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Kaleb Black

King Duranie

I became interested in Duran Duran in about 1982 and have followed them ever since. I love the catchy songs, exotic videos and the band members themselves. I’ve always found Duran Duran have been able to keep up and still put out great music. Their concerts are always fun

Simon Le Bon on Smartless Podcast

Simon (the “le-bona-fide rock star) joined Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and (super Duranie) Will Arnett for a fun conversation. As the always charismatic lead singer chatted with the hosts, he opened up about his legendary career, behind-the-scenes stories and musings on the band’s iconic music. Le Bon shared candidly about the band’s creative process, revealing how their sound has evolved over time and recounting some of the most unforgettable moments from their tours.

Episode Transcript

00:06:58

Host: This person is kind of known for his voice. Oh, in a way. And he’s been known for his voice for so long in so many iconic ways. This is one of my bucket bucket list. Paul Rubens guests, Paul Rubens, who I have not stopped talking about quoting and singing and listening to and talk for years and years and years. I’ve bored you guys with it. And I’ve just always wanted to know they played. He has played such a huge part in my musical experience throughout my life in so many different ways. And different incarnations. Bonaire, again, one of our guests who once I start to list things off, you’re just gonna immediately know who it is.

Host: Even though you guys already he has done it, it all. He, he’s, he’s an Englishman who, along with his buddies, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor decided to create a little band called Duran Durant. Simon West. Hold on.

Simon: Nice to meet you,

00:08:02

Host: Simon. How do you know Will Arnette? He doesn’t Will. How do you know Simon? I mean, I know you’re a fan of Simon.

00:08:08

Simon: That’s a great question. It’s completely irrelevant because we don’t know each other. That’s right. It’s, they just, I just got a call from the production company offering me a huge obscene amount of money to do your podcast. I thought, how they pay me that much, how can they possibly make ends meet

00:08:26

Host, Will: It’s, it’s, it’s outta my own pocket. I went, I went out of my own pocket for this. I, Simon I’ve been trying to get you on the podcast since we started. I’ve Right, we’ve had to cut out clips of your music just because of Yeah. Publishing and royalty’s reasons. I would constantly come on to the show playing Duran. I’m such a massive fan. We all are massive fans. Yeah. Huge. It’s such an honor to have,

00:08:50

Host: I’ve seen you in concert like two or three times and it blow you just blows me away every time.

00:08:55

Host: So Simon Labon,

00:08:57

Simon: We’re coming back. You know, we’re, we’re, we’re back on tour in America this year

00:09:05

Host: Are you playing at the Tabasco Theater?

00:09:08

Simon: Are we, you mean I’ve gotta look at my itinerary?

00:09:13

Host: No, no, no, no, no. We, Sean is playing at the Ba Blasco Theater. His new play. Goodnight. Oscar opens in April at the Blasco Theater.

00:09:28

Simon: We have played at the Belasco.

00:09:37

Simon: I think it’s next door. We’ve played at both the Boasco and the Mayan Theater. So downtown L.A. is it downtown or is it sort of

00:09:43

Host: No, this is in New York.

00:09:45

Simon: Oh, we played at the other Boasco, right?

00:09:47

Host: Yeah. The Annex too. Okay.

00:09:52

Host: You played everywhere. First of all, you are, you have a new record and you guys are going on tour last year and you did some dates at, did you do four shows at the Hollywood Ball? Am I

00:10:00

Simon: Right about that? We did. Amazing shows. The first one, it was absolutely pissing with Rain.

00:10:07

Host: Really? Oh

00:10:08

Simon: Really? It was. And it was, but it, but Rain, rain shows are always special ones.

00:10:13

But in Los Angeles, rain falls like chemicals from the sky for people in Los Angeles. Everybody scurries don’t, they don’t get drive.

00:10:21

Is that why everybody runs around with their tongue sticking out?

It’s just, you know, people just don’t know what to do

With it. I always say that rain in LA is, is a chance for all the people on the west side to get out their fancy all-weather clothing get to

Accessorize

It starts to grizz. And people have their great

Boots. Yeah. And their

Fucking hood

Coat. And the safari vehicle

And the snow tires just

To make the Trader Joe’s

Snow tires Safari vehicle with the snow tires on the chains come out

And a rebar on the front.

00:10:54

Host: But so Simon, we, we, and we’re gonna get into how you guys became, what you became and, and who you became in terms of, you know, musically and, and what an influence you are. But I kind of want to, I want to get back to the start because I know so little about it. I want to know, first

Of all, this is so thrilling. It’s such a, so thrilling.

