Mail On Sunday - Sun 14th Apr

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Mail On Sunday
14 April 2002

Mail On Sunday You Magazine April 14th 2002
Liz Hoggard

The son of a farm hand-turned-miner, Bryan Ferry went on to front 70s rock band Roxy Music. Now, after the group's successful comeback tour last year, Ferry, 56, is releasing a new solo album. He lives in Sussex with his wife, Lucy, and their four sons, aged from 19 to 11.

Q: This is your first original album in more than eight years. Is the title, Frantic, meant to be a little ironic?

A: Definitely. And the cover photograph of me is quite laid-back too - a mix of Cary Grant and Jay Gatsby, two of my heroes. I'd much rather not use a photo of myself, but it is a solo album.

Q: Have you written all the songs on the album?

A: I've written some of them myself, two with Dave Stewart, and one with Brian Eno. There are two Bob Dylan covers and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood plays on one track.

Q: Why is so much of your music, like 'Slave to Love' and Jealous Guy' about rejection?

A: Conflict is always more interesting in a song. I remember hearing a blues song on the radio when I was ten years old, and it really registered. And of course the blues is all about yearning for something that's out of reach. One song on the new album is called 'Nobody Loves Me', and I think at times everybody thinks, 'Nobody understands me, everything's terrible.'

Q: Very few artists have covered your songs. Shouldn't Atomic Kitten do a version and earn you lots of royalties?

A: It would be fabulous, wouldn't it?

Q: You once said having four children is like having your own soap opera...

A: Tell me about it. It's compulsory viewing every day.

Q:Have you ever been tempted by a film career?

A: I was up for a role in the Sylvester Stallone movie Cliffhanger several years ago. I think they saw me as a classic English villain in the Alan Rickman mould. But it's probably a good thing it fell through - it might have sidetracked me from music.

Q: You're renowned for being a snappy dresser. Is it true Gucci designer Tom Ford offered to dress you for last year's tour?

A: Yes, but Tom seemed to really like the things I's worn in the past. And Dior also made me some stage outfits - so between the two, I had a fabulous wardrobe.

Q: You and your family survived an attempted hijack on a plane two years ago. Is it true you said that the thing you were most affronted by was the assailant's socks?

A: Yes, they were pretty awful stripes. I just thought it was nice to amuse people with an anecdote like that. It's easier than trying to tell them what you really went through.

Q: Are your sons impressed by your fame?

A: Well, if Eminem did one of my songs, they'd think I was pretty happening.

Q: You've been happily married for 20 years, but people still remember that Jerry Hall left you very publicly for Mick Jagger. Does that irritate you?

A: Well, people hardly ever ask about it now. But yes, I think it's fairly inappropriate to talk about it.

Q: Tell us about your parents.

A: My father used to win prizes for his ploughing, but during the Depression the farm failed and he had to work underground, tending pit ponies. He courted my mother for ten years before they could get married. It brings a tear to my eye every time I think about it. My mother loved all the 1930s and 40s songs, so I recorded 'These Foolish Things' for her.

Q: The models on your album covers - Jerry Hall, Amanda Lear, Kari Ann Jagger - were legendary.

A: I've always loved female glamour. I suppose it comes from a fascination with screen stars and chorus girls.

Q: But not many people know that Anna Nicole Smith (the topless dancer and future trophy wife) starred in your 1993 video 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow?'.

A: Well, we try to discover them early you know.

Q: Do you have any regrets?

A: I was offered ythe chance to record 'Don't You Forget (About Me)' but I was in the middle of mixing the Boys and Girls album and felt that I had enough singles already. I should have done it. It's a great song and Simple Minds went on to have a huge hit with it.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?

A: That I'm very shy. Ironically the place I'm least shy is on stage.

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