Just A Minute With: Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor
By Alastair Himmer
Wed Apr 30, 6:24 AM ET
British band Duran Duran, known for its hits and glamorous videos of the 1980s, is winning over another generation of fans with a new album but the group still holds a soft spot for the much-maligned era of its fame.
Since their 1981 debut "Planet Earth" the band has sold more than 80 million albums, written a James Bond theme tune, and counted the late Princess Diana among their legions of fans.
Bust-ups, lineup changes and the odd yachting accident has failed to diminish the enthusiasm of the band who recently released their 12th studio album "Red Carpet Massacre."
Keyboard player Nick Rhodes and drummer Roger Taylor spoke to Reuters recently about the madness of the '80s:
Q: Rock's all about image. Has being linked to the 1980s and being Princess Diana's favorite band been a millstone?
Rhodes: "You can't choose who your fans are. They choose you. I was thrilled to have her as someone who liked the band. I think a lot of '80s bashing (is misplaced). If people really think about (the '80s), not just music but with fashion, with the arts scene in New York, it was astounding."
Q: Fairly or unfairly you will always be linked with the Thatcher era. Does that irritate you?
Rhodes: "What's interesting about the whole '80s - yuppies, that whole generation -- was that we really were not in the U.K. very much during that time. We spent most of our time on tour. In a funny way we missed huge chunks of it. We grew up in Birmingham in the late '70s where it was very grey and industrial and it did make you want to get out of there, so there's a little bit of a myth about what the background was. But certainly as a band we would never really have supported Thatcherism."
Taylor: "We tend not to look back that much. I'm sure when people see us come into the room they see a history -- they see our back catalogue, they see our videos. I think it's very important that we keep looking forward."
Q: Will history look kindly on the '80s?
Rhodes: "There was a lot of creativity around in the '80s. If you looked at what was out there from the Cure, to the Smiths, to INXS, Depeche Mode, U2, Madonna, Prince -- those are some huge artists that all had a very distinctive identity. And that's what we were all struggling for, to carve out a space and our own sound. I really think that it gave the '80s something special."
Q: What was it like making your new album in collaboration with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland?
Taylor: "After 30 years to be working with the biggest producer in the world right now (Timbaland) is great -- it's a real gift. Our kids think it's really cool. Obviously this album has something that's going to appeal to a younger contemporary audience. My daughter loves Justin Timberlake."
Q: What has it been like crossing over generations?
Rhodes: "As you pass through a couple of decades you inevitably pick up a new generation. With (1993's) the 'Wedding Album' we picked up a whole new audience with songs like 'Ordinary World' and 'Come Undone.' Definitely with 'Red Carpet Massacre' it's opened us up to a lot of the younger kids again, who are coming to the shows. Some of them obviously weren't even born when we made our first album."
Q: What does the future hold?
Taylor: "We've been through some difficult periods but I can see this line-up lasting a while. Duran Duran has always been an ever-changing piece of art, if you like, so who knows where it's going to go? We don't like to call it a brand but it's something that will hopefully always survive."