Fortysomethings who used to rock high hair and rubber bracelets won’t be the only ones coming to see Duran Duran play Hard Rock Live Tuesday. The British band famous for such hits as Hungry Like the Wolf, Rio and Notorious have a whole new set of fans. The guys — Simon LeBon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor (no relation) and Nick Rhodes — played Ultra Music Fest in Miami back in March and were pleased by the reaction of a new generation. We chatted with Roger about the foursome’s tour promoting the new album, All You Need Is Now, and the reason behind their staying power.
How is the tour going so far?
Very well. Simon’s been off awhile with a vocal problem. But his voice seems to be fully back in order. We’re touring through October.
Duran Duran formed in 1978 and is still going strong. To what do you attribute that?
I think it’s based on respect. There’s a trust between us. We know each other very well. We know how to avoid pushing each other’s buttons. We know if someone’s in a bad mood on the bus or the airplane. It’s like a long marriage. We know how to interact with each other. That’s really what longevity is all about. A band is only as good as how the band gets on.
You played Ultra, which has a much younger audience. So you’re appealing to a wide range of fans now.
We are definitely seeing a younger vibe. Ultra was incredible. We saw a sea of ravers, 18-year-old kids. And we thought, ‘Oh God, how is this going to go down?’ We stepped on there with our instruments, and they knew all our songs and lyrics. We held the audience for a good hour. People can start to wander off, but we seemed to captivate them. We were shocked. It was a little bit of an experiment for us, but a great night. I think it’s because of iTunes and all that. My teenage son doesn’t watch TV; he watches YouTube. And I think our videos have stood the test of time.
Do you have a favorite song to play live?
Planet Earth has become a bit of a seminal piece of music for us. We had no idea at the time people would still want to hear that song. It was our first record and has this sort of futuristic vibe. It’s become more meaningful to us over the years. We’ve opened with it quite a lot.
We hear you’ve gotten into DJ’ing.
It’s still music and still creative, and I love doing it. I kind of got ahold of the technical side, mixing. I went to Ibiza a few times. It’s great to have as well because we have so much downtime with Duran Duran. We’ll make an album, go on tour, then another two years go by. Everybody’s got families and God knows what else they have to attend to. I was on the same bill as [fellow rocker turned DJ] Tommy Lee in Moscow last year. It was really, really cool: two drummers, two bands that were kind of huge in the ’80s.
Did you ever think at the height of your success that you’d still be touring in 2011?
Not at all. When you’re younger you tend to have a much shorter term view of the future. I don’t think we looked that far forward. When you join a band you don’t think it’s going to be a 30- or 40-year career; that’s why people become lawyers, don’t they? It’s a very small group of people who have been around so long. I think U2 has been playing longer than we have. We’re lucky to be a part of that exclusive club.