Working with Mark Ronson was/is a blast. One day he asked if we would mind if his friend Nick came down to play with us. We aren’t the most ‘open’ of guys, but no one was able to come up with a suitable reason why not, so Nick showed up the next day. Nick is the drummer with Kaiser Chiefs and one of their principal songwriters. In advance he sent Mark a couple of his song ideas (music, not words) which Mark duly played us, one after another, until he played us something we all jumped on, saying ‘that groove could work for us!!’
Happily ensconced in the working out of said groove we were when Nick showed up. I don’t know how it felt for him to walk into a studio to see and hear Duran Duran playing something that he had invented only days earlier and had not seen the light of day outside of his workroom, but he looked pretty happy.
After an hour or so, whilst we were listening to a playback in the control room, Nick had taken a seat at one of the two drum kits (one acoustic, one electronic pads) we had set up in the studio. He was playing a fab beat. I said ‘that’s cool, what is it?..’ ‘Planet Earth’ he said. No shit, I considered, that is one fresh collection of hits and bits. ‘Rog..’ I alerted our skins man, ‘check out this northern (Nick is from Leeds) interpretation of Planet Earth!…’ Well, Rog was impressed, I think, or something, and he couldn’t resist sitting at the available drum kit and playing along. This was the point at which I felt that warm pulsing beneath my trousers that is the very reason why I still love my job…
‘Hold the front page!’ I screamed, ‘I have to play bass to that…’ so plugs were plugged, wires were wired, headphones were etc… (get the picture?) and within moments we were all grooving along merrily. Mark is eyeballing me, sympathetically, oozing encouragement. ‘Do that thing you do… you know… that no one else can do’ (he may just as easily said ‘that no one else does’, but I prefer the implication of the first.)
Now Nick is stirring in his synthetic freight, Dom is playing something warm and dirty, and guess what? This is pure 100% you-are-gonna-love-this-shit-DURAN DURAN-baby,.. and watch out, cause here comes the voice…
Yeah. That was a good day. We had a few good days. Mark seems intent on delivering the DD album the fans have wanted for years. One that has the drive and freshness of the first few albums, that is quintessentially hip, without sacrificing any of the hard-earned personality and character of the musicians, something which sadly was lost when Timbaland and Timberlake were in the house.
So Mark has me playing, and Roger playing, and Nick playing, hotter and harder than we have in years.
Watch this space.