Chapter III: Biographies

A. Roxy Music
Winter 70/71: Bryan Ferry has the idea of founding a group with Graham Simpson on bass. He advertises for a keyboard player but gets Andy Mackay instead, who plays sax and oboe and also has a synthesizer.
January 71: Andy Mackay meets Brian Eno by chance and recruits him as "technical advisor" for the group, because he has a Revox reel-to-reel tape machine. Eno slowly but steadily becomes a member of the group. Rehearsals continue through the year. Classically trained timpanist Dexter Lloyd is employed, but leaves after a few demo sessions.
June 71: Paul Thompson joins as a drummer; some other musicians sit in, but do not become permanent members. Roger Bunn joins on guitar, but leaves again in September.
September 71: Phil Manzanera answers the advertisement for a guitarist and jams with Roxy Music but fails the recruitment, as Ferry gets his favoured guitarist David O'List, who played with The Nice and October. Manzanera becomes assistant sound-mixer and road manager.
October 71: The now complete group is called Roxy but because an american group has the same name, they change it to Roxy Music. Bryan Ferry is trying to get a contract, but no record company wants to buy the demos.
November & December 1971 Roxy Music play pre-Christmas gigs at private functions only, including the Tate Gallery and the "End of Term Bash" at Reading University.
December 1971: Richard Williams, a journalist from the British music weekly Melody Maker gets hold of a demo and writes a most important feature in favour of Roxy Music in the MM's edition of December 12, 1971.
The band get a booking on John Peel's "Sound of the Seventies" (first show on 21/1/72) for 4 shows. They also appear at the "100 Club" in London. As they are not making a lot of money, Ferry is still teaching two days a week, Thompson is employed on a building site and Mackay is still teaching music at Holland Park and driving the van with the gear.
At the gigs, Eno and Manzanera do not appear on stage, but are seated behind the mixing desk at the back of the venue. This means that Eno is free to sing harmony, to work on the mixer and play synthesizer and "special treatments".
January 72: Ferry approaches E.G. Management through the help of King Crimson's Robert Fripp. E. G. don't want the group, only Ferry is considered as a valuable deal. E. G. are persuaded to audition Roxy Music in Wandsworth and after that they sign the group. Within a week, Roxy Music also sign with Island Records.
David O'List is ousted from the group after the first John Peel Show, because his playing style is not considered suitable for the kind of music that Roxy Music is going to produce.
February 72: Phil Manzanera is now asked to join as a guitarist after three days of auditioning, as he is familiar with the material they are playing.
March 72: The first LP is completed with producer Pete Sinfield at "Command Studios" in London. The image-making flashy clothes are bought with a large advance from Island Records. Some gigs are played in small clubs.
May 72: One week before the first official appearance at the "Great Western Pop Festival", Graham Simpson leaves the group after a bout of depression, a nervous breakdown and becoming involved in Sufism, an Eastern religion. This is the start of the "Group with no Permanent Bass Player" dilemma. Ferry recruits John Porter, who was not proficient enough, so Pete Sinfield gets Rik Kenton to join. He stays 8 months with an unclear status, but most possibly is merely a session player.
In the last week of May, Roxy Music also appear at the "GWEPF" in Lincoln.
23/6/72: The debut LP is released and receives tremendous reviews in New Musical Express and Melody Maker, reaching No. 6 in English charts. No single was released from this LP at that time, which was a strange way of trying to break a new group.
25/6/72: Support act for David Bowie at Croydon.
30/6/72: Support act for Alice Cooper at Wembley Empire Pool.
July 72: The band play the "Electric Mecca" in Bristol and the "Summer Garden Party" at Crystal Palace Bowl. They are regarded as as glam-rock group and pick up a substantial amount of gay people and Bowie supporters as followers. Riots take place when the band support Rory Gallagher, as his fans do not like the group and their image.
"Virginia Plain", the band's first single, is recorded at "Command Studios" with Rik Kenton on bass.
20/7/72: Appearance on the English TV program "Old Grey Whistle Test", although the people in charge of the program do not like them at all and part of the music business believes they are a hype.
28/7/72: "Virginia Plain" is released and gets to No. 4 in the English charts. This is considered as one of the strangest moves by a new group, as the single is recorded well after the LP and is not even included on it (although it is included on the Canadian version of the album and on the CD 15 years later). Due to the success of the single, the band appear on "Top of the Pops", this time dressed in gold lamé suits.
