Bryan Ferry talks on Roxy Music and growing up in Washington at 6 Music Festival

editorial image

LEGENDARY Bryan Ferry returned to his North East roots to kick off a weekend of live music.

The Washington-born Roxy Music frontman took part in a live interview with fellow Mackem Lauren Laverne to open the day time programme of BBC 6 Music Festival.

He looked back on an illustrious career which has spanned more than 40 years, 30 million albums and hits including Jealous Guy and Love is the Drug.

Though he has lived in London for 50 years, he says it was his childhood in the North East that sparked his love of music.

“In many ways it still feels like home. It was a huge part of my life, growing up here, going to college here. This is where I first saw my musical heroes,” said the former Washington School pupil.

Chatting to Lauren in the Cluny 2 in Newcastle’s Ouseburn area, he recalled: “I would spend my pocket money on records. I would go to a gig and spend five hours on one beer, because it’s all I could afford.”

Bryan, 69, spoke of how he took the decision to move away from his home town to chase his dreams of being an artist.

“I was hungry for new experiences growing up here. Not only London, I wanted to see the big wide world, to go abroad,” he said.

“I studied art in Newcastle and Richard Hamilton was my teacher, who was obsessed with American pop culture. So to go to America for the first time with Roxy Music was a fantastic time for me.”

He added: “With my career I’ve tried to be as diverse as I can be, I find it an adventure to do different kinds of music. We played around with a lot of different styles in the band,

“I was lucky to be around in the early ‘70s when you felt it was a pioneering time.”

Though his career has been varied as both a band frontman and solo artist, Bryan says he still enjoys performing his older tracks.

“I like to think the music I did on the first Roxy album still feels current today. I play those songs on tour and I love doing them,” he said.

Though he’s famed for his effortlessly cool stage persona, Bryan said being in the spotlight didn’t always come naturally.

“Being on stage was always difficult for me,” he said. “I always wanted to be behind the camera, instead of in front of it. It got better over the years, but you still feel edgy before a performance because you want to do the best you can do.”

Over the next two days, BBC 6 Music has taken over the Ouseburn district, as well as Sage Gateshead, to bring people a host of music events and performances.

Highlights are set to include sets by Neneh Cherry. Royal Blood, Maximo Park, The Maccabees and more.

Ahead of headlining at Sage tomorrow night, The Charlatans will perform at Pop Recs in Fawcett Street, Sunderland, tonight.