It’s a legal thrill. You started as an actor. You went to drama school. Is that ra For

00:11:18

Simon: A little while, I started as a, an acting student. Right. As a student actor. Yeah. I mean, I had a few roles. I did a few things. I was did, I was more of an advert kid, you know, I did like personal adverts. That’s like a, that’s like washing powder. Yeah. Did I did a few commercials and, and I did a, I did a a I did a run at a theater in the West End when I was a, when I was a teenager. And I, but I was an aspirant actor and I went to, I went to U University and I studied acting.

00:11:51

Host: That’s so crazy.

00:11:52

Simon: I never knew that. And at the same time, I met a bunch of guys called Duran Duran who were looking for wait for it, a lead singer. And I had, had, I had had my own punk band. Well, me and my three mates, we’d, we’d had a punk band back in Pinner, the little suburban town that I grew up in. Yeah. And, and I fitted right into Duran Duran and that.

00:12:20

Host: Well, how did you know you could sing? Like how did you audition

00:12:22

Simon: Well, cause I was always a singer.

00:12:24

Host: Oh, you were always a singer too.

00:12:25

Simon: I was a, I was singing from, from the Cradle, I sang in church choir. I used to do singing competitions. I got a guitar and I started taught myself to play guitar. Well, actually no, Mr. Shori, the folk, the folk guitarist who gave 10 lessons at the school I went to, taught me how to play guitar. And I learned the rest of it. I clay slow down, you move too fast. You gotta to make the mourning less just kicking down the cobbles stones, looking for fun and feeling groovy.

00:13:01

Host: well, you’re one of those few singers too, because of the training and stuff. And I said this to another friend of mine, friend of mine that sings, you have the proper training and the two to know how to use it. So you can tour and you can do night after night and you can sing properly, as they say. Where other people who don’t scream lose their voice and they don’t know how to take care of it. Isn’t that true?

00:13:21

Simon: Well, I made no mistake. I used to go out on tour and scream and lose my voice. And I think we all did. We all, a lot of us did in, in the early days. And mainly because, because because we didn’t have ear monitors, so we were, were competing with the guitar. You know, you can only turn the vocal monitors up so loud before they start feeding back. So there’s a, there’s a, there’s a a point at which you can’t amplify the, the voice on the stage any, any higher. And of course the guitar can just get louder and louder and louder and louder. Right. Until, until the only way you can hear yourself singing is if you sh shrink your head off.

00:14:03

Simon: Right. We were also, also, don’t forget, in a lot of places we were competing with, you know, tens of thousands of screaming teenagers. Right. Many of them female. Yeah. Right. With very loud

00:14:22

I bet you had a great time

00:14:27

Host: He just come from behind the soda machine from the make out session with another guy. But wait, so, so Simon. So by the way, were you always like, kidding? It’s true. By the way, it was true. Were you giving sort of shitty glances over to the, you know, to the guy? Like who was an Andy Taylor on guitar at that point? Were you kinda like, Hey man, tone it down, or,

00:14:46

Host: you Know, I love learning what the, what the ear monitor is for. Cuz I feel like that was, that’s a recent thing. Those ones that are formed right to your ear. Like that’s over the last like 10 years.

00:15:05

Simon: Well, the first time the, no, no, they’re older than that. You’d be surprised. The first time we went out on tour and I had ear monitors was 1993.

00:15:17

Simon: So we’ve had them for 30 years. Okay.

00:15:19

Host: Did it when you first got it, were you like, oh man, this is,

00:15:23

Simon: Yeah, it was extraordinary. And I could just turn, I could, I could turn the guitar down. So it was none of it at all in my ears. And then of course, you know, if you turn, if you take all the other instruments out, you, you, you sing outta tune. So that’s no good. But I found, you know, you’ve learned to make a really good balance of the things that are in your head. And, and it works. And it is much easier to save your voice.

00:15:46

Host: What’s more satisfying when, when a huge crowd start singing the words that, that, that you’re singing. Like they know the song, they love the song, or when they’re completely silent and they’re just totally engaged and you have them in the palm of your hand and they’re listening to you doing your great singing. Like, I I’ve always wondered that.

