It’s no wonder Simon Le Bon is a happy man. His band are cooler than ever, he’s not short of a bob or too, he’s got three beautiful daughters and he’s still blissfully happy with his model wife, who is just as stunning as she was when they met in 1984. On December 27 Simon and Yasmin, 46, celebrate 25 years of marriage, but clearly, a quarter of a century together hasn’t dampened their passion. “I wake up in the morning and for ten minutes or so I just get to look at her peacefully sleeping. That’s kind of all you need to know about me’ he says.‘I just want to stay married. I guess I’m very lucky that I picked somebody really bloody good in the first place. “She’s great fun, fantastic, beautiful and we laugh all the time. It’s not always easy at all. But I really want to stay married for life. We’re quite tolerant of each other. We have hard times but things don’t have to be perfect all the time. People are led to believe that if it’s not perfect then just ditch it and change it these days. That’s a fucking mistake. It’s good to hang onto your marriage – even when things get tough. When things are going good you get the benefit of it. She’s my life.”Simon famously spotted Yasmin in a fashion magazine in the summer of 1984 and fell for her on the spot.
Days after seeing her picture he tracked her down for a date via her modelling agent and the rest is history. Yasmin is still modelling and the pair have three daughters, Amber, 21, Saffron, 19 and Talullah, 16, and Simon says he has no worries about them in the future. “They’re great. I’d have no problem if any of them brought a rock star boyfriend home – as long as the guy could sing.”But his relationship with Yasmin, 46, isn’t the only enduring union in Simon’s life. Duran Duran, who met at art school in Birmingham and became mega stars in the eighties are back with their most eagerly awaited album for over a decade. Produced by hitmaker Mark Ronson, the boys – Simon, 52, John Taylor, 50, Roger Taylor, 50, and Nick Rhodes, 48 - have gone back to basics with a cool live feel on new album All You Need is Now.
The boys may now be Old Romantics, but they do look good, even with a combined age of 200. They all have elaborate hair and make up - including eye liner and mascara Simon has a suspiciously dark beard and highlights galore,
John’s eyes are still well and truly smoky – his cheekbones are as razor sharp as ever. As is his temperament – if he’s bored of my questioning then he yells: “Next” at the top of his lungs.
Nick wears a velvet jacket, a nod to his eighties style, with his trademark comb over so any hint of an receding hairline is well and truly hidden from view.
The only person who looks like the man in the street is Roger Taylor. He looks macho and handsome in a George Clooney way “I have to stay fit and healthy being a drummer,” says Roger. “Otherwise I’d go out there and no be able to manage a set. Drumming’s kept me fit and young.”
The boys are hoping to create a stir once more – but Simon says the objectives of the band are different these days. “Its not about selling millions of records,” he says. “Getting into people’s heads is what excites us.”John Taylor pitches in: “I never thought I would end up making music that could actually change peoples day. Music is the best fucking anti depressant out there. You hear the right song at the right time. A three minute song can do that for you. That’s one of the reasons we do what we do.”
The band, a foursome since the departure of Andy Taylor, are straight talking, no nonsense guys these days. They’ve been there, done it and learnt from their mistakes.
John reveals: “We can’t control people’s nostalgia for the eighties. But we’ve evolved in time. And thankfully we’re where we are. “Back in the day we didn’t take shit like awards importantly. My Grammy awards were on the shelf in the bottom of a cabinet. I’m proud of them now but you can’t afford to get too cosy with lifetime achievement awards.”“I still want a best single and best album,” says Simon – who’s taken to laying down for the remainder of the interview as he didn’t sleep a “fucking wink” last night. “We’re still ambitious. Getting lifetime awards shouldn’t make you feel old. Otherwise they’d only give lifetime achievement awards to people on their death beds. And we’re not.” But the boys do admit that keeping up with their sex symbol status from yester year has it’s challenges. Simon in particular sounds like it’s a full time job keeping the looks that made him one of the most popular pin ups of the eighties. “Being in a band means you’re constantly under pressure to look good,” he huffs jokily. “Its not an industry associated with looking old and fat so you need to look after yourself or people talk. Being a sex symbol can really work against you in later life. We moisturise like our life depends on it.”And all those magic creams must be needed – the boys were well known for their all night partying and crazy antics in the eighties. But they’re glad they managed to keep their antics under wraps. “I don’t get these celebrities that want every aspect of their private life written about,” says John. “Have some dignity. Dirty washing needs to be kept hidden.
”Simon adds: “We did the drugs and the drink and went wild. But we didn’t make a song and dance about it. Our music was our life. That aspect of celebrity wasn’t pandered too and encouraged so much. We wouldn’t confess to a magazine on a weekly basis. It’s a case of if you get up to naughty shit then you kept it fucking quiet.
Duran Duran performed on the X Factor to promote their last album – but they are by no means uncritical of the X Factor show.“Its good television entertainment,” Simon begins. “I actually think Matt Cardle could be slightly different to the others. He’s more of a rocker isn’t he? “But it worries me with these shows that the biggest part of these kid’s career is the first six months and it feels they can only go down hill from there. I think that’s extremely difficult for the artists themselves. Having said that I think its a bloody difficult business to break and anything that gives you a leg up you should take. I have no problem with a show like that.”But John Taylor is niggled by Simon Cowell and his show. He pitches in: “Look, it’s exactly the same as hamburgers with a show like X Factor. MacDonald’s has its place in society. I hate it. Its boring. That’s the trouble nowadays. A lack of talent. If these kids were writing their own songs and producing their own songs then I’d watch it. But as far as I’m concerned I’ve never really been interested in karaoke.” Nick Rhodes giggles in hysterics and says: “We had talent shows in the old days – but let’s face it Simon Cowell is simply the Hughie Green of this era.”
Duran Duran’s new album All You Need Is Now is out December 21 on iTunes and out in shops in February