80 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2008
I wanted to add a review after reading the post of someone who gave the book 1 star without ever having read the book (it's obvious from her remarks, which are completely disconnected from the contents of this book).
Andy gives a very down to earth, conversational account of growing up in a small fishing town in England. His mother abandoned him and his father when he was a boy. Fortunately, Andy and his father shared a strong bond.
He describes answering the ad that would lead to him becoming the guitarist for Duran and chronicles the bands rise and ultimately, their fall. He matter-of-factly mentions disagreements within the band, but mostly sticks to being very complimentary of the other members and points out how each of them contributed to the success of the band.
There is a chapter or two which describes Andy's drug use in the 80s and in one of the more moving stories, he describes being sold out to the newspapers by the band's old body guard from their Rum Runner days. The story broke describing the band's cocaine use and how his dad had walked (as he did each day) to get the morning paper at the local store, only to be greeted with disapproving looks from the other locals. He talks about his dads hurt/disappointment and his own guilt. You really get a sense of his father being a very decent, good man who was proud of his son and also worried about him.
He goes on to talk about living in Los Angeles and embarking on a solo career and, later, being asked to be part of reforming the original Duran Duran. He also talks about the circumstances leading to his no longer being in the band (something he does without any sense of anger....he's very diplomatic).
The final chapters bring the book full circle with the opening chapters in describing his fathers recurrance of cancer, and later his death. I hadn't really expected the book to have such a strong narrative.
A very relaxed, conversational style memoir and it's great that he has so many fond memories of the band and so much pride in what they accomplished together.
100 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2008
After having read this book in 8 hours flat, there is ONE resounding theme that I pickup from Andy Taylor's biography: Nick Rhodes is a control-freak and is notoriously difficult to work with. Not just for Andy (who is the Duran Duran member who seems to clash with him the most), but for all the members. According to Andy, there isn't a member of Duran Duran that hasn't clashed with Rhodes as concerns artistic control and direction of the band. Even Simon LeBon, who most assume has always been on-board with Rhodes' ideas. Is any big-time follower of the band going to be surprised by this revelation? No.
What's surprising is that Andy Taylor doesn't go into more detail about this Rhodes friction. It seems obvious that there are boatloads more of stories he could tell, given what he does reveal. One gets the sense that Taylor has reason to not provide more - could it be that he doesn't want to totally burn bridges behind him? I say yes. And that's because when he talks about the other band members, even when he is revealing something unflattering, he does so in such a gentile manner. To me, this controlled "reveal something but not too much" approach says he wants to keep his Duran Duran doors open to some extent.
Back to Rhodes. Andy Taylor postulates throughout the book that all of Duran Duran's problems and downturns (personal and professional) can be blamed on a lack of true communication between band members. In conjunction with this theory there is always some example of a situation in which Nick Rhodes behaves like a little dictator. When you put two and two together, it appears that what Andy Taylor is saying (but doesn't) is that no one communicates with one another because no one wants to confront Rhodes.
In this sense, what Taylor describes is a truly dysfunctional situation. And as we all know, dysfunctional situations often degrade into dysfunctional behaviors (i.e. cocaine, booze, booze, more cocaine, lots more booze, and some more cocaine). In fact, I would peg cocaine use as the second most prominent theme in this tell-all.
There is a classic rock n roll aspect to the Nick Rhodes problem: His first wife, Julieanne Friedman. Classic as in the Yoko Ono phenomenon. (Any other 40-something Duranies remember not liking her right from the start?) Well, it seems no one else in the band liked her either, and they resented her compulsory presence while touring. Taylor heaps blame on the Rhodes/Friedman partnership as part of the band's problems, even while stating that he often felt sad for Nick being stuck in such a bad marriage. It seems Nick usually put Julieanne before the band. (Didn't anyone learn anything from the Beatles?)
It may seem disingenuous for me to say this book is more about Nick Rhodes than it is about Andy Taylor. Based upon the focus and sheer volume of the book being ANDY'S personal story, that's true. But the obviousness of his beef with Rhodes can be likened to the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge.
