Birmingham is where the Duran Duran journey began
On May 2, 2018 at at the Glee Club in Birmingham, John Taylor announced the winner of the Rising Star Award at the Birmingham Music Awards, an event sponsored by the Town Hall and Symphony Hall.
Talking about the awards, John said: "Birmingham is where the Duran Duran journey began. We formed in 1978, playing Barbarella’s and many other venues around town, eventually becoming resident band at The Rum Runner. We signed our major label deal and the rest is history.
"I like to keep in touch with new and aspiring musicians and musical artists – it’s where the energy is – and I love coming back home and rekindling my passion for the city, so I was honoured to be invited to participate in the first Birmingham Music Awards.
The exclusive Photo Gallery shows some great pictures taken during that evening, including John meeting local legendary band UB40 who received a lifetime Achivement Award [the band celebrates their 40th anniversary next year]. John Taylor on his arrival at the venue was so pleased to see a group of loyal fans attending the event... he said to the photographer in charge to take pics of guests on the red carpet: "I wanna take a picture with my supporters!".
Back in March, Simon showed his support for young talent by taking part to italian TV show Sanremo Young. He performed Ordinary World and was inteviewed by a popular TV presenter [Antonella Clerici]. The performance was a classical rendition of the 1993 Duran Duran hit, played by a very young orchestra directed by Musical Director Diego Basso. Check out the amazing Picture Gallery, click on the banner below!
Duran Duran 2018 | A Recap and a look into the Future
On July 16th 2018 we celebrate 38 years since the first show with the classic lineup, with Simon Le Bon on lead vocals. The show took place at the Rum Runner on July 16, 1980!
Duran Duran has been in the spotlight recently with the airing of the long awaited Duran Duran BBC documetary which has been in the works for months. On June 29th the band took over BBC Four for one night. The amazing documentary features previously unseen archive footage and rare demo tapes, as well as the group's memories of the 40 years that have passed since they first formed in 1978 in Birmingham.
The Paper Gods Tour went on for two years, from June 2015 to September 2017, it didn't touch as many countries as the band hoped to, but everywhere it went was a huge sucess, reaching new records, in terms of audince partecipation, such as in South America and in Italy where they played to oceans of people... not to mention the extraordinary UK tour and the amazing US shows with Chic.
After the Budokan shows, in September 2017, there have been a couple of private parties appearances here and there such as the recent Bulgari "Wild Pop Night" event in Rome or the private gig in Mykonos, Greece, at Bronson Van Wyck's birthday party. [an Event and Celebrity Parties Planner]. Beside a handful of private shows there hasn't been much public activity for the band.
The guys have been enjoying a break from the band's commitments and some family time, we can not do without mentioning Simon Le Bon becoming a granfather, or Glamfather as he likes to be called. Simon and Yasmin have been enjoyng holidays in Como [check out an article here], where the couple enjoyed being part of the annual "Concorso di Eleganza" and in South of France. However there have been some individual apparences such as two different Simon Le Bon solo performaces on Italian TV ["Music" in Jan 2017 and
"Sanremo Young" on Feb 2018] and, as a Blue Marine Foundation Ambassador, he took part in the panel discussion "Creativity to Save our Oceans" at Cannes Lions on June 21; John Taylor presenting the Rising Star Award at the Birmingham Music Awards on May 2nd and giving a keynote presentation at the "Brilliant Minds Symposium" in Stockholm on June 4th.
From a releases point of view, something relevant this year was the release of a limited edition album, Duran Duran Budokan, during Record Store Day on April 21 [More on this release below]. Check it out!
Budokan limited edition vinyl lp insert - Graphic design John Warwicker, illustration by Tadanori Yokoo.
John Warwicker is a long time collaborator of the band, some earliest work includes designing the record labels for Duran Duran's "Planet Earth" / "Anyone Out There" in 1980 before the band were signed to EMI, which were intended to be released as a 7" single on their own Tritec Music label and the band's first logo. Other work includes art direction and design on Duran Duran's Astronaut album and "Sunrise" single. He also collaborated with Nick on the Geneu art direction. John Warwicker is also responsible for the beautifully design of the current Duran Duran logo. Read an interview with this amazing visual artist. [in the pics, the 1980 label that Warwicker designed back in 1980 and the new, colorful design for the 2018 Budokan release featuring the new logo.
