Category Archives: John Taylor

Saw a Close Up: Fame, Privacy and Criticism

I am a member of many different Duran Duran groups on Facebook.  For the most part, I just read the posts but rarely participate.  In fact, I probably have only posted to share an event that Rhonda and I were hosting, either online or in person.  Despite my lack of commenting, I still like to read to see what Duranies are talking about.  I’m a student of fandom and Duran fandom, in particular, after all.  In most cases, the topics fit into the usual categories of concert going, seeing a Duran reference somewhere, finding a cool clip on YouTube, and more.

This week, though, I saw some photos of John Taylor posted in a number of different Facebook groups.  These pictures featured a shirtless JT on a beach.  Perhaps, they were taken when they were in Miami.  I’m not sure.  Some groups posted one or two pics while others posted many.  Immediately following the photos came the comments, which were often numerous and critical.  I chose not to say anything but filed my reaction away in my brain for this little blog here.

The first thing I noticed about these photographs was that they were clearly not posed.  The photographer snapped the pictures as John walked around the beach, sat read a book or socializing with those near him.  I suspect that these photos were taken without John’s permission and, perhaps, without his knowledge.  Now, this argument I’m about to make is not a new one but one I can apply to many celebrities.  Does being a celebrity mean one’s privacy can and should be invaded so that their fans can see scenes from all aspects of one’s life?  Personally, I don’t think so.  I think John’s job is to perform on stage.  It isn’t to have pictures taken of him when he is away from the job.  Being a rock star doesn’t mean that he can’t have time off and away.

Now, I know that others say that one must accept things like having people take your picture whenever and wherever you show up when you are a celebrity.  The idea is that if someone wants to be famous, s/he must know that privacy is not an option anymore.  The argument would say that if John wanted to go swimming, he should have stuck to private pools.  I disagree.  I think that everyone, no matter the level of fame should have the right to some privacy.  I also feel like there can and should be a line between John’s (and any celebrity’s) job and personal life.

Then, if that was not enough, the comments I saw in response shocked me.  Many stated things like “John needs a gym” and “He really never had a body”.  The first thought that popped into my mind was, “I hope John doesn’t read these comments.”  Truly, these kind of statements are nothing but hurtful and mean.  Again, I suspect that people feel that John’s famous person status means that they can say whatever they think.  As a celebrity, he should expect that level of examination and criticism, right?  Wrong.  He along with the rest of the band should expect criticism about their albums, their videos, etc.  They do not deserve mean-spirited statements about their appearances.

I know that I wouldn’t want anyone to talk about me that way.  Why would I think I could talk about others that way?  I could point out that none of us are perfect, physically, and that John is 56 years old.  Honestly, I could only be so lucky to look a fraction as good when I am his age.  Heck, I won’t appear on a beach in a bathing suit anywhere so I admire the heck out of him being able to do so.

Now, I know that some will say that they didn’t mean anything by posting the pictures or by making the comments that were made.  I’m sure the fans will say that they still love him and all that.  Still, I have to say that the pictures and the comments made me uncomfortable.  Yes, some will say that John might not care but I did and I’m sure that other fans who saw those posts felt the same way.

-A

The Distance Between Us – Techno For Two released, 2001

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

This feels like a John Taylor sort of day to me. This is appropriate because on this date in 2001, Techno for Two was released in Japan.

Now, maybe some of you are now squinty-eyed and wondering “What in the hell is that about?” Fair enough.

This is the fourth solo album released by Mr. Taylor, and in my little opinion – it’s his best. It includes “Mister J”, “Mansman”, “Tight”, “Immortal”, and my personal favorite, “6000 Miles”.  The album feels very introspective to me, and I guess I must like that about John’s writing.

I like a lot of John’s solo efforts, but this album is indeed my favorite. One of my favorite memories is traveling by train in England, looking out at the gorgeous countryside while “6000 Miles” played in my ears.  (Not the Ventura Mix..the original ballad) The timing couldn’t have been better, and now I can’t think of that trip without hearing that song in my head. Funny how music works.

What is even more fascinating to me is that at the time this came out, Duran Duran was in the progress of putting the original line-up back together again. In hindsight, I think I can see the beginnings of that through this album and the way it was written. Trust the Process, indeed.  Everything happens for a reason, and I don’t think I’m entirely out of line by believing that John needed that solo time to get to the place he currently resides today.

