On Nov. 4, 2013, I traveled to New York City to meet and mingle with Duran Duran at an exclusive party, where I was able to chat with my long-time musical heroes prior to a screening at the Museum of Modern Art of their concert film, Duran Duran Unstaged, directed by David Lynch.
After the film, my perpetual concert date and best friend Yasmin and I were able to spend some more time at a question and answer panel with the four main members of the band — vocalist Simon LeBon, synthmaster Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor, and drummer Roger Taylor. It wasn’t the only time Yasmin and I engaged the band, but it was perhaps the most memorable.
If there be musical equivalents of super-heroes, new wave legends Duran Duran surely fit the bill. And for me, the man of the hour is usually the pensive, fashionable Nick, a true gent who seems two steps ahead of the world and the one genius who should score the soundtrack of life.
At the Q&A, I asked Nick about Internet streaming, a topic he recently revisited in an interview with DC’s Metro Weekly in promotion for the upcoming Duran Duran concert at the Verizon Center on Friday, April 8, 2016, in support of an excellent new album, Paper Gods — their first to break the U.S. top 10 on the Billboard Albums Chart since Duran Duran (The Wedding Album). (Paper Gods reached #10 in 2015 and The Wedding Album #7 in 1993, by the way.)
Watch the official music video for recent single “Pressure Off” by Duran Duran, featuring Janelle Monae and another hero — Nile Rodgers!
Mickey McCarter: Duran Duran were responsible for publishing the first CD-quality single commercially available over the Internet with “Electric Barbarella” back in 1997, but some artists have turned against some forms of Internet commerce today. David Byrne and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke have come out against Internet streaming services like Spotify recently. Where do you stand, particularly given you were such early adopters of the Internet?
Nick Rhodes: I think we would all agree that the Internet has been the most fantastic thing for music in that it has made it available for all of us 24-hours a day, and wherever we are in the world, we can find anything. It’s absolutely incredible.
From the point of view of Internet piracy, it’s a bit of a nightmare. I think it’s terrible for new bands who are just starting out, and they realize they haven’t sold any records… and they don’t have any money and they can’t make the next one. I think that’s sad.
I hope there is balance. I hope so. I hope people who really love art, music, books, films — any kind of culture that has some kind of economics behind it — I hope they realize that they realize they love it enough that it’s worth something.
I don’t know what any of us would do without iTunes right now.
In the Metro Weekly interview, Nick extended his thoughts to say, “I think it’s very, very hard for young artists to get past that first album and keep going to make things when they’re just not at that point yet where they get enough royalties from iTunes or whether they’re getting enough streams on Spotify, because actually the payment is pretty miserable for artists.”
You see, Nick is the brains of Duran Duran. You can always count on him to give the considered, cerebral response to a question! I have more to say about Duran Duran prior to seeing their show in the next week, so look out for some thoughts from me. I also was fortunate enough to review a great show by the band last year when they performed for a weekend in Port Chester, NY. (You can read that concert review online!)
Meanwhile, you can buy tickets for their next DC show online as well as some tickets are still available! Disco legend Nile Rodgers and funky house artist Shamir Bailey open for the band in what is sure to be a fantastic performance.