Work on a new release of the classis 801 Live CD is nearing completion, thirty years after the original concert took place. The existing album has had some minor tweaks (e.g. the proper ending to 'Third Uncle' has been reinstated) but, in addition, a second CD containing the band's last rehearsal on one of the sound stages at Shepperton Film Studios has been edited and enhanced and will be made available for the first tome since Bill recorded it on a cassette player. Work is currently ongoing on the artwork for the CD and we are in discussion with Virgin/EMI about its release. Expect it early in 2007.
Phil has been working for sme time now on a new Latin project and you can hear a sample of the results at Phil's special Corroncho page over at MySpace. To hear the track 'Lowrider' go HERE.
Phil played with Paul Weller and Linda Lewis at a charity concert held in aid of the Complementary Therapy Team working within cancer services at University College London Hospital (UCLH) working with children, young people and adults with cancer. Under the name of Sunflower Jam Phil played with Paul and Linda and the night saw performances from Robert Plant, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, Paul Weller, Phil Manzanera, Linda Lewis, and Sam Brown supported by a Celebrity House Band including renowned musicians Paul Wix Wickens, Margo Buchanan, Nick Fyffe and Bernie Marsden. The whole show took place at London's Portchester Halls on Thursday, 14th September 2006.
Roxy Music would like to state categorically that they have not made a deal with the Malmasion Hotel Group as stated in The Times on 24.7.06, nor do they have any plans to do so.
Phil's told me to place this somewhere prominent. So here goes: Bill, masquerading as Alan MacDonald, now his book (see below: And now for something completely different) on sale either from Amazon or from his web site (where, if you really want, you can get it signed. Send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org). Please do NOT return this book if you find no references to music, Moles, the 801 or anything else. It really isn't that sort of book.
Masquerading as someone else a certain bass player related to this site has written and published a book. At last, you gasp, the definitive guide to sex, drugs and rock 'n roll in the 70s as seen by someone who enjoyed none of them (well, there was a bit of music involved but precious little else)! Wrong. Think again.... What else would an ageing rock and roller want to write about than an obscure battle of World War One? Obvious really, now you think about it. Yes, here it is, just what you've been waiting for: the definitive guide to a bit, and a very small bit, of the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916.
Anyone who has met said bass player will know he has the capability to natter on an interminable length and, yes!, his book is no different - he's taken over 530 pages to describe what happened in less than twelve hours. Bloody typical. And what's more he's gawn and published it under a pseudonym. Pretentious twit.
But no matter. There are bound to be some people out there who are in need of a door stop or paperweight and this book does the job perfectly. A bit more expensively though at £14.99. But worth every penny he's told me to say. Isn't that just the greatest news? Now, you'll have something to read through those interminable Roxy Music concerts you have all probably bought tickets for. Just don't throw them at the band when they don't play 'Do the Strand' or whatever. They could do damage. To buy your ammunition, sorry, copy of said book it is now on sale either from Amazon (you see, just like a real book) or from the poor loser's web site (this man knows no shame), so hop along and take a gawk.
Oh, and by the way, his late lamented and infinitely more talented brother Ian, who also wrote under a pseudonym with only one fewer letter, is having his first ever book re-published in July. The critically acclaimed 'The New Shostakovich' is published (properly this one) by Random House in July and can already be reserved on Amazon.
The band has spent a productive couple of weeks in the studio recording some new material, described by Phil as 'exciting, for a proposed new Roxy Music album. More details when we get them.
I'M DREADING the new Roxy Music album and I'm thrilled about it. These are complex feelings and I'm trying to convey them to Phil Manzanera, guitarist in Roxy, he of the scary insect-like glasses, who has a solo record to promote but is kindly indulging this fan - no, Roxy have aficionados - and emerging as the first in the band to discuss the reunion.
"We're full of trepidation, too," he says. "We want it to be really good and we're aware that recent records by the likes of Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones have not been well received. We're from the generation behind them but the dilemma for us is the same: rock was supposed to finish for you when you reached your 30s. If you don't die before you get old, what are you supposed to do?
"I'm 54 now and I've just been helping out on Dave Gilmour's new album, which will be the 43rd of my career. The 44th should be another Roxy one. I say 'should' because we'll only release it if we're happy with it. We've already recorded nine songs and I'm very excited about them. There were two more obvious routes open to us: re-hash or just give up. But we're intrigued by what artists of 30 years' standing who were once called avant-garde might still have to say. There has to be that risk, that element of danger, if you're going to produce good work, and Roxy have always had a very complicated dynamic."
He can say that again. There was Manzanera in those bug specs. Andy Mackay wore breeks of a dimpled Dalek design. Eno (the Brian was added later) favoured feather-boas. Paul Thompson (his name was soon prefaced with "The Great..." by the NME) sported tiger-skin. And of course Bryan Ferry (Brain Fury, Byron Ferrari ... the music mag's nicknames were endless) married fashion with rock like none before or since.
No other band looked like Roxy. Crediting your stylists ("Hair by Smile") was unheard of in 1972, a very denim and cheesecloth year, and was tantamount to an admission of homosexuality. And the best way of checking that you weren't gay was to lay on your bedroom floor and study the Roxy cover-girls for a whole afternoon.
