Idolised in the 1980s, Duran Duran Finds Out it's Not Easy to Make a Comeback

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We've to chase the women now

Idolised in the 1980s, Duran Duran finds out it's not easy to make a comeback

By Tan May Ping
REPORTING FROM HONG KONG
mayping@sph.com.sg

DURAN Duran's frontman Simon Le Bon said as much when he declared: 'We have to chase the women now, unfortunately.'

After a 20-year hiatus, the original Duran Duran line-up is making an unprecedented comeback.

But one senses a certain trepidation in them.

Maybe it's because the Brit glam rock band - an icon in the early 1980s with their signature music, clothes, hair, makeup and sex appeal - is not banking on its greatest hits, but unleashing a whole new, contemporary album.

Can the band accomplish what no other 1980s act has done?

If it's any indication, the band played to sell-out crowds on their world tour last year.

In 1981, the five then-teenagers - including keyboardist Nick Rhodes, guitarist Andy Taylor, bassist John Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor - went from being virtual unknowns to overnight success after the release of their first eponymous album.

But times have changed, and so have they.

Gone are their young, reckless days, of living life to excess and doing things just to be different.

In fact, it was a more subdued and mature bunch that met journalists in Hong Kong recently to promote their first single, (Reach Up For The) Sunrise, and upcoming album, Astronaut.

They were stylish and immaculately dressed as ever but the years were definitely showing on their lined faces.

'I don't think people come to see what we wear these days. I think they just want to see the five of us together,' said Roger, 44.

But whereas the guys could produce an album with clockwork consistency at the peak of their popularity, their latest album was three years in the making.

They have been back together since 2001 and had originally hoped to get it out in six months.

'It has been a very difficult period in the music industry. We went down a lot of blind alleys with record companies, and had to keep going back and rewriting, getting new material together and presenting them to different companies,' said Roger.

The group eventually signed with Sony Music Entertainment.

The guys admitted as much that they didn't fully appreciate what they had achieved back then.

They disbanded because of tension, cocaine addiction and disillusionment with one another. Said Le Bon, 46: 'While we were in it, I think we took it for granted.'

While the guys had relatively successful careers after their split, they never really achieved the same success as they did together.

But why get back together?

Detractors are convinced that Duran Duran is cashing in on the 1980s revival. After all, Le Bon once admitted to being so broke he could not afford to take his family on a winter holiday.

But the guys insist they just want to relive their success together. Said Le Bon: 'It never was as much fun as it was the first time.'

Everyone agreed on the reunion within 24 hours of calling each other some time in 2001.

But deciding on a comeback was certainly easier said than done. Not only was it tough to find a record company, they had to go through all the motions again just like any new band.

On the flipside, they accumulated 30 new songs after three years of writing and the luxury of choosing the best 12 for the new album.

Was there any problem adjusting to each other?

No, said Rhodes, 42. He added: 'I wondered how different everybody would be, and really it hasn't changed that much.'

They have started work on a book - due out next year - with rock biographer Stephen Davis, who has also written books on Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones. 'Perhaps you'll read some truths that may throw out some of the folklore,' said Andy, 43.

One thing's for sure, Astronaut will not be their last album.

'We did only three studio albums together, so we have that sense of unfinished business. It's four now, so we're probably half way there,' he added.

Looks like it's time to stick up those posters again, Duranies!

Courtesy Electric New Paper - Singapore

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