Published October 17, 2012
Duran Duran co-founder and bassist John Taylor recounts what it was like to be in the biggest pop band of the 1980s, and to be one of MTV's first video superstars, in his new book ‘In The Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran.'
Told with honesty and a healthy dose of English humor, 'Pleasure Groove' is a fun read, especially if you had a poster of the boys tacked up to your bedroom wall.
Taylor, now 52 is happily married to his second wife Gela Nash, the co-founder of Juicy Couture, and lives primarily in Los Angeles. He spoke to Fox 411 about the book, and his band.
FOX411: Duran Duran achieved success very quickly.
John Taylor: I think we thought success was achievable. We hadn’t factored in the teen explosion and what that kind of attention and pressure that that brought on. Fame is one of those things you can never really ... until you’re actually in it and experience it no one can prepare you for it. Not just fame, how about going on the road and touring America for the first time, so many experiences coming at you so quickly and be careful what you pray for I suppose.
FOX411: Do you become jaded?
JT: I think you do. That’s not a good thing, but you can become unjaded. But it’s amazing how quickly you can become angry about the color of the carpet on the private jet. ‘I said I wanted blue carpet, it’s beige, it’s disgusting! Where’s my champagne?!’ I mean it’s terrifying actually how the ego can take over. But you know we were pretty good. I think that most people who came into contact with us in the early 80’s would have enjoyed us.
FOX411: You were Princess Diana’s favorite band?
JT: Yep, that’s what they say. We played the memorial concert a couple of years ago and we met the boys and they recounted how their mum used to play ‘Wild Boys’ in the car and they distinctly remember driving in the car with her when they were tiny and her playing that.
FOX411: You must feel lucky that Duran Duran was at the right place at the right time regarding music videos?
JT: Very much so. That’s another thing, you just can’t predict that. We did a lot of plotting and scheming, and we were very ambitious, and I thought I knew how to get a hit record, that had been my thing since I was 12, 13. So by the time we got the band together I could see it would happen, but what we didn’t factor in was the emergence of this new medium and how perfect we were. People identified with the video as opposed to the song. Right off the bat with our first single release we got to appreciate what could be achieved with the video.
FOX411: You write that after a while, sleeping with groupies was not that much fun.
JT: Over time it distorts your ideas about love and sex, and I didn’t fully appreciate that until I tried to slow down and actually have a functional relationship. I did have girlfriends in the early 80s but it wasn’t really on, and they never really lasted through a tour because it just didn’t make sense, but once I actually tried to slow down in my late 20s and actually have a functioning monogamous relationship, I realized how addicted I was to those one night stands, and that experience made me have totally unrealistic expectations of a relationship. I had very grandiose ideas about what to expect.
FOX411: Which was exacerbated by coke and booze.
JT: Ba da bing ba da boom, indeed.
FOX411: So then you went to rehab.
JT: Very much later. That was very much the third act. I feel like the first act of the band was up to Live Aid and the second was an uphill slog. The career aspect of it was kind of uphill too, because we were constantly comparing back to the success we’d had in our early 20s, and also I couldn’t get on top of my music until I hit a wall.
FOX411: How did you hit your wall?
JT: I’d never really thought of myself as a rehab person but I met a therapist in London who listened to me for 20 minutes, and I was so full of self pity about everything that wasn’t working about my life. I had a long list of what wasn’t right in my life and she said, ‘Whoa, you need to get sober because if you get sober you could really be somebody, and if you get sober I can treat you and we can really find out what’s making you unhappy, but while you continue to drink and use you’re like a shifting target.’ I won’t say I went right away, I had to hit bottom, which meant going out and getting so f**ked up, so disillusioned by my own inability to control myself, and then surrender. Now it’s been a whole different me, and I wanted to write about that. A lot of people are struggling and a lot of people still don’t believe that sobriety is possible for them.
FOX411: Is it harder for a rock star to ‘surrender?’ I mean rock stars have pretty big egos.
JT: For me I was just so miserable and I thought it can't be any worse. It wasn’t working and I had run out of ideas, but I did fight it all the way. All the way from the airport I was saying, ‘I don’t want to go!’
Every 23 hours out of 24 I’ve been happy that I’ve done it, and for that one hour in each day where I want to question it and I want to rebel against it, that’s my addict looking for a way to take the wheel back. I think I’m more mindful and aware as a human being than I’ve ever been.
FOX411: You didn’t write about your affair with Simon (Le Bon, the band's lead singer).
JT: Ha ha. very funny. There’s a lot of homoerotic fan fiction about us.
FOX411: Isn’t that funny to you?
JT: Yeah I guess it is. You can tell I’m not laughing that much.