LiveDaily Interview: Simon LeBon of Duran Duran
May 8, 2008 10:05 AM
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Over the course of its career, Duran Duran has sold more than 70 million albums, recorded countless hit records, received numerous accolades and been presented with five "lifetime achievement" awards. But, after 30 years in the business, Duran Duran lead singer Simon LeBon said he finally feels he's hit the pinnacle of his career.
"We have been rocking the house," LeBon said about his band's current world tour. "The energy that's coming off this crowd is unbelievable. I haven't seen this in 25 years. It's amazing. We seem to have moved into a different phase of our career. We had the reunion--but this time we're coming like a real classic band. They do come to hear 'Ordinary World' and they do come to hear 'The Reflex' and 'Hungry Like the Wolf,' but it's almost like being in the Rolling Stones."
Duran Duran--which also includes keyboardist Nick Rhodes, drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Taylor--is touring in support of its 12th album, "Red Carpet Massacre," a collection produced by Grammy-winning pop star Justin Timberlake and knob turners Timbaland and Nate "Danja" Hills.
While vacationing in Central America, LeBon talked to LiveDaily about "Red Carpet Massacre," working with Timberlake and drummer Matt Helders of Arctic Monkeys.
LiveDaily: You started your tour in support of "Red Carpet Massacre" overseas. How did it go?
Simon LeBon: Oh, it was amazing. We came off stage twice saying, "That was the best show we [have] ever played in our career." We've really got the excitement level up. Funny, last year we played the Roskilde Festival [in Denmark] and we played with Green Day. We watched what they did and how they worked the crowd. We learned an awful lot from them. We've been kind of practicing our own version of that with this tour, particularly for big outdoor shows. When you have an enormous crowd, there's a certain way you work with them.
That's impressive that you're able to learn from some of the newer acts.
It's very exciting. It makes you feel very fresh and new. I like being like that.
Do you still enjoy playing the classic Duran Duran songs live?
Absolutely. Yes, of course you do.
Do you have any favorites?
Oh, it's mean to ask favorites [because] then I have to dismiss other songs as not favorites. It's a shame. "Come Undone" and "Ordinary World" are mega. "Girls on Film" is one of the absolute high points of the show. "Hungry Like the Wolf" gets them rockin' right at the beginning. "Planet Earth" gets them singing. Um, we've got so many of them. "The Reflex" gets them dancing. "Notorious" gets them crazy. That's what the show's like. "Ordinary World" gets them into rock heaven. Then we got the new stuff as well. We've got songs like "Nite-Runner," which is a funky thing we did with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, which is [doing] really well live. "Skin Divers," another one, "Tempted." We've got a whole bunch of new songs in the show that are going down really well.
What was it like to work with Justin Timberlake?
Very easy. He's just a lovely, lovely guy to work with. He's very funny. Just a charming man. He tells the worst jokes on the planet. But he's a singer. He really knows what it's like to be a singer. We actually did things really quickly.
What did he bring to the band?
Well, he brought a certain hip--he's current. That's part of what he brought to the band. A little bit of his fairy dust.
Who else would you like to collaborate with?
I'd like to collaborate with Mark Ronson. I can't really think of many others. We've got a mix of one of our songs, "Skin Divers," which was just done by Matt Helders. Matt Helders is the drummer with Arctic Monkeys and he's really, really hot s---. I'm very excited about that.
Why did you decide to name your album "Red Carpet Massacre"?
Because it kind of says something about the paradox of modern life in public. It's lurid. It's like a lurid headline on a newspaper, isn't it? To a certain extent, we're looking at people living their lives in public, whether they're in reality TV or celebrities in meltdown. Models in rehab. You know what I mean? You can sum all of that stuff up along with the fact that you've got guys trying to blow you up on the train. It's a lurid title.
Courtesy Live Daily