On June 21 United Nations campaign The Global Goals returned to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity this year in partnership with Adjust Your Set and Blue Marine Foundation.
The campaign hosted the world's first underwater award ceremony for the creative industry, honouring the BBC's wildlife documentary Blue Planet II, and also held a seminar on Ocean Health with musician and BLUE Marine Foundation ambassador Simon Le Bon.
Sky Ceo Jeremy Darroch, Unilever Cmo Keith Weed, evian Cmo Patricia Oliva and Simon Le Bon joined Founder of Adjust Your Set and co-founder of Blue Marine Foundation Chris Gorell Barnes and co-founder of Project Everyone Gail Gallie to discuss 'Can Creativity Save Our Oceans?'. The panel explored how technology, media and creativity can combine to make positive changes in our oceans. We have a fantastic Photo Gallery of the event focusing on Simon and an article scan which reports some great Simon quotes from his talk. Check it out!
From the editor
Last time I saw the full band was September 2017, back then I had news directly from Nick but I prefered to wait until the band itself would spread them.
It was September 9th and Duran Duran were in the South of France. The band was there because Ferretti Group choose them to play a show during their annual exclusive event.
They played an amazing set at the Montecarlo Yacht Club. It certainly wasn't the first time the band played for a wealthy crowd including some VIPs, but certainly was the first time the band played on a floating raft...
I was able to attend the event, and it was a great experience. That concert for me represented the final act of the chapter entitled Paper Gods Tour; two amazing years of #duranlive which I filled with 20 shows across Europe. That show for me represented the end of the Paper Gods Tour... even though in less than 2 weeks the band would have flown to Japan to play two more shows. The Japanese shows were also object of shooting and recording for a Japanese TV special, an official DVD which is currently on the making and a vinyl release.
When the band stops touring you never know when you'll actually be able to see them again, so while I was in Monaco, I drove to Nice airport to say bye to the guys. I wanted to say thanks for such a great tour and hopefully ask a few questions on the band's future plans.
The guys were all super nice and took time to chat and take pictures. With Roger in particular I asked about the Duran Duran 40th anniversary, I told him that there's a lot of talk in the media and consequently in the fan-base, about possible concerts and events celebrating the band's legacy next year... he was funny saying “I haven't heard anything about it”, then he explained that the band, with Simon as lead singer, actually formed... he asked me the date! I obviously said 1980, he added “I joined the band in 79”... as if we didn't know! Little bit of a band's history review with Roger! So we recalled together who was in the band between 1978-1979 up to 1980. He hinted that the real anniversary for this band is going to happen in 2020.
I imagined that celebrating my birthday at the YCM of Montecarlo would have been a fantastic experience but I could never imagine that it could be so fabulous!
Montecarlo is a small gem overlooking the sea of the French Riviera, where time seems to have stood in a golden bubble, you walk through luxurious cars and yachts, luxury and opulence make this city unique all over the world.
The Yacht Club is a magnificent structure overlooking the harbor, a majestic cruise ship building that houses the most prestigious club in the city.
The evening was organized by Ferretti Group, the leading yacht builder, to promote the upcoming premiere for the launch of the new collection, and what a better way to celebrate than with an exclusive Duran Duran concert!
The admission to the party is reserved for Ferretti guests, while some lucky club members will be able to watch the concert from the majestic balconies during the gala dinner.
We are immediately welcomed by young and friendly hostesses who accompany us inside the club, we walk through the sumptuous lobby that leads us to the imposing staircase , where paparazzi are waiting for us to take some pictures for the Ferretti magazine!
The access to the terrace shows the amazing space for guests, fresh fish buffet and liters of champagne!
The stage for the show is marvelous, it is a floating platform with a small area that allow us to attend the show in the front row ! The concert opens with Notorious, it is time to put the Prada handbags and jump on the high Dolce & Gabbana heels ! I don’t want your love, Come Undone, Pressure off, Wild boys, G irls on film ( which seems a perfect theme for the night!)and finally Rio , dancing on the waves , wrapped by the pure essence of Duran Duran and… “the music never sounded better”. [in the picture long time pals, Anna Maria, Simona and Salvo at the Ferretti event]
“We try not to rest on our laurels, I’m aware of our place in the continuum and am always gratified to hear that it’s resonated with younger folks because we’re still trying to be current.” John Taylor
Salvo and the guys in the South of France [Monaco and Nice],
Below the band waves goodbye at the Extraordinary World event in Monaco.
