Roxy Music Guitarist Phil Manzanera Owed ‘6 Figures’ By Kanye And Jay-Z
In an interview given in today's Independent, Phil Manzanera, former guitarist with 70s art poppers Roxy Music, told how he is currently owed a 'six figure' sum by Kanye West and Jay-Z. A riff Manzanera had written- and long forgotten – for the track K-Scope, taken from his solo album of the same name. The riff had been found on a bargain bin copy of the album by producer 88 Keys, sampled, slowed down, and used as the basis for the massively succesful Yeezy and Jigga track No Church In The Wild. As the song found itself used in adverts, the Great Gatsby movie, and numerous TV shows, Manzanera received a call from the record label, and is now quite happy to find himself owed a shitload of cash.
"The genius thing is, they slowed it down." he said, "What nobody knows is that it's not just a guitar playing. I've got this huge harmonica: it's about a foot long and you blow this one note along with the first beat of every bar and it creates this weird sort of slightly sinister riff. When it's slowed down, that combined with that guitar low note creates this very special sound…"
"I'm owed six figures. Six figures plus, which is more than I've made in the past 15 years with Roxy. I haven't got paid yet but it really reassured me about all of my beliefs, why I'm doing what I'm doing and the power of music. Things come and go – fame, fortune – I'm not interested in that. I just do what I do because I love music but it felt like someone, somewhere up there in the ether, has said: "You know what? You've been doing stuff for ages, had ups and downs – you can have that now."
Somewhere out there Pharrell and Robin Thicke are probably asking themselves why they didn't pay off the Marvin Gaye clan with a 6 figure check – but on that subject, Manzanera has some sympathy for the recent Blurred Lines losers –
"Marvin Gaye's estate has just successfully sued Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke over "Blurred Lines", and personally I don't think that's the right judgment. I listened to the two things. The rhythm and the groove were very similar but the top line wasn't the same; the words and the chords weren't the same. One of the biggest issues at the moment in the music business is copyright and publishing. Copyright law is lamentably out of date, so the amount of money the writer gets is often a small fraction of what the record company get."