Nick Rhodes on Duran Duran’s Staying Power

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Nick Rhodes on Duran Duran's staying power

Duran Duran had a bit of a scare this year. Singer Simon Le Bon lost his voice just before the band began its European tour in support of the Mark Ronson-produced album "All You Need Is Now" - and nobody was sure when it would return. But after taking the summer off to recover, the band is back on the road pumping everyone up with new songs and old hits such as "Girls on Film" and "Rio." It plays Monday at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga. We spoke with keyboard player Nick Rhodes, 49.

Q: "Hungry Like the Wolf" came out almost 30 years ago. Do you have any idea what it's about yet?

A: Yeah, very much so. It was about the pursuit of beautiful women.

Q: Isn't that what all of Simon's songs are about?

A: If you look at the content of songs people write, it's usually about the things they know best.

Q: The other band members have quit at various points, but you and Simon have stuck with it. How have you kept each other sane?

A: We believe in the sounds we make together. There's something about our unit that no other band on this planet can do.

Q: When Simon lost his voice, was there a moment when you thought it was all over?

A: No. We knew he had strained his vocal cords, and like an athlete straining a muscle or tendon, you just have to wait until it repairs. That was very difficult for a while.

Q: Do you feel as if you lost the momentum behind this album?

A: It was obviously a little bit of a drag, especially when we had to cancel the tour. But we're building it back up. The album is our strongest one in many, many years.

Q: Most of your peers make adult contemporary records. Why did you choose to work with Mark Ronson?

A: The whole ethos of this band is changing things and not being afraid to do something new and work with interesting people. That's what's kept us fresh.

Q: It's also probably what has kept you off those '80s package tours with the B-52's and Loverboy.

A: I couldn't even think about it.

Q: People grew up with your picture on their walls. What do you do to put them at ease when they meet you?

A: We're always happy to communicate, talk with people when we can. I think our fans are a little crazy, but they're hugely respectful. The Internet is the greatest tool for any artist to have interaction with any audience.

Q: Do you follow Simon and John Taylor on Twitter?

A: I deal with them all day, so I don't necessarily need to know what they've got to say.

Q: You're missing out.

A: That's the thing. A lot of other bands have tried to go out there and say we've got views on this and views on that. But some of it I've found opportunist. Duran Duran has always been honest about everything. We've always laid everything out. {sbox}

Duran Duran: 7:30 p.m. Mon. Mountain Winery, 18431 Pierce Road, Saratoga. (800) 745-3000.

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This article appeared on page Q - 34 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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