Book Review: Andy Taylor’s Side of the Story

Written by on September 26, 2008

Former Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor‘s recently-released memoir, Wild Boy: My Life in Duran Duran, tells not only of his life and career, but his side of what went on between himself and his band mates before and after each of their breakups. Industry publications and internet discussions put out several conflicting reports based on what they had heard, but this book marks as the first time Taylor himself came out to expose at length his own point of view on what had happened. While fans of the chart-topping British Band will have a huge majority of the copies, the book might also serve well to younger aspiring musicians who might want to learn ahead of time about what goes on behind the scenes in the business.

Taylor introduces his book at the time of the Live Aid concert in 1985, which is sort of the “‘zero hour” of his life’s epiphany. [amazonify]0446509302[/amazonify] Fans of the band know the story about how the band did not play together for some time before that and Taylor was also performing with the Power Station. He discusses those life changing moments in the prologue and goes more in-depth later in the book. After that, Chapter One takes the reader into the first event that shaped his life and way of thinking: the day Taylor’s mother left him and the family when he was eleven.
While Taylor’s memoirs span his life and career with the obvious focus on the Duran Duran years, he prepares the reader will with the story of his life and years as a musician touring military bases before meeting the core of the mega-star band leading him into a world of fame and fortune and, in his opinion, too much fun. He describes the excessive partying and the effects of alcohol and drugs on his life and the band which was common in that world. He also describes clearly how he learned the ways of the music business, who runs things and how to take control of his own music in the later years. All of this came to a head after the Live Aid concert, when he decided to not only quit drinking but leave Duran Duran. Taylor writes how the decisions made then were best for him and how he changed as well. He also discusses his family life, musical career after the eighties and why he agreed to join in the reformation of Duran Duran only to leave again years later.
Many disgruntled band members might use a book or the media to denigrate or “trash” their musical partners. Taylor, however, did not go out of his way to trigger readers’ minds into thinking ill of the other Duran Duran members and handlers. He did offer honest assessments of each of them in his chapters that offered fans to form their own opinions on each situation. He described several good traits about his co-workers but allowed each of their own actions (from his point of view) to tell their stories from creative arguments to dealing with producers to disrupting behavior at a Rolling Stones studio session.
As for the second run of Duran Duran in the new millennium, while rumors and innuendo swirled around Taylor’s departure a few years ago, Taylor broke his silence on that in the book.

While he does focus on the low points of working with Duran Duran and life as a pop star, he also stresses the good times and rewards. He is far from regretful and indicates in the book that he has grown from every experience he has had from his boyhood on through to today. He is still putting out music; we will feature a 2008 track called “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” on this week’s Revenge of the 80s show as well as a brief talk with Taylor on the book. It is not only essential for the Duran Duran fan but also for people who want to get into the business. Andy’s insight and unique perspective on many sides of the industry would serve as good preparation for years to come.

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