Roger and John stopped by Sky News Radio in the UK today, for a thoughtful chat about the feel of the new album, why we’re all going to love it, and why they aren’t cheese-makers in Wiltshire.
…….Tags: All You Need Is Now, Duran Duran, John Taylor, Radio, Roger Taylor
Highlights from John Taylor’s September 2010 Katy Kafe
John Taylor is excited… so I’m excited… and you should be too. JT is showing a lot of enthusiasm for this new album, and I must say it’s all sounding pretty good. It could just be that there’s more to actually talk about now, but to me, this latest Kafe somehow felt more sincere and focused than the one in June. Here are the highlights:
- As of, well… now… the album is called All You Need Is Now. John says “we’re all feeling that one.”
- Duran Duran “really nailed the album” in July. JT is going back to England in another week or so to finalize things, but he’s really “excited” and “ecstatic” about it. He spoke of “really feeling the spirit of the band and the four of us.”
- The new album is “so much better than Red Carpet Massacre and Astronaut.” (This makes me cringe, but whatever.) John says, “It’s the album that people who love the band have been waiting for for years.”
- The eleven tracks on the album “will make for great live music.”
- Duran Duran have chosen an artist to create the cover artwork, and artist name Clunie Reid whose work Nick discovered at the Saatchi Gallery. You can check out her recent work here, which I think looks very intriguing. As JT says, “it’s going to be pretty fucking out there.” Cool.
- Katy busted out with another song title, Leopard, which JT seemed surprised to hear is her favorite from the album.
- John says their recent cover of Boys Keep Swinging is “a really nice sort of step towards the album. (Yay!) He says they’ve even talked about playing it live, saying “we’ll have it somewhere in the set.”
- Regarding tour plans, John said that it is possible that there might be something besides South Africa “in a capital city” before the end of the year, and that “big plans are being made.”
- There was a lot of talk about the reissues. John said that he “has had a spiritual experience with the band and their music over the past few months,” some of which seems to have been spurred on my listening to the Seven and the Ragged Tiger reissue. That part sounded great, but I could have done without the “EMI have done a fantastic job of the reissues” bit. Anyhow, he spoke of his involvement with the Big Thing reissue, which primarily seemed to be the chance to restore the original version of Drug.
- John spoke quite a bit about Notorious, which we will be exploring more in depth here later in the week. Stay tuned for that. Oh, and they are planning a reissue of Liberty.
- The conversation ended on a more predictable note with chit-chat about JT’s favorite TV shows (Mad Men, Modern Family, Rubicon, and anything on TMC) and his favorite movies of late (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Kids Are Alright.)
Gimme a Wristband is pleased to present our first guest post from loyal reader and Duranie, ‘Cat’. She loves John Taylor… a lot… and has been doing it well for a long time now. Here’s the story of how it all started.
No, I don’t have a rash… and no, I’m not running a fever.
Although I have been given looks over the years that seem to say that I should be certified.
It all started back in 1981, on a cold March evening, as I sat and watched Top Of The Pops. It was a tradition for me back then, in the days before MTV and twenty four hour TV. My routine never varied; finish homework, have my dinner, wait impatiently for some boring programme to finish, and then… Yellow Pearl would burst out of the speakers, multi-coloured vinyl singles swooping in and out of shot, as a distorted voice said the name of the show.
And then it was on with the music. If you were lucky, you got to see and hear some good artists; David Bowie, The Specials, Visage, Depeche Mode, Japan, Gary Numan and the Tubeway Army.
If not, you had to suffer crap like St. Winifred’s School Choir wittering on about how there was no one quite like grandma. Or Joe Dolce telling you to shadd uppa your face. Or worse still, The Tweets with The bloody Birdie Song. *shudders*
But on March 5th, 1981, my life changed. And so did I.
I changed from someone who had loved all types of bands, switching from liking ABBA, to loving Adam and the Ants.
But I saw Duran Duran on TOTP for the first of many times that night. And I went from just liking music, to being consumed by everything Duran Duran sang, did, wore and said. And while all of the band were extremely easy on the eyes, there was one young man that would be the love of my teenage life. He was dressed in black from head to foot; black shirt, and more importantly, black leather trousers. His hair was burgundy, and those eyes… my god.
Looking back, he made the bass guitar a very sexual instrument, but when you’re ten years old, you don’t think of that. You just focus on the physical aspects in front of you.
And boy, did I ever focus on them.
The room, as I recall, went tunnel vision, my eyes riveted to the vision in black, just to the right of the singer. The camera did pan around, as I discovered later, but back then, it didn’t.
Not as far as I could see, anyway.
That was it.
I was now totally, madly, head over heels in love with the bass player for Duran Duran.
We all remember doing the same things with any and all John Taylor memorabilia back then.
We reserved the walls directly around our beds for posters and pictures of him. I recall that at one point, my walls were plastered with posters, and I still had to keep some in a box for safe keeping. I kept scrapbooks, trawling through any and all newspapers for the least little article about him.
And I know now, that I was not the only lovestruck fourteen year old who cried into her pillow when he announced that he was getting engaged to Janine Andrews. My heart was broken as I read in the newspapers about how much they loved each other.
Mind you, I wasn’t the only one who cheered when they split up, only for him to start seeing Virginia Hey. At least she got him a cameo in a programme, Timeslip.
The programme itself was awful, but hey… John was in it!
My Duranie friends and I had plagued our parents, begging them to let us stay up late enough to watch it. We sat inches away from the TV screens, ready to hit the record buttons on our VCRs, and squealed loudly when John’s face filled the screen.
My VHS copy of the tape died two years later, the tape worn away from the near constant rewinding.
I started practicing writing my name as, at fourteen years old, I just knew it would be someday.
Mrs. P. Taylor.
Don’t laugh, I’ll bet you did that too.
And then, the fateful day arrived when John stopped being just very gorgeous and cute.
He was now officially… sexy.
Oh yes. The hormones kicked in, and you started thinking about how his hips moved as he played his bass.
How it seemed as if he was grinding against it, a knowing smirk on his lips as he knew exactly what effect it would have on hormonal girls the world over.
You could stare at his pictures for hours, wondering what it would be like to not only have him kiss you, but throw you onto the bed and make mad, passionate love to you. You watched, drooling, as he stalked the stage clad in his trademark leather trousers, and wanted to peel them off.
For me, the summer of 1985 was when John wasn’t just gorgeous, he was now the man who invaded my dreams at night, who sneaked into my mind during the day, who was the catalyst for my sexual awakening.
For my mother’s generation, it was ‘Elvis The Pelvis’, banned from being shown on TV from the waist down.
For my mother in law’s generation, it was The Beatles. John, Paul, George and Ringo who made them scream until they cried, who sang “I’d love to turn you on”, but didn’t necessarily mean with acid.
For the girls of the seventies, it was David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Bryan Ferry.
But for those of us who were teenagers back then, our idol, our very own sex god was John Taylor. He was the yardstick against which all others were measured, and frequently came up short.
However, as with all good things, for me, they came to an end.
For almost twenty years.
Duran Duran slipped from my radar, my musical tastes now moving onto harder, rockier music. You could say that Power Station influenced me. I still squealed when I heard Duran’s music, still felt the old, familiar rush of hormones when I saw John, but they weren’t high on my list anymore.
Christmas Eve, 1991. John Taylor finally got married to Amanda De Cadenet. He was 31, she was 19 and very pregnant.
The following week, the pictures appeared in Hello! magazine. It is a moment in time that is imprinted in my brain, even if I wasn’t as rabid a fan as I was five years before.
John was wearing a black jacket, and a truly hideous floral type shirt. She (I still can’t bring myself to say her name) was wearing a black dress and a pink jacket. And they were holding hands.
I can remember how I’d picked up the magazine, slack jawed in stunned horror. I had always thought he would have married the beautiful girl he’d been with for four years, Renee Toft Simonsen. Instead, he’d married a child, whose sole claim to fame had been presenting a TV show called The Word, their idea of entertainment being a drunk man in his twenties making out with an elderly woman.
To the other people in the shop, I probably looked like I was catching flies. Inside, my heart broke, my inner teeny sobbing hysterically into her pillow. I placed the magazine back onto the shelf, and left.
The intervening fourteen years saw me growing up fast. I became a single mother to a son, and raised him on my own until he was four. I met my long time partner, and gave birth to two more children, a girl and another boy. Nevertheless, my love for Duran and John manifested itself in my baby boy’s name; Taylor.
Flash forward to 2005.
The stars must have been aligned, or someone was telling me to pay close attention.
The first sign was an online discussion I had with a friend who’d been a Duranie at the same time I was. He declared that Simon Le Bon was the sexiest member of Duran, something I pointedly disagreed with. We argued and fought over it. In the end we agreed to disagree, but I was firmly convinced of the truth.
Everyone knew that John was the sexiest member, right?
Another online discussion, another admission that my favourite Duran was John. This time, the bug has hit me, and I google John’s name. And I not only discover that John has his own website, but – miracle of miracles! – Duran are back together!
And so I find myself back in love with the band, and still as obsessed with John as I ever was. The battles he has fought with his addictions have only made me admire him more, the tales told by those lucky enough to have met him make me realise that he is truly a beautiful man.
There are benefits this time around, thanks to the internet.
I find myself surrounded by women, and girls who were still in diapers the first time around, and we have bonded (excuse the bad pun). We share tales of our children singing along to the new material, and of which member they like. We make plans to keep in touch, to share our vast libraries of audio and video with each other.
But mention John Taylor’s name, or post his picture up on your chosen forum, and there will be grown women still swooning over him, just like they did twenty five years ago.
My name is Cat, and I am proud to say that I have been down with the sickness.
And if there’s a cure, don’t bother giving it to me.Tags: Duran Duran, John Taylor
A couple of months ago, EMI released remastered versions of Duran Duran’s first three albums, along with Arcadia’s So Red the Rose. Fans around the world rejoiced and emptied out their piggy banks for the premium disks. For many fans, however, the joy quickly turned to bitterness… and when EMI issued a statement this week via Duran Duran’s official website, the bitterness morphed into outrage.
After some delay, consumers finally obtained the hotly anticipated reissues a couple of months ago and immediately began reporting via Amazon.com reviews and numerous Duran Duran message boards about glitches and sound compression issues. According to one poster, “These new remasters have lost all of their dynamic range, have been compressed into a big brick wall of garbage, and the high range/trebles pushed so high that it’s literally painful on the ears to listen to.” While some fans were more than happy to have things like previously unreleased tracks and the bonus DVDs, others felt duped and disgusted that EMI would release such an an obviously faulty product. Questions were asked, and vitriol was spewed. Hell hath no fury like a Duranie scorned.
This week, the following statement was posted on Duran Duran’s web site, curiously nestled in the Ask Katy feature responding to a fan’s enquiry about whether or not EMI would care to comment on the controversy :
FROM EMI: “It has come to our attention that some fans have suggested that the mastering on the recently reissued editions of ‘Duran Duran’ and ‘Seven And The Ragged Tiger’ is incorrect. Mastering is always subjective, and we acknowledge that the mastering on these versions is different to that of previous remasters, however that does not necessarily make it wrong. We have received both positive and negative comments about the mastering which is usual for any project – although those that don’t like the sound of these new records are by far in the minority. We will always take on board constructive criticism and act upon it, where we believe it appropriate, and we respect the opinions of the fans. However, in this case there have been some personal comments about the mastering engineer that were highly offensive, wholly inappropriate and unjustified.
There is a glitch due to tape deterioration in the camera clicks at the very start of Girls On Film on the Duran Duran album. Whilst this glitch is not ideal, as it is in the camera clicks and not within the main body of the music, there are no plans to replace any discs.”
While I’ve never had the pleasure of working in the EMI mail room, I’m willing to bet that they received a few more letters from folks complaining about the remastering issues than they got mash notes thanking the label for doing such a fantastic job. Combined with the already desperate opener of “just because something is different doesn’t make it wrong” argument, EMI jumped into this controversy with the wrong foot.
After the obligatory PR spin of respecting the consumer opinion, EMI continued to flounder with indignation over an engineer’s feelings being hurt. While it truly embarrasses me as a fan that someone would take criticism to a personal level, is seems wholly inappropriate to whine about it in a corporate statement. By doing so, EMI paints Duran Duran fans as naughty children who need to be scolded instead of valued, educated customers of a company that is currently in deep financial distress.
After delivering a good spanking, the final bit sends Duranies to bed with no supper. What EMI appears to be saying here is that some parts of the music matter more than others, so it’s perfectly acceptable if the less important bits are not treated with the same care as the parts that the corporation considers to be meaningful. While remastering one of the most iconic songs of the late twentieth century, EMI could not be bothered to use an un-damaged tape (perhaps the 2002 remaster) and instead chose to release a faulty product, admit to the glitch post-release, and dismissively reject public outcry for a recall.