Other groups didn't sound like them either. When you turned Amanda and Kari-Ann over, the early albums' gatefold sleeves revealed that Mackay not only played saxophone but oboe, while Eno was "synthesiser and tapes". How on earth did you "play" tapes? No matter. It was, as Ferry warbled in 'Do The Strand', a new sensation, a fabulous creation. The timing of the reunion is impeccable. Pop-culture pundits acclaim Roxy as the most influential British band since The Beatles. One of them, Michael Bracewell, is writing a book celebrating a whole movement and calling it Roxyism. These days Roxy get more namechecks than they used to give hairdressers, and from no one more than Franz Ferdinand.
Manzanera's three children love FF and he's impressed. "I like their style. I don't think they sound especially like Roxy but the link is there in the things they say, their approach, their attitude. We were an art band influenced by the Velvets and Franz Ferdinand seem to have that baton now.
"They're drawing from a wide backdrop of art, the guitarist [Nick McCarthy] has a pop sensibility - we were similarly unsnooty - and Alex's [Kapranos] lyrics really stand out. His take on things is similar to that of a young Bryan Ferry. They've invited me to their London show this month."
MANZANERA HAS vivid memories of the first time he encountered the trainee lounge lizard. "I had a different trajectory to Bryan and the rest of Roxy. I was younger, they'd all been to university. They had bank accounts and cars - I was impressed by that - and they seemed like special people.
"A scene was already building. Young designers waiting to make their mark like Anthony Price were friends of the band. Anthony made my glasses and now he designs dresses for Camilla Parker-Bowles. Nick de Ville, our art designer - we had one of them, too - is now professor of visual art at Goldsmith's College, and Wendy Dagworthy went from creating the wonderful, way-out costumes for the For Your Pleasure cover to being head of fashion at the Royal College of Art. So you see the Roxy family spreads far and wide."
I'm pleased to report that Manzanera still has those mad specs. He recently loaned them and his entire For Your Pleasure rig out to Jarvis Cocker because the ex-Pulp frontman had, along with Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, won parts as rock musicians in the new Harry Potter movie and they wanted to look outr.
The Roxy family has indeed scattered and it's always been reckoned that Eno has drifted too far from the possibility of a reunion. "I try never to repeat anything," the sonic wizard told Scotland on Sunday earlier this year.
But Manzanera remains optimistic that while Eno wanted no part of Roxy's festivals tour in the summer, he can be lured back for the album sessions. "Eno was never designed to be in a rock band but if there's something creative going on..
"He's given us some songs for the new album and we hope that when we resume recording in the new year he'll come into the studio and twiddle a few knobs. He's a very cool guy and I understand his philosophy. But this is going to be different." A remade and remodelled Roxy, hopefully.
Manzanera got Eno - and Mackay and Thompson - to play on his new solo record, 50 Minutes Later, which includes a track called 'Technicolor UFO' describing how it all began for him. Born in Cuba during the revolution, he moved to London in time to bluff his way, under age, into the UFO Club for Pink Floyd's Technicolor Dream, a seminal Swinging Sixties moment.
True to his psychedelic influences, he prefers early Roxy - their sound later became "too smooth" - and so was thrilled to get the chance on the summer tour to perform the likes of 'The Bogus Man' for the first time in 23 years and also 'Pyjamarama', the great, lost second Roxy single they'd only ever played live once before.=20
"We can't be ground-breaking any more, but we can hopefully still be interesting, still be Roxy Music," he says.
Go for it, you crazy dilettantes. You always looked like the resident band at a cocktail bar on some far-off space-station 200 years from now. Your best may be yet to come.
Richmond Times-Dispatch Nov 24, 2005
Roxy Music is remembered usually for the stylish vocals of frontman Bryan Ferry, but the band's pioneering influence rests just as firmly on the soaring contributions of guitarist Phil Manzanera and so-called "nonmusician" Brian Eno.
Manzanera and Eno now have released solo albums that show their musical brilliance to be undiminished more than 30 years after Roxy's debut.
With "50 Minutes Later," Manzanera has produced a truly thrilling record. It combines power pop and savage guitar lines with Latin fluidity and intriguing lyrics. Thematically, the recording completes an autobiographical trilogy that began with "Vozero" in 1999 (repackaged and rereleased this year) and continued with last year's "6 p.m."
But "50 Minutes Later" is more than a culmination of earlier work. In it, Manzanera finds a lyrical voice he might not have had since his first solo effort, "Diamond Head," in 1975. The record opens with a pulsating, irresistible guitar anthem, "Revolution," and raises the stakes with "Technicolor UFO," a rocking anthem to the London music scene he entered in the late 1960s as a young guitarist from Latin America.
Manzanera shifts moods and tempos with ease, as he surveys the past and embraces mortality. His cast includes longtime collaborator Robert Wyatt, Roxy drummer Paul Thompson and horn man Andy MacKay, and Eno, whose poetic sensibility pervades "Bible Black," a sonic gem in both short and extended versions. A+
Manzanera mixes it up
By ANDREW CARVER -- Ottawa Sun
Before his stint in Roxy Music, Phil Manzanera was a guitarist for '60s British psych rockers Pooh and the Ostrich Feather (later Quiet Sun) and a habituee of the hippy music scene surrounding such legendary venues as Middle Earth.
On his latest solo album, Manzanera takes a trip to those heady days in the company of his fellow Roxy Musician Brian Eno, and he's roped in the singular British musician Robert Wyatt.
Like those heady days, there's talk of Revolution; and there are references to contemporaries like The Soft Machine (in which Wyatt was an early member), Syd Barrett and Captain Beefheart in Technicolour UFO.
