"In Art one must give one's heart and soul' Millet
What is your greatest fear? Disappearing, having nothing left to say creatively, losing the respect of friends and workmates - John Taylor, DD 2011 Tour Program
What is your greatest fear? My greatest fear is the fear of losing a child - Simon Le Bon, DD 2011 Tour program
I felt shamed when I read and compared what Simon had written in answer to that question. (We all wrote out the 'Proust Q & A' for the tour program). There am I, selfishly, existentially, ever the artist aspiring, in my head, man, and there's Simon, the compete human being, the mensch, reminding me of what it is to be fully human, and how far I have yet to go.
Yesterday was a dark day for our little band of brothers. I honestly felt that my love for him, and our group's love for our together thing could make a difference. That a miracle would happen and everything would be okay. He would sing, the notes would appear, he would smile, and we would applaud ourselves and our abilities, together, to overcome anything and everything. But that's not what happened.
Poor Charlie. The one band member who is entirely one with his human form - he is his instrument after all, Nick and I have extremely long necks, both our bodies are a long way way from our minds- has to suffer all of this, all this weight, all the 'will they, won't they' that has gotten put onto him, onto that tiny area of flesh, muscle and bone inside his throat, some way beneath his face above his heart. What could we do? What could any of us do? Wendy? CAA? Our brilliant staff of engineers and technicians, wardrobe dressers and lighting operators? Absolutely FUCK-ALL.
It's not my instrument and I'm struggling to stay out of the fear. At least I was last night, all of those 'What if's?...' keeping me up half the night. We've had this happen twice that I can recall, but who's counting? Simon's voice is the front end of the vehicle, the bumper and the headlights and the chrome badge on top of the hood, it's the first to go, first to need repair work when there's some kind of accident or overuse. I can get run-down - I seem to need antibiotics twice a year- but that doesn't stop the show from going on. Nick needed medical treatment right before the gig in Boston last month, but it didn't stop the show from going on. When Simon's voice goes, the band goes, we all go. Down and out.
And this year has been fantastic. Coachella, the US theatre dates, Milan, the SBE, some of the best gigs we have ever played. And a huge workload of acoustic radio shows, the Mayan theatre with David Lynch, more radio, print and TV interviews than I can ever remember doing. And every time we open our mouths, we're giving our heart and souls. This is not a band that ever learnt how to 'dial it in'. If we are onstage you can safely assume that in that moment, wherever we are, whatever size that venue or audience, we are giving our best, and that we want that gig right there that is happening now, to be the best gig we've ever done. Which is weird in a way..
A lot of you have been asking, begging us to cancel the entire tour, not date by date, as we've been doing, but in total, so you can make your plans accordingly. But it's not that simple. We have responsibilities to our insurers and our employees, and besides that, we want to get back on stage together just as fast as possible. Like I said, this year's shows have been tremendous, and Simon has been singing better than ever- I've heard that innumerable times over the last few months- and we were all building up a head of steam that will take a while to get back, and the longer we are away from our stage, the longer that will take.
But it's fate I suppose, and being a twelve-stepper no one more than I appreciates the concept of powerlessness. I am entirely powerless over Simon's vocal chords, as are we all.
I have to say, he is handling it with extreme dignity, leading the way, as usual, with his grown-up behaviour. I'd be a basket case by now. I said to him yesterday, 'This doesn't mean you can go to the game you know,' half jokingly, and he was shocked I would even suggest it, 'That is nothing compared to our game,' he said, 'I want to be onstage doing our show..' And he was quite firm about that.