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Brian Eno Biography

Band Biographies


Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, now known simply as Brian Eno, has repeatedly proven himself to be one of the most innovative and creative forces in contemporary music. A self-proclamed "non-musician" he was once voted the fourth best instrumentalist in the world - in the miscellaneous category because he definitely cannot be categorized. He is a modern "Renaissance Man"; musician, poet, trained artist and consummate technologist.

Brian Eno was born in the town of Woodbridge in Sussex, England on May 15th, 1948. His early education was under religious (Catholic) auspices but at the age of 16 he decided to specialize in art and transferred to Ipswich Art School. It was during this period at Ipswich that he first became interested in tape recorders and their potential as musical devices. After two years at Ipswich he switched to the world famous Winchester Art School where, along his continued study of fine arts he published poetry and formed his first bands; first, Merchant Taylor's Simultaneous Cabinet -- an avant-garde musical troupe and later a rock band named The Maxwell Demon who improvised at every concert while he sang, making up the words as he went along. During this period he also owned 31 tape recorders. In 1969, having officially earned a diploma in fine arts, he moved to London. While playing his music at Art Labs, among other places, he worked as an electronics trader and newspaper designer to make a living.

In 1971 he joined Roxy Music in its embryonic stages as mixer and electronic supervisor. It took over a year of rehearsing and personnel changes before Roxy Music was ready to perform in public. But once they did their success was almost an overnight phenomenon. Eno had joined Roxy Music because one of the band's major intentions had been to create a whole new style from a synthesis of past styles and revolutionary techniques aided and abetted by a sophisticated visual presentation. Obviously, the intellectual and aesthetic aspirations involved in this concept were close to his heart. His use of electronics as an integral instrumental element of rock and roll was rightly hailed as highly original. His fame also grew as somewhat of a spacey-sex-symbol. "The technician became a kind of magician, charming audiences with an appearing sexy hermaphrodite pose on stage, a walking art object delineated in exquisitely applied mascara and adorned in gorgeous peacock plumes."

Brian Eno left Roxy Music in the summer of 1973 citing the time-honoured tradition of musical differences with Roxy supremo Bryan Ferry and immediately launched himself into solo projects; initially in a collaboration with King Crimson's leader Robert Fripp called "No Pussyfooting". Early 1974 saw the release of his first solo Island album, the critically acclaimed "Here Come The Warm Jets". This was followed by "Taking Tiger Mountain (by strategy)" and "Discreet Music" , all of which enhanced his reputation as the undisputed king of avant-garde music. In addition to his solo efforts, he found time to collaborate on albums with, among others: John Cale, the founder of the legendary Velvet Underground and David Bowie who requested his help on his two albums "Heroes" and "Low". He has produced albums for the cream of the New Wave groups: Ultravox, Devo and the Talking Heads.

Continuing his prodigious output, among the many diverse projects he has collaborated on, including a sucession of art installations, books, and work with an eclectic array of artists, it is ironically for his more prosaic work as producer with U2 over the past 15 years that he has become most commonly associated; an understatement of his chameleonic talents. In 2002, the wheel turned full circle as Eno once again worked with Bryan Ferry, on this occasion as a contributor to Ferry's album Frantic, offering not only vocal and instrumental contributions, but also a co-writing credit on the shimmering 'I Thought'.

Ambient pioneer, glam-rocker, hit producer, multimedia artist, technological innovator, worldbeat proponent and self-described non-musician - over the course of his long, prolific and immensely influential career, Brian Eno has been all of these things and much, much more. In the process, he forever altered the ways in which music is approached, composed, performed and perceived, and everything from punk to techno to new age bears his unmistakable influence.

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