Nick left later in the evening, he actually lost his flight so for once he wasn't in a rush and had plenty of time to chat, luckily enough I always have questions to ask and things I want to talk about with the keeper of the Duran Duran's flame, question always come naturally, nothing prepared as you never know when you have a chance to talk to the guys. Hopefully I keept the level of the conversation interesting for everyone. It was a quite long and relaxed chat I had with Nick in a long time.
Nick was sweeter and kinder than ever, the way he articulated every single answer going on from one thing to another, looking straight in the eyes, smiling and accompanying words with his natural gesticulation made me feel at ease [check out the pic below the headinline]. We kept chatting for a while, 20 minutes or more... some of the best time ever spent with Nick.
Questions basically converged to the main interest, what's coming next for the band. Back then shows in Japan were still something to look forward to, he seemed excited to have Nile Rodgers/Chic playing with them. When I said it's a double bill show he pointed out that Chic would only play 1 hour, while Duran for almost two hours. He also informed me that the show would be shoot for a future release [DVD].
More recently [June 2018] Nick said that the video is currently in the editing process. Gavin Elder directed the video in its entirety and it should surface sometime later this year. We assume it will be a different and richier product than the video concert aired on WOWOW TV [a private satellite pay-per-view TV in Japan] on December 2017.
As well all know, some of the recording were also used for the an amazing International Record Day release [limited to 3000 copies].
When I met Nick in May 2018 [more on this further down this page - pic on the left] he told me that he was so pleased to get on board for the art of this project the legendary graphic designer and artist Tadanori Yokoo with additional touches from longtime Duran Duran collaborator and amazing graphic designer John Warwicker. He designed the inner sleeve and the labels [Nick was curious to see how they came out so he asked me to pull down the record as the copy I gave him to sign was the first one he had seen printed]. According to Nick, Warwicker has been for a massive admirer of Tadanori’s work from the beginning, so it was great to put them both together in a work. Nick thinks the cover is very vibrant, funky and different from many other things out there.
If you like these photos and you wanna see more, check out the Photo Gallery by clicking the banner above. Enjoy!
Nick said that he was looking forward to finish the Musical with John. Last time I saw the duo working in the old studio, back in March 2016, he told me that they had just completed the first draft of the Musical. After that John and Nick reconvened in the new studio a year later, in early 2017. In these sessions they got many new young talented artists involved in the project [more on this further down this page].
According to Nick the project is coming to completion. Back in September he said they had booked studio time November and then March 2018. During the March session Nick was interviewed and said:
“I'm working with John Taylor on a musical that we've been writing on and off together for the last five years or so in-between our Duran Duran projects and other things and we're coming to towards the end of the writing now. It's been a bigger undertaking than perhaps we'd realized when we first started it. But actually very rewarding. It's such a different process writing for characters that you've invented rather than writing a song about something that means something to you personally... The musical is set in the art world, in the future...”
“You’ve got to stay focused on the present. And although it’s entirely natural to get drawn backward and it’s entirely natural
to feed your trip, you know, you really got to stay present as much as possible.
I think all those anniversaries and all those reminders don’t really serve the greater good.
The best thing we could do to celebrate
any kind of anniversary is just be the best
Duran Duran we can be.
Which is really about being present.”
All this talk about the Musical lead me to ask him if they are already in talk with some agent/companies to release the project. He said that they were not at that stage, all that matter for them was finish the project... of course they were interested in getting the right format/deal at some point - he said - but this is not a priority at the moment and it could take a long time to get right solution before they go “live” with the Musical. When he said a “long time” we had a laugh on my comment “hope it doesn't take 17 years just like the TV Mania project!”, he said -laughing- “I hope it won't take that long but it could easily take up to five years... you never know”.
Something that is just as important to him is the Bloom Twins album, he said he wants to bring it to completion by the end of this year, so there's gonna be some more studio time for him as a Producer with Anna and Sonia Kuprienko. One more time he expressed words of admiration for the talent of these two young Ukrainian-born girls.
After all this “Arcadia Station” project talk [that's how fans nicknamed the project for a laugh], it was one of my priorities to ask about the band's plans. If there will be some kinda of celebration next year, as there was a lot of speculation online over the past months and fans actually believe there will be more shows in 2018/19 to celebrate the band's history.
