Roger Taylor was not my first crush, as it turns out. That title is held by none other than Shaun Cassidy. I think I was probably about seven, maybe even six years old when I decided that yes, Shaun was the man for me. I had posters up on my wall, all of his record albums and read every
magazine I could get my hands on that had articles of Shaun in them. Sunday nights? They were spent watching The Hardy Boys
on TV, and yes – I even read the Hardy Boys books. Then one day I heard he got married. I was furious! How DARE he forget about me!! I calmly took his posters off of my wall – handed them to my younger sister for her viewing pleasure, simply stopped listening to his albums, and moved on to Rick Springfield. My affair with Rick was intense, yet shortlived. I collected his posters and pictures with care, I rocked out to Jessie’s Girl and I’ve Done Everything for You…and I loved his dog, too. Somewhere along the line though – and perhaps even simultaneously, I heard Planet Earth. Then I saw the video…and then I heard and saw Rio, and watched that video. That, my friends, is what began my love for the drummer. Below are some of my Roger memories from over the years.
There was something about him that just drew me in. I’ll admit it, I go for brunettes. The brown eyes, the olive skin? Yep…it all works. I liked the fact that he seemed quiet and shy because I could easily identify with that. I loved the fact that he mumbled the words to ITSISK in the video and turned away from the camera – because I would have done it exactly the same way! I think that I also loved that aside from the occasional eyeliner, Roger didn’t seem to wear much makeup. I guess I like ’em masculine, although eyeliner works really well for me. It was within the first 30 seconds of seeing Planet Earth that I proclaimed Roger to be my future husband, and I meant it with every fiber of my 11 year old self. Age difference? What’s 10 years among friends?? The fact that I wasn’t a supermodel? EH. I might not have the smokey sex appeal of a size 0 supermodel, but I was no slouch. I’d learn, dammit! Thus began the plastering of posters on my wall and the silent pleas with whatever god was listening that he bring Roger to me. Yes, one year I really did ask Santa for Roger. Santa laughed, damn him. I never did decide if Santa was laughing because of my crazy request, or because I was probably about 13 at the time, making a trip back to Santa’s lap after a few years of absence just to see if it’d work! It wasn’t very long after that request though that I heard some horrible news: Roger was getting married. MARRIED. My friends consoled me as I pouted over the news. I suppose a part of me wished for his happiness, and I recognized that simply due to the fact that he’d never met me – he had to move on. *please read my BIG dramatic, teenage girl sigh right HERE* Of course, that was only the beginning of the heartbreaks the man would provide me with for the next few years. Naturally we all know that Roger left Duran Duran after Live Aid, which for me was the ultimate betrayal. I was gutted and furious at the same time. In a fit I know I tore at least one of his pictures off of my wall (yes, Andy came down as well!), but in time, I just grew to miss him. I never cared whether he was the best drummer or the worst drummer the band had ever had – the fact was, he was *my* drummer. I did learn to accept his absence, although I always wondered whatever happened.
As we all know, in 2003 – a miracle happened (at least for me!) and the band reunited. Here is the funny thing – when duranduran.com first put up the splash page they used to announce the reunion, I honestly wasn’t positive which one was Roger. I had to go through the photos one by one – obviously recognizing Simon, Nick and then John, which left two photos. I couldn’t be sure which one was Roger. “Awesome” (to be very Californian) fan, huh? 😀 Naturally I did figure it out eventually! I went to the reunion shows, and finally was able to say that I saw the original 5 band members together. A dream come true.