Musically, Manzanera continues to draw on a number of stylistic influences, including his work in Roxy Music and his South American childhood.
Sci-fi guitar tones and a hearty crunch are the trademarks of his electric sound on 50 Minutes Later, while on the more laid-back That's All I Know he goes with a gently trickling acoustic and Desparecido has some jazzy accordion to supplement its Spanish rhythms.
Ruefully melodic one moment, edgily arty the next, Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera's new record could be his best yet. Built around essentially the same team as last year's attractive 6PM, Manzanera's seventh solo album begins with two blasts of psychedelic nostalgia in Revolution and Technicolor UFO, aggressively tuneful tracks bolstered by steely bursts of tasteful solo guitar. The real dark heart of the set, however, is the two tracks cooked up with old buddies Brian Eno and Robert Wyatt. 50 Minutos Mas Tardes opens with sound effects and spoken voices (one of them supplied by actress Gina Bellman) before blossoming into the splendor of Wyatt's evocative trumpet solo. Even better is the atmospheric and almost disturbing Bible Black - the second, lengthier, "Enotonick" mix owing a great deal to Eno's studio processing. The prospect of Roxy's upcoming studio reunion no longer seems quite so daunting.
6PM follow-up from Roxy guitarist
Kicking off with a brace of Swinging London flashbacks that namecheck UFO and IT, this at times recalls George Harrison's Beatlesesque Cloud Nine in its determined nostalgia. Far more interesting are collaborations with one of that scene's key figures, Wyatt, and old mucker Eno. "50 Minutes Mas Tarde", especially, combines oxygen-mask breath, jazz piano and Wyatt's fragile cornet and voice to open-ended effect. Like the tango noir "Desaparecido", it also invokes Manzanera's Latin American past. The undefined experiments and flat-footed rock-outs don't really cohere; a task for the reactivated Roxy, you'd like to think.
Phil's wry sleevenotes disingenuously refer to his artistic freedom as being due to 'never being in fashion'. This from the guitarist of art rock's hippest band of 1973? Let's face it, he was always the coolest Roxy member after Eno, and 50 Minutes - made, in part, with Brian, Paul Thompson and Robert Wyatt - shows us how he's retained such status for 30 years.
Manzanera's voice may not be too distinctive (except where he does a great Wyatt impersonation on ''Desparecido''!), yet this is a satisfying album compared with its lumpen predecessor, 6PM. His guitar playing was always the right side of avant garde and here it shines amidst arrangements that bounce between psychedelic rock and Argentinian ambience.
It's on the latter that he really hits the spot: ''50 Minutes Mas Tarde'' could be from an early solo Wyatt album. Meanwhile, the 10-minute remix, ''Enotonik Bible Black'', is a stunningly disquieting confluence of electronica and free jazz. Let's hope there's more on the way...
Reviewer: Chris Jones
You can here sample of the two tracks from 50 Minutes Later on the BBC's web site:
Roxy Music guitarist goes on disjointed adventure.
The follow-up to Manzanera's 2004 concept album, 6PM, which took a psychedelic trip back to the '60s London of his youth, 50 Minutes Later widens the remit to include South America and, er, outer space. Undoubtedly the work of a man with too much time on his hands, there remain sublime moments. The tango tracks are thick with atmosphere and, with Brian Eno on hand to stretch the imagination, Bible Black is as close to intergalactic travel as most are likely to get. Sadly, intermittent rock posturing and sing-alongs bring it all crashing back to earth.
Thoughtful and considered solo album from Roxy guitarist
Manzanera describes his latest work as a companion piece to 6PM, last year's wistful survey of swinging psychedelic London, and indeed it inhabits at least some of the same territory. Witness his swirling, hazy, observational stroll through the 60s Covent Garden of The Middle Earth and UFO Club, Captain Beefheart, Soft Machine and The 14 Hour Technicolour Dream on Technicolour UFO.
Elsewhere, he's mixing his dual musical culturalism (English father, Colombian mother) to great effect - a gentle collusion of Latin American strings and horns with treated Pink Floydish space-rock keyboards. Particular highlights are his composing collaboration with Brian Eno and Robert Wyatt, 50 Minutos Mas Tarde featuring Wyatt's haunting, melancholy, cornet and the up-tempo, graceful satisfaction of Swimming.
Overall, the purveying sense is of an artist at ease, producing a grown-up body of work with long-time collaborators (Roxy Music's Paul Thompson and Andy Mackay are also contributors) and feeling wholly comfortable in his creative skin.
Roxy Music plank spanker returns with a new solo record and news of an upcoming new Roxy album.
For a decade from 1972 onwards, Phil Manzanera helped produce some of the most innovative and influential British rock music ever made. With Roxy Music - along with Andy Mackay, Paul Thompson, Brian Eno and of course mainman Bryan Ferry - Manzanera's strengths as a guitarist and writer helped the group to record a string of classic albums. Roxy Music are now limbering up for their first studio album in over 23 years, and Manzanera is maintaining a productive schedule with the release of his latest solo album 50 Minutes Later, a worthy follow-up to his 6PM. Three other current or past Roxy men are featured on the album as is close friend and singer/multi-instrumentalist Robert Wyatt.
motivates you these days?
why your playing reflects everything from Latin rhythms to, say, Pete
new solo album, the track Technicolor UFO seems to hark back to the
famous UFO Club where the young Pink Floyd played, and there's also
material reminiscent of latter-day Floyd. Were you particularly into
are also touches of early Roxy.
as Paul Thompson, Andy Mackay and Brian Eno play on your new album.
