Review: Wild Boy by Andy Taylor (It's Duran Duran Appreciation Day with Trish and Sophia Talk Books!)

Sophia informed me last month that August 10 is Duran Duran Appreciation Day (DDAD). According to
  • Created by a Michigan radio disc jockey because it coincided with his birthday, for several years now, August 10 has been Duran Duran Appreciation Day.
And just like that, a more haphazard fan appreciation day has never been seen.

How is it celebrated? has some helpful suggestions:
  • The best way to celebrate Duran Duran Appreciation Day is by listening to some of the band’s most famous tracks!
  • Why not make an occasion of it and get all of your friends and family around and have a Duran Duran inspired party?
  • Take a look online and see if there are any Duran Duran inspired club nights going on in your local area.
  • We also recommend taking a look online to see if there are any online events and activities going on.
We will listen to the music! But no to a party, club nights and online events. Instead Sophia and I will Talk Books! (Well, Sophia is also having a little party with her friend).

I grew up listening to Duran Duran when they were actually releasing their music the first time around, in the 80s, so I always tell Sophia that I have some real credibility here. I was a fan in real time! That said, I was a fan but not a superfan. My best friend in the 80s, however, was a superfan, so I absorbed much of her enthusiasm.

Sophia has read Andy Taylor’s and John Taylor’s memoirs, and she suggested I read Wild Boy: My Life in Duran Duran by Andy Taylor; she liked it a lot, and Andy also includes some important passages on mental health, so it was up my alley.

On to our chat about Duran Duran and Wild Boy to celebrate August 10.

T: Thanks for suggesting we do a Trish and Sophia Talk Books post for DDAD!

S: I know you love theme days so I thought it’d be a fun one! Plus another chance to collab and talk about something we can both enjoy.

T: Given that you’re 20 years old now, how did you get into Duran Duran?

S: Just a note, the correct term for someone who likes Duran Duran is a Duranie. I think I was like 16 when I became a Duranie, when Dad took me to the Vancouver Flea Market to look for some records, since I had received a record player for Christmas that year. I’d always known about Duran Duran and you guys had played lots of their music and videos for me as a kid, but I had never really gotten into them.

Anyway, that all changed when Dad found a copy of their album “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” at the Flea Market. He wanted to buy it (not me) because according to him it was such a classic! We went home and played it and when New Moon on Monday came on (I remember it was specifically that song), I was like, “Hey, this is pretty good.” I went and downloaded all of their stuff and it just spiraled from there.

T: Tell us about your collection of DD stuff.

S: I have tons of records:
  • Rio
  • Notorious
  • Union of the Snake (single)
  • Seven and the Ragged Tiger
  • Big Thing
  • Duran Duran
  • Duran Duran 1983 reprint
  • Arena
I also have on CD:
  • The Wedding Album
  • Liberty
  • Rio (again)
  • Medazzaland
Plus, a t-shirt and their Funko Pop! collection. And John and Andy’s books. I’ve also got various D2-themed birthday cards that friends have made for me over the years.

T: And I know you can play a mean bass line to Rio!

S: Yes, it's my favourite one to play! It’s become muscle memory at this point, I can play and sing it at the same time. John Taylor is one of my favourite bassists of all time. So underrated! His bass skills are actually amazing.

Funko Duran Duran in concert!

T: What have you read?

S: John’s Book In The Pleasure Groove, and Andy’s Book Wild Boy. Both great.

T: I have to thank you for “making” me read Wild Boy. It sometimes takes a push to get me out of my usual reading habits. And I liked this book a lot! I think Andy actually wrote it…no ghost writer or helper in sight. I felt like he wrote in a familiar, homey way. Kind of like going out for lunch with him and listening to his tales over burgers and fries. Or a steak and kidney pie.

I loved his close relationship with his dad and paternal grandmother! I also learned some interesting facts about the band and the music. Apparently their record label didn’t want to release “The Reflex” because it was “too black.” Andy scoffs, noting that of course it was because it was “mixed by the world’s leading black producer.”

S: It might be my favourite music bio I’ve read, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I love Andy’s writing. He really writes like he cares about telling this crazy but awesome story, and wants you to get the most out of reading it. As a hardcore D2 fan, It really gave me an inside look at both Andy’s life and the other guys in the band. I also applaud Andy for being so open about his mental health challenges. I feel like a lot of writers can either gloss over those things or sensationalize them. Andy was super honest and upfront.

And yeah, lots of interesting facts! I’m glad they pushed to release The Reflex, it became such a hit and is one of my favourites of theirs. I know one of their biggest influences was Nile Rodgers (of Chic) who indeed did produce The Reflex. Gave them a really awesome sound!

Wild Boy is totally a portrait of the 80s in its prime.

T: Yes, some of the attitudes in the 80’s were surprising. I honestly don’t remember any of the drug use issues being in the news at the time, but maybe I was just too young, or sheltered. Another episode in the book that surprised me was having a “Rock Doc.” Basically, a physician who would supply the band members with drugs like speed and such to get them through performances.

I was really moved about the way he took us through the difficulty that his wife Tracy had with postpartum psychosis. Like you said, mental health issues sometimes get minimized, but this was compassionate and hopeful. I’m actually pleasantly surprised that she got quick and effective treatment decades ago, because we didn’t know as much about postpartum mental health back then.

And last, I just can’t leave discussion of the book before noting that as a middle-aged mom at this point in my life, sometimes I just wanted to shake my head in exasperation and tell all of Duran Duran to just NOT spend all of their money on luxury, to be sensible and save for the future, to quit the drugs, and to just make sleep and self-care a priority. My teenage self would never have said that back in the day!

S: Yeah! It must have been interesting reading it as someone who a) is older and b) lived through the 80s and watched Duran Duran’s career unfold in real time. I’m sure you and I had very different experiences (though both good experiences) with this book.

T: So, I watched Andy’s least favourite video (he really does go off on it in the book) New Moon on Monday. Was it really that bad? “Everybody in the band hates it, particularly the dreadful scene at the end where we all dance together.” It was supposed to be a French Revolution/World War II mash-up, but, “to be honest it was just a load of gibberish.” It’s kind of fun, but I think the dancing at the end is kind of hilarious now that I see it through Andy’s lens. What’s your favourite or worst video?

S: I love that video! I’m not sure why no one likes it. Maybe I’m biased because it was the song that got me into their music. I think the dancing is cute and fun. I have another Duranie friend and we love it.

T: Well, thanks for the push to immerse myself in Duran Duran memories for a week or so! It was super fun.

S: I’m so glad. Maybe you’ll have to read John’s book next!


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