Tag Archives: mullets i have loved

John Taylor – Magical Mulleted Unicorn

Photo courtesy of Duran Duran’s facebook page

To me, John Taylor is the Magical Unicorn of Duran Duran.  I have been incredibly lucky to have met Nick and Simon several times (that’s another story), but I have only met John at fast-paced meet and greets.  For this reason, John Taylor is still the only guy in Duran Duran that gives me butterflies and makes me a nervous wreck.  In other words, the Magical Unicorn.

The first time I met JT was when he was touring with the Neurotic Boy Outsiders (Steve Jones, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum).  After the show, the band did a quick meet and greet in the backstage area for the fans that were waiting by the bus.  I think we waited for at least an hour, hoping to see our heroes.  Patience paid off and I got in line to meet him.

The closer I got to the table where the band was sitting, the more nervous I felt.  John was at the end of the table, and I could see him in the FLESH.  Before that moment, he seemed like a mannequin or a painting – he didn’t seem real.  For years I had watched him on TV and stared at photos in magazines, and imagined how it would be to see him for real.  Even watching him perform on stage was not real, it was a persona.  This was the first time I had seen him off stage, just being himself, as an actual human being.

I’m embarrassed to say that I sailed right past the rest of the band (I snubbed Steve Jones!  What is wrong with me?), and stood in front of John.  He looked up at me, smiled, and asked my name.   I noticed how his eyes crinkled up just like they did when he smiled in interviews.  I whispered my name and my throat tightened.  My eyes were burning, and I felt fat, salty tears rolling down my cheeks.  John looked alarmed as I started sobbing.  I managed to croak, “Thank you for the music!” as he handed me a signed flyer.

My ex (boyfriend at the time) was right behind me in line, and he apologized for my outburst.  Then he and John discussed the intricacies of graphic design (I heard the phrase “72 dpi”).  I wandered off and saw Bev, who ran the B5 message boards for John.  I had calmed down by then.  I revealed to her that I was the girl who was having flame wars on AOL with John’s then-wife, Amanda DeCadenet (or as I liked to call her, Amanda DeCuntenet…more on this another day…Courtney Love was also involved…).   Bev thought this was the funniest thing in the world, and she wanted John to know.

I told Bev about my embarrassing outburst but she dragged me over to John again, and told him that I was the infamous “NRhodie”, or as Amanda called me, “NRhodent”.   John laughed and said that he was enjoying the drama, and he thought it was hilarious how angry Amanda would get.  I should have realized then that this was a bad sign for their future together (thank goodness).  At least my final impression was that of an evil online troll instead of a crying fan, right?  I’m not sure which is worse.

I should add I’m not a total wife-of-Duran-hater, because I love me some Yasmin and Gela, okay?

The second time I got an autograph from JT was in 1998, when he was touring with the unfortunately named John Taylor Terroristen.  In his defense, this was pre-911.

I had brought the tour program from the 1983 charity concert that the band did with Aston Villa (John’s favorite football team).  John asked if he could keep it.  During this time, John was not in Duran Duran anymore, but he was very nostalgic and was collecting all sorts of memorabilia of the band’s history.  He would post about them on the B5 message boards.  I thought for a moment about giving it to John, but I really wanted it for my own collection, so I said no.

As the years passed, my love for Duran Duran waned, mostly because of horrible experiences I had with fans.  I ended up giving away most of my collection to my friends.  I regret letting some items go, but it is fun to look for them again.  I did end up keeping anything that was autographed, including that Aston Villa tour program.

Cut to the present day – John Taylor did a book signing in Austin last Friday.  I hadn’t been in the same room with JT since that day in 1998, because I had stopped going to see Duran Duran in concert before the reunion.  Writing this blog has rekindled some of those old fangirl feelings, so I knew I had to go to this book signing.  I definitely wanted to give John that tour program he wanted years ago.

I went to the signing by myself, because I didn’t know any other Duran Duran fans in Austin.  I made a few friends while standing in line, which is always nice.  I think I’ve learned to smell the crazy on the fans so I know who to avoid.  To be honest, I probably came across as the crazy one, because I was excited to have someone to talk to about my stupid Duran adventures.  My new friends and I giggled over the thought of meeting Mr. Taylor.

John was his usual charming self, and did some readings and a Q&A for the crowd, which consisted mainly of forty-something ladies.  The shrieking was pretty loud.  I felt like I was at a Thunder Down Under strip show (not that I frequent such establishments).  Someone actually shouted for John to take his shirt off.

Finally it was time to get in line and meet the man himself.  I barked like a drill sergeant at my new pals to get them in line before the other fans trampled us.  My old cutthroat Duranie instincts emerged.  The Magical Unicorn has this effect on me.

I started to have that same feeling I got when I first met him.  I thought I might pass out at one point, but I made it.  I had a purpose.  I wanted nothing more than to clear my karmic slate by giving JT that tour program he had asked for so many years before.

I approached the table.  John looked up.  His eyes crinkled.  I flashed back to that day but kept it together.  I handed over the tour program and said, “John, many years ago you signed this for me, and asked if you could keep it.  At the time, I said no, but now I would like you to have it.”  He looked surprised; I’m sure he thought I was going to ask for him to sign it.  John paged through the program and said delightedly, “Wow!  I don’t have this one! Thank you!”  I smiled and said, “Well, now you do.”  That was pretty much the extent of our discussion, but it made me feel good.

John will always be the Magical Unicorn to me, and he will always be a mullet I have loved.

Post Script:

Of course I scanned that motherfucker before I gave it to JT.  I’m not THAT crazy!

Here’s a link to my tumblr posts with the scan of every page.  The paper was bigger than my scanner but I think it came out all right.  There are 3 tumblr links due to limits on uploading more than 10 pictures per post:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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Mullets I Have Loved, vol. 6 – Paul Humphreys of OMD

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, commonly known as OMD, was one of those 80’s bands that is mostly forgotten nowadays.  If anyone remembers them, it is for the song “If You Leave”, which was on the “Pretty In Pink” soundtrack, and is not one of their best songs.

Back in the 80’s, OMD was huge.  I mean, hugely huge.  MTV heavy-rotation huge.  And of course, one of the band members sported a mullet.  And of course, the guy with the mullet was the one I set my sights on.

Andy McCluskey was the wiry, dark-haired guy who sang most of their songs, and Paul Humphreys was the blonde, pudgy, shy guy who played keyboards and sang a few ballads.  As usual, I ignored the front man and fell for the keyboard player, Paul.

I first became aware of OMD when I saw them open for The Power Station in 1985.  (I will post about that hellish concert experience at a later date.)  I was instantly smitten by Paul’s wispy blonde locks and buck teeth.  When he sweetly sang “Secret”, it was over.  I went out and bought the newest OMD record as soon as I had the money.

What did obsessed teenagers do to keep their obsession fresh and exciting back in the 1980’s?  Well, as for me, I listened to records over and over while staring at the liner notes like it was the Word of God;  I taped every second of the band’s appearances on MTV; and I made up stories with my friends.

Since we didn’t have the internet, we had our own way of doing what you might call “fanfiction” nowadays.  My friends and I would write letters …ACTUAL LETTERS THAT WE SENT IN THE MAIL THROUGH THE POST OFFICE.  Even though my friends and I only lived a few miles away, we wrote each other letters, pretending we were on the road touring with our rock star sweethearts.

I had one set of letters going where I was Mrs. Paul Humphreys and my friend was Mrs. Morten Harket.  In another set , it was the 1960’s and I was Mrs. Davy Jones…and in another set, I was Mrs. Nick Rhodes (and of course, fucked around with any other guy in Duran Duran that took my fancy at the time…the Duran Duran letters were very much a soap opera).

