Category Archives: Andy Taylor

Happy 56th Birthday Andy Taylor!

Today is Andy Taylor’s birthday.

I remember the last time I saw a show with Andy – I believe it was in Las Vegas at the Andre Agassi Grand Slam for Charity show. October 1, 2005.

That was just over eleven years ago. I don’t know where the time goes, but somehow, it went. Andy is 56 today, and I am hoping he is happily enjoying his life somewhere, with his family, and feeling at peace.

I can remember chatting with him during a tweet marathon a few years ago – I liked him.  I never had the chance to really know him as anyone but “Andy Taylor from Duran Duran”, but on that one day, at that time, it didn’t matter.  I was a fan, and that experience will stay with me forever.

Many may not know this, but I wrote blogs for Andy’s (now defunct) website – andytaylor.tv for a while. I don’t want to over-characterize it, I didn’t work for him, and the blogs weren’t paid submissions, but I cared.  Andy felt strongly that it was time for fans to get more involved, to have more of a voice, and I championed that cause. I still do, in many ways. I also see that once you’ve been branded with the title of “fan” it is engraved upon you forever. No matter who I really am, or what I really try to do, that name supersedes.  People from the industry – whether band, management, or something else entirely – meet me, and the initial assumption is always that I must be one of those “crazy fans”.  It can sometimes feel like a very high hurdle to get past, and it’s not just ME – it’s any and all fans.  Andy understood that, partially because he was faced with a slightly similar dilemma. No matter who he is or what he tries to do, he will always be “Andy Taylor from Duran Duran”.  That ghost seems to be very difficult to live with, or live without.

I may not have always wanted to agree with his assessment of certain situations, and perhaps I’ve learned to accept his absence and move on – I still miss him.  I hope he is enjoying life out of the spotlight, and has a wonderful birthday.  Fifty-six years and counting!!

-R

 

Andy Taylor Back at it With Save a Prayer

There are blogs that I begin to compose in my head before I even sit down to write. I know how they’re going to go, I know what I want to communicate, and I assume they’ll be very quick – in and out in under thirty minutes. All will go well, and I’ll go about my day.

That’s how today was going to go. I knew I was going to write about the sudden re-emergence of Andy Taylor,  and I knew my feelings were rooted incredibly deep in a pond of cynicism and anger. As many point out, I’m an emotional sort of writer. After trusting Andy, even going as far to write several blogs touting the successes of Direct to Fan marketing to only have him (and his website) completely vanish without so much as a “Hey, we’ll talk again soon”, really stung. I clung to what I knew, which was Duran Duran, and I continue to embrace Dom as the band’s guitar player.

Then yesterday, someone asked if I’d heard Andy’s new version of Save a Prayer with Thomas Gandey – a name I didn’t know. I won’t lie, I immediately went all cynical in my head. After all, I’m no idiot. It wasn’t that long ago that the Paris attacks happened, I know the song has gained, at least temporarily, a new audience, and has probably seen a gain in online searches and traffic. Why not capitalize on that? And, if you’re going to do just that, why not take advantage of an upcoming Duran Duran world tour and the buzz off of a fairly-new released album at the same time? I floated those thoughts in my head as I finally decided to step out of the inner tube and dive right in, giving the song a listen (or twelve, as it currently stands).

My intention isn’t to review the song, after all in order to do that fairly, Amanda and I both would need to have input. But, I did listen. From the first downbeat I knew that I was going possibly drown in emotionality, something that I was not prepared to do so early on a Monday morning.

The music is designed to be a dance track, and I can hear that – but what I really like is that while it doesn’t lose the soul and/or charm of the original Save a Prayer, it is at the same time different. I like the way the song is deconstructed, and then seems to be built back together again with the addition of a bar or two of pronounced guitar. The vocals made me take pause, because for some reason – I still expected to hear Simon. That doesn’t typically happen when I hear covers and remixes, so I have to guess that the song keeps so much of the original spirit my brain expected Simon’s voice. The vocals, are soft and almost an afterthought as the music is the highlight. Lush and beautiful, it did not disappoint. Instead, I found myself wistful. I didn’t realize I’d missed Andy and his guitar until I heard it.

