|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (October 2009)|
Mackay with Roxy Music, LG Arena, Birmingham January 2011
|Birth name||Andrew Mackay|
23 July 1946 |
Lostwithiel, Cornwall, England
|Genres||Rock, glam rock, art rock, classical music, R&B|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, producer, educator, author, film scorer|
|Instruments||Alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, keyboards, oboe, violin, vocals|
|Labels||Island, Polydor, Virgin, Reprise, Warners Bros., EG, ATCO|
|Associated acts||Roxy Music|
In addition, he has taught music and provided scores for television, while his CV as a session musician encompasses some of the most noteworthy and recognisable names in the music business.
Life and career
Mackay was born in Lostwithiel, Cornwall, England, and grew up in central London, attending Westminster City Grammar School. A classically trained woodwind player, he studied music and English literature at Reading University. While at university, he played with a band called The Nova Express and, together with future Roxy Music publicist Simon Puxley, formed part of a performance art group called Sunshine. He also struck up a friendship with Winchester art student Brian Eno.
In January 1971, Mackay became a member of the art rock band Roxy Music (formed November 1970) after answering a Melody Maker advertisement placed by singer Bryan Ferry; he soon brought Eno into the group to handle "Synthesiser and Tapes". Prior to signing with EG Management, Mackay taught music full-time at Holland Park School to support himself. Initially, guitarist David O'List (from The Nice) was part of the group, but he was replaced by Phil Manzanera in February 1972, just as the band's first album was about to be recorded. Drummer Paul Thompson completed the band.
Mackay played oboe and saxophone in Roxy Music, becoming known for his Chuck Berry-inspired duckwalk during saxophone solos, notably on the raucous track "Editions of You". With his pronounced quiff, Star Trek sideburns and outlandish Motown-inspired stage costumes, Mackay made a vital contribution to the unique Roxy Music "look"—much of which functioned as a retro-futurist throwback to 1950s rock and roll performers.
His songwriting credits for Roxy Music include the Top Five hits "Love is the Drug" (1975) and "Angel Eyes" (1979), plus "A Song for Europe", "Three and Nine", "Bitter-Sweet", "Sentimental Fool", "While My Heart is Still Beating" and "Tara", together with the early experimental B-sides "The Numberer" and "The Pride and the Pain". He also learned to play the violin while a member of Roxy Music.
He released two instrumental solo albums in the 1970s: In Search of Eddie Riff (1974), an exploration of his musical roots, and Resolving Contradictions (1978), based on his impressions of a trip to China. The latter album featured guest appearances from Paul Thompson and Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music. He also composed and produced the music for the hit television series Rock Follies and Rock Follies of '77, with lyrics by playwright and screenwriter Howard Schuman. Both series sired specially recorded soundtrack albums, the first of which reached Number One in the UK Album Chart in March/April 1976. The second contained a hit single in the form of "OK?", which reached Number Ten in the UK Singles Chart in May/June 1977.
Mackay has also worked with Duran Duran, Mott the Hoople, John Cale, Pavlov's Dog, Johnny Cougar, Mickey Jupp, Yukihiro Takahashi, Paul McCartney, Godley & Creme, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Arcadia and 801. He also played saxophone on several tracks of Brian Eno's Here Come the Warm Jets.
In 1981, his book Electronic Music: The Instruments, the Music & the Musicians was published by Phaidon.
After Roxy Music's dissolution in 1983, Mackay joined with Roxy guitarist Phil Manzanera to form the Explorers, featuring Bryan Ferry-soundalike James Wraith on lead vocals. The group released a self-titled album in 1985, and three years later resurfaced as Manzanera and Mackay. Under this name, they released a further two albums which combined new material with reissued tracks from the Explorers album.
From 1988 to 1991, Mackay largely abandoned music to take a three-year Bachelor of Divinity course at King's College London. During this time, he played on and produced a Christmas album with The Players, a group of English folk musicians.
With Ferry, Manzanera and Thompson, he took part in the Roxy Music reunion concerts of 2001, with further scattered live dates in 2003, 2005/6 and 2011.
- In Search of Eddie Riff (1974)
- Resolving Contradictions (1978)
- SAMAS Music for the Senses (2004)
- London! New York! Paris! Rome! (2009)
Explorers/Manzanera and Mackay
- The Explorers (1985)
- Crack The Whip (1988)
- Up in Smoke (1988)
- The Explorers Live at the Palace (1997)
- The Complete Explorers (2001)
- Christmas (1989)
Andy Mackay + The Metaphors
- DeRogatis, Jim (2003). Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 229. ISBN 978-0-634-05548-5. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- Sheppard, David (2008). On Some Faraway Beach: The Life And Times Of Brian Eno. Orion. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-4091-0593-0. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- Roxyrama Official Website Andy Mackay Biography
- Kaye, Ben (16 September 2008). "Icons of Rock: Andy Mackay". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- Rigby, Jonathan Roxy Music: Both Ends Burning (Reynolds & Hearn, 2005; revised edition 2008) ISBN 1-903111-80-3
- :VivaRoxyMusic.com: Comprehensive website on Roxy Music and the solo work including Andy Mackay
- www.themetaphors.com – The official website of Andy Mackay + The Metaphors
- Review of Andy Mackay and The Metaphors, Pigalle Club, London (18/11/08)