Wasn't there any way you could get Bryan Ferry on there as well?
what you've said, I'm guessing the return to Roxy of Paul Thompson for
the 2001 tour onwards was an important thing for you?
can we expect from the new Roxy album?
Later is out now on Hannibal Records.
REVIEW - David Bennun
'MANZANERA PROVES HE IS A ROXY STAR'
There are certain words and phrases guaranteed to make any music enthusiasts heart sink like a torpedoed rowing boat - Westlife, rock opera, whimsical, Halliwell. But few exert an effect quite so dismal as 'Solo Project'. When a component of a celebrated combo takes time out to air his ungratified artistic impulse it would be a foolish man who bets against an ensuing work of torpid, excruciating, pig-awful conceit. Roxy Music are different. The verve and imagination that light up one of the most lustrous catalogues in pop have tended to carry over into albums by individual members (and that's before you consider the discreet force that is Brian Eno).
Phil Manzanera's 50 Minutes Later (Hannibal, out tomorrow) - recorded by a line-up that includes Eno and amounts to a Bryan Ferry-less Roxy- is an unusually adventurous and pleasurable exercise in pastiche. The first thing you notice is how strongly it impersonates early Roxy, which of course, it has every right to. Moreover, the album is themed as a tribute to the milieu that spawned the band-the late Sixties London art-rock scene. Again given the preening smugness that characterises many of the era's veterans, the results could have been dreadful. But Manzanera adroitly swerves self-congratulation to deliver a barnstorming brace of opening numbers. Revolution is driven, delicious psyche-pop. Technicolor UFO knowingly evokes Virginia Plain - a song it cannot hope to equal - with winking good humour. Thereafter the album settles down into a leisurely, expansive mood, serving both as a showcase for Manzanera's atmospheric guitar playing and as a musical travelogue that eventually roams off into parts not exactly unknown, but certainly seldom explored. If there were any doubts as to Manzanera's role in creating the matchless art-pop of Roxy Music, they'd be put to rest by this album.
REVIEW - Martin Townsend
50 Minutes Later is, in effect, an extension of last year's 6PM, involving much the same crew of musicians - including his fellow Roxys Paul Thompson and Andy Mackay, with longtime cohorts / chums Robert Wyatt and Brian Eno - and focusing on similar themes, notably an affection for the experimentalist attitude and positive vibes of the early hippy era. This is most explicitly covered in "Technicolor UFO," a jolly, psych-rock reminiscence of happier times with "OZ and IT, Syd and Hoppy, Zappa at the ICA." The openness of that time contrasts with the more recent pressures of life confronted in "Revolution," where the waspish thread of lead guitar stitched through the track underscores a conviction that "the wheel needs to turn again everything's at odds I need revolution." There is bucolic musing upon the beneficial effect of the pastoral lifestyle, in "Swimming," "That's All I Know" and "Bible Black." Elsewhere, there's a loping tango about a mysteriously missing thief ("Desaparecido"), and a more abstract piece utilizing found sounds of traffic cornet and vocal ("50 Minutes Mas Tarde").
is the guitarist who brought some zip and sparkle to original art rockers
You can now buy Phil's new album '50 Minutes Later' at the Expression Shop.
Franz ready to Box with their heroes
It would be a rock 'n' roll marriage made In Heaven - a super-group starring Franz Ferdinand and their heroes, Roxy Music. I can reveal Franz want to play with the legendary band, led by singer Bryan Ferry and guitarist Phil Manzanera. And when I met Phil last week lie claimed Roxy are well up for a collaboration.
He said: "Alex Kapra-nos sent a message saying if Roxy ever fancied playing with them to get in touch. I'd be thrilled to have a jam with them. In the 70s, I felt Roxy were carrying on the music tradition of The Velvet Underground. Now, Franz have grabbed the baton from us. I don't think they sound like Roxy but there are lots of similarities in the concept of the band. The guitar riffs and the lyrical content of their songs is amazing. They also have a very strong look - in the way Roxy did when we started out."
On October 24, Phil releases his superb new solo album, 50 Minutes Later, which features guest appear-ances by his Roxy mates Andy Mackay, Paul Thompson and original keyboard player Brian Eno. He told me: "It was good fun to play with Eno again. We did a three-hour jam session and it sparked off ideas for several songs."
In his spare time, Phil has been co-producing a new solo album by Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd. He's also recording tracks with Ferry for a new Roxy album - their first since Avalon in 1982. Phil said: "It's exciting to do another Roxy album but we're very aware it's got to be really good. "We've had a great time playing live and there's absolutely no reason why we can't do some great recorded work too."
On In London
Slowly but surely, the Roxy Music guitarist has become the most prolific member of this most stylish of British groups. Manzanera has always thrived on collaboration and this companion piece to last year's 6PM sees him once again working with friends Robert Wyatt, Brian Eno, Andy Mackay and Paul Thompson to flesh out a fine sequence of songs and mood pieces. The wonderful 'Technicolor UFO' in particular evokes the heady days of London's psychedelic scene of 1968 while '50 Minutos Mas Tarde' puts a South American spin on Eno's ambient layers. Phil has his own studio and can thus record when the fancy takes him or when friends are visiting or working on their own projects. This makes for many inspired moments, especially on the shimmering, ethereal 'Bible Black' which gathers all the principals. Roxy should be back with a brand new album next year but, in the meantime, this will do just fine.
