Duran Duran Rocks is a production by me, John Archbell. I’m based in the UK and have been an avid follower and collector of this iconic band since ‘only’ 1989. I was obviously aware of their early ‘TV sound’ during a time Duran had the world at their feet, however I only became addicted after going to see them perform live at the Bournemouth BIC on the 23rd April of the same year, during the Electric Theatre Tour. That gig was was the reason why I’m sitting here, 28 years later, feeling pumped up while I type this, trying to keep calm whilst listening to Duran Duran.
From 1989 I co-edited a UK fanzine called Lake Shore Drive (later receiving a credit in the linear notes of The Wedding Album). I then took over complete editing control the following year and eventually, after revamping it, I changed it’s name to The Notorious Duranzine as I felt I needed to give the fanzine a new identity. In April 1991 I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Jerusalem For Reconciliation charity concert at The Royal Albert Hall in London, where Duran Duran performed three songs, one of which was the very first play of Ordinary World. It was to be 18 months later when it received an official worldwide release, in January 1993. For some strange reason I find myself looking at similarities with The Cavern Club in Liverpool where The Beatles used to play as the house band before being discovered. I feel privileged that I witnessed Duran Duran playing a song that was to eventually pull them out of the abyss and back onto the world stage again. Incredible.
Then in March 1992 I was tipped off by the girls at what was then DD Productions in Fulham, London that the guys were going to be taking part in in a charity event called Trading Places at HMV on the 11th of March. They basically 'swapped' roles with the staff at the store and were serving customers..not very well I may add! But to see these guys..I couldn't quite put my finger on it. They knew they were sitting on something very special. It turned out true when Ordinary World just ripped up the rule book, firing the band back up the charts and subsequently shutting the mouths of the band's fiercest critics. "We just let the music do the talking" Simon Le Bon said to me at the time.
Then in October 1992 I was involved in a near fatal motorcycle accident that had temporarily scrambled my brains. I had no recollection of my family or children and the 10 years leading upto my injuries had never existed. It was a scary time for my family. I can't remember the accident itself but I had hit a pot hole and my bike helmet had slipped off before the back of my head hit the tarmac. Fortunately I regained my memory but I suffered from depression and I was not my usual positive self. Then a couple of months later on one cold December's morning, I awoke to the radio playing the distinctive chords of Warren Cuccurullo,s guitar. It was of course Ordinary World.
The Wedding Album had leaked a few months previous under a working title of Four on the Floor which was a reference to Duran Duran getting back to basics and holing themselves up at Warren's studio 'In Privacy'. A few months previous to my accident I had written an article about this for a UK publication.
By now, euphoria was finding its way into my blood, a sense of triumph. I had survived an horrific accident followed by a most miraculous escape from despair. There's no question that Ordinary World helped my recovery. No question at all. It gave me a purpose to be somebody, to do something with my life.
My cheat of death provided me with an optimism for the future and I decided a change of career was necessary. I enrolled at my local college as a 27 year old student. I had a passion for English Literature and English Language and I really enjoyed writing so I studied Journalism and Radio Broadcasting. It really was a reality check though as to leave a perfectly good job, earning a guaranteed wage then changing to a mature penniless student was so risky. I was a husband and father. My wife was a Godsend and she supported me with my endeavours. She was the main wage earner and I DJ'd on the weekends to earn some extra money. So, naturally I have plenty to thank her for!
Later on, I think it was the beginning of '94, I needed some help with some course work. I was assigned by my Radio Techniques Tutor to interview somebody on audio, then bring the tape to the studio and transfer it to reel to reel. I then had to cut it, removing outside interference, groans and coughing. I then had to edit it down to a 5 minute feature to include music. So, I wrote to Simon Le Bon. Who else could I ask? While I was at college my wife received a call from him at home. Imagine her surprise! I would have dearly loved to have been a fly on the wall just to see her jaw dropping on the floor. My meeting with Simon is a story for another day but tell me this.. How on earth do you edit a half an hour interview with your idol to just 5 minutes? I also need to add here that Simon was wearing a microphone on his shirt lapel and every so often he had this annoying habit of rubbing his shirt. The noise was very noticeable through the headphones I was wearing and I just had to ask him to stop. Otherwise I walk away with no chance of redoing the interview.