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 Post subject: Phil Manzanera Telegraph interview
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2022 7:12 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:36 pm
Posts: 7
Phil Manzanera: 'I earn more from Jay-Z and Kanye than I ever did from Roxy Music'
Phil Manzanera on getting ripped off at the start of his career and being a musician in the digital age
Phil Manzanera, 71, is a musician and record producer who found fame in 1972 as lead guitarist with Roxy Music. He has worked with musicians such as David Gilmour, Steve Winwood, John Cale and Tim Finn.
Today he lives in London with his wife, Claire.
How did your childhood influence your attitude to money?
I had a British father and a Colombian mother. My dad worked as a teacher and some people think he may have been a spy. I was born in London but, with a brother and sister, lived an expat lifestyle in Havana during the Cuban Revolution, then in Hawaii and ¬Venezuela.
Aged nine, I begged my parents to send me to boarding school in London because I was obsessed by the pop music I heard on the BBC World Service and thought I’d be able to learn to play guitar properly.
My dad was always juggling bills, and I do that as well. I bought my first electric guitar, this fabulous red Höfner Galaxie, for £55 [£900 today] with a £5 deposit and, unbelievably, took out a hire-purchase agreement at the age of nine.
I got a solicitor’s letter a month later, demanding payment. When I showed it to my dad he said: “What have you done?” I cried and he paid it off. It was a good investment; I’ve still got it.
My dad died when I was 15. I was at Dulwich College in London. We had no money but the local authority paid my fees.
What was your first job?
I was briefly a temp for a travel firm. A month later I got a phone call from Bryan Ferry asking me to try out as a guitarist. On my 21st birthday I was looking into the abyss, with no work or gigs. A week later I was in Roxy; six weeks later we recorded the first album; eight weeks later we were in the charts and playing with David Bowie.
Are you a saver or a spender?
Spender: live now, pay later. I work harder when my finan¬ces are low. I’ve worked on 80 albums, produced 30 to 40 artists all over the world, ¬co-produced three albums with David Gilmour, done solo stuff, and been musical director for big ¬guitar festivals with Bob Dylan and Keith Richards. For a huge chunk of my life I was paying for my children’s education or buying music equipment.
Have you invested in property?
Only the property I’m liv¬ing in. I’m from the lucky generation who bought and then saw property rocket in price; totally unfair for our children now. I’ve had two studios: one with a house in Chertsey, which I’m selling for £5.5m, and one in London, which is also where I live. It’s a huge Victorian warehouse I found, very cheap, 22 years ago that’s now worth a load of money. I always build from scratch. It’s all to do with being able to make music. Because you work long hours, you don’t need a big journey to go home.
Do you make a good living from Roxy Music royalties?
Luckily, Roxy have continued to be popular, so it’s like having a pension. I don’t have any other pensions. I get mechanical royalties [for musicians who play on a song] and publishing royalties [for those who write it].
I was also lucky to have my guitar riff from my 1978 second solo album K-Scope sampled in 2011 by Jay-Z and Kanye West, who built a whole song around it. The track, No Church in the Wild on the Watch the Throne album, won a Grammy and was hugely successful and used in films and lots of ads.
It was like winning the lottery out of the blue. I get more than they get for it: a six-figure sum over 10 years. And they continue to pay me multiples of six figures because they’re so successful and I partly own my share. It’s prob¬ably more than I ever earned in Roxy: we had all the gold albums but no gold!
Have you done lucrative TV adverts?
My music has been used in ads for Audi and Dodge Dart and, if it’s anything to do with the tracks I did with Jay Z and Kanye West, it’s big money for ads or trailers for big films. I received a six-¬figure sum for a Dodge Dart commercial played during the Super Bowl and a similar amount for the trailer for The Great Gatsby, which features the same track.
Do musicians struggle to get paid?
That’s the whole history of the music business. Artists have continually chased their dues and still do. That’s why musicians gave testimony to Parliament about how iniquitous the payment to musicians and songwriters is in the digital age. Companies have always been one step ahead of artists in fleecing them. The cake should be divvied up in a series of copyright reforms.
Unfortunately, with Brexit, British musicians have to start from scratch with new legislation, because we’re not party to a new European copyright law that allows them a better share of digital streaming.
What are the best and worst things you’ve bought?
Best, a Fender Telecaster guitar I bought in 1976 for £160 [£900 today] that could be worth six figures now. Old guitars, especially from the 1950s, can be very valuable. Worst, I’ve obliterated them. I can’t have them taking up positive space in my mind!
Have you been ripped off?
If you call six musicians getting paid 5pc on the first Roxy Music album being ripped off, then yes. But at the time all musicians were getting ripped off. Five years ago we looked at it and said: “Hang on, this is ridiculous.” When you start you don’t care, you just want to get going. After our lawyer renegotiated it, we did get four times the amount we originally got, but it should’ve been that 40 years ago.
Is your Gallery Studio profitable?
There are a few big studios in London – Metropolis, RAK, Air, even Abbey Road – but most people now have their own studios at home or use laptops. I’ve had my first studio since 1978, when we charged £500 a day. You’d be lucky to get that now. The whole concept of recording has changed with the advent of technology.

