The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey on October 22, 1993 · 112
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The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey · 112

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Location:
Hackensack, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Friday, October 22, 1993
Page:
112
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22 THE RECORD FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22, 1993 Out of '80s obscurity Duran Duran is back on the star scene Special from The Boston Globe Who loves you when you're down and out? The guys in Duran Duran know the answer to this old rhetorical: nobody. Here's bassist John Taylor's tale of life at the lower rungs of the pop star ladder "Let me tell you a story. Three years ago, we were here in Los Angeles at the time of the MTV Awards, and it was the year that Aerosmith and Janet Jackson cleaned up. We were in town to promote our liberty' album. We wanted to go to the awards and we couldn't get tickets ... Now, they're thinking about giving us an award this year. You have to roll with the irony of it." Comeback of the year? Maybe. Their ninth and latest album, "Duran Duran" is a multi-platinum hit. Powered by the "Ordinary World" ballad, Duran Duran is a star band once again. Irony of the year?, No doubt. MTV helped make Duran Duran and Duran Duran helped make MTV. They were partners in style and commerce during the early-Eighties new wave-video boom. On "Too Much Information," the lead track on the latest album, Simon LeBon sings: "Destroyed by MTVI hate to bite the hand that feeds me so much informationThe pressure's on the screen to sellHey TV child, look into my eyesHere by intervention." Duran Duran with a core of founders Taylor, LeBon, and keyboardist Nick Rhodes, plus longtime guitarist Warren Cuc-curullo isn't being smug about its second life. "We've grown as people," says Taylor on the phone, "and I think I did probably go through an incredibly cynical period. But I'm all right now. I'm having a good time, happy I'm still doing it. I'm in my 30s and I'm still playing bass guitar. It's unbelievable." Did the young Taylor ever think there would be a vital, viable Duran Duran in 1993? After the usual rock-star decadence and burnout? After the in-tra group squabbles? After the fall? "I kind of go in and out," says Taylor. "Sometimes I think well be making records until we're in our 80s, and then there are other times when I think we should stop immediately and stop embarrassing ourselves. Most of the time, one' vacillates between those two extremes." Duran Duran was a longtime critical punching bag dismissed aa teeny-bop fops, slagged as corrupters of new wave artistry, and derided as merchants of lightweight new romanticism, a mmmmmmmmmmmmxi-it -j iiimijaumi iyu.i..,.m L. im imu.ii il M Duran Duran: from left, Simon LeBon, John Taylor, and Nick Rhodes. R.HJS3S pni-vznv DURAN DURAN: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and next Friday. Radio City Music Hall, Sixth Avenue and 50th Street $25, $30, and $35. Box office, TicketMaster outlets, and TicketMaster Charge, 507-8900 or (212) 307-7171. mall version of Roxy Music. "You wouldn't be referring to all those negative critics?" asks Taylor, with a laugh. "The ones that aren't around now? Because everybody now is just telling us how much they loved everything we did." True enough. Duran Duran has benefited from revisionist history and new wave nostalgia. Taylor does admit that Duran Duran which scored early on with "Planet Earth," "Girls on Film," "Rio," and "Hungry Like the Wolf did play to love- and lust-struck teens, even as they aspired to cultivate a weightier audience. They found their initial following in the UK among the art-rock crowd. But Duran Duran broke a punk-new wave taboo and chatted up the teen press and,"before you knew it," Taylor says, "our audience was made up, largely, of screaming females." Transfer that to the States, big time. Duran Duran rode that wave through the mid-Eighties. Their popularity zoomed; worldwide album sales approached 20 million; its members took on side projects like Power Station and Acadia. Then, by 1986 and the "Notorious" album, the bloom was off the rose. Duran Duran became passe. Their 1988 and 1989 albums, "Big Thing" and "Liberty," were ignored or dismissed. Rock critics got their revenge. Radio ignored them. The experience all of us had gone through, five or six years of success," says Taylor, "and then suddenly to have all this taken away and everybody saying Tour career is over' ... It was an enormously disheartening period. We were practically broke it's amazing how tie money came and went. And it really felt very hard. We felt like we were almost being punished for something and we couldn't quite understand what it was." When they started to record "Duran Duran," the group entered the studio with a different perspective. "We just went into a room in Warren's house," says Taylor, "and sat around and jammed. Which is what we would have done when we were teenagers. No roadies, no press agents, nobody hanging around. Just the four of us. And it made for a lot more honesty. We were able to get closer to what we wanted to say." Which turned out to be a Duran Duran album with a bit more edge, syncopation, sophistication, maturity, and depth. They were cocky fashion plates no longer. But could they come back as an au courant pop band? "If Duran Duran were one guy, a David Cassidy or a Peter Gabriel," offers Taylor, "it would have definitely washed up on a beach somewhere. But because we're a band, we've always been making music." They buckled down; they blended styles; they got tougher. They had little left to lose. And they scored. Taylor suggests that he's both pleased and bemused to find Duran Duran back in the top of the pops. "We'd taken ourselves out of the current context," he says. "Recently we were doing promo gigs on TV, 'Arsenio Hall and we were on with Naughty by Nature and I'm thinking, Wow, we've never been on TV with hip-hop acts.' Like, we really kind of faded away in 1985 and since there's been so many changes grunge, rap ... You realize you've gone through another door, in a way. You've entered into another phase and, for a while, there's gonna be no shifting us." But, in concert, is Duran Duran circa 1)3 as flamboyant as Duran Duran circa '83? "You get back into the groove," says Taylor, chuckling. "You start going on tour and the hair dye comes out again. And all the flamboyance is back and under the spotlight" A CHHDB $TOEY. Books & Distinctive Playthings RiTc:dFcL!ryi3prc:it3pr::t,,, , A CELEB1AITON GF AMERICA In honor of a new landmark anthology for children, Join Amy Cobs, editor of this remarkable treasury of folklore and folk music, in a program of story and song featuring six of the Caldecott artists whose artwork animates the rich diversity of the American experience. Donald Crews Richard Egielski Anita Lobel Jerry Pinkney John Schoenherr David Wiesner DATE: Samlay, Octo&er 24, 1333 AGES: 5 years tla adult PEEFOISIANCE: SIGNING: 3:C9-430 Tickets far the performance portion of the program are FREE! 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