Members of Duran Duran, from left, Roger Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Simon Le Bon and John Taylor.
NASHVILLE — Nick Rhodes is on the phone to talk about Duran Duran’s concert film collaboration with director David Lynch that’s slated for a one-night-only theatrical engagement next month. As he talks of being inspired by Lynch’s The Elephant Man as a teenager, he can hear another one of his inspirations nearby: Nile Rodgers on guitar.
“I can actually hear him playing the guitar just down the corridor from where I am right now,” Rhodes says gleefully.
Next month will mark a period of high activity for Duran Duran. Along with work to finish a new album, the British rock band will appear at the Fashion Rocks concert Sept. 9 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., before releasing Duran Duran: Unstaged in more than 300 North American theaters on Sept. 10.
The film is an enhanced version of Lynch’s original livestream presentation, with tweaks and enhancements to improve on the 2011 original. The American Express Unstaged series pairs musicians with directors who design a one-off live show that even a band as seasoned as Duran Duran was nervous about.
“It literally was live live,” Rhodes said. “It was one of those moments where we all looked at each other and said, ‘Good luck, let’s see what happens.‘ And it went out on the Internet just exactly as we played it, and of course there were some things that didn’t work quite as well as others, and footage that didn’t sync up in the most beautiful place that it could have done ... so it’s had a proper polish. It’s been refined for cinema, and it looks beautiful, too. The print is fantastic.”
When the group approached Lynch to oversee the initial livestream, he said he’d only consider it if it was “radically different” than the staid concert-film formula.
Lynch chose to shoot the piece in black and white — like The Elephant Man, which Rhodes and John Taylor saw together in a Birmingham, England, theater as teenagers — and created a series of images to run over the top of the band’s performance.
“There was a room filled with smoke all the time,” Rhodes said.
“There was another room where there were a lot of actors doing strange things. Then he pre-prepared some other footage which varied between sort of hand puppets and aero-planes and clocks and machinery and this footage just sort of literally was superimposed over us playing ... and I think the results are really pretty unusual.”
The band is shooting for less radically different results in the recording studio where it has been cutting songs with Rodgers, who co-produced the group’s 1986 album, Notorious.
Mark Ronson and Mr Hudson are also producing tracks. The album will be mixed next month, and Rhodes said it will be out in the first half of 2015.
“I think we know where we want to be and it’s right in the center of the dance floor,” Rhodes said. “That’s what we’re aiming for together.”