I’m glad Duran Duran has Dom for touring at the very least. I wish they included him more, particularly since they write (in the Paper Gods tour book under the bio section) “Manchester-born guitarist – Dom Brown – officially joined Duran Duran in 2006“. Fans still do not accept he belongs amongst John, Nick, Simon and Roger – and I place that blame squarely across the shoulders of the band and management – because they have the power to make that right. They simply choose not to, and as a result we all question his place and whether he’ll be along for the long ride. And yes, it matters. It is just tiring to always wonder whether he’ll continue to be around, or if the band will ditch him in favor of a bigger name. The ambiguous nature of his membership, at least to fans, makes it really difficult for anyone to accept his permanence.

On the other hand, fans cannot deny Andy’s history with the band. As a friend said today – Duran Duran is in his blood, and that is so true it hurts. I can’t help hear that spirit, his blood, in this song, and even in his own work of the past. I would imagine there are days when Andy would very much like to forget the whole thing, but he can’t. Nor can we. He lived it. Duran Duran lives in him. When I first heard this version of Save A Prayer, I couldn’t help but get misty-eyed as the guitar played, and there is very much a part of me that misses him. He is a part of the Duran Duran I fell in love with. At their best together, there was never any denying that chemistry, that fabulous tension between guitar, bass, and keyboards, and the beauty that could exist between them all, working as a bridge over a river, connecting two sides of the same town. On the other hand, when there have been so many storms that the river has taken out the bridge and sent it floating away in pieces, well – what can you do but rebuild?

I really don’t have answers here, and I don’t expect readers to understand or even agree with my assessment. I don’t know Andy’s mind or heart, and I don’t know why he decided to release this music now. It’s probably not something I need question, although anybody who knows me already recognizes I’m sitting here over thinking much of it. My mind speaks the realities I can’t ignore, my heart whispers that maybe he really did miss the music. Even in posting this and tagging it appropriately, I know that we are helping to drive traffic to hear the song – on Soundcloud – which is probably what he wants, even if only indirectly. Duran Duran fans still have sizable clout when it comes to these things, and I’m well aware of the power blogs such as these wield these days. I suppose if I really wanted to stick to my guns, I could have ignored the whole thing and never commented.  I can’t help but love what I heard. Am I a bad fan for supporting Andy again? Maybe. Maybe not. It probably depends on what side of the Andy-argument you’re on, and I can’t lie – I’m really not sure where I sit today. I always loved him and respected his opinions – up until the day he trashed his own website without nary a glance back at those of us who fully supported him. I don’t know what happened, I only know that in the end, people like me really didn’t matter.

I’m curious to see what he does from here. I know that it’s only every few years we tend to hear from Andy in one way or another, and there’s no telling how long he’ll stick around, speaking through his music. I’m just interested in what he’ll have to say.

-R

Duran Duran History – Happy Birthday Andy!!

Andy Taylor playing live

 

 

 

Duran Duran history for February 16: On this date in 1961, Andy Taylor, the original guitarist for Duran Duran, was born.  A VERY happy birthday to Andy!!  We hope you are incredibly healthy and happy with many wonderful years ahead!

Additionally, on this date in 1984, Duran Duran played the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City with The White Animals.  Were you at this show? Let us know!!

-R

 

Today in Duran History – Detroit and Andy Taylor

On today’s date in 1993, Duran Duran played at the Pine Knob Theater in Detroit, Michigan. This date was included on the No Ordinary World tour.

Additionally, on this date in 2006, Andy Taylor made his final appearance with the band, where they performed at the Annual Red Cross Gala in Monte Carlo, Monaco.  I am sure I speak for many when I say that in some ways, it hardly seems possible that eight years have passed, and in others – it feels like so much longer.  It is very clear that Andy continues to be missed.  Rarely a day goes by that pleas for his return cannot be seen in response to nearly anything Duran Duran posts on their Facebook page.  Loyalty? Yes, definitely.

-R

Today in Duran History – Andy Taylor in San Rafael

On this date in 1987, Andy Taylor played at New Georges in San Rafael, California.  1987, of course, was when Andy had released his first solo album, Thunder, and had contributed to the soundtracks of American Anthem and Miami Vice II.  Did you get a chance to catch one of these solo shows?  If so, what were they like?

-A

Today in Duran History – Andy and the Reunion

On this date in 2001, Andy Taylor confirmed that the band was reuniting on his website at the time, andytaylor.com.  I wish that I had been around to see that, but I was not paying a whole lot of attention to Duran Duran in 2001.  I was overwhelmed with becoming a good teacher and going to graduate school for my Master’s.

I find this particular fact in Duran history very interesting considering that I posted a poll yesterday about the Up Close and Personal Tour, which lasted from February to June of that year.  Clearly, this confirmation took place in the middle of the tour,  a tour that featured Warren on guitar.  While I knew that the reunion became known during the tour, it is another thing to see actual dates in black and white.  Then, the impact of this news is greater, more significant.

Do any of you remember seeing this and/or discussing this?  I would love to hear about how the fan community reacted to this.

-A

Happy (Belated) Birthday Andy Taylor

When Daily Duranie first began, I thought the blog would be a great way to talk about the band and maybe tell my own story of being a fan.  I really felt (and sometimes still do) that there was a disconnect between the band and their fans.  I couldn’t begin to imagine how they would get any REAL idea how their music may or may not have “gone over” with the fan base – or how they could ever even get to know who we really are with some of the insanity that happens on tour. While I obviously can’t speak for everyone, I felt that this blog would be a good place to start, figuring that others would chime in eventually, as some have definitely done at times.  Keeping in mind that I figured there was also no way that any band member would care enough to sit down and actually keep up with this blog – all I had really hope for was that maybe SOME of the communication would somehow filter it’s way up to the band.  That was a pretty lofty goal, in my head – but I figured that the only way to go was to just try.  Even if that never happened, and who would really know if it has or hasn’t, I felt certain that the blog would at the very least be a good way to keep the community – the whole lot of us if possible – communicating.  I’d love to say we’re one of the central fan “hubs” out there, and while I don’t really know if we’ve quite met that goal, I just keep working hard and hoping we’re doing something of at least a little use to somebody out there. That is really all I’ve ever hoped, and continue to hope, to accomplish.

In some small way, I also wanted to use the blog as a way to honor the band.  Perhaps that is really just a natural by-product of the blog existing, but it is the spirit in which I try to write. In honoring them from time to time – one of the things I started doing was not only mentioning their birthdays, but dedicating entire blogs to each of them on their special day if it fell on one of my blogging days. It was fun for me, as it was the one day I really tended to gush on each of them each year (except of course for the days after having seen a show or something), and it’s always fun to fangirl out just a teensy bit!  Over time, those birthdays haven’t always been on my blogging days, and I feel like now I’ve gotten out of the habit a bit…so today I’m taking Andy’s birthday back, even though it was yesterday.

I know that Andy isn’t in the band any longer, and I realize that for many there are feelings of misgiving.  I can understand that, and I have to think Andy would understand as well. I have no way of knowing what happened or how raw the feelings still might be between himself and the band, and to be honest – I don’t care.  For all intents and purposes, Andy was the guitar player that *I* grew up with at the helm.  He was the one I would listen for on the albums (oh yes, I’ve always been a guitar girl at heart), and it is his style of playing that I find most recognizable as Duran Duran.  (Yes, I really did just say that, and somehow I am sure that other guitar players that have come along since Andy would completely understand what I mean here, and likely applaud my saying so as well.) So yes, I miss Andy.  Very much.

