In 2012, I interview Bryan Ferry for our regular An Audience With… feature. Sitting in the library above his studio in West London, he fielded questions covering writers’ block, the whereabouts of his Antony Price suits and the ’60s music scene in Newcastle before we came to this one from Ferry’s Roxy Music bandmate, Andy Mackay: “Would you like to finish the album we started in 2006?” The question, I remember, hung in the air while Ferry gathered his thoughts.
“Not sure,” he said. “Was there quite a lot of work done on it? Not really, no. I didn’t get excited about it at the time particularly. I tried to, then I ran out of enthusiasm for it. We did a lot of shows, but taking it into the studio is a different thing. A lot of the onus is on me. I think, over the years, I got so used to making what we call solo albums – but they’re not really solo albums, they’re where I choose who plays on what. Basically, I wanted to do that again. My heart wasn’t in it, and it was pointless doing it. Maybe some other day it could come back. If one of the guys in Roxy came to me with a fabulous tune, then I might change my mind…”
For those of us who’d been eagerly following the on-off story of a new Roxy album – their first since 1982, and their first involving Brian Eno since 1973 – Ferry’s comments seemed like a rather disappointing full-stop to the band’s glorious career. It is a career, incidentally, that you can relive again in all its glory in our handsome Roxy Music Ultimate Music Guide – which goes on sale January 10 but you can now buy direct from our online store here.
As edited by John Robinson, this 124 page magazine is, we modestly believe, the definitive guide to the band’s music. You’ll find insightful new writing on every album, a slew of archive features from the Melody Maker, NME and Uncut vaults as well as a decade by decade look at the solo work of messers Ferry and Eno.
Back to Ferry, then, in his library and one final, warm memory of Roxy as the start of their career, rattling around the UK on their early, provincial tours. “It was exciting, travelling around in a van,” said Ferry. “We didn’t do it for very long, we were very fortunate. We were just beginning to be known. It was the first this, the first that. It was a laugh, playing places like Scarborough. Sleeping in the van overnight. Eno was a laugh, we got on very well. And Andy Mackay was really very amusing, very dry. So we spent a lot of time laughing, really. Paul was a character… they were all characters.
“I was proud of that band.”
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The February 2019 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with New Order on the cover. Inside, you’ll find Pete Shelley RIP, our massive 2019 Albums Preview, Sharon Van Etten, Mark Knopfler, Paul Simonon, John Martyn, Steve Gunn and much more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including Bruce Springsteen, William Tyler and the Dream Syndicate.