Originally created 12/13/04

Duran Duran takes center stage in VH1 special



NEW YORK - Three years into an unlikely comeback, Duran Duran is taking center stage in several ways.

The quintessential '80s pop band is closing out the year with a hit song, a new album and plans for a big tour - as well a TV appearance: VH1's "Baileys The Set: Duran Duran," 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Intercut with fan interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and studio performance, the program gives Duran Duran the opportunity to bring its arena-sized show into a more intimate setting.

"They seemed like a perfect fit with our audience. They have some old fans that have come with them and a new crop has come with them," said Rick Krim, VH1's executive vice president of music and talent. "I feel like they are classic and current."

Duran Duran keyboard player Nick Rhodes told The Associated Press he knows very well how a band can be classic and current. When he was growing up, he discovered the Beatles because his parents listened to them.

"I suppose some kids are hearing their parents play Duran Duran," he said.

But the British band is earning new listeners with its new release "Astronaut," the first album featuring the original lineup - Rhodes, Simon LeBon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor - in nearly two decades.

"When we started playing together, we didn't try and make a really sort of mature album. We just really wanted to make a great Duran Duran album," Rhodes said. "It's pretty much in line with a lot of the stuff out there."

The first single from the album, "(Reach Up for the) Sunrise," is a hit on the dance charts. And the band is promoting the second single, "What Happens Tomorrow," with hopes of making the pop charts.

"It's important that we sort of cross over. We are trying to do as much as we can," Rhodes said.

Following a Japanese tour early next year, Duran Duran will embark on a 40-date domestic tour, which will wrap up in New York on April 13.

Rhodes said the live performances remind band members how much the music means to them and to fans.

Duran Duran changes its musical lineup every night rather than play the same thing every night.

"When you go through that process, you realize how much there is. You realize how much they mean to people," Rhodes said.