I always enjoyed and respected Andy’s “devil may care” attitude. I felt like he was truly the ying to Nick’s yang – and while many may disagree, I’ve felt the band needed that.  They need the hard edge.  I had the luck of chatting with Andy once during a marathon tweet session he had on Twitter – I still cannot believe he spent so much time with us that day (he was basically online to talk ALL DAY) – to this day it was the one and probably only time I ever felt like someone from the band actually cared enough about what we had to say and who we were as people to put aside time to just talk to us. I came away from that day with so much respect for Andy, I really did.  Talking with him was like talking to any other regular person.  I felt comfortable, and when I think back on that day – which oddly enough wasn’t very long after one of my “Happy Birthday Andy” blogs – I am glad I had the opportunity to interact with him.  It made a difference.

Nowadays, I suspect Andy is enjoying being a grandfather and probably has learned to look back on his time in Duran Duran with a sense of peace and fondness.  I highly doubt he’d ever really consider returning – seems to me that he’s finally been able to put the past in the past where it belongs and go forward on his own accord – and I completely respect that.

Not long after news broke that Andy and the band had split their partnership again, I spoke to a very dear friend on the phone.  Through our sadness, we mused over how lucky we each had been to see the original five together on stage, and how perfect those moments had really been. I know that for many fans who became fans in the 80s and knew Duran Duran to include Andy on guitar – having him return to the band (along with Roger and John of course) was a dream come true. It was something we couldn’t even dream about back then because it would have just seemed too far fetched. So, when the reunion news broke, after I picked my jaw up off of the floor and realized that the faces in front of me (on my computer screen) were in fact those of the five original band members (and believe me, I must have stared at the opening screen on dd.com for several minutes before I finally allowed my brain to believe what my eyes were seeing) I felt like it was my chance. My chance to finally put some closure to what I never saw for myself in the 80s.  So those few years that Duran Duran included John, Roger, Simon, Nick and Andy were nearly perfect.  It was like this shining, perfect moment that wasn’t ever meant to last, but something that you didn’t dare blink or you’d miss.

20110820andy-taylor-duran-duran-2I just wanted to take a few minutes on this Monday morning to wish Andy Taylor – even though I am very confident he isn’t reading The Daily Duranie these days – a very happy (belated) birthday.  I am positive he knows he’s missed and still loved by many, but it never hurts to see or even hear about the reminder.  Cheers, Andy!

-R

 

I Try to Leave the Memory Behind

Some weeks it feels pretty quiet in Duranland, especially during Duran downtime or when the band is in the studio or on vacation.  This week wasn’t that.  No, this week featured some news regarding a coffee table book of photographs by Denis O’Regan from the 1984 Sing Blue Silver tour and a Duran Duran calendar for 2014.  Both of these announcements got a lot of attention from Duran fans who are anxious to purchase anything and everything Duran, especially from those who are serious collectors.  Rhonda touched on the coffee table book on Thursday.  I can’t help but add my two cents here about that as well as about the calendar, especially as they are connected.  The 2014 official Duran calendar will feature some of the same pictures as the book, according to the Ask Katy, which you can read here.  You can also see the cover of the calendar there as well.  The calendar will be available for purchase on November 28th and unlike the coffee table book the pricing information is unknown.  We do know the prices for the coffee table book, which are on the (VERY) high side starting at $400.

