Duran Duran

Selected by Dan Grunebaum

' trash' perennials
Zak Corporation

Considering that keyboardist Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran is a sometimes resident of Japan and runs a studio here, it's only natural that the quintessential '80s band should tour the country. And what venue could be more appropriate for the shimmering synth-pop of Duran Duran than the shiny artificial surfaces of the Tokyo International Forum?

Roll back to the early '80s: singer Simon Le Bon and the other members of Duran Duran are breaking ground in a new media, MTV. Many of the elements that we now think of as essential to music video - scantily clad models prancing about in "Girls On Film" for instance - were pioneered in videos produced for Duran Duran. Not only their visual approach, but also elements such as Duran Duran's precise synthesizer arrangements and elaborate choreography routines have since become standard for music video.

In many other ways (not to mention Rhodes' success as a commercial recording artist in Japan), Duran Duran's influence is still being felt. It will be interesting, then, to see what Le Bon, Rhodes and the other remaining member, guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, have to say when they bring their latest album, Pop Trash, to Tokyo in June.

Their tenth album overall and first for the Hollywood label since the end of their contract with EMI, Pop Trash, released in 2000, was a deliberately self-deprecating acknowledgement of Duran Duran's place in history. With plenty of pop hooks and undimmed cynicism, the album pleased diehard fans without perhaps winning them any new ones.

Unlike their previous albums that featured lyrics by Le Bon, Pop Trash was mostly written by Rhodes. In a July 2000 interview with Wall of Sound, Rhodes explained what happened: "Le Bon said to me, 'Nick, I just don't feel I'm in the right head space to be writing lyrics right now. They're not coming from where I want them to. You seem to be on a roll. Why don't you continue?' I mean, the guy's been writing lyrics for the last 20 years, after all. It's a real challenge to get your head around that. It made me appreciate Simon's finer lyrics a lot more. It's a lot to take on board. It really was quite an experience."

Duran Duran play the Tokyo International Forum on June 17.  See listings for details.

Concert Listings
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391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana