A band still in de­mand.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - JAMES WIGNEY

SIX months ago, Du­ran Du­ran was star­ing into the abyss.

Af­ter 30 years to­gether in var­i­ous in­car­na­tions, 85 mil­lion al­bums sold and a string of hits in­clud­ing Rio, Hun­gry Like the Wolf, Wild Boys and Or­di­nary World, it looked like the end could be nigh.

Dur­ing a tour on the back of the band’s most re­cent al­bum, All You Need Is Now, which had at­tracted some of its best re­views in years, lead singer Si­mon Le­bon went for a note he’d nor­mally hit with ease at a show in Cannes. The note wasn’t there. When he got off stage it turned out he had lost seven notes from the top of his range and the doc­tors ini­tially couldn’t tell him when he would re­cover, forc­ing the band to can­cel sev­eral dates over the Euro­pean sum­mer and plung­ing its very ex­is­tence into doubt.

Thank­fully, af­ter con­sul­ta­tions with a voice ther­a­pist who worked on his pos­ture and tech­nique, Le­bon was able to re­con­vene with his band­mates Nick Rhodes, John Tay­lor and Roger Tay­lor a few months later to re- em­bark on the world tour that will bring the band to Aus­tralia in March.

Bass player John Tay­lor says the band con­tem­plated the worst.

‘‘ Ob­vi­ously it wasn’t as scary for us as it was for him, but we all had a good look into the abyss and won­dered what life would be like with­out Si­mon or if the band couldn’t go on,’’ he says.

‘‘ We got to con­sider those ques­tions over the sum­mer and that is quite hum­bling. So we came back to­gether with a re­newed sense of love and con­cern for each other.’’

Tay­lor is au­di­bly ex­cited about the prospect of re­turn­ing to Aus­tralia for an arena tour as some of the band’s defin­ing mo­ments hap­pened Down Un­der.

Thanks in part to Molly Meldrum do­ing us all a favour on Count­down in the early 1980s, Du­ran Du­ran had its first No. 1 sin­gle here with its now 30- year- old de­but sin­gle Planet Earth.

The clip for the song was also di­rected by Mel­bourne film­maker Rus­sell Mulc­ahy, who would go on to mas­ter­mind the flam­boy­ant and ground­break­ing videos for Rio, The Wild Boys and Re­flex among oth­ers.

‘‘ The first time we came to Aus­tralia to the Hordern Pav­il­ion, those were the big­gest shows we had played at that time,’’ Tay­lor says. ‘‘ We had more fun than should be al­lowed.

‘‘ Then we went back and made [ third al­bum] Seven and the Ragged Tiger at 301 Stu­dios in Castlereagh St and I feel like we al­most got kicked out af­ter that.’’

Du­ran Du­ran is a band still in de­mand for the big­gest fes­ti­vals such as Amer­ica’s Coachella, which they played this ear­lier year along­side Kanye West and Kings of Leon.

Part of the band’s longevity is that, de­spite go­ing through many line- ups, cen­tred on Le­bon and key­boardist Nick Rhodes, Du­ran Du­ran never re­ally split.

And when they re­united with their orig­i­nal line- up to great fan­fare 10 years ago, the in­ten­tion was al­ways to record new mu­sic rather than just tour­ing as a nos­tal­gia act.

They duly de­liv­ered As­tro­naut in 2004, Red Car­pet Mas­sacre in 2007 and All You Need Is Now late last year.

‘‘ We have a lot of drive in our band and we keep be­liev­ing our best years are ahead of us,’’ Tay­lor says. ‘‘ We have worked very hard not to get dragged back into the past, which is quite dif­fi­cult when you have the past we have, and we in­vest heav­ily in this mo­ment right now.

‘‘ We are all very proud of our most re­cent al­bum and that’s prob­a­bly the key to the lifeblood of this band – we keep writ­ing new ma­te­rial and put out al­bums ev­ery cou­ple of years.

‘‘ It doesn’t mat­ter how many mem­bers of the au­di­ence are com­ing to hear the old ma­te­rial, the fact is we get to play the old ma­te­rial with a lot more en­ergy be­cause we have four or five new songs.’’

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