The last time Rhythm spoke to Steve Alexander in depth he was embarking on the seemingly tricky task of distancing himself from eighties popsters Brother Beyond. Being a man of great determination, as well as prodigious talent, he accomplished this with remarkable ease, and, it appeared, took a certain justifiable pleasure in shattering people's preconceptions along with their eardrums.
Since then he has established himself as one of Britain's most accomplished players with a reputation for explosive power, astonishing technique and a resolutely original approach - his performance at Zildjian Day '98 rose magnificently above a poor mix to demonstrate just how broad his rhythmic references are.
Through countless sessions and stunning clinic performances around the world he has put the horrors of Be My Twin firmly behind him. Still, he returned to the arena of floppy-fringes and ragged tigers last year- albeit it infinitely more exalted company - when he joined the mercurial Duran Duran. Following the likes of Steve Ferrone, Terry Bozzio and Vinnie Colaiuta, he put his own mark on the band's new material and lived it up by bashing out the old faves on the greatest hits tour.
"Whenever we did old stuff," he says, "we'd always do a radical new twist on them. We did a mixture of Kraftwerk's 'The Model' and 'Girls on Film'. The first time we ever did it was in front of 20,000 people in Chicago. And stuff like 'Rio' and 'The Reflex' are great fun to play. In enjoyed it, and I enjoyed making it sound like the records, because the drums were always a major, major part of the Duran sound. And, you know, when Nick Rhodes starts that camera shutter going at the start of 'Girls on Film' and the crowd starts cheering, it's great."
He won't go into detail about the band's reputation for on-the-road excess, but suffice it to say they have not succumbed to the pipe and slippers yet. Which is heartening to know. More recently he found himself in the intriguing position of playing simultaneously with Duran and guitar legend Jeff Beck, a situation that is further testament to his versatility and an evident desire to make life as complicated as possible.
Steve's route to the Beck chair - surely among the most demanding on planet rock - was more complicated than has been reported (he is quick to scotch the rumour that he was recommended by previous incumbent Terry Bozzio).
But the upshot is that, via a series of industry nods, he was brought to Beck's attention and, after a brief informal jam at the bad axeman's country retreat, was accepted into the fold. "They said to me, 'We're only looking at you. Don't think of it as an audition, let's just see how we get along.'