The John Frusciante Connection

A New element in the Duran Duran receipt

It's gonna be Red Hot Duran

We don't know the story behind John Frusciante's involvement in the new Duran album but it's easy to think that the key element in getting him on board was the friendship and mutual respect between Taylor and Frusciante.

Those guys, as reported back in 2010, have worked together on the Swahili Blonde album, to be precise, John played bass and co-wrote "Tigress Ritual" [2009–2010 sessions].

listen here

Swahili Blonde is an experimental musical project formed in Los Angeles, California in 2009. Founded by former 'WEAVE!' drummer and vocalist Nicole Turley, violinist and bassist Laena Myers-Ionita, Duran Duran bassist John Taylor and multi-instrumentalists Stella Mozgawa and Michael Quinn.

Former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist and Turley's husband, John Frusciante, performs guitar on the band's recordings, and did perform alongside the group at their debut performance, while he was briefly a full-time band member.

The project is described as follows: "Swahili Blonde concocts a potion from the blood of Motown, Delta 5, James Chance, and The Slits only to pour it all over a dance floor with Frankie Goes To Hollywood synth goo."

Another point of contact between Frusciante and Duran Duran is the fact that Swahili Blonde is currently signed to Manimal Vinyl, the same record label behind the new Duran Duran tribute album [which includes Rio, the controversial version by Moby]. Manimal was founded by fashion editor Paul Beahan, one of the closest friends of John Taylor.

This album is gonna be more than grand,
is gonna be epic!

We can actually understand why Nick Rhodes likes to define the album grand, not only for the music but we think the term is appropriate also for the talented musicians collaborating on this project...

The list is getting longer and longer... in fact surprises are not over, another talented musician might be invoved. But only time will tell...

The band say they are "thrilled with the results" of collaboration with former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist.

A blog post on the band's official website published on April 24th was posted to clarify rumours circulating online about Frusciante's involvement in the band's upcoming studio effort. In the statement, published on the official website, the group state that they had wanted to keep news of the collaboration under wraps but were forced to confirm it by circumstance.

Despite working together, Frusciante is not in the studio with the members of Duran Duran, nor are there plans for him to tour with the group in the future.

"We are all such big fans of John’s work and are honoured
to have him adding his magic to the record!
His guitars sound incredible on the tracks"

The guys about the Frusciante collaboration


>> The statement reads as follows: "We were holding this exciting news because we were hoping to give you full details when we announced, but as word has leaked out, catching us rather off guard, we wanted to confirm… yes it’s true, the extraordinarily talented John Frusciante has indeed been doing some work from his home base in California on our new album.

The tracks have been going back and forth via the internet, and we are thrilled with the results. We are all such big fans of John’s work and are honoured to have him adding his magic to the record! There are no current plans for John to tour with us, but his guitars sound incredible on the tracks."

Frusciante has remained active since his departure from Red Hot Chili Peppers and recently started a new band with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta/ At The Drive-In. Earlier this year he also streamed his latest solo album 'Enclosure' via a satellite in space. source

So it's Dom Brown out of the game? Surely not, according to Duran Duran's HQ who replied via twitter to a fan's tweet.

Dom was also part of the the super-group of musicians who played at John Hitchcox and Phoebe’s wedding. The group included Simon Le Bon, Nick Mason, Guy Pratt from Pink Floyd and Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet [pic below].

Two screenshot from Guitar Player and Consequence of Sound websites which, in their articles about Duran Duran's new album, they both cite duranasty webzine.
That was nice and quite surprising. We have always had recognition from the fan-base but it's quite admirable that some relevant media still watch and is sensible to dedicated fan-sites, the logical evolution of the old phoocopied fanzines. Thanks a lot for that.

Simon Le Bon doing some funny faces for the fans's cameras, London May 2014

"It was great seeing Simon, Nick and Roger away from the work environment"

Dom Brown


The super-group of musicians at John Hitchcox and Phoebe’s wedding played greatest hits from each of the artists repertoires.
The set list included “Rio,” “Ordinary World,” “Gold” [with Gary on lead vocals] as well as renditions of “Satisfaction,” “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Midnight Hour.” "It was great to hear Simon singing these classic songs" said Dom on a recent blog post.
The grand finale consisted of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall” and “Comfortably Numb.”

In the pic: Simon, Gary kemp Nick Mason, Dom Brown and Guy Pratt.

The bride says to Hello! magazine: "Simon was incredibly quiet during dinner. He was hardly eating and he didn’t have a drink,” recalled Phoebe. “ I adore Simon. He i s one of the oldest and dearest friends of our relationship, but I was beginning to wonder wheter I had offended him. ”Little did I know that this is what a lead singer in a band does to prepare himself before going on stage.”

Scans of the Duran bits here




Tidbit | No song titles yet? According to Nick Rhodes, one of the earliest songs the guys wrote wrote for this album is called Valentine's Stone.
On this report posted on the DuranDuran Message Board, eightblack talks about a new song called Universal and about the tracks they had just recorded with The Voce Chamber Choir [Ed. in February]: "John said they were working on 3 songs with the choir, he said fairly slow songs, but anthems."
"The songs were very Duran, quite slow, the choir sounded amazing. Nick said he wanted to get the choir all in black and video it, John said 'Gavin' [Ed. Elder] recorded some footage the other day but it was not very good"


Valentine's Stone


Do the lyrics come first to you these days, or the music?

The music tends to be the first thing.
I find it easier to write lyrics when I get a feeling from the music as to what theme to write about.
Music is evocative; it creates a mood and it inspires the words.

Simon Le Bon | Creem magazine interview



ROLI Seaboard on the new Duran album: Mr Hudson says: "It's the future"

"We will be trying out the seaboard on the new
Duran Duran album"

The ROLI Seaboard is a radically new musical instrument that reimagines the piano keyboard as a soft, continuous surface. The Seaboard’s polyphonic pitch bend, vibrato and per-note dynamic changes are all available, marrying the intuitiveness of a traditional instrument with the versatility of digital technology.

Continuous touch enables you to sound a note and then take it on a musical journey, modulating its pitch, volume and timbre through one continuous gesture.

The unique form of passive tactile feedback offered by the Seaboard makes it easy to sense the slightest change in pressure, thus offering a far more organic experience than traditional aftertouch.

Back in March, Nick and John meet the team who created and developed the Roli Seaboard. The guys says: "We will be trying out a demo model on the new Duran Duran album and are excited to be collaborating with the team at an early stage by testing one of their other remarkable forthcoming products”.

Even Mr Hudson has recently tried the seaboard, he says: "I can't play this thing very well but it's the future"

Roger for this album has replaced his previous TD-20KX kit [used on the band’s last album and tour] with a new V-Drums TD-30KV electronic drum kit. John has been spotted arriving at the studio with the bass used on the Rio album [far left picture].

In the keyboard pic: Nick Rhodes, Roland Lamb and John Taylor with a Seaboard



"La Storia dei Duran Duran"* goes on and on!

Nick Rhodes, the keeper of Duran's flame and archiver

When I met Nick I gave him some Duran Duran items I thought he didn't have in his Duran archive. This is not the first time I give to Nick some vintage, unsual, and hard to find Duran Duran books for his collection, because I know he really appreciate this kind of stuff as he's the one who, more than others in the band, keeps files of the Duran memorabilia published around the world.

This time I gave him different things, a nice scrapbook that I made for him filled with vintage articles and clippings [it was nice and funny to look and listen to his comments to some old pics, especially the Arcadia ones when he was sporting the dark hair look].


*The hisotry of Duran Duran
Pics of some pages of the italian pop book "La Storia dei Duran Duran" as posted by John Taylor on his Instagram and Twitter. Below a very pleased Nick Rhodes flipping through the pages of the massive book and other stuff... another addition to the Duran Duran visual archive.

"When we take ourselves to seriously we can just have a look at that book and we have a laugh!"

John Taylor, May 2014


The item that really caught Nick's interest was the italian mega book "La Storia dei Duran Duran". It was so funny when I had to explain him that it was called the Duran Duran encyclopedia and it was published weekly in a period of 4 months back in late 1987, consisting of 14 single booklets, then bound together to form a very big book made nearly 400 pages.

Such a time capsule, something that only the italian marked could produce... yet another synonym of the mass phenomenon that Duran Duran were in Italy back in the 80s!