Well, he said that there won't be more shows in the near future maybe festivals but nothing on a tour scale.
The conversation gently slipped to the next Duran Duran album. Nick expressed all his enthusiasm about the band's plan of making a new album and enthusiasm of going back in the studio! Everyone in the band is projected to the next phase of Duran Duran, and that means new music!
Something absolutely enlightening!
Nick just served me the next question on a silver platter “Any idea which direction the album is going to take?”, of course I didn't expect him to be specific, just wanted to know if the band has some kind of sketch, atmosphere, musical-mood in their mind. The fact that he answered with a resoning “Yes!” not only confirm that the band is actually going to record a new album but they also know what kind of musical path, what kind of direction, they wanna take, something that I find absolutely enlightening!
“The new album is going to be Double Different...”.
So I asked if they are going to involve the old team, Ben Hudson, Nile Rodgers as we love what they did on their Paper Gods album. He said he love them too but he'd also like to work with different people.
I pointed out that they got some great reviews with Paper Gods: “critics just love the fact that you keep changing and, even though you are somehow faithful to your roots, you keep changing, there's no Duran album similar to another”... He nodded, smiled, and said “the new album is going to be different”, at that point I played with his words and said “DDifferent.... with two D's” he liked it and said... “Yes, the new album is going to be Double Different...”.
Nick on the Bloom Twins project | I'm writing and producing their album with them, we've got some really super strong songs, they are enourmously talented and great fun to work with too, because they are so young and not yet tempted by what the music business can do to people, they've got very fresh aproach to things and they are not afraid to do things musically that's really quite inspiring [...] I'm very excited for them and I hope to get the album finished for them soon and to get it out there and see what they find, they got a very unique style of their own and some great songs. We work incredibly quickly, we are completely opposite to Duran, when we go in to the studio in the afternoon before midnight we use to go from absolutely nothing, a blank canvas, we use to finish songs, that means starting with nothing, aboslutely nothing tabula rasa and leave with some files of the song that is brought into existence, and it's finished usually... not mixed but the lyrics are completed, the melody, the arrangementsm it's all there! Ana and Sonja are both extraordinary musicians, they both write as well, so we sit in the room and write together and figure out what the song is,what the shape is, what the mood is... so really comes out from a title, from a bass line or a chord sequence, nothing really exist before we go in, we attempeted to even work on songs they already had, which is a possibility because they have some beautiful songs that they haven't recorded yet, but we really do start from scratch. [from a recent Kafe]
Nick was clear: Duran Duran's 40th anniversary is in 2020
I couldn't miss the chance to ask him about one the favorite subjects in the Duran community, the much discussed band's 40th anniversary. He didn't deny that there will be some celebration, but I had the feeling that this will happen in full Duran style, it won't be something improvised, there's a full project behind the whole operation, and Nick was as clear as water, Duran Duran's 40th anniversary is in 2020 as it celebrates the band as we all know, with Simon Le Bon on lead vocals.
When he was talking about it, Nick seemed completely immersed in this project, on many levels, as he told me “there's a lot of work to do, I'm digging into the archive and there's a lot of unseen pictures, posters, even letters from Buckingham Palace” - I said: “and you kept preserving all the clothes from the videos...” - Nick “Yes, we have them all... there's a lot of stuff to put on an exhibition! Just think, Salvo, that my desktop theme at the moment is one of my oldest toys, is a picture of my James Bond car” - “I know, I know... Nick, I saw it on the website”.
I asked if the project involves some record releases and he said there's a lot of unreleased music in the archive and we are working on that as well... he kept saying “it's a lot of work”.
I personally think that a retrospective including unrealeased tracks would be a great idea... Of course it's just an assumption that starts from some conversation that Nick had with fans over the past year.
According to Nick there's a lot of stuff from the vaults that deserves to relive such as tracks left out from the Astronaut session and even Reportage was mentioned... we don't know what all that means, but he kept saying that there's a lot of work to do, including work on some unrealsed stuff.
The moment when he pronounced the word “Exhibition” and he mentioned the amount of work going on, he just enchanted me... I started imagining him going trough hundreds and hundreds of pictures, letters, artworks and so on... and of course my mind flew high with flashes of the Bowie and Pink Floyd exhibitions..