It’s also a little hard, in some ways, to believe that this album is now sixteen years old. So, while I’m in a quiet, reflective sort of mood today – I’m going to give Techno for Two a listen. If you don’t have a copy of the album, you can find a lot, if not all, of the songs on YouTube.

-R

Experience, Strength and Hope Award 2013

Sorry for the late blog today, I needed to attend to some real-life issues at home.

In the interest of time, I will keep today’s post short and sweet, but momentous. On this date in 2013, John Taylor received the Experience, Strength and Hope Award from Writers in Treatment.

I remember covering this special recognition on our blog – you can read more about it here.

I think this date in history is one to truly celebrate. Since completing his own rehab, John Taylor has gone out of his way to help other people through addiction. I have personally spoken to people who have been inspired by John. He encouraged and supported them while they worked incredibly hard to overcome their illnesses. John is definitely not someone who just spouts words, but works tirelessly to “walk the walk”.  I applaud that however and whenever possible.

I wasn’t surprised to hear that John was being honored with this recognition, nor am I ever surprised to hear that he continues to  work with groups like Road Recovery.  While I do not know John personally, I know enough to realize he is a man with integrity, kindness, and compassion. These are traits that can be difficult to find these days, and yes – I suppose in particular it might be difficult to find a rock star that is quite so self-aware.  John probably wouldn’t characterize himself as perfect…but he is likely closer than most! 😀  My pride as a fan is shared by  many, I am sure.

So while I would jump up and down with excitement at the memory of any award Duran Duran has won, I am especially proud to unearth this memory from the past.  When I think about what we all could have lost, I am grateful that John was able to get help, recover, and be here on this planet with us today. The music would never be the same without him.

-R

 

 

 

A Little Ray of Comfort: John Taylor Actor

I have been staring at a blank blog post for awhile now.  I recognize that it is time to get a blog out there to the Duran world, especially since I didn’t get a blog done yesterday.  I apologize for that.  Needless to say this past week has been brutal as I recovered from a long road trip to Washington DC (about 15 hours one way) and having to grade all of my finals.  Today is the first day that I thought I could pause in about two weeks.  It was very needed.  So the question is how can I use this blog and Duran Duran to help me with this day of rest and recovery?  The plan, I think, is to watch some Duran related material to get a little escape from a world that is far too scary for my liking.

I think I’ll continue the theme that Rhonda has started this week with a little John Taylor as actor.  She blogged about probably my two favorites, Strange Frequency and Sugar Town.  Yet, there is far more that I could pop into the DVD player or check out on YouTube.  In fact, if you look at JT’s acting career on a website like IMDb, you will notice that his acting career started really in 1985 with his guest appearance on Miami Vice and as the hacker in the cable TV show, Timeslip.  While I couldn’t find a good clip of Miami Vice, I could find a clip of Timeslip.  Notice that John does not have any lines!

Of course, he didn’t really get into acting until the late 1990s with Sugar Town.  Here is a video with some of John’s scenes put to John’s song, “Fields of Eden”.  If you haven’t seen this one and are a John Taylor fan, you really must!

The year 2000 saw a few films with John, including The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas as Keith Rockhard and A Diva’s Christmas Carol as the Ghost of Christmas Present.  That said, my favorite is Four Dogs Playing Poker where he plays Dick, a hit man, who works side-by-side with Steve Jones.  He isn’t a very nice guy here, that’s for sure!

Of course, John did a couple of sitcoms, too, in the 2000s.  First, he was a handyman in That 80s Show.  The full episode is below.  John appears around 5:30.

Then, he was on Samantha Who, which is a delightfully fun exploration of fandom.

Needless to say, I have many choices of what to watch to distract me from real life.  What do you think I should watch?  If you have seen John’s acting, which do you like best?  If you haven’t. which one would you like to see most?

-A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of John Taylor, Do You Remember Sugartown?

Funny thing about that John Taylor…he continues to be the topic of my blogs this week!

I wrote about Strange Frequency earlier in the week, and in one of the comments, someone mentioned something about Sugartown.

