Roger Taylor of Duran Duran. Duran Duran will play in Dubai this March. Image Credit: WENN

From wanting to be a goalkeeper in a football team to being the drummer of one of the biggest bands of the Eighties and now a world-renowned DJ, Roger Taylor's 35-year journey to musical greatness has been one fulfilling ride.

Now, as he gets ready to DJ at Dubai's Chi@The Lodge for the club's inaugural Rockstars Gone House series, Taylor talks to tabloid! about his band Duran Duran, his music as a DJ, his upcoming performance and sharing the same name with another famous drummer.

Some promoters have called your upcoming performance a "blast from the past". That's not actually accurate is it?

I guess I will always have that tag because I'm most well-known from the '80s. Sometimes people come to see me expecting to hear an '80s set, but it's all a contemporary, based on modern dance music. I am a contemporary DJ. My music is a contemporary set.

I've been DJ-ing and making dance music and playing with the band for three decades now, so it's certainly not a retro set.

What can fans of Duran Duran expect, though?

I think the best thing is to come without expectation. It's best to come with an open mind and just enjoy it for what it is. That's the way to go.

So what is this we hear about you wanting to be a footballer?

I did want to be a soccer player when I was a kid. My dad used to take me to a match every week and I really liked what the goalkeeper was doing. I thought it suited my personality and wanted to be this great goalkeeper. But at 5.9 feet [1.75 metres], I never quite grew tall enough and so had to have a change in career. Thank God I took up the drums and now I've been playing for 35 years. It's incredible.

How did DJing happen then?

The DJing is just a natural progression of being a musician, really. It's not something I suddenly decided to become. It was just a natural thing that happened to me.

It was probably about eight years ago. My friend runs a place called the Met Bar at the Metropolitan Hotel in London and asked me if I wanted to DJ. I turned up with a couple of scratched CDs and I probably DJed very badly. But I liked being in control of music and I liked the effect it was having on people. I found that I can make people dance and make them have a great night. And it just developed from there.

I DJ now with Jake Fonique and we have a great partnership. He kind of taught me how to DJ properly and I learned all the technical side, which took me a while. After that the world was my oyster. We've performed in all sorts of places, from Ibiza to Moscow, Japan and various places in America.

Did you have to take a leap of faith to become a DJ?

Because of my background as a drummer, I understand beats. It came quite naturally to me. Sometimes I bring an electronic drum pad, which I play along to the record, so it gives it an extra live dimension. I'll bring that to Dubai too.

Besides the percussion, what would you say is unique about your music?

I think the fact that I can draw from 30 years of experience in music is probably what makes it unique. You may hear something released in 1983 but mixed with a Swedish House Mafia record or a Steve Angello mix. It's the experience that makes it unique.

Mark Ronson was roped in to produce Duran Duran's latest and 13th album, released in December last year, which has already received very positive reviews. What would you say Ronson brought to the table?

Mark analysed us from the outside. When you are in band, sometimes you loose clarity and vision for where you should be going. Mark had this vision of where the band should be in 2010 and 2011 and he brought it into the album. He told us not to be afraid to be who we are. In a band sometimes you want to keep contemporary, stay with the times. Mark made it OK to be Duran Duran and made us embrace us as we are.

So how do you divide your time between Duran Duran and the DJing world?

I just have to be careful with scheduling. But as a band, we also have a lot of downtime. We will be performing for six months and the come back and not see each other for two months. I don't like to be idle, so I'm always looking for something to do.

If you were to choose between your band and DJing full time, which would it be?

My loyalty will always be with the band. That's my lifeblood. I owe everything to the band.

You share your name with Roger Taylor from Queen. Do you find that this confuses people?

I was doing a DJ gig in the south of Italy in the summer and I turned up to this amazing beach club. It was a beautiful evening, there were a lot of people and as I walked in, there was a voice which announced my name and a picture of Roger Taylor from Queen flashed on the screen.

That's typical of the confusion that can happen. But it's not too often, thankfully.

Have you ever been to Dubai? What can fans expect from your performance?

I came with the band a couple of years ago to perform at a private party. I remember the hotels were wonderful. I was really into skiing, so I got to go to the skiing resort in the shopping mall. And as soon as I saw this invite on the email, it was a "yes".

What next for you?

We're going on tour with the band this year. We've been in the studio for two year and will take the record to the world. It's going to be a major, major tour. Hopefully we will be in the Middle East too.


Don't miss it!

  • The first Rockstars Gone House event, featuring Roger Taylor and Jake Fonique, takes place at the Chi@ The Lodge on Friday from 9pm to 3am.
  • Tickets: Dh100 for women, Dh120 for men — are available at the door.