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Duran Duran’s ’80s Dream Rig - KeyboardMag

Duran Duran’s ’80s Dream Rig

If you owned hair gel and even just one synth in the ’80s, you dreamed of your band making it to the point where you could afford a rig like this: “Nick’s riser is about eight feet square, and from the back it has his rack, his mixer, the Fairlight TV screen, and two JBL monitors,” explained Duran Duran’s keyboard roadie, known only as “Rocks,” in our May 1984 feature.
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If you owned hair gel and even just one synth in the ’80s, you dreamed of your band making it to the point where you could afford a rig like this: “Nick’s riser is about eight feet square, and from the back it has his rack, his mixer, the Fairlight TV screen, and two JBL monitors,” explained Duran Duran’s keyboard roadie, known only as “Rocks,” in our May 1984 feature. “To his left, he has his Prophet [5] on top of his Crumar strings. The [Roland] Jupiter-8 and Fairlight keyboard are directly in front.” Come to think of it, that still makes us jealous. Here’s what keyboardist Nick Rhodes had to say about two of those pieces.

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Nick Rhodes poses with a Korg Poly-800 on our May ’84 cover.

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Fairlight CMI

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“You can get remarkable results from the most ridiculous things. We have this sort of tube in the studio from a vacuum cleaner. Somebody went in there with drumstick and ran it down this tube. It didn’t sound like anything I’d ever heard before. We put it into the Fairlight and started stabbing at it, as opposed to holding the keys down, and it sounded like a really strange blend of funky guitar and bass.”

Crumar Performer

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“I could sample it into the Fairlight or the Emulator, so I could get the same sound. . . . But somehow there’s a quality to that one particular string synth. I’ve listened to all of them—the ARP string synth, the Jupiters, everything—but I just love the quality of the Crumar. It’s so plastic! I might only be holding down individual notes for the period of a final chorus, but it’s on nearly every hit record we’ve ever had.”