NEW YORK — Tuesday night, surrounded by the burlesque stars, fashion editors, models and human oddities who frequent New York hot spot the Box, Duran Duran celebrated the release of their 13th album, Red Carpet Massacre. And in this decadent setting, the new-wave veterans announced that they were getting in bed with Playboy for its second annual Rock the Rabbit issue, which contains eight or nine pages of music news and reviews.
Earlier this year, Playboy Enterprises launched Rock the Rabbit, a program that raises funds through T-shirt auctions and events (its charity partner for 2007 is HIV/AIDS-prevention nonprofit LIFEBeat; for 2008 it's Rock the Vote). The program, which combines rock, hip-hop, art and fashion, was rolled out in conjunction with the magazine's March issue. While the first Rock the Rabbit issue included artists such as the Flaming Lips, the Killers and Snow Patrol, Duran Duran have something special in common with the magazine: longevity.
"Duran Duran was perfect for us," said Playboy editor Tim Mohr. "They are legendary and manage to evolve every single year. The new album ... is openly sexualized, and I love how modern it is. The band is constantly bringing its audience forward."
The Box provided a fitting atmosphere for the release party and magazine celebration, which was attended by a diverse crowd that included Ice-T, hotelier (and Uma Thurman ex) André Balazs, and Korn's Jonathan Davis and James Shaffer. "We featured the Box in our December issue," explained Joseph DeAcetis, Playboy's fashion director. "[It] fits everything that Playboy is about — it's exuberant, sexually ambitious and it has a real feel-good vibe."
Along with the other artists on the bill, Duran Duran will create a graphic to be featured on limited-edition Playboy T-shirts, which will be auctioned off, with a portion of the proceeds going to Rock the Vote.
Frontman Simon LeBon was particularly excited about being shot by rock and roll photographer Mick Rock for the issue. "It's not often you get to work with a photographer who is more of a rock star than you are," LeBon said.
While Red Carpet Massacre has largely been viewed as average by critics, its mature electro-sentiment is helped along by producer Timbaland, and it even contains one track, "Nite Runner," with vocals by Justin Timberlake.
"The album is about music life, f--- ups, fun and screwing up in public," LeBon said. "It's about celebrity lifestyle: how nothing is wrong with it, and how nothing is right with it."