Duran Duran Not Giving Up On 'Astronaut'

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Duran Duran Not Giving Up On 'Astronaut'

Despite lukewarm sales for highly anticipated reunion album, "Astronaut," the members of Duran Duran aren't about to give up on the Epic disc. Released late last year, the set has sold 219,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

"I don't think any of us are satisfied with how that record has done and that's really why we're planning on staying on the road for most of this year," bassist John Taylor tells Billboard.com. "Because I think it's an album that is deserved of a bigger audience than what it already has, our job in part is to turn people on to the new music and that's what the touring is about."

Currently finishing up an American tour that runs through April before going to the U.K. and Europe in May, Duran Duran is planning a late July Stateside return aimed mainly at outdoor amphitheaters and markets in which the band didn't play on its first leg. Also in the works is a concert DVD, which was recorded last spring at London's Wembley Arena and is due out this summer.

As for guitarist Andy Taylor's unexpected departure from the tour last week to be at his ailing father's bedside, the band decided to continue touring with Dominic Brown replacing him in the interim. John Taylor said the band agonized over how to properly handle the situation.

"Yeah, [there were] some very heavy discussions, actually, and tables were thrown," Taylor says. "The decision was made to continue with the tour and we felt that we had a momentum because it's not just about the shows, it's about the station tie-ins. And you have people who have made plans to travel from all over the country. We all knew that we were sacrificing something and Andy wanted us to go on and I'm fairly sure he'll be back with us by Cleveland [March 29]."

Included in the band's current set are new tracks "(Reach Up for the) Sunrise," "Nice" and "Bedroom Toys," along with past hits like "Hungry Like the Wolf," "Rio" and "Ordinary World." Taylor says the band is also digging into its treasure chest for instrumental "Tiger Tiger," "Hold Back the Rain" and even "Wild Boys," which was never properly toured before Duran Duran's original members began their exodus to various side projects.

But fans hoping to hear a song or two from Power Station (John and Andy Taylor) or Arcadia (Simon LeBon, Roger Taylor and Nick Rhodes) shouldn't hold their breath.

"I don't think so," Taylor says. "I can't speak for Arcadia but I think with the death of [singer] Robert [Palmer], [drummer] Tony [Thompson] and [producer] Bernard [Edwards], that book is really closed. The project was never represented better than it was on record. In fact, there is a DVD coming out. And it has the only performance that we did with the original lineup, which was on 'Saturday Night Live.' So if you missed that, it's worth seeing because it's quite a laugh, actually."

That self-titled CD/DVD set features seven bonus tracks and remixes and is scheduled for an April 26 release via Capitol.

-- John Benson, Cleveland

Courtesy Billboard