expressive eyes. The only thing I would say is that Daniel seemed like the lead actor to me, but he is sure to win for his role as Fred Hampton, one of the leaders of the Black Panther movement.

KATY: I think we’re agreeing again – I don’t know how Sasha could be singled out for “The Trial of the Chicago 7” when the entire cast was so strong. Paul Raci was fantastic in “Sound of Metal,” and this was his first major film role. LaKeith Stanfield was really good in “Judas and the Black Messiah” and was the true supporting actor in that movie. However, I agree that 100% Daniel Kaluuya will win for “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

Nick: SHOULD WIN: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah” WILL WIN: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Katy: SHOULD WIN: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah” WILL WIN: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”

BEST ACTRESS
The Nominees:
Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”
Andra Day, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”
Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”
Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman”

NICK: This is a spectacular list of actresses. I loved every performance except Vanessa Kirby, only because I didn’t see the film. The other four though… I’ve loved Frances McDormand since “Fargo.” She is great in everything. I couldn’t be saddened by her winning because it was a spectacular performance although “Nomadland” wasn’t one of my favourites. Andra Day was a big surprise to me in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” I thought she was spectacularly touching. Andra brought something new to the role of Billie. It is a complex character to play and she got it right. I would be happy to have her win too, but don’t think she will. I loved Carey Mulligan in “Promising Young Woman” because it was one of the most unique and original movies of the year. It was strange and twisted, and highlighted how prevalent bad behaviour is. She was terrific. I’m a little torn here, I enjoyed “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” and thought Viola Davis was just perfect as Ma Rainey; a performance like that doesn’t come along that often.

KATY: I did not see “Pieces of a Woman,” and while I heard Vanessa Kirby was excellent, I don’t think she will win this year. Even though Andra Day was fantastic in “The United States vs Billie Holiday,” I don’t believe she, or the movie, have enough momentum to carry her to the Oscar. Carey Mulligan was great in a juicy role in “Promising Young Woman,” which I didn’t love as much as Nick did. I don’t think Carey’s role ‘earns’ the Best Actress Oscar for several reasons, one of which was it was sort of one note. Neck and neck, to me, are Frances McDormand for “Nomadland” and Viola Davis for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Viola. Wow. She was unbelievable in the part of Ma Rainey, just outstanding. But Frances… She didn’t campaign for the Oscar, so not sure she will win, but she sure deserves to. It was difficult role, and her expressions and body language was as much a part of her performance as her words, and that made it a win for me.

Nick: SHOULD WIN: Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” WILL WIN: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”

Katy: SHOULD WIN: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland” WILL WIN: Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”

BEST ACTOR
The Nominees:
Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”
Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”
Steven Yeun, “Minari”
Gary Oldman, “Mank”

NICK: This is equally as impressive a list as Best Actress. I loved Chadwick Boseman in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” and it is complicated by his terrible loss. Anthony Hopkins making “The Father” at the age of 83 is almost an impossibility of greatness. I was speechless. He delivered one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. Every movement, gesture and glance was heartbreaking. How great was Riz Ahmed in “Sound of Metal”? He took you with him on his journey, along with all of his character’s anger and resentment. Steven Yeun was part of an ensemble cast in “Minari,” one of those movies where the characters where all equal in what they added to the film. I really really loved “Mank” (unlike Kathryn). I loved Gary Oldman in it, as I have all his performances since “Sid & Nancy.” I would be beyond delighted for him to win the Best Actor award.

KATY: There’s no arguing with much of what Nicholas has said. Chadwick Boseman was an incredible actor and it’s so tragic that he passed away at such a young age. He had a moving speech in “Ma Rainey” about his character’s childhood and I think that speech will win him the Award. I didn’t see “The Father,” because the subject matter was too hard and too personal for me. I am sure Anthony Hopkins was spectacular, but I can’t choose him if I didn’t see it! Riz Ahmed was sort of a revelation to me, but my issue was that I didn’t find his character very likable. Steven Yeun in “Minari” was terrific, but, as Nick said, it was more of an ensemble piece. As much as Nick loved “Mank” is as much as I disliked it. It was hard to get through it in my opinion, so forget Gary Oldman.

Nick: SHOULD WIN: Anthony Hopkins, “The Father” WILL WIN: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Katy: SHOULD WIN: Not Choosing Anyone WILL WIN: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

BEST DIRECTOR
The Nominees:
Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”
Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”
Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari”
David Fincher, “Mank”
Thomas Vinterberg, “Another Round”

NICK: The one movie I really wanted to see, but didn’t get to, is “Another Round,” therefore I have to discount that from my choices. I liked the remaining four films very much. I have a dilemma; “Minari” and “Nomadland” were both heartfelt human stories about people in the real world trying to find their way. They’re both “road movies,” in a way, and are “Oscar friendly.” I personally found “Promising Young Woman” more interesting and well executed than the prior two films mentioned. “Mank” was beautifully directed, the performances were all great, and it has an impeccable script. It was intellectual. For that reason, I am going to say I’d like David Fincher to win Best Director.

KATY: I loved “Another Round,” it is actually nominated for Best Foreign Film this year, which makes sense, but not sure why Thomas Vinterberg was nominated for Best Director. I am scratching David Fincher off for “Mank,” since I disliked it. That leaves three. I am also scratching off “Minari,” because, while I loved the movie, I don’t believe it was the Best Directed Film of the year. That leaves two: Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman” and Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland.” I believe “Nomadland” was the best directed movie of the choices for this year.

Nick: SHOULD WIN: David Fincher, “Mank” WILL WIN: Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

Katy: SHOULD WIN: Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” WILL WIN: Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

BEST PICTURE
The Nominees:
“Nomadland”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”
“Minari”
“Promising Young Woman”
“The Father”
“Sound of Metal”
“Judas and the Black Messiah”
“Mank”

NICK: The more I look at this list, the more I feel it wasn’t such a bad year for movies at all. Every one of these movies deserved a nomination. “Nomadland” is for sure going to win Best Picture. It won the BAFTA and many other awards as well. Undoubtedly a great movie, but not my favourite, as I mentioned. As much as I liked “Promising Young Woman,” it is almost too “indie” to win Best Picture. “Minari” won’t win because a Korean movie won last year, and I am sorry to say that will likely play into how the Academy will vote. “The Trial of Chicago 7” was so well done. “The Father” was incredible. “Judas and the Black Messiah” and “Sound of Metal”, both too ‘off the beaten path’ for many Voters. I’d be happy to see “Mank” win, it had an elegance to it as a movie… It doesn’t ring the same bell as a lot of the other nominees do. It tells a fabulous story.

KATY: “Mank” stank! I didn’t see “The Father,” so I have to cross that one out. I’m taking out “Mank” and “Judas and the Black Messiah.” “Judas,” was good, but not a Best Picture – Daniel was amazing, not the movie. I am also removing “Minari,” because, while it was a lovely movie, it wasn’t a Best Picture. I wanted to love “Promising Young Woman,” and may have if I thought I was going to see a black comedy. That leaves me with “Nomadland” and “The Trial of Chicago 7.” I am sure “Nomadland” is going to win Best Picture but I feel “The Trial of the Chicago 7” was the best movie of this year. All the performances, the script, how it kept me interested the entire time, and how it stayed with me afterwards. I’d love to see it take home the big prize.

Nick: SHOULD WIN: “Mank” WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE WIN: “Promising Young Woman” WILL WIN: “Nomadland”

Katy: SHOULD WIN: “The Trial of the Chicago 7” WILL WIN: “Nomadland”

How will we do? Tune in to the The 93rd annual Oscars, airing on April 25 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.

Members of the fan community can listen to the entire audio on duranduranmusic.com

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Nick Rhodes: from new romantic to outer space The Duran Duran star and singer Wendy Bevan talk to Dominic Maxwell about their cosmic collaboration

April 21st, 2021

It is hard, Nick Rhodes and his new collaborator Wendy Bevan admit, to figure out quite how it happened. How did a few musical ideas the Duran Duran keyboardist was trying out for Bevan’s latest album swell into a joint 52-track series of four instrumental albums on the theme of the universe? Albums that are being released on each equinox and solstice of the year? With a video for each track being released on a weekly basis? Even for a member of a band who have been making big statements for more than 40 years, Astronomia — the first instalment of which, The Fall of Saturn, is out — is a grand gesture.

Yet neither Rhodes nor Bevan can pinpoint exactly where a spot.

Read entire article in the TIMES (London)

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Simon Le Bon Wants Your Brain to Go “Whooosh!”

April 19th, 2021

It’s been a while since many of us were “Hungry Like the Wolf” and acting like “Wild Boys,” but Duran Duran continues to be a cultural influence in music and collaboration. This year it’s been 40 years since their debut album was released. Their most recent album (Paper Gods) was released just over five years ago and charted respectively across Europe and the US. Last month, Duran Duran debuted a well-received cover of David Bowie’s “Five Years” along with a music video on what would have been Bowie’s 74th birthday. And there was an album in production, but it was put on hold due to Covid-19.

So what’s a dynamic lead singer like Simon Le Bon supposed to do in the meantime?

Shamed by his daughter, who asked how he could consider himself a musician when he doesn’t listen to any modern music, he decided to take this familial challenge to heart and created a podcast/radio show that does just that. Oh, sure it sprinkles in conversations about his world-famous band, and intermittently it does drop a Duran Duran single onto the platter, but mostly it’s about the best (often overlooked) music that you should be listening to.

Le Bon described Whooosh! as “the sound that your mind makes when it expands to make room for a new idea.” To force that sound to happen in your brain, Simon partnered with his long-time Duran Duran collaborator Katy Krassner. Krassner is an American Media Director, publicist, and Content Director, which means that she’s responsible for making sure the projects she works on are seen and heard across the multiverse. She’s worked her magic for such artists as Tori Amos, They Might Be Giants, and John Fogerty. Since 1995, she has been Duran Duran’s primary connection to their fans, handling communications and managing their website. So it wasn’t a stretch to see her figure prominently in this latest effort. In the show, she often comes across as Simon’s foil, asking probing questions or simply voicing a different perspective on the music and the industry. They’ve known each other for so long that the chemistry between them is obvious – she provides a good balance.

As Simon commented to Sirius XM, “It all began as a lockdown thing. It dawned on me that the only music I was listening to was what I was working on, and the stuff that got me into a band in the first place. So I switched on my ears, and went on a trip down a sonic rabbit hole… there is so much great new talent, so much music out there.”

ecent shows include discussions of punk music, harkening back to The Clash and Billy Idol, to the recent release “Serafina” by Bambara – or about bands like Ghostpoet and Sault & Black Honey. Other podcasts focus on more alternative music from Preservation, Gaz Coombes, and related acts. But mostly it’s about the musically and pop-culturally astute comments and debates between Le Bon and Krassner. Sometimes topics include sharing personal stories about their families and how Simon managed to continue to release successful music for nearly half a century.

The show debuted on Duran Duran’s website, where you can still hear back episodes, but since January 27 has moved exclusively to Sirius XM’s Volume Channel 106. Music heard on the show can also be streamed on Spotify’s “Whooosh!” channel, while some older back episodes still appear on YouTube.

Want more Duran Duran? “Duran 40” on Pandora features an exclusive playlist, hosted by English television presenter Claudia Winkleman (One World: Together at Home, Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20th Century) with contributions from Mark Ronson and Nile Rodgers.

If you happen to be reading this from overseas, Duran Duran will perform a handful of live concerts across the UK and Europe this summer. Finally, their Twitter feed (@duranduran) allows you to send questions and requests into their show. When it comes to Simon Le Bon and all things Duran Duran, the whoooshing will continue.

Courtesy of Culture Sonar

BST Hyde Park reveal event delayed until 2022 with Pearl Jam and Duran Duran set to to return “It is with a heavy heart that we announce that BST Hyde Park will not take place in July 2021”

March 30th, 2021

BST Hyde Park have revealed that this year’s event won’t go ahead in July due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The event will be back in 2022 and will see Pearl Jam and Duran Duran – who were set to headline this year’s event – return in 2022.

In a statement, organisers said: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce that BST Hyde Park will not take place in July 2021.

“We are however happy to share that Duran Duran and Pearl Jam will go ahead in July 2022.”

Pearl Jam will now return on July 8 and 9 2022 whilst Duran Duran will return on Sunday July 10 2022.

Pixies will support Pearl Jam on July 8, whilst Nile Rodgers & CHIC will join Duran Duran on July 10. A new guest will eventually be announced for July 9 together with a full supporting line up for all days of the event.

All 2021 tickets will be valid for next year. The statement continued: “You will be directly contacted by the ticket agent you purchased from with full details, including refund information if you are no longer able to attend the rescheduled dates.

“If you have not been contacted about a refund by your ticket agent by Friday 30th April, please get in touch with them directly.”

Organisers added: “Following our review of the most recent government advice, the latest timeline means that we are unable to deliver with certainty the quality BST Hyde Park is known for in the time available.

“By making this decision at this stage we allow artists, crew, fans and everyone that comes together to help create these shows to plan accordingly.

“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the NHS and all the incredible organisations and individuals who have been working tirelessly in these past twelve months to keep the country safe. Your efforts are enormously appreciated.”

Last year’s event, which was the eighth year of the festival, was also cancelled, with Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and Post Malone, set to headline alongside ‎Pearl Jam ‎and Duran Duran.

Courtesy NME

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Duran Duran Drop Five Classic Albums on Streaming Platforms

March 22nd, 2021

Duran Duran fans got an earful this weekend, when five of the British band’s albums dropped on streaming platforms for the first time.

The trove includes the Mark Ronson-produced All You Need Is Now, a fan-favorite which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary; and 2004’s Astronaut, which featured the reunited classic lineup of Simon Le Bon (vocals), Nick Rhodes (keys), John Taylor (bass), Roger Taylor (drums) and Andy Taylor (guitar), who has since departed the group once again.

Also new to DSPs is Medazzaland (1997), Pop Trash (2000), Red Carpet Massacre (2007), and Bored of Prozac and the Internet, the TV Mania side project led by Rhodes and former Duran Duran guitarist Warren Cuccurullo.

With 14 studios albums, hits and remix collections, plus sides projects including Arcadia and The Power Station, the Duran Duran streaming collection is now complete.

Emerging out of the Birmingham, England nightclub scene, Duran Duran was founded by Nick Rhodes and John Taylor, two childhood friends with an obsession for David Bowie, Chic, Roxy Music and fashion. With Le Bon and the two unrelated Taylors on board, the band made an indelible mark in the first half of the 1980s with a string of supercharged music videos and dynamic new wave records.

Their most recent LP, 2015’s Paper Gods, featured assists from Janelle Monae and long-time collaborator Nile Rodgers and went Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic (No. 5 in the U.K. and No. 10 in the U.S).

After a year that saw every act wipe their touring slate, Duran Duran are hitting their straps.Earlier this year, the British band released a cover of Bowie’s “Five Years,” a string of outdoor shows have been announced for the U.K., Ireland and Spain, Le Bon launched the weekly “WHOOOSH!” show on SiriusXM, while Rhodes has unveiled the collaborative Astronomia project with British singer and violinist Wendy Bevan. A new, 15th studio album is said to be coming soon.

The alternative rock outfit last month marked 40 years since the release of their debut single, “Planet Earth”.

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Courtesy BILLBOARD

Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes and Wendy Bevan Debut First Piece in Their ‘Astronomia’ Project

March 22nd, 2021

Following a year of collaborating on 52 cinematic pieces, Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes and singer-songwriter, violinist, and photographer Wendy Bevan have released the first collection of their musical union on Astronomia I: The Fall of Saturn (Tape Modern).

Inspired by the universe, and presented across four individual, 13-track albums under the moniker the Astronomia project, the first “part,” The Fall of Saturn, was released in tandem with the 2021 spring equinox. Collectively, Astronomia is comprised of three additional albums, all scheduled for release on equinoxes and solstices throughout 2021.

