For the past year and a half, Duran Duran has basked in the positive vibes that come with a muscular return to form.
In 2010, producer – and avowed Duran fan – Mark Ronson nudged the band to return to its New Wave roots. The resulting release, “All You Need is Now,” turned into such a critical success that bassist John Taylor says he’s certain Ronson will work with the band on its next release, which they’ll start discussing in February.
But for now, Taylor and the rest of the original members of the elegant ’80s synth-pop kings behind such smashes as “The Reflex,” “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Ordinary World” – singer Simon LeBon, drummer Roger Taylor, keyboardist Nick Rhodes – and guitarist since 2006 Dom Brown, are hitting the road for a few weeks before taking a break.
Taylor phoned from his U.S. base of Los Angeles recently to talk about what fans can expect from Duran’s encore appearance in Atlanta on Sunday and his upcoming autobiography.
Q: The band performed here twice last year. How might this show be different?
A: I think we’ll make some adjustments to the show. We’ll look at the set from the last time and make sure that it’s different. We are playing our [butts] off at the moment. Put it this way, if you had a good time last time, you’re going to have a good time this time.
Q: Are you technically touring behind the new live CD and DVD [“A Diamond in the Mind”]?
A: We’d still be doing these dates even if we hadn’t released the live album [in July]. This is kind of a victory lap for ‘All You Need is Now.’ Most of the cities we haven’t been to, but we like the environment of Chastain. I feel like out of the outdoor amphitheaters, it’s probably the best in the country and the climate [in Atlanta] is quite reliable. Chastain has been very good for us.
Q: Are you pleased at the response from ‘All You Need is Now’?
A: Yeah, I am. For a band like ours that had such enormous success very young, our story the past 15 years has been about managing expectations. We know when we put out an album, it isn’t going to be platinum. We don’t expect to hear our songs on pop radio. Simon pointed out that 12 months after the album was released that the songs were still invigorating our live performances and the audience has really taken to the songs — that’s when we kind of knew it was a success.
Q: You’ve got an autobiography [“In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran”] coming out in October. What was the most difficult thing about writing it?
A: The most difficult thing was establishing the language of inebriation. How do I describe the mess that my life was in without me sounding a total idiot, and do it with dignity and understanding? I got to the point where I realized I’m not writing about me, I’m writing about this kid in his 20s. I had to do a lot of soul-searching about how much to give away.
Q: Will there be things in there that the rest of the band will bristle at seeing in print?
A: Without a doubt there will be something that they’re going to think, ‘Why did you give that away?’ But I try to be respectful and mindful. Nick told me he won’t be reading it. I said that’s good, you don’t need to read it. It would be weird to him, I think, because his experiences would have been different. Roger will probably get a kick out of it and Simon said he’ll do the audiobook version.
Duran Duran performs at 8 p.m. Sunday at Chastain Park Amphitheatre. $35.50-$65.50. This is a no table show – coolers and carry-ins are not permitted. 1-800-745-3000, www.livenation.com.
By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene