Time Out Rio de Janeiro

5 Minutes With... Duran Duran's John Taylor

Duran Duran were the pop music embodiment of the excess of the eighties. At the end of April they return to Rio, arguably the bands spiritual home.

With fresh material in the form of 2010's well-received All You Need Is Now album to tour, Duran Duran return to the inspiration for one of their biggest smash hits of the 80s (and there were a few) for their first show in four years on 30 April. Time Out caught up with bassist and founding member John Taylor to get a little low-down on writing Bond movie themes, competition with U2 and growing old gracefully.

Why is there such a renewed interest in the ’80s now?
It’s just fashion and trends; they go round and round. There was a resistance to the ’80s for a long, long time but where else are you going to go? People don’t want the future.

With 30 years’ history, who do you compare Duran Duran to?

I think U2 – their first record predated us by about two years, but we were neck and neck in those days – in fact we were out in front. Culture Club? I don’t know how many records they’ve done in the last 20 years. We’ve been pretty consistent; there’s a story that started in the ’80s and the bullet points continue. There are one or two albums no one cares about, but like Woody Allen movies they still keep getting produced.

In 1997 you became the fourth person to quit – it can’t have all been plain sailing?
Well, I think if you look at any business that would be hard to find – look at the middle management in Time Out and tell me they haven’t changed in 30 years. The higher up you are in creative circles or money making the more the stress.

How was it working with Mark Ronson on your last album?
Mark’s amazing; he’s one of the loveliest, smartest, most generous guys I know. Working with him was great; it made us feel like we’re still cool.

How do you think the record he produced for you, All You Need is Now, ranks with your ’80s work?
Ask me in 20 years, I’m only just coming to terms with our mid-’80s work.

You did the Bond theme for A View to a Kill, are the rumours you’re doing the next one for Skyfall true?
I think it’s very unlikely we’ll do the new one – Rihanna’s much more likely. But we’d love to, we talk about it all the time.

You have a hit called ‘Wild Boys’ – how wild were you boys?

Oh, it was wild, baby. It was out of control. It’s a tremendous amount of fame, success and cash – it’s a lot of stuff to process. I’m just grateful to still be alive. No regrets? You can’t have regrets. Regret is so tiring.

You were once known as the ‘prettiest boys in pop’.
We’re all vain and we’ve become a lot vainer; it’s hard to pass a mirror without thinking how much balder you are than in, say, 1985. You really have to take care of yourself – no one likes walking out on stage and feeling fat and out of shape. I’m no stranger to the gym and every morsel of food that goes near my mouth is considered. I use a lot of moisturiser and a lot of hair treatment for baldness.

What meant more; Lou Reed praising your cover of ‘Perfect Day’ or Princess Diana calling you her favourite band?
I’d have to say Lou Reed – he’s an artist.

Duran Duran play at Citibank Hall on 30 April

Words by Rob Garratt

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