Congratulations are in order for Duran Duran's legendary keyboard player, Nick Rhodes. He's been honored with the sixth annual Lifetime Achievement Award from Roland, the manufacturer of such iconic keyboards as the Juno-6 and one of Rhodes' personal favorites, the Jupiter-8.
“Wow, a huge thank you to everyone at Roland for this glorious award," Rhodes said in a press statement. "I am honored to receive it, particularly as Roland has been such a big part of my life since the beginning of my career. I started out in 1980 with a Roland System-100, then I graduated to a Jupiter-4, and shortly after to a Jupiter-8....You often hear guitarists talking about the ultimate Les Paul or the 1959 Stratocaster that they just can’t do without. Well, for me, this has always been the Jupiter-8. These were the instruments that really formed the sound palette that I developed my creativity from. I think, for all artists, these tools that we make music with are of the most importance, and I am very grateful to the developers at Roland for staying in touch with the way that music evolves.”
We're commemorating this well-earned accolade with Nick Rhodes himself running down his three favorite Duran Duran songs of all-time. The list came together when Rhodes was reacting to music site Stereogum running their list of the 10 best Duran Duran tracks. Well, sort of.
"No, no don’t tell me those; [let’s go] off the top of my head," Rhodes said. “'The Chauffeur,' which I figure you might’ve had. Because I think it was an important stepping block in our sound during the making of the Rio album. It was the first really completely electronic thing that we’d done, and it’s turned into this sort of strange cult [hit]. I don’t like all strange cults, but in this case, I do like this one."
"What else? What about 'Late Bar?," Rhodes continued. "It was the B-side of our first single ['Planet Earth,' 1981]. The reason for that one, I think, would be because it was all about the Rum Runner [a now-defunct club in Duran Duran’s hometown Birmingham], which is where we started off when we were writing, rehearsing. Never even made it onto the album, because we came from a generation where obscure B-sides were sort of important on 7″ vinyl, so we were determined to have them, and for the first five years or so — well, probably longer actually, the first 10 years — we really kept up that. That was the first one."
What about something much more modern. How about the track “Medazzaland”? I say “much more modern” — my God, that was 1997. It’s a bit ridiculous, but, hey. That one, it is the only Duran Duran track where I perform the lead vocal. For whatever it’s worth. Well, I’m saying 'favorites' here, they’re just things that come into my head, because I’m sure I could probably pick much more refined songs than 'Medazzaland,' but I love 'Medazzaland' because it’s a very unusual piece of music. It’s much more experimental than a lot of the things we do. It was fun, actually, doing the vocal. I’m glad I didn’t have to sing. It is very much spoken. But it was fun doing it live, actually. We used to open the show with it. I could never remember all the words, so I put them inside of a newspaper and read them."