Interview: John and Roger Taylor, musicians

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Interview: John and Roger Taylor, musicians

Published Date: 11 January 2011
By Aidan Smith

They say about pop stars who crave attention and all that comes with it, the girls, the drugs etc, that they're compensating for some deficit earlier in their lives.

Well, I don't think any band since the Beatles could have gotten more of everything than Duran Duran, and still that wasn't enough for me. Was I really such a lonely, lonely boy? I must have been!"

Formed in Birmingham, Duran Duran have sold 80 million records thanks to good hooks and good looks, a passion for fashion, zero social conscience, the New Romantic boom and the boom of the swish yacht used in the Rio video on nascent MTV which will mark them down as Thatcher poster ponces for eternity.

Their earliest songs revealed a sci-fi obsession which endures to this day, with Le Bon trying and failing to persuade knob-twiddler Ronson that the song which became Girl Panic! should have been about Carl Sagan.

But in 1981, John phoned up Jackie magazine. "The editor, who was called Jackie, put us on the front cover." Then the screaming started and didn't stop for the rest of the decade.

Most of the 80 million were shifted in the 1980s, of course. John and Roger both quit the band, the former to try acting and the latter to "grow up, learn to do things for myself - I didn't even know how to get on a plane".

Andy Taylor left in 2006 and, after writing a memoir which irked the others ("Very chippy," says John), isn't expected to return. Unlike other combos the Durannies never actually disbanded so cannot be accused of cashing in on an Eighties revival flavoured by another recession.

They've at least tried to come up with new songs, even though their last album - Timbaland-produced and featuring Justin Timberlake - bombed. Still, they have high hopes for All You Need Is Now.

Ronson was a fan as a boy and has tried to craft a sequel to the Rio album. On the title track it's all hands on the yacht deck for the chorus.

Safe (In the Heat Of The Moment) belies its title as Le Bon tries rapping with Scissor Sisters' Ana Matronic. But on Before The Rain he's back beseeching with three buttons of a tight shirt undone and the fourth straining, just like the hungry wolf he used to be.

Roger tried for a rock'n'roll record with his first marriage and lasted 20 years; his second wife is Peruvian. John replaced Amanda de Cadenet with Gela Nash, co-founder of the Juicy Couture fashion label, and says that when the rhythm section returned to the band they bonded over being the only two Durannies who admitted to having undergone therapy.

Has it done any good? "Well, I have a lot of spare time on my hands! But, yes, I think it has. I like self-examination and (lapses back into Californian] want to be the best man I can be: the best husband, father, bassist, co-worker and even interview subject."

And today, with his mate, he just about has been.

All You Need Is Now is out now via the iTunes Store. A physical release is scheduled for next month.

This article was first published in Scotland On Sunday, 9 January, 2011