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Duran Duran - Interview

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 21 / 7 / 2016

Duran Duran - Interview


Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor speaks to Nick Dent-Robinson about his band's 80's stardom and their continued longevity

Roger Taylor, the Duran Duran drummer, was once named by 'Tatler' as the UK's fifth most eligible bachelor – alongside Prince William and Hugh Grant. These days he modestly plays down his past global sex symbol status and his key role in one of the most commercially successful bands in British music. “Actually, we didn't go into this business for fame or glamour. We wanted to earn success through learning to be good musicians and actually some of the fame thing could be a hindrance at times," Roger, now 56, reflects. “Though those early days were an intense time for me and everyone in the band, I was only 19 and it all happened so fast. I wouldn't change any of the past but I like the greater sense of normality we have now and I don't miss any of the craziness of the early days. Nobody in the band does". The band were formed in Birmingham in the late 1970s, taking their name from a character in the hit film Barbarella. With skilful management, the band enjoyed huge success in the early 1980's and were quickly dominating the UK and international music scene as archetypal “new romantic” heroes. The band was slick, highly photogenic and brilliantly promoted. To many, they perfectly encapsulated the glamorous excesses – and some would say, superficiality – of the Thatcher era. They were perfect for MTV with top quality videos showing them lounging on tropical beaches or speeding along on yachts, always surrounded by the most beautiful women. It must have been a hard life? “It was, in a lot of ways", Roger says - though not too convincingly. “You see we'd had no time to adjust to the change in our lifestyles and you had to work hard to try to remember who you really were but it was a formative period for all of us and in different ways we grew from it". The band have sold over 70 million records with 14 Top 10 singles in the UK and massive success in the USA, Australia and Europe too. 'Save a Prayer', 'Union of the Snake', 'Girls on Film', 'The Reflex', the Bond theme, 'A View to Kill' - these are just a handful of Duran Duran's catalogue of hits and, as Roger recalls, perhaps the band's biggest career highlight was appearing in Philadelphia in front of almost 100,000 people for Live Aid with another 1.5 billion watching on TV. “That was just unforgettable - and I still have a soft spot for Philadelphia, to this day." Roger says. Plus there were the many Grammys, MTV awards and other prizes the band accumulated along with an adoring fan base of millions. “Yes, they were amazing days," Roger agrees “but we are still out there - and we are currently promoting our 14th album, 'Paper Gods', which has been widely acclaimed. We have been touring in America and are now playing UK dates; Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and I enjoyed performing at a festival in a park in Oxford in late May. We did a big “come back” performance last year at the Isle of Wight's Bestival event and we were surprised and delighted by how young and enthusiastic the audience were. They knew all our songs too! We actually couldn't believe that we were having this impact playing live in 2015 and we just loved the whole experience. Mind you, I think the power of some of our classic hit songs has helped us stand the test of time. Those songs were great and were produced brilliantly, even the younger generation still know the special Duran Duran sound". “We are probably all far better musicians now - though I like to think we were always more than just a couple of synthesizer one finger keyboard players. I like that the music is important and enduring. As individuals I am sure each of us is in a far better place today than we were at the peak of our early success. All those flashy videos from 30 odd years ago almost overshadowed the music and I always found that sad. Of course some of our present audience are people in their late forties and early fifties who grew up with us all those years ago. They want to recapture a bit of their lost youth – but we do always mix some new music with the old hits, just to ensure we keep progressing. That is important to us. Having critics actually acclaim our new album in the way they have does mean a lot – a true validation of what we still are, as a band. Which is very gratifying!"

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Duran Duran - Interview

Duran Duran - Interview

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