Though Simon Le Bon once sang that “wild boys never lose it,” the Duran Duran singer experienced a huge physical setback when he blew out his voice during a concert earlier this summer.
“I really did lose my top range — a whole octave of my range — for about two months,” he says. “The doctors were never able to give me a definitive diagnosis of what had occurred.”
Le Bon went on vocal rest and his bandmates and he rejiggered their set, so that when the singer was ready to sing again, the songs would ramp up from their mellower material into the frenetic songs they have always been known for.
“After seven shows I’m starting to feel like I’m getting back to invincible again,” says the 52-year-old singer.
Although there is an air of humor in this statement, there is also an air of truth. For a band whose sound so defined the 1980s, Duran Duran somehow escape being defined by that decade. For their most recent offering, last year’s “All You Need is Now,” they worked with producer Mark Ronson and achieved a sound that honors their legacy, while showing a keen awareness of where music is today.
“I think we’re very lucky, in that we’ve had numerous hits, from the early stuff — I guess, ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ was the first big hit and ‘Is There Something I Should Know,’ ‘Rio,’ ‘The Reflex,’ — we’ve got lots of songs that really have had huge success here, and when you have so many of them, it’s difficult for any one song to enslave you,” he says. “We could very easily go out and play a greatest hits show, but we’re very conscious of the fact that to keep our excitement alive in the band, we need to make new albums, we need to make new songs and we need to play them to people.”
Is there something they should know?
Le Bon says that Duran Duran has got their setlists down to a science, as far as what old hits and new numbers they play.
“We don’t need to play as much as half the number of these songs, but not as little as a quarter,” he says. “There really is a balance that seems obvious when you’re playing a show. If you put four new songs together, then the audience gets twitchy. They want something they can dance to, and they know the words to, something they can sing along to, something they know can give them the feeling that they want.”
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