My next Roger “experience” was at the Virgin Megastores signing on Sunset in LA. Up until then, I’d never been the type of fan to try and find them after shows, or go to hotels where I think they might be staying – that kind of thing always interested me, but I felt like at my age – what point would there really be? By then I’d more than realized that while my husband has NO qualms about pronouncing my “hotness”, I definitely wasn’t rock star wife material. I’m not a size 0, my hair isn’t super long, I’m not gorgeous beyond all means…I’m not even sure you’d be able to pick me out of a crowd. (although my husband, bless him…says I’m the hottest Duran Duran fan around. No, I’m not continually drugging him. I’ll keep him!!) In any case, I figured that this was the one and only chance I’d ever have at actually meeting the guys in any kind of a situation that didn’t involve them being on a stage and my being many rows back. As I approached Roger – he was seated last in line at the table – I swear my hands were shaking but I absolutely refused to allow myself to blow my moment and look like the desperate housewife I knew I probably was. I smiled right at him, said thank you for doing the signing because I’d have never had the chance to “meet” him otherwise (and I seriously held up my hands and did the quote mark thing…good god…), and THEN…to finish up I told him that I’d been a fan since 1981 and that he had always been my favorite, and that he still was. Then the floor opened up and swallowed me whole. 😀
Roger was kind enough to look at me, smile very nicely and say that was really sweet – and I think I believed he really meant it. Then he saw my daughter Heather standing off to the side (at the time she was 7 and super cute – not that she isn’t still super cute, but she’s a teenager now – pigtails don’t really work the same way anymore!), he winked at her, told her to take good care of her mummy, and sent us on our way.
More recently, I did learn the fine art of hanging out at hotel bars with my friends – checking out the scene and if we were lucky, we’d see a band member show up. One of those times was in Las Vegas, and Roger was the “lucky” band member of the evening. I actually got a few smiles out of him that night, but I never once tried to approach him. I’m not that bold, because while I know many, MANY people have been lucky enough to go up to him or any one of the band members for hugs – I wouldn’t dare. I’d be the one they’d recoil back from, give a curt ‘no thank you’ to, and I’d be mortified, both at my boldness and at the result – and I am going to be honest, I think that would completely ruin me. So, I watch others, think wistfully about what could be, and go away happy knowing that I didn’t create a scene, behave like “one of THOSE” fans, or…be rejected. More power to those of you who have no issue.
You would think that by now, I’d have a drumstick or two. He is my favorite band member to this day – although Dom Brown is an extremely close second. (psst – he’s probably surpassed Roger most of the time, but Roger and I have “history” and that counts for something! Don’t tell Roger! Or my husband! *gasp*) Sadly though, I do not have a drumstick OR a photo with him. (or any band member, actually) There was one time though, that I was very close. It was in New Orleans when they did the Voodoo Festival. I can’t remember exactly how close we finally ended up to the stage, but given the crowd behind me – we were pretty close. Maybe about 5th row? Anyway, I had a sign specifically for Roger that I’d brought to a few shows since 2005. I didn’t think there’d be a chance in hell he’d see it, but luck was in my favor that night and he did. He motioned to me, asking if I wanted the drumstick, then he tossed it my way. The girls in front of me even looked back to see me when I’d catch it, then this giant man next to me reached up, grabbed out of my reach and handed it to his wife. I was shocked because I knew the stick was meant for me – but what do you do? I know some fans who would have made an issue out of it, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that part of me wanted to – but what good would it have really done, and of course – it’s just a drumstick. I looked up at Roger and kind of wrinkled my nose and shrugged. And he smiled at me, winked and mouthed “sorry”. That totally trumped getting the drumstick and I’ll never forget it!!
I know I’ve told that story, and probably all of these before, to friends or maybe even on the blog – but my personal experiences with these guys are pretty far and few in between, so these tend to stand out. Sure, I’d love a stick one of these days – and maybe I’ll be lucky and get one, but if not – that memory serves it’s purpose.
Roger is still my favorite (or ONE of my favorites). I know people who haven’t had the best run-ins with him, but I can say that about every single one of the band members at this point – including those who are no longer with the band. That doesn’t excuse whatever happened, but my point is that they all share one blinding characteristic, and that is that they are all male, and all human. They aren’t perfect, and based on what I’ve seen over my years of being a fan, they all have had their personal boundaries crossed by fans, sometimes several times over the course of any one evening. I’ll bet they get tired of it, and you know – they have that right. For example: I’m a mom, I know what goes into the job and yet I chose to have three children. I still get very annoyed when I have to get up over and over again during the night because my youngest refuses to sleep and wants to wander the house instead. It’s not fun all the time, and yet I chose this life – just as they chose theirs. I try to remember that although it’s not always easy.
Happy Birthday Roger. I wish you the very, very best for many healthy and happy years ahead…and hey, if you want to try throwing me a drumstick again in say – Birmingham – I’ll try to catch it this time. 😀