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Interview:
Duran Duran is still dancing on the sand, and beyond
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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MTV fame proved fleeting for more than a few acts during the 80s.

But not Duran Duran.

The British group certainly still draws crowds for its rash of 30-plus year old hits -- "Girls On Film, "Hungry Like The Wolf," "Rio," "The Reflex" and more -- but it can also lay claim to a hot present. Last year's "Paper Gods" was the group's highest-charting album (No. 10) on the Billboard 200 in 23 years, and its best-showing in the U.K. (No. 4) since 2004.

And none of the group's four founding members are taking the interest for granted, especially 35 years after the release of its self-titled debut album..

"I think that Duran have been engaged in this kind of dogged war of convincing the world that we were real since we were in our early 20s and were, like, heartthrobs for that period," bassist John Taylor says by phone from Los Angeles, where he resides. "Yes there were fans who were really passionate for the band and they've stuck with us, but there were people that were defiantly anti.

"I feel like that kind of resistance to the band has softened; We're feeling that people are opening their hearts to us in a way that's never really happened before, so that's amazing."

stBandmate Nick Rhodes, meanwhile, says he sees the same thing from behind his keyboards. "It seems completely surreal; None of us feel like we've spent three and a half decades in the music business," Rhodes (nee Bates), 54, says. "Lots has unfolded in music since (Duran started); We've watched the rise of electronic music and hip-hop and we've been through a dozen variations of dance music, but I think now we appreciate more than ever that a great song does more for an artist that anything else."

And if they need to be reminded of that, Rhodes says he and his partners only have to watch their opening act, Nile Rodgers and Chic, play each night.

"It's such a perfect fit, for both of us," Rhodes says of Rodgers, whose association with Duran Duran dates back to 1984's "Wild Boys" and includes three tracks on "Paper Gods" and who often joins Duran on stage. "We're huge fans and have been supportive of everything Nile does...and he's also been very generous about Duran Duran and dedicated a lot of time to us. So it feels good to be alongside Nile.

"It's very uplifting; you hear all these songs, one after the other, and it just makes you smile. When I'm in the dressing room getting ready to go on I pop my head at side stage sometimes to take a look, and it never fails to make me happy, hearing those Chic songs."

Duran Duran, meanwhile, is mapping out a future that includes some projects outside of the band for Taylor and Rhodes. The latter is working on a ballet created around a track that was left over from the "Paper Gods" sessions, while the pair is in the mist of creating a stage musical with an original story and songs that will begin workshops early next year.

"It's nothing to do with the band," reports Taylor, 56. "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."

Duran Duran, Chic and TokiMonsta

7 p.m. Monday, July 11.

DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.

Tickets are $49.95-$134.95 pavilion, $29.95 lawn.

Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.


Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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