By Matt Diehl
Simon Le Bon, left, Hotel Rivington, New York City.
Donï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½t call it aï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ oh, go ahead. Welcome to the Duran Duran comeback. Yes, again. And weï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½re fine with that.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Our manager phoned to ask, ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Would you be able to take a call from Justin Timberlake?,ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Duranï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½s famously dapper frontman Simon Le Bon recalls. ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½I said, well, Iï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½m a bit busy, but if he feels he mustï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Okay!ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Le Bonï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½s tongue, of course, is planted firmly in cheekï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½except about the Justin Timberlake call. The ex-boy-band triller-turned-force got in touch after his partner-in-crime, superstar producer Timbaland got drafted to produce the new romantic/new wave iconsï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ upcoming album, Red Carpet Massacre (Timbalandï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½s protï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½gï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Nate ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Danjaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Hills also got in the mix).
According to Le Bon, Timberlake pitched himself as the ultimate fan in late night, whiskey-soaked tï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½te-ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½-tï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½tes also attended by significant others Jessica Biel and Le Bonï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½s wife Yasmin.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Justin said, ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½I want to be there and make sure you make a record your true fans like,ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Le Bon says. ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½He told us his favorite songs when he was 13 were ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Ordinary Worldï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ and ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Come Undone.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ But he didnï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½t need to convince us. This was a dream teamï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½it raised our bar so high, and it also changed the style. I got the chance to learn from two masters. Maybe they learned something from me, but Iï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ve definitely learned from them.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
Indeed, just as Eno makes U2 sound more like U2, Timberlake and Timbaland distill the classic Duran Duran sound to its essence, yet make it feel more moderne than ever. Then again, these dashing futurists have always been ahead of their time: time has just finally caught up, as the Duran Duran influence percolates throughout the best contemporary pop, spanning the Scissor Sisters and the Killers to the Strokes, VHS Or Beta, and Franz Ferdinand.
As such, Red Carpet Massacre is firm evidence the band is living in the momentï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½sexy is back, yï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½all, and itï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½s got a posh English accent. ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Bands today understand the values we stand forï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½our general concepts of art,ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Le Bon clarifies. ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Everything we do has to have class, be meaningful, and above all, make you dance and want to have sex. On one level, weï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½re really an experimental band, and this is one of our most important albums.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Duran Duranï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½s ethic is to always do something new, and on this album we pushed through to new countries. But really, there’s nothing better than going to a party and hearing your song playing. Itï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½s the best thing.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
Photo by Michael Schmelling