The rest of the story, well, anyone with a brain can guess: Immediate rise to fame, living in excess, emotional and physical exhaustion, addictions, celebrity gatherings, artistic staleness, solo projects, marriages, divorces, come-back tour, etc. The majority of Taylor's book is basically the story of almost any other rock or pop band that has lasted this long. Thus, the book is lacking a real, original story. And from what I surmise, that unique story could have been told if he had the guts to REALLY get into the thick of the band's disagreements and ego conflicts. But again, he takes the low road on this subject, which ultimately results in a somewhat boring read.
I agree that this is a must-read for the true Duran Duran fan. Of course, there are many tidbits of information that the mega-fan will find intriguing. On the other hand, there is a sadness in reading this book as a big fan: Taylor explains that all the while they were riding the crest of their most successful period (1983-1984), that's when the band was actually falling apart. This revelation makes me sad because it shatters my teenage perceptions of this band from the same time period, when I was 14 and 15 years old.
Oh well. I'm an adult now. So are all the members of Duran Duran. It's time to let go. In the end, Andy Taylor's book is an attempt to do just that.
46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2008
I personally loved reading Andy's book, it's a fantastic read that flows nicely starting from his fractured family (no thanks to his adulterous mother), to that fateful call to Birmingham to respond to the ad for a "live-wire guitarist". He describes JT in a positive light, the first member of the band he met at the Rum Runner.
His descriptions of the bands beginnings, the recording of the first 4 albums confirm many rumours (i.e. the writing process, the videos, the idiosyncrasies of the other band members, problems with the Berrows and entourage, etc.) and presents some fabulous back story that will certainly impact the next time you view a FAB FIVE video or listen to a FAB FIVE song. Of course he highlights his contributions, but I find he also mentions the significant contributions of the others, esp. Simons original vocals/deep lyrics and the fact that John was a complete natural at the bass. His recounting of the time he told Nick that he was only playing one key is hysterical. Yeah, he goes well into the rivalry with Spandau Ballet and gloats that Duran came out on top - as they were clearly the better band. His accounts about Julie-Anne (Nick's psycho ex-wife) are humourous, especially when someone secretly hid her passort so she could not travel with them to Montserrat.
The accounts of the band's drug abuse and alcohol intake is not new news, but its description is engaging. The wild ride these 5 guys took between drugs, alcohol, babes and record hits is a swirling ride - its really a miracle that no one in the band died at the time.
He talks about his courtship with Tracy, their marriage, and I was shocked to read Tracy's post-partum problems. The story about Tracy and their first son made me feel for him even more so than ever before.
Some good stories about the Power Station, working with Robert Palmer, Bernard Edwards, Tony Thompson, Rod Stewart, Steve Jones are great anecdotes. He even mentions time spent with the two best cops to ever appear on television - Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas (aka Crockett and Tubbs from Miami Vice).
I am glad that he also clears out the reasons why he's no longer in the band, I was pissed to learn that he did actually want to be at that Poland show (remember that Warsaw show??). He did want to be in New York for the Timbaland sessions - and the reasons why he was not there are now something that Duran Duran/band management have to answer for - I now look back at their statements from September/October 2006 as utter falsehoods. I now look back at the bands comments during the Howard Stern interview and shake my head. He even comments about what he thought about working with Justine Timberflake.
I think its better that Andy is out of the band now, from the issues they had to get Astronaut together and the problems during the San Francisco and Sphere recording sessions make you think how he survived so long. Yep, all those corporate gigs from 2006 were done to pay for the studio time that created an illusion of progress (as Roger Taylor describes).
There's more I thought he could have written about his days as a solo artist, and I hope I get to ask him at one of the upcoming book signings.
I don't think that any other one of the Durans could write a book about their time in Duran Duran like Andy could - and this is the best you will get - better than that Malins book for sure - a thousand times better!
And the bonus are the wonderful sets of pictures included in the book.
Thanks Andy for putting together this wonderful book, it really nicely lifts the lid over what happened during Duran Duran's heyday.
Buy the book - I did - in fact I bought 2.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2008
This was NOT what I expected.
I got into Duran Duran in 1984 during their major tour of the USA. Yeah, I saw them at Madison Square Garden in '84... what a show! As a Teenager, I was enamored... the guys could DO NO WRONG. This book really made me feel for them. Andy Taylor put out a book that was far more sympathetic to five 20-somethings who had to deal with a tremendous amount of pressure at a very young age than I expected.
It was FAR more sympathetic to the combined "approaching middle age something" they are ALL going through. I had no clue to many of the inner struggles within the band through 25 plus years. I had no clue that many of the press stories were either... a. wrong, or b. downplayed. Press is Press and is to be taken with a grain of salt, but precious few realize that. To hear it from someone who was there.... wow.
I was very impressed with the lack of what I was expecting... mainly, the potential to snipe at his replacement. It was also less acrimonious to his bandmates than I expected. This gained a lot of respect from me as the reader.
If you are looking for a "TELL-ALL," this ain't it. Tell-alls tend to be biased and one sided. This is a well thought out book which, in my opinion, sought to tell a story without hurting those involved.
That's damned rare, in my opinion, and, as I said, not what I expected.
I was pleased with the conversational tone of the book... as if Andy and Tracey invited the reader in for a 'spot of tea and a chat.' Far more complimentary towards fans than I expected (oh come ON... what 25 year old wouldn't be terrified by the mob of Duranies banging on the top of the car? Not to mention in 2005, to use computer speak, ROFL, a bunch of thirty-something MOTHERS? CLASSIC line, Mr. Taylor.... made me laugh hysterically, that bit!) I was pleased to read the inside/outside of what the band, or at the very least, Andy was feeling.
As a little aside (as I fan, I simply can not let this go,) I think the thing that made my 'DECADE' was the fact that I am mentioned, albeit in a tiny way. I won't spoil the book, but an analogy that I made in an email to Andy Taylor is mentioned in the last paragraph of the book. This would be a small thing, but as a fan, I was impressed way back when I sent then email that 'Andy Taylor' replied.
Not his management.
Not his fan club.
Not his Web manager.
Take a moment to swoon. I did. ;)
This is a man who appreciates his fans, and I am tickled to the end that he actually replied to an email from little ol' me. As far as being mentioned (anonymously) in his book... ;) ... ask my friends. I've been giggling about this since Friday when I read the book on the day it arrived from Amazon.
Exceedingly well written. I laughed, I cried... I could not ask for more.
Except for everyone to do one more show at Boston University so I could see all five again. ;)
This biography is a MUST for ANY fan of Duran Duran.
Bravo, Mr. Taylor! Vive la Rock!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2008
Truthfully, I wasn't going to read Wild Boy. I figured that this book was going to be nothing but Andy airing all of the dirty laundry to get even with a band he left, not once, but twice. If the book was like that, I didn't want to read it. But then I read one review posted about the book and thought why not give it a shot?
I have to say that I was happily surprised that Wild Boy had a wonderful positive, honest tone. Andy was quite candid about the history of Duran, including his and other members' drug abuse. While there was nothing too shocking in the book, there were ton of interesting antidotes which kept me engrossed from beginning to end.
If you want to read about life inside Duran Duran, read this book. You won't be disappointed.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2013
I was always a Simon Le Bon girl, but after reading Andy's Wild Boy, I have gained an understanding and respect for Andy. I literally could not put his book down! In a very down to earth, comfortable way, Andy describes his life and his time with Duran Duran. I especially loved his vivid (and humorous) descriptions of each video, including little tidbits that prompted me to view them again. His book is written with a lot of heart, and is not a nasty 'tell all'. Andy goes out of his way to be complimentary (but truthful) about the other Duran members. A very well written, insiders look at the joys, sorrows and vices of fame. Nothing is glossed over, but no one is thrown under the bus either.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2008
Duran Duran-what a name and what band. This book is a great read and is deserving of a mass audience. I learned a great deal; even though I have been a "Durannie" since 1984. To have gone what they went through and still remain alive, etc. is remarkable. My only qualm with the book was wondering if Andy was biased in some of this, in which I would only guess he'd have to be. I hated the bank broke up in the 80's and again a few years ago. Duran is still relevant today and deserving of a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Pick up this book!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2012
I came into the Duran Duran fandom in the years that Andy was away from the band. I was just a baby when their original album, "Duran Duran", came out...my first album was The Wedding Album which I purchased after hearing Come Undone and falling under DD's spell.
I quickly came to appreciate the rest of their work, and they became my favorite band. However, I realized I knew relatively little about all five original members save very basic info and that they were fantastic in their reunion tour for Astronaut that I was lucky enough to see. Of the five, I'd say Andy was the one I knew least about, so it was kindof interesting that his was the first autobio from inside the band.
In short, I thought the book was well written and interesting. It was written in somewhat of a conversational style such that you just can't quite put down because you want to "hear" more about his life and the band. It's really a great book for a Duran Duran fan.
In some ways, when I read an autobio or bio about a band, as much as it is interesting to learn about the person's childhood, etc., I usually just want to get right into the part about being with the band. But I will say I think Andy did a good job of capturing the important parts of his personal life, childhood, marriage (which, btw, bravo for a long marriage in the midst of pop stardom!)...as well as his non-DD musical career (interesting to learn about Power Station and his respect for those guys!!)...and showing how they fit into his experience and relationship with DD. I never found myself going "man, he's on and on about himself...can't he just get to the band already!" It was a really good balance...very enjoyable. I actually loved how he highlighted the importance of his dad in his life, which was quite touching.
Of course, then you get to the meat of it...his experiences with Duran Duran. I think, again, he had a good balance of describing the tough relationships and issues without being explosively bitter, angry, and ranting. You can tell that even though the boys seemed to have a tough time getting along Andy is proud of his involvement with DD and did not appear to really burn any bridges in his writing. I know some people read bios like this looking for dirt and people-bashing, and therefore may feel in this book that they didn't get enough that true fans didn't already know, but I'd rather he did what he did, which is to paint the overall picture with plenty of juicy bits but not enough to piss everyone off and come off as vindictive. He also, of course, doesn't hide his own "flaws" and issues, and he describes his down points in life with honesty...both the bad things he was dealt by others as well as the things he caused himself.
Of course, as any fan reading an autobio knows, its the photo pages that get the most looking-over, and I found myself perusing that glossy section many a time during my reading. Lots of great stuff from his personal life and non DD career as well as lots of good stuff from the DD boys.
Overall, I really enjoyed my first real look into Duran Duran. I always shy away from biographies (vs autobios like this) about bands b/c you never know if you are getting the straight story. And I guess even though an autobio is just as likely to have bias as a bio...perhaps more likely...I much more enjoy hearing the account from someone in the band. I like to "hear" his voice like he is speaking just to me. I am just starting on John Taylor's autobio...wonder if any of the other guys will follow suit.
I know Andy's not in Duran Duran anymore, and it seems like it's for the better all around...but I'm glad to see the band carry on :) However, I'm also glad I got to learn about the person in the original DD that I knew least about!!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2013
When I read some of the comments on this book at Amazon, it looked to me like this book was going to be a bitchfest and finger pointer about everything that went wrong in one of the biggest acts of the 80's, Duran Duran. I was very skeptical about getting this for the following reason:
In highschool, I was an absolute KISS freak. Ate, lived, and breathed the band, and they had a magic on stage that was a beautiful thing, something that was like a place in your heart that made life joyful. Then Gene Simmons released his autobiography KISS and Makeup and within the time it took to read the book, he destroyed the magic and beauty of the band unmercifully for me. From that point on, KISS was decimated in my eyes. I became a casual listener of anything they released afterwards, but this this special thing that I felt a part of was dead. Then about a year ago, I read original drummer Peter Criss's autobiography and it was a total bitchfest from someone who should not be throwing stones at anyone. Between Peter and Gene, I don't even bother looking in the KISS section anymore when I go to music stores. Sometimes, private things should be kept private.
