Rock

Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera on Reissuing the Group's Debut & Their Shelved Reunion Project

Roxy Music
Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

 Roxy Music photographed in London in 1972.

Though fans might hope otherwise, the just-released deluxe editions of Roxy Music's 1972 self-titled debut album are not necessarily a harbinger for the rest of the British group's catalog.

"I don't think there will be enough stuff to do that. There really wasn't a lot of extra stuff just lying around, really," guitarist Phil Manzanera tells Billboard. "There might be the possibility of doing it for For Your Pleasure, a different kind of thing, and maybe it would be interesting to do something for Avalon, because there's one or two tracks we didn't put on there that I have. But after that, I don't know..." And, Manzanera adds, time is a factor for the group.

"This one took about eight years to get together," he notes. "Quite frankly, I don't think we'll be alive if we keep doing this eight years every go, you know?"

Manzanera does allow that there is one juicy project in the vaults that could be a candidate for some form of release if planets and parties aligned. "There was (an album) that we attempted to do about six or seven years ago," he says. "We went into the studio with Brian Eno and with Chris Thomas, our original producer, and we sort of did about 15 or 16 tracks. At that point Bryan (Ferry) said he couldn't write lyrics anymore, so we just put our hands up in the air and just said, 'Ah! Ugh! I'm speechless. Ok...goodbye.'"

For now, then, Manzanera is happy with the Roxy Music package, whose Super Deluxe Edition features demos, outtakes, BBC radio sessions and a DVD sporting videos and live television performances. "It's interesting to see the progression of the band," he says. "When we did the album we'd done about 10 gigs. By the time you get to the John Peel sessions at the end of the year you get to hear us after we played 120 gigs, and we're so much better at playing. We used to call ourselves inspired amateurs and we really were; It took a lot of gigging to actually get match fit, so it's fascinating how we changed some of the numbers and it's great to have it there in the package. You get a very good idea of what we were like and it's focused the whole thing of 'What was this all about? Was this any good?' You can reappraise certain aspects of it."

Roxy Music last performed during early 2011 to celebrate the group's 40th anniversary and has been inactive since, but Manzanera says he's "always game" to do it again. "Quite frankly, I'm always up for it," he says. "I won't be the person necessarily ringing everyone, but if somebody rang me...I mean, there's promoters out there that every year offer large amounts of money to get back together. I don't think Bryan has the appetite at the moment to do it. I'm generally more laid back, 'Yeah, let's try it...' Y'know, 45 years later you can think, 'Oh, are we really meant to be here? Is this right to go out and do this?' But I'm always game for a try, so you never know." In lieu of Roxy, meanwhile, Manzanera has been playing more with his own band and hopes to make that a more active concern.

"I've done a lot of albums, a lot of producing, and now I really don't want to get stuck in the studio for years at a time again," he says. "I've done so much of that. Now I'd really like to just get out more and play and see people. That's what my focus is now."