in-the-pleasure-groove

6

What’s the best part of celebrity?

Well, I think the best part, I’m reaping the rewards of it now, really. Because there are just so many people out there that care! I mean I know how much Bowie means to me. There’s a handful of guys that helped me become. That helped me through that really difficult time from like, 13 to 15, 16.I love him like I love my dad, or my wife… And we had the privilege to be a part of that for a generation of teens. So there are a lot of people out there that we’re very important to, we’re playing an important part in their lives.

(Musicians at Google with John Taylor, 2012)

Today, I am comfortable to admit that I was a little unnerved when John Taylor formed a band before I had left school. You see, we met when I was ten years old and he was twelve—both only children, liv­ing in the Hollywood hood, we swiftly adopted each other as brothers, so I always imagined we would do this together. Fortunately for me, his first group, Shock Treatment, didn’t last for more than a season. The Assassins followed briefly, and then Dada, despite such a gloriously pretentious name, were rapidly destined for obscurity in the post-punk Birmingham music scene. I remain personally grateful for John’s early setbacks.

In 1978, through immaculate correction, everything fell into place: we reverted to our original plan and set off on a mission to realize our childhood dreams. Fueled by the power of unbridled naïveté and ambition, we formed Duran Duran version 1.0. From this time onward, we were aboard a one-way, nonstop roller coaster, which traveled exceedingly fast.

I don’t often reflect upon the past because we are always too busy trying to invent our future, but it does seem strange, if I look over my shoulder for a moment, that somehow we went from being a couple of kids who loved music and went to endless concerts together, to creating a band that has shaped our lives in entirely unforeseen ways.

You must all be wondering what will be revealed in the pages ahead. I certainly know that John has a plentiful supply of captivating tales to tell …

I admire John’s determination and tenacity. When we played our first show, he designed and printed the posters. We couldn’t afford fancy lighting, so we projected his school geography field-trip slides over the stage. We have always tried to find a way to make things work. Practicality has served us well. Little has changed; I know today that if John and I have a vision, we can rely upon each other to make it happen.

I could tell you a lot of secrets about John: I was there to witness his first girlfriend, his first concert, and the first time he picked up a bass guitar. We figured it all out together—we made music, made mistakes, made some friends and lost a few, too, learning to deflect scandals in newspapers when they sold their stories; but we always found our way. You will see what John chooses to unravel from the exquisitely frivolous to the profound. Perhaps he’ll mention the time when he had just acquired the second of his three Aston Martins, and invited me out for a quick spin around London. Being a nondriver and easily susceptible to luxury, I willingly accepted the invitation. He picked me up and we glided smoothly into the late afternoon; but our trip soon came to an abrupt standstill, directly in front of Harrods, when the car broke down during rush hour. John looked at me and calmly announced, “It’s stalled for some reason, we’ll have to get out and push …” This wasn’t ex­actly what I had in mind, but, needless to say, there were no other options readily available. A line of cars was building up behind us, and exasperated drivers were sounding their horns, which of course focused more attention on John and me, as we sheepishly climbed out of the car, trying not to look conspicuous with our newfound fame and brightly colored hair. Soon a small crowd had gathered, and startled onlookers began to ask for autographs, as we tried to maneuver the car out of traffic. We were shaken but not stirred. Maybe John has forgotten this incident, or more likely chosen to omit it, because there are many more significant episodes for him to recollect. It particularly resonated for me at the time, however, because in that snapshot I recognized just how much our lives had changed over twenty-four months.

Although we have both been on the same trajectory with Duran Duran for more than three decades, it is the choices we have faced and decisions we made in our personal lives that set the course for our individual pathways. It would be hard to find five people in the same band who have lived such di­verse lifestyles in parallel. I have seen John at the top of the mountain. We had number one records, sold-out tours, and performed to audiences who screamed so loud we couldn’t hear what we were playing. He got the cars, he got the girls, and always received sackfuls more fan mail than anyone else in the band. Each of us reacted and adapted differently to our circumstances. John burned very bright, and then spiraled out of control in a spectacular fashion. It is no secret that he has struggled with addiction. We first noticed signs early on, but never grasped that things were getting serious. We all lived in a bubble of chaos, moving from limo to plane to hotel room to venue, then back to the hotel. So when someone didn’t go to bed all night, or surface until the following evening, it was not particularly unusual. Somehow we managed to keep functioning as a band. It never occurred to me how close to the edge John had gone, until the late nineties, when he announced to us that he needed to take action to confront his problems. Simon and I were shocked. We had no idea that he was still haunted by drugs and alcohol, because al­though John can be an open book, he also has the capacity to be private and guarded.

