When Duran Duran was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame last November, just one reward for a more than 40-year career of hits and flashy music videos that helped ignite the format, one key bandmate was missing from the picture – the founder of guitarist Andy Taylor.
The Duranies – the enduring collective noun for Duran Duran fans – had been hoping for an on-stage reunion with Taylor and his former bandmates, the first in 17 years. It wasn’t supposed to be.
When Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Roger Taylor (none of the Taylors are related) accepted their Rock Hall induction, one message was read out from the axemanand addressed for the first time his cancer battle.
“Four years ago Andy was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer,” LeBon said, breaking the news before reading part of a letter.
Taylor returns to his health struggles for a new interview with British TV and explains how music and creativity have lifted his spirits.
The diagnosis came when Andy was 56 years old, and was presented when he went jogging and felt what he describes as “arthritic kind of pain.” He started “having these symptoms and didn’t recognize them for what they might be.” Lumps would appear on his neck, a worrying sign that the cancer had metastasized. The biopsy results confirmed the worst, a disease he describes as “a death sentence”.
After hearing the extent of his illness, “no one can be prepared for it.”
Due to his ill health, Taylor missed the ceremony in Los Angeles where he planned to break out a new guitar.
Now that the word is out, Taylor, 61, is using her platform to ask others to get checked, urging female fans to put gentle pressure on the men in their lives. “Give him a push, take a test,” he tells 5 News.
In a fight against cancer, time is precious. “Every minute is like an hour, every day is like a week,” he explains. “You really want to get the most out of life. And I’ve been very lucky. I’ve had so much in terms of living out the dream.”
Taylor has lived the dream like few others. With a string of hits including “Girls On Film”, “Rio”, “Hungry Like The Wolf”, “Is There Something I Should Know”, “The Reflex”, “Wild Boys”, Duran Duran were arguably the most popular band on the planet in the first half of the 1980s. All of these numbers came with slick music videos that either looked like blockbuster shorts or, in the case of “Girls On Film” and “The Chauffeur,” were too risque for mainstream television.
With his rock ‘n’ roll attitude and playing style, Taylor was something of an outlier in the band, contributing a rawness to Duran Duran’s sound during these golden years.
Without Andy Taylor’s contribution, many fans and critics argue, Duran Duran would not be the Hall of Famers they are today.
When the group split in 1985, following the release of the James Bond theme “A View to A Kill”, Taylor and bassist John Taylor formed The Power Station with the late Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson, while the others created Arcadia.
Taylor contributed to sessions for the 1986 album Notorious, then went his own way with a solo career. He was reunited with DD in 2004 Astronaut album, and for tour dates in support.
Taylor has recorded three albums since learning of his illness and continues to perform whenever possible.
Playing the guitar has had an unexpected benefit. “It’s really helped me live with the pessimism of a terminal illness,” he notes, “but the optimism of making music.”
See the interview below.