I hadn’t even reached the age of 10 in the mid 80s when John Taylor’s jawline had me at “hello.” Since I was too young to go to any Duran Duran concerts, I can still remember renting their doc, Sing Blue Silver, on VHS over a dozen times. Like most DD fans, I’d jam out to “Notorious,” “Wild Boys,” “Girls on Film,” and “Hungry Like the Wolf,” but songs like “Skintrade,” “Femme Fatale,” “All She Wants Is,” and of course, “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone” were equally memorable tracks in the tapestry of my adolescence. As I grew older, I became more cognizant and appreciative of the band’s lyricism and musicality, which began to be far more relevant than their delish good looks…
As DD fans, we all have acute recollections about our frenzied fanfare, but little did we know the kind of realities the band members had carved out for themselves amid the madness of their fame. Decades later, John Taylor is telling us his personal story behind the limelight in his bestselling memoir, In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran.
In it you discover a shy young lad who was transformed into a god, and like many successful rockers, turned to sex and hard drugs to relieve the confusion of feeling omnipotent yet at the same time, isolated and lonely. Thankfully, JT has traversed that rocky terrain and is in a happier place these days, both as father to his 20-year-old daughter Atlanta and as husband to Juicy Couture co-founder Gela Nash.
In celebration of In the Pleasure Groove, we had YOU, the fans, ask JT your most burning questions about his book (and pretty much anything else you wanted). Check out his answers below:
Duran Duran, 1984
Having seen DD in concert in 1984, 2005, and 2012, I get the sense that you guys—now more than ever—are having a great time, especially connecting with the audience. It’s as if, you CAN have more fun now that you have nothing to prove. However, is there anything left in your career that you have not done that you would like to do? – Julianne Rivers Scott
It’s not that we have nothing left to prove. Every time we enter the studio or walk out on stage, you have something to prove. You have to earn your place in the studio or out in front of an audience. But we are easier around each other, and there is a feeling of gratitude around the band today that has not always been there. Having that much success so early in one’s career can instill some complacency.
Keeping in mind that everything you have done has put you where you are right now, is there anything from your past you would change or do differently? – Tammy T. Fairn
Not really—what’s the point of regrets? Every day is an opportunity for re-invention. The game ain’t over!
If the music thing hadn’t taken off, what other interests would [you] have pursued or what other career could you see yourself doing? – Nicole Schultz Selburg
Something in the commercial arts. Maybe graphic design or advertising?
During your autograph sessions [for your book], what [has been] the weirdest thing someone said to you? – Mirella Stivani
‘Would you like company until the morning?’
Great book, very honest and riveting (finished in 2 days). I’m curious as to the fact there was no mention of the acting you’ve done. Was that a conscious decision? – Imogen Dangerfield
Yes. That is a chapter that I could have written; it was quite a funny experience. Maybe I’ll do it one day.
One thing you didn’t discuss in the book was your parents’ reaction the first time they saw you play live. Was it at the Rum Runner or a bigger venue, and what did they think? – Michelle MichDuran
I actually do not remember when they first saw the band, but it would not have been in a nightclub. Maybe the Birmingham Odeon in the summer of ’81.
John, what was the most difficult part in writing your book? – Kate Terry
Getting Mom and Dad right. Also my relationships with the guys, and Gela. I did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
In your book you said as a boy a hobby of yours was making models. Do you have any hobbies today that you enjoy doing? – Loren Lebrocq-curtin
I don’t seem to have time for hobbies anymore, although I love to watch the English Premier League and the Champions League. I can get quite excited about soccer, which helps me relax.
John (center) with Simon Le Bon (left) and guitarist Dom Brown (right) at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in 2011
Hi, John, this is Salvo from Italy. My question is: Would you consider to grant the rights to make a film of ‘In The Pleasure Groove’? In this case, what actor would you like to interpret your character? Thank you. – Duran’s Duranasty
It would depend on the period. Probably the young man’s story at the beginning of the 80s. Some young Brummie star. Who? I have no idea.
You talk about loneliness in your book. Would you say that you had a void in your life, and if so, how have you filled that void today? – Suzy Missirlian
Spirituality. A sense of a higher power. That’s crucial to my well-being today.
Many felt that the album ‘Feelings Are Good’ was a representation of you working through your divorce. The honesty and emotion of the lyrics seemed to walk through the stages of loss. In the book, the divorce seems less heartbreaking and more a given eventuality. Did we misread the album, or is it just that perspective has changed reality over the years? – Krista Hamby
No, I think you’re correct. That is exactly what the album was about.
What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? (Thought it might be time for a not so deep question!!) – Rebecca Slight
Name each of the best qualities of the original fab five 80s lineup. – Alycia Massey
Simon: Leadership. Andy: Grit. Nick: Tenacity. Roger: Generosity of spirit. Me? Enthusiasm.
What Duran Duran song are you most proud of and why? – Julie Unger Zorn
I don’t like using that word ‘pride;’ it tends to lead me into trouble. But I love our catalogue.
John, what do you think about today’s music scene with music acts being just that…acts. How have things changed? – Janet Vasquez
I could write an essay on that subject. So much has changed, but there will always be interesting things to be found if you are prepared to look. Maybe it’s not exactly a golden age for popular music right now. I could not argue with that. But many people thought that about the 80s, and I’m sure most DD fans would disagree with that idea.
John with wife Gela Nash-Taylor in October 2012
How has touring been since you have been sober? Is the band understanding of your sobriety? – Cathy Harkness Junkin
I like touring sober. Keeps me healthy and sharp from date one to the last show.
I haven’t read your book yet, but here are my questions: What do you miss most about your father and how has his passing influenced your relationship with Atlanta? – Felicia Ruiz
Read the book! I just try to be the best dad I can be, day by day.
What’s on your playlist??? – Rossana Ng-Jamora
Bert Jansch. JS Bach.
John, what did you all do with all those fabulous clothes once you were done with them? I’d kill for this one black and white print blouse I saw from your very early days in DD. – Cristina Coro-Dickson
Yes…it’s a long story, but many of them ended up in Eastern Europe!
I’ve been a huge fan of Duran Duran since I was a young girl at the age of 15. Your music and lyrics have always inspired me during the tough times. What inspires you? – Sandy Villetti
Hard workers, believers, artists…