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Scoot’s exclusive with Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon

Scoot
February 20, 2019 - 9:20 am
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The 80s were a special decade, not only to those who lived through it, but also to young generations who have adopted the soundtrack as their own.  Only a few bands perfectly personify the sound and visuals of the 80s, and one of those bands is Duran Duran.  I was granted the rare opportunity to interview their lead singer Simon Le Bon.  Here a few highlights, or better yet, listen to the entire interview.  

Scoot:  The last time you guys were in concert here I told your drummer, Roger, that I was at the concert in Baton Rouge in 1984…and I was one of the only guys there.  Much has changed since then.  I saw a lot of guys at your show here a couple years ago.  Duran Duran is suddenly cool with people who didn’t think you were as cool back then.

Simon:  Going back to what you said in your opening, we’re actually starting to become cool with a whole new generation of people, who are listening to our music among other artists from days gone by and making us their own.

Related: PHOTOS Duran Duran plays first sold out show at the new Filmore music club 

Scoot:  Duran Duran is still you - Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor. You reflected this real popular, androgynous look in the 1980s.  What do you think that look would be like today?  What kind of reaction would it get?

Simon:  I think it’s a bit weird, when guys who are a little bit older, go androgynous.  I’m not sure that’s a very good look.  I don’t think it would go down so well now.  As time goes by, you are able to let more of your natural personality and natural image manifest itself on stage and in your performance.  I think a natural honesty starts to come through in the lyrics, particularly.

Scoot:  When did you really get the sense that Duran Duran was going to be huge?

Simon:  Funny enough, I remember we were having a conversation.  It was the second day I ever met the band.  I was in a taxi with John Taylor, and we’re sharing this taxi.  I did say to John, “What about street credibility?”  And he says, “Simon…street credibility?  Duran Duran’s got about as much street credibility as Chanel No. 19.  We are in it for the big time.  We are going to go to the top.”   And he had a very clear idea of where we were headed right from the first day.  We knew this was an ambition and not a reality, but there was a sense of possibility about it.  The fact that we could achieve this.  We always thought, if so-and-so could do it, then we could too.

Scoot:  Your first single, Planet Earth, was classic Duran Duran.  There was also that common denominator with “Rio” and “Wild Boys” and “New Moon” and “Notorious” and “Ordinary World.”  It was all different, but it was still consistently that Duran Duran sound.  How would you describe that Duran Duran sound.

Simon:  There's more to it than just the sound.  There's the idea, the lyrics.  We don't like to do things the standard way.  We always try to do things a little bit different.  We always try to do things new for ourselves.  That's the first thing to remember.

Scoot:  You guys were part of the answer to politically-driven punk rock of the late 80s.  I found what is believed to be your very first interview from 1981.  You were asked if you were trying to make a statement with your music.  You answered, “Yeah, we're trying to say let's have some fun.  That's it.”  You went on to criticize bands that make political statements.  So Duran Duran is non-political and just fun.

Simon:  It wasn't so much the punk movement we were following; there was something else that came in between punk and us.  That was this kind of new wave of austerity.  All the bands would just wear black.  The music was kind of industrial.  There wasn't a lot of juice in it.  It was dry.  I think we wanted to do something that was different, as one naturally does.  You want to react to what has gone before.  We did offer that kind of idea of fun and playfulness to our audience.

Scoot:  I was going through a divorce and those songs totally spoke to me.  When you sing these iconic lyrics over and over and you go through times in your life, I'm sure certain lyrics mean something different to you at different times.  What song most reflect who Simon Le Bon is today?

Simon:  That's a very difficult question to answer.  I don't even think of it like that really.  The songs, when I sing them, they take me back to a time…and I remember how I felt.  It's a wonderful way of keeping your memories alive musically.  I certainly step into the shoes I was wearing 20 years ago.  And I'm still the same person.  Every cell in my body may have been renewed a few times over in the intervening time, but I am still that person.  I've still got the same driving forces inside me.

Scoot:  What's a dad thing you do that people may not expect Simon Le Bon to do?

Simon:  I tinker with…

Listen to the entire interview…

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