Nick Rhodes
Nick Rhodes
Nick Rhodes is a British musician, best known as the keyboardist and founding member of the iconic new wave band Duran Duran. Born Nicholas James Bates on June 8, 1962, in Solihull, England, Rhodes began playing piano at a young age and quickly developed a passion for music.

Early history

Nick Bates was the only child of well-off parents, the owners of a Birmingham toy store called Bates Toy Shop. In 1978, Bates left school at the age of sixteen, and founded Duran Duran with his art school friend John Taylor. At about the same time as the name Duran Duran was chosen for the band, he decided to change his name, for "aesthetic reasons", to Rhodes after the Greek Isle.

As the band coalesced into its final lineup in 1979-80, Duran Duran started playing at a local Birmingham club called the Rum Runner. The club owners became the band's managers, and Rhodes began working at the club as a disc jockey.

Contributions to Duran Duran

The band achieved rapid success, and Rhodes was a driving force throughout. An unschooled musician, he loved experimenting with the sounds his analog synthesizers were capable of, but shied away from the "novelty" sounds of some other early synth bands. The distinctive warble of "Save A Prayer", the keyboard stabs of "A View to a Kill", and the string sounds of "Come Undone" are some of his most recognizable creations. His arrangements were rich, multi-layered, and unique, and although he has continued to explore the cutting edge of digital synthesizer technology, he has an enduring love for the analog synths of his early days, using them even on albums released in the 2000's He also popularized the Crumar Performer on the early records.

Rhodes was also quick to recognize the potential of the music video, and pushed the band to put more effort into their early videos than seemed warranted at the time (before the advent of MTV).

His contributions to the band were sometimes underestimated by contemporaries and critics. Barely twenty when the band hit major stardom, he cultivated an androgynous and sometimes flamboyant image, wore heavy makeup, and changed his hair colour at whim. As the band "grew up" in the public eye, however, Rhodes's intelligence, determination, and incisive dry humour became well-known to fans and fellow musicians, and he has become known as the "keeper of the Duran flame". Rhodes owns the rights to the "Duran Duran" name.

By the late 1990s, Rhodes had begun writing lyrics for Duran Duran, as well as music. His digitally altered voice is heard on the title track to the 1997 album Medazzaland.

Record production

Rhodes studied production techniques while in the studio with Duran Duran, eventually helping to mix several tracks on the Rio album, and was a co-producer on many of the band's later albums.

In early 1983, he discovered the band Kajagoogoo and produced their debut album White Feathers. He jokingly said he would never do so again because their hit single "Too Shy" was the song that kept Duran Duran's "Hungry Like The Wolf" out of the #1 spot on the UK charts.

Rhodes and Warren Cuccurullo wrote and produced three tracks for the Blondie (including "Studio 54") reunion album in 1996; the tracks were not used, but one song called "Pop Trash Movie" was later recorded by Duran Duran for the 2000 album Pop Trash.

In 2002, Rhodes co-produced and played some keyboard tracks on the album Welcome To The Monkey House by The Dandy Warhols. In 2004 he produced British-based pop group Riviera F for their debut EP single "International Lover", released on Pop Cult/Tape Modern (Rhodes & Stephen Duffy’s label).

Side projects

With his bandmates Simon Le Bon and Roger Taylor, Rhodes formed the side project Arcadia while Duran was on hiatus in 1985. The band had a moody, keyboard-heavy sound, far more atmospheric than Duran Duran (or the hard rock of the other Duran splinter group of 1985, Power Station). The band scored hits with "Election Day", "The Flame", and "Goodbye Is Forever". The band's only album So Red The Rose went multiplatinum, but the band never toured and was dissolved when Duran reunited in 1986.

Throughout the 1990s, Rhodes worked on a side project called TV Mania with Duran bandmate Cuccurullo. They created a self-described "social junk culture triptych opera" composed of music, dialogue, samples, and "found sound", and hoped to make it into a Broadway play. The album Bored with Prozac and The Internet? was released in 2013.

In 1999, Rhodes reunited with one of Duran Duran's early singers, Stephen Duffy, to create new music based on some of the earliest Duran music the two had written together; the result was the album Dark Circles, released under the name The Devils.

Also in 1999, Rhodes had a small guest appearance (in voice only) as a Canadian bomber pilot in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.