00:16:09

Simon: Well, the way you put it makes it sound a little egotistical me. Listen them, listen to

00:16:16

Simon: it’s not really like that. See what it, what I i what they do really is that they sing along with the big old favorite songs. Songs like Hungary, like the Wolf Planet Earth Come Undone World. I mean, and the, the list and the list does go on. It

00:16:39

Simon: They sing along with those ones. But when we play new music, especially sort of like the new ballads and things, so of our latest album, which by the way is entitled Future, past,

00:16:50

Hosst: Future, past

00:16:53

Simon: That, that’s when they listen because they’re not so familiar with the songs. So you get that chance with a new, with with the new album, with the new material, you get that chance to just for them to hear it the way you want them to hear it. Right? Yeah.

00:17:10

Host: And we will be right back.

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2

00:22:21

And now back to the show. Can I ask a dumb question? Duran Duran means what?

00:22:28

Simon: Well, it’s like Smith Smith. It’s Joran is the most, is the most common name in France. Well, it’s the second most common name actually, cuz the most common one is Dupaul. Hmm. But we didn’t like the sound of DuPont Dupaul.

00:22:52

Simon: Yes. Duran Duran from Planet Earth, from which we got the band name and the name of our first single

00:23:04

Host: Gotcha.

00:23:05

Host: And you and, and the name of your first record Duran Duran, obviously. And you’re was Planet Earth the first single from Yeah,

00:23:15

Simon: Yeah. Yeah. We didn’t, we I didn’t actually take that from the, from the, the Raim film, Barb. You did not. No, I, it was only afterwards when we, when we watched the film again that we, we realized that the, the, the title was of the, of our first single was in it. It was a wonderful coincidence.

00:23:35

Host: Yeah. Because that Right, that’s the character’s name in the film. Right.

00:23:39

Simon: So Milo O’Shea played a character called Joran Joran. And he had done, he’d done a bit bit of a, he was a scientist, but he’d done a naughty bunk with some kind of pleasure machine and also this, this deadly weapon called deposit tron ray. Anyway, this old pervert back on, back in the Earth Foundation got the youngest most attractive astronauts, which is Jane Fonda as Barbella to go out and find her. I

00:24:10

Host: Gotta see this movie I’ve heard about. It’s

00:24:15

Host: What’s the name of the movie?

00:24:16

Simon: Barbella.

00:24:28

Host: So Simon, so you do, so d and the character’s name, his name was Duran Right? If I’m not mistaken with the D on the, is it? I think so. Anyway, so which gives you even more

00:24:41

Well disappointment.

00:24:46

Simon: You know, cuz John Nick was sitting there in their Birmingham living room watching the movie and all they could hear was Duran Duran.

00:25:00

Host: So, so you guys formed Duran Duran Planet Earth, a big, big hit. And then, if I’m not mistaken, was Girls on Film also on that first record? I think it was,

00:25:12

Simon: Yeah, yeah, yeah, it

00:25:13

Host: Yeah. And you guys, that was one of that video, and I don’t know if you guys remember, that video was like, really too hot for American Oh yeah. Audiences.

Host: Right. Walk us through that.

00:25:23

Simon: Well, we made, what we did was we made two versions of that video. Yeah. And it was Kevin, godly and Lore were the video directors. We made one version, which was quite tame and you could put it on MTV during sort of, you know, sort of family hours. And then the other version, the night version, which was a longer, it was a longer video. And we, and we actually wrote a, an extended piece of music for it that was on, you could only see that on video Juke boxes. Oh wow. Rock America Video Juke boxes in nightclubs around the United States. And, and,

00:26:02

Host: And speaking of which night versions, you guys actually, and I, and I found this out just re you guys went and, and remixed all your own songs and did night versions so that they, am I right about that

00:26:15

Simon: To make this No, we didn’t remix them. We rerecorded them. You rerecorded ’em. So we actually recorded longer versions. We didn’t just, we didn’t just cut and paste the, which you didn’t, couldn’t do that anyway. Right. Because it was all, it was all on tape, it was all on, it was all on magnetic tape. We didn’t, we didn’t try to kind of copy anything and, and, and, and stick it on later. We, we wrote 12 minute versions of the song with, of all the songs that we did, night

00:26:42

Simon: Versions. So that, that it would lend itself better to sort of dance clubs and, and whatnot as opposed to Yeah.

00:26:47

Simon: Because that was the, that was the only way we could do it. That was the only way we knew how to make long versions 12 Inch Records was to, was to go in, go back in and record them as 12 inches.

