The Warners' people told me Ferry wasn't doing press on this tour. He had turned down Los Angeles radio and newspaper folks for the Universal Amphitheatre shows that would happen before Santa Barbara and nixed a Rolling Stone interview to coincide with the Berkeley show that would follow. But then things changed...We were contacted by the record label saying that Bryan wished to visit the studio. Zounds!
The story goes like this...Years earlier, so it was told, Bryan had stayed in Santa Barbara in the '70s and heard this crazy little station playing imports of Roxy Music, Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay albums. Albums that the "big" LA stations wouldn't touch. The DJ playing these unknown quantities was yours truly and the show was SPACE PIRATE RADIO. Big Grin. A memory served. And a little reward for being "out there."
Day of the concert, I pick up Bryan at the El Encanto Hotel where he is staying in one of the apartment suites. He is dressed very casual in shorts and sport shirt. We hit it off immediately and chat like old friends. His ride to the studio is as my passenger in my ultra-sophisticated 1976 Datsun B-210 Honey Bee. He doesn't seem the slightest remorse that I passed on the Rolls, Bentley or Lotus Elan. Bryan's rather thin, exposed legs are near the stick shift and I can't help but feel that I might shift his kneecap into fourth gear. Otherwise, we talk art.
He is very fascinated with the Spanish architecture. I ask him if he's been to Hearst Castle. He says he doesn't know it. "Really?" I'm surprised, so I fill him in on brief historical details and tie in the connection to CITIZEN KANE. He lights up with enthusiasm about the subject and says he has to plan an excursion to San Simeon to see more.
Now Bryan is here for SPACE PIRATE RADIO, but the program director has asked to interview him briefly for his daily show. Being the program director, slash, music director lets him get his way, as the record company, indebted for those all important Tuesday record adds, allows it. Bryan is uninspired by this.
Now this program director is one of those types I've been forced to deal with through the years. The type you can get along with reasonably well, but has the ability to be a weathervane, turning to whatever direction the wind blows, often with their back to you, doing what is ever necessary to stay in the business and the music is ALL GOOD. A type of individual who doesn't recognize what's new and exciting in music until it's been validated by others. I remember telling him about the Pet Shop Boys, unknown to the mainstream, and describing in detail their debut work. Weeks later, I pass by the music director office and hear him on the phone to an EMI record rep, word for word how I described them. I was offended. I'm sure he got nice concert tickets, backstage, a tour jacket and unlimited promos for his "brilliant observation, musical taste and review."
Program Director knows little about Roxy Music and/or Bryan Ferry. "What questions should I ask him?" he amazingly asks me, his supposedly Machiavelli behind the Borgia throne. Knowing Bryan's hatred for the new '80s bands that imitate Roxy, I say, "Ask him how he feels about bands like ABC." *giggle*
He does, and Bryan turns away, looking out the Eighth floor window of the Granada Building, a mumbled dismissal, eye contact gone and a temperature drop immediate. Interview over.
The record people suggest a photo and Bryan passes by the PD and says, "I want to get a couple with my mate, Guy." A Teletubbie moment. "Big Hug!" :)
In the studio with me, Bryan is terrific. At the end, I ask him if he might do an I.D. for SPACE PIRATE RADIO. Up until this time, most artists would do a simple, "Hi! This is 'such and such' on SPACE PIRATE RADIO." But Bryan changed the pattern. He took his time and kindly brought me into the I.D. "Hello...This is Bryan Ferry...And I'm here with Guy...on...SPACE...PIRATE...RADIO..." I was gobsmacked.
And though he and I might differ on some political areas. And foxhunting. I still find my time well spent with this man of Taste, Style and Distinction.
And there is that song, SAN SIMEON.