Count me as one of those Duranies who had a moment of excitement and internal jumping up and down in joy at seeing the announcement of the Denis O’Regan book before I came crashing back to reality.  I had been hearing about that book for a long time now and couldn’t wait for it to come out.  I had always been a fan of his work from those initial photographs in the paperback, Sing Blue Silver book, that I still owe today.  He captured that tour so well, in my opinion, and definitely wanted to see more and packaged in a way deserving of such quality.  Then, I saw the prices.  Ouch.  Really big ouch.  Painful ouch.  Unattainable ouch.  As much as I’m sure that this is an amazing set of photographs of a really iconic time in the band’s history, there is no way that I could afford that.  Okay.  Let me be frank here.  I could afford it but it would be at the cost of something else…something else that is just more important to me.  That $400 price is more than a plane ticket to see my brother or my nieces or Rhonda.  That is more expensive than a VIP ticket to a Duran show.  While, yes, I would have that book forever, I prefer to focus my extra spending on experiences with the people I love.  On top of that, I couldn’t justify it.  I know of many other “coffee table books” that are expensive and high quality.  I can’t think of one that is THAT expensive.  It leads me to wonder why.  I’m not naive.  I understand that you have to make money doing art or providing whatever service or product you do, but you don’t need to go overboard.  It doesn’t feel very respectful to the fans.  I could see charging something like $100-$200 as many of my friends have suggested.  Double that suggested price just feels wrong.  I suspect that it feels wrong to many Duranies, too.
This, of course, leads me to wonder about how many people will buy it.  As Rhonda has stated, she is sure that it will sell out.  I’m sure she is right.  Yet, I’m a little sad by that and not because I don’t want people to have the product.  I do.  I wish that every Duranie who wanted it could have it.  I just worry that the people who pay the price for this is reinforcing the high price of Duran related products.  After all, I can’t blame anyone for charging high prices.  Everyone wants to make money and be successful.  Yet, buying products at those prices will ensure that they stay that high whereas not being willing might effect prices in the future by having them be lowered.  Let me give you an example from Duranland.  VIP ticket prices started out around $300 in the Astronaut tour days.  As 2008 came around, the prices started creeping up closer and closer to $400.  I noticed that less and less people would pay for them at that price.  I will be honest.  I didn’t.  I bought VIP twice before 2011 and both tickets were less than $400.  Clearly, then, something changed.  VIP prices went down, for the most part, in the US.  They are closer to what…$250.  Now, of course, some may argue that they offer less, too.  True.  Yet, no matter, more people, like Rhonda and myself, are buying because of the lower prices.  My point here is simple.  What we as fans decide to buy and for what price sends a message to the powers that be, which is either that we are willing and able to spend or we are not.
Immediately following the announcement of the coffee table book was the announcement of the 2014 calendar.  This, again, excited a lot of Duranies.  After all, many, like myself collect the official calendars, and many fans were excited for an opportunity to own some of those great Denis O’Regan photographs at a reasonable price.  I have no doubt that the band and the powers that be heard the fans requesting an official calendar.  I have had a new Duran calendar every year that they have come out since the reunion.  I looked forward it.  I didn’t know what the pictures were going to be of since they hadn’t done much together, publicly.  Then, I thought, maybe, they would be from the MoMA event and the screening of Unstaged or simply stills from Unstaged as a way to please the fans with a calendar and promote Unstaged.  Yet, no, they chose to go with the photos from the 1984 tour.  On one hand, I get that.  It gives fans a chance to own some of those photos at a cheaper price and, on the other hand, it helps to promote the coffee table book.  Yet, as soon as I looked at some of the finer and not-so-finer details, I worried.  
My concerns about the calendar center around a big elephant in the Duran Duran room, which is the line-up.  I cannot be the only one who likes the current line-up of John, Simon, Nick, Roger AND Dom.  I know I am not.  I would like my current calendar to reflect the current state of Duran.  After all, a calendar represents present day and the present year.  Plus, Duran Duran has been about embracing the present, the now and not about looking back.  For me, that means those five guys–the four original and the guy that should be officially in the band.  In 1984, though, as we all know, Andy Taylor was in the band.  Is he then included in both the coffee table book and the calendar?  Mixed results, it seems, there.  According to the press release on the coffee table book, the deluxe edition has signatures from the original five, which, obviously, means Andy.  That makes sense to me since he was in the band then.  Does the calendar show the same?  From the picture included on the Ask Katy, I see NO pictures of Andy.  Is this due to the fact that the calendar is “current” and since he is not currently in the band, he can’t be included?  I suspect that is the case.  Now, I get how complicated situations like this are.  I have no doubt that there is much behind the scenes about contracts and what/where/how Andy can and should or should not be included.  Yet, for fans, this kind of thing can hurt.  On one hand, the band seems to be celebrating Andy Taylor with the coffee table book.  On the other hand, they are pretty open about saying, even so, he is not part of the current line-up.  Even worse, if he is not in the calendar at all, is that like changing history?  Ignoring a big part of the 1984 Duran Duran?  That can’t feel good for Andy fans.  Then, there is Dom and his fans.  I am sure that he understands projects or other moments focusing on the past, on the times before he was around.  Yet, a NEW calendar comes out and doesn’t feature what is current, doesn’t feature him.  Ouch.  Again, that can’t feel good for Dom fans and those of us embracing the now.  
I wanted to be excited for both the coffee table book and the calendar.  I really did and I was for both, briefly.  My calendar collection needed a new edition and my coffee table could have made room for a fabulous new book.  My books on fandom and fan conventions that currently occupy a corner of my coffee table could have been moved for something cool and new.  Yet, my pocket book won’t be buying either one.  Now, I’m sure that there are many fans who will and that’s fine.  I, instead, will think about how that money will be saved to be used later for the next tour or trip.   
-A