00:26:57

Host: Isn’t that amazing? And so they have this hole you can go and you can look it up and, and they’ve got all the release of all these night versions of these, of these extended versions. Yeah. That you got that I did not know that you rewrote and re-recorded. Yeah. Which is pretty,

00:27:12

Simon: I know it was, but it was, it was, that was just the job. That was the, the job that there was to do. And if you listen to the Girls on Film version, the Girls on Film Night version, it has a completely different last verse.

00:27:25

Host: Oh really?

00:27:26

Simon: Yeah, it goes, how’s it go? God, take one last glimpse in to the Night. I’m touching closer, I’m holding Bright Shutters in a whisper. I’m coming closer. Take me High, shooting a star. It’s more like – shooting Sharing a Star.

00:27:49

Simon: Oh, sorry man. Am I going on a bit too long?

00:27:52

Simon: I’ve always wanna know whose laugh is at the beginning of Hungary, like The Wolf, which is one of my favorite intros to a song.

00:28:00

Simon: Yeah, That actually was, it was a girlfriend. Her name was Cheryl. She was my girlfriend. And then funny things that happened in this life, she became Nick’s girlfriend.

00:28:16

Host: No Way.

00:28:16

Host: How did that happen?

00:28:20

Host: Really? I would imagine that’s not the only time that happened. You guys have been together for Quite some long. Really? Ok, we’re gonna move right along. Now,

00:28:28

Host: Speaking of being together for a long, long time, you guys have been making music for so long and been relevant for so long and been able to do what it is you want to do for so long, for such a great big audience. What is the process of staying true to where you guys want to go, changing your musical sound and, and, and having that kind of progress and then also trying to stay as aware of and as in touch with as possible. What the what the what the, the, the changing of music is in, in popular music. You know, like there was a time when it was all the music, the instruments were plugged in and then they were not plugged in and then there was more like, you know, how does that, how does that go? Or do you guys just make music for you and hope that it catches on?

00:29:09

Simon: I think you’ve got to, there, there’s a couple of ground rules here. Number one is you can’t, you can’t follow trends. Yeah. You can’t make, you can’t be following a trend as your major kind of writing inspiration. That cannot be your major inspiration. You have to make music that you like, that you enjoy. Otherwise there will be no passion in it. And, and people can hear, they can hear the difference between something that you really mean and something you’re just, that you’re just going through the motions with. And I, but also I think you’ve gotta be aware of where music is at the moment.

00:29:53

Simon: I mean, and, and I think, and we all are and we always have been. We, you know, there’s stuff that we did in the 1980s we never dream of doing now because it just wouldn’t be relevant to us.

00:30:03

Host: Now what do you do when, when your taste in where things have gone is not aligned with your band mates? What is that kind of creative negotiation like? Was you guys are starting to work out a new song?

00:30:15

Simon: Well, you know, there has been times when somebody’s gone in the studio laid down some parts and somebody’s coming after them and laid down completely contradicting parts that don’t work with the ones that went down before. Right. The strong usually survives, That’d be the strong, strong music or the strong personality.

00:30:39

Host: And what are the politics of that? Like, like sort of navigating that within

00:30:43

Simon: Well, nobody’s got any, there’s nobody who’s more, whose opinion is more important than anybody else’s in you. You know, we don’t Have, it’s gotta be hard though.

00:30:51

Host: And, and, and, you know, when you went off and did went solo on projects, what I’ve always wondered, what is that dynamic? How do you have that conversation? Like, guys, I love you but I’m gonna go do this for a second. Do they have any animosity?

00:31:04

Simon: Well, none of us have really gone solo.

00:31:06

Host: Oh, I thought you had solo stuff. No,

00:31:08

Simon: Not really. I mean, I’ve done a couple of, I’ve done a couple of things. Nick, Nick and I did the Arcadia Project. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. John and Andy did the Power station. Power Station.

00:31:17

Simon: That’s right. Power Station. Roger, God bless him. He did drums on both projects.

00:31:23

Host: Oh wow.

00:31:24

Host: Wow. So he was a, he’s the only guy who was in both Power Station and Arcadia.

00:31:29

Host: by the way, by the way, the fact that you guys weren’t named the Taylors is incredible considering they’re, it’s Roger, Andy and John Taylor. Taylor

00:31:36

In the band.

00:31:37

All unrelated.

00:31:38

All unrelated.

00:31:39

Unrelated. It’s amazing.

00:31:40

That is one Taylor channel.

