Chapter 65: A Million Tiny Seductions
Why do you think the chapter was called “A Million Tiny Seductions” when it really describing John hitting rock bottom?
A – I don’t have a good answer to my question, but one that I’m left wondering about. Is it a reference to the drugs? They seduced him a million times. Could that be it? Could it be that all of the seductions John had been involved with were not enough? He still ended up unhappy and addicted until he sought out the help that he needed.
R – I really don’t think it’s was JUST the drugs. I think it was the fact that there were seductions around every single corner and yet none of them were ever enough. I mean really – wasn’t that truly it? The man had everything most of us every really even think of – and yet none of it was ever enough, and some of it was just way too much.
Did you find any thing surprising about John’s decision to enter rehab?
A – In some ways, his story seemed common. His last night of partying that he described in this chapter was bad, but not life altering. Yet, it seems to me that it isn’t always some dramatic moment that leads to the decision to admitting that one needs help. It also didn’t surprise me that John heard about the rehab facility and thought it wasn’t for him, at first. I think that is common. What did surprise me is that those around him didn’t seem to really get that John was suffering as much as he was. Now, I’m not saying that to be critical. It could have been that John was such a functional addict that people didn’t see it as a problem or that John doesn’t remember them being concerned. It is just unusual.
R – I’ve been thinking a lot about that whole “English-way” thing. I know from my own family they just don’t talk to one another! It seems to me, as the hopeless American, that they hide quite a bit and just keep going (but they don’t call it hiding). My point being that I don’t think he would have gotten any of his bandmates to ever tell him that it was too much until it was too late. Maybe John hid it well, maybe the band members had their own worries, and maybe it was just expected behavior. I don’t know. I did like the little tale about his assistant at the time who just kept driving and dared to say “You never know John, you might make some friends.” Good on her for not giving in to his fear – because that’s exactly what all that was – fear. You know, if John Taylor ever said “F you” to me – well, he’d think twice before doing it again. Just saying. I’d have calmly stopped the car and told him to get out and walk the rest of the way to rehab, and those of you who really know me understand that I’m not kidding. Good times. No, I wouldn’t have made a good assistant.
Chapter 66: Tucson
John mentioned that he blamed his parents for some of his problems while at rehab. Does that fit with the rest of the book?
A – I think John did a marvelous job presenting himself and others as the complex people that they are. While his love for his parents is obvious, he never said that they were perfect. It seems to me that John had to walk through the process of acknowledging and forgiving his parents for being human in order to heal.
R – I’m not surprised he blamed his parents for some of his problems. I am rather fond of the saying “No one gets through childhood unscathed.”…and that’s true. I think it’s normal because our parents very much mold us into who we become to some extent…and parents are still human. We make mistakes every single day (as I am told). I think it is all part of the healing process, and I still believe this book is very much a love letter to his mom and dad as a way to honor their memory. It’s not really about Duran Duran, although I think many out there see it that way.
Chapter 67: Day 31
Why do you think that John believed that it would be difficult to continue his career sober before he saw the interview with Michael Douglas?
A – John didn’t explain this very thoroughly but he did comment that magazines like NME taught him that he needed to be wasted. Why would he need to be wasted? As we know, NME was not kind to Duran ever. They did not think that Duran deserved the success that they had. So did he feel like he needed to be wasted to be able to blow off the negative feedback? Was only able to be a rock star when he was wasted or so he thought?
R – You know, some part of me thinks that John Taylor, along with many many other young celebrities out there, really just didn’t get it – it being his life, his career, etc. I came away from the entire book thinking that it must have been very difficult to reconcile your sense of self as an individual entity away from the celebrity self. They seem to be two very different things, and I think it takes a certain amount of self-awareness and even maturity to be able to really handle celebrity. It’s only natural to attach yourself to whomever that “onstage” persona might be, and navigating the span between the two must be incredibly difficult. I really don’t think being a drug addict had anything to do with dealing with the negativity as much as it did for him to deal with real life – the time when he wasn’t onstage working and was trying to function as John Taylor. Or Nigel for that matter. Who was he supposed to be? I think that was just as much of the issue as anything else.
Chapter 68: A Fine Bromance
Why do you think John included Neurotic Outsiders versus something like his acting?
A – Clearly, he learned an important lesson from playing with this band, which was that he could have fun playing music again. It didn’t always have to be career focused. I also think it was important for him to be around other rock stars who were in a similar situation in celebrating their sober lives. They probably acted as a support group of sorts for each other. On a completely different and unrelated note, I love the song, Better Way, and was happy that John included something about it.
R – I think the lesson was important for him. He needed to see if it was still fun. I really don’t know what acting really was for John other than maybe an aside – could he do something else entertainment related? I’m not really sure. It’s all self-exploration when it comes down to it, but I can understand why he left acting out of the book.
Chapter 69: Gela
Did you feel like you understood why John left the band?
A – John didn’t go into too much depth for why he left Duran. He mentioned how he had to travel less in order to really focus on his family and blending it successfully. What I find interesting is that I had forgotten he was still in the band in the last couple of chapters. It seemed like Duran was the last thing on his mind. While I’m sure that part of that happens after being in a career for awhile, but he didn’t talk about making Thank You or starting to work on Medazzaland. It seems to me that John explains it more as he talks about his solo days. He needed to see who he was or if he even existed outside of Duran Duran.
R – Admittedly, I am so fuzzy on details when it comes to this point in the history of Duran Duran. I don’t have the timeline straight in my head until I re-read what he says. I was busy trying to define who *I* was during this period for very different reasons, so Duran Duran wasn’t really on my mind much either, I guess. In my opinion, his quitting the band was as much of a statement as to the fact that John had finally figured out how to BE John as it was anything else. He was able to distinguish his own self from the band. I have to applaud him for being able to walk away from that and just exist.
What lessons do you think that John got from being solo?
A – Clearly, he learned two very important lessons. First, he learned that he really could connect with people through music. The machine of Duran had/has gotten so big that it must be hard for the band to think of making connections with individuals. I’m sure it is far easier to think of us as “The Fans”, collectively, rather than a group of individual people who have something in common. Second, he learned to really love playing live and that each gig should be approached with the idea that this gig must be the best one.
R – I think you pointed out all of the same points I was thinking! In some ways, it is a shame that the Duran Duran “machine”, as you put it – got so out of control in the 80’s. I don’t think it was just John that didn’t have any idea how to deal with us, “The Fans” on any sort of individual level. I mean, let’s face it – it’s been many many years and I think it’s only just recently that they are even SORT of beginning to feel comfortable with us as people. Sort of. I can’t really blame them in some respects. We’re very overwhelming as a whole. As individuals – which might be easier to see with Twitter and Facebook, we might not be so bad, but it takes a long time to reprogram yourself to think that way after the days of the 80’s where we were a huge mob just after anything and everything we could get. Anyway, it’s clear that he needed to see what it was like to connect with fans again. Like he said, standing up in front of thousands was easy, but 8? Maybe not quite as simple in a completely different way.
This section could be called the lessons learned part of the book. It seems to me that John learned about himself, about the disease of addiction, about how to forgive and stop blaming, about how to stand on one’s own two feet, about how to really be in a family, about how fun music can be especially when making connections with others. It seems to me that we could all benefit from remembering some of the more universal lessons ourselves.
Next week, we will be discussing Chapters 70-72. This is a short section that covers his mother’s death and the reunion. It should be interesting. Until then, grab a beverage and chime in!