In 1996, as a consequence of John’s decision to change his life, he and I had a difficult phone call, during which he told me that he was leaving the band. I was numb, and although I had been feeling his presence slowly waning, with increasingly extended trips to LA, for me, it did not seem like the right time to give in. His mind was made up. He wanted to go, which left us with no remain­ing Taylors—an unthinkable predicament for Duran Duran! In the aftermath, I wrote a lyric for a song called “Buried in the Sand” about our conversation, but it didn’t change the fact that things now felt completely different. John left a gaping hole in the personality and sound of the band; we lost our focus and a crucial part of our identity. Simon and I missed him terribly.

After this, John and I continued to drift further apart. We had precious little contact for a couple of years, which seemed so alien, having spent virtu­ally every day together since our childhood. Then, a few scenes later, like most Hollywood productions, just when you think it’s all over, something dramatic happens to save the universe: the Reunion. John came striding back into town, triumphantly flanked by the other missing Taylors. I will leave him to paint the scene, but suffice to say, our time apart made us better appreciate the chemistry we have together. John can be fragile and sensitive, yet equally strong and determined. He turned around his addictions and now concen­trates his energy on helping others with similar issues. John is the real deal. I have known him longer than any of my other friends. There is no one I would have rather shared this journey with. He’s also my favorite bass player.

Finally, I should confess that I have not yet read this book, only resisting the temptation thus far, because I, too, hope one day to deliver my version of the events we encountered along the way, and I don’t want to borrow what I don’t remember.

I am inordinately curious to hear John’s perspective, and to understand how he saw everything. What he thought. How he felt. What he went through. And ultimately what became important. I know for John, that writ­ing his autobiography was a process of catharsis, involving many hours on the couch, laying bare character flaws, trawling through transcendent mem­ories, and reliving painful experiences. I am sure his story is heartfelt and delivered with candor and panache, which is John’s style.

Enjoy the ride, but be warned, it may get a little bumpy at times.

—  Nick Rhodes, “In the Pleasure Groove” Introduction
4

Smash Hits Magazine, March 5-18, 1981

“When the magazine came out, we were all surprised that they had chosen a picture of Nick and Roger for the cover.  They didn’t use a band shot or a picture of Simon, which would have been a more conventional choice.  People around the band saw that as a signal.  There was clearly depth to Duran Duran and a wider appeal.  Our policy of equality was justified.”  - John Taylor, In the Pleasure Groove

8 Question Tag Game

Catching up on my tag games, I was tagged by @antigonemaia to answer these 8 questions!  Thank you, lovely 💜 💚 💜

Last movie I watched: Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade on Blu-Ray

Last song I listened to: Hold Me Now by The Thompson Twins

Last book I read: In the Pleasure Groove by John Taylor (2nd time)

Last thing I ate: Pop-Tart

Where would you like to time travel to: The 80s or 90s

Fictional character I would hang out with for a day: Yugi Mutou

If I could be anywhere right now, where would I be honestly? In South Korea hanging out with my cousins

Current fandom obsession: This one =P

Too lazy to tag people atm, so if you want to play, just go ahead and tag me!

2

Packing for the West Indies, I realized I was going to need a new wardrobe for the climate there. The five members of the band always had a strong collective consciousness when it came to putting a look together for a photo shoot, a tour, or a working vacation like this.

Duran arrived in Montserrat with an entirely integrated new look, wearing pale earth tones, pastels, pale blue and pink, cream and white. No black, no leather, no military!

-John Taylor, In the Pleasure Groove, Chapter 42

I was so happy when Nick [Rhodes, Duran Duran co-founder and keyboard player] said to me the other day, ‘Johnny, I’m not going to read your book,’ “ Taylor continues. "I said, 'Nick, I’m so happy about that, because you really don’t need to.’ There’s a lot of love for Nick in the book, but he’s going to be, 'But it wasn’t like that,’ and he’s going to get all out of joint about it.”
— 

John Taylor, Duran Duran

in honour of National Best Friends Day

Gela was not like any woman I had ever met before. I fell deeply in love with her. And she with me.

And I really loved her for her complete lack of a musical education. It would matter not what song was on the radio; if I asked her what it was, she would pause for a few seconds before replying, ‘Genesis?’

Bizarre for someone like me, who is such a music guy, but somehow this reassured me we were together for the right reasons.

—  John Taylor