Nardwuar vs. John Taylor of Duran Duran

Nardwuar: Who are you?
John Taylor: That's a very good question.

Who are you?
I am the man that sang that song.

You are John Taylor!

Formerly of Duran Duran and now of John Taylor solo fame!
(laughs) Yes, and now his own man.
Bad hair day?
You don't talk much because you lie when you talk, right?
Aren't you a little that way?

I guess we all are, aren't we? Feelings Are Good and Other Lies is the name of the CD, on DeRock Records, and we're lucky enough to have honour of having John Taylor phone us! So, John, how are things going now? You have officially left Duran Duran, haven't you?
I officially left, I suppose, about four months ago. It's like shedding skin, you know, leaving something like that because it's been such a big part of my life for so long.

How are things going now. I mean, are people returning your phone calls now that you're out of Duran Duran?
Oddly enough, when somebody doesn't return my phone call in what I consider to the be the appropriate fashion which is immediately, then those thoughts do go through my head, yes. Yes, but I'm not serious!
Painted, baby! Things seem to be going quite well. You have that new label B5 going. How are things going in the sense Duran Duran and the monetary thing because the guys in Kiss invested in a coal mine in the late '70s and lost all their money. How did Duran Duran do? Where did you guys put your money? In your record label? Did you save any money?
I think we put most of our money into champagne and...
Fine dining?
Fine dining and Concorde flights from New York to London. And, um...

How about your closet? How big is your closet?
Oh, man, you have no idea. I could tell you a closet story actually. I used to have- I was living in- I used to have two homes at one point. I had one in France and I had one in London. At my home in France, I kept all my kind of like '80s suits...

Those were hot!
A lot of like Jean-Paul Gaultier and Yoshi Yamamoto, you know. In the basement of my house, there was this room that was lined with beautiful clothes. It was the time that there was a crisis with Causcescu in Romania, and a guy who was doing some work for me said that his girlfriend was raising some money and wanted some clothes, and if had any clothes, would I leave them out for him? So, as I'm leaving France to go back to England, I said to him, "Yeah, I left some stuff for you downstairs." Needless to say, it was a pile of T-shirts and sweatshirts and old socks, and when I came back, well, the punchline of course is preceding me, because when I came back, of course the entire closet had been emptied. He misunderstood. So there are some very well dressed Romanians wandering around some place.
Shhhh! I've just raided Adam Ant's closet. John Taylor, did you have to quickly do some more power shopping after that to catch up?
(laughs) Yeah, probably, but you can't replace classic items like that though, you know, because with the really good designers, you know, there never.... I used to like Versace in the '80s - I hate Versace today, but he did some really good stuff. Designers are like any artist: sometimes when they're hungry, they do great stuff, and then they start doing well and they get really bland, and then they start losing money so somebody kicks them up the ass so maybe they have a really good season. Stuff goes in and out, so you can never really replace good stuff like that.

So, you'd say, John Taylor, formerly of Duran Duran and now John Taylor solo fame, you'd probably had a better career than Frankie Goes To Hollywood then?
Yeah, I would say so. I mean, I always thought that what killed Frankie was having to play "Relax" on perhaps a thousand European TV shows, having to play, er, mime to that song. They were having to promote that one song for what seemed to be like eighteen months. I think that would have been enough to kill anybody.
There were some interband member fights going on there, weren't there?
They were quite a volatile band. I missed them, actually. They were a real bunch of sweethearts.

So you're living in LA now, John. When you go back to London, can you still get a table at the Groucho Club, no problem?
(laughs) You know what? I've never been a member of the Groucho Club, so I would have to run that by somebody who was. I couldn't call it the Groucho Club. I don't think so. I'm not one who liked to call places and say, "Hi, this is John Taylor here," for fear that they might say, "Yeah, so what?"

Well, John Taylor, formerly of Duran Duran and now John Taylor solo project, your new LP is actually on a Canadian independent record label, DeRock Records. Now is that by default or is that by choice? What made you choose a Canadian independent record label?
Well, they chose me! It was a strange position to be in because it was a one-off album. I had only been freed from my longterm contract with Capitol Records for this one album. They were interested in putting this album out as a one-off. They also knew that the album was first available in January of last year on the internet.

DeRock is out of Montreal and they're Canadian. So John Taylor is firmly on the Canadian shores now!
What about that!

And also you're releasing- B5 is your company, isn't it?
Yes, it's a company that I formed with the guy who produced this album. The idea is that we are going to make albums with bands and singers who we enjoy the company of, and we will make records for not a lot of money...
You're putting out a Roxy Music tribute!

Roxy Music is a Jordy band! They are a Jordy band!
Bryan is, yeah. None of the other guys are though.

I thought Paul Thompson the drummer...

He's a Jordy!
Well, good for you! Good for you!

Because Paul Thompson the drummer also played with Mensi and the Angelic Upstarts. Paul Thompson is a Jordy!!
Did he play with the Angelic Upstarts?

Yes, he did.
He also played with Concrete Blonde!

Bryan Ferry once went out with Jerry Hall.
Boy on film
They're very Jordy guys, though. Jordy! Jordy! Jordy! You know, Newscastle! Sheera!! Sheera!! Shearer! Shearer!
Why do you talk like their bonny lads? Everybody's a bonny lad, you know. Andy Taylor, the old Duran Duran guitar player, is from Whittley Bay. Whittley Bay! Whittley Bay!! And they don't have boys and girls there; they have lads and lassies. And the biggest Jordy who you will never meet is Brian Johnson who is the singer for AC/DC. He's a brutal Jordy, not that I've ever met him but I've heard him talk...

Your producer on Feelings Are Good, Hein Hoven, produced Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys. Did he tell you that?
He's worked with a very unusual bunch of people. He's worked with the Stray Cats, the Clash, Sade. He was doing a lot of commercial work when I met him. I rescued him. I said, "Now, man, you're coming to rock 'n' roll with me!"

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conversation with John Taylor