More Than This: The Story Of Roxy Music (DVD)
Eagle Vision, 2009
REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/30/2009
“Now the party’s over…I’m so tired.” – Bryan Ferry, “Avalon”
So was the end of Roxy Music’s recording career…or was it? Turns out the band had a one-day studio reunion in 2006, during which some new songs were recorded. Even Brian Eno and producer Chris Thomas were there. Old grudges were put aside, broken fences were mended, and all seemed to be in good spirits. Even if nothing comes of it, at least the afternoon brought these former band mates some closure. Still, Roxy Music fans everywhere are hoping and praying that they recorded enough material that day to warrant a new album. Or at the very least, an EP. After all, EP’s are really popular these days.
The new DVD documentary More Than This charts the roots and far-reaching influence of Roxy Music, as it shows their musical development over the course of eight fantastic albums. From the extraterrestrial eponymous debut to the smooth ambience of Avalon, ten years have never sounded so good. Artists from Siouxsie Sioux, John Taylor from Duran Duran, and Nile Rodgers of Chic fame all tip their hats in the direction of Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay, “the great Paul Thompson” and any other musician who had ever been lucky enough to be a part of this legendary band.
Kind words from rock icon Bono are worth plunking down your $$ for this essential DVD. “Imagine you’re a teenager on the north side of Dublin and some aliens arrive on Top Of The Pops.” This is the type of inspiration creative people crave, regardless of whether you are an artist or a musician. Roxy Music really thought out of the box in the way that they married these distinct worlds of art and music; their album packages, with the high fashion covers and Ferry’s searing lyrics, had lives of their own.
Brian Eno acknowledges that Roxy Music was really Bryan Ferry’s vision – one that he was just happy to be a part of, albeit for a very short time. Eno’s androgynous stage presence was a scene stealer, so it’s hardly surprising that Ferry would resent being upstaged by it. Frequent shifts in direction from a creative standpoint led to many other departures over the years of Roxymania, with the most notable seeming to come from out of nowhere with their drummer Paul Thompson in 1979.
Guitarist Phil Manzanera admits that the last two records Flesh + Blood and Avalon don’t exactly represent the aesthetic he would like Roxy Music to be remembered for, despite the fact that they contain some of their biggest singles: “We were imploding at that point and it felt like our whole vibe was being diluted in a destructive way,” he said. While that may be true in the eyes of those punk fans who felt “Editions Of You” was the best thing they ever did, their last producer Rhett Davies would no doubt disagree. Maybe that’s the enduring legacy of Roxy Music: they seemed to have something to please most anyone.