MULTI-platinum superstars Duran Duran, born here in the Midlands, are celebrating the release of a new album – and are touring again.
Bassist John Taylor took time out to talk to the Mail about their tour, which sees them perform in Nottingham next week, and their 14th studio album, Paper Gods.
The record, which features an array of special guest performers, is already proving popular with fans new and old, of the 1980s Birmingham-born band.
Singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor, and drummer Roger Taylor recorded the album in London, and they are proud of what they have produced.
Taylor said: "I suppose the jury is still out on our new album but with every one we release we always try to make it our best ever.
"It's an interesting album and I think what defines it is all the featured artists. We opened the door to people like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Kaiser Chiefs, Lindsay Lohan, who all added their own flavour to the album.
"In the past people might think this would have diluted the Duran Duran sound but I think it's made it all the more special, having the other voices. We're always trying to make the best album we can."
Early sessions for Paper Gods began in 2013, with Mark Ronson and engineer Josh Blair once again joining the band in their south London recording studio, as they had for 2011's All You Need is Now, which was produced by Ronson.
When Ronson was called away to begin working on his own album, Duran Duran and Blair hooked up with the Kanye West/Jay-Z collaborator Ben 'Mr' Hudson, and the sessions caught fire.
Living up to high expectations given the popularity of the band, means the group are constantly working hard to keep fans happy.
Taylor said: "It's difficult, it's probably a bit like making a Bond film.
"It needs to tick a lot of boxes, but also bring something fresh and appealing.
"We are really pleased with the feedback we have had on the album so far from our core fan base – they love it.
"Every album we make or performance we do, we want to be our very best.
"If I'm on stage and there's just one person not enjoying themselves I will focus on winning them over."
Formed in Birmingham, in 1978, Duran Duran are one of the most culturally influential and commercially successful bands of all time, topping the charts around the world over the past three decades and selling more than 100 million records globally.
It is not just the new album that gives the band cause for celebration at the moment.
They are also embarking on a UK tour which will see the group perform gigs in the Midlands, including Nottingham and Birmingham.
Taylor said: "Duran Duran have a tradition of December touring right back since 1982.
"We like to do it before Christmas, there is such a positive, bonding spirit. It suits us as a band to have that spirit around and people seem to love coming to see us at this time of year.
"We're really looking forward to it and have been planning it for a long time, and it's exciting to have a new album to perform.
"We will sing plenty of our older songs, too, of course.
"Coming back to Birmingham to perform is especially emotional for us, as is performing anywhere in the Midlands – we have so many ties and corrections in the area.
"We've been around the world but we have always remained proud of who we are and where we are from."
The band perform in Birmingham tonight, but come to Nottingham on Saturday, December 12, and are visiting a host of other UK venues in the lead up to Christmas.
Remaining tickets are available through ticketmaster.co.uk/amex
Courtesy Burton Mail