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Fame again for former Duran Duran singer

16

March

Before Simon Le Bon -- long before Reflex and Union of the Snake -- there was another lead singer for Duran Duran. Meet Andy Wickett, the lead singer in the years before fame found the group. Duran Duran was formed in 1978 in Birmingham, England, by John Taylor and Nick Rhodes and has never formally broken up. However, the group has gone through several lineup changes over the years. In 1979, after singing with a band called TV Eye, Wickett became Duran Duran's vocalist. The band would play several gigs and record a few demos before he left late in the year to form The Xpertz. Le Bon joined the band shortly afterward. Today, Wickett -- with careers in both computer animation and music -- is seeing a revival in fame from his Duran Duran years with the release of Girls on Film 2006 -- a single and video of the song as it was performed by the group during his tenure. It's darker, creepier and frankly a lot more fun. And it's currently one of the most downloaded videos on MySpace.com. Still based from Birmingham, Wickett took some questions recently from Stuck in the 80s. Stuck in the 80s: How did get involved with the band members of Duran Duran? What were the circumstances? Wickett: "Nick, John and Stephen (Duffy, the band's first singer) were all big fans of TV Eye and used to come and see us play at Rebecca's and Barbarella's. 'Duffait' (as he was then known), left Duran Duran and joined TV Eye, I (then known as Fane), left TV Eye and joined Duran Duran. It was a straight swap.'' Stuck in the 80s: I understand Girls on Film existed during your tenure with the group. Do you still prefer the early version to the one that later achieved pop success? I also read somewhere that the song that would become Rio existed back then under another name. Wickett: "I absolutely prefer the original version of Girls on Film to the one that charted. John always says it was Ami-A-Go-Go which became Rio, but that isn't the case. Stevie's Radio Station was a TV Eye song which I took to Duran Duran and they later turned this into Rio. "I still play Stevie's Radio Station live, and Dave Kusworth, the TV Eye guitarist, has also continued to play it throughout his career -- he named his son after the song. Wagging Dog Records have his version online -- the similarities between that song and Rio are fairly obvious!'' Stuck in the 80s: How was the band different when you were the singer as opposed to later incarnations? Wickett: "We were raw punk funk - it was less commercial and more experimental. The lyrics had meaning back then.'' Stuck in the 80s: What lead you to want to leave the group? Any regrets on that? Wickett: "If I'd had that success I'd be dead by now, through drugs, or alcohol -- I was self-destructive back then. It was survival instinct kicking in when I left the band.'' ( Tomorrow: Part Two of the interview -- Andy's feelings about Duran Duran without him, what he's doing now, and his thoughts on the 80s.)

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:16pm]

    

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