The item itself is a typical product of the pop-culture so it's both amazing and kitsch at the same time... but for sure enjoyable. Why kitsch you would ask? Because of the hundreds of illustrations made by popular illustrator Tino Cavagnoli, who sometimes, copying the pics, did a nice job but often the illustrations turned the guys into monsters. Nick was quite amused about the book "We don't have this for sure! Thanks a lot Salvo!"

The illustrations were both copied from real photographs and invented [to describe situations that are not documented with real pics] such as Simon wearing the infamous pink leopard-print trousers, arriving at his audition at the Rum Runner, accompanied by Fiona Kemp...

According to the studio peeps, the guys had a great time going trough all those pages and pics that evening and they had a big laugh as Roger told me later that evening: "Oh Salvo, we had such a good laugh today with that book, yeah! that's hilarious, thank you so much!"

Even Josh, the sound engineer said that they couldn't stop laughing and John was so amazed - to my big surprise!- that he tweeted pics of some pages.

The day after, when he saw me, he said: "When we take ourselves to seriously we can just have a look at that book and we have a laugh!"


I was so glad to provide some fun in the studio, I just hope I didn't distract them so much from their work that day!

In that occasion, I could talk once more with Nick about the Duran digital archive. I ha already a brief chat with him about this back in March, but it was so interesting that it was worth asking some more.

So he told me that they are building up a digital archive about all Duran Duran stuff. there are four people working on the project and have already digitalized 6 thousand items.

I asked what's the purpose of such great work, if it's going to be used for an exhibition, a book or something else.

He said that he doesn't know yet what all these images will become but he said that is important to get this stuff available to people.

The Musical | I asked Nick a little update about the musical that he and John are working on. I just asked if the work is progressing or if it's in stand-by mode due to the Duran album priorities, he said that the work is actually going on, in between the Duran session.
I also asked if it will be something that we'll be able to see in theatres or any other type of stages. He said that he doesn't know yet on what kind of platform the musical will be released but he seemed quite sure that theatres are one of the main options.

Photography projects | I also asked Nick if there's any news about his Bei Incubi book and other photographic projects. He said the book is going to be published this year and he added more...

A new Nick Rhodes exhibition!

Nick is working on another photographic exhibition, hopefully to be held in November. So I asked if this new project is based on old photographs taken from his extensive archive [Nick has been profesionally taking photographs for over two decades] or if is new stuff. He said that is completely new, so I -ironically- replied "We don't like the past Nick..."... "Oh no, we like the past Salvo, we do like the past very much, but this is something completely new".

On the right Simon holding his printed copy of duranasty webzine, that's the installment fully dedicated to his work as actor and singer that I published back in October to celebrate not only his 55 birthday but also to celebrate his 50 years on the scene. He said "I'll give a good read to that!"


In the above pics some moments with John | That's the moment when I gave John his presents, a personalized t-shirt and mug.
Below the moment when I gave Simon the personalized mug that I made for him. The sentence printed on iy was actually his twitter profile introduction phrase "consummate unproffesional, hopless neuro-mantique and invertebrate bad speler". He loved it so much that he said "this has to come home with me now!"
Below, in the first picture Simon, the motorbike-mechanic and me looking at some rare picture of him
on his Ducati motorbike taken in 1992 (another of my presents)



Roger Taylor: Ben is bringing what we were
looking for: a new flavour...

Roger confirms once again the groovy and up-tempo vein of this album

"The album is gonna be finished by the summer, that's for sure!
We'd like to have something out for the fans before the end of the year, maybe in October, possibly something being release in some way.
The album early on 2015. That's what we're aiming for,
but I'm pretty sure about that."

"With Mr Hudson a new boost of energy came into the room"

Roger Taylor


In one of the recent KatyKafe Roger comments positively on the work done with Mr Hudson. Roger says: "He's great, fantastic... we met him thanks to our management, Wendy called us and said 'There's a guy, Ben Hudson, he's a great producer, is really hot right now and he wants to work with you guys'. We said yeah, send him down.

He came down for the day and there, we had just the most amazing session, it was a new boost of energy that came into the room, we had a bit of meeting, one particular song we've been working on worked really well.