Well, on this date in 1999, Sugartown premiered at the Sundance Festival in Utah.  If you haven’t seen this one, you might just want to give it a shot. Out of all of John’s acting work that I’ve seen (not sure if I missed anything along the way), this is the one I enjoy most.

The setting is Hollywood, and the storyline is about the industry: music, entertainment…and the people within, focusing on the stereotypical headlines we see in the papers. Rock star with love child he didn’t know about, aging actresses trying to get decent roles, a manager that wants the rock stars to sleep with her before she helps them out, etc. etc. While the storylines are a bit cliché, it wasn’t a bad movie. (and that’s probably the end of my career as a film reviewer…)

So, do you remember Sugar Town?

John Taylor left DD (NOT NOW…back in 1997!) Do you remember?

I knew the title would freak people out, which is why I did a bit of last-minute editing.

Do you remember 1997? On this date in 1997, John Taylor broke the hearts of Duran fans worldwide by announcing that he was leaving Duran Duran.

Where did this happen?  Interestingly enough, it happened at DuranCon, which took place in Santa Monica, California. That’s right, he announced his departure directly to fans at a fan convention. Gotta admit – I appreciate that the news didn’t come through filtered management after many months of gossip and guesswork. (although chances are, all of that gossip was probably happening – but without the internet, I didn’t notice.) Say what you will about the rest of John’s absence from the band, I respect that he thought enough of the fans to tell them.

I wasn’t there for DuranCon, even though it happened here in California. At the time (naturally), I was living in Illinois, waiting very impatiently for my oldest to finally decide it was time to make her entrance into this world. (and yes, she was late. Nine days late, actually!) So, if you were there, feel free to share your personal experience.

In the meantime, I’ll just be thankful that John is back with the band – I only saw Duran Duran one time without him, and I have to say, it wasn’t the same for me. I’m going out on a limb and saying that I’m pretty sure Amanda would agree with me on that.  😉

Happy Weekend – stay safe!

-R

 

My Medazzaland Story

Last weekend, I shared some facts and statistics regarding Medazzaland, an album released in 1997, which you can read here.  Then, I asked people to share their stories about the album and many people did.  I enjoyed reading each and every one.  Thinking about these albums as I have and reading others’ stories have got me thinking about what makes an album special to fans.  Before I dive too much of that large topic, let me share my own Medazzaland story.

1997 was a year of significant transition for me.  The year began with me having just finished student teaching, which didn’t go especially well.  Part of me thought about switching my chosen career while the other part dug in, determined one day to be a successful teacher.  With that in mind, I graduated from college and spent a great deal of time sending applications to school districts across many Midwestern states with no luck.  Apparently, school districts aren’t terribly desperate for Social Studies teachers, at least they weren’t then.  With that, I moved back in with my parents who had moved to Bowling Green, Ohio, a town where I knew no one.  I did what many recent college graduates did and found whatever job I could in a local gift shop doing retail.  I hated every minute of it and my pathetic income didn’t help.

By the end of summer, I desperately tried to find a solution to my misery as I mourned the loss of college and dreaded never finding a teaching job.  Finally, my brother suggested moving to a education friendly town and getting my foot in the door through substitute teaching.  I visited Madison and fell in love.  The city fit me perfectly, in terms of size, personality, politically, etc.  So, I did the most insane thing I have ever done.  I moved from Ohio to Madison, Wisconsin without a job, a friend or family member anywhere near by.  I took a massive risk.  Despite Madison being a good match, life posed many challenges beyond that year.  To say that I was lonely would be an understatement.

How does Duran Duran fit into this?  They didn’t much.  Did I know what they were up to?  To be honest, I didn’t know much.  I paid attention during the Wedding Album and tried to through Thank You, but found it challenging with college.  In 1997, I did find out that  the band had released new music.  I distinctly remember seeing them on the Rosie O’Donnell show, which, if I recall correctly, was when I discovered that John left the band.  In thinking back to that interview and performance, I remember thinking that the song Electric Barbarella felt like Duran, sounded like Duran, which was good.  See for yourself here:

Yet, the loss of John hit home in a way that surprised me.  I didn’t mourn the loss like I would have in 1985 or 1987.  No, if he had left then, I would have been crushed.  Devastated.  In 1997, though, it stopped me from embracing the new material the way that I could have or should have.  I thought to myself, “Yeah, new Duran.  I should look for it.”  Then, the next thought that popped up was a reminder that John wasn’t a part of it anymore.  I could dismiss it then as not worth my time.  Did I buy the album then?  Absolutely not.  I bought it when I cheered on the reunion in the 2000s.

