INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Sydney Morning Herald FEBRUARY 22, 2010 - by Sacha Molitorisz
MORE THAN THIS: THE STORY OF ROXY MUSIC
While enrolled at art school in Newcastle in the 1960s, Bryan Ferry lived a double life: painting by day and crooning by night. Influenced by the pop art collages of Richard Hamilton, it was as if pop, art and collage had become embedded in his DNA. After graduation, all three elements came together in Roxy Music.
When Ferry formed Roxy in 1971, they sounded like no other band. They sounded like lots of other bands. Ferry delivered sleepy-eyed soul, synth whiz Brian Eno created kooky soundscapes, bassist Gary Tibbs laid down funky grooves, guitarist Phil Manzanera had roots in South America, Andy Mackay added elegant woodwind interjections and meat-and-three-veg drummer Paul Thompson had the rock reliability of the labourer he was.
Improbably, they coalesced into one of the most interesting and influential acts of the '70s, as pop luminaries from U2, The Sex Pistols, Duran Duran, Chic, Goldfrapp and more attest. And the conclusion is inescapable: Roxy Music was Ferry's canvas. The music, the lyrics, the album covers with the near-naked models - he was the visionary. Especially after Eno left the band.
The doco is revealing, entertaining and yet another demonstration of the eternal pop paradox: that popularity grows in inverse proportion to quality. Roxy's best music is contained on their early albums. Even the band acknowledged this during their 2001 reunion, when their set list consisted almost exclusively of early work. Luckily, the doco doesn't taper off into banality the way the band did.