Nick and Salvo in London, May 3, 2018. Below pictures of Duran Duran's clothes as shown during the BBC 4 Documentary [Nick and Anthony Price], and as seen at Museo de la Moda in Chile [More about this on our "Because of David Bowie special" here. In the circle picture, Nick Rhodes's stage jacket from 1989, made in polyester tafetàn, designed by Stephen Sprouse, courtesy of Museo De La Moda.
LONDON MAY 2018
Everything is possible Nick said, even just a few studio-days over the Summer to get a dance song immediatelly out!
I met Nick more recently, on May 3rd to be exact, we had another brilliant long chat. The conversation touched different subjects, from the italian political situation [the day I met him was election day in UK] to his views on Prime Minister Theresa May. I obviously ended up asking about the band's projects. He essentially confirmed all we disccussed back in September adding some more interesting news. I asked when the band plans to get back into the studio. He said that it will happen over the Summer, he also added that he fancy the idea of going in the studio a few days and get a dance song out!
He added that they will hopefully do some more work with Mark Ronson but there’s also a couple of NEW people they got in mind to work with as they wanna try something different.
He has a lot of ideas for the Duran celebrations, he told me that he'd like to do an online Duran Timeline, he described it as a touchscreen line... a 40 years long digital-line that allows people to see the band's history day by day and allow them to add pictures and info, he described it as something graphically linear that you can move fast forward using a touch-screan. Such a smart idea, I commented on the technical aspects of making it, they need a team of people working on it, starting from a computer programmer to a graphic designer... it's a lot of work.
He mentioned the BBC4 documentary saying that it will officially starts the beginning of the Duran celebrations.
He said that, besides the corporate gigs they played in May in the US and the upcoming KAABOO Grand Cayman Island Festival, there's nothing on the orizion for the public yet... but he then added that they are always open to offers to play in some "Piazza" or "Palazzo"... yes, he said those words in Italian!
He also told me that he's thinking about doing a book only about Duran Duran's clothes. A sort of visual history through the most iconic Duran Duran stage clothes.
All these info lead me to thing that the whole #DD40 project, when is going to happen, will be more than just a few show celebrating the band's history through its back catalogue... but it will certainly involve, coherently with the nature of the band, a lot of visuals and it will be presented and packaged in typical Duran style, with lots of anticipation and care for every detail. We are all so looking forward to it and hopefully some new music!
Thanks Nick Rhodes for the amazing and enlightening chats
and the suggestions on the musical to see in London
[The Tina Turner Musical and Everybody's Talking About Jamie]
Duran Duran at the 'BraVo' international professional musical awards at 'Europeisky' hall on November 14, 2017 in Moscow.
Rolling Duran | Is the end is in sight? No way!
“We’re like a teen band compared with the Stones”
Roger reassures his fans, trough the pages of The Star/Telegram, the band has not intention to retire: “No, we’ve never had those conversations, I’ve never heard anybody in the band talk about retirement, for instance. We’re pretty good at keeping it in the moment. What we’re doing right now is good, and it’s valid, and we still have an audience.
“I think it will become very apparent when the time is right to put an end to it. Who knows? Maybe it’s going to be two years; maybe it could be 10 years. … We’re looking at the Rolling Stones! The world is our oyster. We’re like a teen band compared with the Stones.”
“You know, there was a point when I left the band [in the late ’90s],” Taylor says. “And I was back playing clubs again and it was interesting and gratifying that I could still have fun and still enjoy that. I truly thought I was done with the band.
Then I accidentally ran into Simon and we had lunch. And here we are.
“And who knows? Simon and Nick are never going to retire! They’re like, ‘Here’s to the next 35 years!’ I’m thinking, well, maybe the next 35 days.” He laughs. “But I’m so lucky to have those guys in my life. They don’t over-think what we’re doing. And I learn from that.”
John and Simon elaborate on the band working cycles during an interview with Rachel Giese
“We have these circadian rhythms that we live by... the trick is timing, and getting it right, and going in the studio when you want to be going”
We have these cycles, recording, touring cicles, we have these circadian rhythms that we live by, and come with occasional vacations, an occasional time spent with family, but you know that's not really important [laughs], what it's really important is mantaining this rhythm of work, and it's like left brain, right brain activities that we do, so you know we get done with what could be a 18 months touring schedule, then everybody is ready to go back into the studio and start creating something new...
Simon: [coughs] That's what they want to do... but that's when I go on holiday!