Sadly, I didn’t save these letters.  They would provide much hilarity now if I were to see them.  We stuck to the usual soap tropes – cheating spouses, illness, miscarriages, evil twins, etc.  There was nothing better for me than to open the mailbox and see a letter from Tiffany Harket.

This probably sounds insane to kids who have grown up with the internet, but we had to make do with what resources were available.  It was fun to draw on the envelopes with Crayola markers, and plaster them with stickers. There were businesses that relied on crazy fans like me to keep them going by purchasing stickers and customized address labels.

To be perfectly honest, there was a real Mrs. Paul Humphreys at the time, but I just pretended she didn’t exist.  They got divorced many years later, and now Claudia from Propaganda is Mrs. Paul Humphreys.  In the clip below, Claudia is the girl in white that sings at the end of the song, not the girl in black does the monologue.

During the 1990’s, OMD split up, and Andy McCluskey continued to record solo records under the band’s name.  They were actually pretty fun dance records, but I was very happy when OMD reunited a few years ago.  Their latest record, “History of Modern”, was actually on par with the older stuff.  They are recording a new record and I am very excited to hear it!

I got the chance to see OMD about a year ago in a tiny club in Austin, and it was fantastic.  I was right up front, squished against the stage.  The most incredible moment of the show was when Paul sang “Secret”.  I cried like a little baby. 

Never change, Paul Humphreys.  Never change.

Mullets I have loved – vol. 5 – Bono (love/hate edition)

If I was going to sum up my relationship with Bono as a Facebook status, I’d have to choose “It’s Complicated”. You see, back in the 80’s, I thought he was a golden god. Then in the 90’s, I was starting to get confused. And now I pretty much hate the sight of him. I suppose it’s the same for everyone who is in my age group (aka The Olds).

Yesterday while I was flipping channels, I ran across Palladia showing Rattle and Hum and got sucked in, mostly because I was at the Arizona shows that were filmed for that movie. I surprised myself by bursting into tears when I saw the footage from Arizona. (I was having a very hormonal weekend, I was crying at everything. What a mess.) I had forgotten how much U2 used to mean to me, and how much I used to love them. In 1987, I couldn’t have loved anything more purely than how I loved Bono. He was a poet and a prophet to me.

I will follow!

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the first time I encountered Bono and his mullet. MTV used to show the Under a Blood Red Sky concert all the time. It was unavoidable, and I was unable to resist its lure. Bono and his mullet were brand new, and so earnest and sincere. Bono had something to say, but he hadn’t quite figured out what it was yet. He wasn’t overbearing and pompous and sanctimonious yet. He was just a young Irish boy who was in a rock band and wanted to be heard.  His mullet was fluffy and clean and had blonde bangs, just like John Taylor of Duran Duran!

The first time that the world took notice of Bono and U2 was during the Live Aid concert.  Bono pulled a woman from the crowd to dance with her, and melted my heart.  He wanted to be close to his fans!  He didn’t take crap from The Man who said it was dangerous, he just dropped the mic and jumped!  He was a romantic figure to little girls watching around the world, and his mullet was leonine and stiff.  Now that I watch this clip without the rose-colored glasses of youth, I can see that he’s starting to become pompous and self-serving.  The seeds are germinating.

U2 reached their peak in 1987 with The Joshua Tree.  U2 played four shows in Tempe, Arizona that year, and I went to all four of them.  That was the year that the Governor of AZ (Evan Mecham, who was later impeached), decided to take away the MLK holiday.  Instead of boycotting AZ, U2 decided to run a campaign of sorts in order to restore the holiday.  This is when Bono realized that he could use his power as a rock star to change things politically in the world, and marks the beginning of the end.  He was beginning to morph into the unbearable figure we know and loathe today.  His hair was getting longer, and not really a mullet anymore.  Most of the time it was filthy and unkempt.

