Playgirl - Fri 6th Jun

06 June 1975
Written By Diane Robbens
for Playgirl 1975

"How does it feel to know that women look at your picture and masturbate?"

An outrageous question. Yet one resorts to extreme measures when trying to break therough the highly polished façade of an enigma. Bryan Ferry, thirty year old founder, leader and superstar of England's top rock group, Roxy Music, had been the perfect gentleman. He had answered the other questions with his carefully prepared responses and smiled at all the appropriate times. Yet underneath all this civility, all this charm, there had always been the hint of immense tension, of a controlled hysteria that could erupt at any moment. It is one of the things that makes Ferry so sexy.

He had been flirting with music since his university days, singing in a school band, writing lyrics between classes. In 1970 Ferry dropped his emphasis on art and turned dramatically to music. Within a year he had formed Roxy Music, a truly unique group. The first musicians to use attire as an integral part of their performance, they also managed to combine the big band sound of Benny Goodman with the sexual frenzy of the Doors.

A year later Roxy Music was a major success in England - sell-out tours, hit records, excellent press. But again Ferry needed more. "I must be in control" he admitted. Eno, the colourfully androgynous sex symbol of the group, and the most popular, soon departed. Ferry took to dressing in a manner that would spotlight him even more. His costumes included: the Rudolph Valentino Look, the Lawrence Harvey Number, the Hitler Outfit, and currently, as Ferry himself describes it "a kind of G.I. Joe." He was now writing all the lyrics, singing all the vocals, and getting all the attention. Amazingly, he still had the desire to establish a solo career as a singer of fifties and sixties standards and released two albums, These Foolish Things, and Another Time, Another Place.

There is something about Ferry, an overwhelming intensity, that suggests either genius or madness or perhaps both. All these possibilities have intimidated reporters into into writing absurd pieces on Ferry's work, calling it anything from "premeditated fun" to "sadistic detatchment." Always there is a hesitancy to delve directly into the man. It is understandable. Although he admits he deals in contrasts, Ferry actually has the nerve or talent to mix, mesh and live in opposites, making much of his personality a contradiction.

He likes his women "remote." and calls it "a fun kind of look." Although he is a highly cultured man, his taste in women could easily and kindly be described as tacky; Rita Hayworth, Marylin Monroe, Kin Novak and Edy Williams.
But you can't accuse Bryan Ferry of being tacky. He knows it. " Money is important to me. I like tacky things and low life as much as high life." His apartment is decorated in art deco furniture and plastic roses. His audience also reflects the opposite parts of Ferry; art students and punks, male and female, young and old, gay and straight. Ferry has an uncanny ability to serve as a projection for a wide variety of fantasies. Because he is a man of contradictions there is an enormous amount of sexual tension about him.

In Detroit a young girl actually threw herself upon the stage, ripped open her blouse, and attempted to strip before Ferry until she was led away. Just before that happened, Ferry had turned his back to the audience and provocatively moved his torso up and down, for a full five minutes, in rhythm to the pounding drum beat.
Yet now when asked how it felt to be the sexual object of female fantasies, Ferry for the first time lost his composure; he started to blush. It looked as if the façade was finally going to crack a little. He turned to the always-on, always-silent colour television and stared blankly ahead. Finally he said, "Actually I'm very flattered." Never has such a sexy question received such a cold answer.

Ferry had given warning that he was not about to expose too much of himself. "I'm a Libra," he teased, "I don't give away anything." Every age has it's own enigma. Ferry has yet to reach the celebrity status of a Greta Garbo or Bob Dylan, but he's working on it.

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