Looking back, I’m surprised, on one hand, that I didn’t embrace the band then.  I really could have used the comforts of an old friend.  On the other hand, I always knew that I was a big John fan and finding out that he wasn’t in the band stopped Duran from being the comfort that they once were and would be again.  Perhaps, part of the problem was the lack of contact with other Duranies.  I knew very few people in my new town and did not have a computer then.  Before that, I was too focused on passing comprehensive exams and looking for a teaching job to even look into anything related to fandom.

How do I feel about the album now?  I have to admit that I have never embraced it like many others have.  There are songs that I really like on the album.  Yet, as a whole, it feels unlike the Duran I know and love.  Is it the John factor?  Maybe.  Is it because it came out in a pretty challenging period of my life?  Possibly.  That said, despite how I might feel about it now, I recognize and hope that one day I love it as much as I do other albums.  You never know.

-A

No Rewind: Download the Song from Road Recovery!

Have you downloaded John and Roger’s new song yet?

Recently John and Roger donated time, effort and talent to Road Recovery – a foundation dedicated to helping young people battle addiction with help from mental-health experts along with “influence from entertainment industry professionals who have confronted similar crises”.   They recorded a song with Road Recovery’s youth titled “No Rewind” which is now available for download.

As someone who is usually thirsty for any new music, I couldn’t wait to have a spare minute to download the new song. I clicked on the link, and found that rather than just paying for the song – the entire project is more about donating to Road Recovery, and a benefit of having done so is to get a download of “No Rewind”. (as opposed to just paying for the song – it’s a subtle, “feel good” difference, in my opinion.)  Along with the donation comes an opportunity to be entered in a sort of raffle for a single prize package that includes the following:

Signed set list from Molson Canadian Amphitheater (from Toronto 7/13/16)
Signed 8×10 band promo photo
Duran Duran Paper Gods Photo unused pass (from Mansfield 17/7/16)
Duran Duran Paper Gods guitar pick
Duran Duran unused ‘commemorative’ Concert Ticket (from Apollo Theater 7/19/2016)
“A Diamond in The Mind” live concert DVD
Signed Paper Gods CD

If that isn’t enough for your taste, you can always donate $5,000 for a Meet & Greet with Duran Duran on the concert date of your choice during a future tour (no travel/accommodations provided). Only 1 available – so you’d better hurry to beat your fellow Duranie to that one!

There are also several other incentives, such as signed drum heads, signed albums, etc…for every budget in between. I liked the idea of donating to Road Recovery. I think most everyone has someone in their family or knows someone who has been affected by addiction in one way or another, and I am all for any organization that helps kids turn their lives around. The smallest things can sometimes make a difference—that’s something I’m seeing more and more of every single time I step into my office at work. So yes, I’m happy to have been able to do something, relatively small as it is, to help.

But let’s get down to it – how’s the song sound?

I have to say, the first notes are unmistakably John and Roger, influenced, whether by style of the music, or by the fact that they’re playing. Funny how I (and probably any of you reading) can tell them anywhere. It’s like coming home – you just know.  Musically, the song is definitely rock. The voice, of course, is not Simon’s – which is sort of strange because I half expect it to be (old habits die hard).  That said, the vocals are more spoken word, or rap. The song is modern, but recognizable, and I find myself liking it simply because it felt good to donate to a worthy cause that John and Roger clearly feel very strongly about.

Ultimately, any day that I can listen to music with John and Roger is not a bad one. This rhythm section doesn’t suck!

-R

 

 

September Katy Kafe with John Taylor

I apologize for the lateness of the blog today.  I promised myself that I would get some of that pesky school work done before I completed the more fun task of listening to September’s Katy Kafe and blogging about it.  As always with I’m only going to be sharing what I think the highlights were and my thoughts about them.  If you want the complete deal, I suggest getting that membership to DuranDuranMusic and listening for yourself.  This is one Kafe that is worth it!

