British pop/new-wavers Duran Duran first got together in 1978, but it wasn't until the early 1980s that they released their first album and were staples on the then-fledgling MTV network. Named after the baddie in the French sci-fi film "Barbarella," their stylized look, well-directed videos, and catchy singles propelled them to both the top of the charts and onto posters in teenage bedrooms across the globe.
Despite label problems, band in fighting, and multiple lineup changes, the core of the group has stuck together and is presently celebrating three decades between its initial and current record releases.
In that time, the band has seen over 20 of their songs make it to the Billboard Hot 100 chart and has sold more than 100 million albums.
Co-founder and bassist John Taylor spoke about the new album, still playing together after all of these years, and looking back on the journey.
Question: How does it feel to release a brand new album and simultaneously celebrate 30 years since the first one?
Answer: Wow. I just don't know how to correlate that information. I mean, where were you at thirty years ago? But I think that what it means is that I've finally come to terms with what it is we do. And we're certainly having a fun ride right now. We're really enjoying the work. And I think part of that is that we're feeling kind of cool in a desperate, hungry scene. We've got each other and our relationships have been through the mill. We've come out of it stronger and more loving and we're much better friends and workmates.
Q: Has it all really sunk in yet?
A: We were playing "Friends of Mine" the other night in London ---- which is a song from our first album that we've been putting into the set – and we were playing it back to back with one of the new numbers and I'm thinking to myself, "Man, there's 30 years difference between these two songs." It's all kind of interesting.
Q: How has getting back on tour been?
A: It helps to have an album that you feel pretty strongly about. But you get so that you analyze the journey all the time. Especially when you're doing interviews and people are taking you back, asking you to consider 30 years ago. We're like a living Wikipedia that's constantly updating our own history and how we feel about it. It's actually great, because you're only as good as you feel. And it doesn't mean that every day has to be a blessing. To be able to be honest, and understanding, and to be compassionate about your own story, it's important.
Q: And it has to make you feel good that "All You Need Is Now" is getting such good reviews.
A: It does. But we've been able to feed on crumbs in that department. We've never been a critics' band. We've always been a people's band. And we've ridden out horrendous critical times. Always better to get four stars, but we've learned not to look there for validation. Once you've been around a while and you've had your initial splurge, you ask, "What are we doing here?" It's like a party ---- everyone's happy to welcome you through the door, but as the night wears on it's like, "What are you bringing to this?" And I think your responsibility becomes greater as you become older. I never questioned our validity in '81 or '82 ---- I thought we were an essential part of the zeitgeist. But by the end of the '80s I wasn't sure if we should really still be doing it, I just didn't know what else to do. I remember (producer) Don Was saying it was heroic. I loved that he said that. I had never once thought there was something heroic about sticking it out. But there is something to be said for that.
Q: So, Mark Ronson produced the new record.
A: Yes. He's very seductive and very challenging. He kind of lulls you into a sense of security, and then he makes you jump through the rings. He's very vigorous and doesn't settle for second best. We've done this for a long time. We can tie most producers or engineers around our fingers. But Mark wouldn't take that.
Q: Future plans?
A: Right now, it's all about the band and it's all about the music. We're loving it. But I have no idea what I'll be thinking at this time next year. We'll probably be sick of each other and need some time away. But we'll also be asking when we're going to do the next one.
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
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Courtesy North County Times