Better Sex Through Duran Duran

Duran Duran Album Art Work

People say men only think about one thing. Getting laid. This is a common fallacy. Men think about two other things as well:

1. The times we already got laid (go us!).

2. The times we could have gotten laid but blew it.

The second one is the worst. Those are the times Charles Dickens was talking about, opposite the best times (see number 1, above). All men have at least one of those bad times to look back on with regret.

Like when Deidre, for example, the girl you fancied at the cutlery store across from your accounting office, came to tell you she just broke up with her boyfriend Ted and wanted to do something crazy. That very night. Instead of asking, “What time to you get off work,” you gave her a business card for the suicide prevention hotline. You wondered why she didn’t visit you anymore.

Or perhaps the time that Barry, the overpriced-but-talented hairdresser who looks like Pierce Brosnan, offered to give you some trim in his apartment for free, and you said, “That’s all right. I’d feel bad if I got hair all over the place.”

It’s only later – years later – when you’re daydreaming through a Project Runway marathon while eating a bowl of pistachios, that you suddenly sit upright, almost knocking over your $9 bottle of Yellowtail Cabernet Sauvignon (that goes with pistachios, right?), and shout, “Duh!” into an empty room.

Epiphanies are like that.

I can’t say I’m the best at reading amorous clues either. In my rock-n-roll days, cranking out well-rehearsed hard rock tunes for occasionally enthusiastic crowds, it became a lot easier. When a woman says, “Do you want to see my underwear?” before you’ve been formally introduced, you know you aren’t going to be spending a lot of money on dinner and a show.

If this chick asks if you’re into water sports, you say, “Yes, please.”

Ah, but here’s what semi-retired rockers never tell you when they are regaling you with tales of musical decadence: You look at the girl, then you look at your $4,000 Yamaha drum set sitting there, unguarded, which needs to be packed up and driven home straight away because your set is over. You can’t leave it outside because two people were stabbed to death in this same parking lot the last time you played here, and that’s no place to store gear. You wonder what the hell you’d do if something happened to that rig. You’d be rather far up shit creek when it comes to your budding musical career. So you look back at the girl and say, “Of all the women who have offered to show me their underwear, darling, I’ve never wanted to see anyone’s more than yours. But I can’t tonight.”

She looks at the floor a moment, dejected. Then, with a burst of good cheer, she smiles and says, “How about watching me pee, then?”

Despite having cemented her potential as Mrs. Right with this suggestion, your first and only true love is your stupidly expensive instrument. So you go home alone.

My kingdom for a roadie, you say.

Every workaday musician envies the big, famous bands – even ones that suck – if for no reason other than they have roadies to haul all that junk around. You play. You party. That’s it.

Duran Duran commemorate busy wallpaper and busier lapels.

And right now I envy music lovers in the UK, because one band that’s the opposite of suck, Duran Duran, is taking their roadies, their expensive gear, and their massive catalog of hits on tour there this spring, starting at the Newcastle Metro Radio Arena on May 18. The group is supporting their new album, All You Need is Now, sans original guitarist Andy Taylor, who apparently hates rampant sex and girls offering to pee and would rather stay home.

Unlike new wave contemporaries Human League, ABC, Culture Club, and so on, who are all dead or in prison (or perhaps simply remembered as cultural artifacts of the particular half-decade they were popular), DD continues to blend radio-friendly, white-funk accessibility with underrated musicianship and deft arrangements that no one else has yet been clever enough to steal and repackage. U2 and the Cure should have been so smart.

I’ll say something now I would have been killed for in the 1980’s: Duran Duran is the sexiest band ever.

Amazing how this art dragged its coked-up ass from the 70s into the 80s without needing rehab.

No, I haven’t decided to join Killough’s team. I mean sexy in the way that jumping on a grenade to save your mates is romantic or how you can be in love with your guitar.

Duran’s sexiness derives from the mix of fashion and pop, funk and sheen, slick graphics and videos they couldn’t show properly on MTV because the girls weren’t wearing clothes. It was also from Andy Taylor’s aggressive, 12th-fret guitar jabs; John Taylor’s Roxy Music-meets-Chic bass lines, Roger’s ubiquitous 32nd beats on the hi-hat; Simon Le Bon’s lanky swagger; and Nick Rhodes’ shimmering, sliding, Dippin-Dots ice cream keyboard parts. And has there ever been a sexier album jacket design, from front to back, sleeve to liner, than 1982’s Rio?

Flashback to the early 80’s, before I was a badass rocker and just an insecure kid with no identity: On the outside, I was Anonymous Teen, with braces, ribs showing, indecisive hair, and ugly clothes from Sears (sorry, Mom, it’s true. I know you did your best). Inside, I was Nick Rhodes, pop music genius, with pink hair and a shiny Miami vice jacket and matching tie, equally cool – and plausible – on stage or in an art gallery. If we have nothing else in common, I’ll bet me and Nick are equally rubbish at sports.

Boys in Reagan-era, conformist, soccer-jock worshipping central New Jersey circa 1985 did not admit to liking Duran Duran. Especially not if you’re socially awkward. It was enough that girls never noticed me; I didn’t need football players stuffing me in lockers on account of my music taste.

Well, maybe that’s not exactly how it happened. I did let slip to a few classmates – all girls – that I was a fan of the Fab Five. That I had seen them live, in fact.

(For the record, which you are no doubt keeping, I’ve been to scores of shows. Piles. I’ve seen all kinds of metal, including Motorhead, reputed to be the World’s Loudest Band. Duran Duran was louder than them all. I was literally almost deaf for two days after seeing them in 1984. So, if any of our male readers in the UK plan on catching a show on this tour… bring earplugs. Those ladies in the audience might be older now, but I bet they still have a few screams left in them.)

So these female classmates were surprisingly kind to me and quite interested in my views on the subject. One young lady was grateful to learn that John Taylor did not play a bass guitar, like the fish but, rather, a bass guitar like the music word. Some gave me cassettes of B-side songs I didn’t have. When I expressed dismay at not owning a lyric sheet from the first album, one girl hand-wrote the entire thing for me. I said, “You could have typed it,” and she said with a smile, “I wanted to hand write it for you.”

The kindness didn’t end there. I got a part time job at the mall, and the girls at the teen fashion store came to my shop so we could discuss the band. One brought me flowers. When I think back on it, I warmly remember what a swell bunch of girls listened to Dur-

Wait! Stop the Project Runway. Pick up the Yellowtail spilling all over the rug (gotta save the rug). Swallow that pistachio.

Those girls weren’t being nice. They wanted to… I could have lost my… in the ninth grade, instead of…


by Eric J Baker

Comments: 41

  • brad May 2, 20113:06 am

    great article. not only did i lack the cautious wisdom to keep my fanboyism under my john taylor hat, i substituted it with a wardrobe from le chateau and hydrogen peroxide. just saw them a few nights ago – best night ever.

    • oldancestor May 2, 20114:48 pm

      Look, we both lived!

      I never had the clothes, but I did steal the 32nd beats for my hi-hat.

  • nrhatch May 2, 201112:35 pm

    You had me at:

    People say men only think about one thing. Getting laid. This is a common fallacy. Men think about two other things as well:

    1. The times we already got laid (go us!).
    2. The times we could have gotten laid but blew it.

    • nrhatch May 2, 201112:40 pm

      And . . .

      When a woman says, “Do you want to see my underwear?” before you’ve been formally introduced, you know you aren’t going to be spending a lot of money on dinner and a show.

      And of cours your final epiphany . . . Duh!

      • oldancestor May 2, 20114:51 pm

        I’m glad you read that George Carlin book. My stuff seems tame by camparison.

        This is definitely a heathen blog, by the way. You’ll fit in perfectly.

      • nrhatch May 2, 20116:42 pm

        I like it! Irreverence is good.

