“I feel more appreciated now”


In March of this year, Bryan Ferry reunited with his longtime Roxy Music bandmates minus Brian Eno when Roxy Music was finally rightly inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame,

Now Ferry revisits many of the legendary English band’s biggest hits on their current North American tour. About to turn 74 in September, Ferry said in this rare interview: “I guess I feel more appreciated now that I’m a bit of an older artist than I was. And so I guess that made me feel better. made me feel more relaxed in my approach to living the job.”

That’s why, he explains, he’s become a somewhat regular touring performer again after taking most of a decade off the road on his own. Whatever Ferry’s reasons for getting used to hitting the road again, all music fans should be grateful to have the chance to see one of rock’s most stylish and iconic crooners perform songs once again. songs such as “Avalon”, “To Turn You On”, and “Love is Drugs”.

I spoke with Ferry about peers such as Bob Dylan and Van Morrison being liked by other musicians and the three songs he considers the best entry songs in the Roxy Music catalog.

Steve Baltin: You played in Detroit last night. How is the tour going?

Bryan Ferry: Yeah, we’re leaving for Boston today. We’re on the road and it’s great to be on tour here. Before that, we had big crowds in Detroit, Chicago and Toronto. It’s going really well.

Baltin: I had an article this morning with Nile Rodgers, whom you probably know well.

Ferry: Of course, I know him very well. I first worked with Nile on Boys and girls, my solo album I did around ’83, ’84 (came out in June ’85) and we became good friends after that. I saw him. We worked in the same studios and everything. I met him through Bob Clearmountain, an excellent remix engineer who worked on Avalon and Boys and girls and he said, “Yeah, you should try working with Nile.” Because he had mixed a lot of Chic stuff and recorded it. And we became good friends. He played on many of my records. Sometimes we meet when we’re on the road and he’s a great guy. Incredibly well read, intelligent and fascinating character.

Baltin: The reason I asked specifically is that in the track we did, he mentioned that Chic was meant to be “Black Roxy Music”.

Ferry: Yeah, he always says he saw us on English TV and yeah says how he called Bernard [Edwards] and said, “I have it” (laughs). It was very flattering to hear that.

Baltin: And I did a long interview with Joe Elliott from Def Leppard, who I’ve known for years, and he talked endlessly about the impact of Roxy Music. So when these people who have achieved icon status in their own right talk about their love for Roxy Music, what does that mean to you?

Ferry: It’s very satisfying to hear good things because most of the time, as an artist, you’re so self-critical all the time, saying, “Oh, this could be better and so on. It’s so nice to hear good things from people. The night before last, I met Beck. He came backstage and he was very complimentary about the show and my career. And I was very happy because I always thought he was really cool. It’s nice because obviously we hear the applause from the audience, but we don’t hear it much from the other musicians, so it’s nice when you hear it from person to person.

Baltin: Are there any songs that have changed for you or that you have a new appreciation for on this tour because you are a different person in many ways after 40 years?

Ferry: It’s hard to explain. It’s just very nice to perform them and jump into an earlier version of yourself. So I don’t mind doing songs from 1972, which is the first album. And I find it rather refreshing to go there. At the same time, I also like to do more mature things. So it’s good to mix it all up. And in the series, it’s like it’s my life in music. And it’s quite fascinating to take a song from 1972 and then put it next to something 10 years later. It’s all the different parts of yourself that you’re trying to explore in the song. And it’s great to have such enthusiastic people in the band who maybe get into this song for the first time or the first time they’ve done it and so on. So you also get a new perspective on some of the songs. That said, we normally try to do them near the record setting. Sometimes you stray a bit from it, but generally audiences like to hear a familiar way of doing it. Maybe in another concert, at another time, we will do more experimental versions of these songs. But this tour is pretty much planned as it is.

Baltin: In the set, you cover a Bob Dylan song. Are there any artists or peers that you look up to for the way they continue to evolve?

Ferry: I don’t really go to a lot of gigs, but I hear from my sons who go to a lot of gigs all the time, they say Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison gigs, they’re always really interesting. And they have great careers and a lot of songs and many aspects of their careers. So they do a similar kind of thing.

Baltin: Morrison is the one that came to mind. I’ve seen him several times and he seems to be having a lot more fun now.

Ferry: It definitely is and in my case, I guess I feel more appreciated now that I’m a bit of an older artist than before. And so I guess that made me feel more relaxed in my approach to live work. For a few years I didn’t tour much. For about 10 years I didn’t tour much. And then in the last few years, in my maturity shall we say, I discovered that I really liked it. And I have so much work that it’s not boring for me. There are so many stylistic areas to explore. It’s very good for me. And it also puts me in direct contact with the people who love my music and who have supported my music over the years.

Baltin: It’s funny that you say you feel more appreciated now. It seems that for musicians, the longer you can stay in the game, the more respect you gain.

Ferry: For the past 10 years, I’ve felt it. It wasn’t just a special moment. It’s kind of a gradual realization that people like me (laughs). And that’s kind of reassuring, you know? I enjoyed the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame thing, something I didn’t know much about. But it seems to have had an impact on a lot of people, so I guess that’s a really good thing. Every experience I had in America on this tour was like the best experience. So I’m looking forward to the rest of the tour and going to Nashville and obviously Los Angeles, which is a big place for me. And everywhere. It’s just a really nice moment for me.

Baltin: With Rock Hall and streaming and so many new people discovering Roxy Music, what are the three or four songs that people should have as a gateway into your catalog?

Ferry: I would say “Mother Of Pearl” has always been one of my favorites. I don’t play it a lot, but I think it’s one of my best things. “In Every Dream A Heartache” I would always say that one. If you’re still talking about Roxy Music, I’d say “To Turn You On” from Avalon and “Do The Strand” from At your service. And that gives him a little pleasure and the other things.

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