We didn't really know much much about his background... and he's from Birmingham so it's even better... he's a fan, it's a similiar vibe to Mark Ronson really, he's got this background really of liking the band, he really appreciate what we have done, our musical history.
he's bringing a new flavour, which is what we were all looking for, we were all looking for that new flavour and he's bringing that!

No plans for dj sets at the moment, Roger told me | When I asked him if there's any deejay set in the horizon he said that he knew I was going to ask about that... of course I said, as many of my Duran-friends keep asking when he will came back to spin...

"We got this really slow groovy song with an amazing chorus..."

Ok Roger, let us dream about the new stuff!


About the work done with Mr Hudson Roger says: "The first track was slow but is still groovy, Ben knows a lot about the dancefloor, so we got this really slow groovy song with an amazing chorus, that's the first song we did together, and now we're doing something faster, a little bit bit up tempo, still groovy stuff...

It's like football | We've got this body of material, each song is fighting for its place in the team.. when we get to the end of the process, we gonna pick up the best players, it's a like a football team, they are all fighting for a place in the the final line up. Once we get to the end of the process we'll pick up the strongest 9, 10, 11, 12 tracks out of this body of work that we have done.




Roger Taylor, scent of the past


These were the hard times of Duran Duran. We didn't have a penny.
If I was with Duran Duran, maybe they wouldn't have achieved the success they have now, it would have been different.

Jeff Thomas, London 1985

Another lesson of Pre-Duran History with Roger

My present to Roger was a rare photograph of him playing drums in his first proper band, The Scent Organs.
It was an amazing moment as Roger didn't have that picture and he loved it. He wanted to explain to the fans who was Jeff, I knew already of course... but it was great to get such a reaction and bring back some old memories.
This little anecdote give me an input to post a quite rare interview from my magazine archive: an interview to Jeff Thomas, the only ever released, as far as I know. Enjoy!

    "OMG, Jeff and the Scent Organs!
This is amazing! Where did you get it?
I've never seen this, I do have one but I can barely see myself
in that one, isn't very clear like this one is...
how old was I in this pic? 12 maybe?!
Did you know Salvo, Jeff was my school mate and later on
he became the lead singer of Duran Duran?!"
Of course I know Roger...

Interview never published online!
Unseen pics of Jeff Thomas!

Transcription and translation by Salvo |

Original printed text was in spanish so this piece has been translated twice: originally from english to spanish, then from spanish to english. I suppose the final result has probably lost something in the double translation.

Summer 1985 | Jeff Thomas, 24 years old, left Duran Duran in 1980, when the band was just starting.
In his apartament, in south London, Jeff is watching Live Aid, thinking of his old friends and the time when his friend Roger and him formed the Scent Organs.

Not many know Jeff, Super Pop magazine discovered him and just after a few weeks since somebody told us about him, we thought it was a great opportunity so we went to London to meet him and eventually discover more about the early years of our favourite band.

Jeff is attractive, very thin, with long dark hair and very pale skin. Sitting on the sofa of his living room, which is filled with several boxes of guitars and where also stands mannequin, tucked in a corner, Jeff start to tell his story: I met Roger Taylor when I was studing in Birmingham. We started our band and decided to call us The Scent Organs.

We used to wander around all the Bormingham clubs such as Barbarella and the Rum Runner.

In the latter we met and John Taylor and Nick Rhodes, who were trying to start their band, Duran Duran. At first, Roger and I, thought we could ask Nick to join the Scent Organs as keyboar player, but the group broke up. One day John and Nick told me that I had the 'look' for their band..."

So Jeff decided to join Duran Duran as the lead singer, even though Roger and him didn't exactly knew what to expect from them.

We thought John, that everybody still knew as Nigel, was too 'green' to properly play the set. John was a lanky boy with acne and a quite peculiar way of dressing. It's amusing to see the profound transformation he has experienced. From Nigel, the teenager, to real sex symbol.

Jeff doesn't stop talking, it seems like he really needs to vent about all those memories.

"Roger and I used to live in a small apartament, but the rest of the band still lived with their parents. These were the hard times of Duran Duran. We didn't have a penny.

Paul Berrow, the Rum Runner manager, gave us permission to use Clubin the morning to rehearse, but in the evening we had to work at the bar and we would sweep the ground, but it was fun."

