Duran Duran Vindicated by '80s Revival
By john lucas
Publish Date: 3-Mar-2005
In 1985, Roger Taylor should have been on top of the world. The 25-year-old drummer was a member of Duran Duran, one of the best-selling pop groups of the time, with a string of international hits that included �Hungry Like the Wolf�, �Rio�, �Girls on Film�, �The Wild Boys�, and �Is There Something I Should Know?�. It was Beatlemania all over again, complete with screaming girls, world tours, and cover shoots for Rolling Stone. But for Taylor, it was too much too soon.
�I was just completely burnt out after five years of being in Duran,� Taylor says, reached at a Dallas tour stop. �I mean, [keyboardist] Nick [Rhodes] was 19 when we got the record deal with EMI, and we were all in our early 20s. And it was great. I wouldn�t have changed it for the world, but it was a crazy few years. We became rootless, constantly travelling, no real time to build a life outside of the band. It sounds a cliche, but I needed to find myself and get my life together, I guess, and form myself as an adult. It was very hard to grow up properly in Duran, because everything was done for you. You�re living in a cocoon, in a way, with all these people around to protect you from what�s going on around you. And I think I just needed to get back to some sort of reality.�
In December of that year, Taylor announced that he was walking away from the fame and all of its attendant pressures. The following summer, guitarist Andy Taylor also quit. This was not to be the end of the Duran Duran story, however. The remaining members�Rhodes, singer Simon Le Bon, and bassist John Taylor�soldiered on, recruiting former Missing Persons guitarist Warren Cuccurullo and various drummers, and sporadically scored hits such as �Notorious� (1988) and �Ordinary World� (1992).
Taylor admits that there were times when he deeply regretted dropping out of Duran Duran. �I heard �Ordinary World� on the radio, and I thought �God, this is fucking great. I wish I was back in the band again.� I think from that point on, the idea just started to germinate that I wanted to get back with the band. Then by the end of that decade the opportunity arose. John gave me the call and I said, �Yeah, let�s go for it.�?�
After much negotiation and planning, the classic 1980-85 lineup of Duran Duran officially reconvened in the south of France in June of 2001. According to Taylor, it was simply the right time. �Sometimes you reach a point in your life where maybe you start to embrace things from your past a little bit more and look at it a bit more positively, and I think everybody has just arrived at that same position,� the drummer says. �I think we all probably spent years running away from the mad early years of Duran. You know, you try and take your life in a different direction. But for the first time, everybody turned round and kind of thought �Yeah, let�s try again. It wasn�t all that bad, actually.�?�
The reunion eventually spawned last year�s Astronaut album, which yielded the anthemic single �(Reach Up for the) Sunrise�. Duran Duran�s extensive touring schedule, which brings the Fab Five to GM Place on Friday (March 4), has brought home to Taylor just how wide-ranging the group�s appeal is. He isn�t just meeting nostalgic first-generation fans clutching worn-out copies of Rio, but young autograph-seekers who were not yet born when Duran Duran was at its MTV-approved peak. Of course, the current cachet of all things �80s might have something to do with that. With SPIN cover boys the Killers riding a Duran-style sound to the top of the charts, you might expect Taylor and company to feel a bit ripped off. The drummer insists, though, that this is not the case.
�We love it,� he says. �I mean, we love anybody that cites us as an influence, because we were never popular with the press. It�s really taken these bands that have been brave enough to stand up and say �Actually, Duran Duran were good.� People like No Doubt and Fred Durst and the Killers and whatever, all these different people who have stood up and said �Yeah, they were fucking great.�
�I think it�s wonderful that people were influenced by us,� Taylor continues. �Music has always gone in cycles, hasn�t it? Everybody has borrowed from the previous generation. We used to steal stuff from the Beatles and the Stones and Queen�people who were just ahead of us. So I think music is always going to be recycled.