Durable Duran Duran Still ‘Hungry’

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Durable Duran Duran still ‘Hungry’

Band touring through new century

By Jim Sullivan

For Duran Duran, life is good right now.

The stylish British new wave band, which became an overnight sensation with its early-’80s videos on MTV, is wrapping up a tour Wednesday at a sold-out Royale. They’ll mix such classics as “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Girls on Film” and “A View to a Kill” with tunes from the new hit CD, “All You Need Is Now,” produced by hotshot Mark Ronson.

Last weekend, the group played a well-received gig at the huge Coachella festival in California and bassist John Taylor, on the phone from Los Angeles, was still revved.

“It was awesome, just one of those amazing things,” he said. “A career highlight. . . . It’s nice to still be having them.”

Indeed, no one could have called this. It’s been three decades since the band formed. There have various lineup changes, down periods, comebacks and breakups, but the core lineup, which re-formed in 2001, is back stronger than ever.

The band consists of Taylor, singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes and drummer Roger Taylor (no relation). The other unrelated Taylor, guitarist Andy, left in 2006, replaced by Dom Brown.

Herald: Last month at a London concert, Simon introduced “Ordinary World,” by saying, “We put this song out just when everyone thought we were finished in 1993. Well, 18 years on, all of the people who thought that can kiss my (expletive).”

Taylor: He did say that. But that’s not typical. We try to exercise humility at all times. We’ve been written off a few times.

And you’ve written yourself off a few times.

Ha! Touche. Success came very early to us. Our first three albums were hugely successful and then we began this humiliating downslide where we lost our audience incrementally.

You left the fold from 1997-2000, but came back when Simon wanted to put the “classic Fab Five” lineup back together. What made you think it would work in the 21st century?

I wasn’t thinking about the 21st century then. I was thinking about a reunion tour, which I thought would be fun. And I was thinking about the idea of getting back on stage with Andy and Roger as opposed to what would seem to be an endless stream of session drummers since Roger left. The idea of getting back with those guys and playing the songs from the first three albums the way they’d been written was exciting. I wasn’t really thinking past that point. Nick was the one who said, “Hold on a second. We’re not just doing a reunion tour, we’re going to write and record a new album.” That was a whole other proposition entirely. It took us a long time to get to that.

The first two albums didn’t really hit. But this one has. Is it the Ronson factor?

Most definitely Ronson. He’s the producer who best understands the original ethos of Duran better than any of the other producers we’ve had since we got back together. Timbaland was at the top of his game when we worked with him, but his sense of what Duran Duran were was not in him. He didn’t have that understanding the way Mark did.

What are the themes on “All You Need Is Now”?

I’m not quite sure what we’re trying to say, but there’s an inherent positivity in us that comes through. I think that we convey a sense of gratitude that we didn’t always have.”

Courtesy Boston Herald