John Taylor – Duran Duran groove master

john_taylor_duran_duran_91Born Nigel John Taylor, British bassist John Taylor is primarily known as the co-founder of MTV-era band Duran Duran. John Taylor claimed Roxy Music were his favourite band in his early teens. Other early musical influences included Paul McCartney, James Jamerson and the Chic bass player Bernard Edwards. He was born in Solihull, Birmingham in June 1960.

Taylor and art college friend Nick Rhodes created Duran Duran in 1978 along with Stephen Duffy. Drummer Roger Taylor was added later, and the Duran Duran sound was born. Taylor originally played guitar in the band, but switched to bass once Roger Taylor joined the group. The band name Duran Duran references “Dr. Durand Durand,” a character in the 1968 science fiction film Barbarella. Taylor’s philosophy to his instrument was summed up when he said “I don’t like the bass as a lead instrument. It’s OK to feature occasionally, but I’ve always thought that the best bass players you shouldn’t hear – you should feel.”

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During the early 1980s, Duran Duran was one of the most popular groups playing on newborn MTV. They had their first hit single in 1981 and they continue recording and performing today. The band’s early music featured melodic funk and disco bass lines from Taylor. Taylor described the music as “night music.” It was intended to be interesting, edgy and strong enough to get party-goers dancing.

As the early Duran Duran group began to split, John Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor joined with singer Robert Palmer and drummer Tony Thompson of Chic fame to form the group The Power Station. They released one self-titled album containing the hit singles “Some Like it Hot” and “Bang a Gong (Get it On).”

John Taylor began his solo recording career at around the same time, recording a single for the 9 1/2 Weeks soundtrack. He spent time recording and touring with a side group, the Neurotic Outsiders, during 1995 and 1996. Taylor created his own company, “Trust the Process,” and recorded several more solo releases. He starred in the movie Sugar Town, along with appearing in several smaller TV and film roles over the next few years.

john-taylor-duran-duran-perform-live-at_3794167In 1996, John Taylor and Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols created the independent record label B5 Records. Taylor sang, played bass and guitar on his solo album Feelings are Good (And Other Lies). These tracks featured vocals and instrumentals with a rougher, rawer quality reminiscent of punk and grunge music, unlike the pop/new wave style of Duran Duran. Taylor created and toured with a band called “John Taylor Terroristen” in 1997 and 1998, releasing a live album before signing with a Japanese record label. After the tragedies of September 11, 2001, Taylor vowed never to use the “Terroristen” name again.

John Taylor and the other original members of Duran Duran reunited in 2001. Taylor released one final solo collection titled MetaFour in 2002. Since their reunion, Taylor and Duran Duran have signed with Epic Records and released several albums. They performed their 2007 album Red Carpet Massacre in its entirety live on Broadway for 10 shows in 2008. Duran Duran released their 13th studio album in December 2010. They toured from 2011 to 2013 in support of their album All You Need is Now, stopping for performances at Coachella and SXSW.

Throughout the years, Taylor has favoured using his Japanese Aria Pro II SB1000 bass guitar, settling later on his Phillip Kubicki Factor bass featuring a drop-D latch on the head. He inherited the Music Man StingRay that belonged to his musical idol Bernard Edwards. In 2006, Peavey Guitars partnered with Taylor to create the 4-string limited edition “Peavey Liberator JT-84” bass guitar. A six-string “Peavey Liberator A435” guitar followed. Taylor and Peavey released only 100 each of the individually numbered and signed instruments.

Taylor released his autobiography, In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death, and Duran Duran, in 2012. He recounts his turbulent early years, the Duran Duran superstardom and his own struggles with addiction and recovery. John Taylor has been in recovery since 1994. He was named Patron of Mount Carmel in February 2014 in celebration of his 19 years free from alcohol and drug addiction. The South London treatment center featured prominently in Taylor’s own recovery process.


He received the Writers in Treatment “Experience, Strength and Hope” award in 2013, and also was voted the “Greatest Bassist” by Music Radar in 2013. These honours join the six Lifetime Achievement awards garnered by Duran Duran over the years, including one from the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards and another from the BRIT awards.

The BRIT Awards also presented Duran Duran with the “Outstanding Contribution to British Music” award after the band played live on the show in 2004. This was Duran Duran’s first life performance with the original five members in nearly two decades. So far, Duran Duran has sold over eighty million records around the world, and their latest album All You Need is Now debuted in the Number One spot in 15 countries.


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