Sunday, April 25, 2010

Venus enters Gemini

I have to rip your clothes off and lick you all over right now!

There is no holding back the power of Venusian Gemini love, like a million teenyboppers with one shot to get to their object of affection. It's a force so big and so immediate, that it can transcends all barriers. The only problem, it might not last forever...or maybe in rare cases it can...

(Also, a Mercury retrograde flashback special! My trip down teenybopper lane...)

Forever Cool, John Taylor

There are inevitable days when life becomes uncontrollably surreal, perhaps by fate or perhaps by stupidity. September 5, 1997 was one of those days for me…

I started my day seemingly non-threatening, lying in bed and tuned into The Brady Bunch. Marsha was in yet another virginal drama; this time over her lost diary. As usual, Alice saves the day. Through her network of celebrities' maids, she arranges a visit with Marsha’s idol, Desi Arnaz Jr. Upon the visit, Marsha happily and wholesomely shifts out of her doldrums and zips into a recharged zest for life. Instantly overcome by giddiness, I started to feel the groovy effects of having slipped into the Marsha Brady parallel universe, since this happen to be the day I was going to meet my teen dream, John Taylor, formerly of Duran Duran. The only glitch, I was no longer a teenager and thoroughly more jaded than Marsha was ever going to get. I wasn’t in the mood for having my sacred memories of youthful affections spoiled by someone I could discover was a jerk, or worst — a joke. I didn’t want to find a slimy 80’s leftover LA record producer, snorting cocaine while smoking a cigar and rattling off phrases like, “Man, music is my life.”

I wanted to be able to still have solace in my memories of living in my Duran Duran wallpapered universe, dreaming of them continually and not feeling like I wasted all those hours composing tragic letters in hopes of inciting a sympathy visit. I wanted to still have maximum enjoyment recollecting those carefree, hormonally imbalanced times of eleven. I didn’t want to be left with a marred image of the pop star I once pledged to love forever.

Of course when it came down to it, my opinion wasn’t the point of our meeting. I was going over to do an assignment; a straight Q&A based on John’s new record label B5, in which he began with producer Hein Hoven (Stray Cats, The Clash). We were going to discuss his two solo albums, Feeling Good and Other Lies (the kind of record you listen to during a bad break-up and you’re mad, and hurt, but still desperate enough to forgive) and Auto Didact (the record you listen to after you’ve realized you’re strong enough not to have to forgive.) and talk about John’s debut as a producer on Dream Home Headaches...remaking/remodeling Roxy Music (a benefit record for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles). I was to remain a professional. I was going to stick to relevant questions, and of course, not forget to put fresh batteries into my new AIWA recorder assuring everything would go smoothly.

I entered the room ready to deal, good or bad. Fortunately, I found John soberly drinking his morning coffee, casually dressed. There were no signs of a suitcase filled with leather 80’s apparel or a closet full of prostitutes. Oddly, everything seemed too normal, too easy to seem possible. There he was — the actual John Taylor in 3-D, in my presence. I caved in and started to feel eleven years old.

After introductions and catching my breath, we began the interview. Sticking to my questions as a security blanket, I asked my lame questions word for word...Why he had left Duran Duran? Boredom, wanting more control over his life, make less produced music in a shorter time, etc. How long the album took? Six months...What he did on his albums? The writing, vocals, bass and guitar...Shortly after, I started to short circuit. My curiosity was getting the better of me and I slowly began diverting to conversation between questions, intertwining gab on everything from Andy Warhol’s Factory, Fellini, Roni Size, Rasputina, Lou Barlow, astrology to Vivienne Westwood. We even compared our love for Kiki Smith’s work, leading John to ask me what she was like, since telling him that I studied with her...what a twist of events! …Maybe it was all those years of living with his face plastered all around me, but the meeting seem more like a reunion, rather than an assignment.

Unfortunately, time was quickly drawing to a close and my questions were soon over. I packed up and allowed a moment for my regressive side to come out, taking a Polaroid of us and getting an autograph for my cousin. Finally, I handed him a pamphlet for my self-started new religion (no pun intended), Bauddhism (the only religion you can enjoy lying down). Curiously, looking through the packet and enjoying the material, John arrived at page four, covering the first principle of Bauddhism and asked, “What does pulchritudinous mean?”

I was in shock. A 37-year-old male asking me, an overgrown teenybopper what a word meant??! Bizarre enough for any man to ask the meaning of a word, even more extraordinary since this particular male had traveled the world, had #1 hits all over the planet, wrote a James Bond theme song, played Live Aid and stole my pubescent heart. (Subsequently, it means epitome of beauty.) Overwhelmed by John’s lack of ego, I pranced out of the room, with a restored faith in life.

…Momentarily reality was waiting to kick me back down...

I sauntered into the lobby to play back my tape, realizing the reporter’s nightmare — NO TRACE OF AN INTERVIEW! In a panic I darted back to John’s room asking for another interview. Without hesitation, John invited me back in, despite throwing his schedule off. Going straight through the questions, I checked my headphones...taping was going A-okay.

Leaving a bit upset over the initial trauma, I felt relieved I was able to salvage the article...but once again, I realized I was counting too many chickens with no signs of eggs… I stepped outside to discover in taping on an incredibly crappy AIWA Walkman, my interview had been deeply embedded into an obnoxiously loud recording of Bauhaus. Shit! Fuck! frantic brainstorming I tried to figure possible ways to save my tape, save my article, save myself from endless ridicule from my editor. Thankfully, I realized a possible, ironic solution, by way of a late night rendezvous to my friends’ Jaime Propp and Adam Chalk’s studio and record label, AS IS Entertainment.

Arriving glazed over from the feeling of being excessively screwed all day; I had my fingers crossed and the hopes that my ass was going to be saved by an obtrusive studio monstrosity. Into the night I painstakingly watched Jaime working his magic with the wires, knobs, mixers, and a thing called Focusrite D-2. Hours later, I watched the clock tick past 6:00 a.m. with a thorough understanding of why studios had the most comfortable couches. Ears ringing from meticulously sifting through the Peter Murphy/John Taylor ambient-goth mix, I decided to throw in the towel. Humorously by the end, Jaime did audibly salvage two thematic quotes: “If you’re not responsible for your work, how can you be responsible in your art,” and “I don’t believe in masterpieces, I only believe in works in progress,” in which we heard repeated throughout the night.

However screwed up the day became it was clear to me that anyone (especially someone with all my babysitting money, as well as million of others) willing to work in such a scrutinizing and monotonous capacity for the sake of expression would have to be someone with dedication, integrity and an honorable level of insanity. Finally wandering off into sleep with the blue hue of morning, I was comforted to have confirmed three more things: Jaime Propp is a genius, AIWA products SUCK and John Taylor is forever cool.