A varied and imaginative set from ex-Roxy man. A companion piece to last year's 6pm, Manzanera's latest album takes in all sorts of sounds and styles with confidence and flair. The dreamy wash of Till The End Of The Line, a song of delicate and beautiful melody, contrasts vividly with the toe-tapping rock'n'roll that is Technicolour UFO and the bouncy, Beatle-ish pop song That's All I Know. Naturally with Brian Eno, Robert Wyatt and Manzanera's Roxy Music buddies Paul Thompson and Andy MacKay on board, there are ventures into soundscape and the avant-garde, most pleasingly with the late-night, smoky atmosphere distinguishing 50 Minutos Mas Tarde. Highlights are the punchy Swimming, with effective male/female vocals, and Desparecido, which has moments of real uplift.
There is an interview with Phil in the new edition of Classic Rock. We will post it here as soon as someone get a copy to us!
MANZANERA RELEASES '50 MINUTES LATER'
Phil Manzanera, releases '50 Minutes Later,' his new album, on Hannibal Records on 24 October 2005, the follow-up to last year's critically acclaimed 6pm. He is joined by his Roxy band members Paul Thompson and Andy Mackay and Robert Wyatt and Brian Eno
50 Minutes Later is brimful of Manzanera's febrile musical and lyrical talent. He again surprises with his knack of painting vivid pictures, spanning his rock and roll dream that takes place in psychedelic London of '68 at the UFO club, Buenos Aires and out in the stratosphere of space, embroidered within a musical context that is always full of invention. Manzanera's signature guitar virtuosity, at times lyrical and at times explosive is much in evidence, counterpointing his 'storytelling' vocal style: it is an album that is 50 minutes of music richly textured and often inspirational.
50 Minutes Later passes through musical and geographic locations, times and dramatic mood changes from the haunting Bible Black, to his quest for peace on That's All I Know, to hyper reality in the 'happy 'snaps' on Swimming. The 10 minute Enotonik Bible Black bonus track features sounds, courtesy of Manzanera, Eno Wyatt, Mackay ,Thompson, amongst others, that have probably never been heard this side of a black hole!
"6pm needed a companion so here it is ,it lasts 50 minutes and has pretty much the same people on it, fellow musical conspirators, grown up men and women with nothing better to do than get playful with music in a studio and in their front rooms! We are all part of a new generation rock kids that have grown up and continue to make music, changing the boundaries as we all get older and refuse to go quietly!"
Phil has just finished his new album called '50 Minutes Later'. It will be released in October on Expression/Hannibal.
Phil's album Vozero is being re-released with new artwork and bonus track 'Tropical', sung in Spanish with Robert Wyatt on drums and keybords and Yarron Stavi from the 'Gilah Atzmon and the Orient Express' band on double bass. Reviews of the album should be appearing in Mojo (July 4), Word (July 15), Classic Rock (July 21) and Record Collector (July 20).
Phil married his long time partner Claire Singers at a ceremony in Leatherhead on Saturday, 7th May. Phil met Claire at the Guitar Legends festival in Seville, organised by Phil, in 1991 and they have been together now for ten years. So, it was about time she made an honest man of him! Amongst the guests were Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and his wife Polly, Robert Wyatt and his wife Alfie, Roxy's Paul Thompson and Roxy producer Rhett Davies. Robert has been working with both David and Phil at Phil's north London studio. Phil and Claire are now on honeymoon in southern Spain and, on his return, Phil will start planning for the Roxy concerts due to start in early June.
To see pictures from the wedding and the reception click on the thumbnails to see a bigger picture.
The Times T2
fear is of being in a plane crash. I've been flying regularly since
I went to Havana with my parents in 1957. It was a Stratocruiser with
giant propellers, and I feel as if I've been through the whole history
of aviation over the years, but it hasn't become any less terrifying.
I remember sitting next to Bryan [Ferry] on a Roxy Music tour when our
plane was struck by lightning between Chicago and Washington. That taught
me the power of prayer.
Phil Manzanera's new album is 6pm (Hannibal). Interview by Ed Whitworth
Mojo - Phil Manzanera 6pm
Ex-Roxy man's affecting, if reserved, sixth solo album. Manzanera's thin, dreamy, Dave Gilmouresque voice could define 'polite' in the OED. Gilmour himself is featured on the album, along with Chrissie Hynde and Robert Wyatt, and a trio of old Roxy Music chums, Mackay, Thompson and Eno. But in truth, there's very little overlap between the Manzanera we get here and anything issued under the Roxy banner. What we do get, though, are some excellently played art rock songs, a tad muso at times, but never less than pleasingly woozy. Wish You Well is a moving tribute to his friend, the late, great music writer Ian MacDonald, while Sacred Days, like much else here, infused with a trippy psy-chedelia. Best of all is Green Spikey [sic] Cactus, a superbly catchy pop song, and just enough to keep the long-suf-fering Roxy faithful happy.
Observer Music Monthly
"One of the rock albums of the year" - more reviews
6PM - PHIL MANZANERA
Former Roxy Music guitarist Manzanera has conjured a fascinating new solo album here, which effectively achieves the aim of evoking the "world of sixties London psyechedelia" where Pink Floyd would rub musical (and often physical) shoulders with Fairport Convention and Jimi Hendrix. The Floyd influence is especially strong - at times this sounds like a lost Syd Barrett era recording - but then it does help to have David Gilmour guesting on a couple of tracks along with old mates like Brian Eno. A massive mix of good songs, prog sounds and magnificent music, this is one of the rock albums of the year.
6PM - PHIL
Huntingson and St Ives Evening News (yes, really)
6pm - ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera avoids both these pitalls on his latest epic-sounding release which features the likes of Chrissie Hynde, Dave Gilmour and Brian Eno This is the diametric opposite of garage rock; Manzanera is a studio animal and he carefully crafts every part of his music, from the cloud level guitar sweeps to the rusty sawblade harmonica and sax breaks, which glint off a distant highway like the late afternoon sun.
Wake up Sting, this is how it should be done.
6PM (EXP) ****
Even given the track records, the songs are surprisingly strong, from the hazily psychedelic Broken Dreams or Love Devotion, which sounds like Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon being blasted in outer space. Mackay delivers trademark sax and oboe; Eno contributes gadgetry and synth squiggles. But the album hurls in surprises, from Always You's space-love ballad to Wish You Well, a touching tribute to late rock writer Ian MacDonald. The chemistry here suggests that if Roxy have considered making another album, they should grasp the nettle now.
Birmingham Evening Post
The suicide of his close friend the rock journalist Ian MacDonald has inspired the Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera to the most assured work of his solo career in 6PM, an album that looks fondly back to the late-Sixties ideals on which their friendship was built. Accordingly, the musical tone of the album draws heavily on that era, with an early Pink Floyd feel to tracks such as "Broken Dreams" and "Love Devotion", and old chums such as Robert Wyatt and Dave Gilmour appearing on the closing, 15-minute five-part suite "The Cissbury Ring". Eno's treatments, along with the presence of the drummer Paul Thompson and the reedsman Andy Mackay, lend a pronounced Roxy feel to parts of the album, too; the latter's plaintive oboe on "Love Devotion" is particularly evocative. The stand-out tracks are "Green Spikey Cactus", whose confident swagger and "come together right now" chorus embody the optimism of the Sixties, and "Wish You Well", Manzanera's send-off to MacDonald, in which 12-string guitar and harmonica (by Chrissie Hynde) carry the fond epitaph: "You found a way to make yourself be heard/ Seems like the time had come to leave The People's World."
Guitarist Phil Manzanera scored 10 number one albums with Roxy Music during the Seventies and Eighties. He joined Bryan Ferry and cc last year for Roxy's US tour and hints the band could soon be back in the studio. Phil, 53, who is half Colombian, released his sixth solo album, 6PM, this month, with a host of rock legends including Chrissie Hynde, Dave Gilmour and Robert Wyatt. "I never look backwards," he says, "but being a teenager in the Sixties was great - that's what my new album is about."
Phil, a father of three, was divorced three years ago and now lives in a converted warehouse in a quiet north London mews with his vinyl collection. Here's his top 10... '
VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO
ZAPPA AND THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION
(Brian Eno, Bill MacCormick, Simon Phillips, Lloyd Watson, Phil Manzanera,
INTERVIEW BY MARIE KEATING
6PM - PHIL
This from Time Out:
Phil Manzanera '6PM' Hannibal
When you have contacts like former Roxy Music cohorts Brian Eno and Andy Mackay and you're mates with Robert Wyatt and Chrissie Hynde your albums are as good as your birthday parties. This is Manzanera's sixth solo album, and although the first came out in 1975 (no rush here, then), this sounds fresh, funky and positively youthful in its poppiness.
A collaborator on Wyatt's own solo albums and an artist still with strong links to South American music, Manzanera's style is understandably eclectic, from the elegant piano and dou-ble bass-led interlude 'Mantra' to the chunky melodies of 'Waiting For The Sun To Shine'. Only on the title track do you feel this guitar legend lets rip in (albeit modern) rock solo mode. Lyrically, the songs evoke his memories of '60s London and psychedelic culture, but there is no sense that the artist's music is living in the past.
Even when the last five tracks come together as 'The Cissbury Ring' - including Wyatt on trumpet, David Gilmour on guitar and Manzanera's personable voice fronting the ensem-ble sound - the result is creatively contempo-rary, with just the odd echo of the past. Not bad considering most of the crew played on that first album 29 years ago.
Laura Lee Davies
From The Times, July 10th
The Roxy Music guitarist's sixth solo album is probably as near as we'll get to a new Roxy album, for although there's no Ferry, it features the saxophonist Andy Mackay and the drummer Paul Thompson, as well as Brian Eno, a notable absentee from Roxy Music's reunion tour. Manzanera's voice doesn't have Ferry's power, but his songwriting is full of invention and 'Green Spikey Cactus' and 'Waiting for the sun to shine' sound like great Roxy tracks. There are nods to 1960s avant-gardism, reinforced by the presence of Robert Wyatt and David Gilmour, who conducts an eloquent guitar conversation with Manzanera on ' Sacred Days'. But best of all is 'Wish you well', a tribute to the author and music critic Ian MacDonald, who died last year. Manzanera's homage is as honest and heartfelt as a gift from a great musician to a great writer could be.
