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Duran Duran still 'preaching to the unconverted' 38 years later

Duran Duran members John and Roger Taylor spoke to CBC All in a Day host Alan Neal before they hit the stage at Bluesfest on Saturday.

Band released 14th studio album 'Paper Gods' last year

Simon Le Bon, from left, John Taylor and Dom Brown of the band Duran Duran performing last August in Pennsylvania. (The Associated Press)

If the band Duran Duran was a person, they might be looking to settle down and sort through mortgage payments.

Forming in the late 1970s, the British new wave band is celebrating 38 years in the music industry.

But the members, now in their late 50s, are hardly ready to settle.

"We fellas are in new territory after all this time. We're just cracking the festival thing and preaching to the unconverted still," drummer Roger Taylor told Alan Neal, host of CBC's All in a Day, before they played at Bluesfest on Saturday.

"It can't be 38 years," he said with a laugh. "It can't be."

"It was a fantastic time though," notes bassist John Taylor of the early years. "I mean it's probably going to be the best time you'll ever have as a band if you're from Britain. You get to travel the world. You get to travel the world in a gang. You get to travel the world playing music. Girls chasing you around hotel lobbies. How much more fun could it be?"

New priorities

Duran Duran is still travelling the world, but John Taylor said now that they're on their 14th album they've "rearranged their values."

"Somewhat," he adds with a laugh.

The passage of time doesn't go unnoticed on the bands new album Paper Gods.

Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor on stage at Bluesfest Saturday. (Alan Neal/CBC)

On the song Face for Today, the band sings: "time flies like a dancing man on crystal glow. You can fight it or invite it, live beside it, laughing 'til you're crying."

After close to four decades in the music business, Roger Taylor says he believes you have to fight time.

"I think I like to hold on to the moment these days," he said. I think when you're younger I think time just flies. All those early years went like a flash."

John Taylor takes a different approach.

"You just got to go with it, haven't you?"

Hip-hop influences

And go with it they are. Duran Duran released Paper Gods last year, which features the talents of collaborators like Janelle Monae Calgary's Kiesza, Mark Ronson, Nile Rodgers and Lindsay Lohan.

John Taylor said they turned to hip-hop to figure out how to adapt.

"You have to be a bit of a magpie to stick around...Every day in the studio it would be like, 'Did you hear that snare sound on that Kanye track?'" he said.

John Taylor said producer Ben Hudson helped push the sound direction on the new album, introducing "Kendrick Lamar high hat" parts.

"We would be like, 'Oh I'm not sure about that Ben.' It would be like some weird sexual act, 'I'm not sure. We might be a  bit old for that,'" he said.

"But two weeks later we'd be like, 'Love that.'"

Reinvention leaves little room for nostalgia, even for a band whose biggest hits came out in the 1980s.

"I'm not a great believer in going back and finding the negatives. I think it all happened for a reason and got as where we are and I think we're in a great place right now," said Roger Taylor.

"I wouldn't change anything."

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