Q&A

“After work­ing in mu­sic for 40 years, I don’t re­gret one minute”

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents - In­ter­view by KATHY MCCABE MU­SI­CIAN

Bryan Ferry: “I don’t re­gret one minute of it.”

It’s been 46 years since your de­but al­bum. How does it feel to lis­ten to the Bryan Ferry of 1972? It brings a tear to my eye, of course. Poor lad didn’t know what he was let­ting him­self in for. Work­ing in mu­sic for over 40 years, I ab­so­lutely do not re­gret one minute of it. I used to kind of re­sent tour­ing be­cause it was keep­ing me out of the stu­dio. Now that I’m not mak­ing so many al­bums, the com­pro­mise is [that] I get to tour all around the world. Do you get nos­tal­gic for the styles you rocked in that era? Fash­ion has been very much a sec­ondary thing for me; be­hind it was al­ways the no­tion that you made an ef­fort to go on stage. You didn’t just drag your­self out of bed and get up and per­form. I al­ways thought you owed it to your au­di­ence to make an ef­fort, in the same way Duke Elling­ton made an ef­fort or Count Basie, or even the wilder ones like Char­lie Parker. They looked their best and gave it their best. For the first year of Roxy Mu­sic, we were quite flam­boy­antly dressed and it was part of the ad­ven­ture of that time; peo­ple walk­ing down the street looked much more bizarre than to­day. We be­gan ton­ing down the act be­cause we didn’t want to be known for our hair­cuts – we wanted to be known for our mu­sic. Who do you think wore the white suit bet­ter then – you or John Tra­volta? Oh well, it’s no con­test [laughs]. He’s prob­a­bly the bet­ter dancer, you know. When he danced with Uma Thur­man [in Pulp Fic­tion], that was very good. Your other sig­na­ture was putting mod­els such as Kari-ann Muller, Amanda Lear, Jerry Hall and Kate Moss on your al­bum cov­ers. Would you do that again? I’m not sure. If there was an idea that pre­sented it­self, that I thought was in­ter­est­ing... I don’t know. I know I wanted the al­bums to look and hark back to a more glam­orous time. They also turned into a se­ries be­cause they be­came iden­ti­fi­able: “Oh, that looks like a Roxy al­bum.” Bet­ter than a bunch of guys look­ing un­com­fort­able stand­ing in a back street, which most of the cov­ers at that time were. How much nicer to have a fab­u­lous look­ing woman. Are any con­tem­po­rary bands rem­i­nis­cent of the sound and style of Roxy Mu­sic? There’s an Aus­tralian band I thought were a bit Roxy­ish [and] who I re­ally like called Tame Im­pala. They were on Jools Hol­land’s show [UK TV se­ries Later… With Jools Hol­land] one time when I was on. They sounded great to me. You seem to be on a never-end­ing world tour with a Roxy Mu­sic-heavy set list… It’s kind of a ret­ro­spec­tive show through the dif­fer­ent pe­ri­ods of my work, with Roxy Mu­sic and solo. I wanted to do mainly songs I had writ­ten rather than cov­ers. And most of the best songs I’ve writ­ten were with Roxy. So it’s a huge part of my oeu­vre, a big part of my life. What’s changed for you most when it comes to per­form­ing? I’m not quite as fear­ful as I was. I’ve had enough shows now to know it usu­ally goes great. Tour­ing is less of an ad­ven­ture than it was be­cause I know how to do it now. Some­times you miss the ramshack­le­ness of the early days – but gen­er­ally I pre­fer it now. Bryan Ferry tours Aus­tralia in Feb­ru­ary and March 2019. Tick­ets are on sale from to­mor­row at fron­tier­tour­ing.com/bryan­ferry and aday­on­the­green.com.au.

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