After executing this poorly thought out plan, I can only imagine that EMI’s mailbox will again be overflowing with letters, which according to their math will be mostly from Duranies thanking the label for respecting them as fans and honoring Duran Duran’s artistry by producing “not wrong” remasters.
In May, Nick Rhodes made some disparaging remarks about the finished products during a short Katy Kafe and stated that the band was not consulted by EMI on the reissues. While most of his criticism pertained to the terribly unfortunate packaging of So Red the Rose, which he described as a “pigs ear,” Nick went on to say that some of the material included was “superfluous and inferior to the other tracks from the original album.” The conversation stemmed from discussion of a recent lawsuit filed by Pink Floyd against EMI for breaking the terms of its contract by not honoring the singular album concept and selling songs individually. Nick was “very, very happy” to see that Pink Floyd was victorious in the case, saying that it was “wrong of EMI to have treated it another way without getting permission, and unfortunately, that’s one of the major objections I have to the way that record labels have behaved in more recent years… they really ought to consult artists about what they want to do with the product that the artists have created.”
Conversely, in another chat John Taylor spoke of how “fantastic” the reissues are, waxing poetic about how wonderful the vinyl edition of Seven and the Ragged Tiger sounds and how he was “knocked out by the presentation of the first three albums.” As I noted in an earlier article, this lavish praise seemed suspiciously insincere after being preceded by John saying, “I’d like to be reunited with our back catalog (which is owned by EMI). That’s the best way forward for us, so we’re going to try to make that happen.”
Former Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor weighed in early on the debate with strong criticism several weeks ago via Twitter, saying “Sounds like it was done down the pub.” Posting on Facebook today Andy said, “Sad really that it comes to this – Yes mastering is subjective, but there is also a certain level of quality that one should maintain regardless of the personality of the engineer. Having said that its not right to have a go at the mastering engineer personally, because some knuckle-head okayed these remasterings and evidently did not spot the glitches… But for sure EMI should replace any bad or disappointing copies, but don’t hold your breath!!!” Andy also added, “I can’t believe that EMI, who are not exactly the most solid of labels currently, think they can get away with this… Their statement is very disingenuous & to refuse to refund a faulty product is outrageous, plus I am rather proud of our work & a little bit annoyed that they have done this, actually a lot annoyed…” Andy decided to take liberty of fixing the track himself, providing a link here .
Aside from these personal comments from individual members, there has been no official statement from the band or their management regarding the controversy. In light of this, I view Duran Duran’s decision to release EMI’s statement directly on the band’s official web site without any additional commentary or context as complicit agreement with EMI’s dismissive stance towards Duran Duran’s music as well as their fans.
By issuing this poorly conceived and inflammatory statement through, as one fan put it, such an “opaque gesture,” both Duran Duran and EMI have ensured that this controversy will not blow over any time soon. The story is gaining momentum in the press, and the roar of indignant consumers is only growing louder. With two more Duran Duran re-issues slated for release this fall (Notorious and Big Thing) many fans will be registering their disapproval with their pocketbook, and EMI may end up with more than just their feelings hurt.Tags: Andy Taylor, Duran Duran, Duran Duran News, EMI, John Taylor, Music News, Nick Rhodes
My good friend Mikala writes a kick-ass blog called The Backstage Rider about “life in love with music.” It’s about (mostly rock/indie/alternative/techo) music and her life in and around it. Mikala totally rocks for about a million reasons, but the one you need to know about right now is that she’s shared a pretty incredible interview that she conducted with John Taylor back in 1985.
“Here’s a REWIND to 1995, a revealing cassette-taped interview with John Taylor in which JT discusses getting fucked up, being pissed off, lacking in humility, how the band have changed and the disaster covers album “Thank You.”
It’s not just another old interview… John says some things that really mirror a lot of what the band has been saying recently about getting back to primal roots. It’s a pretty amazing conversation, really. Oh, and one more thing you need to know about Mikala: John Taylor has kissed her on the cheek. Twice. Now go read her blog.Tags: backstage rider, blog, Duran Duran, Interview, John Taylor, Music