John: It's a finding balance between life and work...
are you looking forward to getting back to creating new music when the tour is done?
John: which means we are not there yet... we will get there!
If there's a priority, all I'm thinking about is time to go to new stuff, and the trick is timing, and getting it right, and going when you want to be going, not when somebody else tell you should be going.
"After a tour you need to decompress a little while and then I'm sure it will be time to start the cycle again... that will be in to some months after the tour ends."
“It may happen to feel very inadequate or old for the work you are doing but It's only positive to go forward” Simon.
Simon answer to TGcom's Longoni:
Are you thinking to a further change of course for the next album?
The commitment is always to go further. Sometimes all this can scare you. You look at youself and think "can I do that thing?". And it may happen to feel very inadequate or old for the work you are doing. It is only positive to go forward: it's exciting and gives me a reason to continue. This is why I say that we must change and be open to new things, they are an opportunity to grow.
Whatever happened to the “The Ballet Project”?
I read something about one of your song’s being made into a ballet?
That’s a dream not yet realised, it’s still only a dream, but it’s a great idea, it would be lovely to do something like that. We’ve got the piece of music for it. It was going to be on Paper Gods, but we just felt it needed to be developed. And frankly, I think it will happen but I’m loathe to talk about it now, it’s not in process at the moment, but I do believe it will happen.
Above pic: Simon Le Bon in Zagreb, August 2017
Nick Rhodes told Billboard that the ballet will be created from a track that was left off the Paper Gods album. The ballet will, of course, drastically overhaul and expand what was intended to be a more straightforward pop song. "We're developing the song into a piece," Rhodes explains. "We're looking at trying to do 30 or 40 minutes but having another character in it, too, a female character.
There is a sketch of the idea, but it's too early on that one, really. But [the track] would clearly lend itself well to that kind of imagery, and I've always enjoyed the ballet. We have particularly good ballet in London so we'll have to see if we can persuade them to work on it."
When I mentioned the project to Nick, back in May 2018, he was a bit perplexed hearing about it, from his comment I assumed the project has been put aside for the moment.
Musical Director Diego Basso recalls: "It was so exciting for me when I had a conference call with Simon Le Bon and his Artistic Director to agree on the song he would perform for the first time. Simon, such a wonderful voice, wanted to turn a rock piece into a symphonic arrangement. The video of the performance is now very popular on YouTube!".
Will Simon Le Solo ever happen?
In light of Simon's recent partecipation on a couple of TV shows as a solo artist, we want to report some of his relatively recent comments on solo album possibility. Gianni Santoro, from Repubblica newspaper enquires [translation]:
How come you never made a solo album?
"I've never felt the need, but who knows, somehow with time I'm putting on my album. Very very slowly. I'm not in a hurry. It will have to be a quality album. But actually, I already had my project outside of Duran, do you remember Arcadia?".
Your art-pop project. Have you ever thought about putting the band together again?
"From time to time, but it would be very complicated." Andy Mackay of Roxy Music played saxophone on that album, David Gilmour on guitar, Herbie Hancock.
And Grace Jones. And Sting. Putting them together today would be extraordinary ".
Is times ripe for a film on Duran Duran?
"I thought they had already made one, didn't they? Sposerò Simon Le Bon [I'm going to marry Simon Le Bon] -he tries to say it in Italian, ed.-. Sooner or later maybe there will be a nice biopic about us, but it would be a lot more fun with a good dose of fiction".
Who would you like you to see playing the role of Simon Le Bon?
"Ah, good question, I would like Alicia Vikander as Simon, why not? If Cate Blanchett could play Bob Dylan [in the movie I'm Not There, ed] then Alicia can be Simon ".
Longoni enquires for TGcom
Is there something you plan to explore more in the future?
If I ever do something without the band, it would definitely be more acoustic.
Are there artists out there you’re still itching to work with?
There’s always people. I tell you who I do want to do something with, I don’t know if it will be with Duran Duran, or maybe just me. There’s a lovely Estonian violin player called Maarja Nuut. I looove the way she plays violin, I love what she does, she’s very clever, but she’s very folky, you see. I have a sort of rich folksiness myself, but it doesn’t get that much of an airing with Duran Duran, as you can imagine.
Above pic: Simon Le Bon in Rome, December 2016
The return of the Duran Duran symphonic-orchestral project?
Last month John said that a simphony sort of orchestral performance is on their #DD40 list along with many other things.