Here they are again, reborn, fresh and full of wit and zest. Aided by a stunning gathering of mates that include Eno, Chrissie Hynde, Andy Mackay, Robert Wyatt and David Gilmour, Manzanera delivers 13 songs brimming with surreal lyrical twists and dipping, swirling folksy melodies that recall, among so much else, the most inspired moments of Fairport Convention. Here is a world of beanbags, cacti, Habitat furniture, tattered Camus paperbacks, the swirl of illicit smoke, and Soft Machine crackling from the Dansette. '6pm' is playfully evocative, blissfully serene and mature.
Review of 6PM from next month's Word magazine:
the Roxy man's way with tasteful understatement.
The solo albums of Roxy Music's for-mer guitarist remind you what a vital element of that band he was, but also that he is not one of rock's natural born frontmen. True to form, 6PM cannot be faulted for its well con-structed instrumental layers but it can struggle to command the centre stage of your attentions.
The record was apparently prompted by Manzanera's memory of London's late '60s psychedelic scene, and reunites with him some long standing friends of that period including Dave Gilmour and Robert Wyatt, as well as the Roxy alumni Brian Eno, Paul Thompson and Andy Mackay There is even a brave-ly prog rock gesture in the form of a five song cycle, The Cissbury Ring, hymning that prehistoric and Tolkienish Sussex site.
But the most effective moments are the simplest - specifically his openly romantic songs Love Devotion and Always You. And the record's heart rending triumph is a farewell to the late journalist Ian MacDonald, Wish You Well that tenderly invokes its subject's spiritual leanings; the track is augmented by MacDonald's brother Bill on bass and Chrissie Hynde on backing vocals. Nowhere is Manzanera more than a diffident, politely English sort of singer, but the material at its best is strong enough to carry some serious emotional freight. Roxy Music showed how rock'n'roll irony might delight the mind, but in the end it's always sincerity that touches the soul.
Eno, Roxy Members Have Brief Reunion
Four founders of Roxy Music reunite on "6PM," the sixth solo album by the band's guitarist, Phil Manzanera. He is joined by original keyboard player Brian Eno, saxo-phonist Andy Mackay and drummer Paul Thompson. Eno was the sole founding member who did not par-ticipate in Roxy's 2001 reunion tour.
With only frontman Bryan Ferry absent, "6PM" is the closest thing to a new Roxy Music album fans are likely to hear. It will be released July 19 in the United Kingdom on Expression Records through Ryko/Hannibal. U.S. release plans are not finalized.
Guests include Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour. The dozen songs include "Wish You Well," a tribute to music writer/author Ian MacDonald, who committed suicide in August 2003. The track features Chrissie Hynde on harmonica. "Everyone on [it] knew Ian," Manzanera says. "He gave Chrissie her first job on (British weekly music magazine] NME in the mid-'70s, and I'd known him since we were at school together in the early '60s. I even used some old lyrics he wrote."
Read Phil's Independent interview here
These two pieces will appear in next month's Uncut:
I Mac remembered
"Everyone on the track knew Ian, even the engineer," says Manzanera, who first met him at school in the early '60s. They went on to play together with MacCormick in the band Quiet Sun, while Hynde was given a job on NME by MacDonald when she first arrived in Britain in the mid-70s. "When Ian died I was about to go on holiday with my daughters," Manzanera says. "I took a guitar with me and wrote the song. I tried to recapture the feel we used to get when we first played together in Ian's parents' front room in the '60s, and even used a few lyrics from his old songs."
6pm is out now on Expression Records.
Phil Manzanera releases 6PM, his new album, on 19 July on Hannibal Records. 6PM follows on from the critically acclaimed Vozero, released in 1999, and features many of Phil's close musician friends, notably the 'Roxy' trio of Eno, Mackay and Thompson, with David Gilmour, Robert Wyatt and Chrissie Hynde. The album features 12 original tracks written and sung by Manzanera.
6PM was recorded at Phil's new Gallery Studios in West London with musician friends passing through to add their own magic to the album, except for the Eno-tonic treatments which were done at Brian's studio, and Phil's guitar conversation with David Gilmour, which took place at David's home studio with him engineering.
Phil Manzanera, Roxy Music's guitarist, said of 6PM:
" 6PM is my sixth solo album with a direct link to my first, 'Diamond Head' (1975). A lot of the same people play on it and the inspiration seems to come from 60's London, specifically from 1967 onwards when my South American adventures came to an end and London became my world. My musical influences come from that period, the meeting of Robert Wyatt and David Gilmour, when I was 17, informed my musical taste, as did the influence from the Maccormick brothers.
All my solo albums have been very personal experiences, working with friends and sharing the joy and love of making music together. 6PM embodies all the influences and reasons why I became a musician and continue to be one."
The world 6PM inhabits is that of Phil's unconscious memories of psychedelic London. It's a world of dreams, surreal cacti, Captain Beefheart, the early Soft Machine, Pink Floyd, the 'Christmas on Earth' event at Earls Court, Fairport Convention, Terry Riley, John Fowles' 'French Lieutenant's Woman', Julie Christie in 'Far From the Madding Crowd', Miles Davis, The Beatles with Sgt Pepper and the Magical Mystery Tour. Lyrically the songs look backwards and forwards to the present, they speak of loss, 'Broken Dreams', love found 'Love Devotion', friendship 'Wish You Well', dedicated to the late Ian McDonald, and much more. The music is beautifully layered and textured, at times almost classical, featuring oboe, viola, double bass interwoven with Manzanera's incomparably expressive guitar lines. Given the cast of world famous players on 6PM, it is no surprise that the sonic landscape of 6PM is rich, startling and unique.
