In The Pleasure Groove: Love, Death, and Duran Duran takes a trip through bassist John Taylor’s life of extremes, from his perspective and in his own words, starting from his devout Catholic childhood growing up in Worcestershire England, right on through to his current focus on sobriety and life with his own family.  And of course, the messy bits of self-destructive behavior, alcohol, sex, and drugs that one expects a massively successful rock star to dabble in, are revealed and dealt with along the way.  But if you’re expecting to be shocked and amused by a reveal-all story that brings to light of all of the dirt, you won’t find it here.

Taylor prefers to take the high road rather than sling mud at his bandmates for their own indiscretions, and instead talks about the whirlwind climb from being a local club band to Duran Duran’s stadium sell-out domination of the world and pop charts.  And with that success, grew his own battle with the crutch of drugs and alcohol, empty sex with countless women, and the compulsion to stay awake and keep moving to stave off intense loneliness while on tour.  Taylor’s words and the feelings he shares throughout the book feel honest.  They come from a man who has certainly been through it and feels genuinely lucky to have survived it relatively intact.

This sense of calm inner peace is even better conveyed in the audiobook that Taylor himself narrates in the almost soothing tones of his voice.  In this format, the book is much more enjoyable than printed words on a page.  Long-time Duran Duran fans (or Duranies as I’ve come to learn they are called) may find the book reveals little they don’t already know about John, but for casual fans, it’s a fascinating look at how sudden and unexpected rock super stardom of five young guys in the 80s spiraled into madness within a year.

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Dave MacIntyre