She Magazine - Wed 1st May

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She Magazine
May 2002

Interview by Peter Robertson
She Magazine May 2002

He was the 70s rock god but three decades later Bryan Ferry is still ultra-cool. Here he talks about his kids, growing old disgracefully and that plane hijacking scare.

Aloof, handsome and with just a touch of the old rogue about him, Bryan Ferry is worth five of any 'pick 'n' mix' boy band dreamboats.

For some of us, Bryan Ferry's voice goes back beyond 1982's album Avalon, to the early 70s. Roxy Music were a school disco favourite, and you'd hear their music coming from the bedroom of your friend's sexy older brother: it was ultra-cool.

When Ferry hooked up with Jerry Hall and released Let's Stick Together in 1976, there was an explosion. Fashion icon met rock god and they created their own style. Until Hall ran off with Mick Jagger four years later, they were the 70's coolest couple. Ferry left Roxy Music soon after - but now he's back.

It's been a long haul. During the last 20 years Ferry has fathered four children (Otis, 19, Isaac, 16, Tara, 12, Merlin, 11), survived a plane hijacking and shored up his marriage to Lucy Helmore, the one-time drug and alcohol-dependent daughter of an Eton-educted financier. They married in 1982 and during the early years she attended addiction meetings while Ferry moved them out to the country and tried to establish himself as a solo artist.

Even now, at 56, Ferry still has the look of a rocker. The greased-back hairstyle you don't see on anyone under 50 (but which looks great on him), a penchant for black and cigarettes are his trademarks. He's a Durham coal miner's son made good, and an icon. With his Roxy Music comeback tour last year and now his first solo album for 18 years, Bryan rocks!

It's almost 30 years since your first hit Virginia Plain. Do you recall that time well?

I remember bits of it very well. The first time I heard it on the radio, I was in a van on the M1

How cool is the real you?

I'd say totally uncool. There's a reserve about me that's genuine. I like to think I'm sometimes light-hearted, but I can be moody and hot-blooded...a bit of a Latin temperament.

After the plane incident (in December 2000, Ferry was flying with his family to Zanzibar when a passenger tried to crash the plane), one of your children said that you were the coolest person on board. Is that how you felt?

I felt philisophical about it. You don't have much time to think or analyse what you think. Something's just happening and it's beyond your control.

Does that incident still give you nightmares now?

Not at all. It does give my wife bad dreams though.

Creative people are often said to be hard to live with - is that true of you?

Oh, I'm sure. They're always thinking about themselves or things relating to themselves - that's the problem.

It's your 20th wedding anniversary on June 26 - how will you celebrate?

Is that right? Thanks for telling me. I'd better roll a carpet out.

What do you think are the secrets of a lasting marriage?

A good sense of humour. You have to learn tolerance too, if you have a relationship with anybody. You need to take the rough with the smooth. I don't really have any words of wisdom about marriage.

What kind of relationship do you have with your children?

I hope it's a good one. But I wish I saw more of them.

Your childhood must have been very different from that of your children - has it influenced the way you've brought them up?

Unlike them I didn't go to boarding school and my dad wasn't in the music business. But even though they've had even more opportunities than I had, I've never wanted them to be spoiled. But mainly, you just make it up as you go along.

What qualities have you instilled in your children?

To work hard and be good sports, things like that. Good Christian principles.

What rules your head, and what rules your heart?

I like to deal with things where both are equally involved. Like making music - it's both, since you're trying to do something that's heartfelt at the same time as doing something that has some kind of idea to it.

What makes you jealous?

All sorts of things. Well, I am a Jealous Guy after all...

Do you want to grow old gracefully or disgracefully?

Disgracefully, but I haven't made much of a job of it so far. I don't think I'm really perceived as a rogue.

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