New Musical Express DECEMBER 23, 1972 - by Charles Shaar Murray


And Charles Shaar Murray is there to see them off

"God," said Eno petulantly, "It's so cold in this office, my make-up's freezing."

With an expert finger, he applied another delicate shadow to his already elegantly wasted countenance and surveyed EG Management's Chelsea premises with an air of acute distaste.

At a quarter to nine on a chilly Tuesday morning, the various participants in Britain's best-loved electric experiment were slowly beginning to filter towards the rendezvous point for their greatest adventure - the American tour.

Well, it's only fair that we should share the magnificence of Roxy Music with those on the distant shores of God's Own Country.

And so it was, with a sob on my lips and a song in my heart (Ladytron, of course) that I joined Roxy on their pilgrimage to London Airport to show them that the old folks back home really do wish them well in the big, bad, funky U.S.A.

There we were, Eno and me (and drummer Paul Thompson makes three) waiting... but for what?

For a start, we were waiting for Rik Kenton, and logically enough there he was with his normally tasteful conventional and thoroughly conservative shoulder-length locks a startling reddish brown.

However, he was convincingly upstaged by Eno's rainbow-hued crowning glory, and by the sudden appearance of Andy Mackay, who was...

...I appeal to your common sense, ladies and gentlemen, can you imagine how this man looks?

Starting from the top there's a super little beret. Immediately below is short, dark-brown hair, which has been streaked blonde in certain strategic areas.

He wears a white shirt and black tie, and the most outrageously fluorescent green gangster suit imaginable beneath his florid overcoat. Just looking at him is enough to make the paranoid soul feel he's been spiked.

The arrival of Phil Manzanera was something of a relief. Apart from his somewhat disturbing tendency to wear insect eyes at climatic points during Roxy's stage appearances, he looked like any healthy, well-adjusted rock star should.

All was in readiness, then, except that Bryan Ferry was still lurking in the murky depths of Earl's Court, and would have to be retrieved from thence.

So the collected party distributed itself into a brace of impressive-looking limousines and set off.

A photographer was espied on route and duly added to the party before the caravan drew to a stately halt outside the Ferry residence.

We were soon joined by Roxy's guiding light, his hair a gleaming blue-black (like Superman's, only not so curly), clad in a suave black overcoat and silk scarf.

As our limo sped towards Heathrow, we discussed such trivia as the new Groucho Marx album. On a more immediate level, Bryan eagerly requested concrete information concerning Madison Square Gardens, where they were to support Jethro Tull some days thence.

Since I had seen Jethro play that most esteemed of venues during a recent New York sojourn, I primed him with all manner of valuable info which no doubt he and his cohorts will put to use.

Once at the departure lounge, Eno reacted to the presence of exposable film by the simple expedient of poncing about in his usual ethereal manner.

Some find it hard to reconcile the serious-mind of the unholy sound boxes with the gaily abandoned glamour bit, but rest assured that he is - and also that some of that synthesizing ain't as serious as it sounds.

Ferry and Mackay, looking almost like a pair of executives swapping secretaries' phone numbers, provided a suitably dignified foil to their colleague's looning.

Passers-by bravely ignored the sight of this bizarre creature primping around for a photographer, while Bryan Ferry prowled through the bookstall, gazing sardonically at some of the more absurd offerings.

No deskbound officer sending his men into battle against the Boche (or even the Drugs Squad) could have witnessed the departure of his brave lads with more emotion than did our select little band as we and Roxy Music exchanged final handshakes at Passport Control.

America has taken Steeleye Span to its heart - all it needs to do now is to recognise the sterling worth of Roxy Music and Stone The Crows and it can consider itself saved.

Get out there, lads, come home safely and - choke - give 'em hell.