Hungry Like the Wolf
Duran Duran talks with 9X's John Benson from the road
Monday June 20, 2005
When a reunited Duran Duran toured in the fall of 2003, sold-out audiences presented the band with a heartfelt standing ovation before a single note was even played.
What the audience didn't know was that the 80s synth/rock act was just as happy to see them, and it wasn't because of the box office receipts. After being cooped up in France for months writing material for a new album, Simon LeBon (vocals), Andy Taylor (guitar), John Taylor (bass), Roger Taylor (drums) and Nick Rhodes (keyboards) were still without a label deal.
Mind you, a quarter of a century had passed since Duran Duran had to showcase its talents for a recording contract, but that's ostensibly what the band was doing by touring American theaters.
"It wasn't meant to be that way," said Taylor, calling from Minneapolis, MN. "We thought that just the mere fact of us going back in the studio and writing songs together would have been enough. But it wasn't enough. We had to pull a couple more rabbits out of the hat."
Taylor added that in hindsight, initial hesitation by record labels to sign the band actually worked in Duran Duran's favor. Perhaps somewhat humbling to a group that has sold millions of album and toured the world as the toast of the party, the experience brought the band members together as friends.
Eventually, Epic Records came to the table with a four-album deal, culminating in the release of Astronaut this past October. As for the recording of the disc, that was a delicate process of trust regained and friendships restarted.
"The first few days we were working together we wrote 'Nice' and 'Bedroom Toys,'" Taylor said. "And those are two of my favorite songs on the album. I think everybody came to play and we're all very capable musicians, but it was, 'Can we work out the head stuff?' We've had to do a lot of work on that."
Duran Duran is currently touring Astronaut with a set list that includes the two aforementioned new tracks, as well as plenty of radio classics ("Hungry Like the Wolf," "Rio" and "Ordinary World") and a few obscure gems ("Hold Back the Rain" and "Tiger, Tiger").
At this point, the Fab Five remains committed to spending the rest of the year on the road in support of Astronaut. Another stateside leg is expected this summer for amphitheaters.
As for its future, it appears the band is still hungry like the wolf for mainstream success.
"Absolutely, you try to be in the moment," Taylor said, "but you have to think a little bit about the future, and I think we'd all like to make another album together. But, we're not finished with this one yet."