Jeff doesn't stop to talk, it looks like he needs to vent about all those memories.

"Roger and I used to live in a small apartament, but the rest of the band still lived with their parents. These were the hard times of Duran Duran. We didn't have a penny.

Paul Berrow, the Rum Runner manager, gave us permission to use Club in the morning to rehearse, but in the evening we had to work at the bar and we would even sweep the ground, but it was fun."

I still remember when Nick and I started to use make-up. One day we went to Seldfridges because we wanted to buy the latest eye shadow and some girl trousers. The store's people couldn't believe their eyes. Nick also used to steal make-up to his mom.

Luckily enough she was very understanding... I sincerely miss those good times. It was a way to escape from the monotony of Birmingham.

We lived our best time travelling around. One night we met up at the club, and we started to talk about our most intimate secrets.

John was very shy and Nick was a very naive. Roger often teased him. The most flirty in the band were Nick and I.

Nick usde to live in the up-class area of the city. While we were writing songs in his house, his mom used to bring snaks such as chocolate cookies and pastries. The frst time it happened I coudn't believe my eyes, his parents were a wondeful couple."

All of a sudden the tone of Jeff's voice change and says: "The basis of the group was mine. I helped to consolidate what Duran Duran is now. To me was essential the combination of the band's image and sound in a whole.. the two elements are inseparable. More over some of the songs on the first album are mine, there is a part of me in them.

Jeff wanted the group to go on fastly, he hoped for an immediate a fast success. That didn't happen and, somewhat frustrated, he left the band to start the drama school in London.

I think Simon wasn't a good singer, when he first came to the club for the audition, Nick and John were looking for a vocalist and didn't really want to waste time looking for the right person. Simon told me that they would have taken him if he had lost weight.

At that time there was a story about Simon circulating in Birmingham... They said Simon entered a clothes shop saying: "I'm in a band, I want shocking clothes".

Jeff denies being envious of his old friends. "If I was with Duran Duran, maybe they wouldn't have achieved the success they have now, it would have been different. I don't like the business around music. I think the group now is very strong and moves many interests, but at the same time the music business don't let them develop musically. That's why John and Andy ventured into Power Station, and Roger, Simon and Nick in Arcadia.

The real driver of group was Paul Berrows. Paul had an incredible character. He invested so much money in the band and he even mortgaged his house to finance Duran Duran's first tour.
He used to take us to music stores so we could choose the istruments we most liked.

He directed them and, when they had their first recordings on tape, he accompanied them to meet the record label, trying to get the first contract."

Now Jeff, after a year away from the music scene, decided to start a new group, Man Roeg.
His past with Duran Duran is just a page of his life.

In 1977 Roger joins punk band Crucified Toad

The Scent Organs take turns rehearsing at band member's houses, until Roger's mother arranges for them to practice at the local church hall.
The vicar turns The Scent Organs out of the church hall for annoying the neighbors.
Thomas was a member of the Scent Organs in the late 1970s, a band that included drummer Roger Taylor. The shows they played included performances at Barbarella's nightclub in Birmingham, where John Taylor and Andy Wickett saw them play.
He was very interested with European life and travel, which led to Roger Taylor's first trip abroad when he was 19. This was when both of them traveled to Amsterdam, Netherlands on the train and spent a week there. Taylor later commented that they both wanted to live out the promise of the Kraftwerk song "Trans Europe Express" and the European dreams of early Ultravox and Simple Minds songs.

In 1979, Thomas joined Duran Duran on Roger Taylor suggestion and was part of the band's 3rd official line-up. This comprised of Thomas, Andy Wickett, John Taylor, Alan Curtis, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor. The line-up never performed live. With Thomas's input into Duran Duran, the song "See Me Repeat Me" became "Ami a Go Go" (also referred to as "Amy" or "MM a Go Go"). Thomas left Duran Duran in early 1980 shortly after Paul and Michael Berrow, owners of Birmingham's Rum Runner nightclub became managers of the band.

