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Duran Duran’s Signing At Amoeba, Monday October 5th 2015


Amoeba was a mad house on Monday night, the four Englishmen of the enduring band Duran Duran were signing their new album, and you have to excuse me but I had no idea their fame was still at this level of fervor. The signing was very sold out, the line was intense, and if you wanted just to take pictures as I did, while arriving only half an hour before the event, well, it was very difficult… Most of my pictures were taken at arm length, perched on a stool, and it was a battle to see just the tip of the hair of the famous fours, whom I will always associate with the 80’s. You could tell their visit was a big deal, there was a lot of press and a large entourage, and as true divas, they arrived late,… but there was nothing diva-esque about the way they were behaving with their fans.

I was never a huge fan of Duran Duran but you have to recognize their lasting career, and although I was under the wrong impression that they hadn’t done much since the late 80’s, it turns out that they have steadily released an album every two, three, four or five years, since 1990. Their latest in date is ‘Paper Gods’, it’s their 14th studio album, which was streaming during the signing, and if I will need more than a background music to get an idea, a lot of critics say it’s a good one,… may be because they have invited a bunch of famous people to make this one, including Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, Kanye West/Jay-Z collaborator Ben “Mr” Hudson, Janelle Monáe, John Frusciante, Kiesza and Davide Rossi.

‘We found a whole new level of inspiration on this album,” said the band’s keyboardist Nick Rhodes in an interview. ‘We were talking the other day about artists that have been around for a long time – our contemporaries and some older ones, and there’s only a handful of the latter now, still out there playing shows. And we were saying, ‘What albums did they make this far down the line that we own?’ And that was a difficult one.’ From what I could hear, there are some dance beats, with some real funk and R&B that seem to be a bit rehashed from the 80’s, barely reviewed for an update by a A-list of hip musicians, but that may be just me,… I just don’t understand the collage of the artwork, however, I am sure it is very deep.

‘We’ve allowed ourselves the time to make music that we can be proud of’, said Simon Le Bon in an interview. ‘You see some bands having a reunion and then banging a new album out six months later, and you can’t help but think: ‘Is that as good as you can be?’ We knew the new record wasn’t ready for a long time, that it wasn’t good enough. We wanted to make something we could be proud of. I judge what we release by my favorite albums by other artists: Patti Smith’s Horses, Neil Young’s Harvest, Rolling Stones’ Let It Bleed, Blue by Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed’s Transformer, Aladdin Sane. Those are classic albums. The only rule is, it’s got to be up there, it’s got to be music you can live with for the rest of your life.’

That is some kind of ambitious statement, and streaming the thing on Spotify, I believe they may have reached Rihanna-Katy-Perry’s form of classicism rather than Neil-Young-Lou-Reed’s.

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