00:31:42

Simon: Yeah. So you guys, do you guys, do you and Nick do the Arcadia thing? Those guys go and do Power Station? Yeah. And then that, and then sort of five years later, you guys, you do the wedding album, is that right?

00:31:58

Simon: No, it wasn’t quite like that. So in the LA we did, we did Seven Ragged Tiger went on tour throughout sort of 84. Then we, then we got back together and we did Vito Kill.

00:32:13

Simon: And that was the last recording that the original five members made before the hiatus and, and the Power station and Arcadia, then Power Station and Arcadia happened and then we got back together. But in the getting back together, it turned out that ultimately we would only have, well not ultimately, but when we, when we tried to get back together to reconvene the original Joan Duran, we, we weren’t able to get Andy Taylor back in the band really. And definitely weren’t able to get Roger Taylor back. Hmm. So Andy was kind of in it and kind of out of it. Roger was definitely out of it. And it, and sort of after a while we realized that it would be, you know, it’d be me and Nick and John.

00:32:59

Simon: Andy wasn’t gonna be a guitarist and Roger was not gonna be our drummer. So we looked for other guys to work with. And quite happily we really kind of developed our friendship and working relationship with Nile Rogers at that time. And that’s when we kind of had the, the, the, the Notorious album. That’s when that’s what that was. What made that,

00:33:23

Host: Is there a story you can share that you’re, you’re you’re comfortable sharing about why those two guys weren’t able to come back in that new incarnation?

00:33:31

Simon: Well, yeah, sure. Roger, he really had, he, he, it all became a bit too much for Roger. I don’t know the, I don’t know the exact term for the, the, the sort of the psychological problem that he was having. Yeah. You know, it wasn’t a nervous breakdown. It was, it it was, but it, it, something happened to him and it, and the anxiety was too much for him and he wasn’t able to carry on with the band. And Andy just wanted to be a rock and roller and he just didn’t think that Duran Duran was the right vehicle for the kind of music he wanted to make at that time. You know, he went off and he recorded the band Thunderer and he did, he did some of his own rock records, heavy sort of American style rock record.

00:34:18

Simon: Whereas we wanted to be around, the rest of us wanted to be Duran Duran. Yeah,

00:34:22

Host: I have a question about touring, like, because I think people, when people go see a live show, they’re, you know, and they go nuts for you guys and then the show’s over, they go home and they’re like, what an incredible show. Not realizing you have to do it night after night after night after night. Or sometimes with just a little break in between. What do you do to get ready for a tour? Because I can’t imagine how grueling that is on your voice, on your body, on your sleep schedule and like the food that you have to, like, you just have to maintain all of that. And second part is, you know, I live for horrific live stories. Like, what’s the worst that, that a fan did? Like, did they rush the stage and something happened, or, I love those kinds of stories, if you have any.

00:35:12

Simon: First one and let’s do the, the first one, which is with the first part of that question was, was what do you have to do to kind of get ready for it all? Yeah, well, we rehearse, but I think, you know, we’ve made

00:35:22

Host: Like physically and mentally

00:35:24

Simon: Yeah. Well, physically we try not to leave it too long between shows. So we had a, before we had, even though it was a little one, we had a performance at New Year in Times Square. And that kind of just keeps, just keeps you nudging that nudging your personal fitness up. And we are ready, we are going back out again in April, so we’ll be rehearsing before that and we’ll, we’ll all be physically capable of, of of what, of, of the job, of doing the job properly. Psychologically. I mean, just once you get to a certain kind of state in your career and you, and you and you know, that, that the hard the, the more you try, the harder it is.

00:36:07

Simon: So you need to just go up there and just do it right. And not, and not, and not try too hard. It’s a bit like, you know, hitting a tennis ball or a golf ball or a cricket ball or even a baseball, let’s say, you know, it’s that relaxed swing that has, has gives you the best result. And, and performing is a bit like that. You’ve gotta be relaxed, but, but but accurate. And to do that, you’ve gotta be confident, you’ve gotta really believe in yourself and believe that you can do it. And

00:36:35

Simon: Yeah. Because you’re going from just, you know, not running around the stage for a year or whatever, to mounting a tour to all of a sudden I have to run around the stage and you have to keep that endurance up.

00:36:48

Host: Well, John, you had to do, and when you were on Broadway, you did it, you did a couple musicals and,

00:36:53

Host: And it’s, yeah, that’s why I ask is because, well, I’m gearing up to do it again and, and it’s, you know, mentally just have to, to basco

00:37:01

Host: can I ask you a question? Do you suffer from nerves?

