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Shake your LeBon-Bons 

Duran Duran lead singer gets into the holiday mood

Duran Duran, that '80s bastion of hair gel and poppy new wave, is back. All of the original members are in the mix, albeit a little -- well, a lot -- older. And they've just released a slick new album, Astronaut. Featuring snappy production by the likes of Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Good Charlotte) and Dallas Austin (TLC, Pink), the album represents everything you'd expect from a Duran Duran album: funky computerized beats, dramatic new romantic melodies, quirky, new wave rhythms and the stylishly jaded whine of lead singer Simon LeBon.

The reunited band headlines the Star 94/T-Mobile Jingle Jam, one of the highlights of the season's holiday-themed shows. We caught up with LeBon by phone from his home in England to talk about being back with his boys, a charity single from Christmas' past, and mincemeat-inclusive holiday plans with his wife, former model Yasmin LeBon, and their three daughters.

Creative Loafing: What was it like when all of the original Duran members got together after all those years?

LeBon: There was definitely a lot of energy in the room that day. It was a very good energy after we all got in there. It was heartwarming to see people who reminded you of such good times in your life.

Has the dynamic of the band changed?

Yeah, I think so. Now there's a greater sense of overall equality. Or that's the way it seems to me. [The band is] still something we all believe in, so that unites us.

Since you're playing this year's Jingle Jam, let's talk about the holidays. In 1984, you participated on the charity-relief song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Do you remember how it came together?

The thing was, Bob [Geldof] called me up and said, "Look, I'm calling you and Sting first off." And he ran the idea by me of what was happening with it. I never really thought twice about the song. It just felt like it was the thing to do for the right reason, really. So I did it and it was the right thing to do.

What are your plans for the holidays?

I'll be with my kids. We might go somewhere snowy or we might go somewhere hot. I haven't decided yet. If you live here, for Christmas, it's wet, drizzly.

What's your favorite Christmas song?

Hmm, well, there's this song called "Coventry Carol," which I really like. It has these sort of Gregorian scales and it's very beautiful.

What sort of holiday traditions do you enjoy at the LeBon household?

Oh, first, gettin' the tree up and stuffing the turkey. That's usually my job, stuffing the turkey. Singin' a few carols on Christmas Eve. And we leave mince pie for Santa, of course. And Christmas stockings, too. We put presents under the tree, then on Christmas Day we open them. But it's usually for the kids. Then on Boxing Day [the day after Christmas], I make pasta. Italian food on Boxing Day, always.

How old are your girls?

They're 15, 13 and 10.

Would you care if they started enjoying pop stars who are your age?

Well, as long as it's Duran Duran, I'm quite happy.

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