Duran Duran Rides Raves into Fifth Decade

Press

By KATHERINE SMITH | The Tampa Tribune

Roger Taylor figured if Rod Stewart can do it, he could do it, too.

So at 51-years-old, the Duran Duran drummer became a father again. The baby, born in July, joins a brood of three from a previous marriage. Taylor knew he had more to give as a father, so he's giving parenthood another go around.

It's much like how he gave Duran Duran another go around. Soon after his band's performance at the Live Aid charity concert in 1985, Taylor departed, but he constantly felt a tug that would eventually draw him back.

"It was a very natural thing to go back with the band because it always felt like there was unfinished business," Taylor said. "We were 25-year-old kids when we broke up the original lineup. I always thought there was more juice left in the tank."

Since Taylor's return in 2001, Duran Duran has released three albums, including its most recent, the critically acclaimed "All You Need Is Now." The newest album's songs dominate a setlist from the current tour, but the band also has sprinkled in hits from the past that made Duran Duran one of the most enduring and popular '80s acts.

That popularity is apparent in many sold out shows across the country, including Monday night's Ruth Eckerd Hall appearance, where Taylor will join original Duran Duran members Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor on stage.

Duran Duran's appeal can be directly traced to the band's ability to relate to fans. That appeal is on full display in performances on the new tour, which kicked off Sept. 23 in Seattle with what is being described as a multimedia spectacle.

"We've all kind of gotten into social media over the last few years and we found it's a great way to stay in touch with our audience," Taylor said. "So it was Nick's idea that it should be a part of the show. We wanted to take it one step further and actually bring that kind of interaction into the show."

Going back to their origin in the late 1970s in Birmingham, England, Duran Duran always was ahead of the new technology curve, including the evolution of music videos and MTV. The band was at the forefront of that medium, becoming one of the first bands to integrate video into live shows, and benefitted from it as one of the most successful acts of the 1980s.

"We've always been very open to change, even the very early days when there were a lot of bands who wouldn't make music videos because they thought it was going to be the end of rock-and-roll," Taylor said. "And we embraced that very early on. So we've never been afraid to take the next step. Even though we're going into our 50s, we're always grasping for the next piece of technology that's coming a long. That kind of keeps us young, actually."

In an ever-evolving music industry, Duran Duran has been able to roll with the punches. Taylor stays ahead of the game with one of his passions — DJing. What began by happenstance during a visit to one of his favorite London hangouts, The Met Bar, has turned into a full-time stint.

During his DJ gigs, Taylor mixes in plenty of Duran Duran, as well as current bands, which helps him remain relevant after more than 30 years in the music business.

"Who wants to be stuck in the same old rut? I think it's fantastic the way music is released, and the way it's being consumed has changed so much," Taylor said. "The world's going to keep changing, and luckily we've been able to change with it.''

Courtesy The Tampa Tribune
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