Q+A: Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon — ‘I’m so Lucky to be in a Band’

Press

Duran Duran — Roger Taylor, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Simon Le Bon — headlines Mandalay Bay on Friday, July 29, 2016, in Las Vegas.
By DON CHAREUNSY

In 2016, Simon Le Bon is a happily married man, wed to former model Yasmin for nearly 31 years, and the father of three daughters, Amber, Tallulah and Saffron.

For the last 30-plus years, Le Bon has been the heartthrob lead singer of Duran Duran, one of the biggest bands of the 1980s — the long list of hits includes “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Rio,” “Union of the Snake,” “The Wild Boys,” “Notorious,” “Ordinary World” and the No. 1 smashes “The Reflex” and “A View to a Kill” from the James Bond film of the same name. Duran Duran’s success and work continued into the 1990s and 2000s.

Le Bon, 57, answered questions via telephone from London last month ahead of Duran Duran’s concert stop Friday night, with Chic featuring Nile Rodgers as the opening act, at Mandalay Bay Events Center.

In fact, he asked the first question: “How’s the weather in Las Vegas?”

“It’s really hot, but that’s Las Vegas in June and, well, all summer.”

“Oh, blimey!”

How is the weather in London?

Damp! We’re in full bloom here — so much moisture.

What can fans expect at your band’s concerts this time around?

Expect nothing, and you’ll get everything. The new album, slices of material from that album. The presentation is amazing: Wraparound video screens, risers, we are in the video screens at times. It’s a lot of fun, a high-energy show. It’s not for people who want to sit down and chill with a spliff. It’s about getting up and shaking your asses — maybe even finding the love interest in the room.

How is the tour going — and touring with Chic?

Amazing! This pairing is a dream one. Chic was a massive influence, and we have the same goal, for our fans to dance and enjoy themselves. Nile Rodgers is a great guy, musician and man. We’ve made hits together. The tour has been a great experience.

How long did it take to create your current album, “Paper Gods,” from start to finish?

About two years. The first year was all experimentation, digging and trying things out. The direction at times was quite slow, quite tedious. But we had the feeling that there was no rushing the album. At this stage in our career, we can go for the good stuff and dig. I’m happy the way it worked out.

What else are you working on right now besides touring?

The one and only focus is touring and supporting the album, then recovering (laughs).

How does it feel to see generations of fans in the audiences and at meet-and-greets?

It is amazing. This year more than any, we’ve seen a lot of teens. It must have to do with a record on the charts and also on the radio. They know the words to “The Reflex” and “New Moon on Monday.” Radio has taken ageism out of music, so we’re played alongside Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.

Do you still enjoy touring after all these years?

I do. I enjoy touring now more than I used to. It’s much more sensible. We’ll tour for two months, then take a break. If you don’t take a break, it eats your life up. With the sensible schedule, we can enjoy the places we go. We were recently in Italy, and it was wonderful.

Duran Duran has been around for 38 years. What are your favorite Duran Duran songs to perform after all these years?

I’m enjoying the new material, like “Pressure Off” from the new album “Paper Gods.” And of course I love our massive hits, like “The Reflex,” “Rio,” “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Ordinary World” and “A View to a Kill.”

I saw Duran Duran perform at the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival at MGM Grand Garden Arena and the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel in 2011. How often do you get to Las Vegas?

We mostly come in and out in Las Vegas. We were there for a private show about two months ago at a convention.

Simon, you’re 57 now and still a heartthrob. What’s your secret?

I don’t know about that (laughs)! I don’t feel like an old man. I feel like a man who has something to do. I’m so lucky to be in a band. I might stop reaching for that extra toast if I’m going to be wearing tight white trousers. I live a stress-free life, I sleep well. Being happy — that’s the secret.

You’ve been married for 31 years. That’s incredible — what’s your secret there, as well

Yes, our anniversary is Dec. 27. I was lucky in the first place. Yasmin has a good heart, and she brought out the best in me. I don’t believe in the perfect relationship, either. You have to work at it. Like George Harrison said, if you want a marriage to work, don’t get divorced.

Who are some of your favorite artists today?

There are so many new great artists. It’s hard to choose just a few because I’m jonesing over many of them right now, like London Grammar. I could seriously go on for hours.

Is there anything your fans would be surprised to learn about you after all this time?

No. Absolutely nothing. After all these years, I don’t surprise them anymore (laughs).

What’s on your to-do list when you’re in Las Vegas?

I’d like to get out into the desert and have a hike in the mountains.

Duran Duran, with opening act Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, brings “The Paper Gods Tour” to Mandalay Bay Events Center on Friday night.

Courtesy Las Vegas Review Journal

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