Though it is the music that will be the final arbiter, this has all the earmarks of a happy ending:
- Founding lineup’s first new studio album in 19 years due out in October 2004 on Epic Records.
Band works with hit making R&B and alternative rock producers
New York, NY– The original members of Duran Duran‹ Simon LeBon (vocals), Andy Taylor (guitar), John Taylor (bass), Roger Taylor (drums) and Nick Rhodes (keyboards) have announced the impending release of their first new album together since 1983’s multi-platinum ‘Seven & the Ragged Tiger.’ Epic Records will release the as-yet-untitled record worldwide in October 2004.
Writing in the south of France and recording at Sphere Studios in London, the band members are currently working with producers Rich Harrison (Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Usher) and Don Gilmore (Good Charlotte, Linkin Park, Pearl Jam, Sugar Ray), thereby drawing on a unique combination of R&B and alternative rock experience.
The poignant “What Happens Tomorrow” and the electric/rock “Sunrise” (a version of which was featured on the “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” soundtrack), both of which the band members have played live since reuniting in 2003, are slated for inclusion on the new album. Other song highlights include the moody, noirish “Still Breathing” and the mischievous “Bedroom Toys.” Stylistically adventurous, the album showcases the diverse influences and abilities of each band member, blending brash rock guitar with slick synths and LeBon’s inimitable lyrics and melodies.
The album will also feature a one hour bonus DVD including live footage shot over two nights at London’s Wembley Arena this past spring and exclusive behind-the-scenes video.
The announcement comes on the heels of a remarkable run of seventeen sold out arena dates in the UK and Ireland and a victory at the BRIT Awards where the band members were honored for their “Outstanding Contribution to Music.” They’ve also received Lifetime Achievement Awards at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York and the Q Magazine Awards in London in the past year.
Writing and recording material between these triumphant tour dates and accolades, the band poured their rediscovered chemistry and creative energy into the new album. “When we decided to reunite, the first thing we did was head to France to test our chemistry. It became really clear that the magic was still there,” explains LeBon. “Since then, playing together live has cemented it. We’ve really rediscovered an incredible musical relationship.”
In 2003, Duran Duran celebrated their 25th anniversary and the reunion of the five founding band members with a run of tremendously successful sold-out shows. They played to screaming fans in the U.S. and Japan and filled vast stadiums in Australia and New Zealand. The tour dates marked the first time the original members had played together since Live Aid in 1985.
The New York Post called one show, “powerful and inventive,” while the Village Voice declared, “[Duran Duran] swooned us to altitudes ecclesiastic.”
LeBon added more in an AP interview:
- Working together again has been seamless, LeBon said. “It’s very similar to how it worked 20 years ago. Everybody’s a little bit more open to how they feel about stuff.”
….LeBon says the band is not trying to copy the Europop sound that sold them millions of records.
“I don’t think it would work if we tried to repeat that,” he said.
Yet at the same time, he said it was important for Duran Duran to keep enough of their own musical heritage so that their old fans could relate to their new music.
“We wouldn’t want to lose them by trying too hard by trying to connect with a new audience,” he said.
Whether or not the album clicks with listeners remains to be seen. But judging from the sold-out performances Duran Duran gave at venues last year — where shrieking fans sang along with every word – LeBon says he has “no doubt that we will get the attention when we release our stuff because I know there’s a huge, huge demand for (new music).”
And LeBon says the group is closer than ever – even though they still have their disagreements.
“We’re like any people who get very close. Sometimes you argue with each other. But the fact is we inspire each other musically,” he said. “Nobody else does it for me. It’s just very special.”
Due to their shriek appeal, I don’t think the Duranies have ever received their musical due, especially for their first two classic albums, which audaciously melded disco, hard rock and a new wave sensibility – more on that here.
Good luck to them – between the Cure, Tears For Fears, the Pixies, Morrissey, and the Duranies, the alt-’80s is looking pretty durable.