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Bellissima intervista a Roger Taylor su Live Daily

Ultimo Aggiornamento: 04/02/2005 10.19
04/02/2005 10.19
 
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Roger Taylor of Duran Duran

by Christina Fuoco

Published: February 03, 2005 02:34 PM

Returning to Duran Duran (bio | CDs - DVDs - books) four years ago has proven nothing short of inspirational for drummer Roger Taylor.

"It was great because immediately we discovered something very special," Taylor said via telephone from London. "The first 10 days we played together were amazing because instantly we discovered this chemistry that had been dormant all these years."
Although Duran Duran took three years to record its 2004 album, "Astronaut," it officially announced its reunion in 2003, the band's 25th anniversary. Its Aug. 27, 2003 show was the original members' first in 18 years.

Acknowledging it is a cliche, Taylor said he left the Brit fab five in 1985 to find himself. The quick success of albums such as "Duran Duran," "Rio" and "Seven and the Ragged Tiger" wore on him. He retreated to rural England for a break.

In the early 2000s, however, it was time to return to Duran Duran. Bassist John Taylor pitched a Duran Duran reunion and Roger Taylor immediately signed on. The quintet--which also includes singer Simon LeBon, guitarist Andy Taylor and keyboardist Nick Rhodes--quickly got into the creative swing, writing more than 30 songs, among them the techno-inspired hit "Sunrise."

"It was great fun," Roger Taylor said. "We had gone out on tour in between the sessions and reconnected with the audience and got a lot of energy back from them, a lot of positive energy."

While recovering from a broken foot, Roger Taylor talked with liveDaily about "Astronaut," getting back together with Duran Duran, and working with producer Don Gilmore.

liveDaily: Are you surprised at the response Duran Duran has received from the 2003 reunion tour and the new album?

Roger Taylor: It surprised us all, I think. You never know how you're going to be received again after all this time. The initial response we had was just overwhelming, particularly that tour of the States that we did. At some of the venues, the audience was so loud we could hardly hear what was happening on stage, which kind of threw us back to, like, 1983, when we had very similar reactions on a much bigger scale. But we still seem to trigger that intensity in people again, which was quite incredible. It's built up from there. It's amazing to see places like Madison Square Garden on the schedule again. It's just been a snowball.

What has it been like for you to return to the band?

It's been wonderful, actually. We're very lucky to be able to go back and reclaim something that was a very special part of all our lives, and to go back and pick it up and move it forward again. We're lucky, because everybody was all on the same page. Nobody has really gone out there on a different musical journey. When we got back together again, we all wanted to do the same kind of music again. We were still listening to all the same kind of stuff. We shared where the band should go again. That's incredible, if you think of five people who have all gone off in different directions in their lives and come back together again.

I've seen several reasons why you initially had left Duran Duran. What was the true reason why you left Duran Duran?

I was burned out. I think I was just exhausted. It was a very intense five years. We didn't stop. It was constant touring, constant writing, recording. We broke internationally, as well--instantly, pretty well. It's a nonstop schedule, really. I had lost myself somewhere. When you're in a band that's so big and when you're young, you kind of lose your identity a little bit, I think. You just become part of the band. I just needed to get away from it. I lived a normal life for a number of years. I had kids. I lived up on a farm in Gloucestershire in rural England, and just kind of got back to reality again. I slowly started to drift back into music again. I finally got the call from John, "How do you feel about getting the band back together again?" I said, "Yeah, let's go for it."

That must have been a really exciting time.

It was. It was so out of the blue. I almost thought that the moment had passed. There was so much water under the bridge. We had all gone off into our own lives. Luckily, everybody's kind of heads up and ready to go again, all at the same time. I don't think it could have happened five years earlier. And maybe it would have been too late if it was five years later. John sometimes calls it an alignment of the stars that we're all just in the same mind space at the same time. Events had kind of worked themselves toward it. Nick and Simon had come to a natural end of their working relationship with Warren [Cuccurullo, who had taken over on guitar for Duran Duran], which obviously opened the door for a reunion of the original five.

What was the songwriting process like for "Astronaut"? Did one person write the songs or was it a collaborative effort?

It's a complete collaboration. We just set up our instruments in a room and plug in, much as The Beatles would have done 30 years ago. We just jam until we get things--until we get interesting grooves and chord progressions and melodies--and we just work it up from there. It's not like one guy comes in and says, "OK guys, this is the song. This is what you're going to play and this is what you're going to play." It's very much a team effort.

In that regard, the songs must have really evolved as each member took hold of them. Was there one song that changed a lot during the course of the songwriting process?

I think they all changed a lot, really. It was over a three-year period that we recorded this album. It was a very organic process. Everything sounded very different by the time we finished the album. That's probably due to Pro Tools, as much as anything, which is a music system that we used to record the album. You can just keep putting stuff on and taking stuff off and re-recording, so everything was very different, I think, by the end.

You mentioned that it took three years. Is that longer than previous albums that you have done with Duran Duran?

Yeah, probably the longest previous was six months. "Seven and the Ragged Tiger" took six months to record and finish. I guess when we were up against it, we knew that this album was going to be compared to all the classic early material, because it was going back to the original five. Suddenly, the bar was very high and we had to really make sure that we got what we really wanted, that it was a real finished album. We weren't going to give up until we got that.

You worked with several different producers on this album. Who was the producer from whom you learned the most?

I think we learned a lot ourselves because we co-produced the album. We learned a lot about production during the whole process. I love working with Don Gilmore because he's a real band guy. He's worked with Linkin Park and Avril Lavigne. He really knows how to record instruments. He knows how to just put a microphone in front of a drum kit or guitar or whatever, and get a great sound on it. So Don was great for me, I think.


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