Album: Roxy Music
. . .
I was a few years too young to discover Roxy Music in real time, but it seems to me “Re-Make/Re-Model” was probably the most striking side one track one declaration of intent since “Good Times, Bad Times”
Which was only three years prior, I know, but still. That said, the songs stated entirely different things: “Good Times, Bad Times” was “hey, look at what we can do,” displaying Zeppelins virtuosity from the opening section. But “Re-Make/Re-Model” was more like “hey, look at what you can do,” displaying their amateurishness — not to mention weirdness — the second Phil Manzanera’s guitar, Graham Simpson’s bass and Paul Thompson’s drums come driving in over Bryan Ferry’s opening piano.
Meanwhile Ferry starts on about about a girl he once saw, but was too chicken to approach.
I tried but I could not find a way
Looking back all I did was look away
Next time is the best time we all know
But if there is no next time where to go, go?
Go, go! Go, go! Go, go! Go, go!
And as they motor into the chorus — such as it is — Manzanera’s ongoing solo is joined by sax blasts from Andy MacKay and synthesizer blerps and blorps from ol’ sourpuss himself, Brian Eno.
She’s the sweetest queen I’ve ever seen
See here she comes, see what I mean?
I could talk talk talk, talk myself to death
But I believe I would only waste my breath
Ooh, show me
Apparently, CPL593H is the license plate of the woman in question, and in an incredible invasion of privacy, it’s screamed by the entire band not just during the chorus, but in the instrumental break that follows the first chorus. Which, to put it lightly, is pretty fucking insane, as Andy MacKay slides out towards free jazz while Manzanera continues to play notes that have no relationship to each other and Thompson alternates double times on his snare with crazy-ass drum rolls, bassist Simpson plays cool runs and Eno does the Eno thing, adding effects willy nilly.
Eventually, Ferry starts the first verse and the chorus again, straining to be heard over the cacophony, and finally giving up for the second solo section, which alternates Manzanera’s crazy-ass soloing with stop-time sections featuring each member of the band, including Ferry hitting random notes on the piano, and bassist Simpson playing the riff from “Day Tripper” probably to remind us that we weren’t in Liverpool anymore.
If this music had any kind of antecedent, it was the Velvet Underground, but run through British art school high concept, and with weird links to straight-out prog rock, as the man who produced Roxy Music, Peter Sinfield, had worked with King Crimson and was on the verge of working with Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Oh and Roxy Music’s original guitarist, Davy O’List, had played with Keith Emerson in The Nice. As the years went on, the connection between Roxy and the prog-rockers would get even more explicit, but it was always there, even if the high concepts were completely different.
Anyways, “Re-Make/Re-Model” was a helluva way to start off a career, even if it was a bit of a misdirection, and very few of their songs even came close to this level of sonic cacophony.
“Re-Make/Re-Model” Promo Video
“Re-Make/Re-Model” live in 1972″
“Re-Make/Re-Model” Live at the Apollo, 2001
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