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Is there something we should know about new album, Roger Taylor?

It may be two decades on from their Eighties heyday, but Duran Duran were determined to stick to standards with their new album, Paper Gods. And it was bloomin' hard work, as the band's Roger Taylor tells Andy Welch.

Published 17/09/2015

No slacking: Duran Duran
No slacking: Duran Duran
How Duran Duran looked in 1985

Rock stars live a rarefied existence, and if their Eighties videos are anything to go by, none more so than Duran Duran.

If all you knew of the Birmingham quartet -among the biggest groups in the world during that particular decade - came from their MTV output, you'd be forgiven for thinking they didn't do anything unless a yacht, a tailored suit and a whole catwalk's worth of models was involved.

So, whether it's a case of schadenfreude, sour grapes or just good old-fashioned jealousy, there's something incredibly pleasing hearing that they've recently faced some hard graft.

Sure, that may have been safe in the knowledge that the band - Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Roger Taylor - already have record sales approaching the 100 million mark under their belt. But according to drummer Roger Taylor, recording Paper Gods - their 14th album and first since recent career highlight All You Need Is Now in 2010 - was like a "proper job".

"We'd roll up about 12pm and work 'til eight or nine in the evening," he says. "For the two years we were making the album, we kept good hours, no slacking off, five days a week. There's no taskmaster as such, but Nick is definitely the most motivated. But then, we all are. There's no reason to be in this band in 2015 unless we're all motivated."

All You Need Is Now, which saw them working with Mark Ronson and sounding as invigorated and energetic as they did in their Eighties pomp, reset the bar rather highly.

Taking the lead from the bequiffed Uptown Funk producer, they added a few more names to the roster.

First was John Frusciante, formerly of Red Hot Chili Peppers, who wanted to play guitar.

"You can't say no to John Frusciante," says Taylor, 55. "He didn't want to leave his LA studio, so he did everything there and sent it to us, but what he did on What Are The Chances was fantastic."

Next up was Janelle Monae, who provides vocals on Pressure Off, a track that also features guitar from Nile Rodgers.

The Chic man produced Notorious, the band's fourth album which spawned the mega-hit of the same name, and Wild Boys, one of their biggest singles.

"It was incredible to work with him again," says Taylor.

"What was really exciting was that very early on in the project, he played us an early version of Get Lucky that he was working on with Daft Punk, which just blew us away."

More unexpectedly, former teen star Lindsay Lohan also appears on the album, albeit only talking while playing a doctor, on Danceophobia.

Simon Le Bon says he and Lohan have been friends for years since they met on a US talk show, and, while backstage, Lohan revealed she'd thrown an Eighties-themed birthday party the week before and dressed up as him.

The new material has already appeared in live sets, and Taylor's happy the songs stand up to the best of the back catalogue, the likes of Rio, Is There Something I Should Know, Ordinary World, A View To A Kill, Planet Earth and Girls On Film.

For the band, cooped up for two years while recording, the chance to get out on the road again can't come soon enough.

"It's about getting out there and playing to our audience," says Taylor.

Belfast Telegraph

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