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Open Skies catch up with Nick Rhodes and John Taylor of Duran Duran ahead of their gig in Dubai

24 January 2018

Open Skies speaks to Duran Duran founding members, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor on playing at the Emirates Airline International Jazz Festival and dealing with fame

Why do you think Duran Duran has lasted 40 years (and counting)? Nick Rhodes: I think we’ve remained together because we’re still able to inspire each other. Duran Duran is really more like an art project than a band. We collaborate with other artists from different fields and constantly embark upon new journeys.

How did you cope with the levels of fame you’ve experienced? Our trajectory in the ’80s truly took us by surprise – although we did have an extraordinary time. But we never really measured anything in terms of fame. When we formed the band, it wasn’t to become famous – that was just something that occasionally happened as a consequence of becoming enormously popular. Fame became something very different after the birth of reality TV, creating a new generation of young people who just wanted to be famous for the sake of it. I still find this culture quite baffling. We always judged success on our artistic achievements.

But those times must have been pretty crazy? John Taylor: I remember doing a press conference in Atlanta, Georgia, not too many years ago. I had a cold and was using tissues, throwing them into a wastebasket under the desk. A girl came up to me some time later and told me she took the used tissues, so she could ‘catch my cold’... seriously weird.

How different is that early fame in comparison to the type you enjoy today? Things were moving fast in the early ’80s, and we weren’t fully formed as adult human animals (speaking for myself, at least). Consequently, there was a tremendous amount of emotion and drama invested in the slightest events. Egos were both swollen and sensitive. It made for a bumpy ride a lot of the time. Today, we’re more relaxed and have more time for what matters in life.

How does a band remain relevant when it spans four decades? You have to care. You have to be interested in current movements in music and fashion. You have to be interested in growing as a musician and as an artist.

What can we expect from your performance at the Emirates Airline Dubai International Jazz Festival? A history of post-’70s dance-pop in 90 minutes.

Dubai Media City, UAE | Dubaijazzfest.com

Interview: Andrew Nagy