00:37:04

Simon: Oh God, yeah.

00:37:05

Simon: So I have something for you. I have something for you. This is my gift to you, Basco. It’s my litany against nerves. And it goes like this. It’s not fear, it’s adrenaline. It’s just your mind and your body preparing you to do something extraordinary and you will do something extraordinary.

00:37:26

Host: Yeah. I love that.

00:37:28

00:37:34

Simon: Honestly, it makes such a difference when you, when you and you realize I’m not frightened, it’s just the, it’s just the butterflies. It’s just the side effect of me sharpening up.

00:37:42

Host: Yeah. when you guys, when you started, you released Duran Duran sort of in the early eighties and those first, I don’t know, five years of the eighties, 80 through 85, maybe the most in demand band in the world. It, it must have been like you, you just rocketed up. All, all your records were, were were top of the pops and you had so many singles and you’re on tour all the time. Did you have time in that? Were you young enough to not be nervous and just to be fucking cocky and just

00:38:15

Simon: Well, I mean I was, I, I I got nervous. I’ve, I’ve been nervous with every single performance I’ve done, but I’ve learned to cope with it. And I’ve always, and also when, when the music starts and you walk on stage, the nerves becomes, it’s almost, it’s more like that little shower that you go through on the way to the swimming pool. You know, the, the hygiene shower that, well they spray you with sulfuric acid. That’s what they do in this country. That it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, you walk through it, it’s like a, it’s like a, a shower bath that you walk through and you come out and you walk on stage and the music starts and the nerves just, you just, they just recede into the, into the darker back part of your brain and suddenly you’re there with the music and the audience.

00:39:00

And that’s, and in a way that the importance of that overcomes all the rest of it.

00:39:05

Host: One of the other things that would, I would think that you would need and want is the, is the desire to be out there and to be playing the same set every night could get monotonous. Same thing with theater, right Sean, where you’re doing the same material every night. How do you find the excitement to do it as good as, or if be if not better than last night?

00:39:25

It’s a good questions, a really good Question. Are you, are you channeling into the oddness? There’s more to it.

00:39:31

Simon: No. I think what it is is, I think this, it’s so you have to, the audience is part of it. I think because that’s the audience is one time to see you on that tour. Maybe they won’t come. They, maybe they, maybe some of them will come back next tour very, a few of them will come and see more shows on that tour. But for most of the people in that room, it’s their one time seeing Duran Duran maybe for two or three years, four years, five, because maybe the only time in their lives they can see Joran Joran. And, and you just remember that they are, they deserve the best show they can get. And then you start to, then you, then you let the music, you just have to give yourself to the music.

00:40:12

Simon: I’ve got another, another, before I go on stage as well. And that is let the songs do the work. I don’t have to go out there and give a performance. I have to let the, I just have to serve the songs. And then everything else about the performance falls in into place. Yeah, that’s a great way. And when you do that, and the music is, the music has got a great way of putting you right in the moment. And you’re not thinking about what you’re gonna go and have for dinner in a restaurant after the show. And you’re not thinking about what somebody said to you back in the back in the hotel or, or, or something else. You become very much in the moment. And, and when you’re in the moment, you can’t be bored because every little thing that you’re doing is so important that it’s, you, you, you’re, as I said, you’re serving the songs.

00:41:00

Simon: You’re doing the best you can to, to deliver these really good songs in the best way they could be, could be Presented. I’m the opposite. When I’m on stage and doing a player musical and it’s, and it’s performance, you know, 135, I’m completely thinking about what I’m having for dinner later. Alright.

00:41:27

Host: How, how involved are you in another part of the shows that I always love in, in any any rock show is, is the, is is the show around it. The lighting, the stage work.

00:41:37

Host: Well I was gonna get to that. Jason, do you know that these guys, I mean Simon, you guys were one of the first acts to really incorporate the video aspect of the show, right?

00:41:47

Simon: We, we, we were the first act to, to use a video wall behind us. Wow. Yeah. Wow. We are very involved in it. We, we work with the, with the designer. We’ve got a fantastic guy called Vince who Yeah, he’s an amazing designer. I mean amazing sets and lighting and he, he, he does that. But we are sitting with him all on, in all the way up to the, the production rehearsals, looking at the stuff he’s doing cuz he’s always redoing it and, and and developing it.

