With that in mind, he and his fellow Roxy Music members have worked hard in rehearsals to pick up where they left off – whether it was 1982, when the band disbanded, or 10 years ago, when Roxy reunited for the last time. Manzanera, frontman Bryan Ferry, multi-instrumentalist Andy Mackay and drummer Paul Thompson will stop in Boston on Saturday on their 50th anniversary tour, playing at the new MGM Music Hall in Fenway.
Manzanera is widely recognized as an electric guitar super-innovator. Its rule-defying textures helped make Roxy Music a one-of-a-kind band – a glam band that foreshadowed punk, an exuberant collision of sounds steeped in craftsmanship.
It is therefore curious to hear him say that he must rely on his own game since the beginning of the group.
“I had a lot of enthusiasm and my fingers were going places they wouldn’t now,” he explains. “It’s like, ‘Who is this guy?’ He was actually pretty weird. I was just bluffing, you know. He laughs.
Ferry, the suave crooner who had significant solo success, has fond memories of the band’s origins, when Mackay brought in electronic artist Brian Eno (who would only stay for the band’s first two albums) and they got together. installed on Manzanera after advertising “The Perfect Guitarist.”
“Those were fun times,” Ferry said on a separate call. “We were delighted to have discovered each other, I suppose. I felt so lucky to have this very interesting collection of people. Everyone had a personality on their instrument.
The band’s self-titled debut album in 1972 was “largely a collage of elements”, he says. It was a musical adaptation of Ferry’s art school studies with Richard Hamilton, the British pop artist known for his influential collage work.
“It felt good to explore all these different avenues,” Ferry says. “Andy had a different background than mine, and Phil again.” Manzanera’s mother was originally from Colombia and he grew up in various places including Cuba, Venezuela and Hawaii.
“Our first bassist, Graham [Simpson], was very drawn to the jazz world, the Blue Note jazz albums,” Ferry continues. “I really wanted to be an artist, and I ended up doing it in music.”
Despite his easygoing personality, which would become more pronounced with the band’s final album (“Avalon”) and solo singles such as “Slave to Love” and “Kiss and Tell”, Ferry grew up working class.
“My dad was a real salt of the earth character,” he says. Frederick Charles Ferry came from a family of farmers; he was a keeper of mining horses.
It was Ferry’s mother, Mary Ann, who encouraged his creative aspirations. “She was more modern, more hip,” he says. “She was from the city. She encouraged us to look smart for school or church. As a child, I worked at a tailor on weekends to earn pocket money. I became interested in clothes quite early.
There was a piano in the house, but it was mostly her older sister who played it. To this day, Ferry says he introduces his friends to the music he is working on by playing chords or rudimentary melodies. Has he ever sworn to up his game?
“Oh, no,” he laughs. “Maybe one day.”
In 2019, Roxy Music was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The members of Duran Duran called their heroes “a psychedelic Sinatra singing pop-art poetry over driving drums”. Manzanera says he was surprised how much the honor moved him.
“Unlike other bands, we didn’t expect it,” he says. “We never even thought about being nominated. When we were, I was like, oh, that’s good.
But at the ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, he looked around and spotted Fleetwood Mac at a table and Janet Jackson sitting behind him.
“The Zombies, the guys from Radiohead. . . It was amazing! We had the most fantastic time. Even Eno, who didn’t come, was also very grateful. We rehearsed for a week, even though we only played 15 minutes, to make sure we acquitted ourselves.
He still owns the famous bug goggles he often wore during the band’s heyday. In fact, he just picked them up from Rock Hall, where they were on loan. (Her children insisted.)
To mark their 40th anniversary in 2011, Roxy played a series of shows in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. They did not tour the United States.
Manzanera says he doesn’t remember making much of the band’s 40th anniversary.
“But 50 – that sounds big,” he says.
When the group first signed with Island Records, there was no idea of longevity, he says.
“When you start a rock ‘n’ roll band, you think, ‘I don’t care – I’ll sign anything. You just want to make a record, be in a recording studio. It’s like joining the navy to see the world, or something like that.
Not in your wildest dreams, he says, do you think of yourself 50 years in the future.
Email James Sullivan at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @sullivanjames.
At MGM Music Hall at Fenway, September 17 at 8 p.m. Tickets from $49.50. crossroadspresents.com