Duran Duran’s Andy Taylor | Wild Boy, Indeed

prof_taylr-d2.jpgIt had me do a lot of research before getting into the bean-spilling business. I wanted to see what had actually been written about the band.

 

 

 

British band Duran Duran says guitarist Andy Taylor has left the group ahead of the US leg of a world tour – five years after the chart-topping 1980s band got back together.

A statement on the group’s web site said the relationship with Taylor had become unworkable.

"The four of us have dissolved our partnership and will be continuing as Duran Duran without Andy," said the statement.

"We have reached a point in our relationship with him where there is an unworkable gulf between us and we can no longer effectively function together," it said without giving any further details. —The Age, October 27, 2006

In light of the publication of Wild Boy, Andy Taylor’s recent provocative autobiography of Duran Duran and his life in the band, we talked to him (via telephone, he at home in the beautiful Ibiza, we at our cluttered desk here in the not-as-exciting St. Louis) to get some of the background and further insights. Proving himself to be opinionated and nearly eloquent (making us think that, truly, he probably did write the book entirely himself and not with the help of a ghost writer (you always wonder)), we enjoyed a trip through memory lane, monsters lined up along either side of the path,

prof_taylor.jpgWhat made you decide to write this autobiography of your time in the band?

A number of factors; I suppose the most obvious one is that when you’re doing it for 28 years we’ve been together, in one form or another… When you’ve done something with people for a long time and you’ve had ups and downs, and you believe it all broken, you go back and try and put it back together in a way. It’s not as simple; it’s not an easy tale. It was something that you go, "Well should I do it?" It was a bit bigger challenge than I thought it would be, but I think it worked out okay.

How long did the writing take you?

It had me do a lot of research before getting into the bean-spilling business. I wanted to see what had actually been written about the band, what was in the public domain—the British press, of course, the wonderful tabloids; they really hadn’t missed anything. So I didn’t have to reveal anything in the sense that all the incidents were in some shape or form somewhere in the media—but of course they never really made any sense, and most of the time they’re inaccurate. But there’s so much stuff out there; I went right up and found all the things that had been written.

Did you let the other guys know you were writing this before it was done?

Yeah, I said, "I’ll pop you a copy in the post just before just to make sure you’re happy with it." No, I certainly had some criteria I was going to stick to. And I’m not vindictive; I don’t really go into the personal parts of lives of the individuals. It was the personal underbelly of the band, and some of my personal life, that is appropriate to what happened within this experience. Not everything, of course, because it’s about life in Duran Duran. That means all of the bits of life, and some of them were just… Bands are like families. The births, the deaths, the marriages, the fights over money, I don’t like your girlfriend and all that. It’s sort of a brotherly thing. Falling out with each other, you fight a lot.

Have you heard from any of them since it was published?

No.

The thing that struck me, obviously we’re inclined to take your side, as the narrator, but basically everyone else, with the exception of Roger, really came off as not that great of a person in so many ways, and you came off as the most sane one.  Do you feel that was accurate, or do you think it was kind of colored by the fact that you’re the narrator and you’re the one telling the story?

Well, Roger wasn’t always perhaps the least vocal; he didn’t like confrontation. And everything else, the negative is all often blown up more. Even in the end, it’s not necessarily a character thing, and that’s the basis of the ups and downs of Duran Duran, it’s that we got together as creative people. We were friends before we did anything. And when our creative relationship is strong, it’s very strong. But it works, and when that didn’t work or things got wrong, it just… The personal bits about people, that’s just how we behave when we’re together as a band.

I know you cover this in the book, but how long did it take everybody to talk into reforming, or was everybody pretty much just gung-ho?

When we started the whole conversation again, we didn’t get together and go, "Let’s do the touring, let’s take the easy route and just do the touring and then off we go and bye-bye," because just to get together in these circumstances, when you haven’t toured for nearly 20 years, you can’t really expect it to work. It’s about the basis of your relationship; if we can get on, then we can move forward. But everybody had to go back to their original shape, in terms of the relationship. And perhaps we didn’t – well, I know we didn’t. And no doubt we never really addressed some of the things that brought us down the time before. But it did work when we started writing, and then it felt quite good.

It was terribly difficult to get a record deal that would equate to something like that amount of work. Before the first meeting we had, John said to me, "Don’t make an album out of it. It’s not the same; it never can be." And I said, "If it can’t be what you know it to be, then what’s it going to be?"

If your visa hadn’t been overlooked when it was time for Duran Duran to once again tour America, do you think you would have continued in the band?

No one had visas; it was an absolute and complete mockery. Really, it was fundamentally out of order. And I had my daughter with me; I’m not getting into [immigration] trouble with one of my kids. Stuff like that, where you depend on people around you to be extremely professional, and it seems like that was not.

You know, I’ve got an enormous amount of respect for young artists like Justin Timberlake; I think he’s done incredibly well in his field. But he didn’t write his first album, it was the Neptunes, Pharrell…Rock Your Body, I think. I think he’s a great kid and he’s done incredibly well, but is he like Duran Duran? [For Red Carpet Massacre, the second reunion disc Duran Duran sans Andy Taylor, they brought Timberlake in to co-write the single "Falling Down.") I’m sorry, but did it work? They all ran away and hid. All this material, writers just forgot how deep you’ve got to dig.

That’s a good point.

"Uh, hold on, let me ask, can I borrow your left leg today?" A lot of the time record labels now, what looks good on paper…as long as you have the word "featuring," you’re okay. And you can’t put this stuff on paper. If you’re lucky enough, you find something that resonates with the public, right? What do you think AC/DC’s new album is going to sound like? Fucking Timbaland? It takes so much for you to resonate with the public, and you get that break, but you can’t sit there in your bloody room with your finger up your backside while someone else does all the work for you. Records on paper, they simply don’t work. But a Duran Duran record…They don’t sell a lot of records like they used to, but they always do reasonably good business with something that sounds like a Stones record. What else do you do?

It seems like it’s all about the tour; nobody cares about the records.

Well, yeah, because no one does. But you still have just got who you are and what people will recognize. The thing about Duran Duran was it was a human band. We used a lot of technology, but Roger always played the drums, and if that goes, the whole thing just becomes, anyone can do it. But what Duran Duran was, these five teenagers who came to play together with the help of people and producers, not with the machines and the creativity being kind of wrapped up and masked also.

One last question: I know the time you spent in the band took a lot out of you, and had a lot of emotional and physical negativity for you, but what are three things you wouldn’t trade at all from that experience?

The songs, the sex, and the entire soap opera that it was. | Laura Hamlett

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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