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Duran Duran – A Life Less Ordinary

Duran Duran - A Life Less Ordinary
Soon now in the spring issue of Electronic Beats Magazine (Reinventing the Future – The Visionary Issue, due March 14) is an in-depth interview with Simon Le Bon of legendary Duran Duran, where we get the inside story on their starry past with Warhol and Bowie, as well as their latest creative output with star producer Mark Ronson. These are only a few highlights – be sure to catch the whole story in a fortnight!
How was it meeting Warhol for the first time in the early eighties?

For me, it was meeting an artist. Like myself. I considered myself as an artist as well, you know? To me, it was a meeting of equals, really. And I think that he saw it the same way. Nick and I went to the Factory and met him there. It was easy.

There are few bands on this planet who really lived up to the Warhol superstar idea. Duran Duran were instant superstars in the early eighties. How do you relate to the term ‘superstar’ as coined by the Factory people?

The answer is simple: You cannot survive the life on the fast lane that Warhol’s superstars lived. You have to step back and live a ‘normal’ life at a certain time. It’s just not healthy. And as you grow older, you do things that interfere with such an unhealthy lifestyle: You get married, you have children, and different other things come into your life. The Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground ethic was okay for a short time for everyone involved. And let’s face it: weren’t The Velvet Underground short-lived? Didn’t they exist for only three or four years? And didn’t they then implode like a black hole? It wasn’t really a long-term thing. You have to have a plan if you want to build a real life around it.

How did you get along with Mark Ronson?

He just said: I want to bring you back to that particular experimental style. Full stop.

We come from new wave and punk, really. We draw from Roxy Music and a little bit of Chic and a little bit of the Sex Pistols. If you round that up it’ll make Duran Duran. It is the early eighties side of the band that you hear on the new album. Mark had a lot of impact on that sound. He said to us, straight away: “Look, guys, when I was a kid, I got your first two albums, and I was disappointed when I bought the third one. It didn’t have the same kind of experimental spirit. Seven And The Ragged Tiger lacked the edginess. It sounded safe. It didn’t have that cohesive direction.”

So, what makes a good producer? Does a good producer have to be a leader?

Yes, he has to be a leader. Yes, he has to have an opinion. You know, Mark has been a fan of the band for decades. That really helped. Because he knows what he wants to hear coming out of the band. He had a very strong vision of what he wanted to create – and a very charming way of achieving that. That’s very important, too. He’s someone who doesn’t want to intimidate you or to bully you or to piss you off in any way.

Read the whole interview in the upcoming Electronic Beats Magazine 01/11: Reinventing the Future – The Visionary Issue out March 14. You can pre-order it in our EB Shop.

We are very excited to present you Duran Duran on stage! Taking place on May 26th, 2011 at the prestigious Admiralspalast in Berlin, this will be our third event in our Electronic Beats Classics series following concerts with Donna Summer and Yello. More information here.

Published March 09, 2011.