Happy Birthday Andy!

Could it be true?!  Am I really doing another birthday post?  In today’s case, I get to wish Andy Taylor a wonderfully happy birthday!  Now, of course, a simple happy birthday isn’t good enough.  Nope, an occasion such as this deserves a little celebration!  How can I celebrate Andy’s birthday?  That’s easy.  I need to commemorate Andy’s birth by enjoying some of my favorite clips/moments/songs of his. 

From Early Duran:

From Recent Duran:

How about a little Power Station?

Solo!!!

It may be Andy’s birthday but watching all of these videos has reminded me about what gifts Andy has brought to all of us over the years.  Happy Birthday Andy!  I hope it is the best one ever!

Notorious!

On today’s date in 1986, Notorious was released.

I had difficulty coming up with a blog topic day (as a quick aside – happy birthday to my husband!!!), so I shot a note to Amanda for help.  She responded with a couple of ideas, and as I glanced at them I realized that I have almost no memory of Notorious. The only thing I can tell you is that I was sitting in the back of my parents car on the way up to Oak Glen, California to pick apples when I first heard the song, Notorious on the radio. Picking apples was one of my favorite “Autumn” activities as a child, and I looked forward to our yearly trip to the small town for apples, pies and a picnic under the many oak trees. I remember hearing the very first note and knowing it was Duran Duran, without a doubt. I didn’t know an album was in the process of being made, and I was very surprised to hear them. I don’t remember if I even knew that Andy and Roger had left the band, to be honest, but I think that by this time I must have known. And…that’s about all I’ve got for a memory of that time.

What is interesting in hindsight is how quickly I knew the song was indeed Duran Duran.  It was instantaneous, almost like Pavlov’s bell. As soon as I heard it, I knew who it was and I could feel the excitement build within, like a glass pitcher being filled with water to the very top. Back then, I relied heavily on the radio for all of my Duran news – while maybe many of you were involved in the fan club or had other ways of getting the latest intel from the group – I wasn’t quite that connected. In many ways, I was incredibly far removed from the world of Duran Duran. I probably didn’t hear information until it was nearly stale, and somehow – I miss that complete ignorance at times. You know what they say? Ignorance is bliss.  Sometimes, I still feel that way.

I don’t think I even recognized that there was somebody else on drums when I heard the music for the first time. I have a funny way of ignoring the obvious if my psyche needs – and for me the absence of a Mr. Roger Taylor would have been pretty traumatic, so I am almost sure I didn’t allow myself to even come to terms with that little notion until much, much later.  Of course, this was also the album that brought Warren Cuccurullo to the band. The funk that can be found on this album wasn’t something I really appreciated much until many years later (although I did love the song Notorious from day one), but it was an odd time.

I guess that for me, Notorious marked a brand new beginning. It put an exclamation point on the idea that Duran Duran would continue on. I had to get used to the idea of three. Three remaining original band members. I mourned the loss of Roger and Andy. I wondered why they left, I wondered if I would ever grow to appreciate the new guys, and mostly I wondered if the band would ever be the same.

-R