Seminal new wave band Duran Duran is back on the road with its first new album in five years. The band is part of an eclectic lineup at the Washington State Fair, which starts Friday, Sept. 11.
Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon laughs off the idea of the New Wave band ever getting credit for the way it brought together electronic-dance music and rock.
“One thing I’ve learned is not to worry about getting credit for anything,” Le Bon says. “It’s all about the moment. It’s about the kids who see you play. Those are the things that matter. That’s what counts.”
Le Bon’s bunch is part of an eclectic lineup that ranges from Keith Urban to Pitbull playing this year’s Washington State Fair. The action starts Friday, Sept. 11, with country rapper Colt Ford. Duran Duran, supported by Chic (with Nile Rodgers), plays Sept. 23.
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, at The Washington State Fair, 110 Ninth Ave. S.W., Puyallup; $60-$100, includes fair admission (253-841-5045 or thefair.com).
Fair begins at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 11, and runs through Sept. 27. Opening concert by Colt Ford 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11.
The release of Duran Duran’s 14th studio album, “Paper Gods” (Warner Bros.), coincides with the opening of the state fair.
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“It’s been a very exciting year already,” says Le Bon, referring to the band’s new record deal with Warner Bros. and new agents William Morris Endeavor.
Le Bon, synthesizer whiz Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor started work on “Paper Gods” in March 2013, with Mark Ronson, who also produced the band’s “All You Need Is Now” album.
Ronson started off the sessions but then had to step away to do his own record “Uptown Special,” which ended up spawning this year’s monster hit “Uptown Funk.”
“We wanted to keep going,” Le Bon says. “So we hooked up with Mr Hudson, and we really clicked.”
Best known for his work with Jay Z and Kanye West, Mr Hudson worked on the ambitious song that became the title track of the new record, a sprawling seven-minute meditation about obsession with material things.
“It’s my favorite song on the album,” Le Bon says. “It reminds me of ‘New Religion.’ That’s the only thing we’ve ever done like it … But it still has a pace to it.”
“You Kill Me With Silence” also has echoes of the past while being firmly anchored in the present. It opens with a haunting synth line from Rhodes that harks back to “The Chauffeur” before layering in other elements.
“When everything else comes in to join it, at first, I think Snoop Dogg,” Le Bon says. “When the vocal comes in, I think Nancy Sinatra. Then when the chorus comes in, I think 10cc.”
When Ronson returned to the project, he had Rodgers in tow. Though Ronson and Rodgers hadn’t worked together before, Duran Duran and Rodgers had a lengthy history, reaching back to the Chic co-founder’s chart-topping remix of “The Reflex” and producing the “Notorious” album with the band.
Le Bon says he is proud of how well “Paper Gods” turned out.
“It’s an old-fashioned album — not just a couple good tracks and filler,” he says. “We come from the album generation, where you stacked them on the record player and listened all the way through … We were able to get into the heads of the artists who made the records. It made it worthwhile.
“There’s no point in putting out anything that isn’t great,” he adds. “We had to dig to get it right. And we did that.”