Bryan Ferry - - Record Mirror - Sat 25th Oct

Bryan Ferry - - Record Mirror
25 October 1975

So Ferry stylish...

Ray Fox-Cumming for 'Record Mirror'

POST - CONCERT meals with Roxy Music are relaxed and refined affairs. The group change for dinner, sip pre prandial drinks in their hotel bar, then dine with their entourage and guests. On this occasion it was at a long banqueting table in the restaurant of Newcastle's best hotel. The restaurant is empty apart from the Roxy party, having been kept open specially, but everyone is still on their best behaviour. Conversation is conducted in lowered voices and nobody would dream of leaning forward and yelling "pass the mustard" to someone four places along.

Bryan Ferry, be-suited for the occasion, is the last to take his seat at table, entering the room briskly and being handed the wine list on arrival. The urbane Mr Ferry must surely by a connoisseur of fine wines . . so what will he order for us? A fruity hock? A cheeky young Beaune? Or will it be a dusty - bottled classic? "Red or white?" he asks perfunctorily of no - one in particular. Some of each is suggested and without hesitation he stabs twice at the list with a forefinger, infuriatingly giving no clue as to whether he's choosing with a connoisseur's certainty or an amateur's pig-at-a-poke optimism! During the excellent repast, Ferry listens more than he speaks and afterwards, when the party returns to the bar for brandies, he is the first to say he's tired and retires to his room.

No interview tonight then, but his press lady says that, since he's gone to bed early, there's a good chance he'll be down to converse over breakfast at around 11 o'clock to be ready for an appointment with a BBC television film crew at 12.30. Come 11 o'clock though, there's no sign of him. It transpires that he sat up half the night with his manager, Mark Fenwick, and is now responding to wake-up pleas with a distinct lack of enthusiasm. At noon, there's still no Ferry, but the men from BBC North have arrived early "to line-up the first shot", and an hour or so of high comedy begins. Newcastle is Ferry's home town and the gist of the Beeb's idea is to make a short film of the man visiting all the town's trendier haunts. The Beeb's roving team consists of two silent odd-jobs and a little whirlwind of a director, all bustle and bounce, who seems quite put out that Ferry isn't immediately on tap. Adrianne Hunter, Roxy's PR lady, listens stoically as the whirlwind, who's already been christened "Fellini", explains what he has in mind. "It's going to be very glamorous," he enthuses, gesticulating wildly. "We'll have a marvellous shot of Bryan walking through the doors of the hotel to his limousine and of the car drawing off - and then we'll show the car arriving at and leaving all the places we visit and," he adds triumphantly, "we'll be playing The In Crowd."

Adrianne explains patiently that she'd rather they played Roxy's new single, Love Is The Drug. "New single?" mutters "Fellini", looking perplexed, "Is it out yet? " "Yes." "Is it doing well?" "Yes." No matter, the director is still going to get The In Crowd in there somewhere. "Oh God," murmurs Adrianne under her breath, "I wish they'd do their homework. Who wants to plug the bloody In Crowd now!" "Is he going to be much longer?" asks "Fellini" worriedly. "we haven't got much time. " On ascertaining that Bryan could be down in as little as ten minutes, he rushed off "to line up the shot."

In between opening the hotel's swing doors, getting the limo's engine started and ordering cameras all over the shop, "Fellini" dispenses bonhomie to one and all. Then discovers that a Record Mirror & Disc interview stands between him and Take One, whereupon bonhomie towards RM&D is replaced by testy little glares. "Poor Bryan," says Adrianne, "I don't think he's going to be very happy about all this. He only does it because, Newcastle being his home town, he feels he has to."

At last Ferry appears, looking very expensive and every inch the star in a grey-beige leather jacket and trousers. "Fellini" is much impressed and re-lines-up his shot at the double. By-passing the film crew, Bryan heads for a quiet corner to do our interview and is all bright and breezy until he looks out of the window to see "Fellini" hopping up and down, shouting orders at the two odd-jobs. Ferry's face falls and he looks utterly disconsolate. But when he hears I enjoyed the concert, he brightens. "Yes I thought it was a good one too," he says. "I'd really have liked to be able to play the whole of the new album, but the two best tracks didn't sound quite right in rehearsal so we decided to leave them out." The big talking point of this Roxy tour is the addition of the two girl singer / dancers in their incredible uniforms. "They are there," explains Bryan, "for practical reasons and not just for show. The new album has a lot of voices on it and, as the band aren't much into singing, we needed the girls . . . so we have our sirens."

Siren is, of course, the title of Roxy's new album. It should have been out to coincide with the tour, but problems with the pressing held release up for a couple of weeks. "I think," says Ferry, "that it is the best album we've done. It has the energy of the first two and the professionalism of the last two. The advantage of making a lot of albums is that you acquire the expertise to make each new one sound more and more professional. In the end though, you get problems of knowing how much to put on each track. For Country Life we used a 24 - track studio, this time we used a 16-track. Everyone now is keen to play on every track so there has to be a certain amount of discipline. There comes a time when you have to say diplomatically what you want to add on would be very nice, but it might detract from what's already there'."

The covers of Roxy albums are always works of art in themselves, but the new one is perhaps their finest yet. It's predominantly made up of blues and shows a singularly lovely model lying on the base of rocky cliffs, her hair done in the shapes of seaweed. "I spotted the location on a TV film. It was in Anglesey and the only other place in Britain where you'd get scenery like that would be in the north of Scotland, which is even further away. So, on the hottest day of the summer, about 20 of us went out to Anglesey and trouped down the cliff to do the cover."

The single taken from the new album is rather different from what people have come to look on as typical Roxy singles. "I suppose," says Bryan, "it's a sort of disco record. I don't think it's too different to put off our regular buyers, but if people who haven't bought our records in the past are getting it, so much the better. New customers," he adds with a wry smile, "are always welcome."

As far as Bryan's stage presentation is concerned, whatever he chooses to wear is instantly copied by a large band of followers. "It's amazing the attention they pay to detail," he says, when I explain how many boys in the Newcastle audience were tucking their ties into their shirts the moment they saw that was how he wore his. "It's not too difficult keeping a step ahead of them though Bryan's already turning his thoughts to beyond the British tour. "'After this, we go to America and I was thinking of doing some of my next solo album in New York, but the old mad firm in the studios here is working so well that I think I'll probably now wait and do it when we get back from the States tour. Looking still further ahead, Bryan says: "I'm planning to do a TV show in the early part of next year." What, a Bryan Ferry show, or a Roxy Music one? "Mine, but if the others are nice to me I may ask some of them to come along."

There's no time to talk further about this project. "Fellini" is at boiling point and looking set to blow a gasket. "I really don't think I'm ready for all this," murmurs Bryan lugubriously, "I'd much rather just go back to sleep." Nevertheless, he gets up wearily, puts on his brown trenchcoat, takes a couple of puffs on a cigarette and proclaims himself ready. "Fellini" roars into action, watched by a bevy of people, ill concealing their mirth. "Let's just get rid of that cigarette shall we?" he orders an astounded Bryan, steering him towards the nearest ashtray. "Now you've just got to walk through the swing doors and get into the car and then we'll carry on shooting while it drives off a little way." Bryan, poker faced, takes up his position behind the doors, and "Fellini" shouts, "I'll wave when I'm ready. " "When I say go, you go," says Bryan in a thick Italian accent and amid gales of laughter, having reduced "Fellini" to a stooge, he saunters out to the limousine and climbs in. The car moves forward a few feet, then there's a screech of brakes and it rapidly reverses. "Oh my God," yells someone, amid the helpless giggling, "Fellini's got run over" . . and. one can just see Bryan's shoulders shaking with mirth in the back of the limo.

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