Duran Duran have covered the Talking Heads' classic Psycho Killer with Måneskin bassist Victoria De Angelis and it's not nearly as bad it could have been

John Taylor and Victoria De Angelis in the studio
John Taylor and Victoria De Angelis in the studio (Image credit: Duran Duran)

Duran Duran have something of a reputation where it comes to cover versions, and it could be better.

Back in 1995, the Brummie new wavers released Thank You, a well-intentioned collection of cover version designed to pay tribute to some of their musical heroes, featuring versions of songs by the likes of The Doors, Elvis Costello, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Led Zeppelin. It was not good. 

In fact, Thank You was wretched. A commercial flop and a critical failure, Q Magazine went so far it to name it The Worst Album Of All Time.

"It's not funny for even a split second and not even the sort of thing that you would put on for a laugh if you were drunk," opined Q deputy editor Gareth Grundy. "It is abysmal on every level, as befits an album where you have Simon Le Bon trying to cover Public Enemy."

It was the band's cover of Chuck D & Co.'s militant anthem 911 Is A Joke – a song that took US emergency services to task for their poor response times in urban areas – that bore the brunt of the criticism, with Select mocking the band for "defeating the vile cancer of racism on their own" and Spin calling the recording "a joke, and not a particularly good one."

28 years later, Duran Duran are at it again. New album Danse Macabre – due for release this Friday – is a mix of original material and covers, with the band tackling songs by The Rolling Stones (Paint It Black), The Specials (Ghost Town), Siouxsie and the Banshees (Spellbound) and more. And, to give us a taste of the audio bounty that lies within, they've just released their version of The Talking Heads' 1977 classic Psycho Killer

Joining the band on the recording is Måneskin's Victoria De Angelis, who provides some excellent and certifiably funky bass, while Simon Le Bon delivers a weird, half-sung, half-whispered vocal on the verses before things get livelier on the chorus. Thankfully, the band don't stray too far from the original melody, but your mileage may vary on the Wild Boys-style sonics that are inserted as the song nears its climax.

“It's such a wild honour to get asked by John Taylor and the guys to play on their album," says De Angelis. "I met John at a party, and we immediately bonded talking about music and bass. I told him Tina Weymouth was my absolute pinnacle of cool, attitude and incredible musicianship all rolled into one, and he told me he also started playing bass inspired by her and she was one of his music idols. 

"I then got a call from John months later saying he was working on a cover of Psycho Killer, and he wanted to ask me first about playing on it. It was insane being asked by one of the greatest bass players ever to play one of my favourite songs with Duran Duran. Absolutely insane. I’m so grateful and honoured, it was so much fun recording together with John and he was so sweet to me and encouraged me to express myself and play it my own way. I’ll always remember that day."

“She’s probably the most important electric bassist out there right now," says Taylor. "I met a couple of the guys from Måneskin at a party and they said, 'you’ve got to meet our bass player.' She’s such a dynamo! I was like 'what inspired you?' and Vic said, 'Tina Weymouth'. So when Psycho Killer made the cut for the album, I thought, 'I’m gonna ask her if she’d like to have a bass-off!'".

Danse Macabre will be released on October 27 via Tape Modern for BMG. Full tracklist below.

Duran Duran: Danse Macabre tracklist

Black Moonlight
Love Voudou  
Bury A Friend
Danse Macabre
Secret Oktober 31st
Ghost Town
Paint It Black
Super Lonely Freak
Psycho Killer (feat. Victoria De Angelis)
Confession in the Afterlife

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.