Reunion of the great

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Music - Reunion of the great

Duran Duran recapture the groovy heyday of New Wave metrosexuality

By Lawrence Ferber
Contributing Writer

“Someone told us that these five queens had stolen our moniker,” keyboardist Nick Rhodes recalls, pointing out that Duran Duran were first crowned The Fab Five at least 20 years before Queer Eye emerged. “So we were properly cross with them.”

Since their 1981 debut, Duran Duran have been steadily making albums. But the band’s original lineup —Rhodes, vocalist Simon LeBon, bassist John Taylor, guitarist Andy Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor — hadn’t collaborated since the 1985 Live Aid concert.

When the band’s 20th anniversary approached, the timing seemed appropriate for a glamorous reunion. Finally, in 2004, the Fab Five re-grouped for “Astronaut,” a catchy disc that resurrected the band’s funky pop.

The danceable, driving single “(Reach Up For The) Sunrise” brought Duran Duran even closer to Carson Kressley and his makeover team. When an advance remix of “Sunrise” landed on the 2004 “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” soundtrack, the reality-TV stars gave Duran Duran their proper respects.

“They said we’re already perfect,” Rhodes remembers. “That’s absolutely true, that’s what one of them said.
“Somebody recently accused us of being wholly responsible for metrosexuality. And I asked, ‘Is that an accusation or a compliment?’” Rhodes continued “We’re all for male grooming, honey. Anything that can make life just that little bit more beautiful, that doesn’t take up that much time or money, everyone should do it. The world would be a better place.”

Duran Duran were New Wave pioneers, thickly painted in mascara, eyeliner and lipstick. They often straddled the boarders of androgyny and modern fashion. And their songs reflected a kinky edge — even in the 1980s, Duran Duran incorporated the sounds of buzzing vibrators as percussive elements. On “Astronaut,” they revisited the sex-novelty theme with the slinky, seductive cut “Bedroom Toys.”
“Well, Nick is the one with all the bedroom toys,” LeBon laughs, “Unfortunately, he keeps running out of batteries.”
“Bedroom toys are essential,” Rhodes insists. “And they don’t always have batteries. A blindfold is a bedroom toy, which can always be fashioned out of a necktie from my wardrobe.”

Over the years, gossip magazines have hinted that LeBon and Rhodes’ womanizing ways (both are now married to supermodels) have been a cover. But they were always ticked by the closet-case rumors.

“Marc Almond [the Soft Cell singer] once said I was a male prostitute. I thought that was fantastic,” LeBon laughs. “I could make a lot of extra money doing that.”

If they LeBon and Rhodes were gay, whom would they select for a mate?

“Probably someone quite macho, quite manly. I’m a big guy myself, you see. I don’t see myself walking around with a poodle, so to speak,” LeBon explains. “I’d be quite well with Russell Crowe and Antonio Banderas, actually. Antonio, of course, because I’m blonde and he’s dark.”

“I’d go for someone like Captain Scarlet, the puppet,” Rhodes says. “He’s like a Thunderbird. And he wears that fantastic outfit.”

Will the reunited, reinvigorated Duran Duran stay together, or is this album and tour the last time?

“We don’t know. Right now it’s a journey up a tall mountain,” Rhodes says. “We’re climbing up from the bottom. We’ll see where we plateau. But we know where the crown is, and we’re going to get it back.”

Nokia Theatre, 1001 Performance Place in Grand Prairie. Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. $35-$65. 214-373-8000.

Courtesy Dallas Voice