20/8/72: Roxy Music again support David Bowie at the Rainbow, London.
October 72: On the eve of the first gig of the band's first headlining British tour Ferry loses his voice. His tonsils have to be removed. The tour has to be rescheduled. This means some time off for the others, who try out new ideas during this time.
November 72: The rearranged British tour is a big success. Roxy Music becomes one of the household names in glam-rock. Rik Kenton is still the bass-player at this time.
December 72: The first visit to America. The band play nearly 20 cities in less than 30 days, including New York, L.A., Miami, Athens/Ohio, Washington, Chicago. The tour is disastrous, because America is not ready for another British invasion, this time glam-rock. Roxy Music are considered as weirdos. A lot of this might have to do with the planning of the tour, because the band has to support groups like Edgar Winter, Jethro Tull, Jo Jo Gunne, Humble Pie, Allman Brothers, none of which have anything in common with what Roxy Music is all about. Audiences are not able to tune into Roxy's sound. The press, however, is impressed by Brian Eno and his synthesizer-playing theories. He does a good send-up by telling most interviewers that Roxy Music's next single will include the amplified sounds of earthworms.
January 73: Roxy Music win "Best Act of 72" category in the polls of NME, MM, Sounds and Disc.
They start work on "Pyjamarama", the second single, at "Air Studios" in London with John Porter sitting in on bass.
February 73: The second album "For Your Pleasure" is recorded at "Air Studios" with Chris Thomas producing and John Porter sitting in again.
23/2/73: "Pyjamarama" is released and gets to No. 10 in the English charts. Roxy Music play a gig at the Rainbow to packed audiences. They try to enhance their stage act. Bryan Ferry, who has always sung from the right side of the stage hidden behind the keyboard, tries to take the center and become a fully acknowledged front man.
March 73: Sal Maida is recruited for the British and European Tour. They play 22 dates in Britain. At the last two dates at the Rainbow they are introduced by Amanda Lear. Then they hit Europe and play in Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and Switzerland. In Germany, they play 5 songs live on TV ("Musikladen-Special").
The group get to meet Salvador Dali in Paris; Ferry appears at the "Olympia" gig in Paris in a gold brocade D'Artagnan coat. Riots take place at a live TV show in Paris, as not all the fans could get in. They are awarded "Le Grand Prix De Disque" for the best album of the year in Montreux.
"For Your Pleasure" is released, selling 50,000 copies in the first week, reaching No.3 in England. Again, the single is not included on the album, giving somehow value for money to the customer who buys both.
June & July 73: Ferry works on his first solo LP, consisting of old standards. Rumours of Eno recording with Robert Fripp circulate in music papers. Eno also appears with the Portsmouth Sinfonia at the York festival.
July 73: The tensions in the group grow, especially between Ferry and Eno. Eno has lost some of his interest in the group, as he is always looking for new fields to explore. Ferry is jealous of the exposure Eno gets with his theories and outrageous overall appearance. There is also an American review of "For your Pleasure", crediting Eno with singing half of the lead vocals on the record, which makes Ferry furious. At the York festival in June, the audience shout Ferry down with calls for Eno whilst singing "Beauty Queen", one of his favourites. Eno leaves the stage, but the crowd gets louder. Ferry announces afterwards that he will never play on the same stage with Eno again. After Ferry's return from Corfu/Greece, where he spent a holiday, Eno asks for a general meeting of the group and decides to leave, only to find afterwards that he is 15,000 Pounds in debt, due to the large advance from the record company. (It was only a lot of years later that Ferry and Eno did record together again).
In the same week, it is announced that Eddie Jobson, who was invited to the York Festival by Ferry to watch Eno's part on stage, will replace him. This makes Mackay and Manzanera, who have not been asked and fight for Eno, furious with Ferry. Rumours of a complete split are all over the place, but finally both give in. From then on, Roxy Music seem to decline more or less into Ferry's backing band over the years.
Eddie Jobson's status in the group is so insecure that he could be fired every day. He never becomes a member of the group, but is more or less a permanently hired session musician. On the other hand, he does not have to pay back the large advances from the early days.
Autumn 73: The third big British Tour (The "Casablanca Look" Tour) includes 13 dates. Jobson takes over all keyboards to give Ferry the possibility of becoming the front man and the face of Roxy Music. Jobson also introduces electric violin into the sound, Sal Maida plays bass. Special guests in Edinburgh: The London Male Voice Choir and two Highland pipers. In London, a forest of real palm trees decorates the stage. Due to fans chasing him, Phil sprains his leg and has to sit during the show in Bournemouth and use a walking stick on the other dates.
