Duran Duran & Me
The first time I met Duran Duran was at AIR studios on Oxford street in London. It was during the "Notorious" recordings with Nile Rogers. Other than saying hello to them in the halls, I was an innocent bystander amazed at their capacity for staying up all night working on a "hi-hat" part!
I made friends with Nick Rhodes' technical assistant Rocks, who was one of the nicest people I ever met, and who was interested in what Dee Long and I were doing in Studio 5, our MIDI music studio.
Some months later, Rocks called and asked if we could sort out some samples for their live shows. As we'd just done the same thing for "The Outfield", it was fun to put some of Durans classic "hook" sounds on a keyboard for Nick, and for Sterling to trigger off his drum pads.The sessions led to producing a spoken word recording called "This is how a road gets made" which came out on the "B side" of a single from the "Big Thing" album.
The next step was to go to Sussex and help out the technical stuff at their rehearsals.
Months later when they came back from their tour, Rocks called and asked me to come to the warehouse and do some programming for the Liberty Album. Over a 3 week period we did the pre-production on 22 songs. Within weeks we were in Olympic Studio in Barnes with producer Chris Kimsey and engineer Chris Potter making the album. After many more months and numerous trips with Nick to other studios to work on keyboards etc, the album was finished.
I think it's a great record.It's a shame no one got to hear it!
During the Liberty sessions we booked another room at Olympic and we created "Burning the Ground", which was made up of samples from their past hits. I think it came out as a promotional record for their "Decade" greatest hits album. If you have'nt heard this record I think it's one of the best "sample" tracks ever done!
The next step was to set up a studio in Warrens house in Battersea. We didn't think that Liberty ended up sounding much different than our pre-production demos, so why not just do it ourselves.
The end result was the "Wedding Album". Recorded almost entirely in the living room! It was a great experience to work so closely without any outside interferance.
A nice break during the record was the concert we did at the Albert Hall in London, in aid of the Children of the Middle East. That was the first time Ordinary World was performed live!
A couple of months after we finished the record, Warren wanted to do a "covers" album to keep the team together. We started doing a few tracks and I got bored. Just before I quit, Warren played me a guitar riff from the song "First Impressions" off the Liberty album, played a different way.
I put a groove and a bass part to it and then we played it over the phone to everyone else. 3 days later we finished Come Undone. The tapes were quickly sent to Dave Richards in Switzerland to be mixed.
I guess if Warren hadn't started the covers album, we never would have done Come Undone!
With the success of the Wedding Album the band continued the covers record without me. I was in Los Angeles producing Alan Frew of Glass Tiger fame, when Nick called saying we had to finish the record right away.
After trying to figure out where to do it, Nick thought we should work in the South of France as he was planning on spending the summer there.
Without even a day off after Alans record, I was on a plane to France.
We set up the studio in house number one, and quickly did Watching the Detectives and Perfect Day which needed to be sent to Dave Richards in Switzerland ASAP for mixing.
After one week we had to move to another house not far along the "Cap".
As part of my deal I asked if we could please do some new songs that featured Simon more.
We scratched our heads for a couple of weeks then came up with Lay Lady Lay. We also did an Alice Cooper song. Nick was unhappy with I wanna take you higher, so we came up with another way to do it which we called I Wanna Take You Higher Again
After 10 weeks in France and another 3 months in LA mixing and overdubbing, my work on Thank You was finished. The tapes went back to England where the band had many other mixes done before finalising the album.
Somewhere behind Simon is me on Keyboards at the MTV unplugged sessions in 1993!
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