Wednesday, January 23, 2008

L'Amour, Toots Shor L'Amour

And speaking as we were yesterday of the Velvet Underground, here's an interesting video (that at least I'd never seen before) of early Roxy Music, a band that unquestionably learned a great deal from the Velvets, unfortunately almost all of it bad.



As you may have gathered, I vastly prefer Roxy frontman Bryan Ferry's later solo career, especially in its Moonlight and Roses bruised romantic period, circa "Avalon" and "Slave to Love." Frankly, there's something almost inspirational about a guy who's developed an entire esthetic from the fact that he can't get it up.

22 comments:

The Kenosha Kid said...

If I'm not mistaken, that's Brian Eno on keyboards.

steve simels said...

C'est vrai. Like I said, early Roxy....

Kid Charlemagne said...

I prefer early Roxy to the later "sophisticated" Roxy although I dig the Ferry solo stuff. It's just cool, kitchy fun, although they get 10 points deducted for inadvertently birthing the New Romantic movement.

Cleveland Bob said...

Personally for me, Roxy was the apogee of cool. We were all stuck listening to Gentle Giant, Genesis, Floyd and Yes. Then, like manna from heaven, Be Bop Deluxe, Sparks and Roxy Music came along and high school life was never the same.

I've also been saying for several years now that most of the new music from Franz Ferdinand to the Killers to the Strokes owe an enormous debt to Ferry, Phil and the boys.

Speedy said...

I wonder what Brian Eno might say about the Velvet Underground. Heh.

steve simels said...

I was living in north New Jersey (right after college) when the whole Glam thing hit, and there was a local band, patterned very much after Roxy (only more so, actually) that absolutely ruled the local scene for a year or two. Can't for the life of me remember their name, and they never got signed -- although everybody thought they would --. Lead singer went on to be an early AIDS casualty, IIRC.

The Kenosha Kid said...

Brian Eno, cofounder of Roxy Music and producer of U2 and others, put it best when he said that although the Velvet Underground didn’t sell many albums, everyone who bought one went on to form a band. The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, the Sex Pistols, Talking Heads, U2, R.E.M., Roxy Music and Sonic Youth have all cited the Velvet Underground as a major influence.

steve simels said...

The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, the Sex Pistols, Talking Heads, U2, R.E.M., Roxy Music and Sonic Youth have all cited the Velvet Underground as a major influence.


Of the above list, I'd say the Dolls, Talking Heads and U2 sound nothing at all like the Velvets, whether their members had copies of Velvets albums or not. Although in the case of the Dolls there's a certain influence lyric-wise....

The Kenosha Kid said...

"There isn't an emoticon for what I'm feeling" - Comic Book Guy

steve simels said...

In any case, the whole point of the Velvets is that they're sui generis. NOBODY sounds like them, really...that doesn't mean they weren't influential, it just means they had a very specific musical thing and it's damned difficult to appropriate.

steve simels said...

And at the risk of giving away most of what I was planning to write about them next week, when it comes to the Velvets the question is which album?

Of the four studio albums, you might as well be dealing with four different bands....they're totally different, stylistically.

Cleveland Bob said...

I'm with Comic book guy. I thought we wuz talking about Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music.

Here's a topic; I think that several of us might agree that it was hard not to be a fan of the album cover art for either the self titled debut, Roxy Music or my favourite, Country Life.

Woof.

steve simels said...

I think we can all agree that Roxy Music had the best semi-nude fashion models....

return of the plumber said...

Hey let's talk about Roxy Music!

Brian Ferry was/is one of the biggest pussies in Rock & Roll History. He represents just about everything I hate in Rock & Roll and none of the good stuff.

I do think Eno was/is great!

That was a great album cover.

TJWood said...

As you may have gathered, I vastly prefer Roxy frontman Bryan Ferry's later solo career, especially in its Moonlight and Roses bruised romantic period, circa "Avalon" and "Slave to Love."

"Avalon" is actually a Roxy Music song and the title track of Roxy's last album, although it is more in the vein of Ferry's solo material. For all the Roxy fans out there, it looks like there will finally be a new Roxy Music album out in 2008 (with apparently significant input from Eno!), with the band contracted for two more from their new label. See Roxyrama for details.

I know you did mention this last year in this blog, but Ferry put out an enjoyable Bob Dylan covers album last year. I just gave it another listen and will second your recommendation.

steve simels said...

"Avalon" is Roxy, rather than Ferry solo?

I stand corrected. And yes -- Ferry's Dylan covers album is actually a lot of fun....

r@d@r said...

cleveland bob is clearly the only sane person here.

personally, i find that most musicians i know see the velvets and roxy as branches on the same tree.

and if you can listen to remake/remodel or editions of you and think of roxy as "pussies" - you have strange ears.

i adore bryan, but avalon is crap easy listening elevator music, and i think even he knows it. still, we all must pay the bills somehow.

if you insist on touting bryan's solo work, why not mention "in your mind"?

steve simels said...

personally, i find that most musicians i know see the velvets and roxy as branches on the same tree.


Roxy in the glam period owed as much to British Music Hall as it did to the Velvets. And obviously, it owed nothing to the whole "poetry of S&M and smack" that the Velvets pioneered...there was nothing street about Roxy at all...

IMHO.

r@d@r said...

it owed nothing to the whole "poetry of S&M and smack" that the Velvets pioneered...there was nothing street about Roxy at all...

certainly there's a poesy of S&M and smack in roxy if you dig through the lyrics enough, but whether or not they "owe" it to anyone is up for grabs. as for whether they had "street cred"...depends what street you mean. 2nd avenue, or carnaby?

return of the plumber said...

I don't think the rest of Roxy Music are pussies just Brian Ferry with his fake Frank Sinatra suave riff.

The Kenosha Kid said...

when it comes to the Velvets the question is which album?

It's not just the studio albums, it's the live stuff. Listen to "What Goes On" on Live 1969, then listen to "Roadrunner" and "She Cracked" by the Modern Lovers, and you can see how Elvis Costello and Talking Heads were influenced by the Velvets.

Marsupial said...

I'm late to the party here, but Bryan Ferry has no 'fake Frank Sinatra suave riff.' Ferry had a separate career from Roxy almost from day one. He was doing dinner jacket music, Dylan covers, Roxy-type stuff, and just about everything else from about 1973 onward. Screw Sinatra -- Bryan Ferry is the KING of cool.

Also, I just wanted to point out that when you're talking about Roxy Music, you have to consider that the band went from Art/Glam through NewRo/New Wave in 10 years. Each album was a little more polished than the last, which is how you can draw the line from Virginia Plain (or Do the Strand, here) to Avalon. By 1982, they were as smooth as silk. (Jesus, I sound like a giddy schoolgirl here... I don't get to talk about this stuff much. Maybe I should come here more often!)