Bassist John Taylor Spills Duran Duran Secrets Ahead of Tour

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MARCH 23, 2016
BURBANK, Calif. — John Taylor is an only child, but if he's ever experienced anything like a family road trip, it's been while on tour with Duran Duran.

The British rockers are about to get that old family feeling again as they head out for a North American tour with dates scheduled through summer. The "Paper Gods Tour," which kicks off Friday, is split into two monthlong legs: the first covers the east coast from Canada's Niagara Falls to San Juan, Puerto Rico; the second launches July 6 in Nashville, Tennessee, and wraps in Glendale, Arizona.

Sitting in a sunny room at Warner Bros. Records recently, Taylor, 55, shared a few secrets about himself and the musical family he calls Duran.

— Touring now is not like it was in the 1980s: "When people say how's it like now compared to how it was, they're probably thinking of the '80s, the crazy '80s — particularly the early '80s, where the band sort of cruised at a very high altitude for a couple of years. Well, I wouldn't want to work like that again... I think when fame hits you — we were quite young, we'd only been in the business for like two years really when it started taking off. We weren't really — well I wasn't really ready for it. It's like being given your first car — and it's a Ferrari. So now we're in a Buick. It's a very sedate Buick, but it gets around into all the sightseeing trips. It's good."

— Duran Duran reinvents itself with every album: "It's like a restyling excercise always. And I think that's the blessing and the curse of being in Duran, which is a band whose blueprint was really based on being modern. We weren't like the Stones, who are really rooted in R&B. We just had this thing, and it's essentially kind of a good thing, because it allows us to change and morph."

— The band never knew what lead singer Simon LeBon was talking about in some of their early songs: "In the '80s, Simon had very specific way of writing lyrics — which was amazing — and half the time I had no idea what he was singing about. And none of us really did. But it didn't matter, because the pictures he was making were extraordinary."

— Taylor was disappointed the "Paper Gods" album didn't get a Grammy nod: "That was just something that was driving me through the second year of the making of 'Paper Gods.' I was like, 'This is why I'm doing it.' None of the rest of the band could care less, but it was driving me."

— He regrets that the Internet has made music so easy to "burn through": "All art, whether it's music or painting or cinema, it's got a shelf life. It doesn't matter how good you like it, you're going to burn through it. And there's something about delayed gratification. And certainly to me, some of my favorite music, it took me a long time to get hold of it and when I got it, it was precious. I knew every note, every beat of those songs. And now, music's almost too accessible. It's too easy to get a hold of... Now I almost want music to be harder to get. I want the experience to be a little bit harder. I need to appreciate it. I need to work for it. And that way I will appreciate it more."

Courtesy New York Times/Associated Press