Duran Duran itching to hit the studio

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Duran Duran itching to hit the studio
Tue Jun 7, 2005 9:48 PM ET

By Lars Brandle

LONDON (Billboard) - Veteran British rock act Duran Duran will begin work this summer on a follow-up to its 2004 comeback album "Astronaut," keyboardist Nick Rhodes says.

The band will embark on a string of songwriting sessions this August through to mid-December, before it hits the studio in January. Tentative plans are for an early summer 2006 release.

While the project is at an embryonic stage, band members are already fleshing out producers with whom to collaborate. "I enjoyed working with Dallas Austin on a few tracks (for 'Astronaut')," Rhodes says. "He was super high-energy and good to have around. I'd like to work with a groove-master."

The band's Epic Records label is currently servicing "Nice" to radio as the potential third "Astronaut" single.

"To me that's a really traditional Duran Duran track," says Rhodes. "It could almost have been on any of our albums. It's very identifiable as us -- uplifting, simple, beautiful melody, cool groove. And it just felt like a good summer song." A release date for the single has yet to be penciled in.

Duran Duran is in Europe as part of an extensive world tour. On July 2, the band will participate in the Rome edition of Bob Geldof's Live 8 concerts, intended to influence world leaders into prioritizing African debt relief as a key political issue. Twenty years ago, the group performed at Geldof's historic Live Aid event in Philadelphia.

"The band's in great shape -- we've played a lot of shows," notes Rhodes. "We did 45 shows across America in the first three months of the year. We're ready."

Aside from duties with the band, Rhodes is engaged in an interactive Internet TV channel dubbed "Monkey Me," which is more than two years in the making. Rhodes is looking to secure additional funding. "If we can make it happen I think it will be extraordinary," he adds. "It's the next leap for artists."

Courtesy Reuters/Billboard