Mojo JANUARY 2019 - by Andy Mackay


Roxy Music's riffing reedsman, in his own words and by his own hand.

I'd describe myself... I can't really. That's always going to be dangerously close either to vanity or false modesty.

Music changed me... by being part of my life from my earliest memories of my father playing the piano. So for me, music and life are inseparable. Being in a successful rock'n'roll band gave me fun, a sense of achievement and enough money to indulge in things other than music. Also, I was a shy, skinny kid and relatively anxious. I discovered to my considerable advantage that once you are on-stage, there's nowhere to hide, so you had better make the best of it.

When I'm not making music... everyday life is, overall, more important. Family, friendship, art... I love cooking, drinking and travel. There's still a great deal of the world to see.

My biggest vice is... expensive socks, pyjamas and spotted handkerchiefs. Not sure if they're vices, though.

The last time I was embarrassed was... Theresa May's Abba performance at the Conservative Party conference. Actually, I find it quite embarrassing doing interviews.

My formal qualifications are... I could use the letters, BA Hons, BD AKC after my name. I went to University twice, once between 1965 and 1968 when I did remarkably little academic work but organised Be-Ins, avant-garde and experimental music performances and hung out in the art department. Actually, this is indirectly how I met both Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno, so it wasn't time entirely wasted. I went back to University, to Kings College, London when I was forty-odd. I enjoyed giving my brain another kicking. I would like to add MRM - Member of Roxy Music,which would please me most.

The last time I cried was... At the end of the third act of Wagner's opera, Die Walkure at Grange Park Opera, near London, last year - I nearly always cry at some point when listening to Wagner. I also cry during Call The Midwife, much to my wife's amusement.

Vinyl, CD or streaming...? Vinyl, though I was enthusiastic about CDs when they came out.

My most treasured possession is... the Selmer Mark VI alto sax - unengraved! - which I bought new in Paris in 1972, on Roxy Music's first ever trip overseas. It's the one I come back to - I played it on Jealous Guy and on my new recording, 3Psalms.

The best book I've read is... I'm on the fourth volume of Proust's In Search Of Lost Time. It's the most extraordinary examination of what it is to exist in every aspect of life from the physical to the emotional to the sensations of the world and the nuances of the human heart. It's also extremely hard going. I've just finished a hundred and eight pages describing a single afternoon's social event in Parisian society in the 1890s.

Is the glass half full or half empty...? Half full but empties quite quickly.

My greatest regret is... I think I would like to have been a craftsman of some sort - a stonemason or carpet weaver. Also, I regret that anarchism is a beautiful social, political and philosophical idea but proves to be extraordinarily difficult to put into action.

When we die... reason and science tell me the universe is still pretty much inexplicable. However, matter will last as long as the universe - and that includes us. But after all, I am a member of the Church of England and faith tells me that we will eternally be within the love of God. Now and always.

I would like to be remembered as... someone who played a bit of OK sax, wrote a few decent tunes, made the saxophone and oboe fun, but more importantly, as a good husband, father and friend. Also, my latest project, 3Psalms could be seen as a summing up or conclusion of all of my influences. I hope and would like to think it will be listened to when I am no longer around.

3Psalms is released by Good Deeds Music. Andy plays the Queen Elizabeth Hall on November 26.