EVEN a decade after their heyday, when I first heard them in the mid-’80s, there was nothing like Roxy Music. The sleek, almost alien sound, with its world-weary vocals, European touches, and deep, if bruised, romanticism, was among the most bracing things a suburban teenager could put on his turntable.
It struck me then, and still does, as some of the first and most successful music to really make a new step forward post-Beatles. I even wrote a short story my last year of high school called Siren, named for both the fatal Odyssean beauties and my Roxy’s immortal 1975 LP. I think I had a sense that the group was coming out of something that wasn’t just rock music, but was not aware of the degree of their grounding in old jazz or their leader’s art-school training.
Three decades later, I got the chance to speak to the band’s founder and lead singer, Bryan Ferry, who has led an eclectic solo career. He comes to the Bowl this Saturday to perform solo stuff alongside Roxy songs, including some of the Avalon LP.
We spoke about his love of Ellington and Charlie Parker, and the influence of British Pop artist Richard Hamilton — some of which is in the piece — as well as his openness to working again with Brian Eno and his fondness for Prince and the painter Vanessa Bell, which is (for reasons of length) not.
My interview here.