Pop Quiz: John Taylor of Duran Duran

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Aidin Vaziri

Sunday, October 17, 2004

When we called bassist John Taylor, 44, to talk about Duran Duran's reunion album, "Astronaut," he was sound asleep. So we woke him up. Having already made us wait 17 years for the original lineup to get back together, another five minutes was just too much to bear. During his time away from the yacht-loving British group, Taylor moved to Los Angeles, got a divorce, completed rehab, played the Viper Room and got married. Roughly in that order. But that's all on hold as Duran Duran's latest single, "(Reach Up for the) Sunrise" climbs the charts and the band plots a spring arena tour.

Q: I'm sorry I interrupted your nap.

A: I don't know what I thought I was doing having a nap. I'll rest when I'm dead.

Q: Today you're in Germany, tomorrow it's Sweden, the next day Italy. I guess it's back on for Duran Duran.

A: We're not even staying here tonight. We're flying to Stockholm. We really are back on whatever we were on and haven't been on in a long time.

Q: I hope you, personally, are not on anything you used to be on.

A: Oh, right. No. It's all good, clean fun.

Q: Is it hard doing all this work without a platter of cocaine in your face?

A: Oh, no. It's perfectly fine. It's more fun, actually. I'm definitely a lot more present, just really getting a kick out of it. It's like old friends reunited, traveling the world and making music. How bad can that be?

Q: What made getting back together with people you used to hate seem like a good idea?

A: I don't know. The music is leading us. Nothing's changed. Nobody had discovered Jesus or anything. We've all come back essentially being the same raw material that we were before. But we didn't have to think too much about it, really. It happened naturally.

Q: And you all lived together?

A: We did in the beginning.

Q: Please tell me that was like an episode of "The Monkees."

A: It was quite interesting. The basic characteristics were all there. If you know anything about family dynamics, there's a lot of that in the band. We had to work through some stuff, but we're all very passionate about music and we all believe in the band and what we can do together. And nobody quit.

Q: Who's the worst roommate in Duran Duran?

A: Well, there are a lot of different dynamics between all of us, and it's quite complicated. There are plenty of complex relationships.

Q: That's a good diplomatic yet meaningless answer. What about how singer Simon LeBon won't drink anything that has ice cubes made from tap water?

A: You got that out of the New York Times? Anybody traveling as much as we do avoids tap water. It just sounds so f -- pretentious when you see it written down.

Q: What about guitarist Andy Taylor -- did you ask him why he sued you?

A: I'm not very confrontational. I think that everybody came to play, and that was clear. Everything else can be worked out along the way.

Q: And you, do you miss your macrobiotic oatmeal, neurotic Chihuahuas and Juicy Couture tracksuits back in L.A.?

A: Yeah, I do, actually. But I had a few years of that. I needed to reinvigorate myself and lay down some roots. I needed to get some perspective. Whatever it is I learned while I was in L.A. helped me a lot. It's helping me now.

Courtesy San Francisco Chronicle