Working across the world from one another, with Brevan based in Los Angeles and Rhodes in London, the duo started piecing together Astronomia in 2018 and continued to craft each track in response to the turmoil throughout the past year.

“As we have all been living somewhat blinkered lives over the past year, Wendy and I found ourselves searching for a way forward, and were magnetically drawn towards the idea of creating something widescreen, to broaden our perspective in that moment,” says Rhodes. “The universe became an infinite source of inspiration, taking us on a journey through this sadness to a future filled with awe and hope, exploring the endless beauty of the unknown.”

Rhodes describes the collective Astronomia sound as a merging of the “drama and moods of classical music with the textures and atmospheres of analogue synthesizers.”

“Each track is like a sonic painting, where different styles, colors and composition form singular pieces that belong in the same exhibition,” says Rhodes. “The Fall of Saturn is a musical allegory for these times, a moment to reflect upon our fragility, the way we treat each other and our planet, a symphony of hope and dreams for our future.”

To accompany each track, the duo will release a visually curated film melding their individual, art-driven aesthetics, commencing with the first single “The Great Attractor” and a new clip released every week throughout the year.

“Inspired by the lustre of stars, we had the perfect setting to create a musical language,” says Bevan of Astronomia. “All 52 pieces we wrote for the Astronomia project have become a memoir locked into a time capsule—musical notation to be released into the mysterious abyss.”

Astronomia taps into a shared cinematic vision through textured arrangements. “Nick and I were on a quest to pursue the ineffable, and Astronomia became a landscape for the cinematic vision we share,” says Bevan. “We found ourselves making an ethereal soundtrack to accompany the process of change we were all experiencing on a global level during that time.”

Bevan adds, “Created by layering violins, synths, vocals and orchestral arrangements, each track unlocks another door in the world of Astronomia, instantly transporting you to another dimension.”

Astronomia

Courtesy American Songwriter

Duran Duran’s ALL YOU NEED IS NOW turns Ten

March 21st, 2021

Duran Duran’s ALL YOU NEED IS NOW was released as a 9 song iTunes exclusive in December, 2010 and then as a 14 song CD on March 21 (Europe) and March 22 (North America), 2011. Here, the band members and some collaborators look back on the album on its tenth anniversary.

Jonas Åkerlund, Director, GIRL PANIC! music video

I was intimidated to do this video since Duran Duran already had the best videos. What could I do to meet them at their level? The “Girls on Film” music video made me want to do music videos.

Looking back, I believe it is one of my best executed music videos. The whole experience was a highlight of my career. Though it took a long time to prepare, the project felt spontaneous and was a fun shoot. Gender roles dissolved, and the experience becomes about the power of the individual models’ in these positions, matching the musician’s energies. This video has every single ingredient to make a great music video, style, beauty, fun, and most importantly, a great song.

I enjoyed all of the collaborations involved on this video, it was a win for everybody. It was like a cast reunion for the supermodels, and was an incredible moment in time for all of us involved. Collaborating with the band on the concept was fantastic. Duran Duran are the kindest, most polite and professional band I’ve ever worked with.

“Girl Panic!” was a personal favorite music video, I am eternally proud of adding to the incredible Duran Duran music video canon and for being a part of this cultivated image of beauty, style, power and fun forged with the models. I will never forget the excitement and will always look back at this great moment in time with gratitude.

Jonas Åkerlund | TEASERS

Behind the Scenes on Duran Duran’s “Girl Panic!”

Nick Egan, Director, ALL YOU NEED IS NOW music video

Making “All You Need Is Now” was the best fun video I’ve made for the band. At the time it had been 10 years since I shot “Perfect Day,” and I wanted to approach the idea differently from the other videos I had done. The song itself was a different sound for the band, a much harder edge to it. I wanted it to do something to reflect that, more organic and spontaneous. Initially my idea was no idea, just fly to London and film whatever happens around them. John and I had discussed other memorable band performances that were spontaneous, like The Beatles on the roof at Apple Records, The Rolling Stones on a flatbed truck driving through Manhattan and the Sex Pistols river boat party on the Queens Jubilee.

The band had given me an orchestral piece for the opening and closing of the video. The idea was for them to describe the making of the album in their own words, so I asked Gavin Elder, who shoots all the behind the scenes footage of the band, if I could use the stuff he had made during the making of the record. I also asked Gavin to shoot, along with myself, the performance.

Technology was moving really fast then, and cameras were getting better and smaller by the hour. The first high definition pocket sized camera was the Flip. It was the size of a cell phone and it just had a basic zoom lens, but the quality, for that time, was better than any cell phone. I started at Abbey Road Studios with Simon and Nick, who were appearing as guests at Mark Ronson’s show. Then we spent a day at the rehearsal space, which the band had art directed themselves with tin foil on the walls.

Although we had playback of the track, I wanted the band to play live as well, so I could cut between the two. After we finished filming the performance, we all jumped in a car and drove to the Tate Modern where I shot them walking along the embankment and in and around the Tate Modern. People were doing double takes, seeing Duran Duran walking along with everyone else. I could never have pulled this off with a traditional video shoot.

I spent the next two days individually with each band member. First with Simon and a live interview at the BBC, then back to Simon’s house. On the way there I noticed a really serene part of the river Thames, where you could walk to the river’s edge, so Simon and I took a stroll along the shores of the Thames.

Next was Roger, who at the time had been DJ’ing at events around the country, so we went to Black Market Records in Soho. All the UK’s top DJ got their records from there, and I had him spinning on their decks. When we finished, we took a walk through beautiful Richmond Park.

For Nick, we went to Brompton Cemetery. When I was with Simon and Nick at the Mark Ronson show, I saw Nick juggling some oranges, and saw how good he was, so I asked him to do that again; Nick reminded me of Oscar Wilde or one of the great English romantic poets like Shelley and Byron from the 19th Century. We also filmed Nick in his back garden which reflected the great English Landscape gardener, ‘Capability’ Brown.

Last but not least was a trip out to the west country towards Bath to see John. We got up before dawn and walked out into the snow-covered English countryside.

I also wanted to tribute the importance of the Duran fans, and the legacy the band have left on a whole new generation of fans. The band constantly re-invent themselves. I found these three young fans in Hollywood and went out to a club with them where this new generation danced to music from the 80’s and 90’s. The jacket the boy is wearing is actually from John’s personal collection from the early days of the band.

My good friend Paul Boyd co-produced the video and edited the short version of the video. Ironically, Paul was the initial director for “Ordinary World,” but for some reason his Production Company pulled out of the job even though they’d started filming.

Fun Fact: While we were editing the video at Paul’s house, I noticed a car stopped right outside his place surrounded by people, photographers, fans. When I left a few hours later, the car was still there, with more people surrounding it, and it turned out to be Paris Hilton with a broken- down car! I offered her sanctuary at Paul’s house, which she took me up on. I told her we were editing a new Duran Duran video and she said she loved the band, so I asked her if she’d be in the video. I asked her to jump up and down on the trampoline, and I have to say she was a great sport.

Credit goes out to Anna Patel who edited the extended version and to Paul Boyd who edited the short version.

Josh Blair, Engineer, ALL YOU NEED IS NOW

ALL YOU NEED IS NOW was the first album that I worked with Duran Duran on as an Engineer. We started the album’s pre-production in their little production room (Prod 3) at the now defunct Sphere Studios. Six guys jammed into that tiny space made for a kind of creative melting pot. Any and all ideas were welcome. We worked thru writing and recording around 50 to 60 song ideas. These we done in a kind of “jam” fashion, where three parts of a song (verse, chorus, bridge) were created from nothing, with Simon singing random words and phrases over them to find a top line melody that he liked. Later, Mark Ronson joined our little “sardine can” as Producer, and he liked most of the song ideas, working with the band to hone them further. Once we had enough songs put together, we started recording them properly at Eastcote Studios. The days for me were long, but fun. Little did I know that they were to get a lot longer very quickly…

Whilst at Eastcote two things happened which changed the album irrevocably: Simon’s laptop crashed with all his lyrics stored on them and Mark had expressed his love of the song “The Chauffeur.” At the time these two things seemed disconnected, but they soon became intrinsically entwined. After three days of toil, Simon had managed to reload his OS and announced loudly during a drum take that he’d just installed Leopard. Amongst the melee of pounding drum sounds this was misheard by Nick as “A man who stole a Leopard”… Ever the keen song title-smith that Nick is (he keeps several books of songs titles with him at all times), he wrote it down. Then, almost as if with divine intervention, Mark decreed out of nowhere that he’d really like a “Chauffeur style” song on this album and “The Man Who Stole A Leopard” was born. Nick was keen to get started on this, so at the end of the session (around 9pm most nights), Nick and I went back to Prod 3 on our own and began to work on the song.

During the day I was working with Mark and the rest of the band on the album recording and then working into the early hours of the morning with Nick (going to bed when the birds were chirping became a common thing). It was great to be in the middle of that creation. Every sound was carefully crafted from Nick’s beloved keyboards. He would sit just behind me with his Jupiter 8 in between us making sounds and teaching me how he did it. To this day I still can’t program a Jupiter 8 from the ‘correct side.’ I always feel far more comfortable doing it upside-down from “my side” of the keyboard (Nick still thinks it funny). After sever weeks of double shifts, and a few nights of no sleep at all, “The Man Who Stole a Leopard” was completed.

That’s my strongest memory of AYNIN.

Dom Brown, guitarist and songwriter, ALL YOU NEED IS NOW

Wow, it’s a cliché to say ‘time flies,’ but the last 10 years have truly flown by! Seems like only a few years ago that we were doing this album. I remember a very happy and enthusiastic John calling me, on the evening the album was released and as it was making it’s way up the charts saying, “DB we’ve made something special here.”

I’d say that of the 16 years of working with Duran this period was the most intense, yet fun, period for me. I can remember us all in a room together jamming and bouncing ideas off each other for weeks on end. Someone would come up with a riff or set of chords and someone else would say ‘that’s cool, keep playing that’ and add their parts as ideas grew and developed into songs. It was a very old school and democratic process, writing this way, and I think this approach to creating is part of the reason the band still get along so well together.

It was great having Mark Ronson produce the album, and the concept that he brought with him for the record “let’s make Rio 2”! His attention to detail was quite something.

I love all the tracks, but standouts for me are “All You Need is Now,” “Girl Panic!,” “Mediterranea” and “Leave a Light On.” These were all so much fun to play and help write, and “Mediterranea” was a particularly special moment for me live with the extended guitar solo. I also love “The Man Who Stole a Leopard,” I was very happy with how my guitar synthesizer lead part in the middle came out. That was the first time I’d ever used a guitar synth and I was inspired.

I also have great memories of the world tour that followed to support the album. It was a long and busy one, and a great experience for me playing songs, that I’d co-written, to such huge crowds around the world.

To DD fans everywhere, keep enjoying this album. Long live AYNIN!

Simon Le Bon, Duran Duran

Initially, we went in and had a big meeting with Mark Ronson. One of the things he said was, “I think you need to reclaim the sound of Duran Duran.” He cares about the band, and felt we lost some of that with Red Carpet Massacre; he thought we could have connected with fans a bit better.

We went in to the studio and got really in to it. After a while, Mark had to leave to make his own record. He told us to carry on, and that he’d come back and join us later in the process, which he did. He set the vibe and we just moved forward.

We did some work in Armory Way (Dom’s place), then we did some work at Sphere. I think we got some amazing tracks during this period. The song “All You Need is Now” is about the connection between the band and the fans. The history of our relationship with them, and all that history leads to NOW – so all you really do need is…now!

“Girl Panic!” is one of the most spectacular videos we’ve ever made – what a great premise getting super models to play the parts of Duran Duran! I also thought the video was great in terms of gender politics and feminism, as well as being a very original idea. It was a magnificent day shooting that video in London, and I absolutely loved having Naomi Campbell play me (and Mrs. Le Bon was in the video too – the quiet one.).

I think there was some good lyrical content on ALL YOU NEED IS NOW. I love “Girl Panic!,” “Blame the Machines,” “Leave a Light On.” I had hoped “Leave a Light On” would be like “Save a Prayer,” but I am not sure it ever reached that height. “Before the Rain” is probably my favourite track on the album. I sat down in my back garden with a guitar and tried to re-write Mozart’s REQUIEM…but ended up with “Before the Rain.” It’s about the ghosts that trail around after you.

Roger Taylor, Duran Duran

ALL YOU NEED IS NOW is an album whose title said everything about this collection of songs that were ingeniously inspired by Mark Ronson’s desire to go “back to the future.” Mark encouraged us to re-visit the way we used to write and record – sometimes even using the same instruments that had been gathering dust for decades – and bring that sound right back into the NOW. Utilizing Mark’s contemporary recording techniques, Josh Blair’s all-round brilliance and Mark “Spike” Stent’s incredible, state-of-the-art mixing, my feeling is that the experiment was a resounding success. ALL YOU NEED IS NOW brought us right back into the arms of a fan base that had been anticipating this moment for many years.

Nick Rhodes, Duran Duran

Being someone who always obsesses over details, I was thrilled to be able to join all the dots in a bizarre way with the cover artwork for ALL YOU NEED IS NOW and the song “The Man who Stole a Leopard.”

The photo on the front cover, used by Clunie Reid to create the art work, was one that I had taken in Palermo at Palazzo Valguarnera-Gangi where many scenes from Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard (Il Gattopardo), were filmed. On the track “The Man Who Stole a Leopard” I used an orchestral sample at the end of the piece which was licensed from the Luchino Visconti movie, Rocco and his Brothers. The soundtrack was written by Nino Rota, who happens to be one of my favourite Italian composers, so somehow, Luchino Visconti was reunited with a leopard both through the album’s artwork and its music.

It was a real thrill to make a whole album with Mark Ronson. I think he helped us find the pathway back to the roots of Duran Duran. It’s always great to have Mark in the room, he’s a fine source of inspiration and his musical knowledge is quite extraordinary. We had a lot of fun together recording my keyboard parts with vintage analogue synths. In fact, after the album was completed, Mark went on a spending spree and pretty much duplicated my keyboard collection for his own studio – I was of course most grateful because whenever I visited him, it saved me from having to transport my fragile synthesizers back and forth.

One of the highlights of the ALL YOU NEED IS NOW project, for me, was certainly the “Girl Panic!” video. I think it’s actually one of the most complicated things we have ever attempted to pull off. It was the tenacity of our wonderful manager Wendy Laister, that finally paid off when she miraculously coordinated the schedules of five supermodels, the four members of Duran Duran and film director Jonas Åkerlund to converge in London at the Savoy Hotel. Whilst our original plan was to release the video much earlier alongside the single, I am glad we did not did not give up on the idea and were able to follow it through a few months later.

The tour was long and had many highlights. I don’t usually speak during our live shows (aside from the occasional flippant remark during “The Reflex”), though on this tour I had been nominated to introduce a song; I chose “Blame the Machines,” a personal favourite from the album, which enabled me to tell absurd stories about locally invented technology. This worked particularly well in Australia, but I fear my stories were getting increasing longer as I could see John fidgeting on the other side of the stage.

John Taylor, Duran Duran

ALL YOU NEED IS NOW is the 10th studio album by Duran Duran, coming as it does after RED CARPET MASSACRE.

ALL YOU NEED IS NOW was produced by Mark Ronson and conceived as an alternative ‘follow-up’ to RIO. We employed similar production techniques and instrumentation.

It is one of my favorite Duran albums, having a fantastic energy and sense of authenticity and DD DNA.

I have many good memories from making this album: “Blame the Machines,” inspired by a news story about the trouble you can get into with a faulty GPS, “Safe (in the Heat of the Moment) – somewhere there is an early demo of that featuring an extemporizing Q Tip – love to hear that again – “Girl Panic!,” which inspired a GOAT video and “Runway Runaway.” I love this song! Wish that had made it to radio (and video).

