1986

At Last! The Duran Duran Interview I Get to See 29 Years Later

The other night, while searching on YouTube, I happened upon a video of something I was dying to watch when I was twelve, but because of a series of unfortunate events, was never able to.

That video was of an interview with Duran Duran, one time when they stopped in to MuchMusic in Toronto for a 20-minute impromptu chat. When it aired I caught the last 5 minutes of it – long enough to remember seeing Simon LeBon’s frosted tips, but short enough to think maybe I dreamt it…except, my actions following that brief glimpse as a kid tell me for sure it happened, and thanks to YouTube, I certainly have proof!

In November 1986, Duran Duran were touring the media outlets to promote the release of their Notorious album. MuchMusic, Canada’s answer to MTV was still considered fairly new, and at the time the town I was from, Sudbury, ON, only had the channel available on pay TV.

Thanks to my Step-Dad’s love of TV, he paid for access to MuchMusic. My sis and I loved that channel and would watch it whenever my Mom would loosen her grip on the dial. It was not uncommon for us to tape the channel during the day while we were at school to see if perhaps we would catch the latest videos from our favourite bands.

One Saturday afternoon that November, while my Step-Dad was flipping through the channels, I caught a glimpse of Duran Duran being interviewed by VJ, Erica Ehm…WHAT! Hello! What IS THIS!! I was obsessed with this band. Back then, stars popping by MuchMusic were never advertised in the TV Guide – black limos would breeze in, the bands would get interviewed on their way back from a photo shoot, and then get whisked away to the airport.  I was so ecstatic to see Simon LeBon on screen. Sadly, what I saw of the interview was very brief but I saw enough to know I wanted to see the entire thing!

Back then, there was no Vevo to watch videos. There was no downloading or streaming. PVRs? Forget it. You had to put up with waiting for your choice video to air on MuchMusic. If you were lucky, you would have a VCR to tape the videos so you could watch them again. MuchMusic itself aired 24 hours a day, and would repeat the programming that aired the day before overnight. Maybe I could catch the interview if it re-airs? I figured out in my own head that the interview was going to air again at 1 AM. Time to cook up a plan. I want to see this interview!

No matter which way I sliced it, I was going to encounter barriers. After all, I was twelve, living in 1986.

First barrier: My mother. This one was gonna be a doozy.

Second barrier: figuring out the best way to watch this interview.  The interview aired again late on MuchMusic. I knew there was no way my mom would let me stay up to watch it. Never mind, I had enough wherewithal to know I would not be awake at 1 AM. I was a twelve-year-old who happened to always be sensible about sleep. I loved my bed, and enjoyed sleeping. 1 AM? No way. Mom was a barrier, sleep was an even larger one.

Third barrier: the damn VCR. Since staying up past midnight was out of the question, this made me think of using the VCR to tape the show.  Our beast of a VCR would suit this purpose, but didn’t have a programmable timer that would signal it to record a show at a certain time. This was a big barrier! I then thought that an alarm clock waking me up at 1 AM to press record on the VCR was one damn good work-around. Yeah, that’s a good idea!

I don’t know how I did it, but I somehow managed to get my mom to agree to let me sleep in the rec room. My plan was to set an alarm clock to go off at 1 AM, so that I would be able to press record on the VCR.  My mom lent me an old mini travel wind-up alarm to help me wake up.

Well, the plan didn’t pan as expected.

Truthfully, I have no idea if the alarm went off or not. All I remember was I woke up with a start, totally disoriented at 4 AM. I missed taping the damn interview. And as much as I willed MuchMusic to re-air the segment with repeated tiny bedtime prayers, I never saw this interview air again. And then I watched it on YouTube the other night. Huzzah!

YouTube happens to be a treasure trove of awesome new-to-me Duran Duran interviews and clips from a bygone era. It’s awesome that there are music fans out there digitizing their VHS tapes of old interviews from the 80s and 90s and posting them to the internet. Thankfully today, technology has advanced to such a degree I won’t have to wait for an interview or music video to air again, and I can stay up as late as I want (not that I would…). How far we have come.

The interview itself was great, by the way. This was around the time everyone in Duran Duran was getting married and having kids – far removed from my Archie Comics headspace at twelve…They talked about very adult business – Andy Taylor screwing them over by leaving mid-way through recording their album, and Roger Taylor’s quiet retirement from the entertainment business. It was very interesting. The three band-members that were left – Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor – were on their way to a photo shoot and were dressed up for the occasion. Erica Ehm looked very 80s. Check it out: