Pop's wild boys hungry for Brum

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IT'S been said that legendary Brummie band Duran Duran are well past their sell-by date.

But if that's the case, why are the world's hottest record producers still so eager to work with them?

On Wednesday, in Paris, DD shared a stage with Grammy and Brit Award-winner Mark Ronson, who reworked many of their hits for the occasion.

And their most recent album was co-produced and co-written by Madonna's new pals Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Nate Danja Hills.

Despite the stellar cast, Red Carpet Massacre, which also featured the vocal talents of Timbaland and Timberlake, failed to trouble the charts.

But drummer Roger Taylor remains upbeat. "We don't have sleepless nights about chart positions like we did in the 80s,'' he says. ''It's not a big issue. It's a very different world today. We are pleased with Red Carpet Massacre and the album has been received very well. It has satisfied our audience, which is t he most important thing.

"When we heard Timberlake and Timbaland - one of biggest producers in the world right now - wanted to work with us it was an offer we couldn't refuse.

"The fans were worried that we would become part of the Timbaland hit factory. But we managed to retain the integrity of band.''

The R'n'B flavoured Red Carpet Massacre was the long-awaited follow-up to 2004's Astronaut, which saw the classic DD line-up reunite for the first time in 20 years.
Timba's and Timber's involvement coincided with the departure of guitarist Andy Taylor.
The rest of the band - Roger, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Simon LeBon - decided to scrap the album they had been working on and start afresh.

Roger says: ''Andy was an integral part of the song-writing process but the fact we were going in a different direction, musically, made it easier for us move on.

"We always like to keep moving forward - not stuck in one groove. We have a great new guitarist and we're a very strong unit. We're still in a good place.'' But the door could still be open for Andy to return. Roger mused: ''Never say never. The band's line-up is always chang-ing. There has hardly been two consecutive albums with the same personnel.''

As ever, DD are looking forward to their homecoming gig at Birmingham NIA on Monday.
''Three of us were born in Birmingham and the band was formed in the city so it's the most important date of the tour when family and old friends turn up.

''We're playing some stuff from the new album and some classics from the early days and the 90s. We're enjoying it and the fans seem as keen as ever.

''It's a whole new live show complete with a Kraftwerk-syle electro set with us all at the front of the stage on keyboards and electronic drums.''

* Ticket Info
Duran Duran Monday: NIA, Birmingham Tickets: 0871 945 6000.