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New songs from legendary band
Duran Duran are back on the road with new music to perform alongside classics like The Reflex and Wild Boys.
Keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor, drummer Roger Taylor and adopted Brummie, singer Simon Le Bon, play a hometown gig at Birmingham's Genting Arena on December 4, 2015.
Their 14th studio album, Paper Gods, was released in September. It was recorded in London with producers Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, Josh Blair, and Mr Hudson.
The record features special guests Janelle Monáe (on the first single, Pressure Off), former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, Canadian singer Kiesza, British singer/ songwriter Mr Hudson, violinist Davidé Rossi and actress Lindsay Lohan.
Commenting on the feel of the album, John Taylor says: "It really goes back to that strange early Duran mix: the hard-edged pop, co-existing with this dark, weird, experimental side.''
''That's something that's essential to all of us," Nick Rhodes adds. "It's great to be able to lift people's spirits, and your own, with a strong shot of pure pop, but the world we live in isn't all just made of that stuff, so it seems natural to me that we have kept one foot in the darker, more Gothic side of life."
On Stage: Simon Le Bon fronting Duran Duran at Sydney Entertainment Centre in 2012 (pic: Eva Rinaldi/ Russavia/ Wikipedia)
Early sessions for Paper Gods began in 2013, with Mark Ronson and engineer Josh Blair once again joining the band in their south London recording studio, as they had for 2011's All You Need is Now, which was produced by Ronson. When Ronson was called away to begin working on his own album, Duran Duran and Blair hooked up with fellow Brummie Ben 'Mr' Hudson.
In the summer of 2014, Ronson returned once more to the project, adding long-time Duran collaborator, Nile Rodgers, to the mix for two of the album's standout tracks. The remaining songs were co-produced by Josh Blair and the band.
"We found a whole new level of inspiration on this album," says Nick.
"We've allowed ourselves the time to make music that we can be proud of," adds Simon Le Bon. "I judge what we release by my favourite albums - Horses, Harvest, Let It Bleed, Blue, Transformer, Aladdin Sane. Those are classic albums. The only rule is, it's got to be music you can live with for the rest of your life."
Chic co-founder Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson co-wrote, and produced the tracks Pressure Off and Only in Dreams. The former harks back to the taut funk of Duran Duran's 1986 album Notorious, which was also co-produced by Rodgers.
"Notorious was a strong touchstone for the band," says Roger Taylor. "All You Need is Now definitely reflected our earlier albums, but our starting point here was Notorious. We're fortunate to be able to be inspired by our own back catalogue – not many bands can say that."
In a collaboration overseen by China Chow, the band worked closely with Los Angeles-based artist Alex Israel, who created the album's cover art (pictured). It features a collage of images that reference the visual history of Duran Duran, each placed like a sticker on a reproduction of Israel's Sky Backdrop painting.
Formed in Birmingham in 1978, Duran Duran have sold more than 100 million records worldwide. The band has been honoured with multiple Grammy, BRIT, Ivor Novello, and MTV Video Music Lifetime Achievement Awards, as well as a 20th Century Style Icon award from the City of Milan.
Duran Duran 2015 UK tour dates:
Nov 27 : Manchester Arena ; Nov 28 : First Direct Arena, Leeds;
Nov 30: Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff;
Dec 2: The Brighton Centre;
Dec 4: Genting Arena, Birmingham;
Dec 5: Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle;
Dec 6: SSE Hydro, Glasgow;
Dec 8: O2 Arena, London;
Dec 9: Bournemouth International Centre;
Dec 11: Capital FM Arena, Nottingham;
Dec 12: Echo Arena, Liverpool.