Old romantics still full of passion
March 30, 2008 12:00am
DURAN Duran has been going for 28 years and there are no plans for the party to end.
Lead singer Simon Le Bon says his band offers fans a show to get excited about.
"I would think there's a demand for it, which would be the obvious answer," says Le Bon, asked why many bands from the 1980s are getting back together to tour.
"A lot of modern radio music doesn't really work live, so the music industry now is geared towards making it work for solo artists because it's so much easier to tour and promote.
"Unless they've got something really, really different, their shows all look the same, really."
With 13 albums to his credit, Le Bon knows what he's talking about.
"I think there's something about live acts," he says. "Bands performing together is really exciting and the bands from my generation, in particular, are all so different."
While Duran Duran has undergone several line-up changes over the years, the original members have repeatedly returned to the fold.
"I think you get back with a band because it's an important part of your life and you want to make it work again," Le Bon says. "Obviously that doesn't apply to me because I never left."
And Le Bon says it was a matter of principle that he stayed with the band.
"We've got very few principles . . . and low morals," he says with a laugh. "But the main principle of this band is that we experiment. We're not a band that has found a format and stuck to it.
"We don't want to make albums that sound exactly like the last album we wrote. We want to keep progressing with our music."
Duran Duran plays two gigs in Melbourne this week and Le Bon promises knockout performances.
"The one true priority is to sound great and perform your tunes with passion, so the crowd gets the best of you," Le Bon says.
"If there are any blind people in the audience, you want them to be able to get the whole importance and feel of the show, too, so you've got to give it your all.
"The second priority is giving a show that is effective visually and also visually potent, and thirdly is having a good rapport with your audience by talking to them."
Though Duran Duran's tour for latest album Red Carpet Massacre is gruelling, Le Bon claims there's no need for a fitness regime.
"Going on stage is all I need to stay fit," he says. "It's very demanding to sing because it's a very physical occupation. You can't sing and drink and do substances all the time."
But he does admit to some partying in the past.
"I did all those sorts of things and had a thoroughly good time doing it, but I just can't now," he says.
"Our tours are much more physical than they ever used to be and we've got a much more hectic schedule than we ever had before."
It hasn't been an easy ride for Le Bon, with the music industry changing during his career.
"It seemed quite innocent when we started, because it wasn't run by businessmen, it was run by people who loved music -- and then it became corporate," he says.
The major change Le Bon points to is the demise of record companies and the rise of online downloads.
"The record industry has taken a massive nosedive lately," he says.
"It's struggling to find its place now that people don't buy records in the same quantity that they used to.
"These things change and it's kind of upsetting -- it makes you feel a bit older because you remember things a being a certain way.
"The good thing is it has really focused attention on the live show, which makes things really exciting."
Duran Duran plays the Palais on Thursday (bookings 136 100) and the V Festival at the Showgrounds on Saturday.
Courtesy Herald Sun