        BTW: Not that it’s here or there, but here are a few of the bands I heard in Concert in the late 70’s/early 80’s: Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Jefferson Starship, Boston, Muddy Waters, Starcastle, Jackson Browne, Grateful Dead, Pure Prairie League, Dave Mason, Bob Seger, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Fleetwood Mac, etc.

        Later I got to see: Dave Matthews (the best!), Bruce Hornsby, Indigo Girls, 10,000 Maniacs, Sarah McLachlan, Natasha Beddingfield, Moody Blues, Alabama, Stevie Nicks, Chicago, John Eddie, Steve Forbert.

        Bands I did not see in concert (bummer!): The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Frampton, Aerosmith, Bruce Springstein, Dan Fogelberg (had the tickets . . . show got canceled!)

        I probably saw more . . . but I might have been too stoned to remember. ;)

        I did not see Duran Duran. Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Guess it depends on whether I wanted to get laid.

    • oldancestor May 2, 20117:16 pm


      You’re too young to have seen some of those bands live when they were worth seeing. The Who without Keith Moon… meh.

      I see a distinct note of folkish rock in your live list. Not sure where British synth pop fits in.

      I recall Boston being one of the duller shows I’ve witnessed. U2, circa 1985, might have been the best.

      • nrhatch May 2, 20117:30 pm

        I was not old enough to go to Woodstock . . . unless I took a baby sitter.

        Boston had a great sound . . . a great sound . . . a great sound . . . just a bit repetitive . . . repetitive . . . repetitive . . . heard one song and you heard them all . . . them all . . . them all . . .

  • sophiatesch June 24, 20119:43 am

    My only thought is….Why didn’t I think of this?!? Ha ha. Great post. Thank you that was a fun read.

  • Handfastings June 24, 201110:38 am

    This is a brilliant blog post. Love the stuff on Duran Duran. Great writing!
    — Shira

  • Brilliant. Duran Duran (whoever manages the band’s FB page) tried to post the link to this but FB wouldn’t let me them — I presume because the title includes the word “sex, so they wrote, “google ‘better sex through Duran Duran.'” So I did!

    I don’t know if this works the other way around, though. You know, if you’re a woman who loves Duran Duran and a guy comes up to you and says, “I wish I had an outfit like Nick Rhodes’.” How do you respond to that?

    Thank you for recognising and acknowledging their musicianship and originality and that magical blend of *something* that they have, and have always had. You captured it well with “DD continues to blend radio-friendly, white-funk accessibility with underrated musicianship and deft arrangements that no one else has yet been clever enough to steal and repackage.” And that sexiness, of course. Which isn’t, as you pointed out, merely about sex.

    Oh, and a DD concert is still the loudest out there ;) Saw them at the Fillmore (SF) in April for the first time. Absofuckinglutelyfantastic.

    • Pure Film Creative June 24, 201110:44 am

      Thanks for reading, Georgie. The FB problem might be that one of our more popular articles is “Mark Zuckerberg Has a Small Dick,” so we aren’t exactly in good graces over there. But as a bumper sticker I read the other day said, “Your Mom Is On Facebook.”

    • oldancestor June 24, 201111:01 am

      I’m envious and how they swing around the U.S. east coast again this tour.

      The new album is super fabulous by the way.

      – Eric

  • Toni June 24, 201110:59 am

    Connected in the cosmos.

    I ran the stretch of beach connecting Imperial Beach, Ca to Tijuana today with All You Need is Now keeping me company.

    The run was a crashing symphony of painful shin splints and a musical orgasm. I pushed through the pain, and with the help of JT and Simon did indeed feel like I was younger, hotter, fitter. When can I go again?

    • oldancestor June 24, 201112:16 pm

      I get the same feeling driving to work, minus the shin splints, JT’s basslines rolling all over my leather seats.

      – Eric

  • Susan June 24, 201111:14 am

    As a girl from South Jersey, Duran Duran and the guys that liked them were awesome, so what if two of them are gay. Just remember girls who listened to Duran Duran also played music and knew a bass from a BASS… and you have seen the movies now about band camp and the girls who played flute!!!! LOL Great article you nailed (pun intended) a great time and greater memories!

