Selected by Dan Grunebaum
|Reunited after 20 years
With all the rock
dinosaurs lumbering around on reunion tours these days, it' hard to get overly excited
about an upcoming Roxy Music tour, their first in two decades. Moreover, the absence of
founding member Brian Eno is made doubly painful by his coincidentally showing up in Japan
this summer for the Fuji Rock Festival.
Nevertheless, Roxy Music's unique place in the pantheon of rock is unchallenged, and for
fans of music from contemporary electronica to Marilyn Manson fetishism, their legacy is
immense. For these reasons, the upcoming gigs by Brian Ferry and Co. should be
interesting, and in a small way, historic.
The original Roxy Music lineup came together in 1971, with Bryan Ferry on
vocals/keyboards, Brian Eno on synths, Graham Simpson on bass, and Andy Mackay on
saxophone. After a year of changes, the roster finally settled into place with Paul
Thompson on drums and Phil Manzanera on guitar.
Roxy Music debuted with a self-titled release for Island Records in 1972, blending Ferry's
bleak surrealism with '70s electronica. After Eno's acrimonious departure in 1973, they
went on to issue a series of hit '70s albums, including For Your Pleasure, Stranded,
Country Life and Siren.
The members of Roxy Music went their various ways in the late '70s, reuniting in 1979 for
their comeback album, Manifesto. The album spawned two hit singles, "Angel
Eyes" and "Dance Away," paving the way for their first number one single,
"Jealous Guy," which appeared on the 1981 album Flesh and Blood. Their
final album, Avalon, topped the charts in 1982, after which Ferry went on to a
relatively successful solo career.
The current, touring edition of Roxy Music features Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzanera, Andy
Mackay and original drummer Paul Thompson. Ferry told Launch that he had
approached Eno about the reunion, but that Eno refused the offer. "I did speak to
Brian about doing some dates," Ferry recounted. "He said to me then that he
didn't like the idea of ever performing again, you know? I think that's sort of a 'no'
Music play Tokyo International Forum on September 7-9. See listings for details.