Duran Duran on Mark Ronson, Lindsay Lohan and playing live ahead of their show at the BIC

Press

Rock stars live a rarefied existence, and if their Eighties videos are anything to go by, none more so than Duran Duran.

If all you knew of the Birmingham quartet – among the biggest groups in the world during that particular decade – came from their MTV output, you’d be forgiven for thinking they didn’t do anything unless a yacht, a tailored suit and a whole catwalk’s worth of models was involved.

So whether it’s a case of schadenfreude, sour grapes or just good oldfashioned jealousy, there’s something incredibly pleasing hearing that they’ve recently faced some hard graft.

Sure, that may have been safe in the knowledge that the band – Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Roger Taylor – already have record sales approaching the 100 million mark under their belt. But according to drummer Roger Taylor, recording Paper Gods – their 14th album and first since recent career highlight All You Need is Now in 2010 – was like having a “proper job”.

“We’d roll up about 12pm and work ‘til eight or nine in the evening,” he says.

“For the two years we were making the album, we kept good hours, no slacking off, five days a week. There’s no taskmaster as such, but Nick is definitely the most motivated. But then, we all are. There’s no reason to be in this band in 2015 unless we’re all motivated. That’s the only thing that keeps us going.”

Any holiday time had to be run by the other three members too.

Above all else, Taylor says, they wanted to make a good record.

That may sound obvious, but he has a point.

All You Need is Now, which saw them working with Mark Ronson and sounding as invigorated and energetic as they did in their Eighties pomp, reset the bar rather highly.

“Use the gear you used on Rio,” was the advice Ronson gave them, and it worked.

“We weren’t going to finish this until we reached that level again,” says Taylor.

But how to do that? First of all, they got Ronson back, albeit just for help on a few songs.

Taking the lead from the bequiffed Uptown Funk producer, they added a few more names to the roster.

First was John Frusciante, formerly of Red Hot Chili Peppers, who wanted to play guitar.

Next up was Janelle Monae, who provides vocals on Pressure Off, a track that also features guitar from Nile Rodgers.

The Chic man produced Notorious, the band’s fourth album which spawned the mega-hit of the same name, and Wild Boys, one of their biggest singles.

More unexpectedly, former teen star Lindsay Lohan also appears on the album, albeit only talking while playing a doctor, on Danceophobia.

Simon Le Bon says he and Lohan have been friends for years since they met on a US talk show, and, while backstage, Lohan revealed she’d thrown an Eighties-themed birthday party the week before and dressed up as him.

When it came to adding her part, there was a space in the middle of the song, and the band had toyed with the idea of getting a rapper in, but Le Bon asked Lohan to try out first.

The songs will form the centrepiece of the band’s UK arena tour, which includes a sold out date at the BIC on Wednesday, December 9, and Taylor’s happy the songs stand up to the best of the back catalogue, the likes of Rio, Is There Something I Should Know, Ordinary World, A View to a Kill, Planet Earth and Girls on Film.

For the band, cooped up for two years while recording and forced to get “proper jobs”, the chance to get out on the road again can’t come soon enough.

“It’s about getting out there and playing to our audience,” says Taylor.

“That’s really why we carry on doing what we do.”

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