00:42:29

Host: Do you remember, do you remember the reflex that the, the video for that was like a, from a concert and used the, the video wall and then I love that like the, it had that sort of, that image of the wave. Yeah, Simon. Yeah.

00:42:40

Host: Yeah. Right. The wave that came out of the video. Top of the video screen and the one guy in the audience who got a bucket of water thrown in his face.

00:42:48

Simon: I remember that. But it worked. Yeah, it worked. Yeah. And people, people came up to me. People were coming up to me in, in, in, you know, in, in a street or in shops. I’d be, I’d be, I’d go out to like record shops in Toronto and somebody come and say, Hey, that, that screen, how did you make the water come out of the, the, the video screen? Because they were, they were so taken in by the effects that they really thought it was real.

00:43:10

Host: Of course they did.

00:43:11

Simon: And of course now we watch it and it looks so, you know, compared to modern cgi, it’s, it’s ob obviously very fake.

00:43:19

Host: But people, that was me. I was the guy in Toronto.

00:43:28

Host: Yeah. And I kind of remember that so vividly. That video was so huge. And, and the other thing I want to know in that time, so you do all these great things and then walk me through a little bit getting the phone, the, the call from Bob Geldoff to appear. Cause I played it a little bit in our intro. Oh, that’s why you’re playing. Yeah. And and do they know it’s Christmas? Yeah. One of my fa I have tried to, I’ve bastardized what you do, but I love your solo at the beginning of that. It’s so fucking good at speed.

00:43:59

Host: He has literally sung that a thousand times, times

00:44:05

Simon: Well, I was at, I was at home and I got a phone call and Bob goes, Simon, you see it last night? I said, well, Bob, he says the, the African thing. I said, no, I didn’t see it, Bob. He says, it’s terrible. He says, in Africa, in Ethiopia, they’re starving, they’re dying. I want to, I wanna, I wanna do something about it. And I thought we could make a record. We could all make a record together. Would you be up for being on that record? I said, yeah, absolutely. And then, and then, and Bob later told me that he called two people. He called me and he called Sting and he reckoned that if he got the two of us on it, then everybody else would say yes to it for sure. And this was a, you know, you know, it all planned.

00:44:46

Simon: He had, he had the whole thing planned. I went and did the demo. I went to a little studio, I can’t remember where, in London, and worked with Mider and Bob and did the demo. So when we all arrived at the studio, Sam West, I thought I was singing all of the verses. Oh my god, what’s that? What’s that Bono guy doing here? I thought home singing that bitch.

00:45:11

Host: Well, it’s funny cuz it’s you and you and Sting singing in then and then all of a sudden the when they cut back bono between you and Sting.

00:45:18

Yes, that’s right. Yes.

00:45:19

Host: And then you see like, oh my God, I remember at the time too, I was such a fan of the Jam as well, and I see Paul Weller Yeah. Who was just making the move to Style Council. And I was like, oh my God. Fucking Simon Lebon and Paul Weller and Bono and Sting and they’re all in the same frame. Nobody had ever seen anything. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was wild. Did you guys, did you feel in the moment how that it was really, could you, did you recognize in that moment, wow, this is something amazing?

Yeah. Because no, at no other time had all those, that, that variety and that number of hugely successful rock stars being in the same room together, doing something like that. Not even on, not even on Saturday morning TV shows. Yeah, you wanted to know, but I I remember the story, the story, the, the absolute worst thing that happened on stage.

00:46:13

Simon: Well, there’s been a few, a few mishaps, but there was one, no, I don’t know if you know this, but I went commando for 20 years mainly because I was not kept up to date on that. No. I’d mentioned, I’d mentioned throwing a pair of under underpants behind the headboard at this hotel that, that all the bands you sustain and going back there two months later and finding them still there behind the bed. Oh God. And this, I was telling this to, to to, to another rockstar. And he says, oh my God, I’m, I’m shocked. I said, yes disgusting. And he’s not that you’re a rockstar. Rock stars don’t wear underwear. That was, that was in 1983.

00:46:54

Simon: And I went commando for the next 20 years because of No, yeah, absolutely. Anyway, at some point in that, I was on stage in the, the Hoi Theater in Rotterdam. You remember those, do you remember Madonna’s pointy braier bra with the, like the cone thing on them? Well, he’d made the same sort of corresponding pants for guys with the kind of cones on, on the butt cheeks. Okay. And they had, and these two, instead of having one zip up the middle, like normal trousers do, they had two zips, like one coming down from each hip, which meant they had a seam down the front. And so in between, right in between your legs was this kind of cross scene where all, where four bits of material joined up.

