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Phil Manzanera on Roxy Music’s 50th Anniversary Tour, The Joys of Being a “Weird Act From the ’70s”

Plus, he talks going on the road with St. Vincent: "I thought, 'Oh shit, she's really good. I better start practicing'"

Roxy Music Interview
Illustration by Steven Fiche

    There’s a lot going on in the world of Roxy Music. Not only is the band embarking on their first tour in over a decade – and their first American tour in two decades — but 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of their debut record.

    But what can get lost within the whirlwind of dates, numbers, and anniversaries is the very thing that makes it all relevant: the transcendent music of Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay, Paul Thompson, and, yes, Brian Eno. With an airtight discography and a profound influence on the trajectory of art rock and pop music, the real excitement stems from being reminded of Roxy Music’s incredible body of work and the rare opportunity to see it performed on stage.

    “Really, it’s back to the music,” guitarist Phil Manzanera tells Consequence by phone. “I’m here in my studio, I’ve got the guitars out, I’m listening to the old tapes, I’m listening to how we used to play, and I’m trying to make sure it sounds like it did before.”

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    Lest fans worry the upcoming press cycle is purely nostalgia-driven, providing what Manzanera calls “a bunch of guys who are in their ‘70s” a chance to bemoan how much better things were in their youth, rest assured: Roxy Music has their feet planted squarely in the present. Beyond a general appreciation for modern sounds, the group is bringing along St. Vincent as a special guest, a sign that the band, trailblazers in their day, have kept their fingers on the pulse.

    “The minute her name was mentioned, I went, ‘Yeah! Who thought of that? That’s a brilliant idea’,” Manzanera says of Annie Clark’s inclusion. “It’s like a modern, interesting, weird, different kind of act and these other guys who are a weird kind of act from the ‘70s.”

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