John Taylor of Duran Duran was recently interviewed by at least two Florida-based online publications prior to the band’s concert in Miami and he mentioned John in both. In case you wanted some insight in the creative process between the guest artist and the legendary British band, that the media have long dubbed “unlikely”, this is a first-hand account.
Excerpt of the South Florida interview
In the fall of 2014, about six months into the recording of the album, Taylor got an email from a most unlikely source, former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, son of former Broward Circuit Judge John Frusciante Sr.
The idiosyncratic musician, who had turned his attention to synthesizers and acid-house music since leaving the Chili Peppers in 2009, explained that he was thinking about playing guitar again and thought the Duran Duran album would be the perfect setting to experiment with it. Taylor, who says he and Frusciante live near each other in Los Angeles, but met briefly just once, is among the legions of musicians who put Frusciante on a singular pedestal.
“We’re reading this email in the studio in England, saying, ‘What? Is this for real?'” Taylor recalls. “I mean, for me, in the field of the electric guitar, John is one of the few players in the last 20 years that has moved it forward.”
As an “experiment,” the band sent Frusciante an early version of “What Are the Chances,” without the vocal, which he returned with chunks of scorching rock guitar that were later layered over Le Bon’s sweet vocal. Frusciante’s guitar also can be heard on ” Butterfly Girl,” “The Universe Alone” and a bonus track, “Northern Lights.”
The notion that the down-and-dirty SoCal funk of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the bedazzled British synth of Duran Duran are incompatible was disproved by Frusciante, Taylor says.
“What’s John really about? He’s about Mick Ronson, who was Bowie’s guitar player on ‘Ziggy Stardust.’ He’s about Robert Fripp, who’s a massive influence, and another Bowie guitar player,” Taylor says. “And, you know, he had a Duran moment when he was a kid. He told me that he’d heard the song ‘Save a Prayer.’ At that point, he wasn’t playing guitar, and he listened to that song, and he thought, ‘You know what? If I was playing guitar, that’s the kind of music I’d like to make.’ And I thought, ‘Wow.'”
Not that they’re best buds now. Duran Duran tried to get Frusciante to contribute to another song on the album, but he declined. They asked him to join them onstage in Los Angeles. Again, he declined.
“He’s not the kind of musician who’s made for the red carpet. He’s a different breed altogether,” Taylor says. “But it was a fantastic gift to play with somebody like that.”
Read the rest here.
Excerpt of TBO.com interview
The band, which will perform Saturday at MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, received considerable assistance. Nile Rodgers, who produced â€œNotorious,â€ and Mark Ronson (â€œUptown Funkâ€), were each behind the board for â€œPaper Gods.â€ Janelle Monae and former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante provided key assists.
â€œWe had quite a few guests, who helped quite a bit,â€ Taylor said. â€œWe have a history with Nile, and Mark is just amazing. Janelle is an amazing singer, and John Frusciante is such a great guitarist, and he’s so out there.â€
Read the rest here.
The reference to late 2014 could be wrong, as John himself spoke about this in the May 2014 issue of Guitar magazine Japan.