    • Toni June 24, 201111:26 am

      Suan, where you from? I hail from Cherry Hill (hmm.. a Jersey thing) None of the Duran aging lads are gay. They just have a penchant for eyeliner and fashion.

    • oldancestor June 24, 201112:17 pm

      Jersey represent!

      Thanks for reading.

      – Eric

  • julian June 24, 201112:10 pm

    great article my friend

  • June 24, 20111:00 pm

    *blushes* No comments! ;-)

    • oldancestor June 24, 201110:18 pm

      Are you a real person?

      • Pure Film Creative June 24, 201110:20 pm

        Appears to be a Second Life person with a blog. Located in the Netherlands. Not a bot. I haven’t thought about Second Life in ages. Oh, I feel next Friday’s sermon about insanity coming on …

  • Thom June 24, 20117:24 pm

    I lost my virginity with Rio playing. Didn’t make it past side A, but being young, set the cassette player on “repeat” for another go at it.

    • oldancestor June 24, 201110:18 pm

      No matter what happens in either of our lives, you are cooler than me.

      If Rio had been playing when I lost my virginity, I wouldn’t have made it to the sax solo in the title track. I remember thinking, “Oh, so this is why everyone likes this so m— oops.”

  • Tracey Postill June 27, 20111:03 pm

    Truly brilliant cyber pen-ship. You managed what few have; to describe DD to an absolute T..Nick Rhodes, being not only a keyboard wizard but also a dab hand at the spoken and written word would agree.
    A fine example and bloody great reading!:-)

    • oldancestor June 27, 20114:37 pm

      Thank you for the flattering words, and thanks for reading! Nick Rhodes = pop music genius.

      – Eric

  • Shawn June 28, 20116:38 pm

    I’m not sure what to say really…..I never needed Duran Duran to get laid…..and I’m not in to guys so their sexiness is of no use to me when reading any article about the band. The Andy Taylor dig was a bit superfluous considering he had nothing to do with this album or the postponed World tour. Other than that, it’s a bit long-winded, but an interesting read. Thank you.

    • Pure Film Creative June 28, 20117:03 pm

      I’ll let Eric say you’re welcome. We’re all about long-winded here at PFC. We’re a lifeline for the terminally bored. As another reader said the other day about us, we’re “yada, yada, yada.” He’s Jewish.

      — James

    • oldancestor June 28, 20117:35 pm

      I get paid by the word, so I try to be as long-winded as possible. And I get an extra 10 bucks every time I take a superfluous potshot at Andy Taylor. On top of that, whenever someone named “Shawn” leaves a comment, James, the blogmaster, gives me a back rub. It’s a bit gayish, but hey. A back rub is a back rub.

      • Pure Film Creative June 28, 20117:48 pm

        I read “blogmaster” and suddenly I saw myself 40 lbs heavier in a wrestling unitard wearing a lucha libre mask.

      • Nicely handled. Well done. Enjoy the back rub.

      • oldancestor June 28, 20118:16 pm

        Hmmm. I need to come up with a post on Mexican wrestling movies now.

        And thanks, Jane AKA Georgie Davis! James has muscular fingers.

        • Pure Film Creative June 28, 20118:19 pm

          I do believe this is the first quasi-negative comment we’ve had on PFC in 4 months of slapping everyone else around. No, wait, there was one way back when for the Spanking Galliano piece, but it was so inarticulate, so clearly teen (it contained a “yawn”) that I didn’t approve it.

      • oldancestor June 29, 20113:59 am

        To Shawn’s credit, he/she was criticizing the content of the article and didn’t resort to personal attacks (must be my puppy dog eyes in the pic).

        My very first comment here was a semi snarky one from Bulger, who has been MIA.

        • Pure Film Creative June 29, 20119:12 am

          Oh, right, the Bulger comments. He is such a weirdo, we will never know what that meant. He’s in Bali, but still reads the blog.

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