Duran Duran Stopped Simon Le Bon from Becoming an ‘Arsehole’
Simon Le Bon said Duran Duran weren’t all friends when they formed — but that he was “lucky” to be a member rather than a solo artist because of the group's grounding nature.
In a new interview with the Big Issue, reflecting on what he’d tell his younger self, the singer noted the challenges of success, especially without the close influence of peers.
“Duran Duran didn’t start off as friends – we were guys who made music together,” Le Bon said. “But over the years friendship has developed. … We went through different stages — rivalry, when we were competing for attention or for girls. Then the stage where people’s rough edges really annoy you. But then you reach the stage where you realise you are friends because you’ve stuck together. You’ve got all these shared experiences. And all the rough edges that used to annoy you, you now view as the assets of the band. Those are the things that made it work, that create a spark and tension that makes the music interesting.”
He continued: “I would warn my younger self that fame is corrosive as well as addictive. People lose themselves. I’m very lucky to be in a band. Solo artists have got nobody around them to tell them they’re being an arsehole. They get indulged and it’s corrosive and it’s corrupting. You have to learn to say sorry, to be tolerant, to accept differences.”
Le Bon added that Duran Duran operated in a “democratic” way and “split everything equally” as part of that arrangement. “It means you can concentrate on the important thing, which is the music,” he said. “When you split everything equally, it doesn’t matter who writes the songs — we all get paid the same."
The singer explained that one of the themes of their latest album, Future Past, "is that nothing is perfect, especially life."
"But it’s all we’ve got so you might as well make the best of it," he said. "We had tough times in the band with substance abuse. But we stuck together and had compassion for each other. Sometimes it takes an imaginative leap to get into somebody else’s head and see how they feel.”