Live music: Reunion of the snake
When 80s pin-up boy John Taylor left chart-toppers Duran Duran, he vowed never to return. Now he's done a spectacular U-turn - and is loving every minute.
By Maureen Coleman
19 March 2004
With an arena tour beginning in Belfast next month, John Taylor is gushing about the band's decision to reform and how "amazing" it is to be together again.
"It's a wonderful feeling to have that connection again," he says from his home in sunny Los Angeles. "I wanted this to happen for such a long time.
"When the five of us are working together, writing a song or preparing for a tour, it's great. We've worked through so much s*** together over the last few years to get to this stage.
"There've been so many arguments and disagreements but what kept us going was a love and passion for the music and because we're older and wiser now, we can appreciate the value of Duran Duran."
It's pointed out to John that in 1998 he laughed off suggestions of a reunion, comparing it to "sleeping with your ex-wife".
Back then he told the LA Times: "In the best-case scenario, if they offered enormous amounts of money, it would be Hell Freezes Over Tour. It's a statement of failure."
He hesitates before he answers. "I did say those things, but you know, you can't live your life with if-onlys. People say they will never do something again or speak to a certain person again. But then you lie in bed awake at night and think if-only.
"It's so extraordinary to have these guys back in my life again."
John said reforming the band was "not about money".
"We've worked through a lot of issues in three years. It's about the connection and appreciating the gift that we have. I think people see that. They know we love the music and want to share it. "
As a founder member of Duran Duran, Taylor is particularly proud of the response from fans.
"When we played Japan last year the reaction was unbelievable," he says. "Getting out on the road and feeling the vibes from the audience makes us appreciate it all the more.
"Music means the world to me and to so many people too. Without it I'd be dead."
In 1985, after a series of Top 10 singles and albums, Taylor, along with band member Andy Taylor (no relation), teamed up with Robert Palmer, former Chic drummer Tony Thompson and bassist Bernard Edwards to form Power Station. Tony Thompson and Robert Palmer have since died.
"It's very sad. They were two great men who also loved their music," he says. "It's one of the bad things about getting old, having people you know die."
At the height of Duran Duran's fame, Taylor was living life on the edge. With the lavish lifestyle and beautiful women came a cocaine addiction. "I've made every mistake imaginable in the past by not being prepared," he says. "But now I want to enjoy every minute of it."
As Duran Duran's popularity grew, so too did Taylor's individual celebrity. He was billed one of the sexiest men on the planet and was a regular face in teen magazines. His presence sparked mass hysteria wherever he went.
Taylor was briefly married to former wild child Amanda De Cadenet and the couple had a daughter together.
Many young girls would cringe at the thought of their fathers still rocking and rolling, but there are advantages for Taylor's daughter.
"When we did the Brit Awards recently, I managed to get her a poster to bring home, which she thought was great," he says.
"The Brits was a remarkable experience. Playing for 11 minutes to so many million people was unforgettable."
After receiving an Outstanding Contribution to Music Award, the band played a medley of their hits, including Girls On Film, Wild Boys and Ordinary World.
Taylor promises his Ulster fans all the old hits will be there when they play the Odyssey Arena next month.
"The 30-somethings who were fans the first time around will love it, but we're hoping the new fans will be there too," he says.
Duran Duran play Belfast's Odyssey Arena on April 4. Tickets from Ticketmaster