Duran Duran Releases 'Red Carpet Massacre'
By Larry London
06 October 2008
The pop-funk British craze was unleashed in the early-1980s by a band that earned two Grammys and sold over 100-million records worldwide. Duran Duran's popularity grew from their eccentric and fashionable music videos. Songs like "Hungry Like The Wolf," "Ordinary World," "Reflex", and "Come Undone" were all Top 10 hits. Twenty-seven years after their self-titled debut, Duran Duran released their latest album, "Red Carpet Massacre." The face and voice of Duran Duran, Simon Le Bon, sat with VOA's Larry London during the band's recent visit to Washington.
Simon Le Bon, the face and voice of Duran Duran
Simon Le Bon believes the measurement of success is through his fans. "I'm not a big one for awards and things like that," Simon said. "It's nice when you get them, but my life does not depend on it. I think what's important is the people you go and play to, putting on good shows. We have direct relationship with our audience. I do not need the validation from a bunch of guys with bow ties for that."
With the help of several in-demand Hip-Hop producers, Duran Duran's new album, "Red Carpet Massacre," has brought them many new fans.
"Every time you come out with a new record, you do pick up some new ones (fans). I mean, there are some people who followed us since "Duran Duran", the first album in 1981," Simon said. "You get different demographics. It seems to be like young woman really getting into "Astronauts" (another Duran Duran album), and now I am seeing a lot of young guys who seem to be new fans, who I guess who got into the stuff we've done with Timbaland, Justin (Timberlake), and Nate Hills, the more hip-hop stuff."
The music industry has undergone numerous changes since 1981. Technology has made a big impact on Simon's career.
"Some aspects of the job get more difficult and some get easier. I found writing gets easier actually. Performing got easier. Technology has a lot to do with performing getting easier cause now we have ear-worn monitors (earpieces worn while performing)," Simon said.
"When we started, I had floor wedges (on-stage speakers allowing performers to hear themselves). I was basically competing against a guitar, a bass and a drum kit, which was right behind me. But in the '90s, the ear monitors came, and suddenly I can hear myself, and I can sing in tune," Simon said. "You see it was much harder to be an artist in the 1960s or '70s, and now anybody can go make a record in their bedroom or just film themselves and stick (the video) on YouTube."
After nearly 30 years together, Duran Duran has an unbreakable relationship, despite the 2006 departure of group member Andy Taylor.
"There are some relationships that are even stronger than marriage. You see bands that do not get along with each other. There are plenty of very famous bands that do not get along with each other. We are not like that," Simon said. "We really get along very well with each other. There's real loyalty, friendship, and we stick up for each other. We look after each other."
For now, Duran Duran continues to tour throughout the U.S. They begin a South America tour starting November 4th in Lima, Peru.
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Courtesy Voice of America