Newcastle Journal - Tue 22nd Oct

The return of the Sultan of Suave Oct 22 2002 By Sam Wonfor, The Journal An air of supercool descended on Newcastle last night when one of the North-East's favourite musical exports returned to his roots. Bryan Ferry, front man of Roxy Music, the epitome of style and the Washington-born son of a miner, will step on to stage at Newcastle's City Hall tonight and tomorrow to sell-out crowds. Fresh from inspiring performances in Glasgow and Edinburgh over the weekend, he arrived on Tyneside last night with high hopes for his solo double date. He said: "The gigs in Scotland went so well, so we're hoping that the Newcastle concerts live up to them. The crowds never let me get away with anything. I'm looking forward to a couple of really good nights. It's good to be back home." Earlier this year Ferry hit the headlines for something other than his music after it was confirmed that he had split from his wife, Lucy Helmore, after 20 years of marriage. That was followed by more media scrutiny of his private life. But last night the star was determined to talk only about music. He said: "That was all rather tough. Everything is so celebrity orientated now and there are so many of those magazines. We've actually been separated a lot longer than has been reported, but there you go. "Fortunately I was out of the country on tour for much of the time so I managed to miss most of it. But it's not very nice . . . and I'm not going to talk about any of it. It's too private." At 57, the "Sultan of Suave" - as labelled by The Los Angeles Times - could be forgiven for slowing down his work commitments. But although he admits he is surprised by his seemingly evergreen energy, Ferry insists he is still loving every minute of his work. "Doing the Roxy gigs last year, and the tour before that has definitely whetted my appetite for live performances. This will be three tours in three years. To be honest, it seems to be getting easier. I'm not sure how that works." A rare sample of his Geordie accent, will soon be featuring on the Northumbrian Anthology - a project recording many of the traditional songs which originated in the region. "I've done The Lambton Worm. It's the song from my local village. I used to play down there on Worm Hill - I just hope I don't sound too posh. "I made the band do the backing vocals, so we had a group of cockneys singing: Whisht! lads, haad yor gobs, Aa'll tell ye aall and aaful story. "They didn't have a clue what they were singing about, but it was such fun to do. Unfortunately, the band haven't had time to rehearse it, but hopefully we'll be able to play it for the audiences on the next tour." Many of the band members who are touring with Bryan featured on last year's Roxy Music Tour, including drummer Paul Thompson, another North-East export who grew up in Jarrow. Bryan said this was always a part of the tour they looked forward to - coming home. "I've still got friends up here and do visit as often as I can but it's nice to be here during the tour too. We're going to America and Japan after this, but I'll be back up north just before Christmas to relax again."

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