 Post subject: Re: Phil Manzanera Telegraph interview
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2022 7:07 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:58 pm
Posts: 994
Thanks bobmedley! This is a very interesting interview that doesn't just go over the same blah blah blah.

The economics of the music biz is very interesting and PM is candid about how he gets paid. He owes a lot to the fact that JayZ and Kanye sampled his 70s track as the basis of a HUGE international hit. Good for him!

I wish that BF would give an interview like this on the economics of Roxy over the years and his battle with EG management...

 Post subject: Re: Phil Manzanera Telegraph interview
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2022 11:22 am 

Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:32 am
Posts: 62
Location: Suffolk
Thanks for this Bobmedley very interesting.

Phil is doing the rounds at the moment and was featured on Robert Elms excellent Radio London show on 17/7 as a Listed Londoner.

This is where the guest answers the same 15 questions which are all archived with previous guests on the station’s website.

In the interview that preceded this at the end of the 3 hour programme Phil mentions recently working with Italian singer Gianna Nannini (sister of former F1 driver Alessandro), Jools Holland and surprisingly Rod Stewart!

 Post subject: Re: Phil Manzanera Telegraph interview
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2022 1:28 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:25 pm
Posts: 552
Location: Kempten
Miniluv wrote:
In the interview that preceded this at the end of the 3 hour programme Phil mentions recently working with Italian singer Gianna Nannini (sister of former F1 driver Alessandro), Jools Holland and surprisingly Rod Stewart!

Thanks, bobmedley and very interesting, Miniluv.

Maybe some of you remember that Phil worked (and played) with Italian singer/songwriter Alice in 1987 when especially her song "Nomadi" had a slight Roxy sound because Phil produced the song and played the guitar (

Gianna Nannini is at 70 still very famous in Germany (just without her Alfa 155 DTM driving brother Alessandro ...) - some weeks ago she had a great show in my home town Kempten near the Bavarian Alps.

Well, Rod Stewart - he sounds still alive and kickin' - why not a dose of Phil's Roxy feeling 8-) ? And Jools Holland of Squeeze was always a Roxy fan ...

 Post subject: Re: Phil Manzanera Telegraph interview
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2022 7:11 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:21 pm
Posts: 369
I am grateful to Phil for the part his music has played in my life, but I can't abide wealthy people whingeing about money, and at age 9 it was more important for me to get the money to see my local footy team play than be sent to a private school abroad!

 Post subject: Re: Phil Manzanera Telegraph interview
PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2022 1:24 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:58 am
Posts: 199
As a rule I would generally agree with you. But I think the thing to remember is that a lot of musicians were ripped off in the 70s big time and were never paid what they were due. For every mega rich person like Adele there are many musicians who didn't get what they should have done. People like Bill Nelson, Gordon Giltrap (read his book) and even Robert Fripp spring to mind. I've read several times about guitarists having to sell a guitar to pay a bill! For many musicians royalties continue to be an issue too. What did confuse me in the interview was the bit abiut Phil's properties. I thought he sold the Round House in Chertsey ages ago, and I read a little while ago that he has two now - Gallery Studios in London and a house in West Sussex. He's mentioned many times that Mr Gilmour is his next door neighbour!

I would take the time to look at and read some of the stories about how BeBop Deluxe were manipulated by management. In those days the promoters such as Harvey Goldsmith ruled the roost. Gordon Giltrap has also told me some interesting things, like how his management advised him to be aloof with fans during the height of his band success in the 70s, and how they advised him not to appear on Tiswas because it would be bad for his image, image though everyone else was, including BF!

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