Duran Still Hungry

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October 30, 2007 -- WHEN Duran Duran was small - at the start of the '80s - they got big by brilliantly melding sight and sound for the fledgling mass-market music machine called MTV.

Twenty-five years later, this influential Brit band again makes its mark, this time by getting small for a nine-show run on Broadway, in a 500-seat hall, to premiere their anticipated "Red Carpet Massacre" CD due Nov. 13.

Nick Rhodes, the band's founder, tells The Post, "We've wanted to do this kind of show for a long time, we've even made a couple of failed attempts, but it's so hard to get a theater on Broadway. We struck gold getting the Barrymore.

"It's really exciting for us because the audience that comes to see us will witness a live preview of the entire album - we haven't done that since our very first album," says Rhodes.

"We've all become very used to arenas [as places] to hear music, but there's something special about playing a theater like this - everyone is close and the sound is good, and as Frank Sinatra beautifully put it, 'It's like being in your living room.' "

The 2007 Duran Duran comes very close to the band's best-known, best-loved lineup when they dominated music with hits such as "Rio" and "Hungry Like the Wolf." Simon LeBon is at the mike, bassist John Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor are back in the band and, of course, Rhodes is working the keyboards.

"I think we still have a couple of lives left in us, but we've never dared to think too far ahead, because we know how turbulent music is," Rhodes says. "Sometimes you're completely in tune with the public, and sometimes they wander off to look for new music. Sometimes they come back, sometimes they don't."

With the nine Barrymore performances selling out in minutes, it's obvious that the band's longtime audience remains devoted, but more interesting is how DD is attempting to stay in tune with young ears on the "Red Carpet Massacre."

"Falling Down," the first single off of the new CD and one of this week's featured MPFrees, illustrates how the DD sound is keeping fresh with a collaboration with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland.

Despite age and stylistic differences, Rhodes, 45, says it was easy to work with Timberlake and Timbaland. "When you collaborate with someone you respect, you come in with an open mind and let them do what they're good at. We went into the studio every day and thought, 'This is an adventure.' "

Since Duran Duran has always had one foot on the dance floor, Rhodes admitts there was no stress in "upping the groove factor" with Justin.

Yet "Falling Down" was almost the song that wasn't. Almost a year after Timberlake recorded "Nite-Runner" with DD for the new record, his world tour was in the U.K.

"[Justin] had a couple of days off, and he told us he'd love to record another track. The album was basically finished, but we all went into the studio again. . . . It's a song that's about someone who loses a grip on their life. I came up with the title 'Falling Down,' and Simon immediately picked up on that and drew inspiration from a near-death motorcycle crash he'd had."

LeBon confirmed: "It's about that crash and the thoughts that ran through my mind right before I hit the ground. When I got to the chorus, Justin was like 'That's it!' "

Getting that song right was important, but for Rhodes, his main focus is on this week's shows. "We want to be on form these shows for the sake of the new album, but it's also important because we feel we have to get all of these shows right because New York is our spiritual home."

Courtesy NY Post