I, in my youth, still worshipped him.  I signed petitions and campaigned and helped get that bastard Mecham impeached.  We got the holiday back too, and when U2 returned in December to film shows for their movie, it was a victory party.  I remember the crowd filing out of the stadium after the show, singing 40.  It felt like I had just been to church.  I felt like I had been a part of something powerful and had accomplished a great task.  I know now that all that happened was I had been watching a concert.

In the 1990’s, Bono started having a little fun with his image.  I thought he was starting to take himself a little bit less seriously when he did his characters of The Fly and Mr. Macphisto.  I liked it when U2 dressed up like the Village People and did a disco song.  However, the fan base rebelled and record sales went down and most people were unhappy, so the fun times ended.  Bono put away the clown shoes and became even more serious, pompous and pretentious.  This is when he became a giant douchebag and a complete joke.

Yes, he does a lot of good in the world (I suppose), but as a rock star, he is finished.  I cannot see him in that capacity any longer.  I can’t go to U2 shows anymore because I can’t stand looking at him.  I feel a huge fiery ball of hatred in my throat and it chokes me.  It tastes bitter and mean.

Bono can either be a musician or a politician.  He can’t be both.  And let’s be honest here, once he shaved off the mullet, it was over.

Mullets I have loved vol 4 – Paul King

Damn you, videos that disable embedding!  I shake my fist at you!

Most Americans have forgotten (or even worse, never heard of) Paul King.  For a brief moment in time during 1985, he really was the King.  The video for Love and Pride was on heavy rotation on MTV (oh wow, I have really missed the phrase “heavy rotation”).

Looking back, it seems ridiculous doesn’t it?  The cropped pants, the spray painted Doc Martens, the mullet.  Not just a mullet – a mullet with a PONYTAIL.  What an atrocity!  What a fashion crime!  What fun!

I actually love the album Steps in Time.  It’s one of my favorite albums from the 80’s, and I still have it on vinyl.  Of course, I also have it on mp3 so that I can instantly enjoy it whenever I like.  If you like 80’s new wave pop, then you will also enjoy this album.  It’s just some good old blue-eyed soul with an 80’s twist.  Give it a listen at the above link where you can sample the songs.

Most people dismiss this band as a one-hit-wonder, but as usual I disagree.  My favorite song of theirs is Won’t You Hold My Hand Now.  I taped the video off of my TV set back in the day and spent hours memorizing his silly miming.  I would link the video here but it’s rather embarrassing to watch now. (Even the breakdancing children in Love and Pride are less embarrassing to watch.)  You can find it on You Tube if you are curious.

King recorded one more album, which I will admit that I have never listened to.  Then Paul King went off to be a solo act, and failed miserably.  He was a VJ on MTV Europe in the 90’s, and now is a producer at VH1 UK.  I saw a recent picture of him and he is practically bald.  OH THE HUMANITY!  I refuse to link a picture of him as he is now.

Let’s remember him in his glory, shall we?  Oh, heavy sigh, I heart Paul King.

Mullets I have loved vol. 3 – Nik Kershaw

Ah, Nik Kershaw.  I can sense that at least 95% of you are scratching your heads, wondering who the hell is Nik Kershaw?  Even the picture probably isn’t helping.  (May I just digress for a moment and tell you of the glorious treasures in the above photo?  Point #1:  an absolutely magnificently teased mullet, Point #2: he’s wearing a ladies’ silk blouse, Point #3: he is pretending to row a boat with a giant oar.  BEST. PICTURE. EVER.)

Nik Kershaw is best known in America for his hit song Wouldn’t It Be Good, and the accompanying video in which he is an alien wandering the earth with a glowing suit.  I refuse to link that video to this post because I am so goddamn sick of that song, I never want to hear it again for the rest of my life.  (I feel the same way about Duran Duran’s The Reflex, Devo’s Whip It and so on and so on.)

However, I will post the video to The Riddle, which was a minor hit in America and might jog your memory a bit.  I love this song because it is complete and utter nonsense, and the video is also a bunch of stuff and nonsense.  It’s very whimsical and has an Alice in Wonderland sort of vibe.

