Disc - - Solo Ferry Sets Sail - Sat 23rd Jun

23 June 1973

Solo Ferry Sets Sail

Ray Fox-Cummings for 'Disc'

Bryan Ferry has obviously not yet found it necessary to adopt strict security measures to avoid his Earls Court flat being invaded by hoards of admirers. His doorbell is clearly marked "FERRY" in black felt-tip capitals. There is an intercom device which could, of course, be out of order, but at any rate he does not use it, and answers the door himself. Inside, the flat is unpretentious, similar to that of any other reasonably well-heeled SW 10 dweller - high-ceilinged and sparsely-furnished, with only a sturdy white grand piano in the living room to give any hint that the occupier is a musician.

In fact, as he takes pains to point out, he does not consider himself much of a musician. "The rest of the band - yes, they're very, good and improving all the time, but me, I'm not really a musician. I mean, I don't play any instrument very well." He says it without regret, with almost complete indifference. Throughout most of the interview, he sits slouched in an armchair, his chin almost resting on his chest. He seldom looks up while he is talking and speaks so quietly that you have to strain to hear him. Maybe his lethargy has something to do with the fact that he consumed "a considerable quantity of wine" at lunch time. Perhaps, it's just the memory of having flown in after a busy European tour the day before, and the prospect of packing to leave on holiday in Corfu the day after that exhaust him, but even with his jet black dyed hair, he looks more like an accountant relaxing after a heavy day with the books than a rock star.

When he gets back from holiday, he says, he will begin work on his first solo album. "None of the songs on it will be mine," he adds. "I'm going through the songs of the best composers of the last, say, 15 years and picking out the ones I like best - the best Lennon/ McCartney, the best Bacharach/David and so on." Had he definitely made any final choices? "Yes, I think I've settled on 'Sympathy For The Devil' as my Jagger/Richard one. Since he did not rate himself as a musician, was this album intended as a way of proving himself as a singer? He looks up slowly and with a cynical snort of a laugh answers: "Yes, I suppose it is," and then steers the conversation back to his work Roxy. '"Looking back, I think the second album was much better than the first: it's better produced - and better played. We'll start work on the third Roxy album after I've finished my solo one."

Bryan was once quoted as saying that with each album he started with the cover and worked inwards. Was that going to be true of the third? "The idea comes first and the cover then has to express the idea. You have to find the right chick for it. "When I'm writing songs, the idea comes first and then the melody. I'm not one of those writers who has a whole lot of poems waiting to have music set to them. "When I go into the studio to record, I usually have the whole song pretty well worked out, though sometimes I've sat up the whole night before, typing out final lyric sheets."

When Roxy first went out on tour; Bryan, in keeping with the visual concept of the band, remained anchored to the keyboards and tended to look restricted as a result. That is no longer the case, but -would there ever come a time when the band might feel hamstrung by its visual concept and wish to do without it? "No, I don't think so. I think the whole thing is flexible enough for us to adapt it as we want it. "Actually, I don't really know what we do look like onstage, but we're getting some video shortly and I think that's important." Bryan talks about Roxy's tours without much enthusiasm. "Touring really is a ridiculous way of promoting records. It's not that I don't enjoy the actual performing, I do, but all that travelling and waiting around. "What would be much better would be to do one definitive gig that went really well, at a good venue, and then film it." He chuckles mirthlessly at the idea; they would never let him do it.

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