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Duran tale a pleasure ride
Duran tale a pleasure ride

When John Taylor sat down to write his story, the bass player for Duran Duran wasn't interested in some phonebook-sized tome which bored everyone to death with facts, charts and back-slapping.

He wanted the reader to come away with a sense of the boy, then the man and eventually the human being who co-founded one of Britain's greatest pop-rock bands.

With Duran Duran, he's sold more than 80 million albums and been a seminal part of a legacy which has given us songs such as Hungry like the Wolf, Girls on Film and Rio as well as keeping fashion and music as bedfellows.

"This book is more about feelings and remembrances," Taylor says from his Los Angeles home. "I've done a lot of interviews over the years which were about an album or a tour. This was a chance to lay out a full meal as opposed to a buffet of sound bites.

While Taylor, 52, had been approached to write his story, time was the problem. There just wasn't any. But in what he calls the universe conspiring, singer Simon Le Bon lost his voice, forcing the cancellation of three months of shows. Taylor suddenly had the time.

He headed to his birth town of Birmingham to retrieve nine cardboard cartons of stuff from the attic at his family home. That was to jog plenty of memories for what would become In the Pleasure Groove - Love, Death and Duran Duran.

While Taylor found the material to fire his memories for events which would eventually make it into the book, what he found most interesting was the artwork he had done at school, where he was "becoming an artist and my own man . . . there were some pages in the digital version of the book where it shows my doodles of Queen, Roxy Music and later Duran Duran".

With down-to-earth humour, the book covers everything from growing up in the Midlands, through to the band's debut single, Live Aid and playing Coachella in 2011.

The death of Taylor's father Jack three years ago led to the book. His mother died 12 years ago but Jack remained in the family home until his death.

"With him I lost a connection to his generation and his family," the bassist says. "I felt that my life is lived at such a pace that the memories were disappearing so fast. I started to think about my parents, their families and how they all influenced me."

In The Pleasure Groove isn't a love-in through rose-coloured glasses. Taylor makes no secret of the complete admiration for his musical brothers and the pain at losing close musical colleague Robert Palmer but he doesn't shy away from discussing his own addictions and demons as well as how he came out the other side.

"When you're piecing a story like this together, you're watching this kid grow," he says. "You're tracking him into being a man alongside this band and all the extraordinary adventures which are happening. It was quite fantastic."

Taylor's calmness about sharing the grittier parts of his life comes, he says, from having done lots of self-appraisal over the past few years. He says it's those moments which had to go in the book because part of In the Pleasure Groove is about recovery.