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Duran Duran at 40: Simon Le Bon and Roger Taylor on embracing the Eighties, dream guestlists, and never being mobbed anymore | Ents & Arts Information

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Duran Duran needn’t throw a real-life celebration to mark their fortieth. “I feel that is it, I feel we’re in it,” says frontman Simon Le Bon. The fortieth for Duran Duran is the brand new album – their fifteenth – the venues nonetheless promoting out, the very fact they’re nonetheless right here, nonetheless collectively, nonetheless making music.

“I feel it appears like a miracle truly, to be right here 40 years later,” says drummer Roger Taylor. “I feel while you’re youthful, actually myself, I did not look very far into the longer term. I might most likely look per week forward, I feel, after I was 19.”

Again then, the beginning of the Eighties, “if you happen to received two or three years, you have been doing rather well”, he provides. “So it feels extraordinary, it actually does.”

Duran Duran (L-R): Roger Taylor, John Taylor, Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes. Pic: Tape Fashionable/BMG Rights Administration

It is a sunny October afternoon, a number of days earlier than the discharge of album quantity 15, FUTURE PAST, and Le Bon and Taylor are sitting subsequent to one another at a studio in southwest London, having fun with the very fact their interview time additionally equals a catch-up.

It has truly been greater than 40 years since Duran Duran first shaped, however 2021 marks the fortieth anniversary of their first single Planet Earth, and the eponymous debut album. It was the beginning of a pop star existence that introduced them phenomenal fame; quantity ones, world excursions, Grammys, Ivor Novellos, Brits and even a Hollywood star, and screaming followers who adopted their each transfer.

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Whereas band members have modified over time, the Duran Duran of 2021 – Le Bon, Taylor, keyboard participant Nick Rhodes and bassist John Taylor – is simply lacking Andy Taylor, who left the band twice, from that 1981 line-up. (Not one of the Taylors are associated).

For a Eighties band referred to as fairly boys of pop, remembered maybe most fondly for dancing on a yacht within the Rio video, they’ve actually gone the gap. With an estimated 100 million information bought, they’re among the many most profitable bands on the earth.

Taylor mentions The Rolling Stones when he considers bands which have lasted by means of the a long time, however Mick Jagger and co have had some lengthy intervals of downtime. The six years between Future Previous and Duran Duran’s final album, Paper Gods in 2015, is the longest they’ve ever gone between information; if not for the COVID-19 pandemic, the hole may properly have been significantly shorter. Within the music trade, this type of longevity is virtually unparalleled.

“We’ve not stopped working and making music,” says Le Bon. “That is the way it feels to us, that we have simply been a part of it. You’ll be able to’t be high of the pile for 40 years, however you realize, midway down, even close to the underside, type of is appropriate – so long as you are in it, so long as you are a part of the wallpaper.”

Duran Duran pictured in 1981. Pic: Andre Csillag/Shutterstock

Aug 1981
The band pictured in 1981 together with former guitarist Andy Taylor. Pic: Andre Csillag/Shutterstock

Aug 1981

Nick Rhodes und Simon Le Bon von Duran Duran pictured in 1989. Pic: Rudi Keuntje/Geisler-Fotopress/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Rhodes and Le Bon pictured in 1989. Pic: Rudi Keuntje/Geisler-Fotopress/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Photographs

Whereas the band have not marked the milestone 12 months with an precise celebration, the celebrations come within the type of the one ANNIVERSARY (the album title and the singles are all in capitals), and a video that includes a wealth of superstar lookalikes, from Elton John and Dolly Parton to Girl Gaga and Posh Spice. It was a “dream” guestlist, says Taylor.

“Like all Duran Duran events, we invite everyone,” says Le Bon. He grins. “You’d hear somebody saying, ‘Oh I am afraid Meghan’s damaged her ankle and Harry’s received a chilly, so they don’t seem to be going to make it tonight’.” Nonetheless, they received the Queen. And plenty of extra. “There was one level the place I did truly look down and I believed, dangle on, that is not the true Jennifer Lopez, is it? It’s extremely, very convincing.”

It is a very completely different idea to the video for INVISIBLE, the album’s first single, which was created solely by means of AI, “a type of alien creature”, as Taylor places it, referred to as Huxley. “The pictures have been astounding, I’ve to say. We did not actually know what to anticipate however I used to be actually blown away by it. We have at all times tried to push the boundaries, however that was actually… to a different stage, I feel.”

Duran Duran have used AI to create their new music video, Invisible. Pic: Tape Modern/BMG Rights Management
The band used AI ‘Huxley’ to create the video for INVISIBLE, the primary single from their newest album. Pic: Tape Fashionable/BMG Rights Administration

Identified for his or her innovation, from early music video pioneers by means of to their AI video, Duran Duran have handed the stage the place they really feel awkward about embracing their roots. Each Le Bon and Taylor stress they’re band at all times centered on the longer term and the brand new, however they’re conscious of how they received right here.

It was Mark Ronson, who they’ve labored with a number of occasions over the previous decade or so, who helped them begin to embrace their ’80s-ness as soon as once more after a interval of reluctance.

“[He] was the primary one which mentioned, you realize what? Everybody’s attempting to sound such as you, why do not you try to sound a bit extra like yourselves?” says Taylor. “I feel we have been on a little bit of a journey of self-acceptance over the previous few years.”

“Each time we go on stage, we play Rio, we play Hungry Like The Wolf, we play these songs as a result of we all know that the folks within the viewers wouldn’t be joyful if we did not,” says Le Bon. “So we have got to both love them or hate them, and it is a lot nicer if you happen to love them, it makes your life a lot happier.”

Whereas audiences after they began out have been predominantly younger girls, the standard Duran Duran crowd has modified over time. “A variety of males come to the reveals now, a number of youthful folks,” says Taylor. “It is an actual across-the-board viewers and it is lots simpler to take care of and to play to, I feel.”

Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Texas, October 2021. Pic: Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP
Nonetheless Wild Boys, however extra smart: Le Bon on stage in Texas in October 2021. Pic: Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP

Life usually could be very completely different now. “It is simpler to get the reservation within the restaurant you want,” says Le Bon. “Clearly we have labored and we have been compensated for it, handsomely, which makes a number of points of life simpler. Additionally, we have got households now.

“We have been utterly free and our personal brokers once we began, we may go and spend six months away on a tour, which changed into a report, which changed into a video shoot, which changed into a photograph shoot, which changed into one other tour. , these issues used to occur. Now, issues are just a little bit extra measured, just a little extra smart, truly.”

“We are able to stroll down the road now, which is basically, actually good,” says Taylor. “, there was a degree on the peak of the celebrity the place I do not assume I may have walked [here] from my dwelling 5 minutes away…”

“You might solely run,” Le Bon interrupts, “as a result of there’d be an entire faculty of individuals working behind you”. The singer is laughing nevertheless it should genuinely have been scary at occasions, regardless of it being seen as par for the course for high-profile celebs.

It’s a bizarre factor since you grew up being free and abruptly – and for us, it was very sudden – we received thrust into the general public area and everyone felt like they knew us. You stroll down the road and folks say good day to you, and also you’re pondering to your self, do I do know that individual? And it’s important to remind your self that no, he is simply saying good day as a result of he noticed me on Prime Of The Pops.”

FUTURE PAST, Duran Duran’s fifteenth album, is out now

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