00:47:35

Simon: Anyway, I came running across to do my star jump in in Hungary, like the wolf where I jump off the rise and put my arms out like that. And I, and, and, and the, and I’d never worn these pants before. And the, and the sweat on my knees kind of grabbed hold of the jeans material. I did the star and this seam in the middle of the crotch opened like a flower. And there’s me and my junk flying towards the audience at Velocity. And I’m thinking, holy Yes.

00:48:10

Simon: And all the, and all the girls are thinking, finally, this is what We’ve wanted forever. This happened finally. And I, and I, and I hit the stage and I actually, I actually managed to kind of cover my modesty, well cover myself modestly as just as the first flash bulb went off.

00:48:34

Simon: They we had these little bartels, these kind of like tartan bartels on the, on the stage. I shove one of those down the front of my waistband and then I was ver and then I was very, very coy and very fay. Oh, I’m totally naked under here. Everybody.

00:48:56

Host: Sean, do you have any of your pops? You know, Sammy, you don’t know this, but Sean at one point decided he was gonna be a pop star and he wrote a bunch of pop songs.

00:49:04

Host: Yes, I did. Yes.

00:49:05

Host: And Sean, you don’t have any of those handy, do you? Are

00:49:09

Host: just sing Sean, just sing just for Simon because he’s one of the great rock stars of all time.

00:49:27

Simon: When she was five years old, my daughter came up with this one. Oh my fucking God, I don’t know what to do anymore. And I have to say, I prefer my daughters. Yeah,

00:49:56

Host: Simon, I know that you, we we’ve kept you too long and you’ve gotta go. I, I again, what an unbelievable thrill to have

00:50:04

Host: Yeah, this is amazing. So great to meet You. It’s such a massive fan of everything you’ve done all the way along. And we didn’t even get album, we didn’t even get to the future pass to the boat crash. We didn’t even get to the, nautical disaster.

00:50:18

Simon: I’ll come back and I’ll tell you all about the boat disaster. If you, if you want me back, I

00:50:24

Host: Would love it.

00:50:25

Host: We Want you back repeatedly. Thank you. Part two, part two with Simon Labon is coming somewhere, sometime soon. And we’re gonna talk about the nautical disaster. In the meantime, we’ve just enjoyed having you so much, man.

00:50:39

Simon: It’s been a huge pleasure. Thank you, fellas.

00:50:43

Simon: Come and see us on tour.

00:50:44

Host: Yeah, for sure we will.

00:50:48

Host: Bye bye.

00:54:46

Host: I mean, Simon Le Bon, when, when, when, I remember seeing that video for like Hungry, like the Wolf and Rio and he talks about nerves. He was so confident. That was the other thing. The, the everybody in the band was so confident and cool and they were kind of doing like, they were wearing mascara in their things and they were just kind of like, they were just kind, they were just like these.

00:55:05

Host: Also the start of mtv, it was really the first time our generation really got a look at rock stars. That’s right. What they do and how they do it.

00:55:13

Host: But they weren’t a boy band in the sense that like, and no, no offensive. But they were, they were actual musicians and they were actually really good and handsome. They

00:55:21

Host: Had, they weren’t like a, they weren’t like a corporate transaction. Yeah, no,

00:55:25

Host: Those guys formed, I mean, they all kind of came together, like put it ads out in, in, you know, melody Maker magazine and they met each other and at a bar and they formed the band and they worked at the bar. Like they, they really earned it and wrote all these great songs. But

00:55:39

Host: It’s a testament that that’s why they have longevity, I think. Right? Yeah. Because they’re, they’re the real Deal. I’d love to hear their new album and see how their, their musical styles have changed. Yeah.

00:55:48

Host: But they, they, I mean they had hit records, hit records, hit records, then they break up, do other things. Then they come back and then like 10 years later have another huge smash hit record in the mid middle nineties with the wedding album. They just keep doing it and Yeah. Yeah. It’s a testament. You’re

00:56:04

Host: You’re going to their show when they come here. Yeah,

00:56:06

Host: Guaranteed. Oh, for sure. I didn’t know that. They were at the Hollywood Bowl last year and somebody said to me like, will, you’re definitely going to Duran Duran, right? I was Like, what? Yeah, I’m going to that.

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