Duran Duran back on the Gold Coast!

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Duran Duran back on the Gold Coast!

Suzanne Simonot

Gold Coast Bulletin | Thursday, March 27, 2008


THE four remaining original members of the band Simon LeBon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor began their world tour in Auckland last night ahead of their headlining appearance at the V Festival, at Avica Resort, at Merrimac, on Sunday.

``I'm rediscovering places as an adult,'' says frontman LeBon of the bands run of live shows to promote new album Red Carpet Massacre.

``It's great to go play places that are slightly off your own beaten track. It makes life interesting.

``We've done a lot of tours of Europe, but not so much as I'd like to playing in Australia and in places like Korea. There are loads of places we've never been, like China and Hong Kong. It's always great to get to new places.''

Duran Duran have sold more than 85million records in 28 years together. The late Princess Diana's favourite band a pop phenomenon renowned for their hairspray and eyeliner were the 1980s most successful synthesised stars. The outrageous costume bit was all part of the 1980s, says LeBon.

``You have to have a persona to go on stage and be this larger than life thing. It's not normal, to be in front of 30,000 people. If someone asked me to make a speech at a wedding, I'd hide in the corner. But going on stage as Simon LeBon, lead singer of Duran Duran, is a different thing.

``When I was a kid, I liked the idea of getting up and having all the attention on me. But when it came time to do it, I found it frightening.

``I'd put myself up for parts in school plays and Mum would say, `Sing us all a song'.

``I'd play and sing. It was mortifying and I got through it. That's what you learn.

``It's the appeal of the challenge. You figure out how to do it without s******g your pants.''

Life on the road in 2007 isn't nearly as frenetic for Duran Duran as it was at the height of their popularity. The band members enjoy greater freedom than they did when they ruled the charts.

``Usually we'd arrive at a hotel and we couldn't leave. There would be a 1000 kids outside with their faces pressed up against the windows,'' says drummer Roger Taylor of life as 1980s icons.

``We were teenage heart-throbs in the beginning,'' says LeBon.

``People need change as they grow older, although they might still hold a candle for us in the heart, as they say. As people would say to us when we got back together, they've grown older and have to find different things they like about us in the set without feeling stupid.

``That means the music and lyrics take on greater significance. They look back at the older stuff and think `that's why I liked this'.''

Duran Duran's new live show features old favourites including Girls On Film, Wild Boys, Hungry Like the Wolf and Save a Prayer alongside songs from Red Carpet Massacre, released late last year.

``These are going to be extremely exciting shows for us taking a very different format to the last world tour we did in 2006,'' says LeBon.

``We are introducing a lot of new elements to the show, both musically and in terms of the staging. We have been working on completely different arrangements for some of the older material and will be integrating a lot of our latest record into the performances.''

Red Carpet Massacre is Duran Duran's first album since 2004's Astronaut. Recorded after the band's 25th anniversary reunion tour in 2003, Astronaut was the group's first new studio effort in more than 20 years.

Duran Duran played a wildly successful 10-night stand at Broadway's Barrymore Theatre in November last year to preview tracks from Red Carpet Massacre.

Recording for the album began last year in New York City with Duran Duran fans Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Nate Hills and Jimmy Douglass sharing production duties.

But when guitarist Andy Taylor left the band midway through the recording sessions, LeBon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Roger Taylor started all over again.

``Working with Timba and Justin Timberlake, we had to forget all the preconceptions we had about what makes Duran Duran or there was no point in working with them,'' says LeBon.

LeBon isn't sure whether he makes music to escape himself or to get in touch with himself.

``It's an interesting question,'' he says. ``It sounds like, to me, a bit of both, actually.'

Courtesy Gold Coast Bulletin

Duran Duran play the V Festival at Avica Resort, on Sunday, March 30, 2008.