The video for AYNIN was directed by our dear friend Nick Egan. It was a real ‘hands-on’ Warhol Factory style job, everyone involved like the early days. I love it! 

Also, a big fan of the cover art.

If you haven’t played this album lately, today is a good day to do so!

All photos by Nick Egan

Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes Unveils Solo Project With Wendy Bevan (EXCLUSIVE)

March 19th, 2021

On Saturday (March 20), Duran Duran cofounder and keyboardist Nick Rhodes will release the first music from a collaborative project with British artist and singer/violinist Wendy Bevan.

While in lockdown over the past year, Rhodes (in London) and Bevan (in Los Angeles) collaborated on a monumental series of 52 cinematic instrumentals inspired by the Universe. The recordings will be presented as the Astronomia project across four 13-track, individually named albums. All of the pieces were composed and performed by Rhodes and Bevan.

The first release is scheduled for Saturday, March 20, 2021, followed by three further releases, on the equinoxes and solstices for the remainder of the year.

Rhodes said of the project: “As we have all been living somewhat blinkered lives over the past year, Wendy and I found ourselves searching for a way forward, and were magnetically drawn towards the idea of creating something widescreen, to broaden our perspective in that moment. The universe became an infinite source of inspiration, taking us on a journey through this sadness to a future filled with awe and hope, exploring the endless beauty of the unknown.

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“Merging the drama and moods of classical music with the textures and atmospheres of analogue synthesizers created the rich palette of sounds that we used to make the Astronomia albums. Each track is like a sonic painting, where different styles, colours and composition form singular pieces that belong in the same exhibition.

“Both Wendy and I tend to think visually whenever we write music, so all the tracks were conceived with cinematic vision, even though we have yet to make all the films…

“When you let emotions flow into music, that is usually when you get the best results. As we have had so little personal connection with other people in recent times, many of us have found solace in music. When Wendy and I started to write, everything we were feeling just poured out into these instrumental pieces – there was no need for words, it was there in black and white, the notes said it all for us.

“The Fall of Saturn is a musical allegory for these times. A moment to reflect upon our fragility, the way we treat each other and our planet. A symphony of hope and dreams for our future.

“In today’s world, we are besieged by information that is often manipulated or untrue, computer enhanced with the intention to draw us in and convince us about an alternate reality on offer… This has only served to make me want the real thing more than ever. Working with Wendy, together we have been able to circumvent the system of predictable and generic sounds. We have created our own unique solar system outside of convention and it feels natural, it has a pulse and a temperature. It will survive independently, each album orbiting out there on its own for anyone who is curious enough to tune in.”

For her part, Bevan said: “Once we decided the universe was our subject matter, the sonic world we conceived became a space for dreams. We suddenly found ourselves free of boundaries; the concept opened a portal between the reality we were facing in our everyday lives and something other-worldly that we couldn’t quantify, gazing into the endless possibilities of the future.

“Inspired by the lustre of stars, we had the perfect setting to create a musical language. All fifty two pieces we wrote for the Astronomia project have become a memoir locked into a time capsule; musical notation to be released into the mysterious abyss.

“Nick and I were on a quest to pursue the ineffable, and Astronomia became a landscape for the cinematic vision we share. We found ourselves making an ethereal soundtrack to accompany the process of change we were all experiencing on a global level during that time.

“The sensuality of the synths and humanity of the violins created a unique combination that allowed us to explore different soundscapes and develop a new musical narrative.

“Created by layering violins, synths, vocals and orchestral arrangements, each track unlocks another door in the world of Astronomia, instantly transporting you to another dimension.

“We wanted to establish an atmosphere that allows people to dream.”

Courtesy Variety

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Astronomia by Nick Rhodes & Wendy Bevan

March 19th, 2021

Astronomia is a collaboration between the artists Nick Rhodes and Wendy Bevan. It is a creative collision of analogue synthesizers, violins, voices and orchestral arrangements fueled by their shared attraction to the Universe.

The Fall of Saturn; is the first of four albums in the Astronomia project, released on March 20, 2021, followed by three further releases, on the equinoxes and solstices for the remainder of the year.

Each individual piece is a sonic painting, a tapestry of rich textures and haunting melodies forming soundscapes with an otherworldly atmosphere. Looking to the transcendent beauty of the skies, this genre defying debut album explores the fluidity of human emotions.

Follow on Instagram: @astronomiavolumes
Order here: https://ada.lnk.to/Astronomia-I

Wendy Bevan:

‘Once we decided the universe was our subject matter, the sonic world we conceived became a space for dreams. We suddenly found ourselves free of boundaries; the concept opened a portal between the reality we were facing in our everyday lives and something other-worldly that we couldn’t quantify, gazing into the endless possibilities of the future.’

‘Inspired by the lustre of stars, we had the perfect setting to create a musical language. All fifty two pieces we wrote for the Astronomia project have become a memoir locked into a time capsule; musical notation to be released into the mysterious abyss.’

Nick Rhodes:

The Fall of Saturn is a musical allegory for these times. A moment to reflect upon our fragility, the way we treat each other and our planet. A symphony of hope and dreams for our future’.

‘In today’s world, we are besieged by information that is often manipulated or untrue, computer enhanced with the intention to draw us in and convince us about an alternate reality on offer… This has only served to make me want the real thing more than ever. Working with Wendy, together we have been able to circumvent the system of predictable and generic sounds. We have created our own unique solar system outside of convention and it feels natural, it has a pulse and a temperature. It will survive independently, each album orbiting out there on its own for anyone who is curious enough to tune in’.

Nick Rhodes + Wendy Bevan by Radka Leitmeritz

Photo by Radka Leitmeritz

Q&A with Scot Barbour

February 15th, 2021

If you’ve watched Duran Duran’s new video for FIVE YEARS, then you’ve seen the work of Scot Barbour. He and his crew worked on all the Virtual Art you see in the video. Scot’s had an amazing career thus far, and as a music lover, added so much to the FIVE YEARS vid. Definitely a Q&A worth reading!

1. Before getting in to what you DO for a living, tell us a little something about yourself

I think first and foremost, I’m moved by art and I love to collaborate with other artists. I was kind of brought up on a healthy dose of the impressionists, ancient civilizations and science.

2. I know you’re a film maker but you worked really hard to get on that path. Tell us about the early years when you worked to get though college…

Yeah, I was certainly not on the right path early on, that’s for sure. But yeah, it was music that sort of saved me. I found a story in music, one that I could tell, one that I felt I had some authority to kind of speak about and share. That story was about Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone. When I found that, I pretty much sold it all over to telling his story. Making that movie was a catharsis for me which allowed me to let go of a lot of the baggage I had been carrying for a while and then sort of set me free to continue to create.

3. I poked around and found your resume and saw that along with directing, you’re a visual effects person. Tell us about that.

For me, I really took on the skills that were required to make my own films, and I mean single-handedly! So, I learned a little about a lot of things. With VFX (visual effects), I really just wanted to take visual storytelling to new areas, particularly in documentary films where imagery tended to be dry at the time. I felt that there were ways I could enhance an image in order to convey a deeper sense of its meaning. Those are the VFX I like.

4. And then you worked at APPLE. That must have been super-exciting to work on Final Cut Pro with Hollywood Studios…

Yeah, for me the coolest thing was working with, and for, Steve Jobs. I think he was the only person on earth at the time that could have convinced me to take a day job

5. It’s clear you love music, tell us about some of the artists you’ve worked with.

I’ve been pretty fortunate to work with a few great artists. In my Documentary, I worked with the guys in Mother Love Bone, Pearl Jam, and my all-time favorites, Soundgarden. I formed some great friendships during that time. After that, I worked with Will I Am and the Black Eyed Peas, Taylor Swift, Justin Beiber, One Direction, Ahmed Zappa, Bush, the Goo Goo Dolls, a bunch.

6. So Duran Duran. How did working with them on “Five Years” come about?

Man, you know, we were all in this crazy Covid situation where we kind of have to be looking out for more than just ourselves, you know, and maybe thinking about other people’s families, friends and their health concerns. It’s a big reset on humanity in a lot of ways. And with a situation where everyone is quarantined, you have musicians who want to do what they love – perform live – but they really can’t, and we all can’t go and enjoy that for now. So it was that mix that sort of provided the opportunity I guess. Along with Wendy of course, their manager, who orchestrated all of it really.

7. Can you tell us about the process of creating the “Five Years” music video?

I gotta say, I was kind of blown away by the opportunity. For me, Duran Duran have a royalty kind of status. They sort of bridged the gap between rock, pop, and new wave to make their own thing and that garnered them a lot of attention and respect, from even hard rock/punk rock guys like I was. So yeah, on that level, it was an amazing opportunity for me. Aside from me processing all of that, we had to put it all together from a distance. None of us on the entire production from end to end were ever really in the same room together. We shot a few of the guys in London, a couple in LA, and then put them together in a game engine. It was pretty unique what we did.

8. An artist named Teek Mach is on your team – she is a super star in her given field. Can you tell us how she worked with you on the video?

Yeah, Teek is amazing. She blew my mind the first time I met her. She put me in a VR headset and sort of flew me through a guided musical journey based on some Smashing Pumpkins songs. Being visual and based on music, it struck a chord with me instantly and we just sort of stayed in touch from there. Teek will put on a VR headset and like literally live in the worlds she creates for days and weeks on end. She’ll be in there eating a burger in real life or something, she’s just that kind of committed. I think of Teek as the kind of person you want painting your dreams when you sleep at night. For this piece, she painted some amazing ethereal imagery in Tiltbrush, and then using the Unity game engine, put it all in a timeline for us to merge. From there, the team at Mercury Studios did their magic in merging that with the footage of each band member.

9. How involved was the band in the video shoot?

They were pretty involved. They all showed up and did what they do best, which is perform great music. And working with Nick, in particular, was cool as hell because he’s a really creative guy with great vision. He knows what works and he knows how things should sort of feel, but at the same time he’s not micro-managing anything, you know? They were all a pleasure to work with.

10. What was the hardest part of this process for you as a director?

For me, it’s not always about what’s in the frame or on the screen in the end, its gotta reach beyond that into the “why” more that “what” realm if that makes sense. But that’s what moves me. So with this piece, Duran Duran made such an impact with their music videos that they kind of changed the game for everyone after them. They were the band that showed the rest of the music world how to make compelling visual content to accompany their music. And for me, that was a big deal. It was something I had actually really learned and taken from. So, in my mind, I just wanted to be sure we carried some of that legacy forward in the way this video was made. It’s really the first time anyone has ever shot each band member separately and then hand-painted a world in virtual reality around them.

11. Were you a fan of Duran Duran before you got this project to work on?

Yeah, for sure. My younger sister had introduced them to me, and I knew that if she thought they were cool, they had to be. From there I really found myself enjoying their music. You can’t play a Duran Duran tune at a party and not find every single person in the room going “yeah, now that’s fucking cool !” They have that, quality, you know?

12. Lastly, we ask every interviewee this question -what’s is your favorite Duran Duran video and why?

“The Wild Boys” for sure! It’s got this Cirque du Soleil – meets – Terry Gilliam type of visual vibe which I love! It’s such a bad-ass song! And the lyrics… I can totally relate!

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BEST DURAN DURAN SONGS: 20 POP ANTHEMS DONE THEIR OWN WAY

February 2nd, 2021

From New Romantic trailblazers to elder statesmen of pop, the best Duran Duran songs established them as icons that defined the 80s.

Since the early 80s, Duran Duran have been one of the UK’s greatest bands who once stood at the forefront of the new wave revolution. Far from being a manufactured boy band, the talents of Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, and the three Taylors (Andy, John and Roger) proved they had the songwriting abilities to match their good looks. Churning out dozens of chart successes across their 40-year career, they built upon a legacy of iconic music videos that dominated MTV and took the US by storm. Revealing why the synth-pop band are icons above and beyond the new wave era, here are our 20 best Duran Duran songs.

20: (REACH UP FOR THE) SUNRISE (2004)
In 2001, the “classic” five-piece Duran Duran line-up reunited for the first time since 1985 and recorded the band’s 11th album, Astronaut. Chosen as the album’s lead single, (Reach Up For The) Sunrise was a total blast from the past in more ways than one. An energetic dose of 80s pop nostalgia with an uplifting, anthemic chorus, it quickly took its place among the best Duran Duran songs.

Speaking about the song, guitarist Andy Taylor said, “That’s one of the things that drives us – melodic songs that people can relate to has always been our thing.” Lovingly crafted for their ageing fanbase, it’s remarkable to hear how little Simon Le Bon’s voice had changed – despite being in the pop game for 20 years at the time, he’d lost none of his passion and sounded like he hadn’t aged a day. A true crowd-pleaser.

19: CARELESS MEMORIES (1981)
Arguably closer to the morbid post-punk of The Cure than the Day-Glo pop of Kajagoogoo, the downbeat, pulsating Careless Memories was the second single taken from Duran Duran’s debut album in 1981. Scraping into the UK Top 40, it’s a fascinating and underrated track that more than deserves mention as one of the best Duran Duran songs – Nick Rhodes’ whirling sequencer pattern and Roger Taylor’s trance-inducing beat showcases the band’s potential to be dark and mysterious. A true enigma among their work, Careless Memories suggests a different path Duran Duran rarely took: one of gloomy post-punk ambience and Robert Smith-esque lyricism (“Fear hangs a plane of gun smoke drifting in our room”).

18: I DON’T WANT YOUR LOVE (1989)
With house music striking out in all the late 80s clubs, Duran Duran turned their hand to techno-inspired dance-pop on I Don’t Want Your Love, a 1989 single with a tinge of funk bursting into Eddie Van Halen-esque soloing courtesy of Chester Kamen on guitar. Despite Duran Duran’s former standing as New Romantics, the song is anything but lovelorn, as Le Bon tells the listener he simply isn’t interested in romance (“I don’t want your love to bring me down”).

By mixing the burgeoning sounds of Chicago house and European dance music with Prince’s funk-pop formula, it’s clear Duran Duran were trying to stay ahead of the musical curve – and the gamble seemed to pay off. I Want Your Love hit No.4 in the US, proving the band still had enough commercial appeal to reach the Top 10.

17: SKIN TRADE (1987)
Again showing the influence of Prince, Simon Le Bon gave his best falsetto to Skin Trade, the second single taken from Duran Duran’s 1987 album, Notorious. Written as a lyrical exposé examining sexual exploitation and female prostitution, and inspired by a Dylan Thomas book, at the time Nick Rhodes sincerely felt Skin Trade was “the best thing we’ve ever written”.

Expecting it to do even better than their previous single, Rhodes was in for a disappointment. “We put it out and it bombed, pretty much,” he remembers. Despite only reaching No.22 in the UK, Skin Trade certainly stands as one of the best Duran Duran songs – its cool-headed rhythm combined with its immaculate blasts of brass from The Borneo Horns truly sets it apart. As a distinguished work of assuredness and maturity, the song deserves to be dug out and reappraised.

16: ALL SHE WANTS IS (1988)
The robotic funk of Duran Duran’s 1988 single All She Wants Is continued the electronic dance fusion on the band’s fifth album, Big Thing, and reached No.9 in the UK. Kept on his toes by hyperactive hi-hats, guitarist Warren Cuccurullo squares off against a series of orgasmic yelps with jarring guitar solos which are as angular and dissonant as any post-punk experimentalist’s.

The song’s lyrics are fairly oblique, apparently about an aimless girl in clubland who has it all but is unsure of what she wants next (“What do you care?/What do you dare?/What does your heart say now?”). By focusing on the girl’s unspecified needs, the oscillating funk rhythm starts off alluringly, erupts noisily, before the song reaches its febrile closure. Not only one of the best Duran Duran songs, All She Wants Is could well be one of their most sonically adventurous.