Wow, you guys, just look at how perfectly coiffed and styled he is.  The 80’s were the best decade for pop stars who played the part at all times.  Of course, back then there wasn’t the TMZ and paparazzi swarm, so I suppose if there had been, I might have seen Nick Rhodes without makeup.  I am not sure my worldview would have been able to handle it.  Instead, I always saw my pop idols in full makeup, with massively teased hair, and designer duds.  Just look at the adorable little suspenders Nik Kershaw wore in that video!

I should mention that part of the appeal of Nik Kershaw is that he is so very very tiny. The only pop star I can think of who might be his height or shorter is Prince.  Nik is rumored to be 4 foot 11 inches, but I have also heard 5 foot 1 inch.  Either way, he is a Pocket Pop Star Pal.  I am a tall woman, at 5 foot 9 inches, but I always seem to get crushes on these itty bitty types.  When I see Nik Kershaw I marvel at how utterly compact he is, and how his clothes are always too big for him because he is so extremely diminutive.  He always wore shirts that hung off him and pants that ballooned around him.  This is why he had to wear the adorably itty bitty suspenders that I marveled at earlier.  *happy sigh*

Besides his good looks, and appealing doll-like stature, Nik Kershaw is an amazing songwriter.  He wrote a few songs with Elton John later in his career.  Most people dismiss Nik as a one-hit wonder and never bother to look further, but those people are missing out.  I would highly recommend any of his work.  If you’re looking for something a little deeper than 80’s pop, then check out To Be Frank. It’s a collection of mature, emotional songs that really connect with the listener.

I am not sure what happened, and why Nik isn’t an elder statesman of AOR. In my mind, he should be right up there with Elton John or Billy Joel in the pop pantheon. I guess because he was part of the British New Wave, he was pushed aside and put in the corner. Nobody puts Baby in the corner!

Nowadays, Nik’s mullet is long gone, but his talent remains. I implore you to give him a chance. I think you’d be happily surprised!

Mullets I have loved – vol. 2 – Paul Young

Paul Young has been relegated to the “Who was he?” file, which is a goddamn shame. This man can interpret a song like nobody else. (He also had impressive skills in the mullet and moose knuckle department, as seen above.)

Although no one really remembers him except for nostalgic aging saddoes like me, back in 1985 he was THE SHIT.  I mean, he was everywhere.  You could not escape this man, no matter how hard you tried.  His cover of Hall & Oates Every Time You Go Away was a huge hit, and he was all over MTV.

I had first become enraptured with him a few years before that, when I saw the video for Come Back and Stay.

His hair is so amazing in that video isn’t it?  It’s kind of like a rooster or maybe a hedgehog.  If I’m not mistaken, Star Hits magazine used to call him The Hedgehog.  I’m almost 100% sure that I remember this, but if any of you readers remember otherwise, let me know.  I couldn’t find any proof within easy reach.

When Paul Young wasn’t dating Simon le Bon’s leftovers (anyone remember Claire Stansfield?), he was touring and doing amazing mic twirls.  One of my biggest regrets in life is that I never got to see him perform live in concert because he never came to Phoenix.  Back in those days, I had no way to travel around the country and catch my favorite acts.  If only I had been a little bit older!

I also missed out on Wham! in the 80s, but I did catch George Michael on his comeback tour a few years ago.  However, Paul Young never got to have a comeback tour in the US.

I’m not sure why Paul isn’t more popular in America.  He would be perfect for American Idol, because basically what he’s famous for is covering and reinterpreting other artist’s songs.  He was 1985’s Susan Boyle, I guess.  (Except he was cute!) Now all of the older artists like Rod Stewart and Barry Manilow are doing that “American Songbook” cover album.  Paul Young should be cornering the market on this shit!  What the what????

If you’re curious about Paul’s music, you should download his album No Parlez, which was his debut.  Yes, it includes his cover of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart, which is universally despised (except by me), but I swear it’s a classic album.  That’s my favorite record, but all of his music is fabulous – he’s got a really soulful voice and such emotion when he sings.

