Talking Shop: Duran Duran

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Talking Shop: Duran Duran

Duran Duran are back on the road, more than 25 years after hits such as Hungry Like The Wolf, Rio and Save A Prayer made them global stars.

After their 12th studio album Red Carpet Massacre, featuring Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, came out last year, the group are playing in the US before dates in the UK in July.

Bassist John Taylor gives an insight into life on tour, and discusses their plans for a one-off show with Mark Ronson.

What happens in an average day on the road?

I try to stay in bed until 10, but I'm a serious coffee addict so the idea of coffee gets me out of bed at 9:30-ish. Then I'll start the day with an internet connection, I might go to the gym, I might have a sauna. We like saunas and steams. Maybe do something to keep healthy. It's pretty civilised really.

Staying sharp with my playing is the best formula for having a good time on stage
We might go to the venue at about four o'clock, make sure everything's set up as we like it. Most days there's an hour of press to do, interviews like this, and I try to practice for an hour a day. I try.

Do you still need to practice after all these years?

When you're away from home, it's all about the show. If you don't have a good time at the shows, then touring is miserable. I've found that staying sharp with my playing is the best formula for having a good time on stage.

What's on your rider?

We are so easy, man. We have a sushi selection, we like a certain quality of red wine to be available, we have a room that our roadies set up where we have a practice drum kit and bass and guitar amplifier so the rhythm section can warm up. We love to just play before we go on stage to break the ice.

One of the fun things we're doing on this tour is we've got a little turntable in the dressing room with us, so every day somebody has to go and find some bizarre old vinyl album. It's like a challenge.

We've had Tony Bennett, the Jungle Book soundtrack, The Supremes Sing the Liverpool Hits. At the end of the tour we'll have accrued 100 vinyl oddities and we're going to eBay them off for a good cause.

Is there much partying these days?

I'm not a big party head. It takes so much energy. Parties are so much work. People talk so loud and we've just been playing for two-and-a-half hours. You can't do it very often.

How does touring now compare to 25 years ago?

Back when I was younger, there was a duality to life - there was road and home. They were like two separate lives. Today, family and friends are so important and we all try to stay connected in as consistent a way as we can, and in this sense technology has been a friend to the touring musician. I just got Skype two weeks ago when I was in Japan and it's so mindblowing.

Have you been approached to do any British festivals like Glastonbury?

No. I guess I'd like to do it. We just did the V Festivals in Australia. It's something new for us. Comparing a festival to a concert is a bit like eating a buffet as opposed to having a one-on-one candlelight dinner. I've always been a one-on-one candlelight dinner sort of person, but I can see how the buffet is appealing.

What are you planning with Mark Ronson in Paris?

I love Mark, I've known Mark for a long time. I've known his mum and dad and I'm very proud of what he's achieved.

Ann and [stepdad] Mick Jones - from Foreigner, who raised Mark - are two of the most wonderful people you could ever know. It was always on the cards that Mark was going to be a very special fellow. He's always been a really hard-working super-nice guy, and he deserves everything that he's getting.

At this point we've had several conversations about what we want to do, and his ideas are really exciting. The idea is to create a 30-minute monster Ronson-Duran mash with nods to all and sundry and then play the damn thing live, which is kind of rad, as the Californians like to say. It's a really exciting project. It's good to have these kinds of things that challenge you and shake you out of your complacency.

Duran Duran are on tour in the US and Europe until July, including UK shows in London, Liverpool, Nottingham and Birmingham. John Taylor was talking to entertainment reporter Ian Youngs.

Courtesy BBC

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