Duran Duran ready to break out the ‘Paper Gods’ on new tour
MUSIC By Melissa Ruggieri - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 1
Bassist John Taylor bounded around the stage like a frisky puppy; singer Simon Le Bon did that hip shimmy move that still makes the girls (OK, women) squeal; the ever-enigmatic Nick Rhodes hid behind his mass of keyboards; and the ageless Roger Taylor thumped out the steadiest of beats for two hours (longtime touring guitarist Dominic Brown is also back, as well as two backup singers and a saxophonist).
The band has returned to the road to support its robust new album, “Paper Gods,” a collection of songs that proves the veteran New Wavers are determined to not only maintain their musical credibility, but continue to grow.
On Friday, Duran Duran visits Atlanta with a show at Philips Arena — the band’s first headlining arena gig in the city since 1984 at The Omni.
They’ll be joined at their arena shows by the legendary Nile Rodgers and a multimedia show that might overpower a band with a lesser catalog. But with set lists stretching from “Girls on Film” to “A View to a Kill” to “Notorious” to the taut pop-funk of the current “Pressure Off” and “Last Night in the City,” fans will have plenty to relish.
On the spectacular visuals in the show:
“It’s the most visually media integrated show we’ve ever done. Every song has a visual narrative. The songs are going from 1982 to 1995 to 2015, but the visual medium is all current. It gives the whole show a kind of currency, it feels fresh. Simon said recently, the people are paying a lot of money to see us. They want to hear ‘Planet Earth’ and ‘Ordinary World,’ but we don’t want to feel like they’re coming to see an oldies band.”
On physically preparing for a tour:
“Every time I get out of bed. I think, ‘How are you going to go on the road?!’ It just happens. I don’t like gyms. When it comes to being fit, I can be lazy, but I love to jump around on stage. I do look after myself. I do yoga regularly. You have to take care of yourself for sure. It’s not for sissies, being on the road. It’s challenging, but we all love performing.”
On getting legendary Nile Rodgers involved in the tour:
“I mean, look, he’s one of the greatest living musician/producers. He’s one of those guys about who I say, he’s forgotten more than I’ll ever know. Having him on the road with us is such a gift, I’m really honored. I love being around him in the faint hope that some of it will rub off on me. He forces you to keep your game up.”
On getting Janelle Monae to participate on “Pressure Off”:
“We were playing our publishers some songs in Los Angeles and were thinking about one or two features. One of the guys suggested Janelle, and it was like ‘Ohmigod, she’d be amazing.’ I loved her second album. From that idea to getting her in front of a mic, it took a little bit of arranging; these things don’t happen at the click of the switch. She liked the song, and she liked Duran and that Nile was going to produce the session.”
On the struggles of a veteran band releasing new music:
“I spent two years on an album, so I want it to reach the widest possible audience. The core fan base loved this album, and it has been so deeply well received. Would I like it to sell more copies? Yeah. I’d like the music to get wider exposure. But I know there is no obvious radio format for Duran Duran. Sometimes it’s out of your control, but you get out on the road and use that as an opportunity to broadcast. We don’t just want to be a legacy act, but new albums are challenging and there comes a point where it’s like, do I really want to go back in the studio for two years so I can tour for six months?”
On ditching social media:
“It got a little uncomfortable and it wasn’t feeling good. I have such a poor attention span, anyway. I really struggle to be in the moment, and I wasn’t enjoying constantly having to monitor my own experience.”
Courtesy Atlanta Journal Constitution