Duran Duran's John Taylor reveals he'd never left Britain before shooting to fame
'Sometimes you listen to a song and you think, "what the f**k were we doing?"'
They were one of the biggest pop bands of the '80s, superstars of the MTV era with their slick videos and sharp fashion sense - and Duran Duran have stood the test of time.
Set to play Dublin's St Anne's Park on June 12, Duran Duran come to town with their jukebox of classic hits, but also songs from their well received new album, Future Past.
"It's always good to have some new music that you are excited to play," John Taylor tells the Sunday World when we chat this week.
"There's a level of enthusiasm that comes with what this band has.
"I love the classics songs like Ordinary World. It's an incredible song to play. You play it and you go, 'yeah, that was worth the time we spent making it!'
"Sometimes you listen to a song and you think, 'what the f**k were we doing?', but yesterday we started playing our new song, Beautiful Eyes, and we were like…'yeaah!'
It's early morning in London as we talk, but Taylor is on top form - "I'm such a morning person," John says. "I don't know if I'm still catching up on the mornings I missed out on in the '80s."
He talks passionately about performing live with Duran Duran, whose hits include Hungry Like The Wolf, The Reflex and The Wild Boys.
"This Dublin show is from two years ago and I'm so glad that it's finally going to happen," he says.
"In the lockdown I thought, 'man, do we need live music.' I never really thought about it like that before. I never really thought, 'you need to go back on the road man'."
Bass guitarist Taylor (61) lives in America these days with his second wife Gela, whom he married in 1999. "I've got a daughter and stepdaughter, and a stepson who's got a son."
Are they fans of Duran Duran?
"They've gone through fan phases," he says. "There was the phase when it wasn't cool and then the phase when it was cool. They are into their own thing now, but they're proud of being part of the story."
Were there times when it was cool for you?
He laughs: "Yeah I think so. By the time I got to the end of my 20s I didn't know who I was, really. I didn't know what I felt about anything. I don't think that's unique to someone like me. I think a lot of us get like that. That first decade streak of adulthood and we're all like, 'wait a minute, what am I doing here?'
"I left the band for a few years. As much as anything I just felt I needed to lay down roots. My first marriage had broken up, I was trying to be a dad and I just thought, I'm not going to be able to do that and maintain the commitment to the band and to a personal life.
"So I left the band. I could say that I ran out of ideas within the band. But it was really the best thing I ever did because when I came back, I came back as a fan. It shifted my perception of our music and who we were. I came back because I wanted to and not because I had to."
The very early pop stardom was a crazy time in his life and that of the band that also include Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor. Did he get to enjoy it?
"Oh my God yeah!" he says emphatically. "I think you'd have to be a real misery not to enjoy it. I'm always grateful that we did it as a crew, as a group, and we could have a laugh together.
"The pressure was not that of a solo artist. If you missed your morning interview, somebody else could step in and it wasn't the end of the world."
Taylor says he'd never been outside the UK before he hit the big time with Duran Duran and he revelled in the foreign travel and different cultural experiences.
"I didn't have a passport before the group started and I'd never left Britain, so the travel was extraordinary," he says. "We were very location-orientated, and if we weren't playing in Japan we were working in Australia or doing a video in Sri Lanka. We covered an enormous amount of ground from '81 to '84.
"Aside from the music, I think the strength of the band was being able to move through these locations and make them our own, a bit like James Bond.
"It doesn't matter whether he's in the jungle or the city or wherever, he owns his space and Duran could kind of do that. It blew my mind even how we were able to do that."
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