Duran Duran was the second major rock act I got into before discovering metal in the 80's, and like KISS, they had a magic all their own that just pulsed through my body every time I listened to them, so I was seriously on the fence about reading this. BUT after having such a wonderful experience reading Duran Duran bassist John Taylor's autobiography, I figured I would give Andy a chance.
I am very happy to say that the customer comments on Amazon are very inaccurate. Andy gave what I felt was an honest account of being in a band that was dubbed "The Fab Five". From their meager start in England to worldwide fame that led them into the usual vices of the rock and roll lifestyle, Andy is very on point about everything, and I never felt like he was pointing fingers at anyone; he merely described certain situations with DD keyboardist Nick Rhodes that were less than savory, but at the same time, he had no problem taking responsibility for his own misgivings and faults that led to Duran Duran's eventual breakup, and reunion in the early 2000's (after which he mysteriously left again due to friction within the band). By the same token, he also spoke of the magic that he formed with Nick Rhodes that helped define the Duran Duran sound, and gave much credit to Nick. He also spoke very candidly about his family and wife of 25+ years, both of which encountered some pretty big obstacles in life. I thought this book was very endearing, and I'm glad I read it.
I think the only thing I would have liked to see was Andy talk about his guitars-which models he used throughout the years, how he dealt with an ever-changing musical atmosphere, what kind of amps he used, etc but that is just the guitarist in me talking.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2011
I admit, like the majority of people who pick up books like this, I wanted to hear about the tales of debauchery. There is an expression : sex, drugs and rock n' roll. And people always want to know those things about you IN THAT ORDER. What you do creatively (or even strictly business) is not really what people care about hearing. But Andy is/was a real man, and he did contribute a great many things other than the first two.
Andy Taylor tells his story of not just those things but his own story. He began with humble beginnings in a fishing village in Birmingham, England, raised in a single parent household with his father (who he has always been close to) before his mother walked out on them. One day, after he left school at age 16, he answered an ad in the paper looking for a guitar player. He took the train to a little place called the Rum Runner, and there he would meet John Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor, later adding Simon Le Bon into the Fab Five that would create one of the greatest rock n' roll phenomenons ever, Duran Duran.
In terms of debauchery, there is not that much talked about, which is for several reasons. First and foremost, Andy loves his wife. He was the first in Duran Duran to get married and he has been married to his wife for 30+ years and still going. His love for her and their four kids is evident, so if he was ever bad, he wants to protect them from it. Second, in terms of his drug use, he admits fully that he was/is an addict and has since cleaned up. So he who is without sin may cast the first stone, which is perhaps the most important message he wants to convey. Third, as a gal who has had their fun in the rock n' roll world alongside the likes of guys in bands, what does it get you really? Boast about who you have been with, people think you are lying. Say "Oh that never happened", they still think you're lying. And really, what difference does it make? No one really REALLY needs to know about some dirty little scene boy one may or may not have had some lost weekend with, let alone my mom. (See the section on the nude tabloid photos published about John Taylor and some girl he spent the weekend with in France, and the cocaine scandal.) People can and will forget about it, it doesn't make you any more or less cool than you already are.
There would be a blow by blow of all their albums that he was a part of, plus breaking off into Power Station and Arcadia, and his failed solo career. And they fought a lot, went through the years when they were not speaking to each other, getting back together, and reliving their glory once again in the 2000s. All bands go through these things, as egos are big and more fragile than we would like to think they are. Why is Andy no longer in Duran Duran? Egos conflicted back and forth, mostly at the hands of Nick Rhodes and his now ex wife Julie-Anne (who he portrays as their Yoko). But Duran Duran, with and without their original line up, has a certain something. They never go away, the fans are not just still loyal, but they now have kids and they have passed it down to their kids. Even though Andy did not have a role in the most recent album, all you need is now.