Source Duran Timeline

Roger wrote this blog about Jeff on the band's official site back in 2008

Perpetual Motion on the ‘Trans Europe Express’ and Memories of Amsterdam

Looking out of the window as we pull into the station in Amsterdam, I’m being transported back to my 19 year old self, that’s when I last arrived at this train station. I was with my great friend Jeff Thomas (who went on to become one of the early singers in Duran Duran). Jeff was obsessed with European life and travel, and we both wanted to live out the promise of the Kraftwerk song ‘Trans Europe Express’ and the European dreams of early Ultravox and Simple Minds songs. We boarded the train in Birmingham and as we stepped out into the continental bustle of Amsterdam we seemed to be entering a whole new world.
I had never been outside of my native country and at that point I think I realised that I wanted to broaden my horizons beyond my small town world. We stayed for a week in some run down youth hostel beside a street full of shop windows that contained dubious looking ladies bathed in red light …later that year I joined Duran Duran, who could have foreseen what the next few years would bring and that I would be returning nearly 30 years later under such different circumstances? That’s the thing about being on the road …you are constantly re-united with a segment of your past in different cities and hotels across the world… sometimes things that you want to remember…
others you don’t.

Roger poses smiling with his Scent Organs photograph

Stephen, 'Why did you leave'?

Talking about ex Duran Duran singers... check out what Stephen Duffy says about Duran Duran and The Devils project in the recent Classic Pop interview.
Here is an excerpt!

Transcription by Salvo

With Dark Circles it was fascinating to hear how Duran Duran might have sounded, had history been different...

All of the music we did as The Devils was the stuff that John, Nick and I got together for the Iirst Duran shows, those three or tour gigs. The newer numbers were taken from material that I made at the time that I kept editing.
I'd carried this desk For years - it had gone in and out oI storage - and every time I got it out ot storage I'd open the drawer and there would be this cassette: one side there was a Duran rehearsal and on the other side there was the first Duran gig at Birmingham Art College*.
And then I just happened to be at a Vivienne Westwood event and I saw Nick tor the first time in 20 or so years. I went up to him and said "Nick..." and just he looked up at me and said 'Why did you leave'?
Unfortunately at that point John was sort of divorced from the group. That would have been great, it it had been the three of us who started the band. But there's still time. The 40th anniversary is coming up in 2018, so I'm keeping the year free, because obviously it's what everyone's waiting for!
The Devils was very strange because obviously we’d led such different lives, but we just slotted back- it's as it we were brothers or something. You could never imagine Nick with a pedal steel guitar, but we had such a load of fun getting that old gear together. We pretended that the last record that had
come out was Remain In Light by Talking Heads, we pretended it was 1979. We didn’t use any kind of equipment that wasn't around then.


When we did the Devils, John was sort of divorced from the group. That would have been great, it it had been the three of us who started the band. But there's still time. The 40th anniversary is coming up in 2018, so I'm keeping the year free, because obviously it's what everyone's waiting for!

Ed. * We'd die to listen to this!



Unstaged: worldwide dvd release
and cinema screenings all over Italy in July

Above the packashot of the European dvd

Unstaged will be finally released on dvd on September 26th. At the moment the dvd is only listed and available for pre-order on the following online stores: amazon.de price €17.99, while the dvd has been already released in Australia on June 12th.

If you are on holidays in Italy this month you surely won't miss the chance to see the Duran Duran and David Lynch movie Unstaged at the cinema. The film will be screened for 3 days only from July 21 to July 23 in almost every city of the italian territory. Just check out this website to find out the closest cinema to you and enjoy!

Track listing:
Return To Now
All You Need Is Now
Being Followed
Planet Earth (with Gerard Way)
Friends Of Mine
Notorious (with Beth Ditto)
Blame The Machines
Hungry Like The Wolf
Safe (In The Heat Of The Moment) (with Mark Ronson)
Leave A Light On
Ordinary World
The Man Who Stole A Leopard (with Kelis)
Girl Panic! (with Mark Ronson)
Careless Memories
(Reach Up For The) Sunrise

Come Undone (with Kelis)
Bond Medley / A View To A Kill (with Mark Ronson)
Girls On Film (with all guests)

Above: the Australian packaging of the dvd

Number of Discs: 1
Rating: M15+
4 [Compatible with all Australian DVD players]


For one night only Duran Duran took the stage in Los Angeles with a historical performance that included some of the most celebrated guests in music history. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker David Lynch who brings his own visual style for a truly memorable musical experience.