Talking about orchestral projects, it would be really great if the band could get composer-arranger Davide Rossi [responsible for the string arrangements on Paper Gods - read our interview from 2015] in some new arrangements of the old Duran hits.
As you probably remember, back in 2008 Duran Duran said "an orchestral record is currently under consideration..."
Back in 2008 on duranasty.com we quoted Nick saying: "We frequently rework catalogue songs for our live show. If there is an inspirational new way to look at music we have written in the past, then that would be valid, an orchestral record is currently under consideration.
In the same year [November 2008] duranasty.com relaunched the news given by Simon Le Bon during an interview with the Argentinean Press Agency Dyn: Simon said Duran Duran were planning to release a symphonic record with the Orlando Philarmonic Orchestra. This was supposed be a way to celebrate their then 30th anniversary.
Flashback | Duran Duran played a show with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra during the Astronaut Tour at The Chapin Theater in Orlando on 18 July 2005. The show was a collaboration with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, which offered something very different: Duran Duran featuring the original line-up had to keep the volume to a reasonable level to blend with the armada of strings and horns. French horns and trombones announced the chorus of "Ordinary World". The concert finished with "A View to a Kill", followed by an orchestral crescendo in the closing of "Rio" as the finale.
According to our sources the concert was not professionally recorded [theere's a bootleg of the show] but we don't know if the band had a private studio session with orchestra and there's a pro-recording in the vaults.
Still the same year Simon was interviewed by Gustavo Bove who asked: After a lifetime on the road, how do you see the future of Duran Duran? What is your greatest wish for the band?
Simon: I want to do something different. I would not make a new album after the tour, would do something new, something theatrical or with visual effects. I even got the idea of playing with a big orchestra and build something completely epic with our work. We want to deal with the music of Duran Duran from a completely different place.
In light of recent talk of a Duran Duran ballet project, of the quick live collaboration with the Dublin Gospel Choir for the magistral performance of Save a Prayer/The Universe Alone in Dublin, and the recent collacoration with Davide Rossi, we just wonder if somehow the project abandoned in 2008 for their 30th anniversary is now being taken under consideration for #DD40?! It could be a record or just a show.... only time will tell.
“We all grew up with David Bowie,
and he kind of taught us that lesson,
to never be afraid of change and
never make the same album twice.” Roger
“Every time we go back in the studio,
we work at reinvention. We look at our classic sound and we reboot it for the here and now, whether now is
2015 or 2010 or 2020.”
Toward the end of the Paper Gods Tour John said to euronews: as this tour starts coming to an end, which is going to be the end of the year, then we're going to start thinking about when & how we're going to pick up in the studio.
Nick added - I found myself scribbling something down in my little notepad the other day - I thought that would be a good title.
John said in the KatyKafe: "We are talking about going into the studio, about what that may look like, we are looking for collaborations, interesting artists we could spend a few days recording with, we are talking where we're gonna do it, you know in the last years we have been recording in London, there's talk about maybe going somewhere else. Its unlikely that there will be an album next year, but you never know, if you hit on something, you never know what's gonna happen, it would be wondeful to just hit on something and go “we're gonna get this out now”, it can happen, that would be great!
John: “We like the album format because it's what we grow up with and I think it's a great format for the experience”
Someone think it might be a clever to put out a single to fill the gap between a project and the next one but John is not keen on releasing a single track: "You are not going to get a lot of marketing put behind an individual track, you are not going to do a lot of TV or a lot of promotion for one track, it s not like an album. We are always looking for new ways to stay in tune and in time with whats going on out there". An EP with four tracks seems a better option but John says "We like the album format because it's what we grow up with and I think it's a great format for the experience... you could make a song now, and when we've finished it you could put it out the next day... or we could get 30 songs, maybe a triple concept album.
John about the 40th anniversary tour: "Yeah, i'm sure there will be be a lot of things going on, depends on what record we put out, of course there will be some shows, you can put out one song, an album, an EP, whatever you like... do a few shows or tour an entire continent...
Talking about Duran Duran's celebrations, John mentioned museum shows along with many other things such as a line of eau de toilette and some concerts to celebrate Duran Duran's 40th anniversary. During an interview released last year John hinted that the band might play 40 different shows/events to celebrate the anniversary. All this, according to the bass-god, will happen in Summer 2020, when the band celebrates Simon joining the band! "I like to think that in that week in particular [July 16th] we're gonna be performing possibly in our hometown and we’ll be building lots of things around that.