Shortly before the tour, "Stranded" is recorded with Johnny Gustafson on bass.
November 73: The second tour of Europe, Sal Maida is still on bass. Ferry wants to include songs from his solo album in the set, but faces great opposition from the other band members. Roxy Music record a TV-special in Zuerich/Switzerland.
"Stranded" is released and soon gets to No. 1 in England. The single "Street Life" is included on the album this time.
Early 74: Roxy Music tour Europe again. Sal Maida is again invited to stand in on bass. They also play two unscheduled gigs in Southport/England. Preparations for a second US tour take place after switching from Warner Brothers to Atlantic as record distributors in America. Ferry does a five day trip for radio promotion, on which he visits New York, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston. Roxy Music are still considered too weird for America. They do not seem to fit into any playlist scheme that American radio is governed by, so their music is ignored on Top 40 radio stations.
Ferry and Mackay start work on their new solo projects.
May 74: Ferry returns to America to have his picture taken in Hollywood for the cover of "Another Time, Another Place", his second solo LP.
May & June 74: Second US Tour, again Sal Maida on bass. The band play six headlining concerts (New York, Boston, Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland and Philadelphia). They are still considered to be too sophisticated for American audiences of the time and have only cult status, resulting in a small but affectionate following. The music itself is not played a lot on American radio, because nobody knows where to put it into the program. The songs are not simple enough for daytime radio and too strange for nighttime LP-track orientated radio.
June 74: As "Another Time, Another Place", Ferry's second solo LP, is released, containing some major hits with "The In-Crowd" and "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes", rumours of a split circulate again. The rumours gain more fuel when Andy Mackay releases his first solo LP "In Search of Eddie Riff" in different formats in Europe and America.
August & September 1974 "Country Life" is recorded; Johnny Gustafson plays bass on the record again
Fourth tour of Britain, this time with John Wetton on bass (The "Goucho/Facismo" Tour). The press hates it, especially because of Bryan Ferry's new outfit. The tour includes 4 dates at the Rainbow, London.
September 74: "All I Want is You" is released as a single.
November 74: "Country Life" is released for the Christmas market and climbs to No. 3 in England. The cover, consisting of a picture of two German girls with not a lot of underwear but lots of pubic hair, is rejected by American retailers, so it is put into a dark green shrink-wrap.
January 75: Third US Tour, again with John Wetton on bass. The band now achieve cult status in Cleveland and Detroit, but the rest of the country still seems to ignore them.
March 75: The band embark on their first tour of Japan with John Wetton on bass.
April & May 75: Tours of New Zealand and Australia. After that, Roxy Music go back into the recording studio for the fifth LP with Johnny Gustafson on bass again.
Autumn 75: "Love Is The Drug" is released as a single, the first record to really fit in with American radio schedules. It reaches the American Top 30. The B-side, which was always something that Roxy Music ignored completely, consists of Ferry playing around with a Farfisa organ and some effects. When Eddie Jobson hears it, he is so disappointed about the output, he thinks about quitting the group.
October 75: Fifth British tour with The Sirens on backing vocals and The Sadistic Mika Band as support act. Johnny Gustafson is on bass this time. The tour climaxes with two shows at London, Wembley Empire Pool. "Siren" is released during the tour.
December 75: Fourth US Tour, with John Gustafson on bass. Despite the minor success of the single, Roxy Music are again not able to crack the American market.
January & February 76: The American tour is followed by a tour of Europe. Johnny Gustafson is replaced by Rick Wills on bass.
March 76: Fifth US Tour with Rick Wills on bass. The band again has only cult status.
Summer 76: Roxy Music disband officially to give all memers a rest from the exhaustive touring schedule and the possibility of going into their own solo careers. Eddie Jobson never returns to the group.
July 76: "Viva! Roxy Music" is released, consisting of selected live tracks from the last 3 years.
October 76: The "Greatest Hits" LP is released. Rumours of a special farewell single occur here and there, but nothing sees the light of day.
Winter 78: After two and a half years, Ferry, Manzanera, Mackay and Thompson meet again to discuss another formation of Roxy Music. Sessions for "Manifesto" take place in England and New York with Gary Tibbs (from The Vibrators), Alan Spenner on bass and Paul Carrack on keyboards.
