Three questions with Duran Duran’s John Taylor
May 7, 2008
by Spencer Patterson
Last time I saw you play, in 2003, the band had all five original members back together. [Guitarist Andy Taylor left again in 2006.] Any disappointment that the full reunion didn’t last longer?
From the point of view of the soul of the band, there was something wonderful about that reunion—there was an incredible energy that the five of us had together. But it just didn’t work out. The good news is that the guy we’ve got playing guitar with us, Dom Brown, is an electric blues guitar player cut from a similar cloth to Andy. He comes from that great English tradition of Mick Taylor and Jeff Beck and plays blues-rock as easily as he plays the funk, and I think it’s making the band a little tighter, actually.
How do you devise a live set these days, given that you’ve released two albums since reuniting and how much classic material you’re almost required to play every night?
We did a couple of weeks at a theater on Broadway, and we built this sort of three-act show. The first part was the new album in its entirety, and we still use that as the skeleton for the front of the set. Then we have a portion that’s like the Duran Duran equivalent of the acoustic section, but instead we’re doing an electro set where we’re all playing synthesizers—it’s like a 25-minute medley of various songs of ours and other people’s, done in this sort of Kraftwerk dance style. It seemed a little more Duran than the unplugged thing. And then the last part is balls-to-the-walls old-school.
Duran Duran has been Rock and Roll Hall of Fame eligible for a couple years now. Is that on your radar at all?
To be honest with you, I really don’t give a fuck. I don’t know what the benefit of it is. [The Hall] should be about the unsung heroes of rock ’n’ roll. What’s the fucking point of putting Duran Duran in there? What’s the point of putting, like, The Rolling Stones in there? I think that when they started that thing they weren’t planning ahead; they didn’t realize that if they kept going at the rate they were going, sooner or later they were gonna have to start thinking about Duran Duran [laughs]. That was not on their agenda.
And I don’t think we really need anything like that right now. We’ve had more than enough plaudits. We’ve just got to quietly work away. It’s a little bumpy right now. We put a lot into the last album, it came out and nothing really happened with it. So it’s one of those kinds of periods where you’ve gotta walk the walk, where it’s not just about, “Oh, are we gonna quit now because the last album was a flop?” We thought the new record was gonna do a lot better than it has. But we’re really enjoying our playing right now, and that’s what we have to make it about. –Spencer Patterson
With Your Vegas. May 9 and 10, 8 p.m., $92-$247. The Joint, 693-5066.
Courtesy Las Vegas Weekly