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And did he mention that Renee is 'lovely, bubbly'?

By GINA VIVINETTO

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 29, 2000


Ten Pressing Questions

From a tour stop in Wales, dandyish keyboardist Nick Rhodes, 38, of Duran Duran tackles 10 Pressing Questions about art, makeup tips, and the effervescent Renee Zellweger.

(1) Duran Duran always lived so decadently, shooting expensive videos in Sri Lanka, driving Astin Martins like James Bond. I once read you ate champagne and strawberries for breakfast. What's the most extravagant thing you ever did?

The most extravagant thing I ever did was buy a Picasso on my American Express. I bought it in the South of France, actually. That would have been in the late 1980s.

(2) So is champagne and strawberries a typical breakfast for you?

I don't know whether I ever had champagne and strawberries for breakfast. Maybe once. Champagne actually gives me a terrible headache. I'm not a big advocate of champagne. I prefer red wine, and you certainly wouldn't want that for breakfast.

I eat fruit for breakfast. Sometimes I eat muesli or something, but usually I eat fruit or yogurt. I'm vegetarian. I've been vegetarian for 11 years.

(3) Is it fun jetting around with other rock stars? Did you ever have weak knees meeting people you admired growing up, like David Bowie and the guys in Roxy Music?

Actually no, because by the time I met them, I had had plenty of success of my own. If I met them when I was 15 or 16, I probably would have been really different.

But, it's always nice to meet an actress that looks better offscreen than on screen.

Does that happen often?

Well, you know, you just sort of meet people casually in restaurants or something. I tell you someone who is really sweet is Renee. Renee Zellweger. She's just such a lovely, bubbly person.

She just broke up with Jim Carrey.

Apparently so. I met her years ago. She was bubbly and lovely and really funny.

(4) When someone sneezes, are you the type of person who says something in the interest of decorum?

Yes, of course. It's a very English thing. We always say "Bless you.'

(5) I know you're an art lover. And you yourself are a photographer. Whose art do you admire?

Photographers? Man Ray would have to be the king of all of them. I love Ellen von Unwerth as a fashion photographer.

Painters? Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat. I like a lot of classical painters, too. I like Raphael. Look at those Italians, I'm telling you, they knew what they were doing.

(6) Aren't you and Simon (Le Bon) sick of each other yet?

(Laughs.) No. We get on really well. Weamuse each other.

(7) Do you know the Heimlich Maneuver?

Yes, I do.

Ever done it?

Fortunately not.

Would you?

If nobody could do it better. If there weren't a doctor in the house.

(8) What's the best cartoon?

The Simpsons and South Park. I love them. I watch them religiously. I don't watch anything else on television apart from news, documentaries, movies, The Simpsons and South Park. I think the most highbrow things on television are The Simpsons and South Park. Theirs are the best-written scripts.

(9) You're one of the only guys left from the 1980s still coloring your hair and wearing makeup.

Sure thing. Why the hell not?

Any makeup tips?

I think it's finding out what you like on your face. I've got one of those faces where if I put makeup on, it sinks in. It just looks like it belongs there.

Hair disasters?

I had my hair bleached once and somebody completely burned my scalp and it all blistered. I put my hand in my hair and my fingers were sticky. It was the most revolting thing. It was bad. Bad.

(10) Best rock act ever?

The Velvet Underground.

* * *

PREVIEW: Duran Duran performs at 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. Tickets are $35.75-$39.75. (727) 791-7400.

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