Duran Duran proves critics wrong
BY ED CONDRAN • CORRESPONDENT • DECEMBER 13, 2008
A number of pop music scribes wrote Duran Duran off as the flavor of the month when the British band burst on the scene a quarter-century ago. Thanks to MTV, the videogenic act became pop superstars; the clips to such well-produced tracks as "Hungry Like the Wolf," "Girls on Film" and "Rio" were ubiquitous.
Not only did the band become a seminal force, influencing acts such as the Killers and Panic at the Disco, but 80 percent of the original Duran Duran — performing tonight at the House of Blues in Atlantic City — is still standing. Guitarist Andy Taylor left the group before the act recorded its latest album, "Red Carpet Massacre," which dropped in late 2007.
Bassist John Taylor recently called from Mexico City to talk about Duran Duran.
Q: So many young bands have copped Duran Duran's Euro-pop-funk sound, but you guys make an album that's American-sounding with hip-hop influence. How did that happen?
A: We just happened to go a little bit hip-hop with this album. We did make an American-sounding record. There's the R&B influences on this one. But there's much to the story with this record. When we started the recording process, we took it to the label (Epic), and they said that there was something missing. The suggestion was that we hook up with an American dance producer. It took us a few months to get Timbaland. Then we had a falling out with our guitar player. We decided to dump everything that we had done and just go for it from there. We went really high tech with this album. I think this is the least organic album we've ever done. But we love the way it sounds. Timbaland is amazing.
Q: "Timbaland Knows The Way To Reach The Top Of The Charts/Maybe If I Work With Him I Can Perfect the Art" is the couplet from Weezer's amusing "Pork and Beans."
A: I don't know that song, but what I do know is that Timbaland is extraordinary. He's not really a band producer, which made it interesting and challenging. But he's a cutting-edge producer who really served us well. We went down avenues we haven't been down before.
Q: That's quite a feat for a band that's been together for 30 years. Usually acts who have been at it that long take comfort in complacency.
A: It's true, but we needed to stretch ourselves. You have to challenge yourself, and I think we did just that.
Courtesy Asbury Park Press