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John Taylor: ‘Duran Duran were tapping into a little bit of that James Bond thing’

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The SPYSCAPE Podcast Network announces For Your Ears Only – a new show featuring influential musicians, composers, directors and actors – revealing secrets and insights around their favourite film and television music. Listeners can get their weekly dose of great music and great stories, exclusively on Spotify.

On the eve of the release of their new album ‘Future Past’ Duran Duran’s John Taylor speaks about being a James Bond superfan who happens to be a founding member of the legendary band. Duran Duran were part of the exclusive club of artists who have actually recorded a bond theme, a virtuoso bassist with a natural affinity for the subtle rhythms of espionage. Who better to guide us through the soundtracks that define the spy world than John Taylor.

“I think I gravitated towards the character of James Bond and the films in particular, as a kid was the gadgets, the locations & the travel. I didn’t get a passport until I put a record out and never left England until I had to travel with the band. Those Bond films really served as as a passport to exotic places for me and I think it’s something that we kind of took with us and the kinds of music videos that we did in Sri Lanka and Antigua. We were sort of tapping into a little bit of that James Bond thing.”

On buying the classic Bond car an Aston Martin DB5, it breaking down and changing the paint & interior “I was at the Rum Runner club one evening and a friend of mine said, Hey, you know, there’s a garage around the corner from me and they’ve got a Aston Martin DB5 up for sale if you’re interested? So I bought this car for £5000. It was gold with red interior and famously I was driving Nick to the soundcheck at Villa Park (Duran performed at the Aston Villa football stadium in Birmingham on 23rd July 1983) and the car broke down, I had to go into Sainsbury’s call my dad who then had to come pick us up. What I really wanted was the was the Aston Martin DB5 five in Goldfinger and that car is silver with grey interior so silly me, I took my really one of a kind gold DB5 with red interior and over time I changed it re-upholstered it repainted it, so now it’s one of the hundreds of Aston Martin DB5’s that have been decked out in the Goldfinger colours. It’s a spectacular car, If anybody owns it, I’d like it back!”

“Duran Duran’s involvement in the James Bond films was really driven by fandom all of the band were huge fans of the films and really, really wanted to be a part of it. I had the opportunity to meet Cubby Broccoli, at a party and it was just that kind of Dutch courage. I said, When are you going to have a decent film theme song again? I didn’t know what I was thinking, but that was something that I really wanted to do. And I could imagine Duran doing it. Cubby Broccoli was very astute in recognising how they can, use attachments if you like, whether it’s kung fu films, or Duran Duran to sort of bring the franchise to a new audience and that summer, Duran Duran, were the biggest band in pop music. So he took my advance very seriously and following day I went to his office and he got John Barry on the phone, and this is a guy that is up there with Paul McCartney and Bowie for me. Cubby was very firm with John Barry and I got this sense of like, ‘No fucking around, John, we’ve got to make this work’.

“It was a terribly difficult song to record, if it wasn’t a number one, it was going to be a disappointment. So it had to serve a specific purpose for the James Bond people, but it had to serve an even greater purpose for us in a way. We recorded it in London and New York, and we brought in Bernard Edwards from Chic, we actually asked Nile Rogers, but he couldn’t do it. It was the first time that we’ve worked in such a multi level way, because you’ve got the band, then another texture of sound effects and then you’ve got the orchestra. It was a big, big record to make. And when the film came out, it was we really got a sense of the intersection of two great brands to at that time. I think that Duran’s involvement did what Paul McCartney’s did, I think it rose the bar, on what the theme song could do for a film, if it was placed rightly.”

“It’s so fantastic having a song like this in your armoury, when you go out onto stage, because for all of these many, many fantastic songs that make up the sequence of title songs, in the James Bond series of films, there’s not many of them that get performed live today by the artists that wrote and performed them. So I always feel really blessed when we get to launch into a View To A Kill. Barbara Broccoli was very generous with us, we get to show the title sequence the whole, the gun and the blood so just to have that in your, in your live show is always a massive moment. I’ll be forever grateful.”

With acclaimed actor Jodhi May (The Witcher, Small Axe, A Quiet Passion) as host, For Your Ears Only treats listeners to musical voyages of discovery with exceptional talents including: five-time Grammy & Oscar winner Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence & The Machine, Rihanna); Fraser T Smith (Kano, Stormzy, Dave); Academy and Grammy winner Ludwig Goransson (Black Panther, Mandalorian, Tenet), plus legendary producers and performers such as Nile Rodgers, Anna Calvi, Paul Epworth & Fraser T. Smith Season one also features electronic music pioneer Anna Meredith MBE, and a rare interview with British music icon Anne Dudley.

For Your Ears Only is also that rarest of listening experiences – a podcast with music! Thanks to Spotify’s groundbreaking Anchor platform, each episode features all the tracks discussed – either in the form of tasters for Spotify Free subscribers, or complete tracks for Spotify Premium listeners.

The SPYSCAPE Podcast Network launched in April 2020 with True Spies – the hit show hosted by Hollywood superstar Hayley Atwell and 2021 Oscar-nominee Vanessa Kirby. True Spies features real spies telling the amazing stories behind the world’s greatest espionage operations – and asks audiences what they would do in critical situations. True Spies also invites listeners to test their own secret intelligence skills, with online exercises designed by a former Head of Training at British Intelligence.

Find out more at spyscape.com/podcasts

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