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Duran Duran on 40 Years of Their Debut Album — And What’s in Store for the Next 40: “It’s an Ongoing Dialogue”

John Taylor also discusses reception of the band’s new album, Future Past

duran duran interview
Duran Duran, photo by John Swannell
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    Duran Duran’s new album, Future Past, hasn’t been out very long — just since October 22nd. But bassist John Taylor says that he and his bandmates are ready to get, well, past it and onto what comes next.

    “The lead-up to the release of this album was insane,” Taylor told Consequence by Zoom in early November from his home in Los Angeles. The album itself, in fact, began during the fall of 2018 and went on pause after pandemic lockdowns began in March of 2020, resuming earlier this year. Promotion for Future Past, meanwhile, started in earnest with Duran Duran’s performance at the Billboard Music Awards in May “and we really haven’t stopped,” according to Taylor.

    “I can’t remember putting as much work into an album release as we have for this one,” the bassist notes. “But the album’s out now, and at some point you’ve got to let it go, right? I mean, I believe in it, and I can be pretty persuasive, as can my bandmates — ‘This is an important album! You need to get it!’ But there comes a point where it’s like a kid. You can give him the training wheels, you can send him to college, blah, blah blah, and at some point you’ve got to let it go.

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    “And for me I’m happy to just let [Future Past] go for a couple of months and just see. Hopefully it’ll find the audience. You never know.”

    Actually, all indications are that Future Past, with its blend of — as the title indicates — vintage and contemporary flavors, is indeed winning over the Duranies and bringing some new listeners to the party.

    Sporting collaborations with the likes of Tove Lo, Chai, Ivorian Doll, Blur guitarist Graham Coxon and former David Bowie keyboardist Mike Garson, the album hit No. 3 in the U.K. and topped the Independent Albums chart there, plus went Top 20 in several other countries. Critical and fan reaction has been strong as well, indicating that the album’s long gestation was indeed time well spent.

    “I know that our fanbase love the album — not just love the album, but they’re proud of the album,” Taylor says with a smile. “Our fans have taken so much shit over the years — ‘What, you still like Duran Duran?!‘ Even the first time around — ‘You like Duran Duran?!’ So to give them an album that they can say, ‘See…,’ it’s good for them. They’re proud, as are we.”

    Originally expected to be released last year, Future Past has also become the de facto celebration of the 40th anniversary of Duran Duran’s self-titled debut album (released on June 15th, 1981). Taylor says the band’s management was at one point “very keen” to set time aside for a commemoration and “made this huge list of things she thought we could do as part of the celebration.”

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    But that resolve dissipated over time, according to Taylor. “The closer we got, it seemed like everybody kind of lost the appetite,” he recalls. “Nick [Rhodes] particularly was like, ‘Y’know, is this something we really need to be shouting from the rooftops, that we’ve been together for 40 years?… The best thing we can really do is a great new album, because that will speak 1,000 words as to why and how we’ve managed to stay together this long.”

    The group did, however, pen the single “Anniversary” as a nod to “the fruits of staying together,” along with a lavishly produced video filled with imagery and imitators representing the band’s past.

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