The Old New Wave: Duran Duran play the Fraze
By Laura Dempsey
New wave, synthesizer, high-maintenance hair, a name that trips off the tongue twice and can be traced to an obscure character in a cult classic (the 1968 film Barbarella).
That's Duran Duran in a nutshell.
The band was almost Taylor-made (reference Andy, John and Roger, unrelated band members who share the surname) for the MTV generation, a bunch of better-than-average looking guys with a distinct sound and a sexy lead singer with his own perfect name, Simon Le Bon.
The group is British, natch, founded in 1978 by John Taylor, Nick Rhodes (who changed his name from Nick Bates) and Stephen Duffy. They played around Birmingham for a time, Le Bon joined in 1980; the revolving-door lineup of Taylor, Rhodes, Le Bon, Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor was written in ink and the hits started to spew forth.
The band was an underground hit in England, where the Durans were seen as leaders of a new trend in music dubbed "new romantic." These were smart guys, artsy men who had style to spare and a business plan ambitious and doable.
They couldn't have done it without MTV and their own model-good looks, but the sound of songs such as Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf, Girls on Film and The Reflex speaks for itself. Heck in 1982, Princess Diana declared the Duran boys to be her favorite band, and though she wasn't known for her discriminating musical taste, she was her own pop culture icon and the royal nod is publicity you just can't buy and nobody could afford anyway.
The lineup coming to Fraze on Tuesday is being billed as the band's original five, but there have been lots of members, so the claim is pretty thin. Still, this is the lineup that made them rich and famous; this is the lineup we expect when we hear Duran followed quickly by Duran, followed by somebody singing, "Her name is Rio and she blah blah on the sand ..."
It's a good lineup: Le Bon on lead vocals; Nick Rhodes on keyboards; John Taylor on bass; Andy Taylor on lead guitar and Roger Taylor on drums. It's been 25 years, and they're still awfully pretty. Can't wait to hear how they sound.
* WHAT: Duran Duran with opening act Dragonette.
* When: 8 p.m. Tuesday.
* Where: Fraze Pavilion, 695 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering.
* Tickets: Terrace seats, $35, available at the Fraze box office, all TicketMaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone, 228-2323.
* MORE INFO: Call the Fraze, 296-3300.
Courtesy Dayton Daily News