“He’s a mind expanding drug.”
-Bono on Eno
Growing up in Woodbridge in Suffolk, Brian Eno’s grandfather lived in a deconsecrated chapel filled with brass plates, hurdy gurdys and player pianos. He repaired organs for a living and turned the whole church into a gigantic one by placing pipes in every nook and cranny. Inspired by these deep, auditory sounds as a youth, Eno was compelled to enroll in art school. When the Velvet Underground came on the scene, Eno decided he would pursue popular music.
Along came the seminal art school band Roxy Music, which featured Eno on synthesizer and fellow classmate Bryan Ferry on vocals. Their gender-bending costumes, along with their music, caused quite a stir. Eventually Eno gave up his rock star status, supposedly due to tensions with Ferry, and reportedly danced down King’s Road in relief after quitting the band. He went on to invent ambient music and produce bands like U2 and Talking Heads.
When prodded by a journalist, Eno admitted cheekily that he got more girls than Bryan Ferry while in Roxy Music— and Ferry may have been angry about it. But watching Eno geek out on his altered synthesizer which he calls “the total surprise machine” makes me smile the most.
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