Stereo Embers The Podcast : Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music)

Written by on 04/17/2024

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“Revolución to Roxy”

Yes, the London-born guitarist and producer Phil Manzanera is part of one of the greatest bands of all time, but that really isn’t the story. It’s just part of it. Like, 10% of it. Which is crazy when you think of the cultural impact of Roxy Music, but the fact is, Manzanera has lived an interesting life that goes far beyond his tenure in an influential rock and roll band. His book Revolucion to Roxy explains everything and after you hit the first chapter you’ll see his origin story isn’t a simple one. He covers being multi-racial, traveling around the world as a kid and witnessing actual revolutions in Cuba and Venezuala, being sent to a posh boarding school,
and the sudden death of his father. And all that happened before he was fifteen. An old story is a guy picks up a guitar and his life
changes and that’s for sure a big part of the story here, but the long-time history buff only started to understand why he was drawn to music in the first place years later. It turns out that Manzanera is a direct descendent of an Italian opera singer. And a Jewish pirate. I’m not joking. But the more he digs, the more answers start to show up that form an historical polaroid that’s still coming into focus. Revolucion To Roxy is a brilliant read, filled with narrative velocity and authorial poise, but it’s also the story of a guy who’s figuring out who he is in real time. And the reverse engineering is as surprising to him as it is to us. For example, his dad worked for the British Overseas Airway Corporation. Or did he? Being drawn to music was free will. Or was it? You get the idea. Revolucion To Roxy is a marvelous blast of biography and self-examination and it really explores the idea that history is shooting through our DNA and even if you ignore it, it’s going to tap you on the shoulder and point you wherever it wants.

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