Duran Duran Gets a Virtual "Life"

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Duran Duran Gets a Virtual "Life"
by Natalie Finn

Aug 8, 2006, 6:50 PM PT

First there was Dungeons & Dragons. Then came The Sims. And now, there's Duran Duran.

The British quintet that once conquered the "Ordinary World" is set to take on the virtual world, announcing Monday on the band's Website that it will become the first major musical act to create its own virtual universe inside Second Life, a user-controlled, online digital playground.

Duran Duran joins the 370,997 people (according to secondlife.com) who currently call the rapidly expanding alterna-universe their virtual home. Once you create your avatar (your online persona) on the privately owned, partly subscription-based site, you can own land, start a business, go to a dance club and, of course, meet others just like you.
And now your avatar can check out a Duran Duran concert. Frontman Simon Le Bon, bassist John Taylor, drummer Roger Taylor, guitarist Andy Taylor and keyboardist Nick Rhodes will each have his own online character, each of whom will live in a rock star's virtual paradise and periodically take time out to perform and placate the media. The media that live in Second Life, that is.

"Second Life has brought a third dimension to the Internet," Rhodes said in a statement on the band's Website. "It is the new frontier where dreams have become reality. Whatever you can imagine is now possible. When the video revolution began we instantly saw the opportunity to experiment and explore a new form of expression to enhance the musical experience."

The group's video prowess, such as on the ultra-racy "Girls on Film" and the Raiders of the Lost Ark-inspired "Hungry Like the Wolf," made Duran Duran one of the linchpins of early MTV and certainly helped the band sell more than 70 million records over the years. According to Duran Duran's Website, the Birmingham-based blokes were also the first group to utilize giant video screens in concert in order to bring fans closer to the action and they were the first to make a song available for digital download via the Internet--"Electric Barbarella" in 1997.

And you can always count on Duran Duran to tap into something kinda new, kinda cool and kinda freaky.

"Second Life is the future right now, offering endless possibilities for artists," Rhodes said. "Our community will be able to help develop the island into a fully functional, futuristic utopia, where you can never be quite sure what to expect."

The online shows and shout-outs will coincide with Duran Duran's real-life touring schedule and public appearances.
London-based virtual world designer Rivers Run Red has been tapped to create the band's digital doppelgangers, as well as their luxurious online digs. The byte-size Duran Duran should be able to move in later this month.

In fact, according to Rhodes, the "Rio" purveyors have already begun rehearsal for their first online show.
"No artist has ever done anything like this before," said Peter Wells-Thorpe, president of the strategic marketing company 3003 Group, which is also planning a high-tech redesign for the band's Website in anticipation of its next album, due in early 2007.

"The five members of Duran Duran will actually live a second life 'in-world,' controlling their own avatars lives and doing things ordinary pop stars can only dream about in the real world," Wells-Thorpe said in a statement. "We're asking each of the G8 embassies in London if they will officially recognize the band's new dual nationality and second passports and are hopeful of a positive outcome, at least form the U.K., USA and Japan, in the next few weeks."

Um, really?

In case you can't make it over to cyberspace, Duran Duran is headlining the Bang Music Festival Nov. 11 in Miami.

Courtesy E! Entertainment