15: NEW MOON ON MONDAY (1984)
Owing as much to Bryan Ferry’s sultry vocals as it does to David Bowie’s 80s balladry, New Moon On Monday was the second single released from Seven And The Ragged Tiger, and became the band’s fourth Top 10 hit in America. From Le Bon’s Roxy Music crooning to the jangling guitar tones of its rousing chorus, this dream-like song sails along ecstatically on a throbbing bass groove.

The only thing that let the song down was its cringe-inducing music video in which the band became resistance fighters conspiring to overthrow the militia controlling a quaint French town. “That video was really awful,” remembered Nick Rhodes. “When the director dresses up as the blind man, you know you’ve got a catastrophe on your hands.” Luckily, you only need your ears to appreciate the song as it is.

14: NOTORIOUS (1986)
Performing as a trio for the very first time, Duran Duran’s 1986 single Notorious saw producer Nile Rodgers flesh out the band’s funk influences – even introducing a brass section, The Borneo Horns, to freshen things up. As Simon Le Bon dishes out a veiled attack on ex-guitarist Andy Taylor (“Who really gives a damn for a flaky bandit?”), John Taylor’s ragged bassline gives the song its most memorable hook.

Reaching No.2 in the US and No.7 in the UK, the success of Notorious gave this newly slimmed-down Duran Duran line-up cause for optimism, proving to Simon Le Bon, John Taylor and Nick Rhodes that the best Duran Duran songs weren’t yet behind them. This single would eventually be sampled on The Notorious B.I.G’s posthumous gangsta rap anthem by hip-hop producer Puff Daddy in 1999.

13: UNION OF THE SNAKE (1983)
Tantalising the listener with cryptic lyrics rumoured to be about anything from demonic possession or tantric sex to falling victim to a dangerous cult, Union Of The Snake was the first Duran Duran single to be released from their third album, Seven And The Ragged Tiger. Snaking its way into No.3 in both the UK and the US, the song was an intoxicating funk hit that boasts a wailing saxophone solo from Andy Hamilton.

Once again setting his sights on MTV, Simon Le Bon spent the music video impersonating Mad Max by traipsing across sand dunes while fleeing strange blue desert creatures. This wouldn’t be the last time Duran Duran toyed with a post-apocalyptic aesthetic, largely due to the influence of video director Russell Mulcahy (who would later go on to helm the cult-classic fantasy movie Highlander in 1985).

12: MY OWN WAY (1981)
With its quick speed and an injection of Richard Myhill’s disco strings, the band’s UK No.14 hit single My Own Way preceded the release of their Rio album by six months. With Simon Le Bon improbably basing his lyrics on travel directions to a New York nightclub, the song is a vibrant snapshot of things to come before Duran Duran’s brand of funk-laced synth-pop brought them widespread fame and glory.

Claiming the band rush-released the song in a shallow bid to score a hit, Nick Rhodes held a particular disliking for My Own Way. “Biggest mistake of our career. Ever. We’ll never do it again,” he later said. Despite his misgivings, My Own Way is impeccably arranged and leaves the listener giddy with its amphetamine-fuelled tempo. One of the best Duran Duran songs of the early 80s, it’s much better than the band think it is.

11: THE WILD BOYS (1985)
Following director Russell Malcahy’s suggestion to seek inspiration in William Burroughs’ 1971 novel, The Wild Boys: A Book Of The Dead, the resulting 1985 single was an abrasively bombastic dance-pop tune that became a UK No.2 hit courtesy of Nile Rodgers’ uncompromising production work. “It is the best thing we have ever done,” John Taylor was quoted as saying. “We are getting more meaty. We are moving towards a rougher sound.”

The music video for The Wild Boys was a Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic sci-fi extravaganza, apparently acting as Russell Malcahy’s mini-film pitch for what a William S Burroughs movie adaptation might look like. Russell’s associate Marcello Anciano mentions the band “wrote the song and Russell did the video based on all the ideas for the film”. Sadly, Duran Duran’s star power wasn’t quite enough to get the movie bankrolled, even though the video cost $1 million to make.

10: COME UNDONE (1993)
As the follow-up to their 1993 comeback, hit Ordinary World, Duran Duran continued their hot streak with Come Undone, which yet again entered the US Top 10 and remains one of the best Duran Duran songs of the 90s. A moodily enticing ballad, Simon Le Bon sings plaintively over a trip-hop beat about the incomparable heartbreak of losing your first love (“Who do you need, who do you love/When you come undone?”).

Refreshingly, Duran Duran guitarist Warren Cuccurullo was the primary instigator behind this song, composing the kind of bittersweet riff which might have been equally at home on The Cure’s Wish. In fact, Cuccurullo did not originally expect Come Undone to be a Duran Duran song; instead, he envisioned it being sung by singer Gavin Rossdale for his grunge-inspired band Bush. Thankfully, Le Bon was open to embracing a new style and, subsequently, Come Undone became a live favourite.

9: IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW? (1983)
Finding themselves at the peak of their powers, Is There Something I Should Know? deserves far more recognition, not just as Duran Duran’s first UK No.1 single but also as a melodic Beatlesesque pastiche. With playful zeal, Andy Taylor’s glassy guitar riff gives a new wave sheen to 60s jangle-pop, while Simon Le Bon’s vocals are typically imploring (“Please please tell me now!”).

As the lyrics take in the threat of the H-bomb (“You’re about as easy as a nuclear war”), it’s obvious Duran Duran – leaders of the Second British Invasion – are paying tribute to the Fab Four’s role in the first British Invasion. Is There Something I Should Know? even has a Lennon-McCartney-esque middle-eight, and the music video sees them wearing identical suits and ties. You get by with a little help from your influences, after all.

8: THE REFLEX (1984)
Duran Duran had always been Chic’s biggest fans, so inviting the funk guitar maestro Nile Rodgers to remix their 1984 single The Reflex seemed a logical move. Having just set the music world ablaze with his production on David Bowie’s Let’s Dance album, Rodgers set to work: “I picked up on this obvious little hook thing. I went, ‘Wow, that’s the record, I could make a loop out of that.’”

Bringing a half-buried hook to the forefront, Rodgers revitalised The Reflex and gave it an authentic, hard-edged funk flavour more in tune with Duran Duran’s black influences. Though undeniably one of the best Duran Duran songs of all time, the end result was such a radical departure that Capitol Records were initially reluctant to release it. The band, however, dug in their heels. “The guys fought for it,” Nile Rodgers remembers. “They released it and it shot to No.1.”

7: A VIEW TO A KILL (1985)
For a band that exemplified the suave and sophisticated fashion styles of the new wave era, it made perfect sense for Duran Duran to compose the theme song for Roger Moore’s final movie as James Bond, A View To A Kill, in 1985. The band collaborated with legendary film composer John Barry, whom Simon Le Bon described as “working with us as virtually a sixth member of the group” as they crafted one of the best James Bond theme songs of the 80s.

Typically dramatic with stabs of orchestral strings, A View To A Kill was enormously successful, topping the US charts and hitting No.2 in the UK. As Roger and Andy Taylor would leave the band the following year, it also marked the last time Duran Duran would play as a five-piece until their 2001 reunion. To this day, it’s still the only Bond theme song to hit No.1 in America.

6: GIRLS ON FILM (1981)
Peaking at No.5 in the UK, Duran Duran’s breakthrough hit, Girls On Film, was the most successful song taken from their debut album. The chorus was originally written by a former member of Duran Duran, Andy Wickett, who (perhaps not realising how successful the band would become) was paid a one-off fee of £600 so the group could avoid any legal repercussions by releasing it.

Though standing in its own right as one of the best Duran Duran songs, a major factor behind the single’s success was controversy. Despite lyrics decrying the exploitation of fashion models, video producers Godley & Creme gave Girls On Film into a borderline pornographic promo video featuring women pouring champagne over each other’s breasts, in addition to topless girls engaging in mud wrestling. “My memories of it are not that great,” John Taylor said. “I remember being a bit embarrassed about it.”

5: RIO (1982)
The frenzied pace of Rio immediately sped its way into the UK Top 10 in 1982, fuelled by its arpeggiated synth hook while Simon Le Bon evoked Bryan Ferry’s lounge-lizard persona. As well as Roxy Music, the song was inspired by the Rum Rummer in Birmingham, with John Taylor saying the bassline showed “how that club influenced us, with the jazz-funk bands that played there on a Monday night”.

Rio’s glamorous promo saw the band wearing expensive suits onboard a yacht in the Caribbean. The extravagant video came to define the 80s – by virtue of Nick Rhodes playing saxophone on driftwood in the tropical heat, the song instantly left its mark on popular culture, forever cementing its place among the best Duran Duran songs. Rhodes, however, disliked the experience. “God, I hated that boat,” he remembered. “Wrecking my Anthony Price suit with those dreadful waves splashing everywhere.”

4: PLANET EARTH (1981)
Released on 2 February 1981, Duran Duran’s debut single, Planet Earth, is a sci-fi-tinged synth-pop classic written from an alien’s point of view of our human homeworld, fusing the futurist thrust of electronic synthesisers with the attitude of punk. Though it only reached No.12 in the UK, the song’s throbbing bass and Chic-inspired stabs of guitar gave us a glimpse of the future of dance music, laying the blueprint for the clubland classics of tomorrow while also establishing itself as one of the best Duran Duran songs.

Throwing down a gauntlet with Planet Earth, Duran Duran would find themselves paired with Spandau Ballet as embodying the New Romantic fashion scene, largely thanks to the inclusion of an impish lyric (“Like some New Romantic looking for the TV sound”). Today, Simon Le Bon feels this was purely opportunistic. “We jumped on the bandwagon,” he explained. “We needed something to give the band a sort of personality – and it worked!”

3: SAVE A PRAYER (1982)
Released during the height of their new wave notoriety, Save A Prayer was one of Duran Duran’s best love songs, reaching No.2 in the UK in 1982. A tremulous flute-like synth sound gives way to a dreamily melancholic fever dream, with Le Bon singing wistfully to his teenage fanbase of his deepest desires (“Some people call it a one-night stand/But we can call it paradise”).

Like other songs featured on their Rio album, the promo video for Save A Prayer was also filmed in Sri Lanka, but, unlike the song, the video shoot was nowhere near as romantic. Guitarist Andy Taylor remembered accidentally swallowing infected water from an elephant’s watering hole. “I got really sick with a virus,” he said. “That’s my memory of making those videos.”

2: ORDINARY WORLD (1993)
Proving the band’s best days were far from behind them, the single Ordinary World was a noticeably mature pop ballad which revamped Duran Duran’s sound for a brand new decade. Written in memory of his late friend David Miles, who died in 1987, Simon Le Bon sings of pain and loss, capturing the malaise of grief (“Where is my friend when I need you most?/Gone away”).

Many fans consider Ordinary World to be one of the best Duran Duran songs, providing evidence they had moved beyond teen-friendly pop. Suffused with a heartrending riff from Warren Cuccurullo on acoustic guitar, Ordinary World won the band an Ivor Novello Award in 1994 and deserves to be regarded their most significant accomplishment. As Nick Rhodes reflected: “All I can say is I think that the song goddess looked upon us kindly that day.”

1: HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF (1982)
From the catchy arpeggiated synth notes of its intro, it’s easy to see why Hungry Like The Wolf made Duran Duran a household name in the US. With lyrics depicting a predatorial stalker on the hunt for young meat, the song has a knowingly lascivious edge, baring its fangs thanks to Andy Taylor’s stinging guitar riff.

The promo video was filmed in Sri Lanka, in tribute to Raiders Of The Lost Ark, and featured Simon Le Bon wearing a fedora hat and chasing an exotic tigress through the jungle. MTV’s senior executive vice president Les Garland called it “the greatest video I’d ever seen” and the song was played in heavy rotation on the music channel, helping Duran Duran’s popularity skyrocket. Topping our list of the best Duran Duran songs, Hungry Like The Wolf reached No.3 in the US and remains the band’s definitive 80s album.

Courtesy DIG!

“Planet Earth” at 40: The perfect debut single that boldly launched Duran Duran

January 31st, 2021

Some new artists take a while to find their creative groove or footing. But the Birmingham-formed Duran Duran experienced remarkable success from the release of their first single, “Planet Earth.”

Released 40 years ago, on February 2, 1981, the song reached No. 12 on the U.K. singles chart; led to the band making an appearance on “Top of the Pops”; and even made inroads on the U.S. Billboard dance charts. Named one of the “100 Greatest Debut Singles of All Time” by Rolling Stone, “Planet Earth” remains in the band’s live setlists and has inspired younger generations: Both The Killers and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way have performed the song with Duran Duran.

“Planet Earth” is a bold opening salvo, based on a rhythmic foundation comprising John Taylor’s galloping bass and Roger Taylor’s stomping beats. Atop this Duran Duran members layer shimmering synths from Nick Rhodes and a zig-zagging melodic line from guitarist Andy Taylor; these parts alternate like a genial call-and-response. The occasional burst of texture — handclaps, sparkling synth ambience, bass curlicues, and a smoldering bridge — adds verve throughout.

“I call it funky punk. I was really a punk rocker,” John Taylor told Complex in 2012 about the song. “Then I discovered disco. When I discovered disco, I didn’t want to be a guitar player in a punk band. I wanted to be a postman in a funk band. But I was a punk and I never was going to be able to play like Chic. So ‘Planet Earth’ for me, as a bass player, was an expression of sort of my punky aspiration to be danceable to have that disco thing going on.”

He wasn’t the only band member who saw parallels between other genre-blending rockers. Andy Taylor once said the “essence” of the song was from Rod Stewart’s rakish 1979 disco-rock hit “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” Taylor, who worked with Stewart later in the ’80s, added, “The synth-guitar hook line that kicks off the tune is played on the same scale and key; the first two chords Dm7 and F are the same, so the melody/counter-melody lines are interchangeable.”

But “Planet Earth” is great because it feels like a response to trends — punk, disco, Krautrock, Bowie — not a direct replication of what had already been done. Of course, back in 1981, that desire to rearrange the status quo was a driving force for Duran Duran and other hungry young bands. In fact, circa “Planet Earth,” the group were being tagged as part of the burgeoning New Romantic movement. Popular mainly in the U.K. and spawned from certain danceclubs, the trend was distinguished by sonic melodrama and a fancy sartorial aesthetic.

As it so happens, each of the major New Romantic bands also released stellar debut singles. Although the Steve Strange-led Visage had a major UK hit in 1980 with their second 45, “Fade to Grey,” the 1979 single “Tar” was a synth-industrial grind that presaged what electro group The Faint would do decades later. Classix Nouveaux, a band formed from the ashes of X-Ray Spex, debuted with “The Robots Dance,” a creepy slab of electro-gothic cabaret. And Spandau Ballet made a splash in 1980 with the glamorous “To Cut a Long Story Short,” which paired a swerving keyboard line with dramatic vocals and reached No. 5 on the UK singles chart.

But even then, Duran Duran were distinguishing themselves from their peers. The first verse of “Planet Earth” features the lyrics, “I heard you making patterns rhyme / Like some New Romantic looking for the TV sound,” which alludes to some suspicion about the movement. The next line, “You’ll see I’m right some other time,” hints further that the narrator knows the style is ephemeral.

But right off the bat, the band established enigmatic bona fides with the lyrics “making patterns rhyme.” While on the surface a head-scratcher, the phrase doubles as a rather smart description of music itself, which can be an elusive and intangible thing to describe. As “Planet Earth” progresses, the mystery only deepens. The lyrical landscape alludes to new beginnings, and trying to be heard — both very relevant concerns of a young band — but the phrase “There’s no sign of life” could hint at an apocalypse or the state of culture.