DD fans will complain that the band can’t be ogled over Lynch’s digital doodlings... the film’s sound,
on the other hand,
is stellar,
sharply showcasing the reunited band members in fine form.

Film Review: ‘Duran Duran Unstaged’ - Variety

The idea of David Lynch directing a concert movie of Duran Duran remains far more exciting than the result.
Rob Nelson

The idea of David Lynch directing a concert movie of Duran Duran remains far more exciting than the result, live-streamed two years ago on YouTube and currently on the market for distribution as a feature. Though Lynch appears at the start of the pic to announce his “experiment,” the surrealist master’s one trick here is to superimpose depressingly literal, color representations of lyrics over standard-issue black-and-white footage of the new wavers onstage. DD fans will complain that the band can’t be ogled over Lynch’s digital doodlings, while Lynch completists will grouse that there’s too much Duran Duran onstage in “Duran Duran Unstaged.”

Lynch’s first feature-length work since “Inland Empire” in 2006, “Duran Duran” opens pre-concert with a high-pitched, overenunciating Lynch exclaiming, “I’m very happy to be working for Duran Duran!” Be that as it may, fun remains in short supply for the viewer, whose patience is tested precisely by the auteur’s illustrative images — a gape-mouthed lupine beast for “Hungry Like the Wolf,” lights in a freeway tunnel for “Being Followed,” a spinning globe for “Planet Earth,” etc. Even allowing for the pressures of on-the-fly direction as required by the project’s live webcast format, “Duran Duran” looks exceedingly lazy.

The film’s sound, on the other hand, is stellar, sharply showcasing the reunited band members in fine form on ’80s pop hits such as “Rio,” “A View to a Kill” and “Girls on Film,” as well as more recent songs. Smoldering frontman Simon Le Bon appears particularly inspired on DD’s Top 10 tunes of the early ’90s, “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone,” although the latter nearly comes undone itself as a result of Lynch’s superimposed images of hot-dog wieners frying and flipping on a charcoal grill.

Lynch’s longtime d.p., Peter Deming, doesn’t do enough to accommodate the director’s incessantly indulgent overlays, while Noriko Miyakawa’s editing remains held captive to the wildly overused double-image conceit. Ultimately, none of “Duran Duran Unstaged” seems a fraction as psychedelic as one would’ve hoped.

Onscreen title appears as just “Duran Duran,” and the film’s director as Lynch, although some Cannes market screening notices billed the helmer as one Steve Stone.

Reviewed by Variety at Cannes Film Festival [market], May 20, 2013. Running time: 112 MIN.

An Asymmetrical, Magus Entertainment, Momentum Worldwide, Digitas, VEVO production. [International sales: Arclight Films, Beverly Hills.] Produced by Sabrina S. Sutherland, Andrew Kelly, Michael Goldfine, Blake W. Morrison, Wendy Laister. Executive producer, Joe Killian.

Directed by David Lynch. Camera [color/B&W, HD], Peter Deming; editor, Noriko Miyakawa; sound, Dean Hurley; special effects supervisor, Gary D’Amico.

With Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor, Dom Brown, Mark Ronson, Kelis, Gerard Way, Beth Ditto, Whitney Montgomery, Travis Dukelow, David Lynch.

Photo report: Simon Le Bon, the poet on the bike

The only aim of this webzine is to celebrate Duran Duran and their members. This is a non-profit activity and there are not commercial purposes behind the existence of the site. This webzine is just a positive place to share love, passion, stories, news and pics among Duran Duran fans. Any Duran Duran fan is welcomed to submit reports, news, pics, etc.

www.duranasty.com is a fan-site made with passion from a fan to all the fans of Duran Duran on Planet Earth.
contact the editor and webmaster salvo@duranasty.com | the life and times of D u r a n a s t y All rights reserved

Official Duran Duran websites duranduran.com and duranduranmusic.com

Special Thanks to Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Simon Le Bon, Roger Taylor, Mr Hudson,
Warren Cuccurullo, Duran Duran's HQ, Rob at sixdegreesrecords,
all the fans I've met in London over the months (guys, I love you all!),
Claudia, Angelo and Nicolò.