Things may have been quiet on the site for a few months, but that's because Phil has been racking up the hours at Gallery Studio working on, not one, not even two, but, in true Manzanera style, THREE (count' em) new albums.
6PM - no prizes, but big brownie points, for guessing the origins of the album title - an ingenious name dreamed up by Alfie Benge (Robert Wyatt's better 'alf [geddit!] for those not in the know). 6PM will be released in early July 2004. Phil has written all twelve tracks and has had quite a few friends drop by adding their talents to the album: Chrissie Hynde on vocals and harmonica, David Gilmour, Robert Wyatt, Eno and Roxy's very own Andy McKay and The Great Paul Thompson. Oh, and erm, your very own webmeister has dusted down the bass and makes an appearance on 'Wish You Well'... reason enough to order your copies now!
Phil helms the album, engineered by Jamie Johnson, taking on lead vocal duties (he's getting quite good at this singing lark) as well as guitar and some keyboards. The album is promising to be a great one, full of great music, great playing and plenty of sonic surprises along the way. A few clips from the recording sessions will be coming to a web site near you soon!
Running in parallel is CORONCHO, the product of a musical collaboration with Colombian artist (and next door neighbour) Lucho Brieva. Corroncho is an album/live project started by Phil and Lucho in 2003. It emerged on one track 'Complicada' whilst collaborating on a Spanish track for Chrissie Hynde and proceeded via the track 'Lowrider' to a fully blown album and concept, i.e. that of two Latino males, their trials and tribulations, good and bad points, loves and hates, political correctness and incorrectness but ultimately, their good humour, good heart and ability to dance!
So, that makes two. Album Number Three has as yet not title and no release date but, as Phil is nothing if not prolific, he found there were four unused tracks left over from the 6PM sessions. And hey, then, whilst clearing the fridge of some well-passed-its-use-by-date extra blue cheese (that is now helping medical science cure diseases that haven't even been invented yet) he discovered several little songs quietly lurking there. Checking the wrapping he realised they had been there for years but, heaven save us!, they were all in perfectly audible condition. So, he's whipping up a nice little confection of new and old songs to be released later this year as a compliment (or should that be condiment) to the main dish of 6PM. How' bout dat!
We cannot go on meeting like this...
By complete coincidence, Phil passed through Hong Kong at the same time as one Bryan Ferry and his band arrived on the final leg of their Asia Pacific tour. Phil was there to play a solo gig. But not just any old solo gig. Donning a white tux and fronting a battery of computerised hardware, Manzanera was transformed into a guitar-toting James Bond. Cocktail in one hand and Les Paul in the other he was playing at the opening of a fabulous new building designed by a mate. So, what do mates do? Why, they fly you half way round the world so you can perform psychedelic versions of John Barry themes tunes to a bunch of bemused socialites, who ended up shaken AND stirred.
Then, a couple of day's later, our secret guitarist was to be found lurking in row G when Mr Ferry announced that the co-composer of 'Out of the Blue' just so happened to be in attendance and would the audience like to hear him play a few notes? Step forward our gallant gaucho who proceeded to 'whip it out' on tracks, some of which he'd never heard before let alone played (OK, I jest!). Our heroes then retired for a few days of much needed R&R on some sun-soaked beach inThailand. As ever, it is a tough old life being a rock and roll star.
For a report on the Festival and some exclusive behind the scenes photos go here.
To read the complete Uncut interview with Bryan, Phil and Andy go here.
To read reviews of the new Roxy Music Live double CD go here
Phil played at the Royal Festival Hall on Friday, May 2nd with Colombian band Aterciopelados.
"The gig at the Royal Festival Hall went very well and here is a pic taken backstage. The band went down very well and played to an ecstatic audience of mainly Colombians who generally ran riot in the normally sober hall! Most of the audience also managed to get backstage and the fiesta continued. It was great fun!"
Aterciopelados have been hailed by Time magazine as "one of the ten best bands on planet Earth" their witty, trippy playful gigs are a revelation. "The term Rock en Espanol does little justice to the no-borders reach of the quintet's art-dance bounce or the Esperanto magnetism of singer-guitarist Andre Echeverri, a tropical Nico with the electric whoop of Bjork" (Rolling Stone). Phil produced their album LA PIPA DE LA PAZ in 1996 which was nominated for a Grammy Award.
For more about the band go here
Last summer Phil spent several weeks in a studio north of Barcelona (poor bastard) and then again in another studio in Ealing (lucky chap!) producing an album by Spanish band Elefantes. The album has now charted in Spain. Reviews (below) and prospects in Latin America and the USA look good.
Supported by a slew of veteran Spanish rockers, Elefantes quickly established themselves as a band with a bright future. On their debut, Azul, the quartet introduced their unique sound, nearly achieving gold status in the process. For this year's La Forma de Mover Tus Manos, they hooked up with ex-Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, who beefed up the production, adding a contemporary edge without sacrificing their quirkiness. "Phil [Manzanera] understood the concept immediately," says EMI's artistic director, Diego Toran. "The marriage of the English rock sound with distinctly Spanish and Arabic flourishes."Somewhat surprisingly, the band has become a cult force in Latin America and the US without having released a record to date. Through two tours opening for Enrique Bunbury in 2001, and last years Vock en N, the band found an eager audience in the US, Mexico, and Argentina. To capitalise, EMI will release a compilation of the two albums later this year.
Music and Media, 26th April 2003
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