Tag Archives: BBC

Simon LeBon Interview

Duran Duran tweeted that there would be a Simon LeBon interview on the BBC in the UK yesterday, and while we were thrilled to hear the news, we weren’t able to hear the interview ourselves….enter Debbie Craggs, who graciously agreed to listen to the interview and take notes to share!  Thanks Debbie!

 

By Debbie Craggs

Last night DD.com announced a Simon LeBon interview on the BBC. Our front man would be talking to Mark Lester on BBC local radio stations prior to the main event of the evening in the UK – the Brit Awards 2015.   (Some may have preferred to watch the great British Bake Off for comic relief but that’s another matter altogether.  In our house my One Directioner youngest daughter took control of the TV for the Brits.

So on I went to BBC, ready to listen and possibly hear any scoops for the new album!  As the interview began, the topic of conversation was clearly on the Brits. Simon stated he couldn’t remember how many Brits he has been to as he was drunk for most of them. He also jokingly accused organisers of putting something in the air conditioning to make people “off their faces”.

Simon described Brits as the premier UK music award show. Compared to the US Grammies, the Brits has an air of anti-establishment – everyone wants to have as much fun as possible. He recalled going to the Brits very smashed one year, and pinched someones seat, only to end up getting punched in the nose.

As they continued talking about the award show, Simon said it is difficult as it is such a massive venue (now hosted at the O2).  He described the evening as lots of different factions sitting round tables, record company bosses, etc. and sometimes it gets quite loud with parties around the tables.

Mark Lester asked about 2004 when Duran Duran was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Music award, presented by Justin Timberlake.  Simon explained that meeting led to the collaboration which we all know as Red Carpet Massacre.  Simon also laughed that   you can stand there on stage looking out over all the columnists that have written horrible things about you in the past, thinking “Yeah, gotcha now!”

The conversation then turned to the War Child gig at Wilton’s music hall. Simon described this gig as spectacular and how one of the reasons for the band still being here after 30 years is because they still get along with each other. They are friends and have a laugh together and enjoy themselves.  Simon also made a comment that the music that they wrote, “…turns out to have been not that bad at all!”

They go on to discuss who would win at the Brits tonight. Simon  mentions Sam Smith, and says he would love Mark Ronson to win something (that prediction came true with Mark and Bruno Mars winning Best Single of the Year). Just as I was about to lose hope of any album news…Simon then says he is going to blow his own trumpet, and briefly talks about the new album and how they have been in the studio.  He explains that the band has done three songs with Mark and Nile Rogers, and that they are working with the “fantastic producer”, (that’s a quote directly from Simon) Mr Hudson.

Simon then gives some insider predictions, or tips, for tonight. He lists the winners as: Mark Ronson, Charli XCX, Sam Smith and Royal Blood.  For those who haven’t heard – Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars won best single, Sam Smith won British Breakthrough act and also the global success award, and Royal Blood won the British Group award.

During the interview, Simon even had time to answer a question posed by a fan. They ask Simon about who should have the Outstanding Contribution to Music who hasn’t already received one.  Simon answers that Steve Strange should have something for the encouragement and involvement he had with the music in the 80s.

The interview ends with “All You Need is Now” being played.

Debbie CraggsDebbie Craggs is a single mum to three teenage girls in Northamptonshire UK where she works as a school nurse. She has been a Duranie since the 80s and in her spare time she plays clarinet at her local chapel.

Inside this gilded cage

I was able to take some time and catch the Robert Elms (BBC London) interview with Lori Majewski and Nick Rhodes. Here’s the link for those of you who want to listen. (It starts with Girls on Film at about the 2:31:00 mark)

For the first half, Robert spoke with Nick as they were having “technical difficulty” getting Lori patched in from New York. They talked about New Wave, and how even on American charts – most of the acts were British. Nick spoke of how British acts really wanted to make their mark in America. He also talked about the diversity of the charts and what was available at the time.  At this point, Lori is on the line and is able to say that we were very much caught in “middle-aged” American tastes. She’s right. I can remember being at my sitter’s house after school and having to listen to Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” over and over again. On 8-track. It really is a wonder how I made it through that year before I finally discovered KROQ and heard Planet Earth for the first time.

They continue on this theme, and it seems almost astounding to Robert Elms, and I suppose many Brits, that here in America it wasn’t places like New York and LA that drove New Wave. It was suburbia.  Lori makes the point that MTV didn’t arrive in NYC or LA (proper) until 1983, but places in middle-America had MTV far earlier. It was when radio stations began getting requests to play Girls on Film in the middle-of-anywhere Kansas or Florida that suddenly New Wave got a foothold. Thank goodness, otherwise we might still be listening to the Piña Colada Song…

Lori also talks about John Hughes films, which, if you’re not from America, I’m just not sure the importance comes across. You just cannot really imagine how vital those films were to 1980s coming-of-age. Movies such as Pretty in Pink, the Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire…those films were what framed our adolescence. They set the bar for what American teens wanted to look like and be like, and that music really became not only part of the soundtracks for those movies, but for our lives. Much of that music IS New Wave.

I think back on my pre-teen/teen years and it’s really impossible to untangle it all. Unlike many people who chose to write off the 80s as some sort of style experiment gone off the rails, those years matter to me. They made me who I am. I interviewed Lori Majewski several months back (you can read that interview here) and we talked the reasons why Duran Duran fans respond so emotionally to the band, even today. Why does this band matter so much to us?  Many of us were so young when the band was at the height of its popularity, I know that in my case, I didn’t even have the opportunity to see them (Duran Duran) until I was in college.  Even seeing them today has the potential to live out (some of) the fantasies that rolled through my head back when I was twelve. That undaunted, unbridled, RAW teen emotion still exists within. For many, that emotion is not only what keeps us returning for more, it is also what drives us to do some of the crazy things we hear about. Not that I’m judging.  After all, I’ve bought tickets to shows I openly swore I would not be attending, I’ve fawned over a band member or two in my time…and I write a blog. When I picture my fandom, I see it as that leopard in a cage that a certain song mentions. Occasionally, the leopard gets out. I’ll bet yours does too.

-R

Today in Duran History – Peter Powell

On today’s date in 1981 (which feels like a very long time ago as I type this…), Duran Duran recorded a performance for Peter Powell’s show on Radio 1 in the UK.  It was not transmitted on this date, however…that came later in August of the same year.

I’m guessing that most people from the UK recognize the name Peter Powell, but for those of us in other parts of the world, his name may not be quite so familiar unless you’re very well-read on Duran history. Peter Powell was a DJ from Birmingham (of all places!). He was hired by Radio 1 in 1977 and shortly thereafter added being a presenter on Top of the Pops to his resume as well.

His shows on Radio 1 included the weekday late afternoon time slot (3:30-5:30 pm) but in 1981, the year that the band performed on the show – he took over the weekday teatime slot from 5-7pm.  Here in America we call that the “drive home” time slot, incidentally! From what I read, he was paramount in getting new bands airplay by introducing new music on his show.  He was a champion of bands like Duran Duran (Culture Club and Spandau Ballet are also cited), and he is still very influential in the industry by owning a large management agency in the UK.

There are four songs from the session included on what I believe is the latest EMI/Duran Duran remaster of the 1st album. If you have a Spotify account you can hear them there, or obviously if you’ve got the most recent remastering – they’re on disc 2 (after the Air studio and Manchester Square demos).  The songs included are Night Boat, Girls on Film, Anyone Out There, Like an Angel and they are labeled BBC Radio 1 Peter Powell Sessions, recorded 19 June 1981 transmitted 11 August 1981.

-R