'80s hair band Duran Duran touches up roots

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'80s hair band Duran Duran touches up roots

Duran Duran's Simon LeBon sounds like a satisfied man when he calls from a beach in Costa Rica.

"My day is going really wonderfully." the 49-year-old singer says. "I'm in a very hot, beautiful place with a big, bright blue sea in front of me. I've grown myself a mustache, with a big, fat sombrero on my head."

LeBon is taking a break from a tour that is taking Duran Duran across North America through May.

The tour spotlights the band's new album, "Red Carpet Massacre," recorded with the help of Justin Timberlake and hit-making producer Timbaland.

Timberlake sings with LeBon on two tracks, including the CD's debut single, a ballad called "Falling Down."

LeBon talked about collaborating, touring and his band's fascination with super models.

Q: Your voice sounds better than ever on the new album. How do you feel?

A: I'm very excited about the new music we've made and the show we're playing. There are lots of things that could be better — me getting more breaks and holidays.

I could be getting younger. My kids could be doing slightly better in school. But generally, things in life are very good.

Q: Has moving into your late 40s affected you as an artist or away from the stage?

A: The job I do tends to set a standard that you apply to yourself that is more relevant than age. It's about what I can do onstage and what I can do in writing.

Q: What was it like to work with Timbaland?

A: He doesn't say a lot. He just plays the music and goes, "Yeah." That's how he communicates, is musically.

Q: It sounds as if Justin pretty much invited himself into your sessions.

A: Yeah, he did call us. I think he and Timbaland are pretty good friends. . . . He called and said, "You can make a great record with Timbaland, but if I'm involved in the project, you'll make a record that your fans like."

It made a lot of sense to us.

Q: The first half of "Red Carpet Massacre" moves in a pop and club groove, while the second seems to give a nod to your '80s roots.

A: We definitely went with the pop bits first and the darker stuff later.

We're not going to start sounding like a different band just because we've been produced by (Timbaland protege) Nate Hills, Timbaland and Justin Timberlake.

Courtesy Gannett News Service