Matt meets Duran Duran heartthrob John Taylor
By MATT BENDORIS
Published: 24th September 2012
DURAN Duran heartthrob John Taylor is whining about his days as a sex addict. But his moans remind me of Will Ferrell’s randy character Chazz Michael Michaels from Blades Of Glory who insists: “It’s a real disease with doctors and medicine and everything.”
John concedes: “Well, of course it didn’t seem like a problem at the time — but it is when you’re trying to have a relationship.”
We meet in the mega-plush Hotel Du Vin at Glasgow’s One Devonshire Gardens.
Taylor is over 6ft tall, lean, with a gentle handshake to match his softly spoken voice. And he’s still got the dodgy bouffant hairdo, although now it helps to cover his bald patch.
He’s here to talk about his autobiography In The Pleasure Groove — a tremendous sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll memoir which has shot straight into the book charts top ten.
Apparently Taylor only had to wink at a girl in the 80s and she’d end up in the sack with him — it sounds magic.
He says: “It was. Before Duran Duran I had never even had a girlfriend. I was always the bloke who left the bar alone.
“But by 1982 I would have had to take a real stand, ethically and morally, not to get laid a lot that year.”
However, he clams up when asked to give a ballpark figure for the number of notches on his bedpost.
Me: “Come on — were you at the 1,000 mark like Bill Wyman or around 30 like Nick Clegg?”
But John snaps: “Nope, I’m just not going there.”
Born Nigel John Taylor — he understandably dropped the non-rock-star first name — the bassist formed Duran Duran in Birmingham in 1978 with keyboard player Nick Rhodes.
They were joined by Roger and Andy Taylor — amazingly none of the Taylors were related — and lead singer Simon Le Bon.
The band enjoyed unbelievable success, racking up more than 40 chart hits including Notorious, The Wild Boys, Hungry Like The Wolf, Rio and The Reflex.
Princess Diana named them as her favourite band and they were just as huge in the US, selling out Madison Square Gardens as the biggest group on the planet in 1984.
But what they managed to keep secret was the drink, cocaine and sex binges.
John seemed to really knock the backside out of it, with groupies everywhere — even on the cramped tour bus bunk beds, which he called having “coffin sex”. He says: “The funny thing is all I wanted to do was make music. We got a lot more than we bargained for.
“None of us expected the screaming and the police escorts. That wasn’t on the agenda at all.”
In 1985 Duran Duran recorded A View To A Kill for Roger Moore’s James Bond.
It was undoubtedly one of the best ever 007 songs but John reveals they landed the gig after he complained about Scot Sheena Easton’s schmaltzy Bond track For Your Eyes Only.
He explains: “I met Bond’s legendary producer Cubby Broccoli and with the confidence of youth I asked him, ‘So when are you going to have a decent theme tune again?’ It wasn’t a knock at Sheena Easton, but there hadn’t been a good one in years.
“So Cubby sent the film composer John Barry to meet me and we wrote A View To A Kill in my front room.”
For some, Duran Duran sum up the dark side of the 80s — Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Thatcher and yuppies.
John shrugs: “We were a product of our time. I felt we were as perfect a demonstration of what was happening in the 80s as Joy Division.”
It didn’t help, though, that they flaunted their wealth with fast cars and glamorous women. Simon married supermodel Yasmin Parvaneh, while John got hitched to plummy presenter Amanda de Cadanet from TV’s The Word.
Le Bon even bought a 78ft YACHT called The Drum — and the singer nearly drowned in it when it capsized in the Irish Sea in 1985.
John reveals: “Simon is still a sailor. He got straight back on the horse, so to speak, after the incident with The Drum.
“In fact he took the yacht Eileen from our Rio video over to the Caribbean recently. I had to miss out because I was writing this book.”
He adds: “But I’m not surprised some people despised us. If every girl in your class worships Duran Duran then of course the fellas will get jealous.
“I still see the looks on their faces now. The wives walking towards me with their husbands who hated me so much 30 years ago. But hey, I was living the dream.”
But by the mid-90s his marriage was over and he’d left his own band.
That’s when he checked into the same Arizona rehab clinic where movie star Michael Douglas was treated for his sex addiction.
But can you really have too much sex?
John laughs: “Yes, believe it or not. It’s like too much of anything, you do get sick of it.”
Me: “I’d have loved the chance.”
He comes right back at me: “Well all I wanted was the chance to have a meaningful relationship. I thought monogamy was impossible but after rehab I changed my ways.
“It’s like being a pig for a couple of years then going on a bread and water diet.”
He adds: “But I was also diagnosed as an alcoholic.
“I have since got to know Amy Winehouse’s dad Mitch and we agree there is so little known about the science around drug rehab. I wanted to talk about that in my book too.”
John is now happily married to second missus Gela Nash, co-founder of the Juicy Couture fashion brand.
The band are still going strong — minus Andy Taylor — as they never descended into messy court battles over royalties like 80s rivals Spandau Ballet. John admits: “I never really discuss money. But we had it. We lost it. We’ve kind of got it back again. We have rebuilt our career.”
Tony Hadley and co raked in the dosh again after Spandau’s classic hit Gold became the unofficial anthem of London 2012.
And Duran Duran can expect a bumper payday too when the Games move to Rio in four years time — the title of their 1982 smash single.
He smiles: “Oh yes, we have thought about that. Put it this way, there aren’t many songs with Rio in the title — we’ll just have to put it all down to incredible foresight.”
The group will be back in the studio next year before embarking on a world tour.
And John insists: “We put a lot of effort into our shows as people have paid a lot of money to see us — although we’re still not as expensive as Madonna.
“The difference between us and Madge is we still want to play our favourite hits while she is just thinking about herself when she doesn’t.”
Just before John has to go I ask what the main difference is between touring now and 30 years ago?
He smiles: “The first thing on our rider list these days are nose hair trimmers.”
The Pleasure Groove by John Taylor is published by Sphere, priced £18.99.