Sunday, March 27, 2005

Last Chance on the Stairway

Back in January, I interviewed John Taylor for a trashy supermarket rag. They thought they might use it for filler, but since Jen & Brad broke up around that time, they didn't really need it. Unless John Taylor had weighed in on that particular drama as well, which he didn't. They held onto it for a while, but now it's all mine again. Of course, I'm posting it here, in its uninterrupted (and occasionally embarrassing) glory.

Unfortunately for me, it was a ten minute phone interview, so I didn't have the luxury of either turning beet red or hyperventilating in the presence of the Hot One (who was terribly nice, by the way). My teen crushes never die, apparently.

Tuesday, January 11th, 2005

John Taylor: Hello Mo! Mo, Mo, Mo, Mo!

Mo: Hi John, thanks so much for taking the time to do this today.

JT: Where are you?

Mo: Sitting on the floor in my living room.

JT: No, what city?

Mo: Oh, Silverlake.

JT: Ah! Are you keeping dry?

Mo: We didn't really suffer too much from the rain, what about you? Aren't you on the Westside?

JT: Yes. We thought some houses might fall off the cliff, but everyone's okay. The rain has stopped, but nobody wants to leave home.

Mo: I was leaving home during the rain, I wasn't afraid.

JT: Nobody goes because nobody knows what to do, do they?

Mo: That's just Los Angeles, though; that's just California. I lived in Northern California too and when it rains up there the same thing happens - everyone just sort of freezes. So, I have some questions to ask you before we get bolted off the line... The upcoming tour: you're hitting up stadiums this time?

JT: Actually, they're not stadiums, they're arenas.

Mo: Ah, arenas, arenas...

JT: I think a stadium implies the outdoors, and in LA we're playing the Staples Center, which is pretty big.

Mo: Alright, you're playing really, really really large venues.

JT: (laughs)Well, yea, we did a British tour like that last year.

Mo: Yea, and I remember that you had both the Scissor Sisters and Goldfrapp opening.

JT: Right!

Mo: And I wanted to give you guys props for having those two bands and knowing about those bands, especially at that time for the Scissor Sisters, because no one outside of New York City really knew who they were. What kind of openers do you think you're going to have this time around?

JT: We haven't firmed it up yet, but it's gonna be good.

Mo: I remember reading about those shows, and Goldfrapp especially. She has such an amazing voice.

JT: She's wonderful.

Mo: Yea, an incredible singer. How is this tour going to be for you guys? When was the last time you played venues this large in the United States?

JT: We did a couple radios shows like that before Christmas, but it wasn't our show. To tell you the truth, I'm quite comfortable. I love to play... just let me at it. It's a drag if you love something like that - what I do - better than anything else, that two hours on stage... I love that, I feel that's my thing. I'm lucky to get to do that these days. A lot goes into a tour, I mean, it's extraordinary. A ten week tour! I mean, who the hell does ten week tours? I'm sure no British band! (laughs) But it's very, very exciting. I think the reason we don't have an opening act yet is because they're all a bit frightened! (more laughing) Really, it's going to be a tremendous opportunity because you're going to be able to grow so much. The band that plays the last date will be a completely different band from the one that played the first date. There's no short cut, you know. If you're a performer, you want to be a great act. If you want to be a player, you've gotta play.

Mo: I'm sure that you're selling lots of tickets to this because the album has been doing great. I've really been enjoying it! What have you noticed about your fans? They've grown up with you guys, I think. So how has it been, since Roger came back and the original lineup has gotten back together? How has the audience been?

JT: It's galvanized everybody. Everybody that was kinda sorta into the band has come out, has come back, has said, "Fuck it, I don't mind!" And time and trends have helped us as well. The last couple of years have been like, "Whew! Well, it's okay to like this band." And I think when people actually do come to the shows, and they feel a part of the crowd that is very... it's like... Ok, maybe 20 years ago we would have pooh-poohed the idea that people who are interested in fashion and style and all that stuff, but we've become such a fashion and style oriented society that now, if you're in a Duran Duran audience and you look around, you go, "Wow, this is where the cool kids are!"

We used to feel this tremendous... what we used to call "audience envy." We'd look at the Rolling Stones audience or the Guns and Roses audience and say, "Why isn't our audience as sexy as theirs?" And now we don't have that anymore because we've got the coolest audience. We've got teenagers right up next to the gorgeous, gorgeous forty somethings, a really good crossover.

Mo: Speaking of having all the cool kids at your show, I have to ask about the celebrity fan quotient and I was just wondering if you had any interesting stories... like I hear that Gwen Stefani is a big fan, Jennifer Aniston loves you, or the entire band The Killers, and of course Mark McGrath from Sugar Ray...

JT: Gwen is a big fan and I really love her, and I'm a big fan of her as well. I think having their support and their interest has meant a lot to us. But really, we're a band's band. There's a lot of personalities in our band. Most bands today, I think, have somebody, who was influenced by a member of Duran Duran. You know what I mean? You know, whether it's like, Korn's singer, or the Killer's bass player, Franz Ferdinand's drummer... Everybody's band was influenced by one of us. We're not like a band where it's really all about one guy and everybody else plays his songs. We're very, very democratic; we're very sum of the parts. I mean, if you wanna be a bass player, chances are you're gonna check me out (laughs), along with other bass players! We've always shouted our musical identities out loud.

Mo: So back to the tour, your schedule has been really hectic. How is Andy [who was out during the shows played in December due to illness]?

JT: We had a pretty intense schedule, and when we were finishing up the album I went back to LA for a week and spent a bit of time with my kid, but Andy kept at it. He stayed in the studio. I didn't really mind when he called up in December and said, "Hey, I gotta check out." It was quite challenging getting someone up to speed in about 48 hours. When you have to ride something like that, it's very frustrating, but it kind of makes you stronger. We all took the holidays off and then we got back together last week and started playing again, and the work that we had to do with the stand-in guy paid off, because Andy was back and we'd done a lot of work in the meantime.

Mo: Now when you tour, do you bring your family along or do they meet you along the way?

JT: Yea, they do. But they're so fucking blasé! Like my daughter in particular, she's really fucking blasé. "Oh, whatever. Maybe I'll come out..." You know, she's gotta have her own suite. My wife's kids [Taylor's wife is Juicy Couture co-founder, Gela Nash-Taylor], they're really into music and into the mechanics of music; how songs get written. They've seen a lot of it. My daughter's like, "Six days dad, that's the most!" I'm like, "Come on, come and spend some time with me on the road." "Aw dad, really? Do I have to?" They're just at the age where they want to be with their friends. And it doesn't matter that I'm like, "But I thought I was cool!" "It's not that - it's not personal. I just want to be with my friends."

Mo: (laughing) That puts a bit of perspective on things, doesn't it?

JT: Yea it does. Humility.

Mo: Before I wrap it up, I was curious about what kinds of acts the band is into now. Does anyone have any particular favorites?

JT: Well, it's just been so great to be doing this, making your own music, and um... I'm all about me right now! (laughs) If you'd asked me two years ago, I would have given you a roll call of music I was listening to, but when you're in your own band and you're playing every day... that's it, baby.

Mo: So right now, you guys are the shit.

JT: Yea!

Mo: Excellent! Are you looking forward to the tour?

JT: Oh god, yes.

Mo: And where do you kick off?

JT: Fort Lauderdale. And we end in the Garden.

Mo: Nice! Well, there's that somewhat infamous statement from the beginning of Duran Duran that within a certain number of years from the formation of the final lineup of the band, that you would be playing to a sold out Madison Square Gardens.

JT: It took us longer this time around to get there! Simon joined the summer of '80, and within 4 years, we sold out 2 nights at Madison Square Garden. This time, hmmm... we've worked together... oh anyway, who's counting! We're glad to be back.

Mo: Well, I'm glad that you guys stuck it out and that everyone's come back together. It has galvanized fans, at least that I've seen. I've been a big fan since... well, as long as I can remember.

JT: Longer than you can remember!

Mo: Sorry, college drinking has interfered with what I remember (laughs).

JT: So what are you listening to, what's your favorite album?

Mo: My favorite album? I go back and forth between the first two.

JT: No, no, what music are you listening to at the moment?

Mo: Oh, my favorite album of last year was Interpol, Antics. And my second one was the Delays, Faded Seaside Glamour.

JT: Oh, I've never heard of that!

Mo: Faded Seaside Glamour, rather, the Delays, is sort of like the Las meet the Cocteau Twins; it's really beautiful and I'm a sucker for melody, so that pulled me right in.

JT: So your favorite Duran records are the first two?

Mo: Yes, the first two, and the other ones go back and forth on my turntable. Well, I still have a turntable!

JT: I got one for Christmas, actually. It's been such a long time since I've used one!

Mo: I still DJ around town, so I can never give them up.

JT: Oh, you do? Where?

Mo: Sometimes at the Burgundy Room out in Hollywood.

JT: Cool. I like the Burgundy Room.

Mo: Yes, it's fun and I have to tell you, "Careless Memories" is always a big hit!

JT: Yea, that's a good song.

Mo: And of course, everyone likes "Girls on Film."

JT: Of course!

Mo: Well thank you for talking with me this afternoon, stay dry and have a good tour!

JT: Thank you and ta ta!