Roger says about #DD40: "There is a lot of stuff coocking and it will involve shows at some point"
Roger: “There's always ambition with this band, we are always looking forward to the next project, very ambitious about the future , that's the secret, ambtion for the future.”
"I am excited about getting back into the studio with the band and creating new material" says John, "I really want to do that". On working with the same people [Ronson/Rodgers/Hudson] JT says "it's a maybe, definately maybe, as long as we gonna line our schedule".
Simon: "We are looking at doing some tracks to celebrate the 40th anniversary basically", Nick add "we will start some new recordings in the Studio... we don't have a date scheduled yet, but it's certainly sometimes in the next few months... and we have a lot of things planning for the 40th anniversary, which officially for me it's 2020... of course it starts next year, which is the anniversary of when we formed the band and we got the name Duran Duran in 1978 but it's only in 1980 that we recruited Simon John Charles le Bon!
A Dark Futuristic Story set in the Art World
“Nick Rhodes: The musical is set in the art world
in the culture, but I can't really reveal more than that at the moment...”
Nick Rhodes, was interviewed by La Stampa newspaper last Summer. He gave some very interesting news on the musical that is writing with John Taylor over the past five years: "It's something completely separated from Duran Duran that we started five years ago and we hope to finish by the end of this year, hopefully when the Duran tour will be over. Rhodes continues: "It's 90 minutes of unedited music, a dark futuristic story set in the Art world."
More recently he said: "The Musical is nearly done. I am looking forward to completing it and trying to stage it. It has been a very different discipline and I’ve learned so much from it. I feel like we ended up with something that represents what we set out to do. We will see whether our crazy idea connects with anyone else.
John: Mine and Nick’s musical is really starting to come together, and we’re quite excited about that.
Nick: once we officially ended off the tour in September we grabbed a few weeks to work on it... I'm really looking forward to complete that and to try to put it on... somewhere, Broadway to start maybe, and then the UK...
“We're quite pleased where we are. It's a challenge.
It's all brand new material. It's a completely different discipline than trying to write songs together as a band”
"It's been very interesting and fun, and we hope to get that to a sort of workshop stage early next year," Taylor tells Billboard. The title and story are currently being kept under wraps, but Duran fans should not expect a jukebox musical or a song-and-dance story of the group. "It's nothing to do with the band," Taylor reports. "It's all original music, and it's an original book that, so far, we alone have written. It's a project that's close to our heart and it's been a lot of fun and we've learned a lot already from it. But taking it to the stage, again, that's going to take a lot of energy. I can't think that far ahead. All I know is when we work on it we have a good time and that's what's gotten us here."
London, March 2016
Salvo: How does the Musical sounds like?
Nick: like something you would never
expect from me!
Salvo: Nick, I actually expect
everything from you!
More recently John and Nick both gave a few more details on the Musical on the Kafe | John: "it’s dance music mostly - it’s going to be the kind of musical that people wanna dance to. The style of the music is going to be very familiar to Duran Duran’s, I think it's going to be quite a trip for anybody who has been following the band for a long time, you got girls and boys singing by and they are singing as characters in a narrative way”. John also said that he aims for a Summer 2020 release.
Nick: The first draft is pretty much done, the music and all the words are there and we are now meeting people to see what to do with it [the same thing told me John in Birmingham on May 2nd, he said "it's time for some presentation"], because it was written as a stage production but in todays vacuum of the world we could turn it into some sort of virtual experience, we could turn it into a netflix serie, sending it around in the world in theaters, or we could try to do something for the West End or Broadway, we’re just trying to see what would be the right place to go at the moment, we are developing over the next couple of months. I’d be happy it will end up in the theaters because that’s was how it was written... I would like to see it on stage...
Some of you might ask, what does John hold in his hand? Well, it's a real glossy paper Duranasty fanzine that I gave to the guys to celebrate the release of the Paper Gods album.
When I met the duo at the studio, during the writing/recording of the first draft of the Musical [March 2016], I gave them a copy of Duranasty...
They both loved it, especially Nick who wrote this lovely message of appreciation.
Special thanks to Duran Duran and my family.
This page is dedicated to Maria, my beloved mom: I'll see you in some other lifetime, on the other side of what we'll never know... Love you forever.
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