Yet the song isn’t cynical or arrogant, but a proud declaration — a vibe lead singer/lyricist Simon Le Bon underscores with an urgent, confident vocal delivery that leverages his theatrical background. “You couldn’t want for a better day for a single then a song that goes, ‘This is planet Earth,'” John Taylor said in 2012. “It’s a fanfare. It’s like, ‘Planet Earth, meet Duran Duran. Duran Duran, meet planet Earth.’ It’s one of those, ‘All are welcome’ [songs].”

Live, “Planet Earth” has taken on many forms across the decades. Back in 1981, the single had an extended “Night Version” mix with swooning sax, simmering percussion and intensive dance grooves. During the band’s 1993 commercial resurgence, the group stripped away the synth-pop sheen in favor of bustling acoustic guitars and a mysterious vibe.

In 2019, Duran Duran performed a special show at Kennedy Space Center to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. After a meticulous, starry light show and a performance of the solemn 2015 song “The Universe Alone,” the band kicked into “Planet Earth.” On that night, the song’s lyrics (“Can you hear me now? This is Planet Earth,”) took on poignant new meaning in context with the space travel setting.

In that same spirit, after David Bowie died, Duran Duran slotted a cover of the icon’s 1969 single “Space Oddity” into live performances of “Planet Earth.” On the surface, the segue may have seemed odd: “Space Oddity” is slower and brooding, the melancholy musings of an astronaut hopelessly lost in space, not an upbeat celebration. However, the juxtaposition worked, as the stitched-together songs created an intriguing scenario. Perhaps the protagonist of “Planet Earth” is the same one featured in “Space Oddity.” Against all odds, the seemingly doomed astronaut managed to escape his fate and crash-landed on a faraway planet, where he started anew.

In another nod to their roots as Bowie fans, Duran Duran recently covered “Five Years,” the first song on 1972’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” an LP Rhodes and John Taylor particularly loved. Their version is elegiac and somber, an appropriate tone to take on a song that’s also about having a finite timeline to live.

Yet this cover is a full-circle thematic moment for Duran Duran as well, as “Five Years” is a beginning, much like “Planet Earth” was: The song is the first look at Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona. Unlike Ziggy, however, the band isn’t staring down the end of the world. Forty years on, with a new album on the way and tour dates (ostensibly) on the calendar, Duran Duran are still making patterns rhyme — and hurtling forward into the future.

ANNIE ZALESKI

Annie Zaleski is a Cleveland-based journalist who writes regularly for The A.V. Club, and has also been published by Rolling Stone, Vulture, RBMA, Thrillist and Spin.

Courtesy of SALON

Duran Duran’s FIVE YEARS video!

January 28th, 2021

CREDITS

Lead Vocals: Simon Le Bon
Bass Guitar: John Taylor
Keyboards: Nick Rhodes
Drums: Roger Taylor
Backing Vocals: Anna Ross
Backing Vocals: BARLI
String Quartet: Solas Strings
Piano: Mike Garson

Director: Gavin Elder

Virtual Production Producer and Virtual Art Director: Scot Barbour
Virtual Reality Artist: Teek Mach
Producer: Mantissa Live

UK Film Crew
DOP: James Tonkin
Lighting Designer: Josh Adams
Video Assistant: Salo Schoonwinkel
Assistant Editor: Tom Ross

LA Film Crew
Unit Producer: Kerry Brown
Camera operators: Steve Hadrych III, Tristin Alexandria, Tyler Brown and Dexter Demme
Lighting Director: James Johnson
Production Assistants: Laura Diaz and Alyssa Lopez

Post Production and Visual Effects: Mercury Studios Consultancy
Post Coordination: Nicole Novak
Post and VFX Supervisor: John Attard
Post and VFX Producer: Mark Noland
Post and VFX Producer: Frances Eames Noland
Virtual Environment Software: Hassan Farhat

Production Director, UK: Ken Watts
Production Coordinator, UK: Orla Clarke

Costume: Jeffrey Bryant

Watch + Listen: Duran Duran Cover Bowie’s ‘Five Years’ – Five Years After His Passing

January 28th, 2021

When the fifth anniversary of David Bowie‘s death came on January 10, 2021, it was almost as if we were forced to finally accept that we now live in a world without him. As his own lyric told it, “News had just come over / We had five years left to cry in.” And that five years was up.

Of course, those words were taken from his song titled, yes, ‘Five Years,’ from 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. It’s quite possible he even wrote it in anticipation of this day – after all, he always could see clearly into the future.

Now surely, the list of bands he influenced would crash the Internet. But one stood apart from them all, a quintet of frippery-disposed new romantic weirdos from Birmingham, who went on to become one of the biggest bands in the universe. It was almost as if Duran Duran were intent on showing Bowie that it was possible to take what he did, and then take over the world; and sure enough, he followed their lead by writing and recording Let’s Dance in 1983, which would go on to be his greatest selling album ever.

As an appropriate tribute – and in the middle of these terrible pandemic conditions – the boys went into a London studio recently to record their own version of ‘Five Years’. And today they release the accompanying video, perhaps at last completing the Bowie/DD cycle. To be sure, it all feels like something of a casting of the ashes out onto the glam rock winds, so that they may land one by one, for years to come, on generation after generation of hopeful acolytes…and the glitteriffic magic may carry on forever and ever.

“My life as a teenager was all about David Bowie,” recalls DD’s now himself legendary vocalist Simon Le Bon, as if we somehow didn’t already know that. “He is the reason why I started writing songs. When we got the Ziggy Stardust LP and put the needle in the groove, our first taste of its perfection was the song ‘Five Years’.”

Hardly surprising, their version pays The Dame a tribute that is fittingly, viscerally grand. And yet it’s also tinged with humility, in perfectly knowing that the original is, if we’re all being honest, gloriously untouchable.

“Part of me still can’t believe in his death five years ago,” Le Bon laments. “But maybe that’s because there’s a part of me where he’s still alive and always will be. I can’t begin to explain how honored I feel for Duran Duran to be given the opportunity to place our name alongside Bowie’s for this commemoration of his music.”

Courtesy Blackbook

Screen Shot 2021-01-28 at 7.56.03 PM

JOHN TAYLOR: STILL IN THE PLEASURE GROOVE WITH DURAN DURAN

January 28th, 2021

John Taylor is the bass guitarist in Duran Duran, a band that stormed out of the New Romantic movement in the early ‘80s with a series of songs, albums and videos now considered classics. Duran Duran will release their 15th studio album this year. Pandemic permitting, they will play a series of outdoor gigs and festivals in the summer, including a headline performance at London’s Hyde Park on July 11. Taylor talked to Please Kill Me in late December about the past, present and future of Duran Duran.

PROLOGUE

It’s November 1998, and the former bass guitarist of Duran Duran is playing a gig in Florida with John Taylor Terroristen; it’s been nearly two years since he left Duran Duran, and it’s Taylor’s first jaunt to the Sunshine State fronting his own band. His post-Duran life is a sometimes humbling journey, but one which Taylor needed to go through.

“I enjoyed putting a band together and going up and down the California coastline and singing ‘Rio,’” Taylor said in a recent interview with Please Kill Me. “That was kind of interesting to me. And we did some shows across the country. And then we played in Florida and it was like this hurricane, and I think it was about eight people there. And I’m thinking, ‘I’m choosing to do this. Why am I doing this?’”

Taylor was in his mid-30’s when he decided to go it alone, in part inspired by a desire to settle down with his young family in Los Angeles. But he also wanted to see what he was capable of without Duran Duran. He wanted a new challenge.

“I think when you’ve been in a band really your entire adult life that is sort of enmeshed as Duran is, sometimes you just need to feel who you are,” said Taylor. “That felt important to me. And I don’t regret any of that actually, it was all good experience. And then I came back and I almost had to become a fan of the band again. So when I went back to the band, I went back as a fan. I went back because I wanted to be there, not because I was too afraid not to be there.”

PART 1 – ANALOG YOUTH

Since forming in 1978, Duran Duran have lost and regained members, but have never completely split. Taylor, who co-founded the band with keyboardist Nick Rhodes, left for a few years over the late ‘90s, thereby creating two distinct eras of his time in Duran Duran: The rise and fall (and rise), followed by the reunion (with its own ebbs and flows), the latter period recently surpassing the former in calendar years. Duran Duran, the Fab Five that first took the world by storm, filled out their ranks in the spring of 1980 with the arrival of guitarist Andy Taylor, followed closely by singer Simon Le Bon. Drummer Roger Taylor had joined a year earlier (none of the Taylors are related). In less than a year, they were signed to EMI, their February 1981 debut single “Planet Earth” incorporating everything Duran Duran was about over a sleekly futuristic four minutes (extended to 6:20 on the club-friendly “Night Version”.)

Taylor said Duran Duran’s rapid rise felt perfectly normal, as they’d all seen it happen before.

“I think all of us had been sort of pulling the bow back, you know, either together, or independently,” he said. “We’d all been involved in punk, except maybe Andy who was the rocker; Andy kind of came down a fan of Eddie Van Halen and AC/DC. But the rest of us were punk rockers. And the beauty about the punk rock movement was that you’d be seeing a band on a very small stage in front of a very small group of people, and maybe a couple months later the band would come back to town and they’d have a bigger group of people and they’d be on a slightly bigger stage. And then you’d read in the NME that they just got a record deal, and then they put out a single and they’d be on Top of the Pops. And then they’d come back and they’d be in a much bigger venue with a couple of acts opening. And you could see this unwinding in front of you.”

And the primary difference stylistically and between punk rock and post-punk was the danceability factor.

It didn’t hurt that the members of Duran Duran were all basically kids when they started.

“You can do a lot in a year when you’re 17,” Taylor said. “You’ve got nothing else, so you’re plotting every fucking day. And it never felt like, ‘How do we do this?’ I could see the race. It was like standing on the sidelines watching a marathon and thinking, ‘you know, this guy is going slow enough in this race so I can join in,’ and literally hopping over the fence and starting to trot along. I never felt like I needed to catch up with the Clash or the Ramones, or even the Human League. But you felt you could get in the game.”

Duran Duran both were and were not an overnight success. When they hit in 1981, they sounded great, looked great, had great hair and great clothes, and they put it all together in great videos when MTV was beginning to make its mark. But while things moved at lightning speed after Simon and Andy joined, there were two years before they found their footing under relatively little scrutiny. The tumblers fell into place at exactly the right time.

“To some extent Roger, Nick and I had already kind of evolved a sound that we felt was fresh because of the post-punk era, which I feel that we were very much a part of,” said Taylor. “And it was very much about claiming your own corner. In the previous years, we’d seen everybody jump in and want to be the (Sex) Pistols or the Clash, basically. And there’s nothing worse than somebody that looks like they’re trying to be somebody else; you’ve got to be something of your own. And the primary difference stylistically and between punk rock and post-punk was the danceability factor.”

Taylor was a punk at first, of course. It took the sound of Chic’s Bernard Edwards’ bass to help him find his own sound. But before then, Taylor was heavy into bands like Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, who he saw play at Birmingham University, with support from a then-fledgling trio, the Police. Taylor bootlegged the gig on cassette, and as reported in his 2012 memoir, In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran, picked up this exchange with the Police’s bass-playing frontman Sting.

Sting: We’ve got the Heartbreakers coming on next.

(Cheers from Taylor and one or two others)

Sting: They can’t play, you know.

JT: Fuck off!

Sting: Who said “Fuck off”?

JT: I did.

Sting: It’s true. They’re great guys but they can’t play.

JT: Fuck off, you wanker!

Sting: You’ll see. This next song is called “Fall Out”! 1 2 3 4…

“He was wrong about the Heartbreakers,” Taylor wrote. “They were awesome that night.”

Taylor would continue defending his favorite music after he fell under the spell of New York disco-funk collective Chic. Punk was already burning out in England, and Taylor felt soul and post-punk was where it was at.

“I argued with punks about Chic,” he said. “I’d say, ‘This shit is fucking great!’ And I never bought into the ‘Disco sucks’ thing. And you started to get bands like Gang of Four and Cabaret Voltaire, and suddenly everybody had like (mimics a motorik beat), a Joy Division thing, you know, and everybody’s going ‘ts-ts-ts-ts’ on the hi-hats. And that sort of very much defined that moment. That’s kind of what enabled a lot of those new wave bands to sort of move into America. That’s what people wanted.”

It was what Duran Duran wanted.

“It happened quickly,” Taylor said. “We offered Simon the job and asked him to join the band. And then I said, ‘We’ve got a gig in three weeks’ time; we’ve got to write like nine songs.’ And that’s what we did. And that was a time when record companies were just lining up to sign bands. Because that’s where the excitement was at that time.”

PART 2 – HYSTERIA

In 1985, Milton Bradley released Duran Duran Game – Into the Arena. The board game, visually cued by the band’s November 1984 live album, Arena, looked great, but many fans were flummoxed by its byzantine instructions. 1985 was the year the rocket ship that hurtled off the launching pad on “Planet Earth” finally began to falter as Duran Duran split into two factions, with two Taylors – John and Andy – forming rock supergroup the Power Station with Chic drummer Tony Thompson and blue-eyed soul singer Robert Palmer. The third Taylor, Roger, joined Le Bon and Rhodes in the distinctly more esoteric Arcadia. The Fab Five reconvened in Philadelphia on July 13, 1985 to perform four songs at Live Aid; that version of Duran Duran would not share a stage together again for 18 years.

By 1985, Duran Duran had survived four years of open hostility from the “serious” music press; decades later, they’ve largely outlived the scorn, but a few members of the old guard have held the line. Writing in the Guardian in 2012, Paul Morley – who interviewed the band for the NME in 1982 and didn’t like them then – rehashed many of the same muso digs lobbed at Duran Duran over the years.

“…I hated them, in the ‘80s,” wrote Morley. “I hated them from the point of view of a rock critic taking pop seriously, even when it was just for fun. They fancied themselves as not so much the made-up boy band they clearly were…but as Peel-listening pop conceptualists mixing the Sex Pistols with Chic.”

Nearly forty years after Morley first interviewed Duran Duran for the NME, John Taylor said he thinks he understands the motivation for the hostility, even if he was confused by it then.

“When the NME started hating on us right from the get go, I was so disappointed,” Taylor said. “Because I thought we were of them, so why wouldn’t they be for us? But what I didn’t understand, what I hadn’t perceived at the time was that we were part of a media movement that was really threatening to them. Magazines like Smash Hits had sort of jumped on Adam Ant and subsequently Duran, and we were part of this other movement, this new pop movement if you like, that in that moment was kind of threatening to the black and white music tabloids. So they needed to draw a line, and they were like, ‘Well, we’ve got Joy Division, we don’t need them, so we are going to be anti-them.’”

Suddenly …everybody’s going ‘ts-ts-ts-ts’ on the hi-hats. And that sort of very much defined that moment. That’s kind of what enabled a lot of those new wave bands to sort of move into America. That’s what people wanted.”

As for the jibe that Duran Duran were a “made-up boy band,” Taylor said it couldn’t be further from the truth.

“I think we were products of our own experience,” he said. “I’ve never considered that we contrived any of our positions. They felt entirely authentic to me. But I guess I could see somebody outside of that thinking it, particularly as we did make it quite quickly.”

But what truly rankled, Taylor added, was when other bands piled on, using Duran Duran’s cinematically lush videos for songs like “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Rio” against them.

“I remember, I think it was one of the guys from Heaven 17 who made this point about…they called one of their albums The Luxury Gap,” Taylor said. “And they said, ‘It’s about Duran Duran videos!’ – though they probably said it in a Northern accent – ‘Because it’s about luxury holidays to places that no one can afford to go to.’ And I was like, ‘Wow, really?’ I was really shocked by that. I mean, that’s why I liked James Bond films. That’s why we liked the Beatles, because they got to go around the world. I don’t need to hear about the suburb I grew up in, I was more attracted to New York and L.A….well, not really L.A., not at the time. But Berlin, wherever…But then you meet a member of Heaven 17, you have a drink with them and realize you’re just the fucking same. You’ve just got a slightly different manifesto is all.”

