John Taylor, left, and Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)
Duran Duran's John Taylor has one promise for Friday night's concert in London's Hyde Park in honor of the Olympics: The band's set won't be corny. That means Duran Duran won't be attempting to write its own "Eye of the Tiger"-like sports anthem for the occasion.
"It was either sports or music -- the great working class way out," Taylor said Thursday. "We’re not a sporty lot, I’ll say that."
The concert Friday night with Snow Patrol, Stereophonics and Paolo Nutin isn't an official Olympics event, but the performance will coincide with the Danny Boyle-directed opening ceremony across town. Much of it will be shown at Hyde Park, with the proceedings broadcast live on television in between band sets.
"We’ve never done a gig with more stress around it, in terms of timing and being on stage and connecting with what is happening on the other side of London," Taylor said. "This is high-concept."
It will also help launch one of the more pop-focused Olympics in recent memory. LOCOG, as the Olympics' organizing committee is known, has commissioned five original songs for the Games, featuring selections from artists as diverse as rapper Dizzee Rascal and theatrical rockers Muse.
"I think if the Olympics were in the U.S. this year we’d see Madonna and Bruce Springsteen," Taylor said. "It’s something that we can do -- the U.S. and the U.K. Let’s face it, Germany and Italy can’t appeal to an international community via their own music in the way the U.S. and the U.K. can. We’re the only two countries with hugely successful artists, with music that is recognizable in any language."
After the concert Friday night, the synth-pop band will start winding down almost two years of touring in support of the 2010 album "All You Need Is Now." The group will play the Orange County Fair on Aug. 11, but will break in September and reconvene early next year to record a new album. Taylor said the band engages in extended improvisational jam sessions before each concert, much of which the act records, but has not yet started planning the new effort.
"Maybe the jam we did last night in France will turn into a song for our new album," Taylor said. "But mostly we preserve that experience. It’ll be like, ‘Feb. 1, everyone is all in. Go. What’s the key? What’s the tempo?’"
Everyone, however, better enjoy their time off. After all, said Taylor, the pressure of the band's hit-making days of the mid-'80s no longer exists.
"Nobody is encouraged to come in with songs," Taylor said. "We treasure our initial creative writing sessions. They’re free-for-alls. I don’t want to think too much about what the album is going to be like. I don’t have a plan. There’s a feeling in the band these days that our best work is ahead of us. We went through a period in the late ‘80s where we were looking backwards, thinking, ‘We’ll never top our early work.’ But we have a lot of confidence these days."
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