Come on, Paul, why don’t you come back?  Please hurry!

Oh and if you had any doubt or curiosity about Paul’s skills as a live performer, check this video out.  When I was watching Live Aid unfold in front of my wondering eyes, this was one of the highlights of my day.  (Look at him work the mic stand!)

Mullets I have loved – Vol. 1 – John Taylor

It’s Valentine’s Day, and in honor of this special occasion, I am launching another regular feature of this blog, Mullets I have loved. Having grown up in the 80’s, there are so many mullets that have earned my affection, but I had to begin the series with the floppiest and most charming  of all, Duran Duran’s John Taylor.  (Yes, it’s another post about Duran Duran.  I’m trying to get motivated to work on my book!)

If you think Bieber Fever is the most annoying trend of all time,  you might not have been around for the Fab Five’s invasion of America.  I am SO GLAD there was no Internet back in 1984.  It’s bad enough that I saved all the stupid poems, letters and stories I wrote about Duran Duran, but it would be even worse if you could find them on a Google search.

I’m also so glad I never actually mailed them.  Here’s a tiny sample of what a 14-year-old lovesick girl thought about John Taylor in 1984:

Mere words cannot express the feelings I have for you. You are my life, my hopes, my dreams, you are everything a girl could ever wish for in her wildest fantasies. To me, you are the most perfect creature in the entire cosmic universe. When God made you, He was doing the best job He had ever done before. You are a special human bieng (sic). I mean, being! Well, anyway, to me you seem to be the perfect specimen that God meant to make in the first place, but did not have the time for.

Yeah, I actually believe in God back then.  To me, that’s the most ridiculous part of the letter!  Also, it does make me feel slightly nauseous.  I am sorry if it made you feel that way as well.

John Taylor’s mullet was spectacularly well-groomed.  It was fluffy, floppy, and voluminous.  The blonde bangs fell over his forehead in an angle that was calculated to make girls swoon.

I wasn’t the only one who fell victim to the power of the blonde bangs.  Even Drew Barrymore had a John Taylor wish fulfillment fantasy.  Since she was Drew Barrymore, she got to bring hers to the big screen.  Yes, I am talking about Music and Lyrics.

Hugh Grant’s character was an 80’s superstar.  He wasn’t the singer, but he was the heart throb of the band.  Hugh is famous for his floppy hair, and they gave him an 80’s mullet in the flashbacks.  Drew even admits to having a Duran Duran obsession! Case closed.

I can’t fault her for it, though. If I had the resources, I would totally have made my 1985 fanfic about me and JT into a movie. I was a Madonna type superstar (circa the bellybutton scandal era), and he was my mulleted sweetheart.

Again, so glad there was no internet in 1985.

John Taylor is a very nice guy.  If you’re dying to send him a love letter after reading this post, you can follow him on twitter at @thisistherealJT. He still has a mullet, as well.

Post Script:

While  writing this post, I had written a rant about how disappointed I was in the new Duran Duran album, but then I deleted it because I didn’t want to offend anyone.  Then I remembered that the whole point of this blog is to say what’s on my mind, and not edit it!  So here goes…

If you were a huge Duran Duran fan in the 1980’s, and you sort of forgot about them, then go ahead and get the new album because you will love it.  If you were like me, and followed them even through the dark days of the late 1990’s, then you will realize this album is a calculated move, and that they are pandering to their fanbase of middle-aged housewives.  It’s just another shrewd marketing angle for Duran Duran Incorporated.  They don’t do anything out of passion anymore, they just do whatever they can to get a buck.  Remember that album they did with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake?  Please.  I listened to the new album a few times when it first came out but I haven’t listened to it again.  All they did was rip off their old riffs from the Rio album and vomit it back up into a new package for all of the fans to eat up yum yum yum, thank you sir may I have another?  No thanks.