PART 3 – DIGITAL TRUTH

John Taylor left Duran Duran in early 1997, though it had been heading in that direction for a couple of years after he settled in Los Angeles. He started a family there, and joined a casual local supergroup with former Sex Pistol Steve Jones; and Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, Guns N’ Roses’ rhythm section. Neurotic Outsiders played steady gigs at the Viper Room and recorded an eponymous album for Maverick Records in 1996. Los Angeles was home, and London – and his obligations with Duran Duran – felt further and further away.

“Well, I think the geography came first, in a way,” Taylor said. “And my development as a human being, I felt kind of like I was always the last one. I was the last guy in the band to marry. I was the last guy in the band to procreate. I was probably the last guy to get a dog, because I was caught up in addictions and all this kind of stuff. And I couldn’t cope with the back and forth. I reached the point at the beginning of something more important than being in the band, and that was to have like a functioning family unit. And it really felt like it was one or the other. I just had to step away from this transatlantic back and forth that I was doing to stay in the band and have this family back in Los Angeles.”

Taylor had already completed his first solo album by the time he officially left Duran Duran. Feelings Are Good and Other Lies, which included among its musicians fellow Neurotic Outsiders Jones and Sorum, was released in January 1997, the same month he went solo. Recording the album was an altogether different studio experience than he was accustomed to.

“Compared to these immense productions, it was like comparing a dinghy to the QE2,” Taylor said. “It was so easy. It was like three days of recording, mixed, done. And I needed that. I’d gotten really close to Steve Jones, and Steve is such a comedian in the studio and in the workplace, and I really appreciated that. And then I kind of started to take myself a little seriously. I think then I started thinking that I could really go from dinghy to QE2.”

Once again, timing played a crucial role for Taylor, who found that the growing reach of the internet enabled him to get his music to the people much more easily.

“I thought, ‘well, wait a minute, maybe I don’t have to be on a record label and deal with any of that bullshit’,” he said. But the thrill wore off quickly. “I realized, what they now call direct-to-consumer, you’re just online 24-7 trying to zhuzh up the fan base. And you could be doing it all fucking day and they’d still want more. So that didn’t really work out.”

Taylor would go on to record other solo albums during his time away from Duran Duran, and he tried his hand at acting as well, most notably as directionless rock star Clive in Sugar Town, co-directed by Alison Anders and Kurt Voss in which he acts alongside Rosanna Arquette, Ally Sheedy, Beverly D’Angelo, Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet, and Michael Des Barres, a rocker with a lengthy acting CV who once stepped in as vocalist in the Power Station in 1985 when Palmer opted out of a tour.

PART 4 – IN THE PLEASURE GROOVE

In 2012, over a decade after he returned to Duran Duran, Taylor added “author” to his resume. In In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death & Duran Duran, Taylor candidly revealed himself to be everything fans might have hoped for: A great raconteur. At every turn of the page, he’s in the thick of it, recalling music and madness, excess and recovery, a life far removed from a childhood spent in the Birmingham, England suburb of Hollywood, an area glitzy in name alone. Taylor was compelled to write the book in part so he could get it all down for posterity, and he was guided by other rock bios he’d read, striving to strike a delicate balance between sharing enough of the story without sharing too much.

“There’s nothing worse than an authentic biography of anyone,” Taylor said. “I was talking to my wife (Gela Nash-Taylor, fashion designer and co-founder of Juicy Couture) about this recently, and I was saying that in the mid-‘80s there was this guy, Albert Goldman, and he was like the man. He did Lenny (Ladies and Gentlemen – Lenny Bruce!!, 1975), and then he did Elvis (1981), and these were must-read books. And then he did The Lives of John Lennon (1988). I remember reading that book, and it became apparent that if you put anyone’s life – yours, mine, any of us – under that kind of microscope, they’re going sound like wankers. There is no one who can come under that kind of scrutiny that is going to come out looking good. It’s the humanity that exists in all those many, many, many days between the contributions to the cool songs or whatever where they treat their gardeners like shit, or they’re unfaithful to their wives, or they get drunk and spit in the face of the doorman at the Troubadour. And you’re reading it like, Oh my god, he’s a wanker! I don’t want to read that! Now I know we’re all wankers!”

That isn’t to say Taylor isn’t a student of rock history, wankers or otherwise.

“I will pick up a book if it’s about something very specific,” he said. “God knows how many books I’ve read about Bowie’s Berlin sessions, you know? I’m fascinated by that period in David Bowie’s life and how he really dug in deep. And I like (author) Peter Guralnick, reading about how Elvis came together with his sidemen, and Sam Phillips’ sound and all that. I’ve read a lot of books on rock over the years.”

Conscious of the media outlet he’s being interviewed for, Taylor added: “And there’s no better book than Please Kill Me, by the way. Fantastic read.”

Taylor, who admitted to only having skimmed but not fully read previously published Duran Duran biographies, knew what he wanted his memoir to be like, but until he began working with journalist Tom Sykes on the book, he was unaware of how to make it work.

“At first it just felt like the longest interview ever,” Taylor said. “And then I realized that there were some things that I wanted to say and some scenes that I wanted to set. I mean recovery is a big part of my story, and finding a way to articulate that experience in a way that could be meaningful to somebody. I think sometimes it’s almost like you put these things down so you don’t forget. Because one day I’m going to need to read that book to remind myself what it was like. And that can be brutal insofar as there were timelines that I’d been living by, mythologies I’d told myself, ‘He did that, and then we did that, and I did that.’ And I’d get the timeline out when we were putting the book together, and I’d think, ‘Oh shit, it didn’t happen like that! Oh no!’ And you’ve got to reconsider the whole deal. But it was a privilege, really, to get to do it. And for a year there I was a published author, which was great.”

PART 5 – DANCE INTO THE FUTURE

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Duran Duran were deep into the recording of their as-yet-unnamed 15th studio album, which reportedly includes production work by Giorgio Moroder, Erol Alkan and Mark Ronson, and musical contributions by Lykke Li and Blur guitarist Graham Coxon. It will be the band’s first album since Paper Gods in 2015, which saw them work with Ronson, Mr. Hudson and Nile Rodgers, the Chic guitarist who first connected with Duran Duran on the single remix of “The Reflex,” their first U.S. #1 single. Also collaborating on Paper Gods were Steve Jones, John Frusciante, Janelle Monáe, Kiesza and Lindsay Lohan.

“In March, when this went down, we stopped and didn’t do anything for a few months,” Taylor said. “And then we started picking up and we had half a dozen songs that were ready to mix, so they went out to (Mark) ‘Spike’ Stent, who’s mixing the album. And then we started reviewing some of the songs, and there were still some vocals to do on some songs, some keyboards. So individuals would go in and work with the engineer and producer doing very small sessions. I’m hoping that we can just bring it home that way. We’re kind of aiming for late spring, but you never know. But it’s great to have some new songs in the bag.”

We’ve all been changed by this experience, by being cut off. But I think the actual coming together will be all the more powerful for it.

Unlike many of their contemporaries, Duran Duran have managed to keep moving forward without becoming a heritage act solely touring on past glories. Taylor said the notion wouldn’t even occur to them.

“We like creating,” he said. “There’s two sides to what we do: We perform on stage and we make music. And they’re very different kinds of challenges. Going into the studio is like four, five, six guys kind of trying to unravel a sort of musical conundrum together, and it’s challenging in a sort of left-brain way, I suppose. And going out on the road it’s like, I’ve got to keep my body really fit, I’ve got to look after myself. We’re receiving a lot of energy, but we’re obviously also away from home.”

Any band who’s been around for a while knows the old joke, that the crowd realizes it’s time to hit the bathroom when they hear an unfamiliar song. But Taylor said the gigs would suffer without new material.

“The audience may or may not appreciate why there’s maybe three or four songs in the show that perhaps they’re not familiar with that are on the new album,” he said. “But if they weren’t in there, I think they would know the difference. And no artist really wants to feel like an oldies act.”

Taylor acknowledged that for some longtime bands, especially those surviving despite acrimony in the ranks, touring the hits is just easier.

“For some artists (recording) is almost impossible because the process of getting back together in the studio requires a level of intimacy and understanding and tolerance that some artists, some musicians just aren’t capable of,” he said. “Whereas you can kind of go on tour and you can travel on different buses. But we haven’t got there yet.”

That isn’t to say recording is easy.

“It’s challenging,” Taylor said. “Duran Duran songs, they’re more than just songs. Every song is like, it’s a brand refreshment. We kind of ask ourselves, you know, is this bass drum sound appropriate? Is that verse line appropriate? Everything is kind of considered, I think because it’s so precious.”

Taylor laughed recalling how much has changed over the years in the Duran Duran studio dynamic.

“The first few years, everybody had their own corner,” he said. “There was the keyboard corner, the bass, the vocal, and everybody took care of their own shit. And I think what happened is we had lineup changes and technology changed as well. You know, suddenly everybody is in everybody’s shit. If I get to the studio late, they’ve got a fucking bass line already, some fucking programmed thing. And then I have to overplay to make my point. And they’ll never not be saying, ‘I don’t know, I quite like that programmed bass.’ Because we’re all experts in everything.”

If you’ve made it to be a bass player in Van Halen, or the Pretenders, or Duran Duran, you’re just going to have respect for your brothers, for your fellow bass players. You just are.

Taylor referenced the famous friction within the Beatles when Ringo Starr and George Harrison each temporarily walked out of the band.

“(Paul) McCartney would play the drums, and then he’d play the guitar part, and then he’d have to teach George the guitar part,” Taylor said. “Which must be extraordinarily frustrating and irritating to George.”

In Duran Duran, everyone has a voice and the freedom to give their opinions, but they also tend to have autonomy over their own contributions as well.

Fifteen studio albums into their career, Duran Duran are still driven to try new things: Reduced to a trio of Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor, the band leaned into funk with 1986’s supremely confident Notorious; two years later they dropped the techno-influenced Big Thing; 1990’s Liberty was a commercial misfire, and it seemed Duran Duran’s luck might have run out. But then came Duran Duran (which thanks to family photos on the sleeve has been unofficially dubbed “The Wedding Album” to draw a distinction between it and the band’s eponymous 1981 debut); thanks to the success of singles like “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone,” the 1993 smash not only saw them top the charts around the world again, it freed them from being perceived as just another ‘80s band.

After contributing to four tracks on 1997’s Medazzaland, Taylor was absent entirely from Pop Trash, released in 2000, the same year the seeds were planted for the reunion of the Fab Five in 2001. Duran Duran released Astronaut in 2004 (the only post-reunion album to feature Andy Taylor, who left again in 2006); worked with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake on 2007’s Red Carpet Massacre; then saw Mark Ronson – an unabashed super fan – co-produce All You Need is Now in 2010. Taylor said he understood that some of their albums over the years have been more widely accepted by longtime fans than others, but he offered no apologies. Each LP, each song is part of Duran Duran’s modus operandi to keep moving forward, to try new things, to keep it fresh.

“You have to be prepared to experiment, and nobody gets it all right,” Taylor said. “As the gold standard, we go back to the Beatles, and they made like 12 albums in an eight-year period or something like that, and none of them sucked, they’re all pretty great. But any artist that’s been around for 30 years or more, there’s going to be some turkeys in there, there just are. There’s not one artist that you can name that hasn’t done a turkey. They’ve got to be in there.”

No two Duran Duran albums sound alike. Even their first three, seemingly released one on top of the other between 1981-83 are totally different. Duran Duran – the debut – is an assured collection which reflects the band’s art-school, post-punk ethos; Rio – sometimes considered the Duran Duran album – adds a sophisticated sheen and unabashed romance to the mix; Seven and the Ragged Tiger is excess and brilliant bombast. And they never looked back.

“You learn quite early on that you cannot repeat a successful formula,” Taylor said. “It’s impossible. And everybody fucking tries it, and it’s humiliating. It almost looks better when you try something different. Oh my god, when you try to recreate a hit…You can maybe get away with it on your second album, but after that it starts looking a little suspect. It starts looking like you’ve run out of ideas.”

Duran Duran haven’t run out of ideas because they keep changing the landscape enough to stay fresh and engaged. That process started when Andy Taylor left for the first time to pursue a solo career during the recording of Notorious (drummer Roger Taylor also left around this time, though less acrimoniously). Though the album includes some of Andy’s contributions, his departure led to producer Nile Rodgers and former Missing Persons axeman Warren Cuccurullo stepping in; the latter would go on to become a permanent member of the group until the reunion in 2001.

“I really missed Andy,” said Taylor. “Warren was extraordinary, and we were lucky to get Warren, for him to step in. But after that, it was like the guitar player was the empty chair. And I’ve actually come to really appreciate it, because we get to fill that empty chair with a different musical voice on every session.”

Taylor said working with different guitarists – including Dom Brown, who’s contributed to each album since Red Carpet Massacre and is a staple of the touring band – allows Duran Duran to follow paths they might not ordinarily because they know each other so well.

As the gold standard, we go back to the Beatles, and they made like 12 albums in an eight-year period or something like that, and none of them sucked, they’re all pretty great.

“They’re my brothers, and I’ve got so much respect for what they all do and how they go about their business creatively,” Taylor said. “But they rarely surprise me. And I’m sure that I rarely surprise them. So when you’ve got an engineer, a producer, a musician in the room with you, they’re going to be playing something that is different, and we’re all going to go, ‘Whoa!’”

The “Whoa!” this time around comes in the form of Graham Coxon, best known as the guitarist in Blur, who released the ‘90s most apparent Duran Duran tribute in “Girls and Boys.” Beyond Blur, Coxon has released several solo albums and recently moved into scoring film and television, including the Channel 4/Netflix series The End of the F***ing World.

“He was like the prize in the room,” said Taylor. “He’d start playing, and we’d all be like, ‘Oh, wow! Listen to what Graham’s playing! Let’s follow Graham!’ Follow Graham, because you can always go back to what you do…and you will. And that’s kind of that to some degree what keeps us fresh and what makes the albums different. And by being different they become interesting.”

PART 6 – ORDINARY WORLD

As with so many of us, John Taylor imagined 2020 going a bit differently. Tour dates were planned, then moved, then moved again. Taylor released a series of online video tutorials dubbed “Stone Love Bass Odyssey” in an effort to stay connected with fans. And on April 6, he announced through a message posted to the official Duran Duran website that he’d survived COVID-19.

Taylor devotes the last chapter of In the Pleasure Groove to Duran Duran’s triumphant performance at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival on April 17, 2011. I was there, in a field with tens of thousands of strangers, and hearing everyone sing along to “Ordinary World” was a deeply moving experience. Pandemic permitting, Duran Duran will be a part of deeply moving experiences at at handful of festivals across the United Kingdom – plus Rock in Rio Lisboa in Portugal – as part of their summer slate of shows in 2021. Also on their agenda is a July 11 headline gig as part of the BST Hyde Park series in London, with support from Nile Rodgers & Chic, Grace Jones, and more to be announced. Plus, they’ve got a three-night October stand in Ibiza called “Touch the Sunrise”.

Though they’d performed at mass one-off events like Live Aid during their heady first act, Duran Duran’s career arc didn’t truly align with the growth of festivals until after they reunited at the start of the 21st century. Timing is crucial.

“Everything that was happening musically during the ‘80s I feel either happened in a club or in an arena, or some point in between,” Taylor said. “Lollapalooza, Coachella, Glastonbury, these big events, they took on immense significance in the ‘90s. And when we came back with our reunion, we kind of had to look at that…We went up to Roskilde in Scandinavia (in 2005), which is one of those big clannish, tribal gatherings. And we went on before Green Day, who were on American Idiot, and were absolutely great. And it was kind of fascinating.”

