Michael Bracewell has broken the rules of rock band biographies. More often than not, rock stars are only interesting once they are in a band. Then the sex, drugs, breakups, breakdowns and deaths prime the pump for a dirty tell-all. Bracewell ends his book just as other rock bios get started. Roxy Music is the only band that could make this work.
In the early 1970s, Roxy Music arrived, fully formed and sharply dressed, like a lounge band from outer space. Roxy was art school for all of the kids who couldn’t go to art school. Re-make/Re-model: Becoming Roxy Music is exactly what the title implies: Bracewell covers the early lives and formation of Roxy Music.
Similiar to the band, Bracewell's book combines rock ‘n’ roll with pop art, fashion, and the art-college culture of England and New York City into a snapshot of the late 1960s and early '70s. Through a treasure trove of interviews, Bracewell often steps back to let the individuals tell their own story. The benefits of interviewing a bunch of art school dropouts is that they manage to be both interesting and articulate at the same time.
Bracewell defers to straight quotes over his own exposition. However he is not afraid to add is own often astute observations from time to time. Re-make focuses mainly on the two best-known Roxy faces, Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno.
Roxy purists may not find any startling new revelations, but that doesn’t seem to be Bracewell's goal. Part biography, part pop art appreciation, part late '60s/early '70s cultural study, this book equals more than the sum of its parts.