The Wild Boys are here

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English pop rock band Duran Duran landed in Malta yesterday, a few wrinkles and kilos more than when they first met fame three decades ago but still the Wild Boys are out for a laugh and "excited" to perform at what they described as the "big outdoor event" at Luxol Grounds tomorrow.

But clichés apart, Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor, the near-complete, original line-up, who had teenage girls crying and screaming at their feet in the 1980s, had journalists in fits as they shunned any element of seriousness, passed hilarious comments that diverted questions and took the mickey out of each other at Malta International Airport.

Simon Le Bon, in shorts and barefoot - a far cry from the ruffles and sashes of the band's initial New Romantic look - hides his feet when asked about the style aspect of the band, which has been part of the package throughout their career. But John Taylor is quick to put his white, comfortable Crocs on display, dispelling any notion of style.

A quarter of a century has passed since they graced the cover of every teenage magazine, but they reckon they can rekindle the former crushes of today's 30-somethings: "Just give us half a chance, baby," says John Taylor in a humorously seductive voice, standing up and stepping over the table in slow motion towards the cameras.

On a serious note, Roger Taylor explains that Duran Duran appeals to a cross-generational audience. "We have people who were into the band when they were teenagers and come back to relive their youth, but we have also picked up fans along the way from the 1990s, and working with Justin Timberlake (on their latest album Red Carpet Massacre) has attracted the younger generations."

The appeal of songs like Wild Boys, View to a Kill, Save a Prayer, Reflex, Notorious and New Moon on Monday somehow spans the generations, appealing to youths and their parents alike.

Categorically denying any nostalgia for the good old days, when they were mobbed by hysterical female fans, Simon Le Bon says: "No, we're just forward-looking, determined and concentrated," with a hint of sarcasm.

Duran Duran formed in 1978 and began to achieve worldwide recognition in 1982, with over 70 million records sold throughout their career, 18 US hit singles and 30 UK top 30 tunes. The reunion of the original five members in the early 2000s created a stir among the band's fans and music media.

As regards plans to retire, having moved in and out of the music scene for the last couple of decades - with breaks, experiments and changes in the members along the way - they seem to like the sound of the word and mull the thought over. "I tell you what: We could all do with a good holiday!"

But the reality is: "You would think it was harder, after a quarter of a century, to find new ideas, but it isn't," says Nick Rhodes.

"What keeps us to together is the fact that we've made good music together and we've had a lot of fun together," chips in Simon Le Bon.

Their 2008 Red Carpet Massacre European Tour, which began in February, ends in Malta tomorrow, their last performance in Calabria on Wednesday being a "spectacular" show for some 50,000 people.

But they want the Luxol concert, organised by NnG Promotions, to live up to and "exceed" their Italy experience, hoping it would be as memorable.

Following five months of touring, their set has been fine-tuned. "We feel it is the best possible overview of our career; of our favourite songs. It is important that everyone leaves kind of satisfied; it's hard to please everyone. But we'll be playing songs from the new album and plenty of older ones, so I think everyone is going to be happy," says John Taylor.

Part of their popularity was also based on their pretty-boy looks... "Was?", Simon Le Bon questions.

"I resent that," John Taylor retorts, standing up. But Roger Taylor brings in the serious element once again, agreeing that they have proven the critics wrong. "Our songs have withstood the test of time."

John Taylor carries on: "I still think Roger's very handsome... from a distance."

He gets the opportunity to drive his feigned sore point home at the end of the press conference when asked what it takes to outlive early contemporaries and remain around for such a long time.

"Not just a pretty face!"

Courtesy Times of Malta