Playing a festival can require a certain amount of flexibility from an artist used to headlining arenas. Set-lists are often truncated to fit time slots and curfews, and most of a production developed to reach the back row at Madison Square Garden is generally set aside for a festival due to the impracticality of trying to accommodate the visual needs of act after act after act.

“We’ve had to learn some new tricks, and I wouldn’t say we’ve conquered it,” Taylor said. “But at the end of the day, we’ve got a bunch of songs that are great unifiers. And the biggest skeptics can be like, ‘Oh, you know what, I do like this one.’ There’s a couple of songs that just can bring people together.”

Taylor also enjoys playing festivals because of the camaraderie, something Duran Duran used to experience in television studios.

“In the early years of the band, we would do a lot of TV around Europe and you’d hang out with Billy Idol, you’d hang out with Van Halen, the Pretenders, Soft Cell, the Who,” he said. “You’d meet them backstage at Top of the Pops or something like that, and that’s where you’d get that fraternal sense. And that’s where you realized that genres meant nothing between musicians. The respect is there. If you’ve made it to be a bass player in Van Halen, or the Pretenders, or Duran Duran, you’re just going to have respect for your brothers, for your fellow bass players. You just are. It’s like that sort of DNA lineage. You go back and they’re a bit different, and they’re a bit different, but there’s also something similar. I mean ultimately, any kind of electric bass player, we’re all going to go back to the same electric bass players and we’re going to find a commonality…And I like hanging out with other musicians at festivals, you know? I like banging on LCD(Soundsystem)’s dressing room going, ‘Hey!’ And James (Murphy) is like, ‘You’ve got to come in, we were just talking about you!’”

EPILOGUE

John Taylor loves music. He loves to play music, loves being in a band, still loves – to paraphrase Duran Duran deep cut “I Take the Dice” – the magical lash of the roll and the crash of playing music. He loves being around musicians. And he loves hearing new music. He lists among his favorite artists of 2020 Megan Thee Stallion, Yves Tumor, Róisín Murphy, Tame Impala and Hayley Williams. The Tony Allen/Hugh Masekela Afrobeat/jazz album Rejoice earns singular praise (“And we lost both of those guys this year” a solemn nod to a brutal, brutal 2020). And he also loves Sault, the secretive soul group who released a pair of astounding of-the-moment albums in 2020, Untitled (Black Is) and Untitled (Rise), who Taylor would love to get on the bill for Hyde Park.

“Already, they’ve got a very interesting body of work,” Taylor said of Sault. “I’ll get on it. If you’re reading this, we want you!”

Taylor has always loved music, seeking it out wherever he can find it.

“For the most part the music I listen to today is way different than the music I listened to when I was 17,” he said. “I’ve got my favorites, the classics. My classics, if you like. But I dig them out only very occasionally. I can’t just be listening to the Clash all day long, but when I do go there it’s going to be more spiritual. But I like listening to things I’ve never heard before. I like the discovery, whatever it is. I like getting to know something. And there’s so much music available today, it’s ridiculous. And I’m such a pig. I was a pig when I had to buy it, and I’m a pig now when I can buy it and download and stream it. And there’s not a week that goes by that I don’t click on a dozen albums. And then a month later I’m like, do I still need this? BZZZT!”

Live music will return. Live music as we knew it, in clubs and arenas and in fields full of strangers. Hopefully it returns in time for Duran Duran’s run of summer shows. It may feel different, tentative. It may trickle back. But it will return.

“There will be a period where we’ll all grow back into each other,” Taylor said. “It’s happened in different ways, but we’ve all been changed by this experience, by being cut off. But I think the actual coming together will be all the more powerful for it. I think it will be staggered; it’s not like it’s going to be, ‘Okay, day one, here we go, all the restrictions are off and everybody’s going to run back into each other’s arms. It’s not going to be like that. It’s going to be a very gradual, and for some people quite reluctant return to normalcy. And it could take a while.”

But when it does, when thousands upon thousands of strangers are stood in a field singing along to “Ordinary World,” it will be deeply moving. It can’t not be. I’ve seen it happen.

“I think that people that go to hear live music appreciate the experience of live music,” Taylor said. “I’ve thought about that a lot over the past few months. If you can be a part of something like that, you stand in a crowd and it’s all about the music, and it’s the music that brings you together, it’s the music that is the religion. If you have that, it doesn’t matter who you’re standing with. It just doesn’t matter. It’s a great unifier. We could have used it this year. And it’s going to be profound, I think, coming back and playing live.”

≠≠≠

by Crispin Kott Courtesy of PleaseKillMe.com

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Duran40 on Pandora

January 28th, 2021

To mark Duran Duran’s 40th anniversary, the band has come together to reflect on the songs and stories that shaped their iconic career. Join Simon, Nick, John and Roger, along with special guests Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson on a journey through hits, fan favorites and more, with host Claudia Winkleman on Duran 40.

Listen here.

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DURAN DURAN SHARE OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO FOR ‘FIVE YEARS’

January 28th, 2021

DURAN DURAN SHARE OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO FOR TRIBUTE COVER OF DAVID BOWIE’S ‘FIVE YEARS’
OUT NOW ON S-CURVE RECORDS/BMG

STARTING THIS WEEK, SIMON LE BON TO HOST WEEKLY WEDNESDAY MUSIC SHOW ‘WHOOOSH!’ ON SIRIUS/XM’S VOLUME

BAND LAUNCHES DURAN 40 ON PANDORA
FEATURING SPECIAL GUESTS NILE RODGERS, MARK RONSON AND MORE

2021 UK AND EU TOUR DATES ON-SALE NOW

Following the release of their poignant tribute cover of David Bowie’s classic ‘Five Years,’ Duran Duran share their official music video today in continued celebration of the late and legendary icon.

Directed by regular collaborator Gavin Elder, and using state of the art technology and VFX, Elder oversaw the filming of each band member remotely in both London and Los Angeles and incorporated the work of experimental artist Teek Mach – known for capturing the human touch in virtual and digital spaces, using Titlbrush and Unity – collectively creating a truly unique and modern music video, fit for these times, bringing each band member together in one space, virtually.

“Shooting in lockdown was challenging as we had to film the band members one at a time, but this gave each of them the opportunity to deliver a unique and intimate performance,” explains Gavin Elder. Virtual Production Producer Scot Barbour continues: “Not only did we get to work with the megastars in Duran Duran, but also with some unique technical processes. Producing this video was a collaborative effort that certainly stretched across the Pond. The production team shot three of the band members, the two backing singers and the string section separately in London, under Elder’s direction, and then completed the filming with Kerry Brown’s Rolling Live Studios team in Los Angeles, for guest pianist Mike Garson, and Duran bassist John Taylor. I then conformed the edited footage from London and exported the selects to our VFX team at Mercury Studios who handled all of the compositing work in Nuke. Between us, we established a unique pipeline to achieve the desired look and feel of the video.” In yet another Duran Duran ‘first’, this marks the first time that Tiltbrush, Unity, Nuke, Premiere and Resolve have been combined in this way to create a music video.

Watch the official music video for ‘Five Years’ HERE.

Duran Duran’s touching tribute was first seen and heard as part of Mike Garson’s ground breaking ‘A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!,’ the highly anticipated and applauded global virtual concert that took place on January 9th in celebration of what would have been David Bowie’s birthday weekend. Founding member and keyboardist Nick Rhodes shares: “David Bowie’s apocalyptic vision in the song Five Years was written almost half a century ago yet it seems ever more poignant today. Although it is five years since David left Planet Earth, his vast catalogue of songs remain as significant and inspirational as they always have been. Mike Garson’s heartfelt celebration show was a testament to the breadth of influence that David had on other musicians. It was also a display of the deep affection and gratitude for what he gave to us all.”

On the cover and how it came about, Rhode’s also reveals, “When Mike Garson asked if we would consider participating in his show, collaborating on a Bowie song with him, the one that instantly came to my mind was Five Years. Later that same day we received news that Mike had specifically requested we should do Five Years… sometimes things just feel right… nobody in the band even questioned the choice, we all embraced it and channeled the excitement and joy the song brought to us when we listened to it as young kids, spectacularly opening the Ziggy Stardust album.”

In other news, SiriusXM and Pandora announced the launch of two new talk and music programs for 2021 that delve into the music, career, and influence of Duran Duran, the iconic, global super band whose work now spans four decades.

Duran 40 on Pandora features the band’s biggest hits and fan favorites from across their career, gathered in a new original format merging music and talk. The collection includes all four band members along with special guests providing commentary on the making of, and inspiration behind the music. Special guests Mark Ronson and Nile Rodgers will join Duran 40 as they share personal memories and stories about Duran Duran’s body of work. Pandora’s Duran 40 will be hosted by the BBC’s Claudia Winkleman; the program will be available exclusively via Pandora starting January 28, with broadcast versions airing on SiriusXM’s Volume (channel 106) and First Wave (channel 33).

Additionally, Duran frontman Simon Le Bon will host WHOOOSH!. The first episode aired this Wednesday, January 27 at 9 PM ET exclusively on SiriusXM’s Volume channel. WHOOOSH! is a weekly music show featuring Le Bon chatting and playing some of his favorite records including new discoveries. Le Bon is joined by Duran insider and band associate Katy Krassner as they discuss their latest song obsessions and new music that excites them. WHOOOSH! first debuted on Duran Duran’s website in 2020, and now moves exclusively to SiriusXM with all new programs in 2021 airing on the Volume channel and as a new podcast.

“It all began as a lockdown thing,” said Simon Le Bon. “It dawned on me that the only music I was listening to was what I was working on, and the stuff that got me into a band in the first place. So I switched on my ears, and went on a trip down a sonic rabbit hole. What a revelation – there is so much great new talent, so much music out there. Katy is the foil that makes it all work. And so a radio show is born. WHOOOSH! – it’s the sound of your mind expanding to take on a new idea.”

SiriusXM listeners can find WHOOOSH! on the Volume channel on their SiriusXM radios and can listen to it as a podcast on the SiriusXM app. Streaming access is included for most subscribers. Go to www.siriusxm.com/ways-to-listen to learn more.

Duran 40 joins Pandora’s extensive roster of exclusive programming including Pandora Stories, Wake Up!, Listen In, Game Time, and more. Pandora Premium subscribers can listen to Duran 40 on-demand, and Pandora ad-supported and Plus listeners can do so via Premium Access after watching a 30-second ad. For more information on Pandora Premium, go to www.pandora.com/upgrade/premium.

With 2021 marking 40 years since the release of their eponymous first album, internationally acclaimed, multi-platinum and award-winning pop legends Duran Duran plan to return to the stage in the UK and Europe this summer for a handful of live dates. For more information and tickets go to: http://duranduran.com

Duran Duran Celebrates 40th Anniversary With Simon Le Bon-Hosted SiriusXM Show, Pandora Playlist (EXCLUSIVE)

January 26th, 2021

Duran Duran is celebrating its four decades of music this year — the band’s self-titled debut was released in 1981 — with new programs set to launch on on SiriusXM and Pandora.

“Duran 40,” an exclusive playlist on Pandora, will feature the band’s biggest hits and fan favorites, along with with commentary from the band and special guests. Its new format merges music and talk and will kick off on Jan. 28. Mark Ronson and Nile Rodgers are set to appear and “Duran 40” will be hosted by the BBC’s Claudia Winkleman. Broadcast versions will air on SiriusXM’s Volume (channel 106) and First Wave (channel 33).

Elsewhere at SiriusXM, Simon Le Bon will host “WHOOOSH!,” a weekly show on the Volume channel launching on Jan. 27. Joined by longtime associate Katy Krassner, the two will discuss new music that excites them, picking up from a series that appeared on the Duran Duran site during lockdown. ‘WHOOOSH!’ will also live as a podcast.

“It all began as a lockdown thing,” said Le Bon. “It dawned on me that the only music I was listening to was what I was working on, and the stuff that got me into a band in the first place. So I switched on my ears, and went on a trip down a sonic rabbit hole. What a revelation — there is so much great new talent, so much music out there…. And so a radio show is born.”

Added Scott Greenstein, president and chief content officer of SiriusXM: “Duran Duran is one of the most influential bands of the last 40 years. … Their hit songs, iconic videos, and extensive music catalog have been embraced by multiple generations of fans who can now hear the music and the great stories behind them from the band members themselves and an array of truly special guests.”

The band recently dropped a tribute cover of David Bowie’s “Five Years” and will release the official music video on Jan. 28 at 12 pm ET. Ahead of the premiere (at approximately 11:20 am ET), keyboardist Nick Rhodes will take to the Duran Instagram Live to answer questions from fans and bassist John Taylor will do the same in a live Q&A on the group’s YouTube channel.

To coincide with the band’s 40th anniversary, Duran Duran is scheduled to perform some live dates in the UK and Europe this summer.

Courtesy Variety

Roland Presents Sixth-Annual Lifetime Achievement Award to Nick Rhodes

January 21st, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Roland Presents Sixth-Annual Lifetime Achievement Award

Roland Lifetime Achievement Award Presented to Nick Rhodes for His Incredible Contribution to the Music Industry

Los Angeles, CA, January 21, 2021 —During NAMM’s 2021 virtual “Believe in Music Week,” Roland presented its sixth-annual Lifetime Achievement Award to the founding member and keyboardist of Duran Duran, Nick Rhodes, who has had a storied career spanning four decades. The Roland Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals for their invaluable contributions to the music industry while using Roland gear throughout their careers. Roland and BOSS’ global network of influencers now reaches more than 1,000 artists with a collective social reach exceeding 1 billion.

Gordon Raison, Director, CMO and CSO, Roland Corporation, presented acclaimed musician, songwriter, and producer Nick Rhodes with the Roland Lifetime Achievement Award. Best known as one of the driving forces behind the British band Duran Duran, Rhodes formed the group at 16 alongside bassist John Taylor. Known for his experimentation with analog synthesizers, Rhodes has a career spanning more than 40 years and resulting in 21 singles on the US Billboard Hot 100, more than 100 million records sold and innumerable GRAMMY, BRIT, MTV and Ivor Novello awards.

Artists from around the world celebrated Rhodes during the award presentation, including personal congratulations from Mike Garson, Jimmy Jam, Ben Folds, Giorgio Moroder, and many more. Raison also highlighted Rhodes’ instrumental role in making Roland a household name and praised how Rhodes’ “unique creativity, by shaping sounds without compromising melody, has resulted in songs and productions that will live on forever in the very fabric of popular culture.”

While congratulating Rhodes, David Baron of the Lumineers shared, “The first time I became aware of Roland gear was when you were using it so amazingly and innovatively with Duran Duran. Thanks for giving me a lifetime of love for analog synths and Roland gear.”

“Over the years, not only have you produced amazing songs, but you’ve changed the way we think about synthesizers while doing it,” offered Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater during his salute to Rhodes. “From sparkling, shimmering arpeggios to cool pads to nuanced synth sounds, it had a big effect on all of us.”

Roland Vice President of Global Artist and Influencer Relations Brian Alli added, “Nick represents so many things that we believe in as a company. He started as a kid with a dream. He and his best friend go out and chase that dream, and here we are 40 years later celebrating.” Alli continued, “Nick’s passion has been fueled by a mix of fashion, art, technology, film, and photography, and the strong influence of these different areas can be seen throughout the years, throughout their music, their legendary videos, and even this week with the release of their latest song cover – ‘Five Years,’ a tribute to David Bowie.”

