Duran Duran Gets Ready to Release 14th Studio Album ‘Paper Gods’

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Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon laughs off the idea of the New Wave band ever getting credit for the way it brought together electronic dance music and rock.

"One thing I've learned is not to worry about getting credit for anything," Le Bon says. "It's all about the moment. It's about the kids who see you play. Those are the things that matter. That's what counts."
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And as Duran Duran readies its 14th studio album, "Paper Gods" (Warner Bros.), for release on Sept. 11, it's clear that the band is all about being in the moment, even as current hitmakers such as Walk the Moon and Lady Gaga mine its catalog for new inspiration.

"It's been a very exciting year already," says Le Bon, referring to the band's new record deal with Warner Bros. to release "Paper Gods" and new agents William Morris Endeavor to handle its career. "It's made a big difference, too."

Le Bon says the band took its time recording the new album, which resulted in a five-year break between albums, the longest span without new Duran Duran material since it started in 1978. "We were on tour for such a long time for the last album," Le Bon says, explaining the gap. "When we finished, I said, 'I can't face you guys for six months,' which is a really good thing to do."

Le Bon, synthesizer wiz Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor, drummer Roger Taylor started work on "Paper Gods" in March 2013, with Mark Ronson, who also produced the band's "All You Need Is Now" album.

Ronson started off the sessions, but then had to step away to do his own record "Uptown Special," which ended up spawning this year's biggest hit so far, "Uptown Funk."

"We wanted to keep going," Le Bon says. "So we hooked up with [producer] Mr. Hudson and we really clicked."

One of the songs Hudson, best known for his work with Jay Z and Kanye West, worked on was the ambitious song that became the title track of the new record, a sprawling seven-minute meditation about the obsession with material things. "It's my favorite song on the album," Le Bon says. "It reminds me of 'New Religion.' That's the only thing we've ever done like it . . . But it still has a pace to it."

"You Kill Me With Silence" is another song with echoes of the past that is firmly anchored in the present. It opens with a haunting synth line from Rhodes that harks back to "The Chauffeur" before layering in other elements. "When everything else comes in to join it, at first, I think Snoop Dogg," Le Bon says. "When the vocal comes in, I think Nancy Sinatra. Then when the chorus comes in, I think 10cc."

When Ronson returned to the project, he had Nile Rodgers in tow. Though Ronson and Rodgers hadn't worked together before, Duran Duran and Rodgers had a lengthy history, reaching back to the Chic co-founder's chart-topping remix of "The Reflex" and producing the "Notorious" album with the band.

Soon, they had created the funky first single "Pressure Off," driven by Rodgers' unmistakable guitar, and that partnership led to the band's unexpected upcoming trip to Long Island. The band will headline day two of Rodgers' FOLD Festival in Riverhead on Aug. 5.

"Basically, he said, 'I'll play on this if you do my festival,' " Le Bon says. "That's fine by us. I've been looking forward to this so much."

Le Bon says he has many fond memories of Long Island, including lunches with Jann Wenner and Calvin Klein in the Hamptons.

"And then there was that magic-mushroom-fueled weekend in Montauk that was bonkers," Le Bon says, laughing. "In my defense, it was the '80s."

Le Bon says he is proud of how well "Paper Gods" turned out. "It's an old-fashioned album -- not just a couple good tracks and filler," he says. "We come from the album generation, where you stacked them on the record player and listened all the way through. . . . We were able to get into the heads of the artists who made the records. It made it worthwhile.

"There's no point in putting out anything that isn't great," he adds. "We had to dig to get it right. And we did that."

That included bringing Lindsay Lohan into the recording process. The Merrick native offers a dramatic, tongue-in-cheek voice-over for the dance track "Danceophobia," which Le Bon says the band absolutely loved.

"It was quite a contentious suggestion to have her do it," says Le Bon, adding that he and Lohan have been friends for years. "We followed our instincts and she was an absolute professional. She was also a proper drama queen, arriving in a haze of perfume and cigarette smoke. She sounds amazing on it.

"She has a great sense of humor," adds Le Bon. "Being in the business this long, that's something we all need."

WHO Duran Duran (part of the FOLD Festival)

WHEN|WHERE 5 p.m. Aug. 5, Martha Clara Vineyards, Riverhead

INFO $137; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com

Courtesy Newsday