A transatlantic chat with Simon Le Bon
8 Apr 2011
Duran Duran's frontman talks boat parties, bonus bashing and fancying his bandmates with Gavanndra Hodge...
What are you up to in New York?
We're on tour. We just did a show directed by David Lynch, which included images of things like sausages on a barbecue and dancing mice. Totally bizarre.
Your new album is your 13th, are you superstitious?
No. Never complain, never explain, never say should have or would have, always judge a book by its cover and always mix your own drinks.
Are those your life rules?
My very flippant life rules.
What do you think about the recent marches?
The economic situation is tough and I have a lot of sympathy for people whose standard of living is dropping. And the banks still think they can give their fucking huge bonuses. It makes me sick.
The 1980s was a similar time of recession and frustration with the government. Did you get involved?
No, all our time was focused on making something happen as a band. You only get one chance, so you have to take it.
Fame came very fast for you...
Because we made it happen that way. We were totally preoccupied with that, something we were criticised for in NME.
For not being politically involved?
Yeah, that was pathetic. We didn't have to join the mob, we were already improving our lives. Our music wasn't political, but it wasn't escapist either. We were keying into a different part of the psyche, a non-political part that is present whatever the economic climate.
A sexual and aspirational part?
That's right, those things don't stop just because times are hard. People still need to have fun and to look great.
What are your most decadent memories?
In Duran Duran it wasn't really about the money; we were mates and we had a laugh. People did throw parties on boats for us and that sort of thing, which was fantastic. It's always better when someone else is paying.
What was your biggest extravagance?
In 1984, I bought a beautiful polished mahogany Riva speedboat.
How much did it cost?
It isn't very British to talk about money, is it?
Did it bother you that girls used to fancy John Taylor so much?
No, I'd fancy him if I was a girl.
You're surrounded by women, do you ever feel overwhelmed?
No, because I've got a dog called Luigi. We've got a couple of dogs with bollocks - you need dogs' bollocks around.
Do you still get a buzz on stage?
It's the one thing I really care about, getting that magical connection with the audience.
How do you know you've got it?
There's a ring of energy that goes to the stage from the crowd and back again, and I'm in the middle and can direct it. That's the great thing about being a frontman: you're in charge.
Is there one song that really lifts the crowd?
'Hungry like the Wolf.'
Duran Duran's album All You Need Is Now is available on iTunes