At the end of one interview of many in a long day, British singer / songwriter Robert Palmer bull's-eyed the raison d'être of his current project in an uncharacteristically earthy turn of phrase: "Why does a dog lick its balls? Because it can. If they can play like that, then they must."
The dogs to which Palmer referred are the four musicians of the group Power Station, who recorded the album of the same name for Capitol. It consists of eight tracks of the best dance rock extant, even in the midst of the current dance-rock craze.
The stuff on The Power Station is dangerous enough to boil your mojo, coming as it does from a line-up that can only be regarded as an odd soup: Palmer, a funkster of high reputation and low sales; Tony Thompson, drummer from Chic and perennial guest drummer for everybody cool; Bernard Edwards, Chic bassist and producer; and two members of (gasp! squeal!) Duran Duran, bassist John Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor.
The project originated with John Taylor, who thought up the name Duran Duran in 1977 and hoped that D2 would be a miracle hybrid of Chic, the Clash and the Sex Pistols. When the band actually formed and became something else altogether, Taylor filed the idea under Maybe Someday -"I still believed it could work."
After Nick Rhodes of Duran introduced his friend Palmer to Taylor, the two talked about Taylor's notions every six months or so. Meanwhile, unbeknown to Palmer, Taylor was doing some serious plotting. He had recruited Thompson, who brought along Taylor's idol, Edwards. Then Andy Taylor volunteered.
First, it was just going to be a reworking of the T. Rex chestnut Get It On (Bang a Gong). Then it was just going to be an EP of other people's hits, with a rotating roster of singers. But as Palmer got pulled in and the tapes of song fragments began to travel via international mail, something started to happen. "Alchemy," Palmer calls it. Pretty soon, there were two covers and six originals co-written by everybody. Wary managers and accountants, nervous about big bills for studio time, finally heard the music--and swooned.
Will the three disparate audiences of Chic, Palmer and Duran do likewise? Palmer and Taylor have visions of more respectability for Duran, more sales for Palmer and more suburban kids rooting for Chic. But they claim they've already experienced their greatest thrill, just in Power Station's making. After all, most dogs don't care about who's watching when they hit the magic spot.
(Playboy - Juin 1985)