End of the Tour:

John commented about how they are on the verge of finishing this tour, which really began for them last year.  He said that the end allows them to look back at the accomplishment while looking forward to the break and the next steps.  I have to admit that I have always wondered what the end of the tour must be for them.  I know what it is like for me.  It is usually one of mixed emotions.  While I’m glad to return home and get some sleep, I’m also terribly sad in that I don’t know when I will see the next Duran show or the next time that I will see my friends, especially Rhonda.  It also usually motivates me to do more work about the blog, our writing or fan events.  I guess it is safe to say that tours usually inspire me.

Next Steps:

This Kafe brought the good stuff right away with Katy asking about next steps.  While there wasn’t a major scoop, there was a few details that I focused in on.  First, the return to the States (probably that East Coast show that DDHQ has hinted about) will be around New Year’s.  (I don’t mind that.  I do have a winter vacation then.  Just for the record.)  Second, 2017 will hopefully include some “special shows”.  That has me wondering what that means!  Of course, he did also mention the idea of continuing the tour to Australia, Asia and South America.  Interesting to note there was no mention of the Broadway musical or ballet that he and Nick have been working on.

Chic:

When Katy brought up the topic of Chic, I have to admit that I wondered what else could be said since most critics, fans, etc. have all talked about how having Chic on tour with Duran was awesome because they fit together well.  Well, JT talked about how Simon was more “emotional” and “open” on this tour, which showed when he talked about the band’s love for Nile each night.  He also mentioned the hope to get Chic to join them for an Australia tour.

Festivals:

The topic of festivals came up in relation to the question of whether or not the band would return to North America.  John was open by saying that it wasn’t his decision but that he thinks the best way to keep trying to get the album heard is by playing live dates and that festivals mean that people who wouldn’t have heard Paper Gods get to hear it.  Katy then wondered if they might come back to the States next summer for some festivals.  John said that many people would agree with that thinking.  Of course, while understanding this thinking, festivals make me cringe.  I’m too old to enjoy them with all  the discomforts that they bring.

Stevie Wonder:

John talked about how amazing it was to be at the festival in Aspen with Stevie Wonder.  (I, too, thought it was amazing when I got to see Stevie Wonder play at the 2013 Inaugural Ball!)  I smiled throughout his description of watching Stevie perform then meeting him and getting a picture taken with him.  He sounded like many of us do when describing meeting him!

iPhone7:

Yes, they talked about the new iPhone design that is coming out that features the cordless headphones.  Apparently, the phone will also be waterproof, which could be important to people who have had incidents with their phone and water.  (coughRhondacough)

Neurotic Outsiders:

This year marks the 20th anniversary of John’s side project, Neurotic Outsiders.  John shared the story about how the project came together, which is interesting story about they started playing one gig together for a fundraiser before being offered a residency at the Viper Room in LA.  More interesting than that, John discussed where his head was at the time, since the side project began right before he left the band.  He talked about how his ideas with Duran had run out and that he was interested in sticking to LA more.  As someone who is self-described as old school, he also liked (and still does) the idea of a residency.  He described this project as the opposite of Duran.  While Duran is complex, this band was simple.  While they made an album of new material, John felt that the album should  have been them live.

Overall, this Kafe was a joy to listen to.  John sounded very upbeat and positive.  His openness and positivity showed with each topic that came up.  As someone wondering what will be next for Duran Duran, the Kafe provided me with a sense that whatever it will be will be good.

-A

Duran Duran in Vegas: Show Commentary!

It is time for another v-log from yours truly and my partner-in-crime about yesterday’s Duran Duran show in Las Vegas.  We figured that it would go faster to do a video blog on than a written one.  It may even be more entertaining!

This v-log ended up being two videos due to unforeseen technical difficulties or really because Rhonda’s computer went into sleep mode.  During these two little (don’t know why I said little…they are lengthy), we discuss Dom Brown’s stage presence, John Taylor’s fashion choices (go figure!), the good and bad with the Mandalay Bay  Events Center as a venue, the awesomeness of our meet-up, why Duran Duran should never be done and more!

You might note that these two videos were completed last night or early this morning depending on how you look at it.  We apologize for the sucky quality.  On that note, we are off to back to California to hit the Irvine show!  It’s a show day!  (That said, I really wish I had a few more hours of sleep!)

-A