Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon’s radio program features cutting-edge new music
Prior to the March 2020 pandemic containment, British rock band Duran Duran was in the process of complete work on their 15th studio album Future Past. When the world stopped, it caused the album’s release to be postponed for a year. During this long hiatus between studio work and touring, band members looked for other ways to stay in touch with audiences via the internet: bassist John Taylor made a bass tutorial and also chatted with his bandmate, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, on Instagram Live, while drummer Roger Taylor recorded a series of videos highlighting his desert islands discs.
For his part, the singer of Duran Duran, Simon Le Bon, took on an unexpected role: that of a deejay for his weekly music radio show. WOW!, who co-hosts with Katy Krassner, a longtime associate of the group. WOW! has been streaming on SiriusXM since January after it first launched as a podcast on DuranDuran.com over a year ago.
“It all started as a foreclosure affair,” Le Bon said in a Press statement. “I realized that the only music I was listening to was the music I was working on, and the stuff that got me into a band in the first place. So I lit my ears and went on a trip. on a sonic bunny. hole. What a revelation – there is so much new talent, so much music out there. Katy is the leaf that makes it all work. And that’s how a radio show was born. WOW!– it’s the sound of your mind expanding to embrace a new idea. “
“I’ve known him forever,” Krassner says of Le Bon, “and I’ve never seen him get so excited about something week after week. It’s really nice for both of us. He became a taste maker when maybe people thought of John or Nick that way and not necessarily him. Now people are talking about Simon that way, and the performers who are performed are tagging the show in social posts. It’s really gratifying for him.
Krassner remembers the conversation she had with Le Bon about starting a music podcast during the band’s time of inactivity. “He said, ‘Okay, do you want to do this with me? “We’re just going to talk and play a bunch of songs,” and I’m like, “Okay. We joked that the very first song we ever played was [America’s] “A Horse With No Name” was the first single Simon bought when he was a kid. It was as if the show was improvised. [We] put it on YouTube and it got a lot of reaction. We think, “Should we be doing this every week?” The group leadership was encouraging and then we started doing it every week.
Each episode of the show focuses on new music curated by Le Bon from emerging artists, while Krassner provides the backstory about them. Musicians include Twin Shadow, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Mike Kota, deep tan, Matthew E. White, Sinead O’Brien and Japanese girl rock group CHAI who appeared on Future Past. “This is one of the groups that I personally discovered while preparing playlists for the radio show,” Le Bon said. News week last summer. “And me to like CHAI. I think they are so awesome.
Before America catches up with British indie band Wet Leg, WOW! was one of the first non-UK outlets to distribute the duo’s music. “I recently saw a friend’s 10 best singles of 2021 posted online and [Wet Leg’s] “Chaise Longue” was their number one song. I asked: “Did you hear this for the first time on WOW!? ‘ And she said, ‘Yes.’ I feel like we kind of highlighted them in a big way because Simon has talked about the song in so many episodes. I saw people I never thought I would listen to WOW! say, ‘Oh, I first heard this song on a Sirius show.’ We weren’t exactly verified, but I know they were talking about us. And so it was cool.
Part of what is so [exciting] about it, “says Krassner” and certainly more for Simon than for me, is that he hears all this great new music. I think he feels able to give back and say to these lesser-known artists, “I have a platform and I want to draw attention to your music.” For the most part, he doesn’t play in very well-followed groups. Of course, every now and then there’s like Tame Impala or a reggae band that has huge success on Instagram. But for the most part, most of the artists he plays don’t have a lot of followers. It’s really nice for them to be promoted by him.
On other occasions, the program has featured guests, including actress and Duran Duran fan Wendi McLendon-Covey (Bridesmaids, The Goldbergs). In addition to the music played on the program, a key element of WOW! was the spontaneous and spiritual split between Le Bon and Krassner. “A lot of people say to me, ‘Oh, you were born to do this,’ which is a nice compliment, ‘she said. “I couldn’t do it with just anyone. It is not my vocation and I did not study for it. Even though I spent many years as a publicist and then in social networks, it is not my forte. I could only really do that with someone like Simon, who I have that kind of brother-sister relationship with. We don’t really plan or script anything, so what you hear is just us speaking.
As of this writing, WOW! Now has over 80 episodes and has counted since its launch last year. Even in the midst of a busy schedule involving his band, Le Bon regularly taps episodes of shows every week. “I don’t know how that will change when the band goes on tour, to be honest,” says Krassner. “He seems pretty dedicated. Maybe our schedule will be two every two weeks rather than once a week because it’s going to get busy for him with the trips and especially when they shoot overseas, but we’ll see. We will try to continue as long as possible.
Krassner has officially worked with Duran Duran for over 25 years and oversees their social media presence as well as the popular Ask Katy Forum on the band’s website, where fans submit questions for band members to answer. Long before entering Duran Duran’s orbit on a professional level, Krassner, a New York native, grew up as a teenage fan of the band in the early 1980s and saw them play at the Nassau Coliseum at the loudest. from Duranmania. “I don’t know who wasn’t a Duran Duran fan,” she said. “When I was young I definitely had pictures on my wall of Adam Ant, Matt Dillon, Def Leppard, Duran Duran. I was in the right age group and caught up in their mania.
While Duran Duran rose to popularity in the mid-1990s with his hit song “Ordinary World”, Krassner joined the group’s management company, Left Bank in America. At that time, the group’s formation consisted of Le Bon, Rhodes, John Taylor and guitarist Warren Cuccurullo. “I remember it very distinctly,” she recalls of their meeting. “I came to their hotel and they were in a huge suite and they were doing a photo shoot with Weekly entertainment. I think my mom bought me a SYMS costume. (Laughs) I didn’t know anything about being cool. I had a green Kerropi backpack, that gigantic, ill-fitting haired costume from SYMS. And they would say, “It’s amazing!” (Laughs) And that’s how it started. I was traveling with them the following month and they picked me up. That was it.”
She adds, “They far exceeded my expectations because I worked with a lot of bands when I was working at Left Bank. Some of them were awesome, and some of them were total divas, total jerks. Duran Duran has never been like this.
This year marked the 40th anniversary of Duran Duran’s self-titled debut album, and the group’s masterpiece. Rio will also hit the big 4-0 in 2022. As indicated by the positive reception at Future Past, Duran Duran has long transcended their teenage idol status as the “Fab Five” (Le Bon, Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor and original guitarist Andy Taylor) to become an influential band for future generations of rock bands. and pop. “With Duran Duran, in the beginning you had five very unique looks and unique personalities,” says Krassner. “They didn’t look alike at all. They each offered something different, and I think that is still true to this day. They each bring something new to the table, they are still very attached to Duran Duran, making new music, staying current and true to what they intended to do 40 years ago. I can’t think of another band from their time that stayed together all the time and continued to put out great music.
Beyond professional association, Krassner’s relationship with band members is also personal. “Which is also really rewarding for me as a parent [is] my kids are kinda coming for the ride. My son is a drummer and every time they rehearse in New York John and Roger talk to him about music and play with him. They are really just encouraging. Nick is my son’s godfather. They are all so good for my children. It’s such a family at this point.
WOW! can be heard on SiriusXM Volume (channel 106) every Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET, and rebroadcast at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.