February 79: "Trash" is released as a single by the newly reformed Roxy Music.
March 79: "Manifesto" is released. A world tour starts in Germany with David Skinner on keyboards and Gary Tibbs on bass.
April 79: When the tour hits America, the people coming to the concerts seem to love it. Roxy have finally overcome their cult status and are now one of the big groups, with several concerts broadcast live on radio. Whether this has to do with Americans having caught up with the Roxy Music sound or whether the new songs are now clean and reshaped enough for American radio schedules has never been researched properly.
May 79: British leg of the tour, which the press seem to hate again. Although, a good two years after the first punks came out, this is no surprise to anyone involved.
Autumn 79: Ferry stars in the French TV soap opera "Petit Dejeuner Compris" as an old friend of the deceased ex-owner of a cheap hotel, who falls in love with her niece that leaves her husband for him (but they are reunited backstage at a Roxy gig). He plays out all the clichés that are associated with rock stars. All in all, he makes a complete fool of himself.
Spring 80: "Flesh & Blood" is recorded without Paul Thompson. His drumming does not suit Ferry's requirements for an "American" sound any longer. Gary Tibbs plays on one track only, the rest, except the parts of Mackay and Manzanera, is done by session players. Even Manzanera is not allowed to play guitar on the title track. This LP seems to mark the end of Roxy Music as a band and the official beginning of Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music.
May 80: "Flesh & Blood" is released worldwide.
Summer 80: Tour of Europe and Britain. Paul Thompson is asked to join again, but breaks his thumb in a motorcycle accident and is replaced at the last minute by Andy Newmark. Gary Tibbs is added on bass, Neil Hubbard on guitar and Paul Carrack plays keyboards. Ferry collapses after a concert in France with a serious kidney infection. Parts of the tour have to be rescheduled for the autumn.
Autumn 80: Rescheduled part of the tour.
18 & 19/12/80: Roxy Music play two shows for the second German TV channel (ZDF) at the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, West Germany, together with Mike Oldfield, Talking Heads and Dire Straits. It marks their first time at an occasion like this since they played the festivals in the early days. As John Lennon had been murdered a few days before, they do "Jealous Guy" as a special tribute.
January 81: A short series of dates at Leicester, Birmingham and Manchester takes place as replacement for the cancelled British shows in the summer.
January & February 81: "Jealous Guy" is recorded and released as a tribute to John Lennon, marking the first No. 1 single for Roxy Music in England.
Winter 81: "Avalon" is recorded, mostly with session musicians helping out.
May 82: "Avalon" is released worldwide, becoming the biggest success in Roxy Music's career.
August - October 82: The "Avalon Tour" conquers Britain and Europe with the largest cast of musicians ever on a Roxy Music stage: Andy Newmark on bass, Guy Fletcher on keyboards, Jimmy Maelen on percussion, Alan Spenner on bass, Neil Hubbard on guitar, Michelle Cobbs and Tawatha Agee on backing vocals. A video of the show is cut in Frejus, France, and released the following year. Years later the show is also released as a live record.
January & February 83: Tour of Japan with the same musicians, adding Fonzi Thornton on backing vocals.
May 83: Tour of America. After the tour Roxy Music disband again. "The High Road", a mini live LP, is released with material from the British Tour. The American record company releases "The Atlantic Years" as a greatest hits collection to coincide with the tour.
Spring 86: As "Street Life", a double album greatest hits collection by Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music is released, rumours of a Roxy reformation spread but nothing happens.
November 87: "Roxy reform" rumours appear again, as Ferry's latest solo LP "Bete Noir" does not seem to make a lot of impact on sales figures.
March 90: A video, "Totall Recall", is released. It includes a lot of cuts and snippets from the early 70ies to the mid 80ies. All in all it is a rip-off, because none of the songs is complete. It brings back some memories, but there are better and more complete versions around in collectors' circles.
Winter 1990 "Heart Still Beating"D WIDTH=156>Winter 1990 "Heart Still Beating", the Frejus live tracks from 1982, are released
Early 1995 A 4-CD Collection "The Thrill Of It All" is released. It has all major releases and a lot of b-sides, a superb cover and some more background info on certain tracks.
Fall 1995 Another compilation "More Than This" is released in CD and video format. It has Bryan Ferry tracks as well as Roxy Music tracks.
May 1996 "Love Is The Drug" is released in a couple of remixed versions, remixes done by Rollo and Sister Bliss. Not at all listenable, just for die-hard collectors.