Roland Executive Officer Synths Masahiro Minowa expressed gratitude to Rhodes on behalf of the Roland Corporation synthesizer product design team for the way Rhodes brought keyboard players to the front of pop music and for bringing ionic status to Roland synthesizers. Minowa added, “While I hope our instruments have inspired you, I also would like to thank you for inspiring us. Over the years, the ways you have used our instruments, and the unique and memorable sounds you have created, have driven our engineers to develop new instruments and new sounds. The relationship has been so important for us. We look forward to this creative cycle with you for many years.”

Rhodes commented, “Wow, a huge thank you to everyone at Roland for this glorious award. I am honored to receive it, particularly as Roland has been such a big part of my life since the beginning of my career. I started out in 1980 with a Roland System-100, then I graduated to a JUPITER-4, and shortly after to a JUPITER-8. You often hear guitarists talking about the ultimate Les Paul or the 1959 Stratocaster that they just can’t do without. Well, for me, this has always been the JUPITER-8. These were the instruments that really formed the sound palette that I developed my creativity from. I think, for all artists, these tools that we make music with are of the most importance, and I am very grateful to the developers at Roland for staying in touch with the way that music evolves.”

In other news, with 2021 marking the 40th anniversary of the band’s debut album release, internationally acclaimed, multi-platinum selling, award-winning pop legends Duran Duran will return to the stage this summer for a handful of live dates in the UK and Europe. The band recently released a poignant and highly praised tribute cover of David Bowie’s ‘Five Years,’ in honor of what would have been Bowie’s 74th birthday. Listen here.

You can watch the entire virtual presentation to Nick here.

Nick Rhodes Roland

Duran Duran – Rolling Stone’s Most Anticipated Albums of 2021

January 20th, 2021

“Duran Duran originally intended on spending 2020 on the road celebrating their 40th anniversary as a band. Instead, they had to yank all their plans, and bassist John Taylor came down with Covid-19. He’s all better now, and the group is working on its follow-up to 2015’s Paper Gods. It’s being co-produced by DJ Erol Alkan and Blur guitarist Graham Coxon. “It’s quite naked, raw. The grass is slightly sharp and twinkly rather than smooth,” said singer Simon Le Bon. “It’s groovy (and) modern and very honest. The lyrics are quite something.””

Rolling Stone‘s 54 Most Anticipated Albums of 2021

duran duran rolling stone magazine

Duran Duran, Human League, Depeche Mode: These British New Wave Bands’ Classic Records Turn 40

January 19th, 2021

When it comes to British alternative rock albums, 1981 truly delivered the goods. At a time when the United Kingdom were in the midst of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s administration, civil unrest in the form of riots, and the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, that year brought out some of the most arresting and innovative albums in the genres of post-punk, New Wave and synthpop from these stylish and charismatic musical acts. They launched a golden period of U.K. music for the first half of the 1980s, setting the stage for the Second British Invasion of America. Forty years later, these records from such legendary artists as the Human League, Duran Duran, the Police, Depeche Mode, the Pretenders and others still stand the test of time. Here, in no particular order, is a partial list of these now-classic records that are marking a special 40-year milestone in 2021.

DURAN DURAN
Duran Duran

Like Roxy Music’s 1972 self-titled record, the Fab Five’s debut record was a glimpse into the future of ’80s pop music—their merger of post-punk and disco created a sound that was vibrant, exciting and danceable. Its two most popular and enduring songs remain “Planet Earth” and “Girls on Film,” of which the latter track is forever associated with a sexy and infamous video that got banned by the BBC. Duran Duran also had some other deeply underrated cuts from the punk-ish “Careless Memories” to the exuberant “Friends of Mine.”

Courtesy of Forbes

Duran Duran Pay Tribute to David Bowie with Moving Cover of “Five Years”

January 8th, 2021

SET TO PERFORM ON GLOBAL LIVE STREAMING EVENT ‘A BOWIE CELEBRATION: JUST FOR ONE DAY!’

ON JANUARY 8, 6PM PT, ADDITONAL PERFORMANCES CONFIRMED BY IAN ASTBURY, GARY BARLOW, BILLY CORGAN, ANNA CALVI, ANDRA DAY, PERRY FARRELL, PETER FRAMPTON, BOY GEORGE, RICKY GERVAIS, MACY GRAY, ADAM LAMBERT, DAVE NAVARRO, GARY OLDMAN, TRENT REZNOR, GAVIN ROSSDALE, TONY VISCONTI, RICK WAKEMAN, YUNGBLUD, AND MANY MORE

2021 UK AND EU TOUR DATES ON-SALE NOW

Today, internationally acclaimed, multi-platinum and award-winning pop legends Duran Duran kick-off their 2021 40th anniversary celebrations by going back to where it all began for them, with a stunning stand-alone cover of David Bowie’s timeless classic, ‘Five Years.’

“My life as a teenager was all about David Bowie. He is the reason why I started writing songs. Part of me still can’t believe in his death five years ago, but maybe that’s because there’s a part of me where he’s still alive and always will be.” Duran Duran’s front-man Simon Le Bon reveals. “When we got the Ziggy Stardust LP and put the needle in the groove, our first taste of its perfection was the song Five Years. I can’t begin to explain how honored I feel for Duran Duran to be given the opportunity to perform this icon, and to place our name alongside Bowie’s for this commemoration of his music.”

Listen to Duran Duran’s ‘Five Years’ HERE.

The song comes as part of the highly anticipated global streaming tribute event, set to take place on Friday, January 8, for what would have been the late and great Bowie’s 74th birthday, and 5th year anniversary of his passing. Duran Duran will be performing ‘Five Years’ live in what is set to be a spectacular and groundbreaking cinematic virtual experience. The track is available worldwide on all platforms from 12AM ET on January 8. The band will be performing a very special live version of it later that evening, on A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day! A portion of ticket proceeds will go to the Save The Children organization, a charity important to Bowie. For more information, tickets, VIP packages and exclusive merchandise go to: http://rollinglivestudios.com/bowie. The release of the song is just one of 40 exciting initiatives taking place to celebrate the band’s rich and colorful four decade career, under the umbrella ‘Duran Duran 40’.

This Summer, Duran Duran will be making a welcome return to the stage for some very exciting live performances in Europe and the United Kingdom. For more information and tickets go to: http://duranduran.com

More exciting Duran Duran news to come!

Hear FIVE YEARS now…

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Duran Duran Share Cover of David Bowie’s ‘Five Years’

January 8th, 2021

Duran Duran are starting the year off with a commemoration for David Bowie, who would have turned 74 today. They’re paying tribute to the late icon with a cover of “Five Years,” a deep-cut from the classic The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, ahead of their performance on A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day tomorrow at 6 pm EST. A portion of the ticket proceeds go to one of Bowie’s favorite organizations, Save the Children.

“My life as a teenager was all about David Bowie,” frontman Simon Le Bon said in a statement. “He is the reason why I started writing songs. Part of me still can’t believe in his death five years ago, but maybe that’s because there’s a part of me where he’s still alive and always will be. When we got the Ziggy Stardust LP and put the needle in the groove, our first taste of its perfection was the song ‘Five Years.’ I can’t begin to explain how honored I feel for Duran Duran to be given the opportunity to perform this icon, and to place our name alongside Bowie’s for this commemoration of his music.”

Duran Duran have UK and EU tours planned for the fall; check out the dates below.

January 8 – A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day! – Global Livestream
June 13 – St. Anne’s Park – Dublin, Ireland
June 20 – Isle Of WightFestival – Newport, UK
June 26 – Rock In Rio Lisboa – Lisbon,Portugal
July 4 – Duran Duran At The Lytham Festival – Lytham, UK
July 7 – Duran Duran At The Scarborough Open Air Theatre – Scarborough, UK
July 11 – BST – Hyde Park – London, UK

Duran Duran Share Cover of David Bowie’s “Five Years”: Stream

January 8th, 2021

The new wave legends are also set to participate in the star-studded tribute livestream “A Bowie Celebration: Just for One Day

Duran Duran will mark what would have been David Bowie’s 74th birthday by joining the star-studded tribute livestream “A Bowie Celebration: Just for One Day”. In anticipation, the new wave legends have shared a new cover of Bowie’s 1972 classic “Five Years”.

“Five Years” wasn’t chosen at random. As the opening track to Bowie’s iconic album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, it provided a formative moment for DD frontman Simon Le Bon. In a statement, he called it “our first taste of its perfection,” explaining,

“My life as a teenager was all about David Bowie. He is the reason why I started writing songs. Part of me still can’t believe in his death five years ago, but maybe that’s because there’s a part of me where he’s still alive and always will be. When we got the Ziggy Stardust LP and put the needle in the groove, our first taste of its perfection was the song Five Years. I can’t begin to explain how honored I feel for Duran Duran to be given the opportunity to perform this icon, and to place our name alongside Bowie’s for this commemoration of his music.”

Check out the cover of “Five Years” below.

The livestream comes with a stacked roster of musicians, actors, and comedians. In addition to Trent Reznor and Billy Corgan, the three-hour event will feature Boy George, Taylor Momsen, Ricky Gervais, Dave Navarro, Corey Taylor, Taylor Hawkins, Chris Chaney, Gary Barlow, Gary Oldman, Gavin Rossdale, Perry Farrell, Joe Elliott, Macy Gray, Ian Astbury, Lzzy Hale, Gail Ann Dorsey, Bernard Fowler, Corey Glover, Lena Hall, Judith Hill, Charlie Sexton, Adam Lambert, YUNGBLUD, Andra Day, Michael C. Hall, Ian Hunter, Anna Calvi, Atticus Ross, Etty Lau Farrel, and Mariqueen Maandig Reznor. “A Bowie Celebration: Just for One Day!” begins January 8th at 8 PM ET. Tickets are available here.

That won’t be the only party thrown on Bowie’s birthday; the Bowie musical Lazarus starring Michael C. Hall will also be streaming, and his estate has shared unreleased covers of John Lennon and Bob Dylan. Yesterday, his widow Iman recalled their “beautiful, ordinary life” on the anniversary of his death.

Duran Duran Deliver Blazing Cover of David Bowie’s ‘Five Years’ Band will perform at upcoming Bowie tribute Just For One Day on Friday

January 8th, 2021

Ahead of their performance at the virtual David Bowie tribute Just For One Day, Duran Duran have dropped their cover of the late legend’s “Five Years.”

The band kick up the synths for The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars rendition, as Simon Le Bon is bolstered by backup singers for the climatic chorus. “Your face, your race, the way that you talk,” he sings. “I kiss you, you’re beautiful, I want you to walk.”

“My life as a teenager was all about David Bowie,” Le Bon said in a statement. “He is the reason why I started writing songs. Part of me still can’t believe in his death five years ago, but maybe that’s because there’s a part of me where he’s still alive and always will be. When we got the Ziggy Stardust LP and put the needle in the groove, our first taste of its perfection was the song ‘Five Years.’ I can’t begin to explain how honored I feel for Duran Duran to be given the opportunity to perform this icon, and to place our name alongside Bowie’s for this commemoration of his music.”

The band will appear at Just For One Day on Friday, January 8th, on what would have been Bowie’s 74th birthday. Boy George, Adam Lambert, Michael C. Hall, Mott the Hoople’s Ian Hunter, Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan, and more will also perform.

“A Bowie Celebration is proud to announce they will donate $2 per ticket purchase to the Save the Children organization, a charity that was deeply important to Bowie. In 1997, the organization was the beneficiary of funds raised from Bowie’s sold-out 50th Birthday Concert held in Madison Square Garden and featuring many of the artists who are coming together for this event to honor a man who was their band member, friend, and inspiration.”

Duran Duran will celebrate their 40th anniversary with a brief tour overseas, kicking off on June 13th in Dublin, Ireland on June 13th. They’ll spend the summer making stops along the U.K., wrapping up in Ibiza, Spain on October 8th. More information can be found on the band’s website.

Courtesy Rolling Stone

Duran Duran to Release Cover of David Bowie’s ‘Five Years’ on What Would Have Been His 74th Birthday

January 7th, 2021

The band will perform the cover live during “A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!” on Friday

Duran Duran is paying homage to David Bowie ahead of the fifth anniversary of his death this weekend.

On Friday, what would have been the late rock icon’s 74th birthday, the band will release a cover of Bowie’s 1972 song “Five Years.” They’ll then perform it live during the global streaming concert, “A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!”

“When we got the Ziggy Stardust LP and put the needle in the groove, our first taste of its perfection was the song ‘Five Years,'” lead singer Simon Le Bon tells PEOPLE. “I can’t begin to explain how honored I feel for Duran Duran to be given the opportunity to perform this icon, and to place our name alongside Bowie’s for this commemoration of his music.”

For Le Bon, 62, his “life as a teenager was all about David Bowie.”

“He is the reason why I started writing songs,” he says. “Part of me still can’t believe in his death five years ago, but maybe that’s because there’s a part of me where he’s still alive and always will be.”

Along with Duran Duran, PEOPLE announced on Wednesday that Boy George, Taylor Momsen, Ricky Gervais, Gary Barlow and Ground Control (a supergroup made up of Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins and Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney) have been added to the lineup for “A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!”

Previously announced performers include Andra Day, Adam Lambert, Gavin Rossdale, Michael C. Hall, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, The Smashing Pumpkins’ William Corgan, Yungblud, Peter Frampton, Gary Oldman, Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott, Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell, Kind Heaven Orchestra vocalist Etty Lau Farrell, Macy Gray, The Cult’s Ian Astbury, Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale, Ian Hunter, Anna Calvi, Atticus Ross, Mariqueen Maandig Reznor, Gail Ann Dorsey, the Rolling Stones’ Bernard Fowler, Corey Glover, Lena Hall, Charlie Sexton and Catherine Russell.

Produced by longtime Bowie pianist Mike Garson, “A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!” will feature the artists — who all either worked with Bowie or were influenced by his work — performing brand-new renditions of the singer’s greatest hits, as well as treasured fan favorites.

The featured vocalists will join alumni members of Bowie’s bands spanning his 1969 self-titled album through his final album, 2016’s Blackstar.

In addition to the featured vocalists, viral drumming sensation Nandi Bushell, Guatemalan singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno, Fiction Plane frontman Joe Sumner, vocalist Simon Westbrook and The Section Quartet will make special appearances.

For every $25 ticket sold for the concert, $2 will be donated to the Save the Children organization, a charity that was deeply important to Bowie. In 1997, the organization was the beneficiary of funds raised from Bowie’s sold-out 50th Birthday Concert held at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Starting at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, the concert will continue to play on loop and will remain available for ticket holders around the globe to enjoy for 24 hours after its initial stream.

Fans can visit the event page at http://rollinglivestudios.com/bowie to buy tickets, purchase VIP experiences and order exclusive merchandise.

Courtesy PEOPLE.COM

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Adam Lambert, Anna Calvi, Duran Duran And More Join Line Up For David Bowie Tribute Livestream Event

December 16th, 2020

Adam Lambert, Anna Calvi, Duran Duran And More Join Line Up For David Bowie Tribute Livestream Event. Further acts have been confirmed for A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!.

Organised by David Bowie’s longtime pianist Mike Garson (pictured), the event will be streamed globally on January 8, 2021, coinciding with what would have been the late icon’s 74th birthday and the fifth anniversary of his passing.

Among the newly announced acts set to perform in tribute to the influential artist are Duran Duran, Adam Lambert, Andra Day, Yungblud, Michael C. Hall, Mott the Hoople’s Ian Hunter, Anna Calvi, Atticus Ross, Kid Heaven Orchestra singer Etty Lau Farrell and How to Destroy Angels singer Mariqueen Maandig Reznor.

They join the previously confirmed stars Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan, Perry Farrell, Lzzy Hale, and Macy Gray. The livestream will also host performances from Bowie’s closest collaborators who played with him over the course of his career, including Tony Visconti, Peter Frampton, Davis Sanborn and Rick Wakeman.

Head here for further information and ticket details. The event will also help raise money for Save The Children.

Courtesy Stereoboard