Personal life

Rhodes met Julie Anne Friedman (heiress to the Iowa Younkers Department Store fortune) at a yacht party while on an American tour in 1983, and they were married August 18, 1984. They had one daughter together, Tatjana Leigh Orchid (born in 23 August 1986). Nick and Julie Anne filed for a divorce in 1993.

Rhodes became enamoured of the art world, making friends with Andy Warhol and The Factory crowd, and attending exhibitions worldwide. He once described a highlight of this period of his life as "buying a Picasso on my American Express card". At the end of 1984, he released his own book of abstract art photographs called Interference. Many of the photos were displayed at an exhibition at the Hamilton Gallery in London.

Rhodes has been a vegetarian since 1988 after an incident where he cut into a rare steak and the blood spurted onto his white shirt "like an artery pumping blood".

Since his divorce, he has dated several prominent women from the London social scene. Nick had a long relationship with photographer/filmaker Madeleine Farley from 1992-1999. From 1999-2000, he had a brief yet close relationship with London "It" girl Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. He dated businesswoman Mary Gray from 2000-2001. Nick dated actress/model Meredith Ostrom, from 2001 until their split in 2009. He briefly dated university student Marie Louise Stoffel, who now resides in Berlin. From 2011 to the present, Nick has been in a relationship with Italian stylist Nefer Suvio.


  • 1981 - Duran Duran, Duran Duran
  • 1982 - Duran Duran, Rio
  • 1983 - Duran Duran, Seven and the Ragged Tiger
  • 1983 - Kajagoogoo, White Feathers (co-producer)
  • 1984 - Duran Duran, Arena
  • 1985 - Arcadia, So Red the Rose
  • 1986 - Duran Duran, Notorious
  • 1988 - Duran Duran, Big Thing
  • 1989 - Duran Duran, Decade: Greatest Hits
  • 1989 - Compilation, Requiem For The Americas (keyboards)
  • 1990 - Duran Duran, Liberty
  • 1993 - Duran Duran, The Wedding Album
  • 1995 - Duran Duran, Thank You
  • 1996 - Baffled, "Over U" (keyboards)
  • 1996 - Colour Girl, "Special" (keyboards)
  • 1996 - Innerworld, "Time" (keyboards, programming)
  • 1997 - Duran Duran, Medazzaland
  • 1998 - Duran Duran, Greatest
  • 1999 - Missing Persons, "Destination Unknown (TV Mania Mix)" (co-producer)
  • 2000 - Duran Duran, Pop Trash
  • 2001 - Compilation, Music For The 3rd Millennium: Vol. 2 ("Medazzaland" Instrumental)
  • 2003 - The Dandy Warhols, Welcome To The Monkey House (co-producer)
  • 2004 - Duran Duran, Astronaut
  • 2004 - Riviera F, "International Lover" (producer)
  • 2004 - Warren Cuccurullo, N'Liten Up (co-writer)
  • 2005 - Compilation, The Loft Club: Barcelona ("Come Alive" Tiga Remix)
  • 2006 - Compilation with John Taylor, Only After Dark
  • 2007 - Duran Duran, Red Carpet Massacre
  • 2007 - Compilation, Visionaire 53: Sound ("Control Freak")
  • 2010 - Mark Ronson & The Business Intl., Record Collection (keyboards, co-writer)
  • 2010 - Mark Ronson & The Business Intl., "The Sound of Plastic" (Instrumentation, co-produced, co-written)
  • 2010 - Duran Duran, All You Need Is Now
  • 2011 - Depeche Mode, "Personal Jesus 2011" (remix co-producer)
  • 2013 - TV Mania, Bored with Prozac and The Internet?
  • 2013 - MNDR, "Feed Me Diamonds" (Radiant Cut Remix)
  • 2015 - Duran Duran, Paper Gods

Film and TV credits

  • 1999 - South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (voice)
  • 2000 - The Shape of Things That Hum
  • 2001 - The Story of the New Romantics
  • 2005 - Open Cam (soundtrack co-writer)

Books and magazines

  • 1984 - Interference
  • 2003 - Shoo Magazine: Summer 2003
  • 2004 - Tatler: September 2004


  • 2013 - Bei Incubi

Record labels

  • Tape Modern
  • Lo-Fi


0 comment

Write the first comment for this!