Book Reviews

Book Review – Wild Boy: My Life in Duran Duran by Andy Taylor – Behind the Scenes

After reading John Taylor’s biography, I was motivated to seek out the older autobiography by Andy Talyor.  People I talked to said Andy was more forthcoming about some of the conflict within the group whereas John seemed to be a bit more gracious, shying away from any true “gossip”.

Andy tells his story of a childhood that wasn’t conventional.  He dealt with abandonment issues by his mother and grew very close to his father in an English fishing village dominated by members of his family.  Answering an advertisement, he met up with the other members of Duran Duran and they embarked on superstardom.

Where John Taylor’s story was mostly about him and his honesty about his own problems and issues that caused fractures within the band when they were at the height of their popularity, Andy is more willing to call out other members and their spouses on the issues that arose.  This is perhaps because he isn’t part of the band right now where John Taylor is still touring with Duran Duran.

One of the prime examples of this is Andy Taylor’s attitude toward Nick Rhodes and his ex-wife Julie Anne.  Where girlfriends and wives usually did not accompany the band on the road, Julie Anne immediately insinuated herself in almost every part of Rhodes’ life according to Andy, and caused fractures in the band.  There are other tidbits like this, not just about the members of Duran Duran but about other artists Andy Taylor worked with as well.  These include Power Station with Robert Palmer and Rod Stewart.

Andy is honest about many of his own failings as well.  Both he and John Taylor had issues with drugs and alcohol during their time with the band as well as after.  At the same time, he seems reticent to talk about other hedonism that surrounded the band, intimating that only the crew ever had anything to do with groupies and none of the band members themselves.  This is a trend I’ve noticed in a number of recent 1980s musician biographies, where they seem to downplay the interaction with groupies.  Whether it’s a source of conflict still at home (Andy Taylor is still married to his wife Tracey whom he met before Duran Duran exploded onto the scene) or something else, I can only speculate.  I don’t believe any of these new autobiographies are forthcoming in this area for whatever reason, though.

That aside, Wild Boy does make for a good read, especially for anyone who does remember those days.  It is a bit more “gossipy” than John Taylor’s book and I think that’s the reason I enjoyed it so much.  It is well-written and easy to read.  If you were a fan of Duran Duran in the 1980s, I suggest you grab this one for a bit more insight into what went on behind the scenes.