For a while I only ever seemed to interview drummers. It just happened. I never planned it. You’d get the call that there was an interview-opportunity, that someone from the band would be available. And then it was the drummer. I talked to Alex Van Halen and he was great. I spoke with local drummers – nice people. I talked to the drummer from Tortoise, well one of the percussionists – but drummer, still…and when I spoke to one of The Donnas it was the drummer. They were all named Donna – apparently. But I got the drummer. She was great. From memory.
I really struggled to find a groove with Roger Taylor.
It was supposed to be a History Of The Band-type article; he just wanted to talk about their then-new album, Astronaut. (No point. It was shit). And when I did get him on to the subject of vintage Duran Duran (which is really all he should be qualified to talk about, considering he left in 1985 and only returned to the fold, somewhat casually – nonchalantly even, in 2002) he was full of it – “we were the biggest band of the 1980s”; “we invented electroclash”; “we were the next Beatles”; most disappointing, “we aspire to be like U2, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay…”
What was wrong with the guy?
He had admitted to me in a vaguely candid aside that he had left in 85 due to “burn out”. But he would not go on to discuss the band’s work, or why they even bothered attempting to tour and record past 1983. He was sure that “Arena was probably the greatest live album of all time” and that “Seven And The Ragged Tiger was an influence on The Strokes”.
He even got political, “after 9/11, everything changed”.
Thanks Rog, but, er, Duran Duran didn’t. “No, we’re a constant”. Well, excuse me, but you’re not – you were crap for years until Donnie Darko came along and changed all that. “Donnie Darko? Haven’t seen it, but we’ve all heard it was really good…” Yeah, and I heard Duran Duran were good once too…
Our cymbals crashed, our sticks splintered and the click of the phone was the only common beat between us.