INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Disc JANUARY 19, 1974 - by Caroline Boucher
"STRANDED IS CAUTIOUS - BUT OUR FIRST WAS NAIVE"
And what will Dave Mackay's own album be like... yes, he's making a solo too.
"I think the change of image we had on the last tour may have confused a lot of people," says Andy Mackay. "I think we may have deglittered a bit too rapidly. It wasn't something we'd cooked up purposely, it was just the way we felt. But images are very difficult things."
If you recall. Roxy Music appeared clad in an assortment of tails and Casablanca type night-club gear on their last tour, framed in an archway of palm trees, as opposed to the futuristic spangled gear of their earlier days. But with a sell-out tour behind them, and a number one album currently round their necks, it would appear that most people went for the change.
"I think we're all aiming at different people anyway. Paul, for instance, plays for other drummers as much as the rest of the audience, and I think Bryan plays across to a different section. It's good - it gives us individual identities as opposed to a row of friendly mop-tops."
Andy is in Devon. He's been hiding away there since Christmas, recovering from the tour, and beginning to write the bare bones of his solo album. Yes, following in the footsteps of Bryan Ferry, Andy is going to make a solo album, which isn't meant to sound snide because solo albums within a band are a very healthy outlet for music which isn't quite suitable for the total band format. Andy is going to take his time over his album, indeed, with Roxy's future schedule he is going to have to. The contents of the album aren't going to be at a tangent to Roxy particularly, but more a continuation of the songs Andy has done for the band. This is surprising, considering his very diverse musical background.
After a classical woodwind training, Andy decided he wanted to play rock saxophone. This was about five years ago, when guitars were to the fore and sax was for old jazzers or Motown. An ad in Melody Maker produced nothing except offers from jazz bands, so Andy went to Italy for a year where he wrote and played and generally soaked up the sentimental atmosphere. Then he came back and formed Roxy Music with Bryan. Italy left him with an affection for sentimentality, which he also finds in Country & Western, which he is becoming more and more interested in.
"Blatant sentimentality compensated by really good musicianship makes Country & Western work. I love the film music type thing as well. Really for my album, it's a matter of writing things and seeing how they turn out. I don't want to use old-fashioned session musicians who just play the notes, but work more as Eno did, with whoever turned up. It will be very instrumental, probably have some strings, and guest female singers on it. There'll be up tempo and Tamla type things, and it's going to be an atmospheric album rather than a collection of bits and pieces. Ideally you need to do two or three completely different albums rather than stick too many different things on one. I feel no particular sense of urgency, which is good. That's why instrumentalists are in a better position than singers. Because I've got any amount of time - ten years even, and I can work on the things I want to and they'll get better and there will be no hurry. And with Roxy being a highly successful group. It means giving up some things-which I accept."
Andy was to have had another song included on Stranded but one had to go and as that was the most unfinished, it got the chop. "I think 'Stranded' is a very cautious album, I don't think it breaks very much new ground. I happened to hear the first Roxy album a couple of months ago, and I was amazed at how naive it was, that we'd actually stuck things together and hoped for the best. "Strangely, as you improve as a band - and we have - you do become more cautious, without noticing it. I start thinking about musicians listening to our work, rather than the general public. And the final product is always so very different from the unmixed one, that I think it would often be a good idea to issue albums in various stages of mixing so people could hear the difference."
Andy also has a soft spot for lady singers, and is writing things for one called Countess Sadie Mackenzie. She's a singer that Andy, and his girlfriend Jane, know: "and I have known for quite some time that she will astonish the world."