An Evening with John Taylor by Mark Healy
Edinburgh, April 1987.
Duran Duran’s Strange Behaviour Tour arrives in Edinburgh signalling the next phase in the bands extraordinary journey. I sit/stand/go mental in row 12 . My seat is right in the middle of the Playhouse Theatre giving me full view of the stage and I finally get to witness the Duran Duran experience in the flesh for the first time. My fixation with the band will be relived over and over again during the numerous UK tours the band undertakes.
Fast forward 26 years ( 17th August 2013, 9.30pm to be exact) and I am seated in a venue which is part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The place is sold out and there is an amazing buzz going through the marquee tent on this cool Edinburgh Summer evening.
John Taylor arrives on stage and takes his seat next to the compere , the whole audience rise as one and give John a very warm Scottish welcome. Each and everyone in attendance ( most of whom are female !) has a permanent smile on their glowing faces ,with the majority in total disbelief they are seated so up close and personal with the guy who had adorned their teenage bedroom walls .
The compere asked John to discuss the early beginnings of the band ,his musical influences and the phenomenal success he and the band experienced. There were humorous anecdotes thrown in such as Nick’s constant reminder that he and NOT John had seen The Sex Pistols live during the Punk explosion in the late 70’s. How Roger’s love of Striped T shirts helped create the bands look on the 1st American tour.
His first and unforgettable meeting with Simon Le Bon, whose unique fashion sense and book of lyrics made an instant impression of John. He would also go on to say how much in awe he is of Simon’s lyric writing (something he strongly feels he doesn’t get enough recognition for).
John read extracts from his book, "In The Pleasure Groove," and talked at length about his childhood and the importance of a stable and loving family .How his parents never held him back and installed a self belief that has stayed with him throughout adulthood.
He went on to discuss the goals he set the band (Hammersmith Odeon by ‘82, Wembley ‘83 and Madison Square Garden by ‘84 - all of which were achieved !) and how there was little point in being a band unless you wanted to be the biggest and best.
His love of playing Live and his continued quest for excellence. “ Tomorrow night will be better” he would often tell himself and the band after each performance.
There was opportunity for audience members to ask questions, by the sixth question he was pleading for a male to ask a question as the majority of female fans were having difficulty speaking due to being in total awe of him.
Throughout the evening John presented himself as not only a humble but a very happy person. He seemed so comfortable in his own skin and very grateful for the amazing career and life he has had.
He discussed the bands music with much Love and pride, and embraced the fact that RIO is quite rightly now regarded as a landmark recording and true musical masterpiece .He briefly mentioned the current process of recording new Duran material and how they continue to influence and push each other in the hope to achieve continued success.
The event ended with John reading the final chapter describing the band’s preparations before taking the stage at Coachella and acknowledging how music formats have changed over the years, when a lone voice from the back of the audience shouts out ‘Play the Fuckin’ Bass John!', at which point both John and audience erupt with laughter.
“I think that’s a good way as any to end the evening” added John to mass cheer and applause.
A book signing session took place after, which lasted almost 90mins. Each individual getting a warm reception from John including yours truly after I told him I was writing this piece!
Mark Healy won a pair of tickets to see John speak at the Edinburgh International Book Festival through the Fan Community [http://duranduranmusic.com] in a member exclusive giveaway
Click here to see the copy of Mark's book signed by John!